Affairs of Living

Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in Recipes: Main Course (42)

Thursday
Sep152011

Gluten-Free Thai Noodles with Turkey

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Studious readers will remember that I moved to a new apartment only two months ago. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be - the basement leaked and I believe the house is riddled with mold and other environmental contaminants. Within two weeks of moving in, I was dealing with a constant headache, congestion, a burning throat, swollen glands, foggy headedness and fatigue. My Lyme and Babesia symptoms were flaring up, and I was starting to suffer anxiety attacks. I could barely function at work and had no energy left when I returned home at the end of the day. I finally resorted to spending as much time away as possible, housesitting for two weeks, camping for 5 days, and staying with friends for 2 1/2 weeks. Inevitably, after being away from the house for a few days, I would experience a total clearing of the additional symptoms. When I would go back, the symptoms would return. I knew I had to get out of that place for good; I've worked too hard the last 3 1/2 years to get to this point in my health, and I can't let my living situation drag me down. After negotiating with my landlord (and calling over the city inspector), I broke my lease and moved out. Now all my stuff is in storage and I'm staying out in the 'burbs with my aunt and uncle.

This experience has opened my eyes to the importance of having a safe place to call home. I dreaded going back there each day, knowing that it would make me feel sick. Although staying other places made me feel physically better, it wore on me emotionally. I yearned for quiet, for privacy, for my normal pattern of cooking dinner and working in my garden and being able to rest whenever and where ever I wanted. After being on the move for the better part of two months, I am worn down and feeling drained. My lack of pattern made it hard for me to eat the way I need to and stick to my rigorous and ever-changing schedule of medications and tinctures and supplements. This wore me down even further, and made me realize that no matter what I need to put my health first and do whatever I need to do to stick to my patterns. 

I had always seen myself as someone with a strong gypsy streak, someone who is comfortable traveling and moving about, but I have realized that I need a space to call my own. Maybe that space could be a modern-day gypsy wagon, but I definitely need my own wagon and can't be solely reliant on the wagons of other people. 

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Friday
Jun242011

Bacon-Spiked Turkey Burgers (gluten-free)

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While I don't like uneccessary fat hanging off my meat, a fatty cut of bacon, a well-marbled steak, a paper thin slice of speck, or a nice fatty sausage brings nothing but a smile to my face. Fat keeps things moist and juicy, and makes things taste really good. When it comes to meat, I'm of the opinion that a little fat can often be your friend.  

So, when I choose ground turkey for burgers, it has more to do with the fact that I really love the flavor and price of ground turkey than it has to do with a concern about saturated fat. The only problem with turkey is that the low fat content makes it easy to turn that lovely turkey into a dry little hockey puck. This is why I have taken to loading up my lean ground turkey with thick, crunchy, salty, fatty, porky bacon. YES. The bacon makes the turkey taste amazing and helps keep it moist. And when the bacon is in the burger, it doesn't slide off and fall to the side when you try to take a bite. Way easier to enjoy every bacontastic moment. 

Yeah, I'm one of those bacon people. I never thought it would happen, but it has, so I'm rolling with it. 

I used Black Forest Bacon this time around, acquired at my local Whole Foods store. This bacon is sliced extra thick and smoked over cherry wood for a totally porkgasmic experience. If you don't do pig, you could use turkey bacon. Although I'll eat turkey bacon with pleasure, it is no where near as delicious or crispy. It is merely a shadow of true bacon. But, it is better than no bacon at all, and it will get the job done - except there won't be any bacon drippings leftover to fry your burgers in. I know, my newly acquired love for bacon drippings goes against all principles of "good nutrition". But when something tastes this good and my body actually processes it without a hitch, I can't say no!

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Monday
May162011

Easy Grilled Tuna and Vegan Grapefruit-Fennel Salad (gluten-free, ACD)

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I grew up in the heart of Wisconsin and now live in Minnesota, both unique places where people grill outside all year long. Even in the coldest temperatures, a true upper Midwesterner shovels a path through the snow to their grill, throws on a hat and a flannel shirt, and drinks a beer or brandy to stay warm while flipping burgers and tending racks of ribs.  

But for the fair-weather grillers of the world (people most everywhere else, I think), the warmer temperatures finally gracing the Northern Hemisphere officially kicks off grilling season. 

My dad has been known to stand outside in a blizzard for the perfect grilled shrimp, but thankfully, the whether on my trip back home over Mother's Day weekend was far from blizzardlike. It was in the mid-60s, sunny and lovely. Perfect for grilling! We found beautiful wild-caught sashimi-grade tuna steaks at Festival Foods for only $9.99/pound. The meat was bright pink and dense, and each steak was nearly 2 inches thick! We seasoned them simply and grilled them over pecan wood for a sweet, lightly smoky flavor. 

The tuna was perfect. We served it with baked sweet potatoes, pan-seared asparagus, and a light and crunchy salad of grapefruit, fennel, and onion.. The meal was so easy to prepare and so delicious, I knew I wanted to share some of it with you. And thus, here are two recipes: Easy Grilled Tuna and Grapefruit-Fennel Salad.

Whip out that grill, and get cooking!

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Sunday
Apr242011

Baked White Beans with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)

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I've always been a baked bean lover. Instead of making sweet and smoky Boston-style baked beans, lately I've been making baked beans inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. A few days ago I made this tasty version of baked white beans, chock full of garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil and fresh lemon. I baked the beans in a beautiful red Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven, and the finished dish looked gorgeous and tasted just as good. The flavor is really fresh, fragrant herbs with the bite of black pepper and brightness of lemon.  The beans on the top were tender and but still intact (the way I like 'em), and the beans on the bottom and edges had a golden, crisp crust.  Hot olive oil and a good hot cast iron pan create pure magic!  Serve as an affordable and satisfying main course or a side dish, along with sauteed greens or salad and other seasonal vegetables. 

IMG_1422IMG_1427IMG_1428Golden and warm, ready to eat!

Baked White Beans with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs

serves 6-8

  • 1 pound dried cannelini beans (or other white bean like great northern or navy)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 10 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • broth or water
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced in rounds
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • dried chili flakes or aleppo pepper flakes

Soak the beans for 24-36 hours in a large bowl or pot filled with water. You want the beans covered by about 6 inches of water. Drain, rinse, and refill every 12 hours while soaking (save the used soaking water and use for plants, it is full of plant-healthy nitrogen!). Once they are fully soaked, drain and rinse well, and set aside.

Heat oven to 350º F and lightly oil a large dutch oven or dish. Place rinsed & soaked beans in dish with onions and garlic, and pour on 4 Tbsp olive oil. Stir to coat, then add sage, thyme, and marjoram, and stir to mix. Add enough water or broth to be just below the top surface of the beans. Nestle the rosemary on the beans, then cover the surface with lemon slices and sprinkle with pepper and chili flakes/aleppo pepper flakes.

Cover dish with foil and puncture a few times to let steam escape. Bake for about 2 hours. Baking time will depend on how long you soak your beans, how old your beans are, and the general humidity level in your house - your beans may take more or less time. Be sure to check on them after 1 1/2 hours - if all the liquid has cooked off and they seem dry, add a little more liquid and continue to bake.  If there is still liquid, just put back in the oven and keep baking until they are tender to your liking.

Remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with unrefined salt. Serve.  

Make it a meal by serving with sauteed greens or a leafy green salad, cooked baby beets with fresh thyme (or other seasonal veg), and crusty homemade bread.

Saturday
Apr092011

Slow-Cooked Pork Shoulder with Sauerkraut, Sweet Potato, and Apple (gluten-free, ACD)

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Large cuts of meat intimidate me a little. Throw a pound of hamburger, a whole chicken, a filet of salmon, or a chicken breast at me, and I'm a champ. But place a rack of ribs, a leg of lamb, or a brisket in front of me and I'll have to pause and think for a minute. Or, more like twenty. And I'll have to look up recipes and look at cookbooks and give myself a pep talk. Then I'll begin. 

In my quest to conquer my fear of preparing anything weighing more than one pound, I'm reading books about meat and experimenting a lot in my kitchen with different cuts. I'm on a major pig kick lately and decided to explore the world of slow-cooked pork shoulder. I found a beautiful pork shoulder at the food co-op, vibrant pink meat well-marbled with pure white fat. I'm not afraid of animal fat. Quite the opposite, really. I'm learning that when a well-marbled cut of meat is cooked low and slow, the fat will melt and keep the meat tender and infuse it with yummy rich flavor. Who can argue with that? Bring on the fat.

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