Monday, December 15, 2014

Tuscan-Style White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup

Happy December!

So... I first made this recipe in Iowa with ingredients from my mother-in-law's cupboard. I was craving something warm and toasty to combat the snow piling up outside. It worked.

Now that I'm back in LA, I decided to make it again, this time with my slow-cooker. That worked beautifully. This soup is rich enough and hearty enough to be the centerpiece to a meal. It's also great leftover. Homemade chicken stock is an added bonus if you've got it. I always keep some in my freezer. Here's my easy stock recipe using a slow-cooker.

I used a combo of cannellini and garbanzo beans. I like to make it thick, almost like a stew. But you can add more or less beans depending on your preference. Usually, this sort of soup would have a glutenous pasta component, but I made it with quinoa—gluten free! And still delicious.

I also pop a parmesan rind into the broth for added richness. It's not required, but it sure is amazing tasting. I'll write this recipe up with chicken broth, but it's super easy to make vegan. Just use vegetable stock instead.

This is the perfect mid-winter recipe. Enjoy!

To make in a slow-cooker, just add all the ingredients and simmer on high for 4-6 hours. 

Tuscan-Style White Bean, Quinoa & Kale Soup
Serves 6-8 people
Cooking time: about 40 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten-free

4 cups low sodium chicken stock (preferably homemade)
28 ounce can cannillini beans
14 ounce can garbanzo beans
14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
pinch of chili flakes
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup quinoa
2 cups kale, chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 parmesan rind (optional)
parmesan reggiano, for grating (optional)

1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrots and saute until beginning to soften (about 5 minutes). Add the garlic and chili flakes and saute for one more minute.

2. Add the tomatoes, stock, beants, quinoa, thyme, bay leaf, parmesan rind. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for about twenty minutes. 

3. Add the kale, cover, and cook for ten more minutes, or until the kale is tender. Then pick out the bay leaf and parmesan rind. Season the soup to taste with salt and pepper.

4. To serve, ladle a generous portion of soup into a big bowl. Top with grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, freshly ground pepper, and a healthy drizzle of good olive oil. Enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quick Gluten Free Meatloaf with Grassfed Beef

We have some very generous friends. They buy half a cow every year, and then they give us some of their grassfed beef. I had some ground beef hanging out in my freezer. And I wanted to make something tasty yet homey for dinner. But also something that didn't take a long time to make.


Simple, hearty, healthy. And I wanted to use ingredients I had lurking around my kitchen. That's the beauty of meatloaf. It's a cupboard meal. Ketchup (you can't have meatloaf without this). Pastured eggs. Gluten free breadcrumbs. Parmesan reggiano cheese. Worcestershire sauce.

This is the result. I served the meatloaf with sautéed bell peppers and spinach cooked with a good amount of turmeric (on another note turmeric tea is my new obsession).


Quick Gluten Free Meatloaf
Serves about four people
Baking time: 60 minutes
Gluten free

1 pound ground beef (preferably grassfed)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt and some freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 cup ketchup plus another 1/4 cup for glazing
1/4 cup grated parmesan reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine the ingredients in a bowl and mix together (you may use your hands). Shape the mixture into a loaf and place on greased baking sheet. Spread 1/4 cup ketchup over the top.

3. Bake for one hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Remove from oven and allow to rest, before slicing and serving with ketchup. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Apple Walnut Kefir Muffins (Gluten Free)

Domestic Divas is back!

I know you've all been waiting for the return. The hiatus was refreshing and relaxing and much needed... but I missed posting here and sharing my recipes. So I'm easing back into cooking and photographing and writing recipes.

I've been busy on other projects. I'm elbow-deep into editing my latest novel (the series is being pitched as a TV show—fingers crossed!). I'm also writing a film treatment based on a short story I wrote that's gotten some Hollywood interest. But I figure it's good to mix-up my fiction with some old-fashioned food writing.

What's a better place to start than breakfast?

I made these muffins yesterday morning. I just felt like baking. You ever get that feeling? They're made with my gluten-free kefir muffin base (which also makes GREAT cornbread, by the way). In these muffins, I used Arrowhead Mills Organic Blue Corn Meal (you may notice the color is a bit blueish), but regular yellow tastes excellent, too. The organic kefir gives them a tangy flavor and keeps them extra moist. The kicker are the chopped apples, walnuts, and cinnamon. I used Granny Smith apples. I love their tangy flavor. It seems match the kefir.

