Archive of ‘Gluten Free’ category

Grilled Rainbow Kabobs

What’s the best part of summer? Grilling, of course! Once the weather warms up, I try to make it a habit to grill as many meals as possible. To me, grilling is synonymous with summer. I am not one of those people who sends her husband outside during winter in a full snow suit to grill up some steaks. Although, the thought has crossed my mind, I am not going to lie.

One of my favorite things to grill is skewers, also known as kabobs. I think kabobs are so versatile because you can make them solely with meat, with fruits/veggies, or a mix of both. I posted this picture on Instagram and Twitter over Memorial Day weekend and it got a ton of buzz, which surprised me because I hadn’t planned on blogging this recipe. It was just something I threw together at the last minute, but it will probably be a staple at many BBQ’s to come.

Grilled Rainbow Vegetable Skewers or Kabobs

I’ve seen something similar to these floating around Pinterest using fruit, but there is no reason you can’t do the same with veggies. To make these, I tossed everything in a large bowl with olive oil and, after skewering them, I seasoned them with equal parts garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, and salt. 

Foods That Are Good For Grilling

Want to make your own rainbow kabobs? You can use the same fruits and veggies I did or mix and match based on what is in season or available. Wouldn’t it be fun to do coordinate team colors at an end of the year BBQ or school colors for a graduation party? Below are some foods you can use to make your own kabobs sorted by color.
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Watermelon Rhubarb Gazpacho

Cool off this summery with a crisp watermelon and rhubarb gazpacho. This would be fantastic garnished with some crumbled feta. You could also add vodka for a spin on the classic Bloody Mary mix. Trust me!

Rhubarb watermelon gazpacho

Every year around this time gazpacho recipes start flooding my Pinterest feed. Gazpacho is a soup made with raw vegetables and served cold or at room temperature. Not only did the idea of cold soup never appeal to me, but I also never really understood the gazpacho craze. I mean, how is a raw, cold soup different from a smoothie? I didn’t get it.

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Homemade Mayonnaise

I was never a huge fan of mayonnaise until I started making my own. Now, I cannot get enough of the stuff! This recipe for homemade mayonnaise uses olive oil to make it Paleo-friendly.

Homemade Paleo Mayonnaise | cucinakristina.com It’s been a bit quiet on my blog for the past month because I have been busy recipe testing and devouring everything I can about food photography. I am shocked at how quickly my photography is improving by employing some simple tips and tricks that I have picked up around the web. One of my FAVORITE tips that I picked up from Edible Sound Bites is to use a white bed sheet as a light diffuser. I am sure I look absolutely ridiculous to my neighbors as I stand on my porch hanging a bed sheet from our back door, but boy does it work like a charm! I wish I had known this trick from the get go because looking back on some of my early food photos makes me cringe. 

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Paleo Jambalaya with Cauli Rice

Jambalaya is a traditional Louisiana dish made with andouille sausage and thickened with rice. This version uses cauli rice and is Paleo-friendly. You could absolutely add rice to this recipe in place of the cauli rice, but I decided to swap out the rice for cauliflower to add more veggies to this dish. The choice is yours! Paleo Jambalaya with Cauli Rice | cucinakristina.com If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I spent my spring break eating my way through New Orleans. The NOLA food scene reminded me of San Francisco in the sense that every place we ate, whether it was a highly recommended restaurant or a side street cafĂ©, had amazing, fresh, out of this world food. The oysters we had down there were the best I’ve had to date and I am vowing to eat nothing but oysters on my next trip! 

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Green Beans with Toasted Almonds &
Blood Orange Vinaigrette

This recipe for green beans gets a zesty punch from the blood orange vinaigrette. It’s a perfect side dish for a summer BBQ! The blood orange vinaigrette would also make a great dressing for a brunch salad.

green beans with blood orange vinaigrette

While most of the kiddos in Chicago are heading back to school today, I am sitting in my house enjoying a hot cup of coffee with the windows open. Getting Easter Monday off is one of the perks of working at a Catholic school. I mentioned that the windows were open, right?! OPEN. Begone, winter! See you next year! spring is finally on the horizon!

