Sunday, November 9, 2014

Rosemary Potato Bacon Frittata Recipe, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

This morning I had a quandary. My husband is a big man and a big eater. On Sundays I usually make a big brunch, which typically involves a LOT of eggs. Except this morning I only had five eggs left. Barely enough for my family of four good eaters. So it was time to get creative.

Last week the 10 pound bag of potatoes was about 10 cents more than the 5 pound bag, so I have a lot of potatoes and need something to do with them. Potatoes also are a good way to stretch a meal. Last night I was thinking I'd make some kind of scrambler, but then decided to try a frittata and I am so happy I did! It turned out deliciously. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family did. You'll notice I served mine with an extra piece of bacon and a gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate muffin.



1/2 pound uncured, nitrate-free bacon
3 large russet potatoes, peeled, cubed (you could use Yukon golds or red potatoes and not peel them for a more rustic dish)
3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
2 springs fresh rosemary, chopped finely
1/2 large yellow onion (or 1 small)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
5 eggs, beaten well
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Line large jelly roll pan or other cookie sheet/pan with edges to catch the bacon fat with aluminum foil and place bacon evenly across the pan, being careful not to overlap any pieces. Place pan into a COLD oven and turn oven to 400 degrees. Set the timer for 18 minutes. When the bacon comes out of the oven, leave it on. Remove bacon and let drain on paper towels. Chop cooked bacon into large pieces.
  2. Meanwhile, cover the potatoes with water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil the potatoes for 5-7 minutes or until a fork can easily go through but not so they are smooshy and break apart. They should still be slightly firm. Drain potatoes.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and rosemary to a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Allow the rosemary to infuse the oil as you chop the onion and mince the garlic. Then add onion and garlic and cook for about one minute, being careful not to burn the garlic. Mix the cooked potatoes with the onions, garlic and rosemary in the skillet and lightly smash the potatoes with a potato masher so a few big chunks still remain. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika and leave alone to let brown lightly on the bottom for about 5-7 minutes.
  4. After the bottom of the potatoes are lightly browned, turn them over to cook the other side of the potatoes. (I ended up stirring mine around the skillet because they weren't yet all one cohesive piece. That's okay, it's what you want.) Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Cook opposite side of potatoes for about 3-4 minutes. Top with chopped bacon pieces and eggs, making sure to allow the eggs to get inside and under all the potatoes. Cook bottom of eggs about one minute until beginning to get firm but still very wet on top and place skillet into preheated oven. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until top is light golden brown.
  5. Underside of frittata after being turned out of skillet

  • Remove from oven and flip skillet onto large cutting board. The bottom of the eggs should be a deep golden brown color, while the top is slightly lighter. Cut into serving size portions and enjoy! I shake a few drops of Chulula on mine, while the kids like their ketchup. Enjoy!
  • Saturday, November 8, 2014

    Shrimp Bisque: Gluten-free, Dairy-Free, All Delish

    This was my second bowl.
    Over the years I've developed a number of recipes (which is why I'm now a food blogger!). Then, I became gluten-free before I became dairy-free, more than a year later. So many of my early recipes are neither. And some are GF but not DF.

    Tonight I *thought* had some leftover "imitation" lobster meat. Yes it's processed. But it's not bad, is it? (Tell me in the comments if it is.) So I thought I'd make lobster bisque. When I looked at my recipe it had butter. So I had to adjust that out for my new dairy-free-ness. Then as I was cooking and pulled out my "lobster" close to the time I needed to add it, I realized it had gone bad in the fridge and suddenly I was stuck (and grossed out, plus a little ticked that the label had said it was good until the end of November, and now that I'm thinking about it, how could real seafood be good for a month? I'm sure the processed stuff is bad now...).

