Tag Archives: gluten free

Quinoa and Purple Potatoes-Who Knew?

13 Feb

Quinoa: the food that we’re told to eat, but not how to pronounce. While a lot of people think it’s a starch, it’s actually a grain, a seed to be exact, which is why it’s popular among the gluten-free crowd. It’s a curious food, quinoa (and that’s pronounced: keen-nwah), and one that I had never cooked before. The first time I had it was a few years ago at one of my favorite restaurants in Hollywood, Off Vine. It was a stuffed bell pepper and I thought it was so good I vowed to make it.

Well I didn’t. And now almost 3 years later I finally made a quinoa dish. And I have (no surprise) Giada and her “Weeknights With Giada” to thank. However I made 2 small changes. Giada’s recipe calls for frozen peas and black olives. I’m not a fan of either so instead I used frozen edamame (shelled) and sun-dried tomatoes. In addition I steamed my edamame before adding to the cooked quinoa. I still have the rest of the bag of quinoa in my cupboard, so maybe I’ll finally make my own version of Off Vine’s stuffed bell pepper! Stay tuned…but meanwhile, enjoy this quinoa “salad” with purple potatoes from Giada, the kitchen goddess.

Quinoa with Purple Potatoes and Edamame Ingredients L-R: Quinoa, Purple Potatoes, Shelled Edamame, Lime, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, Olive Oil

Quinoa with Purple Potatoes and Edamame Ingredients L-R: Quinoa, Purple Potatoes, Shelled Edamame, Lime, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chicken Broth, Olive Oil

QUINOA WITH PEAS AND POTATOES (serves about 3 to 4)

  • 6 ounces Purple Peruvian Potatoes
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (or 1 if you don’t want too much garlic)
  • 1 Cup (4 ounces) edamame (shelled)
  • 1/4 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
  • 1 to 2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice (1 large lime)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

If using frozen edamame (or peas if you prefer), be sure to remove them from the freezer first to allow them time to thaw. Measure out what you need in your scale and let them sit on your counter to thaw out.

Shelled Edamame

Shelled Edamame

Next cut your potatoes into about 1/2″ size (bite size) pieces. Fill a large pot about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way with cold, salted water and add your potato pieces. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. And don’t freak out when the water turns green, that’s normal. I googled it and it’s a science thing having to do with levels of acidity in the potatoes. (Pretty cool though!) They should be fork tender, about 15 minutes. Once done, drain and set aside to cool.

Purple potatoes are so pretty!

Purple potatoes are so pretty!

Boiling Purple Potatoes

Boiling the purple potatoes. See the green water? Science!

Purple potatoes cooling down before adding to the quinoa.

Purple potatoes cooling down before adding to the quinoa.

While your potatoes are boiling start your quinoa. Peel and smash your garlic (don’t chop) and measure our your chicken broth and quinoa. Combine all three into a large saucepan (that has a cover) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Then remove the garlic and discard and using a fork fluff your quinoa. Add in your cooked potatoes and steamed peas and toss well.

With the side of your knife, smash your garlic just enough to let the flavor out.

With the side of your knife, smash your garlic just enough to let the flavor out.

quinoa

Quinoa measured out and ready to cook!

While your quinoa is simmering steam your peas and then set aside. Chop up your sun-dried tomatoes (I used dry versus ones soaked in oil) into small pieces and set aside. (This was instead of the black olives.) In a liquid measuring cup, combine your olive oil and agave nectar to make 1/4 cup total. Pull out a blender or a mini food processor and combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and agave mixture, lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Chop until chunky.

Olive Oil and Agave Nectar

Olive Oil and Agave Nectar

Chopped up sun dried tomatoes.

Chopped up sun-dried tomatoes.

Sun Dried Tomato and Agave Dressing

Sun Dried Tomato and Agave Dressing

Pour enough to coat over your quinoa mixture, serve and enjoy! I had mine as a full dinner, but this would make a great side dish as well.

