Tagged: GF

Simple Tahini Sauce

Thursday, Nov 17 2011 Cooking!

1/4 cup tahini
1/4 olive oil
1 teaspoon miso (optional)
3 cloves garlic
generous pinch of salt (to taste)
1/2 cup water

How easy is this? Add all ingredients to the blender. Hit blend.

File this one under: the basics.

This sauce has been a standby of mine many times during the phase of simplicity that directly follows a time of lackadaisical eating habits (read: the holidays). With some brown rice or quinoa in your pantry, and any steamed vegetable—in this case, purple kale—the sauce ever so simply elevates and delights what would be an underwhelming meal. It’s incredibly quick to make, has a bold, nutty flavor, and tahini happens to be packed with B-vitamins. This sauce is versatile—don’t be afraid to use it as a dip for your vegetable crudites or mixed in with some sauteed vegetables and warm rice noodles. (sub 1/2 creamy peanut butter for 1/2 the tahini and add 1 teaspoon grated ginger for an especially flavorful and less bitter tahini sauce).

 

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Ode to the Crêpe

Monday, Sep 12 2011 Cooking!

The crêpe embodies all that is good in life: simplicity, versatility, elegance. It is French, after all. Unlike romantic partners, bank accounts, or the weather, a crêpe is infinitely malleable and adaptable to one’s desires. It’s equally comfortable gussied up as the debutante (Suzette) or dressed down the peasant (aux oeufs). Buckwheat crêpe for savory preparations, white flour for sweet. A nearly anonymous vessel, it provides a beautifully straightforward vehicle for sauces, cheeses, eggs, sweets, fruit, veggies, ice creams, and the like. It is the alpha and the omega; the breakfast, the appetizer, the entree and the dessert. All in one.

I’m willing to err on the side of hyperbole and proclaim it one of the greatest culinary inventions, ever.

After much trial and error, I nailed a GFDF facsimile that compromises neither taste nor texture. Below is my recipe for crêpes sucrées, or “sweet crepes”. I most recently served these with lemon curd, fresh strawberry coulis, and a filling of DF sour cream whipped with lemon zest. Strawberry. Lemon. Cream Cheese. Crêpes. Yes, please.

CRÊPES SUCRÉES

1/3 c. white rice flour
1/3 c. sweet/glutinous rice flour (it’s gluten-free despite the confusing name)
1/3 c. brown rice flour
2 eggs
1/3 c. canned coconut milk
2/3 c. water
1/4 t. salt
2 T melted butter or grapeseed oil

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Chewy Granola Bars

Friday, Aug 26 2011 Cooking!

On the eve of my first vacation in quite some time—a long-anticipated coastal backpacking anniversary trip—I became fixated with the idea of creating my own snacks for the trip, specifically in the form of homemade, chewy, pecan-filled granola bars. Regardless of the more essential items on my to-do-list of packing, planning, and shopping, my need begin to border on obsession. It’s partly because working up to a vacation is extra taxing, and when my head is buried in the computer for far too long, my most essential outlet to maintain sanity is time playing in the kitchen. As a restorative practice, nothing comes close. (The only downside is that the more stress I have to work out, the more dishes I make.)

After exploring several chewy granola bar recipes, I understood the basics: the more liquids the more chewy the bar, the more stuff inside the more flavor, and that nearly anything sweet, crunchy, or chewy goes. I assembled my oats and what my palate considers the most reliable main players—roasted pecans, shredded coconut and dried cherries. Any combination of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, or even chocolate would do.

Since we were going to be hiking and packing all our food with us for our several day trip, granola bars were the ultimate dense and nutritious bring along food. It’s true that food tastes better while camping, and these were extraordinary—it’s easy to proclaim them the best granola bars I’ve ever had. Truth be told, I don’t even like most granola bars. Chewy, sweet, nutty—these little nuggets were undeniably closer to delicious treat than merely life sustaining food. Since long summer days require trips to the beach, river and mountains, packing easy to travel snacks are essential—so we can stay out there as long as possible without needing to reach the surface for a while. Read More »

Mango Sticky Rice

Tuesday, May 31 2011 Cooking!

Last weekend I was cruising around southeast Portland, headed towards the Asian supermarket on 82nd to stock up on rice noodles and coconut milk when I got caught in a late-afternoon hunger slump. After striking out at the GF bakery, I navigated to Pok Pok in a hypoglycemic haze, placated by one consuming thought: Cha Ca La Vong. Quite possibly, my favorite meal anywhere, ever. And I don’t say that hyperbolically.

Putting my name on the list (who has a queue at 4pm on a Saturday?), I quasi-patiently fidgeted under the outdoor awning, dodging raindrops. Ten minutes later, I was escorted to a seat at the bar and presented with the lunch menu. The lunch menu? Boooo. No offense Pok Pok, you know I love you, but the lunch menu is a tease. And conspicuously lacking the delectable grande dame.

