Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thai Fresh Green Curry (Vegan)


Yesterday I was standing in my kitchen at 5pm, with four hungry children underfoot, wondering what to make for dinner. I made the usual rounds to the pantry, fridge, and garden. Something spicy, green, and with noodles was brewing in my mind. A green curry sauce, over noodles, with tempeh, broccoli, spinach and zucchini. Hmm, and how about roasted cashews too.

Every now and then I make a simple Thai Green Curry Sauce. Yesterday evening I took note of the ingredient amounts to be able to share it with you.

If you are one who feels intimidated by cooking Thai food then this recipe is perfect to begin with. The sauce is so flavorful while being very easy and quick to prepare. You'll probably find yourself making this over and over again.

Once the sauce is made, you can do quite a bit with it. Last night I served it over Thai rice noodles, sauteed tempeh, broccoli, spinach, and zucchini. I garnished the dish with freshly roasted cashews. (I sauteed the tempeh in a separate pan and kept half of the dish sans soy for those in our house who do not eat it).


Fresh Thai Green Curry Sauce

This delicious Thai style sauce can be made in about 20 minutes from start to finish. I didn't have any jalapeno peppers on hand and so used crushed red chili flakes this time. It tasted just as good as usual! Saute the veggies over medium-high heat for a few minutes (starting with the veggies that take the longest to cook) and then add a little water and cover to finish the cooking by steaming. You can then pour the sauce over your stir-fry.

2 handfuls fresh cilantro (leaves and stems)
2 small shallots
4 cloves garlic
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers or green Thai chili peppers, seeded (or 1 to 2 teaspoons crushed red chili flakes)
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1 to 2 teaspoons agave nectar or coconut sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1 can full fat coconut milk

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a small pot and simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes, uncovered. Use the ideas below to create a meal. Enjoy!! :)

Here are a few more ideas for using the sauce:
  • Quickly saute a variety of fresh veggies and then pour the sauce over them and simmer until cooked but still crisp.
  • Sauté chunks of fish, such as halibut, and spinach. Serve the sauce over the fish and spinach on a bed of rice or quinoa.
  • Simmer a fillet of salmon (skin removed) in the sauce.
  • Sauté cubed tofu, onions, zucchini, carrots, snow peas and then add to the simmering sauce.
  • Serve over bean thread noodles, rice, or quinoa.
  • Sauté chunks of chicken breast and your favorite veggies then add the sauce and simmer until cooked. Garnish with thinly sliced basil leaves.

If you have any other ideas please share, thanks! :)


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spiced Teff Cookie Bars (Gluten-Free, Vegan, Soy-Free)


This recipe was inspired by an email I received from a fellow gluten-free blogger and mother of a toddler. Her son is allergic to wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, oats, and nuts. She had great success in baking my Rhubarb Muffins and other recipes, and was wondering if I had any cookie recipes that fit her son's allergy criteria and that also excluded seeds. Hmm, seeds too? No flax, no sunflower, no nothing? Now, I do have a handful of these types of cookie recipes which will be appearing in my next book, but what about something new? An idea for a richly spiced teff cookie bar was inspired!

I experimented with my idea two different ways while my twin toddlers were sleeping this afternoon. My four-year old daughter helped to measure all of the ingredients. It especially excites her to measure the spices and level them off with her finger!

These cookie bars are rich, moist, with a full-bodied spice flavor. My toddlers thoroughly enjoyed them!

Though I have not tested this, I believe these bars could be made with sprouted brown rice or sorghum flour in place of the teff. The teff does lend a discernible crunch which may turn some folks off, though die-hard teff lovers will surely be satiated with this recipe.

I have a number of gluten-free, vegan teff recipes available on this blog for those newcomers just stopping by for the first time. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Dilled Adzuki Bean and Rice Salad


Today I offer you a recipe in spirit of sunny days and lighter fare (although it has been a bit chilly here). Adzuki beans and rice are very easy to digest while giving you clean-burning energy to get you through fun-filled summer days. I made this for dinner tonight, though I am looking forward to the leftovers for lunches.

