Archive for Basics

‘Cheese’ Biscuits – Grain-free and Vegan

Low-carb baked goods, gluten-free, grain-free, and vegan sounds like an impossible task; and of course we want it to be delicious too! No wonder I haven’t blogged a lot lately when I set nearly impossible goals.

I made an awesome recipe for Cheddar Bay Almond Flour Biscuits (from Dianne at Delicious As It Looks) several times and everyone who tried them raves about them. Since they are gluten-free I didn’t think to offer one to my husband but he followed his nose to the cooling rack and asked ‘are these for anyone’? I was so delighted to share with him. He is slowly discovering that gluten-free food can be as good as or even better than gluten food.

A Dozen Perfect 'Cheese' Biscuits

A Dozen Perfect ‘Cheese’ Biscuits

Friends and family members are increasingly going to plant-based choices and I want to share my baked goodies with them. So I attempt to convert this treasured gluten-free, grain-free recipe to vegan. Vegan has the advantage that it also covers the situation for people who want to avoid eggs or dairy products whatever the reason. I am also happy to discover that vegan baked goods stay fresh longer which is a major advantage when traveling.

A Flatbread Experiment

A Flatbread Experiment

The almond flour that I use is from Honeyville. I order the blanched, 5 lb. bag when they have it on special. It has a finer texture than Bob’s Red Mill from the local grocery store although I use Bob’s when I need a coarser product. I use Bob’s for the coconut flour and golden flax meal in this recipe.

My vegan, smoky, cheesy sauce  prepared in the blender seemed like a good starting place. I modified it to eliminate the home-cooked beans and substituted more cashews. This version is very tasty although very, very dense. I may try a later version using the original cashew, bean, and coconut milk base which has a few more carbs and protein rather than so much fat. Or maybe not, did I mention that this is really tasty?

FYI: You do not need a high powered blender. My blender is about 15 years old, an Oster 10-speed that I use regularly and struggle with it at times. In this recipe it takes about 10-15 minutes to blend the cashews to a silky smooth consistency with constant encouragement from a spatula, scooping the mixture up from the sides, and pushing it towards the middle. We go through all of the speeds right up to 10 before it is done. When it gets to 8 it begins to sound like a single engine aircraft just before takeoff. Yes, the jar gets warm and the motor also. I have previously pushed this blender so hard that it was bucking on the counter and sending out smoke signals. It still hangs right in there with me!

Wet Ingredients
1 cup (150 grams) raw cashews, measured, soaked for an hour or overnight
1/2 cup canned, full-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon Wright’s Liquid Smoke
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Start with just the cashews and the coconut milk in the blender jar. By the time my cashews were soaked it had been a full day plus overnight in the fridge. They had started sprouting and had soaked up 60 grams of water for a total of 210 grams of drained, soaked cashews.

Start the blender running. It will hiccup and glurp as it works its way from chunks to coarse to smooth. Be prepared with a spatula to encourage it. The salt, garlic powder and liquid smoke seem to help it reach the satiny consistency it needs before adding the yeast which will absorb some of the moisture.

The 4 tablespoons of yeast is equal to 1/4 cup. But you will have to add it very slowly so just be aware. It will also do the hiccupping thing again. This makes about 1.25 cups of wet ingredients.

Dry Ingredients
4 tablespoons (26g) golden flax meal, finely ground
1 tablespoon (7g) coconut flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon oregano
2 1/2 cups (272g) almond flour

Place the oven rack in the middle position. Set the oven between 350 and 400*F (depending on your oven).

My Hamilton Beach Spice Grinder

My Hamilton Beach Spice Grinder

Weigh out the golden flax meal and grind it to a powder using a small coffee grinder reserved for grinding seeds, spices, and coconut palm sugar. This step makes a big difference in the texture of the baked product.

Put all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl – DO NOT SIFT. Almond flour will totally gunk up a sieve so don’t even try. Use a whisk to mix all of the dry ingredients together. The almond flour will continue to lump but it is different lumps as you work so it eventually ends up evenly mixed.

Dump the Wet Mixture into the Dry Mixture

Dump the Wet Mixture into the Dry Mixture

Dump the wet ingredients in with the dry. Stir until well mixed and the dough is holding together. Dump it out on a clean smooth counter top or a non-absorbent cutting board. This dough can be very clingy if there is something rough to cling to.

The Biscuit Dough After Kneading on the Counter

The Biscuit Dough After Kneading on the Counter

Knead it a few times like ordinary bread dough. There is no gluten to ‘develop’ but kneading will distribute the moisture and form a smooth shiny lump of dough. Then it is ready to shape it into biscuits.

Measure & Shape the Biscuit Dough onto the Baking Pan

Measure & Shape the Biscuit Dough onto the Baking Pan

A spring activated scoop is the way I make uniform pieces. Alternately you can use a 1/4 or 1/3 cup measuring cup. Measure out the pieces of dough. Roll the pieces into a ball. Then patty-cake the pieces between your palms, gently shape them, and place them on your baking pan. When all the dough is formed move the pan into the oven.

Note: Baked goods made with starchy gluten-free flours start losing flavor and texture unless eaten soon after they are done. Baked goods made from nutritionally dense gluten-free flours like these improve in texture and flavor over a day or two (much like soup that keeps getting better). I think that’s weird but I am also grateful.

Gretchen @gfedge

PS – I use a small kitchen scale with a tare option to weigh dry ingredients as much as possible. It gives more consistent results plus it saves on cleanup of measuring cups and spoons (lazy me).

This post is linked to:
http://dietdessertndogs.com/2013/05/02/wellness-weekend-may-2-6-2013/
at Ricki Heller’s Blog – Diet, Dessert, and Dogs

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Super Simple Savory Broth

Rita has not been available lately to taste test which has left me uninspired to bake much since she cannot help with the evaluation. We both plan to dig in on green smoothies soon but in the meantime I have been cooking my greens in a simple broth – the broth may just be my favorite part.

Greens and Savory Broth (with Walnuts)

Greens and Savory Broth (with Walnuts)

I have always loved beans and greens as a lunch combination. When I was working I made use of canned turnip greens and usually red kidney beans topped with some kind of salad dressing. Tasty, messy, odd looking, and initially subject to strange looks and curious questions. Sometimes I top them with nuts for a crunchy texture contrast.

Sourcing fresh greens at the grocery store has become very easy since the arrival of Glory brand one pound bags of washed and chopped greens . I have been going through a couple of these a week. Rita would prefer to steam them but I grew up in the Southern tradition of greens cooked down producing ‘pot liquor’, a local name for the savory broth.

Greens Overflowing the Pot

Greens Overflowing the Pot

Previous to gluten awareness I happily used bouillon cubes as seasoning for broth and gravy. Afterwards my ingredients changed to canned and boxed broth with the resulting cans and boxes going into recycle – not a positive solution to my way of thinking.

Finally Got the Lid On

Finally Got the Lid On

I gave up on prepared broths and now prefer this simple recipe from my spice cabinet which could not be any easier or faster.

Super Simple Broth
1 cup water
1/2-1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon @ summer savory, basil, thyme
1/2 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

Add the ingredients to a saucepan. Turn on the heat and bring to slow simmer. Now you have broth!

Cooking Greens in Broth
The hard part is cramming the greens into a four quart pot where they will eventually wilt and shrink down to about one-quarter of the raw volume. You will need one pound of greens (collards, kale, mustard, or any of your favorite greens).

Make your broth in a four quart saucepan – a glass lid makes it easier to see what is going on. Add the greens in on top of the broth and push them down, really hard, into the pot until you can get the lid on. Turn up the heat to medium high. It will take a while until it you can see steam beginning to rise.

The greens on the bottom wilt first. Take a big spoon and bring the wilted greens up to the top so the next layer can begin to cook. At this point adjust the heat to maintain a slow simmer. The greens will not cooperate in any orderly way but just keep checking and stirring about every 20 minutes. After the first 20 minutes they will have all become somewhat wilted. Set a timer for 20 minutes. When it goes off stir the greens up again and set the timer for another 20 minutes.

You can quit cooking when the greens are tender. If you have prepared your own young fresh greens they will probably have cooked up in one cycle. The ones that come pre-bagged are fully mature and the stems have been chopped up as well as the leafy part so it can take several cycles to get everything to the tender stage.

Greens Are Fully Cooked

Greens Are Fully Cooked

Gretchen @gfedge
Rita @catqicatqi

This post is linked to:
Wellness Weekend February 28-March 4, 2013
at Ricki Heller’s Blog – Diet, Dessert, and Dogs

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Faux Tofu and the Versatility of Chickpeas

Soy Free Tofu described at TRIUMPH OF THE LENTIL recently caught my attention. Soy does not like me despite all of the ways that I’ve tried. It is so versatile in all of its forms – an ideal pantry staple. I definitely had to give this a recipe a test drive.

Faux Tofu Dinner with Lots of Veggies

Faux Tofu Dinner with Lots of Veggies

I found another recipe labeled Burmese Style Tofu that has similar ingredients but a long and involved process. I decided to go with the simple!

The soy-free versions are made with chickpeas (garbanzos, besan) in the form of flour as a base. I made the mistake of tasting the raw batter. The raw-bean taste caused me to add a heavy dose of seasoning which I now regret. It is very tasty but too spicy for me to use very often. Those of you who love and can handle the hot and spicy seasonings will probably like this version.

After mixing and cooling I cut it into pieces and tried to move two pieces to a skillet and the rest into refrigerator containers, one to use during the week and the other to freeze for future use. Maybe my Bob’s Red Mill flour was different in some way but my mixture was too soft for easy handling. Some cracked and some broke before I finally managed to get it all packaged.

First Two Pieces in the Skillet

First Two Pieces in the Skillet

I have grilled some in a skillet twice. The first pieces were about 3/8” thick and while firm on the outside after browning the inside was still mushy. The second time I used the spatula to gradually flatten them to maybe 3/16” thickness. That was much more satisfactory.

Tasty Looking When Browned

Tasty Looking When Browned

It is quite tasty but I needed mushrooms, onions, and zucchini alongside to spread out the intense seasoning.

A Very Intense Breakfast Encounter

A Very Intense Breakfast Encounter

Faux Tofu and the Versatility of Chickpeas
Print
Recipe type: Basics, Breakfast, Mains, Veggies
Author: Gretchen @gfedge
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 10
Prepare a gluten-free, vegan, multi-purpose ingredient for use any time of day in various spicy recipes.
Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
  • 2 teaspoons Old Bay type seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups water
Instructions
  1. Grease a baking pan, 8”X12” for thicker slices, 9”X13” for thinner ones and set aside. Turn on your oven to 350*F.
  2. Place the first four ingredients in a heavy saucepan and mix well.
  3. Add the slightly warm water a cup at a time, stirring to prevent lumps in the batter.
  4. This flour has a tendency to lump anyway so if it does let it set a while after adding all of the water.
  5. Stir occasionally and the lumps should eventually dissolve.
  6. After the batter is mixed then move the pan to a stove burner and cook at medium heat (while stirring) until it is very thick.
  7. Then spread the mixture in your prepared pan and smooth the surface.
  8. When the mixture is set you can cut it into as many pieces in any shape that you want.
Notes

Maybe bland is not so bad after all. Then you can season it differently each time you cook with it.

A quick and versatile use of chickpeas is this Falafal consisting of chickpea flour and spices with a lot less water. Instead of batter it produces dough that you can handle and form into balls or patties. After I use up the faux tofu I will go back to this recipe because the spices are less intense.

I have a long history of fascination with chickpeas. Years before I went gluten-free I was already experimenting with chickpea recipes. The first one I remember was a Mexican dessert known as Torta de Garbanzo from The Art of Mexican Cooking (the one by Jan Aaron and Georgine Sachs Solom 1965 – and now very hard to find). Their version, flavored with cloves and rum, was a wonderful treat. There is a similar recipe with cinnamon and orange at Morsels and Musings.

Another sweet made from chickpeas is Besan Burfi a treat from India with simple ingredients and an easy technique. It seems to be very popular with college students because it is easy to make and inexpensive.

One of my first forays into baking after going gluten-free was this Cinnamon Toasties recipe from Babycakes NYC vegan bakery as posted and demonstrated on the Martha Stewart show. A Babycakes NYC app is coming out soon!

