Sauteed Kale with Quinoa- 20 Minute Easy Meal

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This also happens to be the 3rd Anniversary of The Adventuresome Kitchen- so my heartfelt thanks to all of you who have shared the journey and spread the word about this community. Without your support and encouragement, none of this would have been possible. I am so excited about what The Adventuresome Kitchen will be rolling out in the next couple of months- so stay tuned!!

GF Irish Soda Bread FinalOne of the inspirations for starting this blog three years ago was my ongoing effort to come up with a good Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread. I don’t make it much anymore- especially since our diet has moved away from a lot of unnecessary carbs. But for St. Patty’s or another special occasion, where you want a simple quickbread with great flavor and texture,try it out.

Pan Seared Chipotle Rubbed Corned BeefI’m very proud of it. And, upon further review- since it’s yet again cold and rainy- I think perhaps some pan seared chipotle corned beef is in order too!

However- if simple and fast is all you have time for- and that about sums up my life these days. Enjoy a nutritious, healthy and delicious meal of Sauteed Kale over quinoa. We’ve been eating this a lot lately. It’s one of those dishes that leaves you filled up both in stomach and heart. And it’s super high in protein and antioxidants. How can you go wrong?

Sauteed Kale with Quinoa

IngredientsSauteed Kale & Quinoa

2 cups uncooked quinoa (we used tri-color, but any will do)

4 cups water

2 bouillon cubes (optional)

16oz de-stemmed kale leaves, chopped into small strips

2 tbs olive oil or butter

salt or other herbs of your choice

lemon juice and/or parmesan for garnish

Directions

Rinse quinoa and place in a medium pan with 4 cups water. Add bouillon or salt if you desire. Bring to a boil and turn heat to low. Cook until water has absorbed and seeds have popped- about 20-25 minutes

When the quinoa is ready, heat a large skillet. Add olive oil or butter. When the olive oil shimmers, add the kale. Saute very briefly- no more than 2 minutes. Turn off the heat. The residual heat will wilt the leaves the rest of the way. Add salt, truffle salt, herbes de provence, or other seasonings of your choice.

To serve- place quinoa in a bowl, top with Kale. Garnish with your preferred flavorings: A squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of parmesan, or a drizzle of garlic tahini or even pesto. YUM!

See? I told you this was easy!!

Gluten Free Fondue

Kansas City Blizzard 2013Before I get going, I must thank my friend Steve, author at Oui Chef, for inspiring me to hop on the fondue bandwagon last night. Kansas City has been buried under snow again. This is highly unusual- especially considering that the last two winters left us with less than 11 inches of snow combined! Steve is one of my favorite bloggers. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu, and is passionate about subjects such as local food and food sustainability. And most importantly, teaching his children to cook- as am I. While not everything on his blog is gluten-free, it’s a place I go for inspiration and encouragement to explore new flavors and techniques. If you don’t subscribe to his blog-you should!

Yesterday, Steve posted a great fondue recipe by Rachel Ray (it also happens to be gluten-free!). As I was sitting at home wondering what to cook as the snow started to fly- fondue seemed perfect. It brings up images of snowy chalets, cosy fires, and decadent eating.

gluten free fondueNow, I am probably the only fondue fan in the world who doesn’t actually own a fondue pot. They’re unitaskers, and I am firmly opposed to unitaskers. Until I can justify a rarely used piece of equipment taking up precious space in my cabinets, I won’t be buying a fondue pot. But don’t despair. If you find yourself in the same boat, a good stainless steel pot or my favorite- enameled cast iron, will do the trick nicely. I pulled out my small Le Creuset and went to town. If you opt to use a regular cooking pot, your fondue will thicken as it cools and get a bit stringy. If that bothers you- simply place the pot back on the stove for a few minutes to melt everything again.

My gluten free fondue recipe was adapted from The Bonne Femme Cookbook. Many cheesy fondue recipes call for the addition of a few tablespoons of flour. You can easily substitute sorghum flour, rice flour, or even cornstarch in these instances, and not compromise the flavor or texture of the end result.

herbes de provenceI also opted out of the traditional nutmeg seasoning in favor of the sunnier and warmer flavors invoked by herbes de provence. I happened to be lucky enough to receive some freshly dried herbes from my dad, and they’ve gone into everything I’ve made over the last few days. They are a great way to jazz up everything from broccoli to eggs to soups and salads.

