Friday, October 10, 2014

Mexican dinner CSA & gluten free style

I know that I havent been here in a while... ya know... life happens.  I have a back up of 3 blogs, stay tuned for more in the next day or so.

Im sure (or maybe unsure?) Ive mentioned that I have a lot of food issues.  Lactose intolerant, soy intolerant and, most recently, gluten intolerant (luckily, it isnt full Celiac).  You will notice that the recipes I've posted this year are lacking these ingredients.  Yes, there is cheese in a bunch of the recipes but it is low or no lactose cheese.
*Side note for those curious: milk allergy is different from lactose intolerance.  This means that I can still have dairy but it has to be low or no lactose dairy.  Yogurt is a "yes" because it has active cultures that counteract the lactose.  Aged cheeses are a "yes", as a cheese ages the lactose breaks down.  I can each sharp cheddars and Swiss but fresh cheese like mozzarella is totally out without a Lactaid.  Of course, some are more sensitive then others.  My sister is also lactose intolerant but she can eat a couple slices of pizza with only a little effect.  I eat half a slice of pizza without a Lactaid and my stomach will do highly unpleasant things that incapacitate me.  

All that is neither here nor there... on to the food!

Fresh Mexican Dinner
This is a 3 parter:  Taco chicken made with homemade (g/f) taco seasoning
                             fresh Pico de Gallo
                             Spanish Rice in a rice cooker
Full ingredients for all parts:
2 large tomatoes
2 onions (I like and used red onions)
2 cloves garlic
1 lime or 1 tbs lime juice
6oz tomato paste (I dont keep this in the house, although I should.  Below you'll find how I subbed)
2 tbs butter or margarine
1 c rice
2 1/4 c liquid, either water or chicken broth
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp pepper
1 lb chicken breast, cooked & shredded (you can buy canned or bake 350* for 25 minutes)

Lets start with the Pico.  This recipe is my adaptation of a recipe adapted from 

Pico de Gallo
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1 red bell papper, diced (i used what i had: 1 yellow & 1 sm red)
1 clove garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime or 1tbs lime juice
1 tsp salt

Combine tomatoes, onion, pepper.  Add garlic, lime and salt, tasting as you go and adjusted to taste.
Refrigerate.  Will keep a couple days.

Next, start the rice.  I used my trust rice cooker.  If you aren't rice challenged like I am, you can make it stove top using the same basic steps.  I didnt have chicken broth so I used water, which tasted just as good. You can also use water to keep the rice vegetarian.  

Spanish Rice
1 cup uncooked rice
2 1/4 cup liquid (I used water but you can use chicken broth)
6oz tomato paste **see below recipe for sub**
2 tbs butter or margarine
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic, minced
salt & pepper to taste

Place all ingredients into your rice cooker and cook according to cooker's directions.  It may finishing a little liquidy, mix it and let set in your cooker a couple minutes and it should thicken up.

**tomato paste substitution.  
Dice 2 large tomatoes.  Simmer in a heavy pot for 30 minutes.  Use a masher or stick blender to break down tomato.  Simmer another 15 to 20 minutes until thick.  This wont have the smokey tone that paste has.  I still enjoyed it.  You can add a little paprika for a more smokey flavor.

Having a gluten intolerance, Im really careful of seasonings.  Many seasonings and flavors use wheat-based binders and preservatives.  You can find gluten free taco seasoning fairly easy, but why, when you can make it yourself with things most people have on their spice rack

Taco Chicken with homemade Taco Season
seasoning: (good for 1 lb of meat)  
1 tbs chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp dried oregano (*pro tip: crush dried herbs in palm of hand before adding.  It releases the oil and refreshes it)
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Combine all season ingredients and whisk well or use a grinder

Taco Chicken (or tofu!) (or ground beef)
1 lb cooked, shredded chicken (or 1 package firm tofu cubed) (or 1 lb ground beef browned)
1 taco seasoning
1/4 cup water

Heat chicken (or tofu) in skillet.  Sprinkle seasoning over meat.  Add water and stir well.  Simmer 5 minutes until water is mostly cooked away.  The water will keep the meat from drying out while cooking. 

Voila!... or Ole?  Serve meat over rice and pico over meat.  Can add cheese and sour cream as you like.  I felt it was lighter and fresher without heavy dairy on it.  Really, using the substitutions, it can be completely vegan. 

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