Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gluten free girl and the chef~ A love story

The timing could not have been better. For the last week I have been fighting bacterial pneumonia. I think I have watched every lifetime, AMC, TBS, on demand and our private collection on movies to fill my quota for the next 5 years. My brain is numb.

My husband to the rescue! My copy of Shauna James and Daniel Ahern's book GF Girl and the Chef cookbook came in at the library. I must say that I have been so looking forward to reading this book. I adored her first book! The recipes look divine and the photography is lovely. My heart melted when I saw her dedication to her daughter Lucy thanking her for joining them at the table. :0)

Her style of writing makes it feel as if you have pulled up a stool in her kitchen and she is talking one on one with you.  This is not your typical GF cookbook. She does not dwell on the fact that she is cooking GF, what GF folks cannot eat and nor does she treat the reader as a novice GF cook.
Her recipes range from simple to delish. If you would like a wonderful read that will make your mouth water and your tummy grumble than this is the book for you!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Cake Mix Dr bakes gf

Last night was gf girls night out, a first! The oldest and youngest daughters went with me to my first ever book signing, Cake Mix Dr. Bakes Gluten Free.
First and for most author, Anne Byrn is a wonderful example of a Southern woman! She loves to cook and has been writing about Elvis and food for more than 30 years. She has authored 7 books, with her newest book her first on GF. Her recipes are not casein free. Most can easily be adapted. She does make references in her book of alternative milk substitutes. 

     "Now comes sweet news for people on gluten-free diets. They can bake their cake and eat          it, too. Anne Byrn shows how to transform gluten-free cake mixes into rich, decadent, easy-to-make, impossible-to-resist desserts. Performing the magic that’s made her a best-selling baking author with more than 3.3 million copies of her books in print, she doctors mixes with additions like almond extract, fresh berries, cocoa powder, grated coconut, cinnamon, lime zest, and more – naturally, all gluten-free ingredients. Dessert is back on the menu." Quoted from her website.

peanut butter cookies
At Anne's booking signing, I had the opportunity to sample her peanut butter cookies and lemon bars. The lemon bars were moist, awesome lemon flavor and great texture. The peanut butter cookies were good. I think making them with crunchy peanut butter would knock them out of the park. In general I do not like crunchy peanut butter but occasionally in cookies.
Lemon Squares
I am looking forward to creating some wonderful yummy goodness for my family. Will let you know in a future post some of my favorites.
May you table be bountiful~ blair

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Port O' Bella Soup

Rustic Lentil Soup with Kale @ Food Connections.com
For a week now I have been in the mood to make my girl friend April"s Super Easy Vegetable Casserole but I have not had the right ingredients on hand. Today I found Rustic Lentil Soup with Kale at Food Connections. Now I wanted to eat both. 
Hmmm, I think it could have also been because of my failed attempt at mushroom soup last night. Well it really was not a failed attempt. It just did not turn out as I had hoped. I had frozen a gallon of sauted mushrooms. I thawed these slowly adding sea salt, black pepper, parley, basil, oregano, chipotle, and gran marsala. I sauted garlic and onion. Mix the sauted garlic and onion into the mushrooms. I pureed everything together adding a can of chicken stock and a little olive oil. Brought it to a light boil. The problem was it was exceptionally thick, almost like a paste. I served the soup over white rice. Joseph loved it. Anything mushroom and he could eat his weight. :0)

Porta Bella Mushrooms

This afternoon I got to thinking about the porta bella mushrooms I got yesterday and how disappointed I was in last nights soup. Then I stumbled upon Debra's recipe. As I started to lay out items April''s recipe kept coming to mind. So I added a little from April and a little from Debra. Voila!

Look at those beautiful colors!

I LOVE the smell of carrots cooking, yum!

No kale on hand so I used mustard green. Such vibrant color.
My younger daughter who does not like mushrooms told me this was one of my best soup's yet. WOW! The youngest daughter said that she was hanging on the fence even though her's did not have lentils as she "cannot stand them" and I had picked out all the mushrooms. Jeff thought it was "very good". I must admit it was really good. I hope that you enjoy this as much as we did. From prep to completion dinner was ready in less than 45 minutes. I will definitely be adding this to the menu rotation.

Sliced oranges were a lovely side dish.
Port O' Bella Soup 

7-8 C of water
6-8 porta bella mushrooms
4 small yams (I used red skin)
4 small red potatoes
4 carrots
1 red pepper
3 Tbsp garlic powder or several cloves of fresh
4 Tbsp dried parsley
1 Tbsp black pepper
1/2 tsp smoked chipotle
1 bag of lentils
1 bunch greens (I used mustard)
1 C of red wine (* See note below)
An hour before you plan to start cooking, rinse and soak lentils. Soak for 1 hour. If you have more time 2 hours works. You can also soak lentils the night before, drain and refrigerate.  Cover with cold water until it's an inch above lentils. Bring lentils to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cooking for 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat.

While lentils are cooking gently scrap black gills from the porta bella mushrooms, removing stems. Chop mushrooms into chunks. Dry pan fry mushrooms (*See note below) and set aside. 

Bring water to boil. Add herbs, chopped potatoes and the greens stems to boiling water. Saute chopped red pepper, carrots, and garlic if using fresh. Adding to the boiling mixture after 15 minutes the mushrooms, red peppers, carrots and garlic.  During the last 5 minutes add greens.

Serve soup over lentils. If added to vegetables it will thicken soup too much. 

* Please Note: A quick dry-heat cooking method using a pan on a stove top. No oil is used and the pan is uncovered. 

* Note on Wine: Debra recommends adding a 1 C of port to her lentil soup. If I had port on hand, I definitely would have add it!