I made a large pot of both brown jasmine rice and adzuki beans for dinner last night so it was very easy to throw dinner together tonight. I used fresh carrots which we bought at the market on Saturday, while the green onions, butterhead lettuce, and fresh dill came from our garden.

Melissa at Gluten Free for Good just did a great post which included the health benefits of dill. And while you are there be sure to check out her coconut beet ice cream, it looks fabulous!

For a refresher on how to cook beans please refer to this post. But remember, adzuki beans are considered "small beans" and do not require any soaking.

To cook a pot of Brown Jasmine Rice:

Place 2 cups of rice into a 2-quart pot, add just a tad under 4 cups of water and a large pinch of sea salt. Cover pot, place over high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the rice is boiling turn heat to low and simmer for about 45 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let stand about 10 to 20 minutes before serving. Be sure to let your rice cool to room temp before making this salad.


Dilled Adzuki Bean and Rice Salad

Serve this grain and bean salad over fresh lettuce leaves, or place a spoonful of salad in each leaf and eat "wrap style." Try adding diced cucumbers, red bell peppers, or any other vegetable you desire to this recipe. Garnish each serving with toasted sunflower seeds. Salad can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

4 cups cooked long grain brown rice
3 cups cooked adzuki beans
4 large carrots, diced
4 green onions, sliced into rounds
small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
butterhead lettuce
toasted sunflower seeds

Dressing:
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar
2 to 3 teaspoons raw honey
1 teaspoon Herbamare
1 large garlic clove, crushed

Place all ingredients for the salad into a large bowl. Set aside.

To make the dressing, place all ingredients into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid and shake well. I actually add all ingredients to the jar and use my immersion blender to combine the ingredients.

Pour dressing over salad and toss together. Serve over lettuce leaves and garnish with tosated sunflower seeds and avocado slices if desired.

Elimination Diet Modification: If you have introduced lemon juice and are okay with it then replace the vinegar with equal amount of lemon juice in Phase 3.


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Friday, June 19, 2009

Carrot Raisin Buckwheat Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, vegan)


Instead of reinventing the wheel, I thought I would share with you today a recipe from my cookbook (The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook). Some of you may have made these already, but for those who have not, the photos will probably inspire you to give them a try!

These muffins do not require any xanthan gum. I know this is a strange-sounding food ingredient, but it is necessary for the most part in gluten-free baking. The xanthan gum helps to hold baked goods together and give them elasticity. It also helps to retain moisture and increase mouth-feel. For those of you who are unfamiliar with xanthan gum, here is a great definition from www.wisegeek.com:

"Xanthan gum derives its name from the strain of bacteria used during the fermentation process, Xanthomonas campestris. Xanthomonas campestris is the same bacteria responsible for causing black rot to form on broccoli, cauliflower and other leafy vegetables. The bacteria form a slimy substance which acts as a natural stabilizer or thickener. The United States Department of Agriculture ran a number of experiments involving bacteria and various sugars to develop a new thickening agent similar to corn starch or guar gum. When Xanthomonas campestris was combined with corn sugar, the result was a colorless slime called xanthan gum."

I have found that most recipes which use buckwheat as the primary flour do not require xanthan gum and actually turn out better without it. Buckwheat flour forms a stringy goo when mixed with a liquid and the end product holds together surprisingly well.

Some people react to xanthan gum, while others would rather avoid it. It can cause digestive upset, especially for those who have weak digestion or bacterial imbalances in the gut. 

And now, the Carrot Buckwheat Muffin recipe from my cookbook. I didn't add raisins to these this time, my girls decided that they don't care for raisins in baked goods anymore. They happily scarfed down (along with their twin brothers and a friend) the entire batch of muffins in one day! I guess that is a testimony in itself!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Homemade Chipotle Barbecue Sauce (soy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free)


Just in time for summer BBQs comes an easy recipe for homemade barbecue sauce! It is sweet and tangy with a nice kick from the chipotle chili powder.

