My wonderful friend Andrea introduced me to this meal when I was visiting her and her husband in DC last summer. It was love at first bite. She also introduced me to my first food blog (Smitten Kitchen), so I really have a lot to thank her for. This recipe also happens to be from Smitten Kitchen (did everything just come full circle?).
This meal is one of my all-time favorite summer time dishes. The ingredient list and instructions might look a bit long and daunting, but once all the chopping and slicing is finished, it’s pretty easy to get together. I will be quite honest and admit there are a few things in here that I would never be caught eating by themselves (I’m looking at you cucumbers!), but put them all together with some peanut sauce, cilantro, and lime, it’s hard not to like everything in this meal.
Despite my reservations about cucumbers (and bell peppers too), I left the recipe nearly all the same, except for using chicken breasts and all gluten-free ingredients. I also used more cilantro than mint and basil, but that’s just because I love cilantro (I’m lukewarm on basil and barely acquaintances with mint). Luckily, just about everything in this recipe can be adjusted to every individual taste. When you serve this delicious meal up, it’s kind of like a noodle-taco bar scenario. Everything is prepared separately and you get to pick and choose what you do and don’t like, which makes it good for a small crowd. And I am happy to report that this meal is one that gets better with age. The leftovers are even better than the original meal!
Gluten Free Cold Rice Noodles with Peanut-Lime Chicken Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.
For the Dipping sauce:
6 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
6 tablespoons brown sugar
12 tablespoons lime juice
2 garlic cloves, finely grated or minced
Small Thai or Serrano chile, thinly sliced, to taste (jalapeño works too)
For the Peanut dressing:
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
9 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 one-and-a-half inch chunk ginger, peeled and sliced
8 ounces dried rice vermicelli or other rice noodles
2 small cucumbers, cut in 1/4-inch half moons
2 medium carrots, cut in thin julienne
Additional vegetables, as suggested above
Small handful basil or mint or cilantro sprigs, or your favorite of the three (torn or roughly chopped)
4 or more scallions, slivered
1/4 cup crushed or chopped roasted peanuts
Lime wedges (to serve)
Make the dipping sauce:
Whisk ingredients in a small serving bowl, making sure to dissolve the sugar. Leave to ripen for 15 minutes. Refrigerate any extra and use within a few days.
Make the peanut dressing:
In a blender or food processor, puree all ingredients to a smooth sauce, about the thickness of heavy cream. Pour into a serving bowl.
Marinate the chicken:
Stir together 1/2 the dipping sauce and 1/3 the peanut dressing (you can eyeball this) in the bottom of a low-sided bowl or dish. Add the chicken to the mixture and toss to coat. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
Cook the noodles:
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, then turn off the heat. Add the rice vermicelli and soak for 7 to 8 minutes. (Package directions may vary; check for doneness by tasting.) Drain when noodles are al dente, and cool under running water. Fluff and leave in strainer to drain well.
Cook the chicken:
Grill the chicken on an outdoor grill, a stove-top grill pan, or run under the broiler until nicely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes a side. Let cool slightly, then chop roughly into 3/4-inch pieces.
At this point, you can place everything on a large serving platter, with piles or small bowls for noodles, vegetables, chicken, the dressing and marinade and toppings (peanuts, herbs) and let your family and friends put it together in their own bowls as they wish.
Or, you can assemble it for everyone as suggested:Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon dipping sauce in a small bowl. Divide the cooked noodles among 4 to 6 bowls. Top each bowl equally with vegetable mixture and chopped chicken. Toss each bowl with 2 teaspoons of each the dipping sauce and dressing, or more to taste (we wanted more). Add the herbs, peanuts and scallions to each bowl and serve with additional dressing and dipping sauce on the side.
Sticking with this week’s loosely Asian inspired theme, this is a fairly quick , easy and very delicious recipe.
The shrimp stir-fry makes for a quick meal and is great for a weeknight meal. These shrimp are absolutely delicious. I thought the shrimp and their sauce was the perfect topping for the fried rice, but noodles or even a salad could work just as well. I used this recipe to clean out my vegetable door. I just used whatever I had on hand, but you can use any veggies you want.
Gluten Free Drunken Shrimp with Veggie Fried Rice Shrimp adapted from this recipe from Chow.
