Friday, May 15, 2015

Almond Crunch Rhubarb Kuchen {cake #dairyfree #recipe Rhabarberkuchen}

I love spring - well, guess I say that about every season - and I love rhubarb since tart and bitter are my flavors.  Yes,  I am a tart and bitter woman :)  Strawberries are of course a perfect company for rhubarb however I prefer rhubarb all by itself.  It takes me back to my childhood.  My grandparents had a - seemingly at the time - huge yard growing everything from Stachelberen {goose berries}, Johannisbeeren (red and black currents) to vegetables and Rhabarber {rhubarb}. When rhubarb was in season it was often rhubarb compote for dessert, Rhabarberkuchen is served in Cafe's and bakeries everywhere around.  Topped with meringue or with marzipan or glazed…so yes,  I love Rhabarberkuchen.

Rhubarb has finally arrived at our stores. We already had a rhubarb-strawberry compete with ice "cream" for dessert and finally the first Rhabarberkuchen of the year.  My usual go-to recipe is Rhubarb Meringue but sometimes there is just not enough time to make it….So instead it was this easy and quick  cake….which shall be named Almond Crunch Rhubarb Kuchen.  It comes together super easy, really delicious and you can always add a little more rhubarb than I did.

Almond Crunch Rhubarb Kuchen
  • 1-1/4 C flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3  C corn starch
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 5 TB Earth Balance {or your favorite "butter} - softened cut into pieces
  • 1/2 C plain almond milk {your favorite type of "milk"}
  • 2  egg
  • 1     tsp vanilla extract
  • 3-4 C cleaned, chopped rhubarb cut into about 1/2" pieces
      For Almond Crunch topping
  • 2/3 C ground almonds
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C flour
  •    4 TB Earth Balance {or your favorite "butter"}
        ***Preheat oven to 360 F***
  1. In a stand mixer gently combine flour, baking powder, corn starch, and sugar
  2. Add "butter", "milk",  eggs and combine into a smooth batter.
  3. Add vanilla until it is worked well into the batter
  4. Mix rhubarb into the batter
  5. Pour batter into a prepared springform
  6. Combine ground almonds, sugar, flour, and "butter", until it becomes crumbly {I use my hands for this step) and it has the appearance of streusel.
  7. Top the batter with the streusel
  8. Bake for about 80 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup {#dairyfree #recipe}

Soup is on my mind - I must have told you that before a couple of times but we love soup. Soup to me is always comforting,  delicious, the perfect meal in one bowl plus it's the perfect lunch the next day.  The weather does not matter - every day is the perfect soup day, add some crusty bread, a hearty salad and it is a complete dinner…You know what else I love?  Lemon and pasta…lemon adding a fresh, tangy, crisp flavor to anything and pasta the prefect comfort food.  Now adding it all together is the perfect meal - not photogenic at all - but oh so tasty….

Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 celery stalks diced
  • 3/4 lb diced chicken, skin removed {I prefer dark meat}
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 TB dried Oregano
  • 1/3 C lemon juice
  • 1 qt chicken broth
  • 3 C water
  • 1 tsp lemon zest {use zest from organic lemon}
  • 1/2 C of dried orzo
  • 2 C frozen, defrosted or fresh spinach
  1. Heat olive oil in a stock pot and when hot add
  2. onion and sauté until softened
  3. Add celery, garlic together with diced chicken.  Sauté until celery turns bright green in color.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and oregano; sauté for another couple of minutes until fragrant
  5. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, chicken broth, and water.  Bring to a low simmer, cover and leave on the stove for about 30-45 minutes for all of the flavors to combine.
  6. Increase heat and add dried orzo when the soup is bubbling, continue cooking until orzo is soft.
  7. Add spinach to soup, stir, cover and simmer for another five minutes.
  8. Adjust salt, pepper, lemon as needed.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Chicago with kids {#travel #family}

Ron and I moved from Chicago to Portland about thirteen years ago; for the longest time we have been talking how much fund it will be to go back with the girls, stay downtown, and be tourists in our old hometown.  In the past our big annual summer trip has been to go home {at least for me} to Europe, but since Europe will not be happening this summer we were finally made the trip back to Chicago.   Why did we wait so long?!

We left PDX at 12:40am getting into Minneapolis just before 6am getting us to Chicago O'Hare just around 8am; I know it does sound a little crazy to take the red-eye with kids but it was great.  It was the most economical flight option and two out of four slept all the way; while the other two may have enjoyed a rare treat of Coca-Cola.  Now do you care to guess who the two sleepers were?! 

