Swiss Chard & Sweet Potato Gratin

I'm in love. This is one of the best gratins I have EVER had. It's rich, creamy, a tad sweet with wonderful flavors of chard and Gruyere cheese. I had this for dinner with a side of steamed broccoli. Nothing else needed. The recipe is originally from Smitten Kitchen, but needed to be adapted. First I needed to make it gluten free, and second I didn't want to make a dish that served 12 people! You will be pleasantly surprised. It is fantastic!

Serves 4-5
1/4 stick butter
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
2 bunches swiss chard, cleaned, leaves only and cut into 1 inch pieces
pinch of nutmeg
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup of heavy cream or whole milk
1 tbs gluten free flour
1 lb red-skinned sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick rounds
1 tsp fresh flat leaf Italian parsley, minced 
1 tsp fresh thyme, minced
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup Gruyere cheese, coarsely grated

Prep the Chard: Heat 1 tbs butter over medium heat in wide 6-qt pot, add onions and cook until softened. Add greens and nutmeg, stir until all leaves are wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a colander and drain well. Press out excess moisture with the back of a large spoon. 
Make Sauce: combine milk and garlic in a small sauce pan. Bring to a simmer and keep warm. In a larger sauce pan, heat 1 tbs butter and add GF flour, whisking constantly (do not let burn). Slowly add in milk/garlic and continuing whisking , bringing to a simmer. You have just made a gluten free roux! Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside. 
Assemble Gratin: Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter a 8x8 baking dish (I used an odd 6 x12 oval shaped dish). Spread 1/2 the sweet potatoes in the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1/4 of the herbs and 1/4 cup of the cheese. Now top with 1/2 of the greens, 1/4 of the herbs and 1/4 cup of cheese. Now poor 1/2 of the milk mixture over the 2 layers. Season with salt and pepper. Add the remaining sweet potatoes, remaining herbs, 1/4 cup of cheese, the rest of the greens and again season with salt and pepper. Pour the remaining 1/2 of the milk mixture over the greens (pressing the vegetables slightly, to make sure they are submerged and moist). Sprinkle with the last 1/4 cup of cheese. 
Bake for 45 minutes until golden and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 


Product Review: Lillabee Anytime Muffin Mix

These muffins are delicious! They are light, fluffy and simply take on whatever flavor you add. I love cinnamon, so naturally I turned this fantastic muffin mix into cinnamon-apple muffins. The mix makes 12 muffins, which did not last very long in my house. I had them for breakfast and snack. Try them out, you won't be disappointed. You can order online at Lillabee or find them at the Boulder Farmers Market. Be creative with your add-ins!

Additional ingredients needed
2 eggs
1/4 cup + 2 tbs butter (or non-dairy alternative)
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk (or non-dairy alternative) 
2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon 

Follow the directions on the insert of the mix to make these scrumptious muffins (make sure to add cinnamon to the dry mix)! 


Gluten Free Classic Meatloaf

Meatloaf isn't pretty. In fact, I find it a little strange but it sure does taste good. It's almost impossible for me to eat meatloaf at a restaurant because the addition of bread crumbs.  I've never made meatloaf before, but I do know that it's the epitome of down home cooking. This recipe is adapted from the Food Networks Elli Krieger, her recipe can be found here. It's a new take on the classic. I used extremely lean beef, added gluten free oatmeal, and a substantial amount of veggies and herbs.

Gluten Free Classic Meatloaf
1 tbs olive oil
1 small white onion, diced
6 oz mushrooms, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and grated
2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 pound extra-lean ground beef (93% lean)
1/2 cup gluten free oats
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp gluten free worcestershire sauce
4 ounces tomato sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard
1tsp unsulphered mollasses

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to brown, ~8 minutes. Add in the carrots, tomato paste, thyme, parsley and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more. cool completely.

Heat oven to 350°F. 
In a large bowl combine the beef, gluten free oats, eggs, worcestershire sauce, mushroom mixture, salt and pepper. Mix until just well combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9x13 inch baking dish and shape into a loaf about 5 inches wide and 2 inches high.
In a small bowl whisk the tomato sauce, molasses and mustard and pour over the meatloaf.
Cook the meatloaf until done about 50-55 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before slicing.

Serves 4-6 people


Cinnamon Carrot Bread

                                                   Gluten Free Cinnamon Carrot Bread
1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
2 carrots, peeled and finely grated
1.5 cups GF flour (Bistro Blend All Purpose GF Flour)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a loaf pan using butter and GF flour. Tap out extra flour.
In a mixing bowl, beat egg slightly, add sugar, melted butter, apple sauce and carrots. Mix well and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together. Add carrot mixture to flour and mix until well combined. Fold in pecans. Pour into loaf pan and spread evenly. Bake for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick comes out clean.

When cooled, slice bread, drizzle with honey and enjoy with a hot cup of tea!


Red Potato, Parsnip, and Carrot Soup

It's cold in Colorado and I seem to regularly be in the mood for soup. I've been making this dish for many years but never have shared the recipe with anyone. I love the creaminess of the potatoes and the addition of the sweet marsala wine makes it a tad more unique than your typical potato soup. I use vegetable broth in order to make a vegetarian soup, but chicken broth could be substituted. 

3 tbs butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 carrots, peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 large parsnips, peeled, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 qt gluten-free vegetable broth
4 large red potatoes, cleaned and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, plus more for garnish, chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
1 cup low-fat milk
1/8 cup sweet marsala wine

Melt butter in large pot (5qt) over medium heat. Add onions and saute until golden, about 10 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips, cook for 10 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add broth, potatoes, parsley and thyme. Cover and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. 
Puree half of the soup in a blender or food processor. Add puree back into soup and stir in milk and marsala wine. Bring soup to a simmer until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with flat leaf parsley. 


Product Review: Lillabee Allergy Friendly Baking Mix

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Jared from the Lillabee, Allergy Friendly Baking company. I first discovered Lillabee in August on a trip to the  Boulder farmers market and was thrilled to see and sample such a wonderful chocolaty brownie mix. These products are great for people who don't have a lot of time (or want) to make flour blends from scratch. They are simple to make, taste delicious and are free of gluten, oats, nuts, dairy and soy! To make the products even more appealing to the health conscious crowd-- all the mixes steer clear of genetically modified organisms (GMO's).  I've made a great birthday cake using the yellow cake mix and everyone seemed to enjoy the sweet taste and light texture.  I am excited to try out additional products by Lillabee, so here we go...!

These waffles are a breeze to make and are a great for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Gluten Free Cinnamon Waffles with Peaches

1 cup Lillabee pancake/waffle mix
1 egg
2/3 cup milk or non-dairy beverage
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1 tbs vegetable oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit ( I used peaches from High Country Orchards that I had packed and froze from  the summer crop)

Follow directions on the package insert from the Lillabee mix with the exception of adding cinnamon. Bake according to your waffle maker's manufacturer directions and top with fresh fruit! Delish!


Gluten-Free in LA (South Bay Area)

On a recent trip to Los Angeles (the South Bay area) I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to eat healthy,  gluten-free food...with some preparation of course! Staying at a bed and breakfast turned out to be fabulous! Richard and Susan Egan, owners of "By the Beach" in Redondo Beach were extremely accommodating to my dietary needs and were excellent cooks. My daily gluten free breakfast included fresh poached eggs with tomatoes and greens. A variety of fresh fruit (mangos, pineapple, pears, cherries, bananas, kiwis), artisan cheese, coffee and orange juice. It was just perfect. The room also had a small kitchenette where I could store additional snacks and make lunches in order to be prepared for a day at the beach or a long wait in LA traffic! I would highly recommend this B&B for the Celiac traveler or any traveler. It was comforting, clean, quiet and our hosts were extremely welcoming. 
gluten free breakfast on the patio

the backyard of the B&B

In El Segundo, we discovered a  restaurant that was full of flavor and reasonably priced. The self proclaimed "urban country" food did not disappoint at the Farm Stand. Fresh flavors of the Mediterranean infuse the food and the happy hour wine is a big plus. I'm always a little nervous trying out new restaurants, but the  staff at the Farm Stand  is aware of the importance of gluten contamination and I was able to eat safely. I would recommend the herb salmon with roasted veggies and rice pilaf or the lemony roasted chicken with a tart cherry pilaf and veggies. Yummy! I was also able to have some really good meals at the Whole Foods in El Segundo. The prepared foods area is remarkable! Other restaurants in the area include, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Outback Steakhouse, and The Green Temple Vegetarian Restaurant. For a delicious dessert, try Pinkberry frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.  Trader Joe's is also a gluten-free paradise and I was able to pick up a lot of snack foods here. It's always nice to return home from a trip healthy and happy! Cheers to L.A! 

Pinkberry mango frozen yogurt topped with 
blood oranges, raspberries and chocolate chips


Chocolate Macaroons

This cookie recipe is straight from Bob's Red Mill. It's simple to make and satisfies any chocolate craving. 
                                                                Chocolate Macaroons
1/4 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
6 oz semi-sweet chocolate baking disks or chips, melted and cooled slightly

Preheat oven to 325°F. Beat egg whites and salt until almost stiff. Add sugar slowly, beating until egg whites stand in peaks. Add almond extract. Fold in coconut. Add melted chocolate and stir until well incorporated. Drop by the teaspoons onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Cool slightly and remove from baking sheet. Makes about 20 cookies. 

Product Review: Against the Grain Gourmet

I don't typically do product reviews however tonight I had the displeasure of tasting a pizza by Against the Grain Gourmet. This pizza really does go against the grain. ALL grains that is. It is made with tapioca starch and an obscene amount of cheese. I'm sad to say that it tasted like an overly greasy croissant with pesto and cheese in a very thin form. It was limp, flaky, greasy, too salty and did not resemble the texture or taste of pizza.  Just because it has fancy packaging and costs $11.99/package does not mean it's a product worth purchasing. I know good pizza and I know this was not something that gluten-free eaters should have to settle for.  To top it off,  a six ounce serving gives you 30 grams of fat and 475 calories! Getting enough whole grains is extremely important for someone with Celiac Disease. They are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber. This product has less than 1 gram of fiber per serving. Seems to me that when choosing gluten- free products, one should look for grains such as brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and whole corn in the product. Grains are good for you and going against the grain isn't.


Spinach, Tomato and Garlic White Pizza

I haven't cooked very much in the last couple weeks and I had some veggies I needed to use in the fridge...this pizza recipe is extremely full of flavor sans any marinara sauce! The garlic-olive oil is tasty enough that the red sauce isn't even missed. If you have left overs, it is delicious cold or at room temperature. 

                                                   Spinach, Tomato and Garlic White Pizza 

1 12" GF pizza crust (the Gluten Free Bistro)
2 tbs of olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh spinach
1 roma tomato, thinly sliced
1 oz marinated artichoke hearts

Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour olive oil on pizza crust, spread around with a pastry brush. Mince garlic and spread evenly on crust. Top pizza with cheese, spinach, tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Bake for 12 minutes or until crust is crispy and cheese is melted and bubbly. 


Artichoke, Mushroom, Capers and Roasted Garlic Pizza

This pizza is a cinch to make. I bought almost all the toppings  from the food bar at Sunflower Market.

                                     Artichoke, Mushroom, Capers and Roasted Garlic Pizza

1 12" GF pizza crust (Gluten Free Bistro)
3/4 cup pizza sauce
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
calamata olives
marinated artichoke hearts
roasted garlic
1 portobello mushroom, thinly sliced and sauteed in butter for a few minutes
1 tbs fresh oregano, chopped

Top crust with marinara, cheese and toppings. Bake in 400° oven for 12 minutes, or until crust is cooked through and cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!

Before baking...

and the finished product


Hearty Vegetable Soup with Pesto

Happy 2011! It's a new year, I suppose this means it is time to eat a little healthier.
                                                      Hearty Vegetable Soup with Pesto

2 leeks, sliced, white parts only
2 pinches of saffron
2 tbs olive oil 
12oz fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1in pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
3 small zucchini, sliced 
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
6 small yellow potatoes, cut into 1 in pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped finely
2 bay leaves 
1 qt vegetable broth
4 cups water
2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
pesto, homemade or store-bought  

Warm oil in large soup pot over medium-high heat; add the leeks and saffron and cook for about 10
minutes. Add the vegetables, garlic and spices, sauté for about 5 minutes until the vegetable just begin to
soften. Add the broth and water, season with salt. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the beans and heat for about 5 to 7 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into soup bowls and add a dollop of pesto onto each serving.