Friday, November 28, 2008

Day After Thanksgiving, Soy-free Kitchen Style

The blog Choosing Voluntary Simplicity has a good essay on how to have a soy-free Thanksgiving. For the day after Thanksgiving, I have two words:

White Chili

about 2 Tbsp olive or canola oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 minced jalapeno pepper (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 lb leftover turkey, cut into 1/2" cubes
1 14 to 16-oz can cannelini beans or chickpeas, drained but not rinsed
1 10-oz box frozen corn
1/2 cup (about) chicken broth or leftover turkey gravy
1 4-oz can chopped chilis, not drained
1 1/2 tsp soy-free Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce

Heat the oil in a Dutch overn and cook the onions and green pepper over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Add the turkey, beans, corn, broth or gravy, chilis, and seasonings. Turn down the heat to medium or medium low (depending on your stove) and simmer 20 minutes.

Serve with light sour cream and chopped fresh cilantro. Salsa is optional.

Eat leftover pie for dessert.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Joe Froggers Revisited

The Yankee Magazine Joe Froggers were more successful than the "authentic" recipe.

They were easier to roll and they didn't spread anywhere near as much.

And they tasted better, too.

Glee Soy-free Gum

Good news! (for me, I mean.) The Whole Foods near me just started carrying Glee soy-free gum.

As my daugher in first-year Spanish says, "me gusta!"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Potluck 2: Texas Sheet Cake

The office is having a going-away party tomorrow. The honoree decided he wanted a potluck lunch, which means I will be able to eat at least one thing there--the dessert, because I am bringing it. Potlucks mean either Cherry Cobbler (see here) or Texas Sheet cake because they are both made in a jelly-roll pan and serve a lot.

There are recipes for this all over the web. Some leave out the word "Texas". Epicurious calls it a Chocolate-Buttermilk Sheet Cake. Some are baked in a 15x10" jellyroll pan and are thin. Some are baked in a 13x9" pan with the same amounts and they are thicker. They are all about the same. Here's mine:

Texas Sheet Cake

1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, or milk soured with a couple teaspoons of vinegar
2 large eggs


1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3 Tbsp cocoa
1/4-1/3 cup milk (depends on whether whole milk, 2% or skim, and the weather)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 pound powdered sugar (about 4 cups)
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (soy-free)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 1-inch jelly-roll pan. Put water, 1 stick butter, cocoa powder, vegetable oil, vanilla and baking soda in large microwave safe bowl. Microwave by 30-second intervals, stirring after each, until the butter is melted and the cocoa is mixed in. Whisk in sugar, flour, salt, then buttermilk (or equivalent) and eggs. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cake in pan to a rack.

Meanwhile, melt remaining stick of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat. Stir in with a wooden spoon: powdered sugar, milk (start with 1/4 cup), the 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add more milk if you need to to make the frosting spreadable--not so thick that it will rip up the top of the cake.

Spread frosting over warm cake. Sprinkle with nuts and mini chocolate chips. Press in slightly. Cool cake (and carry it to your party) in pan. Cut into 24 pieces.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Chicken Pot Pie

Here's a good fall recipe, and it is not too hard to make if you have 1/2 pound leftover chicken and use frozen vegetables. The original recipe came from a Weight Watchers cookbook and used a small tube of (five) biscuits, each split in half, on top, which made it really easy, but they have soy oil. If you can eat soy oil--I can't--go ahead and use them, but use the cooking temperature and time on the biscuit tube.

This is a real favorite of my kids.

Chicken Pie with Biscuit Top
Serves 5 in our family

4 teaspoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon mixed herbs, such as Italian blend or Herbes de Provence
1 1/2 cups milk (skimmed milk works fine)
4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever kind you like)
8 ounces cooked chicken, cut in 1/2" cubes
1 teaspoon chicken bouillon granules, or a crumbled chicken bouillon cube (read label to avoid soy)
1 tsp grainy mustard (optional)
1 cup thinly sliced carrots (* see note)
1 cup sliced mushrooms (* see note)
1 cup green beans (* see note)
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

For biscuit top:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
1 1/4 cups milk

1. * First, steam or parboil the vegetables until they are tender-crisp. Put aside. (Skip this step if using frozen vegetables.)

2. Melt the butter in a 3-quart saucepan or large skillet. Add the flour, mustard, and herbs. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the milk, a little at a time, stirring to blend. Let the sauce simmer until it has thickened, maybe 3 minutes. Add the cheese and stir while it melts. Add the chicken, bouillon and optional mustard, stir, then add the vegetables.

3. Put into a lightly oiled casserole.

4. For the biscuit top: mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Work in butter with tips of fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender. Add the milk gradually, mixing with a fork until you have a soft dough.

5. Drop the biscuit mixture over the top of the casserole in heaping tablespoons, then smooth slightly to cover the entire surface.

6. Bake at 450F for 12-15 minutes.

*Note: you can substitute 3 cups of frozen mixed vegetables for the carrots, mushrooms, and beans. Or use a drained 8-oz can of sliced mushrooms and 2 cups of frozen vegetables. You don't have to pre-cook the frozen or canned vegetables.

[photo to be added]

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Sweet 100 -- Joe Froggers

Well, we tried the Marblehead Joe Froggers recipe, not entirely successfully.

The cookies tasted good, but the dough was so soft that refrigerating it didn't work; we had to freeze it. That was moderately successful.

Then the cookies spread. They ended up almost twice as big as they were cut out. I think maybe it was the fault of the Spectrum palm oil shortening I used. I have had trouble making pie dough with it, too. The pie dough was too soft to work with.

Next time I am going to try the recipe on the Yankee Magazine website here. It uses butter.

Finally, since the recipe supposedly dates back to the early 1800s, wouldn't it have been made originally with lard?

The Soy-free Kitchen Goes on the Road, part 4

My dear husband and I spent Thursday and Friday night in Baltimore, courtesy of my generous MIL, who was in town prior to taking a cruise. This involved a stay in a very nice Marriot on the harbor, but with no kitchenette. Meals went like this:

Thursday dinner--Seafood restaurant (Oceanaire, very nice, but pricey). Steamed clams and steamed broccoli. The best steamed clams I ever had--not chewy, not sandy, and a great wine-and-garlic broth.

Friday breakfast--in the hotel. Shredded wheat, banana, and coffee. (I had a box of Total Raisin Bran in the room in case there was no cereal I could eat.)

Friday lunch--turkey sandwich, chips and fruit bought at Whole Foods (!) a block away from the hotel (!)

Friday dinner--Veal Marsala, at La Scala, an Italian restaurant a couple of blocks away in Baltimore's "Little Italy. I give this restaurant a B+. The food was good (and plentiful) but the decor was old and a little lame. It was homey rather than glam. The prices were great, however ($19.95 for veal!?!) Recommended.

Saturday breakfast --in the hotel again.

No incidents! We had called La Scala ahead of time to make sure they were soy-free, and they were. And we lucked out that there was a Whole Foods a block away.

Next installment: We make something we haven't tried yet from the Sweet 100.