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Thursday, March 31, 2011

grapefruit + lime margarita -- gluten free + dairy free

hootch, booze, sauce. call it what you will. for those of us rocking food allergies/intolerances finding 'safe' alcohol can be a challenge. before you hit up the packy (as we call it back in massachusetts) - check out this post. i've got some tips on whats safe, whats not and what brands are out there. to boot - i've included a new drink recipe that i came up with a few weekends ago - a refreshing grapefruit + lime margarita thats got me lusting for summer. before you read on - i wanted to let you know that this recipe was featured on two websites - Little Brick Ranch + Simple Home Life be sure to click thru to check out these great blogs and the other amazing recipes and DIY projects that they feature!

there is question as to whether or not liquor distilled from grains containing gluten actually still contain gluten after the distillation process - two following two credible sources offer conflicting views - Celiac Sprue Association and Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign.  FYI beer is NOT distilled-celiac's should only drink gluten free beer (as for me - count me out - i'm off both yeast and hops). i myself have decided to avoid grain/corn based liquors - if you decide to do the same the below product information could be helpful.

most brands of vodka produced in the US are grain based. vodkas are typically distilled from either wheat, rye or corn. not to fear, there are a few decent potato (or grape) based vodkas out there. here are four potato vodka options that i've found readily available at liquor stores. if your local package store doesnt carry any of these - request them!
chopin vodka distilled from potatoes

ciroc vodka distilled from grapes

monopolowa vodka distilled from potatoes

blue ice vodka distlled from potatoes

other 'safe' alcohols include rum - distilled from sugar cane and tequila - my personal favorite - distilled from agave (i always purchase brands that claim 100% agave). over the past few years i've really gotten to know my tequilas - at first i was a slave to blanco - white tequila. it was my default for shots/mixed drinks. however, over time, i've opened up and have really started to enjoy drinking anejo's - especially in mixed drinks. the aged smokey flavor of oak aged tequila adds depth to margaritas that blanco's just cant bring.

i was craving a marg recently and was desperately searing for the right ingredients. it turns out my fav tequila mixer - pineapple was in low supply at mi casa. not to fear - i found organic grapefruit juice in the pantry! i mixed myself up a great sweet, salty, citrusy marg.

grapefruit + lime margarita
  • 1+1/2 oz good tequila - i used tres generaciones anejo
  • 2 oz grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tsp agave nectar (plus more if desired)
  • 1-2 round lime slices for garnish - optional
  • kosher salt to rim glass - optional
pour tequila, grapefruit juice + lime juice into glass (or mixer if you prefer) add in 1 tsp agave nectar to start. stir or shake well. taste for flavor. i like mine less sweet and only added 1 tsp of agave, add more to your liking! serve in a kosher salt rimmed glass with lime slices.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

baked eggplant -- gluten free + dairy free

i've been craving eggplant parm. in an effort to satiate this i put together my own version - baked eggplant. i'm not big into cheese substitutes, mostly because nothing compares to the real deal - so i skipped the parmesan part. i dipped eggplant slices into egg, coated them with gluten free bread crumbs, baked them til crispy, then covered then in tomato sauce and fresly toasted pinenuts. magnifico! before you read on stop by Lisas Gluten Free for more gluten free recipes and info!

baked eggplant
  • 1 lrg eggplant
  • 1/3 c gluten free breadcrumbs (i used four sisters and a brother brand - its gluten, dairy, corn + yeast free!)
  • 2-3 c store home made tomato sauce or store bought
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts (optional)
  • fresh oregano for garnish
  • salt + pepper to taste (if you use the brand breadcrumbs that i did - exercise caution with additional salt)
preheat oven to 375 -  oil a large baking sheet with olive oil. whisk together egg and water in a shallow bowl. pour gluten free bread crumbs into another shallow bowl. cut eggplant into 1/2 inch slices. dip each eggplant slice into the egg mixture (one at a time) - allowing excess to drip off. then coat both sides in bread crumbs and arrange on baking sheet - repeat until all eggplant is coated. bake for 20 minutes in center of oven - up to 25 minutes, until bottom begins to brown. meanwhile, toast pinenuts in a dry saute pan over medium heat - around 5-6 minutes -until fragrant. be sure to keep the pinenuts moving around, so as not to burn. back to the eggplant - flip eggplant slices over and cook another 20-25 minutes until bottoms are browned. remove from oven and turn oven up to 400 degrees. spread 1/2 inch layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish. arrange baked eggplant in a single layer - cover with tomato sauce and repeat with another layer until all of the eggplant slices have been placed in the baking dish. finally, cover the top with another thin layer of tomato sauce and sprinkle with pinenuts. place in oven until warmed through - another 10-15 minutes. serves 4.

easy to make - big flavor. i served this with a lightly dressed salad. cheers!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

orange + cranberry scones -- gluten free + dairy free

finally, the long anticipated scone recipe is here! it took quite a few tries (10, but who's counting?) until i achieved a perfect balance between taste and consistency on these gems. mind you, depending on what type of flour mix you use, you made need to tweak this recipe to your liking. oh yeah, before you makes these go buy yourself a pastry cutter - using two knives to cut cold shortening into dry ingredients is both a pain and not efficient. its worth the $4 investment at target.

the trick to making a light + yummy gluten/dairy free scone (other than using a pastry cutter) is to not overwork the dough. only combine wet ingredients with dry until just combined. when getting ready to place the scones on the baking sheet dont man-handle the dough. i used a 1/3 measuring cup to plop them onto the baking sheet - no dusting with extra flour, no forming into the typical scone shape - let them form an organic shape on their own. trust me, this works! who said scones have to be triangular anyway?

- btw swing by Walnut-Ave. + Paisley Passions + Food-Soil-Thread to check out their recipes and projects!

sconey island.

orange + cranberry scones
  • 1 c gluten free flour mix (WITHOUT guar or xanthan gum - i used king arthur brand a/p)
  • 1 c sorghum flour
  • 1/4 c cane sugar
  • 1/2 c cold palm shortening
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 + 1/4 tsp guar gum (or xanthan gum)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 c dried cranberries
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/6 cup hemp milk (i used tempt unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1/6 cup rice milk (i used whole foods 365 brand unsweetened rice milk)
  • 1 tbsp freshly/finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • decorating sugar (optional)
to begin - chill palm shortening in freezer. preheat oven to 400 with rack placed in center of oven - line a baking sheet with parchment paper. combine gf flour mix, sorghum, sugar, baking powder, guar gum, and salt in a bowl - and whisk together. next, add palm shortening to dry ingredients by cutting it in with a pastry cutter - until the mixture is a coarse meal - the largest pieces should be no larger than pea sized. gently stir in cranberries. in a separate bowl whisk together eggs, vanilla, hemp milk, rice milk and orange zest until frothy around 2 minutes (i did this by hand as you can see below).

pour wet ingredients on top of dry ingredients and gently stir until just combined. with a 1/3 measuring cup scoop out mixture and place on a parchment lined baking sheet - spacing scones around 2-3 inches apart - this should yield 8 scones. BEFORE placing scones in the oven let them rest on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. if desired, sprinkle decorating sugar on top of the scones before placing them into the oven. bake for 14-16 minutes - until tops of scones are golden brown and inserted toothpick comes out from center of scone. allow to cool on sheet 2 minutes - then transfer to cooling rack.

best enjoyed warm while sitting down, standing up, laying down, etc.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

guest blogger! spring rolls -- gluten free + dairy free

today everything reconsidered is featuring its first guest blogger - mark hannon! if you havent already figured, mark is my boyfriend. he's just as passionate, if not more, than i am about food. he's been on this 'culinary adventure' with me since i was diagnosed with food allergies. mark is currently a graduate student in the geology dept at the university of colorado boulder and will be receiving his masters this may. he's big into snowboarding, hiking, camping - all things outdoors. last weekend he put together these fresh, easy, and very tasty spring rolls with an asian dipping sauce. great for a warm day when you feel like cleaning out the fridge and NOT turning on the oven. take it away mark....

With spring seemingly sprung in Colorado this week, and a fridge full of chicken leftovers and as always, fresh veggies, Katie and I were left wondering what to eat.  We could make the usual chicken salad, or heat up some noodles for a quick pasta.  I wanted something light with no fats, oils, and definitely no cooking.  It was over 70 degrees outside and I wanted to keep it as cool as possible in the apartment.  I decided on the spring roll.

brilliant. and easy.

