Friday, March 22, 2013

Allergy-free Devil's Food Cake

1 1/2 cups rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 heaping tsp xantham gum
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups sugar (or 1/2 - 1 cup honey)
3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
a large 1/2 cup coconut oil - melted
1 TBSP ground chia seed mixed with 3 TBSP water
1 cup hot coffee
1 cup non dairy milk of choice mixed with 1 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13x9 inch glass casserole with non stick cooking spray; dust with rice flour, tapping out extra.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, starches, xantham, baking soda and salt.

In a separate large bowl beat together chia egg, melted oil, sugar/honey and cocoa until blended. At low speed alternately beat in flour mixture and coffee until it gets too stiff for the beater (the starches make it a bit gummy). Continue to stir with a spoon or spatula. Slowly add vinegar milk. The mixture will seem thick but don't add any extra liquid.

Spread into prepared pan and bake 30-40 minutes or until set.

Top with favorite frosting!

Perfect Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup butter - room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups uncooked oatmeal (not instant)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl whisk together eggs and vanilla.

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
In a separate bowl whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Slowly add to creamed mixture. Beat in egg mixture.

Stir in oats and drop by spoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 10-12 minutes, just until barely golden. Let sit 1-2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to cool.

Creamy Baked Chicken Taquitos

2 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 oz cream cheese - softened
1/4 cup salsa
1 TBSP fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 cloves garlic - minced
3 TBSP chopped cilantro or green onion
1 cup shredded cheese
small corn or flour tortillas
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper or coat with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, salsa, lime juice, cumin, chili powder and onion powder.  Stir in cilantro. Add the cheese and chicken and mix thoroughly.

Working with a few tortillas at a time, heat in the microwave with a wet paper towel. If using corn tortillas I suggest heating in a pan with a small amount of olive oil to help prevent splitting while baking.
Spoon 2-3 TBSP of chicken mixture into warmed tortillas and roll as tightly as you can. Place on prepared sheet - seam side down and about 1 inch apart. Repeat with remaining tortillas until the mixture is gone. If you didn't heat them with olive oil, lightly spray taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crisp and golden. Serve with sour cream, salsa and guacamole.

*For a lighter Taquito I suggest omitting the shredded and cream cheeses and replacing with 3/4 cup soft goat cheese. Increase salsa to 1/2 cup.

**Allergy-free Substitutions:
Garlic - omit
Cream cheese - Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (add a little extra lime juice and cumin)
Cheese - omit and dip in guacamole for creaminess

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Potato-Chive Pancake

You will need two large plates or round serving platters.

4 russet potatoes - peeled
3 TBSP fresh chives - chopped
salt and pepper
3 TBSP olive oil

Start by shredding the potatoes using either a grater or food processor. Place all the potato shreds in ice water and let soak 10 minutes. Rinse well and repeat. Finally give another good rinse and let drain. After it's done draining, dry in batches on paper towels. This process may seem tedious but it's necessary to remove all the starch and excess water that makes hash browns grey and gooey.

In a bowl combine the potatoes, chives and salt and pepper. I used a fairly good amount of seasoning.

In a medium non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add the potato mixture and press into the pan to form one even, flat pancake. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Carefully slide pancake onto a large plate or platter; invert onto a second greased platter/plate and slide back into the pan. Continue to cook until the underside is evenly browned; 10-15 minutes more. Slice into wedges before serving.

**This process seemed a little involved to me. I suggest just tossing it all in a pan and flip it around occasionally while breaking it up into more manageable pieces. Then serve like regular hash browns. It would be much less time consuming and still taste great.

Pork Chops with Mushroom Madeira Sauce

I had never heard of Madeira wine before and became a little frustrated when I could only find one to choose from at the grocery and liquor stores. From what I read on the internet, there is quite a variety of Madeira ranging from port-like, for after dinner drinks or dessert sauces, to very dry. Well there are no descriptions on the bottles I found and no one working at either store seemed to know a thing about it. So I settled for the one selection at the liquor store, opened it up and gave it a taste. It seemed to be in the middle somewhere - not sickeningly sweet nor super dry. I decided to just go ahead and use it and the sauce came out awesome. However, i'm thinking a good quality dry Sherry would work just as well.

You will need a cast iron skillet.

2 TBSP grapeseed (or olive) oil
4 bone-in pork chops
salt and fresh ground black pepper

3 TBSP butter - divided
2 TBSP shallot - minced
2 TBSP garlic - minced
7-8 medium button mushrooms - sliced
2 TBSP all purpose flour
1 cup Madeira wine
1/2 cup beef broth
1 rounded tsp fresh Thyme - chopped
1 TBSP fresh parsley - chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack.

Heat grapeseed oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Season each pork chop with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Sear on each side for 2 minutes. Once nicely browned, transfer the chops to prepared rack and bake in the oven for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from rack to a platter and let rest 2 minutes.

In the same skillet used for the chops, add 2 TBSP butter, the shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over medium-high heat until slightly caramelized. Add flour and stir to make a paste. Add the Madeira wine and deglaze the pan. Lower the heat - add the beef broth and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from heat and mix in remaining butter and fresh herbs. Once the butter has melted, pour over chops and serve.

**Allergy-free Substitutions:
Flour - all purpose gluten free flour
Butter - I suggest using bacon fat for the sautéing and omitting the last TBSP
Garlic - omit

Monday, March 18, 2013


A traditional Irish dish made of potatoes and kale or cabbage.

1.5 lbs potatoes - peeled and chopped
1/4-1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup hot milk
1/2 head cabbage - cored and finely shredded
1/2 lb cooked diced ham or 3/4 cup chopped bacon cooked until crisp
1/4 cup scallions - finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Boil or steam potatoes until tender - drain and mash well. Combine with butter and milk.

Boil cabbage in unsalted water until it becomes bright and mostly tender. Drain well, return to pot and break apart any large pieces using a wooden spoon.

Add cabbage, ham or bacon and scallions to mashed potatoes - stirring in gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Top with additional butter of course :)

**Allergy-free substitutions:
Milk - unsweetened So Delicious Coconut milk
Butter - preferred non-dairy butter replacement or coconut oil
you can also use regular onion or chives in place of the scallions

Friday, March 15, 2013

Avocado Soup

A rich, creamy soup for any avocado lover.

3 large (or 4 medium) ripe avocados - seeded and peeled
28-32 oz low sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup onion - finely chopped
1 TBSP butter
1 cup cream (or unsweetened coconut milk)
salt and pepper
hot pepper sauce - such as Cholula or green Tobasco
*bacon, cilantro, chopped onion, tortilla shreds for garnish (optional)

Start by cooking your bacon in a large stock pot until crispy. Remove to paper towel and reserve 1 TBSP drippings in the pot.
*If you prefer not to use bacon, skip this step and add butter to pot instead.

In a blender or food processor combine 2 cups of the broth and the peeled avocados. Blend or process until smooth. Set aside.

Heat your butter or bacon fat over medium-high heat and cook onions until tender. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the avocado puree, the remaining broth, cream and salt. Cook and stir just until heated through (do not boil!). If desired, season with salt, pepper and hot sauce.

Top with bacon bits, cilantro, onion and crispy tortilla strips! Serve warm or chilled.

Crispy Tortilla Shreds: Cut two 6-inch corn tortillas into 1/4-inch wide strips. In a small skillet heat 1/2 cup oil (vegetable, peanut or canola) over medium heat until hot. Add a fourth of the strips at a time to the hot oil. Cook until golden. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Season lightly with salt.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Spiced Pork Chops with Cilantro-Pineapple Rice

4 bone-in pork chops
1 TBSP paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cinnamon
salt and pepper
2 TBSP olive oil
1 cup rice of choice
1 medium red or yellow onion - sliced
1-8oz can crushed pineapple - drained
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 425. Cook rice according to package directions.

In a small bowl, combine the paprika, cumin, cinnamon 3/4 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Heat oil in a large oven safe pan (I used cast iron) over medium-high heat. Season both sides of pork chops with dry rub and cook until golden brown - about 2 minutes on each side. Scatter onions in the pan around the chops and place pan in oven. Roast just until pork is cooked through - about 4 to 5 minutes.

Fluff rice and toss with pineapple, cilantro and a little salt and pepper. Serve under chops.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Garlic Peanut Sauce

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts - cooked, cooled and minced
1/2 cup roasted unsalted peanuts - finely chopped (or cashews)
1-2 garlic cloves - finely minced or pressed
zest of 1 lime
2 TBSP lime juice
1/2 cup fresh cilantro - chopped
1/4-1/2 cup green onion - chopped
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
large lettuce leaves of choice - I like bib lettuce (butter leaf) or red lettuce because they are large enough and soft enough to use without breaking

Combine all ingredients except the chicken in a large bowl. In the same pan you used to cook the chicken, heat
1 tsp olive oil
1 TBSP chunky peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
and 1/4 cup coconut milk
add minced chicken and season with salt and pepper. Add to rest of ingredients and refrigerate while you make the peanut sauce.

1 TBSP olive oil
2 cloves garlic - minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
dash cayenne
1 1/2 TBSP pure maple syrup
6 TBSP chunky peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
1 TBSP soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 cup coconut milk
1 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sesame oil
dash hot sauce
splash rice vinegar

Over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil with pepper, cumin and cayenne until garlic is soft. Slowly add the rest of the ingredients, whisking to combine. Add more coconut milk as needed for desired consistency.

I also made a spicy fish sauce. Combine:
2 TBSP fish sauce
4 TBSP water
2 TBSP lime juice
1/2 - 1 tsp sugar (or honey or maple syrup)
fresh grated ginger (I grate the ginger and then just squeeze the juice out into the bowl and discard the pulp)
red pepper flakes - to taste

Whisk to combine until sugar is dissolved.