Quizza’ from Ricki at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs is one of her versatile breakfast-lunch-or dinner recipes. Delicious, easy to make, and filled with veggies; you know you are being good to your body when you make up a batch of this goodness!

This Chickpea Smoothie (my own creation) was a wonky kitchen experiment that was a great success. I have not found a commercial protein powder based on anything, animal, vegetable, or mineral, that didn’t make me feel yucky or that my stomach did not immediately and forcefully reject. Home-cooked chickpeas were my ultimate solution. Preparation is key. When the chickpeas are soaked for 24 hours and cooked at low temperature the texture is wonderfully mild and creamy and there is little, if any, gastric discomfort.

This Roasted Chickpea and Artichoke Salad for a Potluck, adapted from another of Ricki’s fabulous recipes, is a favorite at potlucks. I make a huge bowl and there is never any left to take home. (Tip: I have switched to frozen artichoke hearts. They have less of the fibrous bits.)

Carob Date-Walnut Muffins, a fill-you-up breakfast, was the first time I used carob. My flour mix contained garbanzo (chickpea) flour and I really need to make these again when the weather gets cooler. Dates, walnuts, and carob scream ‘breakfast’ on a chilly morning but right now almonds toasted in the microwave, fresh fruit, and coffee are plenty.

Our kitchen has changed over the years to include these His & Hers Pizzas. The crust evolution has been well documented but it is hard to remember the various toppings. One certainty is that I prefer oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes as opposed to tomato sauce. And I like lots of sautéed mushroom and onions. Calabacitas is a squash similar to zucchini but much firmer and that is great in the sauté mixture when available.

If you have chickpea recipes to share I would love to know about them!

Gretchen @gfedge

This post is linked to:
Wellness Weekend August 30-September 3, 2012
at Ricki Heller’s Blog – Diet, Dessert, and Dogs

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What is a Cereal Grain? Grain vs Grain-free

Note: This post is completely focused on all edible seeds used in gluten-free baking. The information for a distinction between the seeds of Monocots* vs Dicots* was the result of my early efforts to understand what my body was telling me that I needed to eat (or specifically, NOT to eat). The gluten grain seeds had already been eliminated from my diet and still there were brain-fog days and other assorted unpleasant symptoms.

Various Poaceae Grains

Oats, barley, and some food products made from Poaceae cereal grains.

Much like Iris, in her recent post Carrot Cream Soda, A Diagnosis, and Listening to My Symptoms, I also felt  miserable, discouraged, and sick. Rita and I often commiserate:  ’We are our own lab rats in a seemingly lifelong experiment’.

*Monocots: Monocot seedlings typically have one cotyledon (seed-leaf). The true grasses, family Poaceae (Gramineae), are the most economically important family in this group. These include all the true grains (rice, wheat, maize, etc.), pasture grasses, sugar cane, and the bamboos. Psuedocereals (which are NOT of the family Poaceae) constitute our focus area for research and experimentation.

*Dicots: There are around 300 families of plants which are considered to be dicots. Some examples include: sunflower, pea, geranium, rose, oak, and maple families. These plants typically have two cotyledons rather than the one that is typical of monocots.

The most used and affordable gluten-free flours are all sourced from the same plant family of true grasses such as rice, millet, cornmeal, corn starch, oat, sorghum, and teff. These are the ‘grains’ that Rita and I have now eliminated from our baking supplies.

I decided to post this information, not as a solution or complete understanding, but for what it might be worth as a piece of the puzzle for your own personal issues. You may or may not be interested in the plant research noted at the bottom, all of which is from the internet, and most of it from Wikipedia.

Currently Rita and I are focused on the edible seeds of nuts, psuedocereals, and legumes for our personal nutrition needs. Seeds and/or flours made from seeds that we are currently working with include:
1) Nuts – almond, hazelnut (filbert), and coconut (although technically coconut is a fruit rather than a nut).
2) Pseudocereals – buckwheat, chia, flax, amaranth, and quinoa.
3) Legumes (aka Beans) – chickpea (garbanzo), navy beans, and lentils

We do include other gluten-free flours in our recipes for others but just now we are not using them for ourselves.

