Saturday, December 18, 2010

Allergy-Free Restaurant Review

Well, if I'm to do product review, I ought to do allergy-free restaurant review. Friday night, after obtaining mom's Christmas tree we went to Bridgeport Ale House at 36th and Hawthorne (Portland, OR). To my most pleasant surprise they had two vegan, allergy-free items on the menu. It rocked. I had the Hawthorne Vegan Bowl with organic quinoa, black beans, grilled tofu, mushrooms, kale, roasted sweet potato & spicy cashew sauce minus the sesame, with added grilled chicken and half an avocado. Oh my god it was the best new thing I've had in a while. So so good. Their other item on the menu was a black bean burger with vegan cilantro mayo. Obviously mine would be bun-less so I went with the bowl. Good choice. Highly recommend it. The non-allergy folk joining me had the mac n'cheese, catfish po'boy, a BLTA and a pitcher of Ebenezer. First GOOD AVOCADO I've had in a while. I'll be back!

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Lazy Allergy-Free Cook

So when one has all these allergies it is often more work to eat. There's not a lot of 'quick & easy' options when you have to start from scratch every time. Lazy days happen when I'm never home, when I only get to cook for myself :-(, and when I really need to go buy some produce or when I'm sick of fruits and veggies for a couple days. My lazy day menu is: Gluten-Free Bisquick, meat, Amy's DFGF mac 'n cheese and applesauce. This can only happen so many times before I want something better-like a sweet potato fries and a burger with EVERYTHING on it or homemade stir-fry or really good fajitas. This post means-I'm cooking something good tonight and trying not to go to the store. Making something from nothing is what mom and I are good at. There's nothing in the fridge so lets make a homemade pizza with caramelized onions, prosciutto, and mushrooms or an awesome taco salad. :-)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Gypsy Soup, Again and Again

Yes, I'm re-posting previous recipes. I don't care. It was different this time. I made it and ate it with different people. I even made it in a different kitchen. :-) I was at my sister's new apartment with friends helping her get ready for Crafty Wonderland this weekend. Gypsy soup has been my dinner twice this week. The homey veggies and the spicy kick just can't be beat. For me, it's a throw-together recipe meaning that when I make it I usually have 'nothing' to eat and end up with this. I know not everyone keeps this on hand so if you need me to bring it and make it :-) just let me know. And so here again is my post though I'm only doing the ingredients which for me, change every time.

Gypsy Soup Recipe Link
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups diced peeled sweet potatoes (my goal for cooking is to make sure these are super soft)
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground turmeric (this is an anti-inflammatory agent)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper (I put too much but, I don't have much kick in my life with being allergic to chili)
1 bay leaf
3 cups chicken stock (3 cups would NEVER be enough, I put more like 6, the broth is the best part!)
1 tablespoon tamari (it's like soy sauce but without the gluten-you could use soy sauce)
1 cup chopped fresh tomato (or canned diced tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (I wish they had been in longer-I'm not a recipe person & we were hungry)
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper (I don't like green bell peppers... I used a red)

Cookin' away

Rachel made goat cheese garlic spread which, I'm sure is to die for. Sadly it was discovered post-allergies so I haven't tried it but with the ingredients you can't go wrong!

1 head of garlic (about 10 cloves) (Roasted in the oven)
2 medium red onions, thinly sliced (Carmelized)
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
10oz goat cheese (I used an 8oz package and it worked fine)
Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh basil (for garnish), chopped
Olive Oil & Sea Salt


Dinah enjoyed the party too. Ahh, a good end to a hectic day.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why aren't I cooking?

I am cooking-I'm just not cooking anything new. And I had two pizza fiascoes, broke a dish, and spilled a whole glass of wine. Rough week in the kitchen. The pizza's had crust issues that seemed beyond the GF-ness. Both were the same Namaste brand and both were soggy and both I made other friends suffer through (sorry Jackie and Barbara). Thank goodness I put such good stuff on top they can fake it for me. One was soggy due to the bottom oven burner at the beach not working and the other one stuck to tin foil and was cooked in a roasty-ish pan, not a cookie sheet (parchment paper is a true investment). Improvising has not proven helpful. To smite my bad luck in the kitchen I have just been eating artichokes for dinner. Which is heavenly.

Christmas recipes are coming to me slowly but, surely. I want to bake for others but want to save them from allergy-free-ness and just throw a 2 eggs,a cup of butter and milk chocolate chips in but we will see.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The weekend in Seattle

After chowing at Gramma's we headed to Seattle for Thanksgiving and it was awesome. Mom, Rich, Dan, me, Rich's twin brother Andy and his girlfriend Angie. We stayed in a house on the Sound in West Seattle. It was a mansion compared to where any of us live. It was incredible to spread out and not have 5 people in mom's parlor (seated for 3-4). Andy and Angie went out on the town on Saturday but we were completely satisfied with just hanging out at the house. Big screen, big couches, big kitchen, and a hot tub. What more do you need?

THIS is vacation. Hot tub and mimosa at 1pm. Yes!

Momma made turkey soup with leftovers from Thursday.

I made a GF pizza but look at that stove!

GF dumplings are a' cookin'. Made with GF Bisquick which rocks!

Everyone else's dumplings all done.

Dan caught me in a rabbit pose. Mmm basil.

Pizza ingredients: kalamatas and fresh basil,

sun-dried tomatoes and mushrooms,

Prosciutto too! So gourmet.

