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Tuesday
Mar232010

Bison Sliders with Honey Caramelized Onions

We live in Wyoming, where the buffalo roam, and the deer and the antelope play. It’s always thrilling to see a herd of bison. If you are driving from Denver to Cheyenne, keep your eyes peeled for the Terry Bison Ranch herds at the state line. We’ve tried bison from a couple of different sources and have found that the flavor DOES vary. The brand that Kroger stores carry has been quite gamey. The ground bison sold at Terry Bison Ranch and SAMS Club are our favorites—slightly sweet and tangy. Check out the Terry Bison Ranch link above to see how buffalo compares to other meats. By scientific analysis it appears that bison is one of the healthiest meats available. One serving of bison meat provides 34% of the daily recommended amounts of protein, 32% of zinc, 33% of iron, 10% of niacin, 20% of phosphorus, 14% of vitamin B6 and 42% of the antioxidant selenium. Bison meat is also non-allergenic, making it easier to digest by people with a red meat intolerance. And, the best part, bison are raised as naturally as possible. No growth hormones and no steroids.

Many restaurants are serving up sliders (basically mini hamburgers). Son #1 loves them so I set out to create a version that son #2 could eat. Here is the recipe for the burgers and caramelized onions. For the rolls, see my next entry or click here.

BISON BURGERS:

Mix in medium bowl (I use my hands):

1 pound ground BISON or organic ground beef
1 teaspoon SEA SALT (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ONION POWDER
1/2 teaspoon ground BLACK PEPPER
1/2 teaspoon GARLIC POWDER

Shape into 4” round and 1/2” thick burgers and grill or fry with a little oil over medium heat.

CARAMELIZED ONIONS:

For the adults, top sliders with caramelized onions. I used the recipe at Reluctant Gourmet as it calls for honey rather than sugar. For a little heat I added a pinch of cayenne pepper.

MODIFIED DIET CONSIDERATIONS: The photo above shows a slider with cheese. Yes, that is real cheese and should be omitted if your diet doesn’t allow casein. My husband says cheese equals happiness so we do stock it for him. After all, what woman doesn’t want a happy husband? 

Tuesday
Mar232010

Slider Burger Buns

I created these to go with Bison Sliders. They have been the best GFCF and egg-free hamburger buns I have made so far. They are slightly chewy but not super dense. Baking them in muffin cups makes the perfect sized bun for sliders.

In a small bowl combine and let sit for 5-10 minutes (this is called proofing SEE NOTES):

3/4 cup 105˚F WATER
1 teaspoon raw HONEY
1 packet (or 1-1/2 teaspoons) baker’s YEAST

In a medium bowl combine:

1 cup BROWN RICE FLOUR
1/4 cup ARROWROOT STARCH
1/4 cup TAPIOCA FLOUR/STARCH
1-1/2 teaspoon XANTHAN GUM
1 teaspoon powdered, unflavored GELATIN
1 teaspoon SEA SALT
1/2 teaspoon non-GMO SOY LECITHIN GRANULES
1/2 teaspoon ONION POWDER

In a large bowl beat with mixer at medium speed for 1 minute:

2 tablespoons milled FLAX SEED
6 tablespoons warm WATER
1/2 teaspoon Bragg’s APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
2 tablespoons OLIVE OIL
Proofed YEAST MIXTURE

Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and beat on high for 2 minutes.

Fill cups of an oiled muffin pan (I use silicon pans) with batter until two-thirds full. Let rise in warm spot for 30 minutes then gently transfer to preheated oven and bake at 400˚F for 15-20 minutes. Take care not to let these rise for more than 30 minutes or they will spill over. Makes 12 slider buns. For regular sized hamburger buns use English muffin rings. These are best eaten the same day.

NOTES: Proofing ensures the yeast is live. This mixture should foam up in 5-10 minutes. If it does not, toss the batch and retry with new yeast. Soy lecithin granules may be found at whole food stores.

 

Saturday
Mar132010

Blushing Beet Smoothie

I've found myself yawning through the produce section of the grocery store lately. At the same time I've found myself dreaming of opening day at the farmers' market. Alas, it is what it is, a few more cold months to go! So I've pulled it together and forced myself to branch out with the produce that IS available. I'm still figuring out what to do with the fennel bulbs (ideas anyone?) but did make a gorgeous smoothie out of the beets I bought (this picture doesn't do the brilliant ruby color justice).

In high-powered blender, blend until smooth:

1/4 to 1/2 of a steamed and cooled BEET

Small handful of chopped CARROTS

Handful of frozen STRAWBERRIES

1 cup WATER

RAW HONEY or Vanilla Creme liquid STEVIA drops to taste

NOTES: Beets have a sweet but earthy taste, so adjust the amount you use to satisfy your tastebuds. Here's how to cook up a beet:

Roasting Method:  Trim roots and tops off. Place in roasting pan with a little water. Cover and roast 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.

Sunday
Feb282010

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Tuna Skillet Casserole

I can’t wait for the reviews on this one. So please try it and tell me what you think! It can be a skillet dinner or served up as a casserole. Either way, it’s comforting comfort food.

Prepare 2 cups of your choice of noodles according to package instructions then drain and reserve (see notes).

Blend at high-speed in high-powered blender for 1-2 minutes until mixture resembles milk:

1/2 cup BLANCHED ALMONDS (with skins are okay, too)
2 cups organic, gluten-free CHICKEN BROTH
1 tbls LEMON JUICE
2 tsp BRAGG’S LIQUID AMINOS
1 tbls gluten-free ONION POWDER
1/8 tsp white ground PEPPER (black is fine, too)
Pinch NUTMEG
Dash of CAYENNE (optional)

In large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat whisk the following flours in heated oil for one minute to make a make a roux:

3 tbls OLIVE OIL
2 tbls GARFAVA FLOUR (Garbanzo/Fava bean flour)
1 tbls TAPIOCA FLOUR/STARCH

Whisking constantly, slowly add the nut milk mixture to the roux to create a creamy sauce. Continue whisking to remove any lumps. Then add:

2 cans chunk white TUNA
1-2 cups chopped steamed BROCCOLI or frozen PEAS (optional)
Cooked PASTA

Salt to taste. Stir gently and simmer for 10 minutes then serve. 

CASSEROLE OPTION: Pour above mixture into a casserole dish and top with crushed potato chips (if your diet allows), gluten-free bread crumbs tossed with olive oil or butter, or for a real NON gluten-free treat for the rest of the family, top with French’s Onions (rare junk food treat in this household, trust me!) and cheddar cheese. Bake 350˚F for 20 minutes until bubbly.

NOTES: I can't say enough about Tinkyada brown rice noodles. They hold up really well for rice noodles—no mush! And, they’ve got some fun shapes.

MODIFIED DIET CONSIDERATIONS: If on a grain-free diet or ACD diet, simply pour the tuna sauce over zucchini "noodles". ACD should also dieters omit tapioca starch.

Thursday
Feb252010

Almond Milk

At a year old we had a hunch that our littlest one had a milk sensitivity/allergy. I felt like we were bucking popular convention when I said no to soy and goats milk—the most common cows milk substitutes. Instead I opted to start making nut milk. I started with almond, began adding pumpkin and sunflower seeds, moved on to macadamia, cashews, pecans and most recently, pine nuts. The options for combining are endless. Homemade nut milks are far superior in taste and texture to store-bought. I’ve included some ideas for fortifying and flavoring.

The formula for making milk can be found in numerous places on the online so I feel like I am being a bit redundant here. But so that you don’t have to go digging here we go:

Puree in high-powered blender for 1-2 minutes:

1 cup raw ALMONDS (soaked overnight and rinsed well)

3 cups WATER

Pour into a nut milk bag, (see Notes below), squeeze gently into a wide-mouthed bowl to extract milk. Return to rinsed blender carafe, add the following and blend for 10 seconds:

2 tbls HONEY (or to taste)

2 tsp pure VANILLA EXTRACT

Pinch of SEA SALT

Optional Add-ins:

2 tbls FLAX SEED (blend with nuts, adds an extra bit of creaminess)

1 tsp SOY LECITHIN granules (blend with nuts, acts as an emulsifier)

1 tsp pure ALMOND EXTRACT to replace vanilla (add in with agave and salt)

3-5 soaked, PITTED DATES to replace honey (soak and blend with nuts)

Done! Now you’ve got some lovely, creamy, fresh almond milk. Refrigerate and use up within a few days.

NOTES:

Soaking Nuts and Seeds: Soaking not only softens nuts and seeds for better blending, it also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and reduces Phytic acid, allowing for better digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals. Soaking times vary for nuts and seeds—usually the harder the nut, the longer the soaking time.

Nut Milk Straining Bags: There are a few “nut bags” on the market. The one I bought did not last very long. I ended up popping a seam open—squeezing gently is advised. An affordable alternative to a nut milk bag (buy a pack of three for under $10), are reusable mesh produce bags. You can find them at most health food markets. They are tough and durable. For clean-up, just rinse and toss into the laundry. And, buying a 3-pack ensures you always have a clean one on hand! I will say that these produce bags do allow a tiny bit of the fibrous pulp to slip through, but not enough to bother me. If you’ve been making nut milk, tell me what kind of bag has worked best for you, I’d love to hear.

Demonstration Video (CLICK HERE): Watch a pro! Let Elaina Love at PureJoyPlanet show you how to make nut milk. I think I need to pick up one of her raw cookbooks!

MODIFIED DIET CONSIDERATIONS:

SOY LECITHIN:  Soy lecithin rarely affects those with an allergy or intolerance to soy. As with anything, use in moderation.

SWEETENERS: If your diet does not allow honey, a few drops of liquid stevia will work—or better yet, no sweetener at all!