2014-11-21 Fabulous Friday Finds

 

Onion Rings!

Onion Rings!

Well, Denise and I aren’t doing a traditional Thanksgiving (more on that when we post some of the recipes), but for anyone looking for Thanksgiving tips for the traditional, they are everywhere. The only ones that really matter, to me, are the mashed potato tips. I’m going to try some of these out this weekend, because the best thing about mashed potatoes is that there is never a bad time for them. Mashed potatoes are always right, but there is no excuse for doing them poorly.

For the days after (or before?) the holiday, this roasted parsnip and spinach salad sounds amazing. Parsnips are a most excellent food.

Next week is a holiday, so here’s a bonus link — a way to use up used coffee grounds to repair/enhance furniture. I’m going to try this out on my ancient (ha, it’s about my age) coffee table. I keep meaning to refinish it, but never get around to it.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

WW: Cookbook Review, “Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking” by Cara Reed

Baked goods. I crave them.

Baked goods. I crave them.

I bought Cara Reed’s cookbook Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking a few months ago. Cara is the genius/madwoman behind the Fork and Beans blog (the woman made her own Cheerios, seriously). I bought the cookbook because I’ve made a few of the recipes on her blog (starting with these adorable ghosts, although I made a lot of weird shapes instead), and I knew that they worked, so I was excited by the cookbook. I am not being compensated for this review — I bought the cookbook with my own hard-earned money, and then I spent the rest of it on gluten-free flours to bake with.

This is, hands-down, one of my top 5 cookbooks I’ve ever purchased. Only a few cookbooks capture my kitchen this way, where I keep picking them up and picking out something new to make from them. I love cookbooks, and I enjoy just reading them. But for the majority of cookbooks, they sit on my shelf a lot and I think about making things from them. This one? I’m baking from, nearly weekly.

THIS IS NOT A HEALTH FOOD COOKBOOK. For anyone who thinks “gluten-free” and “vegan” both mean some weird definition of “healthy,” um, yeah, this isn’t it. This cookbook is cookies and cakes and pastries and sugar and then some more sugar. It is awesome. Cara Reed’s goal in food seems to be bringing us all the cookies and things that we miss, living with food restrictions (chosen or not). She makes pop tarts.

Reed’s recipes are all based on one of her two flour blends. I’ve only made the standard one, and I’ve been through 3 recipes of it (it makes 9 cups. NINE CUPS.) I’m sure I’ll get to the second blend; I keep meaning to. But making flour blends is one of the *sigh* *so much work* BAH parts of gluten-free baking, so the fact that I have one on hand means I’m more likely to bake. The fact that this one is half sorghum was also a selling point for me; so far, I’ve had more luck with sorghum than any other gluten-free flour.

The one and only “problem” I’ve had with any of these recipes is that, in my oven, the cooking times are too short, by anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes. At the moment I’ve misplaced my oven thermometer, but it was good 6 months ago. Regardless, this is a pretty easy issue to fix. It is consistent enough that I’m adding 5 minutes of time to every recipe and then going from there, though. Different ovens.

So far, I’ve made the following recipes:

  • Chocolate Cloud cookies, which were quick, easy, and chocolate
  • Brown Sugar donuts
  • Cracked Pepper and Herb Drop Biscuits (but I made them plain)
  • Gingerbread cupcakes
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate cupcakes
  • Blackout cake
  • Whiteout cake
  • Chocolate “Soufflés” Individual cakes (more like lava cakes)
  • Cinnamon Streusel Coffee cake
  • Pumpkin Streusel bread
  • Dark Chocolate Quick bread
  • and several frostings for this

High on the list of things to try:

  • the Samoas
  • Cheese-Its
  • cheesecakes (Key Lime Bars, and strawberry cheesecake)
  • Chocolate Indulgence biscuits
  • the almond croissants and danish squares
  • Cinnamon Raisin loaf

Okay, does that list make you drool? If not, really? I’d offer photos, but it turns out that I’ve not remembered to photograph a single one of these recipes. They are *that good.*

When I had to start gluten-free baking, along with the vegan side (the egg allergy was new at the same time, but I was so good at vegan cake already that it didn’t matter), I failed so much. I made brownies that no one wanted to eat. The experiments that weren’t inedible just weren’t very good. I tried a few cookbooks, but honestly, I was disappointed, overall, with the results. Gluten-free failures are expensive, too! I have been a baker since I was 10 years old. I have always loved baking, especially cakes. I’ve gone through several obsessive baking phases — first Bundt cakes and then for a while vegan cupcakes. This is a less thematic baking cookbook to be obsessed with, which is nice. But the other thing that’s nice is that these recipes all work.

