Chipotle Chicken and Chard Chili

Posted by on March 30, 2010 | 16 Comments

How is that for an alliterate recipe title? So thanks to Lacey’s response on my “how to use these veggies” post, I discovered a great new-to-me recipe from Giada of the Food Network. Of course, her recipe needed a few little tweeks. Cheese? Not in our house. How much fennel? Lets trim that down – a lot. Ground chicken? Chicken should be chunky! Parsley on chili? Seriously?

So after making a few modifications this very chunky chili was served and it was delicious! The recipe does make for a very chicken-heavy chili. Feel free to cut that down to 3/4 lb, 1/2 lb, or even make it vegetarian if you wish. You can easily double the beans, add some more veggies (I thought chopped zucchini would go nicely), or just thicken the broth a bit more and enjoy it with less of the chunky add-ins.

Chipotle Chicken and Chard Chili

To note, we did like it as is, and I don’t think my husband (aka “the meat man”) would want me to cut back on the chicken at all, let alone make it vegetarian.

For dinner (the first time), I served full bowls with some homemade “cheddar” and chive spelt rolls (nightime, hence the dark lighting) …

Chipotle Chicken and Chard Chili

For lunch the next day (pictured above), we were out of the rolls, but it still went nicely as leftovers over rice.

On a second go of the chili (more chard in the CSA!), I added some quartered mushrooms (about 4 ounces, but you could go for 8) and served the chili over a bed of rice steamed asparagus. Both veggies were nice additions, so feel free to play around with the produce you have on hand.

 

Chipotle Chicken and Chard Chili

Recipe adapted from Giada’s White Bean and Chicken Chili. I used chipotle chili powder, and even just this wee amount made the dish notably spicy. You can adjust to taste with some crushed red pepper, chilis, or hot sauce, should your chili powder not bring the heat you are seeking.

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free, Nut-Free, Sugar-Free, optionally Gluten-Free, and heck, you can even make it Vegan / Vegetarian (sans chicken of course) if you so desire.

  • 1 lb Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast, cut into small slices / chunks*
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Cornstarch or Arrowroot
  • Couple Pinches of Salt (optional)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Large Onion, diced or 1 Leek, sliced 1/4-inch thick and quartered
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, crushed or minced
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Teaspoon Salt or to taste, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1-1/2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Chipotle Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Fennel Seeds
  • 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons Flour (your choice, I used whole wheat pastry flour), depending on how thick you like it
  • 1 15-ounce can Cannellini or White Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 Large Bunch Swiss Chard, stems removed, leaves chopped into 1-inch pieces (my bunch with stems was about 3/4 lb) OR 1 Bag of Baby Spinach Leaves (should chard be hard to come by in your area)
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn, Thawed
  • 2 Cups Regular or Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (I used regular)
  • White or Brown Rice for serving (optional)

Place the chicken in a medium-sized bowl, and stir in the cornstarch or arrowroot (I like to add a pinch or two of salt here too) until it is well-distributed and appears absorbed. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onion or leek and sauté for about 5 minutes, or until nice and softened. Add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds or so. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add the chicken, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and the spices – cumin, fennel, oregano, and chili powder. Cook while continuously stirring, until the chicken is cooked (no pink showing). This will take about 7 or 8 minutes. If the chicken threatens to stick, just add a dash or two of the broth.

Stir in the flour to coat, and add the broth, beans, chard, and corn. The chard will look boisterous, but don’t worry, it cooks down significantly.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and allow it to simmer for at least 30 minutes, or up to an hour. The liquid will reduce in half and thicken a fair bit. Taste test it as it is cooking, and season to taste with additional salt (I used another 1/4 teaspoon) if desired. You can also add a pinch or two of crushed red pepper as it cooks if you want more spice, but we found the medium-heat to be just right as is.

If desired, serve over rice and with some homemade rolls.

*I used chicken breasts that were only slightly defrosted, making them very easy to slice. I sliced them about ¼-inch thick, and then cut each slice into ½-inch chunks. But you can cut them any size you like.

Yields 4 servings with rice and/or bread

Can you spot the spoon in this picture?

Chipotle Chicken and Chard Chili

Marvelous Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-Free & Vegan!)