Quinoa with Purple Potatoes and Edamame

Quinoa with Purple Potatoes and Edamame

Advertisements

Spicy Chicken and Sauteed Vegetables

21 Jan Brussel Sprouts, Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

When it comes to cooking and baking, most people, including myself, use a recipe. Sometimes it’s to the letter, sometimes substitutions are used, and sometimes they are used merely as inspiration. We must remember that cooking is ultimately a science and every recipe comes from someone playing around in the kitchen. So every now and then I like to try to figure out something new. This time I took a little inspiration from my “Three and Four Ingredient Cookbook“. They had a chili-spiced poussin recipe. Poussins are, traditionally, young chickens that weigh between 14 and 26 ounces. I used boneless and skinless chicken breasts instead and sautéed some vegetables as a side dish. Unfortunately I cooked them in the wrong order so my brussel sprouts were a little under done. Oh well, only I was eating them so no one complained 😉 In the recipe below I put it in the correct order. Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken and Vegetables Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Summer Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Fresh Rosemary, Mushrooms, Chicken Breast, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Salt and Pepper

Spicy Chicken and Vegetables Ingredients L-R: Olive Oil, Summer Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Fresh Rosemary, Mushrooms, Chicken Breast, Chili Powder, Ground Cumin, Salt and Pepper

SPICY CHICKEN WITH WINTER VEGETABLES (serves 2)

  • 1 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Large Brussel Sprouts
  • 1 Small Yellow Squash
  • 3 Mushrooms
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
  • Rosemary (optional)

Cut up your chicken breast and then marinate in one tablespoon of olive oil, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper. Let sit while you prep your vegetables.

Sliced chicken breast marinating in olive oil, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper

Sliced chicken breast marinating in olive oil, chili powder, ground cumin, salt and pepper

Depending on the size of the squash, slice either the whole thing or half of it into coins. Slice your brussel sprouts and mushrooms as well. In a large saute pan (preferably with a cover) heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add in your brussel sprouts first (this is where I screwed up, I put in my squash first), stirring occasionally. After about 2-3 minutes add in your squash coins and continue to stir for another 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brussel Sprouts, Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

Brussel Sprouts, Yellow Squash and Mushrooms

Sauteeing Yellow Squash

Yellow squash in the pan. (remember, do the brussel sprouts first!)

After adding in your squash, in a small fry pan heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot add in your chicken pieces. After about 3 to 4 minutes, once the chicken starts to cook (look for the whiteness to start going up the sides of the chicken) turn over and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes until done. Once done, remove from the heat.

Sauteeing spicy chicken

You can see the chicken turning white on the sides. It’s ready to turn over in about 1 minute.

Sauteeing spicy chicken

The chicken is almost done!

After you turn over your chicken add your mushrooms to the brussel sprouts and squash. Season your vegetables with salt and pepper, continuing to stir occasionally. After I added the mushrooms I sprinkled with rosemary then turned the heat down to medium and covered with a lid and let them steam for about a minute or two. They’ll be done when the squash have become translucent, the mushrooms have become a darker brown and the brussel sprouts have wilted.

Sauteeing vegetables

The vegetables are just about done!

Serve half the chicken for each person and a healthy scoop of vegetables, then enjoy! If you wish, you can also make rice or another starch side dish. Either way, enjoy!

Spicy Chicken and Sauteed Vegetables

Spicy Chicken and Sautéed Vegetables all done!

Simple Green Salad

7 Jan Mixed Green Simple Salad

Sometimes the best meals are the simplest. I made this salad last November, on a warm (yes, Los Angeles is warm in November) Saturday. I walked down to my local Ralph’s grocery store (and boy did it feel good to get out and go for a walk!), wandered the produce section and returned excited for a simple, yet delicious lunch.

The thing I love most about salads is you can add pretty much whatever you want and you can add whatever dressing you see fit. You can top it with cooked salmon, chicken, beef, tuna, whatever protein your heart desires. Don’t like tomatoes? Don’t add them! Throw in some mushrooms or squash instead! Make the salad the main course, or make it your side dish, you decide! Leave a comment with what you like in your salad!