    But no fear! My freezer to the rescue! I had some lovely raw, deveined, easy-peel shrimp. (Just shrimp on the ingredient label - yay!) I usually have frozen homemade shrimp broth, which I would have totally used for this, but I was out, so I ended up using my homemade chicken broth mixed with Thai fish sauce, which worked FABULOUSLY! So, I made this up on the fly and it turned out so deliciously that I had to record it here - or else risk never getting it right again, You know what I mean? Yes you do. We all do that. Make the most amazing food, knowing for sure we'll remember what it was because how could you not, and then never ever be able to duplicate it again. Sigh. Well not THIS time!

    Even if no one else ever makes this, while that would be a shame because it turned out AMAZING, I am writing this recipe for me to remember so I can make it again and have my family ooh and ahh over how lucky they are to have an awesome Mommy and wife like me, and how no restaurant could ever come close. Yeah. They rock.

    Now - get to cooking.


    SHRIMP BISQUE - Gluten Free, Dairy Free

    6 tablespoons olive oil (can substitute coconut oil, or combine 3 T olive oil and 3 T ghee)
    1/4 cup yellow onion
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    6 tablespoons white rice flour
    1/2 c white wine (I used chardonnay)
    1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    2 tablespoons fish sauce (the kind from the Asian section in the grocery or your fridge!)
    1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I use Chalula and should probably have them as a sponsor)
    2 teaspoons paprika
    2 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (YES it IS gluten free!!)
    3 bay leaves
    2 teaspoons sea salt (or to taste - your fish sauce will make a difference)
    2 1/2 cups homemade chicken broth (seriously do not use that stuff in the cans and if you do, you may not need any salt)
    1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
    1 pound raw shrimp, rough chopped
    1 can full fat coconut milk (the kind from the Thai aisle, not the cold one in the carton, there's nowhere near enough fat to get the unctuous mouth feel you want from a good bisque)
    1/2 cup dry sherry


    1 In a dutch oven heat oil over med-high heat and saute onions until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic and saute another few seconds. Sprinkle all with flour and mix into a roux.

    2 Deglaze the pan with the white wine. (That means add the wine and scrape up the bottom of the pot really well.) It will quickly form a globby mess. That's okay.

    3 Whisk in the Worcestershire, hot sauce, and fish sauce and then add the broth. Bring to a boil.

    4. Stir in tomato sauce, paprika, Old Bay, and add the bay leaves. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

    5. Raise heat back to medium high and stir in the raw shrimp. Heat until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook the shrimp. 

    6. Whisk in coconut milk and heat through.  Adjust seasoning to taste. If you like a little more spice, add some more hot sauce. Stir in sherry just before serving. (Or, if you have children, after adding sherry, bring back to a boil to evaporate the alcohol so you don't end up with tipsy kids or in jail. Because either would be very, very bad.) Remove bay leaves before serving because no one wants to get stuck with one of those things floating around in their bowl.

    Serve in your fancy-schmaniest bowls and be ready to lick those suckers at the end because this is SO GOOOOOOD! 

    If you like to garnish, use some chopped green onions, or, if you're fresh out like I was, sprinkle a little more paprika and Old Bay on the top and call it done!

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    Shrimp and Grits (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

    Gluten-free, dairy-free shrimp and grits.
    Being a northerner, grits have never been part of my regular diet. However, a few years ago while visiting my in-laws who have retired in the foothills of east Tennessee, I had the fortunate opportunity to try the fabled southern classic dish shrimp and grits. It was delicious, but because grits aren't on my radar as something to cook regularly, I didn't ever consider making them for dinner -  until tonight.

    Shrimp happened to be on sale last week so I picked up a pound and thought I'd make one of my regular shrimp go-tos like scampi. But today, as I was thinking about what to make, the idea of shrimp and grits popped into my head and sounded FABULOUS.

    In case you didn't know, grits is a dish made from cornmeal. It's known in Italian cooking as polenta (yet still my Mom isn't a fan, although she grew up in her mother and father's Italian kitchen). And in other circles it's called by it's least appetizing name, "mush."  

    Shrimp and grits became popular in the south near fishing communities, especially near Charleston, South Carolina, where the shrimp were plenty and the grits were cheap, particularly during shrimping season, May through December. Traditionally there is bacon fat involved, and while there's nothing wrong with that at all, sometimes you want something lighter (not that creamy grits could be considered light, but you know what I mean!). There are as many recipes for shrimp and grits as there are variations of minestrone soup in Italian-cooking land. With the emergence of special dietary needs, there are an ever-growing number of shrimp and grits recipes. My recipe is my own creation today.

    If you're already a grits fan, you may prefer your grits a bit more on the runny side, but I like mine thicker. Feel free to add more liquid to your version and make it your own!

    Also, these all happen to be ingredients that I almost always have on hand, including homemade shrimp stock/broth. To make a basic shrimp stock, peel raw shrimp and toss the legs and shells into a stock pot with whatever veggie scraps you have in your freezer. I save all my carrot peels and ends, onion and garlic skins and ends, celery leaves, potato skins, and so on in a gallon-sized freezer bag adding to it every night in the freezer and once every couple of weeks use them with whatever protein I have to make a stock. In this case it's shrimp shells and legs. Cover with water to the top of the pot and boil for about 45-60 minutes. I choose not to add salt so that I can salt any subsequent dish as I cook it, instead of the broth itself. Strain the liquid, cool, and freeze in various small containers.

    In a pinch you can use gluten-free shrimp or fish stock in a can, but obviously homemade is best, and when made with the veggie scraps, costs nothing because you would have thrown those scraps in the garbage, anyway!

    Now, on with the recipe.

    Shrimp and Grits

    4 1/2 - 5 Cups homemade or gluten-free canned shrimp stock
    1 1/4 cup gluten-free cornmeal
    3/4 coconut milk (full fat, in the can - this is what will give your dairy-free grits the creamy, rich consistency that this dish is known for)
    1 lb. shrimp, raw, peeled, deveined, tail on (I use 16/20 size, but you can use whatever medium size you prefer)
    3 tablespoons coconut oil
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 small red (or green) jalepeno pepper, seeded and chopped
    juice of one-half a small lemon (do NOT use that nasty stuff in the yellow plastic fake thing; yuck)
    2 tablespoons fresh, flat leaf parsley, chopped
    3 teaspoons Old Bay seasoning (Yes! It's gluten free!)
    2 teaspoons granulated garlic, or two cloves chopped fresh garlic
    salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
    1-2 tablespoons tapioca starch or flour

    Method - 
    For Grits:

    Mix cornmeal with 1 1/4 cup cold shrimp stock in a bowl. Bring 2 cups shrimp stock to a boil and add cornmeal mixture, plus 1 teaspoon salt, several cracks of freshly ground pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon over medium heat for 5-7 minutes until thick. If you prefer your grits looser, add more stock. Add coconut milk, incorporating well. Remove from heat. Taste and add more seasonings (salt, pepper, Old Bay) to taste.

    For Shrimp:
    Heat coconut oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and jalapeno pepper and saute for 2-3 minutes until onion is translucent and just starting to brown around the edges. Add shrimp, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons Old Bay, garlic, and freshly ground black pepper. Saute 3-5 minutes depending on the size of your shrimp, until cooked. Mix in lemon juice and and parsley. While the shrimp cooks, mix remaining cold shrimp stock (about 1 C) with 1 tablespoon tapioca starch to form a slurry. When shrimp is cooked, add the slurry and stir constantly until boiling. If the sauce isn't as thick as you like it, quickly combine remaining 1 tablespoon tapioca starch with a few tablespoons of cold water and mix into the sauce until it thickens. Season to taste with more salt, pepper and Old Bay. Serve in bowls over grits with plenty of sauce.


    Monday, June 9, 2014

    Baked Cod with Roasted Orange Pepper Sauce over Arugula with Lemon Vinaigrette

    Baked Cod with Roasted Orange Pepper Sauce over Arugula with Lemon Vinaigrette 

    We were so excited to try this dinner tonight, I totally skipped taking photos. So I'm including a photo of an arugula salad in case you're not familiar with this peppery green which has been popular in Italy and has been gaining traction here in the US since about the millennium. If you're from the UK you'll know it as "rocket," which is a much better description of the flavor in my mind.

