Rainbows — edible, adorable, easy, can be gluten-free and vegan

Edible Rainbows!

Cut-up peppers
In the spring, someone posted a picture on Facebook showing edible little rainbows of different-colored bell peppers on top of maybe bread, with cute little white clouds at each end of the rainbow — and it captured my imagination. The picture was simply a photo, without a recipe or any information about who had cooked it. Intrigued, I kept thinking about them until I tried out a way to make them. After some experimentation, I came up with a version that tastes great, is healthy, and looks adorable.

Pizza-dough basesWarning: Edible rainbows are very susceptible to puns. They are also fun to talk about. We laughed the first time we said, “Kendra ate two rainbows for breakfast.”

For the base, you can make this with any type of pizza dough that works for you, or you can use the recipe that I’ve posted here, which is gluten-free.

Pepper arcs arranged on base

Pepper arcs arranged on base. You can see that I intentionally broke the red stripe to make it more arc-shaped.

I’ve been happily using all-purpose Chebe Mix to make really good pizza dough for years, but it isn’t organic and we try to eat all-organic. So I am happy to report that I finally figured out a from-scratch recipe that comes out similar to Chebe dough, so you can make it with organic ingredients if you choose to do that. (I do.) Bonus: I also made the dough pourable, so you mix up a batter and pour it into pizza shape, rather than needing to take the time to knead it and individually roll out circles, so it is much quicker and easier — a big improvement all around.

Edible rainbow

Super cute!

A friend said this is Unicorn Food. I like that. :)

Anyway! Here is the recipe:

Rainbows -- edible, adorable, easy, can be gluten-free and vegan
 
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Extreme cute edible vegetarian rainbows! Fairly easy to make, wildly adorable, healthy, and yummy! This is one excellent recipe!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: Serves 4-8
Ingredients
Base
  • EITHER: your favorite pizza dough, enough for two pizzas
  • OR: The following ingredients
  • 2 cups tapioca flour (note that if you buy "Letz Do Organic" brand, a box holds 1 1/2 cups, so you will need to start a second box)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (or 2/3 teaspoon baking soda + 2/3 teaspoon cream of tartar)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup canola or olive oil
  • 6-7 tablespoons of water (start with six, add the other one if needed)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 eggs (or, if you prefer vegan, you should be able to replace them with flax eggs, but I have not tried this recipe that way)
Peppers
  • 4 bell peppers -- one each of red, orange, yellow, and green (if you have a choice, red should be a wide pepper, then orange, then yellow, and green should the skinniest -- but if your peppers aren't in those sizes, it's fine)
Clouds
  • For an alternate nut-free version: Use a batch of my creamy white dressing
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
Base
  1. Preheat the oven to the temperature recommended for your pizza dough recipe.
  2. If you are using my dough recipe, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Then, except for the water, put all of the ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Add six tablespoons of water and stir. This should make a batter that is thick but pourable. If it is not pourable, add the other tablespoon of water and stir again.
  3. If you are using my dough recipe, use two awesomely nonstick cookie sheets, or regular cookie sheets with silicone mats on top. Make 16 tiny pizzas, using one dinnertable tablespoon of batter for each pizza, and spreading out each one into an oval about 2-3 inches by 3-4 inches. Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. If you are using other dough, roll out blobs of dough to be about 2-3 inches by 3-4 inches and the thickness of a pizza crust. You may have extra dough left over. Bake according to the directions for your dough.
Peppers
  1. While the bases bake, cut up the peppers. Cut a circle around the stem and remove the stem. Now, with the hole where the stem was at the top, look at the ribs of the pepper. Cut from top to bottom along three of the ribs that are spaced on different sides of the pepper, ideally dividing the pepper into thirds -- but it is okay if the ribs aren't spaced evenly and your three pieces aren't very exactly equal. Trim off any seeds and ribs on the inside of each section, and rinse it out.
  2. Next, cut off the uneven part on the top of each section, then cut crosswise across each section about 1/4 inch apart, so that you get six arcs. There will be a bit of extra left over at the bottom. (If your pepper is especially large or small, make your cuts a little bigger or smaller than 1/4 inch apart.) The idea is to end up with 18 arcs of pepper in each of the four colors.
Clouds
  1. Use a good blender to blend all Clouds ingredients until they form a very smooth cream. My food processor doesn't make this smooth enough, but my blender does.
Assembly
  1. When the bases are baked, put four arcs of bell pepper on top in the shape of a rainbow, with red, orange, yellow, and green going from top to bottom. It's helpful to press the arcs together to get them closer together. For arcs that aren't arc-shaped, feel free to break the piece as needed to make it more arc-shaped. You should have a couple of pieces of each color of pepper left over at the end; you can break those into pieces and use them to extend short arcs to be longer.
  2. Next, use a dinnertable teaspoon to plop about a teaspoon of the cashew mixture at each end of the rainbow arcs (that is, use two teaspoons of cashew cream, one teaspoon on each end of the rainbow).
  3. Makes 16 rainbows. Serve 2-4 rainbows per person.

