Mornings in our apartment are usually a chaotic blur of showers and NPR and tried on but then disgarded outfits and ironing boards and a race to make it to the subway on time. AP and I barely have time to talk, much less eat. But I am one of those people who needs breakfast—and I especially like something warm on cold winter mornings. Before celiac, I was an oatmeal addict. I had the quickest and most delicious recipe—sometimes I would even take it with me in paper bowls. But since I was diagnosed, I've been sensitive to oats (even though they're supposed to be safe. Go figure.) and haven't been able to find a replacement that's not a glue-y, cloggy rice mush. But then I found Quinoa Flakes . These are an excellent, quick (90 seconds!), light, protein-filled oatmeal alternative. Sure, they taste nothing like old-fashioned oats, but they are wonderful with a variety of hot cereal condiments and have their own nutty-sweet charm. The addition of flax makes them even more fiber-packed.
QUICK HOT BREAKFAST CEREAL
one half a banana, sliced, or half cup raisins
1 1/2 cups water
2/3 cup Quinoa Flakes
1/4 cup soy milk(vanilla works well)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 cup maple syrup or honey
2 tablespoons flax meal or flax seeds (optional)
Place the raisins or banana in a small sauce pot with the water. Bring to a boil. Add Quinoa Flakes and stir constantly for 90 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in soy milk, cinnamon, syrup or honey, and flax.
Spoon into a bowl. Enjoy!
Wednesday, December 6
Risotto was one of those intimidating, gourmet-seeming dishes I thought I'd never be able to cook. It was always so good in restaurants—the perfect mix of delicate and rich—but always turned out mushy or undercooked at home ("a failure in every way that rice can fail," is how I once described an attempt). But, after a few years of fiddling with rice-to-liquid ratios, heat (and patience) levels, and consistency of stirring, I finally broke the code and found a method that works every time. Then I made it dairy-free. Surprisingly, it's still really delicious.
There are a couple of tricks.
1. Before you start cooking the rice, you absolutely have to heat up the broth to the point of boiling.
2. The rice cooks best in a deep sauce pot (not the paella skillet I tried for years)
3. You have to stir the whole time.
4. If you're adding vegetables and/or meats, don't add them until you've cooked the rice for about 10 minutes. They will still cook through. Really.
Easy Risotto in 24 minutes
1 1/2 cups Arborio Rice
6 cups vegetable or chicken broth
2 tablespoons margarine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/12 cups diced vegetables or meats (I use portobello and button mushrooms, but many, many combinations can work: asparagus and shrimp, basil and tomato, etc)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup Galaxy Foods Rice Parmesan Alternative
Salt, cracked black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste
Chopped Italian parsley (optional)
Bring the broth just to the point of boiling and leave on low heat. In a separate, heavy-bottomed sauce pan cook the onions, oil, and margarine. Cook on medium heat until onions are translucent. Using a wooden spoon, stir in rice until evenly coated (30 seconds-1 minute). Add in white wine. Stir until evaporated. Start pouring in broth, one ladle-ful at a time (the first round of broth should cover the rice by about 1/4 an inch). Keep stirring. Add one ladle-ful of broth until evaporated. Then add the next. At the 10 minute mark, toss in vegetable and/or meats. Keep stirring. continue on like this until you've used all of the broth, the vegetables are cooked, and the rice is tender, but not too soft--about 10 minutes. Let sit for 4 minutes. Stir in salt, both peppers, and rice parmesan. Serve garnished with chopped parsley.
Tuesday, December 5
When I was a teenager, and my parents were out of town, I subsisted on little more than no-pulp Tropicana orange juice, Nutri-grain waffles, and boxes upon boxes of Pepperidge Farm stuffing. It was easy to make (you just had to boil water and melt butter), filled me up, and I could eat it out of the pot while watching TV.
If I ate this diet today I'd weigh more than 200 pounds—and sometimes I question whether this exorbitant wheat consumption led to celiac in the first place—but, nevertheless...
I really miss stuffing.
