Sunday, December 7, 2008

Agave Gone Wild: An Experimental Evening In The Kitchen

You may notice that this week's recipes have something in common: Agave.  If you haven't heard of my little friend here, let me inform you. Agave is a wonderful, natural vegan sweetener with a low glycemic index (woo hoo.)

Because granular sugar is not encouraged on a low oxalate diet, I decided it's about damn time I broke out the not-so-secret ingredient that health nuts have been lovin' on for a while now.

Now reader, let me warn you.  This week was an experimental week.  I'm definitely satisfied with the below, but it's probably a recipe that could do with a little tweaking (but it certainly serves its purpose.)

I actually had big plans for this dish.  It was originally going to be a sandwich.  Then it was going to be an open faced sandwich.  Then, when my experiment didn't go so well, it became a deconstructed sandwich: filling on one side of the plate, starch on the other.  And you know what happened?  Nothing happened.  It didn't work out how I planned, but I still got a nice filling meal out of it.  And don't fret, one day, I'll get it right.

Also, my brother wanted me to mention him on my blog tonight because I was cooking while talking with him.  Since he's one of two people who reads this blog, I figured, why not.

Gluten-Free Cornbread
Turkey Cheese Roll-ups with Tangy Slaw

1) Gluten-Free Cornbread
I'm just gonna go out and say: to me, cornbread is one of those tricky things to make.  Too much wet, it doesn't cook through.  Too much dry, and it crumbles faster than my bank account during the holidays.  Like I said, I gave it a go.  It's a tad on the drier side for cornbread, but it does have a nice density to it and generally stays together.  I think it'd be good paired with something wet- like soup or the yummy slaw that follows.  As always, when storing gluten-free baked goods for more than a couple of days, freeze your creation (I like a layer of foil and a layer of wax paper, then put in zip-lock bags) and thaw later for same day freshness.


2 1/2 cups of cornmeal (gluten free)*
2 cups milk less 3 tbs (I used lactose free organic milk)
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs baking powder
1/2 cup agave

*For you low oxalate eaters, 1 cup of cornmeal is a moderate oxalate intake, which means it shouldn't be consumed more than once a day. Translation: don't go crazy eating the cornbread.
Have one small square a day as your moderate oxalate choice and don't forget to drink all your water!


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the cornmeal and milk together until combined.
Add the olive oil, agave, and baking powder, in that order.
Beware that the baking powder will clump, and mix that bad boy 'til its lump free 
(but don't over mix)
Pour into a 9x13 baking dish/pan lined with parchment paper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean from the center.

2) Turkey Cheese Roll-ups with Tangy Slaw
The only thing that requires a "recipe" (and I use that very loosely as you'll see) is the slaw. Basically, all I did was take a slice or Provolone cheese, a slice of turkey, and topped with some slaw.  To eat, you bend the cheese taco-style and voila, easiest dinner ever.

Tangy Slaw

10 oz shredded green cabbage
1/2 cup canola oil mayonnaise
1/4 cup BBQ sauce

Mix all those up.
Eat all those up.

An Apple A Day Keeps Me Wanting More Apples

I can't believe another week has gone by so quickly! I've been so stressed and so busy lately that on Friday the last thing I wanted to do was imagine what I was going to concoct this weekend for dinner. Then at around 3pm or so, I got a craving or two which leads me to this week's dessert.

Sweet tooth. It's a person with a penchant for sweets. And oh man, do I have a sweet tooth! But alas, on a low oxalate diet, you are urged to stay away from those pesky granular and complex sugars. So what could I make to satisfy my I have to eat something sweet or I may die feeling (okay, a bit melodramatic I admit)...

I give you the easiest dessert you will ever make that will always leave a smile on your face:

Apple Crisp


5 small gala apples, peeled, quartered and chopped up
1/4 cup agave
1 tsp cinnamon
3 or 4 handfuls of cornflakes (I use gluten free, of course)


(pre-baked, dotted with butter)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Take the chopped apples and toss with the agave.
Add 1 tsp of cinnamon and stir until evenly coated.
Grease a 8x8 or 9x9 square dish with butter.
Pour the apple mixture into pan.
Dot apple mixture with butter.
Take handfulls of cornflakes and crush in your hand while sprinkling over the apples.
Bake covered for 40-45 minutes.
Remove cover and bake for 5 more minutes.
Serve up this sucker with some low-fat vanilla ice cream!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fa La La La La, La La La, Morbid

Boy, I've been busy today! Thank goodness I only make food once a week! Well, this week's main course is a variation on Shepherd's Pie, sort of. Why is it only a variation on Shepherd's Pie? The low-oxalate eater cannot have the amazingly filling potato which is the main component of said pie. Also, a good deal of the vegetables found chopped inside the pie, may be high in oxalate. So, it's a simplified pie made with a few substitutions.

