Post-Partum Freezer Meals: Eggplant and Spiced Meat Bake

 

Eggplant and Spiced Meat Bake

The Mediterranean flavors are still on my mind and today’s post I will share with you a delicious casserole dish that is easy to assemble and cook, but tastes like you spent hours putting it together. This is a great addition to your post-partum freezer meal list because it is one of those dishes that tastes even better a day or two later after the flavors have really had a chance to marry, and there are some really great flavors! If you aren’t going to freeze this for later use, please make sure you make enough for leftovers, or you are really missing out!

This recipe is based loosely on Moussaka. It has all the same elements, the tomatoes, the béchamel and the spiced meat. However, I didn’t have any ground lamb, as is traditional, so I used what I did have – buffalo meat. You could use ground beef, lamb or even ground turkey in this dish and it would taste great!

When choosing your eggplant, smaller is always less bitter, yet even so I still salt and drain them before cooking to take any bitterness out. I used graffiti eggplants in this dish, I really like the flavor and they have a great melting quality to them when cooked, which is perfect for this dish. You can easily spot them because they are tear shaped and have variegated coloring of purple and white.

I hope you enjoy this hearty, delicious and simple dish!

INGREDIENTS:

3 medium eggplants, cut into thin rounds
salt
¼ cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 pound of ground meat
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of Beau Monde (contains, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, bay leaf and pepper)
2 hand fulls of arugula
1 – 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes

¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup of organic yogurt (I used homemade goat yogurt)
3 eggs

METHOD: Cut the eggplant into thin rounds, place in a colander and mix with about a tsp of salt. Let rest for 20 minutes. While the eggplant is resting, preheat the oven to 400 F. After 20 minutes, rinse the eggplant and squeeze out any excess moisture. Stir the eggplant in a bowl with 2 TBS of olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

Heat the rest of the oil in a skillet sauté the onion and garlic until translucent, then add the meat and spices and cook until nice and browned. Then add the arugula and the tomatoes. Simmer the sauce for about 20 minutes, or until it gets nice and thick. Salt and pepper to taste.

While the sauce is cooking whisk together the nutmeg, eggs and yogurt. This is in place of a traditional béchamel sauce.

Place a thin layer of eggplant in a large glass baking dish and then put a layer of the meat sauce. Continue to do this until all the ingredients are used up – in the same manner you would make lasagna – end with a layer of eggplant. Then add the yogurt mixture on top.

Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for about 45- 50 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it.

Serves 6

Shredded Lemon-Yogurt Chicken over Grain-Free Naan with Garlicky Tzatziki

 

Shredded Chicken on Naan with Tzatziki

(Shredded Lemon-Yogurt Chicken over Grain-Free Naan with Garlicky Tzatziki)

Sometimes in the dead of winter, you long for something sunny and bright. During winter’s darkness I often become hungry for the bright sunny tastes of the Mediterranean.

On a recent trip to Costco we were excited to find organic chicken – breasts and thighs. This might not sound very exciting, but when you raise your own chickens for meat (and eggs!) most of the time the only chicken meals you really make are whole roasted chickens or chicken soup. When you free-range your chickens they don’t tend to get as nice and plump and so the breasts and other parts tend to be on the smaller side. So we were excited to find decent quality chicken cuts for very good prices at Costco to add some diversity to our dinners.

Having various cuts of chicken is a luxury for us and so I wanted to do something fun with the meat. I made several slices into each breast and stuffed them with slices of meyer lemon. Then I rubbed the breasts with a mixture of homemade goat yogurt, salt, garlic, oregano, mint and lemon juice. I baked the breasts in the oven until the meat could be easily shredded. Then I served the shredded meat on top of grain free naan bread with slices tomatoes, cucumbers and arugula and then topped the whole thing off with homemade tzatziki.

This meal really hit the spot! It was comprised of all the flavors I was looking for without taking a long time to make. Cooking with an infant in the house means cooking in stages. I made the naan earlier in the day – easy to reheat later. I also made the tzatziki early, so the garlic had time to really penetrate the yogurt. I decided to bake the chicken so it was very hands off. Then at the end I just had to pull the whole thing together.

I served it with a simple side of oven roasted eggplant dices.