Lastly, there are no hard and fast rules about what to serve with fondue. We enjoyed broccoli, mushrooms, gluten-free toasted garlic bread (directions will appear below), pears & bresaola. Basically- anything you enjoy with cheese is a candidate to dip in the fondue pot. As always- feel free to modify this recipe as your heart desires. Fondue is a fun finger food to enjoy with the people you love!

Gluten Free Fondue (a main dish for 4 or an appetizer for 8-10: adapted from The Bonne Femme Cookbook)

gluten free fondue with gluten free garlic toastIngredients

1 1/4 lbs shredded gruyere, emmental, or comte cheese (or a combo)

5 tbs sorghum flour (other gf flours would work too)

1 garlic clove, + 2 tbs minced garlic

1 1/2 cups dry white wine (we used a burgundy)

3 tbs herbes de provence

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

Directions

Toss the shredded cheese with the flour. Make sure that the flour is evenly distributed and coats and many of the cheese shreds as possible.

Rub the whole clove over the inside of the pot. Place the minced garlic and the wine in the pan. Bring to a simmer. Add the cheese one handful of a time and allow to absorb completely before adding the next handful. It is really important to not let the mixture actively boil. Your pot needs to be hot enough to melt the cheese, but not so hot that it boils. For my stove, this was just under the half-way mark on the stove.

When the cheese has been fully incorporated add the milk, herbes, salt & pepper, and continue to stir. The fondue is ready when it’s a thick, liquidy (ie non-stringy) mass. Bring to the table and enjoy with your dipping ingredients.

Dipping Ingredients

raw vegetables or fruit, gluten-free crackers, or gluten-free garlic bread. Gently roasted vegetables (enough that they’re partially cooked and softened, but not so much that they’re mushy- you want them to hold up in the sauce)

roasted broccoli & mushroomspears & pomegranates

To Make Gluten Free Garlic Toast

gluten free garlic toastTake 4 (or whatever number you like) pieces of gluten-free bread. Place them on a toaster oven tray or a cookie sheet if using the oven. Brush olive oil over the tops- make sure you get into the little nooks and crannies. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until you start smelling the bread toasting.

Remove from the oven. Take a clove of garlic, cut off the end, and rub it vigorously over the toasted top. One clove is usually good for about 4 slices. Of course, if you like bread that is more garlicky- you can be more generous, or scrape the garlic on both sides of the bread. Discard the skins and enjoy!

Thai Cashew Sauce- a delicious Thai Peanut Sauce Substitute

Thai Cashew SauceIn addition to dealing with the ups and downs of being Celiac, I am also allergic to peanuts (there are other things I’m allergic to, but those two are the worst offenders and the ones I have to avoid completely). I am extremely grateful that my peanut allergy was diagnosed long before I ever had an anaphylactic reaction. While the smell of peanuts makes me feel yucky, the worst I get upon accidental consumption is a bad case of indigestion.

I count myself among the lucky.

The only place I find myself really wishing peanuts weren’t so evil for me as at the Thai restaurants we like to frequent around town. Most Thai food is naturally gluten-free, and I find that I prefer the fresh flavors and lack of soy sauce over Chinese food. How can you not fall in love with a bowl of Pho with its cilantro, basil, chile, and lime? And the spring rolls! Mr. Kitchen Diva informs me that spring rolls are even better dipped in the peanut sauce….sigh…That left me with only one choice- make my own substitute.

Cashews seemed like the obvious choice, especially becuase they are so prevalent in Asian cooking. You could easily use ready made cashew butter for this, I didn’t have any on hand, and found it just as easy to grind my own cashews. In addition to using the sauce for dipping home made spring rolls, we discovered it tasted great on gently sauteed kale. I’m ready to schmear it on a piece of toast next!

Below you’ll find the recipe for the Thai Cashew Sauce, and a few basic instructions for making your own spring rolls. Spring rolls, like pizza and pasta, are a great canvas for whatever you like. We filled ours with rice noodles, fresh basil,  and a shredded salad (recipe to come in the future) the Kitchen Divas in Training invented. While we call can use more practice in the act of rolling, the end result was delicious and we’ll be happy to attempt them again in the near future. In fact, the next time I go out for Thai food, I’ll be packing this along in a mini to-go container!

Remember, this month’s GF Baking Challenge is to tackle Le Macaron! Join me and feel free to post your comments or questions. Better yet- send me a photo of your baking experience and I’ll post it on the final month’s round-up!

Thai Cashew Sauce- makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups cashews (we used roasted & unsalted, but you could use any kind)

1 can of coconut milk (do NOT use lite coconut milk!)