Posted by on March 22, 2010 | 29 Comments

Unfortunately, an onslaught of review requests these past few months kept me from getting to one of my newest gems, The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. But ever since I finally cracked it open, I haven’t put it down. It is dusted with flours and splattered with oil, and already deemed a staple in my kitchen.

Since this is a recipe blog, not a review blog, I only share those cookbooks here that inspire some delicious recipes, and this one certainly has. Beyond helping me with my new CSA load with a recipe for Balsamic Roasted Beets and another for Collard Wraps, I quickly gained appreciation for the healthified desserts in this cookbook .. and in typical Alisa-fashion, I jumped straight to the cookies!

Gluten-Free and Vegan Maple Cashew Cookies

The Cashew Coconut Cookies were the first to catch my eye. My husband isn’t a big fan of coconut, but I knew an easy swap for chocolate chips would win him over. And as I taste-tested the dough (come on – you always have to taste test the dough, right?!), I thought it was very good, but perhaps just a touch too healthy for our current cravings. The dough had a mild shortbread sweetness, while we were both craving a sweeter treat. So I made a few adjustments and additions, and viola! My slightly less healthy, but still quite virtuous Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip version.

Just so you know – I did try to “gluten” these cookies in a second batch, since I know that many of you don’t have a problem with wheat (all of the recipes in The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook are gluten-free), and may not have the flours and xanthan gum on hand. I replaced the brown rice flour with whole wheat pastry flour and removed the xanthan gum. I kept the starch since these are egg-free. The cookies worked, but just weren’t as good in my opinion; they were a wee bit too sweet and spread a bit more. I actually really like them the gluten-free way. But, if I were to trial them again with wheat, I would probably switch to cornstarch or arrowroot for the tapioca (it seems those starches yield a softer product) and would reduce the maple syrup by a tablespoon or two. It was a bit overpowering with the wheat, but a nice contrast with the brown rice flour. Just wanted to give you a heads up on that, in case you feel like experimenting!

Here is a pic of my wheaty results – I split the wheat batch, trialing some with raisins (pictured), some with cranberries, and some with chocolate chips – the chocolate chips won hands down.

cashew wheat maple cookies

And yes, even though there are no known problems with wheat/gluten in my household, I always keep various gluten-free flours and starches on hand. It started several years back with some recipe-testing for a few gluten-free / casein-free companies … but I quickly learned that the different flours offer new textures and flavors that are yummy in their own right. So, I just sort of kept stocking them. Fortunately, brown rice flour, tapioca starch (see my sub note above) and xanthan gum can now be found in most major grocers with ease.

 

Maple Cashew Chocolate Chip Cookies

I adapted this recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. These cookies have a unique but addictive flavor that is maple-rich. Once allowed too cool, they are very cohesive, particularly for gluten-free gems, yet they still have a nice cookie dough-esque texture that I simply adored.

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Wheat-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Peanut-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free.

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Place the nuts in your spice grinder (or food processor) and pulse until you get a powdery /coarse flour-like consistency. It is okay if a few little cashew bits remain, but if you go too far with the grinding, the cashews will turn into a nut butter.

In a mediume bowl, combine the cashew flour, brown rice flour, tapioca, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Briefly set aside.

In a mixing bowl, blend the oil, maple syrup, sugar, and water. Blend in the flour mixture until you get a nice dough. Stir in the chocolate chips.

The dough may seem a bit sticky / greasy, but I still found it fairly easy to loosely shape into balls and place on the cookie sheet (I line mine with a silicone baking mat). If the dough is just too much to handle, pop it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes, it will firm up quickly. Flatten the dough balls a bit – these cookies don’t spread much as they cook, so what you see is what you get.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes. Remove them to a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. If your husband’s greedy hands try to pop them off the baking sheet while hot, they will be crumbly, but they do firm up quite a bit as they cool.

Yields 18 to 20 cookies

gluten-free vegan maple cashew cookies

Don’t Pinch My Blog, I’ve Got a Green Recipe!

Posted by on March 17, 2010 | 15 Comments

As mentioned in my last post, we are on week one of our first CSA. It was like Christmas pulling out one surprise veggie after another … until I got to the final item, the lump of coal at the bottom. “What’s this?” I said. It didn’t quite look like kale or chard, but similar. I went to the inventory sheet and my fears were realized – collard greens.

My first and only experience with collard greens was purchasing them in a bag on sale at a mega-grocer about seven years ago. Terrible, terrible, terrible. But determined to polish off that entire CSA box and give every veggie a fair trial, I headed to one of my favorite healthy cookbooks, Whole Life Nutrition. I was confident that Alissa (gotta love her name) would have a recipe to turn those greens into something good. In fact, she had two. One was for Apple-Spiced Collard Greens, which sounded rather tasty, but I didn’t have any apple juice on hand. The second was for Collard Green and Hummus Roll-ups. Now hummus, that is something I almost always have on hand!

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

My version is more of a guide / idea than a recipe, but let me tell you, it really worked to turn those nice big collard leaves (perfectly flat and excellent to work with, unlike kale or stiff chard leaves) into a tasty large snack or small meal – however you view it. And I realize Collard Greens don’t exactly shout “St. Patrick’s Day,” but hey, they are GREEN!

Now it is quite possible that there will be more of these collard greens in today’s CSA box, so please do tell … Do you have any ideas or favorite recipes for using Collard Greens?

 

Collard Green and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Adapted from The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, and optionally Vegan.

  • Collard Green Leaves, nice full healthy ones
  • Hummus, your flavor of choice
  • Carrots, for shredding
  • Avocado, sliced (optional – I didn’t have any)
  • Leftover Chicken (optional – omit for a vegan option)
  • Olives (optional – my hummus was kalamata olive hummus so I could resist)
  • Other Veggie Toppings of Choice (go wild!)

Lay the leaves flat, and cut them in half, carefully cutting out that thick stem. Spread each leaf half with your favorite hummus (I was using an olive hummus, hence the darker color), and sprinkle with grated or shredded carrot.

Okay, get ready, this is my first ever step by step photo – except it is just one step …

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Now, simply roll them up tight for a very light snack (I did this once, and they were tasty just like this!), or top them with your choice of toppings. The second time I made them I had some leftover chicken and olives, so I went with this, which made thicker rolls.

Yields as many as you like

Collard Greens and Hummus Mini-Wraps

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Creamy Green Garlic Soup

Posted by on March 15, 2010 | 18 Comments

This recipe is an ever so slight detour from my ususal “grocery store” fare (though regular garlic can be used, as noted), because I have at last joined the CSA world! Last week I got my very first ever CSA veggie box. Now that we live reasonably close to some of those great California farms, and since all of you wonderful food bloggers have introduced me to this concept, I had to join up. I was actually on the waiting list for Mountain Bounty Farm (who delivers to the Tahoe area), and was able to cut in mid-season.

I must say, I am not the least bit disappointed! A close friend splits a share with another friend, and she thought I was insane getting a whole share for just myself and my husband. But, I think she underestimated 1) my twisted love for vegetables and 2) how much food bloggers relish quality, organic goods. Lets just say, I have had no problem polishing off the entire box, and have still picked up some other veggies at the market this past week.

Since I was new to a few ingredients, like green garlic, I have been trying to stick to recipes with few ingredients, so that I can really taste what these veggies are all about. Green garlic is interesting, as it is the immature version of the bulb garlic we buy at the grocery store. It is milder, and to me it did have a “green” taste. It did seem to be a cross (in both looks and flavor) between large green onions / spring onions and mature garlic.

This is really just a very basic creamy potato soup made with green garlic. You could easily sub in a few cloves of regular garlic, or even a bulb of roasted garlic for a different, but delicious variation. Actually, I think if I were to choose, I would try this soup next with roasted garlic, but the green garlic was a nice variation that was a touch sweeter and had that “cold-kicking” garlic essence that I was craving after a big snowstorm hit.

creamy, dairy-free green garlic soup

 

Creamy Green Garlic Soup

Cheap russets or baking potatotes are the best for soups like this due to their high starch content. Yukons have a medium starch content and will also work well, while adding a touch of their “buttery” feel. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, and optionally Vegan / Vegetarian.

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Dairy-Free Margarine (I used olive oil)
  • 1 Medium Onion, diced (about 1-1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 lb Green Garlic or 3 bulbs, thinly sliced and cut in half (I used the whites, pink, and part way up the green) – can sub 2 to 4 minced medium garlic cloves
  • 1/2 lb Yukon Gold or Russet Potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (I didn’t peel)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt, plus more to taste (I used 1 teaspoon total)
  • 1 Quart Vegetable or Chicken Broth (I used Pacific Foods Free Range Chicken Broth)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 Tablespoon Dairy-Free Margarine (optional)

Heat the oil or margarine in a stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they begin to soften and become translucent.

