Saturday, October 30, 2010

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

I really do have an addiction. But thank the Lord, it's an addiction to this Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, and not coffee, alcohol, ice cream, or even chocolate. About once a week religiously, I get a hankering for this soup (or any curry dish really), and I just have to have it. Luckily, my husband is kin to my thai taste buds as well, as he has yet to complain about the recurrence of this dish on my weekly menu repertoire.

And it's kid friendly too. My three year old calls it the "soup with white stuff". He's always a bit hesitant to take that first bite, claiming that he "doesn't like soup", but once he does taste it, he gets this giddy look, squishes his cheeks into a squinty smile, and almost looks devious as he tells me, "Mommy, this is delicious!" (Well, of course it is, kiddo... would your mama make anything that isn't? I think to myself as I relish in the glorious fact that he is eating a meal instead of merely playing with his food...)

Don't let the long list of ingredients get you down. It really whips up in a flash, perfect for a weeknight dinner. We serve this soup alone, with no sides or breads or rice. (Trust me, you won't need anything else.) The coconut milk is full fat and will keep you satiated until morning, especially if you have seconds (or thirds) of this amazingly addictive soup (as do I!).

Thai Coconut Chicken Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup water
1 can coconut milk
2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
2 tablespoons Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or GF soy sauce)
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon red thai curry paste
1 tablespoon agave
cilantro sprigs

Heat coconut oil in large soup pot over medium-low heat. Chop onion and mince garlic. Add to pan and cook for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop celery and carrot into bite-sized pieces and add to pan, along with ginger. Continue cooking another 3-5 minutes.

Add remaining ingredients, stirring the pot with each addition. Bring to a boil and immediately turn heat down to a simmer, and continue simmering soup for 10-15 minutes.

Stir soup just before serving and ladle into soup bowls. Top with cilantro.

Serves 2-4

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Squash, Black Bean, and Kale Soup

The wind was whipping today. And the temps? Well, definitely not October's best. But I got to be home with my boys today, so the weather was a no matter since those two little charmers are all the sunshine I need. We built a massive fort in the living room (under which my three year old got to nap, how fun is that?!), baked cookies, and popped popcorn over the stove (or "boom-corn", as my three year old calls it). And, let's not forgot the soup.

I am just a soup lover at heart. I honestly think I could eat a bowl of homemade soup every day and never tire of it. I've even started eating my leftover soup for breakfast! Soup, when made at home using whole, fresh, organic ingredients, is just so nourishing. I say that to myself when I'm eating it, Kelly, you are nourishing your body! And soup is also one of the easiest things to make, once you get the hang of it. You can literally throw any random vegetables from your produce drawer into a pot with some chicken broth, let it simmer for a bit on the stove, and call it good (a great way to use up produce that is starting to go bad, but isn't bad just yet...).

Today I was craving a hearty black bean soup that wasn't chili. I already had the squash pureed in my fridge and thought the two would pair well together. I was right. I used an ambercup squash in this recipe, which to note, is a tad on the sweeter side of winter squashes. A butternut would also work great in its place, but if you use any other kind of winter squash that isn't as sweet as those varieties, I recommend adding a tablespoon or so of the sweetner of choice (think agave, maple syrup, or molasses). You can also control the thickness of this soup by adding less or more water/broth. If you like a really thick soup, omit 1-2 cups of the liquid; if you like a more brothly-based soup, add 1-2 cups more.

Experiment with it. Play with it. Whatever you do, eat this soup and be nourished.

Squash, Black Bean, and Kale Soup

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 yellow onion
5 cloves garlic
2 celery stalks
2 carrots
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups cooked, pureed ambercup squash (you could use butternut or  1- 15 oz. canned pumpkin instead)
2 cups cooked black beans (or 1- 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon curry powder
pinch salt
3-4 kale leaves

Heat coconut oil in soup pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Chop onion and mince garlic. Add to soup pot and stir to coat. Cook for 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, chop celery and carrots into bite-size pieces. Add to soup pot and cook along with onions and garlic for another 5 minutes. Add broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add squash, beans, and spices (through pepper). Stir to combine. Continue simmering for about 10-15 minutes. Tear kale leaves into bite-size pieces and add to pot during the last 2 minutes of cooking (you want them to stay bright green; if they cook longer than 2 or so minutes, they will get brownish looking and soggy...).

