Monday, June 29, 2009

BBQ Pork Tenderloin

This is a favourite at our house so we have it fairly often. Excuse the cutting board photo, but it was so tasty that I forgot to take a picture of my plate and had to take one instead of the leftovers waiting to be carved.

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp green curry paste
  • 1 Tbsp ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1/2 tsp ground Chinese ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large Ziplock bag (or a bowl with a lid).
  2. Add one pork tenderloin and coat with marinade.
  3. Let marinate in refrigerator minimum one hour (overnight works really well).
  4. Grill on barbeque until cooked but still slightly pink on the inside (15-20 minutes on medium heat), basting several times with the marinade.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Spiced Teff Cookie Bars

Looking at this photo, don't you think of a dense chocolate brownie? What if I told you there was no chocolate in this bar? Nope, not cocoa powder either. These surprisingly light-textured cookies are dark due to the nutrient-rich ingredients of teff flour and blackstrap molasses. And no, they don't taste one bit healthy. They are super delicious!

This recipe was created by Ali of Whole Life Nutrition in order to accommodate our allergies (I'm so honoured!). And they couldn't be more perfect -- I love them! Thank you Ali!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Rhubarb Crisp with Rhubarb Tea

I never know what to do with rhubarb except bake it in a pie. I still haven't found a piecrust recipe that fits our allergies, although I have a few recipes I am waiting to try. But I had some fresh rhubarb waiting to be used and not enough time to experiment with pastry. So I decided to stew the rhubarb on the cooktop and mix in some tapioca. Mmmmmm.

As a byproduct of the cooking process, you also get a nice cup of rhubarb tea to enjoy.
  • 3-4 stalks fresh rhubarb, chopped
  • 1/4 cup small tapioca pearls
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup + extra to sweeten tea
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • sprinkling of granola for each serving (I use Enjoy Life granola)
  1. Combine tapioca and 3/4 cup of water in a small bowl. Let sit 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, put rhubarb in a medium saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer 10 more minutes, then drain water. This rhubarb water is the tea, so pour into a nice cup and sweeten with some agave syrup to taste.
  4. Add tapioca/water mixture to rhubarb. Stir in the coconut milk and agave syrup.
  5. Simmer 5-8 minutes, until tapioca is transparent.
  6. Stir in blueberries and simmer 1-2 minutes.
  7. Pour into 3-4 serving dishes and top with granola.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Caramel Popcorn

Snacks have always been a tricky thing for me to think about in our allergen-free living. Everything seems to take a long time to prepare from scratch. It is so much easier to open a bag or a box and have an instant (and unhealthy) snack. What is odd is that I was never much of a snacker before I started the limited diet. We almost never ate dessert, and snacks were more likely to be cheese and pepperoni than potato chips or cookies. Nowadays though, I'm always foraging in the cupboards looking for a quick nibble.

My mother suggested I purchase a popcorn maker so I could whip up a yummy bowl of popcorn for a healthy snack. This turned out to be a great idea, and for the last week I've been enjoying popcorn with salt and Becel RSF. But today I have a new favourite -- caramel popcorn! And it was easy and quick to make.

My recipe inspiration came from a spiced popcorn and nut recipe in Super Natural Cooking. I have adapted the recipe to fit with our allergies:
  • 10 cups popped popcorn (1/3 to 1/2 cup unpopped, popped any way you choose)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  1. Place a large sheet of parchment paper on your counter (or on a baking sheet).
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, mix the syrups and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, swirl the pan over the burner for about 5 minutes, until the mixture starts to reduce. On my gas cooktop, I tipped the pan a little then let it rest again on the burner. Then I tipped it another direction and brought it to rest again. This was more gentle on my grills than a swirling motion. After 5 minutes of the swirling or tipping motion, remove pan from heat.
  4. Add popcorn to the pot and stir gently to thoroughly coat.
  5. Spread coated popcorn onto the parchment paper and allow to cool and firm (or not!).
This recipe will serve two only if my husband gets home soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beefy Tomato Pasta

