Greens and Beans: Swiss Chard and Cannellini


Swiss chard and cannellini@ beans

I am not quite sure who figured out that beans and greens is an excellent combination, and that almost any greens and beans can be used, and that, if the beans are cooked (or canned, if you can use them) and the greens aren’t collards (which really do take time), this is a quick and healthy and satisfying meal. I’m a fan because I like greens and often forget how much — until I make another version of this and wonder why I don’t eat this regularly.

Feel free to add a grain of your choice, but I usually skip that. Brown rice is particularly complementary. But in a rush, which I kind of feel I always am lately, beans and greens is enough.

This makes two large servings, three “normal” sized servings, and is great leftover.

Swiss Chard and Cannellini Beans

  • 2 Tablespoons oil of your choice
  • 1 can (or 2 cups) cooked cannellini beans, rinsed and drained (if canned)
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons dry sherry, dry white wine, or water
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped garlic (if using crushed from a jar, use about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 bunch of Swiss chard, rainbow if you can get it, stems chopped, leaves chopped (separated)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (beware “caramel coloring” or other additives) or lemon juice

Heat a large skillet over medium heat until hot.

Add oil. Heat until shimmering.

Add beans. Cook maybe 5 minutes, until they start to crisp a little.

Add pepper and sherry/wine/water. Cook until the liquid you just added is reduced by half.

Add chopped stems and garlic and stir well. Cook 2-3 minutes.

Add chopped chard leaves in handfuls, stirring each handful in as it wilts and adding the next. When it’s all in, add the vinegar or lemon juice, stir well, and let cook another minute. Taste, and add salt, pepper, or olive oil as needed to finish.

2014-09-26 Fabulous Friday Finds

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So it’s that time of year when you have to pick stuff because of the frost.  As some of you know, our green thumb friend, Mary S, was so generous and cool as to grow peppers in her garden for me (Denise) last year and this year. This year, Mary agreed to grow me some really crazy stuff, including the two hottest peppers in the world, the Carolina Reaper and the Moruga Trinidad Scorpion, besides some Habaneros, Hot Paper Lantern habaneros, Red Rockets, Bangkok Thai, Sante Fe, and Prik Chi Faa peppers. The final harvest weighed 11.56 pounds, and the slide show of pictures above show the harvest and what I did with it. I’m swimming in corn safe fiery condiments, woo hoo!!  I did want to make this habanero candy, but I ran out of steam.

Also since it’s fall, it’s apple picking time.  If you’re not sure how to use your apples, check out this chart for what varieties are good for keeping, cooking (pie or sauce), desserts or cider. 

Another thing to love about fall? SOUP WEATHER. Butternut squash ginger soup sounds really good, but I’m also guessing that I could sub in one of the weird squashes I’ve eyed warily at the farm stands. Squash is weird and wonderful. I’m also loving the idea of pumpkin chili.

Next Friday we will be running a contest for free tickets to the GFAF Expo, don’t forget to visit us on October 3, 2014!

MA Earlybird ticket image


WW: Find us at the GFAF Expo in October! (Springfield, MA)

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Hey! Guess who’s going to be official bloggers at the Gluten- and Allergen-free Expo in Springfield, Mass? Us! The weekend of October 25-26, 2014, come on out and find us there. Or, if you’re not local, follow our adventures on our Facebook page. I’d love to say we’ll tweet the experience, but Denise has a law degree and Mary Kate has an art history degree; we’re not succinct.

This will be a chance to talk to a lot of manufacturers about their products and their commitment to providing allergy-friendly foods, meet some interesting people working in the food allergy world, and maybe meet some other bloggers. I’m guessing there will be plenty of food to try, though depending on your allergens and comfort level, your mileage may vary on that. Along with vendors from the major allergy-friendly brands you likely know — Enjoy Life, Earth Balance, and So Delicious popped out to me (Mary Kate) — there are also speakers and classes. I think the class list is the most exciting part, and look forward to checking out the classes on gluten sensitivity and gluten-free flours.

Because of my (Denise’s) other allergies besides wheat, I’m a bit limited in vendors that would have safe products for me. One of the things I’m interested in seeing is Collette Martin’s new book, The Allergy-Free Pantry: Make Your Own Staples, Snacks, and More Without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts. I liked her first book, and I’m interested in the second, although the titles irk me a little. (I just need to say that just because something doesn’t have any of the top 8 allergens, it doesn’t mean it’s allergy free.) I’d also like to talk to the people at Pascha about their chocolate chips and how the vanilla is added, to see if it’s something I could safely trial. San-J will be there. I can use their gluten-free tamari because it uses cane sugar alcohol (I don’t have soy issues), and it looks like I might be able to trial their new Mongolian Sauce. I’m also very much interested in some of the classes.

If you want tickets, you can save $8 a ticket ($3 for kids’ tickets) by buying early. If you click the image link below, you’ll buy tickets “from” us, which nets us a tiny cut for referring you.

MA Earlybird ticket image

Stay tuned, we’ll also have some ticket giveaways in the coming weeks!


Blueberry Habanero Hot Sauce

Blueberry Habanero Hot Sauce (and my pathetic attempt to do a smiley face with the hot sauce bottle dripper)

Blueberry Habanero Hot Sauce (and my pathetic attempt to do a smiley face with the hot sauce bottle dripper)

So remember earlier this summer when I went berry picking with Mary Kate and I made the blueberry barbecue sauce? Well, I also made this Blueberry Habanero Hot Sauce. Just a warning that the outset, when I say hot, I mean hot. This is not a sauce for the faint of spice. Please be advised that my taste buds no longer think that Sriracha is all that hot, and I use it like ketchup, so when I say this is hot, I freaking mean it. Now with that out of the way, it’s really good. I really like the fruity spice combination and it was great to kick up my portion of the ribs we made with the Blueberry Barbecue Sauce to acceptable spice levels. Also, it was really good when I dipped marshmallows into it. I used to have a hot sauce collection in the long ago and far away time before corn, and I had a blueberry hot sauce in it. It’s really nice to get it back.

Blueberry Habanero Hot Sauce

Makes about 4 cups.

  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups of apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup of lime juice
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar
  • 10 habanero peppers, seeds and stems removed, chopped.

Combine all ingredients, except for the habaneros, in a saucepan and bring to a medium boil. Cover the saucepan, and gently boil for 10 minutes.

Place the habaneros and the contents of the saucepan in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.

You can either can this recipe in a water bath as described here – or you can store in the refrigerator or freezer. Also if you’re worried about using up this much hot sauce, you can make half the recipe.

Go blister your taste buds, it’s yummy!

2014-09-19 Fabulous Friday Finds

In honor of my only planned vacation this year, I'm sharing my favorite dinosaur, the mosasaur (which I might be spelling correctly) at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. She's awesome.

In honor of my only planned vacation this year, I’m sharing my favorite dinosaur, the mosasaur (which I might be spelling correctly) at the State Historical Society of North Dakota. She’s awesome.

I don’t know what it’s like where you are, but we’re feeling fall in New England. It thrills me, personally (that’s me, Mary Kate) because I love fall. I couldn’t care less about pumpkin things out and about, but I do love actual pumpkin and pumpkin in baked goods I can eat. Like pumpkin chocolate swirl muffins?

I’m also sharing this article from Slate on Chinese food in the US and how to order it better. I don’t know why, but it just made me happy — I like Americanized Chinese food, even though I find little of it “safe” for me anymore, but I also really enjoyed Chinese food in China. I miss being adventurous in eating, but I think if I got better at talking about to restaurant staff, I might find more new things to try.

Since most commercial dairy replacement products are a no-go for me, and a lot of recipes I (Denise) come across ask you to use vegan yogurt of some sort, I keep pondering making my own.  I came across this recipe for Raw Oatghurt that might be interesting to try. I’d have to leave out the stevia (corn in processing) and not use the honey (corn issue if the bee keeper feeds the bees corn syrup) as a topping, but I’m thinking about it. 

Also, it’s fall. And this Cinnamon-Apple infused vodka seems like it’d be a good thing to mix into tea or sip on a cold evening. You need to use safe for you vodka (for me, I have to make sure it’s distilled from potato only), but think of all other fun infusions you could make. 

Have a good week everyone!

