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

 

 

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Greek Yogurt on the Menu

WE REMEMBER WHEN GREEK YOGURT WAS FOUND ONLY IN SPECIALTY
stores or tucked away in grocery stores in hard-to-find places. But now, this thick, luscious delicacy is popping up everywhere, and we have become Greek yogurt lovers. It is filled with calcium, protein, and active bacteria (or "culture") that promote health to the entire digestive system. Cultured, or fermented foods, such as yogurt, wine, Miso, and sauerkraut, are found around the world, and were probably first used as a way to preserve food. But in reality, the primary benefit of fermentation comes from nutrients created by the active bacteria. In addition, the bacterial strains commonly used in yogurt can produce lactase enzymes that may improve lactose intolerance. Therefore, people with lactose intolerance and children suffering from intestinal infection can usually tolerate yogurt with an active culture.

We love to eat Greek yogurt with fruit at breakfast or lunch, but we have also started to use it as a low-fat replacement for mayonnaise and heavy cream in a wide variety of recipes. Our Featured Menu showcases healthy, colorful nutrient-rich fresh vegetables, disease-fighting herbs and spices, and easy-to-cook salmon filets. The folks around our tables like a little dessert now and then, so we've created an old-fashioned Butterscotch Cream Pie. Instead of using whipped cream, we topped ours with a comforting dab of sweetened, vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt.

Red Pepper Dip
Curried Salmon with Cucumber Raita
Mixed Grilled Vegetables
Jasmine Rice
Butterscotch Cream Pie

Fall is a busy time for many people and so we focus on simple, easy to prepare dishes. You can make our Red Pepper Dip in a snap, especially if you are able to buy good quality roasted red peppers. The recipe uses Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise. It gives the dip a rich, creamy texture and you won't miss the extra fat from the mayo one bit. If possible, try to make the dip a little ahead of time to give the flavors time to blend.

Raita is traditionally made with yogurt, but by using Greek yogurt, we give it a creamy mouth feel and texture that it never had before. Like the Red Pepper Dip, it is also better made ahead and allowed to chill to bring out the flavors.

When you are ready to get dinner on the table, start the grill, prep the fish, and then cook the vegetables while the rice simmers. Our Mixed Grilled Vegetables are versatile and flavorful. They are delicious hot or at room temperature, and are even good re-heated. We recommend a combination of at least three vegetables plus the onion. Good choices include: red and yellow peppers, zucchini and yellow squash, baby carrots cut in half, and asparagus cut into 2 inch pieces (eggplant and Brussels Sprouts do not cook well when mixed with the other vegetables on the grill and should be cooked separately).

Our Curried Salmon is so simple and satisfying, you'll find that you want to make it often. And you should- the disease fighting properties of the spice turmeric (in the curry), combined with the anti-inflammatory benefits of the omega-3 rich fish make for one immune building entrée. See this month's Health & Nutrition column for more information about the health benefits of herbs and spices.

Bring out the Butterscotch Cream Pie for dessert. Butterscotch is comfort food in the truest sense. Combined with our crunchy walnut-enriched crust, this pie is sure to please those around your table.

 

ROASTED RED PEPPER DIP

1 cup roasted red peppers*
½ cup Greek yogurt
½ cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper, or to taste

  1. In food processor, purée red peppers, yogurt, and cream cheese until smooth
  2. Mix in basil, salt and pepper. Adjust seasonings to taste. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Serve with crudités (sticks of carrots, celery, and snap peas) and crackers. Or, fill the ends of small endive leaves with dip and arrange on a serving platter.

* Use freshly prepared peppers (recipe below) or high quality purchased peppers from the store.

Roasted Red Peppers

Approximately 2 red bell peppers

  1. Preheat broiler. Position rack on second shelf of oven. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Cut each pepper in half length-wise and remove seeds and fiber. Place peppers open side down on foil lined cookie sheet and place on oven rack. Broil for about 15 minutes, until blackened around edges and slightly blackened on top. Peppers should be tender to the touch. Remove cookie sheet from oven and fold foil over peppers to create a pocket; tightly crimp and seal edges. Allow to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Open foil pocket and peel skin off peppers.

© 2009 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts


CURRIED SALMON with CUCUMBER RAITA

1½ pounds fresh salmon filet (1" thick)
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
Cooking spray

  1. In a gallon-size plastic bag, combine the oil and curry powder. Add the salmon and completely coat the fish. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat grill to 425°F. Lightly grease grilling surface (rack) with cooking spray.
  3. Place salmon on greased rack, skin side down, if applicable.
  4. Grill salmon 5 minutes on first side. Flip filet over. Grill another 5 minutes on the other side.
  5. Remove immediately and sprinkle fresh lemon juice over fish. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately with the Cucumber Raita.

Cucumber Raita

1 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into small dice
1 teaspoon fresh chopped mint leaves
½ teaspoon ground cumin
18 teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Pour yogurt into a small mixing bowl and beat with a fork until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and serve chilled.

© 2009 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts

 

MIXED GRILLED VEGETABLES

4 cups assorted vegetables cut into approximately 1¼-inch chunks
1 cup sweet onion (or shallots), peeled and cut into approximately 1½-inch chunks
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
½ teaspoon coarse salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
½ teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano

  1. Preheat grill to medium (about 425°-450°F). Spray wire grill basket with cooking spray or brush with oil.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine oil, honey, garlic, salt, pepper and dried thyme. Add the cut up vegetables and onions and toss to coat with oil/honey mixture.
  3. Pour the vegetables into the grilling basket over the hot grill and spread them around in the basket. Place the basket on the grill rack and close the grill top. Cook for 10 minutes and then mix the vegetables gently. Continue to cook vegetables until they are tender and caramelized; mix gently about every 8 minutes and close grill cover quickly.
  4. Arrange the cooked vegetables on a platter and toss with fresh parsley and oregano. Serve warm or at room temperature.

If not serving immediately, cover vegetables tightly to keep them moist. Mix gently to combine with liquid that has settled on the bottom of the platter. Store vegetables in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Cook's Notes:
Recipe can doubled or tripled (or increased to larger amounts maintaining the same proportions), but you may need to grill it in smaller amounts to achieve desired doneness and caramelization.

© 2009 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts


Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free

BUTTERSCOTCH CREAM PIE

See this month's Gluten-Free Column.