Category Archives: Gluten Free

Creole Seasoning

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I was making a Creole-inspired dish last weekend.  Instead of measuring out the tons of ingredients I need for the spices, I figure I’ll stop by the spice aisle and buy a Creole Spice mix.  I know, crazy lazy. I’m looking over the few options I have, because I guess “Creole” and “Cajun” are 80s artifacts that are no longer reliably stocked, and instead I find spice mixes labeled either “southwest”, some type of “rub”,  or “steak” seasoning. I managed to spy about three “Creole” or “Cajun” seasoning options, but all were lackluster. In every case, salt was the number one ingredient followed by “spices” and in some brands “MSG”, an anti-caking agent, and soy proteins made appearances on the ingredient lists. Um, no thanks.  I’ll make my own.  I want my spices to be spices and not cost me $5 for salt with a pinch of herbs and unknowns.

So, I consulted my Louisiana chefs (via their various cookbooks), Emeril and Paul Prudhomme, and came up with a fairly standard Creole Seasoning Mix. Creole mixes are a deft combination of spicy and savory. The harmony of the different ground peppers is the key. Each ground pepper hits a different spicy note. Also, the white pepper should not be underestimated or omitted. You can make a quite spicy dish with white and black pepper.  The white pepper adds a great depth to the spicy flavor.

Besides being awesome in any Creole or Cajun dish, this spice mix is a great grilling rub. You don’t have to say it’s a “Creole” rub if that gives you day glow and rubber bracelet flashbacks, maybe something like “rustic”, “bayou” or “southeast” rub would work as well.

Creole Seasoning

1/2 cup paprika
4 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons granulated garlic (or powdered garlic)
1 1/2 tablespoons cayenne
1 1/2 tablespoons black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons white pepper
1 tablespoon crushed, dried thyme
1 tablespoon crushed, dried oregano

Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container until ready to use.

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Greek Chicken

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As I was walking through my local Whole Foods the other day, I marveled at all the amazing food and how really beautiful the produce section of a good grocery store can be.  From the beautiful Fennel fronds, to the orange carrots, yellow bananas, purple blueberries, and red cherries and tomatoes, you can truly find some amazing variety in nature.  Of course, my perusing of the produce section was more time waster than deep reflection.  How often does a working mom get to be alone, at her own pace, and just wander?

Obviously not often if my gold standard is wandering through the produce section unmolested by cries of “I want!”  So, I had to snap out of my blissful haze before I lost any more time.  Honestly, I think the samples must be filled with magical lotus leaves.  I lose all kind of time there and I can’t really tell you that I was doing anything particular.

I was there to get dinner.  It doesn’t make itself, you know.   I walked past the fish and meat counter and nothing really jumped out.  Then, in one of the open refrigerators a small sign:  chicken legs, $.69/pound.  Really?!?  Chicken rated a 2 on the animal welfare scale for less than a buck a pound?   Sure, it was just chicken legs, but who can beat that deal?  I picked up a super sized package and went on my way.    What would I do with a whole bunch of chicken legs?

Sure, I could fry them, but I did that already.  Coq Au Vin?  Done.  I’m not stripping the meat off of them for gumbo.    So, I did what any respectable blogger would do, I googled “chicken legs”.    And there, in my search result was a recipe from Goop, a website run by Gwyneth Paltrow.  At this point, I must confess to a guilty pleasure of reading gossip sites.  These sites generally don’t like Gwyneth Paltrow.  In fact, they love pointing out that she’s fairly unaware that “peasants” don’t live like her.  We don’t cleanse, have a nanny (or two), aren’t married to a rock star, can’t choose which city to live in this week (London or NYC, so hard, right?), and don’t spend $458,000 on a “Spring Essentials collection” of clothes for just this Spring.  To paraphrase from the many Goop-haters, when you are born on third base, don’t think you hit a triple in life or that scoring a run is hard from that beginning position.  An example of her being “out of touch” (if the Spring Essentials didn’t drive that point home) may be the $950 silver shot cup that is part, just part, of her barware.   So, as a working mom who’s clearly not in the 1% scrambling to make dinner with cheap chicken legs on a busy weeknight, it was with great trepidation I clicked on the Goop link http://www.goop.com/journal/make/215/one-pan-meals.

Ultimately, I’m very glad I took a chance with this recipe. It’s really quite good and so ridiculously simple. This is based on a traditional Greek dish called Kapama. However, it is a bit of a shocking recipe.  Cinnamon, chicken, tomatoes and garlic.  In one pot.  One of my sorority sisters has a website called http://thefamilymealproject.com/ that examines what meals her kids would eat.  Well, I felt this would be a perfect recipe for that experiment.  As the house filled with the scent of cinnamon and tomato, I started to fret a bit.  It was a wonderful smell, just not something you expect.  You know, for dinner.  However, I received nothing but absolute praise from both my son and daughter.  My very picky, I only eat salmon daughter actually ate this.  I know, shocking.  The hubs gave his equivalent of a rave review:  I’d ask you to make it again.  Sigh.  Small victory, I will take thee!!

Cinnamon Braised Chicken Legs

6-8 Chicken Legs (what will fit in your dutch oven, and you can use any chicken parts you have handy)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 15 ounce cans of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water or chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup romano cheese, grated
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Rinse and pat dry the chicken legs, set aside. Combine cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture over the chicken liberally.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven (I used my trusty 5 quart) over medium high heat. Brown the chicken, in batches. About a minute or so on each side. Remove from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium. To the pan, add the onions and cook while stirring until translucent. Add the garlic and soften. Add the tomatoes and the water and deglaze the pan. Add the cinnamon stick and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan. Cover and place in the oven and cook for one to two hours until cooked through or all the way to “fall off the bone”. Serve with pasta or rice and sprinkle with cheese before serving.

Note: I only cooked this in the oven for an hour. “Fall off the bone” would have taken too much time for a weeknight meal. In the hour it was cooking, I made brown rice, a salad and checked homework. Two hours and we would have been eating well after the kids’ bedtime. So, it might be even better with more time!

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Italian Sausage and Peppers

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My husband comes from New York City. I’m from below the Mason-Dixon line (albeit just barely) and he’s a chap from Queens. Needless to say, we shared very little in common food-wise when we met over 15 years ago!  He eats a lot more seafood now, and I eat more charcuterie. Not a bad tradeoff!!

Some of his favorite food memories revolve around the Italian cooking of his friends’ very Italian moms. Sausage and peppers are a particular favorite. I have severe and substantial reflux issues and the thought of tomatoes, spicy Italian sausages, peppers, garlic and onions gives me agida. I can actually feel my esophagus burning just typing the words. It’s a low carb, easily made dish and should totally be “in the rotation”. It’s a very traditional Italian American dish, right up my “traditional and simple” alley. Stupid reflux. So, we haven’t eaten sausage and peppers often, if really at all.

However, one of my very lovely neighbors dropped off 3 pounds of Italian sausages from a  famous Italian shop around these parts. Spicy Italian sausages, of course! Awesome, right?  I am very lucky to have such great neighbors!   Knowing these are far superior than anything you can get in the grocery store, I wavered. So, I am putting my pantoprozole (my reflux medicine) to the test and seeing how I do with what has to be the biggest challenge known to the heartburn afflicted: Spicy Italian Sausage and Peppers.  I chased the peppers with some antacid pills.  No problems.  Yay!  Dodged a bullet there!

The dish is so easy. It’s made in one cooking vessel. Serve with a salad and you have an amazingly good, easy and quick weeknight meal.  If you love bread, pile this on some crusty French bread, top with mozzarella cheese, broil until the cheese is melted and have an awesome sausage and pepper sub!!

Sausage and Peppers
Serves 4-5
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Spicy Italian Sausage (mild works too!)
3 bell peppers (I used 2 green and one orange)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Heat oil in a sauté pan (I used a 4 quart). Place sausages in the pan and cook until slightly browned on both sides. Juices should run from the sausages, if not, prick a few so they do. Remove sausages from pan and add the peppers, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and oregano. Cook until the vegetables are soft or your desired firmness. Return sausages to the pan and just before they are cooked through, add the tomato paste and combine. Simmer for a few minutes until the sausages are done.

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Kebabs

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It’s 6 o’clock on a weekday evening.  Little ones are looking up at you like they haven’t eaten in days.  You have a couple of random vegetables (not enough for an entire side dish, of course!), an onion, and a meat.  What do you do?  What do you do?!?!

Kabab ’em.   Dinner is ready in a snap and there’s hardly any clean up.  Plus, who doesn’t like food on a spear?  Deadly weapon and food conduit?  Awesome.  Kebabs are super easy and fun. Extremely kid friendly. Except for the whole they could poke their eye out part. Take the food off the spear for children who are unable to handle sharp weapons, of course.

I could give you a huge marinade and tell you to boil it together and cool it off, then place your meat in it.  I could.  But I won’t.  I used a bottle of organic Italian dressing on my beef.  Any sirloin steak or “London Broil” will do.  The beef need not be fancy or expensive.  You could also do boneless chicken meat, or shrimp as well.

For the veg, just cut into rather substantial pieces, so that they stay on your kabob spear.

For grilling, the key is to heat the grill up before you start.  I have a propane grill (in addition to my charcoal smokers) that I use all summer.  Love it.  The lack of dishes to clean and the fact that the heat is located outside and not in the house is just so convenient.

To this simple dish, I’ve added a sauce.  The sauce is also simple, but really strong to pair with the beef, so it is purely a “dip” and not a pouring sauce, if that makes sense. In another life, the sauce could totally replace a certain steak sauce that begins with an “A” and ends with a “1”. The sauce was inspired by a recipe on the food network that looked way to vinegary to me: (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/porterhouse-with-balsamic-steak-sauce-recipe/index.html) You might ask why I used port. I’m part of a wine club and every Christmas I get a bottle of port. I have no idea what to do with the port, so I cook with it. If I think I can get away with it in a recipe, in it goes. It totally works here.

 

Beef and Vegetable Kebabs
Serves 4
Prep time: about 20 minutes
Cook time: about 20 minutes for sauce and kebabs

1 pound beef sirloin or “London Broil”, 1 inch cubes
1 cup Italian Dressing
1 zucchini, halved and thick sliced
1 red pepper, large dice (any color, really)
1 onion, large cut
4 ounces of mushrooms, halved
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Kebab Sauce
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup port
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons minced onion
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon allspice
salt, pepper and sugar, to taste

Marinate the beef in the Italian dressing for at least 8 hours.

Preheat Grill

Skewer the beef, zucchini, mushrooms and onions in an alternating pattern on a skewer. Combine the olive oil, salt and pepper. Brush on skewers.

In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the balsamic vinegar, port, ketchup, honey, onion, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and allspice. Stir until well combine. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust to your liking with salt, pepper and sugar.

Place the skewers on the grill for about 4 minutes. Turn over. Cook until the meat is at a food safe temperature, approximately 4-6 more minutes. This depends on the size of the steak cube and the temperature of the grill. Remove from grill and serve with sauce.

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Baked Beans

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Very few things complete a hot dog and hamburger cook out like baked beans.  Which, to me, is odd.  I mean, it’s clearly hot outside.  Nearly all the other sides are cold, like coleslaw, potato salad, lettuce based salads, sliced fruit, etc.  Drinks like beer, soda, margaritas, and mojitos are cold.  And inevitably there will be baked beans somewhere on the table spread.  The beans are baked in a supremely sugary and molasses infused sauce for a fairly long time, given their small size. How does that fit with coleslaw and potato salad?  It’s like “which of these things do not belong here”.  Yet, it does.  And great beans can be sublime.  Sweet, smokey, salty all in one bite. Try to top that potato salad!!

