Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our first Gluten Free, Casein Free Thanksgiving Dinner

As a child I must admit, that I LOVED the Salisbury Dinner and chicken pot pie. It was a big deal when my mom would stock these in our freezer.

 I cannot even begin to imagine heating these puppies up and passing them off for dinner. Things have changed~ for the better. :0)

2010 was our first Thanksgiving dinner that was gluten-free and casein-free. I got to tell ya, it was a piece of cake. I found it no different than any other meal we usually prepare just more dishes than I usually serve for one meal. We are at the end of our 6 months of eating GFCF. I was so surprised how easy it was to convert our favorite recipes. I must confess that I did make a gluten stuffing for my husband and myself.

As we prepared dinner we learned a few things along the way. My oldest is great at baking. She taught her self how to make pie crust and pumpkin pie from scratch. Jeff made GFCF turkey gravy and found out he liked it. :0)

The Thanksgiving bounty for our family table must have been good or ye Indians were starving! (See ad to the left.) Maybe a little of both, who knows.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Uchiki kuri

Readers hold onto your spoons! 
In October the children visited several grocery stores in search of the "Great Pumpkin". Much to their dismay none were to be found. There was a shortage of pumpkins due to the large amount of rain we had over the summer. SO, the children brought home a selection of gourds and squashes. In hopes that we could create something acceptable for our lack of pumpkins. In the end, I ended up using electrical pumpkins to decorate the outside. It would have looked spookier with real pumpkin but it still looked good.

One of the squash was called a Uchiki Kuri, Orange Hokkaido also known as Japanese squash. It's season runs from September to December. The outer skin is tougher than pumpkin. The flesh is a beautiful orange with huge seeds. The seeds have an outer coating that has been refereed to "a likeness to dragons skin"! To me it looked like a cross between a pumpkin seed and corn pops cereal. The flesh tastes sweet and nutty raw. The oldest said that it is the most unusual squash she had ever tasted raw, and it is good.

I baked the squash at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. The skin was brownish in spots, soft and easy to peel. I then mashed the squash, added 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance, and 4 tablespoons of brown sugar. Oh my golly, Oh my golly was it good. I could so see using this instead of pumpkin for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!

 According to my research, the taste of the squash is very similar to chestnuts. I have never tasted chestnuts but if this is anything near it then I definitely would love to roast some over an open fire and find out! Very easy to cook, very versatile and even the pickiest eater loved it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

World's EASIEST Carrot Soup

 Yesterday our family was blessed with a little "sunshine", 3 lbs of organic carrots! I could envision these lovely carrots being made into muffins, and possibly a carrot cake for Thanksgiving. As the day grew colder my taste buds were craving soup.

 I have never made or tasted carrot soup. But the more I thought about it the more I liked the idea of a lovely carrot soup with ginger and brown sugar.

My oldest suggested a savory rather than sweet soup. It would compliment the apple slices, cheese (daiya cheese CF and Tillamook medium cheddar cheese for those not CF) and cornbread. This turned out to be the EASIEST soup I have ever made!

My mind has been a blur thinking of other ways to serve this dish. It is like a blank canvas. To make it hardier pairing the carrots with sweet, white or red potatoes,  coconut milk, ginger and a hint of brown sugar for a garnish, southwestern with chipotle, corn and red peppers, or serving it in the summer as a chilled soup with lime or mint.

This would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving dinner.

Carrot Soup

3 lbs of carrots
Cold Water or vegetable stock
Sea Salt
Milk Substitute (optional)
Seasonings (optional)

Scrub carrots, slice and place in soup pot. Do Not peel carrots. Add just enough cold water to cover carrots. Add sea salt. Cook carrot for 15-20 minutes until fork tender. Do not drain. If you have an immersion blender blend until smooth. Other wise place in blender and puree.

At this point if you would like to serve creamy now would be the time to add your milk substitute, slowly until soup reaches the consistency of your choice.

I used cumin, a touch more sea salt and black pepper. I sauteed a sweet onion and garlic to add but decided it wasn't necessary. Don't worry they did not go to waste, the kids ate them on the side!

**If you have opted for a thicker soup, you can place a 1/4 tsp tsp of milk substitute to the top. Drag a tooth pick through the milk to create a cool design.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cooking for Isaiah~ Book review

I have been hoarding a library book. I love it and I do not want to return it! I hold it right up there with Bette Hagman's books. A lot of the cookbooks I have read are so complicated. You first must use "their flour" blend before you start the recipe. I want something I can use of my own and follow along. Cooking with Isaiah's recipes are simple and delish! I love her breakfast recipes and Isaiah's hot cocoa. There are so many of her dishes that I have added to my recipe list.

You can find more recipes on Sylvia's blog Dish Towel diaries. My next recipe to try is Mini-Mac and Cheese Cake. What a great idea for school lunches and keeping in the freezer for a quick meal. I am always amazed when someone comes up with a simply genius idea. :0)

No doubt this will be on my Christmas Wish list. If I had to rate it certainly would be in top 5 list.