Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gluten free’

I started taking French cooking classes at my local community college, and it’s been the calorie-rich highlight of my weeks. Because the course is conducted in German, I not only get to learn the finer points of butter and egg yolks, I can also practice my umlauts. It’s been a great experience, and I wanted to share the highlights with you here. Think of this as French cooking class light: all of the good stuff, none of the overcooked chicken livers.

So far, the dish that has impressed me most was one of the easiest.  I mean, really, who gets excited about lentil soup? Sometimes I feel like despite the massive number of ingredients and herbs I throw in, it’s just uninspiring.

Leave it to the French to elevate the humble brown lentil.

Well, this French lentil soup has taught me the wisdom in keeping it simple. Its flavor is practically the inverse of the time and ingredients involved.  Not only is it easy to make and flavorful, I like it enough that I’d serve it to company. The French must be on to something.  They know a) how to extract the most flavor from a few key ingredients, and b) not to muddle up dishes with too many herbs and competing flavors.

Simple, non?

Without further ado, here’s the recipe.  I’d love to keep talking it up, but it’s a rare sunny day in Berlin, and the sidewalks are calling my name!  I’ll report back with more French hits soon.

-3/4 c. brown lentils (or French green “du Puy” lentils; I’ve made it both ways), rinsed and picked over
-1 sm. onion, chopped
-2 strips bacon, chopped
-2 Tbsp. butter, divided
-2-3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar, divided
-3 1/3 c. vegetable broth, warm
-1/2 bunch fresh parsley
-3 sprigs fresh thyme
-handful of celery tops, optional
-scant 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
-freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1. In a medium pot on medium-low heat, sauté the chopped bacon to render some of the fat, about 2 min. Keep the heat low so that the bacon does not get crispy. Add the chopped onion and 1/2 tablespoon butter and sweat until translucent.

2. Add the broth, 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and the lentils to the pot. Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

3. Add the parsley (whole), thyme sprigs, and celery tops to the pot. Simmer covered 10-15 minutes more, or just until the lentils are tender. Check doneness occasionally to prevent overcooking.

4. In a small saucepan or skillet, brown the remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. butter. Set aside.  It should be a deep golden brown, but not black. (more…)

Read Full Post »

People, particularly people of Hungarian origin, have very strong feelings about goulash.  Things you should know:

1) It’s one of Hungary’s national dishes;

2) It does not contain ground beef, spaghetti sauce, chili sauce, tomato soup, or Velveeta, you Midwestern heretic 😉

And most importantly…

3) That ultra-thick, beefy stew with onions and paprika you love so much? That’s not goulash!

That is pörkölt.

If you take pörkölt and add potatoes and vegetables and thin it out with water or broth, then you have goulash.  At least, that’s what the fellow in this video claims.  And as a matter of principle, I tend to believe guys who speak Magyar and cook over open fires.

What else do you need to know?  Not Goulash, AKA, pörkölt, is incredibly delicious.  It’s intensely beefy, richly spiced (but not hot—unless you want), and simple to make.  Mashed potatoes are a match made in heaven (and probably totally inauthentic. Parsley potatoes or Spätzle, however, might pass muster with the correctness police.)

In short: make this, and for goodness’ sake, please don’t call it “goulash.”

(Adapted from ifood.tv)

-2 lbs. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-in. cubes (I actually used venison)
-1/2-3/4 c. red wine
-pinch tarragon, optional
-1 sm. onion, finely diced (not too much onion, please, it overwhelms the dish)
-1/2 Hungarian or red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
-1 Tbsp. butter + 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, or the equivalent amount of lard/bacon grease
-2 Tbsp. tomato paste
-2 cloves garlic, chopped
-1 c. broth (I used vegetable)
-2 (heaping) tsp. good quality sweet Hungarian paprika
-1 tsp. dried marjoram
-1/2 tsp. caraway seed, preferably ground
-8 whole juniper berries, optional
-salt and pepper, to taste (I added a little smoked salt for that “cooked-over-an-open-fire” flavor)
-dash of cayenne pepper or hot Hungarian paprika (more…)

Read Full Post »

Seasonally, this pumpkin soup is probably better suited to mid-October than mid-March, but no matter.  It’s irresistible any time of year.  Do not pass go; do not collect $200. Get in my belly!

