Gluten Free French Toast

Cornbread French ToastContinuing with our breakfast theme this week, I’d like to discuss gluten free french toast. French toast is super easy to make gluten free- all you need is gluten free bread, or in this case, leftover cornbread (Thank you to fabulous photographer Rebekah West for the brilliant idea!)

In this case, we actually used leftover Polenta Cake compliments of David Lebovitz. If you don’t subscribe to his blog, and you love French food, I highly recommend it. I find many of his recipes easy to convert without losing the essence of what’s he’s working to create. Polenta cake is a great combination of polenta, almond flour, and a tiny bit of regular flour ( to sub, we used 3 tbs corn starch, 3 tbs sorghum, and 1/2 tsp xanthan gum) the result is a flavorful, not to sweet cake that’s perfect in french toast for breakfast the next day. *Hint- do NOT leave out the lemon zest- it’s key.

polenta cake french toastFor a slightly less sweet breakfast, leftover cornbread is perfect. It has more flavor and texture than sandwich bread, and although it’s somewhat unusual- why not? We loved the result.

We also recommend adding additional butter to the pan once the toasts have been cooked on one side- even throwing some butter on top of the cooked side and letting it melt in. By adding the butter at this point, instead of at the table, the butter is allowed to seep in the flavor permeates the toast. We especially like salted butter for this, as the contrast between the tiny bit of sharpness you get from the salt compliments the sweet of the egg mixture and the maple syrup.

Lastly, I have to brag on my budding photgraphers. The Kitchen Divas in training are responsible for all the pictures in this post- both of them! I confess, it’s much easier to cook while you have a ‘staff’ of people willing to document!

gluten free french toast

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Gluten Free Ham and Cheese Waffles

gluten free ham and cheese wafflesSometimes you just need breakfast food for dinner. Or dinner food for breakfast. These gluten free ham and cheese waffles make the case for either. Cheesy, savory, and fluffy- they make a delicious change from traditional waffles any time of day.

And if you’re into the whole sweet & savory contrast, be sure to slather them in some flavorful Grade B Maple Syrup. I always use Grade B because it’s darker and has more imperfections- which leads to complexity of flavor. It’s also a bit cheaper than the lighter sweeter stuff.

When approaching waffles this way, you could make them with any meat- corned beef, bacon, turkey etc.. and any kind of cheese, mozzarella, comte, jack, etc.. and even add additional ingredients like green chile, kale, fruit… really your possibilities are endless. Keep in mind this flour combination was designed for savory flavors, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t make something like bacon, ricotta and peach waffles for instance! Sounds like I need to go back to the kitchen!

The recipe below is gluten-free. To make a delicious gluten-ful equivalent, keep the cornmeal and substitute traditional flour for the cornstarch, almond, and sorghum flours.

* A word about cornstarch: We are increasingly moving to cornstarch over tapioca in our recipes. Cornstarch doesn’t gum up the way tapioca does in some instances. So if at all possible, use cornstarch in this recipe, not tapioca. We believe the results are just a bit better.

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Game Day Snacks Part 2: Crab Bites with Easy Cocktail Sauce

Gluten Free Crab Bites w/ Cocktail SauceeGame Day Snacks Part 2: Crab Bites w/ Easy Cocktail sauce. In homage to the Seafood culture of this year’s two Superbowl cities, here’s another easy recipe sure to be a game day hit.

I’m lucky- I’ve lived in Seattle twice. Once as a kid, and again as an undergrad (go Dawgs!!) Every time I get back to the PNW there are a few musts on my list: A ferry ride across Puget Sound (this used to be preceded by a stop at Ivar’s for clams and chips, but not since my celiac status), a meander through Pike Market, Oysters at Elliott’s on the bay (temporarily closed until 6/30/15 due to seawall construction), a stroll across the UW Quad through Central Plaza and left to Drumheller Fountain to gaze out at Lake Washington and hopefully catch a glimpse of Mt. Ranier. And if it’s Dungeness Crab season, finagling an invite to a crab boil.

The first time I ever experienced a crab boil I was 19 or 20. Some friends had been out crab fishing all day- which in reality means dropping anchor, then a crab pot, and then drinking beers (and in their case, I am sure getting high) for several hours. Once the crabs were hauled in, a big backyard bonfire was lit and a huge pot of water set in the fire to heat. In went the crabs, and the rest they say is history- or dinner.

There is really nothing quite like sitting out under the stars with friends on a chilly night, next to a roaring fire, tearing apart crab that 4 hours earlier was swimming at the bottom of Puget Sound.

Crab Bites with Cocktail SauceShort of magic bonfire experiences, these cute little crab bites or mini crab cakes are perfect with a homemade cocktail sauce that’s liberally seasoned with fresh horseradish.

And on a sauce note, I’ve quit buying condiments like cocktail sauce and horseradish mustard. Most of them are filled with funky ingredients like cottonseed oil – yuk, cotton is the most heavily sprayed/fertilized crop in the US- maybe the world, averaging 5 lbs of petrochemicals for every 1 lb of yield…Why on earth would you put those seeds in your body? Or it’s soybean oil which isn’t much better… No thanks…not when fresh cocktail sauce takes about 6 seconds and 5 easily pronounceable ingredients to make…

Don’t have time to roll the mixture in bread crumbs? Leave out the egg and breadcrumbs and you have a delicious, nutritious crab salad- perfect for your next luncheon or brunch.

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Game Day Recipes Part 1: Cheesy Shrimp Puffs with Chimichurri Sauce

Cheesy Shrimp Puffs with Chimichurri SauceGame Day Recipes should be more than nachos and beer. Not that there’s anything wrong with nachos and beer, but they’re predictable and who wants to be that? This year, in homage to Boston & Seattle (two of my fave cities in the US, and whose food cultures often center around seafood) we’ve created some tasty finger food accompanied by sauces that will tackle your tastebuds like a defensive lineman.

Today’s recipe can be considered a tribute to Boston- while I would have preferred to call these Lobster Puffs- and if you have the funds, that would taste *amazing*, shrimp is a much more budget conscious alternative.

If you’re planning on visiting Boston, make sure you plan to eat a meal or at least a bite at Legal Seafoods on the Harbor. If you love anything that swims or scoots on the ocean floor, this is the best place to get it in Boston. Plus, you have the added benefit of being able to watch all the waterfront activity.

Cheesy Shrimp Puffs with ChimichurriNow, chimichurri sauce may not seem like a typical New England accompaniment, but we like the garlicky, vinegary kick that chimichurri provides, and the balance it creates in contrast to the richness of seafood. There’s a reason fish ‘n chips always come to the table with vinegar!

If you’ve never heard of chimichurri, it’s basically the South American version of pesto. Made with a combination of Parsley, Oregano, Cilantro, Garlic, and Olive Oil, it’s great on everything from fried eggs to steak, to seafood. We’ve given you the recipe to make a few cups- perfect for game day dipping.

Oh, and for the junior chefs out there- this is a recipe you can easily make on your own. The tiniest Kitchen Diva in Training told me rolling the mixture into balls was just like playing with play-dough!

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Savory Ham and Cheese Muffins (gluten free)

Savory Ham and Cheese MuffinsThese savory ham and cheese muffins are the perfect grab and go breakfast. They’re loaded with protein, and besides, I’m not much of a sweet person. Don’t get me wrong- I love a good macaron or a tiny truffle from my local chocolate shop, but I have a hard time eating bunches of sweets. However, treats that are salty, less sweet? I don’t have much control..especially when it came to putting these out for a brunch we hosted recently..I didn’t stop at just one…

 

 

 

Savory Muffin IngredientsThe flavors in these savory ham and cheese muffins are reminiscent of an omelet- a little ham, a little cheese, a few herbs.. All served up in a beautifully textured muffin that pairs perfectly with coffee or mimosas! I don’t think you can eat just one. Nobody at our party could.

While this recipe has been designed for gluten-free bakers, if you like the flavors, simply use 2 1/2 cups of flour and follow the rest of the recipe. They’re worth a try regardless of your gluten status!

 

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6 Cooking Hacks to Make Your Kitchen More Fun in 2015

Happy New Year! As the world gets back to business this week, many will begin to work on resolutions of eating healthier, cooking more, or eating together as a family more often. If you are new to the kitchen, or just wanting to make a bit of a shift, here are 6 cooking hacks that are easy, will help you have more fun, gain a new outlook, and make being in the kitchen more enjoyable. Do you have hacks that have worked for you? Add them in the comments below! Here’s to good eating in 2015!

Speaker1. Turn off the TV & Turn on the Radio (or your iPod)

I love listening to music in the kitchen. It helps set the mood for whatever I’m creating. Maybe it’s leftover from my childhood summers in upstate New York. My Oma used to work in the kitchen while listening to a little white transistor radio that played the oldies. She’d hum and sing along, and if I was lucky enough, sometimes I would even catch her Shuffling off to Buffalo. She was a great tapper in her youth- and loved dancing until the day she died. So while you cook- grab the wire whisk and channel your inner Celine Dion, Maria Callas, or Saturday Night Fever.

 

 

Spices at the River Market

2. Change out your Herbs & Spices

Spices don’t have a shelf life, they have a ‘smell-life’. Herbs and spices flavor our food with the volatile oils they contain. Oils, that if exposed to heat and light will fade with time. If you’ve got spices in the way back of your cabinets that you haven’t used for some time- give them a sniff. If your nose isn’t immediately tingling with delight, it’s time to replace them. Remember to store your herbs and spices away from the heat of the stove.

 

Candlelight

3. Use Candlelight- at every meal

For many of us, the kitchen table is the repository for mail, schoolwork, and other activities. Our resolution is to keep our table cleaner and always use candles- even at breakfast. It elevates the mood and provides a sense of occasion even for the simplest of meals.

 

 

Cabris, France portrait project

4. Purchase 1 New Utensil

We all have hangers on in the kitchen that have passed their prime- beat-up, chipped spatulas, broken sieves, rusty measuring spoons, beat up cutting boards. Treat yourself to one new utensil that you’ll use frequently. You will feel so much happier with functional and lovely tools.

 

 

 

cleansink

5. Put the dishes away before bed

I think the Fly Lady was the first person who insisted you scrub your sink out every night before you go to bed. She has a point. It’s so much easier to find cooking inspiration when you don’t have to first clean up last night’s mess.

 

 

Cabris, France portrait project6. Cook with Company (friends, children, significant other, etc.)

Nothing makes a meal taste better than good company. Especially when it’s been prepared together. If you’re having trouble connecting as a family, or getting your children to be more adventurous in their eating habits- cook together! In my experience, children LOVE the creativity that is a natural part of cooking. They also are very proud of their endeavors and love to eat the fruits of their labor. The biggest challenge? Recognizing that little hands aren’t as accurate as bigger hands, and the mess is sometimes bigger- as are the onion or apple pieces. If you are willing to roll with that, you will be delighted at what you experience when you share cooking with those you care about (young or old!).

What gets you inspired to cook? Have a hack that’s helped you? Share below!

