Thursday, November 17, 2011

I am so excited to be part of The Gluten-free Vegetarian Thanksgiving event hosted by Sea at the Book of Yum.  I love seeing all of the nourishing, delicious and celebratory dishes that other bloggers are showing off as part of this blog carnival.  I urge you to head over to Book of Yum to see what's on the menu for a fulfilling holiday feast!

I had to think about what I wanted to make, though.  A challenge to be sure.  The tempting choice is to go with a dessert or a side dish.  However, as a vegetarian for over 20 years and a vegan for 8, I know that there's nothing like sitting down to a holiday meal that features an entree that I can eat.  How could I not take the whole challenge on, then?  I set out to create an entree that would be safe for most everyone, had great Thanksgiving flavors, and had some solid nutrition to boot.

These mushroom tartlets feature a socca-based crust.  What is socca you might ask?  It is a bread traditionally from the south of France that is made from chickpea flour, so it is naturally gluten-free and protein-rich.  This take on socca uses the same ingredients, but in a slightly thicker format to provide a base for all of the mushroom loveliness that I put on top.

The secret to creating the holiday flavors in this dish is an olive oil that is infused with fresh herbs.
glutenfree vegan foodallergy socca and mushroom tarts

This herbed oil is then used in the mushroom medley and in the crust.  Yum!

Gluten free Mushroom Tart

We also shared this recipe as part of Allergy Friendly Friday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and Wellness Weekend, please check out the other delicious recipes.

Mushroom Tartlets with a Socca Crust
Makes 6 tartlets

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sprig of fresh rosemary
  • sprig of fresh sage
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup  dried chickpeas (or slightly less than 1 cup of chickpea flour)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 5-6 cups sliced mixed mushrooms (I used cremini, shitake and button)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • salt and pepper

  1. Infuse olive oil with herbs by heating in a small saucepan over medium heat until fragrant. 
  2. Remove herbs and discard. 
  3. Set aside oil.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons infused oil in a large skillet or saute pan.
  5. Add shallots and cook one minute.
  6. Add sliced mushrooms
  7. Saute over medium heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Add wine and stir to combine.
  9. Cook until liquid is mostly cooked down.  You should be able to separate mushrooms into piles using a spoon or a spatula without liquid running together.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  11. Remove mushrooms from heat and set aside.
  12. Make chickpea flour by grinding chickpeas until it becomes a fine flour in the food processor.
  13. Sift flour through a mesh sieve, regrinding hard bits. 
  14. Scoop out 1 cup of the sifted flour.  Use remaining flour for another purpose.
  15. In a medium bowl, whisk together chickpea flour and salt.
  16. Mix in oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons of infused olive oil.  Use a whisk to ensure a smooth batter.
  17. Preheat broiler.
  18. Liberally oil a muffin tin with infused olive oil.
  19. Heat oil and pan in the heated oven/broiler for a couple of minutes or until very hot.
  20. Remove pan from oven/broiler.
  21. Pour batter into muffin tin until each cup is filled halfway.
  22. Cook batter in the broiler for 3 minutes or until batter is set.
  23. Add a generous scoop of mushroom mixture to each muffin cup.
  24. Return to broiler for another 2 minutes.
  25. Run a knife around the edge of each muffin cup.
  26. Let tartlets cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so.
  27. Gently remove tartlets from muffin tin with two forks and set on platter or plate.

Happy Cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Monday, November 14, 2011

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Whew!  Lately it feels like I can't even catch my breath for being so busy.

Soccer games!
Swim practices!
Book and Blog Promotion!
Cleaning the house (well... not so much)!

Not to mention, all of the other day-to-day wife, mother, and friend stuff.  All good stuff, to be sure, but still a whirlwind.

It's easy to overindulge when you're busy and you have the excuse of lovely holiday treats only temporarily available.  (Though, really, what's stopping you from having a pumpkin pie in February?)

What to do?

Snack on something that only feels decadent, but really provides a bunch of good, healthy fuel to help get you through the day.

I have been obsessively thinking about using date paste as a sweetener, but I'd never tried it in a recipe that I created.

(I have also been thinking about cooking radishes for the past year and a half or so; a lovely salad will be posted later this week if I can get the photos off of Evan's camera.)

Back to my date-paste fixation.  Yesterday, I was wasting time looking around on the Internet instead of dusting when I started reading about a cocoa no-bake cookie that used quick oats.  It also had a stick of butter, peanut butter and lots of sugar.  It was a starting point.

Gluten-free vegan Cocoa Cookies

The end point is a yummy, soft, not-too-sweet treat that can be a welcome addition to a lunch box, make a tasty afternoon snack, or give a little after-workout boost.  I did my best dressing them up for the photo, but in all honesty, these bites are not great looking!  You might improve their appearance by pressing them into a square baking pan and trying to cut them into squares, but if you don't mind their homely appearance, you can just drop them onto waxed or parchment paper like I did.

We shared this recipe as part of Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Friendly Fridays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, and Allergy Friendly Lunchbox Love.  I also shared this recipe with Wellness Weekends.  Please check out the other recipes.

Cocoa Power Bites
Makes approximately 18

1 cup medjool dates
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/4 cup rice milk or coconut drink
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (I used chunky.)
1 1/2 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oats

Remove pits from dates. Push down into measuring cup until measuring 1 cup.  (Approximately 10-14 dates.)
In a food processor, puree dates and water together until it forms a smooth paste.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine date paste, cocoa, coconut oil and rice milk, stirring continuously 3 minutes.
Remove from heat, and mix in vanilla, sunflower seed butter and oats.
Drop batter by the tablespoon onto cookie sheets lined with parchment or waxed paper.
Chill in refrigerator at least one hour.
Transfer bites to a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Bites should keep for one week.