 

Knishes – cute packets of potatoes in dough – gluten-free and vegetarian – warm and delicious!

Knishes
a rolled-out knish

A rolled-out knish, with filling on it,
ready for crimping.
I adore this little rolling pin —
it is very easy to use.

Here’s a family favorite recipe that I’ve been meaning to post for years: Knishes! A knish is a dough-wrapped packet of filling. The filling is often potatoes, though my kids prefer them filled with vegan cheese, instead, or even gluten-free pasta.

Knishes are a Jewish food, but even though I am Jewish and grew up in New York City, I never encountered them until I was an adult.

A potful of the potato filling

The potato filling

This recipe was originally developed by the author of Gluten-Free By The Bay. I have simplified the recipe, changed it around a bit, and multiplied it to make more food.

My family and I really love this recipe, even including my picky kids! I hope you will like it too! Also, it’s a great recipe to make for guests.

 

Another knish underway

Another knish underway.
There is a crimped knish on the right, ready for baking. You can see that I rolled the dough a little too thin and so it has holes.  You can click on the photo to zoom in and see the details of how the crimping looks.  Also, that one is a bit long — they should be shaped more like a semicircle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knishes - cute packets of potatoes in dough - gluten-free and vegetarian - warm and delicious!
 
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Knishes are beautiful packets of dough filled with your choice of mashed potatoes, cheesy filling, or anything else. People are always impressed when they see these. And, they are gluten-free!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 12 knishes
Ingredients
Dough:
  • 4 1/2 cups (3 packets) All-Purpose Chebe Mix
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons oil (I use canola and/or olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup water, milk, or vegan milk
Potato Filling: (I like to make lots of extra to eat as a side dish for days afterward)
  • 3 cups fresh red chard or spinach, washed, stems removed, and chopped, OR 1 cup defrosted frozen kale
  • 3 large baking potatoes
  • 1/4 cup oil (canola and/or olive)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper (optional -- I leave it out)
Cheesy Vegan Filling:
  • 3/4 pound firm tofu OR a combination of 3/4 cup cashews, 3/4 cup sunflower seeds, and 6 tablespoons of water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil and oregano
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 box frozen spinach, defrosted
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. If you are making the potato filling, cut the potatoes into one-inch cubes and put them in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover them. Heat to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and boil for 10-12 minutes, until the potatoes are easy to pierce with a fork. Drain and return them to the pot. Add all the other ingredients for the potato filling except for the greens. Mash the potatoes. Then stir in the greens.
  3. If you are making the cheesy vegan filling, mix all ingredients in a food processor or a big blender.
  4. To make the dough, mix all of the dough ingredients and knead them together into a soft dough. If the dough is dry and not cohesive, you may need to add water -- just a teaspoon at a time, because it can go from too dry to too sticky very quickly. I use the dough kneading attachment on my food processor to do the kneading -- it works well for this.
  5. Divide the dough into twelve equal pieces. (I like to roll it into a log, then cut the log into quarters, then cut each quarter into thirds. But you can divide it any way that works for you.) Pick up each piece to check its size, and pinch small blobs off the biggest pieces and add them to the smallest pieces, to even out the sizes.
  6. Use a rolling pin on a nonstick surface to roll out the dough into a 6 or 7 inch circle. Avoid making the circle bigger than that, because the dough will get holes in the middle. Check that the circle can be lifted off the surface, then add 2-4 tablespoons of filling in the middle. When in doubt about how much filling to put in, use less filling, so that it doesn't squirt out the sides. Fold the circle in half, with the filling inside. Use a fork to crimp around the edges and make evenly spaced fork-lines that go about from the edge about 1/4 inch inward. Gently press on the top of the knish to distribute the filling inside the sealed-in area. Repeat for the remaining pieces of dough.
  7. Place each knish on a baking sheet, leaving some space between them for expansion during baking.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Eat them carefully -- the filling gets incredibly hot.

