Thursday, June 23, 2011

Rapido Rapido

Even though gluten is my friend again, I still crave some of the gluten-free dishes that I've come up with. One of which is a gluten-free quick bread. This bread is not just quick, it's extremely simple to make. Quick breads get their name,  because they don't rely on the time-consuming process of yeast fermentation to give them their rise.

To make the bread, combine the following dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl:
-1 cup brown rice flour
-1/4 cup corn flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
-3 teaspoons baking powder

Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients together using a whisk.

Note: Once mixed, you will have to move quickly for the next few steps. So, have everything ready at hand, including a greased baking pan (liberally greased with olive oil).

For the wet ingredients, you will require:
-5 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil
-2 large eggs
-3/4 cup of cold water

Add all of the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix them together vigorously. You will notice that the mixture will begin to bubble and rise, as the liquid activates the baking powder.

Quickly pour the mixture into your pre-greased baking tin.

I don't even bother baking this bread in my full-sized oven! I just pop it into my convection toaster oven, set to 325°F. This bread only needs approximately 12-15 minutes to bake. (I told you it was quick!) Just use the toothpick test to make sure it is cooked thoroughly.

Wait for the loaf to cool before cutting into it.

This bread is often eaten as quickly as it is made. It is slightly sweet, very moist and very yummy.

(By the way, this bread works great crumbled as a gluten-free breadcrumb.)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Soup

Roasted red peppers make amazing summer soup. Be that as it may, it doesn't mean that you need to spend time roasting peppers over an open flame. Roasted peppers, like these Macedonian-inspired ones, are an easy solution to make a quick meal, without having any singed eyebrows.

Along with peppers, I like to use Vidalia onions. This variety of onion is extremely sweet and can actually be tolerably and comfortably eaten raw.

I've recently learned that I've been pronouncing the name incorrectly. I was pronouncing it "Vee-dah-lee-ah", with soft, romantic 'A's. Since they originated in the southern states, it is actually pronounced "Vie-day-lee-ah", with a slight Southern twang. Who knew?

In any case, olives are always pronounced "olives", no matter where you go! A handful of pitted Kalamata olives provide great flavour to this soup.

Roughly chop the above three ingredients and place them in a sauce pot.

Add some water to cover.

You can also use broth instead of water. However, if you don't have any broth, or in my case, "don't feel like it", plop in one or two organic bouillon cubes. I prefer to use an organic variety, as other ones tend to include MSG. (No, thank you.)

For the seasoning component, some oregano and concentrated tomato paste work well. Regular tomato paste works just fine. I just like to use the double-concentrated version, as it is available in a tube and can be re-sealed.

Note: Salt can be added to taste. Although, you probably will not need it.

Soup is quite simple. All you have to do is boil the ingredients together.

When the vegetables are cooked, I like to incorporate a shot of white balsamic vinegar, for some balancing acidity.

At this point, use an immersion blender to purée the mixture until it is silky smooth.

Your end result should look something like this.

I like to serve this soup with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a dollop of homemade yoghurt cheese. (For directions on how to make your own yoghurt cheese, click here.)

Summer never tasted so good!