Asparagus with Prosciutto

I love asparagus but don’t eat it often because my doctor forbids it. But this is such an easy and delicious recipe that I just had to have some. If you like salty, you’ll love this dish. And it’s so simple to make! Takes about 10 minutes. Serves 2-4.

First, clean your asparagus, wash the spears and break off the tough ends. If the cladodes* are large, remove them by plucking them off or peeling the spears. In a 12″ skillet heat over medium heat:

1 tablespoon oil

When it shimmers, add:

1 pound prepared asparagus

Sprinkle the asparagus with:

1/4 teaspoon sea salt**

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon garlic granules (or add 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic)

Stir the asparagus to distribute the seasonings and let cook for 1-2 minutes until tender but still firm and doesn’t fall down when you pick it up with the tongs. Remove from the pan onto a plate and place in a warm oven while you cook the prosciutto. Into the same skillet, add:

5 slices prosciutto, cut into pieces (or cook whole and cut afterwards)

If cooking the prosciutto whole, be sure to separate the pieces. Most pre-packaged prosciutto contains about 5 pieces. Cook until browned and most of the fat is rendered. Remove from the pan. If you didn’t cut it before cooking, chop now. BE CAREFUL – IT CAN BURN VERY QUICKLY AS I CAN ATTEST! Top the asparagus with the prosciutto and serve.

*These are the triangular, tough things on the asparagus spears. They are especially tough when the asparagus is larger than the pencil size.

** If you haven’t heard about the danger of using sea salt, read the article: Himalayan Salt vs. Sea Salt on YouTube.

Quick and Easy Low Carb English Muffin

I posted quite a while ago a recipe for English muffins made with yeast that are truly great and taste just like the original. But they take several hours of prep and quite a bit of work to make. Here, however, is one that is cooked in the microwave and takes about five minutes to put together (only because it takes a few minutes for the flax gel to thicken, if you can use an egg, it won’t take more than 2 minutes to put together. And I was quite surprised at how tasty they were. The recipe makes 2. Do what I say and not what I did – be sure they are cool before toasting them.

In a small bowl combine:

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

3 tablespoons warm water

Whisk together and set aside. Grease (I used 1 teaspoon olive oil in each ramekin) 2, 3″ ramekins and set aside. In a small bowl (about 2 cups) combine:

1 tablespoon oil, vegan butter or margarine

2 tablespoons seed or nut butter

Microwave for 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on the kind of butter you use; my homemade pumpkin seed butter took a little over 1 minute). Whisk to combine and add:

2 tablespoons all purpose, gluten-free flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon non-dairy milk

the flax gel (or 1 egg)

Whisk to combine before dividing equally between the two ramekins. Microwave for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, remove and flip the muffins over in the ramekin (use an offset spatula). The bottom that is now the top looks wet. Microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute (smaller ramekins will take longer than larger ones). A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean and the top should look dry. COOL COMPLETELY! before toasting. And enjoy.

Chicken with Eggplant and Zucchini

My search for tasty and easy chicken recipes has landed another one! This one doesn’t come from the Chicken Bible but is a combination of a recipe I found on-line and what I had in my refrigerator. Once everything is peeled and diced, including the chicken, it’s so simple to put together. Planning ahead is necessary with this recipe however since the chicken must be marinated for at least an hour in the refrigerator after dicing.

First, mix together the marinade in a gallon storage bag or large bowl:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Then dice up:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts

Add to the marinade, and after closing the bag, swish around the chicken to make sure it’s completely covered in the marinade. If you want a stronger lemon flavor, add:

Grated rind of 1 lemon

While the chicken is marinating, prepare the vegetables:

4-6 small cipollini onions, peeled and quartered*

1 medium zucchini, washed and diced

1 pound eggplant (any type will work, I used 4 small graffiti eggplants), peeled and diced

1 clove garlic (about 1 1/2-2 teaspoons minced)

When the chicken is almost ready, heat a 10″ skillet over medium heat with:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When the oil is hot, add:

onions and garlic

Cook for 2-3 minutes just until the onions turn translucent. Then add the:

Zucchini

Eggplant

And cook another 5-7 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Put the skillet back over the heat and add the:

Marinade and chicken mixture

Cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes until chicken is cooked through and sauce is beginning to reduce. Stir the vegetables back into the skillet and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

*Don’t have cipollini onions and your local supermarket doesn’t carry them? They are small and slightly sweet becoming much sweeter after cooking. So feel free to use a different sweet onion in their place but cut smaller.

