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NUT-FREE “peanut sauce” and homemade spring rolls

filet mignon spring rolls with pumpkin seed butter sauceSo, lunch today was kind of unfair.  I had leftover filet mignon from a local butcher and had just devised a recipe for a Thai “peanut sauce” without peanuts.  Yes, that means I had filet mignon spring rolls.  Yes, filet mignon spring rolls with a sauce I’ve never been able to taste in my life.

two springrollsfirst step roll

I’ve been rather addicted to these things lately.  (Spring rolls that is.)  Here’s why:

1. They’re easy to make (soak in water and roll!)

2. They’re naturally gluten-free (just rice and tapioca flour)

3. The texture is light and fun

“Fun” is a word to describe taste.  Oh yes, should I ever be judge on Master Chef, it will be a criteria.

pumpkin seedspumpkin seed butter sauce

Since I am a Bubble Child of the sort where I will die in a very literal sense if I consume even a particle of a nut, I have never tasted a Thai peanut sauce.  My friends swear by it.  It has been something on my list of things to try should I have, say, a definite 1 minute left to live.  It’d be great to never check that list off.

With that in mind, it has taken me years, and by years I mean 5, to figure out the right combination of flavor and spice to recreate the traditional peanut sauce.  It means seeds, it means turmeric, it even means lemongrass powder if you can find some!

galettes de riz

I highly recommend adopting spring rolls into your weekly gastronomic regimen.  The shells save so easily and you can fill with whatever your heart fancies.  It’s like a bunch of tiny burritos you get to eat in a row without feeling like a giant walking bean.

sauce plated

nut-free thai peanut sauce
2 tbs. grapeseed oil
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
2 tsp. honey or agave nectar (vegan)
1 tsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
1/2 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1/8 tsp. turmeric (freshly grated or powdered)
1/8 tsp. lemongrass (freshly grated or powdered), optional
a few dashes your favorite hot sauce
1/4 cup + 2 tbs. water
4 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Method: Heat oil in saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add seeds.  Sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden browned, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove from heat, let cool two minutes.  Combine with remaining ingredients in blender.  Season with salt and/or hot sauce to taste.  (Tamari already has salt, so taste before adding extra salt!)

roll two

how-to make spring rolls

1. FILLING:*

(a, vegan)– shred and sauté some carrot and radish, blanch, then sauté with ginger, garlic, mint, basil and hot sauce; (b, carnivore)– cook your favorite protein to taste, chop up into fine pieces, then toss with sesame seed oil, mint, basil, ginger and hot sauce

grating carrots2. LET ‘ER ROLL: 

(a) soak one sheet rice paper in water for about 30 seconds, until pliable, then let rest on a clean plate or cutting board for about a minute to dry a bit and get sticky.

(b) place 1-2 tablespoons of filling about 2 inches from top of paper

(c) fold top 2 inches over filling to cover

(d) fold in outer edges to pack filling in tightly

(e) roll over 2-3 times, until any potential holes are covered and filling is secure — trim away extra rice paper

(f) repeat with as many rice papers as you want to turn into spring rolls

Serve with tamari, hot sauce of choice (Sriracha!!!), and/or homemade NUT-FREE thai “peanut” sauce.

final roll*to give an idea of how much filling you’ll need, to make about 6 spring rolls use one large radish and one carrot for vegetarian option, one chicken breast or half a steak for carnivore option.

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Inspiration: MIDNIGHT BAGUETTE and Noglu

baked buckwheat baguette

I have to say that as long as I make the baked good from scratch, I have very little guilt about eating it.  Even if it is a baguette at midnight.

I was inspired today after stopping in at Noglu, a 100% gluten-free restaurant in Paris with everything from burgers to pastries.  It’s no surprise they are expanding to a new takeaway location– they produce some killer looking gluten-free goodies.

Anyways, a simple shout-out to Noglu Paris and a thank you for inspiring me to make a gluten-free baguette ce soir.  The Bubble Child cookbook will be released soon, so keep your eyes out for it to get my bread recipes. : )

before baking baguetteMr. Mojo’s risin’

 

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Homemade Caramelized Honey Oat Bran Bars

oat bar with creamy seed butterIt’s almost like I just want to slide down the middle of this bar.  You know… imagine it.

Food can inspire strange behavior.  No food inspires even stranger, so let’s carry on now.

