Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vegetable & Cream Cheese Quiche with Almond Crust

Quiche. I always associate it with spring - maybe it's because of the eggs (Easter Egg hunts) or the vegetables (Bye winter! Hello fresh veggies!) or because they're such an "Easter Brunch" friendly food (can be served room temperature). Either way, this quiche, made with an almond flour crust, is something I'll be serving all year long.

I've long been a fan of Elana's Pantry; her almond flour and coconut flour recipes are delicious and her cookbooks are gorgeous. I love her philosophy about food and the fact that she uses her grain-free diet as a way to treat her Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. (This is especially fascinating to me because my mother has MS and I'm always looking for alternative ways to help her cope.)

If I were trying to convince anyone to try a grain-free diet (cough, cough mom), this is one dish I'd present. Elana's chocolate chip cookies are another. 

Vegetable and Cream Cheese Quiche with Elana's Pantry Almond Crust

You'll need to make one recipe of Elana's savory pie crust recipe (there's a version of it here on another favorite of mine, Spunky Coconut's blog - or a version of it here on Elana's site) but you'll have to get her book to get the recipe I used. Here's what I typically do for my quiche fillings, you need:

4 eggs, whisked
2 small heads broccoli, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
4 tablespoons cream cheese
scallions and parmesan cheese for garnish
salt, pepper, & garlic powder, to taste

Preheat your oven to 350F. In a large bowl add all of the vegetables and dollops of the cream cheese (don't try to fully blend them in with the veggies/eggs), then add the eggs, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add the mixture to your prebaked crust, top with some shaved parmesan and bake for about 35 minutes (it will be ready when the middle of the quiche has a wiggle to it). Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving, garnish with scallions and more parmesan.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Gluten-Free Spinach Wraps

My Mom finds the best gluten-free stuff. Whenever I visit her and my Dad, or when they come this way, she always has some sort of new gluten-free food to share with me. It gives you a little peek into her mindset: she's always thinking about others.

Her latest discovery were these Rudi's Gluten-Free Spinach Tortillas. I believe she got them at Market Basket in Mass; I haven't seen them here (Upstate NY) anywhere yet. You guys - they're awesome! Chewy, pliable, tasty, and they don't break apart like most gluten-free tortillas. If you want to ensure that they stay "flexible," just warm them up on a skillet for 10 seconds a side, but they really don't require it.

                    That's my version of the wraps, with hummus, spinach, cukes and tomatoes.

But, as I said, I haven't seen these anywhere around me so I wanted to recreate them so I don't have to wait for a visit from Mom to eat them. My version is based off a recipe I created in 2009 for a regular wrap, or, flatbread. I added some pureed spinach and tweaked a few things, but I'm pretty happy with the results.

I hope you'll like them too!

Gluten-Free Spinach Wraps (dairy-free, egg-free, vegan)
makes 8

1 3/4 cups superfine brown rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xantham gum
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup pureed spinach (defrost frozen spinach and puree)
1 cup water

Whisk together the brown rice flour, cornstarch, salt and xantham gum in a bowl, then add the applesauce and spinach puree. Next add the water, a little at a time until combined. The dough should feel more "pizza dough" like and less cake batter-like.

On a floured work surface (I just use more of the brown rice flour) take two heaping tablespoons of the dough and roll out to desired size. Cook on a skillet over medium heat about 30 seconds on each side. 

Store in the refrigerator for a week, or freeze and thaw before using.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Perdue Gluten-Free Breaded Chicken Tenders

The folks at Perdue were kind enough to send me coupons to try their new Perdue gluten-free chicken tenders. The words below are solely my own.

I'm not being dramatic when I say these chicken tenders saved our family (okay, I'm being a little dramatic) but really - there was something horrid going around our little trio (or foursome, I thought I heard Henry throwing up once but couldn't find any proof... I hope I never do) for a full week.

It started with me, then it hit the A-man, and finally Little Guy. It would come and go. One day I was bed-ridden, the next it was A-man; it went on and on. Fortunately, it was staggered, otherwise our son and dog would have had the run of house (images of what could have been - Little Guy grabbing Henry by the tail, Little Guy climbing on Henry to break into the pantry, Henry eating all the dog food and Little Guy emptying every single container on the ground - are things I am sure would have happened...)

No one had the energy to cook, and most everything we thought about heating up would send us gagging, except these: glorious tenders of chicken in a light and crispy crust. Oh thank the gluten-free Gods that I got these and put them in the freezer mere days before the week-long plague. And thank goodness they only take 9 minutes in the oven (or a lot less in the microwave) to cook. (I don't think I've mentioned before how much I do love my Breville mini-convection oven, so here: I really love it and use it daily.) 

They hit the spot for all three of us and because the Little Guy is obsessed with dipping things right now, he got a trio of sauces to dip his in: ketchup, bbq sauce and maple mustard (just whisk 1 part maple syrup or maple cream to 3 parts yellow mustard - it's super tasty). We had no desire to make any sort of recipe with these; they really are delicious on their own (and less expensive than other gf breaded tenders out there.)

The gluten-free community can only win when a large, well-known company like Perdue comes out with gluten-free foods: more people will take it seriously now that a mega-company does and hopefully more companies will follow in their footsteps. They did it right too: See that "Certified Gluten Free" logo in the upper right corner of the packaging? It means exactly what it says - the food has been tested to make sure there is no gluten (technically less than 10 parts per million of gluten) in the product.

Thanks, Perdue!

*Check out Marlow this week as she pins with Perdue!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Rice Noodle Bowl with Crispy Tofu

Want to know my favorite thing about cooking vegetarian? You don't have to worry about disinfecting your kitchen for salmonella. Want to know another? Crispy tofu: It's crunchy, tender, and really, really delicious. (Even my chicken-wing obsessed husband, who has claimed to hate tofu proclaimed his love for it while eating this dish.)

There are many more reasons to eat vegetarian of course; I highly recommend watching "Forks over Knives." It didn't inspire us to become vegetarians, but did inspire us to add more vegetables and cut more meat out of our diet. This recipe is partly me trying to make my husband feel full with a vegetarian meal while training for a marathon and partly inspired by a place I used to frequent in my old grad school town - Xinh Xinh Cafe.

This recipe is my take on a delicious dish that seemed to always be the "special" at a beloved Vietnamese restaurant in Urbana Illinois. I have fond memories of eating here with my sis, bro-in-law and niece (watching my then-toddler niece slurp noddles remains one of the cutest things I've ever witnessed.)

The sauce I made for this dish uses Bragg Liquid Aminos - my absolute favorite soy sauce alternative. It's a whole lot lower in sodium, naturally gluten-free and has a nice, deep flavor. And, hence the name, contains those wonderful amino acids.

Here's what you need...

Gluten-Free Crispy Tofu Rice Noodle Bowl
serves four

Noodles and fixings:
1 package rice noodles
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
1 package firm tofu
1/2 cup cornstarch
julienned vegetables: cucumber, peppers, carrots
5-6 green onion, whites included
1/3 cup chopped peanuts (I love these Our Daily Eats Thai Chile Peanuts - they're locally made, to me - with this dish)

For the sauce:

1/3 cup coconut aminos
1 tablespoon gluten free fish sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon agave
1-2 teaspoons siracha
2 teaspoons freshly minced ginger
1/3 cup warm water

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions, set aside (you want the noodles to be room temperature or cold when serving). Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat in a wok. Cut tofu into desired shape (rectangles, squares, triangles - they all work) and douse in cornstarch. Add the corn-starch-coated tofu to the oil and cook until crispy, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on a paper towel and finish cooking all tofu in small batches.

In a small dish, add all of the sauce ingredients together and whisk until fully incorporated.

When serving: layer the noodles first, then vegetables, tofu, peanuts, green onion, and pour 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce over the top. Enjoy!

(Little Guy just learned that he can climb on the dining room chairs and use chopsticks like they're drums.)