One of my personal glitches along the way (and that of a friend) was attempting to use unrefined cane sugars, such as Sucanat, rather than white sugar. Sugar cane is a grass plant. I have previously tested as sensitive to grasses, so the more unrefined the sugar the more disagreeable were the responses. Currently I use coconut (palm) sugar, maple syrup, agave syrup, and have started experimenting with yacon syrup.

Gretchen – October 13, 2011

List Of Edible Seeds – Wikipedia

1 Beans – Synopsis
These are also known as legumes or pulses.

2 Cereals – Synopsis
True cereals are the seeds of certain species of grass. Three — maize, wheat and rice — account for about half of the calories consumed by people every year. Grains can be ground to make flour, used as the basis of bread, cake, noodles or other food products. They can also be boiled or steamed, either whole or ground, and eaten as is. Many cereals are  staple foods, providing a large fraction of the calories in the places that they are eaten. Cereals include:

 Pseudocereals

3 Nuts – Synopsis
According to the botanical definition, nuts are a particular kind of seed.[4] Chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns are examples of nuts, under this definition. In culinary terms, however, the term is used more broadly to include fruits that are not botanically qualified as nuts, but that have a similar appearance and culinary role. Examples of culinary nuts include almonds, peanuts and cashews.

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Gluten-free Travel in New England

Don and I have been traveling in New England for the last 10 days and visiting with family. I brought food with me because I still do not have eating-out confidence. I brought Larabars, almonds, apple slices, and a couple of sandwiches to get me through the change of planes at DF/W. I also brought quinoa flakes and relied on previous good experience at Hannaford Supermarket to provide me with Almond Breeze, gluten-free bread, and Amy’s lentil vegetable soup after arriving in Maine. And it was good that I was prepared.

It seems that on domestic American Airlines flights, even in first class, you may not order a gluten-free meal. The flight attendants are stuck with trying to serve you something out of what they have on board for other passengers. On the way to Boston they were serving warm roasted nuts. They appeared to be the same roasted nuts I enjoyed as part of the gluten-free experience last year when we flew to Europe. However, on this domestic flight the nuts blistered my lower lip which was scaly and peeling for the next six days – not pleasant, attractive or appreciated.

We all know that gluten-free and vegan food can be delicious and enjoyed by anyone without calling attention to that fact that it is different in any way. I have some very simple suggestions that would work for everyone and I plan to write about them when all of our laundry is caught up.

We first stayed at Pat’s condo in Biddeford Maine. That is where I perfected my Carrot Cake Micro-Muffins from a new homemade travel mix and declared success! For some obscure reason it would not link last week and Ricki tried and the Linky admin tried and it just wouldn’t go – I hope this does because they were really good.

Carrot Cake Micro-Muffins

Carrot Cake Micro-Muffins

I also brought a flour mixture to make a half-batch of Clara’s Brown Sugar Pound Cake as cupcakes. Those turned out delicious but they need tweaking as far as the overall moisture content (too much) and you know how tricky that can be! Those were also cooked in silicone cupcake forms but in the stove oven rather than in the microwave.

We spent an afternoon with my brother Chaz aboard his sailboat Franziska and had a picnic lunch while tied up in a quiet cove. I had Teddie peanut butter(made in Everet Massachusetts) on Rudi’s bread (from Hannaford Supermarket) with fresh sweet cherries and carrot sticks. The weather was cool and the breezes cooler. After the heat in Texas and the devastating fires it was a very pleasant experience.

We next spent a night with Pat’s son John and family which included his wife Patti, her twin sister Bobbi who was visiting, and Cooper the GoldenDoodle (Cooper is a good-natured blonde so there were a lot of ‘blonde’ jokes). It has been several years since we last visited at Crosspoint Farm and it has changed dramatically. The carriage house garage has been added along with a covered breezeway for getting in and out of the house during inclement weather. Flower beds are in full bloom and Patti had a small but very productive vegetable garden. We picked a huge basket of heirloom tomatoes and cucumbers while throwing some that were overripe and split out into the woods and leaving still more to ripen on the vines.