Lemon-Yogurt Chicken Breasts

INGREDIENTS:

2 organic chicken breasts
¼ cup plain organic yogurt (cow, goat, non-dairy)
2 TBS lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried mint
drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

METHOD: Place chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish and mix with all the ingredients. Let sit in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place baking dish with chicken and marinade in the oven and cover, bake for 45 minutes until meat is tender enough to shred.

Tzatziki

INGREDIENTS:

1 ½ cup plain organic yogurt (cow, goat, non-dairy)
2 TBS lemon juice
½ of an English (seedless) cucumber, shredded
5 cloves of garlic, shredded or grated
salt to taste
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried mint
drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

METHOD: Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving.

Oven Roasted Eggplant Dices

INGREDIENTS:

2 small eggplants, diced and salted
extra virgin olive oil

METHOD: Preheat oven to 400 F. Dice the eggplant and place in a colander, lightly salt the eggplant and let sit for about 20 minutes. In 20 minutes rinse the eggplant and squeeze the pieces to get the water out. Place on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Salt to taste.

Grain-Free Naan Bread

I have used both of these recipes and they are great for this purpose!

Grain Free Garlic Naan (Gluten/Yeast/Nut/Dairy Free) by Real Sustenance
Paleo Naan Bread (Flatbread) by Swiss Paleo

 

Experimental Scoops for #ElleAPalooza: Hard Cider and Plum Sherbet #ElleAPalooza #Scoopapalooza

Elles_Sorbet

 

#ElleAPalooza is an even that any blogger can join! This is our community’s way to remember a wonderful friend, mentor and blogger that passed out of our midst suddenly and sadly, Elle of Elle’s New England Kitchen. Foodies celebrate with food and we also grieve with food and that is what this event is all about, remembering our dear friend Elle in a way she would have loved, with food!

scoopa

Elle and her friend Heather from He Cooks, She Cooks started an event called #Scoopapalooza and I just found out there is also a facebook page. This is the inspiration for Scoopapalooza in their words: “The idea is to pick up a new, unusual, or super fresh ingredient from the farmers market, grocery store, or even your own garden–and incorporate it into an ice cream recipe. Because that is what summer is all about! Fresh ingredients and ice cream!”

Well it isn’t summer anymore, but I decided what better way to honor my friend’s memory than with making my own crazy concoction! I was going to go straight up and just make Elle’s amazing Woodchuck Cider Sorbet  but I didn’t feel that was really in the spirit of Scopapalooza! I needed to mix it up – do something different, bold and a little crazy. So I decided on making a sherbet, using yogurt and of course that key ingredient, Woodchuck’s Cider. I know, sounds weird, but that is what Scoopapalooza is all about, getting creative with ice cream!

Talking to Heather the other day and remarking on her Hard Apple Cider Cranberry Sorbet  and how the color looked like Elle’s hair, I knew I wanted to add a pink element to this creation. So I added some plums I had frozen over the summer. I think the plum and the apple go well together, their sweet and tart flavors, mixed with the yogurt is definitely a delicious combination. For extra sweetness and more pink I also added some Swedish lingonberry concentrate. The sherbet didn’t get as pink as I would have liked, but I am happy with the result.

I learned a valuable lesson too, while making the sherbet. I wanted to use some delicious jarred morello cherries in juice that I get from Trader Joe’s – for the sweet and for the pink. We don’t have a TJ’s near us so when I come across one in our travels I always get a jar of those cherries (more if we have lots of extra room). They are precious because I love them so much and they are so hard to come by. So I dole them out sparingly, trying to save them, make them last longer. Well I guess I let these wait a bit too long, when I opened the jar there was a fizzy sound, meaning the cherries had spoiled. So I had to throw half the jar away. Instead of enjoying the cherries while they were good and fresh. By hoarding them, I lost half the jar. Lesson learned was to enjoy things in the moment because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Enjoy life NOW. If Elle’s passing taught us anything it is that life is precious and way too short. Follow your dreams, do what you love, be passionate about what you do, or don’t do it. Live each moment in the fullness of your being.

I think Elle would have been proud of my experiment and the lessons learned in its making. I wish I could have a dish with her right now to celebrate the sweetness of life. I am sure she is making delicious ice cream and treats in the great beyond. I love you, Elle.

If you would like to join the food blogging community in supporting Elle’s family, please join Friends of Elle on facebook to learn more about the auction be held to benefit her family. It is also a place where you can share your thoughts about Elle and gather with friends old and new who all loved this beautiful woman.

Hard Cider and Plum Sherbet

INGREDIENTS:

2 c. plain yogurt
1 bottle Woodchuck’s Hard Cider (Elle’s Favorite!)
1 plum, cut in half and parboiled
4 TBS lingonberry concentrate (can also use black currant or pomegranate)

METHOD: Place all ingredients in a high powered blender, like a Vitamix. Blend until mixed thoroughly. Place in your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s directions. I let my sherbet mix for about 25 minutes.

Two Simple Chia Pudding Recipes (dairy free, grain free)

 

(Simple Chia Seed Pudding)

Pudding is one of my favorite desserts – I love the creamy texture and the multitude of ways that you change it up once you have a good base. Normally during the week we have homemade yogurt with fruit for dessert and in the summertime we also enjoy coconut milk ice creams and kefir or yogurt “ice cream” . My husband, Roberto is lactose intolerant but does fine with cultured milk products, so I tend to use these bases when making desserts. Personally I love them and don’t miss the traditional ice creams very much at all!

When I make desserts for us at home during the week, I am looking for something healthy and quick that I can make with ingredients I have on hand. I don’t want to have to wash a lot of pans, or spend a lot of time at the stove, tempering eggs and what not. So if I can get out of cooking the dessert, all the better.

I want to share with you two simple versions of chia seed pudding. It took me a while to get on the chia bandwagon. For a long time, all I could think about when I heard the name is those ugly chia pets. I am still not actually sure if they are related. I started finding people posting all these delicious and simple dessert recipes with chia seeds and I decided to try them, for convenience.

Chia seeds really are amazing. If you are egg free (which I am NOT thank the Gods) they can be a real life-saving ingredient, since they are a great “glue” and binder, not only in baked goods, but also in puddings. Chia has been around for a long time, used in pre-Columbian times by the Aztec. They are high in omega-3 fatty acids and ALA. They are also high in protein as well as phosphorus, manganese, calcium, potassium.

Chia seeds are used often in the raw food community, which is where I found the first recipe that I want to share. I found lots of delicious raw desserts on Sweetly Raw, including “Ways with Chia”. I used the recipe for Basic Chia Pudding. Sometimes I use yogurt as the base and other times I use coconut milk. I find it is really good with a fruit compote. The one pictured is a simple strawberry compote I made using fresh strawberries and cooking them down with a little honey over a low heat until it was the right consistency. So simple!

The other night I wanted something warm for dessert. So I decided to cook a quick pudding. This time I used chia seeds, arrowroot powder, coconut milk, and some spices. I served it with sliced bananas and warmed almond butter drizzled over the whole thing. It was delicious and thinking about it right now makes me want to have it for dessert tonight! These also make good breakfasts.

Each of these puddings takes just a few minutes to put together. They both require very few ingredients and they both allow you to get creative with toppings, spices and flavorings. If you haven’t tried chia seeds yet, I definitely suggest it!

Basic Chia Pudding (cold) (from SweetlyRaw)

INGREDIENTS:
1 cup coconut or almond milk or yogurt
1-2 tablespoons chia seed
Vanilla bean and a pinch of salt (optional)

METHOD:
Shake 1 cup coconut milk with chia seed in a jar with a tight lid.
Allow the mixture to sit for at least 30 minutes for the chia to swell completely.
Add toppings of your choice!

Basic Chia Pudding (warm or cold)

INGREDIENTS:
2 cans coconut milk
2 TBS chia seeds, ground
2 TBS arrowroot powder
¼ cup honey, maple, palm sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Dash of cinnamon

METHOD:
Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the sweetener, chia seeds and the arrowroot powder and whisk almost constantly until it begins to boil. Lower heat to simmer and continue to whisk for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. At this point it will be a bit thinner than traditional pudding, but will firm up nicely in the fridge if you’d rather serve it cold.

Versatile Smoothie Recipe

This recipe is kitty approved!

I have been posting a lot recently on my Facebook Page about my post workout Pumpkin Smoothies and those posts have created quite a buzz! I am a huge pumpkin freak and I enjoy it all year long – seems like a lot of you are too! I don’t know what I enjoy better, my workouts or these smoothies afterwards- the best of both worlds! This smoothie is great way to get in some extra grain-free carbohydrates, fat and protein post workout.