Korean Vegetable Pancakes

I’m constantly looking for new ways to serve vegetables so when I came across this recipe for Yachae Jeon (Korean vegetable pancakes), I had to try it and see if it would work gluten-free. I used to eat something like these at a local Vietnamese restaurant except they called them scallion pancakes. Quite easy and quick to make with a food processor and oh so tasty especially with the dipping sauce.

First, into the bowl of food processor:

1 small to medium zucchini (about 6-7 inches long), cut into chunks

6 ounces of sliced mushrooms

1 small sweet potato (I used 2 very small purple sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into chunks

1 medium carrot, chunked (I used about 3/4 of a cup of shredded carrot)

1 jalapeno pepper (Optional), seeded and chunked

1 bunch scallions (roots removed), cleaned and cut into chunks

It may require several batches in the food processor. Process the vegetables until they are small pieces so they’ll cook quickly in the pancake.* You should have about 4-5 cups.** Next, in a large mixing bowl combine:

1 1/2 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

1/4 cup arrowroot

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

Stir to combine before adding:

1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)

Whisk to combine before stirring in the finely chopped vegetables. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before cooking. In a 10-12″ skillet, heat over medium heat:

1 teaspoon olive oil (or spray with cooking spray)

Using a 1/2 cup measure, scoop out pancake mixture and place in skillet, using a spoon (or the back of the measuring cup), to flatten into a round disk about 6″ in diameter. Cook over medium low heat until bubbles appear, just like a regular pancake (in my case, it was really bubble holes in the pancake that I saw). Flip and cook 3-4 minutes on the other side before increasing the heat to medium high to brown the pancake on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Place on a cooling rack in the oven to keep warm while cooking the remainder of the pancakes. Serve hot with the following dipping sauce. Makes 6-8 pancakes.

DIPPING SAUCE

Combine in a small bowl:

2 tablespoons soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon date syrup (or agave syrup or honey)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

1/8 teaspoon garlic chili sauce (or your hot sauce of choice) (Optional)

*If you don’t want to use a food processor simply cut all the vegetables into thin strips like shredded carrots you buy in the supermarket or grate them on a box grater.

**These are just my suggested vegetables. Feel free to use whatever vegetables your family might like but the scallions really are the only ones required. I thought about adding a few garlic cloves as well as a crunchy vegetable like jicama or water chestnuts as well.

Zucchini and Turnip Fritters

I love finding easy side dishes to replace the starch of potatoes, rice, or pasta. Here’s one that’s healthy as well as delicious that your family will love because it’s fried! The golden brown goodness of these fritters will get even your children to eat them. Feel free to change up the vegetables – I used zucchini, purple top turnip and carrots but one made with yellow squash, kohlrabi, and butternut squash would also work, or maybe you’d prefer zucchini, celery root, and parsnips. The seasonings can also be switched up – instead of garlic powder and coriander, how about dill, marjoram, basil, thyme, cumin or even some curry. Have fun with this one.

In the bowl of a food processor, place:

1 medium zucchini, cut into sections lengthwise and then quartered

1 medium purple top turnip, ends removed, peeled, and quartered*

8-10 baby carrots, rainbows make a pretty patty

Pulse until well grated. While the vegetables are grating heat over medium heat in a 12″ high-sided skillet:

about 1/4 inch of oil (I used a mixture of olive and avocado oil)

Pour the grated vegetables into a medium-sized bowl and add:

1/4 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder (aluminum free)

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not salt)

1/4 teaspoon coriander

2-4 green onions, chopped, both green and white sections

Stir to combine thoroughly. Scoop out portions using a 1/4 cup measure. Form into patties. Place in the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, flip and do the same on the other side. Remove and drain on a paper towel to remove excess oil, season with a little more salt. Serve immediately. Makes 2-4 servings depending on what else you’re serving with them and your family’s appetites!

*The purple top turnip has a very mild flavor while the yellow turnip (or rutabaga) is much stronger.

Thai Chicken Tenders

My husband loved chicken tenders. I think more because they’re usually deep fried than for their texture which I find generally to be stringy because they’re often overcooked. I found an adaptable recipe online so I decided to give them a try. It’s quite an easy recipe to make but I’d suggest you make the sauce first so the tenders don’t sit around after frying waiting for the sauce. Like most things that are fried, once dipped in the sauce, they will quickly lose their crunch so serve immediately after you finish preparation. Makes 2 servings.