Back in Biddeford I made good use of one of those Crosspoint Farm heirloom tomatoes with Cedar’s Roasted Garlic-Chive Hommus (made in nearby Massachusetts)  on Udi’s bread. This was a heavenly taste experience for such simple ingredients. Now I know why all the bloggers with vegetable gardens have been writing about tomatoes! This is gourmet-quality simplicity!

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

Heirloom Tomato Sandwich

We spent Saturday night in Belmont Massachusetts at Chaz and Anne’s home. Anne has been battling a horrible lingering cold and had just been checked out at Massachusetts General Hospital. We were able to visit but only from a distance. We had to toss hugs and blow kisses across the room. Chaz and Anne are both proficient in the kitchen and we enjoyed a simple meal featuring fresh vegetables, fruit, and swordfish grilled outdoors by Chaz. Anne had found a brand of gluten-free bread entirely unknown to me, Schär’s, which I tried as a cheese sandwich and also as toast. It was very good but my favorite is still Udi’s Whole Grain Bread :-)

I had to ask Chaz about Teddie peanut butter because he spent most of his engineering career working in Everett. The look on his face said it all. The manufacturing plant was only a couple of blocks from work and that was the signature scent of the neighborhood – yes, he was very familiar with the Teddie plant.

Teddie Peanut Butter Sandwich

Teddie Peanut Butter Sandwich

On the trip home I had Teddie peanut butter on Schär’s bread with black seedless grapes, carrot sticks and a Pecan Pie Larabar for a late snack.

Gretchen

Elsie says 'Could I  have a sandwich, please?'

Elsie says 'Could I have a sandwich, please?'

This post is linked to:
Wellness Weekend September 15-19, 2011
at Ricki Heller’s Blog – Diet, Dessert, and Dogs.

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Quinoa – Learning to Love It

    Quinoa (kee-nwa) was an ancient food of the Incas – it was considered sacred and referred to as ‘mother of all grains’. Although no longer widely known or used it is gaining in popularity due to its nutritional qualities and versatility.

    Unlike most other grains and seeds quinoa contains all of the amino acids needed for humans to assimilate as a high-value protein. In addition to being gluten-free and easy to digest it is a good source of dietary fiber, protein, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.

    The quinoa seeds, as harvested, have a somewhat soapy and slightly bitter coating of saponins that discourage birds from consuming the seeds. Most quinoa available at your local grocers has been pre-soaked and rinsed to remove this coating. I always soak and rinse my quinoa whether it is presented in bulk or packaged and labeled as pre-rinsed. This insures that the seeds are clean, tender, and ready to accept the seasonings in your recipes be they sweet or savory.  Evidently a short-lived experiment in raising quinoa without the saponins coating resulted in birds consuming most of the harvest. And so I soak  . . . .

1) Measure out the quinoa and add enough water so that the mixture is slushy when stirred.

Quinoa Seeds Soaking

Quinoa Seeds Soaking

2) Pour the slush into a mesh strainer and thoroughly rinse. If the soaking water is only slightly hazy when stirring then 15-20 minutes is probably enough. These pictures are of bulk quinoa that needed about an hour of soaking and a change of water to clear.

Draining the Soaked Quinoa

Draining the Soaked Quinoa

3) Dump the soaked quinoa into your pan and cover with water. Turn the heat on medium until the mixture starts to bubble. Then turn the heat down low and put on the lid. Watch it very carefully until it settles down to a steady simmer because like oatmeal or pasta it will make fierce bubbles that climb the pot walls and boil over onto the stove.

Turning Up the Heat

Turning Up the Heat

4) The quinoa is done when it looks something like a sand dune on top with minor dips and valleys that are no longer moving. There should be no liquid visible when you take a spoon and check the bottom of the pot.

This Batch Is Fully Cooked

This Batch Is Fully Cooked

    Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking pasta in that you may prefer it very tender or ‘al dente’. You may pre-cook it for a recipe or add it directly to liquids in the recipe. It has the capacity to absorb an amazing amount of flavor from added ingredients. I pre-cook it over low heat for 15-45 minutes; then turn off the heat and let it cool slowly on the burner. The longer it was soaked the shorter the cooking time. Also, if there is still water and it is cooked as long as you like then just drain of the excess water. If you cook it without salt or seasoning then you can use a portion of it in a sweet recipe and the remainder in a savory dish like this one.

