Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Adventures in Leftover Relish, Part 2

Having mostly gotten rid of the cran-apple-orange relish, I was still faced with a tub of the yummy but soon-to-be-fermenting cranberry salsa.

No tips online for using that up.

And, oh, by the way, the avocados I'd bought to use on the Thanksgiving salad but forgot to use were sitting on the counter, turning very, very ripe.

avocado. cranberry salsa. avocado. cranberry salsa.  hmm...

Spouse 1.0 used to love the cranberry salsa at La Salsa.  He'd eat it on food that had avocado in it.  The food might be soft tacos, which were made with corn masa, which is kinda like cornmeal, which is kinda like blue cornmeal.

Sounds like blue cornbread to me!

Except, with green avocado, blue-gray cornmeal, and cranberry-red salsa, what color would it really be?

Was I insane? Desperate? I don't know. But, Spouse ate it and liked it. And, coworker Nick said, "Yummm" when he ate it. So, maybe it's not quite as weird as it looks.

Nah, it's pretty weird.  I think I'll need to keep thinking about ways to use up leftover cranberry salsa.

Ack. Bad lighting.  It actually looked a lot rosier than this.

Adventures in Leftover Relish, Part 1

I won't speak of the half turkey Spouse 1.0 and I were left with after our Thanksgiving guests had departed.  That's another story.

Instead, let's talk about cranberry relish.

There are probably at least 100 ideas for using leftover cranberry sauce out there. Many of them say something like, "Pour relish over goat cheese for a lovely appetizer."

Sorry, cranberry sauce over goat cheese is one of the myriad leftovers I'm trying to use up.

Or, "Use it in muffins". Did that. Last year. Didn't like it.

And, all the recipes talk about ways to use up normal cranberry relish.  Well, one of the tubs of leftover relish is kinda normal: Raw cran-apple-orange relish. 


None of the 100 ways to use up leftover cranberry sauce talk about what to do with a tub of leftover cranberry salsa.  Yummy, yummy stuff. But, even Spouse 1.0's love of cranberry salsa can't get it used up before it rots.

So, I was on my own for what to do with my two tubs of leftover relish.

I decided to make jam bars with the tub of cran-apple-orange relish. 

Funny thing about jam bar recipes: When I had absolutely no interest in making jam bars, it seemed like every GF cookbook, magazine, and blog had a GF jam bar recipe.  But, when I went to look through my dozens of cookbooks & mags, and hundreds of printouts from blogs, no jam bar recipe. Except for dear old Roben Ryberg's cookie cookbook.  But, her recipe didn't use oats.  I wanted a jam bar recipe that used oats.

So, I pulled out my trusty, albeit glutenacious, Better Homes cookbook. And, there it was: A nice, oaty bar cookie recipe that was exactly what I was looking for.  Started converting that bad boy to GF. Yeah.

And. I couldn't find the GF oats.  I'd kind of re-arranged and tidied and generally hidden things for Thanksgiving. My GF oats were somewhere underneath and behind who-knows-what. Luckily, the quinoa flakes were handy. So, Quinoa Flake Cran-Apple-Orange Doncha-Just-Relish-Them Jam Bars it is.


1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cup leftover cran-apple-orange relish
About 1-2 tsp potato starch
100 grams GF blend flour of choice (about 3/4 cup)
28 grams cashew meal or blanched almond meal (about 1/4 cup)
110 grams quinoa flakes (1 cup)
160 grams organic cane sugar (2/3 cup)
3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 oz butter, softened (1/2 cup)
Optional: 1/4 to 1/3 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Preheat oven to 350 and lightly spritz a 9" square pan with coconut oil spray.
  2. Heat relish in a small saucepan until it starts to boil a little. Remove from heat, let partially cool, and sprinkle on the potato starch. Stir and let cool while you do everything else.
  3. Make crust by mixing dry ingredients, then working in the butter with your fingertips. 
  4. Reserve 1/2 cup lightly packed of the crust mixture.
  5. Press remaining crust mixture into the pan.
  6. Spread the relish mixture over the crust mixture.
  7. Add nuts to the reserved crust mixture, then sprinkle over everything.
  8. Bake about 1/2 hour until the top is golden. Cool, cut into bars, and enjoy.
Heavily adapted from the Fruit-filled Oatmeal Bars recipe in Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 10th edition.
They went fast.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Applesauce Blue Cornbread (Gluten Free, of course)

The cornbread obsession continues.  Today it's Applesauce Blue Cornbread. Sorry, no pictures.  But then, we're talking blue cornmeal.  Not exactly the most photogenic member of the cornmeal family.

