Friday, April 30, 2010

Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten-Free- Theme For May

I am thrilled to be hosting this month's Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten-Free. It's a monthly blog carnival started by Naomi of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. Each month has a different host with a different theme, but all recipes are gluten-free. This month's theme is:

You Say Jelly, I Say Jello

I have adored jello since childhood, which is a good thing with my southern heritage and a few years spent in Utah. Utah is considered the "Jello-Belt", and during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Utah, there were even souvenir jello pins available. Here in the south, jello salads are a staple at summertime family gatherings. Although I was in my 30's before I knew how versatile jello can really be.

North Americans tend to think of it with fruit cocktail or mooking about the local cafeteria cubed with a dollop of rubbery whipped cream. Gelatin, however, has an intriguing double life with an international flair. The Japanese and Italians are known for using coffee in gelatin desserts. Panna Cotta is a gelatin made with cream. Blancmange, made from meat and almonds in medieval times, evolved into an almond dessert in England, and then became popular in colonial America. There is an Asian version called Annin Tofu. In Asia they also serve coconut gelatin desserts. In South America, Trembleque is a coconut milk pudding, sometimes made with gelatin. There are even jellos made with tea or wine.

Gelatin can also be a savory dish too. Tomato aspic had it's heyday in the 1950's and 1960's, as well as many other jelled appetizers. In Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook(published in 1961, illustrated by Andrew Warhol), she writes "There is no more popular jellied salad than this one (Tomato Aspic Ring) made with tomato juice". Her book contains over a dozen cold salads with gelatin including Ham Mousse, Avocado Ring Salad and Salmon Salad Mold.

The real fun with gelatin is that it you can be creative with molds, parfait glasses, terrines, etc. Use the fancy crystal bowls or the "you can't hide redneck" margarine tubs. The possibilities are endless!

So break out those lovely molds, wine goblets, or your favorite recycled margarine bowl and start jellin'. Send me a picture and the link to your recipe to by May 27. Your gelatin recipe has to be gluten-free, but you don't have to be a gluten-free blogger. If you do not have a blog, email the picture and the recipe and I can post it for you. Then check back at the end of the month for the Grand Finale!

For those of you who don't already have a gelatin dish in mind, here's a list of links for inspiration.

Tips For Making Jello Salad

Tomato Aspic Ring

Jellied Fruit Terrine from Joy of Baking

Strawberry Panna Cotta from Chocolate & Zucchini

Berry and Banana Terrine from Simply Recipes

Cafe Gelatin from Uma's Kitchen

Eggnog Molded Salad from Taste of Home

Annin Tofu Recipe - Japanese Creamy Almond Gelatin Dessert from Associated Content

Maple Blancmange with Almond Praline from Food Network

1876: New Jersey Blanc Mange from the New York Times

Coconut Blancmange with Mango, Blueberries & Passion Fruit from Essentially Healthy Food

Goat Cheese and Honey Blancmange from Self Magazine

Chai Tea Gelatin from AllRecipes

Earl Grey Panna Cotta at Foodista

Gelatin Coconut from Sun Hing Foods

And just for fun Qwigglegel Realistic Body Parts Gelatin Molds at Yankee Halloween

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Lemony Watercress and Cauliflower Salad (SCD, GFCF)

This lovely salad was inspired by a pasta salad recipe in "Greens Glorious Greens!" by Johnna Albi & Catherine Walthers. I substituted cauliflower for the pasta.

1 head Cauliflower
1 bunch Watercress
1 small Red Onion, diced
about 2/3 cup Kalamata Olives, chopped
Grated Rind of 2 small or 1 large Lemon
Juice from Lemon
4 TBSP. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste.

Cut cauliflower into bite size pieces and steam for about 8 minutes, just until tender. Run under cold water to cool. Pick watercress leaves from the stems. Rinse leaves well and spin dry. Chop slightly.

Combine cauliflower, watercress, red onion and olives in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk lemon rind, lemon juice, olive oil and seasoning until combined. Toss with veggies. Chill to allow flavors to combine.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cheesey Sunflower Crackers (SCD)

In honor of Autism Awareness month these crackers are puzzle shaped. I ordered these adorable shape cutters from the Amazon store on Melissa's Another Lunch blog.

This recipe is right out of Dana Carpender's 500 Low-Carb Recipes. It's been one of our favorite cracker recipes and can beat any prepackaged cracker. I pre-soaked and dried the sunflower seeds for better digestibility.

