Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baked Chile Rellenos

Its been a long week. Not only am I leaving for vacation ridiculously early tomorrow morning, working forty hours in four days, and finishing up my assignments for this week and next, my best friend is moving to New York. Its really fantastic for her - she is headed to Columbia for nursing school and will do amazingly well there - but I am really going to miss her. A and I were lucky enough to have her stay with us on her very last night in Seattle - obviously a tasty dinner was in order. (I do have pictures - but you'll have to wait until I return from Mexico to see them)

These are nothing like chile rellenos you've ever had before -- the yam, corn and masa filling is deliciously cakey, but no where near as heavy as the traditionally battered, fried and filled with cheese chile rellenos you would find in a restaurant! Originally, this came from my beloved copy of the Rebar. If you haven't purchased it yet.... do it!

You will need: 
  • 8 poblano chiles
  • 1 1/3 cup corn flour or masa (I like to use Bob's Red Mill corn flour because the ingredient list is short, but last night used masa and they were just as tasty!)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 T butter
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 large yam
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 c corn
  • 1 c grated jack cheese
  • sea salt
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 c water
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash the poblanos and cut a slit along one side. Roast the chiles on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes or until the skin blisters. Transfer to a bowl and cover. 
  2. Mix masa or corn flour with 1/2 c warm water. Set aside to rest. 
  3. Dice yams and saute with 2 T oil until soft. Add diced, seeded jalapeno, corn, and sea salt. Set aside.
  4. Coat your hands in olive oil (or don't... but don't cry later when your skin is burning and you can't enjoy your tasty dinner because you just want to hold ice cubes until you feel better...) and rinse and peel the poblanos. Taking care to leave the stem intact. The skin should be fairly easy to remove since they have been sweating in a bowl. Rinsing will help you to remove the seeds. Set skinned peppers in a baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  5. Cube butter and use your hands to mix into the masa dough. Mix baking powder with 1/4 c water and add to masa mixture. When butter and baking powder liquid are integrated into the mix, add vegetables and cheese. 
  6. Fill peppers and bake until filling is golden. 
  7. I typically serve this with green rice in a pool of enchilada sauce. To make green rice, simply blend jalapeno, cilantro, garlic and spinach with the water you would typically add to your rice. Enjoy! 

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Adventures in Quinoa

Has anyone noticed that the price of bell peppers inexplicably shot through the roof? Seriously. They are like $4 a pop right now, right up there with $3 avocados and as a result I'm been skimping on my quinoa consumption. Usually, I make this amazing salad about once a week to have around for lunches and/or dinner, but I can't be expected to make it without avocado OR bell peppers! All I'd be left with would a bowl full of quinoa, lime juice, cumin, cilantro, green onions, black beans and toasted pumpkin seeds... which doesn't sound half bad now that I list all those delicious things out... but thats not the point! While disgusted by the price of avocados and bell peppers, and pondering what exactly we did to piss off Mexico and send produce prices through the roof (there is no fact in this... but I swear I heard something on NPR the other day...) I made a fantastic discovery... tomatoes are looking edible and affordable these days! Awesome. I bought a small bag of organic cherry tomatoes for $2 instead. Much better.

So instead of making my salad, which just isn't the same without satisfying chunks of avocado, I decided to make Quinoa-camole! Look at me branching out, eh? It is practically the same, but most drastically different because instead of the avocado and peppers (I think you get it by now) this salad uses tomatoes! And lime zest! Reviewing the recipe, I guess its not so similar... it is... and its not... you get the idea. Anyway, thanks, Wiggs, for inspiring me to move past my avocado/bell pepper obstacle. 

I have a tendency to not stick to the all. Which is why my salad is nothing like the salad in the cookbook I originally found it in, and why this salad, which was inspired by also nothing like quinoa-camole. What can I say? I'm a kitchen rebel. So this is what I did:
  • 1 c quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 c water
Bring water and quinoa to a boil. Lower heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. In a separate bowl combine...
  • chop one bunch cilantro and two green onions (or less, whatever. I am a cilantro fiend)
  • quarter one pint cherry tomatoes
  • zest one super juicy organic lime into bowl and squeeze juice over mixture (if your lime is not juicy, you might want to use two) 
  • mix in 1 T cumin, salt, pepper and hot sauce to taste (okay, I threw in a little cayenne too... I am also a spice fiend...)
  • rinse one can of black beans (or not canned if you have them lying around) and add to mixture
  • add cooled quinoa
Optional (but totally delicious)...
  • Toast raw pepitas in a skillet and add to quinoa salad. They add an interesting dimension. 
At this point.... you're done. Its easy. Awesome. Delicious. Good for you. The juice from the tomatoes give the quinoa-camole a much different feel than my avocado cilantro-lime concoction. Both tasty. Just different. 

A few years back I was having dinner at a co-op in the U district and someone told a joke along the lines of.... "whats the difference between a hippie and a yuppie?" (TONS of things, right?) "The yuppie sees food going bad and says, "ew, thats rotting throw it out" and the hippie says "quick eat that! before it goes bad!"" So anyway... I had some kale that was getting all wilty on me, so I chopped it up and threw it in - which worked grrrreat with all the juice from those tomatoes - but made this salad nothing like either of the salads I've been rambling on about. Just an idea. 

Monday, March 30, 2009

Enchiladas with zucchini, black beans and corn

Yes. I said corn. I have reintroduced corn without any difficulty as far as I can tell. Still out: dairy (excluding butter), wheat and eggs. 

This is another gem I picked up while spending time in Costa Rica. The concept of what I make today was born out of one of my all-time favorite cookbooks, rebar. You should probably just buy it, because its so amazing. The deliciousness is endless. The black beans are a recent addition by Adam, who felt like it needed a little more ooomph! I agreed, and we've never gone back. I think tonight I'll throw in some black olives too, just for fun. Sounds fun, right? 

These enchiladas are casserole style, which means this takes almost no time at all to prepare. Its like a tasty enchilada lasagna. Awesome. 

If you have some time on your hands...and own the can make their mesa red sauce. Its quite good. I've become dependent on Trader Joe's and use their enchilada sauce, yet another reason why I call this "easy"... if you don't have a Trader Joe's nearby, you can also use canned enchilada sauce, but I recommend working on it until it actually tastes good. 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a skillet saute diced onion, garlic, red bell pepper, zucchini, corn, jalapeno and 1 T each, coriander and cumin until veggies are tender, yet firm. Set aside. Mix in 1 can rinsed black beans and chopped olives.
  3. In a 9 x 13 or similar-sized oven proof pan, spoon about 1/4 cup enchilada sauce into the bottom and begin the layering process with a layer of corn tortillas. 
  4. Layer sauce, tortillas and veggies so that you have 3-4 layers, depending on the size and depth of your pan. 
  5. Top with cheese if you eat it. Omit if you don't. Bake until bubbly. 
  6. Cut into squares and top with real or fake sour cream, and avocado.
  7. Enjoy!
On a side note, the beholder is totally my new favorite blog to read. I cannot wait to try her ab routine

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Alice Waters and Michael Pollan in 'Food Fight'

Of course... I'm scheduled to work Saturday night and am missing my once in a lifetime chance to attend a panel with.... Alice Waters! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Experimental Baking: Snickerdoodles

I had planned to introduce eggs this week, but I've been waiting for some ear(ritation) to subside after a Saturday night excursion to a couple of watering holes. Apparently drinking and the elimination diet aren't a good fit.

I've only managed to sneak in 8 hours of sleep over the last 48 hours due to pressing deadlines on final papers and presentations. In the final stretch, I called a baked sweet potato (minimal kitchen effort, totally tasty) dinner and threw on a pat of butter. You hear that folks? Butter has been officially introduced.

Since all dairy is so different (i.e.... milk, yogurt, butter, goat cheese, cow cheese, sheep cheese, you get the idea...) I plan to introduce these foods one by one anyway. Some people who are sensitive to milk, can eat butter, and visa versa (Brostoff & Gamlin (2000). Food Allergies and Food Intolerances). I've heard of this in the context of the blood type diet. This website offers an index of foods and their effect: beneficial, neutral, or avoid. As if I needed to add another complicated layer to this...

Back to the snickerdoodles! I've been craving these for no apparent reason (usually I am all chocolate, all the time) and what better way to introduce sweet, delicious butter than with cookies? I dappled with the idea of using real eggs, and only making these wheat and gluten free, but I think its better to take this whole butter thing slow.

