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

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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.

Monday
Apr192010

Roasted Pignoli Beet Salad

Kim of Affairs of Living and Ricki of Diet, Desserts and Dogs are a two brilliant food bloggers who have teamed up to offer the SOS (Sweet or Savory) Kitchen Challenge blog event. Each month they extend the invitation to create delicious dishes based on one key ingredient. It can either be sweet or savory (or both). At the end of the month, submissions are gathered and posted in a roundup on their blogs! The resulting roundup offers a single stop where you can find a collection of yummy dishes to try.

My first entry in the SOS Kitchen Challenge is Roasted Pignoli Beet Salad. The key ingredient of the month being BEETS! Garlic lovers, this one is for you. This beet salad makes such an elegant side dish. Pignoli, or pine nuts, can be quite expensive, but you won't need a lot. You can stretch, or even replace, the pine nuts with walnuts.

Cube 3 steamed or roasted BEETS into 1/2" cubes (See NOTES for preparing beets)

Sauté over medium heat:

2 tablespoons OLIVE OIL
3 cloves smashed GARLIC

When garlic begins to brown, add:

1/3 cup PINE NUTS

Sauté, stirring constantly, until nuts begin to turn golden (be careful, they burn easily). Transfer nut mixture to food processor and pulse 5-6 times along with:

1 tablespoon LEMON JUICE
1 teaspoon AGAVE NECTAR (or honey)
1/8 teaspoon CELTIC SEA SALT (or to taste)

Gently mix beets and nut mixture. Serve warm or chilled.

NOTES: Two ways to cook beets.

Roasting Method:  Trim roots and tops off. Place in roasting pan with a little water. Cover and roast at 425˚F for 35-45 minutes or until tender. Let cool and slip off skins under running water.

Steaming Method: Trim roots and tops off. Place in pot with a couple of inches of water. Cover and steam 20-30 minutes or until tender. Let cool and slip off skins under running water.

Friday
Apr162010

Chorizo & Mahi-Mahi Open-faced Tacos

Dallas, Texas! We lived there for seven years. Now, Texas has soul. And a big part of its soul, aside from music, is food. The BBQ just can't be beat. And then there's the TexMex! I'll say I haven't found Mexican food anywhere like it.

What I love about these open-faced tacos (my dad says "just call 'em nachos") is that by piling on the veggies, you can transform them into a filling salad. Or just keep it simple with chopped white onion and red radish (like so many of the Dallas Mom & Pop Tex-Mex places do). Chorizo has such a depth of flavor with a good kick of spice. I'm not a huge pork fan, but for this dish I'll make an exception. If the chorizo is too spicy for your kids, just serve them the mahi-mahi. Now, enjoy with your favorite iced beverage and some Lyle Lovett tunes!

THE FILLING

In large skillet, sauté and brown:

1/2 pound organic Mexican CHORIZO SAUSAGE (I like to crisp it up a bit)

In bowl, toss and add to skillet with chorizo:

1/2 pound 1/2"-cubed MAHI-MAHI FILLETS (try Sam's Club or Costco in the frozen section)
1/2 teaspoon SEA SALT (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER
1/2 teaspoon OREGANO
1/2 teaspoon CUMIN

Gently sauté mixture until fish is seared and cooked through.

On plate, layer:

CHIPS of your choice (see below for brown rice chips)
Shredded CABBAGE or LETTUCE
FISH MIXTURE
Chopped RADISH
Chopped ONION
Chopped CILANTRO
JALAPENO TARTAR SAUCE (recipe below)

Enjoy! 

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BROWN RICE TORTILLA CHIPS:

Chips without corn, wheat and soy are NOT easy to find (do they exist?). So we've been making our own with Food For Life's Brown Rice Tortillas! Yum! Here's how:

Spray both sides of 3-4 tortillas with OLIVE OIL and sprinkle lightly with SEA SALT. With kitchen shears, cut tortillas into your favorite shape (strips or wedges). Spread on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 325˚F for 10-20 minutes (or until desired crispness), flipping once.

JALAPENO TARTAR SAUCE:

This tangy sauce puts the party piñata on your taco! In a small bowl combine:

1/4 cup VEGENAISE® egg-less mayonnaise
1-2 teaspoons minced PICKLED JALAPENO
1 teaspoon minced ONION
1 teaspoon fresh LIME JUICE

MODIFIED DIET CONSIDERATIONS: By all means, if you can eat corn, build these using corn chips or corn tortillas fried in a bit of oil. And if you eat dairy, top it all off with the "pure happiness" ingredient—cheese!

OOPS REVISION: I cut the chorizo and fish to 1/2 pound each. It was just too much meat for two adults and two toddlers. All other quantities and measurements remain the same (including spices). If you want leftovers, go ahead and use 1 pound each and double the spice measures.