Some refer to it as a Vietnamese salad roll or summer roll, but we'll stick with the term spring roll.  Spring roll ingredients typically include slivers of a protein: boiled or fried pork, shrimp, chicken, tofu, or beef.  Accompanying the protein are fresh herbs, lettuce, rice vermicelli and sometimes fresh garlic and chives.  All of these ingredients get neatly, after a few tries that is, wrapped in moistened  rice paper (bánh tráng) and served with a cold dipping sauce.  For some of you, rice paper may be hard to locate.  We got lucky when we found the Asian Pacific Ocean Market, located in Broomfield, CO.  They have all sorts of Asian foods, some that you've likely seen before, others seemingly not meant to consume.  I highly recommend perusing your local ethnic store(s) catered to foreigners, but gems in the rough for locals when you are looking for a hard to find specialty item.  (Apparently Whole Foods now carries rice wrappers, a bit pricier, but easier to find.)
bánh tráng - rice paper

chicken spring rolls
  • 1.5 chicken breasts pre-cooked and chilled
  • 8-10 sheets of rice paper
  • 3 small-medium carrot stalks
  • 5-6 lettuce leaves (romaine, butter, etc.)
  • fresh cilantro
Yep, that is all you'll need.  Start by thinly slicing the chicken breasts, I cut/split the breast that we had down the middle to create even narrower slices.  The carrots were julienned, again, the thinner the better.  Tear any large pieces of lettuce in half, and ribs can be removed so as not to puncture the rice paper.  Grab a cooks handful of cilantro and put a rough chop through it.

With everything prepped, get out a large bottomed-pan that can hold about an inch of water.  Turn the burner on low and as soon as the water gets warm (a little above bath water temperature); the warmer the water is the faster the rice paper will soften.  Slide one of those rice paper sheets into the warm water.  This is the hardest part of the whole operation.  You want your rice paper to get soft and supple, and I recommend keeping your hands on it at all times.  As soon as it is no longer rigid pull it out and move it to a plate.  Pile up some lettuce, chicken, and carrots in the center of your sheet and add as much cilantro as you like.  Roll one edge of the rice paper onto the filling and then fold the sides over before continuing the rolling motion to close it off - like a burrito.  Congratulations!!!  There might be some filling popping out if you got a little overzealous with your helping but no matter, it'll taste just the same.  Katie and I ate this with asian dipping sauce - recipe below. Hope you enjoy.

asian dipping sauce

  • 1/4 c tamari (gluten free soy sauce...i use eden foods brand) 
  • 1/4 c rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • green scallions (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp chili flakes (optional)
easy. whisk together ingredients in a small bowl.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

quinoa + portobello puttanesca -- gluten free + dairy free

a few weeks ago i had a great dinner at a friends house - buffalo meatballs (i found a red meat that i can actually tolerate!) with homemade spaghetti sauce - puttanesca style. the meal was mouthwatering good. it inspired me to make my own sauce. i put together the below recipe on the fly and it turned out great - i've made it around 4 times since. the recipe below is, as always, gluten free and dairy free - and vegan too!

on another note - you have likely noticed the ceramic ware by liz benotti that i've been tagging in my postings. she is quite an amazing gal - an extremely talented artist, baker, cook and is savvy when it comes to all things green. liz recently put together her own blog - Once Upon a Tomato it features artwork, food, and other wonderful considerations. i highly recommend trying the recipe on her most recent post good + simple squash pie. she whipped together a gluten free + dairy free version of this squash pie last thanksgiving. it was insanely good. stop by her blog and take a peek!

eat your heart out.

portobello puttanesca
  • 1 28oz can fire crushed fire roasted tomatoes (i like muir glen organic brand)
  • 1 small sweet onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1-2 tbsp cane sugar
  • 3 portobello mushrooms cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 c chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 c chopped spanish olives (with pimentos)
  • fresh basil to taste julienned
  • fresh oregano to taste finely chopped
  • kosher salt + pepper to taste
heat olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat - add in onions and cook until translucent - around 7-10 minutes. add in garlic and cook until fragrant - around 2-3 minutes. stir in balsamic vinegar and tomato paste until well combined. season with a bit of salt and pepper. stir in 1 tbsp sugar then toss in portobellos - cook around 3 minutes. pour in 3/4 can of fire roasted tomatoes (save remaining 1/4 can for another recipe), kalamata olives and spanish olives. simmer around 20-25 minutes, or until portobellos are fully cooked. taste - if necessary add in additional sugar, salt and pepper. just before serving stir in fresh basil and oregano.  this makes a whopping batch - enough to feed at least 4. this sauce tends to taste better on the second day as all of the flavors meld together - it makes great leftovers.

  • 1 c rinsed quinoa
  • 1.5 c vegetable stock
  • salt + pepper to taste
in a fine mesh strainer rinse off 1 c of quinoa - as it is coated with a chemical compound - saponin - washing it prevents bitter tasting quinoa. bring 1.5 c of stock to a boil and pour in rinsed quinoa. turn heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer 12-15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. if you prefer you can rinse the cooked quinoa under water - i typically dont.

this is a feel good meal - packed with protein and vitamins. remember you eat with your eyes first - the vibrant colors of this dish make it a masterpiece. on the taste front, its nothing short of a palate pleaser.

stop by Allergy Friendly Wednesdays to peruse allergy friendly recipes!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

mexican wedding cakes -- gluten free + dairy free

dont ask me why they're called cakes. the sure look, taste and feel like cookies to me!

and so the quest continues with finding the right balance between assorted gluten free flours. i made two batches of mexican wedding cakes this past week. i forgot just how good these small bites are - they remind me of cinnamon toast crunch. on my first go-round i used 1/2 walnuts + 1/2 pecans - as i didnt have enough pecans to make and entire batch. i think the walnuts made the cookies crumble a bit more than i would have liked. the last batch i put together only had pecans - mmm mmm good.

i've been enjoying these with chocolate puerh tea - a post fermented tea that liz recently turned me onto.

sweet little morsels
mexican wedding cakes
  • 1 c pecans
  • 1/2 c a/p gluten free flour mix (without guar or xanthan gum - if yours contains either omit 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 c sorghum flour
  • 1 tsp guar gum (or omit if your a/p flour already contains it)
  • 1/4 cane sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 c palm shortening
  • 1-2 c confectioners sugar for dusting
in a food processor (if you dont own one - GO BUY ONE! i use mine daily) pulse pecans, a/p flour, sorghum, xanthan, cane sugar, cinnamon and salt until the mixture is coarse and mealy. add in palm shortening and pulse until ingredients are well combined and appear dough-like. turn mixture out onto saran wrap and flatten to 1/2 inch thick circle - wrap completely and place in fridge until the dough is firm - this can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. 

preheat oven to 325 and place the two oven racks in the top and bottom 1/3rd of the oven. using two cookie sheets create 24 tbsp sized round balls and space them 1 - 1+1/2 inches apart from one another. place one cookie sheet on top oven rack, the other on the bottom oven rack - bake for 12 minutes then rotate sheets top to bottom (and front to back) - bake another 12-16 minutes until edges just start to turn golden. remove from oven and allow to cook on cookie sheets around 5 minutes - transfer to wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely. once cookies are COMPLETELY cooled place confectioners sugar in a bowl and toss each cookie in it - rolling them around to coat them well.

smiles. another gluten free goodie.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

irish soda bread -- gluten free + dairy free

i've been down on my luck with gluten free baking lately. yes, i know i need to explore creating my own flour blends - but in the past its proven to be a great challenge. i've decided to slowly segway back into it. i attempted scones 4x last week using my go-to all purpose premixed gf flour blend -  no luck. i attempted lemon bars - again, no luck.

i was at whole foods on saturday getting stuff for a dinner party - and my boyfriend picked up a delicious looking irish soda bread. oh, the envy. i decided to attempt my own gluten and diary free version. while at the store i picked up a package of bob's red mill sorghum flour. its a 'sweeter' flour thats perfect for baking. i decided that i would combine it with my a/p gluten free flour blend to avoid that waaaay ricey/tapiocaish taste. it worked brilliantly.

top o' the morn

irish soda bread
  • 1+1/4 c gluten free flour blend (containing either guar or xanthan gum)
  • 3/4 c sorghum flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp guar gum (or xantham if you can have it)
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1+1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 5 tbsp palm shortening (or vegetable shortening)
  • 1/2 c  hemp milk + 1/4 c rice milk combined with 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (plus more hemp milk if needed)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 luke warm water
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 c raisins
  • decorative sugar (optional)
to begin - preheat oven to 375 - with rack in center. grease an 8 or 9 inch cake pan with shortening - then dust with gluten free flour. whisk together gf flour, sorghum, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and guar gum. using a pastry blender - cut 5 tbsp shortening into dry ingredients. in separate bowl combine hemp + rice milk w/ lemon juice - stir. to the wet ingreients - whisk in egg, agave nectar and water. create a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in wet ingredients - stirring gently while doing so. if you need extra liquid - add in either hemp or rice milk 1 tbsp at a time. when ingredients are gently combined - the batter will appear sticky and moist. gently stir in raisins and lemon zest until evenly dispersed. pour batter into pan and smooth top using finger tips wet with water. using a sharp knife cut an X across the top of the loaf (you can wiggle the knife side to side to make the slit larger). sprinkle decorative sugar on top. bake for 25 - 30 minutes and test for doneness using a wooden toothpick. remove from oven and place on cooling rack around 5 minutes - then turn out loaf and allow to cool on rack completely.

serve up warm with dairy free margarine.

now, if only i could find a yeast free, hops free, gluten free beer.....dream on katie, dream on.

check out more allergy friendly recipes here:
allergy friendly wednesdays
allergy-free vintage cookery

Monday, March 7, 2011

tomato + kale + white bean soup -- gluten free + dairy free

oh la la. simple, hearty, quick. put together this inexpensive soup in no time. its pefect for this time of the year and has great flavor. balsamic vinegar adds a sweet layer of acidity. i'll be adding this great soup to my repetoir alongside the lentil soup that i blogged about not long ago and homemade chicken + wild rice soup (stay tuned for a blog on this one).

....sidebar for colorado locals + non-locals for that matter. last week my friend betsy brought me to a fabulous reception in denver to celebrate the opening of fashion independent, a gallery commemorating the amazing life + impeccable style of ann bonfoey taylor -- now on display at the phoenix art museum. i met tons of great people at the reception and was introduced to a fantastic boulder based chocolatier - jenny thamer owner of lioni artisan chocolate. her truffles are TO DIE FOR. check them out. now.

one pot masterpiece. ceramic salt pig by liz benotti

tomato + kale + white bean soup
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans white kidney beans (cannelinni beans) - rinsed
  • 1 bunch of kale (dino or regular) - rinsed and chopped into 2 inch strips
  • 1 large sweet onion - finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • kosher salt + pepper to taste
saute onion & garlic in olive oil over medium heat until soft - season with salt + pepper. stir in tomato paste + vinegar - cook around 3 minutes. add in tomatoes, beans and 4 cups of water. bring to a boil and stir in kale. cover pot around 5 minutes until kale is just starts to turn bright green.

this yields a decent sized pot of soup - and freezes well. lots of fiber and tons of vitamins!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

chocolate + coconut haystack mountains -- gluten free + dairy free

damn you, scones. i've attempted making scones now three times since this past saturday - still no luck. i'm feeling very defeated by rice flour blends right now. and so i decided to make something sans flour. i had some coconut in the fridge - quickly toasted it up in the oven and then tossed it in melted semi-sweet chocolate. i've named these sweet morsels to pay homage to haystack mountain, co.

choconut casserole by liz benotti

chocolate + coconut haystack mountains
  • 1.5 c unsweetened shredded coconut - toasted
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c semisweet chocolate chips - melted
heat oven to 350 - spread unsweetened coconut in an even layer on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. toast in the oven until uniformly browned - tossing with a fork every so often - keep an eye on this - it burns easily. once coconut is toasted ~10 minutes remove from oven and cool completely - then transfer to a large mixing bowl. meanwhile, using a double boiler melt chocolate chips and vanilla until smooth. once chips are completely melted and smooth pour over cooled coconut and stir until combined. drop by heaping tablespoon onto a baking sheet lined with new parchment - refrigerate 20 minutes - or until set. keep in fridge until ready to serve.

hope you like them - my hips sure do!