Category Archives: Gluten Free

Garden Pizza, Gluten Free Crust, and Pizza Day Giveaway

finished sauce with tomato2 copy

In my newest book, Pizza Day, which will be released by my publisher Tuesday, there is a pizza recipe at the end of the story called Garden Pizza.

To win a signed and personalized copy of Pizza Day and its the companion, Soup Day, please go here!

Pizza Day and Soup Day Melissa Iwai 2017-72

Garden Pizza is what a little boy and his dad spend the day making using some of the ingredients that they have grown in their garden.

pizzaday_int_garden-Melissa-Iwai

These are some of the vegetables that they gather:

Pizza-Day_int-10-11-Melissa-Iwai

Sadly, we don’t have a stellar garden like theirs, so I made this pizza the other night for my guys using ingredients I bought instead.

Sauce igredients4 copy

Some of my sauce ingredients: diced carrots and onion, dried oregano and basil, garlic, tomato, and olive oil (I forgot to include the tomato paste here!). I use the fresh basil as a garnish to top the pizza when it’s done.

First I made the dough and let it rest and rise while I cooked the sauce.

dough pre rise 2 copy

My sauce gets its sweetness from the carrots. No sugar needed! Plus the carrots add nutrients and fiber.

pizza sauce

After the sauce cooked down and the flavors melded together, I pureed it in a blender, just like the boy in my book!

Pizza-Day_int-20-21-Melissa-Iwai-2017

Then when the dough was finished, I kneaded it, let it rest a bit, and rolled it out.

rolled out dough copy

It was time to top! Denis and Jamie just wanted sauce and cheese.

cheese pizza PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

I made mine veggie and turkey and used a cauliflower crust I had made (see recipe below), because I was doing reintroductions after the Whole 30 and hadn’t gotten to gluten yet!

PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

Riced cauliflower with egg and almond meal prebaked

PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

Baked crust (you must bake it before topping)

veggie pizza PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

Topped with pepper, tomato, onion, sauteed kale, and turkey

Then into the oven our pizzas went.

The final product:

finished pizza 3 copy

Crispy on the outside, chewy crust

 

vegie pizza closeup PIzza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017

My mini pizza with veggies, turkey, mozzarella, and fresh basil

Pizza Day by Melissa Iwai 2017
Cheesy!

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Pizza Day and the board book version of Soup Day here!

Pizza-Day_int-30-31-Melissa-Iwai-2017

 

Garden Pizza from Pizza Day by Melissa Iwai

Pizza Dough:

Ingredients:

Non-stick spray or oil for greasing

1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

3 cups flour, divided, plus more if needed

non-stick spray

 

Pizza Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

½ cup chopped onion

¼ chopped carrot

1 ½ tablespoons chopped garlic, about 2 cloves

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 ½ cups chopped vine-ripened tomatoes, about 3 large

¼ cup tomato paste

  1. Spray a large bowl with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together yeast, water, olive oil, and salt in another large bowl until combined. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add 2 cups of the flour to mixture and mix together until well blended.
  4. Add a little bit of the leftover flour gradually (you may use half or all) until dough forms a ball.
  5. Sprinkle flour onto a large board or counter top, and dump out dough. Knead for 5 minutes, adding a bit of the remaining flour each time it starts to feel sticky. You want to end up with a smooth, elastic mound of dough.
  6. Shape dough into a large ball. Place in greased bowl and turn over to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 1 hour.
  7. Heat olive oil in skillet and saute onions, carrots, garlic, salt, and herbs until onion is translucent.
  8. Add tomatoes and paste. Simmer until softened on very low heat, covered, about 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  9. Pulse in blender or food processor to desired chunkiness.

To assemble:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F for 10 minutes.

  1. Divide pizza dough in half, and roll each into a ball. Let rest 10-15 minutes.
  2. Lightly dust two baking sheets and a rolling pin with flour. Roll out each ball of dough into a round on each baking sheet.
  3. Spoon pizza sauce on top and spread onto each. Top with fresh veggies, pepperoni, cooked sausage, shredded cheese, grated parmesan cheese, goat cheese, whatever you like!
  4. Bake for 10-13 minutes, depending how crunchy you like your crust.

Makes 2 medium pizzas.

Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Nonstick olive oil spray

1 1/2 cups of riced cauliflower (I buy mine bagged from Trader Joe’s. You can also make your own by ricing or grating raw cauliflower), steamed for about two minutes

1 egg white or 1/2 whole egg

1 tablespoon almond meal

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prepare  two square pieces of parchment, about 6″ x 6″. Place one square on baking sheet and spray with non stick spray; set aside.
  3. Mix rest of ingredients together in a bowl.
  4. Spoon mixture on top of prepared parchment sheet on baking tray. Flatten into a circle with a spoon.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven. Place other square of parchment on top of crust and flip. Then peel cooked piece of paper off.
  7. Your crust is now ready to be topped with toppings of your choice. After topping, bake in oven for another 5 minutes.

Makes one mini pizza crust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

Filed under Art Related, Books, Children, Dinner, Gluten Free, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Pumpkin Custard for Breakfast

pumpkin custard2

Pumpkin is officially in season now! Have you see all the pumpkin products at Trader Joe’s alone?  I’m intrigued by the pumpkin cookie butter, but I haven’t bought any yet.  I stock up on their canned organic pumpkin this time of year though, because it’s always great to have on hand, and not only for pumpkin pie.

I’m trying to get more veggies into all of meals, even breakfast. AND I recently had to have dental work and gum surgery, so soft foods have been a must. 😦

I’ve been enjoying this warm pumpkin custard for breakfasts as well as dessert!  It’s pretty high in protein and low in sugar, so I don’t feel guilty eating it first thing in the morning to start my day.  And since the weather is turning colder, it is such a comforting meal to warm you up!

 

Pumpkin Custard

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 egg

3 tablespoons liquid egg whites or one egg white

1 tablespoon milk

Stevia or other sweetener

1/4 teaspoon of vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

dash of pumpkin spice

Non-stick spray

  1.  Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Spray a large ramekin or bowl or two small ramekins with non-stick spray.  Pour custard in taking care to leave about 1/2 ” space at the top.
  3. Microwave in 30 second intervals until cooked. Depending on your microwave and whether you cook the custard in two ramekins or one, it should take about 90 seconds – 2 1/2 minutes.

 

 

11 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Peanut Miso Kale Chips – A New Favorite!

kale miso 2

A couple of years back, I did a post on these Kale Chips, but I’m here to tell you today that I’ve vastly improved them! These are the most delectable Kale Chips ever, and if they were sold in a bag, I’m sure they would fetch the usual $5.00 or so price tag for just a mere handful! The flavor is as wonderful as ever, but I discovered that using Tuscan Kale, removing every single hint of stem, and a new cooking method takes these chips to a higher level.

Tuscan Kale is the kind of kale with flat leaves, unlike their curly leafed cousin.

kale trimmed

I trim each leaf with kitchen shears, and save the stems. I cut the stems into short pieces, or process in a food processor and steam for later usage.

kale with scissors

Kale in steamer -- steam for about 10-12 minutes depending on how chewy you like it.

Kale stems in steamer — steam for about 10-12 minutes depending on how chewy you like it.

I mix together the sauce ingredients in a bowl:

peanut sauce

Then coat the kale leaves completely. It is OK if there is just a hint of the sauce on the leaves — it packs a flavorful punch and a little goes a long way!

Spread kale out in a single layer on lined baking sheets. Put in a preheated 375 F degree oven. Turn off oven and let sit for 30-60 minutes, checking after 20 minutes.

The chips are perfectly crisp with no brown edges!

kale miso

If you want an even faster recipe, just make the kale chips without the sauce. Cooking time is 20 minutes. I like to spray with olive oil and season with kosher salt.

kale

Look how thin it is!

Look how thin it is!

These chips keep in an air tight container for about two days, and they stay crisp! I have also tried them with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast (parmesan would probably taste better, but if you want to go vegan…) and taco seasoning.

kale-chip-with-yeast

kale with yeast 2

My favorite is the peanut miso flavor though! 🙂 Have a try and let me know what you think. Which do you like best?

Peanut Butter and Miso Glazed Kale Chips

1 tablespoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon miso paste

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon mirin (or rice wine vinegar if you don’t have it)

2 teaspoons water

A large bunch of Tuscan Kale

non-stick spray

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray. Set aside.

2.  Wash kale leaves and pat dry. Then cut away each side of the stem per leaf, reserving leaf parts. Save stems for later use (I like to chop mine and steam them).