HIGHLY, highly, highly recommended. Check it out.

 

Chunky Mustard Refrigerator Pickles

Chunky Mustard Refrigerator Pickles

Chunky Mustard Refrigerator Pickles

So here’s another canning inspired recipe, because these pickles were really a winner. I used the recipe from the Ball Complete Guide to Home Preserving, but modified it to leave out the ClearJel (which is modified corn starch) and to substitute the distilled white vinegar for apple cider vinegar instead. I did water bath can them originally, but I’ve rewritten the recipe here for a much smaller quantity and so that you can do them as a refrigerator pickle for those of you who don’t can. These would be great to do as a part of your appetizer plate for Thanksgiving. They’ll need to sit in the refrigerator for a week or so to absorb the flavors, so start them now for Thanksgiving.

Chunky Mustard Refrigerator Pickles

Makes 1 quart.

  • 2 cups of a mix of zucchini and summer squash, washed, trimmed of stem and blossom ends, and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (you can use pickling cukes, but they are harder to get this time of year)
  • 1 2/3 cups of onions, chopped
  • 1/2 Tablespoon and 1/4 teaspoon of canning salt or sea salt (nothing with any additives)
  • 1/2 cup and 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 Tablespoon and 1/4 teaspoon of ground mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoons of ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 cup, 1 Tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (safest for those allergic to corn is probably Bragg’s)
  • 1/4 of a red bell pepper  (put the rest in your freezer in a zip top freezer bag and use it the next time you make pasta sauce or chili)

In a non-reactive bowl (stainless steel or glass), mix the zucchini and summer squash and onions. Sprinkle them with the canning or sea salt, cover and let them stand at room temperature for an hour or so.  Transfer the vegetables to a strainer/colander over the sink and drain them well.

In a non-reactive (stainless steel or ceramic or enamel, do not use aluminum or cast iron) sauce pan, combine the sugar, mustard, ginger, and turmeric. Stir well, gradually blending in the water. Add the vinegar and red bell pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Add the drained vegetable mixture and return to a boil for two minutes.

Ladle the mixture into a non-reactive heat safe container (beware that putting them in a plastic container will cause the plastic to be permanently dyed yellow with the turmeric). Your best bet is probably a mason jar or glass container with a lid.  Just make sure to warm up the jar/container with some hot water (don’t leave the water in the container, just put the hot water in the container to warm it up and then dump it out) before putting the hot veggies and brine into it. Put a lid on the container and let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature, and then place it in the refrigerator for a week.

In a week, enjoy the fruits of your labors!

 

Chunky Mustard Refrigerator Pickles

Chunky Mustard Refrigerator Pickles

2014-11-14 Fabulous Friday Finds

New Salem Sue, the world's largest Holstein cow

New Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow

Mary Kate:

Okay, it’s now dark by the time I get off work. For me, that’s the point when “winter” arrives. Because winter isn’t just about dropping temperatures, right? (Also, I HATE the time change. Just pick one and stick with it. I don’t care which. Wait, no, I kind of do. Pick this one so we never need to change it again, please.)

So after a week of using up food before traveling, a week of traveling, and a week where I had no time for anything at all, what I have done this week is cook and bake and cook some more. It’s been fantastic, and I feel a bit invigorated in the kitchen. I’m playing with Napa cabbage from our friend Mary’s amazing garden, so there’s been a lot of stir-fry. Maybe one of those is coming to the blog soon, but it needs a little work.

I’ve been pretty obsessed with lentils, and this braised lentil recipe sounds like a good basis for making amazing lentil dishes. Think how many variations could be considered? If you have kids, you might feed them this, as the author suggests. Pretty sure my cats don’t want lentils, no matter how they are cooked.

Do you get FARE’s recall notices? If you have food allergies, you should. But I’ll warn you, it’s scary how many of them there are, and how bad some of the mistakes are. We’re all veteran label readers, but what do you do when the label’s just wrong? But in good news, the FDA is looking into these issues and how to deal with them — report announcement from An Allergic Foodie. To me, the really interesting part is the research to develop new tests for detecting allergens.

I’ve been experiencing a bit more crazy than I (Denise) usually am, so I’ve not been surfing for cool allergy stuff as much as I normally am. However if you don’t have a tree nut allergy, I did find this Soy-Free Vegan Whipped Cream recipe that uses cashes. It has coconut oil in it, which is a big no-no for me, but I’m thinking that I’d be able to sub the coconut oil out for something else, and switch out the agave. Hey, it’s a start. 

Also, I recently needed sun-dried tomatoes for a hot sauce recipe. I made them using a dehydrator, because everything dried must also apparently contain either citric acid or sunflower oil if you buy it from a store, and they’re both problems for me.  But if you don’t have a dehydrator, here’s a way to make sun-dried tomatoes in the oven at home. 

Have a great weekend, people. Go see a giant cow. (I don’t think they have them in NH, though. -D)

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with roasted broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with roasted broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes

It’s set-it-and-forget-it season! Actually, the crock pot is good all year, but because it makes pots of lovely hot food, I think people associate it more with winter than summer. I know I do. The first thing I thought when I saw pork roasts on sale was “slow cooker.” But I didn’t really want barbeque. Nothing wrong with it, but it’s a flavor I’m bored of before the leftovers are gone. Molasses is a fall obsession of mine — while the world goes crazy for “pumpkin spice” everything, I want to drown in molasses (not literally. That stuff kills. Science!). So I started with molasses and went from there. Balsamic vinegar and some spices add up to earthy and hearty.

This pork roast will make a lot of leftovers, if it’s just one or two of you, or it’ll feed a crowd. And it is quick enough to be made first thing in the morning. I served this with some roasted broccoli and sweet potatoes — I hope to share the sweet potatoes as soon as I work out some kinks with that recipe. Pork and sweet potatoes are great together, and broccoli goes with everything.

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with roasted broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes on Surviving the Food Allergy Apocalypse

Slow Cooker Pork Roast with roasted broccoli and mashed sweet potatoes

Slow Cooker Pork Roast

  • oil to grease the crock
  • 1 sweet onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-2.5 lb center cut boneless pork roast, fat side up
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/2 cup broth or stock, whatever you have on hand
  • 1/4 cup hot water
  • fresh ground pepper, to your taste (I used about 1/2 a teaspoon, not that I measured)

Grease the crock of your slow cooker. Add the sliced onion to the bottom, and drizzle on the 1/2 teaspoon of oil and the 1/4 teaspoon of salt.

Place the pork roast on top of the onions, with the fat side up (I do not trim this for the slow cooker — it’s good flavor).

In a small dish or right in a measuring cup, whisk or stir with a fork the next 7 ingredients (molasses through the broth/stock). Pour this over the roast. Use the last 1/4 cup of water to rinse all the seasoning out of the measuring cup, and pour this along the side (don’t rinse off the seasoning that landed atop the pork roast!). Grind the pepper right on top.

Cover and cook all day. Or, you know, 4-6 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low.

When this is done, take just the meat out. Attempt to slice it, and find out that it will shred instead. After breaking it up, put it back in the liquid you cooked it in, and stir well. This lets the meat soak up a little more of the cooking liquid to serve.

Alternately, you could also make a starch slurry (starch of your choice mixed with water, 1:2 ratio) and add that to the liquid for the last 30 minutes or so of cooking — this will give you more of a gravy consistency.

Serve with side dishes of your choice — roasted veg would be great, but go wild. You’re coming home to dinner almost done.

 

2014-11-07 Fabulous Friday Finds

Pretty Autumnal Color

Pretty Autumnal Color

This is a definite TGIF Friday for me (Mary Kate), as I haven’t been home at a reasonable time all week. I went from an “ah, vacation”-ending Monday to HELLO.THISISYOURWEEKPLEASEWALKFASTERKEEPUPNOW. As such, I’ve subsisted on soup I froze last month and rice cakes and cashew cheese and apples, though someone nicely cooked me a Daiya pizza the other night. So far as I can tell, Denise has been similarly relaxed, but hey, we haven’t had time to talk, so I could be wrong. (I’m having a huge glass of wine as I write my section of this post, if that’s any indication. -D) 

So this week, here are some pretty trees. And some minimal, hurried linkage.

Salt. It makes things taste good. So how should we use it? Got this one from one of Corinne’s posts at Spare Cake. I bookmarked it so I can read it when my brain is less mushy.

Bagels. I really really really miss them, and when I made them, or tried, they were awful and horrible (and a lot of work. I read generally good things about Jennifer’s Way Bakery, and I am seriously considering an order of bagels (and maybe some other stuff, because if you’re going to pay overnight shipping for gluten-free baked goods, why not go all out?)

And that’s what I’ve got. Hope you all have good weekend plans that don’t involve getting up too early.

I probably don’t have much this week either, because I’m experiencing a reality similar to Mary Kate’s but I did find this interesting post from FARE on knowing the difference between anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock, which is good. I tend to down play my symptoms, at times, and it may get me into serious trouble one day, so it’s good to have reminders to take this stuff seriously. Speaking of reminders, here’s a poster of symptoms you might want to share with friends and family. 

And here’s a new way to play with cranberries before Thanksgiving - Pickled Cranberries. You can either can it, or make refrigerator pickled cranberries with this recipe. I might try it as an alternative to making 3-5 variants of cranberry sauce.

I’ll repeat Mary Kate’s wishes for a laid back and restful weekend for you all. 

 

Thai Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

 

Thai Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

Thai Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

As many of you know, I’ve been canning for well over a year now because it was the only way to replace commercial condiments that I could no longer buy at the grocery store because of the whole corn thing. When I saw this recipe in the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving (you can also find it at this link) I knew I had to make it because I loved that sauce. And I made it, and it was good. Really good. So good that you want to dip all fried food in it. Seriously, dairy-free, gluten-free, fried onion rings are so good dipped in this stuff). I shared a jar with Mary Kate, and she discovered that it’s awesome when used as a salad dressing. So when she ran out, she asked me for help in converting the recipe to a reasonable amount that she could just put in the fridge, as she did not want to learn to can and have nine 8 ounce jars hanging around her apartment. (If you do want to make it in quantity and can it, follow the recipe at the link above.) Since it’s free of the top eight allergens, complies with each of our restrictions, and is fantastic, I thought I’d share the refrigerator version.

Thai Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

Makes a little less than 2 cups.

  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of finely chopped garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon and a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup, 3 Tablespoons, and 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar (safest for those allergic to corn is probably Bragg’s)
  • 1 cup, 3 Tablespoons, and 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons of hot pepper flakes

Combine the garlic and salt in a small bowl, and set it aside.

In a non-reactive (stainless steel or ceramic or enamel, do not use aluminum or cast iron) sauce pot, add the apple cider vinegar and bring it to a boil.  Add your sugar and stir with a non-reactive utensil (wooden, rubber, nylon or silicone spatula or spoon), until the sugar is fully dissolved into the vinegar. Reduce the heat and boil gently for about 5 minutes or so. Add the garlic mixture and hot pepper flakes and stir well. Reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and let it cool until it is safe to put it into a storage container. Place it in the refrigerator to store.

Thai Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

Thai Hot and Sweet Dipping Sauce

Go fry all the things, and dip the fried things in this stuff, or dump it on your salad. You won’t be sorry.

 

WWoF: Gluten and Allergen-Free Expo Review

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JUST because we want to confuse you, we’ve taken WW (Whatever Wednesday) to Friday this week and totally displaced your fabulous links. But then we put a lot of links in this post, so you really shouldn’t feel too shorted, right? Because, really, do you always know what day of the week it is? Really? Are you lying about that right now?