You know what is awesome about spring? The seasonal fruits and veggies that start to pop up at the grocery store and farmer’s markets. You start to see things like asparagus, ramps, peas, and fennel. The sheer RETURN of the farmer’s market is an exciting thing about spring. 

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How to Make Homemade Tahini

If you’ve ever wondered how to make tahini, keep reading. This recipe for homemade tahini is easy to whip up in your food processor and will cost you a fraction of the cost of buying it in the store. 

how to make homemade tahini

Have you ever roasted your own peppers on your stovetop? It’s incredible easy and they taste so much better than the canned stuff. I do this a lot more in the summer when I have the time to devote to fancy things.

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Turkey and Vegetable Chili

Turkey and Vegetable Chili | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Soooo…. according to Fox Sports, the Superbowl could be played at any point between Friday, January 31 and Sunday, February 3. Really? I thought this was a hoax when I first read about it as I was not aware that you could move the Super Bowl, but apparently this is really a thing. Craziness! Winter can be done now, amiright? I mean, they are talking about MOVING THE FREAKING SUPER BOWL because it is too cold and snowy! Ugh. My brain cannot process that.

BUT! Do you know what my brain can process? Tasty chili. :-) Chili is one of those dishes that lends itself perfectly for preparing on a Sunday and eating throughout the week. It also freezes really well so you can always make a huge batch, portion it out, and have it on hand for a quick mid-week meal. It’s no secret around here that I am a fan of preparing my meals for the week on Sunday afternoon. I get a lot of questions about what I prep and how I do it and I am in the process of writing up a Sunday Food Prep Tips and Tricks post so stay tuned for that. I am aiming to have that posted early next week so you can get a healthy start to the week after stuffing yourself silly with wings and chili at a Super Bowl party. 

I usually make chili with ground beef, but all I had on hand was ground turkey so I decided to give that a try. Much to my delight, it turned out great! In fact, I noticed that ground turkey forms larger chunks when cooked than ground beef which lead to a chunkier chili. Since I did not use beans in this recipe, I appreciated the heartiness of the turkey and will probably continue to use it from here on out. Don’t you love happy accidents? 

Turkey and Vegetable Chili
Serves 6
This chili recipe is highly adaptable! You can use any ground protein you'd like and can add more vegetables than the suggested amounts for a super chunky chili.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons chili powder
  2. 2 tablespoons cumin
  3. 1 tablespoon oregano
  4. 1 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1 teaspoon onion powder
  6. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  7. 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  8. 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
  9. 2 cans of water (I measure using the tomato can)
  10. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  11. 1/4 ounce baker's chocolate (optional)
  12. 2 pounds ground turkey
  13. 1 red pepper, chopped
  14. 1 yellow pepper, chopped
  15. 1 orange pepper, chopped
  16. 4 carrots, chopped
  17. 1 clove of garlic, minced
  18. 1 large white onion, chopped (reserve about 1/3 for topping!)
  19. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in olive oil until the onion is soft.
  2. Add the ground turkey and stir frequently to cook the turkey all the way through.
  3. Add the tomato paste, tomatoes, water, spices and chocolate and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 40 minutes to let the flavors combine.
  4. Add the chopped carrots and chopped peppers and simmer for an additional 20 minutes or until the carrots have softened.
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/

Paleo Beef Pho

Paleo Beef Pho | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

When I made the switch to a Paleo diet, one of the things I missed the most was pho. Pho is a Vietnamese soup made with meat, vegetables, and rice noodles. Did you see the Man vs. Food Nation Super Pho Challenge episode? I am fairly certain I could crush that challenge with zero obstacles. 

As I was typing this recipe up, it dawned on me that you could make the broth beforehand, freeze it, and make this soup during the week in smaller quantities and in about 20 minutes. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner! The next time I make this, I will have to remember that.

This is a copycat recipe that was inspired by the beef noodle soup from Penny’s Noodles in Chicago. When I was in graduate school, I used to pick this soup up on my way home from class and it was always so hard not to tear into the bag and eat it immediately! I like to eat this soup alongside a crisp, cold, cucumber salad. 

You’ll notice this recipe calls for star anise. Personally, I think that is a key flavor in this dish and should not be omitted. Star anise has a licorice flavor and adds a good layer of flavor to the broth. You can buy star anise online here if you cannot find it in your local grocery store.

