Friday, August 31, 2012

I never get tired of reminding everyone how wonderfully delicious gluten-free eating is. Case in point, this morning's breakfast:  Potatoes in cellar, Rosemary in garden, light olive oil in pantry = Chef Bill's magnificent Pommes Frites.  Life is Delicious!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Morning Parfait: Blueberries, Steel Cut Oats, and Yogurt

As deep as my adoration of sunny side up eggs is, variety is the spice of life.  This morning, my pallate was calling for flavors and textures beyond that of creamy egg yolks and sauteed vegetables.  I love carbs in the morning and it's usually the fibrous, whole grain variety I go for, though I'm the first to admit that a stack of gluten-free pancakes with real syrup and butter is a beautiful thing. (More on that a.m. indulgence when the cold weather and fall foliage comes to my neighborhood).

It had been way too long since my last visit to the bag of Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats in my cupboard, but it's August and a steaming bowl of hot cereal wasn't in the cards, so I took a different route. My cravings and pantry inventory conspired to make the perfect breakfast parfait. 

If soaked overnight, bullet-hard steel cut oats soften perfectly. Since the refrigerator still had a huge haul from blueberry picking last week, I decided to puree a batch and simmer it down to a reduction. In went the oats and some shredded coconut to soak overnight. In the morning, I added goat milk yogurt. (When I say I'm dairy-free it's the cow products I lay off of.  Sheep and goat products agree with me just fine, but I only eat them about twice a week). The result was a fabulous breakfast loaded with flavor, complex carbs, fiber, and a little calcium and protein. Perfect before a workout.  And may I say...Thank GOD for Bob's Red Mill.  Their gluten-free products are reasonably priced and fantastic!

Blueberry Breakfast Parfait
Serves 1

2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free Steel Cut Oats
1/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Flaked Unsweetened Coconut
1/2 cup goat's milk yogurt

Puree blueberries in a food processor until berries are liquidy but still a little chunky. Place in a saucepan and simmer on low heat uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The berries should be liquidy but with a little thickness. Turn off heat and add oatmeal and coconut, stirring thoroughly.  Cover and let sit overnight.  In the morning add goat yogurt and stir until blended. Serve immediately. 

Note - Sweetening with a tablespoon of agave is optional, I like tasting the fruit and coconut unobstructed so I left if out. 

Bob's Red Mill - His gluten-free products are usually in the picture on the mornings I don't have eggs

The perfect breakfast parfait - served with a side of Inspiration

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Joys of Chickpea Flour...and Lucini

Chickpea Frittata with Pesto

Since going gluten-free three and a half years ago, I've had a longstanding love affair with polenta. It's been a sensual substitute for bread on many an occasion.  Sometimes I'll bake it in a lasagna pan, then slice it into squares and sautee it in olive oil, the perfect companion to eggs or sausage.  There's also the whisked on the stove top version which results in a creamier rendition, sort of like a very thick hot cereal.  I love using a yellow, puffy cloud of it as the perfect underpinning to a juicy pork chop or crispy piece of roast chicken.

So when I came across a bag of Chickpea Frittata mix in my supermarket's gluten-free section, I was intrigued.  Chickpea flour was the only ingredient, and all the instructions asked is that I mix the 8.8 ounces of flour with 3 cups of water, 2 tablespoons of oil, and some salt. The simplicity drew me in, but the brand name sold me. Lucini.  Makers of my favorite olive oil and tomato sauce.  All their products are organic and have a wonderful, clean taste.  Their extra virgin olive oil is pungent and deep emerald, but I also adore their lemon-tinged olive oil which is infused with real lemon essence, not a fragrance. Lucini's jars of tomato sauce have taken starring roles in gluten-free pasta dinners and steaming bowls of my tomato soup, which I sometimes morph into cream of tomato with the addition of room temperature chevre. A few turns of the whisk, and viola, a velvety cream of tomato without the cow dairy.

But back to the chickpea fritatta. I'd just made a batch of pesto the day before which was aching for a purpose.  Since I love polenta topped with pesto, I decided to give this a whirl and let's just say the results were DIVINE!  Unlike polenta, there was no gritty texture to these heavenly triangles of warm, yellow dough.  The consistency was as creamy as a cheesecake, but with the substance of a soft bread...kind of difficult to describe - you've just got to experience it for yourself.

The cool thing about my newfound gastronomic love is that it tastes amazing, and is SO much healthier than most other flours because of its protein and fiber content.  Check Lucini's site for store locaters, or order online.  You won't be sorry. .

As I said, the recipe for the chickpea frittata is simple.  It can be topped with a good marinara, some fresh herbs and olive oil, a mushroom sauce....just about anything you'd put on toasted bread or pizza.  I highly recommend homemade pesto because it's basil season and plentiful at farmers markets.  I have no formal measured recipe for it.  Good pesto is a matter of texture.  You need a base of fresh leaves, enough olive oil to make a paste, several cloves of garlic for flavor, and grated peccorino for flavor and further texture.  Here's how I make it, you can play with this version and change ratios as you see fit.  I usually add more oil at the end because I like pesto to be nice and liquidy rather than chunky.  It was the perfect topping to a piping hot slice of chickpea frittata this morning. And needless to say, gave me more than enough energy for a DDPYOGA Strength Builder workout.

Stacey's Homemade Pesto
1 generous bouquet of fresh basil from the farmer's market
1 bottle Lucini Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 large cloves garlic, peeled
1 tub of grated Peccorino Romano Cheese
1/2 lemon or t tablespoon bottled lemon juice

Pick leaves from stem and place in a food processor.  You may need to grind them in shifts and not add all at once in the beginning. Add garlic cloves, 1/3 cup of cheese, and about a half cup olive oil, or enough to make a paste out of the leaves.  Pulse for 20-30 seconds at a time until well blended.  Add more leaves if there are any until all the leaves are blended in.  You may need to alternately add more oil and cheese, depending on how pungent you want the flavor to be and how liquidy you prefer your pesto.  Pour into a serving bowl and add the juice from half a lemon or the tablespoon of bottled juice and stir thoroughly.  Serve immediately.  Cover tightly and refrigerate any leftovers.

Bon Appetit!

Fresh out of the oven...

A fitting crown to a delicious carb

...we really liked it