Lamb curry

January 28, 2010

I am really not sure if this is technically a curry, korma, masala, or what. I just know it is very tasty! This makes a pretty big pot of curry, so be sure to invite your friends over to enjoy this meal with you. The lamb is very easy to prepare if you have a little time to let it slow-roast in the oven. Remember to make sure your curry powder is gluten-free, as some brands include wheat flour as a filler. If you are a real curry enthusiast, try grinding your own curry powder. And don’t forget the “gluten free naan!”

Roasted Lamb:

  • 3lb lamb shoulder
  • 1 bulb of garlic
  • curry powder
  • salt

Preheat the oven to its highest temperature. Separate the cloves from one bulb of garlic, placing half to two thirds of them, unpeeled, in the bottom of a roasting pan. Liberally rub the lamb shoulder all over with salt and curry powder. Place the lamb on top of the garlic cloves (fat side up) and place the remaining garlic cloves on top of the lamb. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, place it in the oven, and turn the heat down to about 325 degrees. Roast the lamb for about 3 hours, or longer if needed, until the meat easily pulls apart with a fork.

Curry:

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • ghee or oil
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 ½ inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 ½ C cashew pieces
  • 1 32z can of tomato puree
  • 2 16.5z cans of diced or stewed tomatoes
  • 3 C heavy cream
  • salt
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped

Pulverize the cashew pieces in a food processor, or crush them in a plastic bag with the handle of a heavy kitchen utensil (or mallet). In a large pot, heat a couple tablespoons of ghee or oil over medium heat. Add the diced onion and sauté over medium heat until the onion is translucent. Add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and the crushed cashews and continue to cook  until the onion is almost caramelized. Add the roasted lamb meat and about half of the roasted garlic from the roast to the pot (just squeeze the garlic from its peel and crush it into the side of the pot). Then add the minced ginger, the tomato puree and the diced tomatoes and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add the cream and gently simmer for another few minutes to let the flavors combine. Season with salt as needed and stir in the fresh, chopped cilantro right before serving. Serve over steamed white rice.

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Orange scented rice pudding

January 20, 2010

I have been eating this rice pudding for breakfast these days since I cannot find any gluten-free cereal around. I just make a big batch for the week and keep it in the refrigerator, and I use brown rice since it keeps me going a little longer than white rice. I even think the texture and taste of brown rice, especially for this pudding, is more pleasing than white rice, (and, of course, it is more nutritious) but some people prefer the less hardy texture of white rice. So by all means, use the rice you like best! This pudding is not too sweet, so if you are serving it for dessert you might want to increase the sugar a little or sprinkle each serving with some brown sugar.

  • 1 C white or brown rice
  • 2 C water
  • 1 ½ C coconut milk
  • 1 ½ C milk
  • ¼ C white sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 1 cinnamon stick or 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch or two of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Combine the rice and the water in a pot and bring it to a boil. Cover the pot and turn the heat down to low, simmering the rice until it is cooked (15 to 20 minutes for the white rice, and about 40 to 45 minutes for the brown rice). Stir the coconut milk, regular milk, sugar, orange zest and juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in with the cooked rice until everything is well combined. Adjust the seasonings to your taste. Simmer the pudding for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until it has thickened considerably, stirring every few minutes to keep the rice from sticking or burning. It is thick enough when the rice no longer sinks to the bottom of the pot after you finish stirring it. Take the pudding off the heat and stir in the vanilla. The pudding will continue to thicken as it cools. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Cheesy potato and leek soup

January 16, 2010

Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got. And I have a lot of potatoes, leeks and cheese available to me at the nearby market! This is nothing to complain about…I often craved a leek and a good hunk of cheese while I was in the States. So here is a simple, hearty soup that you can modify to your own tastes. Use yellow onions instead of leeks if you like, add some carrots or peas, and maybe a little diced ham if you would like.

For those of you who are curious about how the gluten free baking is going, I am almost through the stash of sorghum flour that I brought with me and I have not found any yet at the African markets nearby where we live. I have found tapioca starch at the Asian market nearby, as well as Fou Fou flour, or manioc/cassava flour, which is similar to tapioca starch. There is also an abundant and inexpensive supply of potato starch, which I may begin to substitute for cornstarch in my quick breads and cakes. Seeing though as I have not found an acceptable substitute for my staple flour, sorghum, I may have to order a bulk supply of sorghum flour from the States, which will, believe it or not, be considerably less expensive than using any of the gluten free baking mixes I have found here, and I just love that flour for its taste, texture and health. It is an exciting adventure to experiment with locally available grains! But I am definitely missing the incredible variety of gluten free options that I previously enjoyed. Anyway, perhaps I will find some sorghum flour in Paris at one of the African markets there.

Cheesy Potato and Leek Soup

• olive oil
• 2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, rinsed and sliced thinly (or 1 large yellow onion, diced)
• 3 large cloves of garlic, minced.
• 5 to 6 medium yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks or half moon slices
• salt and pepper
• 4 cups of chicken broth (gluten free)
• 4 T butter
• 2 T cornstarch
• 1 C milk
• 2 C shredded cheddar cheese
• optional: some diced ham

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium to medium high heat and sauté the leeks until they are wilted and perhaps a little golden. Add the minced garlic, some salt and pepper to taste and cook for another minute. Add the diced potatoes and the chicken broth and simmer the soup for about 30 minutes. During the last ten to fifteen minutes of the soup’s cooking time, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and whisk in the cornstarch to form a roux. When the roux is bubbling and fragrant, stir in the milk, and heat the mixture until it thickens, stirring frequently. Then add the cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth. Take your potato and leek soup of the heat and stir in the cheese sauce until everything is well incorporated. Also add some chopped ham at the end if desired.

Apple and cheddar galette

January 7, 2010

This is a savory version of the cinnamon apple crunch casserole. You can substitute the sorghum and the tapioca flours with 1 1/4 C all purpose flour if you are not gluten-free. And feel free to use your favorite cheese instead of cheddar.

  • 2 T melted butter
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 3 green apples, thinly sliced
  • 1 C shredded or sliced sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 C milk
  • 6 eggs
  • ¼ C honey
  • 2 T olive oil
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¾ C sorghum flour
  • ½ C tapioca flour

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Mix together the melted butter, the cinnamon and the nutmeg, and pour the butter mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Lay the apple slices in the bottom of the buttered dish. Spread the cheese over the apples. Whisk together the milk, eggs, honey, olive oil and salt. Gradually whisk in the sorghum and tapioca flours until everything is well combined and there are no lumps (an immersion blender makes quick work of this). Pour the batter over the apples and cheddar. Bake the dish in the preheated oven until the galette is puffed up and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

My apologies for taking so long to post another recipe. We moved a couple of times toward the end of 2009, most recently to a town near Paris, France to attend a French language school. We are living in something of a family style dorm and I have a small kitchenette with limited tools to cook our meals. I am not sure what the next year holds for us in terms of culinary adventures, with the use of two electric burners, a tiny refrigerator and a small oven hanging near my head. But thank goodness I cannot eat gluten! I cannot resort to packaged convenience meals…my family will have real vegetables.

I was delighted by the food selection at the discount grocer a couple blocks from our apartment today. Some things, like peanut butter, were conspicuously absent from the shelves. But when I quickly realized that I had an excuse to eat Nutella, a delicious chocolaty spread, on my gluten free bread, I got over my loss of peanut butter. I have yet to determine where I will find gluten free flours, but there are several grocery stores I still have not visited. Tomatoes, leeks, shallots and olive oil were a much better price and quality than I usually encountered in the States, and so I was inspired to make the stew below.

Ideally, you would brown the meat in a dutch oven and slow cook the stew in the oven. But as this is not an option for me, I browned and simmered the stew in a pot on the stove. This is another no measuring allowed recipe. Just sprinkle and taste until you are satisfied. I used white wine and white balsamic vinegar as it was what I had on hand, but red for both would be wonderful and maybe preferable depending on your tastes. Bon appetit!

  • 1 ½ – 2 lb beef stew meat
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium to large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large leek, white and yellow part only, rinsed and sliced.
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 or 5 medium yellow potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 1 14.5z can of stewed tomatoes
  • white balsamic vinegar (or red)
  • 2 cubes of beef bouillon (gluten-free, *optional)
  • 1 bottle of dry white wine (or red)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • herbes de Provence, or thyme

Pat your stew meat dry with a paper towel or two so that it will brown nicely. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bottom of a dutch oven or large stew pot, enough to lightly coat the bottom. Heat the oil over medium high heat until hot. Drop the beef into the pot, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and brown on all sides. Remove the stew meat to a plate. Add the diced yellow onion, shallots, garlic, leeks and a little more salt and pepper to the hot oil in the pot and cook over medium to medium high heat until the onions are translucent. Add the carrots, yellow potatoes, stewed tomatoes, a drizzle or two of balsamic vinegar (maybe a tablespoon?) and a good sprinkling of the herbes de Provence. Stir to combine. Add the browned stew meat back into the pot, the beef bouillon if desired and the bottle of wine. Simmer on low heat with lid ajar for about 2 hours. Taste to see if the stew needs additional salt and adjust accordingly.

Serve over steamed white rice or with some fresh gluten-free bread.