Saturday, January 16, 2010

Best Ever Gluten-Free Buttermilk Cornmeal Waffles

Waffles at one. I woke up hungry, which is unusual for me. The morning clicked along, then about lunch time realized I was starving. As I checked into Facebook to see what was going on, my friend Kate, of Kate in the Kitchen food blog, posted a comment about waffles that was so good it inspired her cleaning crew to work. When I requested her superpower-waffle-recipe to kick start my weekend of cleaning, she promptly sent me the link. Within an hour, I was eating the best waffle I have ever eaten and I mean ever. Great texture, light and crisp. I finished my 8-inch waffle before my husband did, then I waffle-ironed us a second batch.

I adjusted the ingredients to create a gluten-free waffle. My gluten-free variation goes like this, and it's GOOD!


1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 cup polenta (stone-ground cornmeal)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 large farm fresh eggs
2 cups of buttermilk substitute: 1 cup Half&Half, 1 cup 2-percent milk, plus 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (shaken until foamy and set a side for 5-minutes)
6 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus a little oil for basting the waffle iron

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours and polenta baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  2. In another bowl or large jar, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk or buttermilk substitute and the oil.
  3. Add the liquid mixture all at once to the large bowl with the mixed dry ingredients and whisk until well-combined.
  4. Preheat waffle iron, and if you want to cook all the waffles and keep them warm until you serve them - preheat your oven to 200-degrees.
  5. Brush waffle iron lightly with a little oil.
  6. Ladle 1/2 cup of the waffle batter into an 8-inch waffle iron (1/4 cup for a 4-inch).
  7. The batter is thin enough it should quickly spread toward the edge. Cook according to the manufacturer's directions and how crisp you want your waffle. I like mine crispy (4.5).
  8. Transfer waffles to a baking sheet and keep warm on the middle rack, uncovered until ready to serve.
  9. Serve with butter or water-basted eggs and warm syrup.
Makes 6-8 8-inch waffles or 14-16 4-inch waffles.

For Christmas, we gave our daughter and granddaughter matching Mother & Daughter aprons. Here they are in our kitchen making waffle batter for our family breakfast together.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Polenta Stuffed Peppers with Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I love stuffed peppers. Our family recipe was my grandmother's, but this is not my grandmother's stuffed bell peppers. This vegetarian recipe is just as good, but meatless, takes less time to prepare and takes only 30 minutes to bake. I doubled the recipe for 4 large bell peppers and had only a cup of the creamy polenta mixture left over, which I can easily incorporate into another meal.

The recipe comes from my cooking course challenge cookbook The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein, on page114.


1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup marinated sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 tablespoon marinate reserved, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
3/4 cup polenta
1-3/4 cups (14-ounce) can of low-sodium vegetable broth, gluten-free
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, gluten-free
4 large bell peppers (about 8-ounces each), with the tops cut off, seeds and membranes removed

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees
  2. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet on medium heat and saute the onion until soft.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute, then stir in the sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. I added Mount Rose Herbs Mexican Seasoning to taste.
  5. In a medium stockpot, bring the broth and water to a boil over high heat.
  6. Slowly stir in the polenta with a long-handled wooden spoon.
  7. Reduce heat to low and stir in the tomato mixture.
  8. Cover and cook until the polenta is tender (about 15-minutes).
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.
  10. Pack the bell peppers with the polenta mixture.
  11. Place in a shallow glass baking dish and add enough water to the dish to measure 1/2 inch.
  12. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes or until set.
  13. Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese the last five minutes of cooking or when ready to serve.
Serves 4

Next time I make this dish, I think I will add browned, sliced mushrooms and corn kernels (or adjust the liquids to add creamed corn).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Spiced Basmatic Rice Pilaf

Where did the day go? I looked up from my computer and it was pitch black outside. I planned on making this dish tonight, but I wanted to whip up something quick.

My solution for "quick" was to streamline the cooking time of this recipe by using the two cups of cooked rice I had in the refrigerator, albeit brown rice. I cut the spice quantities in half and added only enough vegetable stock to rehydrate the rice. While I was sauteing the onion, garlic and red pepper (extra ingredient) in my wok and was mixing in the other ingredients, cauliflower was cooking in my vegetable steamer and served on the side (an option would be to toss bite-size pieces of the steamed cauliflower with the rice). We ate in about 20-minutes. Simple, tasty, satisfying and nutritious!

This recipes comes from my challenge cookbook The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein on page 120.


