Book Review: Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook by Leslie Cerier

by Karen Miles

If you’re adhering to a gluten-free diet because you have celiac disease or other health conditions that benefit from avoiding gluten, this is one cookbook you’ll want on your cookbook shelf. But be sure to take a look at it if you’re interested in exploring a variety of whole grains, too — regardless of what else you eat! Continue reading

Gumbo File Seasoning

A signature ingredient in gumbo and other Creole dishes, file powder, or Gumbo File, is used for its delicate but distinct flavor and thickening characteristics.

File was introduced by the Choctaw Nation in Louisiana. File is a sassafras leaf — we added thyme to give it our own deep, distinctive flavor.

LOUISIANA VEGETABLE GUMBO

Gumbo is one of the great comfort foods to come out of Louisiana. This spicy, rich concoction is actually more of a stew than a soup, but it is really in a class by itself. The word “gumbo” means “okra,” and there is plenty of it in this recipe. The amount of rice served with the gumbo should be dictated by personal preference. File powder is made from ground sassafras leaves.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1  large onion, diced
1  medium-size green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups vegetable stock or water
1 can (14.5-ounce) diced tomatoes, with their juices
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh or frozen okra
1  small zucchini, ends trimmed and sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon file powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tabasco sauce
2 to 3 cups hot cooked long grain rice
Directions:
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, cover, and cook, stirring a few times, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the stock, tomatoes, okra, zucchini, thyme, file powder, salt, pepper, and Tabasco to taste. Simmer, partially covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes. Taste to adjust the seasonings.To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup of the cooked rice into each soup bowl and ladle the hot gumbo over the top.

Grilled Vegetables – Endless Possibilities

What a great feeling it is to clean off that grill and get it ready for the summer season. Some of you are lucky enough to live in climates that allow you to be outside grilling all year. Some of us relish an all-too-short season. We’re here to help you make the most of it, no matter how long it lasts.

Experienced grillers are familiar with how flavors and textures of vegetables are enhanced by grilling. But with a little direction, even beginning grillers will find that soft, juicy vegetables like squash, asparagus, peppers, and mushrooms are well suited to grilling because they absorb oils and seasoning well.

Try artichokes, eggplant, garlic, and all varieties of onions and beans on the grill as side dishes or main dishes. Imagination and exploration are key. Hit up your local farmer’s market for whatever is in season.

We decided to turn things over to our Facebook fans for some new ideas on grilling vegetables. We posed this query, and the responses that followed are downright mouth-watering.

Grilling and fresh veggies — a match made in heaven. Tell us your favorite way to prepare grilled vegetables.

  • Garlic, cayenne pepper, oregano, and a little bit of water.
  • Marinate peppers in garlic, olive oil, basil & capers…then grill. Zucchini only needs a little olive oil, salt & pepper. Love to skewer asparagus, brush with oil, salt & pepper and sprinkle with Parmesan as it comes off the grill!
  • Olive oil and garlic salt!
  • I use your All-Purpose Seasoning on everything. I like to brush veggies with coconut oil and then season with the All-Purpose Seasoning. Key is doing both sides!
  • Lots of extra virgin olive oil, garlic cloves, and chopped shallots, plus whatever dried herbs mix compliments the rest of the meal; e.g., Italian Herbs, Herbes de Provence, Fine Herbs, etc. Your Garlic and Herb marinade is the best.
  • Your pepper grinders truly make a difference on all the roasted vegetables that I love to grill – corn, tomatoes, squash, onions.
  • I discovered your Salad Sprinkle is a great rub not just on veggies but on meats, and for grilling bread!
  • I put olive oil on mushrooms, squash, eggplant, red peppers, tomatoes, zucchini and then usually I sprinkled with salt and pepper, but I have now discovered your Lemon Pepper Marinade!
  • My favorite roasted veggies are sweet potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, with onions and mushrooms. I like to season them with a little olive oil and a little safflower oil to cut down on the burning because we like them to be a little bit crunchy on the edges like fries. I season them with several different varieties of seasoning, depending on the evening.
  • I frequently add fresh lemon juice and lemon pepper, or lemon juice and Tuscan seasoning, or lemon juice and fresh garlic, or lots of whole cloves.

It sounds like our fans think the key is finding a mix that adds just the right flavor to whatever you put on the grill.

We’ve got a multitude of grilling features on our website; help yourself to some ideas.

We’d LOVE to hear more of your tips!