Category Archives: Gluten Free

Hard Cider Sesame Dressing

Hard Cider Sesame DressingThis is a tribute to the Portland Cider Summit going on this weekend. Luckily, it turned out tasty!

It’s nice to see that America’s original beverage is coming into its own. I became a fan a few years ago. My friend and I attended The Oregon Garden Brewfest for a couple years, I even volunteered one year (I recommend either going or volunteering, either way you’ll have a good time), sadly I couldn’t make it this year. The funny thing is I usually spent most of my tickets on cider instead of beer. Oregon brewers tend to ignore lagers and are heavy on IPAs and ales. Good ciders are available though and not just apple cider, there’s pear, cherry, and blackberry. So, when Wandering Angus posted on Facebook that the Cider Summit was going on in Portland again I messaged my friend immediately!

Cider has a range of flavors that differs from sweet to richly fermented. Each cider house has several takes on their idea of cider. Each season makes a difference as well, much like wine. The sweetness of the fruit making a big difference to each year’s pressing.

I don’t know why I decided on this combination but it worked. The sesame brings out the taste of fermented apple. It’s pretty pungent on its own but blends beautifully on a salad. I found the ginger paste at an Asian market. It doesn’t give much ginger flavor to the dressing but it definitely adds something. I have not tried fresh ginger, I think it would be a completely different flavor and might overpower the hard cider. If you can’t find ginger paste, I would use powdered ginger. Continue reading →


Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Strawberry Asparagus Salad

Spring in a bowl, that’s what we got here. As a kid, asparagus season was met with dread. Maybe Mom should have tried serving it raw instead over cooked. I had no idea you could eat asparagus raw until I was an adult, well into my 30’s. Wasted time, I tell ya. Raw asparagus has a sweet gentle taste compared to its cooked form (of course, I like the cooked for now as well, as long as it’s not overcooked).

The dressing will work just fine if you only heat it enough to incorporate the honey. The picture shows it that way, I was too hungry to wait for it to reduce. It’s much better if you can reduce it some, but it’s tasty either way. Continue reading →

Butternut Squash Fondue/Soup

Butternut Squash FondueThis is an odd yet yummy recipe. Depending on the size of the squash you use (and its moisture content I’m betting) it’s either think, creamy soup or fondue. The first time I made it, it was a little too thick and cheesy to be soup. So I broke out the bread cubes and called it fondue. Since there is only so much fondue one person can eat by themselves I took it to work so that my guinea pigs coworkers could tell me what they thought. Everyone gave it the thumbs up and agreed that it should be a fondue instead of a soup.

The weather has taken a quick turn to winter again it seems and I had a squash hanging out on the counter asking when I was going to use it (food doesn’t talk to you? Hmm, you should have that looked into).

To be quite honest, I like this squashy fondue better than traditional fondue. Plus, you have the added benefit of the nutritional veggie base. You can keep it vegetarian by using vegetable broth and you can keep it low fat by using nonfat broth and Neufchatel cheese.

The hot sauce and paprika don’t make the dish hot or even spicy but they definitely add depth to the flavor, that something you can’t quite put your tongue on. It will still be good if you leave it out, they weren’t in the first version. Continue reading →

Strawberry & Spinach Salad

Strawberry & Spinach SaladLast week was one long week. The roofers showed up Monday for the new roof, I started a new job, and allergy season hit like Mohammad Ali. By Friday night I was all in. Good news showed up in my inbox from Denison Farm though, strawberry season has started! They’re a few weeks early, but I’ll take it! The first strawberries of the season were enough to draw my itchy, watery, exhausted rear out the door and down to the farmer’s market. I had planned on getting at least a half flat, but since they only had about a flat left by the time I made it down there. There was a line behind me, so I settled for a couple of pints. There will be more strawberries to come.

The first strawberries call for something simple, I’ve waited all year to taste fresh strawberries, I want to taste the strawberry. So I settled for a classic, which is all I could handle through allergy fog anyway. I used raw almonds, if you use salted almonds I would leave the salt out. Continue reading →

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli SaladRaw broccoli isn’t high on my list of favorites. To be totally honest, it’s not on my list of favorites, it’s in the okay section. It’s just so…fibrous. It takes forever to chew and takes over the taste of everything else. So for this salad I do one of the following:  defrost a bag of frozen broccoli and chop it, steam chopped fresh broccoli, or shred the broccoli. Shredded broccoli is my favorite but it takes the most work and clean up (drag out the mandolin, try not to maim myself using it, then clean the mandolin trying to get all the little bits of broccoli off of it). The picture is of defrosted and chopped broccoli.

This salad is supper yummy and filling. It has tons of crunch and the cranberries give it just the right amount of sweet. Poppy seed dressing (at least Annie’s brand) is pretty sweet as well. This is the only salad I use it with so far. The broccoli can take all that sweetness in stride and still be tasty broccoli. Continue reading →

Ginger Garlic Chicken Soup

101_5070This is just the soup for a weary soggy day or if you feel like you’re coming down with something or if you’re nursing someone who’s come down with something. I’d say that you want to make it when you come down with something, but I can tell you for sure that when I have a cold I’m not cooking something this complicated. If it involves much more than opening and heating, it’s too way to difficult when I’m sick. Plus, it makes me think of my dad. The first thing that he asked when we complained we were sick is if we had taken our vitamin C, the second is to ask how much garlic we’d been eating. I’m pretty sure he believed that vitamin C and garlic could cure just about anything.

