Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gluten-free Canned Soup

Continuing on with my quick and cheap gluten-free dinner ideas, I want to mention that Progresso is now labeling some of their soups gluten-free!

According to their website, Progresso has also decided to remove MSG from all their soups.  This is good news!  The MSG was keeping me from buying their soups more often.  Thanks, Progresso!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Another Quick, Cheap Gluten-free Dinner Idea (Low Carb)

This is one of the fastest and easiest meals I make.  It generally takes about 10-15 minutes, from the time I turn on the stove to sitting down to eat.   There's only one pan afterwards.  This recipe is low-carb, but very filling.  There are only four ingredients:

olive oil

1. Turn the stove to medium and heat a cast-iron pan.
2. When the pan is nice and hot, place your cut of pork in the pan.  Let it cook for 2 minutes for a one-inch-thick piece, 30 seconds for a thin piece.
3. Turn the pork over.  Let it cook for thirty seconds to one minute, then turn off the burner and cover the meat with a large lid.
4.  When the piece is just cooked through, salt it on both sides.
5.  Place the meat on a bed of lettuce dressed with olive oil and salt.

Or, for another version, prepare this dish with roasted vegetables in the oven as I described in Quick and Easy Gluten-free Soy-free Dairy-free Dinner Idea: Roasted Vegetables.

Check out my previous post for more quick and cheap gluten-free dinner ideas.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quick and Cheap Gluten-free Meals

The biggest drawback to the gluten-free diet is the expense.  Wheat is the cheapest food that you can buy, and having it off your list guarantees a higher ticket at the grocery store.  Here's a quick list of the easiest and least expensive gluten-free meals out there.  Some of them are even naturally gluten-free, and they are all delicious!

Pasta Carbonara
Roasted Chicken and Vegetables with Rice
Oxtail Soup 
Rice Pasta with Marinara Sauce
Roasted Vegetables with Bacon

If you have a favorite cheap and easy gluten-free meal, leave a link or a recipe in your comments!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Gluten-free Cornbread Recipe

Making cornbread gluten-free is easy. Unlike other breads, cornbread does not rely on wheat for any of the properties that make it what it is. The taste and texture depend mostly on the corn. I have had corn bread with lots of different types of flour, and they all turned out well. I use a gluten-free pastry flour mix for a more tender and moist crumb, but feel free to use rice flour, brown rice flour, or your favorite flour mix.

Southern corn bread calls for just corn meal, and is more savory than sweet. This is a northern cornbread recipe, which calls for all-purpose flour in the mix and has a more cake-like consistency. Use some corn flour in addition to the corn meal if you want to make the texture even more tender.

Gluten-free Cornbread Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9x9x2-inch pan. Mix together in a large bowl:

1 cup stone ground corn meal
1/4 cup corn flour

3/4 cup 
Deluxe Pastry Flour
4 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

In another bowl, whisk together:

2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until blended. Fold in:

3 Tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil

Pour the batter into the greased pan and cook for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in it comes out clean.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gluten-free Buckwheat Pancakes

When I created my Gluten-free Quinoa Pancake Recipe, I promised to give you a variation on it soon. That was six months ago. Since then I have been diligently trying to come up with a new twist on the recipe. Well, here is my variation:

Substitute 1/2 cup of buckwheat flour for the 1/2 cup of quinoa flour.

Why did that take me six months to figure out, when I was pretty sure that it would work from the beginning?

Buckwheat is a fairly complicated foodstuff. It can be processed and milled in a variety of ways before it hits the shelf. I was trying to manipulate this recipe using a buckwheat flour that I wasn't familiar with, and which had a completely different consistency and grind than what I was used to. The flour kept absorbing too much of the liquid, producing a gummy, thick batter that was nearly impossible to cook. I ended up switching to Bob's Red Mill Organic Buckwheat Flour, even though it is not one of their specially processed "certified gluten-free" flours. So, for those worried about cross-contamination with wheat flour this may not be the flour for you. However, it is a flour that behaves as it should. I also used this brand of flour in my Buckwheat Waffles Recipe and my Quick Buckwheat Waffle Recipe.

What kind of buckwheat flour do you buy? Any tips on finding one that's certified gluten-free?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oxtail Soup Recipe

The trick to cooking a good oxtail soup is to cook it long and slow. Braising the meat in this manner makes it very tender, and the bones make for a great broth in this hearty soup. This is the perfect food for the season.

Oxtail Soup

In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, heat:

2 Tbsp Olive oil


3 cloves garlic, whole
1/2 carrot

1 bunch green onions, chopped (reserve some for garnish)

Brown in the pot on all sides:

2.75 lbs oxtail

Deglaze the pan with:

1 1/2 cup white wine


12 Cups warm water
5 large leaves of kale

1 tsp whole peppercorns
2 sticks celery, chopped

a rind of Parmesan (optional)

5 leaves fresh sage

3 tsp salt

Cook on a low simmer for several hours, skimming off any impurities on the surface, and stirring occasionally until the meat is very tender. When the soup is nearly done, remove the oxtails and strain the liquid through a fine-mesh sieve or some cheesecloth. Put the liquid and the oxtails back in the pot and heat to a simmer. Add:

1 bunch kale
3 potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch slices

1/2 carrot

2 cloves garlic

ground pepper to taste

Cook for 20 minutes or until potatoes are done but still firm. Test the soup for seasonings. Garnish with your reserved green onions, and serve hot.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Gluten-free "Wit" Beer at Deschutes Brewery?

Update: They are again pouring the Gluten-free Krystal Weiss at Deschutes. I'll update you when I have more news.

I don't know anything yet except that I have a previously unknown gluten-free beer in my growler.

I went to Deschutes Brewery in Portland today to see if there was any news on a new gluten-free beer. My server Briggs did some extensive legwork for me, but he was unable to ascertain a definitive name, style, or description for the gluten-free beer that he served me. All I could gather was that they appeared to have run out of the Gluten-free Krystal Weiss as they were pouring my pint. They gave me the last glass from the cask and then poured me some gluten-free beer of a different kind. It is still too early to say if it's an entirely different beer than the Weiss; there was a theory afloat that the "new" beer was just an unfiltered version of the Krystal Weiss. At any rate I enjoyed the change of pace and will reaveal more details as they unfold.
On the left: Gluten-free Krystal Weiss. Center: Mystery (Wit?) Beer with arms. Right: Wasser.

Tomorrow is Deschutes Brewery's release of the The Abyss Imperial Stout. The good people of Deschutes will be busy over there, so I will not be surprised if I don't find out any more details for a few days regarding this highly important gluten-free matter. If anyone else knows anything, please leave a comment!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookies

Due to popular demand, I am now revealing my new Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. Actually, I only had one vote on the matter in my last post, and it was from a fellow cookie-lover, Jenn from Cinnamon Quill. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, or if you just love chocolate, please go straight to her vegan World Peace Cookie Recipe which looks amazing. If you're really into pancetta, stick around for this post or see my recipe for Pasta Carbonara or Pancetta-wrapped Scallops.

As you can probably guess, I'm on a bit of a pancetta kick. While the rest of Portland is devouring bacon by the pound, I'm getting into the more subtle flavor that pancetta lends to a recipe. For something more intense, check out Pete's Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies. He candies the bacon before using. I went a different route with this recipe. I left the pancetta uncooked. Half of it I whipped into the butter to infuse the pancetta flavor throughout the batter. The other half of the pancetta goes in with the chocolate chips at the end. The result is a soft, subtle, and almost savory cookie.

A note about softness and texture: it took me a while to develop the right technique for making cookies come out really soft and stay that way after cooling. There are three tricks to employ if softness is your goal. Firstly, when softening your butter let it get so warm that a little bit of it starts to melt. This is a good temperature to whip it at, and will help the sugar integrate into the butter. Second, whip the butter until it's extremely fluffy. This can take quite a while; be patient and persistent. Keep checking the texture until it's just right. The sugar shouldn't have a granulated texture anymore, but should melt into the butter a bit. Thirdly, don't cook them too long. The cookies should just be browned around the edges but with a soft center.

Pancetta Chocolate Chip Cookies

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Blend together in a small bowl:

1 Cup + 2 TBSP Gluten-free Deluxe Pastry Flour (1 1/4 Cup for cakey-er cookies)
1/2 tsp baking soda
(add: 1/8 tsp xanthan gum if your gluten-free flour mix doesn't have it already)

In a large bowl, beat until very fluffy, about 7 minutes:

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup bakers sugar, or up to a 50:50 ratio of brown and granulated sugar
4 thin slices pancetta, cut into pieces (about 1.5 oz)

When optimal fluffiness is achieved, add in:

1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
Beat until smooth. Add in your flour mixture and stir until well-combined. Stir in:

4 more thin slices of pancetta, cut into pieces (about 1.5 oz)
1/2 cup high-quality dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
Drop the dough onto a cookie sheet in rounded lumps. I use about 2 Tbsp of dough per cookie. Space them two inches apart. Cook one sheet at a time for 8 minutes, or until they are done on the outer edge and still doughy in the center. Serve warm when possible.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Shameless Self-Promotion

Today I bring you news that has nothing to do with gluten-free cooking. Today I am simply using my blog here at Gluten-free Gourmand as a platform to promote my brand-new blog, Still Life With Bicycle. Here you will find all sorts of interesting fine art and travel photographs taken by yours truly. If you think the photos on this blog are amazing, or especially if you think they are terrible, you will be pleasantly surprised to see the fine art photography I do while I'm not cooking!

Stay tuned for my next Gluten-free Gourmand post, which may feature one of the following things:

Pancetta chocolate chip cookies,
Pork roast stuffed with Porcini mushrooms,
Oxtail soup,
Buckwheat Pancakes, or
Trout stuffed with leeks

Monday, October 26, 2009

Gluten-free Disasters

I'm writing today to confess that gluten-free cooking is not always easy. In fact, regular cooking is not always easy. Sometimes, mistakes are made.

Take, for example, the recipe variation for the quinoa pancakes that I promised you five months ago. So far, my revisions look much like my first attempts - that is, disastrous:
There have been some really humorous moments, such as when I discovered that a food processor should never be filled this full of liquid:Seconds after taking this photo, tomato was sprayed over three walls. I was too embarrassed to take photos of the damage, but I assure you it was extensive. The batch of my tomato sauce turned out anyway, although I might have had more if I didn't spill so much.

There were also little things, like when I tried to duplicate my Gluten-free Tempura Recipe with a slight modification, but put the tempura bowl on the hot burner, thereby cooking the batter before the vegetables were dipped in it. I had to make a new batch. You can also see where I spilled soy sauce all over the stove. On top of all that, I kept taking blurry pictures!Then there was the cheese.
I told you all at one point that I was making cheese from scratch with my cooking partner. We had to throw it away. It grew a mysterious mold which smelled like rotting pumpkin. Other than that, it seemed to go pretty well.

Do you remember when I said I made Pulpo a la Gallega? It was the same time that I said I was making cheese. The first time, it turned out perfectly and took about half an hour.
The second time, I bought a bigger octopus for a Spanish-themed party I was throwing.
It turns out that the bigger ones take about an hour and a half - or longer - to cook. It's a good thing I had other food to serve.

There were other Spanish recipe flops. On this one, I saved some for the next day just to take a picture, which ended up looking like this:
Did I mention that I'm a professional photographer? Oh, well. The paella wasn't that good, anyway. Next time!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Recipe for My Grandmother's Marinara Sauce

To my faithful readers who have been patient with me, I'll finally explain why I took a long break from blogging. My grandfather recently died and my life has been in a bit of a frenzy with work, love, family, and a funeral. In memory of my grandfather, who loved this tomato sauce recipe so much, I am going to share with you my version of my grandmother's spaghetti sauce.

My grandmother usually used a mixture of stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, and tomato puree from a can to make this. However, I have multitudes of fresh tomatoes from my garden to use for this. I have adapted the recipe to call for fresh tomatoes, which was probably the origin of the recipe anyway.

You can use a food mill (pictured right) or tomatoes concasse as explained in my gazpacho recipe to make this. For ideal texture, use both. I chose to essentially juice my tomatoes this time, since most of my harvest was made up of small tomatoes which don't produce much flesh after skinning and de-seeding. The method of getting the tomatoes into the pot is less important than simply reducing the sauce for a long time. It should be very rich, dark, and thick when it's ready.

Grandma's Marinara Sauce

In a large non-aluminum stock pot, saute:

4 Tbsp olive oil  
1 small onion, chopped  
4 cloves garlic

When the onions are starting to brown, add:

2 tsp dry or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
2 tsp dry or 1/3 cup fresh basil
1 tsp salt (if your tomato liquid is already salted, add less salt)
1/2 tsp black pepper

Saute everything for another minute. Add:

8-10 cups tomatoes concasse and/or juiced tomatoes

Simmer for several hours, stirring every half hour until the sauce thickens and becomes dark and rich. Taste it and adjust seasonings as desired. You can add water at any time if it's too thick. If desired, add some browned meat balls and/or sausage 1/2 hour before you are done cooking. Serve over your favorite gluten-free pasta.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today was one of those glorious days. I woke up to sun and a blue sky, but when I stepped out to go to the farmer's market the sky turned black. It dumped rain for hours. I never made it to the farmer's market.

Around 3:30 the rain came with renewed vigor. The sky was again dark as though the sun were going down. Then, all of a sudden, it was sunny and warm.

I made pesto.

I started taking out my garden once it warmed up today. My basil had never done as well as I wished, but there was enough of it today to make one last batch of my favorite sauce.I never measure anything for this recipe, but if it's your first time making it, or you just like measuring things, you can start with this recipe:

2 C fresh basil from your garden
1/3 C pine nuts or walnuts

1 clove garlic

1/4 C grated Parmesan
(if you can't do dairy, I've subbed pancetta to get that full flavor, or a little bit of dry gluten-free bread for texture)
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1/4-1/2 tsp salt

ground white pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in a food processor and blend with the blade until smooth. Scrape down the sides as necessary and blend some more.

Before you serve, be sure to taste it and add anything that you think it lacks. It shouldn't feel dry in the mouth - this means it needs more oil. If it feels oily in the mouth, it may need more Parmesan or basil. You can add another clove of garlic if you think it needs some extra zing, but be sure to process it thoroughly.

Cook your favorite gluten-free pasta, rinse with hot water, and serve the pesto on top at room temperature.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Autumn Garden

After an entire summer of bountiful tomato harvesting, things have suddenly slowed down. We're really lucky to be having such a beautiful summer here in Portland, but the extended sunny days may end soon and the weather has cooled enough to discourage my tomatoes. Here is my harvest today - literally a handful of produce:
How is your garden faring in the autumn weather?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A recipe for Pancetta-wrapped Scallops

I love pancetta. It adds so much to any dish that you make with it. The rich, savory flavor of it compliments and intensifies any food that it's cooked with.

This recipe for pancetta-wrapped scallops is incredibly simple, but very impressive. There are only three ingredients in it. I serve it as an appetizer either on its own or over a bed of sauteed greens. This recipe serves two or four.

Pancetta-wrapped Scallops

Rinse and pat dry:

4 large scallops

Leaving the flat ends open, wrap the scallops with:

4 slices pancetta (one slice per scallop)

You can use any style of pancetta. I uncurl it if I'm using a rolled pancetta. If sliced thin, the pancetta will stick to itself at the end of the wrapping process.

Heat a cast-iron pan or another pan that can sear your scallops nicely (not a non-stick pan) on medium-high. When it's hot enough to make a splash of water sizzle, add:

1-2 Tbsp olive oil or butter

The fat should heat up right away and become a thin liquid in the pan. Tilt the pan to spread it around. Place your wrapped scallops in the pan, flat side down. Sear for about 2 minutes, or until well-browned. With tongs, carefully turn each scallop over to sear the other side. Once all scallops are flipped, turn off the heat on the burner. let the scallops cook on the second side for 1-2 minutes, or just until they start to firm up slightly. Serve.

For other recipes involving beautiful pancetta, see my recipe for Traditional Italian Pasta Carbonara and Pancetta Rolls Stuffed With Goat Cheese.

