Saturday, August 31, 2013

Chilled Fresh Corn Chowder with Fennel




                        

You can take advantage of the end of the fresh corn season with this filling chilled summer chowder. It's still hot at here and chilled soups are one delicious way to beat the heat. No need to turn on the hot stove, just assemble these summer ingredients in a bowl and whisk. 

The best part is that it this soup can be made in advance. It needs to chill, so keep it in the refrigerator for 2- 24 hours before serving.. If you are having company, dividing it into individual sized portions  makes a great presentation. Cool, delicious, and refreshing!

I usually have company for dinner on Friday nights.  Last night I served this soup as a starter and everyone loved it. It's chunky, very flavorful, and filling. It's nutritious with the avocado and other fresh veggies that it could be a satisfying meal in itself, but I assure you everyone ate the rest of the meal. 

I like to use the whisk to mix this soup together. It seems to really help the flavors mingle. Just a few light stirrings does it. 

 I bought farm fresh corn from a local farm that is GMO free. When purchasing corn whether fresh or packaged check to see if it's GMO free. If it is not labeled , it is probably GMO corn. Corn is one of the foods that is prevalent on the GMO lists.  

How do you know if you fresh corn is GMO free? I read somewhere ( haven't verified it ) 
that if your produce begins with the number "8" that it is Genetically Modified. 
If it begins with any other number it is not Genetically Modified. 
Of course if it begins with a "9" - it is organic

As always my soups are gluten free.


Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time: None
Chill:

Ingredients

2 Persian cucumbers grated fine ( I used a hand grater and it took 1 minute)
2 ears of corn on the cob, cut off the corn
3/4 of an avocado, chopped
2 cups of plain yogurt
1 cup of Greek yogurt
hair of fresh fennel ( looks like dill)
1 stalk of fresh fennel chopped for garnish
juice of 1 juicy lime
1/4 cup of olive oil
1 clove garlic, pressed ( or two if you like the fresh garlic taste)
1 tsp of seasoning ( Trader Joe's 21 salute-) 21 herbs- or any no salt seasoning mix
salt to taste
1 Tablespoon of honey ( the soup really needs it)

** Persian cucumbers are the ones sold in packages of 5 at Trader Joe's.. otherwise use any small cucumber

                                     

Ingredients for seasoning for soup
Fennel is available in any supermarket including Trader Joe's ( best price) ; use it
in salads and as a garnish for this soup. Looks like celery, but  tastes like slight  licorice taste..very good


Directions
In a bowl squeeze the juice of one juicy lime ( or use two) , 1/4 cup olive oil, garlic, salt, seasoning, and honey. Whisk until well combined and set aside for the flavors to mingle for a minimum of 15 minutes.

In another large bowl combine grated cucumber, fresh corn taken off the cob, and chopped avocado in a large bowl. Add yogurt, and Greek yogurt . Using a whisk, lightly stir the ingredients together to make a chunky soup and set aside.

Add the lime mixture to the soup mixture and whisk lightly to combine.

I divided mine into 8 individual sized portions and garnished with chopped fennel and the chopped fennel hair.. chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours and serve chilled ..

Very refreshing and filling to begin a vegetarian or light summer meal ... Of course its naturally gluten free.
So if you need a soup for a vegetarian or someone who is gluten free... this is it!!

My Vegetarian/Vegan Gluten Free Dinner for 7  

  •  Chilled fresh corn chowder garnished with fennel
  •  stuffed peppers with vegetables, quinoa, and chick peas ( vegan)
  •  grilled eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini  ( vegan)
  •  salad
  • vegetarian caprese platter ( sliced fresh mozzarella, sliced summer tomato, fresh basil from my herb garden, a little diced red onion, and balsamic vinegar)
  • Chunked watermelon and mini honey cakes for dessert

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quinoa Chinese Style



quinoa made like chou mein
  
                                                                                   
Vegetable Chou Mein is one of my favorites. I like the simplicity of the sauteed onions and simple vegetables. Although this recipe does not contain all of the traditional Chinese veggies, it still reminds me of chou mein: soothing, mild, and filling.

Low in Calories and Weight Watchers Friendly

Originally I wanted a low calorie lunch, so I assembled whatever veggies I had in the fridge. The entire bowl is 2 Points Plus on Weight Watches. Instead of noodles, I added cooked quinoa that I had left over from dinner the night before.

 It was tasty and nutrient dense.. just how I like it. I ate it with a veggie burger for protein. Making it a total of 5 Points Plus..

Could This Work For Thanksgiving? 

This was so tasty, I'm thinking of making it for a Thanksgiving side dish because it is vegan, gluten free, and nut free- We get together with family on all sides for a total of 40 at my son and daughter in law's house-Since they serve buffet style, this side should be safe for almost everyone! ( we have to be concerned about guests who are gluten free, soy free, dairy free, nut free, and raw apple free)

quinoa Chinese style
Add Bragg's liquid amino acids for a soy sauce like flavor if desired
bag of quinoa from Trader Joe's
Cook according to package directions

Judee Algazi
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

2 cups of onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, pressed
2 cups of peeled eggplant, diced large
2 cups of zucchini, diced large
2 cups white mushrooms, diced
Pure olive oil spray
21 Salute ( a no salt 21 herb seasoning from Trader Joe's)
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
optional: Braggs liquid amino acids ( tastes like soy sauce but isn't-  I didn't use any extra flavoring)

Directions
Spray olive oil in a large skillet. Sautee onions and garlic slowly for 5 minutes. Add chopped eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms and sautee stirring frequently on a low heat allowing vegetables to become tender. Add cherry tomato slices and a few shakes of 21 Salute and cooked quinoa towards the end .Toss and cook about 5 more minutes till tomatoes wilt just a little.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gluten Free Mini Honey Cakes


grain free mini honey cakes


We can't get enough of these delicious mini honey cakes! And they are just in time for Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year . Since honey is a key ingredient in the Jewish New Year celebration, I thought these golden little honey cakes would be perfect.

Acts as a  nourishing breakfast muffin, a delightful snack, or a simple dessert
 topped with whipped cream

 They have a light texture, are easy and fast to make, and use simple ingredients.  Honestly, they were exceptionally delicious and came out better than I expected. I just want to note that although I made them in muffin tins, they are not really muffins.. they are little nutritious cakes.. but call them what you like.. ( the batter is more like a cake batter than a muffin batter)

I always worry when getting together with family and friends to celebrate holidays because I'll be eating many delicious traditional holiday foods, many that may not be so good for me. As I become more and more conscious of wanting to eat and feel healthy, I've tried to adapt many of my mother's and grandmother's recipes or find new recipes to suit our gluten free and vegetarian lifestyle.  I found this grain free recipe on a blog called Simply Cooked .

This recipe  uses coconut flour ( purchase in any health food store) and does call for a lot of eggs. However, since all the ingredients are so good for you, this creation could be eaten for breakfast! It's less than an egg per cake ( 6 eggs- 9 little cakes)  In addition, these little baked delights are delicious enough to considered a side at a meal like a piece of sweet kugel.

I'm still experimenting with trying to cut down the eggs. I tried a second batch using 3 eggs and a mashed banana , added another 1/4 cup of almond milk , and I cut down the honey to 1/8 cup.  It's important to add enough liquid when baking with coconut flour , as it absorbs more than regular flour.  The second batch was heavier, but still delicious and very moist. Maybe next time egg whites??

New Info: A few of my readers left comments suggesting  trying flax and water. Read Wendy's comments in the comment section gives the exact substitution amount per egg.

 If you are ok using the 6 eggs, try the original recipe as it was very light and fluffy.

  • You don't have to be celebrating the holiday to try this recipe.
  •  Everyone who test tasted it, loved it! ( Grandkids, son , daugther in law, husband, GF friends)
  • Whether you eat it for breakfast, a snack , or drizzle with honey and whipped cream for a richer dessert.. you will love it and feel good knowing it's all nutritious ingredients.


Since it can be whipped up in 5 minutes and baked in 10-15 minutes, it's a great recipe to keep on hand.

Blog : Gluten Free A-Z 
Prep Time: 5- 8 minutes
Bake Time: 10-15 minutes 
Makes 9 muffins

Ingredients: 

1/2 cup coconut flour ( available at health food stores)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ( aluminum free) baking powder
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup olive oil ( or coconut oil which will have a stronger flavor)
1/2 cup almond milk ( or any milk)
1/4 cup honey ( I only use raw and local honey. Beware of commercial honey here's why )

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Sift  dry ingredients together into a large bowl.( 1/2 cup coconut flour, 1/4 t. sea salt, 1/2 t baking powder)
Whisk wet ingredients in a small bowl. ( 6 eggs, 1/4 cup olive or coconut oil, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/4 cup honey)
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until there are no lumps.
Pour batter into greased muffin cups until 3/4 full.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until toothpick comes out clean.
cool in pan for 5 minutes and then turn onto a rack to cool completely.

What do you make with coconut flour? If you have any tips please leave a comment to share with others.




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Thursday, August 22, 2013

How to Eat Gluten Free in Atlantic City, New Jersey

Atlantic city beaches


I just returned from four glorious days on the beach in Atlantic City. Although I had not been to Atlantic City beach in many years, it turned out to be a great summer vacation place.

The beaches were clean and comfortable and the boardwalk was family friendly. We stayed in the Tropicana Hotel/Casino directly on the beach .

Just for the record, I never played in the Casino even once. My goal was to spend my time at the beach!! Their summer room offers were enticing and really reasonable. Luckily,  I was able to find gluten free friendly restaurants in the hotel and in the area.

The water was warm and the beach was packed, but not too crowded

Tropicana Casino and Resort
we literally were able to walk right out the door of the hotel and onto the beach

Restaurant #1: Carmines

Have you ever been to Carmines in NYC?
There is also a Carmines located in the Tropicana Hotel/Casino mall .
That's where we ate the first night.

I selected from their ALLERGY FRIENDLY MENU which is divided into categories of gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian,  etc.  ( Love it)
Really you can have your meal your way! It was delicious.

I ordered gluten free penne with sauteed broccoli
gluten Free penne pasta
We were almost done eating when I remembered to take a picture of the GF penne and broccoli


 I ordered gluten free penne pasta with broccoli and marinara sauce, a side of sauteed spinach and garlic ( from the vegetarian selections - you have to specify no chicken broth in any of the preparation if you are vegan), and a fabulous mixed vegetable salad with a gluten free dressing.

 Of course in Carmines everything was served in large family sized portions, but no one in my family seemed to mind sharing the gluten free pasta with me along with their other entree.

______________________________________________________________________________

Restaurant #2: Great Meal; very reasonable!! 

The next night we walked about 7 blocks to Ruby Tuesday's another favorite.( in the outlet section) . I ordered the Vegetarian Trio which is a choice of 3 sides and the salad bar - all for $10!!! 

For my first side, I selected a side of delicious spaghetti squash with some marinara sauce.

 For my second side I ordered a baked potato, and third some nicely steamed broccoli. 

I also was able to make  a lovely salad from the salad bar with lots of fresh romaine, spinach, tomatoes, edamame, peas, fresh cucumber, grated carrots, sunflower seeds, ( if you eat eggs, they had chopped eggs without mayo- potato salad, and some other heartier things that  I passed by)  .

I chose balsamic vinegar for my dressing ( they had 8 real dressings ) . 
It was a great gluten free and vegan meal for $10 total..and very clean and fresh.

Restaurant #3: Mexican 

The last night we ate in a small restaurant called Casa Taco , again located in the Tropicana Resort.  We had a large fresh bowl of guacamole made to order at our table and also ordered a hearty chopped salad of fresh vegetables including fresh corn.If you don't want to eat the corn chips, ask for sliced cucumber with the skin on  to use as dippers.( that's what I did)



4 fresh avocados cut open at our table
Quickly scooped into a bowl

Lime juice, cilantro, chives, onion,salt and pepper, and hot pepper ( optional) added
Homemade guacamole
Smashed together quickly to make one excellent guacamole
My personal easy guacamole recipe: Excellent Mexican Guacamole Recipe plus tips

What did I do for breakfast and lunch?

I had a refrigerator in my room, so I brought my own food for breakfast and lunch for 3 days.( I live 1 and half hours away and took a cooler to get there)
I brought hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, Kirby cucumbers, some fruit.  My husband who is not vegetarian nor gluten free grabbed something on the boardwalk each day and was very happy.

I took in some great sun, enjoyed some needed relaxation, and my husband and I spent some fun family time with our grandchildren,  my older son, and daughter in law.

The weather was great and we all had a wonderful time.
So there you have it- Another vacation, another eating challenge.
It turned out that Atlantic City was a great summer vacation spot for everyone..

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms


These large stuffed portobella mushroom caps made a lovely presentation at our dinner last night. In addition,.they were very tasty, easy to make, nutritious and filling, not to mention gluten free and vegan.

 I adapted the recipe from a recipe I found on a blog called Adventures in All Things Food, 

                                                           


I could have used gluten free breadcrumbs instead of the bread crumbs that are called for in the recipe, but I preferr to use a whole grains. Honestly, the quinoa was perfect!

                                        

 These stuffed mushroom caps are a great recipe to have on file for those times when you have vegetarian/vegan/gluten free company and are not sure what to make. It is hearty and filling.  

Quinoa is actually a berry that is high in protein as well..Coupled with soup ( Like Egyptian Red Lentil Soup)   or salad ( like Arugula and Cashew Salad ),   it's a filling meal. You might want to add sunflower seeds, to the stuffing mixture if eating it as an entree. Otherwise, it is a perfect side dish for any meal.



Quinoa stuffed portobella mushroom
I grated a little carrot and red onion on top for decoration

Interesting Fact:   Did you know that Portobella mushrooms start out as cremini mushrooms, but they  develop into portobella  when  they are  left to grow for an additional week after the other cremini mushrooms are harvested. Portobellas usually grow to over 6 inches wide and tastier. Low in calories, but rich in flavor these meaty portobella mushrooms are great stuffed or grilled as burgers for vegetarians.

Nutritionally, they are thought to provide powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against cancer. In addition, portiobella mushrooms are a good source of selenium ( which is needed for a healthy immune system, but hard to find in most foods) , copper, and potassium, and other minerals. Dr. Fuhrman of the book Eat to Live encourages his readers to eat lots of mushrooms because of their high nutritional and antioxidant value.


Ingredients:

  • 2 large Portobella mushroom caps
  • 2 Tbsp. butter      I used olive oil spray
  • 1/4 c. eggplant diced
  • 2 white button mushrooms, diced
  • 1 leek, sliced thin and cleaned
  • 1 celery stalk, diced thin
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 1/4 c. vegetable stock
  • 1/2 c. bread crumbs   I used 1 cup cooked quinoa for two caps
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil ( optional) 

Directions
Start by cleaning your Portobella mushrooms with a dry paper towel. Gently knock off any dirt or debris. Remove the stem, chop and reserve. With a spoon gently scrape out the gills inside the caps. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a saute pan, heat the butter olive oil spray and soften the eggplant, button mushrooms, reserved mushroom stems, leeks, celery and garlic over medium-low heat. When soft add the stock and simmer for a minute or two. Taste and salt and pepper as necessary.

Take off the heat and add the bread crumbs    cooked quinoa. ( I sauteed the quinoa in the mixture for a few minutes. ) Put mushrooms caps into a baking dish lined with parchment paper and fill the caps with the filling mixture. Drizzle with olive oil ( I didin't)  and bake for 20-25 minutes until the cap is softened and the filling is golden brown. 

What do you do with Portobella Mushroom Caps? I love your comments, so please leave one. How do you spell Portobella/ portabella ?  It seems to be acceptable either way..


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Cold Yogurt Cucumber Soup

cold cucumber soup


Yogurt and Cucumbers are two of my favorites on a hot summer's day. 
Blended together with herbs and spices, the duo makes a sensational soup that is extremely refreshing 

Ordinarily, I am not a big fan of cold soup; I prefer my soup hot, but the temperature has been so ridiculously high and humid that I haven't felt like cooking. 


This easy soup was made in my blender, chilled for a minimum of 2 hours, and served ice cold. It really hits the spot on a 95 degree day.

I first heard of yogurt soup while I was visiting Turkey. Turkish Cacik soup ( prounoun ja-jik) is very tasty. Yogurt soup in general is very popular throughout the Middle Eastern countries.

Each country has its own variation of yogurt soup.
In Greece they add walnuts, in Egypt they add cumin,  in Lebanon they add grated almonds, and in Bulgaria they add fennel.

Regardless of the variation, cold yogurt cucumber soup is an old recipe that has been enjoyed for generations in many hot climates.  It is simple to make, gluten free and a perfect addition to begin any summer meal.
small glass of cucumber soup
The red coloring is grated radish
In addition to the enjoying wonderful food, we really enjoyed seeing the sites in Turkey.
Here are a few pictures from our trip to Turkey.

The famous Sohpia Hagia Mosque

spice market in Istanbul
A vendor inside the famous  Spice Market


One of many Beautiful Mosques throughout Istanbul

Beautifully hand painted crafts in Istanbul 

Ingredients:

2 Persian cucumbers, grated and use the liquid too
1 Persian cucumber, chopped
1 cup of plain yogurt
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup of fresh dill
1/4 cup of mint
1/2 clove of fresh garlic ( optional)
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice
1 Tablespoon raw organic honey
Topping:
2 red radishes, grated
1/4 red onion, diced small

Directions:

Place everything in the blender except the toppings and 1/2 of the grated cucumber. Whiz until well blended. Stir in 1/2 the grated cucumber to the mixture to add some texture. Add the toppings and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.

Are you a fan of cold soup? What kind do you like or  make?

Grates by hand in seconds- so easy
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