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Aug 28 15

Pasta Primavera

by Karen

pasta primervera, gluten free

Such an easy summertime meal.

We’ve made pasta primavera for years, but lately I had to change it up a bit which led to a new version of this recipe for us.

Because of work schedules we are now eating at about 8pm—yes, so late but necessary to get this house finished so we can move in after 5 years. We are in our third rental now and ready to make one final move back. (Side benefit: we are pared down to the bare essentials of belongings– having purged over and over.)

In order to get this meal on the table fast I prep it earlier in the day then reheat it all together just before serving. This method is sped up tremendously by using an electric tea kettle to boil some water quickly to pour over the al dente pasta to rejuvenate it.

Earlier in the day:
-cook the pasta—a fav right now is Trader Joes gluten free brown rice and quinoa fusilli
-cook the sausage—then slice it, cool, and refrigerate (save the leftover juices in the pan and refrigerate too)
-chop the zucchini, press the garlic, chop the basil then cover and refrigerate
-wash tomatoes but don’t slice them until ready to cook

Gluten Free Pasta Primavera with Italian Hot Sausage and Summer Vegetables

serves 4
1½ -2 tablespoons sea salt
1 package gluten free Trader Joes brown rice and quinoa fusilli
1 pound Italian hot sausage links (see note at bottom)
1-2 tablespoons salted butter
3 medium zucchini, sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, passed thru a garlic press
½ cup chopped fresh basil
4 medium slicing tomatoes and about a pint of cherry tomatoes
freshly grated parmesan to taste

Boil a large stock pot of water, add salt (you want it to taste like seawater) add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain pasta and set it aside– if you would like, you may reserve some of the cooking water (2-3 tablespoons) to reheat and add back into the vegetables later.

In the same pot that you cooked pasta in, place the sausage and about ½ cup water and bring to a boil turning the sausages over after a few minutes. Continue to cook the sausage until all cooking water evaporates then add 1-2 tablespoons butter to the pan, turning the sausages again to brown both sides. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook sausages through.

Remove cooked sausages from the pan, cool then slice each link into rounds. Reserve the fat from the pan. Refrigerate cooked sausages and fat.
When ready to serve the meal, heat a large skillet and add sausage rounds and reserved fat to heat through. (I just use my biggest non-stick skillet.) Remove heated sausage rounds and set aside.

Add zucchini and garlic, cook until zucchini is soft then add in fresh basil. While zucchini is cooking, boil water in tea kettle and slice tomatoes (if your cherry tomatoes are small leave them whole).

Just before serving, add tomatoes to zuchinni mixture and cook until tomatoes soften. Add sausage into vegetables. If you need more liquid add in reserved cooking water from pasta.

Pour boiled water over cooked pasta in a colander to refresh the pasta.
Serve thoroughly reheated sausage/vegetables over pasta, top with freshly grated parmesan.

Gluten Free Sausage

Isernio Italian Hot sausage is a local northwest brand that is easy to find around here. We also love that Gordy at B & E Meats continues to make the Italian Hot sausages using the same recipe that A & J Meats used on Queen Anne in Seattle. Gordy stayed on with the new B & E Meats when A & J closed last year. B & E has many locations around Seattle as well.

 

Aug 7 15

Gluten Free Product Recommendations

by Karen

Cappello's
Now that we have a new baby in the house again I am all about dinner real fast – we have been exploring gluten free prepared foods. It’s still grilling season so my fall back is often a protein on the grill and a salad or fresh veges simply prepared– but we have found a few new products to love.

Cappello’s Gnocchi is made with almond flour– not only is it really good –but the packaging is gorgeous. You could serve the gnocchi to guests and be very pleased with the result.

Whole Foods carries it in the Seattle area, they also have a Lasagna and a Fettucine that we plan to try.

Leon's BBQ Sauce No matter the season, include Leon’s BBQ and Dippin’ Sauce on your grocery list. It’s a new local product in the Seattle area. Ken’s Markets carries it. We love the Sweet Hot flavor. Yesterday I bought some country style ribs at Costco. An easy prep is to place them on a rack in a roasting pan, add 3/4 cup water and some lemon quarters or onion quarters (or both) cover tightly with foil and bake at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours. Once cooked, either brush the ribs with sauce and place them under the broiler or just serve them as is with some dippin’ sauce on the plate as we did. My friend is involved and working on distribution. Whenever you want a store to stock an item it helps to fill out a product request form so the store buyers know customers want the product.  It would be wonderful to have this sauce in local restaurants as well.  It’s a great combination of flavors and Leon is the real deal, kind of reminds me of the BBQ guy on the TV show House of Cards–quality food that is real.

Costco Sweet Kale Salad We served the ribs with one of my new favorite salads from Costco. I was visiting a girlfriend in the desert and she whipped up this salad for us and I have been a fan ever since. My very first thought after the first bite was “I am working way too hard at cooking”. It’s in the produce cooler at Costco.  The salad contains 7 superfoods–reading the label they must be: broccoli, Brussels sprouts, green cabbage, kale, chicory, pumpkin seeds, and cranberries.  There is a poppy seed dressing in the packet as well.  For $4.99 this is such a deal.

del real logo
Del Real also has a number of items at Costco. They sent us a gift box filled with various products and each one was good and easy.

Get dinner on the table fast.

IMG_3878_1
This little guy is a joy in our very crazy household.
In the past 2 years we have shared our home with extended family as we face illness, death, and now

birth- a new life -

while we build a new home–

we moved a few times too just to keep it interesting.

Hopefully I can get back to a regular posting schedule again.

Jun 3 15

Pork Fried Rice

by Karen

 

 

gluten free pork fried rice

 

As we struggle to figure out what to make for dinner each night often some of the easiest meals are forgotten.

Last night things changed at a rapid pace and I had to come up with a revision to my  plans for a pork tenderloin.  We had some leftover rice and not much else so this recipe came to mind.

Extra bonus: everyone loves it for lunch the next day.  I defrosted some peas but you can add any fresh veggies that you have on hand.  The only labor involved with this version is chopping the meat and shallots.

 

Pork Fried Rice

serves 2-3 in my household maybe 4 with younger children

2-3 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 pork tenderloin (1.5 pound), sliced thin in 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper to taste
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3-4 cups cooked rice
1 cup English peas
1-2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce or tamari

Warm a tablespoon of oil in a non-stick skillet and quickly cook the meat and shallots in several batches then keep warm in oven on a plate.

Warm another tablespoon of oil (or not) and add eggs, scramble quickly and remove to a plate. Warm another tablespoon of oil and add rice then peas–cook and stir until hot through.

Add meat and eggs back into pan, thoroughly combine then drizzle 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce and serve.

May 17 15

Blackened Fish Tacos

by Karen

blackened gluten free fish tacos

Fish tacos are a frequent meal at our house because they are pretty quick and very good. I have married two recipes together for this. The blackening seasoning is adapted from Guy Fieri and the fish taco sauce is from Greg Atkinson. Greg is a local Northwest chef who made his name at Seattle’s iconic restaurant Canlis and Guy is from the Food Network of course.

Though we have used everything from halibut to catfish–we think red snapper is the best.

gluten free blackened fish taco seasoning

Blackened Fish Tacos

serves four
Seasoning:
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Fish Taco Sauce:
1/3 cup real mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
2-3 tablespoons chili sauce (Heinz)

Condiments:
1 1/2 cups shredded red cabbage
2 large tomatoes, sliced
lime wedges

12 corn tortillas
2-3 tablespoons canola oil
Four-6 ounce fillets of red snapper

Prep:
Combine the seasoning and set aside.
Combine the fish taco sauce in a measuring cup and set aside.
Slice the cabbage, tomato, and lime and leave on the cutting board for serving.
Warm the corn tortillas in batches in a bit of oil on a hot griddle (or use a large non-stick skillet). When tortillas bubble up flip and cook on other side. Drain on paper toweling.
Dredge the fish in the blackening seasoning on a plate and cook fish on a hot griddle in a bit of oil.
When fish is no longer translucent and it flakes apart– serve.

Here is what the fish looks like just before cooking it:
electric griddle a favorite for fish tacos

If you don’t own an electric griddle (or have one built into your cooktop) I strongly encourage you to get one of these little griddles for about $20.00
We use it for warming tortillas, fish tacos, cooking lots of bacon, pancakes, and carnitas. It’s super easy to clean and great when need to feed a bunch of people.

Apr 29 15

Bacon Jam

by Karen

bacon jam grilled cheese sandwich

 

What is not to love about the taste of bacon?

As I was flying home on Alaska Air I noticed a grilled cheese sandwich on the menu with bacon jam from Skillet Diner (a local restaurant that started out with just food trucks).  Obviously it was on regular bread so I didn’t order it but wondered how it tasted.  That same day I saw the Skillet Bacon Jam in the grocery store and read the label.  Here is my first try at a recipe but after doing the photo shoot and eating the sandwich afterwards I think that it actually would be better with the maple syrup substitution idea shown.

Or maybe skip the jam and just throw two pieces of bacon on the sandwich and call it good!

read more…

Apr 8 15

Roasted Chicken Provencal

by Karen

IMG_3361

 

 

I love reading the newspaper, especially on Sunday, it’s an excuse to enjoy breakfast and coffee before rushing off into the day.

Although it means I have to get up a bit earlier to savor this ritual, it’s worth it.

This past week this gorgeous recipe was featured and…… man, is it easy and delicious!

We made it Tuesday evening–the prep is simple with the only steps taking a little effort: quarter a lemon or two, peel some garlic and shallots, then quarter the shallots.

Oh, and we made the salad dressing suggested in the article– tossed with chilled butter lettuce– so you do have to wash the lettuce and chop some shallots for the dressing.

All in all MAYBE 15 minutes of prep and about an hour of unattended cooking.  I am using a lot of recipes like this now so I can continue packing in my spare time.

Everyone loved this dinner served over a bit of brown rice made easy in a rice cooker.

Link to recipe……

New York Times recipe for Roasted Chicken Provencal

 

 

Apr 2 15

Breton Gluten Free Crackers

by Karen

IMG_3340

 

It isn’t often that I brag on a product.

And no one has paid me to do so either.  I just think that when a company gets it right we should talk about it….but I do have a question.

The Canadian Celiac Association has vetted this company and given their seal of approval.  I do wonder about one element though.  On the label it says that the crackers were processed in a  nut free/peanut free facility but it does not include gluten in that list and I wonder why.  Obviously Breton produces wheat and gluten containing crackers as well so I had hoped their website would answer the question though I could not find the answer there.

My daughter and I have both eaten these crackers without issue.  If you are sensitive you might ask the company or CCA about their best practices.

With that said, these crackers taste buttery. They taste like a cracker should taste.

I just hope they are for celiacs….if you know more about these crackers please let me know.

Mar 16 15

Kusak Crystal Vintage Sale

by Karen

 

 

Pieces from Kusak Vintage Crystal Sale

Pieces from Kusak’s Vintage Crystal Sale

 

I love to shop estate sales and set a gorgeous table affordably.  For me the best part of this kind of shopping is the hunt.

Treasure is often found at a fraction of the cost and the quality of each piece brings years of enjoyment.  read more…

Mar 14 15

Mark your Calendar–Vintage Sale

by Karen
 gold rimmed mid-century modern glasses

gold rimmed mid-century modern glasses

 

I have a long-time friend hosting an incredible vintage crystal sale soon.

The place is full of gorgeous wine glasses and champagne glasses starting at $12 each (a steal, usually $60+) fancier ones are around $20. The sparkle of real crystal vs. glass amazed me.

Mark your calendar, sale starts March 19 at 9am, and the best selection will be in the early days.  I will post more photos in a few days and Seattle location.

Lots of vintage gifts too vases, bowls, colored glass, even chandeliers.

Many of these items have been packed away for decades!

 

Mar 6 15

Memories

by Karen

 

artwork and agates

artwork and agates

 

There are so many memories all over our house:

Every estate sale “find” that we discovered together

Her artwork

Her agates

The chair she sat in everyday fighting the ravages of cancer

Photos

 

But she is not here.

We worked through a lot over the past 16 months of cancer treatment and all the challenges that go with it. As we prepare to honor my mother in law at a celebration of her life we look forward to hosting her family from back East and visiting with her friends. Her home in the San Juan Islands reflects her in every way, we had fun taking some pictures there in September and bringing some important items here to Seattle to adorn her in-city bedroom.

Over the years we did some silly things like make huge footed pajamas for her 6′ 4″ son complete with drop seat—-laughing hysterically throughout the process. read more…