The Food Philosopher: Gluten-Free Recipes, Health and Nutrition, Diet and Weight Loss




Natural Comfort Food

maxim, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes," we want to offer a third certainty: losing weight is the top New Year's Resolution. As a diet-crazed, nutrition- obsessed society, what better way is there to welcome the New Year than with a menu featuring seasonal, allergen-free* foods that will help restore balance to your mind, body, and soul? Not only will you feel good making this meal, but you will also feel even better eating food that is really good for you.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup
Sesame Oatmeal Rolls
Pear and Fig Crisp
Green Ginger Tea

Start the year by eating foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Our Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup is packed with health-giving vegetables: butternut squash is high in beta carotene, vitamin E and potassium; parsnips help detoxify the body; leeks contain healing compounds that are antibacterial and antiviral; turnips are chock full of cancer-fighting compounds, and carrots contain high levels of carotenoids that help enhance the immune system and boost the body's ability to fight cancer and heart disease.

The Sesame Oatmeal Rolls are a snap to make, and contain flax and sesame seeds, both rich in vitamins, minerals as well as beneficial omega-3 oils. They will become a family favorite, whether dunked in soup, smeared with nut butter, bananas and raw local honey or as a small but satisfying breakfast sandwich.

We finish the meal with a delicious fiber packed Pear and Fig Crisp. No need to "hide" kale in this dessert or take fiber supplements. This crisp features the pear, a fruit popular for thousands of years and cultivated back during the Roman Empire where it was prized as both a diuretic and laxative. We pair the pear with another ancient fruit, the fig, which is also high in fiber and contains significant amounts of potassium, manganese and calcium, minerals known to reduce cholesterol and increase bone density. The crisp is delicately flavored with a touch of orange zest, dried cranberry, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Then it is finished off with a sweet oatmeal topping. We recommend serving the crisp with a dollop of vanilla yogurt. No need to have seconds because you can just eat it again in the morning as breakfast (if there are any leftovers).

We close the meal with a cup of warm green ginger tea, now available at most supermarkets. Then sit back and marvel at how simple it is to eat real food that not only tastes good but feels good.

* Our menu contains none of the "Big 8" allergens: peanuts, tree nuts, milk, eggs, soybean, fish, crustacea, and wheat.

Roasted Winter Vegetable Soup

Serves 6

1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs.), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise, and then into 2-inch lengths (see Cook's Notes below)
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds (about 1 cup)
1 small yellow turnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds (about *frac12; cup)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
5 cups of soup stock (vegetable or chicken)
2 small bay leaves (or 1 large)
½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or ½ teaspoon dried)
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or Gruyére (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Position rack in bottom third of oven. Line a large baking sheet with foil and spray with oil or baking spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and cayenne. Add the prepared vegetables and toss until coated in mixture.
  3. Spread out the vegetables in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Roast, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are tender and caramelized at edges, about 30-40 minutes (if vegetables are cold, add another 15 minutes)
  5. Remove from oven and transfer the vegetables to a large saucepan. Pour the stock into the pan and add the bay leaves, thyme leaves, and rosemary. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
  6. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and working in batches, purée until thick and smooth. Add additional broth to thin soup if desired. Return the soup to the saucepan, add the heavy cream, and season to taste.
  7. Serve warm with grated cheese. (optional)

Cook's Notes: Soup can be made several days ahead and stored in refrigerator. To wash leeks: cut off tops and then cut leek in half before washing out grit and sand.

© 2008 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts

Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free

Sesame Oatmeal Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

22/3 cups Bread Flour Mix A*
1/3 cup gluten-free stone-ground or quick-cook oats
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1½ teaspoons salt
2 packets (¼ oz. each) dry yeast granules (not quick-rise)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1½ cups water (110°F)
Corn meal
Additional sesame seeds to sprinkle over tops

  1. Spray a 12-cupcake baking pan with baking spray and sprinkle with corn meal.
  2. Lightly grind oatmeal in a bender or small food processor to form a course flour. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl of electric mixer. Pour warm water (110°F) and olive oil into mixing bowl; mix until just blended. Scrape bowl and beaters, and then beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Scoop dough for rolls into prepared cupcake pan with an ice cream scoop. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (about 80°F) for 40-50 minutes, until dough has slightly more than doubled in size.
  4. Place shelf in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F while bread is rising (do not use a convection oven).
  5. Lightly spray tops of rolls with baking spray (this will help rolls to brown slightly) and sprinkle with additional sesame seeds. Bake in center of preheated oven for 15-25 minutes. Rolls should have a hollow sound when tapped on the sides and be light golden in color. Instant read thermometer should register about 205-215°F. You can bake them longer to make a thicker crust; the color will deepen, and the internal temperature will continue to rise. Remove rolls from pan and cool on a rack. Rolls can be stored in refrigerator for up to two days or freezer for up to three weeks; wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil. Refresh rolls with a sprinkle of water and rewarm in 350°F preheated oven; wrap in foil if you do not want a crisp crust (but open the foil for the last five minutes). Or microwave rolls for 15 seconds and then lightly toast.

Cook's Notes: Dry ingredients can be mixed ahead and stored in plastic containers for future use. But do not add yeast until just ready to bake bread.

* This recipe makes 3 cups of Bread Mix A:
1 cup millet flour, ½ cup sorghum flour, ½ cup corn starch, ½ cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch), ½ cup potato starch. Find directions for mixing and measuring gluten-free flours in our Gluten-Free Philosophy.

© 2008 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts

Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free

Pear and Fig Crisp

6 Servings

4 heaping cups fresh pears, peeled and sliced thin
¼ cup chopped stemmed dried Calimyrna figs
¼ cup water
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
Zest of one orange
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cardamom

Topping Mixture

½ cup gluten-free stone-ground or quick-cook oats
½ cup brown rice flour mix*
¼ teaspoon xantham gum
½ cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Preheat 400°F. Spray 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with cooking spray.
  2. Combine figs and water in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer covered until liquid evaporates and figs are soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  3. Pour pear mixture into prepared pie plate. Set aside.
  4. Prepare topping mixture by cutting butter into oatmeal, brown rice flour mix, xantham gum and brown sugar in medium mixing bowl. Stir in cinnamon and salt.
  5. Apply oat mixture evenly over peaches and pat it firmly into place.
  6. Bake 40 minutes, or until bubbly and brown. Cool before serving.

*see "Gluten-Free Flour Mixes" in our Recipe Archive

© 2008 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts