Gluten Free Pasta with Peppers and Capers

The inspiration: A need for a quick meal and to clean out my fridge

Sunday afternoons find me with a need to make a quick meal to feed my family. We’ll have Shabbat leftovers for dinner, but lunch is always about using up what is in the house. Since starting FODMAP, the definition of a ‘quick’ meal has changed. Even so, I didn’t have 30 minutes or an hour to make something. So what to make that would be hot, filling, taste good, and FODMAP friendly?

The Innovation: Using a corn/rice blend pasta instead of completely rice pasta

I’ve tried making rice pasta – it was a mushy overcooked disaster. But at the same time I bought the rice pasta, I also bought a bag of corn/rice blend GF pasta as well. If I’ve never seen it before, I always want to try it. It cooks quickly, too – about the same time and way you’d cook regular pasta. While the pasta cooked, I could saute some peppers I had in the fridge, and add something for a hit of acid. Capers are lovely for that – cooking them a little reduces the astringency a good bit, leaving a lovely almost citrus flavor in its place.  When my two younger kids demanded second helpings, I knew I had a winner.

My Re-Interpretation: Gluten Free Pasta with Peppers and Capers

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Ingredients:

2 large red bell peppers, sliced into strips

1  8 oz bag of GF corn/rice pasta (I used Landau’s)

2 heaping tablespoons of large capers

Olive oil for sauteeing peppers, plus a tiny bit extra

Juice of half a lemon

Juice from the capers to taste

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste.

Dried parsley to taste

To Prepare:

1) Liberally salt the water for the pasta, when it reaches a boil add the pasta and stir frequently as it cooks to prevent clumps. Boil for about 7 -10 mins, testing at the 7 minute mark for doneness. When the pasta is al dente, remove from fire, drain from water and rinse lightly.

2) While you cook the pasta, add a bit of olive oil to your saute pan. When it is hot, add the peppers and parsley.

3) Saute the peppers at medium high heat for about 5 mins, or til the peppers start to soften and change color.

4) Add the capers, and cook for another 2-3 mins or until peppers are soft but not mushy.

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5) Add pepper-caper mixture to the cooled but still warm pasta. Mix in the caper juice, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

 

Cranberry-Almond Bread Pudding

The Inspiration: A loaf of leftover challah from Shabbat, and a freezing cold day.

I live in a co-op building, and one day this past week they shut off the heat for an entire day to repair the boiler. It was raining, cold, and altogether dreary. I was desperate to bake something to warm my house, but couldn’t decide what.  I found a whole challah leftover from Shabbat, and nothing warms up a house faster than bread pudding. It’s easy to make, bakes pretty quickly, and is delicious right out of the oven.

The Innovation: Using oil instead of margarine to brown the bread.

I hear so much about how margarine is not good for you. Even if it is trans-fat free, there are much healthier alternatives. I wanted to see if I used oil if I would get the same result I do with margarine. I love bread pudding with a gorgeous, toasty crust and a soft center. Finding a bit of cottonseed oil in my cabinet, I got to work.

My interpretation: Cranberry-Almond Bread Pudding:

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I was very pleased with the result – a delicious bread pudding with a crispy, nutty top that is not too sweet, a soft, light center, and none of the greasy mouth-feel that margarine can sometimes leave behind.

Recipe:

6 cups of challah, cut into large cubes (I used water challah, but you can also use egg challah, but leave it to dry first)

1/3 C cottonseed or other light-tasting oil suitable for baking

2 C vanilla flavored almond milk

1 and 1/2 C sugar, plus a 1/4 C for sprinkling

2 capfuls of best quality vanilla extract 

Generous pinch of salt

9 meduim eggs

5 oz dried cranberries

3 oz slivered almonds

Heat a large pot, adding the challah then the oil. Stir repeatedly, to ensure all the bread is well-coated, and lower flame so it will gently toast. Take care not to over-brown; stir til bread is a light golden brown, then turn off flame. Do not remove pot from burner.

Prepare the rest of your ingredients except the slivered almonds in a separate container, whisk well to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the challah, fold gently to combine well and pour into a oven-safe casserole dish or oven-to-tableware.

Sprinkle the slivered almonds and the sugar on top. Bake in oven at 350F for about 30 mins or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out hot and clean. Leave sit in oven til mostly cooled for best result.

 

 

Lazy Leftovers Make Simple Suppers: Sprouted Beans and Rice

The inspiration: Leftover rice and a need for a quick, light yet filling supper.

After all the Yom Tovim ( Jewish Holidays) of Rosh Hashana and Succot. with all the cooking and planning that it entailed, I was exhausted. For a month straight, it was back to back weeks of holiday, with a  few days to shop, restock, and cook again in between. So the Sunday after Simchat Torah (the last holiday) when my family said they were hungry, I could not bring myself to make a large meal for them.  I also could not bring myself to order takeout. Each day when I had been too busy cooking/cleaning/shopping/preparing, DH and the kids had gleefully lived it up eating takeout – pizza and falafel, mostly.  Enough was enough. Time for a home cooked meal, too tired or not.

The innovation: Using frozen sprouted beans to cut down on my cooking time

I rummaged through the fridge to find something the DCs would not turn up their nose to, and thankfully there were not that many leftovers.  I found a half of a 9×13 disposable pan of leftover, plain basmati rice, and I grabbed a pack of frozen sprouted beans. They were mixture of garbanzo, kidney and navy beans. Couldn’t find stock, so water and white wine had to do for cooking with.  Too tired to mince herbs and garlic – so a bit of dried cilantro, salt and pepper came to the rescue. Not the fanciest or most thought out meal I ever planned, but it was good and filling, and at the end of the day, everyone was happy.

My interpretation: Sprouted Beans and Rice

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Recipe:

8 oz raw basmati rice, cooked to package instructions and set aside, or 3 to 4 cups cooked rice

1 12oz package frozen sprouted bean blend

2 to 3 cups water or vegetable stock, plus a bit more (keep some on reserve as you may need to add during cooking)

3 oz dry white wine

Two generous pinches of dried cilantro (substitute with parsley but use a tiny bit more pepper to compensate)

Salt and pepper to taste.

To Prepare: 

Have the rice on reserve. Take a 6 Qt pot and add the water or vegetable stock and white wine. Bring to a boil and add the beans, covering tightly with a lid and cooking on at a low boil for at least 20 minutes. Check at least once to ensure there is enough liquid. When the beans are nearly finished – about 30 to 45 mins – drain almost all the liquid. Add the rice, a bit of salt, pepper, and the cilantro at this point, mix well and cook on medium to low until beans are done and rice is hot all the way through.