These muffins just taste like fall. Like leaves falling. And fresh, cool breezes. And thankfully, it's been cooler here in LA (though I hear it may be 90 degrees again later this week).

For a little extra decadence, I sprinkled the top of the muffins with a little raw turbinado sugar (this is optional, but oh so yummy).

So enjoy! And I hope you'll join me back here as I get back into posting new recipes. I'm brewing a root vegetable and chicken slow cooker stew as we speak!

Apple Walnut Kefir Muffins (Gluten Free)
Makes about 8 muffins
Baking time 20-25 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten free

1 cup gluten free cornmeal
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 cup unsweetened kefir
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
1 apple, cored and diced
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
raw turbinado or brown sugar for sprinkling (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl (cornmeal, flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder). In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Then mix in the maple syrup, kefir, milk, and oil with the egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined, but be careful not to over beat the mix. Fold in the apples and walnuts.

3. Grease a muffin tin. Pour the mix into the muffin slots. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with a little sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with butter. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pardon the Interruption

Dear Domestic Divas Loyal Readers:

Pardon the interruption in your regularly scheduled food programming. After almost 700 recipes and posts, I've decided to take a short hiatus from blogging.


Can you believe it?

Simply put, I won't be publishing recipes as regularly. I will still periodically post whenever I get super inspired or have something deliciously awesome to share. It just won't be every week or every two weeks for the time being. I've reached this decision as my workload on other writing projects has increased substantially. I'll have some exciting announcements in other arenas soon.

In the meantime, feel free to peruse the blog and the Recipe Archive. I appreciate your support over the years. Thanks for reading my posts and cooking and sharing my recipes. This isn't the end—it's only the beginning of something new.

I'll be back once I have more free time & inspiration to continue!

Food & Love,
Jennifer Brody

Monday, June 30, 2014

Quick Chicken & Fish Marinade

Happy 4th of July!

With the temperatures soaring and the summer holidays just around the corner, I've been grilling a ton. It's a healthy, easy, clean way to cook. I also love the whole process—standing outside, smelling my food cooking, pulling it off the grill and having a whole meal ready to go.

More than anything else, I love grilling fish. I've shared my homemade marinade receipt with my FaceBook friends on many occasions. It finally occurred to me that I should post it here.

I made it with salmon (as pictured above). It's great for chicken and fish. I throw the meat in a dish and cover it with organic raw apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, Bragg's Liquid Amino Acids or gluten-free tamari (a type of soy sauce). That's just the beginning. Then I add Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning (but any sort of BBQ rub will work), fresh thyme, and fresh grated ginger.

It's kind of an everything but the kitchen sink deal.

Got other fresh herbs? Throw them on there. Got other spices you want to try out? Add them in. Don't have apple cider vinegar? Try white wine or even lemon juice. Want to go vegan? It's great on tofu too.

After I marinade the meat for about half an hour or longer, I throw it on the grill. I often make grilled vegetables to go along with the protein for a complete meal.

Quick Chicken & Fish Marinade
Makes about 2 portions
Gluten free; dairy free
Prep thyme: about 5 minutes

Marinade Ingredients
2 tablespoons organic apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Bragg's Amino Acids or Tamari (soy sauce)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning or other BBQ Rub

Marinade Directions
1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, and Bragg's or tamari. Pour over the meat until well coated in the sauce

2. Next season the fish with the seasoning, thyme and ginger. Let marinade for about thirty minutes to an hour, occasionally spooning the marinade over the top.

3. Fire up the grill and cook to perfection!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cherry Clafoutis (Gluten Free)

In case you missed the memo...'s cherry season!

This short season only lasts three weeks. I may have been overdoing it slightly. My husband came home last week with an enormous bowl of cherries. They were a
mix of Bing and Rainier, super sweet and tart and amazing. We ate as many as we could over the weekend, but it quickly became clear that something else had to be done with all these cherries.

Enter the clafoutis!

I have my own recipe that I make from time to time when I want to whip together a quick, yet delicious desert. I've made it with blackberries (you can see the recipe here). But this week, I made it with cherries. That's the classic way to make clafoutis.

My recipe is gluten free (though you can use regular flour if you desire). It's also milk free, though you can use regular milk if you'd like. I do use butter in the recipe, but you can substitute nondairy butter like Earth Balance if you'd like.

Did you know that cherries have tons of health benefits? You can read about a few of them here. The clafoutis came out delicious! So enjoy...