Not to be consoled with the fish sauce wings, I tucked my tail between my legs and escorted myself out, empty-handed. I retreated to the ‘burbs, eating pho and chatting with Jen on the phone about the rapture, which was surely imminent, right? (It was May 21st.) Once fed, my world was righted and I carried on to Fubonn.

I don’t know if you’ve spent much time in the rice stacks at an Asian market, but it is a practice in humility, intrigue and befuddlement. After an embarrassing amount of over-contemplation (something like obsessive without the compulsive) I grabbed two bags of sweet rice to try -one brown, one white. I haven’t opened the brown one yet, but here’s how the white has played out: deliciously.

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Jen’s Mid-Life Birthday Cake & Ice Cream

Thursday, May 5 2011 Adventures!, Cooking!

First, let me start by saying, Happy Birthday Jen!
You know I love you from head to toe. Cheers to you and your grand new year.
xox, Jenn

When Jen mentioned she was making flourless chocolate cake for her mid-life birthday, I remembered a recent pairing I’d seen for chocolate cake and lime sorbet. I attempted lime (coconut milk) ice cream last month for a dinner party and felt it just wasn’t tart enough. So, this time I amped up the lime juice. Jen’s surprise addition of raspberry syrup and fresh berries brought it all together, heralding the arrival of spring. And so, so pretty.

COCONUT LIME ICE CREAM
  • 1/2 c. + 2 Tbs. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. Guar Gum
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 – 14 oz. can Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 c. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Stir together the sugar and guar gum to break up any lumps. In a heavy 2 quart saucepan, whisk together 1/2 c. lime juice, sugar + guar, eggs, water, and 1/2 c. coconut milk. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until just barely simmering. Mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees). Remove from heat and strain through mesh sieve into bowl, to remove any egg threads or guar lumps. Whisk in the remainder of the coconut milk. Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours, until chilled thoroughly (if in a rush, can place in freezer for an hour, stirring every 20 minutes). Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mine takes 35 mins. In the last 5 minutes, add the remaining 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice.

Makes about 1 qt.

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Rhubarb Galette {First Attempt}

Tuesday, May 3 2011 Cooking!

Spring has sprung in scenic Portland, Oregon. Finally. The weekend ushered in blue skies, warm weather, patio brunches and a bounty of seasonal produce. Strolling through opening day of the King Farmers Market with Teresa, we were greeted with regal purple and white radishes, delicate papery-skinned red potatoes, fragrant basil bouquets and beautiful bold red spears of rhubarb. Rhubarb. I bought two pounds on the spot. How could I not?

Last Friday, Jen and I went to a book signing for Kim Boyce and Heidi Swanson at the Ace Hotel Cleaners. So, I had Kim’s Good to the Grain on the brain, with its gorgeous rhubarb galettes on the cover. After coming up blank for rhubarb recipes during a survey of my cookbook collection, I turned to the internet where I was able to track down Kim’s recipe and an adaptation from Smitten Kitchen. But, neither of these are gluten-free so I pulled in my favorite GF pie crust recipe for a little back-up support. With the kitchen windows flung open, the first sunburn of the season gilding my shoulders and Lynne Rossetto Kasper floating on the radio waves, I dove in.

For a first attempt, I would say these galettes were good. The rhubarb filling was, as it is wont to be, tart. I think the balance was pleasing but you might want to add 2-4 Tbs more sugar if you prefer your desserts on the sweet side. Next time I make these I’ll add some lemon zest to the rhubarb mix to brighten it up, too.

Here’s what I did, with some notes inserted. Consider this a draft, but a pretty good one. I’ll update it next time I make another batch, with any notable modifications.
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Sesame Rice Krispy Treats

Tuesday, Apr 12 2011 Cooking!

Like many nostalgic treats from childhood, the classic rice krispy treat sounds good in theory, but—highly processed and loaded with preservatives—is sorely lacking in ingredients befitting a healthy body.

But what if rice krispy treats were made out of… brown rice krispies from the co-op and creamy almond butter instead of yellow dyed margarine and horse hooves? I figured we could give these nostalgic treats a bit of an upgrade, and—on a sesame kick of late—make them even better with the addition of toasted sesame seeds. Here we have a nutty and crunchy treat to satisfy your sweet tooth. If toasted sesame isn’t your jam, just replace the sesame seeds with 1/4 cup toasted coconut or chocolate chips.

2 Tbls coconut oil (or butter)
3/4 cup almond butter (sub up to 1/4 cup tahini for extra sesame flavor)
3/4 cup agave nectar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other chopped nut)
5 cups brown rice crispy treats (in bulk at your fave co-op)

Combine coconut oil, nut butter and liquid ingredients in saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently until uniform and glossy. Allow to cool slightly before pouring over brown rice krispies, nuts, and sesame seeds.

Pour into greased 8 x 8 pyrex baking dish and flatten the top with your hands or the back of a spoon. Refrigerate for 4 hours to overnight to firm. Cut into squares.