Breakfast Bread Pudding – A New Year’s Tradition

le petite arbre de NoelHappy New Year!! Do you have traditions for welcoming the New Year? Apparently we do, and it’s called Breakfast Bread Pudding. I’ve never been big on family traditions- mostly out of necessity, choosing the adventurous route of new activities and experiences based on our schedule and location… Somehow though, one snuck up on us.

I didn’t even realize it until the other day, when we were making our New Year’s plans with the Kitchen Divas in Training. Suddenly my oldest, who is at the age where she lives in an adult body but is still very much a young girl, burst into tears.

“NO! She emphatically cried. We ALWAYS have Breakfast Bread Pudding and watch the Rose Parade. We HAVE to do that!” I was a little surprised at her outburst of emotion, but mostly I was touched by how important this simple routine is to her. So just like that we have a tradition. Never again will I suggest New Year’s activities that don’t include Breakfast Bread Pudding and the Rose Parade.

Gluten Free Breakfast Bread PuddingThankfully, this is incredibly easy to make- less than 15 minutes of prep. You just need enough room in your fridge to let it sit overnight- ready to pop into the oven when you’re ready. Like many of our Adventuresome Kitchen recipes- our Breakfast Bread Pudding is designed to be played with. Change up the fruit or the bread, use eggnog instead of heavy cream (very tasty), or add some pumpkin.. See what magic you can make in your kitchen.

We’ll post our Breakfast Bread Pudding recipe below, but you can see the original blog post here– there’s an interesting commentary about settling for crappy food because we think we have no choice…still an issue 4 years after the original post.

However you welcome the New Year in your home, we wish you much laughter and many culinary adventures in 2015- in the kitchen and beyond!

Cheers & Happy Adventuring

Have you ‘Liked’ our Facebook Page? Post a picture of your Breakfast Bread Pudding and any changes you made!

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Turkey Curry with Yummy Yammy Sweet Potato Salsa

YummyYammy_postcardSo my friend Lisa has this awesome company that sells sweet potato salsa- Yummy Yammy. Yeah- you read that right- sweet potato salsa. And it’s freaking delicious!!

In addition to running a boutique food company, Lisa- like me, has two amazing daughters, and divides her time between growing a company, her girls, and managing all the ins and outs of parenthood, homeownership, and spousehood. Plus she’s super cool, and she makes time to mentor other folks- like me. Ingredients for a super-hero as far as I’m concerned.

Yummy Yammy has been on my radar for well over a year. I LOVE salsa, but like many, I have to be careful about how much tomato I consume. These salsas have no tomato, but all the flavor you could want. They’re great on chips,  heated up over rice, with a fried egg (yeah we did that this morning!) or out of the container with just a spoon.

Added benefit? It’s good for you! They give you a huge dose of beta-carotene anti-oxidant love. Did I mention you won’t be able to stop eating it?

Yummy Yammy is in over 100 stores from Wisconsin to Florida- many of them Whole Foods! For those of you outside of that area, you can get them on Amazon.com though- and if you go to the Yummy Yammy Website and sign up to become a YAMBASSADOR (who doesn’t love that?!?) you can get a coupon for free shipping to try them. I recommend you try them all- they are that good! Also- any orders over $50 naturally come with free shipping. Guess what I’ll be doing for stocking stuffers this year?

YummyYammy Turkey Curry SauceNow about that Turkey…..

I’ve seen the facebook posts over the last few days- you all are sick of your turkey and ham. May I suggest an easy way to get rid of the rest of it that is so delicious you’ll stop eating long after your stomach screams it’s full?

I like curry, but I really like saying “turkey curry” because that reminds me of Bridget Jones- one of my favorite movies. One year I even had a turkey curry buffet birthday party (my birthday is close to Christmas). Of course, the curry was pork as I didn’t have turkey on hand, but who cares? And like the movie- I shamelessly orchestrated an introduction of two friends that culminated in their marriage last year 🙂 I wish all my matchmaking attempts turned out so well.

Onto the recipe! This is pretty fast to put together, and like many Adventuresome Kitchen recipes, there is plenty of room for creativity and modification. If you make some changes, let us know what you did in the comments below- we’d love to hear! And be sure to visit the Yummy Yammy website and check out all the fun things Lisa has going on over there!

Cheers & Happy Eating!

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Best Cream of Chicken Soup Ever- Gluten Free

Cream of Chicken Soup GFI am a convert. I’ve never been much of a fan of ‘cream of’ soups. But then I came up with this because I was working on a recipe that called for 2 cans of Cream of Chicken Soup. (Yes, occasionally I do follow a recipe!)

Celiacs and other Gluten-Freers know that most creamy soups are thickened with flour. That means bye-bye clam chowder, lobster bisque, cream of mushroom (the key ingredient in Green Bean Casserole) cream of chicken soup, etc…

Well, after a bit of research I realized that this is not rocket science, and away we went. The result? A creamy, chickeny, rich and tasty soup that literally comes together in less than 20 minutes. The prep time took longer than the actual cooking! And, if you’re really in a hurry, purchase pre-cut veggies and use canned chicken. (You might be compromising on flavor if you use canned chicken, but it’s definitely fast!) This is also a great starter recipe for the Junior Chefs in your life.

The secret to thick and creamy soup? Sorghum flour. Sorghum is a staple flour in our kitchen, and my go-to for things like making a roux. It’s finer than rice flour which means it doesn’t leave a grainy texture like some gluten free flours can. It’s got a pretty neutral flavor which in my opinion makes it better than potato flour. And it’s not a starch. Starches like tapioca, potato and corn can thicken, but in my experience they are not good for making a roux. Roues, in addition to thickening soups, also add a key flavor component. The flour absorbs the fat of the butter (you don’t want to make a roux with oil) and as the roux is cooking the sugars in the flour and butter caramelize and add depth of flavor.

See the recipe below for additional variations we came up with (Like using leftover Thanksgiving Turkey) Seriously- this soup is so yummy it’s now part of our weekly winter soup rotation.

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Gluten Free Pumpkin Pear Crisp

Pumpkin Pear Crisp- Not Just for the Holidays!
Pumpkin Pear Crisp- Not Just for the Holidays!

So I saw this cubed pumpkin in the store the other day and my imagination ran wild. Why not do a take on apple crisp but with pumpkin? Well here you are…pumpkin pear crisp!

We tried this first with apples and pears- which you can do, but ultimately settled on the pumpkin-pear combination. To complete the holiday spin on this dish- although it’s so good, you really should consider it anytime you can get pumpkin- we added dried cranberries and pecans.

Crisps are so easy and are a perfect canvas to experiment with flavor combinations- You have apples on hand and don’t want to go to the store? Use them, or a combination of apples & pears. Don’t like cranberries? Add figs, or candied orange peels. Hate nutmeg? Add ginger.. Add fresh ginger, or cloves, or, coconut…. you get the idea- make our recipe as is, or use it as a jumping off point and come up with your own cool twist on our recipe. The important thing is to go play in your kitchen. And if you can, make it a group event- grab someone to cook with you!

Oh yeah- one more thing… I don’t know about you, but I am *way* too busy these days to spend hours peeling fruit.  So I just don’t do it. If you prefer skinless fruit- good on you- and your dish will be finer for it. Just don’t feel like you have to peel it to make this recipe sing.

We’ll be bringing this to our neighborhood’s progressive dinner. And I guarantee you- no one’s going to know it’s gluten free!

Cheers & Happy Eating!

Have you ‘Liked’ our Facebook Page? Please do so, and if you make this recipe, post a pic of your pumpkin pear crisp, and any modifications you made! We’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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How to Make Any Soup Taste Great- Essential Ingredients

Curry Sausage SoupIt is said that the shoemaker’s children never have shoes. So it could be said for the chef’s children- they only eat (gluten free) toast! Thank heavens the Kitchen Divas in Training are no strangers to meal creation! Over the last month we’ve been working round the clock to bring our gluten free baking mixes to market. Since time has been at a premium and the weather has cooled off, we’ve relied on soups, stews, and the occasional take-out to stay well nourished.

Most soups can be on the table in 30 minutes and clean-up is easy. We’ve frequently found ourselves dumping our leftovers into the stock pot and coming up with a quick meal- preventing food waste and saving money. But- in order to do that and have the finished product taste delicious, we’ve learned there are a few essential ingredients that are needed to make any soup taste great. These are the basics- if you have these and nothing else, you’ll still have a great soup, but add these to any premade box soup, pile of fresh/frozen vegetables, or leftovers-  you’ll be smiling all the way through dinner!

 

How to make any soup taste great- essential ingredients:

Vegetable Soup with Green Chile SauceOnions- Onions are a staple base flavor- throw them in raw to a box of tomato soup, add a little kale and you’ve got a zesty, nutritious addition that will liven your ‘cuppa’ soup. Carmelize them first for a sweet addition, or use them as part of a classic “mirepoix”  (pronounced Meer-Ah-Pwah)which is the traditional french base for most soups and stews. Onions are also rich in quercetin- those same great immune boosters found in apples.

Carrots- reference the above for classic mirepoix. Carrots add a level of sweetness to any soup, and they’re rich in beta-carotene – an important anti-oxidant!

Leafy Green KaleCelery- the 3rd necessary ingredient for a mirepoix.

Kale- Most of us don’t get enough fresh green vegetables in the winter. Our secret? Chop up kale and put it in the bottom of each soup bowl. Pour the steaming liquid over it. The heat from the soup will wilt the kale perfectly, preserving its nutrients.

Sausage- most of the time a pound of sausage (link or bulk) is the perfect protein addition to any soup. We use this on the days when our vegetable soup needs to be heartier, or when we want a bolder flavor. Go for the strongly flavored sausages like hot italian sausage, chorizo (not exactly a sausage, but you get the idea). We also like sausages that have plenty of fennel. (You could also use any leftover meat in the fridge- we’ve made soup with chicken, pork, potroast, hamburger…whatever’s on hand)

White Bean, Kale, Sausage & Butternut SoupCelery Root- We don’t often have this on hand, but when this ugly root is peeled and diced it adds a depth and fullness to soups we really enjoy.

Starches- Could be a lonely forgotten potato, rice or quinoa, or even a handful of pasta. We use this when we need to fill out a thin soup.

Sea Salt or Chicken Stock- sometimes you want one- sometimes the other. If we’re adding sausage to a pot, the flavors might compete with chicken stock. If we’re using just vegetables, sometimes the chicken stock adds a richness.

Cream of Carrot and Leek SoupCanned Beans- we always have a variety of canned beans on hand- our favorites for soups (When we’re not making chile) are the white beans. Red Kidneys come in a close second. High in fiber and protein, beans are an excellent addition- especially if you want to avoid meat.

What else is on hand? Really, that answer is up to you and your imagination. We just finished reading “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder..As a child, I thought it was the most boring book of the series. As an adult- the most captivating. We’ve been inspired by the Ingalls’ resourcefulness to not waste so much food in our fridge.

Need some recipe inspiration? Try one of these delicious soups on the Adventuresome Kitchen Soup Page

From the Junior Chef: Egg Salad Snack Bites

Egg Salad Snack BitesHi Junior Chefs, it’s ‘A’ from The Adventuresome Kitchen. I’ve just started back to school, and if you’re like me- I bet you’re really hungry when you get home every afternoon. Learning really gets your appetite going!

Here’s a delicious, easy snack I whipped up. Although it would also work great as a meal for lunch too. Egg salad is filled with protein, so it really tides you over until dinner, and gets you through your afternoon activities. The addition of dill pickles in this recipe gives a nice tangy contrast to the richness of the eggs. And I like the paprika not just for flavor but for color. Don’t you like eating pretty food? Plus, by using different cookie cutters you can inject your personality into it. I like that.

Be sure that you have an adult help you when you cut the eggs and pickles- if you’re using a sharp knife, you need to have an adult with you to show you how so that you keep your fingers safe. Eggs are soft enough though, you could probably use a butter knife.

I hope you enjoy this recipe- we do! And if you make it at your house, take a picture of you and your creation and have your grown-up post it on The Adventuresome Kitchen Facebook Page! Have a great week at school, and have fun in your kitchen!

Thanks for reading,

‘A’

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

A New ChapterAnd just like that, a new chapter has begun in the lives of the Kitchen Divas in Training- and therefore ours. Today, with a good measure of excitement and a few salty tears, my precious, magical, incredible daughters attended their first day of public school. They are happy, so I am happy. The nervous excitement was palpable this morning as we left the house, and when I walked down the street to collect them this afternoon,  they literally bounded home- brimming with stories of how their day went, what new friends they made, and how excited they are about all that lies in front of them. As a parent- can you ask for anything more?

Getting to this point was not easy. We have wrestled with this for months. First one way, then the other. In the final moments, when I just couldn’t stand the agony any longer- when my worry had exhausted me to the point of surrender- I finally said “I don’t care where you go or what direction you choose- I want you to be happy in your heart” I had asked this before, but I think they were worried about disappointing us.

It’s funny though, when given the freedom from adult repercussion, children are remarkably clear about what they need and what makes them happy. I think adults have a hard time hearing that…. We have baggage….We think we know better.

But we are not them. We haven’t had their experiences, their joys or their heartaches. And if homeschooling my children for 2 1/2 years has taught me anything, it’s taught me that my daughters are powerful. Resilient. Strong. Brilliant creatures who love me with the same fierceness that I love them. And that no matter what -we are here to help each other become fully who we are. They have taught me too.

This new direction means radical change for us in some ways. We’ve had complete freedom from traditional discipline. My children listen to their bodies- sleep when they’re tired, eat when they’re hungry. Unfortunately, the mass education of children in this country doesn’t allow for that- it would be too chaotic. And so we adjust. Earlier bed, earlier rising. Dinner before- God forbid- 6PM!! Discipline. Rigor. Schedule. Not evil words by any stretch of the imagination, but a new challenge.

Roasted Red Pepper HummusSo-as we move into fall, we’re attempting meal planning, shopping lists, schedules- left-brain orderly stuff. I’m grinning and laughing as I write this- because underneath this unruly artist is a disciplined, type-A planner… And I’m not one to shy away from a challenge.

What does this mean for my cooking? Fast, easy, bulk, finger food, etc… Lunches of hummus and veggies, extra big dinners so we can have leftovers, cooking extra on the weekends…all good- just different. And so today- I give you an easy, adaptable roasted red pepper hummus recipe. We live off of hummus in the summer- and make this with many variations. It’s so easy- even a 7 year old can make it- although they might need help with the can-opener! We hope you’ll enjoy this as much as we do.

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Welcome Note

 

Easy Coleslaw Recipe

Fruity Summer SlawThis super easy coleslaw recipe is from the oldest Kitchen Diva in Training. You’ve already seen some of her fabulous pictures, but she and her little sis are pretty regular recipe developers these days, and you really should benefit from their creativity.

All of the recipes from the Kitchen Divas in Training- since they’re designed by young ones- are super easy (which means they don’t take much time to whip up), and they taste great!

One thing I love about this recipe is that it doesn’t call for mayonnaise, making it the perfect picnic item. No chance of food spoilage here. Likewise, it’s paleo, vegan, egg free and dairy free. With all that ‘free-ness’ happening you might also think it’s free from flavor- but it’s not!! The sweet from the apples and raisins,  and the crunch from the cabbage, carrots, & nuts make this quite addictive!

So- without further ado- I present to you ‘A’! (PS- she took the food pictures too!)

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Hey little chefs, it’s ‘A’  from the Adventuresome Kitchen!

Today I made a delicious Summer Salad. It works great for a refreshing snack, or even for lunch. I’m calling it ‘Fruity Summer Slaw’. It’s easy to make and tastes good too.

 

 

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A Gluten-Free Medieval Feast

Asparagus with Saffron Sauce
Asparagus with Saffron Sauce

For the last 9 months, the Kitchen Divas in Training and I have been studying the Middle Ages. This has included the creation of timelines, multiple art projects, reading kid-lit versions of the great Medieval tales like Robin Hood, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (which takes place in the Middle Ages) The Cantebury Tales, and Sir Gawain and the Green Dragon.