The starting point for today's recipe came from one of Carol Fenster's books.  But, by the time you turn yellow meal to blue, sugar to maple syrup, canola oil to grapeseed, milk to applesauce, and measures to weights -- and said weights might not round trip to Fenster's original measurements.... (Let's not get into the whole your-mileage-may-vary nature of measuring!)  Then, you throw in stuff like cranberries, pecans, walnuts, and vanilla....  I guess at some point I get to call it my own thing, don't I?

So, here it is:  Applesauce Blue Cornbread with Cranberries and Nuts.  My own thing, sort of. Changes from Fenster's ingredients in blue.

Dry stuff:

·         1 ¼ cups blue cornmeal (120 g)
·         1 cup GF Flour Blend of choice (~124 g)
·         2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1.5 teaspoons xanthan gum
·         1 teaspoon salt

Wet stuff:

·         cup maple syrup
·         2 large eggs, lightly beaten
·         5.5 oz applesauce
·         3.5 oz milk of choice
·         cup grapeseed oil
·         ¼ tsp vanilla


·         1/3 cup nuts (pecans and walnuts)
·         1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
·         Extra nuts for topping (opt.)


1.     Preheat oven to 350˚F. Generously spray an 8- or 9-inch square pan. Set aside.

2.     In small bowl, whisk dry ingredients together until well blended.

3.     In medium bowl, whisk wet ingredients until blended.

4.     Mix dry stuff into wet stuff and whisk until blended. Stir in the nuts and cranberries.

5.     Pour into prepared pan and top with nuts, if desired.

6.     Bake until top is firm and edges are lightly browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack before cutting. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Serves 12 - 16.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Applecado Bread (Gluten free, of course)

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Roben Ryberg's books, especially You Won't Believe It's Gluten-Free.  And, a sane person might wonder, "Well, if you love Ryberg's recipes so much, why do you keep changing them???"

Good question.  All I can say is, there's something in me that must explore. Experiment. Try new (aka, "weird") things.  I just must.

Ask my sister. She's the one who was traumatized by a chocolate mint birthday cake when she was a child.  She recalls it being very minty.  It might explain why neither of us is much of a fan of mint these days.  It was not a successful experiment.

But, some experiments are.  Take, for instance, applecado bread.  This one is based heavily on a Ryberg recipe, so you know I'm starting with something good. And, I'm including avocado.  Also something good. And goat milk, ginger, cloves, bourbon vanilla, and more cinnamon.  All very good things.  As my sister-in-law says, "When you put good things together, you get a good thing."

Applecado bread: It's a good thing.

Wet ingredients:
  • 6 ounces organic, unsweetened applesauce
  • 100 grams organic sugar
  • 2.6 ounces avocado (a little less than one small one)
  • 1 ounce goat milk
  • 2 organic eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Dry ingredients:
  • 150 grams brown rice flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon plus an extra shake or two
  • 1/8 tsp ginger, slightly rounded
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  1. Spray an 8" baking pan with coconut oil spray, then sprinkle a little almond meal on the bottom.  Or, line the pan with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 (f)
  2. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until everything is nice and fluffy and uniformly green. I used my stick blender.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients together thoroughly in a small mixing bowl.
  4. Gently fold the dry into the wet until everything is nicely incorporated.  The batter will be fluffy and beautiful -- in a green sort of way.
  5. Pour batter into the baking pan, smooth out a little, and top with pecans.  Gently press the pecans in so they'll stay put.  
  6. Bake at 350 (f) for about 30 minutes, until the house smells lovely and a toothpick test tells you the bread done.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Orange and Black Cornbread

Today's cornbread obsession is brought to you by the colors orange and black.

