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Arg. I’ve been cooking a decent amount lately and coming up with some tasty treats but I’ve had no time to sit and write down what I’m making. It’s insanely frustrating to try and remember what I did three months ago – that tart was fabulous… “What did I put in it, raspberries? How many?” Arg… So I’m forcing myself to record my recipes now. But forget pictures for a while. That will put me over the top.

Champignon Bourguignon
Serves four

2 lbs button or baby Bella mushrooms, quartered
Porcinis or other hearty mushrooms
1 lb pearl onions
4 carrots, thickly sliced
6 cloves garlic
4 cups red wine
4 cups broth
3T butter
1T fresh thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
Pepper
2T olive oil
2T sweet rice flour or another GF flour
Salt to taste

Serve with steamed new potatoes.

Prepare their pearl onions. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Plunk the pearl onions in, skins and all. Boil for three minutes and then plunge into cold water to stop cooking. Cut off the root end and squeeze to remove the skins. Careful not to squirt them across the room!

In a large saucepan, melt 3T of butter and brown the onions on high. Don’t worry about cooking them through – they’ll have plenty of time later. Once browned on at least one side, turn down the heat slightly and add the garlic and the carrots. Sauté for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the wine, bay, thyme, and pepper and let cook down until the liquid is halved. Add the veggie broth and do the same. Salt to taste. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and sweet rice flour into a paste. Scoop out a 1/4 cup of liquid from the saucepan and whisk it into the flour and oil mixture. Add to the stew and stir. Simmer a few more minutes until sauce thickens. Serve over steamed new potatoes (tip: smash them with a wooden spoon to break the skins and let the bourgui-goodness in).

Could it be true?!? Have I discovered the answer to my four-year quest for gluten-free filo dough? This guy sounds legit, the video looks legit, and the baklava looks like it might just make my yiayia proud. Oh, nellie. You know what I’ll be up to this weekend!!!

Sad to say, Mark Bittman is ending the Minimalist, after 13 years writing the weekly column for the New York Times. He has been a wealth of inspiration, and especially in recent years, as he has cut his meat intake down in favor of a “less-meatarian” approach. Big fan. Anywhoo, as part of his farewell, he has posted his favorite 25 recipes from the Minimalist over the years. Check out these naturally gluten-free ones!

Red Pepper Puree
Socca (chickpea pancake)
Parsley Herb Salad
Fennel & Celery Salad
Eggplant Curry (omit asafetida – not always gf)
More-Vegetable-Less-Egg Frittata
Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Ugh. I don’t mean no disrespect to carnivores, but they honestly have no inkling of how you can possibly make a meal without flesh. I can’t tell you the number of people who asked me last month whether we were cooking a tofurkey for Thanksgiving. Listen, meat-tards. If you would care to look up from your mountain of over-fattened, top-heavy, saline-injected Butterball bird, you might notice that pretty much every other dish on your table is vegetarian. HELLO! Thanksgiving is MADE for vegheads, and besides, anyone who eats fake meat should just man up and accept the fact that they crave hamburger.

Anywhoo, all this to say that whenever I go outside the confines of my carefully crafted gluten-free, veghead world for more than a day or two, I come home craving leafy greens and flave-tastic vegetarian food. In other words, give me Indian food or give me death.

With a little direction from my favorite veghead muse, Madhur Jaffries, I came up with the following version of Saag Aloo. Spinach. Dandelion greens. Inspiration.

Saag Aloo

Serves 2-3

  • 3 medium potatoes (about a pound and three quarters)
  • 1.5 lbs spinach (frozen or fresh), finely chopped
  • 1/2 lb. dandelion greens, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (ok to omit)
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1″ square fresh ginger, minced
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 fresh green chile (serrano or jalapeno)
  • 2 tsp roasted, ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1-2 T ghee
  • 1/4 c. milk or cream
  • vegetable oil

Cube the potatoes and fry with salt and garam masala in a deep-sided fry pan until translucent. Remove from pan. In a food processor, puree the garlic, onion, ginger and green chile with 1/4 cup of water. Place into the frying pan and saute for 1 minute. Add the cumin and saute another minute. Add the spinach, dandelion greens, and dried fenugreek leaves and cover. Turn heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding a tablespoon or two of water if it begins to scorch on the bottom. Add the potatoes back into the mix and cook, covered, for another 5 minutes, or until they are cooked through. Add the cream and butter at the last minute. Salt to taste and serve over rice.

I love this line from the executive chef at New York’s Ilili:

It’s a poor man’s dinner, eaten with eggs, or with tomatoes and scallions…

He’s referring to a dish he makes called Lebanese Potatoes with Cilantro Sauce, which may or may not appeal to you given the centrality of cilantro to the dish. Being a reformed cilantro-hater, I’m psyched to try it. And we just got potatoes from the stupormarket on Saturday. Woo.

The Philosopher's Kitchen by Francine Segan

The Philosopher's Kitchen by Francine Segan

I just came across the coolest cookbook. It’s called The Philosopher’s Kitchen by Francine Segan. Apparently, the author has spent time studying ancient texts to glean recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome which she then adapts for the modern kitchen. And, if we believe that eating 2 lbs of meat per person per day is a relatively modern occurrence (which we do), it should come as no surprise that there are many delicious vegetarian recipes in the book. And, BONUS! Most are also gluten-free. Recipes such as

Minted Garlic Spread
Red Lentils in Garlic-Roasted Artichoke Cups
Lemony Celery and Leek Soup
Acorn Squash with Pine Nuts and Honey

… Interesting, no?

Here’s more from her site

Slowly but surely my cravings for Chinese food are being sated. I may not be able to order Chinese take-out anymore, but no need. Chinese food is mine again! I’d still be game for lessons from a real Chinese gourmet, though. If you see one wandering aimlessly on the street, holler. Mmm, kay!?

Mu Shu Vegetable

Gluten-Free Mu Shu Vegetable

Gluten-Free Mu Shu Vegetable

  • 4 eggs + 2 t. sesame oil, beaten
  • 3 T oil
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 4 celery stalks, shredded
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 oz. dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated in 1-2 cups hot water
  • 1 T grated ginger (lightly packed)
  • 1/4 c tamari
  • 1/2 c. rice cooking wine
  • 20-25 soft corn tortillas, warmed
  • double recipe of gluten-free Hoisin Sauce

A note on mu shu: Real mu shu gets its flava-flave from lotus shoots and wood ear mushrooms. Both can be found dried at Chinese markets, but seriously, peeps, how often will you have those chillin’ in your cupboard? If you do or if you can make a special trip to Chinatown, hot dang. If not, cabbage is a great substitute. As for the wood ear mushies, they actually sell them at Whole Paycheck. Niiiiiize.

Soak your wood ears in warm water (they may take up to 30 minutes to rehydrate, so be prepared) and prep the other ingredients. This’ll be a fast dish once all the parts are ready, so take the time now to get organized. Also, while you’re at it, turn the oven on to 200° F. Wrap a stack of corn tortillas in tin foil and place in the ov to warm. Word. Let the cooking begin.

Makie ze omelette: Put a bit of oil in a frying pan and heat until hot. Pour the egg beaten with sesame oil into the pan and turn down the heat to medium. As the omelette begins to cook, take a fork and pull the cooked edges towards the center of the pan while simultaneously tilting the pan so the uncooked egg runs out to fill the space you just created. Keep doing this until the egg is no longer runny. Now you’re ready to flip ‘er. That’s right. Man (or woman) up and just flip the beetch. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

Makie ze other schtuff:In a large wok or high-sided pot, put 3 T of oil and heat on high. Add garlic when hot and saute for a minute or two. Add the cabbage, celery, and shiitake mushrooms and saute until the cabbage begins to turn translucent. At this point you can add the remaining ingredients: the scallions and wood ear mushrooms, the ginger, and the rice wine and tamari. Saute until the cabbage is nice and tender, about 10 minutes.

Serve hot with the warmed tortillas and gluten-free hoisin sauce. As with real mu-shu, let everyone assemble their own at the table by taking a tortilla, spreading a bit of the hoisin on first and then spooning ~2-3 T of filling on top. Fold the tortilla in thirds over the filling and chow. Serves 3-4 if it’s the main dish. Alternatively, for a full gluten-free Chinese meal, serve with gluten-free hot and sour soup as an appetizer and gluten-free tofu with black bean sauce as another main dish. Then it’ll go much further!

I’ve got the BEST iPhone app for all you recipeheads out there. It’s the Epicurious recipe & shopping list app and it’s FAH-REEEEEEEEEE!!!! Yep, you heard me right. Freebie, baby. What’s so ducky about it, you ask? Say you open your fridge and there’s one sad turnip, one lonely jellybean, and one can of Old Style. Your wallet was just stolen so there’s no way you’re ordering pizza. Oh, yeah. You’re in the mood for Indian. You just open your little EpiApp, click the turnip, jellybean, and beer icons under “Search by Ingredient” and then the Indian icon under “search by cuisine.” And voilà. Your recipe awaits. I’d tell you the results but that wouldn’t be any fun. You’ll have to download it to see for yourself.

In the meantime, I searched for lemon and leafy greens last night (my fridge is way more well-stocked than that poor sot above, pooh-pooh) and came up with this little gem called “Herb jam with olives and lemon.” Somehow, despite the pathically unappetizing name (herb jam? weird.), I was intrigued. And thank groodness. What resulted (with mad substitutions) was soh-fine. Regard:

  • 1 bunch swiss chard, coarsely chopped (a sweet green)
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped (a stinky green)
  • 4 oz. arugula (a bitter green)
  • 4 cloves garlic, whole
  • 3 T. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. chopped olivasecca (or black olives of choice)
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/4-1/2 t. chipotle chili flakes (can sub. red pepper flakes)
  • 1/8 t. freshly ground cumin
  • salt to taste

Place the greens into a steamer with the whole garlic cloves on top. Steam garlic & greens (chard, cilantro, and arugula) for 15 minutes in a covered steamer. Remove the garlic from the pot and set aside. Remove the greens and place on a cutting board. Chop finely.

Put the olive oil in a large frying pan. With the back of a fork, mash the steamed garlic and fry for a minute or two. Add the dry spices and fry for a minute to release their aroma. Add the minced greens and olives and saute on high, stirring occasionally to further concentrate the flavor as the excess moisture cooks off. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice and salt to taste. Makes ~2 cups. Serve on gf flatbread, or over rice with fried tofu (omit the sesame seeds for this application) on top.

Woohoo! I did it! Very respectable gluten-free hoisin sauce is mine, allllll mine. And yours, too. If you want it. Let me share.

Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce... one step closer to Gluten-free Mu Shu!

So some serious googling returned the results that hoisin is made from fermented soy bean paste, among other things. Armed with my new-found knowledge I hit Chinatown and found me some of this alleged fermented hoisin magic. The label said the only ingredient was fermented soy bean paste, but I was suspicious. Fermented with what? Wikipedia, oh great fountain of knowledge, says the soy beans are fermented using either wheat flour, pulverized mantou, rice, or sugar. Hmm… what are the odds… BAH! Until someone develops a quick and easy at-home gluten test, I’m going to avoid the sketchball Chinatown bean paste and go with what I know.

Luckily, what I know is pretty dern good.

Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce*

  • 1/4 c. sweet red bean paste (the smooth variety)**
  • 2 T wheat-free tamari
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • dash of white pepper
  • (optional) squirt of Sriracha chili (or “Freshred Chili” if you have it)

Combine all of the above ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a week.

*Before you get all sassy and tell me that Premier Japan makes a gluten-free hoisin sauce, I want to save you the disappointment of buying and trying it. Honestly, it tastes like orange-flavored BBQ barf. Not even close to hoisin. I’m not trying to be snobby here – bleeeeve you me, my heart skipped a thousand beats when I saw it on the grocery store shelf. But it really tastes absorootly nothing like any hoisin I’ve ever had. Sad, but less so because of the above recipe.

**If you can’t find smooth red bean paste in Asian specialty markets, sweet red bean paste is easy-po-cheezy to make at home. About.com has a recipe.

Gluten-free Pizza á la greca: with spinach, feta, tomatoes, and dried olives


Mmmm… zaaaa.

Gluten-Free Pizza à la Greca: with Spinach, Feta, & Olives

  • One package Gillian’s Wheat, Gluten & Dairy Free Pizza Dough (available at Whole Paycheck)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 8 oz. chopped spinach
  • 2 oz. feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. pitted olives, coarsely chopped (try Penna’s Olivasecca – they’re amazing!)
  • 1-2 T steel cut oats or corn meal
  • oregano, salt & pepper to taste

This is a great quick meal if you have the foresight to thaw the pizza dough the night before. Of course, you can use a different pizza dough that doesn’t require thawing. Do a little exploring in the frozen foods section of your gross-hairy store and see what you can come up with.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Slice the onion and garlic and saute in olive oil until glassy-looking. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and let cook down until there is very little liquid left. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until their skins start to split – approximately 10 minutes on medium high heat. Add the spinach; saute another 5ish minutes.

Cut a large piece of parchment paper and set on a flat surface. Sprinkle 1-2 T steel cut oats or coarse corn meal (polenta works) in a circle about 6-8″ in diameter. Flatten the pizza dough into a 1″-thick disc and place on the oats/grits. Roll the dough out until it is 12-14″ in diameter. Pinch the edges so you have a little ridge all the way around. Spoon the tomato/spinach/onion mixture onto the crust and distribute evenly. Spread the crumbled feta cheese and chopped olives on top. Sprinkle with oregano, salt & pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust turns golden brown. Ta-zaaa!