Domesticity Nouveau

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fried Rice

Domesticity Nouveau recently had the pleasure of creating a guest post for Ginger Lemon Girl's 30 Days Gluten Free Quick & Easy Meals.  Carrie's kitchen focus is on cooking gluten-free whole grains, low sugar, and healthy fats and protein sources.  Her blog is a great resource and has loads of tasty recipes just calling out for you to get into the kitchen and start cooking!

Below is the post I shared, plus a few more versions to inspire your palette!

How many times do you look in the fridge and declare “There is nothing to eat?” all the while knowing full well that there is, it just isn't appetizing.  Rather, it just isn't appetizing in its current form. The quick meal that our home always goes to is Fried Rice.

Plain rice is a constant staple to be found in our ice-box.  On its own, it will fill the hole and stop the grumbling, but it yearns to be something greater.  It dreams of being as tasty as it was the day of its creation when it was smothered in a scrumptious sauce.  It longs to become a taste filled expression of culinary art.  It pines for adoration from gastronomic brilliance.  It covets the cravings we express for pizza. It aches to become….

Okay, okay, I know it is just plain rice, but like us all, it holds so many possibilities to become something magnificent!  Although fried rice is commonly thought of as a Chinese dish, it is more a cooking technique that easily lends itself to other cuisines.

The key to good fried rice is day old, very cold rice.  I make big batches of brown rice every week, so it is always available and I freeze potions so it is ready anytime we need it.  Another key to successful fried rice is an extremely hot pan. For this reason, do not use a non-stick pan, since Teflon will release toxins at high heat.

I don’t normally follow a precise recipe for fried rice, since it is happens to be whatever is in my fridge, but I do have several versions that have served us well.  Here are the basics and six different versions to inspire your pantry creations!

Fried Rice Basics
for 2 servings :

1 1/2 cup cooked rice, any variety
2-3 Tbsp oil
1 1/2 cup veggies
2 eggs, scrambled
1/2 cup protein, diced
1-2 tbsp aromatics
Salt & pepper to taste

Rice – day old, cold rice of any kind
Oil – Vegetable oil, bacon grease, schmaltz, coconut oil, olive oil
Protein – Egg, seafood, poultry, pork, tofu, beans, bacon
Veggies – carrots, celery, green beans, peas, a bag of whatever is frozen in the freezer
Aromatics – soy sauce, roasted Szechwan salt and pepper, herbs, spices, garlic, sesame oil, citrus zest or juice, Caribbean seasoning, Greek seasoning, Bragg’s liquid Aminos
Garnish – green onions, feta cheese, seeds, nuts, fresh herbs, fruit

The basic technique:
Have all ingredients prepped and at the ready.
1.  Heat a large frying pan or wok over high heat.  Add a bit of oil and fry eggs; remove from pan and set to the side.
2.  Add a bit more oil and stir-fry vegetables (and protein if uncooked) until crisp tender.
3.  If needed, add a bit more oil and bring to high temperature.  Add cold rice and stir-fry until hot.
 4.  Add aromatics, protein (pre-cooked) and eggs, tossing to distribute evenly.
5.  Transfer to serving dish, garnish and serve with a smile.

Chinese Fried Rice

1 1/2 cup rice
2-3 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cup carrots and peas
2 eggs
1/2 cup diced pork or chicken or shrimp
1-2 tbsp gluten-free, low sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s to taste
1/4 tsp roasted Szechwan salt and pepper (optional)
Garnish with sliced green onions

Chicken and Celery Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups rice
2 tbsp vegetable oil or schmaltz
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1/2 cup chicken
2 Tbsp gluten-free, low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
Garnish Options:
Sesame seeds or sliced almonds

Greek Fried Rice
(Top Photo)

1 1/2 cups rice
3 tbsp olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups green beans, diced carrots, sweet peppers & onions
1 large handful of spinach torn into smaller pieces
1/2 cup chicken
2 tsp Greek seasoning
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp dried
1 tsp fresh dill, or 1/4 tsp dried
Garnish Options:
Kalamata olives
Fresh ground pepper
Fresh chopped mint

Add spinach and aromatics just prior to adding rice.

Tropical Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups rice
3 tbsp coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup diced sweet pepper
1/2 cup diced ham
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp orange zest
1-2 Tbsp gluten-free, low sodium soy sauce or Bragg’s to taste
Garnish Options:
1 small can of crushed pineapple, drained or 1/2 cup diced mango
Chopped macadamia nuts or cashews
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Salt to taste

Add ginger just prior to adding rice

Mexican Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups rice
3 Tbsp oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup cooked shrimp or chicken
1/2 cup corn
1/2 cup red onion, diced
1/2 cup sweet pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno, minced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Garnish Options:
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
avocado and tomato wedges
Salt and pepper to taste

Add aromatics just prior to adding rice

Irish Fried Rice

1 1/2 cups rice
3 Tbsp butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup diced carrot
1 cup finely shredded cabbage
1/2 cup diced corned beef
Salt and pepper to taste

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Roasted Szechwan Salt and Pepper

It is sometimes the most simple of things that make drastic differences.

Salt is one of those simple things, just ask any slug.

A little sprinkle of salt can take an avocado from good, to delectable.  A few grains can resuscitate a bitter cup of coffee.   Sea salt caramels and chocolate covered pretzels bring candy to a whole new level of PMS satisfaction by combining salty and sweet.

Sodium balances bitter and brings out sweetness, but too much of a good thing and somebody is going to cry-out about health and nutrition.  Party poopers. 

Recently it came to my attention that the USDA recommendation for daily sodium intake dropped from 2,300 mg to 1,500 mg.  That means it dropped from just under 1 1/4tsp of table salt to 3/4 tsp per day.  3/4 tsp for a whole day.  Not just a meal, but a whole day!  I am probably nowhere near the ideal, and I make everything from scratch.  I can only imagine what sodium intake would look like for people who use the conveniences of the grocery market products, let alone frozen and fast food meals!

So here is the part where I throw that new knowledge about the RDA of sodium out the window.  I’m not saying you should pour it on, but salt makes food better!  A bit of salt on bland foods, like rice, can bring out a nuttiness and add depth.  A sprinkle on vegetables will highlight the natural sweetness. 

But plain ol’ salt can get boring.  Specialty sea salts can add a snazzy and hip finish to a dish, but if you really want to bring out the WOW factor of a salt, roasted Szechwan salt and pepper is where it is at!  It adds a subtle exoticness, slightly floral, camphor-like pungency that is delicate and bold in one swoosh.

