Monday, October 29, 2012

Gluten-Free Dutch Babies

This is truly the craziest dish I've made in years!
My kids love to watch in amazement as the Dutch Baby rises right out of its pan as it's baking! Don't peek into your oven as it's baking, or it may fall dramatically.

This recipe is easier to make than a batch of pancakes, and my kids even prefer it to waffles or flap jacks. It's loaded with protein from its 4 eggs, so a topping of cut fruit or stewed apples will make a complete breakfast. Its rich, custardy flavor will taste like a treat, and a quick cleanup of only two dishes will leave you pampered as well!

Enjoy -- this is a fun one!

Gluten-Free Dutch Babies
4 eggs
1/2 c. gluten-free flour mix (Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Blend works well)
1/2 c. milk, rice milk, almond milk, or coconut milk
1/2 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
2 T. butter, coconut oil or grapeseed oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place an oven-proof frying pan or cast-iron skillet in the oven to preheat as well.

Mix all ingredients together except butter. I like to blend for 30 seconds in my Vitamix blender and simply pour from the blender container.

Carefully remove the pan from the oven. It will be HOT!! Melt the butter or oil in the pan, coating the sides a bit. Pour the batter from the blender container into the hot pan, and return to oven.

Cook for ~24 minutes, until it's toasty brown and puffed up to crazy proportions.

Cut into 6 or 8 wedges and serve with fruit or butter and maple syrup.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Elegant Steamed Mussels

Oh, my.
This mussel recipe is the most succulent recipe I've created!

This recipe is a rich, elegant, dairy-free variation of a classic French preparation of mussels, which uses wine, broth, butter, butter and more butter. Recently, I was craving a rich, aromatic mussel recipe for dinner. . . no butter for me, thanks. I went to work to develop a recipe that had equal richness, but none of the dairy. This culmination has amazing balance and flavor, and it comes together in a snap.

We have a lovely little fish house in Durango, Flying Fish II. Nancy supplies our little town with fresh fish on Fridays, making elegant seafood dinners or fun sushi a Friday night staple in our house. I used a 2 pound, frozen package of Price Edward bearded, rope-cultured mussels for this recipe. Use fresh if you have access to an ocean!

Have a package of mussels waiting in your freezer when you really, really want to impress some guests.

Elegant Steamed Mussels
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced very thinly
1 cup Homemade Turkey Stock (or canned checken broth)
1/2 cup white wine
2 T. Sherry (cooking wine)
1/4 c. coconut milk
2 T. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 t. green curry paste
1/4 t. salt
pepper to taste
2 pounds mussels (you can purchase them frozen)
2 T. fresh basil, sliced thinly

In a large Dutch oven or pot large enough to hold your mussels (it must have a tight fitting lid for later), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute thin slices of onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for a minute more.

Add the turkey stock, wine, sherry, coconut milk, lime juice, curry paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer.

Add the frozen mussels to the broth, stir to coat, and cover.
Steam the mussels or 5 minutes.

Ladle into large bowls, and enjoy as an appetizer or as a main course when served with sauteed greens and rice noodles or Shirataki noodles. Be sure to have plenty of good gluten-free bread toasted to sop up the amazing broth.


GF Baguette Tip: The most superior baguette available in most natural food stores' freezers are Against the Grain Baguettes. Their light, airy, totally french Baguette look, feel and taste could be life changing for you. These do contain dairy, so not everyone can enjoy these treats.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pinto Beans with Ham

Frugality can be delicious!

Growing up in Ohio, most home-spun bean recipes that I ate were derived from a can, like My Aunt Pauline's Bean Salad. Although nothing says "church potluck hospitality" like a traditional bean salad (Oh, how I loved church potlucks while growing up!), it can't hold a candle to a steaming bowl of pinto beans with ham. When I moved West, I discovered the comfort that a combination of beans, broth, spices, and a cheap cut of ham can provide. Autumn is an ideal time of year to simmer a pot of this goodness all day long, and for about $5, you can create a southwestern feast!

This recipe is especially good with a dollop of my red chile. If you've purchased your roasted green chile for the year, stir in a couple of tablespoons as a treat. My kids like this recipe as-is, and ask for seconds every time.

Pinto Beans with Ham
1 lb dry pinto beans, rinsed and soaked in warm water overnight.
4 cups of Homemade Turkey Stock or store-bought broth
~1 lb smoked/cured ham hock (cut into 2" chunks if possible – ask your local butcher)
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 t. chile powder
1/2 t. cumin seeds
1/2 t. coriander
1 t. oregano
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 1/2 t. fennel seeds or 3" piece of kombu seaweed (it creates less gas).

Rinse the dry pinto beans, remove any debris or stones, and soak in warm water overnight, until the bean has almost doubled in size and is wrinkle-free.

In the morning, rinse pinto beans again and drain.

Place the broth, beans, and ham hock in a crock pot set on high.

Heat a frying pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent and slightly browned. Add garlic, spices and herbs and saute one minute more. Add onion mixture to Crock Pot.

Check the water level occasionally as the beans cook. Add more broth or water if you feel the need.

Remove the ham hocks from Crock Pot. Discard all bones, fat and unwanted parts of the ham. Shred or chop remaining meat and add back to the pot.

Serve in small bowls next to a grilled sandwich and a side of greens.


Flatulence Tip: Concerned about becoming too musical after eating beans? Adding items like cumin seed or fennel seed, a 2-3" piece of kombu seaweed, a slice of ginger, or bay leaves can help make beans a more socially acceptable food. Give it a try.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Homemade Applesauce

Still have apples?
Run to your neighbor's tree this evening and gather a few pounds before they're gone.

This applesauce recipe is almost like dessert. The flavor is simple, yet complex. Sweet, tart, and savory, it's an applesauce for grown-ups (but your kids will like it, too!). My husband says it's just like eating the inside of an apple pie, but better!

Do yourself a favor and purchase an apple corer and peeler for $15-20. It makes apple pie and applesauce preparation a piece of cake (or pie!), and your kids will clamor to help out -- just to take part in the fun of using this gadget.

Homemade Savory Applesauce
8 pounds apples (will be about 4 pounds once peeled, cored and sliced)
1 c. apple juice
1 c. water
2 t. vanilla
1/4 c. honey (if using sweet apples, omit or use 1-3 T.)
1 t. cinnamon

Using an apple peeler and corer, peel, core and slice apples and place into a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add water, juice, vanilla, honey and cinnamon.

Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until apples are tender.

Let cool a bit, and puree in a food processor or blender in small batches, transferring to a bowl after each batch. If you like chunky applesauce, puree half the apples and mash the other half with a potato masher.

This freezes well in 2-cup quantities in quart freezer bags. Fill the bags, remove air bubbles, and lay flat on a cookie sheet to freeze. Search "canning applesauce" if you prefer shelf-stable jars of applesauce.

Makes about 8 cups of applesauce.

Enjoy apple season!

So. . .you're a purist, you say? You think there shouldn't be honey or vanilla in applesauce? If your apples are sweet and perfect just the way they are, use this basic recipe and enjoy some unadulterated appley goodness:

Homemade Plain-and-Simple Applesauce
8 pounds apples (will be about 4 pounds once peeled, cored and sliced)
2 c. water

Using an apple peeler and corer, peel, core and slice apples and place into a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add water, juice, vanilla, honey and cinnamon.

Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 20-30 minutes, until apples are tender.

Let cool a bit, and puree in a food processor or blender in small batches, transferring to a bowl after each batch.

Makes about 8 cups of applesauce.


Have a huge batch of small apples? I just made a batch of applesauce without peeling the apples, and it was really wonderful. I added hard cider and ginger ale in addition to water for the liquids (I didn't have apple juice, but had hard cider -- go figure!). The result was lovely. Try making a batch of this with your neighbor's apples this autumn.

BIG BATCH of Homemade Savory Applesauce
12 lbs apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped
4 c. water
2 c. hard apple cider
12 oz (one bottle) ginger beer
2 T vanilla
3/4 c. honey
1 T cinnamon

Core and slice apples and place into a large stock pot or Dutch oven. Add water, cider, ginger ale, vanilla, honey and cinnamon.

Cover and bring to a simmer. Cook, covered, for ~60 minutes, until apples are tender.

Let cool a bit, and puree until smooth in a food processor or blender in small batches, transferring to a bowl after each batch.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Essential Beef Stock

I can't possibly cook another day without touting the importance of using homemade beef stock in your upcoming autumn and winter soup recipes! The nutrition and flavor of homemade stock is far superior to any canned, boxed or [gasp!] cubed broth. Besides, simmering a pot of beef stock will make your house smell like a home, and could even inspire some new culinary creations of your own.

Besides having Homemade Turkey Stock in my freezer, Beef stock is my next favorite staple. This is a perfect base for all your beef soups, stews, and pho noodle dishes. Sipping a cup of homemade broth in the afternoon is a cozy, nurturing snack.

The benefits of broth have been utilized throughout history in many cultures. The healing properties of homemade stock are many – its mineral-rich content of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals is nutritious; its gelatin, glucosamine, and chondroitin content help arthritis and joint pain; and its anti-inflammatory properties help heal the intestinal lining and soothe inflammation.

The next time you have a quiet day planned to be around your home, nurture yourself and put a pot of stock on the stove.

Essential Beef Stock
4 pounds beef bones, cut ~2" thick pieces
8 carrots
10 ribs celery (use the leaves if you have them)
3 whole yellow onions
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10 whole peppercorns
8 whole cloves
1 small bunch parsley (or any other herb you prefer)
2 bay leaves
1 t. salt
4 quarts cold water

Oxtails, marrow bones or bare rendering bones will all work well. Meaty bones will lend a different flavor than bare bones, but all will make a lovely stock.

Grill the bones until well browned, but not burned.
You may also roast the bones in the oven at 375" for 1-1/2 hours, turning the bones occasionally and making sure they don't burn.

Add water, browned bones, vegetables and spices to a large stock pot. Slowly bring the cold water to a gentle simmer and cook for 12 hours or so.

Strain the stock through a colander lined with cheesecloth into another pot. Let cool a bit, and package 4-cups of stock into gallon zippered freezer bags, or 2-cups of stock into quart-sized zipper bags. Stack the bags flat onto a cookie sheet, cool in the refrigerator and then freeze flat in the freezer.

Some stock "purists" claim that you should only use bones, carrots, celery and onion in stock. If you know you'll enjoy the aroma of a little garlic, a particular herb or salt in all the recipes you'll cook with the stock, use flavors your palette prefers. I like the added flavors in this recipe, it makes a flavorful, versatile soup base.

Nurture yourself and enjoy!