I don't shop around much for barbecue sauce and therefore am not on the up-and-up with ingredients and allergens commonly found in sauces. I have no doubt though that many BBQ sauces contain soy sauce and therefore wheat, many recipes probably contain large amounts of cane sugar, and some contain other types of processed ingredients that most of us would like to avoid.

Here I use a combination of organic strained tomatoes, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, and olive oil. Along with a bit of onions, garlic, and chipotle, this sauce is mighty tasty and very easy to make!

Use this sauce to marinate chicken, fish, tofu, or tempeh (if you tolerate soy). It can also be used to top cooked beans or whole grains (this is how Tom uses it). If you have any ideas on how you like to use BBQ sauce then let us know. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Raw Mediterranean Kale Salad


Hope you are all enjoying this lovely weekend! We deep cleaned our house this morning. It really needed it. Now we are off to a family picnic in the park since the sun has decided to finally peek out.

Yesterday evening I made this salad along with our Sunny Sunflower Seed Burger recipe (in my Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook), Herbed Oven Roasted Potatoes, and a loaf of freshly baked gluten-free french bread. It was a delicious summer meal!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free Strawberry Coconut Ice Cream (paleo)

What to do when the weather gets warm? Make ice cream. We've been making "ice cream" quite often lately. Last week the temperature lingered in the low 80's for most of the week. This week has been beautiful too...in the 70's.

Last week my daughter, Lily, concocted her own ice cream using cashews, water, agave nectar, frozen bananas, cherries, and raspberries. She also added a half of an avocado, a few spoonfuls of raw coconut butter, and a splash of vanilla. I wrote the recipe down somewhere. She made it in our Vitamix and it was delicious!


Today I wanted to share with you a dairy-free ice cream made in an ice cream maker. I have a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker that works beautifully and won't break the bank. Making ice cream in a Vitamix or food processor certainly works, but the end product lacks that creamy, ice dreamy mouth feel of true ice cream.

Last September, Tom made a white nectarine ice cream using the ice cream maker that was so good I wanted to hide the container and eat it all myself! I have that recipe scribbled down somewhere. Maybe later in the summer I will share it. And now, the strawberry ice cream....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Flour Cake

Last week I received an email from the President of Omega Nutrition. You all know of this company right? They are most well-known for their flax seed and coconut oils.

I was offered free samples of their coconut flour, flax flour, and pumpkin seed flour. These wonderful flours can be used as gluten-free, grain-free, and nut-free baking alternatives. I was excited to try the pumpkin seed flour. It just sounds so exotic and new. I have never seen or made anything with this type of grain-free flour. Immediately after I read his email an image of a rich chocolate cake was beginning to take shape in my mind, right down to the minute details of the sliced strawberries and mint leaves for garnish!

This fine, pale green flour is perfect for those following a grain-free diet and for those also allergic to nuts. What about the nutrient profile you ask? Well, we certainly can't complain! 100 grams of this flour offers about 7 grams of fat, 7 grams of carbohydrates, and a whopping 64 grams of protein!

The pumpkin seeds are processed and ground at a low temperature and packaged according to the omegaflo process. This special process protects the nutrients from damaging light, heat, and oxygen exposure. This gluten-free, organic, and kosher flour will not disappoint!

This evening I made a chocolate cake. I used eggs, sorry to those of you who follow me because of my egg-free baking. This was just what my mind had conjured up last week so I wanted to stick with it. For an egg-free version, you may try substituting the almond flour for pumpkin seed flour in my Grain-Free, Vegan Chocolate Brownie Cupcakes. I prefer the flavor of egg-free baked treats, so the next time I bake with pumpkin seed flour it will be egg-free.


Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Flour Cake

This rich, dark chocolate cake is high in protein and nutrients like zinc and essential fatty acids (linoleic and oleic fatty acids). Because of its richness, serve it with a light, fruity sauce or sliced fresh strawberries. Watch the baking time closely. Test for doneness after about 35 minutes. If the top of the cake feels jiggly to the touch it needs more time, if not, pull it out.