This is my plan:
  • 1 1/2 c rice flour
  • 1 c tapioca flour
  • 1 c garbanzo flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 2 T baking soda
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 c real butter!
  • 2 c sugar
  • 3/4 c warm water
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • 1 T vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degreese F.
  2. Blend warm water and flax seeds to make flax eggs. Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, flax eggs, agave, and then remaining ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 t cinnamon to 3 T sugar.
  5. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and dip in cinnamon and sugar. If the dough is too sticky to handle, refrigerate for one hour prior.
  6. Bake 10-12 minutes.
UPDATE: Do not attempt this at home. My predictions have failed. I blame the flax eggs. Great for cakes and muffins. Terrible for cookies. Use real eggs. Or don't eat cookies.

Monday, March 16, 2009


Walking home from downtown on a very windy Saturday, I remembered I had a Barnes and Noble gift card burning a hole in my wallet. I've had my eye on Veganomicon for awhile now, and since it appears as though I am allergic to one or more of the foods I've eliminated, I'm always on the lookout for new ideas. This book is bursting with them -- and I cannot wait to give it a try. The moussaka with pine nut cream looks absolutely amazing! 

I'd rather support a small, local bookstore, but I do appreciate the inquisitive nature of B&N employees . On this particular visit, the cashier to customer banter went a little like this: 
"Oh, are you vegan?"
"No, but I often eat like one." (The truth is, I love cheese too much to be vegan.)
"This book has been very popular."
"I've heard good things. I'm excited to give it a try."
"Do you know what a vitamix blender is?" (What?! Where did that come from?)
"I do... but I find that my $30 magic bullet works just as well."
Reading this in the New York Times this morning makes me thankful for my 13 years of vegetarianism. Five out of ninety samples tested positive for MRSA? That is a) disgusting and b) a serious problem. 

Despite a secret love of cheese (which I may or may not be able to eat) I also dapple in the occasional serving of fish. Since dairy and soy are absent in my elimination diet, I have been subsiding on beans, legumes, grains, nuts, fruits and veggies. Which is fine, but I was starting to feel a little low on protein, leaving me feeling famished a few hours after eating. 

I picked up some wild caught salmon, and made Cherie's West Indian Curry. I'm in the midst of final papers and have very little time for cooking (which makes the elimination diet tricky, as I have to cook almost everything I can eat) so I had the brilliant idea of throwing everything into the crockpot that we never use, so I could hit the library. I altered Cherie's recipe a bit (as I tend to do) throwing in an entire can of coconut milk, a can of tomatoes and then a half cup of lentils. I came home a couple hours later to a beautifully aromatic curry with lentils. I cooked the salmon on a bed of onions and lemon slices, and covered it in olive oil and lemon juice. I have yet to try one of Cherie's recipes and not be impressed - this one was no exception! She suggests pineapple to round out the flavors - I couldn't agree more! It really adds a noticeable depth. 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Blueberry Banana Muffins

These muffins are wheat-free, gluten-free, vegan, and totally awesome. 
  • 1 1/4 c brown rice flour 
  • 1/4 c garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/4 c tapioca flour
  • 1/4 t cinnamon 
  • 1 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 3/4 c warm water
  • 1/3 c oil
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 1/3 c almond milk
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 1 cup blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Blend the flax seeds and warm water for two minutes and set aside. 
  3. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. 
  4. In a separate bowl, mix the oil and sugar. 
  5. Dice the banana and add to the oil and sugar mixture, mashing a little with a fork. Add the remaining wet ingredients, including the flax/water mixture.
  6. Fold wet ingredients into the dry, and add blue berries. 
  7. Spoon batter into muffin liners, and bake for 30 minutes. 
  8. Enjoy!
Come monday, I'll be able to introduce the eliminated foods, one at a time into my diet. I cannot believe its almost been two weeks already! I've been managing pretty well, Adam even made me these rice cake tostadas the other night for dinner: 

Sounds a little strange, but they were really good! We've also been having some super veggie intense stir fry - although I do really miss tofu and all soy based sauces - I've been using a combo of garlic/ginger/chili and sesame oil and its working out great. 

Breakfast has been mostly warm quinoa with berries, chopped almonds, cinnamon and rice milk or a banana and peanut butter. To mix things up a bit, I made a green smoothie this morning with: almond milk, banana, a handful of spinach, 1 T flax seeds, frozen blueberries and frozen pineapple. I was a little nervous about the flax seeds, but they were great! Blending flax seeds causes them to thicken, which is why they work as an egg replacer. Boost of Omega 3's for the day? Check!