Pho is my very favorite kind of soup. The broth is amazing, it doesn’t seem to matter what restaurant I go to. This isn’t quite it, but it’s darn close. I think cooking the seasonings into a paste before adding the liquid is the important part. The ingredients become incorporated in the broth rather than sitting in it. Of course starting with a good stock is important as well, but that’s another post. I think this soup would freeze well if you left out the noodles. Continue reading →

Thai Coleslaw

Thai ColeslawThis is my new favorite coleslaw. I had a heck of time naming this. I’m not comfortable naming something after a country/people/cuisine when I don’t know much about it. However, I finally went with Thai Coleslaw because it really does taste like something I would get at a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant and it’s much better than South East Asian Coleslaw.

I broke a few of my own rules to make this coleslaw such as no cucumbers or bell peppers outside of summer but I’m really glad I did. This will be a perfect salad for summer. This is a much better salad to take on a picnic than a dairy or mayonnaise based salad, vinegar holds up to the heat better.

Speaking of heat, I was surprised it didn’t turn out hotter. When I first tasted the dressing it was spicy, but the cabbage seems to tame it pretty well. If you want to make it spicier try adding some diced hot peppers to the salad or adding spicier or more hot peppers to the dressing. Continue reading →

Sausage Stuffed Squash

Sausage Stuffed SquashI really do loved stuffed squash; I’m not sure why I don’t do more of them. Well, I’m likely to as all those beautiful squashes I bought months ago (see Squash is Beautiful) are now telling me, “use me or lose me.”

What I like about this recipe is that I can section it up, do a little at a time. I think it would be a good recipe for when you invite friends over. You can do most of the work ahead and then just slip it in the oven to finish it off. That’s actually how I made this recipe. I roasted the squash one day, cooked the sausage mixture on another day, and put it all together to bake it the next. It’s also a way to still have a nice meal on a busy work week. Continue reading →

Roasted Creamed Parsnip Soup

Roasted Creamed Parsnip SoupSometimes being lazy pays off. Not the kind of lazy where you find yourself at the end of your weekend having not showered for days and the whole time spent watching movies or playing video games kind of lazy. Although, that kind of lazy is certainly okay and needed on occasion. I’m talking about the kind of lazy that says, “That sounds like a great recipe but too much work so I’ll make some shortcuts.” The second kind of lazy is what I choose today.

I was looking for a St. Patrick’s Day kind of recipe. Parsnips were a common food until the potato was introduced and remained popular until the 1900s. I also had a shload of parsnips in my fridge. I had bought several pounds from a farmer. Luckily parsnips last pretty much forever in the fridge and become sweeter with time. I found a recipe that sounded yummy but I was far too lazy to spend all that time sautéing the veg until it was tender. Since I was roasting I might as well add lots of garlic to the soup. And then I found out that the only onion I had was a red onion. I wasn’t sure what red onion would do to the color of the soup and didn’t want to find out but I remembered that I had a leek in the fridge. What could go better with parsnip and garlic than leek!

The result was a rich and creamy, yet low calorie soup. If you use a low or nonfat stock the only fat is the oil you roast in and you really don’t need that much. The soup is filling as well with a good dose of fiber.

Close-up:  Roasted Creamed Parsnip SoupThe soup went together relatively fast. Once the veg is cut up you can throw it in the oven, set the timer and go do something else. Once the roasting is done you basically just have to blend. Pureed soup always seems so fancy to me but it was pretty darn easy.

The flavors blended well, adding their notes to the chorus without overwhelming the parsnip flavor. I’m a bit of a garlic head so I will probably add more next time. If you are not a garlic head, this had just the right amount. I used homemade low fat stock that was full of flavor, if you use store bought stock you will want to consider adding a pinch of this or that to the stock as it heats. Continue reading →

Boursin Style Spread

Boursin Style Cheese SpreadTraditionally family holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, um…yep, those two I guess) we have celery stuffed with jar cheese. There are two kinds that we usually use, the white cheese stuff with pineapple and the yellow cheese stuff with pimento. For quite some time I’ve questioned what exactly this stuff is made of, not that I really want to know. I just have the uneasy feeling that it wasn’t really cheese and if it wasn’t really cheese what could it possibly be? I will say the empty jars make great glasses for kids. We always had a collection of “cheese glasses” that were used for kids or drinks in small quantities. They’re hard to break and, at least use to be, decorative.

My brother even branched out a couple times and bought packaged cheese balls when he was requested to pick up the cheese for the celery. It doesn’t really work very well, doesn’t spread like it should for this job, and again, I’m not really sure it’s cheese or mostly cheese.

This last Christmas was the first without Mom. All kinds of things were up in the air, different people cooked the feast, it was even more potluck than it usually is, so I thought I would break the jar cheese tradition.

This recipe contains real cheese, well, cream cheese. The point being, I know what’s in it. It might not be good for me from a nutritional stand point, but at least I can pronounce it. It has a much more complex flavor than the jar cheese. That’s okay; our tastes have changed a bit from the bland 70s. And while it will last for a while in the fridge, it won’t last forever on the shelf.

The Boursin style spread is not only good for stuffing celery, but as a dip, or even a really tasty sandwich spread. Continue reading →