Friday, May 4, 2012

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Garlic Oil - GF, DF

Hello friends! I know it has been much too long since I posted last. This dish really inspired me to post again. I don't think I had a sweet potato until I was about 20 years old, but it was a sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving. It was covered with marshmallows. It wasn't my favorite. Several years later my sister made a pretty healthy version and I loved it. Since then I have been obsessed with sweet potatoes and I can't get enough!

I have only eaten gnocchi once and I have never made it before. I am happy to say it turned out perfectly! It was a little time consuming, but it was very worth it.

Yummy! (sorry for the poor picture quality)

Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Sage Garlic Oil - Gluten and Dairy Free
Serves 6-8 (Makes about 120 gnocchi)

2 lbs. sweet potatoes (Garnett are my favorite)
2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Gluten Free Pantry. If you don't need them GF use regular AP flour)
1 large egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Sage Garlic Oil
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
20 fresh sage leaves

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 45-60 minutes until cooked through. Let cool for 15 minutes.

2. Cut the sweet potatoes in half and scoop out the flesh. Process through a ricer (or use a mesh strainer and the back of a spoon to push them through) into a medium bowl. Cool an additional 10 minutes (otherwise you will cook the egg when you add it to the dough.)

3. Create a well in the center of the sweet potatoes and crack the egg into it. Put 1/2 cup of the flour into the well. Using a spoon, mix thoroughly. Add 1/2 flour at a time until a soft dough is created. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead softly until a ball is formed and it no longer sticks to the counter. Divide the dough into 6 balls.

4. Taking one ball of dough roll in out into a 1-inch wide rope. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Take each piece and roll over the tines of a fork to create ridges. Place the gnocchi on a baking sheet. Repeat with each ball of dough. (If you want to freeze some of the gnocchi do so at this point. Place the gnocchi on a baking sheet and freeze for 2-3 hours. Place in a freezer ziploc bag and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.)

5. Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil. Place about 20-25 gnocchi in the boiling water. Stir to separate and cook until they rise to the top and float for a couple of minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a separate baking sheet to cool. Continue cooking the gnocchi in batches of 20-25.

6. Once the gnocchi are completed, prepare the Sage Garlic Oil. Heat the oil over medium heat in a small saucepan. Add the sage leaves and minced garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the leaves are crispy and before the garlic starts to turn brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

7. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 2 TB olive oil. Working in batches, brown the gnocchi for 2-3 minutes on each side. Place on a large serving platter and toss with the Sage Garlic Oil. Serve hot and enjoy!

P.S. If you can eat dairy I am sure that adding some freshly grated Parmesan on top would take it over the top!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Zuppa Toscano Soup

For those of you that follow The Pioneer Woman Cooks, I swear I did not steal her idea. I have been thinking and working on this recipe for a couple weeks. It just so happens that today was the day I planned to  make and post the final recipe. So no stealing here....I promise.

I take a mentally handicapped woman out to lunch every couple of weeks. Her favorite place to go? The Olive Garden. I don't love the OG....except for their soup, salad and breadsticks. I always get Zuppa Toscano, a delicious brothy/creamy spicy soup with Italian sausage, kale and potatoes. I usually have several bowls....nom.nom.nom....

My version is gluten and dairy free. I added a little non-hydrogenated butter substitute to give some of the rich flavor you would normally get from the cream or half and half. The result is a near-perfect copy of the OG's...a delicious, satisfying soup that the whole family will love.

Zuppa Toscano Soup (Sausage, Kale and Potato) - GF, DF
Serves 6-8

1 bunch kale (I used a combination of purple curly and Dinosaur), stems removed, washed and torn into bite-size pieces
5 medium red potatoes, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 lb spicy GF Italian Sausage (turkey sausage could be used)
4 cups almond milk (or regular dairy milk)
4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup butter substitute (I used Earth Balance)
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Prepare kale and set aside. Boil the potatoes until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. In a large dutch oven or pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until translucent. Add the garlic and saute an additional 30 seconds.

