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Wednesday
May052010

Starbucks VIA Nutmilk Café Au Lait

My sister has turned me on to those little Starbucks VIA Ready Brew® instant coffee packs. She travels for business and likes that she can have a consistently good cup of coffee anywhere, anytime. Now, I don't foresee giving up my coffee maker, but the VIA packets have come in real handy in baking and make an exceptionally good nut milk café au lait. If you've never made nut milk, here's how I do it.

For this café au lait I used Almond & Pine Nut Milk.

In a high-powered blender, blend on high for one minute:

1 cup raw ALMONDS (soaked overnight and rinsed well)
1/4 cup raw PINE NUTS (optional)
1 teaspoon SOY LECITHIN GRANULES (optional)
2 teaspoons CHIA SEEDS (optional)
4 cups WATER

Strain milk using a nut milk bag, return to blender, add and blend on low for 10 seconds:

2 tablespoons runny HONEY
1/8 teaspoon ALMOND EXTRACT
Dash of SEA SALT

Heat one cup of your fresh nut milk and add 1/2-1 packet of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew. Curl up on the couch and enjoy!

Wednesday
May052010

Celery Root Fries

Last week I bought another celeriac (also known as celery root). Had I known about this ugly little gem when I was on the anti-candida diet, it would have gotten me through the days I craved French fries!  Unlike other root vegetables, which store a large amount of starch, celery root is only about 5-6% starch by weight. You can visit Wikipedia for more tidbits on this often overlooked veggie. The last time I prepared celeriac was in a stir-fry. This time I gave fries a go. The flavor was lovely and mild. Dipped in a little catsup and I had my taste buds fooled into thinking they were French fried potatoes!

Use a sharp knife to remove the base and top from the celeriac so it sits flat. To peel, cut down the side, close to the skin, being careful not to remove too much flesh. Slice root into 1/4-1/2" fries.

Deep fry in 1-2" of oil (I used Grapeseed) that has been heated to 350˚F. Brown and transfer to plate lined with paper towels. Salt to taste while still warm.

Thursday
Apr292010

Meatballs in Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce

Last Sunday some friends had us over for dinner. Deb brought out this huge platter of elk meatballs and placed it conveniently in front of me. "Did I have to pass them around, I wondered secretly?" I could have devoured every last one! Well, after my raving about them she kindly gave me the recipe. The next day I went to work modifying. Her recipe called for catsup. I thought I'd try to cut back on the sugar, by making a catsup-like sauce using sun-dried tomatoes and a bit of honey. Here is what I came up with.

THE SAUCE

Combine and soak to soften:

1/3 cup SUN DRIED TOMATOES (dry, not soaked in oil)
1-1/2 cups boiling WATER

In blender, puree:

Sun-dried tomatoes and soaking water
1/3 cup Bragg’s APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
2 tablespoons HONEY
1 teaspoon SEA SALT
1 small ONION

THE MEATBALLS

In a large bowl combine:

2 pounds ground BISON, BEEF or ELK
1/2 cup RICE CRACKER CRUMBS (easily made in a blender or food processor)
1 cup jarred mild SALSA (I used Pace Picante)
1 teaspoon SEA SALT
1 teaspoon ONION POWDER

Shape meat mixture into 2-4” balls using cookie dough scoop. Place in baking dish and cover with the tomato mixture. Bake 350˚F for 1 hour (or until cooked through). For crispy-top meatballs switch from bake to broil for last five minutes. Remove from oven and let stand 3-5 minutes.

NOTES: The meatballs are mighty good even without the sauce.

Wednesday
Apr282010

Green Pea and Radish Salad

Eating in season is a noble endeavor. But what produce shall one eateth during a long Wyoming Winter? Costco to the rescue [trumpet sounds]! I have been quite impressed with the organic and "healthy" food selection at Costco of late. Though the Costco nearest us is 70 miles away, it's well worth the trip. A few weeks back I purchased this HUGE bag of frozen organic peas! Needless to say, I have had to get creative with how I prepare them or get the old "peeeeas agaaaaain!" So here is a little salad that's refreshing, crisp and a little out of the ordinary.

In a medium bowl, toss:

2 cups thawed frozen PEAS
4 RADISHES diced
4 ounces (approximately 1/2 can) WATER CHESTNUTS diced
1/2 cup diced HEARTS OF PALM (optional) (found at Costco)
1/4 crumbled bacon (optional)

In a small bowl combine and then toss with pea mixture:

3 tablespoons VEGENAISE eggless mayonnaise
1-1/2 teaspoons ONION POWDER
1 teaspoon Bragg's APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
SEA SALT to taste
PEPPER to taste

Enjoy!

Monday
Apr262010

Gluten-Free Inari Sushi

Hurrah! April 26th kicked off the 30 Days to a Food Revolution blog event hosted by Diane at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang. Over 30 days, 30 different food bloggers (including yours truly), will share recipes and tips for making the shift from processed foods and unhealthy foods to the foods our bodies need and love. To follow the event, just visit www.thewholegang.org each day for the next month.  My day to share is May 18.

Today I was craving sushi. And not the roll kind. When I was young and my grandparents would come to visit, the first stop we HAD to make after picking them up at the airport was Mizuguchi's Sushi Store in Hilo. I remember glass display cases full of sushi and Japanese treats. When we stopped in, Grandpa Q went all out. We never left the store with anything less than two big boxes and my favorite—cone sushi (inari sushi: sushi rice in a pocket of fried soybean curd). It's not a powerhouse of nutrition, the soybean curd is fried, but I wanted a special snack today and this was it! If you roll sushi, inari sushi would make a great complement to your next sushi platter. If you've never made sushi, this is a great one to start with.

I am so very grateful for the Asian and Islander population in Cheyenne that supports the Golden Dragon international grocery store. It never ceases to amaze me what the place carries—and in the middle of Wyoming! The only item for this recipe that you'll need to visit an Asian grocer for is the Aburage (fried tofu packets, see picture below). Everything else you should find easily at your local grocery store. There is seasoned Aburage and unseasoned. I definitely recommend buying the UNseasoned as the seasoned has some questionable ingredients in it. I've provided directions for the way I season it below.

PREPARE THE ABURAGE FRIED TOFU POCKETS

Heat the following in a large saucepan. Add aburage. Simmer 10 minutes (flipping once), then transfer gently with slotted spoon to plate and chill.

2/3 cup WATER
1 tablespoon HONEY
1 tablespoon BRAGG'S LIQUID AMINOS
1 tablespoon WHITE COOKING WINE or MIRIN JAPANESE COOKING WINE
2 dashes gluten-free FISH SAUCE (I use Thai Kitchen found in the Asian cooking section of most grocery stores)
1 package (1.1 ounce) OAGESON FRIED TOFU POUCHES (4 pieces). See picture below.

This is the brand I bought. Note "Gluten-Free" and no mystery ingredients.

PREPARE THE SUSHI RICE | In a small bowl mix:

3 tablespoons RICE VINEGAR
2 tablespoons liquid HONEY
1 teaspoon SEA SALT
Sprinkle vinegar mixture over and fold into:
2 cups cooked (and still warm) brown organic short-grain BROWN RICE
2 tablespoons of finely shredded CARROT (optional)
1 tablespoon SESAME SEEDS (optional)

ASSEMBLE SUSHI | With kitchen shears or a sharp knife cut the chilled tofu pockets diagonally into triangles. Fill each pocket with rice mixture and serve. Oishii desu ne!

MODIFIED DIET CONSIDERATIONS: This recipe contains soy. Vegan dieters should substitute honey with agave. The fried tofu packets probably are not made with non-GMO soy beans. Sources online provide directions for making aburage from scratch. You could then make aburage using organic non-GMO tofu.