November 28, 2009

Kenyan Maharagwe

This is winter comfort food at its best. Maharagwe simply means "beans", and this dish is loaded with them. If you used beans cooked from dried and use fresh tomatoes instead of canned, the fresh flavor really shines through, since this stew is not cooked too long. It's wonderful served over rice.



2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 c cooked red kidney beans
1 15-ounce can coconut milk
2 tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
¼ t ground cumin
¼ t ground cardamom
1 t curry powder
¼ t turmeric
½ c chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
2 t honey
¼ t white pepper


1. In a large soup pot, heat olive oil and sauté onion and bell pepper until just tender.

2. Stir in kidney beans, coconut milk, tomatoes, garlic, chile pepper, cumin, cardamom, curry, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes, until flavors blend.

3. Stir in cilantro/parsley and honey, and season with salt and white pepper. Serve hot.

November 22, 2009

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

These cookies are fairly decadent and rich with chocolate, cherries, and sugar. This recipe has been adapted from a Cooking Light recipe from years ago. I have made in gluten-free, removed the egg, and cut back on the butter.

One thing I have noticed a lot of recently is the addition of baking soda in recipes that have no acid in them, like these cookies. To my knowledge, baking soda needs an acid to react. Since my wife's taste buds are sensitive to baking soda, I try to leave it out, especially when there's no acid to make it worthwhile.

Chewy Chocolate-Cherry Cookies


1 c gluten-free flour blend (rice based blend is best)
⅓ c unsweetened cocoa
¾ t baking powder
¼ t salt
1 c sugar
¼ c butter, softened
1 t vanilla extract
1 flax seed "egg"
⅔ c dried cherries
3 T semisweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer on high speed until well blended. Add vanilla and "egg"; beat well. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture. Beat until just combined. Fold in the cherries and chocolate chips.

3. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake for 12 minutes or until set. Remove from oven; cool on pan 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.

November 18, 2009

Gluten Free Muffins

Quick breads are great because they're, well, quick, and they're bread. I find yeasted gluten-free breads are quite finicky, but quick breads made with baking soda/powder have a much higher success rate.

Lately, I have abused my family with batch after batch of muffins while I tried to perfect my muffin recipe. I started with a basic mix from Bette Hagman's book The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread: More Than 200 Wheat-Free Recipes, but one thing I noticed about her recipes is that she relies a lot on tapioca and cornstarch/arrowroot. I have not been able to find much information on these flours, but I doubt that these simple starches have any more nutrition that plain old white flour.

So I have been trying to modify her recipes somewhat with healthier flours. For her muffin recipe, I use oat flour as the base, and the touch of potato flour (*flour*, not starch) is crucial for getting a good texture.

Consider this recipe a starting point for other additions like nuts, dried fruits, or whatever.

Gluten Free Muffins

Makes 12 muffins


1 c oat flour
⅓ c coconut flour
1 T potato flour
½ c tapioca flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
⅓ c sugar

3 T ground flaxseed meal
6 T warm water
4 T oil
1 c milk


1. Preheat oven to 375°. Grease 12 muffin tins.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Combine the wet ingredients in a medium bowl.

4. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture. Stir until just moistened, no more.

5. Evenly fill muffin cups.

6. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Insert a toothpick to make sure insides are done.

November 12, 2009

Apple Oven Pancake

Sometimes I get tired of plain old pancakes. The recipe presented here is a nice twist. It adds a lot of apple and more egg than usual, so it's almost like a pancake fritatta. Make this some weekend morning when you have some extra time. I usually make this for myself with normal flour, but you can easily substitute gluten-free flour.

One hungry person could eat this, or it could be a light breakfast for two.

Apple Oven Pancake


2 T butter
2 T brown sugar
¼ t cinnamon
1 small apple, peeled and sliced thin
2 eggs
½ c flour
½ c milk
¼ t salt


1. Heat oven to 400˚. Melt butter in pie plate in oven. Brush butter on side of pie plate.

2. Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over melted butter. Arrange sliced apple over sugar.

3. Beat eggs slightly in medium bowl. Add rest of the ingredients and beat until just mixed (do not overbeat).

4. Pour batter over apples.

5. Bake 30 minutes. Immediately loosen edge of pancake and turn upside down over serving plate. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

November 5, 2009

Dressing Up Veggies

(November will be a light month for postings from Evolution Kitchen. I have entered the National Novel Writing Month "contest" of writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. So, that has been keeping my fingers busy, but I'll try to squeak out a recipe here and there. Such as this one...)

I didn't like vegetables much as a kid, probably because it was mostly the frozen or canned variety heated up and dumped in a serving bowl. Add a little salt and pepper, and that was basically it.

Nowadays I eat fresh vegetables as much as possible. And although some vegetables can be satisfying just by themselves, most will benefit with a sauce.

This sauce is a intense blend of salty and tart, with a hint of sweet and the unique flavor of dark sesame oil. This sauce is wonderful warm and served on just about any vegetable, but we like it on steamed broccoli. "Drizzle" is the key word with this sauce, not "douse", "dump", or "drown" as most restaurants seem to do.

Warm Soy Dressing and Broccoli


1 - 2 lbs fresh broccoli

¼ c soy sauce
¼ c lemon juice
2 T rice wine vinegar
2½ T rice wine, or sake
2 T water
1 T sugar
2 t sesame oil
1 garlic clove, sliced


1. Heat all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer 5 minutes. Serve over steamed broccoli.