Friday, December 17, 2010

Sorullos - Something Corny

This past week my mom flew to New Jersey to visit me, and during her stay we got to talking about all the great dishes she'd made for me and my two brothers growing up. I remembered a cornmeal treat called Sorullos, something she learned to make during a trip in Puerto Rico. I asked my mom to show me how to make these yummy corny treats, she was happy to oblige.

Sorullos are a corn meal fritters shaped like cigars. Very simple and quick to make, these little corn treats can get greasy since it's fried, so it's more of an occasional snack, or even hors d'oeuvres if you're hosting a house party.
There are many variations to making sorullos, sweet, plain or cheesey. We loved it cheesey!

makes 40-50
depending how big you roll

1 bag of Goya's Masarepa or any yellow corn meal
2 cups of shredded cheese, we used sharp cheddar
2-3 cups of hot water
1 tablespoon of salt (optional)

Boil water with salt in a medium saucepan. In the meantime mix cheese with the corn meal flour in a deep wide bowl. Take the water off burner and add to cornmeal (flour) a little at a time, enough to make a dough ball. Let it cool. Start forming the Sorullos by tearing off about a 1 to 2 tablespoons with your fingers and roll in your hands in a cigar shape. Continue until you finish the mixture.Fry the Sorullos in medium-high with vegetable oil or peanut oil in a frying pan, until they get yellow and crunchy.
 I videotaped a few seconds of my mom doing her Sorullo magic:

Enjoy my GFF's!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Simple Brown Rice

It's one of our safest grains we Gluten-Free folks can enjoy, RICE! Oh how do I love thee. I've been consulting with a holistic doctor, Dr. Anthony Salzarulo who has encouraged me to eat better grains. Brown rice was on top of his list.

When researching a proper way to cooking brown rice, I came across feedback from people complaining  how hard the brown rice was compared to the white - and they were right. I found out it all has to do with the process the rice goes through. The brown rice is left more in its natural wholesome state, while the white rice is milled, stripped, polished, then there's the removal of husk and bran. Talk about cosmetic surgery! Of course it's easier and faster to cook, however there is loss of many nutrients due to the process. *For more regarding white vs. brown rice read here.

Hence the little brown rice is left to appear like an old stubborn bull.

I decided to call on my life line - my mom. Her pointers worked out best and even though it takes more time to cook brown rice, it's so simple to make.

See the photo above, the rice has a harder "shell" to penetrate, but letting it cook longer in water and oil it softens. The ratio usually 1 cup of brown rice - 3 cups of water. Try it and see.

Simple Brown Rice
Makes 3-4 servings
Cook time: 40-50 minutes
1 cup of brown rice (I love Lundberg's Brown Basmati rice)
3 cups of water (best if filtered)
1 tbsp. of vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil) or 1 tbsp. of butter
Optional - 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Enjoy GFFs!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Cheesy Meatballs

I make all kinds of meatballs but for some reason I keep coming back to this cheesy meatball recipe. I'll make the meatballs as appetizers (more so when entertaining guests) or adding it to a pasta dish.

I adopted this cheesy meatball recipe from the Boiardi family. Who are the Boiardi family? You may know them by another name, Chef Boyardee - yeap that canned pasta sold at supermarkets nationwide since the1940's. The name was changed when real life Chef Hector Boiardi felt that people would find it easier pronouncing his last name if spelled out phonetically.  Talk about marketing the American consumer!

Below is their family recipe. Try it and you'll see how popular they'll be at parties. And yes I did replace the regular breadcrumbs with gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Boiardi's Cheesy Meatballs:
Makes about 60
Prep 30 - Cook 10 min.

1lbs. ground turkey (or beef)
1 small onion, grated
3/4 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons grated pecorino-romano cheese
3 Tbps. ketchup
1 Tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 large egg, beaten
Extra-virgin olive oil

In a large mixing bowl break apart the meat with a fork or hands. Add onions, breadcrumbs, cheeses, ketchup, parsley, basil, salt, Worchestershire, and garlic powder and combine. Stir in the egg until incorporated.