Soy-free, gluten-free “Tamari Sauce”

Soy-Free Gluten-Free Tamari

Soy-Free Gluten-Free Tamari

Despite being diagnosed with a likely soy allergy and confirming it with a food challenge, I also challenged gluten-free tamari separately and decided I could handle it. But paying a little more attention to the fact that I felt lousy the day after Denise and I would have sushi, and also when I’d make stir-fry, I started experimenting with making my own soy sauce substitute. I did try coconut aminos. I didn’t like them. Your mileage may vary, but coconut aminos can also be a bit on the pricey side. Regardless of what you find that works for you, I think that soy sauce is a handy flavor to have in your arsenal for so many uses.

I looked at and tried a variety of recipes online, but none were quite exactly what I wanted, taste-wise. This recipe is my version — I’d suggest trying it in this size (makes a little less than a cup) and then seeing what you might want more or less of in your own final version. Then, if you find you use it regularly, double it. So far, it seems to last safely about a month in the fridge. None of mine has made it past that.

This sauce works best, in my opinion, in cooked or mixed recipes, so stir-fry, teriyaki, marinades of all sorts (like jerky), rather than as a dipping sauce for sushi. Although, hey, it works there, too, but it shows its differences a little more.

Soy-free, gluten-free Tamari Sauce

  • 1 cup of beef or mushroom stock*
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar (be sure this is free of “caramel coloring”)
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (free of sweeteners)
  • 3 teaspoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns (lightly smash one or two if you really like pepper flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic or one large clove, smashed
  • 1 large chunk of ginger — approximately 1 inch square, but chopped into 4 or so pieces
  • 1 pinch of onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon (or so) of salt

In a saucepan, mix all the ingredients except the salt. A fork or whisk seems to work best to incorporate the onion powder and fully blend the molasses.

Bring to a boil, then turn down to a high simmer (it should still be bubbling briskly) and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes, until reduced by 1/3 in volume.

Remove from heat, whisk in salt. Allow the mixture to cool, then strain and bottle. Store in the fridge.

*I would not highly recommend veggie stock for this, although if you really roasted the veg good and brown, it might be okay. Mushroom broth or stock has a richer flavor in the right direction for a soy sauce replacer, though, so if you want to make this vegan or vegetarian, and you’re not allergic to mushrooms, check out that option. There is at least one boxed brand on the market, or Vegetarian Times has a recipe.

If you tweak this to your tastes, please let us know! Post your recipe or a link below in the comments.


2014-09-12 Fabulous Friday Finds

A lizard who dropped by at the Tuscon Botanical Museum

A lizard who dropped by at the Tuscon Botanical Museum

So I (Denise) already posted this on our Facebook page, but it’s interesting enough that it bears repeating for those of you not following us on Facebook (also, follow us on Facebook, here.)  FARE issued a press release about a study in which they have  developed a unique monoclonal antibody, grown in the laboratory, which would target and deactivate mast cells, which play a key role in allergic reactions. The thought that you could desensitize someone to their food allergies is amazing, but since I’ve been taking an immunology course on, it’s a whole lot more complex than it sounds in this article. 

Since the food allergy thing, my ability to take any vitamins, probiotics and supplements has been cut off entirely (damn you corn, coconut, and milk!). As a result, and as a deep seated need for me to have Tabasco and Sriracha like sauces existed, I learned to ferment to get some probiotics, increase the bio-availability of some vitamins, and get some decent hot sauce. I quite like fermenting, and Boston Ferments is having their 2014 Boston Fermentation Festival on September 27, 10-4pm at the Egleston Farmers Market, Jamaica Plain, MA. It’s free and will be headlined by one of the world’s most renowned fermentation revivalists, Sandor Katz.

Lastly, I’m still skirting around with trying to find a homemade mayo that will work for me. Since I can have cashews, this might work. I need to a mayo recipe testing weekend at some point, but this one needs to go on the list of potential contenders, Egg-Free MayonnaiseI bet it’ll work for me, at least until my body decides that it’s done with cashews (I keep losing nuts). 

I (Mary Kate) discovered a new snack, suitable for me, not suitable for others with coconut allergies, in line with my current obsession with all things coconut: Dang Coconut Chips. I’m glad they aren’t that cheap, or I might not eat anything else this week. Sadly, though, it’s triggered a mad obsession with coconut cake (and then I discovered I have no baking coconut at all; I’ll fix that tomorrow).