Getting into O'Hare that early was great and getting downtown from O'Hare is super easy by taking the 'L' -  follow the signs for "CTA Trains" or "Trains to City"; 
we stayed at the downtown Hampton Inn & Suites on Illinois pretty much right off Michigan Avenue and it was fantastic.  Bright, clean, nice size rooms, comfy beds, a lovely swimming pool {key when traveling with our kids} plus continental breakfast.  In order to make our stay more economical we booked and prepaid the room.  Now let me say this - and no this is not a sponsored post - this hotel was absolutely perfect, we will definitively stay there again and I highly recommend it to all traveling to Chicago with kids.  True, it is not right on Michigan Avenue, or in the Loop but it is centrally located. Eataly is a couple of blocks away,  you can walk or take the bus to Navy Pier {just straight down Illinois}, and Michigan Avenue.  Our room was ready when we got there.  There is nothing like a shower, a quick rest to rejuvenate after the flight to get ready to explore.

I have to admit that there was one big thing making me uneasy was worrying about food options for the girls.  Yes…it is true but let me tell you not a reason to be worried; for lunch we went to Wishbone one of my all time favorites - it was burgers for the girls on dairy free buns {the regular buns contain dairy}. Breakfast was at the Corner Bakery, dinner at Ed Debevec's, dessert at  Eataly where there is plenty of Sorbetto {dairy free}, hot dogs at the Cub's game…plenty of dairy free / galactosemia friendly choices.  What did I worry about?!  The key - like always - is to ask, don't take "it probably has milk in it" for an answer but ask to read the labels…

We walked a lot and rode the 'L" everywhere…
went to a Cubs game
and we discovered the best playground {at least in our opinion} this side of the Atlantic…the Maggie Daley Park

Good to know if you go to Chicago with kids {or by yourself}
  •  bring good walking shoes
  • Chicago has fantastic public transportation - use it; get a daily pass, or buy a Vesta card
  •  taking a red eye flight can be the most economical options - have your kids bring their favorite pillows
  • pay for your hotel room in advance to get the best deals {I use the Hilton booking site}
  • call ahead to restaurants you want to visit to ensure that there are "safe" options for the kids
  • have LOTS of fun!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thai Fish Soup

Thai Fish Soup
Hello friends of The Not So Cheesy Kitchen, it's Heather from All Roads Lead to the Kitchendropping by to share a bowl of soup with you today, because Bea has been so busy lately that she's forgotten to feed you. (Joke!) And hey, when all else fails, soup always comes to the rescue. Especially one this simple, that comes together quickly, and packs loads of flavor!

This soup came about on a clean out the pantry and fridge night, so I used a can of peas and a can of corn (I know - gasp!), along with the end of a bag of julienne carrots. But really, any frozen or fresh veggies will work here. Throw in some ribbons of greens, some snow peas cut on the bias, or some beautiful carrot coins. Switch up the herbs, or use only one kind.

As far as the fish went, I had a few fillets of tilapia and a large swai fillet that I took out of the freezer the day before, and in those went. Mild white fish is definitely the way to go here, it paired perfectly with the broth made slightly creamy from the addition of coconut milk.
Thai Fish Soup
You may notice the obvious crazy yellow color of my broth. That comes from the addition of turmeric in my homemade curry powder. I'd probably opt to use a curry powder without turmeric next time (though turmeric is a very Thai-inspired ingredient), just because I think it might be more visually appealing.

Oh, and I mentioned this came together quickly, right? You can have a pot of delicious soup on the table in under 30 minutes. What are you waiting for!?

Thai Fish Soup
This brothy soup enriched with coconut milk is packed with chunks of tender white fish, veggies and herbs. Switch up the add-ins to match the season!
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Thai Fish Soup
by Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Keywords: simmer soup/stew dairy-free pescetarian Thai

Ingredients (serves 4)
    for the curry broth:
    • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    • 3 spring onions or scallions, thinly sliced
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon curry powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
    • 3/4 cup coconut milk
    • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    everything else:
    • 1 pound white fish (I used a mix of tilapia and swai)
    • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables, cut very small (peas, carrots, corn)
    • 1 cup cooked rice
    • 1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh cilantro, basil and mint leaves
    • lime wedges
    Heat oil in a medium saucepot over medium heat. Add green onions, garlic, curry powder and sugar; cooking, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, coconut milk, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer for 10 minutes.

    Add the fish and veggies to the pot, simmer until everything is cooked through, 3-5 minutes. Stir in rice and cook for 1 minute longer. Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over each serving, to taste.

    -adapted from Taking On Magazines and Family Circle Magazine, January 2014
    Thai Fish Soup

    More delicious soups from the sea (at girlichef):
    Caldo de Camaron y Pescado (Brothy Shrimp and Fish Soup)
    Manhattan Clam Chowder
    Rhode Island Clam Chowder
    Smoked Salmon Chowder (inspired by Pike Place Chowder)


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