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I ran this entry a couple of years ago.  It still holds true and more.  Now that we've done this a couple of times, it's really amazing how easy (but awesomely thoughtful) it has been to have a welcoming holiday feast.  We've had a wide range of appetizers and dips, side dishes and desserts.  Family members have sought out ways to adapt new recipes and old favorites so that everyone can be included.  I remain filled with gratitude for the lovely, warm people in my life.

I decided to re-run it so that I could include it in the Gluten-free Holiday Event.  Today's theme is holiday traditions, and in our family thoughtfulness is a tradition that's here to stay.  Please head over to Cook It Allergy Free to see a Thanksgiving's bounty of recipes and traditions.  You can also enter to win a copy of The Gluten-free Asian Kitchen while you're there!

If you're looking for a different take on cranberry sauce, give this one using cranberries, pears and coconut palm sugar from last year a try.

This year, my family's doing Thanksgiving a little differently than we've done it in the past. This year we're getting together with my sister's family and her in-laws. After years of everyone knowing about our special diet needs, we didn't know how it would go explaining our family's restrictions with a new crowd. I am overwhelmed by how generous my brother-in-law's family has been about providing side dishes that everyone can eat. We don't eat dairy, eggs, or nuts, and these are staples in traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

It's a pot-luck Thanksgiving, and I'm only bringing dessert. Even so, we will stuff ourselves this year with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, and salad that are all safe for us! (Of course, the pumpkin pie, apple pie and brownies will be Welcoming Kitchen safe, as well!) We don't eat turkey, so we'll provide a vegan alternative for our clan (and anyone else who's interested), and others will eat turkey, but aside from that, everyone is working to make our Thanksgiving a welcoming one.

This outpouring of kindness makes this Thanksgiving an especially thankful one for my family. Megan and I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, too.

We shared this recipe as part of the Thanksgiving-themed bounty at Allergy Friendly Fridays.

Happy Cooking!

Kim and Megan

p.s. I'm in the kitchen working on a Welcoming Kitchen cranberry-tangerine muffin. If it works out, I'll post it later!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

As we wrote about last month, we are honored to be part of Elizabeth Pantley's new book, The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution.  Along with some other cookbooks, two Welcoming Kitchen recipes are included along with loads of advice on how to help your little eater become a more adventurous diner.

To celebrate her new book, Elizabeth Pantley is hosting a second contest to give away a complete collection of her No-Cry books along with each of the cookbooks featured in The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution (including Welcoming Kitchen).  You can learn more and enter to win here.

Welcoming Kitchen is in the running (along with a lot of other wonderful blogs) to be listed as a Top Food Allergy Mom blog over at Circle of Moms.  Please vote today and every day until Nov. 16.  We're really reaching so many new readers through this contest.  Thank you so much!

Happy Cooking!
Kim and Megan

Thursday, November 3, 2011


I was really excited to learn about the holiday blog event, A Gluten-free Holiday hosted by Simply Sugar and Gluten-free.  Every Thursday in November and December, bloggers will be contributing their tips and recipes to make the holidays satisfying on lots of levels!

This week, the theme is Healthier Through the Holidays.  I love that they started the event with a thought-provoking theme.  What does "healthier" mean to me in the context of the holidays?  After pondering this idea for a while, I think it means looking at the overall nutrition needs of my family during a period that is quite honestly overly full of treats and extras.

How can I do that?

For one, I can boost up the nutrition of other meals and snacks that we are eating.  We will eat lots of vegetable and bean-rich soups and stews during this time.  Smoothies with kale will become standard breakfast offerings.  By ensuring that we have a wide range of fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes and seeds, I can feel a little more comfortable when I see my kids having an occasional meal of chips and cookies during a chaotic family party.  (I know that's not ideal, but it's our reality sometimes!)

Another thing that I can do is to take those holiday flavors that really highlight the season and make healthier twists with them.  This crisp is an example of that.  I created this Pear-Pumpkin Crisp a while ago, but it shows exactly what I'm talking about.  Fruit and pumpkin combine with oats to create a dessert-worthy dish that I can even serve as a brunch offering.  If you serve it with a dollop of vanilla-flavored coconut yogurt, it's even better!

Stop by A Gluten-free Holiday to see more tips and recipes and to enter to win a copy of Amy Green's sensational book, Simply Sugar and Gluten-free.

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.

If you find this blog helpful, please take a minute to vote for Welcoming Kitchen as a Top Food Allergy Mom Blog on Circle of Moms.  Thank you!

Happy Cooking (and Happy Holidays)!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Apple Scones - Kim's Welcoming Kitchen

Here's a recipe for really tasty apple scones.  Perfect with a cup of tea or tucked into a lunch box as a surprise treat, these scones are quick and easy to whip up.

Apple Scones (Allergen-free, gluten-free, and vegan)
Makes 8 scones

1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons soy-free Earth Balance
1 cup coconut milk (light is ok)
1/2 cup diced apples

Preheat oven to 425.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper .
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
Using a pastry cutter, mix in cold Earth Balance until batter looks kind of like peas.
Stir in coconut milk.
Mix in apples.
Shape dough into a disk measuring approximately 7 inches across.
Cut the dough disk into 8 triangles.
Separate triangles and distribute on baking sheet .
Sprinkle with remaining sugar.
Bake 12-15 minutes, until firm and lightly golden.
Cool on cooling rack.

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.