Using your hands, shape the meat into 1-inch balls to make 60 meatballs.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches, add meatballs and cook, turning until lightly brown (about 10 minutes). Add more oil if necessary.

Enjoy GFFs!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sweet Plantains

Last night the only thing I had on my agenda was plantains! I purchased a bunch earlier this week and had them sitting inside a dark brown bag so they can ripen more. The more ripe the sweeter the taste.

Even though plantains are part of the banana family, you will need a pairing nice to remove the peel. Make 2 or 3 shallow slits and then peel off. I sliced my plantains at an angle so it'll cook faster and also it looks prettier.

Heat up a skillet then add 3 tablespoons of oil, let that heat up then add plantains in single layers. No need to add any sugar to them because they are sweet enough unless you're planning to caramelize them. *To caramelize plantains, add 2 tsp. of vanilla extract, 1 tbsp. of sugar, and cinamon. Let it cook until you see a golden color at the bottom (about 4-5 minutes) then turn over for 2-3 minutes more.

Do not cook these in high heat or they will burn before they've had a chance to cook thoroughly.

MMmmmmm. I have to hurry and finish with the photography because my husband is already popping them in his mouth. Widely used as a side side, but tonight we ate these babies as our my main dish.

Enjoy GFF's!

2 servings
2 very ripe plantains
3 Tbsp. of oil (I used grapeseed oil)
dash of cinnamon (optional)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Autumn Fruit Salad

Another reason to love Autumn is the ripe fruit peaking right now like apples, pears, kiwis, and clementines. For some reason I seem to find more kiwis in the market during this time but only for a short period. I'm sure by early November they'll be gone.  I made a fruit salad with all these yummy fruits and I also added pineapples, pineapple juice and lemon juice. The juices helps retain the color, also the lemon tartness helps balance the sweetness.

Remember with the cold and flu season around the corner what better way to load up on vitamins.

Enjoy GFFs!

Serves 2

2 honeycrisp apples, skinned and diced
1 Bartlett pear, skinned and diced
2 kiwis, skinned and sliced
1 small can of sliced pineapple with juice
2 clementines, remove skins
1 tbs of lemon
handful of dried cranberries
dash of brown sugar (optional)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Almond Butter Chocolate Shake

"A-B-C, it's easy as one two three..."  Jackson 5

Had a sweet tooth tonight and whipped up this delicious shake I call ABC shake, because it's so easy and only takes one two three minutes to make. It's also the first call letters of the ingredients Almond Butter and Chocolate.

 I used 5 ingredients: Almond milk, almond butter, chocolate syrup, chocolate pudding and agave nectar.

I put all the ingredients into a blender and tossed in 5 ice cubes because I like my shakes frothy and thick. See below the thick results...yum.

And that's it's - fast, short and sweet like this post!
Enjoy GFFs!

Serving makes 16 oz.

1 cup of Almond milk
2 Tbs. almond butter (I used smooth but crunchy is good specially with the almond bits)
4 oz. chocolate pudding (use Kozy Shack brand it's gluten free)
2 Tbs. chocolate syrup
3 Tbs. agave nectar
5-6 ice cubes (optional)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Egg and Pancetta English Muffin

This is a spin-off McDonald's egg McMuffin.

I start out by cooking the pancetta* first because it sweats out its oils and once it's done I cook my egg without adding any oils since I have the bacon fat, plus the salty flavor left behind will enhance the flavor of my one egg.  *About the meat - I used pancetta which is an Italian bacon, instead of strips, the bacon is usually sold round. Unlike American bacon, pancetta is unsmoked pork belly that is cured with salt and spices. I used Applegate Farm brand Pancetta.

Since I want to achieve that similar perfect circular egg McD uses on their muffin, I used an egg fry ring, a fun egg tool.  I received these as a gift from a dear friend that knew how much I love playing with food. You can find it at Williams Sonoma.

When using the egg fry ring, don't forget to grease the inside of the ring(s) before pouring the egg in, this will make it easier to remove the egg after it's done. In case some of you are fans of runny yolk, don't worry even though the outside will harden a bit for shape, the yolk will still run.