Roasted Szechwan salt and pepper is an incredibly simple and quick seasoning to make.  It makes a great hostess gift and a few minutes of work will last you several months.

Because this seasoning has only two ingredients, salt and Szechwan peppercorns, it is important that you invest in quality ingredients.  Thankfully this is one place where you get huge bang for your buck as both are inexpensive.

From my experience, Diamond Kosher Salt is the only way to go.  Unlike other brands, it does not contain any additional anti-caking ingredients; it is just clean tasting salt. 

Szechwan peppercorns may not be at your local market, but that doesn’t mean they are difficult to find.  If you are lucky enough to have a Penzey’s Spice house near you, make a visit, but set aside some time because to a passionate cook, it is like a candy store to a kid.  If you don’t have a Penzey’s near you, you can order from them online.  Once you are signed up on their mailing list, you get catalogs that have coupons for free jars of spices, another bonus to this fabulous company!

Regardless of where you purchase your peppercorns, there are a few things you should look for.  You should be able to smell them through the bag and there should be a minimum of twigs, thorns and the bitter black seeds.

A batch lasts our house about 3-4 months.  We use it on everything:  scrambled eggs, popcorn, vegetables, in place of the salt called for in stir-fries, on fried rice, to marinate meat, on salad, in soup, I can’t think of a place where its flavor wouldn’t be welcome!

Roasted Szechwan Salt and Pepper

1/4 cup whole Szechwan peppercorns
1/2 cup Kosher Salt

Pick through peppercorns and remove any twigs or thorns.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat for a minute or two, until hot.  Add peppercorns and salt.  Stir gently for about 5 minutes until salt begins to turn off white and peppercorns begin to barely smoke.  (See before picture on left, and after picture on right)   Do not let peppercorns burn.

Transfer the hot mixture to a food processor and let it whirl for a minute to turn into a fine powder.  Pass the powder through a fine mesh sieve to remove the husks from the peppercorns.  Store in a dry, airtight bottle.

Monday, June 14, 2010


No judgment.  Really.  What we are about to discuss will disturb some of you.  Some will be disturbed and intrigued.  Some will try it.  Many will want to try it.   And some have been doing it already.

I’m talking about rendering animal fat.  Depending on which nutritional school you follow, this is either a fantastic idea or absolutely horrible.  Since I’m going to tell you how to do it, you can be certain that I’m in the fantastic idea camp!

Rendered chicken (and goose) fat is also called schmaltz, schmalts, schmalz.  It is a golden yellow color and works just like butter does in your cooking.  In kosher cooking, meat and dairy must be kept separate so, for example, schmaltz could be used instead of butter in meals that contain meat.

In rendered animal fats, the protein and water have been removed; therefore it does not spoil easily.  In France (and other places) meat is preserved by submerging and cooking it in rendered fat, allowing it to cool, and storing it in a cool dark place for up to several months.  Confit of goose and duck are common in Southwest France.   I’m not sure about this, but I’m sure that fresh, it is tasty!  How can you go wrong with cooking something by submerging it in fat?!?!

If you make the investment in quality organic poultry, either financially or by raising your own, then I’m sure you want to make the most of that investment.  By saving the fat from your broth making, you can get a large amount of schmaltz.  A little goes a long way when it comes to adding flavor and it helps keep money in your pocket by not buying cooking oil or butter.

This may sound like a very foreign concept, rendering fat, but if you have ever saved the grease from cooking bacon, you have rendered fat.  If you have ever used ghee in Indian cooking, it is rendered fat.  The “rendering part” is cooking out the water and removing any particles so you have a pure fat product that will keep indefinitely with proper handling.

Here are the step by steps...


Collect your fat.  I spoon it from the top of my stock pot into a tall container.  Let it rest until room temperature, this allows the liquids and particles to sink to the bottom.  Carefully cover and move to the refrigerator, chill overnight.

Remove the chilled fat from container to a saucepan, leaving as much of the liquid and particles behind as possible.  Over medium or medium-low heat, melt the schmaltz.  When it is hot enough, any liquid that is still in the fat will start to bubble out.  Once the bubbling has stopped, give it a stir or two to make sure all the liquid has boiled out.  Pour into a sterile glass jar, screw on the cap and allow to cool to room temperature before moving to the fridge.  Scoop out with a clean spoon when needed.

Another method is to save any little bit of chicken skin and fat that you come across.  Keep it in a bag in the freezer till you have enough, then fry it all in a skillet as you would bacon, until the skins are a deep golden brown and the fat has crispy bits in it.  Strain all the particles and store in a sterile glass jar in the fridge.  You might consider adding a chopped onion with the raw skin and fat, which is traditional.

So what do you do with schmaltz?

Use it anywhere you would butter or oil… to sauté veggies for a risotto, mixed with oil for fried rice, mixed with butter or shortening in a pie crust for a chicken pot pie, to brown onions in for bean soup, in place of butter when cooking rice, fry up left over mashed potatoes shaped into patties… anywhere you need a form of fat and chicken flavor would be welcome.

Notes about fat in general:  Fat is an excellent carrier for flavors, which means that whatever was in the pot at the time the fat was collected will be a flavoring in your finished product.  If you make a broth that is heavy in ginger, the schmaltz will be heavy in ginger.  Not that this is necessarily bad, just something to be aware of and maybe used to your advantage.  Fat can also be a collection point in the animal’s body for toxins, which is why this is best done with chicken you know the history of from a butcher you trust.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chicken Stock, Chicken Broth

I have to disagree with one of my favorite cooking references, Cooks Illustrated, who says “Rare is the cook who has the time for the slowly simmered perfection of homemade chicken stock.”  WHAT?!?  Chicken stock is one of the easiest things to make and really does not take much active time in the kitchen.  I suppose they could be right if you take into consideration how long it bubbles away on the stove, but that is passive time that you can spend doing something better, like taking a nap, teaching the dog to vacuum, or building squirrel agility courses.

When it comes to frugality, quality and kitchen fundamentals, stocks and broths have to be at the top of the list.  To take scraps from your kitchen and turn them into something more magnificent than you could ever buy at the store is certainly a bit of kitchen alchemy.

So what is the difference between stock and broth?  Well, in my world, not much.  However, traditionally there are a couple of small differences.  Stock is made with more boney bits and broth is made with more meaty bits.  The more bone, the more gelatin is released and therefore the thicker, silkier, and deeper the finished product.  Stock is thicker and heartier; broth is thinner and more delicate.  Broths are for eating straight up, as in chicken soup; stocks are for enriching other preparations, such as risotto, pan sauce or a pot pie. 

