Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Over the past few days, fall has made itself abundantly clear and winter has been making some special appearances. The rain has pelted down, the windows have howled and random branches are strewn everywhere. It almost looked like it was going to snow today, until the sun came out and washed it all away. Then almost as soon as it arrived, it melted away into the darkness. It’s that time of year again … where we pushed our clocks back to give us back a few precious hours of day light in the morning. If only we were farmers and actually up that early to appreciate it? Now we drive to work in the dark and come home in the dark. Oh dreary dreary winter, how I loathe thee. And yet I love the sparkle that freshly fallen snow makes in the sunlight and the feel of crisp cool air (as long as I’m bundled up and warm that is). Winter afternoons are beautiful … winter workdays are lame.

What is nicer on a cold dark day then to warm up with a nice bowl of hot soup? This can be a challenge if you are Celiac as most canned soups are made with enriched wheat flour to thicken them. When I was first diagnosed, the idea of making soups from scratch was actually quite scary. Who had all that time and who wanted to put in all that effort? But some soups can be very quick to make and because they are made fresh, they taste that much better.

Try this one for a start ….

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup
-based on Quinoa the Everyday Super Food 365 (based because I didn’t have quinoa flour)

1 vine of ripened tomatoes
2 red peppers
3 tablespoons of butter
½ a medium onion, diced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of Herbes De Provence
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 ½ cups of Chicken Stock (gf)
1 cup of Cashew Almond Crème
Salt and Pepper to taste

First seed and quarter the red peppers, coat them in oil and broil until soft and starting to blacken at the edges.  While that’s going, melt butter in a pot and add onion until soft and golden. Then transfer onions, peppers and fresh tomatoes (quartered) into a food processor. Let go until as smooth as possible. Transfer back into pot with remaining butter and stir in chicken stock and cashew almond crème . Season with herbes, salt, pepper and sugar and let simmer for 5-10 minutes. If your processor doesn’t make the smoothest soup (like mine) you could put it through food mill, but I like mine a little chunky :)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Ah fungus... loathed by some and loved by others, it is a strange and complex organism. For some it is the taste, unique to every mushroom, and for some it is the texture, spongy yet meaty at the same time that is either off-putting or completely yummy. In my book, mushrooms are delicious and this time of year is full of many types of mushrooms.

Here on the West Coast if you drive anywhere you will see mushroom buyers. They pop up along the roads almost as readily as the mushrooms pop out of the ground after a good rain.  They buy the wild mushrooms that people pick and sell them to stores or even send them across the seas. Wonderful wild mushrooms start appearing at local grocery stores for those of us who don’t know how or where to pick them ourselves.

I am one of those people who can’t tell one mushroom from another. I went to a mushroom and salmon festival in Lake Cowichan last weekend and looked at their neat display of edible and poisonous mushrooms. It was scary how similar the edible versions and deadly versions of mushrooms were. It amazes me that people can tell the difference. My boyfriend and I have tried hunting for Chanterelles and keep coming up empty handed. We’ve had a few opportunities to learn how and where to find them, but they keep falling through. So for now I buy them at stores and mushroom festivals and dream up some tasty gluten free ways to cook with them.

Here are two ways that you can incorporate Chanterelle mushrooms into your diet …

Garlic and Chanterelle Pizza
Serves 2

2 Udi’s gluten free pizza shells
Renée’s gluten free Ranch Dressing
Minced Garlic
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 tablespoon Herbes De Provence
½ lb Chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Sautee sliced chanterelles in oil until softened and sprinkle with herbs.  Drain excess water and set aside.  Meanwhile , place pizza shells on a baking sheet. Generously coat pizza shells with ranch dressing and then top with minced garlic (to your liking). Next  place sliced mushrooms on top and then cover in thick layer of cheese. Bake for 6-8 minutes and enjoy!

Bacon, Leek and Chanterelle Quiche

1 gluten free quiche crust (I made the Savory Almond Flour Crust from Elana’s Pantry … using thyme instead of shallots)
3 Eggs
¾ cup unpasteurized soft goat cheese
1 leek, sliced
½ lb Chanterelle mushrooms
5 slices of Bacon, chopped
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a large frying pan fry bacon, set aside to cool and then dice.  Using the bacon fat in the frying pan, fry up the sliced leeks and chanterelle mushrooms until softened.  Remove from heat, drain and set aside. In a medium sized bowl whisk eggs. Then stir in soft goat cheese, bacon, leek and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Pour mixture into prepared crust and bake for 35 minutes. Once quiche is cooked allow it to cool for 20 minutes before serving.