For the Rice:
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 large onion (I used 1/2 red and 1/2 white to clean out the fridge)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup frozen peas, defrosted
10 green beans or snap peas, chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice
2-3 Tablespoons gluten-free Tamari
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
3 green onions, finely sliced
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesames
For the Shrimp:
3 Tablespoons low-sodium gluten-free Tamari sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, stemmed (seeded if you don’t like spice) and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 Tablespoon olive oil
12 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 lemongrass stalk, tough outer layer removed and cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup vodka
For the Rice:
Preheat a large skillet or wok to medium heat. Add sesame oil. When oil is heated onion, garlic, bell peppers, peas and carrots and sauté until tender.
Add the rice to the veggie mixture. Pour the soy sauce on top. Stir and fry the rice and veggie mixture until heated through and combined. Top chopped green onions and sesame seeds and serve.
For the Shrimp:
Place the soy sauce, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, lime juice, oil, and sugar in a shallow dish and stir to combine. Add the shrimp and lemongrass and stir to coat. Let marinate for 10 minutes at room temperature.
Heat a large frying pan over high heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the shrimp mixture and cook until the shrimp are bright pink, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and carefully add the vodka. Return the pan to high heat and cook for 1 minute more or until the alcohol smell has dissipated. Remove the lemongrass pieces and serve the shrimp and sauce over rice.
This week I am sharing some of favorite brunch recipes. I absolutely love brunch and summer weekends seem to just demand them. These recipes don’t demand too much cook and can mostly be prepared ahead to time, which gives you more time to relax, enjoy your weekend and enjoy some extra mimosas with your friends.
This frittata is pretty much perfect if you ask me. It’s easy to make, it can help you clean out your vegetable drawer and it reheats wonderfully. I just used the vegetables I had on hand, but you can add just about anything you want to this frittata. Broccoli, bell peppers, jalapeños or fresh herbs, like basil or chives, would all be great additions.
Easy Vegetable Frittata
1 Tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2+ cloves garlic, minced
6+ large mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 tomatoes, chopped with seeds removed
1 cup baby spinach, roughly torn or chopped
1 cup shredded cheese (I used extra sharp cheddar)
6 large eggs
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a baking dish (I used a 9 inch pie dish).
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until beginning to brown. Then add the green onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook until mushrooms begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach. Sauté for an additional 1 to 2 minutes or just until the spinach is wilted. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, cheese, salt, and pepper.
Finish cooking in the oven for 25-35 minutes, until the eggs have completely set in the center.
Now that all those cinco de mayo shenanigans are out of everyone’s systems, let’s talk about more important things, like our mothers. I love my mom (hi mom!). She’s one of the few people that religiously reads my blog and she always makes sure to point out when I misspell something. It’s Mother’s Day in the US this upcoming weekend and I have a wonderful weekend of wine tasting and brunch planned for my mama. This week I thought I would share some easy and delicious recipes that would be perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or any other brunch events you have on the horizon.
This is the simplest appetizer in the world and it’s pretty tasty to boot! You really don’t need all that many ingredients either. Some biggish mushrooms, goat cheese, garlic, herbs, breadcrumbs and a food processor (or a strong mixing arm) and you are good to go. I used fresh parsley, because my parsley plants are out of control at the moment, but you can definitely substitute in any fresh herbs that strike your fancy (basil would probably be really delicious). If you aren’t using a food processor, I would recommend letting the goat cheese soften a fair bit before trying to mix it. I would also make sure to finely chop all your garlic and herbs too.
I recently discovered some new to me gluten free breadcrumbs from The Fresh Market. The Fresh Market just opened a new store in my town and it is wonderful! My aunt on the east coast has raved about TFM for years and I definitely see why! Their own TFM brand gluten free breadcrumbs are great. They are almost like panko. I have had great success with them in meatballs and burgers. I recently tried them as coating/breading with baked chicken and with these mushrooms and have been really happy with the results! If you have a TFM near you, I recommend picking up some breadcrumbs!
Gluten Free Goat Cheese & Herb Stuffed Mushrooms Recipe from Martha Stewart.
1/2 cup breadcrumbs(I used TFM gluten free breadcrumbs)
2 large garlic clove, coarsely chopped
5 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1/2 lemon, juiced
12 large mushrooms, wiped clean, stems and gills removed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
In a food processor, pulse bread and garlic until fine crumbs form; set 3 tablespoons aside.
Add the goat cheese, parsley, red-pepper flakes and lemon juice to food processor. Season with salt and pepper, and pulse filling until combined.
Spoon filling into each mushroom, and roll filled side in reserved breadcrumbs. Place on prepared baking sheet; bake until mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes.