    This time of year, where I live in northern Illinois, arugula is plentiful and inexpensive at the farmers' markets and I'm always looking for recipes where I can let its flavor shine. This dish is one of those. If you don't have arugula, you can use a mixed field green salad with the same dressing.

    For most recipes I create, I more go by taste than measurements, so I'm guessing on the amounts of the seasonings.  Feel free to use more or less to your taste and preference.

    For the Fish:
    2 lbs. cod or other firm white fish
    2-3 T olive oil
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp sea salt
    Fresh ground pepper to taste
    1 tsp ground coriander
    1 tsp dried basil

    Drizzle fish with olive oil and season with remaining ingredients. Bake in preheated 400°F oven on foil-lined pan or glass dish for 20-35 minutes or until fish flesh is opaque and easily flakes with a fork.While fish is baking, make the sauce and dressing.

    Roasted Yellow Pepper Sauce
    1 yellow, red, or orange bell pepper (I had yellow, so that's why the color was yellow. The flavor is essentially the same.)
    1 small yellow onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
    Juice of ½ fresh lime (do NOT substitute anything from a plastic fake fruit!! You can substitute fresh lemon juice or omit if you don’t have the fruit).
    1 tsp ground coriander
    4 T olive oil, divided
    Sea salt, to taste
    Freshly ground pepper, to taste

    Rinse and dry the pepper. Then roast the pepper over an open flame on your gas stove top, turning as each side becomes charred. If you have an electric range, place the pepper under a broiler and keep a close eye on it, turning it as each side becomes charred. After charring, set aside for a few minutes until cool enough to peel. I peel mine by rinsing under cold water and pulling off the stem and removing the seeds and ribs with my fingers. Tear into large chunks and put into Vitamix or other high speed blender..

    Meanwhile, sauté the onion and garlic on med-low heat in about 2-3 tablespoons olive oil seasoned with about ½ tsp salt until translucent and just starting to brown around the edges, about 5-7 minutes. Sprinkle with ground coriander. Pour mixture into the Vitamix. Blend on medium to high for about 30 seconds. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning, add remaining olive oil and blend again for a few more seconds until the mixture is smooth and homogenous.

    Whip up the lemon vinaigrette:

    1 tsp lemon zest
    ¼ c olive oil
    ¼ c fresh-squeezed lemon juice
    ¼ tsp of xylitol, stevia, monk fruit, or other natural sweetener
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped (or ½ tsp dried)
    Sea Salt and Freshly ground pepper to taste

    Place all ingredients into a glass jar (Ball or Mason style or recycled jelly jar), close lid tightly and shake it like you mean it. Toss with four large handfuls of arugula.

    To plate:
    Place a bed of the lightly dressed arugula on the plate, then top with a serving of fish. Finish the play by drizzling about 1/8 cup of the sauce (I have a small-sized ladle which is perfect). It tastes as delicious as it looks and next time I fix this (possibly next week) I'll update with photos. :-)

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    Pineapple Blueberry Ginger Green-ish Smoothie

    Ever since I picked up my Vitamix, barely a day goes by without another experiment in deliciousness. I may have enjoyed the exact same smoothie twice, but if I did, it was never in a row and almost never on purpose. There are simply too many combinations to try and fall in love with!

    However, many of my smoothies have some things in common. I prefer fruit-based smoothies (unless I'm feeling like chocolate!), and there are a few things I use very often.