Gluten Free Cheese Gnocchi
Gluten Free Cheese Gnocchi

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the most fun we had was researching food of the Middle Ages. It was completely eye-opening to all of us. Here are just some of the facts we learned:

Roasted Carrots in Almond Milk
Roasted Carrots in Almond Milk
  • Almond milk was a dominant ingredient. In the Middle Ages, dairy and meats were not consumed during Lent. Almond milk was used in everything from pastries, to soups and stews.
  • Fusion cuisine had its advent in the Middle Ages, thanks to the burgeoning  spice-trade brought on by the Crusades.
  • The Middle Ages was the first time that cooking was elevated to an art form.
  • The introduction of sugar into the diet caused early tooth decay, frustrating dentists for generations to come. Study of skeletons from the early Middle Ages shows that most people had their teeth into their later years- until sugar became a sought after ingredient. Go figure.
  • Far from being a time period of bland, tasteless gruel, food in the Middle Ages was richly spiced with saffron, cinnamon, cloves, roasted meats and vegetables, fruit pies and puddings- a veritable feast.
  • Italians ate lasagne and gnocchi in the Middle Ages- different than today’s recipes, but no less tasty.
  • Blanc Mange, Blamage- Literally “White Eating” was a staple across all regions, and the forerunner of chicken and rice.  Each country had their own twist on this casserole type dish.

Our culminating activity was a Medieval Feast, complete with costumes, project presentations, candlelight, and company.

Weaving Demonstration
Weaving Demonstration

 

Viola da Gamba
Viola da Gamba
Timeline
Timeline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipes came from the following cookbooks: The Medieval Cookbook by Maggie Black, The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France & Italy by Odile Redon, Françoise Sabban, & Silvano Serventi, and Medieval Cooking Today by Moira Buxton.

I’m telling you- our ancestors knew how to eat! That was the biggest surprise of the evening- everything was delicious!

Our Menu:

Gluten Free Beer Bread
Gluten Free Beer Bread
  • Sauteed Asparagus with Saffron Sauce
  • Roasted Carrots in Almond Milk
  • Lamb Chops braised in red wine & cherries
  • Blamangez (Chicken & Rice with Almond Milk & Pancetta)
  • Cheese Gnocchi
  • Rice Pudding with Almond Milk & Rosewater
  • Cherry Pottage  (Cherry Pudding cooked with red wine- delish!)
  • Bread made with Ale (Adapted to be gluten-free, and quite tasty)

 

 

 

There were several recipes I wanted to try, but ran out of time- my favorite of these: “Orange Omelette for Harlots and Ruffians“- a simple dessert type recipe with the comment that “(it) can be tasted without running the risk of moral turpitude.”

Honorary Jester

 

Vegan Tacos w/ Quinoa & Black Beans

This post is a little bit special to me, as the recipe was developed with great enthusiasm by the Kitchen Divas in Training. I love more than anything that my girls are expanding their culinary horizons and working to create delicious, nutritious meals. I also love watching how a recipe idea takes shape and then morphs as they move through the process. This originally started out as a quinoa-salad, but as the flavors combined the girls thought it would be even better in a taco- and I have to say I wholeheartedly agree! The recipe is pretty simple, and could be used as a salad if you don’t have taco shells available. Enjoy, and don’t forget to play with your food!
Vegan Tacos- serves 4 with leftovers

Ingredients

1 cup red quinoa (white is also okay)

2 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1 large tomato

1/2 large onion

1 can black beans

1 small cucumber

1 small red pepper

1/2 cup cilantro

2 tbs apple cider vinegar

2 tbs lime

salt and pepper to taste

8-10 cabbage leaves

Avocado and hot sauce for garnish

Taco Shells

Directions

Rinse quinoa, and place in medium pan with stock. Bring to a boil and turn to low. Cook about 20 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, chop the tomato, onion, cucumber, pepper, and parsley and set aside. Thinly chop the cabbage leaves, squirt with a 1/4 lime and set aside for garnish.

When the quinoa has cooked, pour into a large bowl. Add all the vegetables except the cabbage and combine.

Fill taco shells, and garnish with cabbage, avocado, and of course- New Mexico Red Chile Sauce! Squirt with a lime and eat your heart out!

Caramel Apple Pie

Greetings from Toronto!!

The Adventuresome Kitchen has been up here on a whirlwind 48-hour Gluten-Free tour. We have eaten our way across the city and only scratched the surface of the delicious gluten-free opportunities here. I will be posting on our Toronto experience later this week, but for now- here’s a photo teaser.

And yes….for those of you who are “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” fans, you may recognize one of these photos!

And now, let’s talk Pie!!! How about a Caramel Apple Pie?

This month’s Burwell General Store Recipe Swap features a recipe called “Ozarkian Taffy Apples”.

There was some conversation in our group about why this recipe was called “Ozarkian”. Now, I can’t say for sure, but I do have a few ideas. I live just west of the Ozarks, and I do know that apples have played a big part in their history. It is said that Johnny Appleseed came through the Ozarks in the early 1800’s, introducing apples to the region. However they got here, by the late 1800’s pioneers from the Dakotas frustrated by drought and the brutal conditions of farming in the high plains were backtracking to the Ozarks ready to try their hand at raising apples. Laura Ingalls Wilder, her husband Almanzo, and their daughter Rose were among those seeking to improve their fortunes by raising apples (among other things)in the Ozarks.

During apple season, our local farmer’s markets are filled with many varieties of heirloom apples and I thought it would be great to learn what kind of apples Laura cooked with on her farm. I contacted the very kind people at the Laura Ingalls Wilder home in Mansfield, Missouri to find out what kind of apples Laura and Almanzo grew, and was told that the two varieties on Rocky Ridge farm were Ben Davis and Missouri Pippin. I’ve had Pippins before and they are a great pie apple. For me, the idea of making a pie with apples that may have been grown on Laura’s farm was irresistible, and the Caramel Apple Pie was born. I started working on this recipe last fall, in the hopes of making a nice apple post, but wasn’t happy with the results, and was happy to give it another try. I used Braeburns for this pie and felt their slightly tart flavor worked nicely against the sweet of the caramel-type filling. I also added lots of pecans- because for me- when I have a candied apple, it always has to have nuts.

