It’s definitely no thanks to me that my kids love broccoli. Maybe I can blame my mom for only feeding me broccoli rabe and romanesco growing up. Somehow, broccoli just seemed, well, boring. These days, I only enjoy broccoli two ways—blended into a creamy soup and roasted until […]
During the long, cold winter months, my kids know all too well that I could happily subsist on soup alone. I find it both comforting and nourishing. Even better, it’s an easy going dish—or meal, if you’re me. I love that soup doesn’t have to be complicated, allows for improvisation and if we were to boil soup down to its very essence, it really is whatever you make of it. That’s true for so many choices we consciously make in life—both in and out of the kitchen.
In my family, the holidays have always been about festivities, family and really great food. It’s also a time for sharing and in that spirit, I wanted to share my favorite cookbooks of 2014 with you from some of my food friends. Given the holiday season, they’ve decided to generously give away a copy of their cookbooks (or app) along with a recipe (see below)!
Now, I’d like to introduce my first guest and her new e-cookbook!
WHO: Alejandra Ramos, Always Order Dessert.
BOOK: The Puerto Rican Christmas Table: 40+ Classic Holiday Recipes Restyled for Modern Kitchens
RECIPE: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Tembleque (Coconut Pudding)
To enter for your chance to win, just share a favorite holiday memory in the comments below.*
*The winner will be selected at random on Monday, January 5, 2014 and books will be mailed out to each winner shortly thereafter. Please note: This giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.
4 cups canned coconut milk (full-fat, please!)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
Ground cinnamon, for garnish
- Grease 8 4-oounce molds or 1 large 4-cup mold (ramekins, baking pans, custard cups, etc.) with a small spritz of baking spray or coconut oil. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the coconut milk, salt, and sugar, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
- Remove 1 cup of the warm coconut milk to a separate bowl, and whisk together with the cornstarch to create a smooth slurry. Slowly whisk it back into the pot. Let cook, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes or until thickened and pudding-like. Remove from heat, divide into prepared molds, and let cool on the counter for 20 minutes before loosely covering with plastic wrap and transferring to the refrigerator. Chill at least 4 hours until set. To serve, run a thin wet knife along the edges and carefully invert onto a plate. Garnish with ground cinnamon, if desire.
Recipe excerpted from The Puerto Rican Christmas Table eCookbook by Alejandra Ramos.
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Quinoa Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Crispy Bacon and Toasted Hazelnuts
I made this quinoa recipe earlier this year when I was whisked away on a beautiful escape to Italy. One requirement of the trip: I was to bring snacks and dinner for our airplane ride. Mission accomplished. I’d say I got the deal of a lifetime…Im truly one lucky girl!
I owe everything I know about cooking and all of my kitchen curiosity to my mom, Penny, and my grandfather, or Nonno as I used to call him. Growing up, the day’s events were always focused around mealtime—from talking, shopping, prepping and cooking—food was by far the means to happiness. This is common in Italy, where I was lucky enough to spend every other summer with my Neapolitan grandfather.
I was first introduced to my friend Tess Masters, aka The Blender Girl, by one of my closest friends, Amie Valpone (The Healthy Apple). This was a few years back and we were all in Santa Monica, California, at a food blogger conference where I was speaking. She was so generous to take us around town to explore tasty—and healthy—foods and fresh-pressed juices in the area. That’s why I’m so excited for all of her success and for her awesome new cookbook, The Blender Girl: 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes, which launches today! Of course, with my sweet tooth, I turned right to the desserts chapter and found this decadent chocolate torte.
Besides all the amazing gluten-free, vegan recipes, you’ll be touched by her personal story and empowered by her incredible energy. I know I always am!
Today I’m happy to be giving away a copy of Tess’ new cookbook, The Blender Girl! To enter to win, just leave a comment below telling me about your favorite healthy food or dish. The winner will be selected at random this Friday, April 11, 2014. Please note: This giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.
4/11/14: Please note that this giveaway has ended. Any comments posted after today will not be included in the random drawing for a chance to win the cookbook. Thanks for visiting!
Yield: 20 slices
1 cup (160g) raw whole almonds
1/2 cup (80g) firmly packed chopped pitted dates, plus more as needed
1/4 cup (18g) cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup (240ml) coconut oil in liquid form
1 cup (240ml) freshly squeezed orange juice
3/4 cup (180ml) raw agave nectar
1/2 cup (35g) cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
3 cups (420g) raw unsalted cashews, soaked
1/4 teaspoon orange extract
Pinch of natural salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Shaved vegan chocolate, to garnish (optional)
Finely grated orange zest, to garnish (optional)
- To make the crust, grease a 9- or 10-inch (23 or 25cm) springform pan with coconut oil. Put the almonds, dates, and cacao powder into your food processor and process until well combined and the mixture forms a dough. Form the dough into a ball; if the dough doesn’t hold together, you may need to add more dates and process again. Press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
- To make the filling, put all of the ingredients into your blender in the order listed and blend for 2 to 3 minutes, until rich and creamy. To achieve the smoothest filling, stop the machine periodically and scrape down the sides of the container. Pour the filling into the crust. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and freeze the torte for 8 hours.
- To serve, transfer the pan from the freezer to the fridge at least 11/2 hours before serving; let the torte defrost in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Remove the sides of the springform pan and then cut the torte into slices with a very sharp knife. Keeping the slices together, return the torte to the fridge to continue defrosting for at least an hour before serving.
Note: Because of the coconut oil, this filling will melt if left out at room temperature.
Recipe reprinted with permission from The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts, and Drinks–100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes! by Tess Masters, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Photograph by Anson Smart © 2014.
The secret ingredient to my creamy dairy-free pesto is…water. Years ago, thanks to my magazine test kitchen friends, I learned that water is often the solution to many cooking conundrums.
This year I wanted to share my favorite cookbooks and health-focused books of 2013 with you from some of my friends. Since it’s the holiday season, they’ve decided to generously give away a copy of their books along with a recipe (see below!) starting today until the new year! Thanks to all of you for participating! To enter for your chance to win a book, just leave a comment below. The winner will be selected at random on January 2, 2014 and books will be mailed out to each winner shortly thereafter. Please note: This giveaway is available to U.S. residents only.
Now, I’d like to introduce Michelle Buffardi and her new book, Great Balls of Cheese!
My kids are calling it a heat wave. We’ve hit the 80s here in Brooklyn. Crazy for this time of year. Now, there’s no denying the one thing that will satisfy me—this thick and creamy smoothie. It’s so good, you could even call it dessert. And making it is really as easy as putting all of the ingredients in a blender and blending until smooth.
I wasn’t always a fan of blended drinks. That all changed when I tasted a smoothie called Peanut Butter Split at a juice bar in Manhattan called Juice Generation. I was blown away by the flavor and creamy texture. That’s what this smoothie is loosely based on. I changed the peanut butter to almond butter, tossed in some hemp seeds and had myself a cooling, rich dairy-free drink. I hope you’ll enjoy it, too!
Please come say “hi” over in my online community, Silvana’s Kitchen. I’d love to hear how you’re doing. Thank you, as always, for reading and sharing!
For ingredient substitutions, please see the detailed chart at Gluten-Free 101.
Let’s get blending,
1 cup coconut milk ice cubes or regular ice cubes
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup almond butter or peanut butter
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs
2 tablespoons flax or coconut oil
2 tablespoons hemp seeds, optional
- This protein-packed smoothie is great for breakfast or a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Not into almond butter? Use peanut butter instead.
- In a high-speed blender, blend together all of the ingredients until thick and smooth.
The weather in Brooklyn has been unusually warm for winter, but the constant clouds that keep the sun from shining still beg for closeness and comfort. For me, there’s only one food that can warm up my grey mood—soup! That’s why I always have some stockpiled in my fridge and freezer.
You know what it’s like to not be able to have bread or pizza or focaccia. My family does, too. For the past five years, I’ve been trying off-and-on to replicate the chew, the bounce and the bend that occurs naturally in a gluten-full bread. I’ve made batches and batches of doughs—all failures. But, those failures have led me to the biggest bread success I’ve ever had. And I’m happy to share it with you.
Seems easy enough. But, somehow it’s hard to find. I’m a mom. I’m a wife. I’m a magazine editor. I’m a cookbook author. I’m a… The list goes on. You know exactly what I’m talking about. You walk in my shoes every day.
This year, I’ve made a decision to be more present and more green—in what my family eats and in our daily routine. Today, that means lentils with spinach. Instead of running to the grocery store to grab ingredients, I am training myself to cook (and bake) from my pantry. First, I see what I already have. Then, I supplement that with fresh meats, fish, vegetables and fruits. Turns out, I have plenty of ingredients right at my fingertips. I just wasn’t looking closely enough.
I’m happy to announce that my friends and fellow gluten-free bloggers Amy Green and Maggie Savage have launched a new website called The Balanced Platter—a place you can go for balanced, healthy gluten-free living with recipes, tips, how-to’s and product reviews.
To kick off their launch, we’re all celebrating with a month’s worth of recipes and tips as part of the Balanced, Healthy, & Gluten-Free in 2012 blogger event. Check out their website for more details and to enter the Balanced Platter Baking Gift Pack giveaway on February 1!
Until then, please join me and my family for a cup of lentil soup.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cloves garlic, 1 clove finely chopped? and 2 cloves smashed
1½ cups dried French lentils
5 cups vegetable broth or water
1 cup strained tomatoes
1 cup dry white wine (or more broth or water)
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste (optional)
2 whole chipotles in adobo sauce, or to taste (optional)
Salt, to taste
One 3.5 ounce container of maitake mushrooms (also known as hen of the woods) or your favorite mushroom variety, loosely chopped
2 handfuls of baby spinach
Lemon wedges, for serving
- In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and carrot; cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Stir in the chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils, broth, strained tomatoes and wine; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Season with the cumin and chipotles, if using, and salt.
- Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add the smashed garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until you’ve reached your desired consistency. If needed, you can thin the soup with more broth or water, then season with more salt. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes. To serve, ladle the soup into bowls, top with the mushrooms and a squeeze of lemon.
Want to eat your veggies and love them, too? Then you’ll love these easy, flavor-packed burgers. read more…
Nearly five years ago, we sat down to the table for our first gluten-free, dairy-free Thanksgiving meal.
“I remember feeling stressed, knowing that I wouldn’t be cooking and baking my Mom’s tried-and-true recipes.”
…like her mushroom-filled matzo meal stuffing or her flaky pumpkin pie. Or, my Sicilian swiss chard pie with sweet raisins and pine nuts or the chocolate-and-pecan praline-filled poached pear puff pastry tart, both of which had become recent additions to our menu.
Instead, I kept it simple: turkey, gluten-free, dairy-free cornbread stuffing and a few vegetables. Maybe even a salad. Dessert? Believe it or not, I can’t even remember what we had. A fruit crumble? Poached pears without the puff pastry? It was unmemorable, to say the least.
“Luckily, things have changed, for the better.”
Since then, my family’s gluten-free, dairy-free life has expanded along with the world’s awareness. Our options—and our experiences—have opened up beautifully. I’ve even launched a gluten-free (dairy-free optional) magazine called Easy Eats.
This year, I made a stuffing that I would never have thought I could ever make again: rye stuffing. It’s in our latest holiday issue. I’m bringing it to the table this year as part of a virtual Thanksgiving, called The Communal Table, hosted by the Food Network.
“Undoubtedly, it will be a feast to remember—gluten-free and all.”
So, pull up a chair and take a look below to see what other delicious dishes and drinks my fellow bloggers are cooking up today for our Thanksgiving feast.
Cocktails, Appetizers, Soups and Salads:
Sweet Life Bake: Pumpkin Margarita
Easy Peasy Organic: Thanksgiving Ginger Cocktail
Dishin and Dishes: Butternut Squash Bruschetta With Sage Pesto
Mooshu Jenne: Green Salad
Two Peas and Their Pod: Maple-Roasted Butternut Squash Apple Salad
Jones is Hungry: Roasted Vegetable Salad
Purple Cook: Pasta and Bean Stew With Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe
From My Corner of Saratoga: Curried Pumpkin Soup
Cafe Terra Blog: Cranberry Pumpkin Stuffing
Virtually Homemade: Twice-Baked Cheddar and Chive Potatoes
Easy Eats Magazine: Sausage and Dried Cranberry-Walnut Stuffing
The Sensitive Epicure: Oyster Dressing and Gravy
Daily*Dishin: Make-Ahead Mashed Potatoes Supreme
What’s Gaby Cooking: Rustic Herb Skillet Stuffing
Family Fresh Cooking: Coconut Brown-Butter Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Silvana’s Kitchen: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Mushroom-Rye Stuffing
The Cultural Dish: Cranberry Sauce
I Am Baker: Pumpkin Cake
Heather Christo: Pumpkin Vanilla Ice Cream Pie
And Love It Too: Pumpkin Custard (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)
Haute Apple Pie Girls: Double Pumpkin Mini Pies With Candied Pecans
Ladles and Jelly Spoons: Not Your Same Old Pumpkin Pie
Daydreamer Desserts: Cuban Diplomatic Pudding
Thursday Night Dinner: Red Wine Chocolate Cake
Napa Farmhouse 1885:Caramel Apple Pie
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
One 18-ounce loaf gluten-free rye bread, such as Canyon Bakehouse, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for greasing
1 onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
One 10-ounce package sliced white mushrooms or wild mushrooms
Salt and pepper
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
2 teaspoons dried herb blend
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 egg, lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Preheat the oven to 250o. Scatter the bread pieces on 2 baking sheets and toast, tossing halfway, until dried but not browned, about 30 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 350°. Generously grease an 8-inch square pan with olive oil.
- In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and mushrooms; cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Season with 1?2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
- In a large bowl, toss together the mushroom mixture, toasted bread pieces, broth, herb blend, poultry seasoning and the egg mixture until evenly coated. Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake, uncovered, until crispy and golden, about 40 minutes.
If you’re looking for classic Italian handmade pasta with a twist, look no further than this gluten-free recipe. read more…
NO DOUBT WE EAT A LOT OF GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICHES IN MY HOUSE. Grilled ham and cheddar on gluten-free cinnamon-raisin bread. Grilled turkey, cranberry and jalapeno jack cheese on gluten-free whole-grain bread.
And, of course, plain ol’ grilled cheese on gluten-free white bread, which is the all-time family fave.
After making so many sandwiches, I wanted to come up with a new twist. Enter the casserole. Why a casserole? You don’t have to babysit the stove and they’re self-contained in one cooking vessel, which makes for faster clean-up.
This is also a stress-free recipe: Go ahead and assemble the casserole the night before and bake it off the next day. It doesn’t get much better than that.
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, for brushing
12 slices firm-textured gluten-free white bread, such as Rudi?s or Udi?s
10 ounces thinly-sliced yellow cheddar cheese
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 ½ cups milk
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
- Arrange a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375º. Lightly brush a 9-by-13-inch pan with some of the butter. Layer 6 bread slices with the cheese and top with the remaining 6 bread slices. Brush the outsides of the sandwiches with the remaining butter and cut the sandwiches diagonally into quarters. Arrange the quarters point up in the prepared pan, fitting them snugly.
- In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and mustard. Drizzle the custard on top of the casserole and let sit until absorbed, about 10 minutes (or cover and refrigerate overnight).
- Bake the casserole until bubbling and golden, about 35 minutes.