Add the garlic, potatoes, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and saute for another 5 minutes – keeping things moving. If the pan dries out, splash in a wee bit of the broth to keep the ingredients from sticking.

Add the broth and bring the soup to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low, allowing the soup to simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are nice and tender.

Using an immersion blender, or in two batches in a regular blender, puree the soup (garlic, onions, potatoes and all) until it is nice and smooth. I did it in my blender, allowing each batch to spin for a couple of minutes. Use caution when you turn the blender on, making sure you have a firm hand on the lid to ensure that no hot soup escapes. Trust me, that is never fun!

Return the soup to your pot and season with additional salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. As noted, I used a fair bit of salt, because I was craving it, but go for what you like best. If you have some miso on hand, I might try mixing in some of this for a different flavor variation instead of the extra salt.

If desired, serve with 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of margarine swirled in to each bowl.

Yields 3 light lunches

Creamy dairy-free green garlic soup

Hoki-Dokie Oven “Fried” Fish Filets

Posted by on November 3, 2009 | 8 Comments

As promised, I have some delicious recipes for using the cereal in my U.S. Mills Organic Breakfast Giveaway (see that post to enter to win now).

This particular recipe was a huge hit after a series of fish fillet bombs. For some reason (whether it be frost-bitten fish or questionable recipe), every piece of mahi or salmon I made was coming out too dry, too chewy, or too bland.

But the combination of this popular New Zealand fish (that I stumbled upon at my local grocer) and this easy cooking method left us with wonderfully flavorful and flaky fish. Even my husband, who only likes his fish raw, proclaimed it was “Excellent!”

Of course, cod, halibut, or other firm white fish will work beautifully in this recipe should hoki not be available to you.

Dairy-Free Oven "Fried" Fish

Hoki-Dokie Oven “Fried” Fish Fillets

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Sugar-Free, Low Fat, and optionally Gluten-Free. Did I mention it is positively delicious too?

  • 10 Ounces Fish Fillets (I used Hoki, but any thin white fish filet should work well)
  • 1 Tablespon Dairy-Free Margarine (I used Earth Balance Soy-Free)
  • 1/4 to 1/3 Cup All-Purpose, Whole Wheat, Spelt, Chickpea, or other Gluten-Free Flour (I actually used oat flour – oats ground in my spice grinder to a powder)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Cornflakes, crushed or whizzed into crumbs (I used Erewhon Organic Corn Flakes)
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Pepper (black or white)
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Garlic Powder

Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

Baste both sides of your fish fillets with the margarine, and sprinkle them with the flour until lightly coated.

Beat the egg in a shallow dish, and briefly set it aside.

Combine the corn flakes and all of the remaining ingredients (I actually combined the flakes and spices / salt in my spice grinder and gave them a few good pulses to turn the corn flakes into crumbs and combine everything), and place them in a large zip-top baggie.

Dredge one of the fish fillets through the egg (both sides), place it in the zip-top baggie and give it a good shake to coat, remove and place it on a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining fillets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the thickness of the filets. You may opt to flip them midway, but mine worked well without the flip.

Yields 2 healthy “fried” entrees

Random Bites of Autumn Deliciousness

Posted by on October 30, 2009 | 16 Comments

I haven’t created many unique and stellar recipes this past week … in fact, since we have been quite busy, I have been enjoying simplicity a bit. Don’t worry, this isn’t just a “what I ate” post. Think of it like a collection of mini recipes.

Lunch all week has been two poached eggs atop whatever vegetables need to be eaten most urgently. But, I did fit in a “new to me” veggie. What could that be nestled in that pile of cabbage? …

kabocha, cabbage and eggs

Why kabocha squash of course! I finally gave into the food bloggie peer pressure (and the fact that organic kabochas were on for $.49 a pound!). Since I was a kabocha virgin, I didn’t experiment, I used this tested recipe for Japanese Style Simmered Sweet Kabocha. I didn’t have dashi, so I just used water, and it still came out delicious! The only thing I couldn’t figure out was if I was supposed to cover the pan as it cooked. I did, and ended up with tons of liquid left, so if you try it, don’t cover. I ate the squash skin and all (my first time for that too!) and it was wonderful.