 

Egg Pinwheels – no gluten or dairy, and super cute!

Egg Pinwheels
The egg mixture

The egg mixture, after whipping and stirring in all ingredients.

This adorable recipe is fairly easy to make. You do need a food processor or mixer that can whip eggs, and a very non-stick cookie sheet. Then you are good to go!

I originally found this recipe on a site that does not exist anymore. I’ve adapted it to be gluten-free and healthier, and made it much simpler.

Ready to roll

The egg mixture, with Filling Option 1 spread on it, ready for rolling up.

My kids really like this recipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Slicing with dental floss

After baking, slicing with dental floss

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After slicing

After slicing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ready to serve!

Ready to serve!

 

 

 

 

 

Egg Pinwheels - no gluten or dairy, and super cute!
 
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This super-cute recipe is fairly easy to make if you have a way to whip egg whites and a very nonstick cookie sheet. Yum!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 3-4
Ingredients
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of gluten-free flour mix (I use 2 tablespoons potato starch + 2 tablespoons of garbanzo flour or quinoa flour or brown rice flour) -- or if you are not gluten-free, then use regular flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups of filling - see three options below
Filling Option One:
  • 1 cup "lasagna cheese" (or real cheese)
  • 1 package defrosted frozen spinach
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into small cubes
Filling Option Two:
Filling Option Three:
  • I haven't tried it, but I think a mixture of greens, pesto, and tiny cubes of potatoes would be amazing in these.
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread a thin coating of oil all over the inside of a very non-stick cookie sheet that is about 11 by 15 inches.
  2. Separate the eggs. Put all twelve egg whites into a food processor or the bowl of a mixer, and use the whipping attachment to whip them until they are stiff.
  3. Discard eight egg yolks (I know, that's hard to do, but a dozen of the really nice eggs costs about $4, so it won't break the bank). Add the remaining four egg yolks to the egg whites, along with the flour mixture and salt. Gently mix everything together with a spatula.
  4. Pour the egg mixture onto a cookie sheet, and use a spatula to spread it all the way to each edge and smooth it out so that it is about the same depth everywhere.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, until the eggs start to brown.
  6. While it bakes, mix up your choice of filling ingredients.
  7. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.
  8. Gently use a spatula to loosen the egg rectangle from the cookie sheet. Be careful -- it is hot!
  9. Once the egg rectangle is detached, carefully flip it upside down.
  10. Spread the filling mixture evenly over the egg rectangle, leaving about an inch bare along one of the long edges.
  11. Carefully roll up the rectangle, rolling toward the bare edge. Keep rolling until the edge is underneath the roll. I find it convenient to put the roll on a diagonal on the cookie sheet, so that if filling comes out the ends it lands on the cookie sheet.
  12. Bake for another 10 minutes.
  13. Cut through the roll to make it into eight spiral pinwheels, and serve. You can do the cutting with a knife or a sharp spatula -- or by looping dental floss around it and pulling the loop shut, to cut through the log. Fun!

 

 

 

 

Matzo Ball Soup – gluten-free and dairy-free for Passover or anytime!

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free!

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free!When my family went gluten-free, I thought that for sure we would never have matzo ball soup again. But I found a dumpling soup recipe that reminded me of matzo ball soup and from there I invented this recipe. Yum!!!

If you are cooking for Passover, you may want to also see my recipe for a gluten-free, vegan Matzo Mina — my favorite main dish for Passover. It is a bit like a spinach artichoke lasagna, but with the noodles replaced with gluten-free matzo. Yum!!!

Happy Passover!

matzo ball dough

Matzo ball dough, so you can see the consistency. When it’s perfect, it should be like toothpaste or cookie dough.

 

 

 

 

matzo ball soup

 

Matzo Ball Soup - gluten-free and dairy-free for Passover or anytime!
 