The Kitchen Divas in Training had to get in on this adventure as well, and did a great job of making their own pie. You can bet I’ll be making this again during apple season and looking for Laura’s apples at the farmer’s market!

Be sure to visit the recipe swap page at Burwell General Store and check out the links to my fellow blogger’s sites- you will be in for some delicious apple treats this month!

Gluten Free Caramel Apple Pie

Makes One 8-9 inch pie

Ingredients

Pie Crust (gluten free if you need)

5-6 apples (enough to make about 6 cups, chopped)

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 tbs corn starch

1 tbs lemon juice

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Caramel Topping

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped pecans

1 stick (8oz) butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbs cornstarch

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 and move oven rack to the bottom third of the oven.

In a medium bowl, combine chopped apples, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch, and set aside.

Roll out half of the pie crust and place it on the pie pan. Cover with 1/2 cup of the pecan pieces. Set aside.

In a second bowl, combine the remaining brown sugar, butter, cornstarch and pecans.

Roll out the top crust for the pie and cut out any decorations you may like.

Add the apple mixture to the pie pan. Place the caramel topping over the apples, covering the apples completely.

Pour the heavy cream over the mixture and cover with the top crust.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, then turn the oven to 350 and bake for another 30-45 minutes- until the crust is golden and the juices are bubbling out of the holes. You may need to cover the crust with aluminum or a pie ring if the outside of the crust browns too quickly.

If you can- wait at least 4 hours before eating. This allows the juices to firm up. You are certainly welcome to enjoy immediately, but your pie will be a bit more crumbly. This pie tastes absolutely fabulous for breakfast!!



Gluten Free Lemon Cake

This just in: The Online Bakesale for Japan raised $8269 dollars. That will turn into over 80,o00 worth of food at Second Harvest in Japan! Many thanks to my fellow bloggers who donated such beautiful food, and to the generous people who participated in the auction.

Welcome to the April edition of the Burwell General Store recipe swap! This month’s subject was a crazy cake recipe that provided the perfect opportunity to talk about kitchen chemistry- something anyone who bakes may understand intuitively, but that is really helpful to understand more deeply- especially if you’re baking gluten-free.

To recap: Christianna, the fabulous blogger at Burwell General Store found an old cookbook and several months ago invited a group of folks to take one recipe each month and put their own twist on it. I joined the group last month, and it’s been fun to get to know my fellow bloggers, as well as challenge myself in the kitchen. And this month’s cake, was certainly that! Here is the original recipe:

Wacky cake indeed! What excited me about the Wacky cake was that it only used baking soda and vinegar for leavening. No egg, no baking powder- only these two magical ingredients. What is so special about these two ingredients you may ask? Step into my kitchen lab and I will show you!

The Kitchen Divas in Training are now schooling at home, and for science, we are currently studying chemistry. I am as excited as they are about this, because I chickened out of high school chemistry, and in the past year as I have delved more deeply into gluten-free baking, I’ve found myself wishing I understood chemistry better than I do… If you’re curious about chemistry, or have kids who are curious- I highly recommend this series of books– even if they go to traditional school. They’re informative and fun. I personally like all the smiley faces on the different atoms!

So what goes on with vinegar and baking soda when you bake? Well, this:

Cool huh? Baking soda- a base, is reacting with vinegar- an acid. A rather explosive combination.. Add sugar, and the result is amplified. On a molecular level the vinegar and baking soda atoms are switching partners- that’s what’s creating the bubbles.. And, in the kitchen- what happens when you add this to flour and oil, and pop it into a hot oven? Puffy cake!! well…. most of the time, as our kitchen experiments showed.

For this challenge we hypothesized that a cake made with lemon would have a similar lift as the chocolate cake. Chocolate is also considered an acid, and can help increase the amount of bubbles in an acid-base reaction. Honey is also considered an acid- as is an egg…the addition of any of these ingredients can help facilitate the proper reaction to ensure a puffy cake… For our cake, we went with lemon and honey. I had a beautiful jar of the palest yellow acacia honey from our trip to Paris that I had been saving for something special, and since it seemed like sunshine in a bottle, we thought it would be the perfect compliment to the Meyer lemons we picked up.

Now, like all good experimenters, we decided we needed a control. So while one young scientist worked on the experimental recipe, the other created the original Wacky Cake recipe, using the same gluten-free flours as the experimental recipe.

Here’s some of what we learned:

While the acid-base reaction helps give batter a lift, gluten-free chemistry is slightly more delicate. In addition to making sure you have the right proportion of acid to base, you also have to have the right combination of gluten-free flours. Otherwise you end up with gummy cake that tastes like the tapioca balls at the bottom of a bubble tea, like this picture to the left. Notice that the chocolate control cake is puffier. That’s because the chocolate provided additional acid for the reaction.

The shape of the cooking vessel makes a big difference. This recipe calls for mixing the cake in the pan it’s baked in. All well and good, but it’s hard to get the flour wet in the corners. We had the bright idea- well I did at least- of cooking the cake in a stainless steel bowl- the one it was mixed in. I had visions of a rounded lemony puffy cake, not unlike those enormous muffin tins used to make barbie cakes or Easter egg cakes. Not only did we end up cooking cake number two for an hour, but the middle was still uncooked, and upon removing it from the bowl, it looked like this:

The third time was the charm, however. The flours were adjusted properly, we’d gone back to a square baking vessel (more surface to heat the batter), and we’d adjusted the lemon/acid content to where we got a decent lift in the cake!

