Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Braised Chicken over Pasta Puttanesca

This recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's Pasta Puttanesca. Yum!

Chicken Thighs
Gluten Free Brown Rice Spaghetti Noodles
Kalamata Olives
Diced Tomatoes
Diced Onion
Minced Garlic Cloves
Olive Oil
Crushed Red Pepper
Chopped Fresh Italian Parsley
Salt & Pepper to Taste
White Wine or Chicken Stock

Bring pot of water to boil. While pot is heating, prepare sauce.
To prepare sauce - Heat olive oil in cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add chicken thighs (skin side down) and brown for 2-4 mintues each side. Skinless thighs will still work here but you will need to reduce the cooking time. Remove browned chicken; leaving 2T oil in pan.

Add gluten free pasta to boiling salted water. Most take 13-15 mintues to cook so you don't want to wait until the last minute.

Add onions to skillet & season with salt, saute until translucent. Add garlic & crushed red pepper and saute until fragrant. Here you can add white wine or even chicken stock to deglaze your pan. Add back your chicken thighs & diced tomatoes and bring to a slight simmer.
If sauce gets too thick then just thin with pasta water or chicken stock. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until cooked.

When pasta is cooked completely, strain pasta into colander and rinse with cold water (if directed by pasta cooking directions).

Add olives, capers & parsley to sauce and combine to warm. Add desired amount of rinsed pasta to skillet and toss until warm. May need to remove chicken to do so depending on your skillet size.

Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Indoor Seeds Update

The indoor seeds are flourishing! Yeah! Watching the seeds slowly develop into plants brings promises of a fabulous summer garden!

Here's a quick peek of just a few of things growing indoors.....

Lemon Balm - This smells so fresh and lemony!
Thyme - Smells so savory!

Lemon Balm smells better than I ever could have imagined it
would smell! I can't wait to create with it!

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley / Radicchio Lettuce

San Marzano Tomato & Brandywine Tomato
Happy Gardening!

Cold Frame Completed

Here's a photo of our cold frame that has finally been completed. We started it at the end of last season and just finished it this March. I'm a little late posting it up here. Anyway, the goal is to grow lettuces and other greens in here. Hopefully it will allow us to extend our harvest season as well. I don't have much experience with it yet but am optimistic. We built the frame with non-treated cedar wood and the top is constructed with two layers of heavy plastic with an air space between.

Here's a photo of Tim finishing the hinges. The frame is South facing and is angled to absorb as much winter sun as possible.

For more info on building & growing in a cold frame see "Four-Season Harvest" by Eliot Coleman and Barbara Damrosch. It's a wonderfully insightful book to read. Very inspiring!
I currently have some seeds in the frame that are starting to sprout and a thermometer to measure soil temperature.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Chickpea Cakes with Tahini Sauce

This recipe is great for using up leftover cooked chickpeas that you don't know what to do with.

This recipe is adapted from Chickpea Fritters by Cook's Illustrated cookbook The Best International Recipe.

Tahini Sauce:
1/2C. Tahini
1/4C. lemon juice
1/2C. water
2 garlic cloves
Salt to taste

Chickpea Cake:
2C. chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and cooked until tender
1/2C. chickpea soaking liquid
3-5 green onions, chopped coarsely
1/2C. fresh flat leaf parsley
1/2C. fresh cilantro
3 garlic cloves
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste
1/4C. Gluten free flour (I use a blend of sorghum, potato starch & tapioca flour - Carol Fenster's blend from 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes)
1-2T. grapeseed oil

Combine all chickpea cake ingredients except flour & oil in blender or food processor. Pulse until coarse paste. Taste & adjust seasoning if needed. Form 3"x1/2" cakes and roll in flour then set in refrigerator on parchment or wax paper for a few minutes.

While waiting for cakes to set make the Tahini sauce by blending all of the ingredients in your blender until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning & acid if needed.

Heat cast iron pan over medium high heat & add oil. Cook cakes in pan until brown on both sides. Don't overcrowd the pan so only cook 1-2 at a time.

I serve my cakes over a bed of sauteed greens with olive oil & salt. Drizzle with tahini sauce.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Indoor Seeds Sprouting

The indoor seeds have started to sprout their first set of true leaves. Yeah! The above photo is of one of the Heirloom Lemon Cucumbers that I have started indoors.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Potato Spinach & Leek Soup

This recipe is merely a guideline for soup. No need to be exact in your chopping as the soup is blended at the end.

1T. Olive Oil
3-4 Medium Potatoes diced
1 Medium Leek or Bundle of Green Onions sliced
1-2 Ribs of Celery chopped
1-2 C. Chicken Broth
1/2 C. White Wine
1C. Spinach
Dried Basil
Crushed Red Pepper
1-2 C. Water
Splash of Lemon Juice
Salt & Pepper

Saute chopped onions or leeks, crushed red pepper & celery in olive oil over medium low heat. Season with salt & dried basil. Cook approximately 2 minutes until translucent & soft. Add chopped potatoes, white wine, chicken broth & water; simmer for approximately 20 minutes. Once potatoes are fork tender, add spinach. Cook for 1 minute. Then blend with hand blender in pot or transfer soup into blender.

Blend until smooth (desired consistency - your preference). Return to soup pot and simmer on low for a few minutes. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice until balanced. Serve with toasted garlic & olive oil GF bread.
Feel free to improvise and make this you own. Add kale or swiss chard instead of spinach. Use vegetable broth to make vegetarian. Add different herbs for flavor. Soup is a fabulous thing for using up leftovers. Enjoy!

Spicy Black Bean Tacos

These Vegetarian tacos are quick and delicious! A great weeknight dinner.