So, last weekend Denise and I went down to Springfield, Mass., to blog about the GFAF Expo. Not being from the area and never having been to Springfield, I navigated us on a brief tour of Springfield before we found the Mass Mutual Center. The Expo offered a huge variety of knowledgeable vendors, an authors’ row, a promotional photo booth (which you saw if you follow us on FB or Twitter(MK)/Twitter(D) — there is no single account for the blog), and a (comfortingly prominent) First Aid booth, along with three different lectures each day.

Because of Denise’s much more extensive list of allergens (specifically corn and coconut, which are in e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.), I’m writing this up. I tasted food for Denise more than once, but there wasn’t much she could eat. Honestly, the only thing I feel really guilty eating in front of her, knowing she can’t have it, is tortilla chips, which is funny, since I really don’t think that one bothers her much. (Yeah, the corn chips, not so much. It’s low on the list of corn allergy calamities. -D)

The Expo was split, with one side being free of gluten AND nuts, which I’m sure was comforting for the nut-allergic, and the other side being just gluten-free. We started on the free of both gluten and nuts side, and there was more for me to eat there. I’m not going to attempt a comprehensive review, because despite walking the whole Expo, we skipped a lot of the booths that had food that neither of us could try.

Standouts, for me:

Both the So Delicious and Luna and Larry’s booths had coconut milk ice cream. So Delicious had bars to sample, and I really am going to have to find someone to ask why they can make a strawberry ice cream bar, but don’t sell strawberry coconut milk ice cream. I’m dying to try to recreate a bowl of Neopolitan ice cream (and I 100% blame my grandfather for that — he had some very specific ice cream tastes, likely based on his years as the ice cream delivery guy). Luna and Larry’s had a bunch of flavors I’ve never even seen here in New Hampshire, and I’ll be asking the Concord Co-op about getting the salted caramel in ASAP. I was already familiar with both brands and their products.

The chocolate company Pascha was entirely new to me. Like so many other vendors at the Expo, they said their products were available in Stop N Shop. Which is almost hilarious, given that all the SNSs in NH closed last year (right after I finally made it all the way to Manchester. <— those are sarcastic italics. Manchester is 20 minutes away). Pascha’s chocolates are extraordinarily allergy-friendly, being free of the top 8 allergens, kosher, fair trade certified, and when asked, they actually knew how their vanilla extract was made — it uses an alcohol that is not corn based, but there was a point in the process that uses maltodextrin, which is corn derived. I don’t have a corn allergy and even I was impressed by the fact that they a) knew it was important, b) asked their suppliers, and c) made sure all their staff knew enough to answer that question. They do have a 100% cacao (so unsweetened) without vanilla that might be good for a variety of baking or cooking uses (with sweeteners).

Late July, a chip company only recently available around here, has a variety of flavors that are free of most of my allergens. The chips are excellent, but this was the only table where the vendor seemed confused that I wanted to pick up a bag and read it for myself. That should surprise no one that is sent to staff a booth at a food allergy expo, but the “red hot mojo” flavor is really good. I will be considering that next time I want a flavored chip. I have so few options, but I’m grateful to have any options at all.

Freedom Foods, a cereal company, seems to have a wide variety of cereals I can eat. I’m more of a cereal as a snack, not cereal as a breakfast food, so variety in snacks is good. (I prefer consistency in breakfasts). I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for this brand in the future (they’re also in Stop & Shop).

Products I’m already familiar with and use were also represented there: Crunchmaster crackers, Hail Merry (I finally got to taste the mint chocolate tart!), Enjoy Life (chocolates and snack bars), and Find Me Gluten-Free (the free app will help you sort out restaurants that might know something about gluten-free foods, which means there may be a chance that they know something about safe food handling). Those last two were both sponsors of the Expo.

Since most of my (Denise’s) experience walking the floor was mostly picking stuff up and putting it right back down, or telling Mary Kate she should eat something for me, we agreed that I’d talk about our visit with cook book author, Colette Martin, and her new book, and the class/lecture on “Understanding Gluten Sensitivity” that we attended with Stephen Wangen, N.D., who runs the IBS Treatment Center, and who wrote a book called Healthier Without Wheat: A New Understanding of Wheat Allergies, Celiac Disease, and Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance.