Make these! Make them right now! You need these in your life and you don’t even need to use cinco de mayo as an excuse. these are good enough to any time! I can’t tell you how many years it’s been since I had a churro, but they were one of my favorite childhood treats. The second I bit into one of these gluten free churros, I instantly had delicious memories of fairs and fiestas and trips to Disneyland.
I was actually shocked by this recipe. One, it was so easy! SO easy. And two, so delicious. Like, sugary, buttery, melt in your mouth, you never want to eat anything else every again delicious. I am always a bit wary of attempting to make desserts with French names and since the pastry used to make churros is choux pastry, I wasn’t feeling super confident going in. Luckily, I was proven wrong! choux pastry could not have been easier to make. Plus, baking the churros not only makes them a bit healthier, but takes care of a lot of the mess and work frying causes.
This recipe made a lot of churros. I got just over 40 mini churros out of this recipe. I was having piping bag issues, so I only made my churros about half the length of the baking sheet, which I think turned out to be the perfect size.
1 cup all-purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
In a medium saucepan, stir together 1 cup water, brown sugar and salt. Add butter and place over medium-high heat. Heat until butter is melted and mixture starts to boil. Remove from heat and add flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Mixture will clump and pull away from the sides of the pan. Mix/mash with wooden spoon until no streaks of flour can be seen.
In a small bowl, combine eggs and vanilla. Scramble mixture with a fork and then add to the dough-ball in the saucepan. Stir and mash, breaking up the dough until loosened. Stir well until eggs are incorporated and mixture has the appearance of mashed potatoes.
Transfer dough to a piping bag fitted with Wilton star tip #M1. You could also pipe the dough in a zip-top bag with the corner snipped, but the churros will be ridge-less (delicious, nonetheless).
Pipe dough into long thin lengths on the parchment covered pans. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the end of the dough from the piping tip. Leave about 2-inches of space between the churros.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly puffed. Turn oven to broiler setting and watch carefully as churros toast and turn deep golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. If you’re baking the churros one pan at a time, be sure to return the oven setting to 425°F before putting in the next pan.
Combine sugar and cinnamon and pour onto a long dish. Roll churros in mixture. Serve.
This recipe is a combination of things I was craving and things I needed to use up. If you have some leftover chicken and tortillas (both are pretty standard leftovers around my kitchen), this is the perfect recipe to use them all up. I really like to make a batch of shredded barbecue chicken to use throughout the week (this is my favorite recipe, but you could easily combine any leftover chicken with bbq sauce). It’s perfect to add to salads or as your meal’s main protein, but I wanted to try something a little different and these taquitos seemed like an easy way to do just that. I was able to get 24 taquitos out of the barbecue chicken recipe I mentioned above (I could have made a couple more but I had already put away the tortillas and cheese), which is a whole lot of taquitos. After a couple dinners and lunches, I froze the leftovers, which defrosted easily in the microwave and I crisped them up again with a few minutes in the oven.
I always bake my taquitos because I just don’t have the patience to fry things. Plus, baking them healthier, you don’t have to stand over a hot pot of oil and it’s less of a mess to clean up, which are all big pluses in my book. I put about two tablespoons of chicken and a sample sprinkling of cheese in each tortilla. I was able to roll them tight enough that they stayed shut when I placed them seam side down on the baking sheet. If you want more filling or are having trouble getting them to stay closed, wooden toothpicks will easily solve that problem.I like my taquitos (and just about everything else) on the crispier side, so while the ends might look a bit burnt, it was really just a combination of caramelized barbecue sauce and cheese.
Gluten Free Barbecue Chicken Taquitos with Avocado Ranch Dip
Heat oven to 400. Line two large baking sheets with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
Combine chicken and barbecue sauce.
Wrap 12 tortillas in a damp paper towel. Place in microwave and zap for 30 seconds. Flip over and microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove from microwave.
Add around two tablespoons of chicken to one side (almost to the very edge) of a corn tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Tightly roll the side with the chicken toward the other side of the tortilla and place seam side down on the baking sheet (use wooden toothpicks if they won’t stay together). Repeat until all tortillas are filled and then begin again with the next 12 tortillas until all are filled and rolled.
Place baking sheets in oven and cook 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
Serve immediately. For your leftovers, I recommend that you let them cool completely and place into large freezer bags and freeze for future dinners and snacks.