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

Mixed Green Simple Salad Ingredients L-R: 50-50 Blend, Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette, Hard Boiled Egg, Avocado, Feta Cheese, Cherry Tomatoes

SIMPLE GREEN SALAD (serves 1)

  • 50-50 Blend of Spring Greens and Spinach
  • 1/2 Hard Boiled Egg
  • 1/2 Avocado
  • 4 to 6 cherry tomatoes
  • Feta Cheese (enough to sprinkle on top)
  • Sesame Soy Ginger Vinaigrette (or other dressing of your choosing)

Start by chopping your hard-boiled egg into small chunks. Set aside and chop your avocado as well. I saved the other half for lunch the next day! Be sure to save the half with the seed still intact as it will slow the browning process down a bit. Chop up your cherry tomatoes (or half of a Roma tomato) into bite site pieces. Some people like to just eat cherry tomatoes whole, but because I have sensitive teeth, I need my tomatoes in smaller form so my teeth don’t freak out on me.

Hard Boiled Egg

Hard Boiled Egg

Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

avocado

Fresh avocado! Yum!

Since this was my lunch, I pulled out a shallow pasta plate to use as my dish. I grabbed a large handful, plus a little bit more, of my 50-50 blend (make sure you wash yours if it doesn’t come pre-washed) and placed in the plate. I sprinkled the tomato slices, egg and avocado pieces around the entire bed of greens. Then I sprinkled some feta cheese on top, making sure to break up the extra-large chunks. Make sure everything is evenly distributed so you get a little bit of everything in each bite. I then dressed my salad very lightly, then put a little more in a little dipping bowl and dipped my fork in it every now and then. The dressing was from Trader Joe’s and is also a great marinade for chicken. It was a great lunch and so healthy too!

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Mixed Green Simple Salad

Braised Kale and Black Beans

17 Jul Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans

Kale. Not exactly everyone’s favorite food, but a super food that everyone should be eating, you just need to prepare it right. If you’ve been with me since the beginning you might remember the experimental pasta sauce my roommate made with kale. At first it was bitter, but after it had simmered for awhile it was actually not as bad as we first thought. So when my fellow cast mate from TRAINSPOTTING, Martin Berishaj, suggested a recipe that was mostly kale, I was a little skeptical. He assured me that it was a really good dish, so I said as soon as I had the chance I’d make it. It only took about 2 months for a weekend to present itself, but it finally did and as Martin promised, it was delicious! The recipe came from a user on www.food.com and my only critique is that the recipe said it was for 4 servings, but it turned out to be enough for 6, but probably because I had a larger bunch of kale than was necessary. I didn’t want to have leftover kale in the fridge so I used it all. Oh well, live and learn. All in all an excellent dish that you should all try! Enjoy!

Ingredients (L-R): Kale, Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Black Beans, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

Ingredients (L-R): Kale, Tomatoes, Yellow Onion, Garlic, Chicken Broth, Black Beans, Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper

BRAISED KALE WITH BLACK BEANS & TOMATOES (serves 4 to 6)

  • 1 Bunch of Kale
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 6 Medium Plum/Roma Tomatoes
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 15 oz. Can Black Beans
  • 1 1/2 Cups Chicken (or Vegetable) Broth
  • 2 Tsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional if you like spice)
  • Salt & Pepper To Taste

You want to do all your prep work before you start cooking. If there was ever a recipe that needed some mise en place, it’s this one. Dice your onion and set aside in a bowl. For your tomatoes, you want to remove all the seeds and then dice up the tomatoes. I cut the tomatoes in half and using a melon baller, scooped out the seeds, then diced them up. Next take your kale leaves (and if you only want to make enough for 4 use about 8 to 10 leaves, everything else can stay the same) and a pairing knife and cut out the central vein of each leaf from tip to tip.

Chopped yellow onion

Chopped yellow onion

Roma Tomatoes

Roma Tomatoes after removing the seeds and ready for dicing

Roma Tomatoes

So many tomatoes!

If you leave the vein in the kale will remain more bitter (which might have been the problem with the pasta sauce), so be sure to remove them all. After all the veins are removed, chop the kale into about one inch strips and rinse in a colander. (*Note: the recipe online calls for 1/2 inch strips, but inch strips work just as well.) Finally take your garlic cloves and slice them lengthwise.