I've been wanting to do a sweet potato cornbread. And, heaven knows there are plenty of recipes for sweet potato cornbread out there. Problem is, most of them are... sweet. And, sweet won't work with black beans. Because the other thing I've been wanting to do is a cornbread that celebrates the impending month of October.

Beautiful, glorious October. Month of changing leaves, mercurial weather, the return of pie pumpkins, and just about everyone's birthday. Oh, yeah... and that other holiday.

So... this calls for an unapologetically orange cornbread, speckled with black beans, topped with creepy black sesame seeds.  And, just like October in Southern Cal, a touch of heat.

It's too bad Spouse would rather die than eat sweet potato.  But, sometimes a girl's just gotta bake what a girl's gotta bake. Today, I had to bake sweet potato and black bean cornbread. 

    1 1/2 C. rinsed and drained black beans
    2 ounces oil
    280 grams organic yellow cornmeal (2 C.)
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
    Dash or two of smoked paprika
    1/4 tsp xanthan gum
    9 ounces goat milk
    7 ounces sweet potato puree
    2 eggs
    1 Tbsp. agave syrup
    Black sesame seeds
  1. Put oil in 8" square baking pan. Turn toaster oven or real oven to 425 degrees. Place pan in oven while oven preheats. Pay a little attention to the oven as you're mixing up the cornbread. Oil left unattended at high heat: Bad things could happen. 
  2. Mix cornmeal, salt, baking powder & soda, chipotle, paprika, and xanthan together.
  3. Mix goat, potato, eggs, and agave together.
  4. Mix dry and wet stuff together.
  5. Take the pan out of the oven, swirl the oil around a bit, then pour it into the batter. Mix well.
  6. GENTLY fold in the black beans.  If you're too vigorous, the black beans will smoosh and discolor the cornbread. Which could also be nice and disgustingly Halloweenish. But really, it's not what we're going for here. So, do be gentle.
  7. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top, then bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until the cornbread tests done.
Serve with organic butter. Just don't serve it to Spouse 1.0.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cheese Toast a la Jared

A recipe for cheese toast? Really??  Who needs a recipe for cheese toast???

Well, it's not about the recipe, kids. It's about the ingredients.

And, no. Jared isn't an ingredient.

But, his delightful farm (http://jaredsrealfood.com/ ) produces delightful ingredients.

So, back to the ingredients....

You'll need a couple of slices of reasonably decent gluten-free bread.  Ramona Family Naturals and Windmill Farms sell a locally-made sourdough that toasts up nicely.  And, of course, Canyon Bakehouse rocks.  But, today, I had T-Jo's multigrain, so T-Jo multigrain it is.

Next, you'll need a couple of Jared's small golden tomatoes. These cute little guys are low acid, vine ripe, organic, heirloom, flavorful... And did I mention they're just so cuuuute!  Slice them up and place them on the bread.

Next, grab one of Jared's Marconi peppers.  Lovely sweet red pods of joy, they look like they should be hot, but they're not. Slice a few paper-thin slices and sprinkle over the golden tomatoes. 

Top all that with a few transparent slices of one of Jared's onions.  These bad boys are pungent, aromatic, and utterly onionicious!

Bake in the toaster oven at about 375 until the kitchen smells amazing.  In other words, until the onions have started to brown at the edges and the tomatoes are hot. Maybe 5 minutes or so?

Now add some raw pepper jack cheese.  Good luck finding it.  I got mine in Ramona.  If you can't find it, then just use your favorite goat cheese.  Pop it back in the toaster oven and continue baking just until the cheese warms enough to melt.  Probably another 3-5 minutes.

And, there you have it: Cheese toast a la Jared.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

I don't know what it is bread

Lately I've been obsessed with making variations of the Cherokee Bean Bread recipe on the War Eagle Mill web site.  (http://www.wareaglemill.com/recipes/cherokeebeanbread/)

The latest variations have involved using blue cornmeal, black beans, and green chili peppers.  But, today, I had some magnificently aromatic sage from Grebar Farm. So, what if I made the blue cornbread with sage instead of chilis? 

Well, that means I should probably use white beans.

And, if you're going to use sage, then you should definitely add fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Or dried thyme, since I didn't have fresh.  And, some ground black pepper.

And, if you're going to do all that, then you should sauté a little carrot, onion, and celery for extra flavor.

And, if you're going to add all those extra vegies, then you probably need an extra egg and a pinch of xanthan gum to help bind it.  And maybe an extra pinch of baking powder, just because.

But, OH NO!!!  I only have about 70 grams of blue cornmeal, and the bag of blue cornmeal in the freezer turned out to be brown rice flour.  And the bread (or whatever it may be) is now half made!!!

Deep breath.  Millet flour.  I've been needing to use that up anyway, and it has something of a corn-ish taste.  Yellow cornmeal.  Spouse shouldn't have it, but it's nowhere near the top of his no-no list.  And, since it's organic...

And, with all that extra stuff, it's probably a good idea to use just a splash more oil than the recipe calls for.

So... Is it a bread? A pudding?  A stuffing substitute?  I have no idea what to call it.  I just hope that Spouse calls it, "It's good. I like it."

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hot Fried Corn: The Taste of Summer

Summer in Modesto in the late '70's.  Cornstalks tall and tasseled in platinum silk, tomatoes rich and tangy: Hot fried corn season.  Breakfast of champions -- or at least those of us lucky enough to have Kentucky mothers.

Cathy brought us a couple of ears of her neighbor's fresh corn. A bounty of Jared's tomatoes at hand. Creole garlic from the RSD Farmer's Market.  The only thing missing was a fresh jalapeno.  But this is a hot fried corn emergency.  Freeze dried in a jar will have to do.

1/2 Tbsp butter
2 small cloves creole garlic - or one large clove of regular
1 small jalapeno, chopped -- or about a tsp of freeze dried
2 ears of fresh corn
3/4 to 1 cup largely chopped fresh organic tomato
Salt & pepper
Dash of cayenne (optional)

  1. Shuck the corn and rinse off the silk
  2. Use a sharp, flat butcher knife to cut the corn off the cob. Reserve the cobs.
  3. Heat the butter in a skillet
  4. Add the crushed garlic and the jalapeno & give it a stir.
  5. Add the corn and tomatoes & give it all another stir.
  6. Use the knife to scrape the rest of the goodness off the corn cobs into the skillet.
  7. Stir in a little freshly ground salt & pepper.
  8. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water.
  9. Stir and cover, then cook for another minute or two until the corn is barely done.
  10. Taste and add a dash of cayenne if needed.

Hot fried corn is amazing all by itself.  For a killer breakfast, crack an egg or two into the corn as it's cooking and cook until the egg is poached to perfection.  Alternatively, sprinkle some shredded raw jack or crumble some goat cheese on top of the hot fried corn and let it melt a bit before you eat it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Transforming My Mom's Glutenacious Apricot Grape-nut Bread - Part 1

Some recent posts on facebook brought back summer memories of my home town: Swimming in canals, barbeques, and amazing tree fruit. 

Which got me to thinking about an apricot and Grape-nut bread my mom used to make. I still have the recipe. Handwritten 3 x 5 card, 35 years old.

I didn't have apricots, but I did have some Grebar Farms peaches.  Peaches are wetter than apricots. So, may have to adjust that with the flours....

Grape-nuts are gluteney. But, I did have some gluten-free granola. But the granola smelled stale. But, I did have some sliced almonds. (Ah, even better. My home town was pretty close to the almond capital of the world.)  But, almonds won't soak up liquid the way Grape-nuts do. So... may have to add more flours...

Sub goat milk for moo.

Mom's recipe used too much sugar, so I cut it by 25%.

And, of course, sub my gluten-free flour blend and some xanthan for the all-purpose flour. Except... I'm running low on my blend. So, a random assortment of brown rice flour, sweet rice, tapioca, and almond (yup, definitely got the hometown vibe going).

By the end of it all, what I made bore little resemblance to Mom's bread. But, it did earn Spouse 1.0's standard praise of "It's good. I like it."  Next time I want to tweak it to make it peachier.