Apologies.  That must have been my Id talking.

What my unconscious is trying to say is, you should make this soup happen.  In your kitchen. ASAP.

That is all.

-1 1/2 lbs. fresh pumpkin (I used muscat pumpkin, but acorn/butternut squash or even sweet potatoes should work, too)
-2 tsp. fresh sage, minced (or 1 tsp. dried)
-1 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, crumbled
-3 shallots, peels on
-olive oil, for drizzling
-1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced and rinsed of sand
-1 Tbsp. butter
-1 carrot, peeled and diced
-1 lg. celery stalk, diced
-1 bay leaf
-1/2 c. white wine
-4 c. chicken/veggie broth
-1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
-1/4 tsp. cinnamon, or to taste
-pinch of ground ginger
-dash nutmeg
-1/2 c. evaporated milk
-3 Tbsp. heavy cream
-3 Tbsp. sherry (optional)
-salt and pepper, to taste

Garnish with your choice of:
-roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chopped
-ground paprika
-roasted corn (recipe follows)
-chopped parsley
-heavy cream

1. Cut the pumpkin into large chunks, halve the shallots, and place on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350F until fork-tender and golden.

I peeled the shallots, but roasting with the peels on would have been better.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

These crispy fish fillets* are much more than the sum of their parts. After posting several fairly involved recipes, I thought it time for a quick, easy recipe that’s simply delicious.  I was skeptical making this the first time, but one bite confirmed it.  Potato chips, tartar sauce, and white fish?  Like Martha says, “It’s a good thing.”

Still not sure?  Take 15 minutes:

-2 white fish fillets (such as cod, turbot, tilapia, etc.)
-2 Tbsp. prepared tartar sauce (or make your own)
-1 oz. ridged potato chips (e.g., Ruffles…or their German equivalent, Riffels!), crumbled
-2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
-salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a glass/ceramic baking dish or lay some chopped vegetables on the bottom (e.g., celery, fennel stalks, carrots).

2. Season the fish fillets with salt and pepper. Spread 1 Tbsp. tartar sauce on top of each fillet. Press a few tablespoons of potato chip crumbs on top. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Do you love white?

You know: rice, potatoes, pasta, bread, flour, bechamel (mmm, bechamel…)

Well, you don’t need me to tell you.  We’ve all heard we need to eat less white. (Naturally) colorful foods typically have more of the good stuff: vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, flavonoids, and fiber.  Unfortunately, DayGlo-orange Kraft Mac doesn’t count as the right kind of colorful.  Michael Pollan tells us; the federal government tells us—but it’s hard to apply all this good advice.

Lately, I’ve been making a concerted effort to put more color on our plates. Sometimes this means buying some flourescent produce and rushing home to ask Chef Google what the heck I can do with it.  That’s fun, in a kind of Iron-Chef-challenge way.  But sometimes, it’s just easier to work the good stuff into recipes I already make.

Which explains this chicken shepherd’s pie with spinach and sweet potato mash.  It’s got tons of the good stuff bathed in a little cream to help it go down with a smile.

Because a little white is alright.

To be honest, I like my revamped version better than the original. The faintly sweet topping plays off the creamy, herb-spiked base really nicely.  And the chicken is considerably lighter than beef or lamb.  I hope you enjoy my update to the classic.  Dig in!

Topping

-1 lg. sweet potato or yam
-3 med. or 5 sm. white potatoes (enough to weigh 1 1/2 lbs. together with the sweet potato)
-1 Tbsp. butter
-1 Tbsp. herbed cream cheese (I used porcini-mushroom flavored) or sour cream
-1/4-1/2 c. milk, as needed
-salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and cube all the potatoes and boil in a medium pot of salted water until tender.  Drain and place in a medium bowl.  Set aside the pot for later use.

Whip together the potatoes, butter, cream cheese (or sour cream), seasoning, and as little milk as needed to form a thick but spreadable consistency.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I was in line at the corner market yesterday when some items “conveniently” located at the checkout stand caught my eye.  I’d been toying with a mango salsa idea for pork tenderloin and thought a few changes might be nice.  On a whim, I grabbed a container each of fresh pineapple and pomegranate arils, and luckily, the tinkering seriously paid off.