3.  In a large bowl whisk together peanut butter, miso paste, soy sauce, and mirin with a whisk. Add water and whisk until smooth. Throw in kale leaves and coat and massage with clean hands to get the sauce on all of the leaves. Spread leaves in a single layer on lined baking sheets. Spray with non-stick spray. You will have extra. You can save these to bake for another time. Turn off oven.

4.  Place baking sheets in oven and let sit for one hour. Halfway through baking, stir the leaves and turn over.

5.  When chips are crisp, transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

Plain Kale Chips

1 bunch Tuscan Kale

non-stick spray

kosher salt to taste

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment or foil. Spray foil with non-stick spray. Set aside.

2.  Wash kale leaves and pat dry. Then cut away each side of the stem per leaf, reserving leaf parts. Save stems for later use (I like to chop mine and steam them).

3.  Spread leaves in a single layer on lined baking sheets. Spray with non-stick spray. You will have extra. You can save these to bake for another time. Season with kosher salt. Turn off oven.

4.  Place baking sheets in oven and let sit for 20 minutes, checking after 12 minutes.

5.  When chips are crisp, transfer to a plate and let cool completely.

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Filed under Appetizers, Gluten Free, Sides

Chocolate Frozen Banana and Blueberry Bites

chocolate covered blueberries

These Chocolate Frozen Banana and Blueberry Bites are my new favorite treats recently.  I can’t get enough of them! They’re quite healthy too.  You can use raw cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder.  Especially when combined with the frozen blueberries, this packs a powerful antioxidant punch. 🙂

I always have frozen banana slices in my freezer for my smoothies.  This is how I prepare them:
frozen banans I slice a ripe banana (still firm though) and lay the pieces on a piece of parchment and freeze in a lidded container. I used to do this on a plate, but my husband claimed the banana flavor was permeating the ice cubes.  After they are frozen, I usually store them in a freezer bag, as it takes less space.  I buy frozen blueberries and just use those.  Very easy!

To make the chocolate treats, first melt some coconut oil and mix with the cocoa powder, coconut milk, and sweetener of choice. I use stevia.  Then heat for a bit on the stove or in the microwave oven. I nuke it, because it’s one less pan to clean and faster.

Then dip the frozen banana slices and/or frozen blueberries in the chocolate and place on a plate or in a parchment paper lined container.  Be sure not to put too many frozen pieces at one time in the chocolate, as the coconut oil will harden (coconut oil is used to make home made Magic Shell because of this effect). I usually do one at a time.

banans and blueberries on parchment

Put in the freezer to harden, then transfer to a zip lock bag.  When you want a quick frozen bite, grab a few and you’re good to go! 🙂

chocolate covered bananas

YUM!
chocolate covered bananas 1

Chocolate Frozen Banana and Blueberry Bites

Frozen banana slices from about 1 large banana

Frozen blueberries – about 1/2 cup

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder

2-4 tablespoons coconut milk, almond milk, or cow’s milk

Stevia or other sweetener to taste

1.  Melt coconut oil in a bowl until it’s in liquid form.  Add cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and sweetener of choice.  Heat in microwave oven for about 30 seconds.  Stir until powder has dissolved.  It it’s too thick, add more milk a bit at a time until the consistency is of chocolate syrup.  Heat again for about 10 seconds. Stir until smooth.

2.  Dip frozen banana slices and berries one at a time in the chocolate and place on a parchment lined container or plate.  Continue to dip slices and berries until chocolate syrup is used up.  Freeze until hardened.  Transfer to a zip lock bag for storage.

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Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free

Low Carb Cauliflower Crust Bacon Zucchini Quiche

quiche side 1

I procrastinated today and instead of doing my work, I did some experimenting and cooking in the kitchen!  We had a frozen pie crust I needed to use (it kept threatening to fall out of the freezer in an annoying way), so I decided to make a quiche.  I try to keep my processed foods on the low side (with the occasional lapse of salty snacks that sometimes make their way in our house…).  So I made one quiche with the Pilsbury pie crust and one quiche for myself with cauliflower crust (my husband and son hate cauliflower, so that’s why there was no sharing).