1 3/4 C flour
3/4 C Grap-Nuts cereal
1 C sugar
1 tsp salt
2/3 C chopped apricots
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 C milk
2 Tbsp oil
1 egg

  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Stir in cereal and apricots.
  3. Blend wet ingredients
  4. Add flour mixture, stir until just moist.
  5. Pour into greased loaf pan.
  6. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until done.

1 C brown rice flour (122 g
1/4 C tapioca starch (26 g)
1/4 C sweet rice flour (34 g)
3/8 C blanched almond meal (30 g)
3/8 tsp xanthan gum
scant 3/4 C sliced almonds (76 g)
3/4 C organic evaporated cane sugar (150 g)
1 tsp sea salt
2/3 C chopped peaches
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 C goat milk
2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large organic egg

  1. Mix dry ingredients.
  2. Stir in almonds.
  3. Blend wet ingredients
  4. Add flour mixture, stir well.
  5. Stir in peaches.
  6. Pour into parchment lined 9" square pan.
  7. Sprinkle a few extra almond slices on top, if desired.
  8. Bake at 350 for 15 min., then turn heat down to 325. Bake about 15 minutes more, until toothpick comes out clean.
The batter was a lot more wet than most gluten free quick breads I've made, but surprisingly it didn't come out gummy or strange. And it was nicely moist.  My only complaint is, it wasn't peachy enough.

Sorry, no pictures.  I wasn't expecting it to turn out blog-worthy.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Great Speckled Herb Biscuits

Mother's Day weekend I went on a baking frenzy. Friday's zucchini muffins brought back memories of Mom. Saturday's nut butter cookies and Sunday's cornmeal lemon cookies were in memory of two of my other mothers who have passed on.

And, it's only reasonable that the Mother's Day baking frenzy should segue to thoughts of my grandmothers for this weekend's baking project.

I remember (step) Grandma Harris as a devout Pentecostal lady. Like many fundamentalist women of her generation, she never, ever wore pants. She'd borne 11 children, lost one, and had been a widow many years. She was terribly proud of the fact that she could still span her waist with three hands. She loved the Roy Acuff song "The Great Speckled Bird", and she'd sing it as she went about her chores.  I don't remember her being much of a cook. 

My baby sister remembers Grandma Harris as a hottie who wore mini skirts and go-go boots. (My sister and I remember a lot of things differently.)

My maternal grandmother was also of a fundamentalist persuasion. She, too, did not wear pants. And there any resemblance to Grandma Harris ends. Granny was heavy and buxom, her waist unfindable beneath the sagging weight of glands that had fed her 7 babies. Granny never sang. But, she could make biscuits.  Granny's biscuits were a thing of joy and beauty. Tender small morsels, comprised of perfectly proportioned but unmeasured ingredients, baked in a hot iron skillet to golden perfection.

Those were some biscuits.

Great Speckled Herb Biscuits: Gluten Free
Today I made biscuits. Yet another variation off of Roben Ryberg's. This time heavily laced with herbs from my happy place, Grebar Farms. Sage, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and chives. Little patties of Thanksgiving in May.  I think both of my grandmothers would have liked them, in spite that new-fangled Gluten Free thing.

Great Speckled Herb Biscuits


3.5 ounces grapeseed oil
Thyme, chives, rosemary, and sage
150 grams brown rice flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
5/8 tsp sea salt
1/4  tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder
Freshly ground pepper
1.5  Tbsp minced fresh sage
1.5 tsp fresh thyme
1.5 tsp fresh minced rosemary
1 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
6.1 ounces whole goat milk
1 1/2 Tbsp organic sugar
I have no idea how much pepper I use.
About 8 to 12 grinds, maybe.

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

  1. Preheat oven to 375 (f) and liberally grease a big iron skillet or a cookie sheet.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together with a wire whisk.
  3. Whisk in the herbs.
  4. Mix wet ingredients together.
  5. Mix liquid stuff into the dry stuff until well combined.
    When it's just about right, I usually hear little crackly sounds.
  6. Drop the biscuits onto prepared skillet or cookie sheet, then gently shape a little with well-oiled fingers. 
  7. Bake at 375 (f) for about 12-18 minutes. A toothpick will come out clean, and tops will spring back a little when pressed. 

