Thursday, October 22, 2009

Leek and Potato Soup

Bleh. I'm sick again. Before it hit too bad, I whipped up a big pot of leek and potato soup, another of turkey meatball soup, and a batch of biscuits. Now I'm trying to lay low and let my soups work their magic. I've made this soup for years so it's a tried and true favourite. It just needed a small modification to work with our allergies.
  • 4 slices bacon, chopped
  • 2 large leeks, white part only, chopped (4 cups)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, backs peeled, sliced
  • 1 Tbsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 5 large yukon gold potatoes, cubed
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  1. Fry bacon over medium-low heat until cooked but not crispy. Add leeks, onion, and celery. Stir. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes until wilted.
  2. Sprinkle tarragon, thyme, salt and pepper over veggie mixture. Stir, add potatoes, and stir again. Add chicken broth, cover and bring to a low boil. Cook until potatoes are tender (about 15 minutes).
  3. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. This could also be done in a regular blender in a few batches.
  4. Add rice milk and coconut milk to soup. Heat over low until soup is hot, then turn to low simmer until ready to serve.
Do you have any recipes that help you feel better when you are sick?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lamb Shanks with Lentils

This isn't the prettiest dish, but it is so tasty and rich that it could be served to guests. Sometimes I serve it as shown in the photo, with the whole shank on the plate. But usually I remove the bones after cooking, shred the lamb, then mix in brown rice and stir it all together. If prepared this way, you can get 6 servings from this recipe. Serve with a veggie side and a green salad for a complete meal.

I adapted this recipe to be cooked in a crockpot and made some changes for our allergies. The original recipe came from The Rest of the Best and More.
  • 3 lamb shanks
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1/2 of a 5 1/2 oz can tomato paste (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup mixed brown and green lentils, thoroughly rinsed
  1. Heat oil in a large frypan over medium-high heat. Add shanks to frypan and season with salt and pepper. Cook 2 minutes per side, turning to get all sides browned. Add browned shanks to crockpot (mine is the 5 quart size).
  2. Add onions to frypan and fry 4-5 minutes, then add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Scrape onions into crockpot. Add beef broth, wine, tomato paste, molasses, sugar, vinegar, rosemary, salt, and pepper to frypan. Stir to combine. Heat to boiling. Add lentils and stir. Pour mixture over shanks and onion in the crockpot.
  3. Cover and cook over low heat 8 hours.
I'm looking forward to more crockpot dinners now that the weather has turned cold and we have been having blustery days. What crockpot meals are you looking forward to this season?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Chicken Meatball Soup and Biscuits

I woke up feeling pretty crummy a couple days ago. Not death-warmed-over flu terrible, just icky. But I knew what would make me feel better: chicken meatball soup. Homemade chicken soup really does contain some magic that nourishes your whole body. As always, it made me feel a whole lot better -- until the soup ran out. So I made another batch for lunch today. Little Man got very excited over this soup, and he *loved* his first biscuit.

Chicken Meatball Soup:
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1 pound ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 4 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 baby zucchini, sliced
  • 1 large yukon gold potato, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp tarragon
  • 2 tsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp sage or poultry seasoning
  • salt and pepper
  • 100 grams (about 1/4 pound) white rice spaghetti
  1. Heat the broth to a slow boil, then add the carrots, parsnip, onion, zucchini, and potato.
  2. Pull small chunks off the block of chicken. I use one hand (keeping the other one clean in case my toddler gets into something!) and shape the bits into roughly round shapes about the size of a large grape. As I form each one I drop it into the soup. Don't worry too much about shaping the meatballs; odd shapes work just fine.
  3. Add tarragon, parsley and sage. Add salt and pepper to taste. Boil for 20 minutes (or more).
  4. Break the pasta into 1-2 inch pieces and drop into the soup. Boil for another 20 minutes, then turn to simmer until you are ready to serve.
I used to always make my great-grandmother's baking powder biscuits to accompany soup. I made a few modifications to my scone recipe and -- voila! Savory biscuits. Not the same texture as baking powder biscuits (I prefer this biscuit texture as it is much smoother and flakier) but a similar taste.

  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil (chill in the fridge to make solid)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Whisk together the flours, xanthan gum, baking powder and sea salt.
  3. Use a pastry cutter to mix the coconut oil into the dry mix until you get pea-sized crumbs.
  4. Use a wooden spoon to combine the coconut milk with the crumbs. Stir/fold until just combined.
  5. Divide mixture into 9 biscuits. Shape gently with your hands and place on baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned around the bottom edges.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Toddler Trail Mix

"Wow, all those allergies! What DOES he eat?" This is something I hear quite often. Sometimes people find it hard to think of snack foods that are outside the standard toddler fare. Cheerios, goldfish crackers, and cheese-strings appear to be very popular with the 2 year old market according to my latest shopping-mall observations. So I guess I shouldn't be so surprised when people stare at Little Man's snack cup wondering what weird food I am feeding my child.

I like to refer to this as trail mix, but Little Man knows it as Crunchies, Puffs, Raisins and Lizards. His favourite part is the lizards -- he will usually dig around until he gets every last one before he starts in on the other components. They are sheets of nori seaweed that I have cut into shapes using a craft punch. They are a great enticement for him to eat other things too. If he doesn't want a muffin, I cut it into cubes and serve it with a sprinkling of lizards over the top. Zucchini quinoa muffins on their own are sometimes not what he is craving, but muffins and lizards are hard to resist.

Trail mix:
  • nori sheets cut into appealing shapes using a craft punch
  • puffed brown rice (I use the Simple Treasures brand)
  • quinoa crunchies (by Gogo Quinoa -- either original or cinnamon)
  • raisins
What snacks do your allergic toddlers enjoy?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

No Apology Pumpkin Pie

I am so excited for Thanksgiving this year! My dish to contribute to the feast is "a pumpkin dessert". I started by checking my family's traditional pumpkin pie recipe -- how many eggs can I replace with egg-replacer? -- what gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free crust recipe should I use? Then I decided to check my safe recipe file of thousands of collected recipes that fit with our allergies. There were several options, but none seemed like they would fill my craving for my family's recipe. So I searched through the recipes of my blogging friends -- jackpot!! I should have known to look there first.

I only recently discovered Karina's Kitchen, and have tried a few of her yummy dishes already. But this recipe looked too good to be true. Ok, here's the secret: there is no crust on the pie. How is that possible? I figured this needed some investigating, so I made a practice pie prior to the Thanksgiving event. I have done a lot of sampling since then... and yes, there really is no crust and it WORKS! More than works -- I love it! No need to make excuses for your allergen-free concoction. This is a real pie and it is delicious.

I've made a few modifications to Karina's recipe, some for our allergy requirements, others to more closely resemble the seasonings in our family's traditional pumpkin pie recipe.
  • 1 14 oz can pumpkin
  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly oil a 9" glass pie plate.
  3. Add all ingredients to food processor. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice.
  4. Pour blended ingredients into pie plate.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour, until done and the center is not wet. Mine took an hour and five minutes. Cool thoroughly, then refrigerate until time to serve.
I made the first pie without allspice and ginger and my toddler was able to eat it. Little Man's first pie! He helped to make it (ie. he insisted I hold him the whole time so he could see what I was doing), learned to say "pie" and agrees that it is delicious.