Crispy Eggplant Curry

I’m growing these adorable lil Japanese eggplants. They happen to be delicious. I curried them up.

1 lb eggplant sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds (if using a bigger eggplant variety, try cubes)
1 white onion, sliced
12 oz bamboo shoots in chili oil
1 1/2 Cups green peas (I use frozen)
2 large springs basil (I’m growing purple basil so I use that. Thai basil would be nice too)
13 oz (1 can) coconut milk
3 TB green curry powder
enough sesame oil/ veggie oil blend to pan fry the eggplant

Salt the eggplant and set it aside to drain. Slice the onion, chiffonade the basil, eat a handful of thawed peas.

When the eggplant has released much of it’s fluid, rinse it and drain it well. A salad spinner is great for this. Heat a little veggie oil seasoned with sesame oil in a wok. Stir fry the eggplant over medium-high heat until brown and crispy. Transfer to plate to rest.

Add onion to pan and let the sugars caramelize. When onion has a nice brown color all over, add the bamboo shoots and chili oil, basil, and peas. Stir fry 2 minutes then turn heat to medium. Add coconut milk and green curry powder. Stir to combine. Cover and let heat through to bubbling.

Serve over rice.

Tomato Tart

It’s not really a tart. I just make it in a tart pan because it’s pretty like that. This is super easy. Even people who don’t cook can make this dish and feel really fancy. This recipe serves 4. You can half the ingredients and make it for 2 or double the ingredients and place it in a large casserole pan for 8.

2 sweet yellow onions sliced into thin rings
2 large tomatoes cut into discs
2 Cups bread crumbs, I use Udi’s gluten free sandwich bread
large handful fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper

Make the seasoned bread crumbs by putting 3 slices of the gluten free bread in a food processor at a time. Whirl in the fresh basil. Add a pinch of salt and plenty of pepper.

Layer the baking dish:

onion rings
olive oil
salt and pepper
bread crumbs
tomatoes
bread crumbs
onion
olive oil
salt and pepper
bread crumbs
tomatoes
bread crumbs

You can adjust the recipe ingredients to make more or less, just keep the layers in order. Always top with bread crumbs so there is a nice crispy top.

Bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes, when the onions are caramelized on the bottom. Let cool 5-7 minutes before slicing to help the “tart” hold it’s shape.

**Cook’s Tip***
I’m growing heirloom beefsteak and heirloom German Queen tomatoes this year. I’ve used both with great success in this dish. I have also made a green tomato tart and it is phenomenal! For green tomatoes, I sub fresh tarragon in the breadcrumbs. It compliments the tart green tomato flavor better than basil.

Yes, You Can Eat Carrot Tops

We’ve been eating a lot of carrots from the CSA recently. And they always come with the tops on. So I’ve started using them as I would any herb-a-licious green. Just make sure to wash the sand and soil out of them before you move them to your cutting board. Like spinach and other greens, they can pick up a great deal of grit.

Check out this Carrot Greens and Mushrooms pasta toss.

Cook some pasta (I used gluten-free fettuccine noodles) according to the package directions

In a saute pan add:
1/2 C olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 bunch carrot greens, rough chopped
8 oz mushrooms, I used beech mushrooms this time and broke up the colony by hand rather than slicing them
3+ cloves garlic, diced
*optional– add some sliced, precooked chicken sausage

Saute for about 8 minutes on medium high. The onions should be cooked through and the mushrooms should be juicy. The carrot greens will wilt considerably.

Drain hot pasta and toss. Add in

salt and pepper to taste
a little reserved starchy pasta water to thin sauce

Serve vegan as is or add a little grated parm.

Chicken with Goat Cheese Cream Sauce over Herbed Rice

This is a family favorite. I like to use boneless skinless thighs because we like dark meat. You can use breasts or chicken on the bone. Just be sure to adjust cooking times for meat on the bone. This is also a pretty budget friendly meal. It’s great served with a crisp green salad. I make it in about 30 minutes.

Start the rice:
2 C basmati rice
1/2 C slivered almonds
2 TB Summer savory
2 TB tarragon
4 C stock or water (if using water, add salt after rice is cooked to develop the flavor)

In a hot pan, toast the almonds. Stir and heat for 3 minutes until the nuts release a nice aroma. Add rice. Toast 2 minutes more. Add herbs and liquid. Stir well. Cover and reduce to low. Simmer until rice is cooked through.

For the Chicken and Sauce:

1 lb chicken pieces, rinsed and dried
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 oz goat cheese
olive oil

Seasoned Flour:
1/2 C brown rice flour
2 tsp black pepper
zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp thyme
2 tsp salt

Heat a little oil in a large saute pan on medium high. Dredge chicken pieces in flour mixture and saute until a nice brown crust is on both sides. About 12 minutes. Remove chicken from pan.

Add onions, 2 TB olive oil, and a pinch of salt. Sweat the onions to translucent. Add mushrooms. Cook 4 minutes more. Add any leftover seasoned flour. Stir to make a roux. Add water to make a sauce, about 3/4 C. I don’t use stock here because the flavor of the seasoned flour is very intense. Then stir in the 2 oz goat cheese. Stir until smooth.

Add the chicken back to the pan. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve chicken and cream sauce over rice.

Kale, Mushroom & Swiss Pie

This smells the whole house up delicious! Serve with a soup or salad for a very filling meal.

For the filling:
Reserve 1 1/2 Cups shredded swiss or guerrier cheese

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 bunch kale, washed well and chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
3 TB olive oil
1 TB crushed red pepper flakes
salt to taste (I use about 1 TB)

Put everything together in a saute pan on medium, except the cheese. Stir to coat veggies in oil and seasonings. Let wilt. Stir occasionally. Cook until onions are completely translucent. Cook off excess liquid.

