Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Butternut Squash Pear Soup Recipe

One of the reasons I love September in Utah is the fresh produce. The Co-op Market is under construction right now, so I haven't been there in probably two months. I'm wishing for my favorite grass-fed beef and chicken breasts right now. I'm tired of paying the Whole Foods price for my meat and ready to get back to the actually local, cheaper, and more delicious meat from the Co-op.

However, I've been haunting a really great farm stand that I pass by on Saturdays in Bountiful. I believe it's run by A & J produce, and this last Saturday, I was there while one of the local farmers brought his truck load of watermelon.

Recently we've gotten some delicious butternut squash, pears, the best apples ever (Jonathan and Honeycrisp this week), Russet potatoes, onions, Fresno peppers, raspberries, the most delicious Brigham City peaches (best peach of 2014!), cute little pumpkins, some great garlic, and Green River melons.

The squash and pears have combined forces to make one of my favorite soup recipes. I find it's hard to make a good, filling soup that has no dairy and no tomatoes. This one hits the spot. I made it and froze it in individual portions. On Sunday, I came home during a downpour, plopped a frozen soup on the stove, and in 10 minutes I was ready with a hot meal. The ginger in the soup mellows a little when it's been frozen, so I even added extra ground (dry) ginger to make it a little stronger when it's been thawed and reheated. Oh and homemade croutons - olive oil on toasted Udi's bread - are excellent in this soup.

The other great thing about September in Utah? Cats. The neighbor cats are out looking for mice right now, and so many of the outdoor cats have been frequenting our backyard. I should say this is much to my delight! It sounds bizarre, but I love waking up in the morning and finding a cat in the backyard I can pet before heading off to work. Free snuggles, no commitment, and something fun to talk about. Our current favorite cat visitor is an orange and white cat that slinks around our yard that we've named Ham Cat, since he has a thing for little bits of ham I've fed him. There's my confession: I love playing with neighbor cats. You're welcome.

I take you now from cats to butternut squash pear soup.

One Year Ago: Better Burger Food Truck
Two Years Ago: Malawi's Pizza, Provo Review
Three Years Ago: Flashback in 7 Links - A Shoutout to some of my favorite recipes
Four Years Ago: Split Second Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Five Years Ago: Gummy Candy Race Cars - Make your own gummy candy

Butternut Squash and Pear Soup 
Inspired by this recipe

1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root OR 1 teaspoon powdered ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups chicken broth
4 medium pears, peeled and chopped

Cut squash in half and discard the seeds. Spray a baking pan with cooking spray and put the squash, cut side down, on the baking pan. Then, bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly; scoop out pulp and set aside.

In a Dutch oven or soup pot, saute the onion in oil until tender. Add the curry powder , garlic, ginger and salt; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in the broth, pears and squash. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Cool slightly.

In a blender, process soup in batches until smooth. Top with homemade croutons and serve warm. Or, package in individual serving-sized containers and freeze. If frozen, reheat on the stove for 10 minutes on medium and eat.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Gluten Free Recipe: Carrot and Zucchini Bars with Lemon Glaze

Well hello. You probably thought I wasn't coming back.
It's been a whirlwind few months, and so when my computer stopped playing nice with all Google products and I couldn't find a solution, blogging and I took a separation. Thanks to the boy, we've figured out how I can blog again and get back to the blogspot site to give you some new inspiration.

How have you been?

So many cool things have happened lately.
One of my BFFs had her baby, and now the baby can practically parallel park her parents' car downtown. I went to visit them this week and the baby is so precious!
In December, I traveled to Poland for work and had a great time. I'm working on a post about eating gluten free while traveling through Poland. Let's just say Poland is a little trickier than Italy and Sweden. I found that out for sure.

We planted some beautiful raspberry bushes in our front yard, where all the good sun is. We have several varieties of berries, and we've gotten a small harvest for our first year. We're looking forward to some really good harvests in the future, and afternoons with berry-stained fingers. Maybe some coconut-milk berry ice cream. Definitely some raspberry jam, too.