3. Add the sausage and brown, breaking up the larger pieces (drain off fat, if desired). Add the milk, broth, butter, red pepper and smoked paprika. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Add the potatoes and kale. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Camping and Gluten Free Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler - GF, DF

I went camping with my family a couple weeks ago. I love camping and spending time in nature. I always feel so comfortable and peaceful as I spend time in God's beautiful creations. We spent the first night in Targhee National Forest (the backside of the Tetons). It was beautiful...the mosquitoes were not! They were murderous. We didn't spend much time outside because of them. I got a few bites on my face that swelled up huge!

We then spent a few night in Grand Teton National Park. Those mountains are so majestic! Our campground was right on Jackson Lake so we spent a lot of time there swimming and kayaking. It was heavenly. The perfect vacation!

Jackson Lake

Teton Mountains at Sunset

Kayaking on Jackson Lake

It's a tradition to make dutch oven cobblers when we camp, and I wanted to attempt another gluten free cobbler. I have been trying for a couple years to make a good gluten free Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler. I have failed many times, but this last time was a huge success! I had been trying to do it like we do our gluten-ful cobbler; dump the peaches in, sprinkle the tapioca pearls, then the dry cake mix, sprinkle with brown sugar and then dot with butter pats. This makes an incredible gluten-ful cobbler, but the gluten free one was always too grainy. The flours/cake mix never cooks or gets crispy like it should, it just stays dry and grainy.

This time I decided to make a wet batter and drop it on top. I chose a sweet biscuit-type topping instead of a cake. It turned out perfectly! So, so delicious. My dad and aunt said they like it better than the gluten-ful one we usually make. That is what I call success! :)

(I apologize for the bad quality of the photo. It was very dark!)

Gluten-free Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler
Serves 8-10 (12-14" dutch oven)

2 large (or 4 small) cans peaches in pear juice, quartered
1/4 cup quick-cooking tapioca pearls
1 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All-Purpose)
2 TB coconut palm sugar (you can use brown sugar if you want)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup milk/dairy replacement
1/4 cup coconut palm sugar (or brown sugar)
1/2 cup cold butter/butter replacement, cut into small cubes

1. Pour one can of peaches with juice into the dutch oven. Drain the other can of peaches. Discard the juice and add the peaches to the dutch oven. Sprinkle the tapioca pearls over the peaches.

2. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine. Whisk in the milk. Pour/drop this batter over the peaches. Sprinkle the sugar over the batter and then dot with butter. Cook with coals/briquettes on top and bottom for 25-30 minutes, or until the batter is set and golden brown on top. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. :)

*This recipe is linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thai Red Curry Chicken- GF, DF

I have still been in a food funk lately. I haven't felt very creative...maybe it's the heat. :/ The other night I invited some of my siblings over for dinner. I was going to make Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta, my favorite recipe from The Pioneer Woman. Then I remembered that my sister had been craving Thai Red Curry for about a week. Our favorite local Thai restaurant is closed for several weeks and she has been going crazy. :)

So I decided to make Thai Red Curry, but I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. We have made red curry before that wasn't very good. I discovered a few things; a good, high quality red curry paste and using fresh Thai herbs makes all the difference...and if it's quick and easy red curry it won't be all that authentic or all that good.

This recipe takes about an hour from start to finish, but it is completely worth it. We all ate WAY more than we should have and were stuffed! It is some of the best Thai Red Curry I have had.

(Picture to follow. I need to make it again! :) )

Thai Red Curry Chicken
Serves 6

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" cubes
3 cups chicken broth/stock
2-3 TB red curry paste (I used this one, purchased at Whole Foods. I have used Thai Kitchen brand before, it doesn't even remotely compare)
3 cans full-fat coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen best)
3 TB coconut palm sugar (or 1 1/2 TB jaggery)
3 1/2 tsp fish sauce
1 large (or two small) red bell pepper, cored, seeds removed and cut into 1/4" slices
1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4" sticks
2 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 can bamboo shoots
2 large Kaffir lime leaves, use the end of a knife to pound the leaves to "bruise" them
1 cup fresh Thai basil, leaves and a few buds, discard stems
1 cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 lb Thai Brown Basmati Rice, cooked

1. Bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the chicken and par-boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove the chicken from the stock and set aside. Reserve the chicken stock for later.

2. In a large pot combine 1 cup of the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and sugar. Whisk to combine well. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it becomes a thick paste. Add a couple tablespoons of the reserved chicken broth and reduce again for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid it sticking to the bottom and burning.

3. Add the remaining coconut milk and a 1/2 cup of the chicken broth. Bring back to a boil and then add the par-boiled chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the red pepper, zucchini, carrots, bamboo shoots and lime leaves. Cook for an additional 10-15 minutes until the vegetables are tender, but still slightly crisp. Remove the lime leaves and discard.

4. Remove from heat and stir in the Thai basil and cilantro. Serve immediately over Thai Brown Basmati Rice.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cherry Compote

I apologize that I don't have a picture for this recipe, but I have been sitting on it for awhile. I keep meaning to make it again so that I could snap a few pics....I figured since it is cherry season I better just get it on the blog! :)

This is great with grilled chicken or pork, and weird as it sound I think it would even be delicious on vanilla ice cream. I'll have to try that next! :) I even eat it straight out of the pot. It really is yummy!

Cherry Compote

2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/8 cup diced shallots or red onion, very finely diced
1 cup cherries, halved and pitted
1/3 cup concord grape juice
2 TB red-wine vinegar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 3 minutes, just until soft. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cook until liquids have reduced by half and the cherries are soft, about 10 minutes.

Variation: Cherry Basil Compote - Add 1 TB fresh chopped basil when you add the cherries.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Peach Gobbler - GF, DF

I know I have been absent for a few weeks. I am still doing the Eat Fat, Lose Fat Diet. Things have been interesting. :) The first two weeks my weight basically stayed the same, but when I did a body composition test at the end of those two weeks I had lost 2.8% body fat!!! Yahoo!!!! The next week I decided to try adding dairy back in.....bad idea. I didn't weigh myself until the end of the week and I had gained 5 pounds. Obviously I cannot do dairy! For the last week and a half I have been slowly losing that 5 pounds.

I still have not done a lot of experimenting with adapting the recipe from EFLF. That is why I haven't posted many recipes...but don't worry, I'll get there. :) I have a few in the works.

I know that peaches aren't necessarily in season right now, but I bought some ripe ones at the store yesterday and decided to make something that has been on my mind since my sister mentioned it the other day. Peach Cobbler. Yummy, warm, peach cobbler. The only way I have ever had peach cobbler is in a dutch oven when we camp.....which is the best way to enjoy it. However, this is also pretty darn good! :0)

Peach Cobbler - Gluten and Dairy Free
Serves 6-8

6 Peaches, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup raw honey (or coconut palm sugar)
4 TB chia seeds (optional)
1 TB vanilla extract

1 cup gluten free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 TB coconut palm sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
3 TB non-hydrogenated butter replacement (I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine the filling ingredients and toss to coat the peaches. Pour into a prepared 8 x 8 dish. Set aside.

2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine. Cut in the butter until a course crumb forms. Add the milk and mix with a fork until just combined. Do not overmix.

3. Drop the dough by the spoonful on top of the peaches. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or Whipped Cream.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blueberry Kefir Soda

Bear with me for a moment for a very technical, possibly boring, lesson. Don't worry, I'll get to the good stuff (the recipe) at the end! :)

A bit part of the Eat Fat, Lose Fat diet is repairing your gut and replenishing the friendly bacteria. Today most people take probiotic supplements containing these healthy bacteria for the digestive tract. Traditional cultures did not take probiotics. They obtained these healthy bacteria from lacto-fermented foods such sauerkraut and other pickled vegetables and fruits. Sauerkraut is familiar to most of us. Cabbage is pounded and mixed with salt to encourage the growth of lactobacilli, a bacteria that produces lactic acid, which also acts as a preservative. Fermented dairy products, such as yogurt and kefir (a sour, fermented milk beverage), and other lacto-fermented beverages, also act as probiotics. In addition to these awesome probiotics, fermented foods and beverages also have loads of enzymes, a higher vitamin content and minerals that are more readily absorbed.

