Tag Archives: gluten free recipes

Mashed Faux-Tatoes, Or, How Pho Girl Pulled a Folgers Commercial on Nacho Man

Around here, we don’t mess with Nacho Man’s spuds.

He likes them creamy and plentiful. And he especially likes that they’re potatoes.

But if you’re wondering what happened when I secretly replaced half his mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower, the answer is…


He liked them. He said they were “Fine.”

That’s a compliment. It really is.

You see, Nacho Man has four phrases that he applies to any situation that requires him to give a response. Ask him a question, any question, and I can guarantee that three-fourths of the time he’ll say, “Fine,” “Pretty good,” “Not bad,” and “Alright.”

The other one-fourth of the time he doesn’t answer because he’s distracted and you have to repeat the question.

Now maybe I’m paranoid, but I don’t take “Not bad” and “Alright” at face value. Translation: “Bad” and “Meh.”

But “Fine” and “Pretty good” are green lights. So let’s proceed.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Take one good-sized head of cauliflower, cut the florets into large chunks, rinse and pat dry. Set them on a large cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the cauliflower is fork tender and browned, about 25 or 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel, rinse, and dice 3 Yukon Gold potatoes, and boil until fork tender, about 7-10 minutes. Drain and mash.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a small saucepan on medium heat. Add 1/2-1 cup of milk and reduce heat to medium-low.

The best way to break up cauliflower is to spread rumors that you saw it cavorting with the beets in the crisper. If that doesn’t work, I like to use a food processor to pulse the cauliflower until it resembles very fine crumbs. An immersion blender works (just put the cauliflower into a deep bowl) but it doesn’t pulverize the cauliflower quite as well. If you need to, add a bit of liquid (potato water, milk, chicken stock, etc.) 1 teaspoon at a time  to the cauliflower to help break it down.

My favorite way to mash potatoes is the push them through a fine mesh sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Use whatever method works for you, and combine the cauliflower and potatoes in a large bowl. Add the heated butter and milk mixture in small increments until you have a consistency you like. Season with salt and pepper.

This makes a lot. They’re great as leftovers. I also like to fry small patties in a little olive oil as a breakfast treat.

Roasted, Mashed Cauliflower and Potatoes

serves 4-6 with leftovers


1 medium-large head of cauliflower, washed and cut

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes

1 tablespoon butter (or more, if you like)

1/2-1 cup of milk

salt and pepper


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss cauliflower pieces in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then transfer to pan and bake until tops are nicely browned, about 25 – 30 minutes.

2. Peel and cut potatoes, and boil until fork tender (about 7-10 minutes on my stove). Drain.

3. Melt butter in small saucepan, add milk and warm on medium-low heat.

4. Puree cauliflower in food processor until they resemble a very fine crumb, and no large pieces remain. If needed, add liquid such as potato water, chicken stock, or milk, 1 teaspoon at a time to make the cauliflower smooth. Mash potatoes. (My favorite way to do this is by using a wooden spoon to push the potato through a fine sieve.)

5. Combine cauliflower and potatoes in a bowl. Add butter/milk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and stir gently until the consistency makes you happy. Season with salt and pepper.

Roasted Garlic Mashed Faux-Tatoes: roast a head of garlic, top cut off, with the cauliflower. Remove the garlic from the cloves add to the food processor.


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Kale Chips, Or, Why Pho Girl Can’t Quit This Blog

This is my 100th post.

I’m writing about kale. Which I suppose is a bit like toasting your fiftieth anniversary with a mug of lukewarm green tea. Make that decaf green tea.

I haven’t blogged anything in about a month. Because when I am on the cusp of something significant, like a 100th blog post, I work myself into quite a state trying to think of something earth-shattering to share.

Well, here it is: kale chips are delicious. Beet green chips, not so much.

If you haven’t made them, kale chips are quick, easy, healthy, and crispy. Simply wash a head of kale and pat dry, remove the hard ribs, tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces, set them on a cookie sheet, drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt or other seasoning of your choice. Slide the cookie sheet into a 300-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes (keep a close eye on your kale), and before you know it, you’ve got kale chips.

Now, I’ll admit that no one in the house cared for these the first few times I made them. They’re crunchy but not sturdy. They’ve got a brittle quality that makes you want to give them a calcium supplement. They get stuck in your teeth. The rest of my family is not interested. The only way I can get my people to willingly eat their kale is by making this potato, kale, and sausage soup.

Boy, aren’t you all just rushing to the market to buy kale for this recipe? But you should. These are worth a try. Several tries. There’s something satisfying about them that I can’t put my finger on, because it’s too busy working in concert with my thumb to pluck kale chips off the cookie sheet.

Now, here’s where I get into trouble. I often get it in my head that if I can make one thing that’s tasty, then I should be able to turn a like item into something that’s even more tasty. So after roasting a batch of beets, I decided to try to make beet green chips as opposed to sauteing the greens.

I realized that something was amiss when my kitchen began to fill with the aroma of what I can only imagine cooked grass clippings would smell like.

There aren’t enough wilted chips in the world, if you ask me. And yes, I tasted them. I lived to tell about it, but just barely.

Which brings me to the whole point of this post: why I can’t quit this blog. I have a love/hate relationship with this blog. I love to share stories; I hate the pressure of trying to come up with new, interesting material. I love it when you tell me that something I’ve written made you laugh or was tasty. I hate feeling like a fraud when I share recipes–I’m not a gourmet cook.

I know, can you believe that? No formal culinary training or nuttin.’

And yet, I persevere. Because you need me. Someday you’ll get it in your head to go rogue in the kitchen, and then you’ll say to yourself, “Wait a minute. I don’t want to pull a Pho Girl.” I am a living, breathing cautionary tale. Who else is going to be honest with you? Who’s not afraid to let what happens in the kitchen out of the kitchen? Pho Girl, that’s who.

Kale Chips


1 head kale (it cooks down quite a bit; 1 head makes a light snack for 2 or 3 people)

olive oil for drizzling

kosher salt for sprinkling


1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash the kale and pat dry. Remove the ribs and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

2. Arrange on a cookie sheet and use olive oil and salt to season.

3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until kale has cooked down and is crispy to the touch. Remove from oven; cool before serving.


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Killer Kielbasa and Potatoes

The four-ingredient meal:

I stole this one from my mom. I don’t think she cooks anything else that contains fewer than, like, twenty ingredients. Check out our pho recipe if you don’t believe me.

Once a month, I treat our family to a “meat” item at PCC from the hot dog/cocktail wienie/kielbasa section. You know, meats I wouldn’t normally buy but that my people sneak around and eat behind my back. Like at Costco. So I figure that if the people want it, they can have it, as long as I can feed it to them without getting the willies when I think about what goes into it.

This isn’t so much a recipe as it is a quick saute. Here’s how it goes:

1. Cut 2 medium Russet potatoes that you’ve washed and peeled into matchsticks and pat dry. Cut a kielbasa into matchsticks to match. Cut a quarter of a sweet onion into long, thin slivers.

2. In a large skillet with a bit of olive oil going over medium-high heat, cook up the potatoes. Stir often.

3. After several minutes, add the sweet onion. Stir everything around a lot. After several more minutes, the onions should be opaque.

4. Add the kielbasa. Cook until the meat is heated through.

5. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle a handful of sesame seeds you’ve toasted over medium heat in a small pan into the kielbasa/potato mixture.

We love this for dinner but it makes a great breakfast if you happen to have leftovers. We never have that problem with this meal.

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Gluten-Free Pancakes

So it’s been awhile.

When I started this blog, I promised myself that I would blog my life, rather than live to blog. Lately, life has been a little too hectic to take time to reflect and put into words. There are lots of changes in store for our family–all good–but I’m a creature of habit and adapting to change requires energy.

You need to eat to have energy.

Especially breakfast.

A lot of well-known gluten-free bloggers are doing a “Rally for the Ratio.” The inspiration for this rally is Michael Ruhlman’s book Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.

This book fascinates me. Actually, the first time I opened it, it terrified me. Why are there so many words?, I asked myself. Where are the full color photographs? I felt like I was out of my league.