Boston Baked Beans are the quintessential historical bean dish.  The beans used for this dish were indigenous to the North American and transported to the “old world” in the 16th century. French Cassoulet was developed quickly there after.   In the colonies, the beans were cooked with salt pork, molasses, sugar and water.  The beans were baked for many hours in an earthen pot. “Beantown” (aka Boston) was aptly named due to the popularity of “Boston Baked Beans”.

Now?  Pop open a can and warm it up in a sauce pan.  Done.  “Baked beans”.    And why not?  Who wants to have a hot oven going for hours during the summer?   Who wants to soak beans for hours on end (if you can remember to, I forget that step and have to do the “quick soak”)? I care!!

There are many variations of doctored canned baked beans.  But, no matter how much you doctor a recipe for baked beans, the earthiness seems to get lost to a wan can taste.  I think it has something to do with the sauce in the beans.  It lacks spice.  Oomph.  Body.  My mom has a recipe that she got from somewhere called “Braggin’ Baked Beans”.  This recipe is the best of the doctored bean recipes I have tasted. I’ve tried making traditional baked beans. No one really likes those anymore. I’ve tried and tried. So, I decided to do a hybrid. My recipe combines historical ingredients with decidedly newer ingredients.  I wanted to add spice to the sweetness.  I wanted bold flavors in what could otherwise be a blandish dish. Also, I try to avoid BPA and bean cans and baked bean cans can contain a lining that uses BPA. BPA is a chemical that is suspected of causing hormone disruption in humans. I have two small humans and don’t want their hormones disrupted at all. By substituting plain beans for baked beans, I can use beans from manufacturers that avoid BPA.

Baked Beans

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 pound chorizo sausage, removed from its casing (or any other hot pork sausage)
1 large Vidalia Onion, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, minced
2 cans of navy beans, rinsed and drained (about 15-16 ounces, can sizes tend to vary)
1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained (about 15-16 ounces, can sizes can vary)
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup course grained mustard
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
Salt and pepper
4 thick slab slices of bacon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Heat the oil in a dutch oven (I used my handy 5 quart) over medium heat. Cook the sausage, onion, and jalapeño pepper, until the sausage is cooked through. If there is a lot of liquid, drain. If not, add the beans, ketchup, molasses, mustard, chili powder, and brown sugar. Stir until well combined. Adjust seasonings, as needed, with salt and pepper. Place bacon on top. Bake covered for 30 minutes and uncovered until desired thickness (30 minutes or so). As you can see above, I like a really thick sauce, you can certainly leave it thinner with no loss of taste.

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Italian Sausage “Parmesan”

Italian Sausage Stuffed Pepper

I am constantly on a quest to fulfill my husband desire for low nutrient density carby foods.  Baked Ziti, sandwiches of every kind, Chinese Food with rice, etc.  So, I asked him what food he missed most of all.  His answer:  Italian Sausage Parm.

What now?

I’m from Maryland, not exactly know as a bastion of Italian cooking. However, I’ve heard of eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, and even veal parmesan. I also lived in New Orleans, which has a pretty extensive repertoire of putting fried things on sandwiches. I’ve eaten virtually every kind of po’ boy known to man. But this request stumped me. I really didn’t want to think of Italian sausage breaded and fried, slathered with cheese on a big Italian sub roll, so I didn’t ask. I just tried to think of something, well anything, that would be healthier, but still give him a sense of what he was missing.

So, I needed a vehicle. I vehicle to replace the bread. It’s a tad early for summer squash and the poblano peppers at the store looked a little small. An eggplant boat seemed wrong. But, the green peppers were enormous. So, by default, the dish would be a form of stuffed pepper!!

With the pepper part of the dish covered, I wanted to add sautéed mushrooms and onions, tomato sauce, melted cheese and Italian sausage. Combined, they should give a pretty good approximation of the Italian Sausage parm sandwich. And, to quote the hubs, it was.

I don’t really think of this as a “recipe”. You don’t like onions? Don’t add them. Want to make your own marinara or tomato sauce? Go ahead. Want spicy sausage vs. mild. Fine by me. Pretty much cook your “stuffing”, hollow out the pepper, stuff it and top with cheese. Whether that qualifies as a “recipe”, I’m sort of torn.

Italian Sausage “Parm”
Serves 5-6
Prep time: 20-25 minutes
Cooking time: 45-60 minutes

5-6 Large Green Bell Peppers
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, sliced
4 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds Italian Sausage
1/2 of a 25 ounce jar (approximately) of tomato sauce
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (or Italian Shred mix)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the tops off of the green peppers, and remove the seed core and any soft white parts. Place in an oven safe baking dish and set aside.

In a pan suitable for sautéing onions and mushrooms, heat 1/4 cup of the oil over medium heat. Once heated, add the onions, mushrooms and salt and pepper. Cook until the onions and mushrooms are very soft, about 10-15 minutes. Stirring occasionally. You may need to turn the heat down, as you do not want the onions to “brown” excessively.

In a separate pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Slice the Italian sausage into rounds about an inch thick. Place into pan and sauté until cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Layer the ingredients into the bell pepper as follows: onion and mushroom mixture, few tablespoons of tomato sauce, sausage rounds, and tomato sauce again. Top the pepper with cheese.

Place the stuffed peppers into the oven and bake until the peppers are soft about 45-60 minutes.

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Brownie Joys

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I am going to give you two versions of the same recipe. One is super easy, but comes partially from a box. One is still easy and gluten free. Completely up to you as to which version you choose. Both are spectacular and impressive. I favor the non-gluten free one slightly, but my kids and husband like them both equally.

A few years ago, I started trying out for the Pillsbury Bake-Off, but to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it. How could I encourage people to use their heavily processed, suspect-ingredient products? So, I quit. But the one recipe that I really liked from my efforts was a very simple, but impressive brownie dish.

My kids love coconut and my husband thinks he hates it. As he’s diabetic, this was a win-win for me. I taint my baked goods with coconut and he avoids them. No guilt about him “missing out” on things I make because frankly, he thought he didn’t like it.

So, I make my brownies. I make a brownie batter from a box of brownie mix that’s suitable for a 9 x 13 pan. I place half the batter in the bottom of an 8 x 8 pan. I then in a separate container mix together coconut, sweetened condensed milk, melted white chocolate and almond extract. I layer the coconut mixture on the bottom brownie layer and top with the remaining brownie mix. Done. When you cut it, the layers were completely intact and the dessert was really impressive.

He couldn’t resist and tried the brownie, despite the presence of the accursed coconut. Turns out, he likes coconut. Now, he’s ordering items like curry with coconut milk in it everywhere. Apparently, he doesn’t like the artificial coconut taste.

So, I haven’t made these brownies for a while. Last weekend, my neighbor Sherron made some great cookies for a photoshoot that she shared with me. She eats a gluten free diet. I don’t really get to give her that many baked items because of it. Gluten free is scary to me. Gluten is a really important chemical to baked goods and whenever I have something gluten free, it tastes “off”. So, I scoured the internet for brownie recipes that are gluten free and came across one by Martha Stewart using corn starch instead of flour. I’ve made a cornstarch cake before and it was passable, albeit not great. So, my hopes were low for this recipe. However, my low hopes were tempered by the really good reviews.

I call them brownie joys because they are very similar to my Joys recipe, but in Brownie Form.

If you want to make the easy, gluten version, make the brownies per the directions on the box, and follow the Coconut Layer instructions below.  Layer in an 8×8 pan and bake.  Done.  And trust me, people will think you are pure genius.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Gluten Free Brownies.

Brownie Joys

Brownie

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
1/3 cup cornstartch (spooned and leveled)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli’s)
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (60% cocoa)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Coconut Layer
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 can (7 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup white chocolate, melted
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Butter an 8×8 square baking pan and line with parchment paper so that there is some overhang on the pan. The purpose of this is to allow for easy removal of the brownies after cooling.

Whisk together cornstarch, cocoa and salt. Set aside.

In a large, microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate chips and butter and melt over low heat, checking and stirring frequently until thoroughly combined. The mixture will look like lush, glossy, thick chocolate. Try not to eat. Stir in sugar and vanilla. The chocolate will look gritty and rather unappealing at this stage. Add the eggs and stir until combined.

