Category Archives: broccoli

Carbonara – The Gluten-Free, Vegetarian Way

carbonaraI see Pasta Carbonara recipes on the cooking channels all the time. They look wonderful, creamy, yummy. It just always seemed complicated or too tricky. And, I don’t eat bacon, of course. But, that didn’t stop me from giving it a try and finding a fantastic, quick ,and decadent dinner. Trust me, it sounds strange if you haven’t tried it, or if you are a meat-eater and want to add bacon, go right ahead. I don’t think it’s missing anything without the bacon. The Parmesan gives it a salty, creamy texture and the eggs add a bit of protein and a hearty flavor. I used spaghetti, but go ahead and try it with penne or even fusilli if you like. I know I’ll be making this again since it’s so easy and comforting.

Veggie Carbonara, Gluten-Free Style

3/4 lb of gluten-free spaghetti (I used Trader Joe’s corn pasta, you can use what you like. I used about 3/4 of the bag)

2 eggs

1/4 cup half & half (maybe a little less, depending on how big your eggs are. Mine were on the small side)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup chopped broccoli and cauliflower

olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

1. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. When it comes to a boil, salt the water and add the pasta, cooking for 8 minutes (or whatever the instructions are for the pasta you are using).

2. While the pasta is cooking, add olive oil to a sauté pan and add cauliflower and broccoli. Add a bit of salt and sauté until brown and softening. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, add eggs, half & half and most of the Parmesan and mix well with a fork. Add a pinch of salt/pepper.

4. Drain the pasta, reserving a bit of the water in case you need to soften up the sauce.

5. Here’s the important part—take the saute pan off the heat and then add the drained pasta to the pan. Coat with the oil in the pan, and then add the egg mixture, tossing to get all the noodles coated. The sauce will thicken up as the eggs set, but as long as it’s off the heat you won’t have scrambled eggs instead. If it’s too thick, just add a little bit of the reserved cooking water to thin it out.

6. Top with a bit more Parmesan if you like, and the chopped fresh parsley.

If you don’t have broccoli and cauliflower in your fridge (I had a small bag of mixed), go ahead and use zucchini or even sauté some carrots. The veggies don’t matter, you can even leave them out and just make it plain. You probably have a couple of eggs and a bit of half & half in the fridge. That really all you need, along with Parmesan and pasta. Be creative.





Filed under broccoli, cauliflower, cheese, cooking, dinner, egg, eggs, gluten free, pasta, vegetarian

My GF Pizza Obsession Continues at Detours Tavern

(NOTE: Detour Tavern is now closed…)

White pizza with kale, broccoli and mushrooms…YUM!

OK, once again we are back on pizza. I know, I know, you’re sick of me harping on the GF pizza quest. It’s my obsession to find something that comes close to real pizza, as you know. But trust me on this, it’s working. Last night, I got closer than I’ve gotten in a long time.

A dear friend invited me to dinner and said, “I saw gluten free on the menu, so let’s go.” Of course, that made me nervous, who knows what’s there and how they make it, right? But I always figure I can have a salad, and I’m touched that she thought of me and I love that she wanted to go with me.

Cut to a few nights later as we sit in Detours Tavern in Scottsdale. Not too much ambiance, more of a sports bar feel,  but not bad and it is clean. It used to be a Chinese restaurant that was anything but clean. So nice to see that gone at least. I checked the menu and noticed a few things I could order, but then noticed they had pizzas and a little note saying they had gluten-free pizza. Hmmm, after checking with the server, who assured me that they put the gf pizzas on a separate pan to bake and use separate utensils, I ordered a white pizza with kale, mushrooms and broccoli. One word-Wow! Thin, crispy, light, chewy, amazing. And it’s huge, not the usual tiny GF pizza that costs a fortune and isn’t worth the money. This did cost about $12, but it was totally worth it.

Of course, that meant I had to grill the poor guy for all the particulars. He said they get it from Sysco and he thought it was made in AZ somewhere. The owner wasn’t there and he said he’d call me with the information. Of course, I couldn’t wait for that so I checked on my phone and found out that Sysco has three GF pizza crusts available- Schar, Ener-G, and Pane Riso/Kingsmill. It didn’t look like the Schar crusts, which I’ve seen before. But all the options have no eggs or gluten, which makes them work for EF/GF Daughter. Yay.

Quinoa salad over raw kale

My friend chose the quinoa salad over kale. It’s filled with black beans, corn and more. Yummy! There was a light vinaigrette over the salad and mixed in with the kale, which was raw on the bottom. The quinoa flavor wasn’t masked by the dressing, which is sometimes the case with most restaurants. I’m getting this next time, if I can resist not eating another pizza.

And one thing this restaurant does is serve big entrees. We shared both and were stuffed when we were done. You could easily have shared with another person, but I’m sure glad nobody else was there.

I highly recommend this place for a relaxed, casual dining experience. There aren’t a ton of GF items on the menu, but what they have looks and tastes wonderful. They have a full bar and flat screens all over, so I’m guessing on game night it’s The Place To Be. My friend said their sweet potato fries were wonderful, but unfortunately they are fried in contaminated oil with breaded food. Only bummer of the night.

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Filed under allergies, black beans, broccoli, cheese, gluten free, kale, pizza, Pizza Crust, quinoa, restaurants, salad, Takeout Gluten-free Pizza, vegetarian

Simpe Sauteed Greens

I’ve been getting a CSA basket each week for about 4 months now. Although I love having fresh veggies each week, and organic to boot, what I don’t love is eating the same thing week after week. Yes, I love kale and chard, but every week for 6 weeks? Hmmm, it takes a lot of creativity to work on that. It’s been a great motivator to try new things and I appreciate that. Thank goodness I can hit the farmers markets and get a few more goodies each week or I’d be lost.

This week, I decided to clean out all the greens and cook them for the week. It turned out to be a great idea and one I’ll be repeating again. As you can see in the photo, everything is green (except for the leek, and that’s technically green, right?) Once everything is done, the possibilities are endless. For the first night, we had the greens mixed with Jasmine rice. The next night, sauteed with a little more olive oil over gluten-free pasta. The next day for lunch, I just heated up the greens and ate them just like that-Yum!

Use whatever greens you like or you happen to have from a basket of greens. I tried to keep everything as similar as possible, meaning I kept the crunchy veggies in and left the squash for later since I didn’t want it to become too soft. But whatever you like, dear chef, just throw it in there. Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to peel the broccoli stem and chop that up, it tastes wonderful. In fact, it’s my daughter’s favorite part of the broccoli. I also chop the entire chard, not just the leaves. The stems have a wonderful, crunchy texture and taste divine-don’t waste them.

Simple Sauteed Greens
1 bunch Swiss chard, chopped (including stems)
1 bunch baby kale, chopped
1 large leek (white only), chopped
1 onion, diced
2 stalks of broccoli, chopped (including stem)
2 TBS chopped fresh parsley, chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Chop veggies into bite-sized pieces.
2. Saute all veggies except parsley in 1 TBS olive oil until soft but still crisp (about 10 minutes).
3. Add parsley, salt, pepper, and lemon.
4. Serve over rice, pasta, or just on its own.

This is a great way to serve greens without much fuss. It’s quick, but it’s also fresh and clean tasting. Use a little lemon zest if you want more lemon flavor.


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Filed under broccoli, gluten free, Swiss Chard

Broccoli Salad

I’ve decided to try and eat as much “live” food as possible, meaning as many raw dishes as I can. I believe it’s so much better for you. I recently went to a raw foods meetup and it was so great. I was amazed at the dishes that were all raw. There was even a raw pumpkin pie, which I think was even better than the regular kind. The crust was made of nuts and dates, and the filling was actually butternut squash instead of pumpkin. But I dare you to tell the difference.

One of the great things about eating raw is that you don’t have to worry about meat or wheat, in most cases. Some might use soy sauce, but it’s clearly marked if it’s there. Tonight I decided to try my hand at a broccoli salad. It was awfully yummy and I wish I had made more. I think I’ll make some and let it sit overnight, which will soften up the broccoli a bit and blend the flavors. But I’m not complaining, I love the crunchy broccoli, sunflower seeds and sweet tomatoes. Since I just threw this together, the measurements are not as specific as usual. But you get the idea.

Broccoli Salad
About 1 1/2 cups of broccoli florets
1/2 tsp grated raw onion
About 1 TBS sunflower seeds (mine were roasted, but you could use raw)
About 6-8 grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 1/2 tsp ground flax seeds
1-2 TBS honey mustard dressing
1 pinch of sea salt

1. Put all ingredients in a bowl and mix. It’s that simple. Add 1 TBS of dressing and mix, then add more to taste.

I like to grate the onion so that the flavor isn’t so powerful. I don’t like biting into raw onion, but the flavor is great. I just cut off the end of a sweet onion and grated it into the salad. It’s about 1/2-1 tsp. It’s up to you if you like onion or not, so decide for yourself dear chef. You can even leave it out and it will still be great.

Honey mustard dressing can be a store-bought brand or just a quick mix of honey, mustard, olive oil and salt. This time I was out of honey and used the spray-on brand of honey mustard dressing. It’s great if you just want a little dressing at a time, and low cal.


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Filed under broccoli, gluten free, raw, salad

Skillet Breakfast for Two

Daughter and I love going out for breakfast, but that can get a little expensive after too many. U.S. Egg in Scottsdale has a great skillet breakfast with potatoes, veggies, cheese and scrambled eggs. This morning I realized I had a baked potato left over and thought, why not make our own? Well, it was awesome, and way better than the restaurant version. Of course, Daughter likes the yellow carrots in the restaurant version, and I had no yellow or orange carrots, so I almost made it perfect in her eyes. Well, can’t win them all. It was still great and she ate most of it.

Skillet Breakfast for Two
1 cold baked potato, cut into small chunks
1 cup chopped broccoli
1/2 cup fresh spinach
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 Tbs olive oil
1 cup cheese (we like a lot, but you could easily do this with half that much)
1 egg
1 eggwhite

1. Put 1/2 the olive oil into a saute pan and cook potatoes until crispy brown. Add a little salt if desired.
2. When potatoes are done, place them on a plate and add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and add the veggies.
3. Stir fry for a few minutes, then cover and cook until broccoli is desired consistency and mushrooms are browned.
4. Add potatoes back into pan with veggies and mix.
5. Whisk egg and eggwhite in a small bowl with salt and pepper.
6. In a separate small pan, scramble egg until desired doneness (as you can see, we like ours well done)
7. Turn off the heat and add 1/3 cheese to the top of the eggs and cover to melt.
8. Add 2/3 cheese to the top of the potato mixture, then add the egg on top. Viola! Breakfast.

This is a photo of the mixture before the cheese and egg. At this point, you could add a little cumin, red pepper flakes and paprika and have a wonderful, spicy breakfast. I just love doing this, but Daughter doesn’t like spicy food, so we made the less intimidating version today. Try them both.

Enjoy! This is definitely enough for two people, or even three, but we were very hungry.

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Filed under breakfast, broccoli, cheese, eggs, gluten free, potato, spinach, vegetarian

A Little Light Curry

So sorry it’s been so long since my last post. I had a great opportunity to edit a wonderful book. I was able to develop edit and copy edit and I love them both. It was great fun, but a lot of work, including late, late nights and long days. Way more than I anticipated. Which means I ate a lot of salads, Sunshine burgers and soups. The crockpot became our best friend for months. Even Daughter is getting amazingly good at stocking the crock. I’ll post her awesome black bean soup recipe soon.

But today it’s all about curry. I am a very adventurous cook, but I’ve always been intimidated by curry. When my best friend told me how easy it was, I figured there was no reason to be afraid forever. Coconut milk makes me nervous for some reason. It’s a real unknown for me. But, I put my fears aside and here’s what I came up with on my first try. I loved it, and have enough for lunch tomorrow. I powered on the cayenne and Daughter decided on a tamale instead. Next time I’ll go a little easier on the cayenne so she can join me. I’m always a little heavy-handed on that spice. I just love kicking up a good sweat sometimes. My friend added a chicken breast to hers. Of course, that’s not an option for me, being vegetarian and all…so I added tofu. But dear chef, it’s all up to you. Mix and match the veggies you like.

Light Curry Veggies
2 TBS olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 cup broccoli florets
1 large carrot, sliced thinly
1 cup firm tofu cubes
2 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup light coconut milk (I use Trader Joe’s)
Basmati or Jasmine rice (I like to use Trader Joe’s flash frozen Jasmine rice)

1. Put olive oil in a hot skillet (large) and add the onion. Saute for a few minutes until soft.
2. Add pepper and carrots and cook for about another 5 minutes.
3. Add cauliflower and broccoli and saute another few minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water if the pan is too dry. Cover.
4. Once veggies are softened (but not mushy) add tofu and curry powder, cayenne, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir.
5. Let the veggies and tofu soak up the spices for a few moments, then add the coconut milk. Mix and cover for about 8-10 minutes on low heat to give the flavors time to mingle and marry.
6. Test the curry and add more cayenne or curry, however you want it to taste.
7. Serve over rice.

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Filed under broccoli, cauliflower, curry, gluten free, tofu, vegetarian

Pasta – Comfort Food Finally

Growing up in New Jersey, Christmas Eve was never complete without Mom’s pasta/seafood dinner. My favorite was the calamari pasta. I loved the chewiness of the calamari with the al-dente texture of the pasta. The tomato sauce was slightly spicy and always perfect. For the rest of the dinner, I preferred not to eat the eel, although it wasn’t too bad, and never ate the plate of little fish staring at me. (Mom, what were they called again?)

Alas, that was many years ago and many miles ago. I’m living in the Valley of the Sun now, I’ve been a vegetarian for 22 years and gluten free for the past three years. That pretty much leaves out any more pasta/seafood Christmas Eve dinners. But Mom lives in the Valley now also, and is living GF too. Although I’ll never have calamari pasta again, the search for a good GF pasta is finally over.

I’ve finally decided on a brand that actually tastes like the pasta I remember. Of course, nothing will ever compare exactly to a good, semolina pasta. As I’ve said before, I refuse to eat something that doesn’t wow me, and in my quest for pasta, I wasn’t wowed for a long time. I tried Tinkyada’s brown-rice pasta and it was pretty good, it just had a tendency to get mushy very fast and it doesn’t have much flavor. I tried corn pasta that I found at Safeway one day (I don’t even remember the brand) and it was totally inedible. I think I could do some yard repair with that stuff.

Finally, someone mentioned Trader Joe’s brown-rice pasta. It’s much less expensive than the other brands, and believe it or not, it’s great!… The pasta cooks up nicely and has a wonderful al-dente texture, just like whole-wheat pasta. It actually has a great taste that adds to the flavor of any dish. I prefer to use the spaghetti-style pasta, but they do have smaller noodles also.

Tonight, my daughter requested one of her favorites for dinner–broccoli and garlic noodles. Before GF, we ate them often. After, I would just make them for her and watch her eat them. Now that I’ve finally found a pasta with great flavor and texture, it’s time to head back. Since she’s not a big fan of sun-dried tomatoes, I just take her serving out of the pan before adding the tomatoes. But if you’re good with everything, just follow the directions below.

And thanks Mom for the great Christmas Eve memories.

Broccoli, Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Pasta

3/4 lb brown-rice pasta (cooked to al dente)
2 Tbs olive oil
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 Tbs chopped garlic
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tsp wheat-free tamari
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
grated Romano cheese

Drop pasta into large pot of boiling water for approximately 10 minutes.

While pasta is cooking, put broccoli in a large sautee pan with about 1/3 cup water. Cover and steam broccoli for about 5 minutes or until tender. Remove cover and let water cook off.

Add olive oil, garlic, tamari and sun-dried tomatoes to sautee pan and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes until garlic is slightly browned. Add salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Strain pasta and rinse with cold water for 10 seconds. Let drain and add pasta to sautee pan and toss everything together.

Serve with grated cheese.


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Filed under broccoli, gluten free, pasta, vegetarian