For some reason, I was obsessed with making a Pumpkin Pecan Pie Spread for our morning rice cakes. After three mornings of trials, I was satisfied, but never did get what I would call perfection. Nonetheless, since the husband was getting a bit burnt out on pumpkin, I called it a day. Here is where I left off …

pumpkin pecan butter

  • 2 Tablespoons Pecan Butter (I used some Artisana I was trialing, but you can also make your own)
  • 1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons Maple Syrup (I took the middle ground with 1-1/2)
  • ½ Teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Generous Pinch of Salt
  • Protein Powder (optional)

In a small bowl, whip it all together. If desired, stir in protein powder to your desired taste and consistency. I like to add a little egg protein powder; it also thickens it up a bit.

This spread really is so simple that you could easily customize it to your tastes by tweaking an ingredient or two, or even simply subbing the maple syrup for your sweetener of choice. This yielded enough for four rice cakes, two each, perfect!

Now, for my sweet treats of the week, I seemed to have a bit of a graham cracker obsession … cinnamon graham crackers to be specific …

cashew butter and chocolate chip grahams

This is nothing more than a cinnamon graham topped with lusciously creamy cashew butter (seriously, this stuff is like frosting!) and semi-sweet chocolate chips. Mmmm.

But the following may have even topped that one …

maple pecan grahams

Maple-Pecan Graham-wiches

  • 1 Tablespoon Pecan Butter (would probably be awesome with any nut butter!)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil or Coconut Butter, melted
  • 2 Whole Cinnamon Graham Crackers (each broken in half, so you have four squares)

Combine the nut butter, maple, and coconut oil or butter in a small dish. Refrigerate it for just a few, allowing it to thicken just a bit as the coconut oil cools and solidifies. Top two cinnamon grahams (cinnamon-side up) with the butter, top with remaining graham. Enjoy the oozing goodness.

If you don’t like messy sandwiches, try this snack open faced.

Hopefully you have found some delicious inspiration amongst this haphazard post! I have just a few quick shout-outs to end with.

  • Thank you to All Access Pass to Jack for the Lemonade Award. I will have to pass this on very soon!
  • Zesty is having another blog makeover giveaway! I want to win so bad that I am telling you all to enter just to get myself one more entry. Logical?
  • I have another big giveaway coming up too. Stay tuned, it will be up in just a couple of days! (I have to go write it up now).

Oh yes, and Happy Halloween!!

Acorn Squash with Sweet Sage “Butter”

Posted by on October 24, 2009 | 19 Comments

I have been so impressed with how well our herb plant not only survived the move, but also how much it is thriving, even in this cooler climate. Must be all of the great sun it is getting in our very bright new (to us) kitchen.

Alisa's herb garden

I have found good use for the basil and parsley with some regularity, but until yesterday, I hadn’t found a good recipe for the sage. My husband is okay with sage in light moderation, but I have to use caution, lest he be overwhelmed (I am an herb- and spice-aholic). So it took me some time to be inspired by a sage-including recipe that we would both enjoy.

Acorn Squash with a Sweet Sage Butter

This one definitely fit the bill, and it also gave me another opportunity to test out the new Earth Balance soy-free margarine (all natural – none of those nasty trans fats!). If dairy works in your household, butter can of course be utilized, but all of you dairy-freers and vegans out there will be happy to know that the Earth Balance was excellent as a “browned butter.”

Though I typically roast squash for that caramelization effect, I must admit that this cooking method worked fabulously. It was almost like a steaming technique that locked in the natural flavor. Try it!

Acorn Squash with Sweet Sage “Butter”

Recipe adapted from Recipezaar. This recipe is Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free, Refined Sugar-Free, and optionally Vegan.

  • 1 Acorn Squash (medium-sized), cut in half lenthwise and seeded
  • 2 Tablespoons Dairy-Free Margarine (I used Earth Balance soy-free, but you could also sub in coconut oil and a pinch of salt)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey (agave nectar, brown sugar, or maple syrup should also go nicely)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 Teaspoons Fresh Sage, minced

Preheat your oven to350°F.

Place the prepared squash cut side down on a baking sheet or in a bakng dish. Bake for 45 minutes, or until tender. Keep in mind, if you leave it cut side down after removing it from the oven, it will continue to soften and cook a bit.