While looking through my Nana's recipes I discovered a simple pasta sauce. My regular sauce takes so long to make that I don't make it all that often. With a few changes here and there, I've updated her recipe to taste almost the same as my slow-cooked sauce -- but it can be ready in a jiffy. This recipe serves 4.
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach
  • 1 lb ground beef (I use bison or beef)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 5 1/2 oz can tomato paste
  • 5 1/2 oz water (fill tomato paste can)
  • heaping 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • heaping 1 tsp basil
  • heaping 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh cracked pepper
  • 8 spears asparagus
  • 3 cups uncooked rice pasta spirals or elbows (I use Rizopia brand for this dish)
  1. Heat water to boiling in pasta pot. Cook asparagus spears 3 minutes then remove from water and set aside. Keep water at a boil for pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, wash spinach and pat dry. Divide evenly between 4 pasta bowls.
  3. Brown meat over medium heat in a wok or large frypan. Drain excess fat.
  4. Add onion and garlic and fry for 2 minutes.
  5. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water and spices. Stir to combine.
  6. Coarsely chop asparagus and add to meat/tomato mixture. Bring mix to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes while pasta cooks.
  7. Cook pasta according to directions on package. Drain, rinse briefly under cold water, and add to meat/tomato mixture.
  8. Stir gently and let everything heat together 1-2 minutes.
  9. Serve pasta mixture over fresh spinach in prepared bowls.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Bacon and Tomato Sandwich

Your eyes do not deceive you! This is a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free sandwich -- on REAL bread!! (And yes, those are orange tomatoes, not something funny with my camera).

After having great success with the Rhubarb Muffins from the Whole Life Nutrition blog (as well as their quick lentil soup recipe that I ate so fast I didn't get a chance to photograph), I decided to try my hand at baking their Best Gluten-Free, Vegan Sandwich Bread. Prior to our allergies, I have been known to bake bread on occasion. Flour, yeast, water, salt, sugar, milk -- done! The ingredient list for this gluten-free bread was a bit daunting. Five different flours/starches? Maple sugar and agave nectar? Xanthan gum? Yeast? -- Oh wait, that one I was used to. I had to go to four different stores to obtain all of the special ingredients. But armed with my many small bags of exotic flours, I set to work. Soon, my house was filled with the delicious smell of freshly baked bread that I have truly missed.

Isn't it gorgeous? It LOOKS like real bread... but what would it taste like? I really had low expectations going into this project as I have only ever heard negative things about gluten-free bread. From funny taste, to crumbly texture, to anaemic-looking loaves for sale on store shelves, gluten-free bread has a bad reputation. So a little apprehensively, I prepared for my first bite. And.... OH MY! If someone served this to me and I was unaware of the ingredients I would definitely know it was homemade bread, but I would never have realized it wasn't made with wheat. As I gobbled down the first slice I felt guilty, as if I was eating something I wasn't allowed to eat. By the time I toasted the bread and made a sandwich, I felt like I should be re-reading a label for hidden allergens. But there was no label, because I made this and knew everything that went into it! Needless to say, I am ordering the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook so I can get more recipes like this (and no, they didn't pay me to say that!).

Now, back to the "recipe" for the sandwich:
  1. Fry bacon until cooked.
  2. Toast bread until lightly crispy.
  3. Spread dressing over toast, top with sliced tomato and bacon.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Rhubarb Muffins

This has been a very exciting weekend for me. I just discovered something that opens up a whole new area of food: xanthan gum. I knew about it before -- it is listed in 95% of the recipes I read of muffins, cakes, cookies, and breads. The problem was that I couldn't find one that was made in a safe enough factory for our allergies. We have several brands available in my city, but they may be cross-contaminated with dairy, eggs, and of all things -- wheat! Who would even buy xanthan gum if they eat wheat? But I received an email from someone letting me know they had found Bob's Red Mill Xanthan Gum across town. It is made in a facility with tree nuts and soy, as are their gluten-free flours that we use. I feel safer with this for our allergies than with dairy, eggs, and wheat. I could hardly wait until Little Man awoke from his nap! We dashed to the store and there it was! And it was on sale for $5 off, too!

So this morning I set to work making one of the recipes that I had previously not been able to make: Rhubarb Muffins from the Whole Life Nutrition blog. They were divine! They puffed up beautifully, they had a wonderful texture, they didn't crumble to bits -- they were as good as they looked.

I also got to try my new silicone baking cups for this recipe. They worked way beyond my expectations. I made two muffins in traditional paper cups and 10 in the new silicone ones so I could compare. The silicone ones were superior! I had not expected much as I purchased 12 of them for less than $10.

This morning I also made some delicious waffles, but that is a story for another post. Needless to say, it was a great day!