Tasty and mostly simple food for the whole family.

Tasty, healthy, simple, verstile, practical, seasonal, fun food for all to enjoy. I will endeavour to make things gluten-free, dairy-free (cow's milk only here, I'm not super-human), and low sugar as able. I hope others feel motivated to add their recipes to this collection so we can all try them. Thank you!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Basque Red Bean Soup

An amazing recipe and post just in from the amazing Miss Katie M. Read on........ 

I Married a Beige-atarian.
Some people marry vegetarians, I married a Beige-atarian. He only eats things in shades of beige: meat, pasta, potatoes, yogurt, pork, chicken, rice. Ocasionally, he'll throw in something orange (gasp!) like mac n cheese. So, it really surprised me that he told me that Basque Red Bean soup is one of his all-time favorite meals. I worked at a Basque restaurant in high school, and it was the signature item, everyone loves it. The recipe I've adapted was the closest one I could find to the real thing. I have to admit that it's delicious. I just have to make sure I don't let him see what's in it...
Basque Red Bean Soup - Recipe adapted from http://everything2.com/title/Basque+red+beans


  • 2 cups dried small red chili beans
  • 8 cups beef stock, I used the boxed kind
  • 2 large carrot, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 leek, white and tender green parts, diced
  • 2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • ½ pound Basque chorizo, diced (don't use mexican chorizo)


Put the dried beans in a large bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak for four-ish hours. Drain and rinse the beans.
In a big stock pot, mix the beans, stock, carrot, bay leaves, pepper, and onion. Note: If you have a food processor, you could run all the veggies through that. They are pretty much undistinguishable when the soup is done because they cook down completely. Bring it all to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 90 minutes.
Add the leek, potatoes, and chorizo. Simmer for another 30 minutes. If you can find it, use Basque Chorizo (cured), but don't use raw mexican chorizo. If you can't find the Basque version, try a Portuguese linguisa. At the end of the cooking time, the soup will thicken up.
Let the beans cool, and then cover and chill them in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, reheat them just before serving. Don't forget to remove and discard the bay leaves. Serve it up with a Fred Meyer baguette (it's the best one around) or sourdough. This serves a lot of people, I'd say at least 6.
All the ingredients. Look at the size of those leeks!
Getting ready to add the beans.
 Meat and leaks added. Soup is still thin and looks stringy because of the leeks. The leeks will completely disentegrate later.

The soup gets really thick and delicious. The longer it sits the better it is.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Adrienne's white bean chicken chili (soup)

I always look forward to the soups that Miss Adrienne cooks up and I always want the recipe afterwards.  This was no different.  I am very much looking forward to her Tortilla Soup this winter and I am already trying some corn-desensitivity training as I plan for it.  Anyway, the other day we got to enjoy more of her delicious soup as we celebrated the hubbin's birthday.  What I especially loved about this chili recipe was that it was less 'stew-like' and more 'soup-ey'.  This leaves much more room for delicious bread (gluten-free, of course) and birthday treats!  Soup is so great for freezing leftovers and having healthy, easy dinners weeks later when you need a night off from cooking.  Even better- look at how simple it is to make! (serves about 4 bigs and 2 littles)

Adrienne's Soup recipe:
1T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2lb chicken breast, cut in 1/2in pieces and cooked
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 (15 oz) cans white beans, undrained
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles
1/2tsp ground cumin
1tsp chili powder
1 (14 oz) can chicken broth
2T lime juice
2T minced fresh cilantro (or 1T dried) I usually omit it altogether since i usually have all the other ingredients, but around here cilantro is a specialty item

(Editor's note: Cilantrophobes unite!  I can only assume that by 'specialty item', Adrienne meant 'gross'- I assure you this soup does not suffer from it's absence)

In a large pot, heat olive oil. add onion, garlic and red pepper. saute 5 mins.
Stir in white beans, chilies, cumin, chili powder and broth. bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. stir in chicken and simmer 5 mins. 
Stir in lime juice and cilantro (if you must).

Finished in the Pot.  Yum!

I might even add some celery in with the onions and pep next time for some bonus texture.  Or maybe some zuke just before serving.  Of course we added a touch of pecorino or Pepper Jack just before the spoons!

A final editor's note:  We had it again for left-over's tonite.  Much of the broth was absorbed into the beans and whatnot, so I added some more broth and put in some diced zucchini as I heated it up.  The fresh zuke was a nice contrast with the heat of the soup.  Just enough to make it seem like a slightly different dish for two days in a row.  So tasty!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Zucchini Pasta (Linguini or Gluten-Free Brown Rice Spaghetti)

I would have to describe this as freakishly delicious.  I have yet to make it with actual linguini, but can only imagine it will be even better.  We are still getting outrageous amounts of fresh zucchini from our garden, so I get to be creative with how much and how often we incorporate it into our every meal.  I originally found this recipe in Parenting Magazine while enjoying some quality reading at the gym.  Few things are more fun than thinking of cooking while working out, unless you are one of my patients and you get to talk about food during your entire treatment.  Anyway, the first time I made this, I couldn't believe how amazingly delicious it was while being gluten-free.  Very easy to make and quick, too.  At first Mia asked "mom get the salad out of the noodles?", but now she asks for "more zuke". 

Makes enough for 2-3 bigs and one little with none left over for lunch.   I can only assume the original printing suggesting that this would serve 8-10 was for hamsters or something, especially since I almost doubled the noodles in this version.

12 oz pasta (linguini or other gluten-free long noodle- I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice Spaghetti)
2 medium zucchini or one large fresh garden zuke
2T olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1-1 1/2 c grated pecorino cheese
1/2 t salt plus more for pasta water


1.  Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to directions.  Reserve 1/2c pasta water out just before draining.
2.  Meanwhile, use mandoline (in our house, that is called a vegetable peeler.... maybe one day) and shave the zucchini into long ribbons.  It may be helpful to cut them length-wise into ~1/2" slices and make your peelings from there.  I tend to have some left-over ends that I cant shave and I just julienne them.
3.  Toss the zucchini in a bowl with the 1/2t salt and set aside. 
4.  Heat olive oil in large skillet (non-stick helps). Add in garlic and cook, stirring, until lightly golden- about 1 minute.  Add zucchini and cook about 4 minutes, tossing continuously (tongs are very helpful here).
5.  Transfer to large bowl and toss together the pasta, zucchini and pecorino.  Adjust the pasta and such as needed with the reserved pasta water in 1-2T increments (should not be saucy, per se, but have a very creamy quality).  Salt and pepper to taste.

Note:  in this house, we minimize all superfluous dish-washing, so unless I am trying to impress someone, I just toss the pasta back into the pan with the sauteed zucchini, add the cheese while tossing, then add S & P and any additional pasta water as needed to loosen the dish.  I'd like to think that this way you get to preserve all of the delicious liquid that the zucchini throws off in the cooking process without losing it in the bowl transfer.  Truly, I haven't even tried it.  Also, consider adding some halved cherry or pear tomatoes step 5 as in the original recipe.  I don't care for hot tomatoes so I haven't done it yet.

Zucchini in the bowl with salt
Zucchini ready to toss with the goods- just barely wilted.

Ready for the plates and garnish pec!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A moment of praise for Quinoa

Quinoa is amazing.  The ancient Incas knew what they were doing here.  It may look like cous cous, but it has way more going for it.  While it technically is not a grain, but a 'pseudograin', it is ridiculously full of nutrients unlike any other grain we think of.  (For more detailed information on quinoa, click here).  It has saved me in this time of wheat/gluten transition and has become a favorite of Mike's as well.  It cooks super fast, is delicious and nutritious. It is good for every meal of the day and in very different ways depending on what you do with it.  You can buy it in bulk anywhere, but currently my favorite way to get it is at Costco, where you can get a 5# bag or organic quinoa for only about $10.  That may last about 2 weeks around here, I'd say. 

Try this:

Boil 2c water.  Add 1c quinoa and cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Makes about 4-6c.  To make it less moistureful, like tossed with dressing for a side salad, use 1/4c less water.

For breakfast, Mike and Mia like it with olive oil and raisins, I like it with maple syrup or strawberries.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rice Noodle Quick Stir-Fry

I have had to get pretty creative with my starches now that semolina pasta is generally off the list for me.  Currently in our family's heavy rotation is this rice noodle dish.  Quick and easy and Mia loves it as much as Mike and I do.

1lb Rice noodle sticks (linguini or fettucini shape- I love Trader Joe's brand)
1 clove garlic minced or grated
1-2T olive oil
2-4T Soy sauce or Tamari
2-3T Toasted sesame oil
Toasted black and/or golden sesame seeds for garnish

Bring large pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles as directed on package and drain.  These give off a ton of starch, so lots of water is good, even if making a half batch.

Meanwhile, stir-fry the garlic in the olive oil in a large saute pan or wok.  When the noodles are finished, toss them into the pan and coat throughout with garlic and oil.  Drizzle the sesame oil and tamari/soy sauce liberally over the noodles and continue to cook for maybe 4-5 minutes longer. Feel free to add more tamari/soy sauce and sesame oil if it needs more as you taste it in the pan. 

