Gluten-free Dairy-free Roasted Eggplant Tomato Risotto and Chickpea Hummus Burger Recipe

August 25th, 2012 yum Posted in Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger, Chickpeas, Dairy Free, Eggplant, Japan, Rice, Vegan, beans 12 Comments »


Here in Japan, it is the season of festivals, fireworks, and finally, the summer harvest. In the Northernmost part of Japan that we are living in, summer comes later than other parts of Japan, and goes by quicker. However, at long last, local gardens are giving up bounty of green peas, bok choy type greens, tomatoes, and edamame soybeans. I have never lived in rural Japan before- which is called “Inaka”, or Ee-nah-kah, by residents and visitors. Honestly, I don’t find Mutsu City (where we are currently living) all that “Inaka” or rural. There are a handful of different grocery stores, tons of clothing stores, lots of restaurants (although we just end up going to the kaiten zushi, revolving sushi restaurant called Kappa Zushi), and a terrific city workout center and city library.

But one thing that does make me think that I’m living somewhere rural is how warm and generous the local people have been to us. I’ve never gotten so many (food) gifts in my life, whether it is the local specialty Beko Mochi for Kid Yum, or random snacks received and redistributed, or, these days, bounty from people’s garden. Just today we were given fresh, beautiful tomatoes from two different friends’ gardens. One woman befriended my Mom at the city workout center (wellness center), and today had her over for lunch and gave her tomatoes to bring home from her garden. Kid Yum’s Preschool friends’ mother came all the way to my research site today and brought me still more tomatoes from her own mother’s garden. We were suddenly swimming in tomatoes! The latter friend also gave me some beautiful garden eggplant. I looked at those two ingredients, and somehow thought that risotto would be the perfect way to marry the two together. I found an interesting recipe online which roasted and pureed eggplant and mixed it into the rice. Since Kid Yum won’t touch any eggplant she can see, I thought it would be a good way to sneak a little variety into her diet, so taking that as my jumping point, I created a new recipe topped with vibrant roasted baby tomatoes.

We’ve been having a wonderful time here in Japan enjoying the festivals. Kid Yum got to participate in our neighborhood Kid Nebuta float and play at pulling the float along with her neighborhood pals. And a week or so later, I got to help carry the City Hall Mikoshi (portable shrine). There’s no place like Inaka, at least, the inaka of the biggest city in Tohoku’s Shimokita Peninsula.

Here are a few pictures and a video to give you a taste of our life here, before you enjoy my latest recipe.

A terrible picture of me, but it was dreadfully hot. Unfortunately the only picture of me in the happi traditional jacket for festivals.

Alta from Tasty Eats at Home is hosting THIS MONTH’S Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger. You can still sign up! Please give her your support in comments and love. Since I’ll be staying in Japan through October, I would love any offers to host for September or October. Please let me know if you are interested in Hosting Adopt a gluten-free Blogger! *hugs*

Finally, a Video from the Tanabu Festival, with traditional dancing and Shimokita’s theme song

Grilled Eggplant and Roasted Tomato Risotto Recipe
Ingredients
2 small eggplant, cut in half horizontally, pierce skin in several places and rubbed with olive oil
2 cups small tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine or mirin (sweet rice wine)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (unsweetened, plain- I used soy)
salt or herbamare to taste
smoked paprika
fresh basil, julienned to garnish
Directions
Grill eggplant on a bbq, broil in an oven, or grill in a Japanese fish grill (under the rangetop in a japanese house) until soft. Then scoop out the flesh, dispose of the skin, and food process the soft eggplant flesh until smooth and creamy.

Prepare tomatoes by placing on cookie sheet lined with wax paper, drizzling with olive oil and a little salt. If you have a toaster oven, you can roast them in the toaster oven for about 20 minutes. Otherwise, you can use a regular oven or broiler… remove when the bottom starts to brown slightly and they have shrunk in size.

Heat the olive oil to medium in a large stock pan (a dutch oven is great) and add your diced onion. Saute until onion starts to turn translucent, and then add your risotto rice. Stir rice into the onion and let the rice start to turn translucent around the edges. Add your white wine or mirin (I didn’t have wine so used mirin) and stir. Prepare some warm vegetable broth either in a pot or microwave. I used a gluten-free vegetable bullion cube with hot water from a tea dispenser. Add 1/2 cup of broth to your rice, stirring until it is evenly distributing and then leaving the rice until it has absorbed more liquid. Add more broth 1/2 cup at a time, until you have used it all and the rice has become soft, about 20 minutes. If you need more liquid, add water 1/4 cup at a time until the rice is soft. Don’t add too much because the water will dilute the flavor! When rice is tender stir in the grilled eggplant puree and non-dairy milk. Season with salt or herbamare and smoked paprika. Serve topped with roasted baby tomatoes and fresh julienned basil.

Chickpea Hummus Un-Burgers
Ingredients
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1 tbsp tahini (if thick, add a little hot water to make liquid)
1 tsp. lime or lemon zest (grated skin)
1 tbsp. potato starch
herbamare or your favorite seasoned salt
dried dill herb to taste
1 tbsp. julinned basil
1-2 tbsp. olive oil

Lime slice (For serving)

Directions
Place your drained beans in a medium bowl and use either a potato masher or your fingers to partially mash them. Drizzle your tahini on the beans, add zest, and sprinkle potato starch, dried dill and salt, mixing together to form a ball, adding fresh julienned basil at the very end. Form into small, firm patties. Heat olive oil on medium and put in your patties, turning when side is golden brown.

Serve each patty topped with a squirt of lime juice from the lime slice.

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Gluten-free Baking in Japan: Classic Rice Flour Pancakes Recipe

June 8th, 2012 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Brown Rice, Dairy, Gluten Free in Japan, Gluten-free Japanese Label Reading, Pancake, Rice, Soy Free, Travel, gluten-free international travel 8 Comments »


Hello from Mutsu City, Aomori Prefecture Japan!

Dear Readers, I’m sure that many of you have wondered what on earth happened to me. Around the end of May I actually got on a plane with the DH and dear Toddler Yum in tow and flew to Japan for a three month fieldwork trip for my dissertation. Preparation kept me quite busy initially, and then once I arrived in Japan I found myself extremely busy going to my field site, doing surveys and interviews, and then trying to keep myself fed and cared for. Not only that, when I’m not actually in the field but come down to our monthly apartment, Toddler Yum has been a busy girl requiring my attention. I started her in a Japanese daycare, and it has been a wonderful, enriching experience but also brought its own difficulties. My dear girl is learning some Japanese and about Japanese culture and loving it- but separating from Mommy in the morning has been a trial. We’ve had to bust out the favorite “Llama Llama Misses Mama” book for some of the bad days, and gone back to drawing Mini Mama and Mini Grandma on her hand to keep her company. She has a little uniform that is so cute, though. And luckily she seems to be doing well on a wheat-diet, so can eat the delicious, healthy, handmade lunches they make at her pre-school. My girl loves Japanese food!


Me in the Field, being Visited by Toddler Yum

I love Japanese food too, but my food options are severely limited. As usual, while living in Japan I consume seafood, but it is quite a challenge to avoid wheat when soy sauce is used to season pretty much all of the convenience prepared foods and flavors most restaurant dishes. I can’t buy any prepared gluten-free baked foods, but I brought things like gluten-free pasta from home, as well as a few baking mixes and brown rice flour. Over the past month, I’ve been experimenting. This morning my Dad (who joined us when the DH had to return home for work) made me these awesome gluten-free pancakes. All you need is one burner, so they are good for the gluten-free girl (or guy) on the road or even in a dorm room. I’ve also been experimenting with baking in the toaster oven (our apartment doesn’t have a regular oven) and have come up with an excellent mini banana bread recipe that I will be sharing soon.

In other Blog News:
I’m sure many of you have given up hope about the Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger Event, but starting this month some dear gluten-free blogger friends are stepping in and helping to host the event.

Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger Event Schedule
June: Shannon of Enjoying Gluten-free Life
Live: Signups for Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger!

July: Sunny of And Love it Too
August: Alta of Tasty Eats at Home

I’ll be back hosting in September! Thanks ladies, you are lifesavers!

Here’s the ingredients I bought in Japan to make this recipe! You can buy all of the ingredients in the States, too, so no worries.

*I brought the Bob’s Red Mill Brown Rice flour from home. You may be able to find brown rice flour in Japan, but I haven’t found one that wasn’t packaged in bulk with gluten items yet… If you live in Japan and are frustrated by your inability to find safe brown rice flour, you can substitute more white rice flour for the brown OR grind brown rice with a good mill to make your own gluten-free brown rice flour for this recipe.*
Note the milk in the picture. If you don’t buy lowfat milk in Japan, you’re likely end up with some VERY thick and creamy milk. Delicious if you like cream… and it certainly it makes a delicious latte, but it is quite the figure-buster. lol. I learned early on in my Japanese life to seek out the lowfat stuff for drinking and baking. I’ll be making a dairy-free version for Toddler Yum using the easily available soy-milk or the soy-almond milk, and I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Read Japanese Labels for Gluten-free Shopping in Japan!

White Rice Flour / Kome Ko
I found this in an unusually large bag at a Japanese chain store called Sanwado found in the Tohoku region of Japan and Hokkaido. [English review of Sanwado in Misawa]
I love this store, which is like a combo between Walmart and a very small Costco. I found large, American-size cans of Chickpeas and Red Kidney Beans, neither of which are typically available in Japan, and if they are available are typically expensive and only sold in small quantities. I also can buy thai rice paper wraps, rice noodles, and cans of veggie green curry there. Yay!

Note that this rice flour is NOT mochi rice flour or sweet rice flour, but like the regular rice flour sold by Ener-g Foods or Bob’s Red Mill. It is 100% rice flour (wetland) and doesn’t have a notice about wheat being produced in its factories so should be a pretty pure source.


Almond Flour/ Almond Powder
I was surprised to find Almond flour, aka Almond Powder, in Japan, sold with the cake ingredients. I have seen large bags (I think at Sanwado) but purchased this small bag that was sold next to the cake sprinkles. It also doesn’t have a warning about shared production lines.

The Homemade Cake brand is owned by Kyoritsu Foods. They have many different products including gluten-ones. I’m not sure how the packaging happens, but since they don’t have a warning about wheat production lines, the risk of cross contamination seems fairly low. They do mention that dairy products are produced in the same factory, for any who might be concerned. The quality is similar to Honeyville Blanched Almond Flour.


Baking Soda and Baking Powder
I was surprised to find this baking soda at the “hyakku En Shoppu” Daiso, which is like a Japanese dollar store. It was reasonably priced. I found the baking powder in a regular grocery store, but wouldn’t recommend this particular brand as it has a warning that wheat products are produced in the same factory.

Gluten-free Pancakes in Japan
Ingredients
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp. apple vinegar
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 tbsp. almond powder (almond flour)
2 tbsp. white sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 tbsp. melted butter
Directions
Combine milk and vinegar in a large bowl and let it sit until it thickens slightly and the milk turns sour.

Combine your dry ingredients (brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond powder, sugar, baking powder and salt) in a medium bowl. Whisk together until ingredients are

Heat a non-stick pan to medium heat (or use your favorite cast iron pan with a little butter or oil as needed).

Add your egg and melted butter to the vinegar-thickened milk and whisk together. Gradually add your combined dry ingredients to the wet (egg, butter, milk, vinegar) and gently fold together.

Using a 1/4 cup measure for each pancake, pour up to 3 pancakes in your pan at a time. When the pancake gets bubbles on the top, after about 30 seconds, turn them over. When the second side is brown, remove from the pan and repeat.

Enjoy!

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