While the squash is baking, place the margarine in a small saucepan over medium-low to medium heat. Stir (not constantly, but with regularity) and cook until it just begins to brown, but do not let it burn (took about 10 minutes for me – You can also see these more detailed instructions for browning butter)

Remove the margarine from the heat and stir in the honey (or other sweetener) and sage. Allow the flavors to sit and meld while your squash cools for a few.

Cut each squash half into quarters (this is how I like to serve it), and evenly spoon the sweet sage butter into the squash sections and serve.

Note: I like to make cuts in the middle of each squash section, allowing the butter to seep in. You can also smash it in for some tasty mashed squash.

Another Note: I served this for lunch with simple baked chicken breasts. Slopping up any honey-sage-butter that had drizzled onto my plate with the chicken was really yummy too.

Yields 2 squashy servings

Acorn Squash with a Sweet Sage Butter

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Cauliflower “Risotto” (Grain-Free AND Dairy-Free)

Posted by on October 20, 2009 | 44 Comments

Recently, I stumbled across the idea of Cauliflower “Rice” on a Paleo / Primal Diet blog. Smitten by this idea for incorporating even more veggies into my dinner (and sneaking cauliflower in on my husband, hehe), I went with it. My first attempt was this Cauliflower “Risotto,” which amazingly turned out awesome right out of the shoot!

Dairy-Free and Grain-Free, Cheesy Cauliflower Risotto with Basil

I have since made it a few times with the nod of approval from my usually cauliflower-hating husband. I have also made some basic cauliflower “rice” to serve as the base under stir-fries. It has worked out well, but my husband agreed that the risotto is just better.

Another Bonus: Surprisingly, a large head of cauliflower only makes about 3 to 4 healthy servings. When grated, the cauliflower seemed much less overwhelming than eating large florets.

 

Cauliflower “Risotto” with Fresh Basil (Grain-Free AND Dairy-Free)

This recipe is Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Soy-Free, and Sugar-Free.

I like to use just a bit of nutritional yeast, but keep the amounts moderate so that it enhances the meal without creating an overpowering fake cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast can easily be found online and in the bulk bins of some natural food stores. Make sure it is specifically called “nutritional yeast;” brewer’s (which the grocery attendants will try to hand to you) is not the same thing. If you don’t have any on hand, try this recipe without it, I am sure it will still be quite yummy!

  • 3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts (about 1 ounce)
  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt, or to taste
  • 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons Grapeseed, Olive, or Coconut Oil
  • ½ Cup Minced or Diced Onion
  • 3 Cups Grated Cauliflower (about ½ medium to large head – if you have a food processor, you are golden; I grated by hand)
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • ¼ Cup Broth (chicken or vegetarian)
  • Chiffonade 6 to 10 Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Fresh Ground Pepper, to taste (optional)

Combine the nuts, nutritional yeast, and salt in your spice grinder, and give it a few pulses. The nuts should grind up, and begin to clump. It is best if it stays a bit powdery and doesn’t turn into a paste, but if it does, no loss. Set aside while you cook the cauliflower.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for about 3 minutes. Add the grated cauliflower and continue to sauté / stir-fry for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and suate for 1 minute more. Add the broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, stir, cover and allow it to sit for 2 to 3 minutes. This cooks it to the perfect “al dente” consistency for us, but feel free to cook it to your desired tenderness.

Remove the lid, turn off the heat, and stir in the reserved nut mixture. It may clump a bit, but continuing to stir it in the hot pan will help it to distribute and become creamy. Stir in the basil and fresh ground pepper to taste, if using. Serve.

Yields about 2 side servings

 

No Onion? I ran out of onion the second time I made this dish, so I skipped the onion sauté, but added ¼ teaspoon of onion powder to the nut mixture. The fresh onion was better, but this was still tasty in a pinch!

To Serve: This versatile dish can be served with a salad or steamed veggies (broccoli or asparagus would be nice) to keep it light and vegetarian. For an omnivorous meal, we found it went quite well with baked chicken, and also made a quick lunch with leftover chopped chicken added.

Lower Fat Option: I haven’t tried this as of yet, but I think this would work with just 2 teaspoons of oil if you were trying to go lower in fat. I would just sauté the onions in the oil, add the cauliflower and sauté for just 1 minute, and then add the broth and cover. Cook until it reaches your desired tenderness. You may need to use a touch more broth. Don’t skip the pine nuts though; they add richness and nutrition!

