Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Focaccia with Garlic, Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This past weekend, I spent A LOT of time in the kitchen. I worked on a handful of different recipes… trying, tasting, baking, cooking, scheming, creating, burning (it happens), until I finally worked out a few delights to share.

One of these recipes is a yummy Focaccia bread. I wanted to make a bread that would be perfect with pasta, and also delicious to snack on. This recipe is really very simple, but it does require a bit of time to make. I love the combination of roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and olives. These three beauties come together to create bite after bite of deliciousness.

Focaccia with Garlic, Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes
by Laura Friendly
start to finish: about 3 hours (including 2 hours to allow the dough to rest and rise)

  • 1 cup White Sorghum flour
  • 1 cup Brown Rice flour
  • 1 cup Tapioca flour/starch
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast (I use Red Star Active Dry Yeast)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp xanthan gum

  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 cup warm water

  • ⅓ to ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, (soaked in water or oil, until soft), cut into strips
  • ⅓ cup olives, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced (or 2 heads roasted garlic)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Lightly coat a Half Size Sheet Pan (12in x 17in rimmed baking sheet) with olive oil, set aside.

In a heavy-duty, stand mixer (with paddle), combine dry ingredients: flours, yeast, salt and xanthan gum. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients: eggs, oil, agave and warm water. With the stand mixer on low, gradually add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients — ½ cup at a time — until all of the wet ingredients are well incorporated into the dough. note: the dough will be very sticky

Coat your hands with olive oil and transfer the dough onto the baking sheet. Using your hands, gently spread the dough into a thin layer, across the baking sheet. Lightly coat the top of the dough with more olive oil.

Place sun-dried tomatoes, olives and garlic on top of dough, gently pressing them into the dough. Sprinkle dough with salt and pepper.

Loosely cover the baking sheet with foil, plastic or a kitchen towel (not airtight), and allow the dough to rest at room temperature, until it rises slightly, approximately 2 hours.

30 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 450ยบ F. Slide the baking sheet into the center of the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. The focaccia should be lightly browned and firm. Allow to cool for before slicing or eating.

Also see this recipe on HelloGiggles!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quinoa & Kale

What’s the perfect side dish, that you can make ahead of time, refrigerate overnight, reheat the next day, and still tastes great? That was my challenge this weekend. My family was having an Easter cook-out, and I needed to make a dish-to-pass. Something that would travel well and require little tweaking.

I’ve been thinking about a warm, quinoa salad, for sometime now. I cannot say enough great things about quinoa. Not only is it gluten-free, it's also a complete protein, contains all 9 essential amino acids, and is full of calcium. It looks like a grain, cooks like rice, but it has a unique nutty flavor all its own. Plus, it’s fun to say. ;)

This dish is full of good things: quinoa, fresh kale, fresh lemon, onion, capers and a little bacon. Yummy, healthy and flavorful. I hope you LOVE it, as much as I do.

Quinoa & Kale
by Laura Friendly
start to finish: about 25 minutes
makes: about 8 cups

  • 4 cups cooked quinoa (about 1⅓ cups dried quinoa)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • about 20 stems of kale, cleaned, stems removed, chopped (also chop up stems and set aside)
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 10 (or more) roasted garlic cloves, minced (or 3 to 5 fresh garlic cloves)
  • 4 pieces cooked gluten & dairy-free bacon, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp capers

  • ⅓ cup white wine
  • 4 to 6 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest of 1 lemon

Cook quinoa according to instructions. Set aside and allow to cool.

In a large saute pan, over medium-high heat, add olive oil, kale stems, onion, garlic, bacon and capers. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions are soft and transparent. Add in kale leaves, white wine and lemon juice. Mixing continually, cook until kale is slightly wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt & pepper.

Remove pan from heat and mix in cooked quinoa, toss well. Season with additional olive oil, lemon juice and salt & pepper (if desired). Before serving, top with freshly grated lemon zest.

See this recipe on

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Easy Marinara Sauce

I’m a lover of tomatoes. Fresh, sauteed, roasted, blended, juiced, it doesn’t matter, I will eat them any way. So creating my own Marinara seemed like the obvious next step… right? But actually, that’s not what inspired this delicious recipe. It started out as a dare (or challenge) from my brother-in-law.

I enjoy making spaghetti and most of the time I use pre-made sauce. I know, scandalous. On one particular dinner occasion, my brother-in-law took great pleasure in teasing me; how dare I use spaghetti sauce from a jar? (FYI: Classico’s gluten-free Marinara, rocks). I decided it was time to work on a simple, homemade Marinara. And this delight was born.

Both, light and fresh, this Marinara if full of flavor. I especially love the brightness that the fresh lemon brings. Incredibly easy, fast and tasty, I hope you enjoy!

Easy Marinara Sauce (vegan)
by Laura Friendly
start to finish: 20 minutes
makes: about 4 cups

  • 2 14oz. cans roasted tomatoes (or you can roast your own tomatoes)
  • 10 cloves roasted garlic (more or less to taste — if using fresh garlic, use 1 to 2 cloves)
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp red wine (one that tastes good)
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • zest of 1 lemon, optional
  • 1 to 2 tsp of fresh rosemary or basil or thyme (or a blend of all three)
  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a food processor, or blender, combine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, red wine, lemon juice, lemon zest, herbs and red pepper flakes. Blend together well. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer mixture to medium size saucepan and heat over medium heat, bringing to a gentle simmer, for about 15 minutes.

Toss with gluten-free pasta and enjoy!

You can also see this recipe on HelloGiggles!