    This basic recipe was served at a potluck lunch meeting and received very favorable comments. It was prepared with a large, sweet onion and two fresh tomatoes. I included some ground turkey breast to make it a main dish meal.

    When I make it for Rita, who is currently avoiding nightshade plants I use washed and chopped zucchini in place of the tomatoes. The resulting texture is very similar. I also add a small carrot cut in bits to provide some color,

Savory Quinoa Casserole
Ingredients:
1 cup of dry quinoa cooked with 2 total cups of liquid = 2-2.5 cups cooked quinoa
(If a can of organic diced tomatoes is used for part of the liquid then omit the fresh, sliced tomatoes.)

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground yellow mustard (French’s yellow mustard works – it is gluten-free)
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 small tomatoes, thinly sliced (optional, see above, or zucchini))
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro

Directions:
    Heat the oil on medium or medium high  in a large skillet that has a lid.  Add your mustard and bay leaf to the oil and let it sizzle. Stir while adding your cumin and wait a few seconds before adding the onion.
    Sauté the onion until it starts to soften and turn brown. Add ginger, tomatoes (or zucchini/carrot), and turmeric. Let soften and then add your quinoa, stirring it in gently and sprinkling with salt. Reduce heat and cover, cooking for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir once, sprinkle with cilantro, cover, and let sit for 5 minutes. Fluff and serve.
    If you add meat, tofu, or beans then include it already prepared along with the quinoa. This is a good recipe to extend leftovers from another meal. And any local vegetables in season are excellent options.

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

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Southern Homestyle Corn Flake Crumbs

   Homestyle corn flake crumbs? Did you ever make them ‘home-style’? Pour corn flakes into a baggie and run the rolling pin over them which gave you multi-sized, crushed flakes ranging from large crumbs to powder?
   These gluten-free flakes from The SoyNut Butter Company are nicely uniform. I have used them occasionally as a substitute in cookies and crumb toppings when the pantry turned out to be bare of rolled oats that were gluten-free.

Southern Homestyle Corn Flake Crumbs

Southern Homestyle Corn Flake Crumbs

   Andrea and I were discussing crumb coatings one afternoon while at the fitness center and she shared with me her coating recipe for all manner of applications. This works for cutlets or patties of any type: chicken, pork, fish, bean patties, tofu, or whatever you have in mind. It bakes up nicely or sautés in a skillet. Andrea’s original recipe called for cracker crumbs but this works very well. We had it on baked tilapia one evening and it is savory and crunchy – a wonderful touch.

Andrea’s Oven Bake Recipe
1 pound of cutlets
1/4 cup gluten-free corn flake crumbs crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix all of these ingredients together with a fork. Dip or roll your cutlets/patties to coat. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400*F – 425*F or sauté in a skillet on the stove top.

   This product is available in Texas from H-E-B which carries most of the gluten-free items in my pantry. They can also be ordered online direct from The SoyNut Butter Company or through Amazon.
Mom

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Cream of Celery Soup

    When you clean out your email messages you need to be careful that you do not delete something you meant to save! Rita and I often communicate by email because of our varying time zones and activity schedules. I found notes that we exchanged months ago about this quick, hot soup when she was in the middle of one of her very limited diets.
   This soup is tasty, fast, nourishing, and warm for those days when you are looking for comfort food without a heavy load of carbohydrates to drag you down. OK, Mom note here: it is fast if you have a ready supply of diced, boiled celery in the fridge (Mom has that Celery Obsession). Otherwise there is some preparation of the celery.

Boiled Celery
The coarse outer ribs and dark green leaves from a stalk of celery, chopped as fine as you prefer
1/2 cup of water
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt

Simmer the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium-low heat until the celery is tender. Tough celery may take a while. Store in the fridge until you need it for Lentil Patties, Rice and Beans Casserole or this soup.

Cream of Celery Soup
1 heaping cup chopped boiled celery including some liquid
garlic powder, chili powder, and sea salt – a sprinkle of each
1/4 cup coconut milk

Mix the ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl and heat in the microwave if you want it hot. It could also be served cold for a summer pick-me-up or with a salad for lunch. Adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Mom

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