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Archive for the ‘GF for LF’ Category

Daring Kitchen January 2012: Tamales!

Posted by Jeanne on January 22, 2012

Blog-checking lines: Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year!

I was super excited for this challenge, because I’ve been wanting to make a batch of tamales for after this kid is born – and now I had an excuse to make Curt help!  I’ve made tamales several times, and they are one of my favorite easy dinners.  They freeze and reheat extremely well.

I followed this recipe for the dough, and we used cooked spiced chicken and cheddar cheese for the filling.

Also, I swear this post was ready to go last weekend except the pictures were on the camera still – and there they stayed until today.  Better late than never?

Prepping masa in the corn husk.

Ready to roll!

The finished product, ready to steam.

Thanks to Maranda for a great challenge!


Posted in Birdies, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, GF for LF | 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 »

GF for LF – days 23 and 24

Posted by Jeanne on January 25, 2011


Breakfast:  Coffee.  Mexican scramble at the diner, which was hash browns, ground meat, black beans, cheese, red and green chile sauce, and two eggs.  Rocked.  Also toast (of which I had one slice… fail) and my friend got a blueberry pancake which I had to try (even greater fail as not even my food).

I suck at GF restaurant breakfast.  Why did I just… not eat the damn toast?  Dumb.

Lunch:  Spring mix, feta cheese, balsamic vinaigrette.  I am so glad cheese is GF.

Dinner:  Chile lime tofu + greens + quinoa.  From this recipe.  We used beet greens/chard that we froze over the summer for the greens.  Very good.


Breakfast:  Coffee, Fage yogurt, Udi’s gluten-free granola.

Lunch:  leftover cassoulet & mashed potatoes from Saturday night.

Dinner:  baked fish sticks (made with halibut and breaded with egg and almond flour), mashed potatoes, glazed carrots.

The awful weather has me in a mashed potato mood, it seems.

I think I’m done with GF for LF.  I made it to the last week, but I’m out of steam and my blog is becoming a desperately boring account of what I had for lunch. 

In summary, it’s a LOT harder to be gluten free than it seems.  Gluten lurks in hidden places.  If I had an actual gluten allergy, I would be sick all the time for months while I tried to figure out how to do it.

Posted in GF for LF | 1 Comment »

GF for LF – Days 20, 21, and 22

Posted by Jeanne on January 22, 2011


Breakfast:  Fage yogurt, Trader Joe’s GF granola, coffee.

Lunch:  I took part in the Omaha soup revolution!

Dinner:  chicken & squash mole tamales, black beans, rice.


Breakfast;  Fage yogurt, Udi’s GF vanilla granola, coffee.

Lunch:  leftover BBQ shrimp, polenta, and broccoli from Wednesday night.

Dinner:  Chicken tikka masala and rice from Crystal Jade‘s GF menu!


Breakfast:  Coffee.

Lunch:  Leftover chicken tikka masala and rice from last night.  According to Crystal Jade’s Facebook page, every Thursday is gluten free night.

Dinner:  Cassoulet.  Wine.

I’m really looking forward to this GF month being over.  I’ve learned a lot, but I really, really want a bowl of pasta.

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GF for LF – days 18 and 19

Posted by Jeanne on January 19, 2011


Breakfast:  Fage plain yogurt, Trader Joe’s gluten-free cranberry granola, diced peaches in light syrup

Lunch:  leftover sopa de albondigas, spring mix salad, balsamic vinaigrette

Dinner:  lentils and rice with unsmoked bacon, sweet potato ice cream.


Breakfast:  Fage plain yogurt, Trader Joe’s gluten-free cranberry granola

Lunch:  leftover salmon & brussels sprouts from last Thursday night, salad, balsamic vinaigrette.

Dinner:  BBQ spiced shrimp (based on this recipe, but done on the stovetop and not outside because it is snowing AGAIN), cheddar polenta, sauteed broccoli.

Thank whoever for Bob’s Red Mill – they are great for gluten-free grain products.  Also I really think they will grind anything up and make it into flour.

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Vegan sweet potato quesadillas

Posted by Jeanne on January 18, 2011

We had this dish for dinner last night, during GF for LF month.  This is the kind of dish that strikes fear in the heart of many – vegan AND gluten-free.  Because certainly without all that meat or cheese or gluten, it must be weird, right?

Wrong.  This is delicious.  And not just “delicious for vegan and gluten-free.”  Honest to goodness delicious, awesome food.

Vegan sweet potato quesadillas – inspired by Daily Grub, which has since changed its menu to include a different but still delicious-sounding quesadilla.

