April 26, 2008

Golden Sunshine Quinoa Salad

I spend a lot of time at Borders Bookstore.  Mostly because it's the closest place i can go to find a table with enough space to work on my never-ending graduate school assignments, but also because I can take breaks and browse through the magazines, books and music.  This recipe was adapted from a book I was flipping through named "Simply Delicioso" by Ingrid Hoffmann.  I had a few boxes of quinoa in my cupboard, so when I came across this recipe I had to try it out.

This is a perfect warm weather dish.  It's served cold, so it can be perfect company for picnics, barbecues or anytime there is a gathering of friends with food and drink involved.  Plus, it can be made completely vegan by substituting the chicken broth for organic vegetable broth.  I know you're going to like this one!

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups organic (gluten free) chicken broth
  • 4 scallions, only the white and light green ends, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3 tblsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

  • Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh (or sieve) with cold water until the water runs clear. Bring the chicken or vegetable broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes (until the quinoa has fully expanded).  Uncover, remove from heat, fluff with fork and set aside to cool.
  • Once the quinoa has cooled, transfer to a large bowl.  Add the scallions, raisins, rice vinegar, orange zest and juice, olive oil, cumin, cinnamon, cucumber, and parsley and toss until mixed well.  Add some salt and pepper to taste, cover and refrigerate until cold.  Serve with a fresh sprig of parsley and enjoy!!!

April 13, 2008

Gluten Free Tofu Pesto Penne

Pesto is great on anything! You can use it as a delicious coating for broiled fish, add it to any stuffing for meat or poultry, as a condiment for a sandwich, or to add taste and color to any pasta dish.  Now you can go the natural route to pesto, via lots of basil, garlic and olive oil blended together in a food processor.  Or, you can go the quick and easy route and purchase a jar of the stuff.  With me, unless it's a for a special occasion, I'm happy with what I can get from the supermarket. Plus, pesto rarely has anything glutenous in it.  In this case I went to Trader Joe's, where I picked up the pesto sauce, pine-nuts, and the gluten-free brown rice penne pasta.  Try saying that last part 5 times fast!!

I make this dish a variety of ways, but this time I used Tofu as the protein source.  We had our good friend Meghan coming over, and she's a strict vegetarian.  Plus, a little plant estrogen now and then never hurt anybody. The way I like to deal with Tofu is by first freezing it.  This causes the water to be sucked out of the Tofu, making it better to cook with (in my opinion), and also giving it a grittier, more textured feel.  Because it's frozen, you'll want to make sure to plan ahead for this recipe and take the Tofu out of the freezer to thaw well before getting ready to cook.

  • 8 to 10 oz. Penne Pasta (a little over 1/2 pound)
  • 1/2 cup Pine Nuts (also called Pignolia)
  • 2 cups chopped tomato 
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 (7 to 10 oz.) jar of Pesto Sauce (check the ingredients for hidden gluten)
  • 3 tblsp. vegetable oil
  • Salt & Pepper

Cooking Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta
  2. Drain the tofu and then pat dry with paper towels (or real ones). Chop up the tofu into relatively small pieces
  3. Chop up the tomatoes and set aside
  4. Heat the vegetable oil in a non-stick skillet, and add the tofu, seasoning generously with the salt and pepper (to taste). Cook on medium high heat, stirring frequently, until slightly browned.  
  5. Once the tofu is slightly browned, throw in the pine nuts and reduce the heat, stirring constantly. Pine nuts can burn easily, so be careful
  6. Once the pine nuts are slightly cooked add the jar of pesto (or your own homemade stuff) and mix thoroughly
  7. Then add the chopped tomatoes, mix, reduce to simmer and cover
  8. If you haven't already, drain and rinse the pasta
  9. Keeping the pasta in the same pot you cooked it in, add the hot sauce and the parmesan cheese and stir over low heat.  
  10. Top with a few basil leaves and some more cheese, and go to town!

April 9, 2008

A Night At Ortlieb's Jazzhaus with Rachael Ray

Last Friday night a couple of friends and I decided to catch some live jazz at Ortlieb's in Philadelphia.  I had never been there, but looked forward to checking out one of the top jazz venues in the country.  I'm a big fan of classic jazz, like Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dizzy, Ella, Billie Holliday, etc. When I lived in Buffalo, NY I spent many evenings with my partner Melinda, listening to live Jazz, sipping either wine or coffee, and enjoying the city's burgeoning art scene.  Since moving away from Buffalo I've had little opportunity to experience good live jazz.

That's why I was so excited about being at Ortlieb's on a Friday night.  When my friend Joy made reservations for us, she was informed that service may be slow due to the fact that Rachael Ray was filming from their kitchen, an in addition, we might be interrupted from time to time by the film crew.  Sounded fun to me!  Plus, with the cameras on, I knew that both the musicians and the chefs would be putting out the best work they could muster.  

The setting was dimly lit, with crimson ceilings and walls.  When the waitress came to our table, I explained my dietary restrictions and she marched off to the kitchen to see what I could eat. She was very friendly and accommodating. When she came back she explained that many of the dishes could be made gluten free, except of course those which were mostly flour-based. She said the kitchen crew would do their best to make anything I wanted to be gluten-free. I chose to go with one of the daily specials: Slow roasted duck filets, with garlic potatoes drizzled with a creamy cayenne pepper sauce.  It was deeeeelicious!  They also made one helluva Muddled Old Fashioned. For desert I had chocolate creme brullee and thought I had died and gone to cocoa heaven!  

The jazz ended up being great, especially the female saxophonist, and we ended up being filmed and interviewed by Rachael Ray's crew.  It was kind of surreal to tell the truth.  All of the sudden the film crew made their way to our table and bright lights were upon us.  We were asked if we minded, and being on our 2nd or 3rd stiff drink, we were very agreeable.  They asked us to have a conversation as if they weren't there. Yeah right!  So we shared crazy stories, laughed a lot and put on a good show. We were then interviewed about our experience at Ortlieb's, and to tell the truth, I can't remember what any of us said:).  All in all it was a fantastic night! Although Rachael never made an appearance in the dining room, we did end a part of the festivities. Look for my cameo this fall when the Rachael Ray show highlights the city of Philadelphia. lol!

If you'd like to check it out here's the website: Ortlieb's Jazzhaus

April 4, 2008

Lemon Chicken And Rice

I'm all about easy, and often cheesy, meals.  It's pretty simple really, the quicker the food is done, the faster it's in my stomach.  This is one of those recipes that you can almost make blindfolded. Well not really, if you tried that you'd probably hurt yourself, but it is super easy.  I used Jasmine rice for this dish, but you could speed things up by using instant rice.

Lemon Chicken and Rice Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (cut into strips)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tblsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch (make sure it's GF)
  • 3/4 cup GF chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tblsp. lemon juice (can use concentrate)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cooked rice (or 3/4 cup uncooked instant rice)
  • 1/3 cup frozen peas
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional)

Cooking Instructions
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Throw in 1 cup of rice. Bring back to boil, then cover and lower heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  2. Toss the butter in a skillet and cook the chicken, onions, carrots, and garlic together.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, broth, lemon juice and salt together until smooth. Add the mixture to the skillet.
  4. Bring everything to a boil. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  5. Add and stir in rice and peas. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes
  6. Fluff it up and top with ground pepper (optional).
  7. Devour!


Just So You Know...

The information presented in this blog is intended to educate and entertainment. However, I'm not a medical expert.  I also do not know absolutely everything about Celiac Disease.  What I do know has been learned through trial and error, research, and what has been taught to me by friends who also share my food-related affliction.  Please take the time to do your own research about Celiac Disease and gluten-related issues.  I have a list of links to useful resources along the left-side of this blog. Also, feel free to cross-check my statements. If you find contrary information, please let me know. Thanks so much for visiting Trav's Gone Gluten Free!