That said, many times when I post a specific recipe, I get a lot of great comments like: “can I substitute Y ingredient for X ingredient?” or “I wish I could make that, but I don’t consume X ingredient” or “I wish I could make this but I don’t know where to get X ingredient” or simply “I don’t like X ingredient”. You get the gist…so although I will post my awesome pumpkin smoothie with options and add ins, I will also give you ideas for entirely different smoothie recipes. This is mix and match folks! :)

This is your smoothie recipe – easy to tailor to your tastes and needs. I give some suggestions, but feel free to improvise. Like chocolate? Add a TBS or two of fair trade cocoa powder (no sugar added). Don’t do sugar? Try stevia, or fruit sweetened smoothies – dried dates are great for this. Want to make it a greenie? Add a handful of spinach or kale. The possibilities are endless!

Here are some of my recent combinations:

raw milk, pumpkin, 1/2 banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and a little stevia
raw milk, egg, pumpkin puree, almond butter, cinnamon and molasses
coconut milk, avocado, cocoa powder, cinnamon, maple
kefir, soaked almonds, dried dates/figs, frozen berries, vanilla extract

This smoothie recipe is so versatile you can enjoy it for breakfast, a snack, dessert or part of any meal when you need an extra boost.

INGREDIENTS: per smoothie (@ 16 oz)

Base liquid: 1 cup liquid – Kefir, Raw Milk, Coconut Milk are good choices
Thickener: 1 banana – I also like using instead 1/2 avocado
Nuts: 3 TBS almond butter – you can use any other nut butter or a handful of soaked nuts – I usually use almonds – click here to understand about the benefits of soaking nuts
Sweetener: 1 TBS 100% pure maple syrup, honey or molasses or 1/8 – ¼ tsp or one or two dried dates (optional)
Optional add ins: ¼ cup of pumpkin puree, 1/4 yogurt, 1/4 berries, 2 TBS cocoa powder, kale or spinach, dash of cinnamon, 1 shot of espresso or ¼ cup of coffee, 1 TBS coconut oil, raw pastured raised chicken egg (do not use conventional eggs from the grocery store), vanilla extract, powdered ginger, nutmeg, etc.
Ice

METHOD:
Place all the liquids in your blender first. Then add the fruit, butters, oils and nuts and then the cinnamon. Process on medium speed until well mixed, then start adding ice, a handful at a time, gradually, until the smoothie is at your desired consistency. I usually turn up the speed to high during the ice process. Pour and enjoy!

Oladyi : Russian Yogurt Pancakes

 

(Oladyi topped with currants)

Yes, I realize that I missed International Pancake Day, but then again, I am not usually one to follow the herd. In fact, I have been meaning to post about these pancakes for a while because we have been enjoying them more times than not on Pancake Sunday- so I thought posting them on a Friday could get you thinking about making these for a wonderful weekend breakfast!

Pancake Sunday is a tradition in our house. It came from those dark days when I was both gluten and egg free for a time and ended up crying over pancakes. Yes, crying, and this folks is why I will never give up eggs again. But what I was so upset about was missing pancakes, the girl who grew up never liking pancakes, but went to live in Norway and fell in love with them. It is funny the things you miss the most when you can’t have them. This is when I realized pancakes needed to be celebrated on a weekly basis and not a Sunday has gone by without them since.

So in my journey to find amazing, delicious gluten free pancakes, we have tried many kinds and have found some favorites: Buckwheat Pancakes, Coconut Flour Pancakes, Norske Pannekakker  (grain free) and for those of you who are not gluten-free I suggest Sourdough Crepes and Aebelskiver.

Recently we have added Oladyi to our list and currently these are the reigning favorites! I got this recipe from my friend Sofya, who blogs over at The Girl’s Guide to Guns and Butter . I made a few changes to her recipe to make them gluten free, so you can feel free to do them either way, depending on your dietary needs. These pancakes are referred to in this house as “the pancakes that eat themselves” – they are light, airy and disappear quickly! They are also good if you make more than you will eat and put the extras in the freezer to have later in the week. This way they can also be a quick and easy mid-week breakfast.

Sofya says that these pancakes are great to make when your yogurt is starting to go bad. So if you are thinking it is time to use up some old yogurt, these are a perfect way to enjoy it!

Oladyi: The Russian Yogurt Pancakes (adapted from A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Butter )

INGREDIENTS:

2 C plain yogurt (going bad OK) – I usually use up my filmjölk before it is time to make another batch
enough flour to make a medium-thick batter (one that holds its shape but is still a liquid rather than a paste) – I usually use about 1 ½ cups of freshly ground buckwheat flour.
2 eggs
2 TBS honey, maple or even molasses
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
butter for frying

METHOD:
Mix flour and yogurt together and let rest overnight (I leave it out on the counter). Next morning preheat cast iron skillet or pancake grill. Mix in the rest of the ingredients (add more flour if needed). Heat butter in the skillet and spoon the batter in. I usually use 1/3 cup for each pancake. Cook until you see bubbles and flip. When I make pancakes, I usually preheat my oven to 200-250 F and place cooked pancakes on a cookie sheet in the oven to keep warm while the others cook. Serves 4 or 2 people with leftovers. Recipe is easily doubled!

Turkish Eggs and A RANT!

Turkish Eggs: Simple, Healthy, Cost Effective Food. For Everyone.

The world of Real Food has become a very confusing environment lately. In fact, I am having a hard time keeping track of all the changes and frankly getting tired doing so because it all seems to be based on flight of fancy!

There is Paleo and Primal, Raw, Vegan, Vegetarian, Blood Type diet, Slow Carb, Low Carb and everything in between and everyone is fighting with each other about what you should eat! Some people say avoid carbs (they are in everything from fruits and veggies to grains), others say avoid sugar, even in fruit – or only eat fruit on an empty stomach, or only eat sugar with fat and protein to keep insulin levels in check! So which is it? Lately too, I see the demonizing of olive oil to endorse butter and lard- Olive oil which has been around as long as butter at least and a staple of all Mediterranean diets for millennia. Why can’t we just say they are all good fats? It is enough to make you completely crazy. I don’t believe in cutting out whole food groups. Our ancestors didn’t, why should we? I guess that is why I follow WAPF for the most part, because it is a very balanced diet that makes sense.

For my own example sometimes when I talk to people who are Paleo about health issues, they seem to immediately assume that because I eat dairy, that is my problem and negate all the other eating habits I follow that are virtually the same as theirs. But, I have 100% northern European DNA and because my ancestors have a long history with dairy animals (at least 10,000 years – as this is when cattle were domesticated) our genes actually mutated to be able to consume and digest dairy! So if I want to eat like my ancestors, dairy is going to be a cornerstone of that diet. It is literally my birthright to do so.

I have a gluten allergy and have a hard time digesting grains. So I don’t eat many of them, although the ones I do eat, I eat a good amount of, like buckwheat. If I could eat wheat I would (I can get wheat and spelt locally. But coconut flour, which I love and eat often, is not at all local – so I struggle with that).

I don’t think wheat it is killing the world. In fact, as I have been discussing all over the web in recent weeks, Italians (and likely others, although Italy is what I am familiar with) eat copious amounts of it in the 2 mainstays of their diet – pasta and bread and have a very healthy population. In fact, Sardinians, are some of the longest lived peoples in the world! So how does that jive with the whole wheat as the grim reaper argument? There has to be other factors, like variety of wheat, the co-mingling with GMO crops, pesticides and the like.

Lots of paleo folks out there eat coconut oil and coconut flour, but what caveman was producing those items for their diet? So many questions and not enough answers.

I don’t have the answers, but I don’t think anyone does at this point.

So what the heck DO you eat? I eat whole FRESH foods, much of which I raise or grow myself or buy locally. I don’t eat packaged or processed foods or artificial sweeteners. I stay away from GMOs and MSG. I watch my sugar intake and if I have chips or something like that, I make sure they are organic. I make sure to have a balanced diet – I eat from all the food groups. I take care in cooking and preparing meals. I never eat fast food. I eat a lot of fermented and cultured foods to promote digestion and keep my gut healthy. I enjoy my food. I care about where is comes from, how the animal lived or how the plant or grain was grown before it came to my plate. I am a conscious consumer. I think these are all important things, in fact more important that the specific foods you are eating. So long as you are paying attention to the rest you are likely much healthier than the majority of the people out there.

It has come to me that a lot of people seem to treat food habits like religion these days. But the reality is, there is no simple answer, there is no magic bullet. Our world is so toxic these days from chemicals, pesticides, GMOs, additives, preservatives, pollution, etc. that we cannot expect to have the same health that our ancestors did and sometimes we cannot reach optimum health on food alone. Many in the Real Food culture give people the impression that if “you just do it right” you will be a perfect human, free of health issues, as energetic and strong as a superhero, popping out babies left and right, etc. But I don’t think that is reasonable for many of us. Some of us need extra help along the way – supplements and what not and there is no shame in that.