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Gluten-free dairy-free matzo ball soup! Yum! Lightning-quick and made from scratch! Happy Passover!!!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: serves 4-6
Ingredients
Soup:
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • optional but good: 2 cans white beans (navy beans, cannellini beans, or great northern beans, etc.), rinsed (15-ounce cans)
  • 1 cup sliced carrot circles
  • 2-3 stalks celery, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, rubbed between your fingers and broken into bits
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
Dumplings:
  • 7 tablespoons flour or gluten-free flour (I use 2 tablespoons of brown rice flour, 2 tablespoons of potato starch, and 3 tablespoons of garbanzo bean flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (or 1/6 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/6 teaspoon cream of tartar; I don't have a measuring spoon for 1/6 teaspoon, but this recipe works fine if you estimate the amount)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients listed under "Soup" into a big pot that is at least ten inches wide, so that there is enough space for the matzo balls to cook. You don't need to measure any of the soup ingredients -- just estimating is fine. Heat to boiling, then lower to a simmer.
  2. Mix all of the dumpling ingredients in a small bowl, such as a cereal bowl. The consistency of the dumpling dough matters a lot to the success of the recipe; the mixture should be the consistency of toothpaste, or wet-ish cookie dough. If it is too wet, add more flour -- I usually add garbanzo flour. If it is too dry, add some water. Keep adjusting the consistency until it is perfectly like toothpaste.
  3. When you are satisfied with the dough, drop marble-sized blobs of it into the soup. They will expand as they cook. The matzo balls will cook on one side, then stir to flip them to the other side so that both sides get a chance to cook.
  4. Serve hot.

 

Matzo Mina – a great Passover dish – gluten-free, vegan, and healthy

Matzo Mina

Happy Passover!!

I grew up Jewish, but the first time I heard of a Matzo Mina was as an adult, surfing the Internet. This is a lot like a lasagna, but made with dampened matzo instead of the lasagna noodles. With the overlapping squares of matzo on the top, this comes out looking really pretty. It tastes great, too, so it is my favorite Passover food. To make it gluten-free, I use gluten-free matzo.

Matzo Mina

Assembled Matzo Mina before baking

My pick for gluten-free matzo is Yehuda brand. I find it at my local Whole Foods store, though it is also available on Amazon. Lately gluten-free matzo is the most popular food in my house — my kids gobble it down! Go figure!

To make a soy-free version of this recipe, replace the tofu with 2/3 cup of cashews, 2/3 cup of sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds, and 2/3 cup of water.

This recipe is originally based on Tori Avey’s Spinach, Feta and Artichoke Matzo Mina — though I have changed my version a lot.

If you are cooking for Passover, you may also want to check out my recipe for gluten-free matzo ball soup. Yum!

Sorry to have gone so long between postings — I can’t believe I last posted in July! I don’t have a good reason for having gone so long between postings — just juggling kids, work, and the paperwork from Jan’s estate. Anyway, I do have lots more recipes that I want to post, so I will continue posting recipes!!

our seder table

Here is my son Corbin, who is nine, at our Seder table.
The weather is so warm that this year we had our Seder outdoors on the back porch.

Matzo Mina - a great Passover dish - gluten-free, vegan, and healthy
 
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This matzo mina is a delicious and healthy vegan main dish to serve at Passover. It is a bit like a lasagna, but with dampened matzo instead of the noodles. I really love this recipe! You can make it gluten-free if you use gluten-free matzo.
Author:
Recipe type: main dish
Cuisine: Jewish
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3-4 sheets of matzo; for gluten-free use a gluten-free matzo such as Yehuda brand
  • 1-2 jars of artichoke hearts (plain or marinated; about 8 ounces per jar)
  • 1 pound firm tofu (not silken)
  • 4+ tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as basil or oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 5 ounces spinach or kale (frozen and defrosted is fine)
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a food processor, blend everything except the matzo and artichoke hearts. Add the artichoke hearts and pulse until mixed in.
  3. Oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
  4. Dampen a sheet of matzo in cold running water from the faucet. Place in baking pan.
  5. Add half of the tofu mixture, and spread it smooth with a spatula.
  6. Repeat with another piece of matzo and the rest of the tofu mixture.
  7. For the top, dampen a piece of matzo, then break it into squares that are 1 1/2 or 2 inches wide. Overlap the pieces of matzo on top of the casserole, like roof shingles, covering the entire surface. You will need about 1 1/2 sheets of matzo, broken up, to cover the top of the casserole.
  8. Gently brush the top of the matzo with olive oil.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top layer is browning. Serve warm.