1/2 cup brown sugar Thai Cashew Sauce

1/2 cup water

4 tbs Thai red chile paste (we used Thai Kitchen- use more for more heat)

2 tbs rice wine vinegar

1 tbs fresh ginger (1 tsp ginger powder would also work)

juice from 1/4 of a lime

1/2 tsp salt (omit if you are using salted cashews)

3-10 drops of fish sauce

Directions

If you are grinding your own cashews: Place cashews in a food processor and grind. In order to get a smooth paste you may need to add a bit of oil. We used toasted sesame oil, but you could use grapeseed, canola, or another unflavored oil. I do not recommend using olive oil.

In a medium saucepan, place all of the ingredients- including the cashew paste. Stir over medium heat until well combined and slightly soupy. Mixture will firm up in the refrigerator. You can soften it by adding a bit more liquid, or rewarming. Will keep at least a week in the refrigerator.

 

For making Spring Rolls

Making spring rolls is easy. Before you assemble them, make sure you have all of your ingredients laid out and ready to go. You can fill spring rolls with pretty much anything you like, fresh vegetables, tropical fruits, tofu, meats..the possibilities are unlimited.

Spring rolls are made from rice paper, which is naturally gluten-free. You can find them in both small and large sizes in the asian section of your market, or at an asian specialty store.

Soften the rice paper round in a bit of warm water. We find a  large dinner plate works perfectly for this. When the paper has fully softened, lift it up, gently shake to remove extra water and lay flat on your prep surface.

Place your ingredients in a mount slightly off of center. To wrap, fold the shortest end of the paper over the filling and pull tight. Next, fold over the sides so that the filling doesn’t fall out. Then roll tightly on itself. Et Voilá!

Thai Spring RollsRolling Thai Spring RollsThai Spring Roll

 

 

 

 

Red Onion Confit

New Year's Eve 2013“Tomorrow is fresh, with no mistakes in it.” says Miss Stacey from Anne of Green Gables. I always feel that way at the beginning of a new year. The New Year is fresh, stretching out before us with hopes, dreams, and goals- just waiting for us to dive in.

We all have New Year’s rituals. For some it may be writing resolutions, staying up until midnight to watch the New York City ball drop, or having a champagne toast New Year’s morning. For me- it involves cleaning like a madwoman. For years now, I have spent the final days of the year cleaning out, organizing, and decluttering. It’s been my way of making room for whatever might come to me in the new year. I firmly believe you have to make space for the things you want in your life. And for me, New Year’s cleaning is an act of creating space for new opportunities, new relationships, and new outlooks (not to mention, I really do enjoy a clean house!)

There will be some changes coming to The Adventuresome Kitchen this year; changes that I’m very excited about. For starters- this month I’ve created a specific challenge around the GF baking that intimidates me the most.

January’s challenge? Le Macaron!

My first and so far-only attempt! Beginner's luck is good!
Le Macaron: my first and so far-only attempt- I Love Beginner’s Luck!

I’ve had pretty good beginner’s luck with Macarons, but always shy away from them when it comes to baking. Why? Basically, I’m a big chicken. No Longer! 2013 is the year of facing down fears in the name of Adventuresome Cooking!

I invite you to join me in this month’s challenge. Let this be a forum for ideas and help to your fellow GF bakers. At the end of this month, I will post about the experience. Send me your photos and input, and I’ll post those too!

There will be other changes as well- more restaurant and product reviews, an update to Gluten-Free Paris (!), and a few other surprises you’ll just have to wait for.

A fast, easy, and deliciously elegant accompaniment to any cheese board.
Red Onion Confit: A fast, easy, and deliciously elegant accompaniment to any cheese board.

 

In the meantime- if you’re looking for something quick and elegant to bring to a New Year’s dinner or bowl-watching party- look no further. This red onion confit is the perfect blend of sweet and savory, and a lovely addition to a baked brie. Instead of spending twelve dollars or more on snobby jelly, why not spend a dollar or two at the most for a red onion, a little sugar and red wine, a few figs and some fresh rosemary?

Happy New Year fellow GF Foodies! I wish you all the best in this fresh, unblemished New Year. May your wildest dreams- in the kitchen and beyond- come true in 2013!

 

 

 

Red Onion Confit

IngredientsFreshly Chopped Red Onion

1 med-large red onion, diced

1 cup diced figs (I like the mission or turkish ones)

1 cup red wine

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tbs salted butter (unsalted is okay, but add a dash of salt)

2 tsp fresh, finely chopped rosemary + a sprig for garnish

a few twists of fresh cracked pepper

 

Directions

Fig, Sugar, & Red Wine mixture.
Fig, Sugar, & Red Wine mixture.

Melt the butter in a medium saute pan over medium heat. Remember to always heat the pan first, then add the fat when the pan is hot. Add the onions and stir occasionally.

In a separate bowl, combine figs, sugar, and wine. A word about red wine– I believe you should use wine you would actually drink- i.e. a decent bottle. Others say two-buck chuck is fine since you’re boiling it. While the subtleties of a nicer bottle may be erased with the heat, the overall character of the wine will remain. If you start with vinegar, you will end with vinegar. Otherwise, why cook with red wine at all, and  just use cheap vinegar?

When the onions are soft- in about 10 minutes- add the bowl of figs/sugar/wine. Stir until the liquid has reduced by half, and has thickened- about 10 more minutes.

To serve: Place several spoonfuls over a warmed brie wheel and garnish with chopped rosemary, a few twists of the pepper mill and a fresh rosemary sprig.  OR: Place in a decorative bowl and garnish with the herbs/pepper.

Once cooled, you may place in a jar or tupperware. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week- if it lasts that long. We polished ours off in two days!

 

Shrimp Scampi w/ Black & White Quinoa

DSC04941I’ve never done this before, but last night I found myself cruising through my recipe notebook looking for something to cook. I came across a recipe I’d scribbled down the night we had a few good friends passing through on their way to a new city and new jobs. One of the ingredients was *extra love. We talked about Strega Nona’s pasta pot that night, and how food is better with extra love. I’ve modified the recipe to work with quinoa instead of pasta- but you could easily return it to pasta and substitute lemon (an original ingredient) for lime. I like quinoa, and when I cook with starch I try and use it as much as I can. It’s nutritionally denser, and therefore better for your body. The love is still in the recipe, and I hope as you go about the busyness of your holiday schedule you make room for extra love in your kitchen!

 

Black and White Shrimp Scampi

1 cup dried black quinoa Black & White Quinoa

1 cup dried white quinoa

1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined (tails can be on or off)

6 oz sundried tomatoes (chop if they don’t come that way)

1 small jar (4 oz) of capers, drained

1 bulb garlic

zest and juice of 3 limes

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

shredded parmesan for garnish

4 tbs olive oil

*extra love

Directions

Black & White Shrimp ScampiRinse quinoa. Add to a medium pan and fill with 4 cups of water. Add salt if you desire. If you don’t want to reserve extra quinoa for breakfast the next day (recipe forthcoming) you could cook with chicken stock. Cover and cook over medium heat. When the water boils (usually evidenced by a rattling lid or steam sneaking out the sides), turn to low and carry on with the rest of the recipe.

Smash and peel the garlic cloves. Heat large saute pan over medium. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Add the garlic, give a quick stir to coat and then turn heat down to medium-low. It’s very important not to scorch the garlic.  If it turns brown it will taste bitter.

Add sundried tomatoes and capers. Stir again. Zest and juice the limes, and set aside. Finely chop the parsely and set aside. Add the shrimp to the large pot with the garlic and tomatoes. Heat through if already cooked, or cook until bright pink if the shrimp are raw. Remove from heat as soon as shrimp are ready.

When the quinoa is cooked and is light and fluffy, remove from the heat and reserve about 1/3 of the cooked quinoa to cool. Place the rest in a large serving bowl and add the parsley and lime-both zest and juice. Toss until evenly distributed. Make a hole in the center of the bowl and add the shrimp mixture. Garnish with parmesan if you like. Don’t forget to add the extra love- it’s the most important ingredient.

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup w/ Ginger & Turmeric

 In France, Rentrée signals the resumption of the regular life- the beginning of the school year, the resumption of Parliament, etc. For me, this signals the return to the things in my life that keep me grounded: cooking, eating with loved ones, chopping vegetables with my favorite knife. For the last 4 1/2 months, I’ve been directing a political campaign for a good friend of mine. To say this was all-consuming is a modest understatement. I was left with no time to sleep, eat, breathe, see my family, do laundry, clean, or read, let alone even think about cooking and writing for pleasure.

In spite of the strain, there were many discoveries we made along this journey-  for instance the oldest Kitchen Diva in Training is becoming more proficient and creative in the kitchen. She is growing up too quickly, and rapidly making the transition from little girl to young lady. And, Mr. Kitchen Diva has discovered that he’s not the schlump in the kitchen he always thought he was. In fact, he is downright impressive!