For the Avocado Ranch Dip
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more juice if needed to thin out dip. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
This dish is pure comfort food if you ask me. It’s hearty enough for a cold winter’s night, but still light enough to be a great transitional meal when spring hasn’t quite decided if it wants to be hot or cold yet. The meat and vegetables make it both filling and nutritious. You will get a lot of leftovers out of this recipes, which is a plus in my book. I also thought that the ragout tasted even better then next day.
Polenta is not everyone’s favorite food, but I happen to really like it. I think it makes a great base for a meal and keeps amazingly well for leftovers. You can top it with just about anything. I really like making my polenta with added goat cheese. It gives it both a creamy and tangy bite that I think goes really well with tomato based sauces.
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
For the Polenta:
1 cup quick-cooking/instant polenta
4 ounces soft goat cheese, slightly crumbled
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For Serving (optional):
Fresh basil, chopped
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain off any extra fat.
In the same skillet, heat olive oil. When heated add onions and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add in carrots, zucchini and garlic, along with undrained tomatoes, broth and salt and pepper.
Cover and cook on low-heat until all the vegetables are cooked through and tomato and broth have slightly thickened.
Meanwhile, prepare polenta according to package directions. I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth for extra flavor. When polenta is almost cooked through, stir in goat cheese and butter.
Spoon polenta into individual serving bowls and top with ragout mixture over polenta. Top individual bowls with pesto and garnish with basil and freshly ground pepper.
Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways! I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.
I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.
Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing
For the Salad:
1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 block of halloumi, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 pinch red pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It’s going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
For the Salad:
Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
It’s already getting warm here. We had approximately two days of rain and a maybe four cold-ish (by Southern California standards) days and we are apparently heading right back into summer. I’m not a fan. The only plus side is that I now have a legitimate reason to insist on barbecuing as often as possible. I was all set to grill up a delicious meal the other day and it turned out we had no propane left, which is kind of a major component to using a gas grill. Memo to Self: always check for propane.
The meal was not a total loss because I had made some delicious side dishes to go with the barbecue. This salad is probably going to be in regular rotation over the next few months around here. It’s a very easy to make and very delicious. I originally used white balsamic vinegar in my dressing for this salad, but I honestly thought it turned out a bit too sweet. I think apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar would be a much better match. I used dill in the potato salad because it had a ton on hand, but you could use just about fresh herbs you have on hand. Parsley or basil would be great and I think arugula really would be great too.
Gluten Free Greek Yogurt & Herb Potato Salad
1 1/2 pounds unpeeled red or yellow potatoes
3/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
4 scallions, sliced
3 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 lemon, juiced
1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Bring water to a boil in a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Add potatoes, cover and cook until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain and when potatoes have cool enough to touch, cut into quarters and halves (depending on size). Let cut potatoes cool to room temperature.
Combine yogurt, scallions, dill, vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cooled potatoes and toss to coat.
I found a sad little bag of leftover frozen cranberries in my freezer the other day. I always freeze cranberries in the fall with the best intentions of using them sometime soon, but they always seem to end up hidden under everything else. I felt bad for these cranberries and wanted them to feel loved, so I baked them into a delicious bread. If baked goods don’t say “love,” I don’t know what does…
This recipe is pretty perfect. It’s fast, simple and delicious. I found the batter to be quite thick and it kind of smothered all my cranberries to the bottom of the baking pan. I will admit I got a little sick of the time it was taking to chop each individual cranberry in half, so I kind of just started hacking them up. Bigger pieces probably would have helped with more uniform berry dispersion. Every slice did have a lot of berries, they were just clumped on the bottom, which is not the worst thing. Next time, I might try substituting some of the milk for orange juice and adding some zest to make a delicious orange cranberry bread.
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
3 eggs at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 ounces fresh cranberries, halved
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
Coarse/Raw sugar (like Sugar in the Raw), for sprinkling
Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a standard (9-inches x 5-inches or slightly smaller) loaf pan and set it aside.
Beat the butter in a large bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the eggs, beating well after each addition.
In a separate, medium-size bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Place the cranberry halves in a separate, small bowl, and add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the cranberries, along with the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar, and toss to coat. Set the cranberries aside.
To the large bowl with the butter and sugar mixture, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and sour cream, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The mixture will be thick but smooth. Add the cranberries and reserved sugar and dry ingredients, and mix gently into the batter until evenly distributed throughout.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. It will fill or nearly fill the pan. Sprinkle the top lightly with coarse sugar. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice thickly and serve.