Note: These don’t firm up in the same way as the original krispy treats, due to the absence of marshmallow, but keep these in the fridge and they’ll stick together just fine.

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Toasted Coconut + Turmeric Ice Cream

Wednesday, Mar 30 2011 Cooking!

Dear Mom & Dad,

I don’t think I’ve taken the opportunity to formally thank you for the Cuisinart Ice Cream maker you gave me for my birthday last year. Thank You. It’s awesome. I’ve used it to make so many yummy coconut-milk ice creams. Plus, it’s very easy to use and economical.

Last month, Jen had me over for Thai night with homemade Khao Soi so I concocted a Toasted Coconut and Turmeric Ice Cream for dessert. It turned out amazing—rich, briny, sweet, tangy and complex. If you’d like, I will make it for you when you come to visit.

Love,
Jenn

 

TOASTED COCONUT + TURMERIC ICE CREAM
  • 2 1/2 c. Canned Coconut Milk (not low-fat)
  • 1/2 c. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp. Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 t. Ginger Powder (ours is very fragrant/fresh so only 1/4 tsp is needed)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3/4 c. Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Guar Gum
  • 2 Tbsp. Water
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/3 c. Sweetened Shredded Coconut

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Sesame Kale Chips

Sunday, Mar 27 2011 Cooking!

There’s just no denying it, a threshold has been crossed. I have become the type of person who drinks “coffee” from dandelions, makes “sour cream” out of cashews and now, creates “chips” from roughly torn kale leaves. I’ve been known to make these out of desperation. With no other snacks in the house and a head of kale in the crisper, a snack deprived person will resort to almost anything.

Of course I recognize that “treat” is subjective, but these satisfy the desire for something crispy and salty—and to have a snack in the richest shade of dark green is surely a bonus.

1 head of kale
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Rinse kale and tear stems off the leaves. Spin, shake, blot ALL moisture off of the kale. If in doubt, let air dry for 10 minutes as well. Once dry, place in a large bowl and sprinkle the olive oil over. Use your hands and massage the oil into the kale, coating each leaf. If it’s feeling a bit dry, drizzle extra oil, remassage. Once covered, sprinkle 1/4 cup sesame seeds over the kale and toss to evenly distribute.

Lightly sprinkle with sea salt (it’s easy to oversalt, be conservative).
Spread out on two baking sheets lined with parchment, avoid overlaps and bake for 20 minutes. Don’t allow the leaves to brown or the chips will be bitter. Optional + Recommended: sprinkle with smoked paprika and a pinch of cayenne.

Enjoy immediately.

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Walnut Brownie Bites

Monday, Mar 7 2011 Adventures!, Cooking!

While I was seeing health counselor Katie Decker, we would sit at her cozy second floor apartment with a rolling fire chatting about all things health and nourishment. I loved each week’s introductions to new flavors, cooking tips and what became some of my favorite new ingredients: dandelion coffee, umeboshi vinegar, and almond flour.

When she brought these dark chocolate little morsels to me, there was good indication I’d be a fan from the obvious high cocoa content. Dense, chewy and intensely chocolatey, these have since satisfied my cravings for a sweet bite more often than any other recipe. They were the first treat I experienced using almond flour, something I was intensely curious about, and an ingredient that has become a staple of my cooking since.

She let me take home a few and I ordered my first bag of almond flour from Honeyville the same day. Finding a baking staple that allows me to stabilize my blood sugar has been key for me, and this flour is naturally low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber. It’s also moist, easy to use and highly nutritious. I could do an infomercial about it without any rehearsal. Just ask.

This recipe is adapted from the lovely Ani Phyo’s Brownie Bites, and also modified for oven baking. If you can spare 12 hours in a dehydrator to wait for these incredible chocolate nuggets, then you don’t love chocolate as much as I do.

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Dance Party Pancakes

Saturday, Mar 5 2011 Adventures!, Cooking!

My mom recalls that the first time she gave me cow’s milk it dripped down my chin leaving a bright red streak. As a kid, I was allergic to wheat, dairy, citrus, tomatoes, and chocolate. Although I’m too old now to remember the consequences of dietary indiscretions at such a young age, I am told that there were hives and other unpleasantries. Around 4 years old, all noticeable symptoms disappeared and I went about my way, leaving carob chips and sesame snacks behind forever.

Fast-forward: 28 years.

On the heels of a 3-week gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, alcohol-free cleanse last April (2010), I discovered that I was unable to seamlessly reintroduce gluten and dairy to my diet. While on the cleanse, I felt great and my skin cleared, my energy was good and after a few days, my digestion was impeccable. When the cleanse concluded, I tried to go back to my prior ways—toast for breakfast, cream in the Earl Grey, pasta on semi-regular rotation. It was a non-starter. Mild rashes were appearing on my face, my digestion was off, the glow was gone and stomachaches reappeared. Nuts.

Enter: New way of being.

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