The Gluten-Free Cookbook

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Purslane Salad with Lemon and Parsley Vinaigrette


On Saturday, we wandered to the downtown Phoenix farmer's market where Brad sampled nearly everything, homemade granola, scones, cookies, even dog treats if I would have let him. We walked past several produce stands, many run by large, established farms. But we were hoping to support an immigrant or refugee farming cooperative. That's when we met Jawn from Golo Family Organic Farms.


Her beauty spilled out like grace all over us as she explained how she ended up in Phoenix as a farmer. 
"I lived in a refugee camp in West Africa for 15 years, until America came and rescued me," she said. "God rescued me."

In the camp, she taught others to support themselves through batik and screen printing using classic African designs. She farmed. And, she waited. Eventually, the United States stepped in. "Nothing happens without America," Jawn says. "Other countries would wait until the US walked into a refugee camp and said, 'Yes, we'll take you, and you, and you'."

She sees farming as her way of giving back. 

I looked through her produce. Although it was still early morning as far as I was concerned, most of her supply had already been purchased.

"What's this?" I asked, holding up what looked like a bunch of weeds. 

Purslane, or Mexican spinach, she informed me. I tasted it. It had a soft, lemony tang, with the texture you would imagine of biting into a succulent. 























I came home and Googled purslane recipes. Most were for salads, though some suggested stir frying it into eggs. However, cooking had the possibility of bringing out a dreaded okra-like slime, so I opted for a raw preparation. If you can get your hands on this ubiquitous weed, I highly recommend it. It's much more interesting than lettuce, with a satisfying crunch and a delicious flavor.  

serves four

1 bunch purslane, rinsed and roughly chopped (rough stems removed)
1 avocado, diced
1 plum tomato, diced

1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon parsley, minced
generous pinch sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Toss the vegetables together in a large salad bowl. Whisk together the vinaigrette and season to taste with sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper. Pour over the salad. You can wait to serve this for up to half an hour if you wish; it doesn't wilt as quickly as does lettuce or spinach.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Cilantro, Lime and Quinoa Salad


Since I learned that cilantro is the most widely used herb in the world, about ten years ago, I have wanted to write a cookbook devoted to it. I'm sure it has nothing to do with my unabashed addiction to lime, cilantro's constant companion.

If I were to write such a book, this salad would kick it off. It's bursting with flavor and perfect as a side dish or a hearty, vegan entree. Plus -- and this is a feat of nature -- my kids love it, especially the baby. Thank you to my friend Christi who inspired this recipe.

serves four

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
2 avocados, diced
3 scallions, sliced on a bias
1 15-ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained

2 limes, zested and juiced
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon Serrano pepper, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
pinch granulated sugar

Bring the quinoa and vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium sauce pan, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until done.

Meanwhile, prepare the tomatoes, cilantro, avocados and scallions.


Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small jar. Take a small portion of the cilantro and chop very finely and add to the dressing.

When the quinoa is cooked, fluff with a fork and add half of the dressing. Add the remaining ingredients and dressing to the pan and stir to combine. You really don't want to overwork this or it will become all mashed together, especially the avocado.

Allow the salad to sit in the refrigerator for at least half an hour, longer if you desire a cold salad.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Raw, Vegan Spiced Cookie & Maple Ice Cream Sandwiches



Every weekday morning, when we walk onto the campus of Brad’s school, the kind, comforting voice of Jack Johnson greets us over the loud speaker while children scatter like dozens of mice to their classrooms. 
  
Fall is here, hear the yell
Back to school, ring the bell
Brand new shoes, walking blues
Climb the fence, books and pens
I can tell that we are going to be friends
Yes I can tell that we are going to be friends

The weather in Arizona finally suggests that fall is in fact here. School has been in session for two months now, and Brad can write words and sentences in both English and Spanish. I can hardly believe it. He doesn't kiss me goodbye. He doesn't even look back as he bounds in to his class each day.
I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude.

When he comes home each day, we always have some sort of treat. Lately it’s been popsicles, but now that fall is here, I’m transitioning to an in between snack: spiced cookie and maple ice cream sandwiches. They came about by a random whisper of inspiration, but are surprisingly wonderful.

Maple Ice Cream
yields 12 ounces 

1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight in the refrigerator and rinsed thoroughly
8 ounces agave and maple syrup blend (I found this at Trader Joes, but you could certainly make your own by combining the syrups yourself)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch sea salt
Blend all of the ingredients thoroughly in a high speed blender, then pour into your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions until frozen.


Spiced Cookies
1 cup walnuts
¾ cup dates
Generous pinch sea salt
Pinch of each cinnamon, ginger, allspice

Combine thoroughly in a food processor until you can press into a ball with your hands.

To assemble the ice cream sandwiches, take a tablespoon of cookie mixture and form into a flattened cookie shape. Top with the same amount of ice cream, then cookie layer. (You will have ice cream left over. I recommend serving with my Raw Vegan Apple Tart.

Wrap individually in plastic wrap, or place in a sealed container. Freeze until solid, at least two hours. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tempeh Tacos


Rarely do I promise that something tastes just like meat. Usually, plant foods taste deliciously like themselves. Cilantro tastes like cilantro. Fresh guacamole tastes like guacamole. And so on. And that's a good thing. 

However, sometimes you want a meal that feels a little more substantive. In these tacos, crumbled tempeh seasoned with cumin, smoked paprika and sauteed onions resembles ground beef, particularly because it's snuggled under all of the usual taco fixings: shredded lettuce, fresh guacamole, cilantro and roasted tomato salsa. 

serves four


Fresh Guacamole
2 fresh, ripe avocados, pitted and diced
1 lime, juiced
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh serrano pepper, minced
Mash all of the ingredients until well combined. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Quick Roasted Tomato Salsa
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro
1 shallot, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 lime, juiced
1 can fire-roasted tomatoes
pinch sea salt
Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until everything is well combined, but not completely pureed.


Tempeh Taco Filling
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup yellow onions, minced
1 package tempeh, crumbled
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 cup tomato ketchup
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion until fragrant and golden. Add the tempeh and brown well. Add the cumin, paprika and ketchup and toss to coat. Remove from heat.

To serve
1 package corn tortillas
2 cups shredded lettuce
small handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

I really don't have to tell you how to assemble tacos. So I won't. Enjoy!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Raw Vegan Apple Tart


It doesn't get anymore autumnal than this, except perhaps walking through an orchard and eating rotting apples off the ground. But, um, gross, who wants to do that? Yeah, me neither. In celebration of October, I created this raw, vegan apple tart recipe. 

It's not unlike other raw, vegan apple dishes, but I am a sucker for contrasting flavors and textures, so my crust is a little more dry and salty than others I've seen. 

Happy fall, friends! 

yields one 10" tart

1 cup walnuts
3/4 cup dates
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

3-4 organic apples (I enjoy Pink Lady and Gala)
1 tablespoon agave syrup
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon

To make the crust, pulse the walnuts and sea salt in a food processor until the nuts are finely chopped. Add the dates and pulse until thoroughly combined. Dump the mixture into your tart pan and spread evenly along the bottom and up the sides. Use a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper to press the mixture until firm. 

Slice the apples thinly and toss with the agave and maple syrup -- I used Trader Joes' Agave and Maple Syrup blend -- then the cinnamon.

Arrange artfully in the tart pan. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

P.S. I won't tell anyone if you want to eat it for breakfast! 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Vegan Truffles


I love sea salt. I don't care about the plethora of scientists who argue that salt causes hypertension. It doesn't. (Unless by that they mean salt accompanied by 3,000 calories of takeout consumed every day until you tip the scales at 400 pounds, in which case, fine, it does.) 

But if you're like me and really enjoy the way salt brings out or contrasts the flavor of some of your favorite foods you will love, love, love these truffles. Seriously, they're simple and delicious and perfect as a dessert at your next dinner party or, well -- who am I kidding -- they're perfect all the time.

yields 36 truffles

1 cup dark chocolate (either chips or a good-quality chocolate bar 70% or more cacao) 
1/4 cup brewed coffee 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons vegan butter spread (I use Earth Balance Soy Free) 
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt the chocolate in a heavy sauce pan over low heat along with the coffee and vanilla. In my mind, the double boiler is just a huge waste of time making people think that cooking is more complicated than it is. Just make sure you remove the pan from the heat when the chocolate is almost melted, stir regularly with a spatula and keep the heat low. 

Whisk in the vegan butter one tablespoon at a time until smooth. 

Refrigerate for one hour. If you keep it in for longer, the mixture will thicken so much that forming the truffles will be difficult and it will need to warm at room temperature slightly before making them. 

Sprinkle the chocolate with about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Form each truffle into a small ball then swirl in the cocoa powder. Set in a muffin paper or wherever you wish to keep them. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for a month. 


*I am a cook, not a doctor. So seek qualified medical advice before making dietary changes and definitely don't go against the recommendation of your doctor. Duh. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Falafel With Hummus & Grape Tomato Taboule


I always know I have stumbled upon a good recipe when it makes my menu week after week. The forthcoming is a dish my friend Elizabeth brought me after I gave birth to Cole. It's one of those recipes you can make ahead of time -- as is the custom with baby meals -- and then cook when you're ready to serve.

Don't worry too much about the dried chickpeas. They sound like a hassle, but really, they take about as much time to prepare as opening a can.

serves four

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas
1/2 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 bunch cilantro
2 sprigs fresh mint, leaves only
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
several grinds of fresh black pepper
olive oil, for frying

1 recipe tomato taboule
prepared hummus

Soak the chickpeas in a generous amount of cold water at least six hours, or as long as overnight in the refrigerator. Rinse and drain when ready to assemble.


Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you can reach in -- no, not with the motor running, silly -- and form a ball with your hands.


Set the mixture aside in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook, at least half an hour.

Meanwhile, assemble the tomato taboule. It's really more of a tomato and parsley garnish -- especially because I leave out couscous when I'm cooking for myself -- but who cares? The taste is spot on. Adjust the ratios as you see fit. This is really so not like me to post such a vague recipe, but I suspect you behave in your kitchen as I do in mine, especially at lunch time; impeccable flavors with minimal fuss = win.


To cook the falafel, heat about 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick wide skillet over medium heat. Form the falafel into patties and sear on each side for about 3 minutes, or until golden brown. You may wish to do this in batches. Remove to a separate plate.

Serve the falafel with hummus and tomato taboule.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lemony Mint & Artichoke Pasta


Tonight Rich is shooting Phoenix Fashion Week in Scottsdale, so I'm dining alone. Table for one? I still do not understand how someone could opt for yogurt for dinner when they're eating alone. Where's the fun in that? I used to eat the same thing every time Rich worked in the evenings: pan-seared New York steak with thyme and Cabernet reduction, over arugula with Gorgonzola and roasted red peppers. Yum.

However, these days I'm growing more and more uncomfortable eating factory-farmed animal products. Plus it's Vegan Month of Food, so for now, I'm eating vegan. And few vegan dishes taste as good with as few ingredients as my lemony mint and and artichoke pasta. It's almost as simple as eating yogurt out of the cup, but so, so much better. Enjoy!

serves one

4 ounces pasta, cooked al dente in salted water (I used TJ's gluten-free corn pasta)
1, 15-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained, rinsed and quartered
4 leaves fresh mint, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Toss all of the ingredients together and serve immediately. I told you it was easy!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Big Bird-Free Banh Mi


We like Big Bird too, Governor Romney. That’s why we don’t eat chickens. Granted, traditional banh mi is made with pork, but we don’t eat the Oinker Sisters either.

Ever since I fell in lust with banh mi during the Great Food Truck Road Race on The Food Network, I’ve wanted to create a vegetarian and gluten-free version that stacked up against the original. Ultimately, the most important elements of the classic Vietnamese sandwich are pickled daikon and carrot, Sriracha mayonnaise and cilantro. So, a vegan -- and most importantly, Sesame-Street -friendly -- version is totally within reach.

serves four

1 daikon radish, about 4”, julienned  
2 carrots, peeled, julienned
Sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup rice vinegar

1 tablespoon Sriracha
¼ cup vegan mayonnaise

1 package tempeh, sliced into four equal pieces
Sesame oil
1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
1 lime, juiced

½ bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
½ cucumber, peeled, thinly sliced

4 French rolls (gluten-free if you wish)


Make the pickled daikon and carrots by sprinkling them with a generous amount of sea salt. Allow them to rest for a few minutes, then wring to release their juice and rinse in fresh, cool water. Wring again. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar and submerge the carrot and daikon in the liquid. Refrigerate until ready to use. (Seriously though, don’t do this days in advance or you’ll get stinky feet pickles and never want to eat them again!)

Whisk together the vegan mayo with the Sriracha and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Brown the tempeh on both sides, then turn off the heat and add the soy sauce and lime juice.

Toast the French rolls.

To serve, schmear the rolls with the Sriracha mayonnaise, top with seared tempeh, cucumber, pickled daikon and carrots and cilantro.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes with Barbecued Tempeh


I've come to the conclusion that you can put any good sauce in a chef squirt bottle and drizzle it across your plate to elevate even the humblest vegetable to haute cuisine. And does it get any more comfortingly humble than fried green tomatoes and barbecue sauce? I don't think so.

If the presentation weren't enough, the textures and flavors of this dish are amazing. The tangy, crunchy, cole slaw perfectly offsets the creamy heat of the tempeh and the juicy sweetness of the fried green tomatoes. Oh, and of course, it's vegan.

serves two

Cole Slaw
inspired by a recipe in Tyler's Ultimate 
1 Granny Smith apple, julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1/4 red onion, sliced in rings
1 cup red cabbage, shredded
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced

Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the prepared fruit and vegetables no more than half an hour before serving.


Fried Green Tomatoes
1 large green heirloom tomato
1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend
1 flax egg
1/4 cup cornmeal
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
olive oil

Heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet.

Core then slice the tomato into four equal pieces. Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Dredge in the flour, then the flax egg, then the cornmeal. Place each slice in the hot oil. Cover the pan with a frying screen if you have one. Cook on each side for about two minutes, or until a lovely brown crust forms. Remove to a paper towel.

Barbecued Tempeh
1 package tempeh
1/2 cup prepared barbecue sauce
olive oil

Slice the tempeh as you wish. I like to cut it in half horizontally, then into triangles for a total of four thin pieces. Heat the oil in a separate non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Sear the tofu on each side for about two to three minutes, or until a crust forms. Add the barbecue sauce to the pan and allow it to cook briefly on very low heat or the residual heat from an electric stove top. Do not allow it to burn.

To serve, drizzle barbecue sauce across the plate then stack the tempeh and fried green tomatoes. Top with cole slaw and serve immediately.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

Last night I attended my first parent-teacher conference. As I left the school, I chatted with a couple other women, we'll call them Susan and Betty. They asked whether it was difficult returning to Arizona after living in Europe. I said it was a bit of a culture shock, especially during an election year. 

Then, we shared a moment, an ineffable almost-glance, a sense of understanding. 

"I think we may see things similarly," Betty said. 

None of us articulated anything further. None of us admitted the deep, dark secret we conceal at church potlucks and school fundraisers. We are a secret society. We are closet liberals. In a red state. I drove home feeling like I might not be so alone after all. 

So what does that have to do with vegan chocolate cupcakes? Good question. This week I stumbled upon the blog Raptitude.com and laughed out loud when I read how people reacted when the author went vegan for 30 days, "The majority of the world still regards veganism as some vaguely menacing fringe thing akin to Scientology or Communism." 

But I guess all liberals are communists, aren't they? So it just makes sense to be vegan, for consistency's sake. 

makes 12 cupcakes
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour (starch)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup hot water
1 batch vegan chocolate, coconut frosting 
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. 
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the brown sugar. Stir in the wet ingredients until thoroughly integrated. 
Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into each muffin tin. 
Bake for about 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. Cool for 30 minutes before frosting.

Vegan Chocolate, Coconut Frosting 
inspired by Chocolate Frosting Shots! at Chocolate Covered Katie
1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch sea salt

Allow the opened can of coconut milk to separate in the refrigerator for several hours. Spoon the thick top layer -- about half of the total can -- into a separate dish. Whisk in the remaining ingredients into the thickened coconut cream until fully incorporated. Pipe onto your cupcakes using a pastry bag or just dollop the frosting on with a spoon.

I don't normally post pictures of my kids on the blog, but I couldn't resist. Cole loved these cupcakes. Commi. 


Monday, October 1, 2012

Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Curry


I'm kicking off Vegan Month of Food, or VeganMoFo, with this gorgeous and simple fall dish. I love the event of eating -- the ceremony, the conversation, the wine -- and I look forward to a candlelit dinner with my husband all day. Sometimes vegan food can look like just a pile of this on top of a pile of that. But this month, I'm celebrating fancy pants vegan cuisine, the kind of food that is not only good for you and good for the planet, but looks stunning and makes your mouth water all day long. So, check in with me and see what's in store all month!  

serves four

olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 head cauliflower, broken into small chunks
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 
1 can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onion until fragrant and golden. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add all of the remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer. 

Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender. Correct the seasonings. 

Serve with steamed jasmine brown rice. See, I told you it was simple! Here's how it looks deconstructed, or how it will look if you're not trying to take gorgeous pictures for your blog. Still looks pretty good, right?



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