Making stock is as simple as making tea; soak something yummy in boiling water until concentrated to your liking, then remove it.  However, there are a few things that can make the difference between good, better, and best.  There are four basic components to your stock:

Meat:  You can toss it in raw, but a quick broil will bring out so much more depth and color to your finished product.  You can also save the bones and scraps from roasted chickens, even the bones that your family has gnawed on, GASP!  They’ll be boiled and cooked long enough that any germs wouldn’t stand a chance.  The Thanksgiving turkey carcass is perfect for this!  Start a bag in the freezer to collect your chicken parts as they cross your path.  If you buy whole chickens and separate them yourself, throw the backs in a bag in the freezer until you have enough.  And if you don’t have scraps, or freezer space to store them, you can easily use a whole chicken; just whack it into a few large hunks with a clever so the bones are exposed and can release their flavor.

Veggies:  Mirepoix, the fancy French way of saying a base of carrots, celery and onion, are part of any good stock.  You can save the outer layer of onions, the tops, bottoms and peelings of carrots and celery in a freezer bag until it’s time to cook.  As with the meat, a quick broil will add more flavor and color, but you can always toss them in raw or frozen.

Aromatics:  These are the flavorings that really add character to your stock.  Peppercorns, ginger, garlic, herbs or other fruits and veggies.    This is where you define the personality of your broth.

Water:  Since this is the most abundant ingredient, it is worth taking into consideration.  If your tap water is less than desirable for drinking, it will remain that way, and even concentrate more unfavorably in your broth.  If you filter your tap water to drink it, I would recommend filtering it for your stock.

A note about salt.  PLEASE don’t add any salt to your stock.  The time for salt is when you are making an actual meal with your stock.  By adding salt your stock you run the risk of it condensing it into a saline solution that fish won’t even swim in.

Every cook has their kitchen failures.  My most recent was putting too hot of broth into the freezer and the resulting broken jar.  In all the years I have made broth, this was my first broken jar.  To avoid this happening in your freezer, there are a few essential steps to ensure your success.  Leave enough head room for the broth to expand as it freezes, about 1 1/2 inches should be sufficient for a quart jar, about 1 inch for pint jars; wide mouth jars are better suited for this process.  Allow your hot broth to come to room temperature at the very least, better to chill further in the fridge, before putting in the freezer.  You must NOT store broth using a water bath canning process, it just isn’t sufficient enough to preserve its freshness, you’ll need to either freeze your broth, or use it within 3-4 days.  I’m thinking there are probably pressure canning methods for broth, but I haven’t ventured into pressure cooking… yet.

Chicken Stock

3 1/2 to 4 pounds chicken bones
2 celery stalks, in chunks
2 carrots, in chunks
1 medium onion, in chunks
5 quarts cold water
Aromatics (see below)

Optional:  Broil chicken bones on a baking sheet, on middle rack, for 10-15 minutes until starting to turn golden brown
Optional:  Broil vegetable chunks on a baking sheet, on middle rack, for 5-10 minutes until starting to brown.  (I do this while the chicken is coming to a boil)

Place chicken in large stock pot and cover with water.  Bring barely to a boil for 5-10 minutes until a thick foam forms.  Turn heat to low and skim as much scum as possible from the top of the liquid and discard.  Add vegetables and aromatics and bring to the barest of simmers.  Slowly simmer from 4-24 hours, reducing volume by 1/3 to 1/2.  Do not stir, I know it will be tempting, but leave the stock undisturbed until reduced.  Put the spoon down, and step away from the stock pot!

When stock is reduced in volume, strain the liquid through a fine-meshed sieve lined with cheese cloth into a large bowl.  Allow to settle, then spoon off the fat that rises to the top.  (You can save the fat to make schmaltz or discard it.)  Ladle the stock into your storage containers, making sure to stir well with each scoop to assure that whatever fat is remaining be distributed evenly between the containers.  Allow to cool to room temperature and place in freezer or fridge. 

When the solid parts in the strainer are cool, you can pick through to claim the chicken meat to use in another dish.


(inspired by China Moon Cookbook, Barbara Tropp)
1” thumb of fresh ginger, sliced into 4-5 pieces
3 scallions, in chunks
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 tsp whole white peppercorns
1 heaping tsp whole Szechwan peppercorns

(inspired by my garden)
3 large bay leaves
5 large sage leaves
Large handful of fresh thyme
1/2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns

(inspired by Grandmas everywhere)
1 small bunch fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1 clove of garlic, peeled

Monday, June 7, 2010

Chocolate Mint Satisfaction!

Brownies sell cookies I can’t eat.  It makes me sad.  Even though the Girl Scout cookie season has come and gone around here, I’m still a bit jealous that I wasn’t able to hide in the closet with a box of Thin Mints.

I stumbled across some copy-cat recipes for Girl Scout Cookies, and I thought about transitioning them to gluten-free.  And that is where it stopped.  I thought about doing it, and maybe someday I will, but what I really needed was quick satisfaction to my craving.  I needed the quickness that comes from buying the box from an adorable young woman hocking her sugary treats outside the market.  I needed the satisfaction that comes from ripping the box open as I drive away and eating the whole thing on the way home in a bliss induced stupor that makes me wonder how the car got itself into the garage.  I needed instant; not the hassle of recalculating a recipe, fussing with precise cutting of thin chocolate mint circles, baking them, waiting for them to cool and the tedious process of tempering chocolate to dip cookies in one by one, then waiting for them to cool.  It’s a lot of work for a cookie binge!

I happened to have a bag of gluten-free bun mix hanging out on the counter.  (I like to make up baggies of things I commonly bake so I don’t have to go to the hassle later on.  I just mix the dry ingredients together, stick in a note listing the remaining ingredients and directions.)  I had run out of yeast when I mixed up the last batch, so this bag was patiently waiting to be completed, but was re-purposed for my chocolate mint craving.  After reading though too many brownie recipes to count, I took my notes and created the following recipe, which surprisingly, worked out on the first try!!!

These brownies are more cake-like than fudgy, but I like them that way.  To conquer my craving for Thin Mints, I frosted them with peppermint icing.  Not exactly a Girl Scout cookie, but I was still able to hide in the closet with a grin on my face!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Brownies

5.6 oz Brown Rice Flour
1.7 oz Potato Starch
1 oz Tapioca Flour
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/3 cup dry milk powder
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp egg replacer (I use Ener-G)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 stick butter, melted
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup warm water
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer.  With paddle attachment, mix the melted butter and oil into the dry ingredients, then add the eggs one at a time.  Add the water and mix for 2 minutes.  It will be more like dough than batter.

Place in the baking dish, and with wet hands, press the mixture into an even layer.  Bake for 30 minutes.

You can cut the recipe in 1/2 and bake in a square 8x8 or 9x9 for about 20 minutes.  You can also just make the regular batch and freeze some if a giant pan of brownies is too much bliss for you to handle at once.

Frost or leave plain or cut into the shape of Girl Scouts and frost little uniforms onto them.

Once you make these and you know you like them, I recommend making up a few containers of brownie mix to have in your cupboard for those times when you need a quick fix of chocolate. 

Peppermint Frosting

3 tbsp butter, room temperature
2 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp cream, half and half, or milk
1/4 – 1/2 tsp peppermint extract

Whip the butter until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in 2 cups of powdered sugar until incorporated.  While still mixing, add cream and peppermint extract, then the remaining sugar.  Use extra cream or powdered sugar until your desired consistency.  Peppermint extract is really strong, so start with a 1/4 tsp and work your way up until you get your desired minty-ness.

Peanut Butter Frosting

1/4 cup peanut butter
2 1/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tbsp cream, half and half, or milk
1  tsp vanilla extract

Whip the peanut butter until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in 2 cups of powdered sugar until incorporated.  While still mixing, add cream and vanilla extract, then the remaining sugar.  Use extra cream or powdered sugar until your desired consistency.

Gluten-Free Brownies on Foodista

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I Can Make the Sun Shine

It’s been raining a lot lately.  Almost a month straight.  With only a tease of sunshine here and there.  Not even a full day of sun.  It’s getting to be a bit too much grey, even for this Northwest gal.

The closest I can come to recreating that happy, yellow, golden ball of warmth in my kitchen is polenta. 

Polenta has a history as a peasant food, and is often the case, has now transitioned into something fancy-schmancy.  Lobster is another peasant food that has made this transition (it used to be prison food!) but thankfully polenta hasn’t seen the same price increase, therefore making it a very favorable option in my kitchen.

It’s cheap.  It’s easy.  It’s versatile.  It’s gluten-free.  It’s a whole grain.  It’s a happy, sunshine-yellow, comfort food.

The recipe is incredibly basic, which allows for numerous adaptations to suit what you have in the pantry or are craving.  Take coarsely ground corn meal, slowly stir into simmering liquid, and gently stir until done.  Even easier than a box of anything you can buy in the store!

Below is the basic recipe, and then a couple of my recent concoctions.  Take a look in the cupboard, think about what you want to make a happy belly and then get cooking!


1 cup polenta
4 cups simmering liquid
1/2 to 1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter or olive oil

Bring liquid, salt and butter/oil to a simmer in a sauce pan.  Slowly stir in polenta.  Turn heat to medium low and cook until done, 10-30 minutes, stirring frequently, especially at the end.  Cooking time depends on the coarseness of grind of the corn.   It’s done when it makes lava-like bubbles that gurgle and blop, the corn grains are soft and it is becoming  gelatinous.   If you want a softer result, add a cup or two more liquid.  As the polenta sits, it will firm up.

Serve as you would mashed potatoes by making it softer with more liquid and smothering in butter.
When done cooking, pour into a baking dish and allow to cool.  Then slice and serve, warm or cold.  

Customize your sunshine!

The first way to customize is your choice of liquid.  Water works just fine, but chicken or vegetable broths add a lot of flavor.  Milk makes an extra creamy polenta.  Or a combination of any of those.  I recently used the drippings from a roast chicken and water.

You can stir in anything flavorful near the end of cooking:  2 Tbsp fresh minced herbs or 1 tsp dried, a minced jalapeño, a can of green chilies, several cloves of roasted or fresh garlic, a handful of finely sliced green onions or chives, a flavored oil, chopped sundried tomato., sliced black olives, crumbled bacon, cubed ham or bits of sausage, slices of roasted red pepper decorating the top.

Cheese makes everything better in my world.  For those who can tolerate dairy, when the polenta is finished, stir in 4 oz of cubed cream cheese or a cup of shredded cheddar.  Or both!  Or try  1 cup of shredded parmesan or top with spicy pepper jack or smother in smoked gouda.

Cut into fancy shapes with cookie cutters and serve alongside a salad, like a crouton.  Grill slabs on a well oiled grill and serve with baked beans and barbequed meat or grilled vegetables.  Pan fry slices and serve in a pool of enchilada sauce, topped with black beans.    Bake cheesy polenta slices until golden brown and top with sautéed green beans with garlic and almonds.

Smother in a sauce.  Spaghetti sauce, pepperoni and black olives on top can satisfy a pizza craving very well.  Left over gravy from a roast turkey or chicken.  Nacho cheese sauce if you are craving that neon orange cheese satisfaction.  Sautéed mushrooms in a wine reduction. 

Get as fancy or as ghetto-fabulous as you like.

My most recent concoction used the drippings from a roast chicken mixed with water to make 4 cups of liquid.  6 cloves roasted garlic (that roasted while the chicken roasted) with a handful of fresh thyme  made a rich tasting polenta that had lots of chicken-flavored goodness with the hearty satisfaction of garlic and herbs.

My go to recipe is a pint of broth plus enough water to make 5 cups liquid.  Add polenta and cook until still loose in consistency.  Stir in 4 oz cubed cream cheese until melted.  A little extra salt makes the cream cheese really pop and you have sunshine clouds of cheesy bliss.

Spaghetti sauce with black olives, and pepperoni if I have it, is my favorite.  But so far, I haven’t found a way I didn’t like it!

Polenta is a blank canvas for your creation.  Play with your food, paint yourself a sunny picture and enjoy the sunshine-yellow even if it is grey outside!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tasty Tahini

Do you ever look at something in the store and just feel totally ripped off for buying it?  I do all the time.   Tahini is one of the most recent ones. 

I have been craving hummus, good hummus, the kind you get at restaurants and dream about (yes, I dream about hummus).  It’s ground up beans (garbanzo) with a few seasonings… should be inexpensive… until you get to the tahini, which runs around $7-$10 for a container.  Sesame seeds are inexpensive, so it must be those priceless glass jars it is packaged in that makes it such a luxury item.

Desperate to satisfy my craving, I hit the internet… not a lot out there in terms of making homemade tahini, most call for a lot of oil, which ups the price.  After making homemade peanut butter, and realizing it doesn’t take any oil if you let it run long enough, I got to thinking.  They make peanut oil and they make sesame oil, which means both must have plenty of their own oils… so perhaps if I let the little sesame seeds run long enough in the food processor, like I do with the peanut butter, the same beautiful silky result would occur. 

It does.

Well, almost.  It does take a wee bit of oil, but not nearly as much as the recipes I came across would suggest.   And it is cheap!  A pound of sesame seeds is around $2 at my favorite bulk store and that will make enough for plenty of hummus and other tahini based yummies.  $2 plus a wee bit of time verses $10 for convenience… well, you know where I stand on that!

So here, in its entire splendor, is the recipe for tahini and the most amazing hummus you will ever have!


12 oz Sesame Seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread sesame seeds evenly on a rimmed cookie sheet.  I like to line it with foil so that it makes transferring them to the food processor a snap. It can be a wee bit messy to swoosh them into the food processor off the cookies sheet.  Using the foil as a lift and dump device makes it easier.

Toast sesame seeds until golden in color, about 10-15 minutes depending on how thin your layer of seeds is.  Make sure to stir after 5 minutes, and then every 2-3 minutes.  You don’t want them underdone because it will make a bit of a bitter tahini, you don’t want them overdone because, well that will be a bit of a burnt and bitter tahini.  You need the Goldilocks perfect golden brown.  They will continue toasting for a few moments after you remove them, so error on the side of underdone, you can always stick them back in.

Once your seeds are toasted, let them cool for a few moment, then place them in a food processor with the 'S' blade.  Turn your beast on, and whirl those little seeds around.  Slowly drizzle in 2 TBSP olive oil.  Let the machine whirl and whirl for a couple of minutes until you can see the paste starting to form.  Scrape down the sides occasionally until it all becomes liquefied. 

Wasn’t that easy!

Dreamy Hummus
1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans (aka chick peas)
1 qt water
1/4 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup tahini
3 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cumin
Dash of cayenne pepper

Soak dried beans for 8 hours.  Drain, rinse and cover with 1 quart fresh water (4 cups).  Bring to a boil with 1/4 tsp baking soda.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook about 45-60 minutes, until quite tender.  Drain and rinse with cool water.  You can do this a day or two ahead if you want.  You can even cook a double batch and freeze 1/2 for the next time you want to make hummus.

In a small bowl combine lemon juice and water and in another small bowl combine tahini and olive oil.

In the food processor, whirl together the cooked beans, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne.  Scrape down the bowl and while the machine is going, slowly pour in the lemon juice and water.  Scrape down the bowl again and then slowly drizzle in the tahini and olive oil while running.  Let it all whirl around for a minute or two, scraping down the sides as needed. 

Hummus is often served smoothed on a plate, drizzled with a good olive oil and lightly dusted with paprika.  A few little parsley bits make a nice garnish, too… or, you can do as I am often tempted to do, which is hide in the closet with the hummus, a spoon, and a giant grin.

Every cook likes things a little different, you might like a little more lemon or tahini or cumin.  A little more water or oil will make it a bit thinner; a little less a bit thicker. Play around and once you get your preferences down, you can start having fun making all those very expensive hummuses (is that a word?!) in tiny containers you see at the market.  Maybe try using roasted garlic instead of raw.  Or add in some sun dried tomatoes or roasted red pepper.  Maybe a little fresh basil or thyme.  You could make a dressing by whipping together equal parts of hummus, yogurt and olive oil.  Or just hide in the closet with a spoon.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bob's Red Mill

Bob's Red Mill is an amazing company.  Not only is it employee owned, thanks to Bob's generous gift to his employees, but it is a great source for gluten free goodness!!!

A lot of folks with gluten issues must avoid oats because of cross contamination in the processing.  Thankfully, Bob and his fine people came to the rescue with certified gluten free oats.  Until recently, they were only available in the steel cut and rolled forms, both of which can take longer than you have in the morning, or are willing to wait for when the tummy is a grumblin'!  But now, Bob's Red Mill has QUICK cooking oats and oat flour!!  You can get to that warm bowl of goodness quickly and have time to enter their drawing for a chance to win a cookbook and two oat products.  Click here to enter!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Breakfast Fiesta!

Having breakfast for dinner is a favorite for many people.  I am, however, not one of them.  My husband on the other hand, would probably eat breakfast for every meal if given the opportunity.

One of our compromises on this matter is Mexican breakfast dinners.  Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Enchiladas are two of our favorites.  To my husband, they count as breakfast because of the eggs.  For me, they work as dinner because of the hot and spicy.  Either way, we both have happy bellies!

Finding good enchilada sauce was a challenge, even before having to be gluten free.  Finding enchilada sauce that didn't break the bank complicated matters.  Finally, though, after much research, I think I am on the right track and have a recipe that is close to the restaurant experience, at a fraction of the price!

Rolling enchiladas, removing them from the pan and having them stay rolled has been another obstacle in my quest for perfection of el corazon de casa (la cocina)!  To that end, I have simply decided to stop fighting the corn tortillas and make enchilada casserole instead.  Same great taste without the battle... and less mess!  (Tortillas 1, Domesticity Nouveau 0)

Enchilada Breakfast Casserole

1 recipe of Enchilada Sauce (below)
12 corn tortillas
8 eggs
1-2 medium russet potatoes, diced
1 red, green, yellow, or orange sweet pepper, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Any other veggies or meat you want to toss in (great for using up leftovers)
Shredded Cheese of choice (maybe cheddar or monterey jack or Farmer's Cheese)

Make enchilada sauce and pour a cup or so into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.  Place a single layer of tortillas on top, breaking in 1/2's and 1/4's as needed to fill in the gaps.  Smooth a small amount of sauce on top of tortilla layer.

In a frying pan over medium to medium-high heat, saute the potatoes, peppers, and onions in olive oil until the potatoes are browned on the outside and soft on the inside.  How long this takes depends on the size you diced everything, but figure about 10-20minutes-ish.  Salt & pepper to taste.

Spread the veggie and potato mix over the 1st layer of tortillas.

Scramble the eggs, and cook until just done, maybe a little underdone as they will finish in the oven.  Place eggs on top of the potato mix. Salt & pepper to taste.

Cover the eggs and potatoes with a 2nd layer of tortillas.  Pour remaining enchilada sauce evenly on top.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the whole thing is bubbly gooey perfection.  Let sit for a few minutes so you don't burn your tongue!  Slice, serve, enjoy.

***Notes***  You can make this an even easier dish to prepare by using packaged o'brien potato mix from the freezer section.  (If you need to be gluten-free, make sure to read the ingredients as it might have some sort of dusting on it to keep everything from clumping together.)  There are so many possibilities on ways to customize this recipe for your liking... sweet potatoes instead of russets, mushrooms, olives, sausage, soyrizo, canned beans, cilantro, taco seasoning, left over asparagus, ham or bacon (like there is ever leftover bacon!)... you get the idea.

Enchilada Sauce

2 Tbsp Olive oil, or canola, or butter, or whatever is your oil of choice
2 Tbsp tapioca flour (or regular flour if you don't need to avoid gluten)
5 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
6 oz tomato paste (small can)
2 1/2 - 3 cups water or chicken broth
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

Make a roux by browning the flour and oil over medium heat.  Turn heat to medium-low and add spices and tomato paste, smooshing together until combined.  Stir in a small amount of water (about 3/4 cup), until smooth.  Slowly add remaining water until well combined.  (I use an immersion blender, because it is fast and I am a lazy cook!)  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasonings if you would like.

Huevos Rancheros

28 oz can tomato sauce or 2 pint jars homemade tomato sauce
1 medium jalapeno, seeds and veins removed, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green or red pepper, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Dash of green tabasco
Salt & pepper to taste
6 eggs
6 corn tortillas
Oil to fry tortillas

In a large frying pan with straight sides and a good fitting lid, mix tomato sauce with jalapeno, onion, pepper, garlic, oregano, salt & pepper.  Bring to a low simmer and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

In a small frying pan, heat oil over medium high heat until it starts to shimmer.  Quickly place one tortilla in oil and flip after about 30 seconds.  Continue to fry until crisp, drain on paper towels.  Repeat for all tortillas.  You can save the oil in the fridge, once it has cooled, and use it again for your next round of tortilla frying.

Or... you can brush or spray oil onto each tortillas front and back and broil in the oven until crisp.  About 2-3 minutes... don't forget to raise the oven rack close to the broiler.

When tortillas are crisp and sauce has simmered, turn the heat down to medium-low until there is hardly a simmer in the sauce.  (Simmering will break your eggs when you poach them in the sauce and there will be plenty of heat to carry through the cooking.)

Break an egg into a custard cup or short glass, keeping it whole.  Make a little well in the sauce and pour the egg into the hole.  Quickly repeat with remaining eggs and then place the lid on the pan.  Cook for about 2-4 minutes and then carefully lift each egg from the sauce and place on a tortilla.  When all eggs are out, spoon remaining sauce over the eggs.  You can serve as is, or as we do, with Better Re-Fried Beans or Cheater Beans.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Make Laundry Fun with Magic Cleaning Sprinkles!

I wish that laundry was fun.  It’s not.  Even when you give the laundry soap a cute name, like Magic Cleaning Sprinkles, it is still a lame chore.  It’s not so much the washing and drying, (the machines do most of that tedious process), it’s the folding and putting away.  I have yet to find anything redeeming about the folding and putting away, other than it is what one is suppose to do with their clothing so that others don’t look upon them with shame.  Lack of shame isn’t much of a motivator for me.  If however, the laundry basket spit out quarters like a Vegas slot machine when the clothes were in proper order, I would probably be a laundry fanatic!

A friend of mine likes to joke about how I gave her instructions for making homemade yogurt that started with buying yogurt.  This is another one of those type recipes in that making your own laundry soap starts with buying soap.  I realize that sounds somewhat silly, but like the yogurt, it’s more cost effective to make your own and you know what is going into your finished product.   It only takes a few minutes to whip up a batch of laundry soap and it is so much more wallet friendly than anything you can get at the store on sale.

It is a bit different, however, in that it isn’t laced with a lot of fragrance or chemical fabric conditioners.  This means your clothes will probably feel slightly different than you are used to because the cloth fibers aren’t coated with conditioners that release fragrance for days and days.  Your clothes will just be clean and for some people, that is the goal.  Well, for most people I think the goal of laundry is clean clothes, but I could be wrong.

Magic Cleaning Sprinkles
(AKA frugal laundry powder)

1 bar of Fels Naptha
1 1/2 cups Washing Soda
1 1/4 cups Borax
1/2 cup Baking Soda

Grate the bar of Fels Natha, by hand or with your food processor.  In the bowl of your food processor, mix together the grated Fels Naptha with all the other ingredients until it becomes a uniform powder, about 30 seconds to one minute.   Let the mixture rest for a moment so the dust can settle and not hit you in the face when you take the top off.  Use 2 TBSP for your average large load.  A little more or less for extra dirty or smaller loads.

Fabric Softener
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

If you have one of those blue fabric softener balls, just fill it to the line with white vinegar and drop in as usual.  If you don’t have one of the balls, you can add in the vinegar during the final rinse or any other way you add fabric softener.  And nope, your clothes won’t smell at all like vinegar!  Of course, they also won’t smell like Tahitian Waterfall Meadow Flower Rainy Spring Sunshine Morning Dew, but that can be good!

Friday, March 12, 2010

A Cozy Bowl of Tomato Soup

My beautiful sister recently gave me a hand-me-up of a treadmill and breadmachine.  I'll let you guess which I used first.

One of the meals I have missed most since going gluten-free has been toasted cheese and tomato soup.  Specifically, a toasted cheese sandwich made with Wonder Bread and Kraft Singles with a bowl of Campbell's tomato soup made with milk.  While I haven't found the perfect recipe for gluten-free bread yet, I have found a really good mix.  The Gluten Free Pantry Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix does a fine job of a near perfect replication of traditional white bread and whips up easily with or without a bread machine.

While getting a good bread mix was exciting, the real excitement came at a gluten-free replication of Campbell's tomato soup!  Some things in life have no substitution.... or so I thought!  After reading the ingredients in Campbell's tomato soup, it dawned on me that there really wasn't much to it.  The red and white can simply contains tomato paste, water, high fructose corn syrup, salt, WHEAT flour, and a few preservatives.  How much simpler could it be?  So off to the internet recipe sites I went in the hopes of not having to reinvent the recipe and borrowing from another person's labor or as I like to call it, working smarter, not harder.  Wellllll, there were several gluten free tomato soup recipes, but they were all fancy with diced tomatoes and garlic and creme fraiche and basil and onions and, and, and nothing with the simplicity of the red and white can.  I did manage to walk away with one simple recipe that I could use as a springboard to create the recipe I now give you.... drum roll please.... Gluten-Free, High Fructose Corn Syrup-Free, Low Sodium, Mock Campbell's Tomato Soup!  And yes, the title is longer than the ingredient list.

Gluten-Free, High Fructose Corn Syrup-Free, Low Sodium, Mock Campbell's Tomato Soup

1 6oz can tomato paste (I adore Muir Glen)
1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt (Diamond Kosher salt is by far the best)
0-1 Tbsp sugar or honey or agave nectar or fairy dust or sweetener of choice
2-3 cups liquid (I use 1.5 cups of water & 1.5 cups of milk)

Mix everything together in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering.  Best served with toasted cheese sandwiches and dill pickles.

I like to use an immersion blender so I can be really lazy and not have to whisk or stir as much.  Different cans of tomato paste have varying degrees of  sweetness to them, so you may or may not have to use a sweetener to get that truly Campbell's taste.  Maybe you are such a sweet person that all you will have to do is dip your finger in and the perfect amount of sweet will be delivered.  If your mom made it with water, then just use water.  I ran out of milk the other night, but had some heavy whipping cream, so I used 2.25 cups water + .75 cups cream and it was delicious.   You get the idea and know how you like your comfort food!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Two by Two Lentil Stew with Gluten Free Naan

Believe it or not, I had never cooked lentils until recently.  On a couple of occasions I have consumed lentil soup from a can, but was not impressed.  Actually I was downright horrified that people considered it food!   So when a few different friends mentioned that they were making lentils, I had to pause and wonder if I had been cheated out of a gastronomical experience.  After all, lentils are a common food in a vast number of cultures; that many people on the planet can't be wrong about something.... can they?

I was familiar with lentils being part of the Indian food culture, and as I was looking for recipes and asking friends how they made lentils, I discovered they are also included in the diets of people from Africa, the Mediterranean region, North & South America, Europe, pretty much everywhere!  This wee little legume has quite a bit of flexibility when it comes to creating a tasty dish.  Its a rather neutral base, similar to chicken, that can be flavored to whatever culture is creating the meal.  That got me thinking... if I make a large "plain" batch, I can change the flavor each time I serve it... cheap eats that aren't boring and bland!  So off I went, reading hundreds of recipes and figuring out the base that is common to most cultures.  It is amazing how similar the basics of cooking are across the globe!

The first night we had "plain" lentils that were anything but plain; savory, rich, earthy, down right delicious if I do say so!  The next night I added curry paste and coconut milk.  Another night was cajun spice and smoked sausage over rice. Why did it take me so long to discover these tiny little protein packed gems?  I'm looking forward to the next batch and discovering some new spice mixes to share with everyone.

Along with lentils being a cross-culture commonality, flatbread, in one form or another can often be found in countries around the world.  In the Mediterranean there are pitas.  In Central America there are tortillas.  In India there is Naan....  oh how I mourned the loss of flatbread when I had to go gluten free.  After the success I had with flourless "flour" tortillas, I quickly realized that other flatbreads weren't that different and all that sorrow had been a waste of time!  I got to work in the kitchen and came up with a version of gluten free Naan that satisfied my yearning for a curry companion.

Two by Two Lentil Stew
Makes:  A lot, enough for several dinners and lunches, good to freeze for days you don't want to cook

2 tsp Olive Oil
2 medium onions, diced
2 large celery stalks, diced
2x2 (4) carrots, diced
2x2 (4) cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 large tomatoes, diced or 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
2 cups of dried lentils (I use a mix of 1 cup petite green French lentils & 1 cup brown or green lentils)
2 bay leaves
2 quarts (8 cups) water or broth (I use water because it is cheap eats)
2 potatoes, diced
2 cups of packed chopped spinach, or 1 10 oz pkg frozen spinach
2 tsp balsamic vinegar or lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, heat olive oil over medium high heat and saute onions, carrot and celery until tender.  Stir in garlic, cook for about 30 seconds (you don't want it to burn or it will be bitter) and add tomatoes.  Add lentils and water/broth, stirring up any browned bits that may have been on the bottom of the pan.  Toss in the bay leaves and simmer gently for 45 minutes, or until lentils are soft.  Add potato and spinach and cook until potato is tender.  Stir in balsamic vinegar or lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.

Once you make the base, you can flavor individual servings with curry paste or powder, coconut milk, Cajun seasoning, Greek Seasoning, taco seasoning, add in cooked sausage, chicken, tofu... get creative and play with your food, I won't tell your Mom!

Gluten Free Naan (Indian Flatbread)
Makes:  about 12 pieces, depending on how you portion and roll it out

9 oz brown rice flour
4 oz potato starch
1 oz tapioca flour
1 Tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Xantham gum
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp instant yeast
4 Tbsp melted butter or ghee
3/4 cup warm milk (not so warm it kills the yeast, not so cold the yeast don't wake up)
1 large zip topped bag

Measure the flours, sugar, xantham gum, salt, and yeast into a bowl. Add melted butter and warm milk,  mixing until dough forms.  You can do this with a KitchenAid Mixer using the paddle attachment or by hand.

Divide the dough into 12 equal size portions and roll into balls.  At this point, you can either refrigerate and use the next day or roll out immediately.  Keep the dough balls covered as they wait to be rolled out.  I prefer to let my dough sit overnight, the flavor improves a bit, but it isn't necessary.  If you do refrigerate, pull the dough out about an hour before you intend to roll it.

Take a moment to read through the post about flourless "flour" tortillas to get some pointers for rolling out flatbreads.

Open your ziplock bag and Place one ball in the center between the sheets.  (Because of the butter in this recipe, I didn't find it necessary to dust the plastic layers with flour, but if yours sticks, try dusting with potato starch.) Take a pie plate or cake pan and mash the ball down to a flat circle. Using a rolling pin, roll out the naan to between 1/4" and 1/8" thick. Carefully peel back the top of the ziplock and very gently remove the naan from the other side. Place the naan on a sheet of waxed paper and cover with another sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been rolled and shaped.  Let the dough rest for about 30 minutes in a warm area.

Using a frying pan or griddle over medium to medium-high heat, cook naan one at a time for approximately 2 minute per side, until lightly browned and starting to puff a wee bit.  Continue cooking until you are finished. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve, or reheat if making ahead. 

