Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I Must Have Me Spinach

As Popeye always said "I must have me spinach" and our garden featured three long rows of the mighty greens this Spring. Unfortunately, spinach cooks down so much that we only had three healthy pots of the following recipe, but we are fortified with so many vitamins now that we can handle whatever tasks come our way.

Japanese-Style Spinach

1 armload spinach (or two bags of fresh spinach)
Sesame oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Toasted sesame seeds
Soy sauce

Wash spinach. If using fresh-picked spinach, it's best to soak it in several changes of water to remove all dirt and bugs.

Bring a big pot with 2 inches of salted water on bottom to a vigorous boil. Add spinach and cook until tender. Drain and squeeze out as much water as you can. Chop spinach.

Dress with sesame oil and soy sauce to taste. Mix in brown sugar and top with sesame seeds.

A lovely mix of salty, sweet and nutty flavors.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day Grilling

Because of our chopped-up schedule today, we saluted Dan with a Father's Day Eve barbecue last night. We had a swordfish steak and a couple of pieces of tuna marinated in a Honey Mustard marinade of:

2 Tbsp. Dijon-style honey mustard
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. gluten-free soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

We have also used thresher shark steaks with good success.

Marinate your fish steaks at least 1-2 hours before grilling. We spray the grill with a non-stick cooking spray and grill the fish steaks over a moderate heat about 5 minutes per side (depends on steak thickness) or until fish juices run clear.

We also like the following Vegetable Kebab Recipe:

Thread metal skewers or soaked wooden skewers with chunks of your favorite vegetables for grilling. We like chunks of zucchini, yellow squash, green and red pepper, pineapple chunks, mushrooms, red onion and our favorite of all: canned small potatoes. They stay on the skewers well and get nice and crunchy on the outside. We marinate the veggies in Italian dressing or whatever other marinade we might have on hand (teriyaki marinade of soy sauce, ginger, garlic, a little brown sugar, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar is another favorite) and then skewer the vegetable kebabs. These go over a moderate fire, (non-stick cooking spray on the grates) turned and basted frequently, for about 1/2 hour.

Serve over hot rice.

Happy Father's Day to all the hard-working dads out there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Radish Delight

We have an abundance of red Cherry Belle and White Icicles pumping out of the garden right now and have enjoyed some radish dip (see previous post for recipe) and have also been enjoying them in salads and on their own, trimmed and on a plate with some Nut Thins crackers and dipped in a mixture of coarse kosher salt and snipped dill. Simple but elegant snacking.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Shrimp Margarita

When I was a young girl I had an interest in cooking and cookbooks, and used to copy out recipes onto index cards which I kept in a shoebox and had organized and updated. My relatives would get letters from me in which I'd proudly announce how many recipes I had transcribed and I'm sure they'd roll their eyes and grin.

I still have the shoebox and occasionally dip into it for meal inspiration. This recipe comes from my teenage years when I am certain I had never sipped a salty Margarita, so I am not sure why it made it into the collection. Not sure of the provenance, but I whipped up a batch for the family and it was deemed "okay", although I thought it was yummier than that. I would eliminate the cream next time and substitute vegetable broth for a lighter sauce.

Shrimp Margarita

3/4 lb. raw or thawed frozen shrimp, shelled and deveined
1/4 cup lime juice
Salt and Pepper
1 small ripe avocado, cubed
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. finely chopped shallots
1/4 cup tequila
3/4 cup heavy cream

Marinate shrimp in lime juice and season with salt and pepper for at least one hour. Heat butter in skillet and when hot, add shrimp, stirring rapidly and cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with shallots, and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add tequila and cook, stirring until reduced by half. Add cream and cook over high heat 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add avocado and cook, stirring, about 1-2 minutes.

Serve over hot cooked rice.

Serves 4-6.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Grazing out of the Garden

The Spring garden is really chugging along; we've been enjoying asparagus, tender lettuce and radishes, dill, arugula, cilantro and chives and looking forward to some peas soon.

While the kids are still devotees of iceberg lettuce, Dan and I really enjoy a lovely salad fresh from our garden soil, topped with some lavender chive blossoms and loaded with snippets of dill and chives. A fresh salad deserves a homemade dressing. A light vinaigrette is always good and if you make it in your brand-name cruet picked up second-hand at a yard sale or thrift shop, as the Gallumphing Gourmand recommends, it tastes even more scrumptious.

Here's a salad dressing recipe that we enjoy in between mustardy vinaigrettes and plain old olive oil and red wine vinegar:

Creamy Tomato Dressing

In a food processor or blender, puree 3-4 seeded plum tomatoes or 1/4 cup canned diced tomatoes, 1/4 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup cider vinegar, 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil, 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard, 1 minced garlic clove and 1 tsp. sugar. Blend in 1/2 cup olive until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 1-1/2 cups of dressing.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Tender Cakey Golden Flaky Outside

I attended another meeting of the Glens Falls Area Celiac Support Group this week and they had a gluten-free pancake taste test. There were three mixes involved and some resilient pancake flippers on hand to battle the blown fuses and cranky electric griddles. All three were not great and I spaced out on which mix won the taste test, but there were lots of leftovers to bring home to one's celiac spouse. Dan was greatful for a breakfast he didn't have to make and promptly ate them up the next morning with some real maple syrup. The real stuff is more expensive, but it is so much better tasting and less weirdly gooey than the imitation high fructose corn syrup that the manufacturers infuse with artificial mapleness.