I based the filling on this Cooking Light recipe.  I doubled it because I was making two quiches.  The recipe below is for one quiche.  I used onion instead of shallot since that’s what we had. I lessened the oil to 1/2 tablespoon, used only half of the zucchini, and added parmesan cheese.  The results were yummy!  This quiche is also gluten free. 🙂

quiche top

Low Carb Cauliflower Crust Bacon Zucchini Quiche

For crust:

Non-stick spray

1/2 head cauliflower, about 18 oz., chopped

6 tablespoons liquid egg whites (or 2 whites)

salt and pepper

1/4 cup almond meal

For filling:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 cup chopped onion

2 small zucchini, sliced (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon dried thyme

salt and pepper to taste

3 eggs

9 tablespoons liquid egg whites (or 3 whites)

1 cup milk

2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

2 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

1 1/2 oz. shredded part skim mozzarella (about 1/4 cup)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray pie pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside

2.  Finely process cauliflower in food processor.  Transfer to a bowl, cover with saran, and steam in microwave for 4 minutes.

3.  Mix cooked cauliflower, 6 tablespoons egg whites, salt and pepper, and almond meal together in the bowl.  Pour into the pie pan and shape crust with a spoon, pushing sides up the edges.

4.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn heat down to 350 degrees.

5.  Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet, add onion, zucchini, thyme, salt, and pepper and saute on medium heat for about 5 minutes until softened.  Let cool a bit.

6.  Beat eggs, egg whites, milk, parmesan cheese, and bacon together in a bowl.  Set aside.

7.  Spoon cooked onion and zucchini mixture into cauliflower crust and spread evenly.  Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.

Then pour egg/bacon mixture on top.

8.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until center is set.

Serves 8.

25 Comments

Filed under Dinner, Eggs, Gluten Free

Red Quinoa and Cauliflower “Rice”

High protein low carb and full of nutrients!

High protein low carb and full of nutrients!

Have you ever tried Red Quinoa?  They have it at Trader Joe’s, but I also buy it in bulk at our local store.  Health food stores probably would carry it as well.  It is nuttier and chewier than regular quinoa.  It takes longer to cook, but it is minimal active time on your part.  You just simmer it in a lot of liquid (I used broth to make it more flavorful) for about 45-50 minutes.  Then you mix it with steamed “riced” cauliflower (process raw in food processor and then steam in microwave for 4 minutes).

You can process it until it has the consistency of rice.

You can process it until it has the consistency of rice.

I like to eat this as a side with veggies and meat.  It is really good with curry.  And it also good mixed with some real rice!  Either way, you are getting a nice dose of protein and wonderful nutrients and fiber.

 

This weekend is jam packed with various events.  On Saturday (tomorrow, May 17, 2014), we will be in Hillsborough, NJ at the Hillsborough Library Children’s Book  Festival.  If you are in the area, come by!  The event is from 10-3 at the Hillsborough Library (379 South Branch Road, Hillsborough, NJ 08844).  There will be a number of authors and illustrators there signing books and giving presentations.  Hopefully it will be nicer weather tomorrow, but regardless, it is indoors, so you don’t have to worry about standing out in the rain!

I’ll be signing Truck Stop, Soup Day, and we will both be signing Hush Little Monster, of course!

turck stop_cover

The recipe is at the end of the story.

=

hush_book

On Sunday through Tuesday, I will be at Surtex, one of the major licensing conventions in North America.  I’ll be helping Victoria Johnson with her booth (#447!) and checking out all the amazing art at the rest of the show.  It’s a great way to learn about the industry which is somewhat unfamiliar to me.  Check out this amazing post at Print and Pattern where Victoria and other amazing artists are featured.

 

Red Quinoa and Cauliflower “Rice”

1/4 cup red quinoa

1 1/4 cup or so of liquid (water, vegetable broth, chicken broth or beef broth)

1/2 half head of cauliflower

1.  Simmer quinoa in liquid in a saucepan until quinoa is soft and chewy and most of liquid has been absorbed.  Keep an eye on it and stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure there is still liquid in the pan.

2.  Meanwhile, process 1/2 head of cauliflower in food processor until finely chopped.  Transfer to a large bowl, cover with saran, and cook in microwave for 4 minutes.  Let sit while quinoa cooks.