In conclusion, we learned a lot in our little experiment, including that I rely very heavily on eggs to act as a binder and a lifting agent in some form. To achieve lift using only an acid-base reaction is possible, but easier in a chocolate cake than a citrus cake. Our gluten free lemon cake has a great moisture content- due in large part to the honey, and it has a nice crumb. It’s sweet, but not too sweet- and I’ll be having a slice with my morning coffee. No doubt the Kitchen Divas in Training will be asking for a slice with their breakfast as well!

Be sure to stop by the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap Page to get a run down of all the participating bloggers. Links to their sites are there, and you will enjoy the delicious variety of cake offered this month!

Gluten-Free Lemon Cake

makes 1 9×9 cake

Ingredients

3/4 cup tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

3/4 cup brown rice flour  

1/4 cup almond meal

4 tbs sugar

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp xanthan gum

zest from 2 lemons

5 tbs melted butter

1 cup cold water

1/2 cup honey

3 tbs lemon juice

Directions

In the pan you are baking in, place all the dry ingredients and stir with a fork to fully mix. Using a 2 cup measuring cup, combine water, honey and lemon juice. Stir until honey has dissolved. Next, make a hole in the center and add the melted butter. While stirring, add the remaining liquid. You will see bubbles start to form as the baking soda and lemon juice begin to react. Combine ingredients and place in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Turn to 350 and cook an additional 20 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Gluten Free Straw and Hay Pasta

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! While we do get on our Irish around here, today’s post will not feature corned beef, colcannon, bannocks, boxtys or any other typical Irish fare…. But in keeping with the spirit of green everything today, this fun dish includes green pasta!

This recipe for Straw and Hay pasta was re-created by my oldest Kitchen Diva in Training. She has started working on geography by checking out cookbooks from different countries and then selecting a dish or two to prepare- how cool is that? And, since this has really been her project from start to finish, it’s only fitting that you hear from the KDiT herself about the ins and outs of this special recipe. Without further ado, I present to you one of my two amazing Kitchen Divas in Training!

KD: “A”, what was your inspiration for this dish?

KDiT: I like Italian food. I liked the way the straw and hay pasta looked with two different colors- green for hay and yellow for straw, and I liked all the ingredients used.

KD: Where did this dish come from?

KDiT: The city of Siena, in Tuscany.

KD: What was the biggest challenge for you?

KDiT: I think waiting for the pasta to cook.

KD: What was your favorite part of making the dish?

KDiT: I liked the cooking part- preparing and cooking the ingredients that went with the pasta.

KD: My favorite part was taking pictures of you. Did you have fun? What part was the most fun?

KDiT: YES!! I think it’s really fun when I get to cook- I make really good food. (She says with a satisfied smile…..)

KD: Yes, you do! What did you learn?

KDit: That the pasta takes a long time to cook; that you have to be super patient so that your food comes out the way it needs to be cooked. I also learned that Italian food uses lots of fresh produce….and lots of cheese!

KD: When I cook, I don’t really follow the recipe- I use it as a guide, and I always have to change something. You stuck to the recipe exactly the way it was written. Can you tell me your thoughts about that?

KDit: I stuck to the recipe because I wanted to try something new.  I like to cook the exact recipe out of the cookbook because sometimes when you cook off of the recipe it tastes different, and not like what the recipe intended. I wanted to see what this recipe tasted like!

KD: So, do you think you want to make another dish sometime?

KDit: Oh YES!!! (I was told I had to put in the capital letters!)

This dish comes from the children’s cookbook “Cooking the Italian Way” by Alphonse Bisignano. Thanks, A! You teach me so much when you cook. Enjoy the recipe and may your St. Patrick’s Day be filled with a little luck o’the Irish! Cheers!

Straw & Hay/Paglia e Fieno

4 servings

Ingredients 

4oz thin spinach noodles, uncooked (we used gluten-free)

4oz fettucini noodles, uncooked (we used gluten-free)

3 tbs butter,

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup peas

4 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced

3/4 cup heavy cream or half n half

1/2 tsp salt

pepper to taste

1/4 grated Parmesan, plus extra for the table.

Directions

Cook noodles in boiling salted water until they are al dente. Drain and toss with half the butter. Cover and set aside.

Melt remaining butter in a large saucepan. Saute garlic until golden.  Add peas and mushrooms and cook over low heat for 5 minutes. In a separate pan, heat the cream but do not boil.

Add the noodles, cream, salt and pepper to the vegetables and toss until noodles are thoroughly coated. Remove from heat and add cheese. Serve on warm plates.

Arugula Salad

If you’re following a gluten free diet or  just need more veggies, this delicious and easy arugula salad is perfect for lunch or dinner. Arugula is an overlooked green, usually relegated to garnish status. When paired with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little goat cheese, the typically bitter arugula greens become almost sweet. Put down the frozen burrito- in the time it takes to unwrap the burrito and thaw it in the microwave, you can be eating a nutritious salad full of antioxidants that’s good for your tastebuds and your waistline!

This recipe has been filed under our Junior Chef’s category because it actually belongs to one of our Kitchen Divas in Training. She came up with this little beauty all on her own, and I’m impressed with her willingness to experiment in the kitchen and try new things. I’m a particular fan of bitter greens like arugula, but children generally take some maturing before warming up to them. This needs no seasoning but the Kitchen Diva in Training says you may add some if you like.

For her dairy-free friends, she recommends substituting dried sour cherries, pine nuts, or something else you enjoy! Children love to eat what they’ve made, so grab your favorite young chef in training and practice making a salad!

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