Gluten & Dairy-Free Living. Info, recipes & experiences!

Posts tagged ‘diabetic friendly’

Split Pea Soup on a Cold Winter Day – Easy and Filling


First winter back in the frozen north … and they told me it doesn’t snow here, where I chose to live … uh huh … warmest area in Canada …  oh sure … There are icicles on my car!
And so … the fireplace is on and I have 2 smoked pork hocks simmering on the stove. Smells like bacon cooking. I don’t know about you but I LOVE the smell of bacon and really LOVE eating it too! My comfort food – well, one of them. The love for bacon is so intense that I must limit myself to devouring a pound of bacon (yep, in one sitting), to a maximum of 4 times per year. Who can have just 3 slices? Not me!

Back to the pork hocks (bone in) … They are simmering with about a tablespoon of black peppercorns and six small bay leaves in 16 cups of water. If you’re making a pot of something, make a big pot! Whether it’s soup or stew or sauce, it doesn’t take up much more time and it freezes well for a quick dinner or lunch. Mine go into 4 cup, sealable, glass jars and are stacked in the freezer.
My apologies. Another digression … bear with me, please. Back to the soup.

My mom used to make the tastiest pea soup and she gave me the recipe. The miracle is that I managed to find it amongst all the papers in my storage locker! Here it is.

Mom’s recipe:
8 cups of water
2 bay leaves
6 – 8 peppercorns
1 lb. washed, split, dry green peas
1 large carrot – chopped
1 medium onion – diced
1 stalk of celery – diced
salt to taste
1 ham bone with some meat on it.
Toss all into a pot and simmer for 8 to 10 hours. Remove ham bone, take off meat and add back to soup. Remove bay leaves.

Really? That’s it? Doesn’t sound like much … definitely wouldn’t be enough to freeze … Hmmm …

And so … after a slight tweak … my recipe for a really big pot of soup:

1.7 Kilos (about 4 lbs of smoke pork hock)
6 smallish bay leaves
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
16 cups of purified water (Hate the chlorine taste in my soup. Yes, you can taste the difference!)
Simmer (on low heat – #3 on the dial) for 4 hours.
Let cool. Place in refrigerator. I don’t have the time to make this in one day. 🙂
Next day, remove pork hocks, skim off fat, fish for all the peppercorns and bay leaves or if you have another really big pot, use a sieve and pour the liquid/stock through. Separate the meat from the fat and bone. Dice up the tender morsels (must taste to be assured of the flavour). Add to stock.
6 – 8 carrots – depending on how much carrot you enjoy, keeping in mind this will make about 16 bowls of       soup.
3 – 4 stalks of celery (same tip as the carrots)
1 1/2 large onion
8 cloves of garlic
3 lbs of dried, split peas (washed up)
Chop up the veggies to the size you like. Add all the remaining ingredients into the stock. If the water has evaporated too much, add more (purified).
Do Not add any salt as the smoked pork hocks are salty enough. If you can’t find smoked hocks use a ham bone from the butcher.
Allow to boil and then lower to a simmer for about 1 hour or more, until the peas are mushy.

Make a nice salad. Some gluten free garlic bread. Enjoy!

Cool to slightly warm before placing in jars for the freezer. If you freeze this soup in smaller containers, it makes a delicious, warming, light and filling lunch to take to work!

After the holidays eating light and healthy is a relief for your digestive system and will help you to lose those holiday pounds! Soup and salad is heartwarming, tasty and filling, while being light and easy to digest. Just choose your salad dressing carefully! 🙂

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Addendum to MC Veggie Puffs … :)


Well … I added 5 eggs (whipped), about 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, 1 cup of coconut flour (slowly – add a bit, mix … etc.), 1/4 cup quinoa flakes, 1 tsp. salt and for some reason I had the idea to add 1 tsp. of baking powder.

1st photo – the consistency you want to have – the wooden spoon stands up and you can make a definite hole in the mixture without any of it running in. Dryish not too dry. Still quite wet when you are rolling it but does stick together.
IMG_2469
You then proceed to roll them into little balls and flatten out a bit, placing into the pan with the coconut oil. Oven is at 350℃, ready to go. I made 48 in the second pan and 35 in the first – just jammed them a bit more in the second pan, (was getting tired of rolling!).
And here we are:

IMG_2471
Five are already missing … must do a taste test … 😉

They will be a perfect grab and go snack!
The rest – yes, there was MORE mix … I put into an 8 x 8 pyrex dish and it is cooking now. This is the one I will be sampling for the next few days!
Definitely a keeper recipe as they smell delicious, taste divine – puffy, spicy but not too much, just a hint of warmth and notes of curry and will go well with any number of dips/sauces or just a quick bite, straight out of the fridge when you are on the go.
Next time, I will reduce the amount of coconut flour and add mashed potato and cauliflower, see what the difference would be. When I do, I will let you all know!