First, put the oil on to heat. In a deep 12″ skillet heat over medium high heat:

approximately 3/4″ of oil (I used a mix of olive and avocado oil)

Next prepare the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together:

1/3 cup soy sauce substitute

1 tablespoon date sugar

1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce

1 teaspoon pumpkin seed butter (or any butter you like – sunflower, peanut, tahini, etc.)

1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)

2 tablespoons water (more may be added if the sauce gets too thick)

1-2 teaspoons arrowroot (I used 2 and the sauce got much too thick)

1 teaspoon minced garlic or garlic puree

Cook over medium heat until thickened. I had to add about 1/4 cup of water to thin mine out and I think now that I probably should have made it even thinner so that the sauce wasn’t as thick on the tenders but I didn’t mind it since the sauce is so delicious!

Next coat ONE POUND of chicken tenders. Mix together in a shallow dish:

1 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika (or if you want them really spicy, use red pepper flakes instead)

In a separate shallow dish add:

1/2 cup non-dairy milk

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Dip each tender into the milk to coat and then into the crumb mixture. Gently place in the oil that should now be at 350 degrees (after you add the tenders if the oil is still at temperature, reduce heat from medium high to medium). Cook on the first side for approximately 3-4 minutes before turning and browning on the other side for another 2-3 minutes or until firm. Remove from fat. Be sure not to crowd the tenders in the skillet. Drain on paper towels. When all the tenders are fried, dip each one into the sauce making sure to coat evenly. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh cilantro or green scallions.

I know, I know, more brown food. But as Anne Burrell says “Brown foot GOOD!”

Pork Riblets

I’ll admit it, my very favorite thing in the whole world is pork ribs – any way you want to cook them, but I generally prefer them plain except when I make one of my low or sugar-free sauces. When I lived in Tempe, Arizona, we often visited a small Chinese restaurant in our neighborhood and I loved their ribs, which were in fact riblets. Wondering what riblets are? They are what the butchers usually cut off from the bottom of the ribs and often throw away so you can find them generally on the less expensive side if the butcher decides to sell them rather than just throw them away which is happening more and more in my local market. I find them very succulent because while they have some fat, they are mostly meat and bones. I always try to buy the packages they contain the least amount of fat. I also steam them in my oven slow and low for several hours which keeps them moist (I don’t own a grill). So here’s how I make my riblets (I made my St. Louis ribs the same way).

Here’s how they look before they’re cooked:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray an oven proof dish large enough to hold the riblets with non-stick spray. Add:

6-12 riblets which are seasoned with:

Salt

Ground Black Pepper

Garlic Powder

Add:

1/4-1/2 inch of water

Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Remove from oven, turn oven up to 400 degrees, and place the riblets on a small baking sheet (spray it as well) and brush with:

Your favorite barbecue sauce (see my recipe for spicy honey sauce under sauces)

Bake for 5 minutes to heat the sauce before turning the riblets over and brushing with sauce again before baking another 5 minutes. If some caramelization of the sauce is desired, they can be broiled as well. Enjoy! Serves 2-4 depending on what else you’re serving and how much those people eat.

Creamy Turkey Tenderloin with Garlic and Shallots

Here’s a one dish wonder that’s very easy to make and so delectable to eat. When we don’t want to heat up the oven on these hot summer nights, this is a great recipe to fall back on. It’s pretty simple to make and takes very little time, less than a half hour to prepare. The addition of the garlic and shallots adds some flavor as well as heat (we’re talking over a tablespoon of minced garlic here). This would also work well with skinless boneless chicken breasts or pork tenderloin.

First, dry off using paper towels, one:

1 pound (approximately) turkey tenderloin

Then slice it in half lengthwise to expose the tendon running down the middle (that tough white string). Remove the tendon, easier if you cut the tenderloin so that the tendon is on the outer part of one half. On a plate or pie plate (I used a paper plate) combine:

2 tablespoons gluten-free all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk to make sure the herbs are even throughout the flour mixture. Dredge each half of the turkey tenderloin in the flour mixture, on both sides. In a 12″ skillet, heat over medium high heat:

1 tablespoon olive oil

When the oil is shimmering, add the turkey pieces, lower the heat to medium and saute the turkey on each side for approximately 3-5 minutes or until firm, turning once.* Remove from the skillet and add:

3-4 small shallots, sliced and/or diced

1-2 tablespoons minced garlic

You may need to add a little more (about 1 teaspoon) olive oil. Sauté over medium low heat for about 1 minute until the shallots are softened and the garlic is just beginning to brown. Add to the skillet:

1/2 to 3/4 cups chicken (or turkey) stock (start with 1/2 cup and add more if the mixture needs thinning after the next step)

Scrap the bottom of the skillet to release the browned bits left from the turkey. Mix together:

1 cup dairy-free milk (I used oat but for a creamier texture, use a non-dairy creamer)

1 1/2 tablespoons gluten-free flour

Whisk to combine before adding to the skillet. Stir the ingredients to mix thoroughly and continue stirring until the sauce thickens before reducing the heat to low, about 2-3 minutes. Add the turkey pieces back into the sauce and simmer for several minutes to reheat the turkey. Serves 2-4. I served mine over brown rice but it would pair just as well with mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, quinoa, sorghum or millet, or even a puree of root vegetables.

*The amount of time needed to cook the turkey will depend on the thickness of the turkey slices.

Asian-Style Sorghum Salad

There are so many great grains out there for those of us who can’t digest gluten or potatoes. Here’s one that takes a little longer to make, only because sorghum takes such a long time to cook but is really delicious and quite different from any other grain. As usual, feel free to use variations listed below if a non-Asian type of salad is desired. Enjoy something other than pasta or potatoes!

Cook in 2 quarts of boiling water:

1 cup washed sorghum*

1 teaspoon sea salt

Once water boils, reduce heat to medium high and boil uncovered for 50-60 minutes or until sorghum is soft. Rinse under cold water.

While the sorghum is boiling, prepare:

1/2 to 3/4 cup shredded carrots

2 cups shredded Chinese cabbage

1 cup diced jicama (or diced water chestnuts)

1 cup stringed and sliced pea pods

Combine in a large bowl. Then make the dressing. Pour into a 2-cup jar:

1/4 cup soy sauce substitute (see recipe under sauces/condiments/dressings)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon fish sauce (Optional)

2 tablespoon date syrup

1/2 teaspoon chili paste (or wasabi paste)

1 teaspoon finely minced garlic or ginger (Optional)

Shake vigorously to emulsify although the oil will separate if not used immediately so it will need to be repeated prior to use. Once the sorghum is cooked, rinsed and cooled, pour into the bowl of vegetables and add the dressing. Toss to combine and serve.

*Sorghum has a waxy outer shell that needs to be rinsed off before cooking.

VARIATIONS:

Italian Sorghum salad: Use diced tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley or basil, carrots, peas, etc., with an Italian style dressing.

Sorghum “Potato-style” salad: Add some diced onion, celery, hard-boiled eggs, and a mayonnaise dressing.

Indian Sorghum salad: Use chickpeas, broccoli, carrot, cucumber, spinach, or zucchini along with a curry or tahini-based dressing.

Kohlrabi Slaw

Most cole slaws are pretty easy to make especially if you buy a pre-sliced bag of cole slaw mix which usually includes green and red cabbage along with shredded carrots. I’m always looking for new types of cole slaw and a cooking show I watched recently added kohlrabi to it and I remembered the kohlrabi from my childhood. My sister, brothers, and I would be weeding the garden and see the kohlrabi bulbs, cut them off, and eat them like apples. So delicious! And my mother would be so angry with us because she’d planned on cooking them for supper.

This reminds me of that because they’re raw. If you don’t like kohlrabi or can’t find it in your supermarket, jicama would work just as well. Some thin slices of apple or pear would be great in this as well.

Combine in a large bowl:

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced kohlrabi

1 cup shredded carrots

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced red cabbage (I sliced it thin and then cut the slices in half)

1 1/2 cups thinly sliced white cabbage (I used Chinese but any white or green cabbage works)

In a glass jar combine:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice vinegar (white or apple cider would also work)

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon sriracha (optional)

Put the lid on the jar and shake vigorously for about a minute or until emulsified. Pour over the vegetables and stir to mix the vegetables and dressing (I used tongs for this). Serve chilled. Makes 6 servings.