Black Bean Mixture: 1 Can or 1C cooked black beans 1/4C chopped red onion Cilantro Ancho chili powder Cayene chili powder 2 Minced garlic cloves Salsa (optional) Lime juice 2-3 Corn Tortillas per person 1 Avocado 1C cooked Basmati Rice with lime & cilantro 1/2C chopped lettuce Hot sauce if desired Make bean mixture and leave on low while chopping remaining ingredients. Cook basmati white rice or any other rice you love according to package directions. Once rice is cooked, add splash of lime, chopped cilantro & salt to taste. Bean Mixture: Heat olive oil in pan to medium low. Add chopped onion and sprinkle with salt. Let cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Careful not to have your pan too hot or garlic will burn. Add dried cayenne & ancho chili powders and cook for 30 seconds to bloom. Add black beans and cook until heated thru. Mash briefly to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings. If you like your beans spicy, add salsa and combine. When ready to take off heat, add splash of lime and chopped cilantro. Wrap corn tortillas in damp dish towel and then place in plastic grocery bag. Place in microwave and heat for 1-2 minutes. Remove from microwave and assemble tacos. This must be done at the last minute to avoid hard and cold tortillas. Add any hot sauce you so desire and devour while hot! Yum!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Nicoise Salad

There are a million versions of this salad but here's mine...

Kalamata or Nicoise Olives
Crumbled Bacon
Roasted shredded chicken
Hard Boiled eggs - peeled
Roasted Potatoes (Optional)

Cook hard boiled eggs approximately 12-15 minutes in simmering water depending on size. Remove from water and plunge into ice cold water. Remove and place in refrigerator while working on prepping or complete ahead of time. Also, at this time boil potatoes if included. Remove when tender and season with extra vinaigrette. Steam asparagus until tender and plunge into cold water bath. Cook bacon slices until crunchy; cool & crumble.
Chop remaining vegetables and place on plate. Combine all ingredients on plate and drizzle with vinaigrette. A lot of prep is required in this salad so I recommend making things ahead of time or substituting with on-hand vegetables.

Minced red onion or shallot
Mined garlic
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Red wine vinegar
Chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients except olive oil and mix well. Slowly add olive oil in steady stream while whisking to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Scallops with Corn, Pepper salad & herb vinaigrette

1C. Gluten free breadcrumbs (see recipe below)
8-10 Wild caught scallops
Grape seed oil or other high smoke point oil

Heat cast-iron or non-stick skillet on medium-high with oil. Roll scallops in breadcrumbs and place in heated skillet. Brown approximately 3-5 minutes on one side and flip and brown second side. Remove from heat and season with salt & lemon. Serve with corn salad and herb vinaigrette.

Poblano Herb Vinaigrette
1/4 of medium onion
3-4 Roasted poblano peppers
1/3C. chopped fresh cilantro
1/3C. chopped flat leaf parsley
2 Garlic cloves
1tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Jalapeno
1/2 of a Lime
1T. Champagne vinegar
1tsp. agave nectar
Salt & Pepper
2T. Canola oil
Combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. These quantities are mere recommendations. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Too sweet, add more lime juice. Add less jalapeno if you don't want it too spicy.

Corn & Pepper Salad
1/2C. Corn
1/3C. chopped roasted red peppers
1/4C. chopped roasted poblano peppers
1/4C. chopped fresh cilantro
1-2 minced garlic cloves
2 chopped green onions
salt to taste
lime juice to taste

Gluten Free Breadcrumbs
If you are gluten free then you are aware of the frozen and dry bread on the market that usually leave a lot to be desired. Anyway, this is a great way to use up those frozen hockey pucks you may have in your freezer. I had a loaf of frozen gf bread in my freezer that was just not edible by itself.

So, I pulled out the half loaf from my freezer and placed it onto a baking sheet. I popped into the oven on broil for 2-3 minutes until lightly brown. Turn over and broil on the second side as well. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Put toasted bread into your blender or your food processor. Pulse until desired size. Remove from processor and place back onto baking sheet. Toss with 1-2T. of olive oil depending on quantity and dried herbs. Broil in oven until browned and crisp. Remove & stir every few minutes until all crumbs are browned. This step requires attention to not burn the breadcrumbs.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


The very first sign of spring in our garden are the garlic sprouts. They just started coming up thru the dry straw that we layed last October. We'll harvest the bulbs after most of the leaves die back in the summer (June or July). I can't wait!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Very First Blog Post!

Greetings! Oh, where to start…. Well, I guess I’ll start with the fact that this is my very first blog post ever! Pretty exciting and overwhelming. A quick background on me…. I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance/allergy on October 31st, 2008. Since then, I’ve been joyfully relearning how to cook, eat & live. It’s actually been pretty amazing. Don’t get me wrong there have been many difficult and trying times and I’m sure there will be plenty more to come. However, I feel blessed to know that I’m allergic to gluten. I’ve been struggling and suffering with eczema since I can remember. I was really just ecstatic to actually know what was causing this sever itching and painful skin rash. It really for me was a huge relief. I finally know and can do something about it. My focus for this blog is to share my journey of discovering the gluten free world and how I am getting back to the basics with growing as much food as possible myself. I’ve been gardening for about 5 years now and have learned exponentially more each year. There is something so satisfying to cook a meal from food that you have grown and loved in your garden from just a seed. So, I’d love for you to follow & aid in my journey along the way. There is so much to experience and learn and I can’t wait. I am blessed and can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Any help & advice you can share will be more than welcome. Cheers!!! - Kristi “Your gluten free garden goddess”