Our kitchen is changing. Cooking is no longer a solo event where I am Queen of all I survey. It has become a collaboration and a time of connection. The simplest meals take on new dimension with a dash of inspiration here, a suggestion there, a sprinkle of this and that. We have re-entered our lives transformed by the experiences of the last several months; deeply appreciative of our connection to each other and the meals that bind us together.

Our soup- an East meets West version of gluten free chicken noodle soup- is wholly comforting, and very easy to throw together. The best part? Getting reacquainted with my favorite knife while chopping the onions. Our secret for bright greens that don’t lose their color? Place them in the bottom of the bowl and pour the hot soup over them. They’ll cook perfectly without going too far- no need to lose those nutrients to overcooking.

Wherever you find yourself this fall, whether in the kitchen, on the road, or climbing mountains (physical or metaphorical); share the journey. And remember, too many cooks in the kitchen is sometimes a good thing!

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup w/ Ginger & Turmeric

Serves 4 with a little leftover

Ingredients

2 small onions (1 large)

3-4 celery stalks

3 carrots

2 cups of diced potatoes

2-3 cups of diced leftover chicken

2 cups of uncooked, gluten-free pasta

3 quarts chicken stock

2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ginger powder or 2 tsp minced fresh

1 tb crushed thyme

1 tsp garlic powder or 2 tsp minced fresh

ground pepper to taste

salt to taste (likely not necessary unless using low-sodium stock)

4-5 cups uncooked spinach or other greens

1 cup chopped basil

2-3 tbs olive oil

Directions

Chop onions, carrots and celery into a small dice. Heat a large stock pot and drizzle the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Add the veggies (not the potatoes). When the onions and celery have softened, add the potatoes. Next, add the herbs/spices. This should have the effect of making  a paste. As soon as the paste begins to stick to the pan, begin to add the stock. Add a little at first in order to deglaze the pan, and then add the rest. Add the chicken and bring to a boil. Once the soup is boiling, add the pasta and cook 6-8 more minutes- until the pasta is just undercooked- it will soften the rest of the way as the soup cools down.

While the noodles are cooking,  place the uncooked greens in the bottom of each bowl. Just before serving, chop the basil and use it as a garnish. Ladle the soup over the greens and garnish with the chopped basil.

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!

Ratatouille Burger

It’s high summer around here, and the heat has broken for a day or two. Just long enough for us to step outside and fire up the grill. And what says summer more beautifully than grilled veggies and burgers?  The heat will be returning with a vengeance this week, and we’ll be hiding in the cool of the basement and longing for cooler climes before we know it. The late summer vegetables have been at the farmer’s market for the last few weeks, and while my family is still sick of all the Ratatouille I made last August and September, the were at least open to enjoying those ingredients in a different form. Below you will find a Ratatouille Burger with a Sundried-Tomato Roulade,  perfect for an al-fresco evening when the temperature finally dips into the low 90’s or high 80’s… Yes, it’s been THAT hot here!

To make the perfect burger- we recommend checking out this post here (you may want to leave out the Feta, or use a different type of cheese though)

Ratatouille Burger with Sundried Tomato Roulade

Ingredients

1 eggplant, sliced for the grill 

1 zucchini, sliced for the grill

1 onion, sliced for the grill

Hamburgers of your choice

Sundried Tomato Roulade

6 oz sundried tomatoes

4 cloves garlic

2 cups fresh basil

olive oil

Directions

Cook the meat and grill the vegetables to your desired level of doneness.  Meanwhile, make the roulade by combining the sundried tomatoes, garlic and basil in a food processor. I always use dried sundried tomatoes, but if you use the sundried tomatoes preserved in olive oil, reserve the olive oil for the second step. Once you’ve processed the ingredients into bitty pieces, leave the processor on and slowly pour in the olive oil until a thick paste has formed. You can make this paste as thick or as soupy as you like. We preferred a thicker paste, but the consistency is entirely up to you.

Stack the ingredients on a lightly toasted GF Bun (We like Udi’s) brushed with olive oil. Schmear the roulade on the top bun and enjoy!

 

 

Pisco Sours, Gluten Free Huancaina Sauce, & Lomo Saltado

Themed nights seem to be turning into a regularity around here. And although our Peruvian night meal was more of a celebration and send-off, we definitely learned a few things.