I love weighing my ingredients.
So much less mess to clean up!
How mixed is mixed enough?
The dough will hold together and look like this.
Listen for little crackly sounds.

Granny always baked her biscuits in a big iron skillet.
It probably hearkened back to a time when people didn't have a variety of baking pans.
It's hard to get smooth iron nowadays. But if you can find it, it really is the best.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Tip of the Day: Dealing with Bulk Sausage

Spouse loves bagel sandwiches -- like the kind he used to get at our local bagel shop. Even with pre-made GF bagels, making them is a chore.

And, when I say, chore, I don't mean "my favorite chore" or even "a chore that I don't mind doing too much because it's not horrible."

I mean, "Chore." Capital "C" and all.

One reason it's a chore is because bagel sandwiches require sausage patties. And, getting a pre-made GF sausage patty that doesn't contain maltodextrin, autolyzed yeast, "natural flavors", mysterious "spices, and other forms of evil... Well, good luck with that. Let me know when you find someone who makes them.  I'll buy stock in the company.

Meanwhile, the only way I can get sausage patties is to buy the really nice bulk sausage at Sprouts.  Several forms of it contain only food.

But, it's bulk. That means ickifying your hands, patting the stuff out, getting bits of it everywhere, washing your hands 4 zillion times, having to sterilize your kitchen afterwards. And, no matter how good you are of a patter, the sausages never come out an even thickness.  Bleh. It's just not my favorite task.

But, disgust is the mother of necessity, and thus the grandmother of invention. Maybe you've figured this out long ago, but, for me, the method below is something I've recently figured out.  It's not necessarily the most green way of making sausage.  But, it is a real sanity saver.

  • Wax paper
  • A glass with straight sides
  • Food service gloves
  • Table knife
  • Skillet
  • Spatula
  • Cleaning supplies, including Vodka
  • Sausage
  • Maybe a little oil for the skillet

  1. Put on your food service gloves.

    The nice thing about food service gloves: You can wash them much like you would your hands, without removing all your skin in the process.
  2. Place bulk sausage between 2 sheets of waxed paper.
  3. Roll sausage to about 1/4 to 1/3 inch thickness using the glass.
    I don't use a rolling pin because the glass is a lot easier
    to wash, and you don't need the weight and precision you get
    with a rolling pin.
  4. Peel back the top layer of waxed paper,
    and cut the sausage into squares.

    Make them a larger than you think you need.

    Sausage is notorious for shrinking.
  5. Put a little oil in the skillet and start pre-heating it.
  6. Carefully peel the sausage off the bottom layer of
    waxed paper and place sausage in the skillet.
  7. Cook sausage until it's done, then use it to make
    a batch of breakfast sandwiches.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Breakfast Lasagna (Gluten Free)

I'm pretty sure that if you googled up "gluten free breakfast lasagna recipe" you'd get a hundred hits.  And, if you've cooked gluten free for more than 20 minutes, you know that all you have to do to turn normal breakfast lasagna into gluten free is use GF lasagna noodles -- thus giving you about 42,382 recipes to choose from.  (I made that number up, but I bet it's not far off.)

And, nevertheless, I'm inordinately proud of myself for inventing a gluten free, cow free breakfast lasagna.  It's still in the toaster oven, baking away, so I have no idea whether my pride is warranted.  But, here I am, posting about it anyway, as if it were already a huge success.  If it turns out OK, I may have found a decent GF alternative for strata.

It started with last night's Mexzagna, and about 2.5 leftover De Bolles lasagna noodles.  Grab a Pyrex loaf pan... and... start tossing stuff in.

