Saturday, March 27, 2010

Savory Gluten-free Teff Crepes with Portobello Mushrooms and Bacon

The first time I tried crepes I thought them so regal. I was in high school and, as a project for French class, I prepared them for the first time with my mom. They are somewhat fun to make; my son enjoys making these with me. They require some handwork, and though I have offered a filling idea within this recipe, there are many different varieties. This is the savory gallette (crêpes salées) version, not the dessert or sweet crepe (crêpes sucrées) which is traditionally prepared with wheat flour and often served as a dessert or as a breakfast entrée. This version is a bit less sweet and meant to be filled with meats and vegetables, generally served as a main course. They are customarily made with buckwheat flour (theoretically gluten-free), but I decided to try something different in this recipe and used teff. The history of crepes originated in Brittany, a region in the northwest of France. Subsequently, each region adapted their notable recipe. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Organic Mixed Baby Greens Salad ~ Freshly Picked

We've been backyard gardeners for several years. There is something exciting about the process of planting and growing your own food; it envokes a sense of sustainability. Our yield has become so plentiful that during the spring and summer months, and often into the fall, we needn't purchase any salad or deep leafy greens. The climate in the Pacific NW is well suited for growing greens, they thrive in the moisture-laden air and filtered sunlight. We've many other garden varieties we pull from the garden and add to our plates that I will share as we harvest. This is our first salad of the year from the garden and it came quite early. We are looking forward to a bountiful season. Our peas are already sprouting, some nearly 4" tall.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wild Salmon Cakes ~ Gluten-free

I enjoy serving these with a glass of refreshing white wine on a sunny spring or summer evening, especially in the garden. They double nicely as a main course for the little ones, as well. The salmon population has suffered greatly in the Pacific NW, due much to the effects of pollution and the incredible growth of the area over the past 20 years. Native people in this area have been sustained by salmon for centuries. If the impact on the waters of the Puget Sound continues, future generations may not experience the same variety of salmon the Pacific NW is famous for.

Monday, March 22, 2010

French Brussels Sprouts

We dined not long ago at a cute corner French restaurant in town. It was a lovely “date” evening and we enjoyed our meal, though the food was not exceptional in our opinion. However, what we did enjoy were the Brussels sprouts; they were savory and the depth of flavor amazing. Of course, much of the succulent flavor was attributed to one simple ingredient: bacon. It’s not that I necessarily have anything against bacon. It is not a staple item in my kitchen, but I do use it to prepare certain “special” recipes whose flavor cannot be emulated or is compromised without its inclusion. Since everyone in our home loves Brussels sprouts and we enjoy them along with our meals several times monthly, I wanted to develop a recipe that would offer the same complexity of flavor without the heart congestive properties of bacon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Crustless Smoked Salmon Quiche with Three Goat Cheeses ~ Gluten-free & Dairy-free

I may have mentioned that my husband and I honeymooned in Ireland. It was a trip full of both magic and adventure. We stayed in a 100 year-old cottage on a working goat farm on the grounds where a castle once stood. This is the place where I fell in love with Nula. I hadn’t spent much time with goats prior to this trip, not beyond feeding them on a farm in Colorado when visiting my grandparents as a child. One nibbled off the corner of my shirt. I didn’t realize what amazing animals they are. I have long regarded them for their milk products. Being dairy-intolerant, I am able to tolerate products derived from goat milk though I am unfortunately not so blessed when it comes to those derive from sheep milk. There is about a 40% cross over between the proteins found in bovine, sheep and goat milks. That means that one may be able to tolerate one or more of these varieties, even if dairy-intolerant.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Chia Seed Swedish-style Pancakes with Goat Yogurt and Cranberry-Lavender Chutney ~ Gluten-free & Dairy-free

Just as we were sitting down to enjoy our morning meal, the vernal equinox cast its presence on the Pacific Northwest. We’ve been fortunate to experience an early spring in Seattle this year. So this season’s change was met with flowers in full bloom, their fragrances dancing through the air, and seedlings sprouting in the garden.  Everything seems so vibrant! I thought nothing could be more fitting than a breakfast centered on seeds.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Organic Mixed Greens with Cranberries, Candied Pecans and Chevre ~ Dressed with Balsamic Vinaigrette

If you asked me my favorite food, the answer would have to be salad.  If I don't enjoy a wonderfully crisp salad at least once a day, I really start to feel a bit off.  I definitely feel best when I simply eat meat and greens. Based upon the naturopathic principles of food combining and blood-type diet, for every serving of red meat, poultry or fish, one should consume three (3) equal servings of leafy greens.  This is said to be an excellent combination for encouraging optimal digestion.  It is also particularly well suited for those with blood type "O", who are more dependent on animal protein for their daily caloric intake.  If you are interested in learning more about the blood typing diet, refer to Dr. Peter DiAdamo’s research and theories, as described in his book, "Eat Right for Your Type".

I create various salads throughout the year based mostly around what is available from our garden.  This particular salad, however, is a year-round mainstay.  It’s satisfying enough to be a meal on its own, elegant enough to be found on many local fine dining menus and the ingredients can be changed out seasonally depending upon what is available without compromising the flavor.

Organic Mixed Greens with Cranberries, Candied Pecans and Chevre ~ Dressed with Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 bunch fresh organic Arugula
1/3 head fresh organic Romaine Lettuce
1/3 head fresh organic Red Leaf Lettuce
½ small bulb fresh organic Fennel, finely sliced
1 small organic carrot, sliced or grated
¼ c. dried organic cranberries
1/3 c.  candied pecans (see recipe)
2 oz. organic Chevre, crumbled
½ c. organic olive oil
4 T. organic balsamic vinegar
1 T. Ruby Port wine
Sea Salt
Fresh ground organic pepper

Rinse greens and gently tear to desired size, then place in salad bowl.  Sprinkle fennel over greens.  Place olive oil, balsamic vinegar, port, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously.  Pour over salad and toss gently, then sprinkle with cranberries, pecans and Chevre.  Serve on individual serving plates or pass the bowl with salad servers for more intimate appeal, adding salt and pepper to taste.

More great flavors to come...

© 2010 Taylor Donovan

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Candied Pecans

I love nuts and pecans are one of my absolute favorites.  You will find I use them in many of my recipes.  Pecans contain a small amount of linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid (not as much as their cousin the walnut), and a high amount of vitamin E. Some studies indicate they may have a positive effect on LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) levels. Pecans have a delectable and almost meaty flavor.  I base meals around them when I want to eat a little lighter and take a break from meat. Interestingly, even though pecans have a relatively high fat content, I don’t see that translate to my waistline, despite that I have been known to feast on them.  I always purchase them organically grown, and that often means from the bulk section of my local co-op.  I have found cross-contamination to be an issue at times, so be aware.  Once shelled, they should be refrigerated in an airtight container and last only about three months.  They never stay around that long in our house.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Gluten-free Irish Hard Cider Stew with Fresh Herbs

Gourmet menu ideas may not conjure up thoughts of traditional Irish Stew, originally a peasant dish eaten by the country-folk of the beloved Ireland. However, this Irish Stew is no Van de Kamps. My husband, half Irish and proud of his Celtic soul, was named after his Irish-born grandfather, Patrick, who came like so many with great promise to the U.S. His stories are full of color, song…and more stories, as the Irish are gifted at the art of story telling, as anyone who has had the good fortune of their company knows. It probably comes as no surprise that St. Patrick’s Day is cause for great celebration in the Donovan home.

Gluten-free Irish Oat Bread

My husband and I honeymooned in Ireland and the oat bread was marvelous.  So simple.  So tasty.  I was on the cusp of understanding my gluten-related issues at the time.  I so enjoyed the food, the Guinness.  I suffered.  For months.  They say that exposure to gluten can lead to a reaction lasting three (3) to six (6) months.  I can vouch for that.  So when St. Patrick's Day rolled around this year, I was determined to devise a gluten-free alternative to the bread I so enjoyed.  I wanted it to be healthy, and both oats and flax are correlated to lowering LDL levels.  I also wanted it to be tasty...not everyone in this home is gluten-free.  I am happy with the result and I hope you enjoy it, as well.  There wasn't a crumb left in our house...and it tasted wonderful with the Irish Hard Cider Stew with Fresh Herbs.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Boeuf Bourguignon ~ Gluten-free

I love everything French, the cuisine and wine are unsurpassed. Following suit, my birthday celebration this year, among other things, was to be treated to dinner at a new French restaurant accompanied by my two favorite guys…my husband and my son.  It was a fabulous night, the perfect celebration of “me”. I wore my new dress (My husband surprised me, knowing I'd been eyeing this one for sometime at a lovely French boutique in town.), ordered luscious menu items catered to my gluten-free and dairy-free palette, enjoyed a fabulous wine tasting, marveled over a wonderful meal, then discovered the succulence of Madeira for dessert.  One thing was missing, though. When my husband’s selection of Boeuf (Beef) Bourguignon arrived to our table, I couldn’t take a bite. Despite the temping aroma, I knew it was laced with gluten and dairy. A week or more of suffering didn’t seem worth the single bite my mouth watered for. So, I used my very keen olfactory senses to study the aromas, then confirmed with  my husband’s taste buds. Clearly notes of bay, thyme, rosemary, red wine…a deep and rich base as developed only though a long and slow cooking process. A week later I created this recipe to satiate my desire for this dish. My success was validated by my husband’s expression when he took the first bite.