Got 15 minutes? Then you have a bright, healthy and satisfying soup in your bowl in no time. read more…
What are my food resolutions? Back to basics, all the way. Earthy, vibrant grains, legumes and veggies make their way onto my family’s plates. read more…
Today is my Mom Penny’s birthday! Instead of cake, I’ve made her a heartwarming soup—mostly because it reminds me of her. It takes me back to the time when my Dad went on business trips and Mom would pull out the Campbell’s (or the Stouffer’s). Believe it or not, that was pure comfort to my older brother, Bernardo, and me. Maybe because Mom typically cooked every single day: breakfast, lunch, dinner. And don′t forget snack—what service we′d get when we returned home from school! Spoiled, we were! Thanks, Mom, and have the happiest of birthdays! Love, Silvana
Playing around in the kitchen while I soften the onions in butter for about 5 minutes, then I transfer them to a plate…
…and add some more butter to cook the mushrooms in until they’ve softened and all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Then I return the onions to the pan,…
…stir in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. If you want to keep it vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Otherwise, chicken broth works well here, too. I lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Then I add the cream, salt and pepper, and cook until heated through, but I do not let it come to a boil or it could curdle.
I transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree it. Be careful when you blend hot liquids. I like to cover the lid with a dishtowel to avoid any hot splatters.
I return the blended mixture to the pan and keep the soup, covered, warm over low heat.
To make the herb croutons, I stir together melted butter (you could use olive oil here, too) and a mix of fresh herbs.
Then drizzle the herb butter over the bread cubes, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. I like to use my hands, but a wooden spoon works just fine. Then I toast the bread in a 375 º oven until crisp, about 15 minutes.
My favorite Campbell's soup was hands-down the cream of mushroom. This is my easy, straightforward version. Tomato bisque was definitely a close second. (My gluten-free, dairy-free interpretation of tomato bisque is on page 87 of Cooking for Isaiah.)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
Two 10-ounce containers white mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, rosemary and thyme)
4 cups gluten-free bread, cut into cubes, such as Udi?s
- In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. In the same saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add the mushrooms. Cook until softened and the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Return the onion to the pan and stir in the broth; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cream, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; cook until heated through, but do not boil.
- Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree. Return the mixture to the pan and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 °. In a microwavable bowl, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in the herbs. Spread the bread cubes evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with the butter mixture and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. To serve, top the soup with the croutons.
Kale makes its grand debut at my Thanksgiving table. Plus, see my step-by-step how-to. read more…
This Sunday, October 24th, I’ll be a guest at the NFCA’s (National Foundation for Celiac Awareness) Appetite for Awareness 2010. You’ll either find me baking up these Mini Mac-and-Cheese Cakes with Corn Chex Crust or signing copies of my new book, Cooking for Isaiah. I’m happy to be working with my friends at Chex since it’s one of the first ingredients I turned to when Isaiah was first diagnosed as gluten intolerant. I especially like using it as my substitute for bread crumbs or in place of crumbled cookies to make a sweet or savory crust, like I do here for the mac-and-cheese cakes. For more information on all the delicious recipes Chex is cooking up gluten-free, check out their website. See you in Philly!
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
1 cup uncooked gluten-free elbow macaroni
3 cups Corn Chex ® cereal, finely crushed
2 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (10 oz)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon gluten-free flour blend
1 cup whole milk, warmed
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, beaten until stiff but not dry
- Cook and drain macaroni as directed on package.
- Move oven rack to lower third of oven. Heat oven to 350 ºF. Lightly grease 12 regular-size muffin cups.
- In medium bowl, mix crushed cereal, 1 cup of the cheese and 4 tablespoons of the melted butter. Divide mixture among muffin cups; press firmly in bottom and up sides of cups with spoon.
- In 3-quart saucepan, stir together remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter and flour blend with whisk; cook over medium heat 1 minute. Gradually stir in warmed milk with whisk; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in 1 cup of the cheese until melted. Stir in cooked macaroni, egg yolk and salt. Fold in beaten egg white. Spoon about 1/4 cup mixture into each crust-lined cup. Top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.
- Bake about 20 minutes or until golden and puffed. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Serve warm.
What happens when my Mom and Dad take care of the kids for a week? Extra love with a side of leftovers! read more…