Add the chocolate mixture to the cornstarch mixture and stir vigorously until you notice the mixture coming together and pulling away from the bowl. I noticed this within about a minute. Add nuts and stir.

Coconut Layer

In a small mixing bowl, combine the milk, the coconut, the white chocolate and the almond extract and stir.

Brownie Assembly

Divide the brownie mix in half. Add half the brownie mixture to the brownie pan, top with the coconut layer, then finish the remaining brownie mixture.

Place pan in the oven and cook for about 35 minutes. The clean toothpick test will work on the brown parts, not the coconut parts.  This brownie needs to cool all the way.  It’s also best to sit over night.  Don’t get me wrong, it will taste great out of the oven, but without gluten it can be a little greasy without enough time to rest.  For a perfect fudgy brownie that is exactly like it’s gluten counterpart, wait a day.

Dry ingredients whisked together

Seriously, don’t you just want to eat that?

Crazy easy coconut mixture

First layer in the pan

Second layer in the pan

Third layer in the pan

Completely cooled and out of the pan

Fudgy with impressive layers!

 

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Cuban Black Beans and “Rice”

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The three things I miss the most on a low carb diet are bread, pasta and rice. And sugar. And ice cream. Ok, I miss a lot. But when serving the Ropa Vieja, I knew I had to come up with a “rice” like dish. Ropa Vieja with a side of asparagus just, well, sounded so unappealing. So, I researched “rice” dishes.

Cauliflower seems the go to vegetable for starch substitutes. And why not? It’s white, low glycemic, low carb and high fiber. It’s fairly neutral tasting, has some texture, and takes well to other flavors. But when I saw recipes with directions that began with “grate the cauliflower”, I’m out.

Just no.

I’ll grate nutmeg and that’s about it. I have better things to do with my time than to grate a head of cauliflower. But the interesting part to me was that these recipes steamed the bits of cauliflower. Why is that interesting? Well, there were lots of tips included in these recipes to dry the cauliflower bits out. So, the steaming made the vegetable to wet. Go figure.

So, I roasted it. Why? Because if moisture is a problem, that’s a problem oven heat can fix. Two, there’s something very appealing about the slightly charred, nutty, roasted taste of vegetables. Three. You stick it in the oven, jostle the pan a bit during the cooking time, and the veggies are cooked. Just chop finely and you have “rice”. I’m all about simple and easy cooking methods.

My daughter came home from school one day with a recipe for pinto beans. She copied it down from her workbook over the course of a few days to “sneak” it home because she thought it sounded good. How cute is that?!? I told her I was making this dish and she ran and brought me her purloined recipe. So, I used parts of that recipe to make the dish. She was so thrilled she actually ate it! As an extra bonus, I told my husband I was making a black bean and rice dish and asked if he would sample it. He grabbed the offered spoon, ate it and said it was great! I replied, “Really? You were tricked by the cauliflower?” His eyes flew open and he went to the dish and shrugged and said, “I guess so!”

Put this dish in the rotation!!

So, here you go. A lower carb version of Cuban Black Beans and Rice.

Cuban Black Beans and Rice
Serves 4-5

“Rice”
1 head of cauliflower
1/4 olive oil (or any neutral oil)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of pepper

Black Beans

1/4 cup of olive oil
1 green pepper, diced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
1 medium onion, small dice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1 15 ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (as needed)
Salt and Pepper

“Rice”

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

Separate the florets from the stalk of the cauliflower. Place florets on a baking sheet and coat with oil, salt and pepper. Place sheet in oven. During roasting, flip florets occasionally to prevent over browning. Roast until florets are tender and slightly browned, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and when you can handle them, chop finely until the pieces are about the size of rice. Set aside.

Black beans

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When heated, add the peppers and onion. When the onion is translucent, add the garlic. As the garlic softens, add the cumin and the paprika, stir well. Add the black beans and the “rice”. Mix thoroughly. Taste the mixture, if the mixture is too dry, add the olive oil until the texture is appropriate. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

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