One of the support group members brought some delicious gluten-free fig newtons for us all to taste and I brought home some to the family, all of whom pronounced them delicious. Here's the recipe:

Fig Newtons


1 (10 oz.) pkg. dried figs
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup sugar


2-1/2 cups four flour bean mix* or other gluten-free flour mix
2 tsp. xanthan gum
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup margarine or butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup sweet rice flour (see note)

Grease a 10 x 15 inch cookie sheet.

Chop or grind the "figlets" and place in a saucepan. Add water, orange juice and sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until thickened. Remove to a refrigerator dish and chill.

In medium bowl whisk together flour mix, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream butter and brown sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Add dry ingredients, mixing well, stirring in the sweet rice flour last.

Divide the dough into 3 sections and roll out the first section between sheets of plastic wrap into a rectangle 4 inches wide and about 15 inches long. Remove the top plastic wrap and spread 1/3 of fig mixture in a 1" strip down the length of the dough.

Brush water on the edges of the dough and fold over the filling, using the bottom plastic wrap to help mold the dough. Seal the edges and again using the plastic wrap, lift the roll onto your prepared cookie sheet and turn it with the seamed side down. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool. Slice crosswise into 3/4 inch slices.

If you plan to freeze these cookies, do not cut into slices first. Just cut the bars in half and wrap well in plastic wrap and foil and place in freezer bag. Makes about 4-1/2 dozen cookies.

Note: If you use the GF Mix, you may eliminate the extra 1/2 cup sweet rice flour but to firm up the dough to correct consistency, refrigerate for 2-3 hours before rolling out.

*Four Flour Bean Mix:

2/3 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup tapioca flour

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Gluten-free Mom Love

Last weekend my mama pampered us with a wheat-free, meat-free feast; salad, two kinds of quiche, ice cream, eggplant parmesan and other goodies. I have no picture of the broccoli and zucchini quiches, because even though she loaded us down with a food hamper to go, they did not survive the night with Dan. Here's my mom's recipe for a:

Rice Crust Quiche

1) Rice crust---prepare rice in your cooker. Let cool then add a beaten egg. Butter a pie plate and press rice mixture into it for the crust. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven and let cool.

2) Now steam some veggies or saute them in butter ie..sliced zucchini and onions or broccoli with crushed garlic in olive oil. Set aside.

3) Make a cheese sauce by blending some butter, gluten-free flour, milk and cheese (I used Cheddar, Romano, and Mozzarella) and cook slowly until nice and creamy. Let cool and then add a beaten egg. If it seems lumpy like the gluten flour has a tendency to do, then you have to strain it to get it nice and creamy.

4) Place the veggies into the rice crust, add the cheese sauce and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. That's it. enjoy!

x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0xLove from Momx0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0x0

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Spring Rolls for Spring

No photo here. Yikes. Too unappetizing. My attempts at Thai spring rolls are not pretty, but having tried them twice, I must say the insides are pretty tasty. I just haven't got the knack for making dainty little packages and deep-frying them. So, I think I will end up just making this as a nice noodle stir-fry and get my Spring Rolls from a restaurant.

I got the recipe off of www.cooking.com and changed it a wee bit. I tried it with both rice vermicelli and the cellophane (or glass) noodles and while I think the clear cellophane noodles look pretty cool, they are off-puttingly wormlike to my kids.

Here's the recipe:

Spring Rolls

4 oz. dried Chinese mushrooms
2 oz. cellophane noodles or rice vermicelli
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (I used peanut oil)
1 onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. peeled and grated gingerroot
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 cup fresh bean sprouts, rinsed (I used a can of canned bean sprouts)
2 tsp. fish sauce

Place mushrooms in a small bowl and add boiling water to cover. Let steep 10-15 minutes. Drain and chop.

Soak noodles in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and roughly chop into short lengths.

In a wok or frying pan, heat oil. Add onion, garlic and ginger and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add cabbage and stir-fry until cabbage is softened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in carrots, bean sprouts, noodles and mushrooms and fish sauce.

*****This is where I stop now, and just eat this as a stir-fry, as my exploding over-stuffed packets of delight did not have too many takers the first time around. But for the experienced and intrepid who would soldier on to spring rolldom, here's the rest of the recipe:

Take 18-20 frozen spring roll wrappers, thawed (I used the dry rice wrappers I found at my health food store which I soaked one at a time for 30 seconds in cold water to soften). Working with one wrapper at a time, place on work surface. Mix together 2 tsp. cornstarch with 2 Tbsp. water to form a paste. Using your fingertips, wet edges with cornstarch paste. Place 1 heaped Tbsp. of filling in the middle of the wrapper. Roll diagonally, tucking in edges. Seal edge with cornstarch paste. Repeat with remaining wrappers.

Heat several inches of oil in wok or frying pan to 375 degrees. Fry spring rolls in batches, for 1-2 minutes until golden. Drain on paper towels.