Colette Martin’s booth was one of the few booths I wanted to visit, because I have her book on Learning to Bake Allergen Free which was very helpful. Her new book is The Allergy-Free Pantry, which I bought at the show and which Ms. Martin kindly signed. (Note that I am linking to Amazon out of ease and convenience but we have no affiliation, yada, yada.) Her books are wheat, gluten, dairy, egg, soy and nut free, which gives me a head start. Because of corn, coconut and flax, I still have quite a few challenges, but the less ingredients I have to sub out the better. I don’t have a safe shortening or commercial margarine or butter-like spread, so I’ll have to try substituting my homemade margarine version or the lard or tallow I rendered. The book covers flour blends, making your own non-dairy milks, and she actually has a version of a buttery spread (which uses coconut oil, canola, and flax which are all no-no’s for me, but may be really useful for others). There are also breads, making your own jams and sunflower seed butter, condiments (including a mayonnaise using flax – I’m going to try it with chia and sub out the canola) and dressings, breakfast foods (including pop-tarts), and a chapter on making pasta. There’s also a recipe for baked potato chips that Mary Kate and I may have to make asap, a chapter on crackers, one on cookies, desserts and sweets, and a chapter that has some basics like making your own powdered sugar and vanilla extract. I haven’t had time to make anything yet because it’s only been a week, but even though many recipes still have a lot of my allergens in them, I kind of wish I’d had this book available to me just after my corn diagnosis. I wouldn’t have spent quite as much time sifting through stuff on the net and filling my Pinterest boards. 

The class/lecture that we attended with Stephen Wangen, N.D., on “Understanding Gluten Sensitivity” was interesting in that he cited a study from 1956, Bread and Tears—Naughtiness, Depression and Fits Due to Wheat Sensitivity, Proc R Soc Med. Jul 1956; 49(7): 391–394. I found this fascinating, in that there are reports of “corn rage” and emotional instability among members of the Corn Allergy & Intolerance Group on Facebook after a corn exposure, and I get a bit shaky and emotionally fraught myself. Doesn’t appear to happen with my wheat allergy, but I get accidentally corned much more often, it’s so much easier to avoid wheat than corn that I’m not sure I have the experience with it. Dr. Wangen also cited a study on Emerging New Clinical Patterns in the Presentation of Celiac Diseasestates that “[I]n adults, the majority of patients with newly diagnosed celiac disease do not have classic symptoms of celiac disease.” Fun fact right? Not. (Sorry, I had to go look at the studies, because you know, that whole research thing that law school instills in you. Plus, science.) The other thing that I particularly appreciated is that Dr. Wangen admitted that the medical community just does not have the science on a lot of this stuff yet. As a corn allergic person who reacts to a whole lot of stuff I’m not supposed to react to because the proteins have allegedly been processed out of corn derived substances, it was nice to have my viewpoint that we haven’t done enough science to know what we don’t know yet validated. Especially since I’m pretty damn sure I can’t give myself psychosomatic fluid-filled blisters that develop into open wounds from exposure to corn derivatives, which allegedly don’t have enough protein remaining to cause a reaction. Dr. Wangen also discussed other issues besides celiac disease, such as food allergies to wheat, and non-celiac gluten intolerance. 

If an GFAF Expo event comes to your area, you may want to check it out. 

Have a great weekend everyone!

Potato Curry Soup

Potato Curry Soup (on the moon!)

Potato Curry Soup (on the moon!)

Apparently, I first made this recipe in September 2007 — I’m an historian, so I do tend to date all my notes. I never really finished it, though. Like so many things, I made it once, liked it enough to sketch down sorta kinda what I did and what I threw into the pot, and never looked back at it. But this is why good notes are important right?