A good friend and fellow foodie, who lived in Peru the better part of last year, offered to share a few things he’d learned how to cook there before jetting off on his next adventure. These recipes come straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak- right from the kitchen of some delicious and unknown restaurant in Cusco, and straight into your stomach!

I have found that while traveling, food can be the great equalizer and ice-breaker. Ask anyone to show you a favorite recipe and you have an instant rapport- not to mention an insight into their culture and a shared experience of enjoying a meal together. There are days when I think that if our world leaders just duked it out in the kitchen, we’d be a lot better off.

We began our evening with the traditional Peruvian cocktail- Pisco Sours. Pisco is a liquor native to Peru, made from grapes. It is not like Grappa- which is made from pomace- the pulp, seeds, and stems of leftover wine grapes. It’s more like vodka made with grapes.

Pisco Sours- 4-5 servings (about 1/2 pitcher)

3 parts (Shots) pisco

2 tbs sugar or simple syrup

juice from 1 lime (2 parts/shots)

1 egg white

handful of ice-cubes

Directions: throw all ingredients into a blender and mix until the egg-white gets frothy. Serve with a dash of bitters. We used Peychaud’s, but angostura bitters are more traditional.

I think this recipe is delicious-and has the potential for tons of variation. Add a flavored simple syrup, muddle with herbs…make your own version- you can’t really go wrong with good bones like this.

Next up on our list of Peruvian delights was the famous spicy-cheese sauce Huancaina, served traditionally over cold potatoes. This was flipping delicious and the sauce, downright addictive. I think it’s going to have to be my new nacho sauce. The leftovers were great on everything. It had never occurred to me that one could make a cheese sauce without melting the cheese, but that is exactly what we did, thanks to the addition of evaporated milk. My favorite flavor in this dish comes from the traditional Peruvian chile paste, Aji Molido. It ranks right up there with good New Mexican chile, and I will be ordering it in bulk. Of note: Traditional Huancaina is made with Saltines- and therefore, one of the few things in Peru that celiacs must avoid. Keep that in mind should you decide to travel there.  We all liked this dish so much that it may have to make an appearance at our annual 4th of July Picnic!

 

Gluten-Free Huancaina Sauce (or Papas con Huancaina)

8oz queso fresco (any farmer’s cheese will do, or even a pressed ricotta)

1 bag Aji Molido (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

1 can evaporated milk

6-10 gluten-free crackers depending on how thick you like the sauce. We used Glutino

splash of olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Throw all the ingredients in the food processor and run until thick and smooth- about 1 minute. Add more crackers to get the desired thickness. For a traditional presentation, serve over cold potatoes. Can be used over rice, as a sauce to anything- stirfry, eggs, for nachos- you name it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, we enjoyed the traditional street-fare Lomo Saltado – literally translated as “jumped loin”. This is basically South American beef stir-fry served over rice and with french fries. I was surprised to learn that populations from Southeast Asia began migrating across the Pacific and settling in Peru in the mid-19th century. With them came their food, and an early version of East meets West Food Mash-Up! The beef in this dish is traditionally marinated in soy sauce, so again- be aware should you travel to Peru- this dish is likely not for you. Again- I was surprised and delighted by the flavor in this dish. Spicy warm chiles meets soy sauce, garlic and vinegar. You could even add ginger!

Lomo Saltado- serves 8


1.5 lbs beef (Strip or skirt steak will work nicely here)

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

3 red bell peppers (we used multi-colors)

1 large tomato

1 bag of frozen french-fries

1 bag Aji Molido or 1/2 a bag of its spicier counterpart Rojo Cojido

gluten-free soy sauce (tamari), vinegar, salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook french-fries in the oven according to instructions. While they’re cooking…..

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper cover with a combination of soy sauce and vinegar. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Chop onion & garlic, set aside. Chop peppers, set aside. Chop tomato, set aside.

In a large bottomed medium-hot pan (ideally a wok), sear beef to desired doneness, set aside. Drain pan, add a splash of oil, then add the onion. Briefly saute until softened (you can cook these down further if you prefer). Remove from pan, add peppers. Saute until softened (again- you can cook these to whatever level of doneness you prefer). Slice beef on the diagonal, replace all ingredients in the pan, give a quick stir and add the tomatoes. Turn off the heat- the residual heat from the pan and food will cook the tomatoes. Add the Aji Molido or the Rojo Cojido. Serve over rice, add the potatoes to the top, garnish with more spicy goodness if you so choose, and enjoy!!!