    Two of the standard ingredients I almost always use include:

    Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk - I've tried fruit juices, coconut water, coconut milk, and even plain filtered tap water as the liquid base for my morning breakfast smoothies, but I always return to good old almond milk. It blends up well and doesn't add any distinctive flavor. Plus it's low carb for when I'm doing that kind of diet, has only 30 calories per serving (only water beats that!), contains some great vitamins and minerals (sorry, H2O!), and even has a gram of protein. Sometimes I add the vanilla flavored almond milk, but it's always the unsweetened variety. If I'm going to add a sweetener, I want to be in control of exactly what it is I add and how much.

    Flax Seeds - These little gems keep things moving along on the inside and are so easy to incorporate into your diet, including in smoothies - plus they're super inexpensive, unlike some health foods. Some studies show that flax seeds can help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and stroke, but I like them for the high fiber content and plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids. Like unsweetened and unflavored almond milk, they add no flavor, but they do make the texture a little thicker, which adds to the rich creamy goodness. I buy them in a big package and then store in a freezer bag in my freezer so they stay fresh. A bonus is I feel better when I have them in my diet. I've also used chia seeds and hemp seeds and like those as well, but flax seeds are my almost daily go-to ingredient.

    With my Vitamix, these tiny bits of "super food" get ripped up and fully incorporated so the end result in the smoothie is as smooth as can be. I've not tried blending flax seeds with any other blender, but if you end up with a gritty result or even whole seeds, get a better blender if you're going to be eating smoothies regularly.

    A note about green smoothies: They may not be as good for you as you think if you're making the same mistake I was. Last year I began using a large handful of fresh spinach leaves every single day in my smoothies, which after a few months led to painful kidney stones (and two surgeries!) due to a compound called oxalate in the spinach. These days I use spinach in smoothies sparingly and only very occasionally, preferring now to add a tablespoon or two of a natural mint-flavored liquid chlorophyll, available online and at health food stores. It's a punch of the green goodness that doesn't add unnecessary compounds that can lead to disastrous results.

    So for this morning's "green-ish" smoothie - I call it that because I used the liquid chlorophyll today, but with the addition of blueberries it was a definite purple rather than green - here's what I added to my Vitamix:

    1 cup unsweetened plain flavored almond milk
    1/4 of a fresh pineapple (peeled, with core in tact), chopped in big chunks
    1/2 C frozen blueberries
    2 Tablespoons flax seeds  
    1 Tablespoon mint-flavored liquid chlorophyll
    1" piece of fresh ginger

    Toss all into your high-powered blender starting with the milk and blend on high for 1-2 minutes so all the ingredients are fully liquified, smooth and delicious.  Makes enough for one large serving or to share two smaller servings. Enjoy immediately!

    Friday, February 14, 2014

    Valentine's Day Flourless Chocolate Cake (Gluten-Free)

    Wow. It's been a looooong time. Bad food blogger.

    But it's Valentine's Day and I'm back, baby!!

    The biggest food-related thing that happened since I last posted? I became gluten-free. Who knew?! Long story for another post.

    Tonight I posted these pics on Facebook and some friends wanted the recipe. So here you go:
    • 4 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate, chopped - I used one 4-oz. bar of Ghiardelli's 
    • 1/2 cup butter - not the fake stuff. REAL butter.  
    • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar (plain white sugar is fine if you prefer)
    •  1/2 cup cocoa powder 
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
    • fresh whipped cream for garnish
    • powdered sugar for garnish
    • chocolate covered strawberry for garnish
    1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a heart-shaped silicone (or 8 inch round) cake pan, and dust with cocoa powder.
    2. In the top of a double boiler over lightly simmering water, melt chocolate and butter. Remove from heat.
    3. Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla. 
    4. Temper chocolate mixture slowly into sugar mixture. Then mix well.
    5. Pour into prepared pan.
    6. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.Or as completely as possible until you have to dive head-first into it because it is SO GOOD.
    7. Garnish with powdered sugar, a dollop (or 3) of fresh whipped cream, and a chocolate-covered strawberry, because you can never have too much chocolate.
    Both the 9 year old and 11 year old girls fell in love and giggled through dessert. The hubs decided he wanted to marry me again after almost 14 years. So I'll take that.