Monday, September 24, 2012

Asian Short Ribs

A cool breeze whispered through my home office this morning.
The crisp, nearly-autumn smell of the Durango air made me pine for something. . .for anything braised.

Luckily, a few frozen short ribs awaited instruction. I took a short break from work, and within an hour, the aroma of asian short ribs filled my home. This recipe developed out of items I had on-hand in my pantry and fridge. It sure was a nice way to start a Monday.

Asian Short Ribs
1 oz. shitake mushrooms
6 cups beef broth
6 pounds beef short ribs
1-1/2" ginger root, sliced into 7 rounds
2 t. coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1/2 c. white wine

2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

2 t. arrowroot powder
2 green onions for garnish, sliced thinly

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Soak the dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for 20 minutes (these can soak while you're preparing the rest of the recipe).

Generously salt and pepper the short ribs. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 T. grapeseed oil and brown each rib on all four sides (you can place several ribs in the pan at once to save time). Set the ribs into a Dutch oven once they become browned (or any large, oven-safe pan with a tight-fitting lid).

Add broth, ginger, coconut aminos, brown sugar, and wine to Dutch oven and browned ribs.

Saute onions over medium heat in the frying pan until browned and translucent. Add minced garlic and saute for one minute. Transfer the onions and garlic to Dutch oven. Deglaze the pan with 1/4 c. water to transfer any flavorful, browned bits to the Ditch oven.

Slice the soaked, softened mushrooms thinly and add to the dutch oven. Add their soaking water, too! There may be some gritty solids at the bottom of the mushroom soaking bowl. . .don't add these.

Cover tightly with lid and bake for about 4 hours at 300 degrees. There is no need to turn the meat during cooking.

For a flavorful sauce, remove cooked ribs and place in separate bowl. Separate the onions and mushrooms from the gravy with a strainer (don't throw these solids away!). De-fat the gravy with a gravy/fat separator. Return the onions, mushrooms, and de-fatted gravy to the Dutch oven. In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with a tablespoon of cold water. Mix until smooth, then add to the gravy. Heat gravy until slightly thickened. Add ribs back into the pan and stir to coat with the gravy.

Serve over mashed potatoes, aside rice, or with sauteed greens.
My kids like to have some good bbq sauce on hand, and adore the option of not using utensils!

Have lots of napkins on hand and dig in.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Turkey Cutlet Picatta

Sometimes the simplest of recipes can bring the greatest joy.
This is one of them.

Olive oil, lemon, garlic and capers combine into a melodious sauce that enlightens a bland turkey cutlet into a savory Italian feast! Best of all, it comes together in about half an hour.

Most picatta recipes call for dredging the cutlets in flour, but I found that simply browning the meat yielded a flavorful recipe without the use of grains.

Gather some pantry staples tonight and make this fabulous dish.

Turkey Cutlet Picatta
1.5 lbs turkey cutlets (or turkey sliced ~1/4" thick)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup white wine
1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T. capers
1/4 c. parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Pound the turkey cutlets until half their thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper.

Saute garlic over medium-low heat for one minute. Set aside.

Combine white wine, lemon juice, and capers. Set aside.

Heat a large frying pan to medium-high heat. Add olive oil. Saute turkey cutlets on both sides until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.

Add garlic, wine, lemon and caper mixture and heat until bubbly.

Sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately over gluten-free rice pasta and broccoli.

For those eating grain-free, omit the rice pasta, and you won't be missing a thing!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sushi Night!

Want to have a little fun?
Have your own sushi night! Creating your own colorful sushi rolls at home is a delicious, healthy, and fun way to indulge in your own Japanese favorites.

It's easier to make than you'd imagine, and with this varied menu, it's easy to please everyone everyone at your table, whether they like raw seafood, cooked, or both. This menu takes about an hour to prep, and even less time if friends help. Modify each dish to your liking -- sushi making is an art, after all!

Grab a few friends, a couple bottles of white wine, put on some good music and have fun rolling!

Sushi Night Supplies:
1 package ~ 8" x 8" nori wraps (at least 20 sheets)
gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
Bamboo sushi roller
Plastic wrap (optional)
small bowl of water for dipping fingers
platters and bowls for the items below

Sushi Rice: sprinkle cooked rice with vinegar and fluff with fork until cool
1-1/2 cups sushi rice, cooked according to package directions
2 T. seasoned rice vinegar

Asian Sesame Dipping Sauce: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
2 T. olive oil
1 T. toasted sesame oil
1 t. toasted sesame seeds
1 T. gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
2 t. fresh ginger, peeled and minced (or 3/4 t. powdered ginger)
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Veggie Sides: Arrange veggies on a platter like an artist's palette
2 carrots, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
2 c. sprouts of your choice
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Crab Salad: Mix all ingredients together in a stylish serving bowl
two 8 oz. cans of lump crab meat
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/2 t. gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
salt and pepper to taste

Salmon Salad: Mix all ingredients together in a colorful container
2 grilled portions of salmon, cooled and flaked into small pieces
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 t. gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
salt and pepper to taste

Spicy Tuna Salad: Mix all ingredients together in an artful bowl
4 oz. sushi-grade tuna, diced
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 t. gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos
1 t. toasted sesame oil
1 t. grated ginger (fresh or jarred)
2 T. mayonnaise

Sashimi: Arrange artfully on a plate.
8 oz. sushi grade tuna, salmon, and/or scallops, sliced 1/8" thick

Arrange your luscious bowls of asian goodness on a roomy counter. Leave enough workspace to roll your creations.

Many websites offer thorough instructions on how to roll sushi and make hand rolls. Here are a few:

Rock and roll!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Ice Cream Sandwiches – Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free

Although summer is definitely waning, it’s never too late to savor my favorite dessert in the whole wide world – ICE CREAM SANDWICHES!

A girlfriend emailed me the link to this cookie recipe last year, and I’ve made these FOUR times to date. They’re that good! These cookies have a succulent, toffee-like flavor. With a dollop of ice cream in between two cookies, it’s the best summertime treat around.

Use your favorite store-bought coconut ice cream (So Delicious and Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss are excellent) or make your own Raw Ice CreamVanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream or Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

Don't bother with napkins -- just be sure to wear your bathing suit and wash your hands in the back yard sprinkler! Enjoy the last days of summer.

Almond Butter Cookies

All I can really say about these cookies is that they are addictive. It's impossible to eat just one (well, you can try). If you prefer peanut butter, feel free to swap in the equivalent amount and instead of slivered almonds try 1/2 cup of roasted peanuts or a nut of your choice.

1 cup almond butter
1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or simply chop raw almonds for an extra crunch!)
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I like mini chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a baking sheet with butter and set aside.
In a large bowl, stir almond butter and sugars together until well combined.
Add egg, baking soda, maple syrup, vanilla and salt and mix well. Stir in the almonds and chocolate chips.

Using a teaspoon, scoop out small, walnut-sized amounts of dough and roll them in your hands to form a ball. Place on cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake 9-10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes.

Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies