Tag Archives: recipe

Tune into this Tuna Casserole Recipe

21 Nov

Although tuna casserole is considered a comfort food for many, I didn’t grow up on this stuff. On special occasions my dad would make a mean meatloaf; and at times as an after-school snack, I’d make mac and cheese from the box. That’s pretty much as far as it goes for traditional American comfort foods with me. I bought a couple of cans of Starkist Albacore tuna from Safeway the other day and had no idea what I would do with them. I thought about making a tuna salad but that would entail looking for substitute mayonnaise. So I researched instead on tuna casseroles without wheat, dairy, eggs, or nuts. It’s pretty tough to find one that matches to a tee.

The first result on Google for “gluten-free, dairy-free tuna casserole” was from food.com with pretty good reviews (5 stars from 5 reviewers). It uses an olive oil based mayonnaise. (So I guess I could make a tuna salad – there is a olive oil based mayonnaise – who knew?!) The second result came from a Celiac Disease website and it used a non-dairy cream of mushroom soup and non-dairy cheese. (Hmm learning about new dairy-free products everyday). Wholefoods rounded out the 3rd result, but it did not get a good review, only 1 star from 1 reviewer.

With those recipes in mind, I went out and bought a jar of egg-free mayonnaise and shredded non-dairy cheese, but forgot about the non-dairy cream of mushroom soup. However, I was still not “feeling” it with the recipes. So I continued down the Google result list and came across Dance While You Cook’s Stellar Tuna Casserole – and I stopped looking.

This recipe was so detailed and came with pictures that it looked like something I could do. It did take a few more pots and pans than my usual wok, but I followed her preparation method pretty closely and my tuna casserole came out fantastic. I have to work on Mantou, I do not think he likes peas, but he liked the tuna, noodles, and mushrooms. My husband went for 3 servings!

It’s better if you follow her detailed instructions on her website. She provide pictures too. However I did have to make some alterations to the ingredients mentioned in her recipe

  • 16 oz rice pasta  <— I had an opened pack of Tinkyada rice noodles but it wasn’t enough so I also added some quinoa pasta (I think Mantou preferred the rice pasta) – you can pretty much use any kind of pasta)
  • 3C almond milk <– can’t do nuts, so I used unsweetened coconut milk beverage from Trader Joe’s
  • 2 TBS cooking sherry <– didn’t have any sherry so substituted Michu rice wine
  • potato chips or sliced almonds <– no potato chips, if there were I would eat them in one seating, also we’re nut free so no almonds. I had some Glutino bread crumbs in the pantry so used that instead.
  • paprika <– could have sworn I had paprika but it was cayenne pepper. Probably should stick with paprika here.

Ok, so check out Dance While You Can’s version of tuna casserole. It’s another keeper but it does take some effort and time to prepare.

Beef Kebabs and Quinoa Tabbouleh

15 Nov

I found a great recipe to use with my grass-fed ground beef and found it on the Wholefoods site of all places.  It’s listed as “Grass-Fed Ground Beef Kebabs” but from reading the comments below, it’s pretty much Beef Kofta, a Middle Eastern meatball – mixture of ground beef and/or lamb with spices and onions – skewered and grilled. So there are other variations, but I stuck with this particular recipe.

For the life of me I cannot cut an onion without tearing up! And in this particular recipe I had to shred it! Goodness, my eyes were so blurred I had to move away from the kitchen not only once but about 3 times! Is there a method to cutting onion without crying?

The rest of the preparation for this recipe was not at all hard to do. The only thing different from the recipe directions was that I put it in the oven versus grilling them. I don’t own a grill so it’s a bit difficult to do without. I do however have an oven with a broil setting.

Ingredients

1 1/3 pounds ground grass-fed beef
1/4 cup grated white onion
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon fine kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the ingredients together, except the olive oil. Use your hands for mixing. Form the beef mixture into 8 oblong patties and thread 2 per skewer. Note: Make sure the beef has come to room temperature before broiling them. Lightly brush the patties with oil and place on top of a wire wrack on a baking pan lined with foil. The pan should be about 6 inches away from the top burner. Let brown for 3 minute then turn them around and broil for another 3 minutes.

I also tinkered with the associated recipe on the Wholefoods website for gluten-free Tabbouleh using quinoa. I used all the ingredients mentioned in this recipe except I handled the preparation a little differently. I blame it on my husband who said that to make good tabbouleh is to chop up all the ingredients to itty-bitty pieces. It’s a lot of work but is only the best way to make it, I say just put it in the food processor and chop-chop…. but alas I chopped everything up by hand (with some assistance from dear husband).

By the way, prepare the quinoa ahead of time to allow for it too cool or reach room temperature. Also, the recipe calls for 1 cup quinoa, that should be cooked quinoa. I prepared 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, I thought it looked like a lot. It’s also probably why my husband, my expert on tabbouleh, mentioned that our dish looked like it didn’t have enough parsley.

Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 green onions, finely chopped
1/2 cup of tomato with seeds removed and finely chopped
1 cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons, more to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper and crushed red pepper to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, black pepper, red pepper and lemon juice. Serve room temperature or chilled.

I thought the meal was amazing as did my husband. Mantou was a huge fan of the beef kebabs but not so much for the quinoa. I think it was too flavorful for him and his little tastebuds couldn’t handle it. My husband said we should introduce all kinds of flavors to Mantou now. I think we might as well starve him, Mantou knows what he likes and doesn’t like.

Feeling a bit Thai’d Up

15 Nov

My friend was coming over for dinner and I had not defrosted any meat to prepare a meal and was not feeling especially excited about cooking at the moment. I was thinking about my favorite restaurants in the neighborhood and Thaiger was the first restaurant that popped in my head. But the weather was rainy and cold so I felt too lazy to trek over there since it was north of me. So I figured I’d make my own Pad Thai (minus peanuts and egg). Haha, yeah from not feeling like cooking to totally wanting to make Pad Thai is very random for me, but I got excited becausse I’ve never made it before. Plus even though I didn’t want to go out to get pre-made Thai food from my favorite restaurant, I still had to go out to the grocery store to buy most of the ingredients. Yeah I had a very confusing night, but I had to pass the grocery store anyway, from picking up Mantou from daycare.

But I was glad I did, the pad thai turned out great. When I was looking up recipes online I actually started with the search being “gluten free vegan pad thai” and I got a few good results but nothing that really looked authentic.  But when the results actually come up saying “authentic” then it’s worth a second glance; from the blog Savory Sweet Life, I used her Pad Thai Recipe.

This was my first attempt to make pad thai from scratch so I had to buy some vital ingredients. For the sauce I needed to buy tamarind concentrate and palm sugar. In the recipe the sauce was “ready” after the palm sugar dissolved into the fish sauce, tamarind, and garlic mixture and the blogger suggested to taste it to see if it needed to add extra sugar or spice. When I first tasted it, it was soooooo salty! I was a little scared that I might have to throw it out. I added two tablespoons of brown sugar just to tame it a bit. Fish sauce was the culprit, I have no idea of there is a certain brand to buy or if all fish sauce was this salty. Anyway, I put the sauce aside and prepared my rice noodles and tofu.

I only needed to boil the rice noodles for ~5 minutes, I didn’t want them to get too mushy. In the meantime I cut up a block of tofu into thirds then sprinkled some rice flour on them. I heated up some corn oil and let the pan get warmed up then tossed two slabs of tofu into the pan. When the bottoms of the tofu turned golden (leave them in the pan for a couple of minutes untouched) I flipped them over so the other side would turn brown. When the two were done I put the third slab onto the pan to fry. Then I put the tofu aside, let them cool before further cutting them into cubes.

I heated a wok and added some oil then added the garlic and onion, letting the onions soften. I added the carrots next since I like carrots to be cooked a little longer. Then I added the cooked noodles and tossed them all together. Added the Pad Thai sauce and evenly mixed it in with the noodles. I added the bean sprouts, green onion, then tofu to the noodles and again tossed them in the wok. When I tasted the complete dish the saltiness of the sauce disappeared. The Pad Thai all came together at the end. I did get a complaint later that it was a little too sweet, so I should have not added those 2 extra tablespoons of brown sugar.

Oven-Baked Taro Fries

12 Nov

So after making and eating sweet potato fries the other day, I decided to try a different root. I’m talking about the big heavy taro roots, not the little individual bite size ones. I also tried baking them differently than from the sweet potato fries since those didn’t come out as crispy as I wanted them. I used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper to see if that made a difference.

I peeled then sliced a large taro root into rectangles that made a decent size fry. I dusted them with some garlic powder and coated them with extra virgin olive oil (since that’s the only kind I had in my cupboard, however I learned that regular virgin olive oil is better since it has a better high-heat  index and won’t burn). I then sprinkled some white rice flour over them hoping that this would help get the taro fries crispy since it usually works in the fried version. I placed aluminum foil on a baking pan and tossed the coated fries onto the baking pan, making sure all fries were in one layer.

Oven was preheated at 400 degrees and I started baking them for 7 minutes first to just see how they would bake. I turned the pan around and baked for 11 minutes. My husband added another 10 minutes to that and again turned the pan around. We decided to bake it another 5 minutes.

Once out of the oven I added kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on top of them, let them cool for a bit, then served. The taro root fries were crispy!!! And tasted yummy. We probably didn’t need the extra 5 minutes at the end. So either the recipe turned out crispy because of the foil or because I added the rice flour… will have to investigate another time but am happy with the results!

Buckwheat Pancakes

6 Nov

That extra hour that we got when we change our clocks back this morning is marvelous! It also helps that the sun came out as well, considering yesterday was grey, cold and rainy. Even Mantou woke up with a lot of spunk. He was jumping all over the house (our poor downstairs neighbors already dislike us). So for breakfast to keep the mood right, I decided to make some buckwheat pancakes from scratch. I even ground up my own buckwheat flour, in a coffee grinder no less.

I found the buckwheat pancake recipe from Fitter than Choc but I didn’t add the blueberries. I just made them plain. They were quite delicious and I will love to make them again. Even the amount was perfect.

Ingredients 

  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup soy milk (I used sweetened)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup  applesauce
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

In a medium-size bowl, prepare the egg replacer according to the instructions. When that is mixed well add the milk, oil, and maple syrup. Mix together then add the applesauce.

In a large bowl, add buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture and mix well.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Pour some oil into the pan to lightly cover the bottom. Pour a ladle full of batter onto the pan and let it sit until bubbles form and pop. Flip them over and let the other side cook until slightly brown.

Serve warm.

The pancakes came out fluffy but still a little heavy in weight. I blame the applesauce but I’m sure it is the type of flour too. I thought the recipe was great and thought using both the egg replacer and applesauce was a clever way of substituting for 3 eggs.

Spicy Sweet

5 Nov

My co-worker found a recipe for sweet potato fries, however, I couldn’t remember the link so I dug around and put together my own version. Most online recipes for sweet potato fries adds a little spice. I wanted to add cinnamon on top of that, so that’s what I did.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • fresh black pepper
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • paprika
  • coarse salt/sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the sweet potatoes or peel the skins off. Slice the potatoes till you get them to the thickness you prefer. Put them in a bowl and lightly cover them with olive oil. Add some black pepper and cumin with a dash of paprika and sprinkle of cinnamon.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the sweet potato on the baking sheet in one layer. Put it in the oven on the top rack. Letting them bake for 25 minutes. When ready add  a dash of salt and serve warm.

Side note: I had tried putting the sweet potatoes in at 400 degrees for 23 minutes but the fries came out soggy, so for the second batch (since 2 sweet potatoes did not fit as one layer on the baking sheet) I upped the temp to 425 and baked for 25 minutes. The sweet potatoes were more crisp this second time around.

Mantou enjoyed a few fries but the spice (probably from the fresh ground pepper and paprika) had finally got to him so I will have to figure out a way to make a recipe that isn’t as spicy. Maybe a sweet version with cinnamon and sugar.

Scallion Pancakes

26 Oct

Wow, I can’t believe Wikipedia has an article for cong you bing. I love these green onion pancakes. While in China, my husband and I had our favorite street vendor that we’d buy about 2 kuai worth. It is a flat pancake like roti that is thin and layered with green onions folded within the layers. In the US, many Chinese restaurants serve cong you bing as a weekender snack along with other specialties like sweet warm soy bean milk with Chinese doughnuts. A couple of restaurants in our neighborhood sell them. Alas, they are made from wheat flour so I haven’t had been able to savor those fine snacks. Well guess what? I found a recipe for making these green onion pancakes online from “Diet, Dessert, and Dogs” and finally got around to trying it this weekend.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp (360 ml) Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour

2 Tbsp (30 ml) glutenous rice flour

3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan gum

1/2 cup to 10 Tbsp (120-150 ml) warm water

2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper, optional

3 green onions, white and light green parts

Combine the all-purpose gluten-free flour, rice flour and xanthan gum into a bowl and whisk to combine well.  Add the warm water slowly and mix with your hands till it forms a soft dough. Form the dough into a ball and cover with a damp cloth; let rest for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the surface area to roll out dough by covering with a light layer of all-purpose flour. Roll out the dough to a disk of around 12-14 inches, dust with flour as needed to keep from sticking.  Brush lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and green onions.

Roll up the dough tightly to form a long roll. The dough will be a little dry so be careful the roll doesn’t fall apart. Cut the roll in half and pinch the ends closed.  Stand each roll up and push down on the dough to create two pancakes. By doing this you are creating the layers. Flatten out the pancakes using a rolling pin or your hand to make it to desired thickness (flatter is better).

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add about 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Place the pancake into the pan cook for 4-5 minutes or until the bottom is a crisp brown. Gently flip the pancake and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes. Do the same for the other pancake.

Cut each pancake into 4 pieces and serve immediately. Use chili sauce and or wheat-free soy sauce for dipping sauce.

By the way, the picture above is of the first pancake which was on the thicker side. For the second one, I decided to flatten out more and it was super yummy this way. Also, I thought this picture was great since in the background you see Mantou peeking to see what was on the table.

Different Noodle, Same Recipe

25 Oct

I haven’t fallen off the blogging bandwagon, just life kind of gets me preoccupied. So I’ll just share a picture of a great noodle dish I made a few weeks back. When I think about it, the recipe is pretty much the same. The difference it the type of noodles. In this one I used rice noodles (Guilin-type rice noodles).

I’ve used bean thread noodles too – except for these you need a lot of extra broth/water because those noodles take in a lot of liquid. Sometimes I’ll add a few different ingredients. This noodle dish I added mushrooms, but in others I’ve added baby corn, and other types of veggies – sometimes it’s broccoli, maybe baby choy sum, or whatever veggie I bought from the market.  But always in my noodle recipes I include some yellow onion (usually 1/2), a carrot, two stalks of celery, wheat-free tamari, white pepper and salt.

Prepare the noodles according to the package. Rinse the noodles in cold water and let drain. While the noodles are boiling or draining you can cook up the other ingredients. Over med-high heat add some vegetable oil in a wok. Let the wok heat up a little and then add the sliced onions. If you want to add any protein you can do so now. I then add the carrots and celery and saute for about 2-3 minutes. I then add mushrooms (if you’re using other veggies you can add them in too). Let the veggies cook and when tender add the noodles. Add some tamari (around 1 tablespoon), salt and white pepper then mix the veggies with the noodles. If the noodles are soaking up the liquid and the noodles seem dry you may want to add some water or broth but by doing so you may need more seasoning so adjust Tamari, salt, and pepper to your taste.

Here’s a picture of Mantou eating up these noodles.

Fishy face

19 Oct

Tonight I was home alone with Mantou while his dad, Red Duck, was off on a business trip. I wanted to make something easy, usually Mantou gets antsy and requires full attention while I prepare dinner. He rather me play than to make his dinner.  So I went downtown and picked up a couple of Tilapia fillets (about 1 lb) and some spinach at the local market. While on the way home I was deciding between pan-frying them or putting them in the oven. By the time I arrived home, I decided on baking them. This way I let the oven do all the work while I could focus on my little mantou. Thank goodness he decided to let me at least get the fish in the oven.

I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and then prepped the fillets. I slathered them with olive oil, squeezed some lemon, sprinkled some salt, dusted them with oregano, and ground up some pepper on top. I put them in the oven and baked for 10-15 minutes checking once to see if they were done. They were pretty flaky at 15 minutes. As those cooled I sauteed some spinach with garlic and salt.

Mantou has had fish before but I was very surprised at how much he enjoyed the tilapia. I thought the oregano would be much for him but he didn’t mind. After finishing his first bowl, he asked for more. Whoo hoo! Fish is great for the brain, right… I think I’ll teach him algebra tomorrow. haha, just kidding.

BTW, you may have noticed that Red Duck had posted an entry last week. I had asked him to start blogging too since he’s very much involved in eating allergy-free as well. I hope you don’t mind.

Toquiche

13 Oct

Tofu quiche! Isn’t that a cool concept – no egg, no dairy, and completely vegan. But those who know me will attest that I am no vegan, I am very much a carnivore. My mom didn’t even think my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) and my relationship would last because he was a vegetarian. Apparently he liked me enough to change his ways and started consuming meat. I did not request this, maybe I influenced it a little bit since I enjoy sharing meals, but he made this change on his own.

Well for this particular recipe, I did not add any animal product but may think about adding bacon or ham next time.

The recipe is called “Mini Crustless Tofu Quiche” from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen. (Her picture of the final product is actually more appetizing. I never have good light). I had to go out to buy some of the ingredients like nutritional yeast but I thought the end product was very good. The quiches were light and airy so be prepared to double or triple the batch.

The blended combination of tofu, soymilk, cornstarch, and tahini created a consistency of eggs while the tumeric gives it that yellow tinge. The nutritional yeast gives the quiche its “cheesey” taste. Adding the bellpeppers, onions, garlic, and rosemary made the whole thing look more like a quiche. I wonder if this can be modified to a Quiche Lorraine? Too bad the nutritional yeast doesn’t come in different “cheesy” flavors.