Before I get into this recipe I must show you my newest kitchen addition:
Recently we discovered combining rice and quinoa is a winning combination - textures, flavors, as well as a great protein. I like to make a fairly big batch of this combination to have for a couple of days, whether in a stir fry dish, or mixed in with Greek or Garden chopped salad for lunch it all comes together packed with flavor.
To make the Rice Quinoa is a simple ratio: 1 part Quinoa, 1 part Basmati Rice, to 2 parts liquid. Bring to a good simmer, stir, turn down to minimum lid on and cook for 18 minutes. Here I used 1/2 cup Quinoa, 1/2 cup Basmati rice, well rinsed. Add 2 cups water and serve in a salad or make into a stir fry.
RICE QUINOA LENTIL CURRY BOWL RECIPE:
3 cups cooked rice quinoa blend
14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup baby spinach
3 mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup canned, rinsed green lentils
3 Tblsp. all natural Avocado oil
1 small shallot, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 rounded tsp. Madras Curry Powder
1 Tblsp. minced ginger
salt to taste
Yogurt - optional
Minced cilantro - optional
Heat up a good sized pan/braiser with Avocado oil on low heat. Add in the diced shallot and garlic sauteing until fragrant. Then add in the mushrooms and saute until lightly golden about 3 minutes or so. To this add the spinach, ginger and tomatoes with juice. Season with salt, then add in the curry powder. Mix well and let simmer on low for 5 minutes.
Next add in the Quinoa Rice blend and lentils, stirring to combine. Heat through stirring for 5 more minutes. Adjust seasonings, and serve with cilantro and a dollop of yogurt.
This is our new 8 Quart Air Fryer....what a beauty don't you think?
Our daughter had received an Air Fryer as a gift and mentioned how much she was liking it especially for roast chicken dishes. That is when I became interested....hmmm no more dirty oven sounded very appealing to me. If you use your oven often (I do) but do not like the clean up, and want healthy meals that cook faster, the Air Fryer might be for you.
In the picture above we have pulled out the basket which gives you and idea of what it looks like when putting in your food to cook. What I most like about it besides the easy clean up, is it actually can hold a fair amount of food. That said, the one downside is this bruiser is big!
The other convenience of cooking with an air fryer besides less cooking time - always a bonus, is there is very little if any oil used, making it a healthier alternative way of cooking. Apparently it is also convenient to cook frozen foods in the air fryer too which we have not tried yet.
Can't wait to get started using our new Air Fryer....recipes will be on the way!
UPDATE: ANNOUNCING THE WINNER FOR THE ITALIAN DIABETES COOK BOOK GIVE AWAY CHOSEN AT RANDOM IS: LINDA.
Please contact me through my email with your mailing address to receive your free copy of the cook book....congratulations Linda!
I recently received The Italian Diabetes Cook Book Delicious And Healthful Dishes From Venice To Sicily and Beyond written by Amy Riolo. Published by the American Diabetes Association.
First, let me say, this cook book has so many wonderful recipes it was a tough call choosing a few to test for this post. Just flipping through the cook book had me wanting to make every single recipe - and there are 150 of them! This will definitely be a cook book I will use time and time again. It has also been a fun new taste experience for my family. Each recipe I have made has been seriously delicious. If you read my blog, you know I am a lover of food, especially Italian, so this is a cook book that pulled me in right away.
On another note, a good friend of mine recently passed away. He was a diabetic who was very careful with his diet and exercise regime. He did not die from diabetes, but from other health/age conditions at the age of 72. He often said, "if people followed a diabetic diet, there would be less obese and much healthier people in this world".
In reading this cook book I would totally agree. The recipes use local, fresh in season ingredients. Wholesome food that is delicious and nutritious. The book begins with Appetizers, then First Course recipes, 2nd Courses, Side Dishes, Salads, Breads, Sauces and Condiments, and Desserts. Amy also offers many gluten free options for her recipes - every recipe made for this post, of course, is Gluten Free.
If you would like to receive a FREE copy of this lovely cook book, just leave a comment saying what your favorite Italian dish is. One winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.
Here are just a few of the dishes I have made so far: By the way, all of the pictures of the recipes I have made were taken by my dear husband so he gets full credit here.
CLASSIC MEATBALLS (POLPETTE) A TRADITIONAL CALABRESE DISH: (quick, easy to make and we loved them, we have had them twice now)
Next up: ASPARAGUS, ORANGE, AND FENNEL SALAD (INSALATA DIASPARAGI, ARANCE, E FINOCCHI): (this salad was so refreshing and delicious, again quick and easy to make)
Next up: VENETIAN-STYLE BEANS WITH SWISS CHARD (FAGIOLIALLA VENEZIANA CON BIETOLE)
(I would like to add a note in regards to this delicious dish: The beans listed in the book call for Borlotti beans sometimes known as Cranberry Beans. I went to a local health food store and here they are called Heirloom Anasazi Beans - so they are known by a few names....my new favorite dried bean) This dish has lovely subtle flavors that get even better the next day.
Now for a couple of dessert recipes:
Next up: Yogurt Gelato (GELATO ALLO YOGURT) with Strawberries: (this was surprisingly refreshing and full of flavor with added vanilla)
Next up: IVREA'S POLENTA CAKE (POLENTINA DI IVREA) This was a moist delicious cake with subtle flavors....we loved it! Again an easy dessert cake to make and lovely to serve with tea, plus it is the first time I have used Almond Flour...what a great texture it adds to baked goods.
I really had a fun time in the kitchen making these recipes. You should see my copy of the cook book - dog ear'd, lots of book marks for all the other recipes I still want to make, it already looks well used, which in truth it is and certainly will be even more so down the road. Thank you Amy Riolo for your cook book of delicious recipes, my family loved them all.
(Don't forget to leave a comment saying what your favorite Italian dish is, we have 1 cook book to give away free!)
We recently had a week vacation - a lovely cabin on the lake at one of our Gulf Islands. We love the cabin with its rustic charm, a cozy big fireplace, a kitchen (most important!) and beautiful lake views.
Over the years, I have learned what to bring as usually the kitchens are quite small, and just stocked with the very bare bones essentials. These are the must-haves that I pack with us each year:
In terms of the kitchen supplies stocked in the cabin, the knives are sadly very dull, with an even duller vegetable peeler in the the utensil drawer. And (yikes!) a glass cutting board on the counter. I would not dream of using my beautiful knives on a glass cutting board - they should all be recycled into something else more useful. What that might be is food for thought...no pun intended.
A good quality non-stick frying pan is definitely a must-have to bring along as well. Usually the cupboards contain a various assortment and size of pots and frying pans from yesteryear. Ideally, I would prefer to bring my cast iron frying pan but the size and weight alone stops that idea right there.
Although the stove, fridge, and counter space was small it is surprising what one can create in the kitchen. While at times it did feel challenging, it was also fun and creative. During our time away, we had steaks with risotto and steamed vegetables, oven baked chicken breasts with pan fried potatoes and steamed vegetables, gourmet sausages with yellow roasted beets, garlic mashed potatoes and salad.
We also had the pleasure of visiting a cheese farm where we purchased beautiful goat cheese and organic eggs. Plus, real homemade organic English Toffee - my huge weakness! Finding a good restaurant for dinner out is always a lovely treat...ask the locals - they will tell you the best places to eat out. In my case, restaurants that can safely create gluten free meals. (we research the net as well)
My kitchen at home is not that large by some standards, although considerably bigger than the one at the cabin. If I could have my "dream" kitchen it would be large enough to comfortably fit a farm style table and seating for 8 - I have never been keen on "dining rooms". The kitchen for me is the heart of the home where family and friends can come together to share great food. A special bonus in my "dream" kitchen would be to have a gas stove/oven. Ohhh heaven. My mom's favorite way to cook was with a gas-fired stove. She always said that it was the best way to cook as you have a greater range of control with the heat.
How about this stove/oven from BlueStar? That would definitely be on my wish list.
Wouldn't it be amazing to have a built in grill? Especially on those cold winter nights when the BBQ is not an option and you have a crowd to feed. Or what about a stove with 6 burners and a double oven? Yayyy I could cook to my hearts content with a stove like that.
Whether I am cooking in a small kitchen with the bare bones minimum for supplies, or back at home in my fully stocked kitchen, it is all about great tasting food. Still, that BlueStar stove is a beauty...and it is always fun to dream right?
In previous posts, I have written about how to season your cast iron frying pans. I had always used oils such as: grape seed, olive oil, coconut oil, and even tried using rendered duck fat. While these oils did work - they were very temporary. It seemed the frying pan was constantly needing to be re-seasoned. Surely after 5 years of constant use, the cast iron pan should have by then had a well seasoned surface...however, this was not the case.
So, I scoured the internet looking for the best way to create a non-stick finish to cast iron that will last...and I found it! This post here will show you a step by step process that will create a long lasting non-stick finish to all of your cast iron pans. It really, really works! Many thanks to the website Instructables.
Although this is a process, it does take time to do, it is well worth the effort. Who would have thought that natural flax oil could create such a beautiful non-stick finish? It is amazing. Since seasoning my cast iron pan a few months ago - it has worked very well - no re-seasoning has been required.
By the way, all of the pictures showing the cast iron pan in this post look like there is a fine layer of oil on the surface of the pan....not so. This is how the pan looks with it's cleaned, sealed in seasoned surface. And wow, in terms of non stick it is wonderful.
From beautiful pan fired potatoes, with easy over eggs and sausages:
To many a stir fry:
As well as searing chicken or pork chops:
The frying pan always comes out looking like this:
When there are sticky dried on bits, I will use a spatula/flipper to scrape off the bits:
Then I wipe that out with a paper towel. The next step is to take a damp clean wash cloth and I simply wipe out the pan really really well. It still comes out clean:
Occasionally, I will use warm water and a cloth if the pan has lots of stuck on bits, but even then, it comes out great! This process to create a non stick surface is the best I have experienced to date...a method I will continue to use. Thanks again Instructables for your great step by step process to season cast iron pans.
Wow. Have I ever been missing my kitchen. After these past few months of working hard with my new company....I needed desperately needed to get back into the kitchen.
The above photo is 14 cups of nourishing, vitamin packed, healthy Turkey broth. Thanksgiving in Canada was Oct. 8/12. The turkey had been sitting in my freezer. I hated to freeze a beautiful fresh turkey, but there was just no time. So happily three days after Thanksgiving we had our Turkey. Then life got busy again...hence, the bones went into the freezer.
Finally, a couple of days off. I love creating in my kitchen. Today was a "god send". Just being in the kitchen for 5 hours was bliss in itself. Stirring, smelling, and skimming...yes, skimming.
For any kind of stock I use the standard: Onion, garlic, celery, carrot, fresh parsley, bay leaf, the bones, and water, just to cover. Last year I read on the internet...(can't remember where) that to achieve the most delicious, vitamin/nutrient packed stock, you need to simmer on a low low heat. Like a "glug, glug" kind of heat, lid off. While that is happening, every so often, skim the surface of the broth of any white foam and bubbles. Five hours or so later, once strained, you will have the most delicious stock you have ever tasted. And it will be a clear deep color, that once refrigerated, completely gels.
Friends....I promise you - don't use a crock pot, don't boil the "daylights" out of your stock. If you follow this method, you would not believe the difference in flavor. It is unbelievable.
Then after all is said and done, you can turn around and reduce this lovely stock to a "concentrate". Simmer fairly hard until reduced by half. (do not add salt until you taste it, as it will be very concentrated) Pour into ice cube trays to freeze, to add to stews, soups, gravies.
It was a great day in the kitchen, and seeing all this wonderful stock makes me a very happy girl!
p.s. if you try this method...let me know what you think. 🙂
We do love our soup in this household. Now that I think of it, this recipe is also Vegan - not a speck of animal protein in this soup whatsoever. There are other tomato style soups on my blog, as well as Vegetarian, but I think this is the second Vegan soup I have ever made. It was surprisingly filling and packed full of flavor.
On another happy note, I found a fantastic deal on a new Kitchen Toy at the Thrift store:
This little baby cost $5.25 - how is that for a deal? It has two settings on the switch, setting 1 then setting 2 which is turbo speed. I was a little nervous buying a used hand immersion blender as everything in my kitchen is completely gluten free. Remember making glue as a kid with flour and water? The very thought of there being stuck on wheat flour or other forms of gluten was terrifying. For a Celiac - this could be dangerous ground.
So to clean this blender, I filled a bowl with very hot soapy water, and blended on turbo speed for 2 minutes. Rinsed out the bowl, added more hot water, and blended for another 2 minutes. Then to make double sure it was clean, I rinsed out the bowl once more and poured in boiling water, then blended another 2 minutes.
That did the trick! It was now super shiny clean and it blended the Vegetarian Tomato Basil Soup beautifully, with no risk of gluten contamination. Believe you me...if there was gluten contamination on that blender, I would have reacted within one minute after tasting the soup!
Then the day after - we had sunshine - out came the BBQ for burgers and homemade ketchup:
I love great Thrift Store Finds, and this one was such a deal!
CREAMY VEGETARIAN TOMATO BASIL SOUP:
5 cups sliced Roma tomatoes
2 Tblsp. Balsamic Vinegar
Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, diced
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 stalk of celery with leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
4 cups of Homemade Vegetable stock
1/2 cup minced Fresh Basil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the tomatoes, Balsamic Vinegar, a couple of good splashes of Ex. Virgin Olive Oil, salt and pepper to a roasting pan, tossing to coat.
Roast for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat up a large pot or dutch oven on low medium heat, with a good drizzle of olive oil. Add the carrots, onion, garlic and celery to the pot, sauteing about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour in the Vegetable stock, and bring to a simmer on low heat, lid on and simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
Add the roasted tomatoes, minced basil, and blend with an immersion blender or a food processor until thick and creamy.
Serve hot with fresh Gluten Free Bread - great for lunch or dinner!
I have been having fun in the kitchen with my new toy. What a delight it has been using a good Food Processor!
This post is to showcase the recipes and food we have been eating these past few weeks - some new, some not new....but also to mention, working with a food processor is not only fun, it makes life easier! I will admit, the first few times using this processor, has been a learning experience. And I even watched the DVD that came with this processor....but as much as I am visual, I am very much a hands on kind of gal!
So, without further adieu...here are some pictures and some links:
One of the first things I made was a simple Ragu Pasta Sauce - too easy: (I don't think I have ever posted this recipe because it is so basic - meat, diced veggies, tomatoes, seasoning etc.)
A breakfast Smoothie is always a wonderful way to start your day:
Here are a couple of lunch ideas - first a creamy red and green coleslaw: (here is a basic coleslaw recipe)
Or how about a Curry Pate...
Then we have a lovely Curry Squash Soup:
Or how about for dinner: Danish, well kind of, Chicken Frikadellar:
Oh, I must not forget, one of my All Time Favorites: Salsa:
Then finally...drum roll please...to die for...Gluten Free Yorkshire Pudding/PopOvers:
It really has been a fun time in the kitchen. Do you use a food processor? Would you like to share some of your favorite recipes?