2 cups pumpkin seed flour
3/4 cup organic cocoa powder
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1 1/5 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 large organic eggs
2/3 cup honey (or maple syrup)
1/3 cup grapeseed oil
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9-inch round cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the pumpkin seed flour, cocoa powder, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and sea salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, honey, oil, coconut milk, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together well.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Place pan on the center rack in the oven and bake for approximately 40 minutes.

Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and flip cake onto a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. It is delicious served with fresh berries and coconut whipped cream!


The FREE Pumpkin Seed Flour Giveaway!

Since this flour is not actually on the market yet, Omega Nutrition has offered to send the winner a package of this lovely flour.

To enter:

Leave a comment in the comment section below with your name and a reason why you would like to try out this new flour.

To enter twice:

If you have your own blog, then post something about this flour and giveaway with a link back here. Then leave a comment with a link to your blog. I will enter you twice.

My girls will pick a name and I will announce the winner in my next post. I will close the drawing on Tuesday, June 9th at 10pm.

Good Luck!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ideas for Gluten-Free Breading


I have been asked a number of times for ideas to bread chicken breasts, fish, and vegetables - gluten-free.

Tonight I thought I would offer some ideas on this topic, some of my own and some gleaned from my fellow foodies.

Tom was in Seattle this evening doing a food demo and talk at the IBS Treatment Center. So what is a mom of four little ones to do when dad is out of town? Make dinner quick and without a fuss. Yesterday I walked to the grocery store with the boys in the baby jogger (which is not all that close to our house) and bought organic fruit, cat food, and a few organic chicken breasts. Okay, I know Michael Pollan does not approve of Rosie's Organic chicken breasts; if you have read the Omnivore's Dilemma you'd know why. But the thought of thawing out one of my local, organic, pastured chickens sounded like too much of a hassle. Then to remove the breasts from the bone, no thank you. I just don't have time.

I cooked a pot of quinoa, sliced up two chicken breasts, and had the girls pick some greens from the garden in no time.

To make it really easy and fast, I breaded the chicken in a non-traditional way: place all of the ingredients over the cut meat and toss together!

Here is the combo I used tonight:

I made sure my chicken breast slices were wet (with water) before adding these ingredients. This helps the flour adhere to the meat.
-superfine sweet rice flour
-sea salt
-dried oregano
-dried thyme
-onion powder
-paprika
-black pepper


Other Ideas for Gluten-Free Breading:
  • Polenta (coarsely ground cornmeal) ground in the food processor with your choice of dried herbs and salt
  • Corn flour
  • Sweet rice flour
  • Brown rice flour
  • Crushed potato chips (I have never used this but learned it from Shirley's GFE site)
  • Crushed Brown Rice Crispy Cereal (I learned this today from Alison's Sure Food Living site - in the comment section!)
  • Crushed corn flakes
  • Bread crumbs made from dried out GF bread slices (pulse dried bread slices in a food processor to get crumbs)
  • Coconut flour (or coconut flour mixed with shredded coconut)
There are a few methods for breading. Some chefs like to toss the food (meat, fish, tofu, veggie) in a starch such as arrowroot powder and then do an egg wash, then, finally toss to coat in the breading of choice.

I have done it this way with great results (an egg-free version): Toss your food item in a thick non-dairy milk (or dairy if you prefer), then toss in an egg-free wash made up of a semi-thick mixture of water and arrowroot powder, and then finally toss in the breading of your choice.

To sum it all up:

1. Choose your breading and pulse it in the food processor with salt, pepper, and your choice of herbs and spices. Set aside in a large bowl.

2. Dip your food into a dry starch or thick milk.

3. Then dip your food into an egg wash or arrowroot (egg-free) wash.

4. Finally, dip your food into the breading of your choice.

5. If using the stove, have your pan hot and ready (wait to add the oil until you are ready). I use grapeseed oil or coconut oil for cooking at higher temperatures.

6. If baking, make sure your oven is preheated and your pan is ready.

Please let us know if you have anything to add to the breading list in the comments section below. I am sure there are more options that I am not thinking of. Thanks and Happy Cooking!