Ladle into soup bowls and enjoy.

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Apple Bread

I think my family may be getting sick of my apple creations these days, but I however, am not. Not in the slightest. I am loving them, craving them, dreaming about them, those gorgeous sweet red fruits from heaven. I picked up a whole peck at the farmer's market last weekend for $8, a steal, I should have bought two pecks, I tell myself... I am about half way through that peck now, and dreading its end. Thank goodness I have access to such amazing organic food at my local co-op year round.

This gluten free, sugar free, quick bread recipe came together rather quickly this a.m. as I was preparing brunch for my grandma. Everyone loved the bread (my three year old ate almost half the loaf in one sitting). My grandma is such a funny lady, very basic when it comes to food. She and prepared, packaged food go hand in hand. To her, a good meal is never complete without a bag of Frito Lays potato chips, a carton of sour cream, and a package of french onion soup mix (for those of you who are wondering how that all works together, you mix the soup mix into the sour cream and it is a dip for the chips...).

When my grandma comes to my house for meals, she never knows what to expect; after all, I have hardly anything packaged in my house, and never do I entertain with it! But she is always complementary. "Kelly, you are such an interesting cook," is usually what I hear, vs. "Kelly, your food is just so tasty and healthy." See the difference? I just laugh.

So my grandma doesn't get my cooking, has never heard of quinoa or kale or roasted sweet potatoes (no joke!), but that is not the point. The point is that she is in her late 80's, has survived her husband by over a year and a half, is still going strong, and I got to spend the afternoon with her. My dad says spending time with family is like spending time with Him, so how could I pass it up?

You need not have any special occasion to make this fabulous bread. The fact that you make it will be occasion enough!

Apple Bread

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 cup almond flour
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt
1/8 teaspoon stevia powder (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Wet ingredients:
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs
1/3 cup agave
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 medium apples, grated (about 1 cup)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 7x3 or small loaf pan with coconut oil.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl. Melt coconut oil in pan over low heat if not already liquified. Add melted coconut oil to another bowl, add eggs and whisk until combined. Add agave and vanilla and whisk again. Add in dry ingredients and stir. Finally, add in grated apple and give it one final stir to ensure all ingredients are combined.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean. Let cool on wire rack for about one hour before slicing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Roasted Radishes

I am just too frugal of a gal to let good food go to waste (on the other hand I have no problem letting food that isn't real food, say fast food or anything packaged or anything with High Fructose Corn Syrup or MSG in it go to waste, just for the record). So when we needed to clean out our produce drawer to make room for some late fall Farmer's Market goodies to go in, I had some radishes that were calling to me.

Now, I'm not really a radish lover myself. My husband is actually the one who bought them, claiming that he loves them raw, but funny, he only ate a couple out of the bunch?... which left me (frugal wife) to use them in something... If it was summer, I would just chop them up and add them, raw and all, to a salad or coleslaw. But it isn't summer. And I'm just not into eating raw vegetables when it isn't summer (can you even believe I once ate only raw roods for a whopping six months! Whew... glad I'm out of that phase!).

So, what's a frugal, can't-throw-good-food-away person to do with these radishes, I ask myself...

The answer comes in mere moments... roast them, ding bat! Of course, why had I not thought of that sooner? I guess because I've never made roasted radishes before, nor had I ever eaten roasted radishes. I knew nothing of what they would taste like roasted. So I had to try it!

The result? Yes, just like you guessed: sweet (literally sweet, not as in, "S-w-e-e-t, they are like, so good!" sweet). The bitterness is still there, but only a fraction of what it is raw, and the sweetness factor... bursts in your mouth. Those yummy, sweet, radish juices start flowing when the heat is on and I am forever humbled by this amazing vegetable.

Roasted Radishes

1 bunch red radishes
1 medium sized daikon radish
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash radishes and cut into bit size pieces. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread radishes out on sheet in a single layer. Drizzles coconut oil over the radishes, sprinkle with salt, and toss to coat.