My grocery store sells packaged chop suey meat. If your grocery does not sell chop suey beef, you can use stew beef. You’ll need to cut the stew beef into very small pieces before you cook it.

Paleo Beef Pho
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
3 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 star anise
  2. 6 whole cloves
  3. 1 whole cinnamon stick
  4. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
  6. 1 shallot, minced
  7. 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  8. 1 lb. chop suey meat
  9. 8 ounces mushrooms, quartered
  10. 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
  11. 4 stalks of kale, chopped
  12. 1 tablespoon chili paste (2 tablespoons if you want an extra kick)
  13. 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  14. 6 cups vegetable broth
Garnishes
  1. Thinly sliced radish
  2. Lime
  3. Cilantro
  4. Green onion
  5. Bean sprouts (not strict Paleo)
For the broth
  1. In a pan over medium heat, toast the cloves, star anise, and cinnamon until fragrant to open the flavors. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove the spices from the pan so they do not burn and set aside. (See note).
  2. In a large pot over medium heat, sauté the shallot, garlic, and ginger in the coconut oil for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly so the garlic does not burn.
  3. Add vegetable broth and spices and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce the heat, and simmer for 2 hours.
For the soup
  1. Fish the whole spices out of the broth. Add the beef and bring the soup to a boil.
  2. Reduce the heat and add the mushrooms, broccoli, and kale. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes.
  3. Add the chili paste. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning. If the soup is tasting a bit flat, add a teaspoon of sea salt to bring out the flavors.
  4. Serve with any or all of the garnishes above!
Notes
  1. I use ground cardamom in this recipe because I did not have whole cardamom. Ground spices burn quickly; therefore, I do not toast the cardamom. I just add it right to the broth in step 3.
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/

Red Thai Curry Mussels

Are you familiar with Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Carpenter? It’s the poem recited by Tweedledee and Tweedledum in Alice in Wonderland and tells the story of walrus and a carpenter who happen upon a bed of oysters while walking along the beach. They invite the oysters to walk with them and, when they stop to rest, the walrus devours all of the oysters before the carpenter has a chance to eat any.

That’s basically what happens whenever anyone orders mussels with me in a restaurant. I love mussels. I don’t mean to be greedy! I intend to share every time, but they are so tasty that I find myself easily getting carried away. I am totally the walrus!

Empty Mussels | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

They’d been eaten. Every one.

The first time I had mussels was in college. I went to UC Berkeley and one of my favorite things to do on weekends was hop on BART and head to Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco. There, I’d grab a bowl of clam chowder and make my way to Aquatic Park (the park behind Ghriardelli Square) and study. One day, I grabbed cioppino instead of clam chowder and my love for mussels was born! 

Side note: I’ve yet to make cioppino at home, but I am dying to try Tyler Florence’s version

Aquatic Park San Francisco

Clam chowder by the Bay!

For this recipe, I steam the mussels using light coconut milk that has been infused with garlic, ginger, and red curry paste. I use light coconut milk in this recipe because it has a milder taste than full fat coconut milk. I like that there is a hint of coconut in the broth that doesn’t overpower the taste of the mussels. 

Storing Mussels

Mussels are alive when you buy them and should be eaten the same day you purchase them. When you bring them home, store them in a bowl, on top of ice, in your refrigerator. You could also store them in a large pot of cold salt water in your fridge as this article suggests. 

Preparing Mussels

When you are ready to cook your mussels, you will first need to go through them and pick out any mussels with open, cracked, or punctured shells. Discard any with cracked or punctured shells. Tap open mussels on the counter. If they close, they are still alive and ok to eat. If they do not close, they are dead and should be thrown away. 

Next, you will need to debeard the mussels. The “beard” looks like little threads of seaweed sticking out from the side of the mussel. To remove this, grab it and pull towards the hinge end of the mussel. Most come out fairly easily, but there are some you will have to wrestle with. 

Mussel parts. The beard of a mussel. The hinge of a mussel. | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

The hinge is the side holding the mussel together. Pull the beard towards the hinge.

After you remove the beard, rinse the mussel under cold running water and scrub any dirt off the outside of the shell. Finally, soak them in a bowl of ice water for about 5 minutes to flush out any remaining dirt or grit that may be inside the shell. 

