Monthly Archives: April 2010

A bona fide bento blog post, for once!

Here are a couple of bento friendly recipes which I just made. You know I love muffins, but first, here are some neat mini burgers!

Remember the tuna tofu miso burgers I made here, from this recipe? Well, here’s a neat variation:

Thai-inspired salmon tofu burgers

  • one can of salmon
  • half a block of tofu, microwaved for 2 mins
  • some finely chopped onion
  • 2 tsp Thai green curry paste
  • 1 scant “flax egg” (about 1 tbsp flax meal and 2 tbsp water, don’t want it too watery)

Mash it all thoroughly together, adding the flax egg at the end, and make small burgers. They freeze well and make a terrific bento food! If you have some fresh lemongrass, that would make a great addition, finely chopped.

Gluten-free pear strawberry millet muffins

Another spin on the great gluten-free muffin recipe, with some extra fiber.

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 Tbsp psyllium husks (for extra fiber)
  • about 4 Tbsp whole, uncooked millet (approx., I used whatever I had left)
  • sprinkling of cinnamon
  • half a banana
  • 1/6 cup oil
  • 150 ml plus a little more pear juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Sift the flours and rising agents, add the rest of the dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mash the banana and mix well with the remaining wet ingredients (use a blender if you have one, is if you were making an oily smoothie). Spoon batter into muffin tins and top with 3-4 small pieces of strawberry (these were just thawing for 10 minutes, from frozen)

Bake at 400F/200C for 25-30 minutes.


Gluten-free tomato tart.

I adapted this recipe for dinner, and it was great! I really like that the crust is super healthy and full of fiber, as it is made from mostly bean flours and ground flax seed, with little oil.

For the crust I swapped tahini for the almond butter, and I used water and a dash of Herbamare in place of unsweetened soy milk or broth.

As a topping, I used onions and cherry tomatoes. I am too lazy to caramelize onions properly, because it takes so much time, so I just slice them really thin with the mandolin, and sort of steam-fry them in some olive oil with a lid on. I then add a dash of balsamic, and let them cook for a while, and voila, lovely sweet balsamic onions.

I chopped the cherry tomatoes in half and popped them in the salad spinner. Not too much liquid came out, so I mashed them up a bit with a fork and spun them again, and that got them going. The purpose of this is to get some moisture out so the tart doesn’t turn soggy. I also sprinkled the thing with salt, pepper and italian seasoning before popping it in the oven. Yum!

A frugal, and local, dinner idea for Torontonians.

A dish that I make every few weeks, without fail, is a simple lamb stew in the dutch oven. It’s cheap, tasty and local, so there is an abundance of reasons why this is a great dinner.

Fiesta Farms, my local supermarket, stocks fresh Ontario lamb stew meat at their meat counter. It’s left over bits and pieces, admittedly mostly bone, but it packs loads of flavor and is ridiculously cheap. I recently picked up three packs at about $1 per pound! One 400g pack is good for a dinner for 2, so I just stick them in the freezer. I also picked up a bag of Ontario carrots at 99 cents at PAT supermarket, and a $1.29 bag of Ontario parsnips at the vegetable stand across the street at Bloor and Manning. I had garlic and a red onion lying around, plus half a bottle of red which was slightly off, and some left-over rosemary (I usually use dried, but for once I had some fresh lying around). That’s all there I needed!

How do you do it?

Chop 2-3 carrots, 2 parsnips and one medium or half a big red onion in chunks. Preheat oven to 160C. In the dutch oven on the stovetop, brown the lamb bits for a few minutes. Set lamb aside, and deglace the pan with a healthy glug of red wine. Add garlic and chopped rosemary and some salt and pepper. Layer lamb and vegetables, and add a bit of water or stock (depending on how generous you were with the wine). Pop the lid on and bake for anywhere from 1.5-2.5 hours. 1.5 should be enough. You want it all to be falling apart off the bone etc. You might want to check that it doesn’t dry up at some point and add more wine or water if it looks like it is.

It’s an extremely forgiving “recipe” which does not require any kind of measurements. Just throw it all in there and slow-roast it in the dutch oven and it will all come together.

Serve with boiled potatoes, or even just on its own, depending on how hungry you are. It’s kind of greasy and with lots and lots of delicious, deep flavor from the lamb and the red wine. The parsnips, in particular, are amazing once they have soaked up all the loveliness.

Dinner for 2, for about $2-3, and almost all out of Ontario!

Orange poppyseed cranberry muffins.

I finally got a hold of the gluten free muffin recipe from Linux Caffe, the lovely place around the corner from my house. They make the most amazing vegan gf muffins, with new flavor combinations every day, and they have been very gracious to pass on the recipe. This is my tweaked version, with what is to me a very “American” flavor combination. The texture is perfect, and they rise properly despite not having any gluten or even xanthan gum. Not sure how, really, but it works!

Gluten-free vegan orange poppyseed cranberry muffins

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • a little bit of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla sugar
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 150 ml orange juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3-4 tbsp poppyseeds
  • handful dried cranberries.

Sift all the dry ingredients except the sugar. Mix in the sugar and blend well. If you have a blender, use it to blend all the wet ingredients well, sort of like an oily smoothie. If not, just do your best with a fork and a whisk. Fold in poppyseeds and cranberries.

Bake at 400F/200C for 25-30 minutes, knife should come out clean. Cool properly before attempting to eat them.

Wheat-free gnocchi with tomato-free sauce.

It seems that we need to add tomato to our growing list of off-limits foods. It’s just too acidic. So between the two of us now, we are now avoiding eggs, nuts, dairy, gluten, shellfish and tomato. Phew! Still, no reason to despair, there are so many yummy things to eat! Here’s a very basic dinner, partly store-bought.

Gnocchi is usually made by mixing mashed potato with wheat flour, so most gnocchi is off limits for people with wheat or gluten sensitivities. I recently noticed that Whole Foods is selling special gluten-free gnocchi, but they charge $15 for it (!!). No way… I was much more interested when I found that a common brand of gnocchi has started selling two new varieties that use rice and corn instead of wheat, for a whole $2.99. We got the corn one, and it tasted quite good, though the texture is somewhat grittier than the wheat one, I found.

I served the gnocchi with a normal meat sauce, where I swapped the tomato for a can of pumpkin puree. I also enhanced the flavor with a dash of good balsamic vinegar. It really didn’t turn out very different from a tomato-based sauce, seasoned generously with Italian herbs and such. Yum!

Apple cinnamon pancakes.

These are perfect, fluffy “American” pancakes, gluten-free and vegan and delicious, and very simple to make. The flour mix is buckwheat and millet. I have been having a lot of success with buckwheat flour lately, and I also bought a bag of millet flour because it is supposed to be really good for you, especially for your stomach/digestion. Apparently it is alkalizing, so it can help with acid reflux and such things, I think.

It turns out millet flour goes bad very easily, so be careful and check it for freshness (and store in the fridge or freezer!). It may be that the best way to do it is buying whole grains and then grinding as needed in a spice/coffee mill. I bought some millet flakes the other day too, but they were totally rancid and I had to just throw them out. Big disappointment.

020510: Updated picture! Pancakes served with honey, blueberries and Ataulfo mango.

Apple cinnamon pancakes for 2

  • 1/2 dl buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 dl millet flour
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • some cinnamon
  • half an apple, grated
  • soy milk as needed
  • a dash of carbonated water, optional

Sift the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the grated apple and mix. Add soy milk until the texture seems about right, and the dash of carbonated water (makes them more fluffy). It should be a loose batter, but not too soupy either. I think I may have used about 1/2 cup, but I am not sure. Fry over not too high heat, I do two at a time. Be careful when you flip them. Serve with fruits and honey or you syrup of choice.