Kale

Slicing the middle stem out.

kale

All the kale chopped up. That’s a lot of kale…

In a large pot heat your oil over medium-high heat and toss in your diced up onion, sauteing until translucent (about 4 minutes or so). Add in your kale and mix until it becomes wilted, another 3 to 4 minutes. Add in your tomatoes and garlic and continue to cook until your tomatoes start to soften, again about 3 to 4 minutes. While you’re waiting for all of these ingredients to cook down, open your black beans and rinse, then add to the pot along with the broth after the tomatoes are soft.

Onions and olive oil in the pot!

Onions and olive oil in the pot!

Adding in the tomatoes and kale.

Adding in the tomatoes and kale.

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans

Once the mixture boils turn to low and simmer for 30 minutes.

Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer the mixture until the kale is tender, which will be about 25-35 minutes, depending on your stove. Season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes (if you want a little heat), or any other additional herbs or spices you prefer.

elbow macaroni

My elbow macaroni is almost done!

This can be a side dish or as an entrée paired with some kind of starch. I decided to pair mine with elbow macaroni. So once the mixture had come to a boil and I turned to low, I started a medium pot of water to boil for my pasta. The pasta finished just before the kale mixture did. Rice is also a good option, and should be started at about the same time, or after you add the beans and broth in. Serve and enjoy! This is a great gluten-free (without the starch or at least a GF version) and vegetarian option. If you need the urge to add some meat, use ground beef or turkey. Cook in a separate pan and add into the mix at the end. However you decide to enjoy this dish-enjoy it-especially the kale!

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans served over elbow macaroni

Braised Kale with Tomatoes and Black Beans served over elbow macaroni. Yum!

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/6280243/?claim=qsaupa3wc5d”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Strawberry Jellies, Sort Of

4 Feb

It was my plan to make strawberry jelly squares coated with sugar. They seemed easy enough and it was something new and different. It was also a gluten-free treat that I could give to my friend Mary. Boy was I wrong. And while I didn’t make jelly squares, I did make strawberry jelly and Mary got a very large mason jar full of it. I am including the recipe as stated though. After talking with my dad he said that liquid pectin can be “temperamental”. He gave me a slightly different recipe to try these again. And even though this recipe didn’t turn out quite the way I wanted it to, I still want to share it with you. We won’t know until we try, and we can’t be afraid to fail, in all aspects of our life. So if there’s a recipe that’s scaring you, try it, and if you fail oh well, at least you can say you tried.

Strawberry Jellies Ingredients L-R: Frozen Strawberries, Liquid Pectin, White Sugar

Strawberry Jellies Ingredients L-R: Frozen Strawberries, Liquid Pectin, White Sugar

STRAWBERRY JELLIES (JELLY)

  • 2 lbs. Frozen Strawberries
  • 2 Cups White Sugar
  • 5 Tbsp Liquid Pectin

Puree your strawberries in a blender or food processor. If using a blender it will be a long arduous process. (I thought it’d be easier than setting up my food processor, I was wrong.) Strain through a sieve into a wide saucepan (I used a large pot). I also don’t have a sieve and used a meshed strainer. Stir in your sugar and let boil, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes to an hour, or until a candy thermometer reaches 223 degrees. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove your mixture from the heat and stir in the liquid pectin. Pour into a foil lined 8 inch square pan and chill until firm, at least a couple of hours, or overnight is best. Cut into squares and toss in white sugar.

Pureeing the strawberries

Pureeing the strawberries

Cooking the strawberries and sugar

Cooking the strawberries and sugar

Waiting for it to reach the right temperature.

Waiting for it to reach the right temperature.

The jellies didn't quite gel. This is after I poured it in the mason.

The jellies didn’t quite gel. This is after I poured it in the mason.

Since my jellies didn’t quite set, I bought a large mason jar and poured the jelly in and gave to Mary to enjoy with her own gluten-free baking adventures. So until my second attempt at these, remember to have fun in the kitchen!

Strawberry Jelly

Strawberry Jelly

%d bloggers like this: