Affairs of Living

Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries from April 1, 2011 - April 30, 2011


Baked White Beans with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)


I've always been a baked bean lover. Instead of making sweet and smoky Boston-style baked beans, lately I've been making baked beans inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean. A few days ago I made this tasty version of baked white beans, chock full of garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil and fresh lemon. I baked the beans in a beautiful red Le Creuset enameled cast iron dutch oven, and the finished dish looked gorgeous and tasted just as good. The flavor is really fresh, fragrant herbs with the bite of black pepper and brightness of lemon.  The beans on the top were tender and but still intact (the way I like 'em), and the beans on the bottom and edges had a golden, crisp crust.  Hot olive oil and a good hot cast iron pan create pure magic!  Serve as an affordable and satisfying main course or a side dish, along with sauteed greens or salad and other seasonal vegetables. 

IMG_1422IMG_1427IMG_1428Golden and warm, ready to eat!

Baked White Beans with Garlic, Lemon, and Herbs

serves 6-8

  • 1 pound dried cannelini beans (or other white bean like great northern or navy)
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil + more for drizzling
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 12 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped (about 1/3 cup)
  • 10 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh marjoram leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • broth or water
  • 1 spring fresh rosemary
  • 1 small lemon, thinly sliced in rounds
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • dried chili flakes or aleppo pepper flakes

Soak the beans for 24-36 hours in a large bowl or pot filled with water. You want the beans covered by about 6 inches of water. Drain, rinse, and refill every 12 hours while soaking (save the used soaking water and use for plants, it is full of plant-healthy nitrogen!). Once they are fully soaked, drain and rinse well, and set aside.

Heat oven to 350º F and lightly oil a large dutch oven or dish. Place rinsed & soaked beans in dish with onions and garlic, and pour on 4 Tbsp olive oil. Stir to coat, then add sage, thyme, and marjoram, and stir to mix. Add enough water or broth to be just below the top surface of the beans. Nestle the rosemary on the beans, then cover the surface with lemon slices and sprinkle with pepper and chili flakes/aleppo pepper flakes.

Cover dish with foil and puncture a few times to let steam escape. Bake for about 2 hours. Baking time will depend on how long you soak your beans, how old your beans are, and the general humidity level in your house - your beans may take more or less time. Be sure to check on them after 1 1/2 hours - if all the liquid has cooked off and they seem dry, add a little more liquid and continue to bake.  If there is still liquid, just put back in the oven and keep baking until they are tender to your liking.

Remove from oven, drizzle with olive oil and season to taste with unrefined salt. Serve.  

Make it a meal by serving with sauteed greens or a leafy green salad, cooked baby beets with fresh thyme (or other seasonal veg), and crusty homemade bread.


Rutabaga raab and other fresh food finds in Washington


I just returned from 6 days visiting friends in Washington state. It was the perfect vacation - a balance of town and country, old friends and new, sun and rain, and lots of delicious food. I ate my way through Seattle, Port Townsend, and Woodinville, and enjoyed every last bite. One of my favorite things about traveling is food. Trying local specialties, checking out farmer's markets, cruising through co-ops, eating at independently owned restaurants - these are my favorite ways to see the heart of a community and satisfy my never-ending food curiosity. Washington is perfect for this. In addition to amazing restaurants and natural grocers and co-ops, the prevalence of road side produce stands and wild edibles makes this state like a big buffet. I saw slews of blackberry bushes and wild fennel growing along a sidewalk in Seattle for goodness sake.  And unlike the gardens here in Minnesota (which were covered in snow this morning), the gardens around Seattle are already yielding beautiful produce. 

I am resuming the planning process for moving to the Pacific Northwest.


One of the most interesting food items I saw for sale were bunches of rutabaga raab for sale at the Port Townsend Food Co-op. Rutabaga raab is nothing more than the flowering tops and tender leaves of the rutabaga plant. I laughed when I saw the bunches being sold for $1.99 each, because I generally pick the tender leafy flowering tops from my kale and mustard plants and use them right along with the greens. But you never see these in stores, and I never thought of using rutabaga greens! Rutabaga greens are not often used, or even available, and when you do find them, they never have the tender flowering tops. Because the rutabaga is better stored without the leaves, they usually get discarded before the rutabaga even gets to market. So, rutabaga raab is really something you'd only have access to if you were growing rutabaga yourself or, apparently, if you live in Port Townsend.  

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Charcutepalooza: smoking, pudding, and porkgasms


Q: What do you call the feeling of intense euphoria brought on by the consumption of well-prepared pork?