Roast radishes for 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Gluten Free Pizza with Greens and Sausage

It feels good to post a recipe again! I've been taking a hiatus from blogging as of late, and just enjoying my time with my boys and the beautiful October weather we have been having here in Minneapolis. For anyone who lives in Minnesota, most agree that October is the favorite month out of the whole year. It's just blissfully beautiful with every turn of the leaves. The air is dry, the sun (usually) shines, the temps are crisp but not cold, and the apples and pumpkins abound. (Oops, sorry honey, I forgot to mention football!!! Silly me! What would the world be like without the amazing Oklahoma Sooners to route for on Saturday afternoons!)

I noted a while ago that I would be posting my gluten free pizza crust version, and it's just taken this long to get it perfected. I use a combination of GF flours: millet, quinoa, and sweet brown rice. I like the depth of flavor I get from a crust using this combo, but feel free to swap other GF flours of choice here, say a long-grain brown rice, white rice, sorghum, etc. I'm not so positive a nut flour would give the same result, but that is my next experimentation, so stay tuned.

I also need to add that this crust can be a bit crumbly. The xanthan gum sure helps to hold it together, but if that stuff creeps you out, like it does Kim of Affairs of Living (check out her hilarious post about her pumpkin seed teff bread here), then feel free to leave it out. I make it both ways. If you leave it out, just be warned that you will have to be a bit more careful when it comes to rolling the crust out.

And this pizza recipe wouldn't be complete with some greens. I have to talk about it, because it is such a central part of this pizza (I mean just look at the gorgeous color it adds for heaven's sake). I am a lover of all dark leafy greens and eat it just about every day. And I am thrilled to learn that I am kindred to Alicia Silverstone in this regard. I just checked out her book The Kind Diet from the library last week and learned that she eats greens at nearly every meal... oh, that's my aspiration, Alicia! Now there is a lot that I don't agree with in Alicia's food philosophy (I am, for the record, not a vegan by any stretch of the imagination, nor do I ever aspire to be one), however, she makes some really good points that we do agree on, the most important: eat lots of veggies.

So with this pizza recipe, you can have your pizza and eat (your veggies) too.

Gluten Free Pizza with Greens and Sausage

1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup sweet brown rice flour
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)

3 tablespoons pesto
2 tablspoons extra virgin olive oil
3 bunches collards or other greens
1/2 yellow onion
1-2 precooked chicken sausages (I use Amy's), any flavor
1/3 cup crumbled feta

For the crust:

If you are starting with whole grains as opposed to the flours, use 1/4- 1/3 cups of each grain and process into a flour using a flour mill or Vitamix dry blade (if using Vitamix like I did, let the grains process for about 1 minute to ensure the right consistency).

Put warm water in a small bowl. Add the yeast and allow to set for about 5 minutes (the yeast will get foamy when ready to use).

Add flours to a mixing bowl. Add yeast/water mixture and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine and form into a ball (add more water as necessary if dough is too crumbly). Drizzle olive oil at the bottom of the mixing bowl and add dough ball, swirling the dough ball around in the oil to coat.

Let the dough rest about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425 and, if using a pizza stone, place it in the oven at this time. Chop or chiffande collards or greens into tiny strips. Chop onion and slice sausages into bite size pieces.

Back to the crust... after dough has rested, lightly flour a silicone mat (or parchment paper) and rolling pin with gluten free flour. Place dough in the middle of the mat. Roll dough out to a 10 inch circle (or if you prefer, a similar size rectangle).

Pull the pizza stone out of the oven and lightly sprinkle gluten free flour on top to prevent the crust from sticking to it. (If using a baking sheet, also sprinkle with flour for same purpose). Take the dough and carefully flip it over onto the pizza stone or baking sheet. Peel off the silicone mat or parchment paper. Take a fork and poke a few holes in the crust to let the air escape and prevent it from bubbling.

The crust is done... whew!!! (It's really easy once you get the hang of it, trust me!)

Add the pesto and olive oil to the crust and spread evenly across top of crust. Add collards, onion, sausage and top with feta.

Bake for 17 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes before slicing with pizza cutter.

Enjoy with your favorite movie and snuggle partner (thanks, hubby, for sharing the pizza-movie-night  tradition with me!)