Month: November 2014

Thanksgiving: Gluten-Free and Vegan–A Buffet for 6 – 8

Thanksgiving: Gluten-Free and Vegan–A Buffet for 6 – 8

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(above:  Butternut Squash Lasagna–G-F and Vegan–scroll down for recipe)

A small buffet for six or eight is great fun –so few dishes!– and here’s one that will go down well with gluten eating carnivores as well as those who follow gluten-free and vegan lifestyles.  Pass out recipes — or have folks find their own — and make it an easy day for the host.

While I am neither vegan nor on a gluten-free diet, I do often eat Vegan Before Six a la Mark Bittman and boast a daughter-in-law who for the most part eats gluten-free. The idea of a holiday menu that suits both profiles was a challenge I simply had to take because whenever I publish a recipe that is both gluten-free and vegan, I seem to have a really good number of new folks interested.  That means I’m interested, too.

So let me know what you think if you try the recipes or maybe just take one or two to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner so that you can eat without wondering whether or not there’s __________ in that casserole.  Naturally many of the recipes can be used for ONLY vegan meals or ONLY gluten-free meals and you can adjust those ingredients accordingly.  For instance, if you’re not a vegan, you might add grated Parmesan cheese to the lasagna or if you’re not gluten-free, you might use traditional lasagna noodles.  And so on.   Now on to the meal I so hope you enjoy…………

While the meal gets organized, start with music (here’s a prior Thanksgiving’s music post of mine), sparkling wine (Gruet from New Mexico is inexpensive and charming; please do drink American wines for Thanksgiving) and a gorgeous platter of vegetables, olives, dips, crackers (try Mary’s Gone Crackers.) Check wine and any other purchased food labels; most wines will be fine gluten-free options, but you might want to read up on that right HERE. Don’t eat too much because hopefully someone’s made one of my favorite soups for the very first course…

Go around the table (or the living room seats–wherever) and let each guest offer something for which they’re thankful if you’re not in the habit of grace before meals. Offer a toast to those healthy thoughts….thanksgiving is good for the body and soul.

FIRST COURSE SOUPS   Wine: Oregon or Washington Riesling (not too sweet…)

There are 3 soups from which to choose. I love them all. Choose which best suits your other menu choices.

Naturally you might have some bread with these soups if someone’s brought some….Bread sticks or crackers would be nice, too–and not so filling.

Spicy Cream of Pumpkin Soup with Peanuts — 6 first course servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced*
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 1 each:  celery stalk and carrot, minced
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, minced or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • 2 cups pureed pumpkin (15-ounce can will work)
  • 4 cups gluten-free vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup rice milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped peanuts

Heat the oil and garlic for one minute over medium-low heat.  Add vegetables, herbs, salt and pepper; season with 3 drops of hot sauce.  Raise heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender — about 10 minutes. Add pumpkin and broth; bring to boil.  Lower to simmer and cook another 10 or 15 minutes.

Stir in milk and heat through. Optional: purée using an immersion blender or carefully in batches in the blender or food processor.  Taste; adjust seasonings.  Serve hot garnished with peanuts.

*If you have  a food processor, use it to mince all of the vegetables at once. Continue reading “Thanksgiving: Gluten-Free and Vegan–A Buffet for 6 – 8”

Slow Cooker Green Chile Beef Stew with Bacon on Cheddar Potatoes

Slow Cooker Green Chile Beef Stew with Bacon on Cheddar Potatoes

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I cooked Monday for Inter-Faith Hospitality network (IHN) families; it’s something I’ve done for years at more than one church.  It’s a way of living life that makes a lot of sense to me; I like to cook and there are people who need dinner.  Here in Colorado Springs at First Congregational Church, we bring already cooked or nearly finished complete meals to a church kitchen where families without physical homes gather, eat dinner with us, and then spend the night.  A group of churches and temples work together and the homeless people spend a week at one place and then move to another while awaiting jobs and/or permanent housing.  It gives all of the congregations a chance to participate without burdening any one financially or otherwise with the full-time housing of the ever-changing group.

Typically, but not always, a dinner coordinator makes contact a couple of months ahead and asks what I’d like to make; for other churches there’s a set menu for each week.  The families aren’t the same, so it doesn’t matter if there’s meat loaf on Monday and chicken with rice on Tuesdays, etc. every time.  That gives the dinner coordinator a repeating group of  tasks that the volunteers become used to.  For instance, if I’m a shopping volunteer, I might know that every two months I’ll make a run to Costco for fresh milk, ground beef, chicken pieces, broccoli, spinach, etc.  Once a year, I might need to buy paper napkins and cocoa mix. If I’m a cooking volunteer and I’m scheduled for Wednesday, I know I’ll be making baked potatoes with toppings.  I find I like both options, though the latter gives me time to spend with other volunteers cooking in the kitchen rather than fixing food on my own at home.