For the english muffin I always go for Food for Life delicious gluten-free English muffins. Some days I toast these and spread a nut butter with jam or just butter. Usually found in the frozen aisle section.

And voila! My homemade gluten free egg and pancetta muffin. You can also add a slice of cheese, I would but I was fresh out which reminds me...better add it to the grocery list.

Enjoy my GFFs!

One serving:
2oz Pancetta
1 egg
1 gluten-free english muffin
slice of your fave cheese (optional)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brown Rice Pizza

When my husband Enzo and I began dating many moons ago, one of my fondest memories was spending Friday nights at his family's pizzeria Reggio in Union, New Jersey. Since it was family owned it meant he was volunteered to work on weekends.  I spent that time sitting at the counter and watched his dad, lovable Papa Tony, create yummy pizzas after pizzas. Often he'd offer me a fresh slice, and at first I resisted but the aromas got the best of me. What a superb slice! His parent's have since retired and sold the pizzeria. Oh but those Friday night pizza memories will forever be in my mind.

Enzo would also help out his dad in making pizzas when it got crazy. So for my next project - gluten-free pizza - I thought who better qualified to help me attempt this! When I asked him, Enzo gladly took the rolling bin off my hands and I took his Canon camera and photographed the process.

You could gather your own flours like rice flour, potato flour, etc...(see recipe here) and make your own dough from scratch. However, if you want to try it with same ingredients already gathered for you, please try Namaste Food's Pizza Crust Mix. There are tons G.F. pizza mix brands but this one is the healthiest and delicious brand.

Gather your favorite toppings and decorate. Remember the tomato sauce goes first!

Enzo here adding spinach, onions, mushrooms, ground turkey and cheese*. Mmmmm!

Simply no words can explain this moment, I watched in fascination as Enzo worked diligently on "Operation: Wife's Craving Pizza and I Betta Get this Right!" 

Tada! Enzo also made himself a regular pizza, and why not, he had the dough! HA!HA!
We used pizza tin pans to bake the pizza but I think for a crunchier crust, which we're both fans of, next time we'll use a pizza stone.

His and Hers pizza. Heavenly meal. Enjoy....

Claudia's Pizza (left) and Enzo's Pizza (right)

*Good milk-free cheese alternatives are rice milk cheese or the Soya Kaas brand cheese.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tuna and Pasta Joy!

What is Tinkyada? Tinkyada is whole grain pasta made with rice and water. A Pasta Joy for the tummy since their factory machines are solely dedicated to rice pasta and no other grain to prevent cross-grain contamination. They are serious about their product, and I'm seriously in love with all their gluten-free pastas. For today's dish I chose their pasta spirals.

The first time I bought a bag I was hesitant because brown rice in general needs a good 40 minutes for it to cook thoroughly, but brown rice pasta? I figured it would take an hour. It took 16 minutes for the pasta to cook which gave me plenty of time to prep my other ingredients.

Below is Tinkyada pasta, yes it's GLUTEN FREE pasta and it tastes delicious.

I diced the celery and onions.

The tuna I bought came in chunks so I used my hands to shredded it. I could use a fork instead but I love playing with my food. By the way, since I'm using tuna in olive oil do toss in the oil that's been marinating in tuna. The flavors will accentuate this pasta dish.

Once I mixed my onions, celery and tuna in oil, I squeezed the juice of a lemon and finished it off with a dash of salt and black pepper.

And there you have it. A quick and yummy gluten-free pasta and tuna.

Al dente perfecto!

Makes 6 servings

1 bag of Tinkyada organic brown rice pasta (cook pasta per directions on package)
1 jar or can of 6 oz. of your favorite tuna in oil (my picks Cento and Tonnino)
1 medium red onion, diced
4-5 celery stalks, diced
1 lemon
salt and pepper to your taste

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes

Earlier this week I accompanied my friend Carrie to Starbucks coffeehouse. I gazed at their yummy treats while we ordered our coffees, and my eyes went straight to the pumpkin muffins. Sigh...Last Autumn I would have ordered any muffins without even blinking but now, as a gluten intolerant individual, I have to be cautious. As my first gluten free Autumn, I made it my mission to bake an awesome pumpkin muffin worthy of comparison to the other untouchable pumpkin muffins.

I purchased a spice cake mix by Namaste Foods and a can of pumpkin, and off to home I went to experiment and the results were deliciously brilliant. Turned out moist, soft, fragrant and most importantly tasty.

The sweet spices perfumed my kitchen as well as the rest of the house. Loved it!

 Below is the cake mix I used and the can of pumpkin. I recommend to first mix all ingredients (as instructed) using an electric hand held mixer, then add the pumpkin. Makes 24 cupcakes or two 9 x 9 cakes.
Enjoy GFF's!
(Gluten Free Friends)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Brownies

Gluten free or not a girl's gotta have her chocolate. After a day of running errands in the rain (augh), I found myself craving for something sweet to end my day. Enter Bob's Red Mill Brownie Mix to my rescue!

I almost took a bite before I photographed this. See how moist and delicious these brownies came out. I added chocolate chips. You could also add your favorite nuts, but my husband is allergic to nuts so sans nuts!

Everything I've tried from Bob's Red Mill I absolutely love, and the brownie mix has become a staple in my pantry. They use Ghiradelli cocoa powder in the mix and that's a good sign (for me) of people that know quality chocolate.
Baked in a 9x9 pan makes 16 yummy brownies. I am the only gluten-intolerant in  my househould so when my husband tried these I was really glad he loved them. Of course, I usually bring leftovers to work since I may eat the whole pan if left unattended.

Enjoy my GFFs! 
(Glute Free Friends).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Rice and Shine

I am in love with the Fall season, it simply warms my heart. So this morning instead of my typical cold corn flakes cereal, I made a hot cereal.  Arrowhead Hills has a delicious rice cereal that is so easy to make and cooks fast - 2 minutes!

Before I dig in, I sprinkle a little cinnamon to add a warm Fall flavor and also for its health benefits.

Single Serving:
1/4 cup of Arrowhead Mills Rice & Shine Hot Cereal
1 cup Coconut Milk beverage (I used So Delicious)
1 Tbs. of Agave Nectar
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Handful of dried cranberries

Prepare as instructed on the box - I made mine on the stove top. Also I substituted the water with coconut milk beverage. It keeps me fuller throughout the morning. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Collard Green Rolls

After a food indulgent Labor Day weekend (God aren't Bar-B-Q's the best!), I felt it best to break out some healthy greens and team it with tasty grains. I love making these Collard Green Rolls, it's incredibly delicious and fast to make. Once the chicken broth releases it's aroma, even the pickiest eaters will wander in the kitchen out of curiosity.

Food Items Used:
Bunched Collard Green (8-10 leaves)
1/3 cup of your favorite salsa
2 cups of chicken broth
1 package of Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice (homemade rice can be used as well).

Start by boiling a big pot of water (fill it halfway) which will take about 8 to 10 minutes to boil. Meanwhile, cut and remove the rib/stems from the collards.

Once boiling, lower heat and submerge the leaves into the hot water for about 7 minutes. This will soften the leaves and make it easy for rolling later.

Remove one leaf at a time out of the pot and lay the wet leaves on top of a towel. Gather your rice and salsa and scoop one big spoonful (or two) of rice, a teaspoon of salsa and roll your collard leaf burrito style (fold sides first then roll up). Make sure it's nice and tucked. If you have left over rice dump it inside the saucepan.

Continue until all your leaves are rolled and place the stuffed collard green in a large saucepan. Pour the chicken broth and using low heat, cook for about 5 minutes or until you hear the broth boiling.

I cut up a leftover baked sweet potato into fries and used as my sides - YUM YUM! Enjoy!

*Side note: I've used homemade salsa and bruschetta in this recipe and both are great substitutes. Vegetarians can switch chicken broth to a veggie broth.