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
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
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
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)

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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Adopt a Gluten-free Blogger: Maggie from She Let them Eat Cake

March 9th, 2012 yum Posted in Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger, Vegan 6 Comments »

I have known about Maggie from She Let them Eat Cake for years, but we hadn’t chatted much until we both found ourselves in the running for the Circle of Moms Top 25 vegan and vegetarian mom blog contest along with Kim of Welcoming Kitchen. We ended up chatting about it on twitter and I realized that I really needed to get to know Maggie’s blog better. Maggie’s blog followed her husband’s diagnosis with Celiac about 7 years ago, and her baking became naturally gluten-free and vegan when her son was diagnosed with gluten, dairy, and egg intolerance. Maggie bakes gorgeous, healthy food and I found it a real challenge to just pick one or two items from her blog to try. I was enticed by her zucchini pancakes and blueberry buckle, but finally settled on making her Nutty Sandwich Bread and her morning glory muffins. I was attracted to her sandwich bread because she suggested using either almond meal OR walnut meal, and I’ve been playing with different nut and seed meals recently. And the morning glory muffins struck me as pure brilliance, being grain-free, based in almond and quinoa flour but yet egg-free as well, using a mashed banana and flax eggs as a binder. They were excellent timing, as a gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free friend of mine was ill and I wanted to bring over some baked goods to her house, along with some soup. Besides, I had one blackened banana that was crying to be used up before it had to be tossed.

As I was making the muffins, I could tell that they were going to turn out well due to the elasticity in the dough, not to mention the yummy smelling cinnamon and the raisins. I don’t like walnuts in my muffins so I left them out of the dough and just put some on top of the muffins before baking them. Somehow finding walnut in the middle of a bready bite does not make me happy, but when I know I’m biting into a nut on top of the muffin I feel like the muffin is better somehow. Is that weird? I did find that I had to bake the muffins longer than Maggie suggested, and even then they were a little on the moist side. I noticed that Maggie often makes them in mini muffin tins and I think that would be a perfect solution. However, both the DH and I gobbled them up so I can’t really say this moistness was a problem. Instead, the problem was that I didn’t make a double batch! Next time I might make mini morning glories, just because they are so darned cute and faster to bake. And yes, there will be a next time. Oh yes, there will be more morning glory muffins. Now, please.

Because I love bread and found Maggie’s recipe very compelling, I just had to try her Nutty Sandwich Bread. I used all sorghum flour because sometimes garfava is a little tough on my stomach, and I used walnut meal that I ground in my clean spice grinder. The batch came together quickly. I noticed that Maggie used two bread pans but when I mixed up the batch, I felt like I could easily just make one nice fat loaf, so I used one 8*4 pan. It rose beautifully and baked up even prettier, so I was happy with my decision. I sprinkled the top with sunflower seeds and just looking at that gorgeous loaf (not to mention smelling it) made me smile.

It made the perfect loaf of bread for toast or sandwiches. Toddler Yum enjoyed it freshly made with the crusts cut off and some dairy-free margarine. I liked it with baba ghanoush, avocado and garden lettuce, with almond or peanut butter, and also in a super yum creation of mine involving hummus, sliced lyndsay olives, and organic arugula. *drool* The DH also gave it thumbs ups.

The one thing about it was that either the walnut meal or the baking soda made me feel weirdly like I was eating banana bread without the banana. Something about the texture felt more like a quickbread than a yeast bread, but the flavor was terrific. I would definitely make this again any time I needed a good gluten, dairy, and egg free recipe. No wonder Maggie is such a powerhouse in the blogging world, with these terrific recipes! I’m so glad I finally adopted her and explored her yummy baked goods.

You can find more of Maggie’s recipes at the site she co-founded with Amy Green of Simply Sugar and Gluten-free, The Balanced Platter.

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