Monthly Archives: July 2008

classic sangria

It’s the weekend and we’re having some friends over. The first thing that came to mind was an ice-cold pitcher of sangria. Classic sangria has lots of sugar in it – which I was trying to avoid. For the wine, I always choose one with a mixed variety of grapes so it’s on the lighter side, a bit fruity but not too overpowering. (For example, a good choice would be a wine with 50% cabernet sauvignon, 40% merlot, 10% petit syrah, etc.)

1 bottle red wine
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup Cointreau (GF)
1 lemon, sliced
l lime, sliced
1 orange, sliced
1 apple, diced
1 can Hansen’s soda water (or 1 can Hansen’s all natural
ginger ale)
8 drops (not full droppers) liquid stevia
2 tblsps honey or agave 

  1. At least a few hours before serving, set all liquid ingredients (except soda water or ginger ale) and sliced lemon, lime, orange and chopped apple into a pitcher. Refrigerate for as long as possible.
  2. Immediately before serving, add soda water or ginger ale. Give it a stir and serve.
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grilled portabella mushrooms

It’s summertime…and my south-african-meat-loving husband is firing up some steak on the grill. Red meat is not my thing so I broke out the portabella mushrooms. They’re delicious and good for you — they have as much potassium as a banana.  Using a pastry brush, I’ve tried the whole spectrum of sauces to brush over the top. But, I keep going back to my trusty ‘ole bottle of balsamic vinegar. To me, it’s a really good complement. I like keeping it simple.

1 package organic portabella mushrooms
1-2 tblsp good balsamic vinegar

  1. Pour vinegar into a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush to coat the mushroom.
  2. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Place directly on a low-medium area of the grill surface. Roast for 8-10 minutes per side (depending upon the size of the mushroom). Serve on a bun (hamburger style or just plain). They’re great either way.

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asparagus with lemon dill cream sauce

I had some fresh asparagus in my fridge today. And all I could think of was pairing it with pasta and a really great white sauce. Today was almost 100 degrees. So, naturally, I wanted something really light and fresh tasting. Nothing that was going to bog me down. So, I tried my hand at a zesty lemon dill sauce. I always find it a bit challenging to pair things with asparagus. But, I think this did the job quite nicely. The sauce in this dish was screaming for some sauteed shrimp. But, we cannot do shellfish in our house, so….This is a relatively quick dinner. (I made the sauce while the water was coming to a boil and) it took me just under 30 minutes.

1 tblsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 shallot, minced
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tblsp water
1 tblsp arrowroot starch
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
3 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tblsp lemon zest (about 2 small lemons)
2 tblsp fresh dill
1 package rice noodles
1 1/2 cups blanched asparagus

For sauce:
Melt ghee in saucepan then add shallots.
While shallots are browning, thoroughly mix 1 tblsp arrowroot starch (or corn starch) with 1 tblsp water.After about 5 minutes, whisk in milk and starch mixture and stir for several minutes until thickened. Add in salt, pepper, lemon juice, zest and dill and stir well to combine.

For asparagus:
Boil about 2 quarts water in a stockpot. While water is coming to a boil, take one asparagus and hold one end in each hand. Gently bend the asparagus until the non-speared end naturally snaps . This eliminates the tough end of the asparagus the natural way. Use this asparagus as a guide for all the other asparagus. Line them up, and cut evenly along the same line. Split the asparagus into 2 batches. When water has come to a boil,  add the first batch of asparagus. Let simmer for 3 minutes. While asparagus is cooking, prepare a cold water bath in a large bowl full of ice and cold water. Remove asparagus promptly with tongs or a wire basket and plunge asparagus directly into the cold water bath to stop cooking. This is called “blanching”. Remove after 2 minutes and pay dry on some paper towels.
Now, place second batch of asparagus in boiling water, simmer for 3 minutes, and blanch. Cut the asparagus as you like: I cut mine on the diagonal into 3 pieces.

For the noodles:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add noodles. Cook 2 minutes. Drain.

Toss all ingredients together in a serving bowl. Or plate the pasta, layer some asparagus spears on top and drizzle some sauce over the top. If you plan on making extra pasta  – do double the sauce.

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barbeque chicken

My husband put in a request this morning for bbq chicken. “I think I have some bbq sauce”, I said. I love when I open the cabinet and there is something in there I’ve forgotten I’d bought. Today, I rediscovered  Organicville bbq sauce. It’s quite rare to find gluten free bbq sauce so I scooped it up as soon as I saw it. Upon opening the jar, I was really surprised at the complex flavor. Not too smoky with a hint of molasses. My favorite thing about this sauce is there is no added sugar. What a bonus. I set the chicken in the marinade and let it work its magic for 6-7 hours or so. I cleaned the grill, put the chicken on, threw on some corn on the cob (still in its husk) and some vegetables to grill – and voila – presto meal.

1 jar Organicville Original BBQ sauce
4-5 organic skinless boneless chicken breasts

  1. Place chicken in glass dish with bbq sauce. Cover dish. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from the fridge at least 1 hour prior to grilling. This ensures a better tasting tender chicken – when it has come close to room temperature before subjecting it to the high heat of the grill.
  3. Remove chicken from the glass dish and discard marinade. Set grill temperature to a medium- low heat.  Cook chicken 8-10 minutes per side – being careful not to burn the chicken or sauce.

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louise’s lemon dill dip

Yesterday, I was at the supermarket. As I rounded the corner, there were these huge perky bunches of organic dill perched right in front of my shopping cart. My first thought was the lemon dill dip of my childhood. Our neighbor Louise used to make it for us. She was the coolest lady with incredible stories of travelling the world. And she had an incredible arsenal of recipes in her kitchen to boot. Her children were grown and gone so she used to love making special treats for us.  Her original recipe had dairy but I recreated it using cashew cream/meal. It’s a perfect complement to carrot, celery and cucumber sticks but you could always break out some low-sodium crackers if you like.

1/2 cup (heaping) raw cashews soaked overnight (in filtered water)
1 tblsp filtered water
1 1/2 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup gluten free mayonnaise (I like Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise)
2 tblsp fresh dill, chopped/minced
pinch salt & pepper to taste

  1. In a glass bowl, cover cashews with filtered water and pinch of salt. Let soak overnight. In the morning, strain cashews and discard the liquid. Rinse cashews thoroughly.
  2. Place cashews in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add water and lemon juice. Process for 15-20 seconds, or until cashews are almost smooth.
  3. Add mayonnaise and dill and process for an additional 30 seconds. Dip will be smooth and creamy.

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blueberry muffins

Blueberries are everywhere right now. I love that about summer. I haven’t really made muffins since the cooler months (when I usually pair them with soups). But, today I thought I would try and bake up some muffins for a little afternoon snack out at the picnic table. I like mine loaded up with berries so I put a whole cup and a half in there. If you don’t like as many simply cut it down to one cup. In my opinion, these are even better the next day…

1 egg
3 tblsp coconut oil or canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tblsp honey
2/3 cup non-dairy milk
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups GF flour minus 2 tblsp
2 tblsp flax seed meal
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
pinch salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups blueberries

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Mix egg, oil, agave and honey until well mixed and lighter in color. Add milk and lemon juice. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, flax seed meal, baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon and salt. 
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet ones. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
  5. Add blueberries just until mixed – stirring gently –  being careful not to pop the blueberries.
  6. Bake 25-28 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

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tomato avocado salad

Something happens when you put these two fruits together. The combination not only tastes wonderful. But, nutritionally, magic happens. When combined, the nutrients within each fruit complement each other, allowing the body to absorb more vitamins from them than if they were eaten separately (a.k.a., more “bio-available” to your body). This recipe is laden with vitamin E,  B-complex vitamins and potassium. Avocado also adds a fair amount of protein. And healthy fat. Make your best effort to buy “vine-ripened” organic tomatoes – as other tomatoes are often picked green and then ripened with ethylene gas.

1 ripe avocado
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil

  1. Slice and dice tomato and avocado and place in a bowl. 
  2. Mix lemon juice and olive oil together with salt and pepper. Pour over tomato and avocado mixture and gently toss to combine.

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