I love this way of preparing pork tenderloin.  You rub the meat with spices, sear it till it has a nice crust, and finish it off in the oven.  Then you hit it with a salsa of tropical fruit, lime juice, and onion so bright, it practically crackles with flavor.  I must have eaten half my weight in fruit salsa last night, so it’s a good thing it’s ridiculously healthy. Even if you’re skeptical of the fruit + meat combination, give this a shot. You’ll be surprised how well it works.

If you have time, brining the meat ensures optimum juiciness and flavor. If not, no worries; this will still turn out great. It’s perfect for a weeknight meal. Enjoy!

Pork brine

-2 Tbsp. coarse salt
-2 Tbsp. sugar
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1 tsp. bay powder or 2 bay leaves
-pinch of red pepper flake
-1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper

Cover the meat with water and stir in all the seasonings until dissolved.  Allow to brine (refrigerated) for up to 8 hrs.  Remove from the brining solution and bring to room temp. 30 min. before cooking.

Tropical salsa

-1 sm. yellow onion, finely diced
-1 1/2 c. fresh pineapple, diced (canned OK in a pinch)
-3/4 c. pomegranate arils (“seeds”)
-2 Tbsp. cilantro (fresh coriander), chopped
-1 clove garlic, minced
-1/2 mango, peeled, seeded, and diced
-dash of ground red chilis or cayenne pepper
-juice of 1 1/2 limes
-salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F.  Combine the salsa ingredients and chill for 20 minutes while you prepare the meat.

Tenderloin

-1 pork tenderloin (mine was a little over 1 lb.)
-2 tsp. sweet paprika
-1/2 tsp. garlic powder
-1/2 tsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
-1 tsp. cumin
-1/4 tsp. dried oregano
-vegetable oil, for searing

It can’t all be glamorous.

Trim as much visible fat and silverskin (white/shiny muscle membrane) from the meat as you can.  Mix the remaining dry ingredients in a small bowl, then rub all over the tenderloin using your hands.  Heat a few tablespoons oil in a large skillet or roasting pan until almost smoking.  Add the meat to the pan and do not move until the bottom is very brown.  Repeat on all sides.

Remove the meat to an oven-safe glass pan (if not using a roaster) and cover with foil.  Roast @ 425F for 14-20 min., or until done to your liking.  It’s OK if the center is faintly pink.  If the meat feels firm but slightly springy to the touch, it’s done.

Place the meat on a clean cutting board and tent with foil for 5 min. while you assemble the side dishes on plates.  (Black beans and rice are nice accompaniments.)

Once the meat has rested, slice thinly on the diagonal and serve topped with the salsa. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Read Full Post »

I’m not much for hyperbole when it comes to describing recipes.  In fact, I get annoyed when bloggers talk up their recipes a lot, only to get ho-hum results myself.  So it means something when I feel no hesitation calling these some of the best brownies you’ll ever make.  My friends Nat and Jen brought these to a party a few months ago, and the crowd went wild.

If you love fudge brownies, these babies are for you.  They’re moist, rich, and deep, dark chocolatey.  Blondie lovers, look elsewhere.  This is some serious chocolate.  And by the way, some toasted walnuts would not be a crime here. Just don’t delay in making these!

Adapted from Joy of Baking

-5 oz. (140 g.) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used 70% chocolate)
-1/2 c. (1 stick/113 g.) butter
-2 Tbsp. (15 g.) cocoa powder
-1 c. (200 g.) sugar (raw sugar OK)
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-3 large eggs, room temperature
-3/4 c. (95 g.) all-purpose flour*
-1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8×8-in. square or 9-in. round pan.

2. In a medium metal bowl, melt the chocolate and butter over a pot of simmering water.

3. Whisk until completely melted, then remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and sugar until fully combined.

4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

5. Stir in the flour and salt just until combined. Do not overmix.

6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake on the middle rack for 28-35 min., or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, with just a little batter and a few crumbs clinging to it. Do not overbake.

7. Cool 10 min. before cutting.

*This recipe adapts well for those avoiding gluten. Just substitute an equal amount of gluten-free “all purpose” flour. Mine was a combination of rice flour, cornstarch, and potato flour. I honestly could not tell the difference.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »