Friday, March 19, 2010

Chicken Fajitas a la Gutenberg

Here's a very easy recipe. Prepared several times at Gutenberg house dinners 2003-05; I copied this from Melody Herrick but I don't know the ultimate origin of the recipe. The combination of lime, cayenne and cinnamon is tasty; not spicy.

3 chicken breasts
Finely grated zest and juice of two limes
2 Tb sugar
2 t dried oregano
1/2 t cayenne
1 t cinnamon
2 onions, sliced into strips
3 bell peppers, sliced into strips
3 Tb oil

sour cream

Slice raw chicken breasts into strips. Marinate at least 30 minutes in spices and lime. Stir fry chicken in oil for 5-6 minutes. Add onions and bell pepper and cook 3-4 more minutes. Serve with warm tortillas and toppings.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

More Troubleshooting

Thanks to an email from Melanie, I have been informed that the "comments" are still not working properly for some people. Unfortunately this is not the first time someone mentioned this problem.

The problem has been described as their being no way to scroll down to a word verification box, the kind you encounter when you are posting on a site that uses a more traditional blogger template.

I do not know exactly how this looks on people's screens since I have not actually encountered the problem myself. However, I have checked the comment settings and since turned the word verification off. We will see how much spam we get. Those of you who are having trouble commenting, try again and send me an email (kristenwal at gmail dot com) if you still unable to post.

Sorry for the inconvenience!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

From World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffrey. This is a wonderful vegetarian cookbook, with recipes from around the world, including some delicious foods from India and the Middle East. It is organized by ingredient, a good feature when you want to make something with... lentils, or whatever. It also has an ingredient index for learning more about unfamiliar spices and so on.

I love beans. Until recently, I would try to cook up a big crockpot, making it up as I went along. Some of these creations were barely edible. The worst was when I added a large amount of vinegar to kidney beans following a recommendation that vinegar may help make beans more digestible. That one was destined for the compost pile. So, my new-found secret to cooking beans is: use a recipe! Amazing... And this is a very tasty recipe indeed. It's more of a comfort food than a spectacular main dish. The lentils end up being more dominant than the kidney beans. I took this to a potluck this fall where it took a starring role in chili-dogs, but it's good on its own, or with shredded cheese and avocado, sour cream, olives, chips, tortillas, and so on. It's easy to make, as well.

Tex-Mex Vegetarian Chili

3 Tb canola or olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 to 1 jalapeño. (Jaffrey suggests 1/4 chile for medium heat and 1 chile for spicy. Instead, I substitute a 6 oz can of mild green chiles)
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried crumbled sage
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)

4 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
1 cup cooked drained red kidney beans (I use a 15 oz can, unless making this in a slow cooker)
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes, including juice (I like Muir Glen brand "fire-roasted")
3 Tb chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tb yellow cornmeal

Put the oil in a soup pot and set over medium high heat. When hot, put in the onion, garlic, pepper, and jalapeño. Sautee a couple minutes until they just start to brown. Turn the heat down to med-low and add dried spices (through the cayenne). Stir briskly once or twice and add water, lentils, beans, tomatoes, cilantro, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to low, and cook for 50 minutes.

Mix the cornmeal with 3 Tb water and then pour the mixture into the chili pot. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring now and then.

Makes 2 quarts.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Pizza Crust, the GF version

So there have been too many days since I went gluten free that I have found myself craving pizza. There was a brief six or seven month period at the beginning where I tried making a couple of recipes, none of which worked to any level of satisfaction. And then dear Mike discovered this book, Cooking Free, which just so happens to contain the best GF pizza crust recipe I have ever found.

However, the awesome pizza crust recipe isn't the only great thing about this cookbook. If you suffer from any kind of allergy or intolerance to dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, or processed sugar, you can probably make good use of it. There are substitutes listed for many ingredients, as well as symbols listed with each recipe indicating whether any substitutes may need to be made, depending on your allergy.

Anyways, back to pizza!

Delicious Gluten Free Pizza Crust

2 & 2/3 cup rice flour (or a flour mix if you are like me and don't use rice flour)
2 cups tapioca flour
1/2 cup dry milk powder, nondairy milk powder or almond powder
4 teaspoons xantham gum
4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (yeah, I know, gross. Everyone's favorite kind of protein, right?)
4 teaspoons Italian seasoning
2 teaspoons salt

Just mix it all up and store in a container until you want to make pizza.

When it is pizza time, add:

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 F)
1/2 teaspoon sugar (or 1/4 tsp honey)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar

Mix with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes. Or, if you are like me, just mix it real darn good. If the dough is too stiff add water 1 tablespoon at a time.

Put mixture on a prepared pan, sprinkling the dough with flour (whatever kind you happen to be using), pressing it into the pan. Make edges thicker.

Bake crust for ten minutes. Remove from oven. Top with sauce, toppings n stuff, and bake for another 20-25 minutes. The top should be nicely browned. Serves about six nice little slices. Yum Yum Yum!

Lentil Loaf

Please excuse the less than appetizing photo up there, it's pretty hard to make Lentil Loaf look as good as it tastes. But believe me, it is good. It's a favorite poverty meal around our house.

Versatile, easy, pennies and dimes cheap, though it's definitely not fancy like Bon Appetit, it ranks right up there with nutritional yeast popcorn and Annie's Mac 'n Cheese in terms of comfort food. Oh, and it's good for you.

Lentil Loaf

2 C cooked red lentils
1 C uncooked rice, millet, bulgar, or oats
1 C grated cheese, any kind
1/2 C barbeque sauce, tomato sauce, or salsa
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 C cilantro, scallions, chives or parsley chopped
2 tsp tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Pour into oiled loaf pan or casserole dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 min. Let cool for 5 min. before serving.

We spoon fresh salsa over the top, or greek yogurt (sometimes mixed with lemon or cumin). We like it hot out of the oven or cold the next day.