But the only way to get into the league I want to be a part of is to get out of the league I’m currently in. So I persevered. And you know what? This book is really approachable. In fact, it’s easier to cook from this book than from a simple-looking cookbook with full-color photographs but a lot of extraneous ingredients and steps. Understand how the proportions of your ingredients relate to each other, and you can probably cook without a recipe. With confidence. And palatable results.

This morning, I used Ruhlman’s ratio for pancakes. I had a husband who’d just gone for a run in the rain, two hungry kids of my own, and one hungry kid who is hanging out with us for the weekend. While it’s generally not a good idea to try a new recipe under these conditions, I really wanted to try that ratio:

2 parts liquid : 1 part egg : 1/2 part butter : 2 parts flour


8 ounces gluten-free flour (here’s my mix)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar (Ruhlman’s recipe calls for 2 tablespoons sugar)

Mix these together in a large bowl. Then, mix into a second large bowl:

8 ounces milk (Ruhlman says you can use up to 4 ounces of buttermilk, but using 8 ounces of buttermilk gives you a much fluffier pancake. The first photo in this post is of a stack of pancakes made with 4 ounces milk/4 ounces buttermilk; the second is of a stack of pancakes made with 8 ounces of buttermilk.)

2 extra-large eggs (Ruhlman’s recipe calls for 2 large eggs)

2 ounces butter (that’s 4 tablespoons), melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well. The great thing about gluten-free flours is that you don’t have to worry about overmixing and activating the gluten.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto a griddle at medium heat and cook for about 2-3 minutes per side. This amount of batter makes enough to feed 5 people, but if you have 5 voracious people and want to have enough to pull out of the fridge and serve on busy weekday mornings, then make a double batch.


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(Sort of) Spicy Green Beans and Tofu

The challenge was to turn these:

into a dish that Lupe would eat.

Here’s my solution:

This is fast and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients. Here we’ve got 1 14-ounce package of tofu, cubed and patted dry, about 1 1/2 cups of trimmed, chopped green beans, and a sauce made of soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and Sambal Oelek chili paste (found at Asian markets as well as many grocery stores). If you don’t have the ingredients for this sauce, it’s fine to substitute with teriyaki or some other sauce.

I had an instance of Mommy Brain and forgot to pull the sesame seeds for this picture.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of canola oil and carefully put the tofu in the pan once the oil is hot. Stir it around often. After a few minutes, it’ll start to brown on all sides. Add the green beans. I try to use fairly thinnish green beans, which is hard because the kids are tempted to pick the biggest, plumpest green beans they find on the vines. Cook, stirring frequently, until the green beans are cooked but still crisp.

Add the sauce and stir constantly, about 30-60 seconds, about enough time to cook the garlic and season the tofu and green beans, without overcooking the vegetable.

Meanwhile, heat a second, smaller skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and toast for just a few minutes. Move them around the pan often. Sprinkle over the green beans and tofu. We like to eat this over rice.

But it’s also pretty tasty straight out of the pan.

(Sort of) Spicy Green Beans and Tofu

serves 4


1 14-ounce package of tofu (we prefer firm or extra-firm), cubed and patted dry

1 1/2 cups of trimmed and cut green beans

1 tablespoon canola oil for frying

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon sesame oil

scant 1 tablespoon sugar

1 clove of garlic

1/2 tablespoon-1 tablespoon of ground fresh chili paste

1 tablespoon sesame seeds


1. Mix the soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic, and chili paste together in a small bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the canola oil.

3. When the oil is hot, add the tofu, being careful not to cause the oil to splatter. Stir frequently until the tofu begins to brown on all sides, about 3-5 minutes.

4. Add the green beans and stir often.

5. After about 2 minutes, or when the green beans are done but still slightly crunchy, add the sauce. Stir constantly, until all the tofu and green beans are coated.

6. Remove from heat after about 30-60 seconds.

7. In the meantime, heat a small skillet over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds until lightly browned. Sprinkle over the green beans and tofu.