 

Pasta, Beans and Greens – a lightning-fast, yummy, healthy, vegan dinner

Pasta, Beans, and Greens

My family is finishing two very busy weeks. My eighth grader, Kendra, was in a national Quiz Bowl tournament in Atlanta, and then she played the role of Audrey in the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” — so the last two weeks have had long, daily rehearsals, followed by a weekend of performances. But the final performance was this afternoon, and now Kendra is free! — Well, free except for assorted daily homework, two term papers, an amazing week-long field trip, and graduation — followed immediately by a week of gluten-free summer camp. Whew!!!

So, in celebration of our crazy-busy two weeks, I am posting a recipe for a dinner that takes about fifteen minutes to cook — depending on how fast your stove can boil a pot of water — and is nutritious and delicious: Pasta, Beans and Greens. This is my go-to recipe for anytime I need a healthy dinner to be on the table quickly.

This recipe is adapted from the cookbook Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites: Flavorful Recipes for Healthful Meals — a family favorite cookbook of ours.

My kids range from “somewhat picky” to “world-class picky.” This recipe is unique because it is one of only two dinners that all of my kids will eat. (The other one is Potato Pancakes — yum!)

A variation: Consumer Reports found that there is arsenic in rice, so I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount of rice-based pasta in our diet. My kids won’t eat this variation, but I have found that I can replace the pasta in this recipe with tofu cut into long thin rectangles that are about 1/4 inch wide, 1/4 inch tall, and 3/4 inch long. Prepared this way, it is an even faster and healthier version of this recipe.

Pasta, Beans and Greens - a lightning-fast yummy healthy vegan dinner
 
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This dinner recipe is quick, fast, yummy, gluten-free, and vegan! And, all of my kids will eat it!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: serves 5
Ingredients
  • 1 pound short chunky pasta, such as elbows, tubes, or fusilli - gluten-free if you like
  • 2 15-ounce cans of cooked beans, such as kidney and pinto beans
  • either 1 bunch of fresh kale or other greens -- or 2-3 cups of frozen, chopped kale, defrosted
  • 1 lemon
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil (optional)
  • salt and/or gluten-free soy sauce to taste
Instructions
  1. Start boiling water for the pasta. When the water boils, cook the pasta in it.
  2. Get out a big mixing bowl for serving the food in.
  3. While the pasta cooks, if you are using fresh greens, shred the greens into small pieces (a bread-slicing knife works well for this), then add them to the pot where the pasta is cooking for the last couple of minutes of cooking. Or, if you are using frozen greens, defrost them by microwaving them in the big mixing bowl. This takes 5 minutes in my microwave, but microwaves vary so be alert.
  4. Rinse the beans (I like to put them in a strainer and run cold water through), then add them to the big mixing bowl.
  5. Juice the lemon, and add the lemon juice to the bowl.
  6. Add the oil and basil to the bowl.
  7. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and add it to the bowl.
  8. Stir everything together thoroughly.
  9. Serve, with salt and soy sauce available for each person to stir in to their food. If you are using soy sauce, about 2 teaspoons per serving is a good amount to start with.
  10. Yum! Warm and quick!

 

Golden Crispy Tofu – gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!

Golden Crispy Tofu

 

tofu, sliced for this recipe

tofu, sliced for this recipe

I love this recipe! It’s a delicious way to serve tofu.

My favorite way to serve this is with some broccoli on the side. It makes a complete meal that way. Alternatively, it is also good with a salad on the side and a creamy white dressing on top of the tofu. I’ve posted my favorite recipe for a creamy white dressing — it goes great on this recipe!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

This is based on a recipe posted by Vegan Dad. I have adapted it to be gluten-free, and a little simpler than the way he does it.

Yum!

tofu, frying

tofu, frying

Golden Crispy Tofu - gluten-free, vegan, and yummy!
 
