Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Incidental Glutenarian (Part 1 in a Series)

I am gluten-intolerant, as are many people in the world, and it's not nearly as hard to cut out wheat, rye, barley and triticale (whatever that is) as most people think. Yes, eating out can be hard because gluten is a sneaky little sucker, but cooking at home is easy, and you don't need to go out and buy all kinds of crap like xanthan gum (whatever that is) to cook gluten-free.

By the way, even if you are not intolerant, it tends to be a healthier diet that's easier on the ol' g-i system if you want to give it a go. A hint: corn, rice, and potatoes are all gluten friendly. Or rather, gluten-unfriendly. Gluten free. You know what I mean.

For these reasons, I've decided to post recipes of the easy and delicious stuff I sometimes make that doesn't require gluten or xanthan gum.

First recipe: Tofu and Quinoa Mash

1 cup quinoa (red or white)
1 pkg firm tofu
1-2 cloves garlic
1 small red or white onion
1/2 large green pepper
1/2 large red pepper
1/2 pkg spinach
sour cream
cheddar cheese

Put quinoa on: 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 10-15 mins depending on the kind you got (red quinoa takes longer and is damn pretty)

Chop tofu into cubes. Salt the crap out of them (well, maybe 1/2-1 teaspoon) and add a pinch of turmeric and cayenne. Throw a pat of butter in a saucepan, and when it melts, throw in the tofu. Here's the tricky part: periodically press the water out of the tofu with your spatula, and let one side get nice and crispy before you turn the tofu over and do it again. This makes for an interesting and delicious texture (an example of tofu made right!)

Chop garlic and other veggies. Throw them into a buttered or oiled saucepan, leaving quick-cooking spinach for last.

When all has cooked properly (veggies should be crunchy), put some quinoa in a bowl, layer the tofu on and then the veggies. Cover with a couple of teaspoons of salsa and a nice dollop of sour cream on top. Sprinkle grated cheese around the dollop for a very pretty and elaborate looking but extremely simple meal.

Leave the salsa, sour cream, and cheese on the table so you and/or your guests can add to taste at will. Serves about four.

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