It took me nearly a quarter century to realize that avocados weren’t absolutely vile, disgusting and gross. Up until the time I was about 24, I would act like a three year old anytime an avocado came near my food. If avocado or guacamole touched anything, I refused to eat it. Luckily I have since learned the error of my ways and have grown to love guacamole (I’m still working on plain avocado (it’s totally a texture thing)). This is an ever so slight twist on my favorite guacamole recipe and I have to say it’s pretty amazing.
This guacamole recipe is not for the faint of heart. If you don’t love garlic, you should just skip this one, but if you’re like me and insist on adding inappropriate amounts of garlic to everything, this will be the perfect guacamole for you! Roasting garlic might seem like a bit of a hassle to do, but really it couldn’t be easier! And trust me, it’s definitely worth it. The extra flavor it brings to the guac is out of this world.
- 2 whole garlic bulbs
- 3 large avocados
- 2-4 limes
- 1/2 large red or white onion, diced
- 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 roma tomatoes, diced
- 1 jalapeño, finely diced (include seeds if you want heat!)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste (be generous)
To Roast Garlic:
- Heat oven to 400. With a sharp knife, chop off top 1/4 to 1/3 of garlic head, so that the bulbs are exposed. Place in small oven safe dish. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil and roast in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes.
For the Guacamole:
- Cut avocados in half, remove pit and scoop out flesh into large bowl. Squeeze in lime juice. Remove all the garlic cloves from bulbs and add to bowl. Mash together (you can use a wooden spoon, fork, potato masher, etc.).
- Add cilantro, onion, tomato, jalapeño, and salt and pepper. Mix together until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Feel free to add more lime juice or salt and pepper to taste.
Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Side Dish, Vegan
Tagged Appetizer, avocado, food, garlic, gluten free, mexican, recipes, vegan, vegetarian
This recipe is a combination of things I was craving and things I needed to use up. If you have some leftover chicken and tortillas (both are pretty standard leftovers around my kitchen), this is the perfect recipe to use them all up. I really like to make a batch of shredded barbecue chicken to use throughout the week (this is my favorite recipe, but you could easily combine any leftover chicken with bbq sauce). It’s perfect to add to salads or as your meal’s main protein, but I wanted to try something a little different and these taquitos seemed like an easy way to do just that. I was able to get 24 taquitos out of the barbecue chicken recipe I mentioned above (I could have made a couple more but I had already put away the tortillas and cheese), which is a whole lot of taquitos. After a couple dinners and lunches, I froze the leftovers, which defrosted easily in the microwave and I crisped them up again with a few minutes in the oven.
I always bake my taquitos because I just don’t have the patience to fry things. Plus, baking them healthier, you don’t have to stand over a hot pot of oil and it’s less of a mess to clean up, which are all big pluses in my book. I put about two tablespoons of chicken and a sample sprinkling of cheese in each tortilla. I was able to roll them tight enough that they stayed shut when I placed them seam side down on the baking sheet. If you want more filling or are having trouble getting them to stay closed, wooden toothpicks will easily solve that problem.I like my taquitos (and just about everything else) on the crispier side, so while the ends might look a bit burnt, it was really just a combination of caramelized barbecue sauce and cheese.
Gluten Free Barbecue Chicken Taquitos with Avocado Ranch Dip
For the Taquitos
- Heat oven to 400. Line two large baking sheets with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Combine chicken and barbecue sauce.
- Wrap 12 tortillas in a damp paper towel. Place in microwave and zap for 30 seconds. Flip over and microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove from microwave.
- Add around two tablespoons of chicken to one side (almost to the very edge) of a corn tortilla and sprinkle with cheese. Tightly roll the side with the chicken toward the other side of the tortilla and place seam side down on the baking sheet (use wooden toothpicks if they won't stay together). Repeat until all tortillas are filled and then begin again with the next 12 tortillas until all are filled and rolled.
- Place baking sheets in oven and cook 20-25 minutes, or until slightly browned and crispy.
- Serve immediately. For your leftovers, I recommend that you let them cool completely and place into large freezer bags and freeze for future dinners and snacks.
For the Avocado Ranch Dip
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add more juice if needed to thin out dip. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
Posted in Appetizer, BBQ, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes
Tagged Appetizer, cheese, chicken, food, gluten free, onions, recipes
Fresh pineapple is probably my favorite fruit. I always think raspberries are, but then I have fresh pineapple and raspberries just can’t even compete. Plus fresh-cut pineapple smells amazing and doesn’t leave any annoying seeds in your teeth. The one and only time I was in Hawaii (for a grand total of 36 hours), I managed to consume pineapple at every meal and what a delicious 36 hours it was. Apart from my mild obsession with pineapple I was fairly certain I was going to love this recipe since I also like spicy things and really like the combination of sweet/spicy/salty. I found this recipe ages ago and I have wanted to try for forever, but only got around to it recently. I should have made it sooner. Sweet, salty, tangy, spicy, this super easy recipe had just about every flavor profile you could imagine.
Word to the wise, do not scoff at the 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. I did at first, and was quite tempted to add more to my chocolate, but that would have been at huge mistake. The heat is subtle at first and it grows. Wait until you are popping your third or fourth piece of pineapple and you will see what I mean.
I think an easy variation on this recipe would be substituting chipotle and smoked sea salt (Maldon also makes a smoked version of its sea salt). I think the smoky, spiciness would be amazing with the pineapple and chocolate.
Spicy Chocolate Dipped Pineapple
- 1/2 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 24 chunks
- 2 (3.5-ounce) bars dark chocolate
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
- Thread a short skewer (4 or 6 inches) through each pineapple chunk and arrange on a large, parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Working over a double boiler, heat chocolate, stirring constantly, until just melted; stir in cayenne. Working with one skewer at a time, pat pineapple dry with a paper towel, and then dip in chocolate, covering about halfway. Transfer to baking sheet, sprinkle lightly with salt and repeat with remaining pineapple and chocolate. Chill until set, about 45 minutes.
Posted in Desserts, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Vegan
Tagged chocolate, dessert, food, gluten free, pineapple, recipes, vegan
Last weekend I popped up to San Francisco for a quick visit with friends and my blog and computer decided they wanted a vacation too. Technical problems seem to be resolved for the most part, so let’s get back to it. Cinco de mayo is rapidly approaching and since I like any excuse to eat Mexican food, I plan on taking full advantage of the fact this week. Most of these recipes aren’t super traditional or exactly authentic, but they are delicious enough for any fiesta.
This queso is super tasty. I added some of my favorite spring ingredients (mushrooms, leeks and spinach) and they really added a lot of flavor to the queso. They mushrooms added a great earthy flavor, which worked really well with the tangy goat cheese. The chiles add just a little bit of spiciness. I served my queso with tortilla chips, but it would also go well with veggies, crackers or bread.
My oven, like all the other machines in my life, has also been a bit temperamental lately (had to get the igniter replaced… again…), which has changed my oven’s personality somewhat. It seems to be cooking a bit lower or slower (I’m still trying to figure it out). After 25 minutes the queso was definitely bubbly and ready to serve, but there was absolutely no color to the top of it, which made it look like a blob of boring, white cheese. It’s not a requirement, but I like a little bit of a brown crust on my baked dips. It took me at least 35 minutes to get any type of color to the dip and as you can see in the picture it still came out a bit splotchy. Despite my odd requirements for baked dip coloration, the end product was delicious.
Gluten Free Green Chile & Mushroom Goat Cheese Queso
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 6 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese (about 1 3/4 cups)
- 1 1/2 cup sliced baby spinach leaves
- 1 large leek, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup diced red onion
- 1 (10 ounce) can green chiles, diced (chop finely if using whole chiles)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks and onion cook until softened and starting to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms have released their liquid and are dry and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add chopped spinach and cook until just beginning to wilt, about 1 minute. Spread leeks, mushrooms, spinach over the bottom of a small ovenproof casserole or gratin dish. In a large bowl, combine goat cheese, Jack cheese, and chiles and mix until combined. Spread cheese mixture evenly over mushrooms and bake until bubbling, about 25-35 minutes. Serve hot.
Posted in Appetizer, Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Holidays, Recipes, vegetarian
Tagged Appetizer, cheese, food, gluten free, goat cheese, mexican, mushrooms, onions, recipes, spinach
This dish is pure comfort food if you ask me. It’s hearty enough for a cold winter’s night, but still light enough to be a great transitional meal when spring hasn’t quite decided if it wants to be hot or cold yet. The meat and vegetables make it both filling and nutritious. You will get a lot of leftovers out of this recipes, which is a plus in my book. I also thought that the ragout tasted even better then next day.
Polenta is not everyone’s favorite food, but I happen to really like it. I think it makes a great base for a meal and keeps amazingly well for leftovers. You can top it with just about anything. I really like making my polenta with added goat cheese. It gives it both a creamy and tangy bite that I think goes really well with tomato based sauces.
Goat Cheese Polenta with Turkey & Veggie Ragout
For the Turkey Ragout:
- 1 1/4 pound extra-lean ground turkey
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (14 1/2) ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
- 2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
- 1 large red sweet pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
- 1/2 cup low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
For the Polenta:
- 1 cup quick-cooking/instant polenta
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese, slightly crumbled
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For Serving (optional):
- Fresh basil, chopped
- Freshly grated parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet, cook ground beef until brown. Drain off any extra fat.
- In the same skillet, heat olive oil. When heated add onions and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes until starting to soften. Add in carrots, zucchini and garlic, along with undrained tomatoes, broth and salt and pepper.
- Cover and cook on low-heat until all the vegetables are cooked through and tomato and broth have slightly thickened.
- Meanwhile, prepare polenta according to package directions. I recommend using low-sodium vegetable broth for extra flavor. When polenta is almost cooked through, stir in goat cheese and butter.
- Spoon polenta into individual serving bowls and top with ragout mixture over polenta. Top individual bowls with pesto and garnish with basil and freshly ground pepper.
Posted in Cooking, Dinner, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes
Tagged cheese, food, gluten free, onions, polenta, recipes, tomato, turkey
Oh, haloumi, how I love you! Let me count the ways! I really, really love haloumi. I also really, really love caramelized onions and tomatoes and arugula. I basically just really, really love this salad. There is something about the salty (and squeaky) haloumi and the kind of sweet, kind of not caramelized onion dressing that just makes for the most amazing flavor combination. The peppery arugula was also a flavorful addition that worked really well with the rest of the ingredients.
I’m not going to lie, making the dressing is going to take you a bit of time. To get really delicious, rich, sweet caramelized onions, you are going to need about an hour. Don’t believe anyone that says it will only 10 to 20 minutes, that’s a lie. And don’t believe anyone that says you can add sugar to caramelize them, that’s just gross. (I am very passionate when it comes to caramelized onions and these two points, if you couldn’t tell….) The onions will get naturally sweet and it is definitely worth the effort, you just need to give them time. You can definitely blend the onion dressing in a food processor if you prefer a more vinaigrette-like dressing. I left the onions un-blended (more like a chutney almost) because I felt it would make for a heartier salad.
Haloumi Salad with Caramelised Onion Dressing
For the Salad:
- 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 block of halloumi, sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 bag of salad greens (I used arugula)
- salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the Dressing:
- Heat oil in large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions when oil begins to shimmer. Let onions sit for 10 minutes and sprinkle with salt. Reduce heat low and continue to stir onions every 10 minutes until they are a rich, caramelized brown. It's going to take about 1 hour, give or take 10-20 minutes either side.
- When onions are caramelized place in bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust flavors and spice to your taste. If you prefer a smoother dressing this can be done in a food processor.
For the Salad:
- Wash and prepare lettuce and tomatoes. Divide between two plates
- Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat (you can reuse the same pan you caramelized your onions in). Once oil is hot add haloumi slices and cook until starting to brown, about 2-3 minutes, then flip the haloumi and repeat on the other side.
- Top tomatoes with halloumi, then add the onion dressing and freshly ground pepper.
- Serve and enjoy!
Posted in Cooking, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Salad, vegetarian
Tagged cheese, cooking, food, gluten free, onions, recipes, salad, vegetarian
I found a sad little bag of leftover frozen cranberries in my freezer the other day. I always freeze cranberries in the fall with the best intentions of using them sometime soon, but they always seem to end up hidden under everything else. I felt bad for these cranberries and wanted them to feel loved, so I baked them into a delicious bread. If baked goods don’t say “love,” I don’t know what does…
This recipe is pretty perfect. It’s fast, simple and delicious. I found the batter to be quite thick and it kind of smothered all my cranberries to the bottom of the baking pan. I will admit I got a little sick of the time it was taking to chop each individual cranberry in half, so I kind of just started hacking them up. Bigger pieces probably would have helped with more uniform berry dispersion. Every slice did have a lot of berries, they were just clumped on the bottom, which is not the worst thing. Next time, I might try substituting some of the milk for orange juice and adding some zest to make a delicious orange cranberry bread.
Gluten-Free Cranberry Bread
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
- 3 eggs at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour (I used Better Batter)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 ounces fresh cranberries, halved
- 2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, at room temperature
- Coarse/Raw sugar (like Sugar in the Raw), for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease well a standard (9-inches x 5-inches or slightly smaller) loaf pan and set it aside.
- Beat the butter in a large bowl on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the 1 cup of granulated sugar and the eggs, beating well after each addition.
- In a separate, medium-size bowl, place the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, and whisk to combine well. Place the cranberry halves in a separate, small bowl, and add a tablespoon of the dry ingredients to the cranberries, along with the remaining tablespoon of granulated sugar, and toss to coat. Set the cranberries aside.
- To the large bowl with the butter and sugar mixture, add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk and sour cream, alternating between the two and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The mixture will be thick but smooth. Add the cranberries and reserved sugar and dry ingredients, and mix gently into the batter until evenly distributed throughout.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the top. It will fill or nearly fill the pan. Sprinkle the top lightly with coarse sugar. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until golden brown on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 1 hour). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Slice thickly and serve.
Posted in Baking, Breakfast, Cake, Desserts, Food, Gluten-free, Recipes
Tagged bread, cake, cranberry, dessert, gluten free, recipes, vegetarian
In another round of my second favorite kitchen game*, clean out the fridge roulette, I was lucky enough to come up with a winner! I am sure I am not the only one to do it, but sometimes you buy some vegetables and then kind of forget about them for a week
or two. I always feel awful if I don’t rediscover them until after the use it or lose it stage, but luckily I found a kind of wilted bunch of broccoli, a cauliflower that was about to cross to the dark side and some lonely looking carrots.
I like to let my onions get nice and brown (preferably caramelized) in most of my soups, so I diced up the onion and shallot and threw them on first thing. I let them get soft and caramelized while I chopped and washed the rest of the vegetables. I don’t mind my veggie soups having a bit of a bite in them, but if you prefer a softer or more blended soup, you might want to add the carrots with the onions so they get super soft. I added them after the onions were well softened and thought they came out perfectly. Truth be told, I used less stock than usual (3 cups instead of my usual 4) because that what I had left on hand and didn’t feel the need to open or make more. This resulted in a much thicker, almost chowder-like soup, which was delicious and filling.
I topped my soup with a sprinkle of cheddar, freshly ground black pepper and a sprinkle of dill. After tasting the dill with the soup, I wish I had added some to the main recipe. Next time!
* – my favorite kitchen game is Don’t Cut a Finger While Cutting Onions, but I’m really not all that good at that.
Broccoli-Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 6+ garlic cloves, minced (I used a whole head)
- 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 large head cauliflower, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 large head broccoli, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Freshly ground pepper and salt, to taste
- In a large pot, heat the olive oil. Add the onions and shallot and cook until soft and just beginning to brown. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the cauliflower, broccoli, spices and 3 cups stock. Bring broth to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and reduce to a simmer and cook 10-20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and easily cut, stirring occasionally. The broth will not totally cover the vegetables but don't worry- stirring will be enough to ensure the cauliflower cooks through.
- Using a regular blender or immersion blender, blend the cauliflower mixture until desired consistency is reached. (If you are using a regular blender, you will probably have to do this in batches so pour the blended soup into another large pot as you go. If using an immersion blender, you can blend the soup right in the same pot. Once blended, stir in the cheese and serve.
Posted in Food, Gluten-free, Recipes, Soup, vegetarian
Tagged broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, gluten free, recipes, soup, vegetarian