Friday, January 28, 2011


French lentils are beautiful.

They have great olive and slate blue colors and the insides are a lighter green. They are the prettiest pulse. They also hold up the best during cooking - not that other lentils and daals aren't delicious, they just tend to be more creamy and these retain their saucer shape when simmered.

I feel foolish calling it a recipe, because its mostly a list of proportions, but you get the idea. Its sort of like giving a recipe for steamed rice. That said...

1 part lentils : 2+ parts liquid

1. In a sauce pot, heat a few teaspoons of oil over medium high heat.
2. Add in your lentils and stir around till all are coated in the oil.
3. Keep stirring for a minute or two.
4. Add in your stock/broth or water. (you seriously want to go with some flavorful broth)
I had 1 cup of lentils, so I added 2 cups of broth, plus a little extra. 
5. Add in a bay leaf and a few pinches of salt.
6. Simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes. Test a lentil for salt and texture. They should hold together but be soft through, not hard. If they are too firm, add a little more liquid and then cover and allow to steam.

During the last 2 minutes of cooking, I added a block of frozen spinach and served over rice.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Boston round table

If you are in the Boston Area and are looking for a group chat, all I can say is that Melinda is AWESOME and this looks pretty great.

Living with Celiac Disease: A Round-Table Discussion

Date: 2/10/2011
6:30PM - 7:30PM

Celiac Disease Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
East Campus, Dana 601
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston , MA 02215

This is the first date of our 2011 informal “Round Table” Discussions on living with celiac disease and the gluten free diet hosted by the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

This event is open to our patients and the public. It will be held in the Reisman Lecture Hall on the second floor of the Rabb Building.

Your questions will form the framework for the evening.

Bring your questions on diagnosis and screening, symptoms, manifestations of celiac disease, associated complications, novel advances in research, hidden gluten, nutrient needs, appropriate follow-up with your medical team, and anything else you’d like to ask.

The Q & A will be hosted by one or more of the following providers:

  • Ciaran Kelly, M.D., Medical Director
  • Daniel Leffler, MS, MD, Clinical Research Director
  • Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, Nutrition Coordinator

Registration is required and limited for this event. Please call in advance to confirm your seating. Significant others are welcome but, again, space is limited. We will call or email you back to confirm your space.

To register: Call 617-667-8186 or email mdennis@ and provide your full name, phone number, email, and number of people in your party.

There is no cost for this event. Regular parking fees apply to the lots surrounding the Medical Center.

Refreshments and samples of gluten free products will be served.

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Dr. Ciaran Kelly
Medical Director, Celiac Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

To learn more about the Celiac Center at BIDMC, please visit their website at: or on Twitter at!/bidmchealth

Cardamom Apple Muffins

Apple Cardamom Muffins
1 1/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup almond meal
1-2 tsp flax seed meal (optional)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (more would be nice)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
2 eggs
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups chopped apples

350F oven
1. Combine the dry ingredients, mix well, set aside.
2. Cream the butter and sugars.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time. Make sure each is well incorporated before adding the next one.
4. Alternate adding the dry ingredients into the mixture with the almond milk and vanilla - three additions is fine. Make sure to scrape down the bowl between each addition.
5. Fold in the apples.
6. Portion out into lined muffin tins.
7. Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. (Its a good idea to rotate the pans half way through baking if your oven heats unevenly. Lets face it, most do.)

These were good. The texture is light, the apples did not break down and are a nice sweet burst. The cardamom is pretty light, but I was afraid of overwhelming the muffin. Next time I will double it, or sub in 1 tsp of cinnamon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gluten Free Crackers Recipe

I will buy several gluten-free replacement foods, but crackers seem to be the biggest rip-off. Yes, I realize that non-gluten grains and ingredients cost more and usually require special equipment, but I can proudly say I am no longer in the market for $4 boxes of snacks.

This recipe is an adaptation of Elena's Pantry's Sesame Crackers. The biggest difference is that I changed the proportions, rolled them a lot thinner and swapped out sesame for caraway seeds - the little guys in rye bread and optional addition to Irish Soda Bread. The end product looks a bit like Wheat Thins, but the flavor is totally different. They are light, crisp and really caraway-y. It reminds me of eating pumpernickel toasted with butter after school. The only thing that was missing was some really sharp cheese to assist in the downing of these treats.

Caraway Crackers
1 egg
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt (plus more for sprinkling)
1 3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup caraway seeds

1. In a bowl, combine the egg, oil, salt and combine with a fork until the egg is broken up and the mixture is well combined.
2. Add in the meal and seeds. Mix well until it forms a dough and everything is wet.
3. Divide the dough in half. Roll 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper.*
4. With a pizza cutter or a knife, score the dough into squares - you are in charge of how big you want them. Sprinkle with salt. 
5. Bake at 350F for 6-10 minutes (depending on how thin you got your crackers), until the edges of the outer crackers begin to brown.
6. Allow the crackers to cool, then snap them apart. Store in an air-tight container.

*Parchment paper is not an option. You need it or several silpats to be able to rolls these out super thin and not have them stick. You cannot pick these up raw and transfer them to a cookie sheet, they will bunch up on you. (I tried, it failed)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

fried rice

Fried rice is quite possibly the best use of leftover food food. It works best with day-old rice (the rice dries out and will absorb the sauce better) and there is almost nothing you cannot add to the mix. (Ok so chocolate might not be the beside idea here, but you get where I am going.)

Last year, this Bittman adaptation of a Jean Jorge recipe changed the way I thought about what fried rice could be. Its light, delicate, fragrant and not overpowering. I ate way too much of it, thanks to the culinary marvels of my friend Alex who convinced me via making it with me of how wonderful this recipe is. (And how the extra step of toasting the garlic and ginger is a mild pain but TOTALLY worth it.)

So friendly readers, I sit here, desiring this recipe, but lacking half of the ingredients. But that is the beauty of fried rice... I can still make a killer dish, and just add in other ingredients.

Saute the garlic in oil, over low heat. This is going to go slow, but burnt garlic is nasty, so stay with me.

Once the garlic is golden brown, drain it and the oil out of the pan. Make sure you get all the bits of garlic off the bottom of the pan.

Return 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil into the pan and turn the heat up to HIGH. Saute each vegetable over high eat (one at a time works best). Scallions for less than a minute, then remove and set aside. Carrots for a few minutes, peas for less than a minute. You are going for super fast, high heat cooking (if you have a wok USE IT).

Once the veggies are removed, add another tablespoon of the garlic oil in the pot and over high heat saute the rice, stirring continuously. Remove the rice after 1-2 minutes and stir it in with the veggies.

Return the rice and veggies into the hot pan and drizzle with wheat free tamari and stir constantly until heated through. You can serve as is, or sprinkle a few drops of toasted sesame oil over the top.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

gluten free rugelach

My first encounter with rugelach was back in the 90s when I worked at a Barnes & Noble Cafe. Authentic, no; delicious, yes. The internet tells me that you can built them like a crescent roll, but I have always preferred the rolled-into-a-log and sliced type.

For this recipe, I modified two different gf versions and fuddled with the fillings. (Apricot is my hand's down-favorite, but I didn't have any on hand.) Cinnamon +sugar+walnuts is the classic; I did a version with almonds here. Prune is another standard; I mixed dried prunes with lingonberry jam to stretch the 10 I had into enough for these treats.

The results... far exceeded my expectations. The edges are crispy, the centers are soft, toothsome and the fillings stayed in side and did not ooze out all over the pan! The vanilla extract is not necessary, but was noticeably awesome with the cinnamon sugar version. I will be adding these to the "so good I could serve them to other humans and not have to disclose they are gluten free, but will, with joy and elation" list.

Gluten Free Rugelach
yields 20-24 cookies
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
2 tbsp arrowroot starch (or corn starch)
2 tsp xanthan gum
4 oz. cream cheese (half a package)
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tbsp)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg or 2 tbsp milk or cream for brushing tops
1 tbsp sugar for sprinkling

Prune Filling
10 prunes, chopped
2 tbsp lingonberry jam (use what you have folks)

Almond Filling
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp chopped almonds

1. In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients and pulse.
2. Cut the butter and cream cheese into chunks and one at a time, add them to the dry mixture, pulsing a few times between each chunk.
3. The dough is going to look weird and like it will never come together. It will, just wait and keep pulsing.
4. When it starts for form clumps, add in the vanilla extract, if you so choose. Keep pulsing till it forms a ball.
5. Remove the dough from the processor. Work it with your hands until it comes together. Separate it into two balls and refrigerate for 10-30 minutes.
Here is where you can mix up your fillings.
6. Roll out the dough, one ball at a time, until the dough is about 1/6" thick. Using parchment is key here, it will help in step 8.
7. Spread out the filling, leaving 3/4" of blank dough around the edges.
8. Slowly roll the dough on itself, keeping the roll as tight as possible. The parchment paper is super key here because the dough is really soft.
9. Repeat with second ball of dough and filling.
10. Place the rolls into the freezer for 10-20 minutes. This is key so you can slice the dough without squishing everything flat and spewing the middles out everywhere.
11. Remove the dough from the freezer and slice into 1" cookies.
12. With either a beaten egg, milk or cream, brush the tops of the cookies. Sprinkle with sugar or left over cinnamon sugar mixture.
13. Bake at 375F for 25-40 minutes (this is going to depend on how big your cookies are and how even your oven is). You are looking for browned tops and browned edges. The cookies will rise slightly and appear flaky on the top.
14. Cool and enjoy [with coffee].

Saturday, January 15, 2011

gluten free veggie burgers (first attempt)

Meat is expensive; good meat even more so. I have come to realization that I have yet to find a good, affordable source of meat in Maryland. There are several vendors at the farmer's markets, but they are cost prohibitive.

I have narrowed down my rules to the following: no antibiotics, all vegetarian feed, local when possible, cheap cuts over all others.

So this means, I am eating a lot less meat.
I am a recovering vegetarian. I spent a lot of time trying to make my body enjoy soy-based faux meats until I realized that soy = "bubbles" and displeasure for all. So, while there are good sources of vegetarian, gluten-free meat substitutes they are hella expensive. So I decided to take a stab at creating a veggie burger of my own. There are a ton of ingredients, and I think far from the best possible burger, but it was good enough to serve to a crowd of gluten eaters! Plus I made a ton extra to store in the freezer.

Veggie Burgers
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onion diced, ~2 cups
1 stalk celery diced, ~ 1/2 cup
2 large carrots diced, ~ 1 1/2 cups
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper
1 can beans drained
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup wheat free tamari
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
3 cups cooked millet
5 cloves roasted garlic
1 tsp garlic powder
1 cup gf bread crumbs
4 eggs
1 tsp agar agar (not sure this did anything)

I started all the veggies in the oil, then added the spices to toast them a bit.
 Then threw in the beans
 I pureed about half of the mixture with a stick blender.
 In goes the millet and quinoa
 Sunflower seeds, and then the remaining ingredients when it became clear they were not sticky enough, I added the eggs and breadcrumbs and more seasonings.
 With a well greased scoop, I began making the burgers

13 burgers and one loaf
 I half froze the burgers on wax paper and then cut and stacked them before storing them in the freezer

 I baked the loaf at 350F for about 40 minutes, or until it was totally brown and crispy on the edge.
The flavor was good, really good. It did crumble and fall apart a bit. I think it needs more breadcrumbs and/or beans to help hold it together a bit better.
Not a bad first try.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan 20 Coffee & Chocolate Tasting @ Qualia

If you missed the first espresso and chocolate tasting in December, fret not. We are doing it again next week!

Coffee and Chocolate Tasting at Qualia Coffee
January 20th @ 7pm
Call or sign-up in the store

Qualia Coffee
3917 Georgia Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

possible vegan pizza

I have been experimenting with creating a vegan pizza crust.
Things have been going better than expected.
More testing, then a recipe for sure.