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This gluten-free, vegan breaded tofu dish is delicious!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Serves: serves 4
Ingredients
Tofu
  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • canola or olive oil for frying
Bread Crumbs
  • 2 1/2 cups of gluten-free cereal, such as Erewhon's Crispy Brown Rice cereal -- check that the package says it is gluten-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon sage
  • 1/3 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 to 1 1/3 teaspoons smoked paprika
Dry Mix
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour or quinoa flour (or use regular flour if you are not gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour (ditto)
  • 1/4 cup potato starch (ditto)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Wet Mix
  • EITHER 1 1/4 cups dairy-free milk OR 1/8 cup cashews blenderized with 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard (I use Annie's Organic Dijon mustard)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Cut the tofu crosswise into 12 slices, each one about 1/4 inch thick.
  2. Put a frying pan -- or two frying pans, so you can cook all the tofu at one time -- on the stove with some oil on low heat to preheat. There should be enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan, but it does not need to be deep.
  3. Put the gluten-free cereal and other ingredients listed under bread crumbs into the blender and blend until you have a powder.
  4. Put the ground cereal mix into a soup bowl.
  5. Next, put the ingredients for the Dry Mix into another soup bowl, and stir until mixed.
  6. Next, put all ingredients for the Wet Mix into the blender (no need to clean it after the cereal), and blend until smooth.
  7. Put the Wet Mix ingredients into a third soup bowl.
  8. Add an ordinary dinnertable fork to each soup bowl.
  9. Using the fork in each bowl to touch the tofu (this keeps your fingers clean and dry), one at a time dip each piece of tofu into (1) the Wet Mix, (2) the Dry Mix, (3) the Wet Mix again, (4) the ground-up cereal. Use the fork to pat each coating all over all sides of each piece of tofu. After each time you dip it into the Wet Mix, use the fork to hold it above the cereal bowl for a few moments, to let the extra liquid drip back into the bowl.
  10. Each time you finish dipping a piece of tofu, put it into a frying pan. If the frying pan has a puddle of oil on one side, I like to put each piece of tofu into the oil and then slide it to the side.
  11. When all of the tofu is coated and in the frying pans, turn up the heat to medium-high.
  12. Fry for a few minutes on each side, adding more oil if needed, until the coating is turning golden brown and crispy.
  13. The tofu tastes great served with my super-quick creamy white dressing on top, so this is a good time to make a batch.
  14. While the tofu cooks, consider cooking broccoli as a side dish. I have linked to the instructions for my favorite way of cooking broccoli.
  15. Serve!

This recipe has been shared at Gluten-Free Fridays.

Stroganoff – creamy, soothing, vegan, and gluten-free

stroganoff

I love this creamy vegan meal of pasta. It is warm, salty and soothing.

This is based on a Seitan Stroganoff recipe from the cookbook Friendly Foods by Ron Pickarski. But I have converted the recipe to be gluten-free and much quicker and easier than the original.

I love Ron Pickarski’s cookbooks –Friendly Foods and Eco-Cuisine. From what I read in his cookbooks, Ron Pickarski was a monk who worked in the kitchen at his monastery, and he had a medical concern that limited him to a vegan diet. I am amazed by the creative solutions he has come up with for making vegan food that is interesting and delicious. For example, he makes a sauce out of yellow peppers. His recipes are sometimes time-consuming, but they are very consistently very yummy food. Some of the recipes in his cookbooks have been entered into the International Cooking Olympics — and sometimes they won! I am intrigued by his creativity and thoughtfulness with food.

ps. Check out the “music” table napkin in the picture — I made it myself! My friend Carol Simmons taught me how to use a sewing machine, and my son Corbin picked out the fabric. :)

Anyway, onward to the recipe!

Stroganoff - creamy, soothing, vegan, and gluten-free
 
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This creamy, salty, pasta dish tastes too rich and yummy to be vegan, but it is!
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 12 ounces uncooked spiral pasta (or another shape)
  • 2 cups of your favorite "meaty" item, cut into bite-sized pieces (I like Butler Soy Curls - rehydrate 1 cup of them in warm water for this recipe; or if you can eat gluten, seitan works well in this recipe; or you can cut up six Tofu Pups; or use 1 cup of olives cut in half and with the pits removed)
  • 1 onion, diced - optional
  • 2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic - optional
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon stone-ground prepared mustard (I like Annie's brand Dijon Mustard)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch or 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons of umeboshi paste -- or 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce/tamari (I like San-J organic reduced-sodium gluten-free tamari)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil (the brown toasted kind) (I like Eden brand)
  • optional: 1/3 cup green olives, pits removed and sliced into o-shapes (I adore Organic Divina brand olives, or sometimes I'll use Jeff's Natural's olives - black olives that are pre-sliced and a real time-saver)
  • optional: about 2 cups of frozen kale, defrosted (or fresh kale, chopped)
Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, if you are using soy curls, break the dry soy curls into pieces that are about 1 inch long or less. Put one cup of dry soy curls into a few cups of hot water, to start rehydrating. If you are using another "meaty item" instead, cut it up into bite-sized pieces.
  3. Heat the canola or olive oil in a big pot. If you are using onions, cook them in this oil until translucent. Add the garlic, if you are using it, and the mushrooms. Cook for 6-10 minutes, until soft.
  4. In a food processor, put only 1/2 cup of the water. Add the cashews. Blend until smooth. Add the dried parsley, mustard, cornstarch or potato starch, umeboshi paste (or honey and salt), and tamari. Blend for several minutes, until the mixture is creamy and super-smooth.
  5. Add the sauce mixture and the sliced olives (if using) to the pot with the mushrooms in it. Use the other 1 cup of water to rinse out the last sauce from the food processor, then add it to the mushroom mixture. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce boils, then turn off the heat.
  6. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, the mix it with all of the other ingredients, including the toasted sesame oil. Stir everything together well. Add more water to the mixture if needed.
  7. Serve!
  8. Yum!!

 

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole – gluten-free, vegan, warm, soothing, and delicious

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole

 

Potatoes and frozen veggies

Whole potatoes and frozen veggies

Oh my goodness it’s been a long time since I last posted here!!! I always have good intentions of posting twice a week — and then life gets in the way.

My daughter Kendra and I adore this recipe. It is my adaptation of a recipe for Southwestern Twice Baked Potatoes from the very yummy cookbook Forks Over Knives by Del Sroufe.

a diced potato

The easiest way to chop most veggies is to cut them in half first (from top to bottom, not sideways like in this picture!), so that you have a flat surface to put on the bottom.

I have changed the recipe enough that it barely resembles the original. Actually I feel a little weird about the changes that I made, because Forks Over Knives is an oil-free cookbook, and I have added some oil to this recipe. It feels disrespectful to fundamentally change a recipe like that. It’s like taking a vegan recipe and posting that you think that you made it better by adding meat — that feels wrong to me. But I do think that it’s important to have some fat in our diet. Fat is needed for absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. Plus, research shows that unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as canola and olive oils are associated with healthier outcomes. So I think it is important to include them in one’s diet.

Toasted potatoes

The bottom layer of toasted potatoes, before spreading them out evenly.

The original version of this recipe involved baking whole potatoes in the oven, then topping them with a variety of veggies and beans, and adding a creamy white sauce on top, made from blended tofu — a bit like sour cream but much healthier. I have speeded up this recipe by dicing the potatoes into little cubes before baking them. In addition to being much faster to cook, I think this dish is easier to eat that way, too.

All layers except for the sauce

All layers except for the sauce

The casserole after baking

The whole casserole after baking

Also, I have replaced the creamy topping with a salty version of my adaptation of the house dressing from the awesome vegetarian Moosewood Restaurant, located in Ithaca, New York. Like the main recipe here, my version of this dressing has diverged very far from the original version, but it is awesomely yummy. I have also given my salad dressing recipe its own page on this website, because it is so yummy that it is really worth talking about. But I am also including it as an ingredient here.

Southwestern Twice Baked Potato Casserole
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
My daughter and I totally adore this casserole, made of toasted potatoes, red bell peppers, corn kernels, black beans, and a creamy vegan sauce on top that is made from blended silken tofu that tastes like sour cream but is much healthier.
Author:
Recipe type: dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 6 servings
Ingredients
Potatoes
  • 6 cups of potatoes -- about 2 pounds
  • olive or canola oil
  • salt
Toppings
  • 1 red bell pepper, or about 1 cup of frozen, chopped bell peppers
  • 10 ounces of frozen corn kernels -- "supersweet" corn is good in this, though any kind should work
  • 1 15-ounce can or bag of black beans, drained and rinsed
Sauce
  • 1 12.3 ounce package of silken tofu (I like Mori-Nu organic)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive and/or canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Dice the potatoes into cubes that are 1/2 inch or smaller.
  3. Place the diced potatoes onto a non-stick cookie sheet.
  4. Sprinkle on some salt (maybe 1/2 teaspoon) and some oil (maybe 2 tablespoons).
  5. Stir the potatoes, oil, and salt until they are evenly mixed.
  6. Bake the potatoes in the oven, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown on most sides. When I did not preheat my oven ahead of time, I clocked this step at 30 minutes. If your oven is fully pre-heated, figure maybe 20 minutes. When the potatoes are done, they should look like gorgeous cube-shaped nicely-browned french fries. If you are in a hurry, you can bake them less, just until they are soft when pierced with a fork. That will work fine too, though I think they are yummier when they are browned.
  7. Meanwhile, while the potatoes cook, defrost the corn in a bowl in the microwave. Microwaves vary, but in my microwave this takes about 4 minutes.
  8. If you are using fresh bell pepper, chop it. If you are using frozen, defrost it in the microwave.
  9. Rinse the black beans -- I like to put them into a strainer and run cold water through it to do this.
  10. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a blender. Blend until smooth.
  11. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the oven and lower the temperature to 350 degrees.
  12. Carefully pour the hot potatoes and any oil that is with them into a 9x13 inch pan. Distribute the potatoes evenly throughout the pan.
  13. On top of the potatoes, add layers of beans, corn, and bell pepper, spreading out each one evenly.
  14. Pour the sauce on top. Use a spatula to spread it out to almost reach the edges of the pan, but not quite touching. (By not quite touching the edges, this keeps the sauce from sticking to the sides of the pan, which makes cleanup easier.) Keeping the sauce at about 1/4 inch of distance from the edges works well.
  15. Put the 9x13 inch pan in the oven, uncovered.
  16. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
  17. Serve!

