Sunday, September 19, 2010

The other day, I baked a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and it left me with about a cup of canned pumpkin to use in something else.  I was trying to decide which of my many favorite pumpkin recipes to whip up, when I had an idea ... How about a crisp made from pears and pumpkin?  It seemed like it might be a flavor combination that could be delightful.  Was it ever!  We gobbled up the whole pan in one morning!

Although a crisp is traditionally a dessert, and this one is really dessert-worthy, I felt comfortable serving it to my boys as a special Sunday-morning breakfast.  I used the gluten-free quick-cooking oats from Bob's Red Mill.  (They sent me a sample a while back.)  The oats provide some whole-grain wholesomeness plus a nice crunch.  The filling is pears and pumpkin, and I used maple syrup -- a breakfast favorite -- as the sweetener.  I think this would be a great option for kids who don't like traditional breakfasts, and you could even up the nutrition a little more by serving it with some vanilla coconut-milk yogurt.  For dessert, you could dress it up with some sorbet or dairy-free ice cream.  Yum!

This allergen-free, gluten-free vegan fruit crisp is a great example of how easy it can be to bake up a dish that everyone can enjoy.

Pear-Pumpkin Crisp

9 servings

1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
6 pears, peeled and thinly sliced (I used Bartlett.)
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup maple syrup
canola oil to lightly oil pan


Preheat oven to 400.
Lightly oil a large baking pan (9x13 or lasagna pan).
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin with cinnamon and allspice.
Add pear slices and stir to toss pears with pumpkin mixture.
Spread into prepared pan.
In a small bowl, combine oats with salt.
Add maple syrup, and stir to combine.
Spread on top of fruit mixture.
Bake 35 minutes, or until lightly golden and crispy on top.

Happy Cooking!


Monday, September 13, 2010

I got the nicest email today.  The folks at let us know that our Welcoming Kitchen blog was named one of the top 50 Food Allergy Blogs on their website.  They even called us "thoroughly essential."  How's that for fantastic?!   They also listed some other really great websites, so I would encourage anyone dealing with food allergies to check out their list.


Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan

Sunday, September 12, 2010

To most people, September means fall.  To my football-crazy family, it means Bears Season.  September is full of hope and optimism.  We can still go ALL THE WAY!  It was with this great, anything-can-happen feeling that I entered Soldier Field today for the Bears home opener.

The fancy beer concession is on the way to our seats, and whoa! was I surprised to see that in addition to the microbrews and imports that they usually offer, they also had a sign tacked up that offered Redbridge Gluten-free Beer.  I love it that even in this most mainstream of environments, a little sensitivity has crept in.

To top it all off, the Bears won.  Overall, not a bad day at the game.

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Caramelized Onions - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

One of the tricks of creating great-tasting dishes when following a special diet is to rely on flavor-boosting additions.  A favorite of mine is carmelized onions.  I must confess, however, that I have never actually made them.  I was put off by the idea of how much time they would need.

Caramelized Onion - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Let me tell you ... this was nonsense!  Today, I sliced up four onions I had laying around and cooked them up, low and slow, with some olive oil and a dash of salt.  These caramelized onions were possibly the GREATEST FOOD I EVER ATE!

The uses for them are endless.  I could use them as the base of a rich French Onion Soup, I could make a tart with a gluten-free crust and sliced, salty olives, I could load them up on crostini.  Or, what I suspect might happen, I could eat them out of the jar with a fork, not even sharing them with my family!

Cooking the onions over a medium heat for a long time (45 minutes to an hour) took all of the sting out of the onions and left them with a sweet, sugary, rich loveliness.  If you haven't made these before, I strongly recommend that you cook some up right away.

Caramelized Onions
Makes approximately 1 cup

4 large onions, thinly sliced
olive oil, enough to coat bottom of pan
dash of salt

Pour olive oil into the bottom of a saute pan or small stock pot .  Turn pan to ensure that the bottom is coated with oil.
Heat oil over medium heat.
Add onions.  Sprinkle with salt.
Cook over medium to medium-low heat for 45 minutes to an hour.  Stirring and scraping every few minutes to ensure that they are not sticking and burning.  Scrape any browned bits off the bottom.
Onions are done when they are soft, brown and sweet.

Happy Cooking!

My new book, Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.