We also planted some great native plants throughout the yard and hopefully they can survive my scatterbrained watering schedule and brown thumbs.

Living in downtown Salt Lake is great: we've hit some awesome concerts recently, some festivals and farmers' markets, and still shop at the Co-op for the best meat ever.

Zucchini season is starting to happen, and I wanted to kick that off with some great cake I think you might like. It's modified from a recipe I found for Carrot and Zucchini Bars with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting from Real Mom Kitchen. Obviously, the cream cheese wasn't going to happen here. I actually found this recipe on Pinterest, and I'm not much of a pinner. It was time to walk the talk though, and try a recipe I found on there so it wasn't just, well, hours clicking on pretty pictures.

Carrot and Zucchini Bars with Lemon Glaze
Recipe adapted from here

1 egg
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/8 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cups shredded carrot
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup millet flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp baking soda

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
zest from one lemon
1-2 tsp lemon juice, or enough to create a thick glaze

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, honey, and vanilla.  Fold in the carrot, zucchini, and walnuts.

In another bowl combine add the two flours, xanthan gum, baking powder, ginger, and baking soda. Stir together. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir just until combined. Spread batter into an ungreased 8 inch round baking pan.

Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Once the cake is cooled, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, measure powdered sugar and add lemon zest. Add lemon juice and stir until glaze forms. .

Monday, November 25, 2013

Gourmandise: Gluten Free Restaurant Review

Do bakeries give you the shivers? They do for me!

However, one of the best regular bakeries in Salt Lake has a gluten free menu and a delicious gluten free, dairy free pastry too.

I went with a few friends for lunch and it was a great time! Most of the gluten free options on the lunch menu are salads, and I had the delicious chicken curry salad. I wished there was a little more variety in the menu, but the half salad with its tasty dressing was great.

Did I mention the gluten free almond horn pastries? They are a staple at the bakery, and are made of baked meringue and dipped in chocolate and sliced almonds. So chewy and delicious.

It's a little difficult to be sure you are getting a gluten free meal there, so talk with the server and pay close attention. If you're brave, the almond horn pastries are out of this world.

250 S 300 E 
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Monday, November 18, 2013

Good Grains Gluten Free Baking Co: Heber Utah Gluten Free Restaurant Review

On a recent trip through Heber, Utah, we were driving back from an unsuccessful trip to the local thrift store. Pulling up to a red light, I saw a banner on the side of a building and swung into the parking lot. We were pleased to discover Laura, the owner of Good Grains Gluten Free Baking Company, inside the building, baking away.

We ate muffins and chatted with Laura about her business and eating gluten free. I had the pumpkin chocolate chip, and the husband had the lemon poppyseed (he loves poppyseed muffins!) She has a coffee shop and bakery, complete with fresh muffins, and also serves lunch items like sandwiches and quiche. She mentioned she also sells to some local grocery stores and restaurants too!

Stop by if you're in town!

Good Grains Gluten Free Baking Co
51 west 100 south
Heber City, Utah 84032

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Pie Pizzeria: Gluten Free Restaurant Review

If you haven't been to the Underground location of The Pie, you are missing an authentic piece of Salt Lake City dining. In a basement just west of the University of Utah campus, you can walk down a flight of metal stairs into another dimension. Dimly lit, you can see decades of scribbles on the brick walls. I'd been several times before going gluten free, but then I found out you can eat gluten free pizza at the Pie.

I ordered the BBQ Chicken Cilantro (indicating on their online menu with a "no wheat" symbol). At the restaurant, they have printed gluten free menus for you to see. And, they carry Daiya cheese so I could have a truly gluten free (and dairy free) pizza experience! The best part is they actually know how to melt the Daiya cheese correctly, which makes it taste quite good!

Even better, your pie is announced at the pickup window and comes in a box, completely sealed with a gluten free sticker. Nice touch. :)

If you are longing for The Pie, and you want a pretty good crispy gluten free crust, The Pie is the place to go. I admit to getting a little sick the first time I went, but the second time it worked out swimmingly.

The Pie Pizzeria
1320 E. 200 S., Salt Lake City, Utah (dine-in only)

Monday, November 4, 2013

Grillabites: Gluten Free Restaurant Review

Gallivan Plaza isn't just for the Food Truck Thursday lunches - there's also Grillabites. Grillabites is a California chain of organic, fresh food with a new location downtown to treat us with. Their storefront is surprisingly big, and the food was great!

They have a selection of gluten free sandwiches and hamburgers on their menu, as well as a few specialty items, like the gluten free tacos and gluten free vegan fajitas. C and I both stuck to the sandwich-y type lunch fare though. She had a delicious turkey sandwich, which comes with veggie sticks and fresh hummus. The hummus was pretty smoking good - I recommend it. C also got a special mango lemonade, one of their unique fresh drinks.

I had a bison burger (no cheese for me!) on a toasty Udi's bun, with the fresh veggies and hummus on the side. The southern light through the big windows was perfect, and I was able to walk from my office to the restaurant, which was just right.

Next time you are in the neighborhood and want some fresh downtown fare, Grillabites is a decent place to eat. I was able to safely eat gluten free there, my only beef (ha!) was that it was a little more expensive than most lunch food in downtown Salt Lake. I left with a $17 check or something. At least I got more food for that price, and a better quality burger, than at my excursion to Johnny Rockets.

49 Gallivan Ave
Salt Lake City, UT 84111

Monday, August 26, 2013

Better Burger Food Truck: Gluten Free Restaurant Review

Have you tried the Better Burger food truck that's making its way around Salt Lake City? We've been there twice in the last few weeks, and it's incredible to have a filling gluten free option from a food truck!

These guys know their stuff! Their gluten free burgers can be served on delicious and tender grilled buns from Love Muffins Bakery, a local company that I love, and essentially the rest of the menu is gluten free. They have several options for burgers with different toppings, and use grass fed beef from Moab that tastes delicious. They are committed to local products, which I like to support with my mouth and my dollars. Local gluten free buns, local beef, local fruit in their milkshakes, and tender sweet potato fries!

The sweet potato fries are both naturally gluten free and are the only thing they fry in their fryer (making them gluten free). You can see here that we both need our own to make sure everyone gets enough beta carotene.

The beef burgers are tender and delicious. My favorite is the bacon burger with bacon chunks. Lots of bits of crispy bacon on top. Can you see the fabulous bun that's even toasted on the edges? Big fans of that.

I'm grateful for a local food truck preparing and serving gluten free foods around our town. You can never have enough options, and Better Burger is tasty, fresh, local, delicious, and filling. We really enjoyed it!

Better Burger Food Truck
[weekly schedule]

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

City Cakes & Cafe: Gluten Free Bakery Review

City Cakes just moved from their old location at 300 East and 900 South in Salt Lake City, to a new, larger location just a few blocks over. Tucked in between car dealerships and architectural specialty stores, it's got a large parking lot and a great cafe spot both inside and out.

I had to confess to the employee inside that it was the first time I'd been there, even though I'd driven by the previous location hundreds of times. Well, I finally made it, seeking to ease some elements of a rough day. What better motivation to try a gluten free bakery?

They carry an interesting assortment of gluten free (and regular too, just to be clear) desserts and baked goods. All of the items in the bakery are vegan, meaning dairy free and egg free. From the gluten free desserts to those made with wheat, there's hardly a drop of dairy in the place. I did clarify that they use soy products in place of dairy (hello frosting), but I was grateful to find a dairy free alternative at a gluten free bakery. Donuts, cookies of many kinds, muffins, cupcakes, tarts, loaves of gluten free bread, and take-home containers of gluten free cookie dough.