Whoa, what else can we put on the table!

eating, eating, eating

Luxory! The weekend was absolutely glorious. Lucky us! :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Finally cooking is done, time to eat!

Mom, Rich, Rachel, James, Dan and I all went to Gramma's for dinner! First course:

Our feast: turkey, stuffings, potatoes, gravies, cabbage salad, cranberry sauce, beets.


Thanksgiving Day Cooking!

Gluten Free Stuffing recipe from Whole Foods


6 cups gluten-free bread cubes or 1 package Gluten Free Bakehouse stuffing cubes, already toasted
2 shallots, minced
2 onions, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter
2 teaspoons dried sage
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
4 tablespoons parsley


Toast bread cubes carefully in a preheated 300°F oven for 20 minutes or until dried, stirring occasionally to promote even browning. If using Gluten Free Bakehouse stuffing cubes, skip this toasting step.

Sauté shallots, onions, celery and carrots in butter until they are soft and onions begin to caramelize. Add sage, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add wine and continue cooking over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half.

In a large bowl, mix sautéed vegetables with bread cubes, chicken broth and parsley. Transfer to a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes at 325°F. Serves 8 to 10

Tasted SOOO good with all the spices. But the bread is so dry I think it could use 3 cups of chicken broth instead of one. The parsley in the garden died in the snow so we just went without. Highly recommend this recipe.

Gluten Free Apple Pie, recipe from

1 1/2 cup flour (barley OR wheat OR a Non-Wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons fat (butter OR margarine OR equivalent)
3 or 4 tablespoons water
Sift all the dry ingredients together. This is important to give some lift to the flour. Cut fat in using two forks or a pastry blender until the mixture resembles clumps about the size of small peas. Add cold water, a little at a time, distributing the water evenly throughout the whole of the mixture. When the mixture sticks together, but is not doughy, roll out onto a table or pie mat dusted with flour. Roll until the dough is of sufficient size to fit into a 9 inch pie pan. Line the pie pan with dough. Bake at 425 F for 10 – 15 minutes. Fill with a cream filling. Makes one 9 in pie crust. This can be frozen and used like a commercial pie crust if desired.
It was difficult to role out, we used wax paper and just kind of pressed it in. It was dry and not very tasty, should have brushed it with sugar. I would try out another one next time with more flours, I just tried to do it simply. It was very very crumbly and needed something more to gel it together.
I decorated it with a palm tree because we should be in Hawaii right now. :-)

Gramma's purty turkey

Gramma's sweet yams with brown sugar/butter

Momma's Apple Pie

Momma's Punkin Pie

Cookin' the night before

And so at 8PM on Wednesday it started. I don't know how hummus got on my list but it did, so I whipped some up. Along with mashed pumpkin/sweet potatoes, gluten free stuffing and a gluten free apple pie.

Allergy Free Hummus (aka, sesame-free)

1 can of garbanzos, drained and SAVE the juice
1 head of garlic, roasted
6 pieces of sun-dried tomatoes
6 kalamata olives
3 Tbs olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

This is where I stopped but it's a bit thick so I also recommend:
1-2 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 cup of saved garbanzo juice

Gluten Free Stuffing
Started making the stuffing by toasting bread crumbs. I used a loaf and a half of Ener-G Brown Rice Loaf from Whole Foods. It worked great.

Toasting away, left them in the oven overnight to really dry out.

Started making the Pumpkin/Sweet Potato mashed. I used the recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef who adapted it from Soul of a New Cuisine by Samuelssen.

Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Mash

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted fake butter
3 shallots, peeled and sliced (I'm such a crier)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
3-inch-piece ginger, peeled and sliced (didn't have this so I diced the ginger left over from sushi for lunch)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoons brown sugar
5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed and fine chopped (ventured out to mom's garden to find it)
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
2-pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch cubes (ventured to Gramma's to pick up the fresh punkin but, it was already cooked and mashed)
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock) (organic, gluten free-I found that many stocks have msg and hydrolyzed gluten, gross)
2 cups milk (soy milk)
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 chives, fine chopped (another venture to mom's garden)

Preparing to mash. In a deep pot on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, thyme leaves, and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Throw in the sweet potatoes, pumpkin cubes, chicken stock, and milk of your choice. Bring them all to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes and pumpkin yield to your fork, about 30 minutes.

Making the mash. Drain the pumpkin and sweet potatoes, saving 1 cup of the liquid. So this part WOULD work if you use raw pumpkin. But I only had fresh mashed pumpkin. I couldn't waste it so I just put it in anyways and cheese-clothed-out the liquid. Throw away the ginger and cinnamon sticks. In a large bowl, mash the sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Pinch in the nutmeg and salt. Taste. At this point I found that my chopped onions and garlic were huge pieces so it all went in the food processor for some pureed mashed potatoes. Season more, if necessary. Splash in a bit of the cooking liquid and stir, for an even texture. Before serving, sprinkle with the chives. Serves 6 or more.

Felt mostly like a failure but, I worked with what I had. I just couldn't bring myself to not use the fresh pumpkin from Gramma's garden. They tasted great-nice and spicy-not sweet like the brown sugar yams.

Back to the O.C.

Jackie and I hiked down into old town Oregon City on Tuesday-as we were trapped by the snow. We had a couple close calls but, never ate ice on our way. It was very odd to be back and walking where we had in 7th grade.

The view from the Barker Bluff.

The Oregon City Falls that are 'really falling' meaning there's a lot of water.

By the time we got to the bottom, we were cold!