2 tablespoons canola oil ( I used olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups basmati rice (I used brown rice and it was very good)
2 teaspoons cumin seed (I used cumin powder)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon chili powder, gluten-free
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, gluten-free
1-1/2 cups frozen peas


  1. In a deep-sided non-stick skillet (or wok) with a lid, heat oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onions and stir for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for 1 minute.
  3. Add the rice, cumin, turmeric and chili powder, stirring for 1 minute.
  4. Add the broth, peas, salt and pepper. ( I prefer adding the peas just before serving so they are warmed through and green).
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to simmer and cover for 15 minutes or until the rice has absorbed the liquid.
  6. Fluff the rice and serve hot.
Serves 4-8

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Egg-Free, Gluten-Free Zucchini Lasagna

My poor husband arrived home early from work, sick with a miserable cold. I made him a warm cup of apple cider vinegar and honey for his cold, and just served him up a plate of homemade zucchini lasagna for his tummy. That ought to make him feel a little better.

The recipe is from my challenge cookbook The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Cook by Donna Klein, on page 130.

If you are hoping to drop a few pounds this winter, as I am, then recipes that are satisfying, nutritious and lower in calories are the ticket. Klein's lasagna recipe is egg, gluten and pasta free!

Reserve 4 large zucchini from your garden or when shopping at your local produce stand or market, pick up four (4) 7-8 ounce organic zucchinis. If you have the time to make your own spaghetti sauce, all the better.

Because there are neither eggs nor pasta to thicken this dish, the lasagna has more of a soupy consistency, but also more flavor. I recommending serving it up in individual pasta bowls.


4 zucchini, unpeeled, trimmed and cut into 1/8 inch lengthwise slices
1 cup non-fat ricotta cheese, gluten-free
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese, gluten-free
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
26-ounce jar of pasta sauce (preferably tomato basil)
8 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella, gluten-free
1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese, gluten-free

  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees.
  2. Fill stock pot with water and bring to a boil.
  3. Lightly oil a 13x9 baking dish.
  4. Add zucchini to the boiling water and cook 2-3 minutes. Drain and set aside on paper towels to dry.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta and cottage cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper.
  6. In another bowl mix together the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
  7. Make layers in the baking dish in this order: 1/3 of the zucchini, half of the pasta sauce, 1/3 of the zucchini, all of the ricotta and cottage cheese mixture, half of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese mixture, the remaining 1/3 zucchini, the remaining pasta sauce, and top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan mixture.
  8. Cover with a lid or an oiled piece of foil (use wax paper first, if the cover will touch the top of the lasagna).
  9. Bake covered for 35-minutes and uncovered for an additional 7-10 minutes.
  10. I recommend finish the cooking time by leaving the lasagna under the broiler for 3 minutes.
  11. Let rest 10-minutes, before cutting and serving in pasta bowls.
Serves 6

Note: Klein's recipe is ideal for serving during summer zucchini harvest time. She says you can prepare this dish 24 hours in advance and refrigerate. If you do, add 15 more minutes to the cooking time.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Focaccia-Pizza Crust, Gluten-Free

My friend Gina shared a recipe with me last week for Bette Hagman's gluten-free crust for either focaccia or pizza. Bette Hagman authored The Gluten-Free Gourmet: Living Well without Wheat.


First, mix together in a bowl and set aside:
2 teaspoons sugar
1 cup of lukewarm water
1 packet of 2-1/4 teaspoons yeast

Next, whisk together the following dry ingredients, and set aside:
1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1-1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 tablespoon minced onion (use dehydrated for more flavor)
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1-3 tablespoons olive oil, divided (1 for the dough, two more for the top of a focaccia)

  1. In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, blend the egg, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the yeast-water.
  2. Add the flour mixture and beat on high for 2 minutes. The mixture with be frothy.
  3. Spoon and spread the thin dough into whatever disk or rectangular shape that works best for you on a lightly-oiled baking sheet or a silicone baking mat (my preference).
  4. For making focaccia, drizzle the dough with the remaining oil, plus a dash of onion salt. Add more Parmesan cheese, if desired.
  5. For pizza crust, leave plain and cover with greased plastic and let rise for 20-25 minutes, if cooking with rapid-rising yeast; 45 minutes for regular yeast.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 12-25 minutes or until the crust is firm and lightly brown.
  7. At this point, you can either freeze the crust or add toppings and put the pizza back into the oven to heat through and melt the cheese.

Here is the list of the toppings I put on our pizza this evening, in order of layers:
  1. I slathered the freshly-made pesto, which I purchased from Marche Provisions, over the top of the hot crust.
  2. Scattered 1-1/2 cups of a shredded cheese (mozzarella and/or cheddar) over the pesto.
  3. Ladled over the cheese a medley of vegetables I had sauteed in a little olive oil: mushrooms, fresh red bell pepper, home-dehydrated green bell peppers and zucchinis, sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced white onion, marinated artichoke hearts cut into bite-size pieces with a teaspoon of Caribbean seasoning by Mountain Rose Herbs.
  4. Heated through until the cheese melted and the edges of the crust were crispy, and served with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and red chili pepper (optional).

Thank you Gina! And my husband thanks you, too. We decide that this was the best pizza we've ever eaten.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Gluten-Free Salmon Cakes or Burgers

Salmon Cakes can either be grilled and served on a burger bun, on a bed of lettuce tossed with a light vinaigrette or like I did this evening, simply served with a dollop of tartar sauce, steamed brown rice and half an artichoke.


3/4 to a 1 pound salmon fillet, boned and the skin removed
1/4 white or red onion, finely chopped
1-1/2 teaspoons capers, whole or chopped
1 egg, whisked
1 cup rice flour or fine gluten-free rice bread crumbs (panko bread crumbs for those without gluten-intolerance)
Season to taste with salt and pepper or Salt Substitute Homemade Herb Blend
Olive oil for cooking on the stove-top.

  1. Rinse and pat the salmon dry, then mince.
  2. In a bowl, to the whisked egg, add the diced onion, capers, salmon and seasoning and mixed until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add either the panko or gluten-free rice bread crumbs or rice flour and shape into patties and press.
  4. Cook on a hot grill or in a pan with olive oil for 2-3 minutes each side, or bake in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes.
Serves 2 (Yields 4 Salmon Cakes)

Food Rules

Michael Pollan shares his rules for healthy living. Rule 1: "Eat food and avoid edible food-like substances". Food Rules - An Eater's Manual

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan wants Americans to recognize that cheap food comes with a high cost to their health and the environment. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Book Description:

A pocket compendium of food wisdom-from the author of The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food

Michael Pollan, our nation's most trusted resource for food-related issues, offers this indispensible guide for anyone concerned about health and food. Simple, sensible, and easy to use, Food Rules is a set of memorable rules for eating wisely, many drawn from a variety of ethnic or cultural traditions. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat-buffet, this handy, pocket-size resource is the perfect guide for anyone who would like to become more mindful of the food we eat. BetterWorldBooks

Monday, January 4, 2010

Rawsome! Vegetable Kabobs

So, I'm experimenting with our new dehydrator and recipes from Rawsome! - Maximzing Health, Energy, and Culinary Delight with the Raw Foods Diet by Brigitte Mars.

Twenty Vegetable Kebobs and twelve hours later, we successfully marinated and dehydrated our entree for lunch for three this afternoon, this evening's meal for two with leftovers for another lunch for one. The cookbook author claims that her kebobs are " So delicious - the mushrooms will satisfy even a meat-eater's cravings" (page 210). I have to agree. The marinated, dehydrated kebobs, especially the mushrooms, are "meaty," tasty and filling.


1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 small zucchini, cubed (I sliced into rounds)
1 box of 36 cherry tomatoes (I cut up red bell peppers)
24 shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup Nama Shoyu (I used gluten-free tamarind)
3 dates, soaked for 20 minutes
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh rosemary

  1. Place the vegetables in a shallow glass pan.
  2. Combine the oil, tamari and dates in a blender until mixed.
  3. Stir the rosemary into the mixture.
  4. Pour the sauce over the medley of vegetables and let marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  5. Thread the vegetables on skewers and set them on solid dehydrator sheets.
  6. Pour the leftover marinade over the skewered vegetables and dehydrate for 12 hours at 125-degrees (according to dehydrator directions).
Yields: 20 Kebobs

Serve with rice.

Despite the fact that we didn't have solid dehydrator sheets on hand, therefore unable to pour the extra marinade over the skewered vegetables, the kebobs were chewy and flavorful. I think they would have turned out even better if we had been able to use the extra marinade. Next time. To serve the kebobs right away, I would suggest only dehydrating for 8-10 hours, so they are more plump.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolution - Eat Less, Walk More

Walk along with our Erickson-Bisch shadows as we chat about our New Year's Resolution to eat less, walk more. Drop in on a short segment of our conversation as we walk 3.5 miles through King Estate's vineyard on a beautiful, crisp January 3, 2010 afternoon. Wait for the winery to come into view.

If you don't own a pedometer, I highly recommend you get one and start walking with us. Read the stickK Experts Word on Getting from Resolution to Real Change and visit Wonders of Walking for inspiration. I took a 12-week contract out on myself last year with stickK to exercise/walk 3 or more times a week. My daughter was my referee. If I didn't met my weekly goals, I set up my contract commitment to send money from my checking account to a non-profit I did not want to support... if I failed. Worked like a charm; I met every goal for 12 weeks. I just renewed my commitment for 2010.

A note about weight control: While at the used bookstore the other day, I picked up a 10-year old booklet Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar, which happened to be sitting on top of a pile of books I was passing by between bookshelves. An odd coincidence, as earlier in the week I was thinking about adding cider vinegar to my daily regime to aid digestion and weight control.

The recommendation is to drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water before each meal to melt away excess pounds. The author Earl L. Mindell claims that it works, although no one really knows why. He suggests that it either (1) really does burn calories, (2) takes the edge off of the appetite or (3) just fills the stomach. No matter what the science proves to be, the effect is the same - weight loss. I'm willing to give it a try, besides, apple cider is known to have many curative benefits to our health... to numerous to mention here, but there are many publications and online resources out there dedicated to the subject of apple cider vinegar.

If you are thinking about adding another cookbook to your library, I recommend The Sustainable Kitchen published in 2004 by Stu Stein, Mary Hinds and Judith H. Dern to share their passionate cooking inspired by local and regional farms, forests and oceans. At one time, Stu Stein was the executive chef at King Estate Winery.

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Day-After South African Dried Fruit Curry

Looking forward to the new year? I am mostly filled with high expectations seasoned with bit of fear and trepidation... probably a healthy mix.

I don't know about you, but I had a lot of thoughts rumbling about in my head, right from the get go. So, I began the first day of 2010 writing New Year's resolutions, before I got out of bed. Done. Next, I hit the scales for the harsh reality check - gained 5 pounds during the holiday-months. Ouch! I already had the solution to that problem worked into my list. I will have to take another stickK contract out on my self.

We enjoyed having family with us most the day, but didn't fit in the walk we planned. However, my backup plan is to get in some yoga and stretches before returning to the comfort of my bed to review my outline of resolutions for the year and add a few more that came to mind as the day progressed. I'm determined to hold myself accountable by scheduling time slots on my Google calendar, but that's tomorrow's task.

Anyway, this evening we dined on Himalayan red rice, lightly-steamed brocollini and pan-seared halibut with fresh-squeezed lemon, dill and capers... a simple but delicious meal prepared by my husband, who happens to be an excellent cook! Notice the missing wine glass. One of my New Year's resolutions: No Wining = fewer calories = svelte figure. Right?

What about the South African Dried Fruit Curry? Thank you for your patience. Keep reading.

But, first let me digress. Our Christmas present to each other was the Excalibur 9-Tray Dehydrator. It arrived a few days ago, and this weekend we are putting it to use. I will be posting the outcomes of some of our forays into the world of dried foods this year.

This past fall we began incorporating more raw foods into our meals. I quickly discovered while perusing raw foods cookbooks that many of the best and most interesting dishes involved dehydrating certain raw foods and dishes anywhere from 4 t0 12 between 95 and 155 degrees.

Our first, test batch of kiwi, pear, apple and banana was dehydrated for 12 hours at 130-degrees with out any pretreatment, dipping or blanching. Loaded with flavor and chewy.

I will be using home-dehydrated foods in cooked dishes, as well.

A few weeks ago, while attending a house concert, I reconnected with a friend I haven't spoken to or seen since 1976. Neither of us could believe it! While catching up, I reminded Pamela of the amazing recipes she shared with me. I came across one of her recipes just today while looking through a recipe album of mine from the early '80's with my youngest daughter. South African Dried Fruit Curry. I'm going to make this dish tomorrow with store-bought dried fruits, but the next time I make it, I will be using my own dehydrated fruits. I'm excited about the possibilities and the added nutritional benefits of adding a dehydrator as a kitchen appliance.

South African Dried Fruit Curry


1 cup dried apples
1/2 cup dried pitted prunes
1/2 cup raisins
1-1/2 cups water
1-1/2 pounds cubed lamb or beef (I am making this dish with tofu (prefer tempeh)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup onions, minced
2 tablespoons Madras curry
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped
2 bananas, sliced

  1. Combine dried fruits and soak in water for 1 hour or so.
  2. Pat meat dry and sprinkle with salt. Brown evenly in hot oil, then set aside.
  3. Brown onions in 2 tablespoons of meat fat or oil.
  4. Reduce heat to low and add the curry. Stir 2 minutes.
  5. Add the meat with accumulated juices (or add tempeh later).
  6. Stir in the fruit and its water, vinegar and lemon juice.
  7. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low.
  8. Partially cover and let simmer for about 1 hour or until meat is tender when pierced OR when cooked through, add the tofu or tempeh.
  9. Add water, if necessary. When done, most of the liquid should be cooked away.
  10. Mound the curry on a platter on a bed of steamed rice.
  11. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and arrange the bananas around the curry.
Enjoy! Serves 4-6.