Breakfast Lasagna

2 to 3 dry GF lasagna noodles 
2 to 4 ounces sheep cheese
2 to 4 ounces goat cheese
1 pre-cooked MSG-free, nitrite-free chicken sausage, sliced (about 3 oz.) (e.g., Trader Joe's basil pesto chicken sausage)
1 cup frozen chopped spinach (more or less)
1/2 cup frozen bell peppers (more or less)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups goat milk (or milk sub of choice)
Salt, pepper, and seasonings of choice
Olive oil
  1. Oil a loaf-sized glass baking dish, and cover the bottom with 1 lasagna noodle -- plus a few bits of another if the one noodle doesn't cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Place half the cheeses, half the sausage, and half the vegies over the first noodle.
  3. Repeat the layers. 
  4. If you have a few extra bits of lasagna noodle, break them up and tuck them around the edges. (Waste not, want not.)
  5. Mix the eggs, goat milk, and seasonings together in a bowl, then pour over the stuff in the loaf pan.  If the wet stuff doesn't cover the noodles, mix up 1 more egg with 1/2 cup more goat milk and a bit more seasonings.
  6. Sprinkle paprika or smoked paprika on top if you'd like a splash of color.
  7. Bake 350 (f) for about an hour.
  • For seasonings, I used some onion powder, turmeric, garlic powder, and mushroom seasoning.
  • This is something that fits nicely into a toaster oven, so you can have a baked breakfast without overheating your kitchen.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Chicken and Not Mushy GF Pasta Soup

Spouse 1.0 and I have been sick with this year's nasty flu.  He's been sick since a week ago Friday. I've been sick since Wednesday.  It feels like I've been sick for 15 of the last 10 days.

Sick people require chicken soup.  But, what do you do when there's not a well person in the house to make it?  In the gluteney, chemical-laden, frankenfood days of yore, we simply ate canned.

Now, we do without or get by on frozen pork posole until I feel well enough to make the chicken soup.  Yeah, so by the time we get it, we almost don't need it.

Today's big challenges: The soup had to be done in less than 2 hours, including peeling and chopping. It had to be fairly easy, because I'm fairly dead.  It had to use stuff I had on hand. And, since I was making enough for at least 2 days, I had to find a way to make the pasta not turn to mush. (Stay tuned... I'm kinda proud of how I managed that last challenge!)

There's no way a less-than-2-hour soup is going to have that simmered all day yumminess of my mom's soups.  But, this turned out plenty good enough.

3 pale and slightly limp ribs of celery
2.5 iffy-looking carrots
1 onion, past its prime
Spray olive oil
1/2 TBSP butter
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
A few leaves fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme (and/or dry)
2 quarts of prepared organic vegetable broth*
2 bay leaves
onion powder
dry parsley
freeze-dried chives and/or onion powder
garlic powder
1 cup frozen organic peas (approx.)
8 oz. Tinkyada brown rice pasta shells**

  1. Wash and chop the celery, carrots, and onion. 
  2. Spray a soup kettle with olive oil spray and start the vegies to sauté.
  3. Rinse and dry the chicken, then cut into approx. 1 inch cubes.  Periodically stir the pot.
  4. Add butter to kettle.  Add chicken and start it to sauté with the vegies.
  5. Rinse the fresh herbs and chop them.  Add them to the pot.
  6. Add the vegie broth, a couple of cups of filtered water, bay leaves, and other seasonings.  Cover and simmer while you clean up a little and check facebook.  Maybe 20 minutes total. Chicken should be cooked through by now.
  7. Taste and adjust seasonings. Turn the burner off for now.
  8. Scoop out about half the broth into a 3 quart sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook until barely done, stirring periodically.
  9. Meanwhile, add the peas to the soup pot.
  10. When the pasta is done, scoop it into a separate bowl using a slotted spoon.  Do not rinse or drain.
  11. Return the broth from cooking the pasta to the soup pot.  Add a little more water if needed.  Bring to a boil and adjust seasonings (again) if needed.
  12. To serve: Spoon a bit of pasta into a bowl or mug, then add hot soup mixture. Stir to combine.
* It's somewhere between hard and impossible to find a chicken broth that doesn't contain yeast extract, autolyzed yeast, or mysterious "spices" -- all potential sources of free glutamic acid.  So, I use vegie broth in soups instead.

** GF pasta in general is a lot less mush-prone than it used to be, but Tinkyada has proven consistently reliable.  Cooking and storing the pasta apart from the soup keeps it from turning to mush.

Sorry. No pictures.  Still too sick to manage that.  But, am feeling a lot better with some chicken soup in my tummy.