Crust:
3 C brown rice flour
1/3 C olive oil
4 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
splash rice milk

Mix all dough ingredients together very well. If your eggs are very large or have very large yolks, they may be moist enough to pull dough together without milk. Dough should be soft but hold a ball.

1. Press dough into pie plate or casserole dish.
2. Sprinkle 1/2 C cheese onto crust
3. Spread 1/2 vegetable mixture over cheese
4. Sprinkle 1/2 C cheese over veggies
5. Spread the remaining veggies over cheese layer
6. Top with remaining 1/2 C cheese

Bake 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until crust is golden and puffed up.

Warm Black Eyed Pea Salad

I used fresh black eyed peas for this recipe and cooked them very gently. You can sprout fresh peas and toss them in the salad raw or warm them.

Heat a large saute pan on medium heat with
1/2 C olive oil
2 carrots, diced
1 small spanish onion, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
12 oz fresh black eyed peas
2 tsp salt

Saute until onions are translucent and peas are tender, stirring often.

Add in
1 C sweet corn kernels
1 TB black pepper
3+ cloves garlic

Saute 5 minutes, until garlic and corn are crisp tender. Remove from heat.

Add in
Zest and juice from 2 limes
1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch of cilantro, finely chopped

Toss to coat. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice, salad greens, with crackers, or with toast points.

Broccoli & Chard Pie

This is a great veggie pie you can make ahead and freeze. Bake from frozen by increasing cooking time by 15 minutes. Perfect with a fresh fruit salad.

For the pie filling:

1 bunch swiss chard, chopped
1 bunch baby broccoli, chopped
1 small yellow onion, diced
3+ cloves garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil
2 tsp red chili flakes

Add everything to a large skillet and saute over medium until veggies are tender. Set aside.

For the crust:

2 Cups rice flour
1 Cup shredded cheddar
1 tsp salt
3 TB olive oil
1/3-1/2 Cup water

Add flour, salt, and cheese to food processor. Pulse to grind cheese into flour. Slowly add oil. Pulse to make a fine crumb. Slowly add water to make dough come together.

Press dough into pie plate. No need to roll out like traditional gluten dough. Add vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with 1/2 Cup parmesan cheese.

Bake 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.

Creamy Split Lentils

This is great to serve as a side dish to any Indian style main course. It’s also a great way to prepare lentils for kids, just adjust the chili powder to their taste. For some kids, that may be doubling the chili powder!

1 Cup split lentils
1 Cup chopped onion
2 TB olive or vegetable oil
2 TB butter (or quality vegan butter substitute)
1 tsp salt (to help onions sweat)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
3+ cloves garlic minced

1 1/2+ Cups filtered water

Add onion, fats, salt, and seasonings to a small stock pot. Brown over high, stirring constantly until onion begins to caramelize. Stir in lentils. Coat in spiced oil by stirring vigorously. Stir in water. Scrape bottom of pan with wooden spoon to release all the browned flavors from the pan.

Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are soft. Stir occasionally. Split lentils will cook quickly and break apart. The texture is very smooth and creamy without adding dairy.

Serve with naan bread or over rice.

Chicken and Rice Soup

Hail to the chicken carcass! I roast a chicken now and then. We actually prefer to use the meat for salads and sandwiches then make soup rather than eat it roasted with traditional sides. Poultry cooked on the bone has a richer flavor. And since these chickens worked hard to grow tasty, I feel obligated to cook them to their tastiest.

Place chicken carcass in a large (8 qt) stock pot and fill with filtered water 2 inches shy of covering the chicken. Put the lid on and set to simmer for about an hour. You can also do this in your crock pot for 3+ hours.

Once broth has reached a rich color, remove bones, leaving behind chicken bits. Add to your pot:

2 onions, chopped

1 stalk celery, cleaned and chopped (I include the leaves)

1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced

3 TB butter (Since there was no skin, the extra fat makes a world of difference to the flavor)

4 cloves garlic

3 bay leaves

2 TB thyme

1 tsp celery seed

2 1/2 Cups rice

Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Or, in a crock pot, let soup cook on low for up to 5 hours.

Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Fluffy Grass Fed Beefy Meatballs

This is what I made myself for my most recent birthday. While we do love certain restaurants, I didn’t want to risk disappointment on my special ME holiday. So my darling one brought me several pounds of locally farmed grass fed beef as a birthday gift. Here is how to make some beautifully fluffy meat balls, sans gluten!

Served with polenta and marinara

Add these wonderful ingredients to your stand mixer with the balloon whisk attached:

1.5 lbs grass fed ground sirloin
4 oz mushrooms, minced in the food processor
1 yellow onion, minced in the food processor
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt (we like salt, you don’t have to like salt this much)
1 TB fresh ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced in the food processor
3 eggs
1/2 Cup rice flour

Whip it! Start on your lowest setting and work up to medium speed for about 1 full minute to ensure everything is well incorporated. At this point, you can refrigerate the mixture to cook up later, like if you had company coming the following day.

To cook:

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

Put a thin layer of your favorite tomato sauce in a shallow baking dish. This will keep the meatballs from sticking.

Roll the meat mixture into large balls. I like mine about the size of racket balls. This recipe will make about 20-25 meatballs that size. I always make plenty when I make them so we can freeze them and re-heat them later for a fast meal.

Place them on the tray, not touching. They won’t expand so you need not separate them much. Bake for 25-30 minutes until juices run clear. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

***Cooks Tip: This makes a rowdy meat loaf!

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