These did just fine in the freezer.  Just make sure to thaw completely before reheating thoroughly.  There is a slight texture change, but it is worth the convenience of having these made ahead!  You can reheat in a frying pan or wrapped in foil in a 350 degree oven until warm.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Soft... Warm... Doughy....

Soft. Warm. Doughy. Although these words could be used to describe my belly, they instead describe the most wonderful thing to go in my belly in quite a while.

Since going gluten free I have had to give up many foods that bring me comfort. Truth be told, many of them probably were not that good for me... in particular I'm thinking apple fritters and maple bars. Many though, were just neutral on the health scale... things like flour tortillas.... and some down right horrible, like cup noodles!

Flour tortillas are such versatile items! Burritos, quesadillas, sandwich wraps, peanut butter and banana delivery devices, Frisbee... okay, well maybe not Frisbees, although the store bought gluten free substitutes could be easily mistaken for a Frisbee. Hard, dry, brittle, chewy... yuck!

After reading several recipes, and starting to get the hang of some of the flour substitutes used in gluten free baking I ventured into the world of tortillas and I will never be the same!! If I had only known tortillas were so easy to make, I would have never bothered buying them, gluten free or regular! I have a friend whose mother makes delicious homemade tortillas, but she always seems so magical when I watch her that I never imagined my Irish hands could make such a delight. Boy howdy was I wrong!

Below is the recipe I used. It is a combination and tweaking of a couple different ones I found online and in cookbooks. For a while I have heard that weighing ingredients for baking makes a huge difference in creating a quality product, gluten free or not. One of my new cookbooks stresses this is the only way to successful baking, and the base recipe I started from was in grams, so I stuck with weighing and the results were great!

A few tricks are worth learning for this recipe. My first bit of guidance would be to take a large ziplock bag and cut it down both sides. Roll out your tortillas between the plastic layers and you will have less issue with trying to get a very thin piece of fragile dough off the counter top or baking board. Second, start to roll your tortillas by flattening the ball with the flat bottom of a cake pan or pie plate, this will at least start you closer to an actual circle. Third, have all your pieces of waxed paper cut before you begin to roll, so all you have to do is roll and stack without having to pause and possibly allow your tortillas to dry out. Fourth, If you have a Misto spray oil device, now is the time to use it. I haven't used Pam or other spray oils in so long, but I imagine they are the same in principle. Spray your pan, flop in the tortilla, spray the tortilla. Fifth, as the tortillas come off the pan, place the sheets of waxed paper back in between to keep them from sticking. Finally, keep these babies warm so they are soft, warm and doughy! I keep them in a 200 degree oven until it is time for them to be devoured.

Flourless Flour Tortillas
Makes about 12, 7"-ish tortillas

11 oz Brown Rice Flour
5 oz Potato Starch
2 oz Tapioca Flour or Corn Starch
1 TBSP Sugar
2.5 tsp Xantham Gum
1.5 tsp Sea Salt
1 to 1.5 cups water, depending on humidity
13 sheets of waxed paper
Large Ziplock bag
Spray oil

Measure all dry ingredients into a bowl. Add one cup of water and mix until dough forms, adding more water as necessary. You can do this with a KitchenAid Mixer and paddle or by hand. You are looking for the consistency of pie dough, or play-dough if you are more familiar with that.

Divide the dough into 12 equal size portions and roll into balls. (divide main ball into thirds, then divide each third in half and each half in half... isn't math fun!). Keep the dough balls covered as they wait to be rolled out.

Open your ziplock bag and lightly dust with potato flour. Place one ball in the center between the sheets. Take a pie plate or cake pan and mash the ball down to a flat circle. Using a rolling pin, roll out the tortilla very very thin (less that 1/8"). Carefully peel back the top of the ziplock and very gently remove the tortilla from the other side. Place the tortilla on a sheet of waxed paper and cover with another sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been tortilla-fied. This is the step that can take some practice... they may not be supermarket perfect, but they will taste wonderful even if they are an oval or triangle or other lopsided shape instead of a circle.

Using a frying pan or griddle over medium to medium-high heat, cook tortillas one at a time for approximately 1 minute per side. Spray the pan lightly with oil, carefully peel a tortilla off the waxed paper and flop into the pan, spray with oil around edges to help keep from drying out too quickly, turn tortilla after 1 minute and finish cooking second side. Place on a sheet of waxed paper (use the one you just had separating the uncooked tortillas). Continue cooking and stacking until you are finished. Keep warm in a 200 degree oven until ready to serve, or reheat if making ahead.

I haven't tried freezing these yet, but if you do, let me know how they turn out! I don't think they will ever stick around long enough for me to get them in the freezer!

Serves 3-6 depending on how hungry your belly is

1 lb of meat... thinly sliced beef or chicken, shrimp... maybe even tofu!
3 TBSP Lime juice
3 cloves Garlic, pressed
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
a few dashes of Green Jalapeno Tabasco
salt & pepper

Mix the above all together and let sit in the fridge for about 4 hours, or overnight

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/4" - 1/2" strips
1 yellow, green or orange bell pepper, sliced into 1/4" - 1/2" strips
1/2-1 whole yellow onion, cut into 1/4" to 1/2" wedges and separated into pieces
1-2 tomatoes, cut in wedges

Heat a frying pan over high heat until a drop of water rolls around like a marble. (Do NOT use a non stick as you need to heat it to scorching hot and non-stick will release toxins anywhere above medium to medium-high) Place meat with marinade in a single layer in pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes, stir and cook until done, remove from pan. Add veggies and cook until starting to brown and char (you might want to add a wee bit of water to bring up the seasoning left from the meat to coat the veggies). Quickly add meat back into pan, salt & pepper to taste, stir everything together and bring to the table sizzling hot... YUM!

Serve with salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, re-fried beans and those delicious tortillas you made!

Better Re-Fried Beans

1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup diced onion
1/2 TBSP finely minced jalapeno
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tsp oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
optional, squirt of lime juice

In a sauce pan over medium heat, saute onion and jalapeno until soft. Add in garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in beans and season with cumin and chili powder, heat through. Mash beans until desired consistency.

Cheater Beans

1 can re-fried beans (I won't tell you didn't make them from scratch, gasp!)
1/2 TBSP dried minced onion
1 tsp Green Jalapeno Tabasco
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
optional, squirt of lime juice

In a sauce pan, over medium heat, mix everything together and heat through.