Note:  On occasion, we have had a few noodles left and found that they do not hold up well as left-overs, so I stronorgly recommend just eating them all!

Another Note: to make this more of a main, add some chicken, tofu or other meat and veggies in and cook with the garlic before adding the noodles!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Simple Roasted Carrots (Mia's favorite)

 Mia can seriously get behind these.  MamaFawn likes them because they are great for delivering nutrients to a munchkin, but also are easier on the waistline than any of the other snacks that a parent is likely to participate in whilst their little one enjoys the post-nap/pre-dinner kcals.  I stumbled on this late last summer when I discovered that PCC sells Nash's Best organic carrots in a 5# bag.  For those who aren't hip to Nash's (or my history with carrots), these are amazingly sweet and juicy carrots that, for some, can be eaten by the pound or two in a sitting.  I was going through a 5# bag a week for quite a while until the orange hue of 1989 started to come back and I had to take a little time off. 

In the case of this household, I usually prep them up early afternoon (nap-time) and they are ready to go when the Peanut wakes up for a sweet and tasty snack.  The roasting process intensifies the sweetness of the carrots and they make great finger food.

Preheat oven to 400.

Olive oil (optional)

Peel as many carrots as you like and cut in half lengthwise.  Place flat side down into a glass dish.  Add some water to dish (just enough to cover maybe 1/4 of the carrot's height).  Drizzle a bit of olive oil around over the carrots if you wish.  Cover with foil and roast for 30-45 minutes depending on how soft you want your carrots to be and who your audience is.  The water should evaporate out and will help speed the roasting process along by steaming them some. This process is also great for beets and other squash or root vegetables, of course!  Delicious.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Grandma Jeanne's Best Apple Crisp (a wheat-free & dairy-free adaptation)

Today is my birthday, so under the guise of research, I set about to try my Mom's apple crisp with modifications for my special culinary needs.  While I do believe everything should always be done in moderation, including moderation itself, I managed to enjoy quite a bit of moderate wheat and corn and wine yesterday while I watched our beloved Mariners lose their 100th game, so I felt it was a only prudent to make an effort today despite obvious reasons to treat oneself.  Plus, the bit about the research and all. 

Ingredients                                            9"x9" pan                           9"x13" pan

Apples pealed and sliced ~1/4" thick     ~5-6 big apples                  ~7-8apples
(Granny Smith or Pink Lady are best)
Vanilla                                                     1-2tsp                                2-4tsp
Lemon juice + zest                                  1/3 lemon                         1/2 lemon

Butter (Earth Balance natural buttery  1 stick (8Tbls)                  2 sticks (16Tbls)
 spread in this case- don't laugh)                
Brown sugar, loosely packed                   1c                                      2c
Flour (Spelt or gluten-free if prefered)    1c                                      2c
Cinnamon                                                2tsp                                   4tsp

Oats                                                       1 fistfull                               2 fistfulls
Pecans, finely chopped                          1/2 cup                              1cup

Directions:  (preheat oven to 375.)
1. Combine apples, vanilla and lemon and zest together in baking pan.  This should be a pretty dang packed full pan if you ask me, but I like a high apple-to-stuff ratio.  Dont hesitate to add more apples if the pan needs it, this is approximate.
2.  In mixing bowl, combine butter(-ey spread), sugar, flour & cinammon and mix to fine crumble.
3.  Add in the oats and pecans and combine.  This will look pretty crumbly, not clumpy at all.  If you want it more chunky (not a preferred word in this house), maybe add a little applesauce or milk to bind.  Or even more butter!
4.  Cover the apples with the heavenly crisp topping and put that little devil in the oven for 40-50min.  This may depend on how thickly you cut your apples.  Pull it out when there a little bubbles coming up through the apples but before they turn to applesauce.  It will still taste amazing if you over cook it, but texture is nice to preserve.
5.  Let cool for 30 min before digging in if you can stand it.  Makes one serving, unless you like to share.

Obvioiusly you should top this with killer vanilla ice cream or whipped cream or delicious non-dairy option, depending on the camp you fall into. 

I got a bit lazy about peeling the apples for this batch and didn't think the dish suffered.

After cooking, this reduced down quite a bit.  I should have put even more apples in this batch.

Post-crisp consumption note here:  I liked the spelt flour, but did miss the real butter a little.  I would never turn my nose up at a good crisp, but if I didn't want to keep dairy off the menu, I would never sub out good old fashion butter here.