I find caramel made from honey to be a delightful little composition.  Especially if there is some form of sea salt added to it.  Perhaps a little oil.  Oh, lookey here, there’s both!  This recipe for a healthy and gluten-free granola bar has no refined sugar at all and is high in fiber (good for your arteries, yeah!).  A really nice natural energy boost by itself if you’re pragmatic, a healthy way to get that sweet fix after a meal if you’re a touch more hedonistic.  Like, a touch.

wrapped oat bars

Caramelized Honey Oat Bran Bar

-gluten, nut, soy, corn, egg-free.  Vegan with substitutions-

1/4 cup neutral oil

1/2 cup honey (or 1/3 cup agave nectar for vegan)

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla (optional but good)

1 1/8 cup gluten-free oat bran (available at health food stores or online here, also known as “son d’avoine”)

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Cook time: about 4-5 minutes

Serves about 10-12 easily (makes a plaque of bars)

honey caramel1. Heat oil, honey, salt and optional vanilla in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  If you have a thermometer, insert it and bring mixture to 135 degrees F (270 degrees C) or until it bubbles like shown at left and starts to turn a little darker in color.  Immediately remove from heat.

oat bars2. Add oats to pot and stir with spatula until coated.  Let sit, stirring every 2 minutes, for 10 minutes to cook the oats to make them more digestible.

silpat granola3. Spread on a silicon baking sheet (or an oiled baking sheet or parchment paper) to desired thickness.  With spatula, or a dull knife, outline the shape you want to cut.  Let cool then cut and wrap individually to be all precious.

Since you cooked your sugar to a “soft-crack” phase, meaning it will be a harder caramel, let it cool to solidify a bit so it’s not just a gooey mess.  I’ve been storing my bars in the fridge, as it’s warmer out now, but you can store them room temperature if you want to keep them more taffy-like with the heat.  Ah, that sounds nice, too.

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You say ginger, I say salad dressing.

creamy ginger garlic salad dressingPerhaps it’s because I grew up in California where salads are largely considered a main course, and therefore have to taste beyond boring in order to be acceptably served and appreciated by ginger lemon sesame seed blenderboth those consuming them and those putting them out.  (Should I have to serve nothing but salads at a restaurant, they’d better be damn good.)

Or, perhaps it’s because I like flavor and I don’t think that healthy, gluten-free, dairy-free, what have you, be void of the reason we eat: Pleasure!  (And nutrition and surviving, blah blah.)

creamy dressing drizzleThis salad dressing has got some zing, and is super simple to make in your blender.

<–Try serving it over some crunchy greens or arugula with pickled beets or tomatoes, some sort of aged cheese or garbanzo beans, and a topping of gluten-free cracker or brown rice for something fabulous.

Creamy Ginger Garlic Vinaigrette

-Nut, gluten, dairy, & corn-free-

1 clove garlic, lightly diced

1/2 of the size of your clove of garlic’s worth fresh ginger, lightly diced

a pinch fresh lemon zest

1 tsp. tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) or 1/4+1/8 tsp. salt for soy allergies

2 tbs. red wine or apple cider vinegar

2 fresh basil leaves (optional)

1 tsp. sesame seed oil

3 tbs. sunflower seed, safflower, flax seed, or canola oil (can use olive oil but won’t refrigerate as well)

Method:

Blend ginger, garlic, vinegar, soy sauce, and lemon zest in a blender.  Add oils and optional basil.  Blend until creamy.

ginger dressing salad with toppingThis probably takes less time than picking out a store-bought dressing in Trader Joe’s, no? 

 

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HAVE LEFTOVER MASHED POTATOES? make a parmentier!

IMG_5274The other day at brunch, my tastebuds felt playful– I ordered a salad of brussel sprouts, pickled cranberries, shaved fennel, and pecorino cheese, and a side of organic yukon mashers.  The salad, albeit unconventional for a typical “Brunch” dish, was exactly the size I needed.  The mashers on the other hand?  I got enough to feed me, my date, and have a full box of leftovers.

Looks like I’ll have to play a little game I call “Parmentier”.

IMG_5276<–You will have no leftovers after this game.

Parmentier (Par-meant-ee-ah) a traditional French dish prepared in a casserole dish consisting of cooked protein on the bottom, mashed potatoes on the top, and served warm.  There are a several things I love about this dish:

1. It is versatile.  For the topping, you can use anything from regular mashed potatoes to mashed sweet potatoes to mashed cauliflower if your heart desires.

2. It is naturally gluten-free.  Potatoes are free of gluten and the protein of choice is up to you, so you have no need to even think about modifying for lurking allergens.

3. It is high in protein and fiber.  Protein from the meat, fish, or legumes at the bottom, and fiber and minerals from the potatoes on top!

4. It is filling without being stuffing.  The combination and texture of the soft-but-crisped potatoes on top leave you satiated, but not overflowing, so you really can have that one dish and a side green and call it a main course!

5. It is undeniably tasty.  You need no preface of gluten or dairy-free on this dish.  Serve it to everyone from fat Grandpa to slender Susie.

IMG_5270To make a Parmentier, sear your protein of choice in a saute’ pan for a 3-4 minutes on each side to get some nice browning going on (I recommend Italian sausage, already-braised beef, white fish, cooked vegetarian chili or beans, salmon, seasoned chicken, lamb, or tender pork) and place in an even layer on the bottom of a casserole dish.  (Use about 1/4 pound meat per serving).  To re-heat old mashed potatoes (or cauliflower) heat 1/4 cup water for every 1 cup potato in a saute’ pan, and mash in potatoes until they are all warm and now spreadable (but not runny!)  Spread potatoes over top of seared meat in casserole dish, and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes, or until top of potatoes are golden-browned and bottom meat is cooked through.

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