Friday, October 29, 2010


Sugar Attack! I don't know what it is about October that makes me crave sugar. Last year I had a candy corn obsession and ate about a bag every 3 days... seriously, it was bad. This year I have stayed far away from the candy aisle, but other sweets have just been invading my life. How about the fresh cider doughnuts sitting at the apple orchard on my way home from Effingham or the brownies that are sitting on the counter at my school.... they make me want to eat gluten, and get sick.

So, this week I have had two things to help me through my sugar craze days. The first are Sprinkles cupcakes. I have always wanted to try these, and they finally came to Chicago. They only have one gluten free flavor, red velvet, but they were soooooo good! The cupcake part was really moist, different from many store/restaurant gluten free baked goods. The cream cheese frosting? Well, I could have eating a gallon if it on its own.

The second thing was meringues. These are so dangerous to make. I probably ate 4 or 5 when they were hot and then a bunch more when they were dry (and was up till 3 in the morning on a sugar high). My dad was feeling sick and I wanted to make something that both he and I could eat. In 1 day 30 of them were gone between the two of us!



2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 tsp almond, vanilla, or lemon extract
(lemon extract makes yummy meringues but they are much less stiff during mixing and flat when you bake)

Preheat oven at 200 degrees. In a large bowl, put in the egg whites, cream of tartar and a pinch of salt. With a hand mixer, beat on medium speed for a minute or two until soft peaks form. Then gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat on high speed until the mixture is stiff and glossy.

Put parchment paper on baking sheets and drop the meringues by large teaspoonfuls onto the sheet. Depending on how large you make the cookies, you should have around 3 dozen. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and leave in the oven for another hour to dry.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Potato Risotto

Right now I am in Effingham, IL at a transition conference and got to go to the most awesome restaurant. It is called the Firefly Grill. This is the second day I've been here and thought that I was stuck with the restaurants surrounding the Walmart (along with the convention center which seems as if it is in the Walmart parking lot). But, thanks to Yelp, I found the restaurant just behind some trees across the street. It has been named the 2nd best eco-friendly restaurant in the country by Bon Appetit. I didn't know about its accolades, or the fact that it is local food, until I walked in with my local food book "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. I felt like a bit of a dork reading about local food and then eating it (the menu says where each dish came from) but the bangers and mash were awesome (expensive, but really good). Unfortunately most of the things I wanted to try had gluten and I had to turn away the bread that looked delectable, but it was great.

Another thing that is great.... is sweet potato risotto! I had extra sweet potatoes and I was thinking of what I could do with them, and then thought of the idea of sweet potato rissoto. You would think there would be more recipes out there, but the best one I could find was from Betty Crocker. Now I usualy like stronger seasoned dishes, and not the kind that are usually in the Betty Crocker cookbook, but this dish was sooooooo good. The rosemary really stood out with the sweet potato and I am definitely making this for my Aunt's thanksgiving (with water instead of chicken broth) so that my mom can enjoy vegetarian fare and still feel festive.

Sweet Potato Risotto


1/4 cup of white wine
1 Tbsp of olive oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 cup of uncooked Arborio rice
3 small mashed roasted sweet potatoes (around 1/2 cup)
4 cups or more of chicken broth
Parmesan cheese to taste
1/2 tsp of chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg
Salt to taste

Roast your sweet potatoes. I put them in the oven at 450 degrees for around 35 to 45 minutes until they are soft. Take them out and mash them.

Heat olive oil in saucepan and cook onion and garlic 3 to 4 minutes until tender. Stir in rice and stir constantly for 1 minute. Add in white wine and stir until soaked in. Stir in mashed sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup of the broth. (I know that people usually heat the broth on the side, and most of the time I do too, but it worked without using the extra pans so it is up to you). Cook and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding in broth 1/2 cup at a time, when the rice has soaked in the previous additions, and stop when the rice is just tender. Add in the cheese, rosemary, nutmeg and salt and enjoy!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Apple Jellies

More apples you say? Yes, 8 more pounds of apples from our 2 apple trees at my parents house. By now we are sick of apple sauce, and our freezers are full of it, so I turned to a recipe that I tried once before...with dismal results.

This recipe and I have a love/hate relationship. On the love side, the apple jellies taste great (even when they haven't firmed up) and are a great alternative to more apple sauce for someone with 8 pounds of apples (this year, since I am not up to making gluten free bread each week, I am not making apple butter). On the hate side... they are horrible, horrible to make! Although the recipe (which I am going to send a link to below because both people somehow made it successfully) says that you only have to simmer over low heat for an hour. I did 6 hours with drops of hot apple napalm spiriting out of my pots. Then I put it in the oven for 4 hours. Did I also mention I put in two packets of pectin and separated the liquid into three different pots and later pans to try to reduce the amount of sauce I was trying to firm up. Wow. One small pan did firm up... AFTER 10 HOURS... but the other was still too liquid to cut. However, I ate it all (well I did send home a bit to my dad) and am trying to talk myself out of doing this again next year.

If you choose to attempt this recipe, I think one of the main things is the type of apples. I used red and golden delicious. Maybe their pectin content is too low because I followed the recipe step by step. Good luck and let me know if anyone actually makes it (in under 10 hours!)

Apple Jellies

Friday, October 8, 2010

Asian Tofu Salad with Seasoned Spinach

I just spent 4 days in Kansas City on a BBQ trip. Great trip, one that 4 years ago I would have talked about for weeks, but for me and my gastroparesis... rough. 4 days of meat 2x a day. Meat that tasted great but made me very sick, oh well. We went to Arthur Bryants, Oklahoma Joes, Gates and Jack Stack.

So back home and back to veggies. I have been waiting for them. The best I could do in KC was baked beans, which I think are absolutely the best. I dont know what they do in KC but their baked beans, especially at Gates and Zarda, but they are unbelievable. My first meal back is from the Moosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites. It has a crisp taste. However, next time I would press the tofu first so it was less watery. I wanted some spinach also so I made my favorite korean spinach for the bottom.

Asian Tofu Salad
Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant's Low-Fat Favorites


2 cakes of tofu
1/2 cup of diced red bell peppers
1/2 cup of diced scallions

4 minced garlic cloves
4 teaspoons of grated fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon chili paste
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Put the tofu on a plate that is lined with paper towels. Place some paper towels on top of the tofu and then another plate. If it is balanced, you can place a bowl or something heavier on top. Let sit for 1/2 hour. While letting the tofu sit, create the dressing. Combine all the items in the dressing and whisk it together.

Crumble the tofu into a bowl using your fingers or a fork. Combine with green onions, red bell paper, and the dressing. Serve at warm temperature or cold.

Seasoned Spinach

1 pound of baby leaf spinach
2 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons of sugar

Blanch the spinach in a pot or in microwave. Rince spinach in cold water and squeeze to remove water. Mix together soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and sugar and mix into spinach.