Cherry Clafoutis 
Serves about 6 people
Cooking time: 50 minutes (including baking time)
Gluten free; vegetarian

1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pits removed
confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9-inch gratin dish. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and a pinch of salt.  Whisk in the eggs, butter and lemon zest until smooth. Add the almond milk and whisk until light and very smooth (about 3 minutes). Pour the batter into the gratin dish and add the cherries.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the clafoutis is set and golden. Let cool slightly. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired and cut into wedges. Enjoy!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Vegan Curried Broccoli Soup

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday weekend. I've had some excellent meals—Park's BBQ (my fave Korean BBQ joint), Hungry Cat (killer fresh seafood), and last night we dined at Night + Market (super spicy amazing Thai). It wouldn't be a holiday without excellent eating, right?

After I returned from Italy, I made this soup as part of my post-trip detox. I shared photos on FaceBook and received many recipe requests. 

So... here it is!

My Vegan Curried Broccoli Soup. It's a nice variation on traditional broccoli soup, which is usually loaded with cream and often topped with cheese. This healthier version gets its creaminess from potatoes (a very traditional Indian ingredient). The Indian spices and flavors like ginger make sure this soup packs a big bunch.

Did you know that many of the spices in curry are super good for you? In fact, I might have a turmeric addiction. I eat it every single day, adding it to scrambled eggs for breakfast and other dishes throughout the day. 

So without further ado... here you go!

Vegan Curried Broccoli Soup
Serves 4 to 6 people
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Vegan; gluten-free

2 bunches of broccoli
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
1 russet potato, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons curry powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
pinch of chili flakes (optional)
chopped cilantro for garnishing (optional)

Directions1. Remove the tough lower stalks from the broccoli. Roughly chop the florets and stalks. 

2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until beginning to soften, about five minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chili flakes (optional), and curry powder. Stir to combine and cook for another two minutes.

3. Add the stock and potato and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, cover, and cook for about fifteen to twenty minutes, or until the potato and broccoli are tender. Puree in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. 

4. To serve, drizzle with good olive oil and top with cilantro. Enjoy!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Healthy Yogurt Dill Potato Salad

Summer has arrived in Southern California!

It's going to be 100 degrees this week.

Needless to say, I haven't been wanting to cook lots of hot food. I had some friends coming over for dinner, so instead of my usual roasted potatoes, I decided to make potato salad. I used a mix of heirloom potatoes, but normal red ones or Yukon golds will do. Other fun ingredients included dill and shallots. I like to leave my potatoes unpeeled for a more rustic feel to the dish.

This recipe is simple yet delicious.

My big substitution was using nonfat plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream for a lighter yet still yummy flavor. I often sub yogurt for sour cream. It's one of my recipe tricks. This dish is perfect of summer entertaining, or just a fun addition to lunch. I love it as a side dish with anything grilled.

Summer Yogurt Dill Potato Salad
Serves 6 to 8 people
Cooking time: about 25 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten-free

2 pounds small yellow, red or white potatoes
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon or whole grain mustard
1/4 cup shallots, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup fresh chopped dill or 1 tablespoon dried dill
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. To cook the potatoes, add them to a large pot and cover them with 1 1/2 inches of water. Season the water with salt (1 teaspoon for every quart of water). Bring water to a boil then reduce to a low simmer. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until the potatoes can easily be pierced with a fork. Drain the potatoes and add to an ice bath or rinse them with cool water. 

2. Once cooled, chop the potatoes into cubes and add them to a large bowl. Toss them with the vinegar and a little salt (the vinegar really brings out the flavor in the potatoes). 

3. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard, shallots and dill. Add the dressing to the potatoes and gently stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with more dill and a pinch of paprika, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Notes: This recipe can be made a day in advance. The flavors really blend together that way. Keeps for up to three days in the fridge.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Vegetable Frittata with Red Chard, Cherry Tomatoes & Goat Cheese

Sorry it's been a little while since I've posted a new recipe.

I blame it mostly on my traveling. Forgive me. A few short weeks ago, I attended the 2014 Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy, where I studied with Meg Wolitzer (one of my favorite authors!). It was an unforgettable experience—the location, the food, the company, and yes, the workshop. You can read my nifty little article about the experience on Shelf Pleasure:

Click here for the link to my post on Shelf Pleasure

Me with Gina Fattore in front of the Positano View!
I had many lovely meals abroad, but I'm happy to be back home and cooking in California. I made this frittata before I left and got so many requests via FaceBook to share the recipe that I thought I should post it here. Frittatas and homemade muffins are my staple brunch items. Is there anything better? I tend to make my frittatas loaded with lots of farmers market veggies.