 

Cucumber Sandwiches – gluten-free, dairy-free, sophisticated, and easy!

Cucumber Sandwiches

chopped cucumbersI can’t believe how long it’s been since my last posting!! Last winter, I had plans for recipes that I would post in the spring and summer with fresh ingredients like blueberries, strawberries, and cucumbers. But then over the summer with my kids at home, even with an awesome nanny for my youngest, there was never enough free time for me to get to all of my paying work programming computers, let alone time left over for blogging. And so here it is, the end of September — and I have a zillion recipes in my head, waiting to be typed in and posted here.

cornbread before baking

cornbread before baking

This is a good springtime recipe — though really it works anytime that you can find fresh cucumbers, which is pretty much all year long. Though if you have garden-fresh homegrown cucumbers, those are fabulous in this recipe!

I invented this recipe one day when I was reading someone else’s cucumber sandwich recipe and wishing for an easy type of gluten-free yeast-free bread. Then I realized that I have an awesome cornbread recipe, which is gluten-free and yeast-free, and which can be baked in a thin layer on a cookie

vegan cream cheese in blender

vegan cream cheese in blender

sheet to make a very decent, quick and easy type of bread that works great in sandwiches.

And so, this very alternative-y cucumber sandwich recipe was born.

You can easily make this vegan by using flax eggs to replace the eggs in the cornbread.

Here are two variations for how to make vegan cream cheese. In case it is helpful for deciding which kind to use: The tofu version has fewer calories, more protein, and is less filling. The nut-based version has

baked cornbread, cut into triangles for this recipe

baked cornbread, cut into triangles for this recipe

more calories, and is more filling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

cucumber sandwiches!

Cucumber sandwiches! Yum!

Cucumber Sandwiches - gluten-free, dairy-free, sophisticated, and easy!
 
Prep time
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Awesomely yummy easy homemade gluten-free dairy-free cucumber sandwiches.
Author:
Recipe type: lunch or dinner
Cuisine: Vaguely British
Serves: Serves 4
Ingredients
Cornbread
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk OR 1 1/2 cups nondairy milk mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar (see my recipe for super-easy cashew milk)
Vegan Cream Cheese
  • 1 cup tofu OR 1/3 cup cashews plus 1/3 cup sunflower seeds plus 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1-2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Cucumbers
  • 2 cucumbers
Instructions
Cornbread
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix all cornbread ingredients.
  3. Pour onto an awesomely nonstick 11x15 inch cookie sheet.
  4. Bake for 12 minutes.
Vegan Cream Cheese
  1. Mix all cream cheese ingredients in a blender. If it won't mix, add a tiny bit more water and continue blending. Blend until very smooth and creamy.
Cucumbers
  1. Cut cucumbers into 1/4 inch thick quarter-circles. A mandoline is helpful for slicing to a very even thickness, but you can also slice them with a regular knife and that works fine.
Assembly
  1. Use a hard plastic spatula to cut the cornbread into a grid of twelve squares (see picture), then cut the squares diagonally so that you have 24 triangles.
  2. Spread some vegan cream cheese on each triangle, then decorate with plenty of cucumber slices.
  3. Yum!
Variation
  1. Instead of making triangles, you can use a cookie cutter to cut the cornbread into shapes. Heart-shaped cucumber sandwiches are adorable!

I shared this recipe on Gluten-Free Fridays!