I didn't stick around to eat inside, but it was quiet and friendly, with big comfy chairs to sit in while you read and drink a beverage. I ended up with a giant, happy, flower-shaped sugar cookie, that I found to be quite good. The cookie was tender and had a good flavor, and was just the slightest bit dry. The frosting was awesome, including the big yellow dollop in the middle of the flower (somehow my brain expected that to be extra special, and it was!) I also got a peanut butter bar, which came highly recommended by the employee. The bottom crust was almost graham cracker, with some large chunks of chocolate, a nice sweetened layer of creamy peanut butter, and a firm topping of milk chocolate. Totally decadent.

Glad I stopped by to try City Cakes. I'll be back!


City Cakes & Cafe
1000 S Main St  Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Check out our updated restaurants and stores pages.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Tender Barbecue Beef Brisket: Gluten, Dairy and Tomato Free

Beef brisket, if you've never worked with it before, comes in huge sides that weigh 6-12 pounds. They're all wrapped up by the deli counter and in the beef section of the store. They're flat and wide, and you may have trouble finding it on the shelf the first time. But! Don't give up - once you buy your first brisket, you'll loving having some on hand for a lazy Sunday afternoon dinner on the patio, or a warming meal on a cold evening.

It requires 5 (yes, five) hours of braising in the oven, but those five hours pack the smoky goodness into the meat and help it turn tender for you. In order to get the meat as tender as possible, it's essential that it's cut across the grain when you are slicing it. Cutting across the grain meats that when you see the lines running through the meat (look carefully), you will slice 90 degrees from the lines in the meat. You're slicing straight across those lines, bisecting them and releasing each of the cells in the meat to accept the yummy sauce.

I hope the heat of summer is roasting you with happiness :).

Tender Barbecue Beef Brisket
Recipe adapted from here

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon spicy brown mustard
1 fresh beef brisket (4 to 5 pounds)
2 cups chicken stock
3/4 cup Korean plum sauce (from the Asian market)
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Liquid Smoke, optional
1 teaspoon chili powder

Combine the ginger and paprika; rub over brisket. Season with salt and pepper. Place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Bake, uncovered, at 325° for 2 hours.

Let stand for 20 minutes. Thinly slice meat across the grain. Place in a foil-lined 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a bowl, combine the water, mustard, plum sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Liquid Smoke if desired and chili powder; pour over meat. Cover tightly with foil; bake 3 hours longer or until tender. Shred meat with two forks and serve.

Last Year: Chocolate Waffle Cookies
Two Years Ago: Banana Chocolate Chip Bars
Three Years Ago: Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken
Four Years Ago: Gluten Free Orange Bars

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Food Truck Thursdays: Rubadue's Saucey Skillet

Every Thursday at the Gallivan Center in downtown Salt Lake City, a group of food trucks gather to serve lunch. We hit a food truck event or two on our trip to San Francisco, but there's something so charming and urban about a food truck near my work, not just near my vacation destination. (Also, still regretting the fact that we didn't wait in line for the bacon-themed truck there at Fisherman's Wharf. What could be more perfect than the proverbial truck full of bacon?)


I also figured I could find some decent gluten free options at the food truck event, and I was right. This week I chose to eat at Rubadue's Saucey Skillet, the only food truck I found with a clearly marked gluten free item on their menu. The Cilantro Pesto Chicken Salad is marked as gluten free, and I was glad to find a cool option in our city on a Thursday. Yippee!

The salad had fresh mixed greens, chopped tomatoes, some cilantro-garlic-cashews and parmesan pesto grilled chicken. The chipotle barbecue ranch dressing was served on the side, and was a great, cool compliment to the bright salad. Nice! We were out of town this last week, and my coworkers hit up the food truck again while I was gone. And believe me, we'll be going back this coming Thursday to see what new treasures we can find there.


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