So this Thanksgiving, rather than make the real thing for guests and a sad little afterthought GF version for myself, I decided to make an enormous, glorious, non-glutinous stuffing for all. I stuffed the bird with it. I baked a whole pan on the side. And I ate it in mounds. Here's the recipe:
Wild Mushroom Stuffing
1 ENER-G Corn Loaf (Ener-G makes really light, almost airy GF breads that work well for stuffing), cut into half inch cubes
1 ENER-G Tapioca Loaf, cut into half inch cubes
1 stick butter (1 cup), or non-dairy substitute
1 1/2 pound wild mushrooms, sliced (I used cremini, oyster, morel, and plain old white button--but you can try just about any mixture)
2 1/2 large onions, chopped
5 celery stalks, chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried
1 teaspoon dried sage
Cracked black Pepper and salt to taste
2-4 cups organic chicken broth, depending on how moist you like your stuffing ( you can also easily replace with vegetable broth)
A day before cooking place bread on baking sheets to get stale and crisp. The day of cut into small pieces and place in large bowl.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Melt the butter (or margarine) in large-ish pot on high heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium. Add mushrooms; stir until they begin to soften (they'll release juices), around 5 minutes. Add celery and stir 5 more minutes. Mix in bread until ingredients are well blended. Add in seasonings.
To bake in a bird:
Combine half of the broth into bread mixture. Fill main turkey or chicken cavity with stuffing. Add the remaining broth into remaining stuffing to moisten. Spoon into a buttered baking dish. Cover with buttered aluminum foil. Bake in a dish alongside bird until heated through. This takes about 45 minutes.
Monday, December 4
I realize I'm way, way overdue for a post-Thanksgiving update. We had a really great time and there were tons of celiac-friendly dishes (some recipes were more successful than others. For example,I never even brought out the scary, rubbery stuffed tofurky). In the next couple of days, I'll post on the chocolate-rum bundt cake (so moist and wonderful, no one knew it was gluten-free), wild mushroom/corn bread stuffing, and parsnip and sweet potato puree.
The temperatures finally dropped and the wind blew through in enormous gusts this weekend in Brooklyn—it truly felt like the first days of winter. After indulging a little too much the night before, my boyfriend and I put on our cardigans and settled into the couch for a six-hour marathon of Heroes (a not very well-written, but surprisingly addictive show about normal people who become, well, super-heroes).
What to eat on this chilly, cozy, couch-potato Sunday?
I wanted Macaroni & Cheese. I wanted easy Macaroni and Cheese out of the box. But there were some problems.
On top of my celiac disease, my boyfriend is lactose intolerant, which means comfort foods like pizza, lasagna, and mac and cheese are usually out for us (I've found you can replace the wheat or replace the cheese, but attempting both is really challenging).
Enter PENNE & CHREESE.
This is a seriously great product. The pasta is firm and grainy in a good way, and the chreese, when mixed with soy milk and Smart Balance Buttery Spread, is actually creamy and rich. We added a little garlic powder and cracked black pepper and it was perfect. Road's End Organics sells several varieties of chreese which could come in handy for loads of cheese-filled dishes (I'm imagining its "nacho chreese" poured over black bean enchiladas. mmmmm.)
Friday, November 10
On Saturday, for the second year in a row, my sweet boyfriend and I are hosting a pre-Thanksgiving potluck at our apartment in Brooklyn. Last year was awesome: all the smells, tastes, and homeyness of the traditional holiday, without any of the family stress. People brought sweet potatoes and greens and fig paste and wine and cheese and pies (not to mention love and humor and amazing energy). We supplied the bird (my first ever).
This is such an ideal party for me. I love to cook and I love the challenge of making traditionally gluten-filled dishes turn out just as good, gluten-free. Since I found out I had celiac in 2002, my main goal has been to live healthfully and self-protectively without feeling too crazy or deprived. Thanksgiving, with its wealth of bread and stuffing and pies and casseroles, is a perfect opportunity to experiment with serious GF cooking. Last year I made just the turkey and a pumpkin pie. This year, with more guests and more preparation time, I'm going to expand to:
Fennel and Celeriac salad
Gluten-free stuffed tofurky (I felt bad for our vegetarian guests last year)
Gluten-free gravy (meat and vegetarian)
Roasted root vegetables
Chocolate-rum bundt cake