Need a cast iron pan?  Search online at Sur La Table (affiliate).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables

For this week's What Can I eat that's Gluten-free? I've hybridized two of my classic recipes: Forbidden Rice with Chicken and Roasted Vegetables. What you do is follow the recipe for the roasted vegetables but add the chicken to your baking sheet or cast-iron skillet. If you add some cherry tomatoes, too, they make a great sauce with all the other drippings. Cook the black rice as described in my post on Forbidden Rice and serve them together for an elegant, delicious, and simple plate. The rice takes about as long as the chicken and vegetables, so it's really easy!

Come join us for the What Can I Eat that's Gluten-free? blog carnival over at the Gluten-free Homemaker.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gazpacho! A Recipe.

Gazpacho is a great summertime dish. Gazpacho is a chilled tomato soup from Spain, where it's usually listed under salads on the menu. Although not all versions are gluten-free, this typical one is naturally gluten-free and vegan. If you're like me and you have plenty of garden tomatoes, this recipe is for you!


I start out by peeling and seeding the tomatoes. I tried to skip this step once, but found that the tomato skins lend a weird texture to the soup. Some people don't mind the seeds, so you can choose whether you want to seed it or not. Here's the easiest way to do it: take a big pot and fill it with about 2-3" of water (enough to cover the tomatoes). Set to a boil. Cut a small X in the bottom of:

2 lbs tomatoes

When the water is boiling, put the tomatoes in. Boil for 30-60 seconds. Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again. The skins should be well-split. Set the tomatoes aside to cool.

In a blender or food processor, chop until just slightly chunky:
1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded
1 small red bell pepper, seeded

If it doesn't mix well, add some of the tomato juice that I mention later to get everything mixing. Set the mixture aside in a bowl.

Chop in the blender or food processor:

1 small onion, chopped into small pieces
1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro or parsley

Add this mixture to the bowl.

Peel and seed the tomatoes. Puree them in the blender with:

1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin if necessary)
2 tsp salt

6-oz can of tomato juice

Add to the bowl. Add:

1/8 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil

Stir everything together well. Chill for at least two hours, and serve cold. If it's really warm out, serve it with an ice cube or two.For a quicker prep time and a less chunky consistency, blend the cucumbers, pepper, cilantro and onion all together, remove to a bowl, and puree the rest of the ingredients together, adding to the bowl afterward. Stir, chill, and serve!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Humanoid Carrot

I just picked my first carrot from the garden. It was a bit of a shock.
Does this qualify as food porn?
I don't care what anybody thinks. It's gluten-free!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Forbidden Rice with Broiled Chicken

Called forbidden because it was reserved for the exclusive use of emperors, this Chinese black rice is high in iron, fiber, and other nutrients. Its color turns a deep purple when cooked and the grain holds its form very nicely even when cooked too long. This rice also adds some glamor to an otherwise simple meal.

The ingredients of this meal are purposely few in number. This is a dish suitable for a food elimination diet or a simple, nutritious bet elegant family meal. This economical meal is convenient to make because the rice and the chicken each take approximately thirty minutes, so if you start them together they are ready together.


Four legs chicken
1 1/2 cup water

1 cup Forbidden Rice

vegetable of choice

olive oil


Broiled Chicken:

Rinse your chicken legs and pat dry. Rub with olive oil and salt. If you would like to use additional seasonings, apply them after cooking or they will burn.

Place the chicken skin-side down on a roasting pan. Set in the oven 7-8 inches away from the broiler. Cook for 15 minutes, turn skin-side up, and cook for another 15 minutes or until the clear liquid comes out of the thighs when poked.

Forbidden Rice:

Heat the water, rice and a pinch of salt in a medium pan until boiling. Turn the temperature down to low and cook, covered, for 30 minutes.


About five minutes before the chicken is done, set a pot with a steam basket to boil. Cut up your vegetable of choice. When the water is boiling, toss the vegetables in the steam basket. Steam for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and serve salted and drizzled with olive oil.
I usually don't mention the cost of things, but the economy of this meal struck me. I bought all-natural chicken, an expensive vegetable, and one of the most expensive rices you can buy and the meal came to less than $3.50 per serving not including the price of the oil and the salt.