A great big welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I hope you enjoy the recipes and ramblings. For the story behind this site read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Check out my recently released cookbook

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Tuesday
Dec282010

Unrefined Powdered Sugar

Homemade Confectioners Sugar | Clockwise; Powdered Date Sugar, Powdered Coconut Sugar, Powdered Evaporated Cane Sugar (front)On occasion I have the need for powdered sugar, and when I do I usually don't need more than a cup. Yesterday was such an occasion. Instead of running to the store I did some mad science with my Blendtec blender and some of the sugars I had in the pantry. The result? Powdery, soft, unrefined confectioners sugars.

Later in the day I used the coconut powdered sugar to make these egg-free, gluten-free Magic Peanut Butter Middle cookies and they turned out beautifully. I think one of the reasons they did was because I "powdered" the sugar first. Alternative sugars like coconut, date and even Sucanat can be pretty chunky and hard to dissolve completely in liquid. By powdering these sugars, they become finer and lighter and less apt to "weigh down" a baked good. But then, I am not a trained pastry chef ... I just go by observation. Oh and if you do not have a high-powered blender, a coffee grinder does the job nicely.

The cute heart-shaped measuring spoons were a bridal shower gift 10 years ago from my sweet friend Linda! They are treasured.

How to Make Powdered Sugar

Ingredients:

1 cup unrefined SUGAR of choice; coconut (my favorite), date, sucanat or evaporated cane juice
1-2 tablespoons ARROWROOT STARCH or tapioca starch or cornstarch

Directions:

Blend on high in a high-powered blender until powdery and light. A coffee grinder works just as well, you just may have to work in batches.

Saturday
Dec252010

Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup

WINNER:  Congratulations Jill (Jillbean216), you are the winner of Elana's Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook! Thank you all for your entries and for sharing the Lexie's Kitchen recipes you have tried or look forward to trying.

I hope this post finds you surrounded by family and friends! Today I will keep it short and sweet so that you can get back to those who are near and dear. Or, wait, maybe you've hopped on the computer because you're needing a break from them, in which case, may I suggest moving on to the kitchen and caramelizing a bag of onions! There's nothing like onion vapors to keep others at bay and with caramelized onions made, you'll have the key ingredient for this lovely split pea soup! This is a meal in and of itself—a hit-the-spot bowl of warmth. Perfect after an afternoon of sledding.

Sage and Caramelized Onion Split Pea Soup

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Easily Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Easily Vegetarian | Easily Vegan. Lexie has made her best effort to identify possible allergens. With that said, please always read labels.

Serves:  8-10
Active Time:  40 minutes
Total Time:  2-1/2 hours

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cup CARAMELIZED ONIONS (see how-to and video at end of post)
2 tablespoons extra virgin OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon smashed GARLIC
1 tablespoon roughly chopped FRESH SAGE
1/2 teaspoon TURMERIC
1/2 teaspoon CUMIN
1/2 teaspoon CELERY SALT
1/4 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
2 cups WATER
7 cups CHICKEN or VEGETABLE BROTH
1 pound dried green SPLIT PEAS, picked over and rinsed (soaking optional, see Notes)
2 BAY LEAVES
2 cups 1/2" cubed peeled RUSSETT POTATOES
1 cup diced CARROTS
2-3 cups cooked and cubed HAM (some of that leftover Christmas ham will work great!)

Directions:

1. In large soup pot, swirl olive oil and saute garlic and sage for 3 minutes. Add turmeric, celery salt, cumin and pepper. Saute another minute.

2. Remove pot from heat and transfer garlic/spice mixture to blender along with 1 cup caramelized onions (reserve remaining 1/2 cup onions for garnish) and 2 cups water. Puree.

3. Return puree to pot along with broth, split peas and bay leaves. Simmer on low 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until peas are tender.

4. Add potatoes and carrots. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until tender.

5. Using an immersion blender, puree to your liking. This may also be done in a blender by transferring some of the soup to a blender, pureeing and returning to the pot.

6. Add ham and heat through.

7. Season, if needed, with salt and pepper. Remove bay leaves.

8. Garnish with or mix in reserved 1/2 cup caramelized onions, chopped. Kick up the heat and garnish with drops of hot sauce (like Cholulas).

Notes:

For ease of digestion, I recommend soaking split peas at room temperature for 6-8 hours in a generous amount of water and a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice. Rinse prior to adding to soup pot.

