February 26, 2009

Gluten Free Country Chicken Bake

Only one more day until Spring Break begins!  Boy do I need it!  Even though I'll probably end up using the week to catch up on neglected class-work, it'll be nice to sleep in every day, and not have a set schedule to adhere to.  One IRB down and another to go... research is a total pain in the arse!  I don't know why, but I love conducting research, so it's all worth it.

With that said, I'm getting more excited every day about my upcoming trip to Chongqing, China.  I've just met the Chinese History professor that will be accompanying us. She has been to Chongqing before, and knows how to get around. On top of that, she speaks fluid Mandarin!  I totally plan on asking her help in finding great gluten-free eats throughout the city.  In particular, I'm on the hunt for back-alley street food joints seldom visited by foreign visitors. 

Although I've been super-busy, I've been cooking a lot in order to have the necessary leftovers needed for hurried lunches and dinners, squeezed in while working on my endless projects. This dish didn't last long after I made it.  There was one day that I ate this for lunch and dinner, and then again the next morning for breakfast!  I know that would probably be out of the question for many, but something about the broth was just so darn comforting that I couldn't get enough!  You're going to love this:)

  • 2 tblsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 chicken quarters
  • 1 pound small whole onions, peeled (I found them in the frozen vegetable section)
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 14oz. can red kidney beans
  • 4 small tomatoes, quartered (or 1  16oz-ish can diced tomatoes)
  • 1 cup chicken stock (make sure it's GF - I used Pacific Natural Foods)
  • 4 tblsp. fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used parmesan and mozzarella)

Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a flame-safe casserole dish (or heavy all-metal pan) and fry the chicken quarters, two at a time, until golden. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Add the onions and fry, stirring occasionally, until golden. Add the celery and fry for 2-3 minutes. 
  4. Return the chicken to the pan, then mix in the beans, tomatoes, broth, 1/2 the parsley, salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the paprika.
  5. Cover and cook in your preheated oven until the chicken juices run clean when forked. 
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with your choice of shredded cheese and top with remaining parsley. 
  7. Return to oven, uncovered, and bake for an additional 12 minutes, or until crispy and golden.
  8. Remove, serve immediately and enjoy!

February 20, 2009

No-Bake Gluten Free Cocoa Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Try to say that title 5 times fast:)  I love these cookies!!!  These cookies have been a part of my life for a long time. I think the first time I had these I was 7 years old. I watched my Aunt Vic mixing the ingredients together in a cast-iron bowl on an antique wooden stove.  The smell of the bubbling chocolate potion was maddening. I remember salivating as she ladled the gooey dough onto wax sheets to cool.  I must have eaten a dozen at least! I think I eventually crawled off to some dark corner, uncomfortably intoxicated with sugar, and drifted into a narcotic coma.

Afterwards I begged my mom to get the recipe. Throughout the years as I grew older, these cookies continued to make their presence felt. Looking back, and knowing how much sugar goes into these, I can understand why my mom didn't make them as much as I would have liked; these are the antithesis of diet food:)  But they are soooooo worth it! 

I've been craving these lately for some reason. This is actually the first time I've made them myself. Knowing my weakness with these little drops of evilness, I strategically cooked up a batch the night before a case conference where I intern. That way, I could spread out the sugar, and avoid putting myself into some kind of diabetic coma. They didn't last long, but I kept a little stash for myself.  Actually, I'm going to get one right now...

Oh yeah        these rock!


Cookie Ingredients
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. all natural vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp. cocoa 
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups oats (I used Bob's Red Mill GF Whole Grain Rolled Oats)

The Process
  1. In a medium saucepan, throw together all the ingredients except the peanut butter and oats. 
  2. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and throw in the peanut butter and oats. Stir it up good.
  4. Clear your countertop or kitchen table, and rip off a couple long sheets of wax or parchment paper.  
  5. Using a 1" ice cream scooper, or a spoon, drop the warm mixture onto the sheets about 3 inches apart.
  6. Let cool for about 20 minutes. 
  7. Devour! 

February 15, 2009

Gluten Free Tuna Salad With Black-Eyed Beans and Apples

Mindy and I just returned from a walk through Swarthmore Forest after a nice breakfast at the Coffee Corner in Morton.  This morning we both woke up early, but felt completely rested.  Sleep deprivation has been the norm lately, so having a couple nights of good sleep over the weekend are necessary for survival.  Last night I locked our cat Loki in the basement (along with his food and water) so that he wouldn't wake us up throughout the night with constant reports on who knows what?!  I felt a little bad, but our basement is fully carpeted and has everything he needs.  I'm glad I did though, since I feel more rested today than I have in weeks.

In just a few hours we are going to our much anticipated, deep-tissue massage appointment.  We both love going to the massage therapist.  I just wish it wasn't so expensive.  When we lived in China, massage was so cheap that you could go twice a week and think nothing of it. Things are a bit different here in the US. Although massage has tons of health benefits, it's considered a luxury. In China, it's viewed as an important path to being healthy.  I can't wait for my trip to Chongqing, I'll be getting foot rubs every other day!:)

So.... completely switching gears.  This tuna salad was the first dish I served to my friends, Joy and Jason, when they came to visit last Friday evening.  When I found this recipe in the book: PORTUGUESE FOOD & COOKING, I thought the mix of ingredients were a bit bizarre.  I never thought of mixing apples with beans and tuna before.  In fact, I was a bit hesitant to make it since I couldn't imagine such an eclectic mix of flavors working well.  Boy was I wrong!  This salad was a big hit!  We all loved it.  It tasted fresh, earthy, and completely healthy.  The best thing about this recipe is how easy it was to make.  I guarantee you'll be surprised at how good this is:)

  • 1 apple (cored and thinly sliced)
  • 8 1/2 oz. of tuna, drained
  • 1 can of black-eyed beans (peas), drained and rinsed well
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 6 tbsp. quality olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

  1. Mix the sliced apple, tuna, beans, onion and parsley in a salad bowl and mix gently.
  2. Whisk together the olive oil and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, then pour over the salad. Toss and serve.
  3. I told you it was easy! Get ready for some good eating!

February 11, 2009

Gluten Free Cranachan

What a beautiful day! I just finished walking around Swarthmore College with my friend Erika, the sun is out, it's about 62 degrees, and I'm sitting at my front-yard patio table.  I only wish I didn't have to go to work and to night class.  When I woke up the first thing on my mind was to go skateboarding at Havertown Skatepark, but although it was warm out, everything was still wet.  Now everything is drying up and I have to go to work. Booo!  However, tomorrow looks promising, so I plan on getting up and heading to the park first thing in the morning.

Weather in Philadelphia is so weird. Just a few days ago it was nasty and freezing, and now it feels like late Spring.  Not that I'm complaining though, since all the people I grew up with in Upstate New York will likely have to wait months before decent weather rolls in.

Last Friday our friends Joy and Jason came over for a dinner party.  They brought the booze and I provided the food.  I ended up making a  three course meal.  This is the desert I made. It was awesome!! The appetizer salad I made was kickin too, so I'll be sure to post what I made for my next entry, but I just had to share this recipe first.  It calls for the use of whisky or bourbon.  I'm sure you could just use apple cider/juice and honey instead of liquor, but what fun would that be?  Although it looks complicated, this desert is really easy to make, and is completely delicious! 

This is what I found out through a little bit of research: Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert. It's usually made from a mixture of whipped cream, whisky, honey and fresh raspberries mixed with toasted oatmeal.  Cranachan was originally a summer dish consumed around harvest-time. However, it's now likely to be served year round during special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and especially weddings.

Cranachan Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. whisky or bourbon 
  • 3/4 cup oatmeal (make sure it's certified gluten free!)
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • splash of water

Cooking Directions
  1. Add the honey and whisky together in a small pan. Heat the mixture on low, stirring frequently, until warmed through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat the broiler. Spread the oatmeal in a shallow layer in a grill pan and toast. Stir occasionally, making sure not to burn the oatmeal (which is very easy to do!). Remove from broiler once browned. Set aside to cool.
  3. Using a hand-held electric mixer, whip the heavy cream in a large bowl until soft peaks form, then gently fold in the oatmeal and the honey/whisky mixture. Mix until well combined. 
  4. Put a small handful of raspberries aside and begin layering your glasses or small bowls with alternating layers of raspberries and the cream mixture. Top with raspberries for decoration.
  5. Smash up the remaining raspberries in a small cup with a splash of water and the sugar until saucy. Dribble this raspberry sauce over the prepared Cranachan and then place in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  6. Serve it up and enjoy every bite. You'll love it!

Serves 4

February 5, 2009

Gluten Free Herbed Mushroom Macaroni and Cheese

It finally looks like winter in Philadelphia.  I've been here for over three years now, and this is the first winter that actually feels like one.  Even though it's cold, I've been enjoying it through winter hikes, sliding across frozen streams, and purposefully fishtailing around in my truck.  With that said I can't wait till it warms up a little; at least past freezing anyways.

I'm getting more and more amped about the research/education trip I'll be making to Chongqing this upcoming May.  The prep work leading up to it is a bit overwhelming, but I'm sure everything will work out in the end.  Being that I have to eat gluten free, I'll be taking along a couple handy dandy Chinese GF translation cards with me, as well as some activated charcoal tablets and a couple bottles of Glutenease or Glutenzyte.  Activated charcoal is said to help remove gluten molecules from your intestinal lining.  I've used it a few times after accidentally eating something laced with gluten and have had good results.  I've never used Glutenease or Glutenzyte, but I've read good reviews. You're instructed to take them before eating anything that might contain gluten in order to lessen any negative effects. It's worth a try:)  

I've lived in China, so I know that if I'm careful and adventurous, I'll be able to find great gluten free food all over the place.  Even if I have to stick to flame grilled meat-kabobs, fire roasted yams, and squids on sticks, I'm sure I'll be fine! Either way I'll be documenting my epicuian adventures throughout May:)  

Speaking of tasty adventures, this mac-n-cheese recipe is awesome!  The mushrooms and thyme give it an amazing earthy aroma, and the dijon mustard adds a unique bite.  Even though I charred the pine nuts a little, this still turned out to be some of the best mac-n-cheese I've had.  


Cooking Directions
  1. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to a boil and cook macaroni until al dente.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a heavy pan.  Add the mushrooms and thyme. Cover and cook over low heat for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the GF flour and remove from heat.  Add the chicken base and continuously stir until completely blended.  
  4. Stir in the milk a little at a time, mixing after each addition. 
  5. Add the celery salt, Dijon mustard, Cheddar cheese, and season with salt and pepper.  Stir to combine will, then simmer for about 1-2 minutes, continuously stirring until the sauce thickens.
  6. Preheat the broiler to medium heat. Drain the macaroni well and toss it into the sauce. Mix it up and transfer to a baking dish.
  7. Top it off with the grated Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.  Broil it until brown and bubbly. Be careful not to burn the pine nuts like I did!
  8. Chow down!!!


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!