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Archive for the ‘Gluten-free’ Category

You jerk

Posted by Jeanne on August 19, 2011

I had originally planned to do a Fridge Friday post today, because it’s been way, way too long.  But because of some crazy storms in Omaha last night, we don’t have any power in the house – so the fridge is dark.  And I’m afraid to open it and let in any warm air, because who knows when the lights will go back on?

Anyway, so instead here is a post I’ve been working on for ages –  jerk chicken, rice & peas, and collard greens.

I love how well greens grow in our garden.  Traditionally, collards are boiled (usually with pork) for ages and ages.  I hate them this way – they’re really, really soft and mushy.

I like to sautee them briefly in olive oil and salt & pepper, then add some chicken stock and steam them for a bit.  They’re soft enough to eat but still have some bite to them.

For jerk chicken, I buy jerk marinade at this place (links to UrbanSpoon page for Caribbean Delights Restaurant, they seem not to have a webpage).  If you’re in Omaha, you must go – amazing, amazing stuff.  I like to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

Note:  Grill the chicken outside or cook it in the oven.  If you use a stovetop grill, the jerk paste will fill your kitchen with peppery smoke that is much like using pepper spray on yourself.  And your dogs.  Poor pups.

For the rice and peas, I used a recipe that’s similar to this one.  Rice & peas isn’t rice with green peas – it’s rice with beans, and they’re spicy and delicious.

I’m off to Des Moines this weekend, to visit the Iowa State Fair for the first time!  I am looking forward to red velvet funnel cake and lots of foods on a stick.  Don’t think I will be trying deep-fried butter though.

Hopefully I will return on Saturday evening and there will be power in my house.  It’s the little things that count, right?

Happy Friday, everyone!


Posted in Birdies, Cooking, Entrees, Garden/Seasonal, Gluten-free, Side dishes | Leave a Comment »

Daring Cooks August 2011: Appam & curry

Posted by Jeanne on August 14, 2011

Mary, who writes the delicious blog Mary Mary Culinary was our August Daring Cooks’ host. Mary chose to show us how delicious South Indian cuisine is! She challenged us to make Appam and another South Indian/Sri Lankan dish to go with the warm flat bread.

Appam is made from rice, yeast and coconut milk. The well-fermented batter is cooked, one bread at a time, on the stovetop. Appam are supposed to come out like a cross between a crepe and a crumpet, with a thin, lacy, crisp edge and a thicker spongy middle.

Mine came out kind of weird, mostly because I fail at follow directions. Instructions I failed to follow are highlighted below in bold.


Makes about 15.  3-4 are enough for one person.


1 1/2 cups raw rice

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup of coconut water or water, room temperature

1 1/2 tablespoons cooked rice (I completely missed this ingredient.  No idea what happened.  Reading comprehension fail).

1/2 teaspoon salt

about 1/2 cup coconut milk


1. Soak the raw rice in 4 to 5 cups of water for 3 hours. (I did overnight).

2. Dissolve the sugar in the coconut water or plain water and add the yeast. Set aside in a warm area for 10-15 minutes, until very frothy.

3. Drain the rice and grind it in a blender with the yeast mixture to make a smooth batter. You can add a bit of extra water if needed, but I did not. Add the cooked rice, and grind/blend to combine well. You can see that it is not completely smooth, but very thick.

4. Pour into a large bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 8-12 hours. You not only want the mixture to rise and collapse, but to ferment. When it is ready, it will have a slightly sour and distinctly yeasty smell.

FYI:  If you forget to cover it (like I did), the “batter” will solidify into a cement-like rice and yeast cake in the bottom of your bowl.  I had to nearly double the liquid in the next step to get it liquid again.

5. Add the coconut milk and salt, and a bit of water if necessary, so that you have a batter that is just a bit thicker than milk.

The unbearable whiteness of appam batter.

6. Heat your pan over medium heat. Wipe a few drops of oil over it using a paper towel. Stir the batter and pour in 3-4 tablespoons, depending on the size of the pan. Working quickly, hold the handle(s) and give the pan a quick swirl so that the batter comes to the top edge. Swirl once only, as you want the edges to be thin and lacy.

7. Cover the pan and cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and check. The center should have puffed up a bit, and will be shiny, but dry to the touch. When ready, loosen the edges with a small spatula and serve immediately. These need to be served hot out of the pan.

Another covering fail.  I think this would have helped with some of the cooking difficulties I had, which were mostly that the edges dried out and then they cracked when I was taking them out of the pan.

Anyway, I suck at this but you should really use the blog-checking lines to see how others (WHO CAN READ) made the dish.

The curry recipe I used is based on this one, but changed somewhat based on access to ingredients.

1 TB vegetable or canola oil
3 medium onions, sliced thin
Stems from 3 sprigs fresh cilantro, chopped, plus 1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1-inch piece of ginger, minced
3 potatoes, diced into 1/2-inch cubes
2 bell peppers
2 lbs. chicken breasts, skinned
2 TB hot curry powder (I used Penzey’s brand)
1 tsp garam masala
2 cups coconut milk
Kosher salt

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat until it is very hot.  Add the garlic, ginger, sliced onion, peppers, and cilantro stems, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the curry powder and garam masala and continue cooking for 6 to 8 minutes until the onion and peppers are very soft, stirring often so that they cook evenly.

When the onions and peppers mixture is soft and has absorbed the spices, add the chicken and stir to coat with spices. When all the chicken has been stirred in, pour one cup of coconut milk over the chicken, add the salt and the potatoes, reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked and the potatoes are tender, about 40 minutes.

Remove the cover from the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. Then add the last cup of coconut milk and the cilantro leaves. Return liquid to a simmer, season to taste with salt, and serve.

The final dish.  The curry was good and the appam were ok – probably would have been better if I had made them properly.  Thanks to Mary for a great challenge and learning experience for me!

Posted in Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, GF for LF, Gluten-free | 5 Comments »

Tis the season: Benson Farmer’s Market

Posted by Jeanne on August 6, 2011

A lovely reader of my blog reminded me last night that it has been far, far too long since I posted.  So Kristi, this one’s for you.  🙂

The refrain to eat fresh vegetables and buy local seems to get louder every year.  We grow quite a few vegetables, as I’m sure my regular readers know.  We are also lucky enough that there is a farmer’s market just a couple blocks from our house, which I decided to visit a couple Saturdays ago.

I got six ears of sweet corn and three squash (two yellow squash and one zucchini) for $5 – a huge bargain, because they are ready NOW.  I love summer vegetables.


I seasoned them with salt and pepper, olive oil, and a little balsamic vinegar and grilled them for a few minutes to get some nice smoky flavor and soften them up a bit.

Then I made ratatouille, based very loosely on the recipe posted here.  I only had two tiny eggplants, so it was definitely heavy on the squash and zucchini and light on eggplant.  Still delicious though.

For the corn, I Curt cleaned the silk out but left the husks intact.

I mixed butter, mayo (I know, but it works so well), parmesean cheese, paprika, and salt & pepper and spread it on the corn.  We then closed the husks around them and grilled – it made a delicious side dish.

It’s currently pre-10 AM on Saturday and if you live in Benson you still have plenty of time to get to the market!  The Benson Farmer’s Market runs from 8 am to 1 pm Saturdays from May to October, and is located at the intersection of Maple Streets and Military Avenue in downtown Benson.

NB:  I was asked to do this post, but was not compensated for writing it.  I paid for my own items at the market.

Posted in Cooking, Entrees, Garden/Seasonal, Gluten-free, Side dishes | 2 Comments »

Daring Cooks June 2011: Healthy potato salads from around the world!

Posted by Jeanne on June 14, 2011

I read this challenge and was excited, and I told Curt about this challenge and he groaned.  Curt hates potato salad.  Curt has this terrible affliction wherein he dislikes both mayonnaise and vinegar in any application where they are the dominant flavor, which eliminates pretty damn much all picnic-salad-type dishes.

Anyway, so not only was I supposed to make a healthy potato salad, I wanted to make something that my lovely but picky husband would enjoy.  A challenge indeed.  I was inspired by all the herbs in our garden that are coming up, so I decided to make a warm potato salad with a Dijon-herb vinaigrette.

Blog-checking lines:  Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

Warm potato salad with Dijon-herb vinaigrette

Serves 3 or 4

6 medium potatoes, about 2 or 3 lbs., cut into uniform chunks

1 TB Dijon mustard

1 lemon, juiced (about 1 TB juice)

Herbs – I used chives, thyme, and tarragon

Salt & pepper

0.25 C olive oil

Boil potatoes in salted water (I used about 3 quarts of water  and 2 TB salt) until tender, about 20 – 25 minutes depending on how big you’ve cut them.

While potatoes cook, combine mustard, lemon juice, herbs, and salt & pepper to taste.  Slowly whisk in the olive oil to finish the dressing.

The magic of emulsion.

Drain the potatoes, and immediately add to the dressing while they’re still hot.  Stir gently to coat all of the potatoes without breaking them.  Let rest for a few minutes so the potatoes can absorb the dressing and toss again.  Serve warm.

And even Curt liked it.

Posted in Cooking, Gluten-free, Side dishes | 2 Comments »

Not-quite channa masala

Posted by Jeanne on June 3, 2011

After a couple weeks ago Friday’s Rapture Party debacle, it was time to scale it back on the eating a bit.  We picked channa masala for a healthy and vegetarian dinner that Sunday night.

Unfortunately I only had one can of chickpeas and the recipe calls for two.  D’oh.  So I improvised and made it with half chickpeas and half kidney beans, and it was delicious.

Also, Indian food often uses amchoor powder to add an acidic sourness to dishes.  Amchoor powder is made from dried, unripe (green) mangoes – I haven’t been able to find any, so I just use lemon juice (per the suggestion on the original recipe).

Not-quite channa masala, from recipe originally posted by Smitten Kitchen

1 TB vegetable oil

2 medium onions, vertically sliced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

2 small hot chili peppers, slit

1 TB ground coriander

1 TB ground cumin

0.5 tsp ground cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground turmeric

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp garam masala

2 C tomatoes, chopped small or 1 15-ounce can of diced tomatoes with their juices

0.5 C water

1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas and 1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

0.5 tsp salt

juice of 1 lemon (about 2 TB juice)

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion and sauté over medium heat until browned, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, ginger and pepper and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes.  Turn heat down to medium-low and add the coriander, cumin, cayenne, turmeric, cumin seeds, paprika and garam masala.

Cook onion mixture with spices for a minute or two, then add the tomatoes and any accumulated juices, scraping up any bits that have stuck to the pan.

Add the water and beans.

Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes, then stir in salt and lemon juice.

Serve with steamed rice (basmati if you’ve got it).

Happy Friday, everyone!

Posted in Cooking, Entrees, Gluten-free, Vegetarian | Leave a Comment »