3.  Mix quinoa and cauliflower together.  Season to taste.

 

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Filed under Gluten Free, Grains, Sides, Vegetables

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding and Almond Chia Pudding

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding


This is my newest obsession:  Instant Chia Puddings!  I have seen chia puddings all over the web, and this Vanilla Chia Seed Parfait with Fresh Berries and Tsubuan (Japanese Red Beans) made by my friend, Judy, at Bebe Love Okazu really stands out.  I haven’t made it yet because I need to go to a special store to get the red beans, but it looks amazing.

While shopping at our local Trader Joe’s recently, I was compelled to buy a bag of chia seeds on display strategically near the cashier stands.

chia bag

On the bag, there was a recipe for a simple pudding:  Chia seeds, milk, and agave syrup.   I thought it would be fun to make a coconut chocolate one since I had a lot of lite coconut cubes in the freezer (for my morning Coconut Chocolate Spinach Smoothies).  I defrosted two cubes in the microwave and added a tablespoon of chia seeds, cocoa powder, stevia, vanilla and a pinch of instant coffee (to bring out the chocolate flavor).

 

 

chia in cup

I don’t know if it’s because I used coconut milk or because when I defrosted it in the microwave, it was slightly warm, but the chia pudding set in literally 2 minutes!

chocolate chia

Right after mixing….

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

…and two minutes later!

 

I loved it so much, I started making them every afternoon for a snack.  The texture is similar to a rice pudding.  The chewiness reminds me of tapioca pearls in bubble tea.  And I love the coconut chocolate flavors.

Then, I thought I would experiment a bit and try making it with regular milk (I use Lactaid) and almond extract.

The consistency was a lot thinner:

almond chia

This one took a lot longer to set — about three hours (which is what it says it will take on the bag).  The texture is lighter and less dense than the one made with coconut milk.  But it is equally delicious!

almond chia set


There are so many health benefits to eating chia because they are high in protein, fiber and omega-3s as well as other nutrients.  So if you want to try something different and a lot healthier, try making some chia seed pudding!

 

Note:  I’m happy to make my single servings of chia pudding, because it is so easy to make, and I prefer to eat it the day I make them.  But the recipes I have here can easily be doubled and quadrupled to make 2 – 4 servings.

Coconut Chocolate Chia Pudding

1 tablespoon chia seeds (15 g)

1/4 cup coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

stevia or other sweetener of choice

pinch of instant coffee (I like decaf VIA from Starbucks)

1 teaspoon dried coconut

Serves 1

1.  Mix all ingredients together.
2.  Chill until set.  EAT!

 

Almond Chia Pudding

1 tablespoon chia seeds (15 g)

1/4 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

stevia or other sweetener of choice

Serves 1

1.  Mix all ingredients together.

2.  Chill until set — about 3-4 hours.  EAT!

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Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Parsnip Chips

parsnip chips1


First off, thank you all for your support and voting for me in the Skillshare Valentine Challenge !  It turned out that my card and wrapping paper design was one of the two first place winners, which was decided in secret by the instructors, Faye Brown and Majo Bautista.  The voting was for 2nd and 3rd…but I had no idea beforehand where I stood!  So many friends voted for me–I’m pretty overwhelmed by the support and vote of confidence in me.  Thank you so much again!!!  To see the other winners and their designs, go here.

I’m immensely busy still, involved in many projects.  I’m working on my book dummy for a picture book and in the middle of creating artwork for a mini one.  I still have all my Skillshare classes (!) and I am participating in the Making Art That Sells Bootcamp.  This class was designed by Lilla Rogers Studio and Beth Kempton of Do What You Love.   It’s been an amazing experience.  For one, it’s so inspiring to see everyone else’s work — there are so many talented artists in the class — over 400!  Also, people are so generous and helpful with advice and support.  I’ve made a lot of new friends there and reconnected with old ones!  Our first assignment was to design a cell phone case that had to do with cuckoo clocks.  I can honestly say I had never drawn so many cuckoo clocks in my life!

One of many sketches

One of many sketches

The clocks weren’t really calling to me, so I decided to focus on the cuckoo birds. Also because I can never seem to get away from food, I ended up with two designs having to do with eating and drinking. ha ha.  Which one do you like the best?

!st two are the same design with a different color treatment and placement of coffee and clock icons.

!st two are the same design with a different color treatment and placement of coffee and clock icons.  Click to enlarge.

I decided to go with the girl one because it had more of a response on the class forum, and because I had way more fun creating it!  I figured out a different way of working, and I’m really excited about that and plan to do my book illustrations this way.  It even got me to get off my tush and start building a place to sell some artwork once and for all.  I have been dragging my heels at the overwhelming thought of it.  I only have two things available at the moment (lol) but it will grow!  Check it out here: Society 6  I will also upload different sizes so the designs can be used on different things.  Stay tuned!

All of these extra activities are great in that I’m creating double the work I normally would and learning lots of new ways of working and thinking about art making!  But it curtails my ability to cook or bake anything that takes more than 30-40 minutes….  (An exception will be next week when I will bake a German Chocolate Cake for Denis’ birthday!)

gc-cake-2

The other day I saw a bunch of parsnips for sale, so I grabbed them and made chips.  I was craving something crunchy by healthy, and these fit the bill.  You could probably make these out of other root vegetables, like carrots, yams, etc. but I haven’t tried it yet.  I like the flavor of parsnips — they are a tad sweet, similar to sweet potatoes.  While I was making them, Jamie and his friend thought I was baking cookies!  Imagine their disappointment when I told them it was vegetables.  They tasted the parsnip chips, though, and they liked them. 🙂

You need a mandoline or a box grater with a slicer on the side to cut thin slices of the parsnip.  I have one something like this.  Then you just lay the slices on a foil lined baking sheet and pop in the oven.  My friend, Alexandra, mentioned that she makes chips by putting them in a cold oven and then turning the oven on.   The method works well because you don’t burn any chips, which are delicate when thinly sliced!  Cooking them this way makes it easier to do this.  Turn the oven on to 250 degrees F, set your timer for 30 minutes and walk away.   Check them after 30 minutes.  I remove the tan, crispy ones, and return the pan to the oven and for another 10-15 minutes or so.  Easy, no?  I think the chips are best eaten right away, which isn’t hard to do! If you save them and they lose their crunch, you could probably pop them in the toaster oven for a couple of minutes and let cool a bit to crisp them up.

_DSC0301

Parsnip Chips

Several parsnips, washed and trimmed and peeled

Non stick spray

kosher salt to taste

1.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.

2.  Slice thin rounds of parsnips with a mandoline or other slicer and lay slices in one layer on prepared baking sheet.

3.  Place in oven and turn onto 250 degrees F.

4.  After 30 minutes or so, check parsnips.  Sprinkle with kosher salt if you like.   Remove tan, crisp chips to a plate.  Return baking sheet to oven.  Check chips after about 10-15 minutes.  They should all be crisp now.  If not, let cook a bit longer.  Remove to a plate and eat!

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Filed under Art Related, Gluten Free, Sides, Snack, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Miss Paleo Brownies

Miss Paleo brownie

For all you gluten free foodies, may I present:  Miss Paleo Brownies!  I was sent these brownies to do a taste test for the blog.  Amazingly, they are wheat free, soy free, gluten free, and are made with no refined sugars.  Check out Miss Paleo cookie and brownie mixes here.  They are perfect for people who have celiac disease and gluten intolerance.  But they are tasty too — so also perfect for everyone else!

Jamie helped me sample the brownies.

jamie eating brownieHis verdict:  Two thumbs up!

The brownies were nutty (from the almond meal) and very moist (which is why J ate them with a spoon).  They also had a nice coconut flavor in them — they are sweetened with low glycemic coconut crystals!  The rich chocolate flavor was wonderful — I like to taste my chocolate, rather than have it be overwhelmed with sugary sweetness, so these were perfect.  We gobbled them up.  Thank you, Miss Paleo!

 

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Filed under Desserts, Gluten Free

Shirataki Noodles and Soba Noodles

Shirataki Noodle Ramen

Shirataki Noodle Ramen

I made this comforting soup for lunch the other day.  I wasn’t even going to post it, because it involves packages of instant ramen noodles.  lol.  I grew up eating instant ramen (one of my dad’s specialties), and Jamie loves it too.  The sodium content is pretty outrageous, so I usually only use part of the seasoning packet in the soup.  It can also end up being a lot of calories — one package of noodles is supposed to be two servings.  It’s so easy to eat the whole thing as one serving.  I usually use 1 1/2 packages for Jamie and Denis.

I also like to use Shirataki noodles instead of eating the ramen noodles.  For the uninitiated, shirataki noodles are gluten free, low carb, chewy noodles made from a Japanese yam and are mostly water and fiber — hence the low carb value attributed to them.

Shirataki noodles

Shirataki noodles

I grew up eating them in Asian dishes and have always liked them.  But in the past five years or so, I’ve seen them touted by Hungry Girl and used in Western dishes, like fettucine alfredo.  This personally makes me gag.  The texture is so wrong.  These noodles are nothing like pasta.  People also complain about the fishy order that wafts out of the package when you open it.  You have to rinse the noodles and boil them.  I still feel that the slightly fishy, earthy odor remains, but in Asian dishes, like ramen, this is no problem.  It suits it.  So when I make ramen for the boys, I make shirataki for myself, and we share the broth.  I also like to add cooked egg, chopped scallions, and some kind of protein like cooked shrimp or chicken to it.

Another simple noodle dish is Tempura Soba.   It’s a Japanese tradition (which I did not grow up celebrating) to eat plain soba noodle soup right before midnight. I did this once in Japan before going to the temple and ringing the gong. I made it for our dinner tonight and added tempura shrimp for some protein. Recently I learned that buckwheat noodles are gluten free!  So that is good news for my niece and nephew and others who are gluten intolerant.  If your make your tempura batter with rice flour, then the tempura shrimp could also be made gluten free. 🙂

Shrimp tempura

Shrimp tempura

We’re looking forward to ringing in the new year tonight!  2013 had its extreme ups and downs — let’s hope 2014 is a more stable good one.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year!

Soba with Shrimp Tempura

Soba with Shrimp Tempura

Shirataki ramen

Shirataki ramen

Shirataki Noodle Ramen

1 package of shirataki noodles

an egg, beaten

1 1/2 packages of instant ramen (the kind that come in a block)

Cooked meat (chopped ham, shrimp, pork, chicken, etc.)

scallions for garnish

shichimi togarashi (Japanese chili pepper) optional for garnish

1.  Cook shirataki noodles according the package instructions.  Drain and set aside.

2.  Cook beaten egg in a skillet.  Remove and chop up; set aside.

3.  Cook ramen according to package instructions (you may choose to not use all of the seasoning packet as I do).  Or if you are just eating the shirataki noodles and not using the ramen noodles, don’t bother cooking.

4.  Place desired amount of shirataki noodles in a large bowl.  Top with cooked egg, and cooked meat.  Ladle ramen broth into bowl.  Garnish with scallions and Shichimi Togarashi.

soba-with-shrimp-tempura

Shrimp Tempura Soba Noodles

1/2 pound dried soba (buckwheat) noodles

Oil for coating noodles and for frying

8 cups water

about 4 inches or .5 oz. of dried kombu (kelp — this is found in some Asian markets)

1 cup  or 10-15 g dried bonito flakes

1/3 cup soy sauce

2  tablespoons mirin

1  tablespoons sugar

1 cup tempura flour (you can use flour + 1/4 teaspoon each baking soda and baking powder if you don’t have tempura flour)

1 cup ice water or seltzer (with ice cubes)

12-15 large shrimp, deveined

scallions sliced thinly for garnish

Other garnish ideas:  sliced boiled egg, sliced fish cake, cooked spinach

1.  Boil water in a large pot, and cook dried soba noodles in it for about 4 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Coat with a bit of oil and set aside.

2.  Fill pot with 8 cups of water.  Add kombu.  Turn up heat.  Right before it comes to a rolling boil, remove kombu and discard.  Add bonito flakes and boil for about 30 seconds.  Turn off heat.  Let broth sit until flakes settle to bottom of pot.  Strain liquid into a clean pot, pressing on bonito flakes to get as much flavorful broth as possible.

3.  Heat broth over low heat.  Add soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.  Bring to a boil and dissolve sugar.  Set aside but keep hot.

4.  Heat about 1 inch of oil in a wok or saucepan to about 340 F.  Mix tempura flour with ice water.  Do not over mix — it’s OK if it’s lumpy.  Keep the ice cubes in the batter.  Dip shrimp in batter to coat and fry in hot oil until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes.  Remove to a rack placed over a baking sheet to drain.  Continue to cook rest of shrimp this way, being careful not to overcrowd them in the oil.

5.  To assemble, add cooked soba to a bowl, pour broth over.  Garnish with shrimp tempura and scallions.

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Filed under Eggs, Gluten Free, Shrimp, Soup