For this time of year, when “cool” feels “cold” because of transitions in temperature, a nice soup with warming spices might be the most perfect dinner. Also, the house smells amazing. As a finishing note, I add coconut milk, just a bit, to give it a richer, creamier curry flavor, though this is not necessary. I am reasonably sure that most non-dairy milks would work here, though I’m not sure rice milk would add much (and don’t use “light” coconut milk — it adds very little). But I think it’s fine without the added non-dairy milk, too. Because of the optional coconut milk, I’ve confusingly tagged this with a “tree nut warning” as well as “nut-free.” It depends on how you make it; do what works for you.

I basically took my forever-perfect combination for soup (onions, potatoes, carrots, celery) and changed up the seasonings to a mad fantastic curry blend. The spice of this soup stays mainly in the broth, which is a nice play against the earthy vegetables and beans. When you taste it to adjust seasonings, taste the broth AND a potato or carrot; they balance.

Because this is a big pot, mix it up as you work through the leftovers. A handful of spinach added before re-heating is pretty awesome. I’ve also used a serving, with lots of broth, poured over fish and simmered until the fish is done. I like to get a little creative with leftovers.

 

Potato Curry Soup

Potato Curry Soup

Curry Potato Soup

  • 1-1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 of an onion, softball-sized, chopped (between 1/2 and 3/4 cup)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped finely
  • 1 good chunk of ginger, one inch around (size of a walnut), finely minced or micro-planed
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder (choose sweet if you like it mild, hot if you like that)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, but I’d suggest adding at least a pinch)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if you’re using commercial broth, use 1/4 teaspoon then taste)
  • 1/4 of a bell pepper (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 medium potatoes, small cubed (smaller than dice, about 3 1/2 cups). If you want a super creamy soup, peel your potatoes. If you’re lazy like me, or want the fiber, leave the skins on. It’s up to you.
  • 2 cups or one can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 6-8 cups broth or stock, vegetable or chicken
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk, unsweetened and unflavored, optional
  • additional hot sauce, if that’s your thing, optional

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Add oil to your stock pot for a good thick coat (hence the range), and let that heat until shimmery. Add your onion and cook until translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic, stir well, and cook until fragrant. Add about 1/4 of a cup of broth and stir well, making sure to scrape up any of the garlic and ginger that stuck to the bottom.

Add all the spices and stir well.

Add the pepper, celery, and carrots, stir well, and cook for 5 minutes or so. Add potatoes, stir until completely coated with spices, then add the beans and stir again. Add the rest of the broth, covering your soup ingredients completely, stir well, and cover until it comes to a boil. Do this over medium heat. When you’ve reached the boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked and starting to break down a little — about 30 minutes.

Stir soup well, and taste. Add salt, if needed, and then add the coconut milk, if using (or use another non-dairy milk here) and hot sauce if everyone wants it. If you do like it really spicy, I’d recommend harissa here.

Enjoy. This soup reheats fantastically, but I’ve never frozen it.

 

 

 

 

2014-10-24 Fabulous Friday Finds

 

This post is brought to you biggest pumpkins Goffstown, NH could grow.

This post is brought to you biggest pumpkins Goffstown, NH could grow.

Hey, it’s Friday again. You survived! So did we, despite not seeing that thing people call “sun” all week.

For Halloween, maybe consider not handing out candy? FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project invites families to hand out something everyone can have (a non-food treat), and to signify this with a teal pumpkin out front. I even heard this being discussed by random people I didn’t know at the grocery store the other day, and that makes me so happy for kids that normally feel left out.

This crock pot vegetable broth is a brilliant idea. Brilliant, I tell you. Set it and forget it. (Oh, wait, that’s a different appliance, isn’t it?)
Have a great weekend, everyone. Remember, if you’re in Springfield this weekend, find us at the Gluten and Allergen Free Expo and say hi.

Well, FARE announced some new findings in adult-onset food allergies. You might want to check it out here. Here’s hoping they do more research.

I (Denise) don’t know if it’s the cold that makes me want to have alcoholic drinks or the fact that I’m contemplating some large-ish life changes, but I found this recipe for homemade blackberry liqueur that I think I have to try with safe for me ingredients. I just bought a nice big bottle of vodka because I’d been thinking about making limoncello, so why not?

Have a great weekend everyone!

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