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Sauteed Beet Greens

Beet Week concludes with a recipe that uses these greens. I saved mine when I made the warm beet salad a few days back. They keep really well in the refrigerator. Just wash them, chop them, and toss them in a pan on medium heat where some olive oil, two cloves of minced garlic (three if you want to be left alone), and a pinch or two of red pepper flakes have been sauteing for about 30 seconds.

Like this one.

The beet greens will sizzle when they hit the hot pan. They’ll wilt, but they don’t release water the way spinach does. They also have a milder flavor than spinach, so try these with someone who swears they won’t eat cooked spinach. Sauteed beet greens have a nice texture and flavor.

They’ll be done after a couple of minutes. Season with kosher salt to taste. If you’ve left some of the stalks on the greens, you’ll get that lovely red-purple beet color on your plate.

Garnish with a slice or two of lemon.

Can you spot the difference?

Shaved Parmigiano Reggiano also makes a nice garnish.

Because in the end, it’s all about the cheese.

Sauteed Beet Greens

serves 2-3


beet greens from one bunch of beets, washed and chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

pinch to 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes, depending on your preference for heat

1 tablespoon olive oil

lemon for garnish

shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish (optional)


1. Heat a large pan over medium heat. Warm the olive oil, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Saute for about 30 seconds, stirring frequently.

2. Add the washed, chopped beet greens. Saute, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.

3. Add kosher salt to taste.

4. Transfer to plates. Garnish with lemon and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

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I’ll be honest. No matter how many exclamation marks I use in my tone of voice, Lupe and Rue won’t touch this:

That is their loss.

I had so much fun posting multiple buttermilk recipes a couple of weeks ago that I’ve decided to do the same this week, only with beets. A bunch of beets will net you at least a couple of vegetable servings because both the beets and the leaves are edible.

First up: warm salad of roasted beets, grilled corn, basil, and gorgonzola cheese.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut the beets from the leaves. Wrap the leaves in paper towel or put them in a produce bag and keep them in the fridge for later use. Wash a couple of beets, trim the ends, and cut them into fourths if you’re not pressed for time, eighths if you want to speed up the roasting process. While the larger chunks take longer to cook, you’ll have fewer beet pieces to peel afterward.

Place the chopped beets in an oven-safe dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Cover in foil and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a fork slides through easily. The skins will slide right off with a little pressure from a fork or butter knife.

While the beets are cooking, cook a stalk of corn. I prefer to grill my corn. I pull off most of the stalk, remove as much corn silk as I can, and grill it on medium-low heat, rotating often, for about 15 or so minutes. Cover it with foil and set it aside until it’s cool enough to handle. Then, stand it on end and shear the corn away from the cob.

I was seriously tempted to make this week about gorgonzola.

There’s still time.

I thought that cheeses with blue veins were disgusting as a kid, yet I’ve been inexplicably drawn to them as an adult. I’m still waiting for that to happen with Brussels sprouts.

Cut off a hunk of gorgonzola and crumble it into large pieces.

Divide the beets and corn onto 2 or 3 plates. Add the gorgonzola and garnish with several basil leaves that you’ve torn into small pieces.

This is best served warm, and the gorgonzola is tangy enough that you don’t need to add dressing.

And Nacho Man, who feels about beets the way I feel about Brussels sprouts, proclaimed that he liked them with the smoky grilled corn. I’ll settle for a fifty percent approval rating from my family.

Warm Beet Salad with Grilled Corn, Gorgonzola, and Basil

serves 2


2 large beets, trimmed, washed, and cut into quarters or eighths

1 stalk of corn

1 tablespoon olive oil

kosher salt to taste

black pepper to taste

gorgonzola to taste

basil for garnish


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place beets in an oven-safe bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a fork slides through easily. Peel skins with a fork or butter knife.

2. Cook corn using your preferred method. Try grilling it in its stalk, removing most of the stalk and as much corn silk as possible. Turn the corn several times during grilling. The corn will take approximately 15 minutes to cook on medium-low heat.

3. Stand the corn up on end, trimming the bottom to create a broader end if needed. Carefully run a sharp knife down the corn to remove large chunks of niblets.

4. Place beets and corn on individual plates. Garnish with gorgonzola cheese and basil. Mix gently and serve warm.

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