IMG_6894 Continue reading “Slow Cooker Green Chile Beef Stew with Bacon on Cheddar Potatoes”

Curried Broccoli-Almond Brown Rice Salad–Gluten Free and Vegan for Thanksgiving

Curried Broccoli-Almond Brown Rice Salad–Gluten Free and Vegan for Thanksgiving

IMG_6886I’ve been dreaming about a gluten-free and vegan Thanksgiving dinner for the blog.  Not that I truly follow either diet totally (thought I eat vegan quite a bit for health reasons); I simply want the challenge.   Either direction is simpler than both together, as anyone who’s tried to make both vegan and gluten-free bread will tell you.  While I’ve got several recipes in-process, I thought it might be fun to have more than one entree or main dish. As it was Dinner on the Grounds at First Congregational Church in Colorado Springs — the time when we celebrate our congregation’s giving and commitments — I made this quick brown rice and broccoli dish for the meal.  While it might feel like a salad, and perhaps it technically is, I think it’s hefty enough to fill you up for days and feels more like a casserole!  This recipe makes a big bowlful and is enough for 12 side servings or maybe 8 as a main dish.  Even if you don’t eat gluten free or vegan, you’ll like this healthy and tasty dish.  I was very sad to see there was none left to take home.

how you might change it up……

I used currants in the dish, but feel free to substitute dried cranberries for a more festive Thanksgiving table. Raisins or chopped figs or dates would be fine, too; I just like the tiny sweetness of the currants myself.  There’s no garlic, though you might add some –no more than a single finely minced single clove unless you cook it with the rice. Minced celery could be an addition to increase the crunch factor. Walnuts or pecans could replace the sliced almonds; toast them in a dry skillet over low flame for 6 or 7 minutes.  Could you use white rice?  Sure; brown rice has more protein, though, which is a big consideration for a vegan dish. Wild rice would be glorious, I’d think. Carnivores:  Throw in a couple of cups chopped chicken or leftover turkey.

This morning I’m cooking a big pot of beef-vegetable soup for Inter-Faith Hospitality Network (IHN), which is a group of local churches that houses and feeds homeless families, as well as helps them find jobs and permanent homes.  I’ve been cooking these meals for many years now and not much feels better when you love to be in the kitchen like I do. Dave will go with me and we’re working with the folks from Temple Shalom. This time we have a companion dog, too; I get to bring dog treats!

Try this:

CURRIED BROCCOLI-ALMOND BROWN RICE SALAD

12 side servings  or  6-8 main dish servings

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups brown rice
  • Extra-virgin olive oil –can sub canola oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 10 scallions, minced – white and green parts
  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds cooked broccoli florets
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, plus extra for garnish
  • Red wine vinegar
  • 1/3 cup dried black currants or 1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus extra for garnish
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt

In a medium pot, heat water to boiling; add rice with a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper.  Lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook 45 minutes or until tender.  While still hot, add 1/4 cup olive oil, the cooked broccoli, and almonds. Stir well and drizzle with 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar.

Stir in currants, curry powder (start with 1/2 teaspoon, adding more to taste), crushed red pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix well. Taste and readjust seasonings, including curry powder.  Add an extra drizzle or two of vinegar and/or oil to moisten and season if needed. You might also want to add more  almonds or currants to taste; I liked the dish garnished with extra for looks and flavor.

Serve immediately at room temperature.  You can also cover the dish well, refrigerate overnight, bring to room temperature, and serve the next day.  If the rice seems dry, moisten using a tablespoon or two of olive oil and stir well.

{printable recipe}

(Below:  Rosie and Tucker taking a nap while I made the beef stock this morning and granddaughter Piper doing a little dance to her own beat.)

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Piper dancing to her own beat!󾌬

Sing a new song,

Alyce

 

Ina Fridays — Desserts — Make Ahead Zabaglione with Amaretti

Ina Fridays — Desserts — Make Ahead Zabaglione with Amaretti

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On the first Friday of each month, I blog Ina Garten recipes with a fine group of writer-cooks.  Scroll down to the bottom for links to the other posts and come back the next next month  for December appetizers. See you then!

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If you’re an Ina Garten fan, you wait for the next cookbook like cheese waits for crackers…or actually, that might be “crusty bread” or “good baguette” if you’re Ina-smart.  I was sure; I would have sworn I preordered this book.  After all, I have tickets to see Ina in Denver on November 19 while she’s on the book tour. I’ve pushed it on this very blog. (No, I get no cash from Ina.)