These would go well with a Salsa Verde, Tsatsiki (made with Toffuti Sour Cream), or a Mango Chutney/Salsa.
Wine pairing: Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Rosé, Beaujolais Nouveau.
Happy Cooking!

Multi-Cultural Veggie Puffs?


Christmas is coming and so is company, one being a vegetarian … What to make?
Made my list of food must haves and requests. Placed a couple of coolers outside (it’s cold enough for them to sub in for the refrigerator), to hold the extras, such as the turkey and the 25 pound bag of carrots (a deal I couldn’t resist) and have begun cooking.
Here’s the list for your inspiration:

Miso soup (to warm the belly upon arrival – it’s chilly here)
Turkey with stuffing and gravy (my favourite!)
Sweet Potato Pie (with mini marshmallows – a request made in a pleading tone which I couldn’t resist … against my better judgement but oh well, marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, once a year, isn’t going to hurt … right?)
Broccoli and Cauliflower salad (easy and delicious – also a request)
Peas and Carrots (a standard)
Roasted Beets (requested with cloves/garlic/vinegar)

Kourambiedes – (Greek, almond shortbread, covered in icing sugar that takes all bloody day to make – but well worth the effort. Even though I can’t partake). Don’t have a choice here … it’s a must!
Melamacarona – (more Greek cookies – not as labour intensive as above but still a lot of work!). Also a must.
Chocolate cake – There’s a Birthday involved as well as the Holiday meal. (Gotta feel sympathy for those born right at Christmas time … )

A lot of food for Christmas dinner, yes and probably enough for leftovers the next day. But … what to have on hand for grazing/snacking? Something simple to make, easy to grab and eat, straight from the refrigerator/cooler (wherever it will fit – I’ll get to that later), and healthy?
Houmous, always good in a pinch, very easy to make – it takes more time to clean up than to make the dip. It’s on the list.
Devilled Eggs? Nope. Too much work – not enough time to enjoy the company and they don’t stay fresh for long.
Hmmm …
Gigantes? Greek style, Delicious giant white beans in a flavourful tomato sauce. Lasts for days in the refrigerator but does need warming … Nope, they’re  off the list.
Pakoras? Okay, I’ve never made them but they’ll go well with the houmous and … they will last and can be frozen beforehand, thawed as needed! Bingo!

And so, this is how this recipe which was supposed to be Pakoras (recipe isn’t quite done yet … I’ll keep you posted today as the making of the “puffs” progresses), began …

Shopping at the grocers’, I spy a 1 kilo bag of baby zucchinis on sale for $1.00! Steal of a deal! But what to do with 1 kilo of zucchini? I can’t eat all of that … In the food processor it goes, mushed zucchini poured into a freezer bag and then popped into the freezer …
Okay, so it’s not going to be Pakoras … but I do like the idea of the Indian flavours instead of plain zucchini puffs … Hmmm …
What do I have on hand? Onions – check, Red Peppers – check, Garlic – check, Indian spices – got them. Off to buy a bag of Red Split Lentils, eggs and cilantro – sounded like a good combo … No?
This morning:
Not knowing exactly what I am doing, I pour the thawed zucchini mash into a pot – it’s very liquidy … so I pour in the lentils and turn the stove on to low … add more lentils, stir … add more lentils, stir (all told, about a cup and 1/3) … Turned off stove and let sit.
Finely chopped the carrots – about a cup, 2 large red peppers, a large head of garlic and the cilantro … the onions have just come out of the freezer where they were placed to cool off a bit before chopping (it prevents teary eyes). Added the carrots and peppers to the zucchini and lentils. Placed the garlic in a pan with about 2 tbsp. of olive oil and a whole lot of turmeric, cumin and coriander. This is what it looks like so far …
Oh God I hope this works …

The photo on the left is the zucchini mash (what else would you call it?), and the one on the right is a mound of spices with garlic waiting to be fried – for 20 seconds and then added to the pot.
So … here’s my next steps …
Quick fry spices/garlic and to mash.
Finely chop onions and toss into the pot.
Finely chop cilantro and figure out how much to add to this mix? mash?
Whip 3? 4? eggs and add in (hope the mash in the pot has cooled enough!)
Melt coconut oil onto a cookie sheet (one with sides), it’s chilly here and the oil hardens … the perils of living up north …
Add coconut flour or quinoa flakes until mixture firms up enough to roll into small burger shapes – a flat “meatless” ball.
Bake in a 350℃ oven … cross fingers and hope for success …

For a list of accompaniments (sauces/salsas and wines), see the excerpt or Facebook.

Will keep you posted on my Facebook Page – simplyyummy123.
https://www.facebook.com/SimplyYummy123-139865369835/
Wish me luck!

One Pan Chicken Dinner! With a Side of Green Beans!


Easy Chicken Dinner – one pan.
Place rinsed chicken breast or thighs in pan. Drizzle EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) all over. Add Wine (red or white) OR orange juice OR lemon into the pan. About 1/2 cup of wine or 1/4 cup juice. Chop (chunky pieces) up potatoes or cauliflower, carrots, onions (just a bit), garlic (lots!) and add to pan. Mix with the juice/wine and oil. Cover the chicken in Dijon mustard – be liberal. Sprinkle entire contents of pan with paprika (lots), cumin (just enough to have a sprinkle – more on the chicken), black pepper, thyme, if you have fresh rosemary, add a 2 or 3 sprigs for extra flavour. Add capers on top of the chicken, it’s okay if a few roll off. Add lots! They are delicious with Dijon mustard. Bake/Roast covered at 350℉ (180℃ or Gas Mark 4), for approximately half an hour (half the time). Uncover and cook until done – browned. Bone in chicken will take about one hour. Boneless will take less time. Cover for only half the time!
Enjoy with a salad or a side of green vegetables!
And here’s a green vegetable idea I made up the other day …
Green Beans, fresh or frozen, whichever you can find! As many as you need – approx. 1/2 cup per person.
Crush some cashews or used slivered/sliced almonds. About 1/3 cup per cup of green beans.
Sesame oil to generously coat pan.
Balsamic vinegar or Lemon juice or Orange juice. Tsp. of Balsamic or 1 tbsp. of Lemon or Orange juice per cup of Beans.
Coriander – crushed.
Black Pepper – a sprinkle will do.
Garlic, chopped. Doesn’t have to be diced up small. Chunky will do. As much or as little as you like.
Fresh Cilantro, Parsley or Basil, chopped up and added after other ingredients have begun to cook.
Add all ingredients into a pan, medium-low heat. Cover for 5 – 10 minutes (depending on how much you have in the pan). Remove cover, add fresh herbs, increase heat to medium-high and stir-fry until done. About another 5 minutes.
Optional: Red Pepper – diced. One Hot Pepper, fresh or dried, cut in half. Only 1 hot pepper, first time I made this, I added 3. Love heat but not THAT much!
Sun-Dried Tomato – about 1 tbsp. per cup of beans … tomatoes will dilute the flavour of the beans if you add too many.
A few fresh green/spring onions … scallions, chopped fine and sprinkled on the beans before serving.
This green vegetable dish would be great on a date night – I’ll tell you why in the book!
Which wine to serve? A crisp Sauvignon Blanc, an unoaked Chardonnay or a Pinot Noir … 🙂
Enjoy!

New Year, New Beginnings … New Book!


Happy 2015! It’s a new year, a new beginning and a new book!

So … You Want to Get Laid Tonight?
A how-to guide for a romantic dinner that won’t have you watching TV afterwards!

What happens after dinner … in the bedroom, the living room or, heck!, on the kitchen floor … is up to you … provided you are with a consenting adult!

What the book will do is offer a selection of Romantic, Erotic foods, how to cook and eat them, the setting, the food, the fun, the ideas … date friendly (sex enhancing) dinners and more!

Tantalizing aromas, sauces glistening on your lips, nibbling a tasty morsel offered, finger licking and lip wetting deliciousness …

Whew! Need a moment …

Okay, back to the food …

Garlic, usually a no-no for romantic dinners, will be on the menu … too many excellent qualities in garlic to exclude it. How you cook the garlic is the key.

Cucumbers, parsley, lemons are great breath fresheners (after the garlic)! Let me show you how and why.

Spicy, Sweet, Sour, Savoury, Salty … a cornucopia of tastes … Kiss as each new flavour is sampled … sharing flavours with a kiss is so erotic!

There will be plenty left for a midnight foray to the kitchen too … All you do is follow the DIY guide and have fun! 😉

All Gluten and Dairy Free … of course!

Stay tuned! More to come …

Why Turkey?


Ever wonder what we would be dining on at our Christmas dinner if the Pilgrims had “found” a deer … moose … duck … fish … instead of a turkey … Yep, you get where I’m going with this …

Festive holiday dinners are for family, friends … sharing time, food and stories together.  A time of cheer, fun, love and laughter.  Stressing out over the cost, presentation and “perfection” of a holiday meal drains the spirit!  Whether you serve up a roast beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, lasagna, mousaka, ribs, fish, tofu, … a meal made with joy is one remembered by all.

After many years of large turkey dinners, that took at least 3 days to prepare (leaving me exhausted and a little cranky) … I changed tradition … egads!  The first Christmas we enjoyed a roasted chicken (roasted in the grocery store and spiced up and re-cooked by me), sweet potatoes, peas & carrots, green salad, a tomato salad and a store bought pie – it was relaxing, tasty and FUN!  Instead of waking up at 6 a.m. and stuffing a huge bird, we slept in – as much as possible when young children are a part of your life – opened gifts together, visited friends in the afternoon, revelled in the company of friends at dinner – and … clean up was soooo easy!  The following years were a mix of going to the mountains with friends/family,  dinner shared at a friends home or dinner at our table with guests bringing a dish to share – the dinner options are endless.  Make it simple, relaxing and fun!

This years’ menu for 10 will be a roast leg of lamb with potatoes – sweet and russet, broccoli & cauliflower salad, peas (must have!), pickled beets, tomato & avocado salad … maybe carrots, maybe a green salad – depends on what the day brings, another dish or two supplied by guests … add music, a few candles and voilà a celebration.  I am looking forward to enjoying the time with family and friends!  Beats stressing out over dinner and table settings … 🙂

Enjoy!  The perfection of a meal is in the love added by those who make it and the enjoyment of the loved ones sharing it.

Photos will be posted on Christmas Day!

Leg of Lamb

Lamb
Fresh squeezed lemon juice
Red wine
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh garlic
Mustard
Oregano or Thyme
Black pepper
Cumin

Poke lamb and stuff with garlic cloves – as many as you like!
Pour lemon juice, wine and oil over – in this order – making sure that all areas are covered
Spread mustard – Dijon or regular – all over – except bottom
Sprinkle on herbs & spices
Start roasting, time depends on size and your oven!

Potatoes

Potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice
Garlic
Paprika

Cut up potatoes into bite size pieces.  Mix in the remaining ingredients (be liberal!)
Add to lamb roast.
Depending on size of pieces, cooking time is usually one hour.

Broccoli & Cauliflower Salad

Broccoli & Cauliflower – fresh
Lemon juice
Black pepper
(Is there a theme here?)

Place cleaned cauliflower head (take off leaves and cut out center – from the bottom) in a pot with approx. 4 cm. (2 inches) of water.
Arrange Broccoli “trees” around cauliflower
Steam, covered, medium to low heat, for 5 – 10 minutes.
Drain and cut up in pot by running a sharp knife through the veggies in a checked pattern.
Drizzle oil, juice over all and sprinkle pepper.

 

Keep posted … More holiday recipes coming … with photos!

Easter


Growing up in Canada with a Canadian mother and a Greek Father made for the best of both worlds during Easter.  We celebrated “Canadian Easter” by painting eggs, hunting for the goodies the Easter Bunny brought and a wonderful family dinner.  For Greek Easter, Orthodox Easter, (which was almost always on a different Sunday), we had a feast with lamb as the star dish.  There was church too … a lot of church services during the week before Easter.  The Friday before Easter was the celebration of the Epitaphio – a cloth, decorated with the image of Christ after he was removed from the cross – displayed on a bier with many, many flowers.  For a complete explanation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epitaphios_(liturgical).

The following evening, Saturday before Easter Sunday, EVERYONE went to church.  This was the celebration of Christ arising from the dead and is really quite a beautiful liturgy with all the lights going out at midnight and everyone sharing the light from the one lit, blessed candle on the altar.  A wave of shared light, making it’s way to everyone, even those latecomers who stood outside.  As the light is passed from one to another we say “Christos Anesti”, meaning Christ has arisen, the response to this is “Alithos Anesti”, “Verily He has arisen”.  Lots of chatter and happy smiles, then the procession and then FOOD!

Before anyone walks into the home, the holy light which has been kept lit (I once drove 10 K home, alone, holding a lit candle in my hand, hoping it would not go out! Silly but that’s how important this light is!) is used to draw a cross, actually blacken the underside of the top door molding, on every outside door in the home.  A light meal of soup, cracking of the red eggs (and eating them, with the blessings of Christos Anesti/Alithos Anesti) – the one whose egg remained uncracked was said to be the lucky one for the year, (Greeks like to mix superstition/mythology with religion – quite fascinating really). Bedtime at 2:00 a.m. and up at 7:00 a.m. to help with the preparations for the Easter Feast.

The period of Lent was once a very strict fasting time, nothing from an animal for 40 days, with the exception of shrimp, shellfish or crab on certain days.  During the last week of Lent there are days with no olive oil – can you imagine a Greek not eating olive oil?  Nowadays with 9 to 5 jobs, kids in school all day, busy people with busy lives, the church has relaxed a bit and asks us to follow the Lenten restrictions during the last week, if possible.  Some do, some don’t, but this was one of the reasons the Easter Feast was so important, a celebratory breaking of the fast.  Butter, Cheese, Eggs, Olive Oil and of course, the sacrificial Lamb, were mandatory items for the Feast.  Tsoureki is the traditional Easter Bread, Koulourakia (a mix between biscotti and shortbread), the cookie favoured by ALL children and dish after dish of delicious food.  Traditionally the whole lamb is stuffed and roasted on the spit – the men’s job – but today a roast leg, chops or souvlaki would do, as long as lamb is presented, all is well.

A few photos …  A recipe at the end.

Image  Koulourakia – not gluten free or dairy free but I will be posting the recipe on the website.

Tsoureki served with butter.

Image

Lamb roasted on the spit.  The lamb on the spit is stuffed with lemons, garlic, onions, and sometimes feta cheese.  Olive Oil, Lemon, Oregano, Garlic, Pepper & Salt are used to baste the lamb, any lamb, whether it’s chops, souvlaki or roast.

Image Lillies, Holy Light & Red Eggs on the table, with greek salad, chees pies, spinach pies, cheese, meatballs, potatoes, beans, roasted veggies and much more!

Greek Salad, Egg Salad (I make Devilled Eggs using the cracked eggs – everyone loves to crack them, it’s fun and dressed up eggs taste better than plain, hard-boiled!), Dolmadakia (Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves), Pastitsio (Greek Style Lasagna), Tiropita, Spanakopita, Meatballs, Bread, Egg & Lemon Chicken Soup or Euvarlakia (Meatball Egg & Lemon Soup), Lemon Roasted Potatoes, Cheese, Fish, Stuffed veggies (Peppers, Eggplant, Zucchini, Squash Flowers …), platters of roasted, grilled, baked vegetables.  And of course, Ouzo, Wine, Retsina before, during and after the food is consumed and many, many sweets and fruits offered at the end of the meal.  Truly, one rolls away from this feast, thank goodness for the dancing – traditional dancing, belly dancing – that is incorporated throughout the day!

Image Red Eggs, Koulourakia, Tsatsiki, Lamb & Potatoes.

Image Vegetarian Pastitsio (one of my daughter’s is vegetarian) with a meat patty on the side for those who would like it with meat.  Pastitsio is usually made with a mixture of minced lamb & pork and sometimes just beef (hamburger).  This one I made meat, dairy and gluten-free.

THE RECIPE:

This dish is called Anginares me Araka (Artichoke & Peas), if you can’t find artichoke use leeks or zucchini cut into 3 cm. (1 inch) thick rounds.

Chop up tomatoes (3 small to medium sized), garlic (1-3 cloves), 1 small dry onion, 1/2 cup sliced carrots, a few small pieces of potato (1/2 cup?), 1 tsp. fennel seeds and begin frying in Olive oil over medium heat, stirring frequently.  Stir in one small can tomato paste and 1/2 tsp. sugar (I use 1 tsp. honey).  Add 1 cup of either artichoke hearts/leeks/zucchini (chopped in bite sized pieces/circles, pepper and salt to taste (1 tsp. & 1/2 tsp. respectively). Stir in well, add 2 cups peas, reduce heat and cover for 5 min.  Sprinkle with fresh dill (1 Tbsp. or more) and mix in.  Great side dish for the lamb!

Kalo Pascha to all!

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