1 1/2 cups Sunflower Seeds, raw and shelled
6 oz Cheddar Cheese, grated (I use Alta Dena's Goat Cheese, cheddar style)
1/2 teas. Salt, plus more for tops
1/4 cup water
Chili Powder or
Coriander and Paprika
Dried Parsley, optional

Two cookie sheets, three pieces of parchment paper cut to size of cookie sheets, rubber spatula

To improve digestibility I place sunflower seeds in a mixing bowl and cover with water. Let sit 8 hours or overnight. Rinse very well. Place in a dehydrator and dry at 125 degrees for about two hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add sunflower seeds to food processor and pulse until very fine and flour-like. Add cheese and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add 1/4 cup of water and pulse until mixture forms a ball. I pat into two balls, placing each between two sheets of parchment paper and rolling out to a thin wafer thickness. Peel off top paper and sprinkle with salt and chili powder (or coriander and paprika). Sprinkle with dried parsley (optional). Score into squares with a spatula. Bake about 30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes. Let cool before breaking into squares.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Turning 1

It's my blogivesary today. One year ago I posted my first recipe. To celebrate we're taking a vacation to Fort Worth. Just kidding. My husband has a yearly business trip and we tag along to see the sites and go shopping. I usually make a trip to The Nut Vending Company for hazelnuts, dates, almonds, etc.

What I would love to know is any requests you may have. Are there types of recipes you would like to see more of? Some favorites you would like to see converted to the SCD (no promises but I'll try)? Any recommendations?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Do You Bento?

BentoMania has hit our household. As if we needed another disorder. Actually this one is fun! What is Bento? It's a Japanese lunchbox that Japanese mothers have turned into an art form (mine have yet to resemble art). It's "hipness" is beginning to catch on outside of Japan. For those of us with children on special diets, with food allergies or picky eating (my child has all three), Bento boxes can be a great way to make lunchtime fun. It's also a great way to send your child off with a healthy lunch. My child is in preschool through the regular school system, so he eats breakfast and lunch in a cafeteria full of kids. Like many parents, I worry about him feeling left out. Since he's been bringing his food in Bento boxes, many of the children are interested in his food. He seems to like the attention and his teacher reports he eats better.

The actual bento box itself does not need to be anything fancy. It's the accessories that make it so fun: Cutters to make food into fun shapes. Little bowls and cups to separate foods. Small, colorful "Mayo" cups with lids for condiments, syrups and dips. Dividers with cartoon characters. Charming picks to make fruit, veggie, cheese or meat kabobs. Egg molds to mold peeled hardboiled eggs into hearts, bunnies and cars. Rice molds (Rice is not SCD legal). Bread Molds, and the list goes on. Bento's aren't just for children. They also make nice boxes and accessories for adults. We can have fun too, right?

There are books and blogs full of fun ideas. I have listed some articles, places to shop and blogs. The blogs are my favorite. They are full of ideas, but they also show the most important ingredient you can put into your child's lunch: LOVE.

Bento Articles:

Bento Boxes Win Lunch Fans by the New York Times

An Online Bento Evolution by Adventures in Bento Making

Bento-style boxes are just right for kids' lunchesby The Dallas News

The Bento Box Boom by Gourmet Magazine

Bento Boxes and Supplies (Many Bento Blogs Also Have Amazon Stores)

Bento Crazy

From Japan with Love

Sugar Charms

My Sweet Muffin

A Few Bento Blogs & Sites:

Another Lunch

Maisie Eats Bento

What's for Lunch at Our House

Cooking for Monkeys

Happy Little Bento

Eating in a Box

The GFCF Bento

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rutabaga Chips (SCD Advanced, GFCF)

I'm really beginning to believe that if you don't like a particular vegetable, it's just because you simply have yet to have it prepared the right way. I would not have expected the rutabaga, a large homely lump, to make an outstanding chip. It has a great crunch with a hint of sweetness to it.

A rutabaga or two
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

Good knife, cutting board and a mandolin (or similar device) for slicing

Rutabagas have a waxy coat on them and they are tough buggers to cut. Cut the rutabaga in half, then cut off the waxy coating. I used a mandolin to slice them. First I used the very thin setting, which made thin strips that crinkled when fried. They were very crunchy and sweet, but if you are wanting to use them for dip you need them thicker.

Then I sliced some with the thicker setting. They were not as sweet (a hint of sweetness), but they were sturdy enough for dips.

Heat enough oil, in a deep pan or fry daddy, and drop in some of the chips. The trick is to watch them close, you want to get them out as soon as you see a hint of browning. They get too browned easily at this point. You may want to do a couple small trials before frying larger batches. They get crisper after they cool and can stay crisp up to three days.

Note for those on the SCD, Elaine warned to try these cautiously, they are very fibrous.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Bouquet

This lovely bunch of flowers was freshly picked by my four year old.