Serves 2 – 3 depending on how hungry you are

Cashew crema

Soak a cup of raw cashews overnight (or quick soak them).  Drain.

In a high-powered blender or food processor, combine soaked cashews, 1 tsp ancho chili powder, 0.5 tsp salt, 0.5 tsp chipotle chili powder, and about 0.33 C water.  Blend or process until very smooth, adding more water if necessary.

Sweet potatoes

Rub 2 whole sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.) with olive oil.  Place in an oven safe pan and cover the pan with foil

Roast at 400F until very soft, about 1 hour.  Allow to cool until they can be handled, remove skins and slice into circles about 0.25 inch thick.  Set aside.


Roast clean, dry peppers at 400F about 45 minutes, rotating every 15 minutes, until very soft.

Allow to cool until they can be handled.  Core and seed.  Remove as much of the skin as will come off, and slice into strips.  Set aside.

4 flour tortillas (8 inch) or 6 corn tortillas (6 inch)


Microwave a tortilla for 10 seconds so it is warm and pliable.

Note: If you’re cooking for someone who is gluten-free because of an actual allergy, do NOT use the same cutting boards, knives, etc. to prep their food if flour tortillas have been placed on that board.  Get a new board, or scrub everything.  EVERYTHING.

Spread cashew crema on half of the tortilla.  Add peppers and sweet potatoes, fold over, and set aside.

Grill on a grill pan or a George Foreman-esque grill, and enjoy with some salsa, a little cilantro and a squeeze of lime.

The flour tortilla version.

And the corn tortilla version!

Verdict:  not as good as the ones at Daily Grub, but it’ll do until they put it back on the menu.

Posted in Cooking, Entrees, GF for LF, Vegetarian | Leave a Comment »

GF for LF – days 16 and 17.

Posted by Jeanne on January 17, 2011


Breakfast:  one slice brown rice bread, one laughing cow cheese, 0.25 C egg substitute from Costco (the co-op was out of eggs.  Booooooooooooooo.)

Lunch:  spinach salad, balsamic vinaigrette, 0.5 C Fage, 0.5 C Trader Joe’s GF granola.

Dinner:  sopa de albondigas, from this recipe.  Sooooo good – used spinach instead of cabbage.  New fave soup.


Breakfast:  one slice brown rice bread, one laughing cow cheese, 0.25 C egg substitute from Costco.

Lunch:  spinach salad, balsamic vinaigrette, leftover sopa de albondigas.

Dinner:  sweet potato & roasted bell pepper quesadillas with chipotle cashew crema.  Inspired by an item formerly on the menu at Daily Grub that I literally ate every time I was there until they changed the menu.   I had mine on corn tortillas while Curt had flour.

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GF for LF – days 14 and 15

Posted by Jeanne on January 16, 2011


Breakfast:  0.5 C Fage plain yogurt, 0.25 C Udi gluten-free vanilla granola. I liked this one better – it reminded me more of “regular” granola because it’s oat-based.

Lunch:  Leftover mapo tofu, rice, spinach salad, sesame-ginger vinaigrette (Mapo is now thankfully gone.  Was getting very sick of it, even though I love it.)

Dinner:  Indian food at Dhaba.  I had the mixed grill and Curt had chicken tikka masala. Delicious and *should* have been gluten-free though I didn’t ask.  Except for the naan…


Breakfast:  one slice of brown rice bread, laughing cow cheese, one egg scrambled, one slice of Canadian bacon.

Lunch:  leftover happy family from Wednesday’s jaunt to Crystal Jade.

Dinner:  roast chicken & potatoes, spinach salad, balsamic vinaigrette.

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Daring Kitchen January: Cassoulet

Posted by Jeanne on January 14, 2011

Our January 2011 Challenge comes from Jenni of The Gingered Whisk and Lisa from Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. They have challenged the Daring Cooks to learn how to make a confit and use it within the traditional French dish of Cassoulet. They have chosen a traditional recipe from Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman, which was originally featured on an episode of “No Reservations.”

I changed some things (of course) – one of the suggested changes was not to use the pork rind, so I didn’t.  Also I didn’t confit duck legs (although Curt has been dying to do so), and instead did some chicken legs.

Chicken confit, inspired by this Emeril Lagasse recipe for Chicken Confit


2 chicken legs, thighs, and wings, excess fat trimmed and reserved (about 2 pounds)
1 TB kosher salt
0.5 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5 garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme (about 1 tsp dried)
1.5 tsp black peppercorns
0.5 tsp table salt
About 2 C olive oil


1. Lay the chicken pieces on a platter, skin side down. Sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Place the garlic cloves, bay leaves, and thyme on top.  Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.

2.  Get out your slow cooker.  Remove the chicken from the refrigerator. Remove the garlic and  bay leaves and reserve. Rinse the chicken with cool water, rubbing off some of the salt and pepper. Pat dry with paper towels.

4. Put the reserved garlic and bay leaves in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle evenly with the peppercorns and salt. Lay the chicken on top, skin side down. Cover with olive oil – you may need a bit more.  Cover and cook on low for 12 to 14 hours, or until the meat pulls away from the bone.

And then totally forget to take a picture of the finished product.  Oops.

Cassoulet, inspired by Cassoulet by Anthony Bourdain and Michael Ruhlman (as featured on the Travel Channel’s “No Reservations”)


2 lb. dried beans (they recommend Tarbais.  I used half Yellow Eye and half Mayacoba, from Rancho Gordo as always)
2 lb. fresh pork belly
salt and pepper
0.25 C duck fat (I actually used goose fat for this)
6 sausages
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
2 confit chicken legs, meat pulled from bones and coarsely chopped

Day One

1.Place the beans in the large bowl and cover with cold water so that there are at least 2 or 3 inches of water above the top of the beans. Soak overnight.  (Beans will double in size upon soaking, so use a big bowl!)

Day Two

1. Drain and rinse the beans and place in the large pot.
2. Add the pork belly, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and continue to simmer until the beans are tender, about 30 minutes more.
3. Let cool for 20 minutes.
4. Remove the pork belly, cut it into 2-inch squares, and set aside. (If you plan to wait another day before finishing the dish, wait to cut the pork belly until then.)
5. Strain the beans and set aside, reserving the cooking liquid.
6. In a sauté pan, heat all but 1 TB of the duck fat over medium-high heat until it shimmers and becomes transparent.
7. Carefully add the sausages and brown on all sides.
8. Remove sausages and set aside, draining on paper towels (I decided to cut them up as well).
Mmmmm, sausages and chicken confit.
9. In the same pan, over medium-high heat, brown the sliced onions, and the garlic.
10. Once browned, remove from the heat and transfer to the blender. Add the final TB of duck fat and purée until smooth. Set aside.
11. Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
12.  Arrange all your ingredients in alternating layers in a very large dutch oven or other oven-safe pot, beginning with a layer of beans, then sausages, confit, and pork belly, beans, more meat, and finally more beans, adding a dab of the onion purée between each layer.

13. Add enough of the bean cooking liquid to just cover the beans, reserving 1 C in the refrigerator for later use.
14. Cook the cassoulet in the oven for 1 hour, then reduce the heat to 250ºF and cook for another hour.
15. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

Day Three

1. Preheat the oven to moderate 350ºF again.
2. Cook the cassoulet for an hour.
3. Break the crust on the top with the spoon and add 0.25 C of the reserved cooking liquid.
4. Reduce the heat to 250ºF and continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until screamingly hot through and through. Then serve.

Ok not the most beautiful photo ever.

DEFINITELY not the most beautiful plate ever. But certainly in the running for most delicious. Making my own confit is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but who knows when I would have gotten to it. And I love cassoulet – even more, I love that cassoulet is gluten-free!  And that it makes a VAT of food, half of which is now in my freezer waiting to be eaten on another cold winter night.

In summary:  awesome challenge, awesome food.  Thanks Daring Kitchen and thanks Jenni and Lisa!

Posted in Birdies, Cooking, Daring Kitchen, Entrees, GF for LF | 5 Comments »

GF for LF – days 12 and 13

Posted by Jeanne on January 13, 2011


Breakfast:  two slices brown rice bread, swiss cheese, one egg scrambled.

Lunch:  leftover mapo tofu, rice, spinach salad with balsamic.

Dinner:  Happy family (shrimp, pork, chicken & scallops sauteed with vegetables) from Jade Garden’s GF menu, rice.


Breakfast:  Fage plain yogurt, Trader Joe’s gluten free granola.  It’s pretty good but since it’s made of corn, kind of tastes of cornflakes.

Lunch:  leftover mapo tofu, rice, spinach salad with balsamic.   Just kidding.  I had pizza at a meeting.  GF fail.

Dinner:  salmon glazed with honey and dijon mustard, roast brussels sprouts.

The brown rice bread was texturally kind of odd, but not bad.  It tasted good and it was nice to have some toast again!

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