February 28, 2010

Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Chicken Pot Pies

Back in our carnivorous days, this recipe from Sunset Magazine was one of our favorites. Single-serving chicken pot pies, full of steamy vegetables and a savory sauce, was a delicious winter-time feast. Since then, we have forsaken the meat and the gluten-full flour. Based on those wonderful Smart Strips, the faux chicken strips from Lightlife, we have recreated this dish to fit our dietary needs. I believe that none of the flavor was lost.

For the biscuit topping, I used this recipe from the Gluten-Free Cooking School. The only change I made was to replace the egg with a flaxseed "egg". I must admit that this recipe created a dough that was too wet, but that just may be something peculiar about my ingredients. Next time, I will decrease the amount of liquid.


2 ½ c chicken broth
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 T olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
12 small cremini or button mushrooms, finely chopped
1 t chopped fresh thyme
5 T gluten-free flour, like brown rice flour
1 c milk
¼ t nutmeg
2 t salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 t finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 ½ c Smart Strips chicken, chopped
¼ c frozen sweet peas


1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring chicken stock to a boil. Add carrots, potatoes, and celery. Lower heat to medium and cook until vegetables are tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain vegetables, reserving stock; set both aside separately.

2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes. Add fresh thyme and the gluten-free flour and cook 2 minutes. Slowly add milk, whisking constantly, until combined, then add stock and cook, stirring often, until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with nutmeg, 1 tsp. salt, and pepper to taste. Add parsley, "chicken", cooked vegetables, and peas and divide filling evenly among 6 or 7 ovenproof containers (8 to 10 oz. each), leaving the top ¼ inch unfilled.

3. Preheat oven to 425°. Make the biscuit dough according to the recipe. Drop the dough on top of the chicken mixture evenly, lightly smoothing down the tops.

4. Put potpies on a cookie sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 17 to 22 minutes.

February 9, 2010

Bumper Crop Cooking

Bumper-crop recipes are those that focus on a large amount of one or more particular ingredients. As an avid gardener, I sometimes find myself in this situation: "Dang, I have twenty pounds of tomatoes that are going bad!"

Of course you could employ numerous techniques to preserve such bumper crops, like canning, freezing, drying, or giving it away. But my favorite remedy is just to cook some dish that features that ingredient.

There are plenty of dishes you might like to make but won't because it might be cost prohibitive to buy such a large amount at the store. A perfect example is pesto. It uses a lot of fresh basil, and this herb tends to have a premium price at the store. But if you have a basil plant or two that starting to suffer from the cold weather, why not whip up a batch of pesto?

For the recipe below, it's not that my apple trees suddenly matured in the middle of winter and dropped a load of apples. Rather, we bought a big bag of apples cheap, but they were getting a  little old.

So I found a recipe that called for 10 cups of chopped apples. In typical SAD fashion, this recipe had way too much sugar in it. It read like a candy recipe. So I toned down the sweetness by more than half, added some additional spices, and made gluten-free. This dish can be served hot or cold, and for any meal. It could be a dessert, but I actually eat it for breakfast.

Apple Crisp


10 c all-purpose apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1/4 c white sugar
1 T all-purpose flour, or gluten free flour blend
2 t ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
juice from 1 lemon

1 c quick-cooking oats
1 c all-purpose flour or gluten free blend
1/2 c packed brown sugar
1/4 t baking powder

1/2 c butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C).

2. Place the sliced apples in a 9x13 inch pan. Mix the white sugar, 1 tablespoon flour, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg together, and sprinkle over apples. Pour lemon juice evenly over all.

3. Combine the oats, 1 cup flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and melted butter together. Crumble evenly over the apple mixture.

4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about 30 minutes.

February 7, 2010

100th Post!

This recipe represents the one-hundreth post to the Evolving Palate. Since it's beginning in February of 2009, we have been bringing to you (hopefully) tasty, healthy dishes that eschew all the bad things in the SAD and instead using wholesome and natural ingredients. We cater to those with dairy and wheat allergies, and lean towards vegetarianism. We like to explore exotic foods across the globe, but also like to reinvent American classics.

Postings have been light these past few months due to other commitments, but rest assured that we're still cooking. The challenge is to find time to type up what we're eating. 

What better way to celebrate 100 posts than with a cookie recipe! The following recipe combines my two favorite dessert ingredients: chocolate and coffee. I found this recipe in a King Arthur Flour catalog and modified it. Gone is the gluten flour, I reduced the amount of sugar and increased the amount of coffee. For the gluten free flour, if you don't have a favorite blend, you can use the one mentioned in this recipe. I find a rice flour-based blend to work best.

Mocha Cookies


½ c unsalted butter (1 stick)
¾ c brown sugar
¾ t baking powder
2 t dark coffee, finely ground
½ t salt
2 eggs, or flaxseed "eggs"
2 t vanilla extract
⅔ c unsweetened powdered cocoa
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray oil on two cookie sheets.

2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, baking powder, coffee, and salt with a blender. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3. Stir in the cocoa powder, then the flour. The dough will be slightly stiff. Mix in the chocolate chips.

4. Scoop out a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place on the cookie sheet and press down slightly.

5. Bake for 13 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool on the pan. 

January 24, 2010

Moroccan Lentils

Moroccan food is one of my favorites. The dishes are fresh and festive. But what I like most are the simple dishes, those with just a few ingredients showcasing a vegetable or bean. The following recipe is a simple lentil dish that is full of warm spices. It is a common village meal, and is best eaten with bread.

The spice blend used here is ras el hanout. If you can't find this in your grocery, you can make it yourself. I tell you how in this article.

The directions below make use of a pressure cooker. If you don't have one, you can make this in a regular pot; just double the cooking time to about 30 minutes.

Berber Lentils


2 T olive oil + 1 T butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t ras el hanout
1 t sugar
1¼ c green or brown lentils, sorted and rinsed
2 c water (2½ c if not using a pressure cooker)
handful of cilantro or parsley


1. Heat the oil and butter in the pressure cooker or saucepan. Stir in the onion and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes, until they begin to color. Stir in the ras el hanout and sugar.

2. Add the lentils and stir well to coat. Add the water. If using a pressure cooker, bring to high pressure and maintain for 15 minutes. If using a regular pot, bring to a boil, then gently simmer for about 35 minutes.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and sprinkle cilantro or parsley over them.