In the Health and Recovery phase of the Eat Fat, Lose Fat diet (and strongly encouraged in the Quick and Easy Weight Loss phases) you drink three lacto-fermented drinks per day. Soaking grains is one way of making lacto-fermented beverages. Some traditional cultures used (and still use) soaked corn or sorghum. A popular modern-day soaked grain lacto-fermented drink is called Rejuvelac, which is made by soaking wheat. If you can tolerate wheat and gluten, this could be a great option for you.

Another method of making these healthy beverages is using kefir grains. Kefir grains are a not a "grain" like wheat or barley, but a grain, as in a grain of salt. These grains contain lactic acid bacteria and yeast, and when placed in a liquid at room temperature for a period of 12-48 hours create healthy lacto-fermented beverages. The grains use naturally occurring sugars in the liquids to feed off. Kefir grains cannot be produced from scratch, you will need to obtain grains from someone. If properly cared for, the grains last indefinitely and will grow, allowing you to share your grains with others. I will post Resources link where you can purchase your own grains at the end of this post.

There are two types of kefir grains; milk and water. As their name infers, milk kefir grains are used in milk. Traditionally cow or goat milk was used, but coconut and other nut milks can also be used. Water kefir grains are used in water (added sweetener needed), coconut water, or fruit juices.

My very happy, multiplying water kefir grains!

The finished product is a tart, effervescent liquid that can be used in so many ways. Milk kefir thickens and is the consistency of a thin yogurt, but with far more probiotics and health benefits than regular yogurt. I have been using my milk grains in coconut milk and my water grains in coconut water. They all seem very happy and are growing like crazy.

Okay, enough of this...let's get to the recipe. One of my favorite ways to enjoy kefir is using coconut milk kefir to make a smoothie in the morning. So addicting! No worries, recipes will be coming soon. :) My second favorite way to enjoy kefir is with Kefir Soda. This soda is a healthy alternative to the deadly (in my opinion) sugar/artificial sweetener, caffeine, carbonation laden sodas that most children and adults live off of. I had some fresh blueberries just begging to be used, so I threw them into some coconut water kefir and let it ferment for another 24 hours and....Tada! Blueberry Kefir Soda. It tastes very similar to IZZE Natural Soda. It is refreshing, delicious and sooooo very healthy.

See the bubbly soda goodness?!
*This recipe is linked to Simply Lives Thursday and Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Blueberry Kefir Soda
Makes approx. 2 quarts

Note: This recipe takes 2 days and requires some special equipment

Special Equipment:

- Glass soda bottles with wire-held caps (you can use mason jars with lids, it just won't be as bubbly)
- Non-metal strainer with small holes (wire mesh small)
- Plastic funnel


2 quarts coconut water or filtered water (if using water only, also add the 1/2 cup sugar from below instead of adding it with the blueberries)
3/4 cup water kefir grains

2 cups fresh blueberries, mashed with a fork
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar, Rapadura, or Sucanat


1. Place the grains in a large glass container and pour the coconut water over the them. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain the liquid using a non-metal strainer into a large glass container, reserving the kefir grains to start another batch.

2. Using a funnel pour the water kefir into the soda bottle(s). Next add the blueberries and sugar. Close cap and shake the bottle a few times. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours, shaking occasionally.

3. Place the bottle inside a large mixing bowl (the overflow catcher). Place a clean washcloth over the bottle and open the cap. CAUTION: Contents under pressure WILL explode. (I learned this the hard way. I had blueberry soda all over my kitchen.) Once the craziness has settled strain the liquid into a medium bowl and discard the blueberry pulp. Strain any liquid in the large overflow catcher mixing bowl into the medium bowl. Using a funnel pour the liquid back into the soda bottle(s). Serve immediately over ice or chilled for several hours. Store in refrigerator for several days.

Kefir Grains Resources

I ordered my grains from:
Organic Raw Milk Kefir Grains from One Great Place @ Etsy
Organic Water Kefir Grains from Keysands @ Etsy

Other sources:
Cultures For Health (if you sign up for their free newsletter you get a free Kefir Recipe e-book)
Kefir Lady