The pie is triple layered bringing to mind the trifle: bottom crust layer of Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower, middle layer of BBQ chopped meat, and a top layer of the Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower again. This is one savory parfait!

This treat is also my entry in this month's You Want Pies With That contest: Make a pie inspired by your favorite holiday song.

Well, I gotta tell you, while the older folks are recalling better days singing White Christmas, I'm sadly a big fan of a little comedy genius that isn't really the family's first choice to sing around a roaring fire. Luckily, I don't have a roaring fire so I don't really care! Here's goes nothing as I present to you:

Grandma Got Runover By A Reindeer Loosemeat Pie
(presented in 3 easy steps)

1) Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower

2 heads of organic cauliflower
.40 oz of Parmesan cheese (pre-grated)
2 tsps salt

Clean and cut florets off 1 head of cauliflower.
Fill 8 quart pot with 1 1/2 inches of water.
Place florets in a steam basket insert.
Steam head of cauliflower for about 40 minutes
Dump florets into a large bowl.
Repeat the above steps with the second head of cauliflower.
With both heads of cauliflower in the bowl, use a mashing tool to smash the florets until they have a mashed potato consistency.
Add the Parmesan cheese and salt.

2) Loosemeat
1.25 lbs of organic, low-fat chopped meat
1/4 cup + 2 tbs preferred BBQ sauce (I'm a big fan of Gayley's)
1 tsp of salt
olive oil

Grease a large saute pan with olive oil.
Cook chopped meat over med-high heat until browned.
Turn off heat.
Add BBQ sauce, salt, and stir.

3) Assemble
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a deep dish 9 inch pie plate with some olive oil.
Spread a crust layer of Parmesan Mashed Cauliflower and cook for 12 minutes.
Sprinkle chopped meat on top of crust to form the second layer.
Top with the remainder cauliflower and cook for 25 minutes until slightly golden.
Sprinkle a little leftover meat on top for morbid effect ;)

I admit it does look like quite a process but I swear it's easy as... Okay, you get the picture!

Soup? We're doing Soup?

As any good American on Thanksgiving weekend, I decided to clean-up my DVR. A highlight of my TV sweep was this past week's Top Chef on Bravo. If you've never watched the show, I must say I'm ashamed to semi-know you, but I digress. This week's quickfire challenge ended up with the chefs making soups, and it got me thinking, mmmmmm soup (my mind isn't always that complicated.)

So on my weekly shopping trip, I decided to pick-up the fixins for some basic, delicious liquid joy. I'm very happy with how everything turned out in the end, so here it is:

Butternut Squash Soup
1 lb butternut squash, cut into chunks
1 small leek stem, cut*
32 oz. of preferred broth (I use organic chicken broth)
1 tsp salt, divided 1/2 and 1/2
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 cup half & half
pat of butter

* leeks are NOT low in oxalate. I only use the small white stem of the leek for a little flavor. If you are completely eliminating oxalate, use 1/4 of a small white onion diced.

Melt a pat of butter in an 8 quart pot.
Add the squash and saute for a few minutes.
Add the leek/onion and saute for a few more minutes.
Add the broth and bring to a boil.
Add half the salt and all of the pepper.
Reduce to a simmer and cover.
Let the soup sit simmering for about 2 hours until the squash is mushy.
Pour the soup into a blender and puree just until smooth.
Put into large serving bowl and add the half & half and the rest of the salt and stir.

Listen, I know what you're thinking: let the soup simmer for 2 hours? But while the squash cooks down and melts into the broth it creates an awesome incorporation of flavor. If you prefer you can absolutely puree at the first sign of softness, but I'm telling you, good flavors do come to those who wait!

Welcome To My Kitchen: As deep as a small closet, as wide as a dining chair

Welcome to my cooking blog which will prove to be informational for those with and without allergies and diet restrictions.  What compelled me to join the rest of the planet in creating my own blog?  I wish I could say it was to share my journey and my frustrations with you but I'm afraid it was a little more selfish- I wanted to connect with another cooking blog out there and had to have my own to do so.

But now that I'm here, it occurs to me that the way I prepare food for myself each week might be helpful for those out there who are stuck with frustrating limitations.  The purpose of You Can't Eat What? is to share my weekly culinary adventures with you, reader, demonstrating that cooking healthy, clean dishes can be simple and sometimes frugal.  I don't want to focus anymore on all the things I can't eat, but instead, all the things I can create with what I have left.

And yes, it's true, I used to love all food.  Everything about it.  The way certain things danced across my tongue and delighted my senses.  But eventually the dancing turned into an unpleasant array of symptoms which now I have to manage.  And every now I eye that candy bar in the store and it feels wrong, like the when you smile at the guy on the other side of the room who you know is bad for you that you want a small piece of.  The difference is that now, that candy, eye or otherwise, is not coming home with me.

So let's get started; I'm starved!!