In this case, I used some gorgeous, deep green and red leafy chard and delicate yellow cherry tomatoes. I finished it with crumbled goat cheese and fresh thyme. I always make my frittatas in my prized cast iron skillet (bought years ago at Target for 20 bucks).

This recipe is a great base. Though I used chard and cherry tomatoes in this case, feel free to substitute any vegetable combination. I always let my ingredients dictate the dish.

Want to make the whole meal? These tasty little muffins complete the picture:

Click here for my Raspberry Walnut Kefir Muffin recipe

Vegetable Frittata with Red Chard, Cherry Tomatoes & Goat Cheese
Serves 4-6 people
Cooking time: about 20 minutes

8 eggs
2 heaping cups chard, thinly chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 shallot or small onion, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. In a cast iron skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots or onion and saute for a few minutes, until softened and translucent (about four minutes). Add the chard and continue to cook until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

2. Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a bowl and beat until the yolks and whites are mixed together and the entire mixture is slightly frothy. Season with a little salt and pepper.

3. Pour the egg mixture into the cast iron skillet over the vegetables. Place the halved cherry tomatoes cut side up on top of the egg mixture, gently pressing them down. Top with the crumbled goat cheese, fresh thyme, a little salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
4. Continue cooking stove top for a few minutes until the frittata begins to set. Finish the frittata under the broiler until cooked through. Enjoy!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Cauliflower Carrot Mash (Healthy Alternative to Mashed Potatoes)

I'm (hopefully) traveling to Italy this week!

Hopefully... because our airline just went on strike and cancelled our outbound flights. We are rebooking as I write this post. The reason for the sojourn to Italy?

I was accepted to the Sirenland Writers Conference held in Positano, Italy. I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be working with Meg Wolitzer, one of my favorite writers. Her latest book, The Interestings, is just out on paperback and it's fantastic. I highly recommend picking up a copy.

That is... assuming we actually can get there!

I should have lots to report back on in terms of food, wine and travels. I've even managed to find some gluten free restaurants that offer pasta and pizza selections.

If I post on the trip while I'm away, I'll post on my writing blog:

In the meantime, I wanted to share this recipe before I left. It's for Cauliflower Carrot Mash. It's super delicious. It's a healthier alternative to mashed potatoes. It's also much more interesting, though it still has that great mashed texture. There is butter in it. Copious amounts of butter.

Grassfed butter.

I'm not apologizing.

Butter is back.

Cauliflower Carrot Mash
Serves 4 to 6 people
Cooking time: about 30 minutes
Gluten-free; vegetarian (if using vegetable broth)

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
1 bunch of carrots, peeled and chopped
1 or 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons butter, plus more for mashing if desired
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Place the cauliflower, carrots, stock and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer the vegetables until tender (about 20 minutes).

2. Once the vegetables are tender, remove then from the heat. Add more butter into the pot if desired, or even a good dash of olive oil. Using an immersion blender or masher, mash the vegetables together with the cooking liquid until they achieve the desired texture. More stock may be added as needed. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Slow Cooker Beef & Vegetable Stew

So... I've been making this recipe a ton lately.

It's the perfect comfort food, yet still plenty healthy. I buy organic or pasture-raised stew beef whenever I can find it. In fact, I just bought some at my local farmers market today.

I love a few things about this recipe. For starters, it's a slow cooker recipe, so I throw it in early and then smell it simmering away all day, and by the time dinner rolls around I feel like somebody has cooked for me (even though it was little ole me all along). I also love that it's foolproof. That's the great thing about slow cookers. You just can't mess it up.

Though the recipe specifies certain vegetables, you can play around with it and add or subtract what you want.

Sometimes, when I'm feeling extra fancy, I make cornbread, such as this:

Gluten Free Blackberry Cornbread

Slow Cooker Beef & Vegetable Stew
Serves 4 to 6 people
Cooking time
Gluten-free; dairy-free

2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized cubes
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
6 ounce can tomato paste
32 ounces beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups baby carrots
4-5 small red potatoes, cut into cubes (about 3 cups)
2 cups green beans, chopped
3-4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
1 cup frozen peas
2-4 tablespoons gluten free flour
salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Combine beef, celery, carrots, onion, potatoes, green beans, garlic, parsley, rosemary, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, and tomato paste in the slow cooker. Stir to combine the ingredients and mix in the tomato paste. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8-10 hours. 

2. About 30 minutes before serving, mix the flour into the slow cooker to achieve desired thickness. Mix until well combined. This will add a nice thickness to the stew. Continue cooking covered for 30 minutes.

3. Before serving, pick out the rosemary sprigs and season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Slow Cooker Organic Whole Chicken with Carrots & Potatoes

I'll put it this way...

I'm obsessed with my slow cooker. It's an oval crock pot. It was quite inexpensive. And it's one of my favorite kitchen essentials. I've been using it a lot recently. One of my staple recipes is my Slow Cooker Whole Chicken. There's no easier way to make a chicken.

Cooking a whole chicken—instead of chicken breasts, for example—has many benefits. One is flavor, which comes from skin and bones and fat (all lacking in the straight chicken breast). Another is that you can use the carcass to make chicken stock in your slow cooker overnight. Then the fun starts. You can use your homemade stock and leftover chicken to make chicken soup in the crock pot the next day. Just add any variety of beans, quinoa, and vegetables. Also, homemade chicken stock has a huge array of health benefits that store bought doesn't have.

To make homemade stock, just return the chicken carcass to the slow cooker (along with any drippings from cooking it). You may add onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, ginger if you want, but this is in no way required. What is required—raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar or another acid. I throw in about one or two tablespoons. This helps leach the important minerals out of the bones. Cover the carcass with filtered water and cook on low for ten hours or so (overnight).

When you get up the next morning, strain the broth. I usually then place it in the fridge at this point to allow the fat on top to congeal. The fat can then be easily removed from the stock. You can cook with it, for example making chicken chili or soup in the slow cooker, or freeze it for later use. It keeps for about six months in the freezer. Always great to have on hand for soups and risottos.

In case you're wondering, I buy my chickens from either Whole Foods (pastured if available) or Trader Joe's. I'm a fan of their Brined Organic Whole Chickens. And I make a whole chicken about once a week or every other week. It's an absolute staple in my household.

This recipe for Slow Cooker Whole Chicken with Carrots & Potatoes is a whole meal in one pot. That's what I love about it. Put everything in the slow cooker in the morning and then by dinnertime your house smells amazing and you have a full meal. If you want to get some extra greens, you can serve the chicken and carrots and potatoes with a nice salad.

My favorite salad to make lately is organic mixed greens with dried cherries, crumbled goat cheese, candied pecans, tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette (recipe forthcoming).

Now I'm hungry!

Slow Cooker Organic Whole Chicken with Carrots & Potatoes
Serves about 4 people
Cooking time 6 hours on high
Dairy-free; gluten-free

1 organic whole chicken
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks
4 medium red potatoes, cut into one-inch chunks
1/2 cup dry white wine
bunch of thyme or other herbs to stuff in side the chicken (optional)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil

Note: You may season the chicken with any dried herbs or seasoning mixtures you desire (lemon pepper, smoked paprika, thyme, etc.). I was just keeping this recipe simple.

1. Layer the onions in the bottom of the slow cooker. Rinse the chicken with cool water and pat dry. Season the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper and stuff with the fresh herbs if desired. Place the chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker. You may truss the bird if you wish, but it's not necessary in the slow cooker. Pour the white wine into the slow cooker. Place the carrots and potatoes around the chicken.

2. Drizzle the chicken and vegetables with olive oil and season them liberally with the garlic powder, salt and pepper. Cover and cook on high for about six hours. Enjoy!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Panko-Crusted Pacific Rock Fish with Slivered Almonds (Gluten Free)

A beautiful winter's day in California...

Sunny and unseasonably warm. Flowers are blooming. Birds are chirping. Makes it hard to believe that the East Coast is digging out from underneath a pile of snow. Of course, we need precipitation out here. It seems this winter is destined to be one of the strangest in recent memory.

Lots of farmers market shopping and cooking have been happening in my household. One of my favorite preparations for fish involves crusting it with panko breadcrumbs and frying it up. Luckily, I found gluten free panko at Whole Foods last week. After cooking fish up to crispy, golden brown, I top the it with slivered almonds sautéed in olive oil and then salted.

Finish the fish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and you're good to go!

This recipe also works great for Tilapia, Red Snapper, Rainbow Trout, Sole, Catfish, or almost any other small white fish.

(And the green beans pictured? They were steamed and then tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then topped with some of the slivered almonds.)

Panko-Crusted Pacific Rock Fish with Slivered Almonds (Gluten Free)
Cooking time: about 10 minutes
Serves 2 people
Gluten-free; dairy-free

4 fillets of Pacific Rock Fish
1 cup all purpose flour (I used Trader Joe's Gluten Free Flour)
2 cups panko breakcrumbs (I used gluten free panko)
1 egg
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
lemon wedges (for serving)

1. Place the flour in a bowl for dredging and the panko breadcrumbs in another bowl for dredging. Whisk the egg in another bowl. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides.

2. Heat the grapeseed oil in a saute pan over high heat. Dredge the fish first in the flour, shaking off any excess. Then coat the fish in the egg mixture. Finally, dredge it in the breadcrumbs. Fry the fish up in the pan for a few minutes, turning it once, until golden brown and cooked through. Repeat with the remaining fish fillets.

3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add the almonds and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown (be careful not to burn them). Season with salt.

4. To serve, spoon the almonds over the fish and serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Raspberry Walnut Kefir Muffins (Gluten Free)

Happy Monday!

I had a fun and delicious weekend that included dinner at Pace Restaurant (yum) and a trip to the Studio City Farmers Market yesterday. I snapped up a lot of great items, from local fresh fish and shrimp, to sugar snap peas and spiky artichokes, to gluten-free buckwheat bread. 

But onto this week's recipe...

My new favorite ingredient is... kefir!

It's fermented milk made with a yeast and bacteria starter, kind of like yogurt. It contains healthy probiotics, yeasts, enzymes... all that good stuff. Sometimes I make smoothies or drink it with a little raw honey. It's also a great substitute for buttermilk in any recipe and has a nice tangy flavor.

I've been baking it into cornbread, and just this weekend I made Raspberry Walnut muffins with it. Boy, were they tasty! Moist and tangy and delicious! The flour mix for my gluten free muffins is the same as my gluten free cornbread (1 cup cornmeal and 1 cup gluten free all purpose flour). 

I made these muffins with raspberries and walnuts, but you can let your imagination run wild and create all kinds of flavor combinations of fruit and nuts (or even dark chocolate chips if you're feeling feisty).

Raspberry Walnut Kefir Muffins (Gluten Free)
Makes about 7 muffins
Baking time 20-25 minutes
Vegetarian; gluten free

1 cup gluten free cornmeal
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg
1 cup unsweetened kefir
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil (melted)
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl (cornmeal, flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder). In a separate bowl, beat the egg. Then mix in the maple syrup, kefir, milk, and oil with the egg. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir until combined, but be careful not to over beat the mix. Fold in the raspberries and walnuts.

3. Grease a muffin tin. Pour the mix into the muffin slots and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Serve with butter. Enjoy!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Simple Soaked Brown Rice

Happy New Year!

I'm sure everybody is making their resolutions. Isn't eating healthier always high on the list?

This year I'm exploring a few new techniques to improve my cooking and my health. First up is soaking grains. Many old cooking techniques have largely been forgotten in our modern age. Sure, we've been drilled with the idea that brown rice is healthier than white rice. But did you know that the phytic acid in brown rice can actually impair the absorption of minerals and nutrients?

But don't fear, my dear foodies...

By soaking brown rice with a little raw apple cider vinegar overnight, you can reduce the phytic acid and render the rice more digestible. It also makes the rice super fluffy and tasty (in my humble opinion). Instead of vinegar, some people use whey to soak grains, but I prefer to keep dairy products out of my diet most of the time.

Raw apple cider vinegar is one of my best friends in the kitchen. I love that it's fermented and contains probiotics and good enzymes. I use it to make bone broth (more on that later) and in salad dressings. Basically anything I can.

The only trick to soaking rice is a little extra preparation. Just throw it in before you go to dinner the night before. I love cooking up brown rice for dinner and then keeping the leftovers in my fridge to make dishes like this Raisin-Walnut Spiced Rice the next day (this recipe was featured by Meatless Monday on their website). I love it for breakfast or any meal of the day.

Simple Soaked Brown Rice
Serves 4-6 people
Vegan; gluten-free

1 cup brown rice
1 teaspoon raw, unpastuerized apple cider vinegar
2 cups water for soaking (ideally filtered)

for cooking:
pinch of salt (optional)
1 3/4 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Put the ingredients in a ceramic bowl and mix together well.

2. Place in a warm area of the kitchen and let soak overnight (about 8 to 10 hours).

3. Once the soaking is finished, drain the rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse with water. Place in a saucepan with the 1 3/4 cups water, olive oil, and a pinch of salt (if desired).

4. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed the liquid and reached the desired consistency. Let it rest for five minutes and then fluff with a fork. Enjoy!