Some of us don’t do well with gluten or a lot of sugar and grains and for a lot of us it is because our bodies need to heal. Maybe in time we will be able to have those things again as part of a balanced diet. So please don’t be harsh with us about our choices, be compassionate, try to help but be kind, many people deal with all kinds of food issues and can easily be triggered by these kinds of arguments over what is “right”. Right for who? For you? Great, go with it, but please stop insinuating that your way is the only way or the BEST, because I can probably find just as many people who say it isn’t for them! Please get off your pulpit, preaching to everyone. There is DNA, environmental factors, stress, physiology, lifestyle to consider in every single person when trying to decide what is best to fuel their individual bodies.

STRESS is the real enemy and stressing about how to feed yourself, one of the fundamental blocks of life will be a struggle every day, several times a day if you can’t come to some sort of peace with it all. Provided that you don’t have an allergy, the stress of this will kill you faster than carbs, dairy or whatever is the taboo food of the day.

What do you think?

I want to finish this post on a high note and give a good example of simple, easy to prepare healthy food. This recipe comes from (but slightly modified) the cookbook Primal Blueprint Quick and Easy Meals. This just goes to show that although I don’t follow a particular diet, that I do find a lot of good recipes in the cookbooks! Plus, the original recipe calls for a dairy product which I find interesting! One thing I will never be is dogmatic about food! I love and adore food, but it is not my religion.

Turkish Eggs (adapted from Primal Blueprint: Quick and Easy Meals)

INGREDIENTS:
¼ cup plain full fat yogurt
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 egg
2 TBS butter
Sprinkle of dry thyme
¼ tsp hot paprika
Pinch of salt

METHOD: Stir yogurt and garlic together and spread on serving plate. Fry the egg in 1 TBS of butter. At the same time in a small saucepan or butter warmer melt the other TBS of butter and add herbs and spices. Turn off heat when butter starts to sizzle and brown. Place fried egg on yogurt and drizzle with butter mixture.

Buckwheat Noodles with Mushrooms and Sour Cream

 

Now that the hub-bub of the holidays is winding down, I know I am looking forward to more simplicity when it comes to meal times and I am craving earthy dishes to offset the sweets I have been eating. Although I love the holiday season and all of its indulgences, after several weeks of big celebratory meals, it is nice to get back to basics.

This dish has become one of our favorites, we eat it about once a week. It is a quick and easy go-to kind of meal when you are tired and just don’t know what to cook! We came up with it during the holiday season, when we were busy and/or tired of cooking. It is perfect now also for winding down and simplicity.

I must admit I am not a huge fan of pasta…my guess is because my body knew I was gluten intolerant long before I did, and so subconsciously it dreaded that king of all gluten-ey dishes…the big bowl of pasta. But I am seriously addicted to this bowl of soba noodles mixed with sweet leeks fried in brown butter, deeply earthy mushrooms and thick and creamy sour cream. So so good, you will love it.

A note of caution, if you are gluten-intolerant make sure that the package of Soba or Buckwheat noodles you throw in your basket is in fact gluten-free. Oftentimes, I find packages that also contain wheat.

INGREDIENTS:

2 TBS of browned butter (to make browned butter, place butter in a small saucepan and melt, keep cooking past melting until the butter begins to brown, once is smells sweet and delicious, take it off the burner, it is ready to use)
1 cup of reconstituted dried mushrooms, squeezed dry (keep the water to make mushroom stock or use in other recipes) – chop if the pieces are really big
½ cup sliced leeks (you could also use caramelized onions)
1 large clove of garlic, finely minced
1- 8 oz. package of Soba Noodles (I use King Soba Organic Sweet Potato and Buckwheat Noodles)
½ cup organic full-fat Sour Cream (Greek yogurt would work beautifully as well)
Grated parmesan cheese to taste
1-2 more TBS of butter to mix in your pasta

METHOD:

Start your pasta water. Make the browned butter, then sautee the mushrooms over medium heat in the butter for about 5 minutes, or until nice and soft, then add the leeks and garlic, sautee another 5 minutes. Now cook your pasta – it only takes about 3-5 minutes. Once it is finished cooking, drain the noodles and add them to the skillet with the vegetables. Add the sour cream, parmesan cheese and extra butter, mix and serve.