Speaking of cakes, though, I recently bought Cara Reed’s cookbook. You know, the Fork and Beans writer? It’s possible that she’s a little crazy (she did make cheerios), but all that obsession goes into some amazing baking recipes that are both gluten-free and vegan. The cookbook is gorgeous, includes a coconut cake as well as versions of all the Girl Scout cookies, and a whole mess of other amazing things that I want to bake all of Right Now. And for anyone missing food colorings or colored sugars? Yeah, those are covered, too.

Hope you all have a great weekend! We are going to the new Whole Foods.



Grilled Peach Salsa


Grilled Peach Salsa - Photo by J. Andrews

Grilled Peach Salsa – Photo by J. Andrews


When Mary Kate and I began to plan the cookout we held several weeks ago (grilling, friends and lots o’ posts for the blog, what could be better?), we started with thinking about what ingredients were in season and could be grilled.  We wanted to do a dessert, but I couldn’t figure out anything with my restrictions by the time we were solidifying the menu. I had seen a recipe for peach salsa for canning, but I wondered what it would be like grilled instead, because it would bring out the sweetness of the peaches and combine it with some lovely caramelized, smokey flavors. So we tried it. It’s good. And for those of you that can’t have chips like me (the corn chips are only to make the picture pretty in my case, although Mary Kate can eat them), this salsa is really good on pork chops as a sauce. You could also use it as a marinade or a glaze on pork or chicken, depending on how finely you chop the ingredients or just put it in the blender for a peach barbecue sauce. This is a low heat salsa, so don’t be afraid because I’m posting it. For the chili heads, don’t worry, I’ve got a hot sauce coming up in few weeks that blows my head off, and will have appropriate warnings.

Grilled Peach Salsa

  • 1 pound of peaches, grilled
  • 1 small red red onion, grilled
  • 1/2 of a orange bell pepper, grilled (If you don’t know what to do with the half of orange bell pepper you’ll have left over, de-stem and de-seed it, put it in a freezer zip top bag and put it in your freezer. Peppers need no additional prep to freeze. Use it the next time you make a soup, stew, chili or marinara sauce.)
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, grilled
  • 1/2 of a bulb of garlic, with top cut off and with most of the outer layer peels removed (Grill the whole bulb and put the remainder in the fridge to use for mashed potatoes or something else where roasted garlic would be awesome)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil or other safe-for-you oil
  • 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper

 **Please keep in mind as you look at the pictures that I was cooking a whole lot of other things the day we were grilling, so the pictures do not reflect the correct amounts of the ingredients shown, or may show additional ingredients. Also, my original recipe made a holy ton of salsa, so we cut the ingredients in half for the purposes of this post.

De-stem and de-seed your peppers.

Peppers de-stemmed and de-seeded.

Peppers de-stemmed and de-seeded  – Photo by J. Andrews

Place the peppers on the grill and grill until they get a bit tender and have a bit of char on them.

Peppers on the grill

Peppers on the grill – Photo by J. Andrews

Peppers and Garlic on the grill

Peppers and Garlic on the grill – Photo by J. Andrews

Take your garlic bulb, slice off the top so that the cloves are exposed a bit (see the picture and description in our previous Grilled Salsa recipe), and place it on some aluminum foil large enough to wrap the garlic in as shown in the picture above. Drizzle the olive oil over your garlic bulb, and wrap the aluminum foil around it and place it on the grill. Roast the garlic until the cloves are cooked and mushy.

Trim and peel your onion and then slice it in about half to one inches slices and place on the grill. Grill until you have a bit of char, and the onion is tender. (Ours were a bit more charred probably than strictly necessary, we were having issues with the grill, totally user error.)

Sliced Onions

Sliced Onions – Photo by J. Andrews

Sliced onions on the grill

Sliced onions on the grill – Photo by J. Andrews

Sliced onions on the grill just before they got a bit too done.

Sliced onions on the grill just before they got a bit too done – Photo by J. Andrews

Cut your peaches in half and remove the pit. On some of them I had to cut the peaches in quarters to get the pit out, but it’ll still work, it’s just halves are a little easier to manipulate on the grill.  Place the peaches on the grill and grill until they are a bit more tender and have some nice charring on the outside.

Peaches in halves and quarters

Peaches in halves and quarters – Photo by J. Andrews

Peaches on the grill

Peaches on the grill – Photo by J. Andrews

Once all your grilled ingredients are cooked, squeeze out the roasted garlic from the cloves, and put the garlic, peppers, onions, and peaches in a blender or food processor, and process until chopped to the level of chunkiness that you like. I used the manual food processor from Pampered Chef because I wouldn’t have to truck everything back inside or find an electric outlet (no affiliation, I just like it). You are likely going to have to process in batches.  Place all the chopped ingredients in a large bowl and add the white wine vinegar, brown sugar, cumin and cayenne pepper. Mix thoroughly.

Completed Grilled Peach Salsa

Completed Grilled Peach Salsa – Photo by J. Andrews



2014-09-05 Fabulous Friday Finds

Sullivan and Bruno are not ready for the end of summer

Sullivan and Bruno are not ready for the end of summer

The heat kicked back on outside this week — it’s definitely been too hot to bake here in Concord. So while most people think of crock pots as winter appliances, I (Mary Kate) like mine in summer since they really don’t add much to the heat in the house. This slow cooker burrito bowl recipe definitely sounds worth trying — I’d love to try it with pork, too.

Cara at Forks and Beans is killing me with these gluten-free home-made Ding Dongs. I think the cake would even be safe for the corn-allergic, though I’m unaware, so far, of a whipped cream substitute that is both corn-free and coconut-free for Denise. Any ideas?  (Based on my sensitivity levels, the cake may be possible if we skip the xanthan gum, but it might not work for other more sensitive corn allergic people. I’m wondering about using lard based frosting instead of whip cream. Yes, I know how appetizing that sounds, but no safe margarine and no safe shortenings… – D) (I think that’s what twinkie filling and such is likely made of. That or Crisco. — MK)

Our friend Mary S. often sends us interesting links and news items and this week she sent me this one. Apparently a little girl had an allergic reaction after eating blueberry pie.  Not to the blueberry pie, but to the residue of streptomycin, an antibiotic used as a pesticide on fruit, to which she was apparently allergic. I (Denise) don’t even know what to say about this, except that it seems like every day gives me more reason to mistrust our food supply. 

It must be fall, I’m craving baked goods. I found this recipe for Salted Caramel Glazed Chocolate Donuts, for which I would need to sub out the flax, coconut oil, and coconut milk, but I think they may be possible for me. (Chia, lard, and… what do you use for milks now? Rice? Maybe rice with some added fat would work there. — MK)

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce


Blueberry Barbecue Sauce - Photo by J. Andrews

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce – Photo by J. Andrews

When Mary Kate invited me to go berry picking earlier this summer, I had already done a good bit of canning with blueberries. So when I wound up about 6 cups of blueberries, I decided I want to do something other than jam and syrups, since I had already made syrups and blueberry butter. In poking around online for ideas, I found a canning recipe for blueberry barbecue sauce. I make some tweaks to it in order to make it safe for me, and reduced the amounts by half to make a more reasonable amount for those of you who aren’t into canning. If you do want to can it, the original recipe is here. This is a low heat sauce, as verified by others, so don’t worry that just because I’m posting it, you won’t be able to handle it.

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 2 cups.

  • 1 3/4 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of safe-for-you ketchup (I don’t have a corn safe one so I make it myself) 
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 1/8 of a teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of chili flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Penzey’s Cajun Seasoning

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a medium boil. Stir and lower the heat to a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes. Use a hand blender to puree all the ingredients, being careful not to splash, or pour the mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.

Once the sauce has cooled you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer until you’re ready to use it.  When grilling, I prefer to use a dry rub first, and then once the meat is almost completely cooked, I use a silicone pastry brush to coat the meat with the sauce and then grill each side to warm and/or char up the sauce.


Blueberry Barbecue Sauce - Photo by J. Andrews

Blueberry Barbecue Sauce – Photo by J. Andrews


Brushing pork with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce – Photo by J. Andrews


Grilling each side after coating with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce – Photo by J. Andrews


Boneless pork ribs with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce – Photo by J. Andrews




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