Dairy-Free and Grain-Free, Cheesy Cauliflower Risotto with Basil

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Pulled Pork Potato Planks or Boats

Posted by on October 14, 2009 | 19 Comments

Have you ever driven the Nevada route from Las Vegas to Tahoe? Lets just say it isn’t a foodie haven. When we finally spotted a Safeway (3/4 of the way through the trip) we were overjoyed (yes, it is that pathetic).

Ravenous and cold, we headed for the very petite hot food case to discover a very limited selection … a modest-sized box with just pulled pork in it for six bucks, or two pulled pork sandwiches that appeared loaded with just as much meat as the non-sandwich box for just $.99 each. We really didn’t want those white, fluffy, flavorless buns, but with that price discrepancy, the choice was obvious.

I took off the top bun and had it open-faced (while my husband just ate the pork out of the middle), but it got me thinking, “how else can we enjoy pulled pork?” We both really enjoy this slow-cooked, barbecue-sauced meat, but since cutting bread from our daily diet, we have actually acquired a distaste for the buns it is always served on.  

With several hours left in the car to ponder this thought, it occurred to me that potatoes could possibly be the perfect vessel. It had been years since I had enjoyed potato skins, but couldn’t the bold flavors of pulled pork hold their own (sans cheese) when served in a potato dish? The answer was a resounding yes!

pulled pork potato planks

My batch of pulled pork made so much that we ended up enjoying the potato-pork combo for two full dinners. The first was with with potato boats (pictured below), and for the second I made potato planks (pictured above), read on for my reasoning.

We both loved the potato boats, but I did learn a thing or two. First off, scoop out the potato (reserving it for some yummy soup!), leaving only about 1/4 to 1/2 inch of flesh inside the skins. I left a bit too much of the white stuff on the first go around. Second, if your potatoes are greening, there is no need to throw in the towel. I had two boat-worthy potatoes, but the other two had to be peeled in order to get rid of that toxic greenish layer. So instead of boats, I sliced the peeled potatoes lengthwise (to about 1/4-inch thickness) and made potato planks! My husband actually preferred the planks, but I was quite impartial. The planks were roasted and awesome, but those skins are my favorite part of the whole potato! Either way, delish!

Pulled Pork Potato Boats or Planks

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, and Egg-Free, and it can be Gluten-Free / Grain-Free, and Soy-Free. Though this recipe veres sharply into omnivorous territory, I invite all vegans and vegetarians to use the potato plank idea as a base for your favorite topper … they really are yummy!

  • 2 Large Baking Potatoes (I used Russets)
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive or Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove, crushed (about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the jarred stuff)
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • Pulled Pork (your favorite recipe or my easy recipe below)
  • Sliced Black Olives, to garnish

For the Boats:

Bake the potatoes in the oven or microwave, if you are in a hurry. Scoop out the white flesh, leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the white stuff (reserve the flesh for another recipe, such as soup or mashed potatoes).

This step is optional for the boats: Combine the oil and garlic in a small dish. Brush the tops and insides of the boats with the oil-garlic mixture. Sprinkle the boats with salt. Place the potatoes in the oven, and broil for about 3 to 5 minutes, or until the boats just begin to brown.

Fill the boats with the pulled pork and top each boat with the sliced olives. If desired, return the boats to the oven and broil them for a minute or two.

On the first go around, we simply scooped out the potato flesh, piled the pork in, and ate. But after trying the roasted potato planks, I think giving the skins a quick roast is a good optional step to seal in some flavor. 

For the Planks:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Peel your potatoes, if desired or required. Slice the potatoes lengthwise, so they are about 1/4 to 1/2 inch in width. You should end up with about 6 or so long, flat “planks.”

Place the potatoes on a baking sheet. Combine the oil and garlic, and brush them on the tops and bottoms of your planks. Sprinkle the tops of the the planks with salt.

Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes, flip, and return them to the oven for another 15 minutes. They should just lightly start to brown on both sides.

Top the planks with the pulled pork and garnish with sliced olives. Return them to the oven and continue to bake, or broil, for just a few minutes to make sure everything is heated through and crisped up to your liking.