A: A porkgasm!


I proudly take full credit for that dirty food joke.

Mrs. Wheelbarrow  and The Yummy Mummy, in partnership with Food52, are hosting a year-long blog event called Charcutepalooza: A Year of Meat. Using Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's Charcuterie as a guide, this challenge encourages bloggers to explore the world of salting, smoking, and curing their own meats. There is a big grand prize at the end that involves a trip to France and personal charcuterie lessons, but I jumped on the Charcutepalooza boat a bit too late to be eligible. A sad but true fact I can't escape. C'est la vie!

My corned beef post from last month was featured by Food52 as one of the ten best blog posts for the March brining challenge. I'm honored! I adore Food52 and admire the work of the other bloggers featured in their round up, so I was thrilled to be mentioned. Be sure to check out Food52's recap of the challenge, as well as my post about making corned beef. 

This month's challenge is hot smoking. I became giddy at the prospect of trying a new recipe in a smoker. My housemates have a Camerons stovetop smoker, and since moving in I've gotten into the habit of using it at least once per week. Smoked salmon paté, smoked hamburgers, smoked locally-made sausages, smoked marinated chicken breasts, the list goes on. I'm totally addicted to the food that comes out of it. So, I went right for the gold and took on the Charcuterie Challenge of making Spicy Smoked Pork Loin from Charcuterie.


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Spicy Mustard Greens (gluten-free, vegan, ACD)


I love mustard greens. As a fan of strong, pungent flavors, I adore their inherent bity zippiness. When I don't want to think about what I'm making for dinner, I default to a making greens  with onions, garlic, and spices.  Easy greens recipes like this are a staple in my kitchen. 

This recipe is nothing earth-shatteringly unique, but it is delicious, simple, and versatile. You can easily season it differently or prepare with kale, collards, bok choy, or chard (if using chard, saute the chard stems along with the onions and garlic) instead of mustard greens. The cooking times may vary slightly, but the basic process is the same.  I served mine with smoked spicy pork loin and some zippy mustard. It would also be very good with a well-seasoned bean dish, sauteed tofu, roasted chicken, or an Indian-style curry. The choices are endless!

By the way, mustard greens are very easy to grow. If you have extra space in your garden, you might enjoy reaping the benefits of a plant or two. :)


Spicy Mustard Greens

serves 2-4

  • 1 bunch mustard greens, stem removed and leaves chopped
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ghee or coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • red pepper flakes or aleppo pepper, to taste
  • unrefined salt, to taste
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Heat ghee in pan over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute until translucent. Add mustard greens. Cover pan and let cook for 2-3 minutes, then remove cover and stir. Replace cover and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes until greens are tender and vibrant green, adding a splash of water as needed. Remove cover and add cumin and red pepper flakes. Add lemon juice and salt, to taste. Serve.



"April in the Raw" and recipe for Layered Rainbow Salad

Brittany at Real Sustenance is hosting a great blog event this month called April in the Raw. I was thrilled when she asked me to participate. All month long, bloggers will be posting about their experiences with raw food and sharing raw and raw inspired recipes.  Be sure to check out the April in the Raw home page to see all the posts and recipes from other participating bloggers.

Sometimes the raw food culture can seem intimidating. The soaking, the sprouting, the dehydrating, the mixing, the requisite dehydrator, the frequent expensive (and often imported) specialty ingredients - it can be overwhelming. Don't get me wrong, I'm not attacking the way that many individuals choose to incorporate raw foods in their life. I like a young coconut and a raw flax cracker as much as the next person. But when it comes to incorporating raw food in my diet, I prefer to take a more simplistic, more local approach. I am privileged enough to choose the foods I eat each day, and I want to make sure that my choices support my health, my local economy, my values, and the overall well-being of the individuals, animals, and land that produced them, whether I'm making a raw vegan meal or roasting a brisket. Simple salads and slaws, raw cultured vegetables and sauerkraut, smoothies, fresh green juices, sprouted chickpeas and homemade broccoli sprouts - these are my favorite way to eat raw foods.  I eat raw foods most in the spring and summer, when produce is fresh and the temperatures are warm.  In autumn and winter, as temperatures cool and my body needs to expend more energy to stay warm, I stray from eating as many raw foods and incorporate more cooked vegetables.  I find I feel best when I connect my dietary choices to the season, so that's what I do.

As a smoothie addict and lover of salads, my excitement for warmer weather - and all the food that goes with it - is pretty intense. 


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