Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Heart Kale...

Most of you know by now that I have a special place in myhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif heart and stomach for Kale, the earth's most nutritious super-green! Kale just makes me happy and is so loaded with goodness it's the kind of food that as you are eating it, puts a smile on your face knowing you are feeding your body such goodness.

The other night I decided to experiment with my poached egg obsession...and add kale into the mix. You see, the poached egg tradition runs long and plenty in my family. My maternal grandmother was a huge fan, passing the love of eggs just-cooked-enough-to-get-rid-of-the-runny-whites, down to my mom...who then passed the tradition on to me. A true treat for me when visiting my parents, is when my mom prepares her poached eggs on GF toast for breakfast (or dinner), paired with my favorite tea. Simple, yet delicious and always leaves me feeling a sense of kindred spirit with my mom in the kitchen. Over the years, we've even come to "customize" our poached eggs with perfectly paired avocado, yogurt or Parmesan cheeses, and herbed butter slathered on the toast prior to the layering. It's just damn good no matter how you like to put your ensemble together.

So...as I cooked up a batch of the most fresh and beautiful kale the other night I had an inspiration..."Why not layer the seasoned kale between the toast and my poached eggs, then sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan on top?" So I did! The only things omitted from my recipe were the soy sauce and lemon - not sure I'm brave enough to try that combo with eggs.

It seriously made for the perfect dinner. Simple. Healthy. Nurturing, comfy food.

At this point, I'm fairly convinced that eggs in some form or another, can be paired with most any dish or meal. Perhaps it's my French genes talking but I'm not kidding about this opinion. The more I explore and learn how to become a better home cook, the more I want eggs to be a part of my meals...organic, humanely raised, fresh farm eggs, that is.

I would love to hear how your prepare eggs and what's a favorite recipe so do share!

Happy cooking.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Heart Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

On this day dedicated to love, I was inspired to share my most favorite and inspirational greeting card that I've kept with me and close to my heart for ten years. I bought it at a little card shop in Sun Valley, ID one cold winter day right when I needed it. The warmth and depth of the words expressed on the card melted my heart and inspired me...so much so that I've always kept them close and have read and re-read the lines more times than I can recall over the last decade.

The power of words light up my life.

What might light up your life or heart today, as we celebrate Valentine's Day, is knowing which yummy candies are gluten- free and safe, and which sweets are to be avoided. Be sure to review the list and read all the ingredients before you bite into that sweet treat. There's no better way to put the kibosh on any romantic dinner than by getting gluten poisoning...so, might I suggest spending a few less seconds gazing into your sweetie's baby blues and instead, avert your longing gaze towards the menu items that you KNOW are safe and/or carefully read over the entire ingredients list of any packaged goodies. I'm betting that an extra smooch will make up for the diversion.

Say I love you to someone special today...and don't forget to remember how special you are too. :)

Happy chocolate.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Granola all day...

I'm a granola addict. Granola on yogurt, as cereal, as a healthy snack...I've even been known to throw a little in with my cream of rice followed by a dollop of Greek yogurt to top it off - Yum! Buuuuut, I was growing tired of the gluten-free store bought granola on the market. Let me say however, they were all wonderful additions to the GF market when a few brands hit the shelves over the past couple of years, but with the "roll-your-eyes" high price of store-bought granola and the "less than super fresh taste," I'd grown tired of packaged and was so ready to find a great recipe and make my own.

I'd tried creating a few batches using the obvious ingredients; Gluten-free oats, almond, etc. but the flavor was a bit drab and didn't create the crunch I was wanting to bite in to. So, as I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, Orangette, I came across Molly's posting about her obsession for granola too! The recipe she found on a mutually beloved food site, Food52, featured a fab recipe for Early Bird's Farmhand's Choice granola that popped up in the “Genius Recipes” column at Food52. It sounded so delish, including the sweetness of molasses and brown sugar, AND savory texture of olive oil - Ahh, that's what I was missing!

Update: - Are Oats Gluten-Free? This has been a question circulating around as a bit of a mystery. Do your research and always read the labels so you know the oats you are buying have been certified GF which should guarantee no cross contamination. Here's a link to Jane Anderson's About.com Celiac Disease site and an update on gluten-free oats and what you should know before you buy and bake.

Olive Oil and Maple Granola
Adapted from Nekisia Davis, Early Bird Foods, and Food 52

Knowing how pri$ey nuts and seeds can be, I tend to buy mine at Trader Joe's or in the bulk section at Whole Foods, which makes them more affordable and able to keep a constant supply on-hand. I also was able to find coconut chips in bulk.

"The next time I make this, I might cut back a little on the brown sugar, but I recommend trying it as written first." Orangette

- 3 Cups rolled certified gluten-free oats (make sure that the oats state they are gluten-free - I use Bob's Red Mill GF Oats)
- 1 cup raw hulled pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup raw hulled sunflower seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut chips
- 1 1/4 cup raw pecans, whole or chopped
- Packed 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 cup maple syrup, preferably Grade B
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tbsp. organic cinnamon
Dried cranberries and/or raisins are optional but you'd be crazy to leave them out! Trader Joe's has wonderful dried cranberries with orange essence ~ Yum!
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut chips, pecans, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to mix. Add the olive oil and maple syrup, and stir until well combined. Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared sheet pan. Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until the granola is golden brown and toasted, about 45 minutes. Remove the granola from the oven, and season with more salt to taste. Cool completely on a wire rack. If you'd like, stir in some dried apricots, cranberries, or cherries.

Note: Granola will keep at room temperature for up to a month in a sealed container.

Makes about 7 cups

Just add to your favorite yogurt or as a mid-day snack -

WARNING - one handful will never suffice!