Thursday, May, 09, 2013
After all of the Cinco de Mayo celebrating in the last week, I was hesitant to share an enchilada recipe. I thought maybe you were tired of cheesy, saucy, Mexican food. That could happen, right?
Then I noticed my kale plants had been growing like weeds, very fast-growing weeds! All of the rain we have had here apparently has fed my kale well and the plants have gone from tiny transplants to robust plants. Soon I’ll be harvesting kale. Perhaps you will be, too, and you’ll need lots of recipes to use your kale. It’s a generous plant, kale, and soon it will be all about kale smoothies, kale salads, kale enchiladas…
These enchiladas come together very quickly and make a great weeknight dinner. While I’ve used canned enchilada sauce, it can be tricky to find one that is gluten-free. I recommend The Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Enchilada Sauce if you have a few moments to make your own. Linda’s recipe is very easy and uses ingredients common in the kitchen pantry. Make it vegetarian buy using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and you’re all set!
I’ve used Daiya wedges for cheese in this recipe. While they do make shredded cheese, I like the flavor of the Jalapeno Garlic Havarti. I also think shredding the wedges provides a better melting cheese than buying the shreds.
Kale, Cheese and Onion Enchiladas, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free!
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1 bunch, 6 to 8 stems, kale, removed from stems and roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-19 oz. can gluten-free enchilada sauce or 1 batch of The Gluten Free Homemaker's Enchilada Sauce
- 2 wedges Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti cheese, shredded
- 12 small corn tortillas (look for simple ingredients--only corn, lime and water is preferable)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have a 9 x 13 baking dish ready.
- In a large skillet, water saute the onion until it is transparent. Add the kale and garlic, tossing until kale has softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Pour enough enchilada sauce into the 9 x 13 baking dish just to cover the bottom.
- In each tortilla, place the kale, onion and garlic mixture. Sprinkle cheese over the top. Roll and place seam side down in the baking dish. Repeat until you have 12 enchiladas. You will use approximately 2/3 of the cheese filling the enchiladas.
- Pour remaining enchilada sauce over the top of the enchiladas.
- Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, remove the foil. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Tuesday, April, 30, 2013
Planning to celebrate Cinco de Mayo this weekend? I’ve got lots of gluten-free options to share with you from right here in my kitchen!
First up, my favorite variation on Guacamole, Grilled Pineapple Avocado Salad.
Next, a quick and easy way to make tamales with a meatless filling that fools carnivores every time, Jackfruit Tamale Bites. These can be made ahead of time and frozen, in case you want to get a headstart on your party prep!
If tacos are more your thing, I’ve got a couple options for those, too. Crockpot Jackfruit Jicama Tacos are almost always on our weekly menu here, but more than tasty enough for a Cinco de Mayo celebration.
And a new variation on tacos in my kitchen, Sunny Tacos, a sunflower seed-based taco filling. I’ve shown these with jicama shells, too, but you could use this filling with a lettuce-style wrap or a gluten-free corn tortilla. Both of the taco recipes I’ve shared work well with whatever shell you like best.
You’ll need a side dish to go with those amazing tamale bites and tacos. Super Quick & Easy Mexican Rice to the rescue!
After you celebrate with those healthy dishes, you might want to indulge in a little dessert. How about Margarita Cupcakes? I had to dig deep in the archives to find these, this recipe was from the first two months of my gluten-free blogging. I still make these when I’ve got a margarita craving. These tipsy cupcakes soothe it every time!
Happy Cinco de Mayo and Gluten-Free Mexican Food Fest to all of you!
Monday, April, 15, 2013
I’ve long been a fan of Chef Rick Bayless. Several times I’ve walked by his community of restaurants in Chicago (Xoco, Frontera, Topolabampo) but was always on the way to a dinner reservation elsewhere or a work commitment. On a recent trip to Chicago, I made sure I wouldn’t walk by again without stopping in for a meal.
And, wow, what a meal!
Before I share too much about my meal, I have to tell you the menu at Frontera changes seasonally. I was there on the last day several of the dishes I ate were offered. Today’s menu may reflect different dishes than what I ate. But based on the six dishes I sampled, I’m gonna guess you’ll be well fed, regardless of the season. Here’s a peek into the dining space:
About eating gluten-free here: while they don’t have a specific gluten-free menu, they have well-informed staff. Our server was quick to point out what was gluten-free and was unsure on only one of the many dishes I asked about. She was incredibly patient and made a trip to the kitchen to confirm one dish that she suggested to us. I felt comfortable eating here.
First up, from the Vegetables (and a little meat) section of the menu, Jicama Street Snack. This dish is so very simple…and so very delicious. Crunchy spears of jicama, cucumber and pineapple with a drizzle of lime juice and sprinkled with guajillo chile. This was the best $6 I spent in Chicago.
Next, I shared a couple of rice dishes with my favorite fella. White rice with black beans, grilled knob onions, morita chile peppers, a basic yet flavorful dish. This is the kind of food I could eat every day. The second rice dish was a red chile rice with lentils and pineapple.
This kale dish, oh the kale. You know I’m a big fan of kale, but this dish would make a believer out of the kale-reluctant. I know, some of you still don’t buy into my kale craziness. This dish, I’m convinced it would change that for you. Black kale with a guajilla chile sauce, little chunks of sweet potato and wood-grilled onions. I’m usually a good sharer of food. I considered stabbing my favorite fella’s hand with my fork every time he reached for some of this. Only kinda sorta kidding.
Then there were a couple of tamale dishes. Fresh corn tamales, two little pillows of masa and corn kernels steamed in banana leaves, were delightful. I know that’s not very descriptive but they truly were delightful. The masa had a fluffiness to it and the pillow shape was the perfect serving size for one. These left me wanting to know more about tamales beyond the traditional corn-husked steamed version.
The second tamale course was huitlacoche tamales. Corn-husked steamed, more like the traditional tamale I’m most familiar with. Huitlacoche seems to be a polarizing food, folks love it or hate it. I’m in the love it corner and it was great in a tamale dish. I suppose if I called these corn smut tamales you wouldn’t like them, but I’d encourage you to try them anyway.
Here are a couple more photos of the space. It’s no surprise this entire stretch of street in Chicago, claimed by Rick Bayless, is full of delicious smells, vivid color and activity. I would eat here again in a heartbeat. I had more gluten-free vegetarian choices here than at many vegetarian restaurants and every dish I tried was something I would happily have again. Except that the menu has now changed. I may need to go back for another round…
Frontera Grill is located at 445 North Clark Street in Chicago, IL. 312.661.1434
Eat With: minimal caution. My experience was that the staff is well-informed and cautious in providing a safe gluten-free meal. I was told that chips are fried in a shared fryer, however I was offered corn tortillas as an alternative. Ask away, questions were welcomed.
Johnna’s I Ate Here series is not intended as a restaurant review, rather a summary of Johnna’s experience dining out. You may or may not have a similar experience. Menu prices, items and ingredients featured were current at the time of writing. Please read the menu carefully and ask your server for assistance in ordering if you have dietary restrictions. It’s a good idea to call ahead and let the restaurant know of your food needs.
Friday, February, 15, 2013
Goodness, it seems like I’ve been eating a lot of frozen Gluten-Free foods lately. The frozen food aisle at Whole Foods sucked me in!
I’ve not totally fallen off the bandwagon of eating fresh, whole foods. I’m still managing to eat a high percentage of raw food even. But I have been swamped with food and non-food work and sometimes don’t have enough time to prepare a full meal. How crazy is that? Does this happen to you? Tell me it does so I don’t feel guilty about eating a convenience product occasionally. After working a few 20-hour days, having food in the freezer that cooks in just a matter of minutes has been great.
And these taquitos? They were just that, GREAT! I tried the Starlite Vegan Chorizo and Black Bean Taquitos. Crispy on the outside, soft filling on the inside. The chorizo has a great flavor to it and isn’t overly spicy. With a side of salsa, these made a terrific meal in a flash. I think they would be even better with guacamole. And maybe a side of my Super Quick & Easy Mexican Rice.
In my gluten-full, morbidly obese days, I ate a lot of bean and cheese taquitos. Sometimes I fried them. But prior to these taquitos from Starlite, I don’t think I had eaten taquitos in at least a few years. This was a nice dish to revisit, especially made with ingredients better suited for my digestion.
The taquitos I tried were gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and non-GMO. Starlite also makes rolled tacos, however they are NOT gluten-free. As always, read labels carefully.
Monday, January, 28, 2013
Over the weekend I took a tamale class at La Tienda Chiquita. For years when I have asked folks about making tamales, I get a response like, “Why would you want to make tamales? It’s time consuming. It’s difficult. You’re better off to buy them.” Only my friend Yvonne has ever encouraged me to make my own. And, really, with the amazing tamales they sell at La Tienda Chiquita, I could have gone the easy route and bought many, many tamales. But I would have missed out on the fun of this class!
I learned how to make vegan masa for tamales. Most importantly, I learned the art of spreading the masa in a corn husk. Not too thick, not too thin, just so…tricky at first but I felt pretty comfortable after making a few. I filled tamales with jackfruit and salsa verde and also with a spicy veggie mix. And I even made a few sweet potato tamales with black beans and corn mixed into the masa, technically not filled. I spent a little time after class reading up on this style of tamale. Sometimes they are referred to as tamales sordos (which translates to deaf tamale) and sometimes as blind tamales. Always so much to learn about food!
Each of us in the class made a dozen tamales to take home with an improvised steamer made from an aluminum roasting pan. A layer of foil that did not meet the bottom allowed hot water to be poured into the bottom of the pan and the tamales to be perfectly steamed. It worked fabulously and I discovered my tamales were not just edible but even looked like tamales. Another skill crossed off my culinary to-learn list!
Now that we have all of these tamales to eat, I’m cooking up my favorite Mexican side dishes. Today I’m sharing my Super Quick & Easy Mexican Rice. This is an enduring favorite at our house and also a side dish we make when we’re in a hurry.
Super Quick & Easy Mexican Rice
- 2 cups pre-cooked rice, brown or white
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 small green bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-14.5 oz. can diced and fire roasted tomatoes with green chiles (I use Trader Joe's organic)
- 1 t. cumin
- 1/2 to 1 t. chili powder, adjusting depending on your preference
- 1/2 t. sea salt
- Pre-cook rice using your preferred method. While it may not be preferable to everyone, the steamer bags of rice from the frozen food section are typically two cups of rice, perfect for this recipe.
- In large skillet, saute onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil over medium heat.
- Once onions are translucent, add can of tomatoes, cumin, chili powder and sea salt. Continue cooking until bubbly. Stir in rice, cooking until warmed through. Enjoy!
Sunday, February, 28, 2010
February 22nd was National Margarita Day, which found me at the bar of a tiny Mexican restaurant reminiscing with my friend Sheila about good times and margaritas. I wanted to find a way to incorporate margaritas into a sweet treat and cupcakes immediately came to mind. Baking with tequila sounded like fun or at least a good challenge!
Gluten-Free Margarita Cupcakes (makes 24)
1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 T. grated lime zest
2 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
2 T. tequila (I used silver Patron)
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 2/3 c. Johnna’s Favorite Gluten-Free Flour Blend
2 t. guar gum
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
Preheat oven to 350. Prep muffin tins with cupcake papers.
Beat together liquid ingredients. Slowly sift in dry ingredients until batter is smooth. Fill muffin tins three-quarters of the way full, a generous 1/2 cup or so. Bake 20 to 22 minutes.
1/2 cup Earth Balance margarine (1 stick), room temperature
3 T. unsweetened non-dairy milk
1/2 cup lime juice
2 T. tequila (I used silver Patron here, too)
a hint of green food color, I used Wilton’s leaf green gel
6 cups sifted powdered sugar
Blend margarine, milk, lime juice, tequila and food coloring in mixer until fluffy. Sift in powdered sugar on low, one cup at a time, until it reaches the consistency you like in frosting. I could have stopped after 5 cups, but went with 6 full cups to make sure it was pretty thick but would still work in the mechanical pastry bag I use to frost cupcakes. I was unsure how stable the frosting would be with so much liquid (and alcohol), but it held up well. This makes a lot of frosting. I like a generously frosted cupcake. If you prefer the traditional knife-frosted cupcake, you could probably cut the frosting recipe in half.
Frost the cupcakes using your desired method. I sprinkled the edges of mine with a mix of green decorating sugar and rimming salt, a wedge of lime and a straw.
This week’s Sweet Friend is Sheila. I met Sheila many years ago. We couldn’t agree on the number, somewhere around 10 years ago, but we could agree that we were both having margaritas when we met.
I rarely see Sheila having a margarita these days, usually she has a Corona instead. And I had not had a margarita for four years before we met last week to celebrate National Margarita Day. But little else has changed–we both still love a good laugh, a cocktail shared with friends, a Jimmy Buffett concert in the heat of Summer, a trip to the islands and any excuse for a Thelma and Louise-style adventure.
I have no idea how we came to refer to each other as Thelma and Louise. Maybe it is because of the trouble we manage to get into everywhere we go. As we were headed out last week, her husband reminded us he was short on bail money. Maybe the nicknames came from road rallies where I drove, Sheila navigated and boys in faster cars got their butts kicked. Maybe it is because we would drive off a cliff together as long it was a good time that got us there. Oh, and there would be a sequel if we were involved. We wouldn’t leave you hanging like that other Thelma and Louise.
Sheila isn’t just a good time friend though, she’s always there even in the rough spots. There have been a few rough spots in my life where her bawdy sense of humor has helped put things in perspective. Well, that and her standing offer to leave a flaming bag of poo on anyone’s doorstep that does me wrong. We all need friends like that.