Yields 2 meal-sized servings or 4 appetizer servings

 

Easy Crockpot Pulled Pork

  • 1-3/4 to 2 lbs Boneless Pork Loin
  • 1 Small to Medium Onion (sweet white or yellow), sliced into small wedges
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce (Lea & Perrins is GF in the U.S., and I believe Edward & Sons is GF)
  • 1 Quart (4 cups) Chicken Broth
  • Water
  • 1 Bottle of Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce (I used an 18-ouncer; choose your BBQ sauce wisely if you have free-from needs)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Place the pork in your slow cooker. Sprinkle the onions over top, and drizzle on the Worcestershire. Pour in the chicken broth, and add enough water to cover the pork.

Set that baby on low for 8 hours. (I actually left mine for 10, and it was tender and delicious).

Remove the pork from the crockpot and shred it using two forks. Remove the liquid from the crockpot (I reserved mine for use as a broth in other recipes), and return the shredded pork to the crockpot. Pour in the barbecue sauce and stir until it is well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Note: I hate recipes that don’t tell you how much salt and pepper, but in this case, it really depends on the barbecue sauce you are using. I added 1/4 teaspoon of salt, but next time would increase it a touch and use a bit more fresh ground pepper.

Leave the slow cooker on low or warm, and allow the pork to cook with the sauce for another hour. Your pork is ready!

Yields way more pork than you need for a batch of these jumbo boats …

pulled pork potato boats

 

Want another creative way to enjoy pulled pork? I spotted these pulled pork tamales over at Healthy Delicious.

Do you have any other foodie ideas for serving pulled pork? Or what about another topping idea for those potatoes?

Smoked Salmon Crustless Quiche, sort of

Posted by on September 27, 2009 | 19 Comments

Since my last Dutch Baby venture was such a dee-licious success, I set out to create a savory version the other day. But, I couldn’t stop with that one challenge alone. Oh no, silly me decided to go for the gusto and make it grain-free too! Luckily it worked out okay, but I used ground almonds, and was surprised at how bready the first trial turned out. It was good, but somehow the texture didn’t really go with the flavor. So in round two, I switched to cashews, using half the amount, and a star was born!

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Smoked Salmon Quiche

However, this new concoction wasn’t really a Dutch Baby anymore. Determined to find a name, I went online to read about the various types of egg dishes (yes, I do waste too much time on completely useless activities once in a while). The most comparable dish I could find was a quiche, but since this recipe contains no cheese, cream, or dairy of any kind, it seemed like a bit of a stretch. I mean, a healthy quiche?

I have never really had a quiche, so I turned to my husband for his taste-testing expertise. He said, “It’s kind of like a quiche, but different. It’s good though!” And thus, this name was born …

 

Smoked Salmon Crustless (Sort of) Quiche

This recipe is Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, and Soy-Free. I got a gread deal on wild smoked salmon ($1.50 for 4 ounces per package!), which is why I opted to use it in this dish. Feel free to use fresh salmon if you prefer.

  • 2 Ounces Cashews (can sub almonds)
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk or Unsweetened Coconut Milk Beverage
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon Tahini
  • 4 Teaspoons Nutritional Yeast (optional)*
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Dried Dill or a scant Tablespoon Fresh Dill
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Ounces Smoked Salmon, flaked or diced (depending on the type you use)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Oil (your choice) or Dairy-Free Margarine

Preheat your oven to 425ºF

Grind the cashews in a spice grinder for about 30 seconds, or until they turn into a powder.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cashews, milk alternative, eggs, tahini, nutritional yeast, dill, onion powder, and salt. Stir in the smoked salmon.

Place the oil or margarine in a 9″ pie plate, or divide it between four ramekins. Place the dish(es) in the oven to warm up for a few minutes. Remove and make sure the oil/margarine nicely coats the bottom of the dish.

Give the egg mixture another quick whisk, and pour it into your prepared dish(es). Bake for about 25 minutes, or untili the egg dish is nice and puffed, and just beginning to brown. It will deflate upon removal from the oven, so if you want a picture, be quick!

*You can use more or less nutritional yeast based on your tastes, or omit it altogether. I wasn’t really going for “cheesy” which is why I didn’t use a bunch, but rather a well-rounded and slightly bold/hearty flavor.

Yields 2 hearty servings or 4 servings with a big salad

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Smoked Salmon Quiche

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