Red Thai Curry Mussels
Serves 2
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 green onions, chopped -or- 1 small shallot, minced
  3. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, minced
  5. 1 tablespoon Thai red curry paste
  6. 1 can light coconut milk
  7. 1/3 can water, I use the coconut milk can
  8. 2 lbs. mussels
Optional Garnish
  1. 2 green onions, chopped
  2. Handful of cilantro, chopped
Instructions
  1. In a heavy bottom pot over medium-low heat, sweat the onions, garlic, and ginger in olive oil until fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, until softened, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the coconut milk and water and raise the heat medium-high. Bring just to a boil, stirring to blend all of the ingredients.
  4. Add the mussels and cover the pot. Cook until the mussels open, about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Divide the mussels evenly among two bowls. Discard any mussels that fail to open. Spoon the remaining cooking liquid over the mussels.
  6. Garnish with chopped green onion and cilantro, if desired.
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/

One Pot Meal: Pot Roast Stew

I am crazy for one pot meals, especially during the colder winter months. I love starting a meal after lunch and letting it cook slowly over a low heat until dinnertime. This process is called braising or stewing depending on whether you use large or small cuts of beef. Both methods begin with tougher cuts of beef and the long cooking time helps break down the muscle fibers leaving you with meat that “falls off the bone.”

Today, I’m going to share one of my favorite winter recipes, pot roast stew. This is not one of those recipes that you can’t simply whip up after a long day at the office, but it is one that you can make a ton of on a Sunday and reheat throughout the week. You mustn’t rush the cooking time with this or you will end up with mushy veggies and tough beef. Nobody wants that.

One Pot Meals - Pot Roast Beef Stew

Don’t be deterred by the cook time for this recipe. Three hours is a long time, but I promise it will be worth it in the end! As this is cooking you will start to pick up all of the different smells in this dish. The first time you walk by your kitchen, it will smell intensely of garlic. Then, you’ll get a whiff of rosemary and you’ll want to lift the lid and peek inside because you know something magical is happening in there. Be patient. 

I use chuck roast for this recipe, which is the cut of beef that is used for pot roast. My grocery store happens to sell packages of cubed chuck roast labeled as stew beef, but you could always buy a full-sized pot roast and cube the meat yourself. 

The white cubes that look like potatoes in the photo above are actually turnips and parsnips. I omitted traditional white potatoes to make this recipe Paleo-friendly and, to be honest, I probably won’t make this recipe using potatoes ever again. The parsnip and turnip add a deep layer of flavor to the broth, and when it comes to flavor, white potatoes miss the mark!

Pot Roast Stew
Serves 6
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Total Time
3 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs. stew beef
  2. 1 shallot, minced
  3. 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  4. 1 parsnip, chopped
  5. 1 turnip, chopped
  6. 3 celery stalks, chopped
  7. 4 carrots, chopped
  8. 1 8 oz. box of mushrooms, chopped in half
  9. 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  10. 1 heaping teaspoon sweet paprika
  11. 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  12. 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  13. 1 bay leaf
  14. 2 beef bullion cubes
  15. 8 cups water
  16. Salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. In a heavy-bottom pot, melt the ghee over medium heat and brown the beef. You will have to do this in shifts so as to not overcrowd the pot. Overcrowding will cause the beef to steam rather than brown. When the beef is browned on all sides, remove it and set aside.
  2. Lower the heat and wait about 10 minutes for the temperature of the pot drop (you do not want to burn your garlic in the next step!).
  3. Add the shallots and garlic to the pot and cook until the shallots caramelize, about 7 minutes. Stir often.
  4. Return the beef back to the pot and add 8 cups of water, paprika, bay leaf, rosemary sprigs, thyme sprigs, and beef bullion cubes. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer over low heat for 90 minutes.
  5. Add the parsnip, turnip, celery, carrots, and mushrooms, cover, and continue to simmer for at least 30 more minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh thyme. Serve warm.
Notes
  1. You can substitute butter for ghee, but then this stew will not be Paleo. To keep it Paleo, you can substitute bacon fat or olive oil to brown the beef.
Cucina Kristina http://cucinakristina.com/

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