Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Getting Creative in the Kitchen

This post might get a little TMI-y. Sorry in advance.

About a year ago I visited my allergist, who informed me that I'm allergic to wheat. In fact, when they tested me, it was one of the things I was allergic to most (along with grass, dust mites, and rabbits.) Of course, I've been eating wheat, oh, for 31 years with no apparent side effects. I basically ignored this information, although I did think it odd that I got a little congested when eating sandwiches. But whatever, right? It's not like my throat was closing up or something. And then, out of the blue this past Monday, it occurred to me that maybe the reason I have such a sensitive GI tract (I wish I could just say "stomach," but it's really the whole system that seems to be screwed up) is the wheat. This inspiration came after I felt like crap after my lunchtime sandwich - which was on a (gasp) wheat baguette.

Maybe so, maybe not. The only way I'm going to figure this out is by trying it. So I decided go wheat-free for 2 weeks to see how I feel. No time like the present.

I invented this wheat-free recipe on Monday because I had an eggplant, some zucchini, and some tomatoes that I needed to use courtesy of the farm box. The inspiration for my recipe came from here, but barley is a food I'm not supposed to eat, so I had to get creative. I considered using quinoa but I thought the grains would be too small and weird when combined with the chunky vegetables. Here's the result - pretty tasty!

It tastes better than it looks.

Eggplant, Zucchini, and Chickpea Salad
Makes 4 servings

Roasted Vegetables
1 medium sized eggplant (1 to 1 1/2 lbs), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 medium sized zucchini (3/4 lb), cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 red onion, peeled, cut crosswise, then each half cut into quarters
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped scallion (white and green parts)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Dressing and Extras
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
large pinch of kosher salt
large pinch of freshly ground pepper
pinch of sugar

1 medium tomato, cored, seeded and chopped
about 12 kalamata olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 lb ricotta salata, chopped or sliced thinly

Make the Roasted Vegetables
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Combine veggies, salt, pepper, and oil, and toss to combine. Spread on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-30 minutes until vegetables are browned and a little shrively. (Start checking at 15.) Remove from oven and set aside. When the vegetables are cool enough to handle, remove the onions and chop them roughly into bite-size pieces. Add back to pan and set aside.

Cook the Chickpeas
Meanwhile, heat the oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet, saute pan, or sauce pan until shimmering but not smoking. Add the scallions and spices, and stir until fragrant (about a minute). Add the drained chickpeas and stir for 2 minutes until coated by the spices. Turn down the heat to medium and add the chicken broth. Simmer until very little broth remains (about 1 tablespoon total). Remove from heat and set aside.

Make the dressing
Whisk together lemon juice, oil, garlic, sugar salt and pepper.

Finish the salad
In a large bowl, combine the roasted veggies, chickpeas and their sauce, tomatoes, olives, and parsley. Toss to combine. Add the dressing and toss again to coat. Sprinkle the cheese on top.

Can be served hot from the oven, warm, or cold.

1 comment:

Chrissy said...

Go Gluten Free! All the cool kids are doing it. :) If you want baking recipes, I have some I've tried. If you find something really good, let me know.