Vietnamese Pork Chops

This combines ingredients from several recipes I found online. Pork and chicken, along with some fish, are the only meats I eat so I’m always searching for new ways to cook them as well as vegan alternatives. This is quite an easy recipe that turns out succulent with a pleasant sour flavor from the lime squeezed on top when the chops are cooked. I’ll give you some optional ingredients along with the ones I used if a more complex flavor profile is desired and soy is an option.

In a square or rectangular dish, whisk together the marinade:

1 small shallot, minced

3 tablespoons honey or 1/4 cup date sugar

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1/4 cup fish sauce

1/4 cup Hoisin, soy or oyster sauce (optional)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 stalks lemon grass (smashed and chopped fine)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Trim the fat, puncture each chop with a fork in multiple places on both sides so the marinade soaks in, and then add to the marinade:

4 – 1″ thick pork chops

Turn the pork chops so they are fully covered in the marinade. Let sit at least 20-30 minutes (or up to 1 day in the refrigerator). When ready to cook, heat a 12″ skillet over medium high:

1 tablespoon olive oil

until shimmering. Wipe the marinade off the chops and add to the oil. Sear on each side (approximately 1 minute per side) and then reduce heat to medium and sauté until the chops are firm to the touch, about 3-4 minutes per side. Watch closely so they don’t burn on either side. Remove from heat and let rest for 6-8 minutes before serving. Serve with a wedge of lime. Serves 4.

Salmon Pasta Salad Revisited

Every July 4th my mother would make what she called simply, salmon salad. It was a mayonnaise based pasta salad with canned salmon, crab and baby shrimp. I made one and put it on this site last year or the year before with a vinaigrette base. So now that I’ve found a vegan mayonnaise I can eat that doesn’t contain eggs or soybean oil, I decided this year to update this salad because it’s one of my very favorites. My mother always served blueberry muffins with it but I figure who needs all those added carbs! so I just serve the salad with the addition of more vegetables than just the onion and celery my mom used. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do. By the way, feel free to use a 16 ounce can of salmon, cleaned if you don’t have access to the fresh!

Bring an 8 quart pot of water to the boil, salt the water generously and add:

4 ounces gluten-free shells (you can use elbows or any other shape but my mom always used shells)*

When the pasta is about 2 minutes from being cooked add:

1-2 cups frozen peas (unless you have wonderful fresh peas!)

When the pasta is cooked, drain into a large colander and rinse with cold water until cool. I will often fill the pot I cooked the pasta in with cold water (it takes several times before the pot cools off) and then place the colander in it after I’ve sprayed the heck out of the pasta with cold water. I leave it in there for only about 5 minutes before it’s cool enough to add to the mixing bowl. While the pasta boils (or the water), heat an 8″ skillet over medium high heat with:

1 teaspoon olive oil

Add skin side down:

8 ounce (or so) salmon filet

Cook the salmon for 3-5 minutes on the skin side and then turn. Note, if it doesn’t come right off the skillet, it’s not ready to turn. Cook on the meat side for 2-3 minutes and then flip again to the skin side. Cover and reduce heat to medium low and continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes depending on the thickness of your salmon steak. Remove from heat, uncover and move the salmon to a plate to cool. When cool, flake with a fork and add to the vegetable mixture.

In a large mixing bowl (I actually use a 2 gallon plastic container), combine:

3-5 scallions, sliced on the diagonal

5-6 stalks of celery diced

1 medium, peeled and diced (and I also seed mine) cucumber

8 ounces of crab meat

8 ounces of baby shrimp (if you can eat them, I can’t so I leave them out)

In a smaller bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups vegan mayonnaise

2 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon dried parsley

1 tablespoon lemon juice

NOTE: I had a half bag of snow peas left over from the Moo Goo Guy Pan so I destringed them, cut them in half (or thirds if really long) and added them with the peas to the boil – delicious! Some diced jicama or water chestnuts would also go very nicely in this salad.

Whisk to combine and then pour over the vegetables after adding the pasta, peas, and fish in the mixing bowl. Stir to combine and then cool in the refrigerator for about an hour to let all the flavors meld. I like to serve it over some lettuce or as I did now, pea shoots. Serves 4-6.

*Whole Foods makes wonderful organic chickpea shells. Only 37 grams of carbs per serving which is quite good for pasta, along with 21 grams of protein. And note, we only use 2 servings instead of 4 so it cuts down on the total carbs per serving even more.

Raspberry Crumble Bars

Well, after my fall, I’m recovering nicely and can finally stand on my bad leg for more than 10-15 minutes without it starting to throb. So, of course, the first thing I had to do was COOK! I haven’t cooked anything in almost 2 weeks and I was going crazy! I know I put up a recipe for raspberry bars a few months ago but I saw this one and it’s a lot healthier without all the fat or quite as many carbs as the other recipe. Hope you enjoy it as much I do.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare an 8×8 baking pan by spraying with non-stick cooking spray and then lining with parchment paper (spraying the pan allows the paper to stick and makes pressing the crust layer into the pan much easier, especially since the paper should be one solid piece because we’ll use it to lift the finished product out of the pan to slice).

For the crust, in the bowl of a food processor combine:

1 1/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup millet flour (or sorghum flour)

1/2 cup date sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients before adding:

1/4 cup honey (or agave or coconut nectar)

1/2 cup seed or nut butter (I used pumpkin seed butter but tahini, almond, etc., would work)

1/4 cup ground seeds or nuts (or hemp hulls) **OPTIONAL

Pulse to combine. If mixture is too dry, add a couple of tablespoons of water. We want a mixture that sticks to itself, at least a little bit when squeezed together. Press 2/3 of the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. In a medium bowl mix:

2 cups fresh or frozen raspberries*

2 tablespoons lemon juice (about half a lemon)

2 tablespoons date sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch (or arrowroot)

Stir to combine. Spread over the crust covering it completely and try to make the raspberry filling as even as possible. Top with the remaining 1/3 of the crust mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown. It’s very important to cool the bars completely before cutting. I cooled mine on the counter for several hours and then put it in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours.

*While I used raspberries, any fruit can be used for the filling – blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, apples, pears, peaches, etc. If using fresh fruit, reduce the corn starch (or arrowroot) to 1 teaspoon.

Oatmeal and Pear Cookies

This are very easy to put together and tastes delicious. Per usual, I can’t eat apples, peaches, nectarines, etc., but if you can, this cookie would work with any of those fruits, probably cherries as well. Just be sure that the fruit is not overripe or the mixture will be too wet.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1 tablespoon ground flax

1/3 cup aquafaba

Whisk and let sit for at least 5 minutes then add:

2 tablespoons avocado oil (or coconut oil)

1/2 cup agave or honey (or date syrup)

1/2 cup diced pears (or other fresh fruit)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine and add:

1 cup quick gluten-free oats

3/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum (or guar gum)

1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir until all the dry ingredients are mixed into the wet. Set aside and let sit for 45-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a large cookie sheet by covering it with parchment paper (or a silicone mat). Scoop by tablespoon the cookie dough placing cookies at least 1 inch apart (they don’t spread). Bake for 13-15 minutes. Makes approximately 18 cookies.

Honey Oatmeal Quick Bread

Like many people who have to live gluten free I’ve searched long and hard for a tasty gluten-free bread that doesn’t feel like a brick! Right? Most weigh a ton and most of the recipes I’ve tried also come out like bricks. And the ones that don’t weight a ton have eggs in them. So I was quite surprised by this recipe adapted from “Feelin’ Fabulous with Kayla”. It is fairly light in texture, great for eating warm from the oven with a spread, French toast, or for grilled sandwiches. I don’t recommend that you put it in your toaster because it can be quite crumbly. But it is DELICIOUS! And I do promise you I will continue to seek a allergy-free bread that we can enjoy that isn’t heavy and stays together when we want a sandwich. Feels like it’ll take my lifetime to find it but it is my one of my most sought after goals.

In a medium large bowl combine:

2 tablespoons ground golden flax

1/3 cup aquafaba

Let sit for 5 minutes until flax gel forms. Grease a GLASS loaf pan, for some reason for this bread glass works better than the metal pans. Whisk into the flax gel:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup vegan mayonnaise less 1 tablespoon

1 tablespoon vinegar

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup avocado oil

Whisk until combined and then add:

3/4 cup non-dairy unsweetened milk

Whisk in the milk. In a separate bowl combine:

2 1/3 cup gluten-free all purpose flour (use King Arthur’s Measure4Measure, Cup4Cup or Bob’s Red Mill’s 1:1)*

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix to combine before adding to the wet mixture. Stir to combine wet and dry mixtures. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle with oats. Set aside for 15-20 minutes while the oven heats to 350 degrees. You want to let any gluten-free dough sit for a few minutes before cooking so that the dry can absorb some of the liquid or the end result will be too moist.

Bake 45-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the loaf pan for about a half hour and then let cool completely before cutting (center may still be slightly warm).

*We want to use one of these all-purpose gluten-free flours because we’re not adding any guar gum or xanthan gum and other various flour mixtures will measure differently.

Honey Mustard and Pear Glazed Chicken

I was looking through The Chicken Bible this afternoon looking for another recipe to make and saw one that gave me inspiration, it was a honey mustard glazed chicken. I remembered I had about a quarter cup of pear puree in the refrigerator that I had to use up and decided to add that to the glaze. And the recipe called for rosemary and I don’t like rosemary so I used thyme which goes well with both pears and honey. Turned out delicious! Hope you enjoy it. If you don’t like pears, use some apple butter, sauce or jelly instead.

Enough for 5-6 chicken thighs or 1/2 breasts.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken with non-stick spray. Clean the chicken and remove any excess fat that’s visible.

Mix in a small bowl:

1/4 cup pear puree (or apple)

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon mustard

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or herbamare)

1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Place the chicken pieces in the baking dish (if you’re using both thighs and breasts, be sure to place the breasts on the inside of the dish and the thighs around the edge). Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the glaze on each piece of chicken and spread around to cover the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the breasts register 160 degrees and the thighs 175 degrees.

Sprinkle with some chopped scallions or chives and serve.

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Salad

Every once in a great while I buy a rotisserie chicken at the store because, like everyone, I just don’t feel like cooking. I bought one several days ago and like so often happens, found I couldn’t eat all of it before it would spoil. In those cases, I usually dice up the chicken breasts and freeze them for later use. It’s amazing, I don’t understand why, but when cooked chicken is frozen, it makes such a better chicken salad than fresh chicken. Perhaps because it’s really cold? Anyway, try putting the diced chicken in the freezer for about an hour before making the salad and let me know if you agree with me that it has a better taste.

For the salad:

2 rotisserie chicken breasts diced

3-4 celery stalks, diced

2 tablespoons dill relish (or up to 1/4 cup depending on taste)

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, or diced jicama, or diced water chestnuts (just looking for more crunch)

1 avocado, diced

For the dressing:

1/2 to 3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (depending on how much chicken there is)

1 tablespoon hot sauce

1/2 teaspoon herbamare (herbed salt)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/8 teaspoon ground black (or white) pepper

2 tablespoons honey (or agave or coconut nectar, or date syrup)

Mix all the ingredients and serve with lettuce. Garnish, if you have some, which I didn’t, with chives or scallions. Also, it’s delicious with sliced fresh strawberries or tomatoes. Makes 4 servings.

Carob Orange Tapioca Pudding

Used to love vanilla tapioca pudding as a child. Hadn’t thought of it in years. You know the kind, with the nutmeg on top, all creamy with the little balls of tapioca. There was a restaurant in Derry, New Hampshire, when my husband and I lived there that still served it. Don’t know if they’ve survived the pandemic. So anyway, I wondered about other possible flavors for tapioca pudding and happened upon a recipe for orange and changed it up a bit, obviously replacing the whole milk and white sugar. Pretty easy to make, but not something you can walk away from!

In a small saucepan, bring to a boil:

1 cup water

Stir in:

1/4 cup small tapioca pearls

Reduce heat to medium low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until most of the water is gone and the tapioca pearls are swollen and translucent. Add to the pot:

3/4 cup non-dairy milk

1/4 cup honey

2 tablespoons unsweetened carob chips

the tapioca pearls just cooked

Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens (it will still be fairly loose), about 3-5 minutes. Stir in:

juice and zest from 1 orange

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Let cool slightly before spooning into individual serving bowls or glasses. Cover and chill. Makes four servings. It can be eaten warm but is much better after it’s sits overnight and firms up.

Orange Sauce

You’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup stock (chicken or vegetable)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free flour (all purpose or brown rice works best)
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange rind

In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice and honey along with the vinegar, salt, orange rind and stock. 

Mix together the margarine and flour into a paste.   Add to the simmering sauce using a whisk so that you don’t get any lumps.  Continue cooking sauce until thickened, only a couple of minutes.  Its now ready to serve.

Easy Moroccan Chicken

With all my food allergies, I eat a lot of chicken so I’m always on the lookout for new, interesting chicken dishes. I don’t know how many of you subscribe to the magazine “Simply Gluten Free” but I’ve been a subscriber since their very early days when they were titled “Cooking Without.”

This last issue had a recipe for easy Moroccan Chicken which I thought sounded interested and it turns out it is very delicious. I’ve changed the recipe slightly to meet my tastes and decided to share it with you. Several cautions – cook in a slow cooker if you want but if you do it in the oven like me, be sure to cook at 350 degrees. I screwed up this time and used 375 and even with watching it closely and cooking no more than 1 hour, the top still scorched. So in the oven, be sure to cook at no higher than 350. It should only take 3/4 to 1 hour to bake.

You’ll need:

4 chicken thighs (I tried using a breast and it was tough)

1 cup salsa – use whatever salsa your family prefers, mild, medium, hot or spicy, doesn’t matter

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 teaspoon salt

Spray a 9×9″ pan with cooking spray. Mix the salsa, honey and spices together (I use a small whisk) and put a thin layer on the bottom of the pan. Arrange the thighs on top and then spread the remaining salsa mix on each thigh. Bake.

It’s that easy! You can serve it with brown rice, mashed potatoes or celery root.