We love tomatoes! Whether it’s a bowl of pasta with homemade sauce or fried green tomatoes we love them in any and every possible way. Recently I decided to do something a little different. I decided to try my hand at tomato chips. Yep, you read that right, tomato chips. I don’t buy chips because it’s too easy to sit and consume an entire bag before you realize what you are doing but with tomato chips you don’t have to worry about the added fat, cholesterol or preservatives. The super cool thing about these chips is that you can also grind them into powder. My kids say it smells like spaghetti in a jar because of the herbs used. Once ground you can add tomato powder to soups, meats, eggs, anything you want, the possibilities are endless. Customize them to your liking, use different herbs and spices, go nuts!
Archive for the ‘Gluten Free’ Category
The Juice pack was introduced in January to provide those participants that wanted to do a juice fast an easy and affordable option; for many it was a chance to add some extra fruits and veggies to their dinner table. I tried juicing and actually liked some of the concoctions that I came up with, but I tend to use it to add some extra produce to the table. I decided to try some “Retro” dishes and a couple you might not have thought of…ready? Here we go!
I love, love, love potatoes. No really- hubby vs. a beautiful, loaded, baked potato I honestly don’t know which would win my affections. (rest assured kids vs. potato? I would of course choose the kids). The potato is so versatile- it can be the star of the show or take a supporting role. It can be all gussied up and glamorous or beautifully simple and elegant. It can be slim and healthy or full of tantalizing fat with flavors that haunt my dreams (yes, I dream of food- DON’T JUDGE). I have yet to meet a potato I didn’t like.
Of course, even knowing all of the fabulous ways a potato can make a dinner table appearance I found myself falling into a rut. OK- I didn’t notice the rut, hubby bluntly pointed it out as I was serving potato- leek soup for the umpteenth time. I’m sorry- when I see potatoes and leeks in the basket my mind immediately pairs them in the delicious, creamy, comfort food known as soup. And while I would be happy eating soup every day I decided to honor his not-so-subtle request for something that was NOT soup.
One problem- I still had potatoes and leeks…a lot of them. So I did what I always do in times of culinary dilemma. I rolled up my sleeves, got into the kitchen, and started playing around. What I came up with was a slightly spicy casserole that both used up my produce and allowed hubby to feel free from the clutches of a soup rut.
I started by slicing my Yukon Gold potatoes nice and thin and then slightly browning them in olive oil and putting them into a glass baking dish. You could probably skip this step but as one of hubby’s biggest complaints was texture, it helped to ensure a bit of a bite.
I made a nice gluten-free sauce by cooking the finely chopped leeks in some butter (in the immortal words of Julia Child “You could leave it out but you’ll be sorry”), tossing in some roasted red bell pepper and roasted hatch peppers, stirring in sorghum flour and spices, and then whisking in chicken broth and of course- cheese. That got poured over the potatoes and topped with yes, more cheese, and it all came together in one creamy casserole that was NOT soup. The slightly spicy southwest flavors combined with the comfort of potato and the recipe was definitely a hit. I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine did.
When I printed up the Bountiful Basket Volunteer Site Coordinator (VSC) paperwork on Friday night I looked through and was surprised to see that we would only be receiving one yam per basket. When I told my husband, he was equally surprised and we proceeded to have a merry (albeit disrespectful) discussion about what a family of 6 could do with ONE YAM. However, when the boxes of yams were opened at the site the next day, all jokes of individual dollops of mashed yam were cast aside. Oh we of little faith…we should have known Sally and Tanya would not let us down. Instead of the long, thin, small yams we were expecting we discovered HUGE yams quickly deemed by volunteers “giant baby yams”. Not baby because they were small mind you. Baby because these yams are in fact the size of a newborn baby. The whopper in the picture above weighed in at 5 lbs 6 oz (the yam, not the child).
While these ginormous yams were fun, and kept the participants and volunteers smiling all through the cold morning distribution, I will admit I felt a level of culinary intimidation when I hoisted the baby yam out of its basket and placed it on my counter. It then sat, intimidating me for a few days before I finally decided to buckle down and do something with it. And am I ever glad I did. That baby yam turned into a breakfast that the whole family enjoyed. It’s a good thing too because it made a LOT! My Paleo Sweet Potato Pancakes are both delicious and nutritious. In fact, These are so yummy hubby not only ate them, he volunteered to clean up (a chore which included scrubbing the orange-tinted shredder attachment).
I start off by partially baking the yam. I don’t like yam mush so I bake it to where it is “al dente”. This allows me to run it through my Kitchen Aid shredder attachment without making puree. Once it’s all shred it should look like this:
I gently stir in diced onion, coconut flour, spices, and beaten egg. Then I use a measuring cup to form it and gently press it into the hot coconut oil.
Once they’re crispy and brown on both sides pat the pancakes down with a paper towel, serve up, and enjoy!
If you have been a little intimidated by the big yam I recommend popping it in the oven and starting on these delicious Paleo Sweet Potato Pancakes (you may want to have a chore in mind just in case you get appreciative helpers). If crispy, fried, pancakes aren’t your thing (though I don’t know how they could not be) I’ve included links to other recipes that will help you get over the intimidation. Grab that yam and get cooking!
One of the (many) drawbacks of being a gluten-free and nut-free household is that PB&J sandwiches are few and far between. This is hard for me because not only do I love that lunchbox staple, particularly when accompanied by a tall glass of milk (another no-no in our house), but I also really love making jams and jellies. Unfortunately these goodies just don’t get used up as quickly in our home as they used to so I have had to make a decision- stop making them OR get creative with them. I have learned that one of the (many) advantages to being a gluten-free, nut-free household is that I have the opportunity to get creative with the products I have on hand so that is the choice I have made. Recently, I have taken my love of jam making to new levels. I have been trying to find unusual ingredients and flavor combinations and then use them in ways that I have not tried before. Pineapple-Lime Jam is now one of my favorite cake filling flavors. (and thanks to BB I have a frequent supply of pineapple). Apricot-Rosemary Jam has become a go-to for an elegant Sunday meal of glazed Roast Chicken. One of my most requested flavors is Strawberry-Chipotle. As strawberries pop up in the basket and the offerings page I try to keep some out of the view of the kiddos in order to make a batch of this delectable delicacy.
The fresh, sweet strawberries pair beautifully with the spicy smokiness of chipotle peppers. The result of this pairing is a rich, red-hued jam that is versatile and delicious. The deep red of this jam and the resulting sexiness (yes, I’m weird and totally think food can be sexy) of the dishes it creates make this a perfect part of a Romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. I’m giving you here the basic jam recipe and three of my favorite ways to use it up. I will warn you that these are not all the healthiest of recipes. (I’m a sucker for cream cheese) But for a special occasion they are fabulous!
The radishes are staring at you, and you are staring at them. What in the world will you do with 6. You can slice one or two up in a regular green salad with dinner, or perhaps use them in some coleslaw with the cabbage you received this week, but better than that you can get rid of the whole bunch plus your cucumber and any stray carrots left in the ‘fridge with this zesty sweet salad! (You can really tell we focus on 100% basket consumption around here!)
Looking for a new and unique way to fix your butternut squash from this week’s basket?
Try Garam Masala Butternut Squash Soup. It’s a slighly spicy, different twist on traditional squash soups. Garam Masala is a mixed spice used commonly in Indian dishes. Garam Masala can be purchased pre-mixed or made on your own. See the bottom of a previous blog post for how to make your own garam masala if you cannot find it commercially.