How to Caramelize Onions

I adore caramelized onions on just about anything. Pizza, burgers, green beans, you name it. So I liked the idea of incorporating them in split pea soup. When onions are caramelized, surface sugars are released and browned. The flavor is deep, rich and slightly sweet.

For this soup recipe you will need to caramelize about 4-5 medium onions—red, white, yellow or a mixture. Throw a few shallots into the mix if you wish. Simply peel and slice onions into thin strips. Toss into a large skillet with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and cook over low to medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Here is a video to show you how easy it really is.

Monday
Dec202010

Christmas Crepes Suzette

This post is linked to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesday 12.21.10

I don’t know how it goes for you, but on Christmas morning I can get so caught up in the moment and magic that I forget to fuel up. Fast forward to late morning and I realize that a cup of coffee and three pieces of Almond Roca haven’t gotten me very far. So I drag my feet into the kitchen to cook. But honestly, who wants to be in the kitchen on Christmas morning?! This year I am determined not to be. I have revisited and modified a recipe that I have served up for Christmas mornings past—a dressed-up “special” breakfast that I will prepare the day before and put together the day-of in under 10 minutes. It will be none other than the lovely Crepes Suzette.

Crepes Suzette is a traditional French dessert. I am excited that I can now make an exception and serve dessert for breakfast—and feel absolutely no guilt about it. You see, these aren’t your traditional crepes. Extra eggs and quinoa flakes give these pretty babies a hefty protein boost. And some of the honey can easily be substituted with liquid stevia for those following a low-sugar diet.

This recipe is not egg-free, but is gluten-free, dairy-free and grain-free (if you don't count the corn-derived flavoring in Earthbalance buttery spread!). And, no need to be intimidated by crepes. If you can flip a pancake, you can make a crepe!

Lastly, I have a special Christmas gift for one lucky reader—a copy of Elana Amsterdam's The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook? Entry details are at the end of this post.

 

Gluten-Free Quinoa Crepes Suzette

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Easily Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain Flour-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian

Makes: 16 crepes or 4-6 servings
Hands On Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

FOR CREPES
8 large EGGS
1-1/2 cups Silk Original ALMOND MILK (or other non-dairy milk)
1/4 cup runny HONEY (or liquid stevia)
1/4 cup light OLIVE OIL
1 tablespoon VANILLA EXTRACT
2 cups QUINOA FLAKES
1/2 cup TAPIOCA STARCH
3/4 teaspoon SEA SALT

FOR ORANGE SAUCE
1-1/2 cups ORANGE JUICE (preferably fresh squeezed)
1/4-1/2 cup runny HONEY (use liquid stevia for a sweetener-free version)
6 tablespoons Earthbalance Soy-Free BUTTERY SPREAD or butter
1 teaspoon VANILLA EXTRACT
1/2 cup GRAND MARNIER LIQUEUR, warmed (optional)

Directions:

1. Add ingredients to blender in above order. Pulse a few times and allow to sit 3-5 minutes to soften quinoa flakes. Blend on medium until super smooth.

2. Heat a 8-9.5" non-stick crepe pan (see Notes) over medium heat. Wipe pan with a well-oiled paper towel. Pour 1/4 cup batter into pan and swirl to coat bottom of pan. Continue to swirl until batter sets. Alton Brown demonstrates this at the end of Part 1 and beginning of Part 2 of his Crepe Expectations episode below.

3. When top of crepe is dry to the touch, lift one edge and fold crep in half. Transfer crepe to a plate and roll or fold in half again.

4. Repeat until all batter is used up.

5. At this point you may layer crepes in an airtight container, separating layers with parchment or wax paper and refrigerate or freeze. On the day you plan to use the crepes, simply set them on the counter and allow to come to room temperature. If you are ready to prepare your crepes, let's move on to the orange sauce.

6. Bring to simmer in a large skillet; all sauce ingredients except liqueur. Add to simmering liquid 8 folded or rolled crepes; bathing them in the orange sauce as they are added to the skillet. Allow to simmer 1-2 minutes, turning a few times.

7. Add half of the liqueur to the pan and, using caution, ignite the liqueur with a long-handled lighter or fireplace match. This "flambeing" is more for show. You can just as easily cook the alcohol off by allowing crepes to simmer an additional minute.

8. Transfer crepes to warmed individual plates, drizzle with orange sauce and serve!

Notes:

1. The Pan: Crepe making shouldn't be intimidating. If you can flip a pancake, you can make a crepe. For a video demonstration, see the end of this post. The key is in using a good non-stick pan. There are two non-stick pieces of cookware I just can't part with; my waffle iron and my crepe pan. My crepe pan is reserved for crepe makin' only and I take really good care of it. If you choose to tackle crepes with a stainless steel fry pan, be forewarned, you'll likely need to use a lot of oil or butter to prevent sticking. No guarantees here.

2. If using EarthBalance Buttery Spread, note that it does contain corn-derived flavoring.

The final step—add fire and flambe (fun but not necessary)! Folded in quarters is the traditional way to serve Crepes Suzette.

Alton Shares All We Need to Know About Crepe Making

I swoon for Alton Brown! Here is his Good Eats: Crepe Expectations episode. At the end of Part 1 and beginning of Part 2 he demonstrates the technique for cooking crepes. Unlike Alton, I don't flip my crepes. I just fold them in half when the tops are dry to the touch and transfer to a plate. Folding them in quarters is the traditional way of making Crepes Suzette. I like folding them in half and rolling them to change things up a bit!

The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook Giveaway

Don't have a copy of Elana Amsterdam's The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook yet? Then enter to win one! This was the first gluten-free cookbook I added to my cookbook collection and cherish it to this day. In it Elana uses basic ingredients to whip up some pretty amazing eats and treats.

To Enter: Leave a comment below and share with us what your favorite Lexie's Kitchen recipe is or one you've been wanting to try. That's it!

Deadline: This giveaway is now closed.

Happy Holidays to all!

Lexie

Thursday
Dec162010

Floppy Broccoli and Wilted Kale

No offense, but I think my grocery store (and I won't mention names) is at the end of the truck delivery line. Either that or organic produce just hasn't caught on here and sits and wilts on the shelf. I just want fresh, crisp organic produce. Is that too much to ask? I guess it is. But, aha! I've discovered a little trick that helps return floppy broccoli and wilted kale to its former glory. Simply trim the stems a quarter inch and stand them in a glass or bowl of water. In an hour or two your kale and broccoli should feel garden fresh again!

If you like tips like this one, please leave a comment. I'd love to know.

Oh and one more thing.

If You Like Lexie's Kitchen, Cast Your Vote

I assume, since you've read this entire [short] post that you kind of like Lexie's Kitchen? If I'm right I'd love it if you would give this blog a THUMBS UP.

Visit the 50 Best Mom Food Bloggers site. Scroll down to my name and click "LIKE." But really folks, only cast a vote if you really and truly like Lexie's Kitchen :) And be sure to nominate/vote for your other favorite mommy bloggers, too! And thanks to those who have already cast their vote.

[Update:  WOW! I am in the top 50 now, gee, thanks!!!]

xo
Lexie

Wednesday
Dec152010

I Will Be Having ...

Yesterday was the final day of Share Our Holiday Table; a virtual, progressive dinner, hosted by Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry. And a bountiful holiday table it was! Today as I took another look at the incredible dishes that have been put before us I thought it would be fun to, as my boys say, "play restaurant." And so I did. And it was fun. Better than a Calgon Take Me Away moment. I dreamily browsed through each Share Our Holiday Table post and ordered a complete 7-course meal! Delish. And so fun.

Here is what I ordered. Oh and by the way, the meal was beyond my every expectation!

 

APPETIZER

Sun Dried Tomato Polenta Bites
presented by Chef Lori | The Recipe Girl

DRINK

Reindeer Antler Punch
presented by Bartender :) Shirley | Gluten-Free Easily

SALAD

Cranberry Pecan Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing
presented by Chef Shaina | Food for My Family

SOUP

Roasted Chestnut Bisque
presented by Chef Perre | The Runaway Spoon

ENTREE

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Spiedini
presented by Chef Nancy | The Sensitive Pantry

SIDE

Couldn't decide so ordered two!

Stuffed Acorn Squash
presented by Chef Jenn | Jenn Cuisine


Root Vegetable Gratin
presented by Chef Heather | Heather Cristo

DESSERT

Pomegranate Poached Pears
presented by Chef Jeanette | Jeanettes Healthy Living

Images copyright and courtesy of their respective chefs.

 

Now THAT was a holiday feast!

How about sharing your holiday table with a child in need of nourishing meals. If you would like to contribute to the Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry™ campaign to end child hunger in the United States by 2015, please make a pledge here.