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 Why wouldn’t I have preordered it?  Day after day I watched the front porch to no avail. Finally I checked my amazon orders and there WAS NO INA ON ORDER! *$%&#  Quick like a bunny, I punched it in with free shipping; I’m amazon prime.  It arrived just in the nick of time for Ina Fridays and a Lasagna alla Bolognese birthday dinner I’m cooking for friends Saturday night.  Phew.  Et voila,

MAKE-AHEAD ZABAGLIONE WITH AMARETTI

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If you’d like the recipe, it’s on Ina’s website here. (Kind of a surprise.) And, of course, if you’d like to buy the book, click here or go to amazon, which you knew. Continue reading “Ina Fridays — Desserts — Make Ahead Zabaglione with Amaretti”

One Pan-Pork Chops with Potatoes, Onions, Squash, and Apples

One Pan-Pork Chops with Potatoes, Onions, Squash, and Apples

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A dear friend of mine named Joyce once wrote a card — one of many she’s sent over the years — and mentioned she was still making my pork chop with potatoes and apples supper.  I vaguely remembered that meal, but it was one of those quick meals I never bothered to write down.  These days I keep a cooking journal and so have records of meals or at least titles and approximate amounts.   (Well, I’m supposed to anyway.  Since the kitchen remodel I’m still finding things.  Do you know where the lids are for my small Pyrex dishes?  Or my good silver??)

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Late Friday afternoon found me cooking up two big pots of Pumpkin-Chicken Chili *-– one for us to share with neighbors and one for me to have in the DACOR kitchen at Shouse Appliance on Saturday.  I needed to make a vat of pinto beans laced with bacon, so those were bubbling away on another burner.  Enter Dave sniffing around for dinner.IMG_6813

(Apple-Cheddar Salad recipe here.)

Since I didn’t want him to overdose on chili, I got out my big sauté pan — it’s about 5 quarts — and threw in a few quickly sliced potatoes, onions, and apples.  On the counter was a yellow (summer) squash that had seen better days.  I sliced it and threw that in, too.  After those goodies were about half-way tender, I shoved them to the side of the pan and added some oiled and seasoned pork chops.  Lid on and dinner was done by the time I set the table and Dave opened a bottle of Pinot Noir.

*If you ate this chili in the Dacor kitchen, it differs from the recipe in three ways: I used beer instead of wine and added cooked Italian sausage as well as the bacon in the beans.

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Above: I had the pups all “dressed” for Halloween and a big bowl of candy. We had two trick-or-treaters. The name Rosie seems to be sticking, despite my love for “Mara,” and all the other wonderful suggestions we’ve received.  I think it’s because I like to sing this old song to her.  This  morning I found her asleep on my feet while I was checking email.  She’s doing wonderfully well, though we’re still working hard on house training. Puppies.

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 Happy Fall cooking…

Below:  Rosie practicing “Come” with Dave in the front yard.

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ONE-PAN PORK CHOPS WITH POTATOES, ONIONS, SQUASH, AND APPLES

SERVES 2    —   Easily doubled

There is enough of the potato mixture to serve another day with eggs or you might be able to stretch it to serve four if you can fit four chops in your pan and serve a green vegetable or salad as a side.  The wine or water makes just a little sauce to keep it all moist.

To a large, deep skillet or sauté pan heated over medium-high flame, add 2 tablespoons olive or canola oil along with 3 sliced potatoes, 1 large sliced onion, 1 sliced yellow (summer) squash, and 1 cored and sliced apple.  Season generously with seasoned or kosher salt, pepper, and a good pinch of crushed red pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for ten minutes or so until all are at least half-way tender. Push the potato mixture to the sides of the pan to make room for the chops.

Add 2 thick bone-in pork chops you’ve brushed with oil and seasoned well with salt, pepper, and a good pinch of dried thyme.  Cook until the chops are well- browned on one side and turn over to brown the other side.  Stir the vegetables and apples, pour in 1/4 cup white wine*, then cover and reduce heat until everything is tender.  Use an instant-read thermometer to check the chops for doneness. It should read 140 degrees.  Let dinner rest in pan five minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings. Serve hot garnished with the grated zest of one lemon.

*Can sub water or chicken broth for wine. For a more smoothly silky sauce, dab in a tablespoon of butter as well.

{printable recipe}

Need an oven version that serves 4?  Here’s something similar you might adapt: SPRUCE EATS  PORK CHOP AND POTATO SHEET PAN MEAL


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Sing a new song; cook some pork chops,

Alyce