July 28, 2009

Grilled Potato Salad

Nothing says summertime food better than potato salad. But aren't you a little tired of the same old mustard-based potato salad? This recipe puts a little twist on it. The ingredients are grilled first, and instead of the creamy mustard sauce, it has a light oil/vinegar dressing. You might want to chop up the potatoes in smaller chunks after cooking, or leave them in halves like I did.

Grilled Potato Salad


2 small red onions, cut into ½" slices
2 T olive oil
1½ lbs new potatoes, halved
2 t thyme leaves
salt and pepper to taste
¼ c mixed, chopped herbs


1 t dijon mustard
3 T vinegar
5 T olive oil


1. Skewer the onion slices with toothpicks to secure them. Mix the olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper in a bowl. Dip the onions in the oil mixture and toss the potatoes in the oil mixture. Grill onions and potatoes over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, turning occasionally, until brown on the outside and tender on the inside.

2. Whisk together the mustard, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil.

3. When the vegetables are done, remove any toothpicks and toss onions and potatoes with the vinaigrette, then toss with the herbs. Can be served cold or warm.

July 24, 2009

A Better Gluten-Free Flatbread

I previously wrote about a gluten-free flatbread/tortilla, which we have made several times. However, I find these a little stiff and not having much taste. Recently I found a new recipe that is similar but uses potato flour as one of the ingredients. This flour adds some much needed flavor and softens the texture of the breads as well.

As usual, I like to grill my flatbreads/tortillas because (a) it keeps the heat out of the kitchen, and (b) it just seems to taste better. Here I am grilling 4 at once. If I turned on all the burners, I could have grilled all of them at once, but I tend to roll out the next batch while cooking the current batch. You'll notice I don't fret over them not being perfectly circular. They're "rustic", I explain to my wife.

This flatbread has now become our new go-to flatbread, as it is easy to make and tastes great. It also makes use of a bunch of potato flour we accidentally bought (we wanted potato starch). I want to experiment with adding various herbs and spices, but they taste pretty good just like this.

Gluten Free Flatbreads


1 c brown rice flour
½ c
potato flour
¼ c
arrowroot or tapioca flour
½ c cornmeal
1 t
xanthan gum or guar gum
3 T olive oil
1 t
1 c


1. Mix all ingredients together adding milk last and in stages so as not to end up with too wet a mixture. The dough needs to be just past the crumbly stage, and able to come together in a soft ball in your hand.

2. Roll out golf ball sized portions to as thin as you can handle the rolled out dough.

3. Cook on a greased hot skillet or grill for 1 minute on each side. Keep warm til serving.

July 21, 2009

Mexican Jobs Tears

Today's exotic ingredient is job's tears. This grain comes from a tropical Asian grass. In looks similar to barley --in fact it is often called Chinese barley-- but it is not very closely related to barley. Because barley contains gluten, my wife can't eat it, but she can eat job's tears.

The grain can be substituted for barley quite readily, but it does have a unique, earthy taste that some may not like. Like quinoa, it is best to cover up the taste with accompanying ingredients.

For this recipe, we pair the job's tears taste with Mexican flavors. This is another pressure cooker recipe that takes about 25 minutes to cook. You can make this in a standard pot, but allow for 60 minutes of cooking time.

Mexican Jobs Tears


1½ c job's tears
1 T olive oil
2½ t cumin seeds
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
¼ t crushed red pepper flakes
2 t dried oregano
1 lb tomatoes, pureed
½ t salt
¼ c parsley


1. Rinse the job's tears well and drain.

2. Place the grains in the pressure cooker and roast over high heat for 3-5 minutes (the grains won't darken much, but your pot will. It will wash off). Place grains in a bowl.

3. Heat the oil in the cooker and saute the cumin seeds for just a few seconds. Add the onion, garlic, red pepper, celery, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Saute for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

4. Top off the tomato puree until it is 3½ cups. Add this to the cooker and bring to a boil.

5. Stir in the job's tears and salt.

6, Lock the lid and bring to high pressure. Maintain high pressure for 16 minutes, then let the pressure reduce naturally for 10 minutes.

7. Stir in the parsley.

July 13, 2009

Curried Quinoa

Since quinoa is a complete protein, I have been looking for more ways to cook it. This simple dish has a wonderful taste if you have a good curry blend. It is a good base to add more things to give it more substance, or it's good just like this. One thing I can think of adding are some cherry tomatoes at the end. Perhaps some pine nuts.

This is a pressure cooker recipe, but quinoa cooks relatively quickly, so it can be prepared in a normal pan just as easily.

Curried Quinoa


2 t canola oil
1 t garlic, minced
2 1/4 c boiling water
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 T ginger, grated
2 1/2 t curry powder
2 t ground coriander
1 t salt
1 1/2 c quinoa, washed and drained
1 c peas (defrosted if frozen)


1. Heat oil in the pressure cooker. Cook the garlic over medium-high heat until just turing golden, about 1 minute.

2. Add the carrot, ginger, curry, coriander, salt, and quinoa. Stir well, then add the boiling water.

3. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure. Cook for 1 minute, then let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure.

4. Stir in peas and replace lid (but don't lock) for a minute to heat through.

July 7, 2009

Mung Bean Stew, Take 2

Previously I had posted a Kenyan Mung Bean Stew. This is one of my favorite dishes, and it would be hard to believe that it could be improved. But recently, while looking for a recipe to make use of our bumper crop of arugula, I stumbled upon something very similar. The recipe is basically the same with the addition of arugula. These sharp-tasting leaves really add some life to the dish.

Mung Bean and Arugula Stew


1 T olive oil
1 T garlic, minced
2 c onions, chopped
½ c red bell pepper, diced
1 ½ c dried mung beans, rinsed
3 c boiling water
3-4 c arugula, chopped
2 T lime juice


1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Add the garlic and saute over medium-high heat until lightly browned. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for another minute. Add the mung beans and boiling water.

2. Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure. Maintain for 10 minutes, and then allow pressure to reduce naturally.

3. Just before serving, stir in the arugula, lime juice, and salt.

July 6, 2009

The Best Grilling Marinade

Recently my favorite marinade popped up to the top of my recipe stack. Back when I used to grill flank steaks, this was the best marinade. I wondered how it would do with tofu. The result: delicious!

Best Grilling Marinade


2 lbs flank steak, or 2 blocks of firm tofu
½ c soy sauce
¼ c olive oil
¼ c brown sugar
¼ c green onions, minced
3 T sesame seeds
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ t pepper
½ t ground ginger


1. If using tofu, drain it really well, then slice it into ½-inch thick slabs. If using steak, rinse it off and pat dry.

2. Assemble all the marinade ingredients in a large glass dish. Place the steak of tofu into the marinade. Turn to coat, seal the container, the marinade in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.

3. Cook steak or tofu over the grill to your preferred doneness. If using steak, let it sit for 10 minutes, then slice it into thin slices.

July 5, 2009

Carob, the Other Chocolate

Awhile ago we bought some carob flour. We didn't have any use in mind, but I like the taste and decided to get some. The recipes could follow.

The carob bean comes in large pods of the carob tree. Traditionally, carob was used as a sweetener throughout the Middle East, and the pods are often used as animal feed. From the 1920's through the 40's, several attempts were made to grow these trees on a large scale in California and Arizona, but the craze never really caught on. Europeans and Americans mostly grind carob into a flour and roast it, using it in drinks and desserts. Carob is mostly known here in the states as a chocolate substitute. I like to sprinkle some carob flour in my coffee just before brewing; it mellows out bitter coffee quite well without sugar.

The following recipe can be made gluten-free by substituting the flour with your favorite gluten-free flour. I believe a rice-based blend works best for cookies.

Carob Cashew Cookies


1 c all-purpose flour, or a comparable gluten-free blend
¼ c carob flour
1 t baking powder
¼ t baking soda
½ t cinnamon
¼ c sugar
¼ t salt
4 T maple syrup
2 T cashew butter, or almond butter
1 t vanilla extract
4 T canola oil
¼ c cashew pieces


1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Spray a cookie sheet with oil.

2. In a bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients (down to salt).

3. In another bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (down to canola oil).

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir until well combined, but don't overmix.

5. Roll the dough into 1-inch diameter balls and place on the cookie sheet. Place a cashew piece on top of each and press down slightly.

6. Bake for 11 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute, then remove to a wire rack.

July 1, 2009

Indian Spiced Corn

Corn, like most vegetables, does quite well on its own. But this recipe jazzes it up a bit with some Indian spices. You can use frozen corn, but I think you'll find fresh corn will taste better.

Indian Spiced Corn


4 c corn, fresh or frozen
3 T olive oil
½ t brown mustard seeds
1 jalapeño, diced
¼ t turmeric


1. Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat. Add the mustard seeds and saute until they begin popping.

2. Lower the heat to medium and add the jalapeño. Cook for 30 seconds, then add the turmeric.

3. Stir in the corn, blend well, turn heat to low, and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes (or less for frozen corn).

4. Add salt to taste and garnish with parsley.