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




Soup and Sandwich Supper

at the office often mean that dinner can become a last-minute effort. We thought a simple, but nourishing soup and sandwich supper would be perfect for the end of a busy day. Whether you're coming home from a long day of school, work, a soccer game or an afternoon hike on the weekend, our menu offers the comfort food you crave. We pair the healing power of our Parsnip, Leek and Pear Soup with the innocent delight of a grilled cheese sandwich. And don't forget dessert: we think you'll find it hard to resist our cinnamon sugar-laced Snicker Doodles.

Autumn Fruit and Nut Plate
(Grapes, Dried Apricots, Toasted Almonds)
Parsnip, Leek and Pear Soup
Assorted Gilled Cheese Sandwiches
Snicker Doodles

Put out a small plate of crisp grapes, chewy dried apricots and crunchy almonds for any hungry mouths to snack on while you get everything ready. Even though our soup doesn't take long to prepare, try to make it the night before (or at least roast the vegetables and pears the day before) or over the weekend so the flavors have time to blend together and mellow. Then all you have to do is warm the soup up. We roast a delicious combination of fiber rich autumn pears, detoxifying parsnips, and immune strengthening leeks. The result is a velvety, smooth and slightly sweet soup that we think you'll find mouthwatering.

Offer up a plate of your own favorite grilled cheese sandwiches (or try one of our suggestions) using the large millet and sorghum based sandwich loaf we feature in our Gluten-Free column. You can make the bread yourself, or buy a good quality loaf from the store. No matter, if the bread is frozen, try to defrost it and maybe even toast it slightly to remove some of the moisture.

End on a sweet note with an old time favorite: Snicker Doodles. A simple sugar cookie recipe (from Gluten-Free Baking Classics) becomes the foundation for our creation. Roll the dough into a ball, mash it slightly with a fork and sprinkle on cinnamon sugar. You can bake the cookies ahead of time, or make the dough ahead and then bake the cookies while you eat the rest of the meal. The sweet smell of cinnamon coming from the oven will make everyone look forward to dessert.


Serves 6

1 pound parsnips, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned, cut in half lengthwise, and then into 2-inch lengths (See Cook's Note below)
2 medium pears, peeled, quartered, and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
4 cups of soup stock (vegetable or chicken)
1 small bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dry sherry or brandy (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  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 the prepared vegetables, olive oil, coarse salt and pepper; toss until vegetables are lightly coated with oil.
  3. Spread out the vegetables in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Roast, turning occasionally, until vegetables are tender and caramelized at edges, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven and transfer the vegetables to a large saucepan. Pour the stock into the pan and add the bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.
  6. Transfer the soup to a food processor or blender, and working in batches, pur&eacite;e until thick and smooth. Add additional broth to thin soup if desired. Return the soup to the saucepan, add the heavy cream and sherry; and then season to taste. Serve warm.

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


Some favorite traditional grilled cheese fillings:
Virginia ham and Switzerland Swiss
Black forest ham and Gruyère cheese
Smoked turkey and Monterey Jack Cheese
American Cheese
Some favorite "Panini" fillings:
Prosciutto and Fontina
Goat cheese, grilled eggplant, and sautéed onions
Fresh mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, and pesto
Fontina, roasted red peppers, and sliced tomatoes

Grilled Cheese

Serves 4

8 slices gluten-free sandwich bread
About ¼ cup unsalted butter
8 oz or thinly sliced cheese
8 oz. or thinly sliced meat or grilled vegetables
Salt and finely ground pepper (optional)

  1. Arrange meat, vegetables and cheese over 4 slices of bread and cover with remaining 4 slices.
  2. Spread top slice of bread with softened butter, or place very thin slices of cold butter over top of bread. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Place sandwiches in a large fry pan (or two smaller ones) butter side down. Spread more butter on top slice of bread or place very thin slices of cold butter over the top of each slice.
  4. Cook over medium low heat, turning once, until cheese melts and both sides of sandwich are golden brown.


8 slices gluten-free sandwich bread
About 1/3 cup olive oil
8 oz or thinly sliced cheese
8 oz. or thinly sliced meat or grilled vegetables
Salt and finely ground pepper (optional)

  1. Preheat panini press, sandwich grill or two cast iron fry pans (if using fry pans, one pan should be slightly smaller than the other so you can use it to press down on the sandwich. Preheat both pans over medium heat).
  2. Arrange meat, vegetables and cheese over 4 slices of bread and cover with remaining 4 slices.
  3. Brush top slice of bread with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Repeat with other sides of sandwich.
  4. Lightly brush panini press, sandwich grill or cast iron fry pan with olive oil (brush outside bottom of smaller fry pan with olive oil).
  5. Place panini on hot press/grill/pan and cook turning once, if necessary, until cheese melts and both sides of panini are golden brown.

© 2008 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts

Food Philosopher’s® Gluten–Free


Makes about 50 cookies

¾ cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cup brown rice flour mix*
¼ cup sweet rice flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
Cinnamon sugar**

  1. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl of electric mixer until light and creamy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until smooth.
  2. Add flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt; beat until a thick, smooth dough is formed.
  3. Chill dough in refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm enough to handle. You can also shape dough into a round, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for later use. Unbaked dough can be stored in refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for up to two months. To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap and then wrap in foil.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Position rack in center of oven. Lightly grease cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  5. Use your hands to shape dough into 1" balls and place 1-inch apart on cookie sheet. Use a fork to press ball of dough to desired thickness: thinner for crisper cookies and thicker for softer cookies. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
  6. Bake in center of oven for about 12-15 minutes (depends on thickness) until a very light golden color. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Store in an airtight container. After three days, store in refrigerator. Can be kept in refrigerator for 2 weeks or frozen for up to one month.

*See Gluten-Free Flour Mixes in our Recipe Archive

*To make cinnamon sugar combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon (or to taste).

© 2008 by Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts