Gluten-free cooking, wellness, nutrition, and living a positively thriving, engaged life
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Sausage and white beans with swiss chard on crostini
Sometimes, you just need a little inspiration. And some sunshine.
We’re pulling out of the grips of a horribly wet stretch here in Portland, finally seeing some reliable sunshine for the first time in months. Between my last post and this week, I felt paralyzed, the cool and damp weather sapping all motivation to pursue personal projects. However, the world is finally waking up, and after what seemed like endless coaxing, fruit and vegetables are starting to grow. They’re starting to appear at the farmer’s markets and in gardens all around Portland.
Our garden beds are starting to look like they are about to burst. We’ve already enjoyed fresh spinach from our hanging basket and will soon have more ripe strawberries and blueberries than might be good for us. --- okay, that’s nonsense, there is no such thing. We will make more blueberry jam and strawberry crisps. We will pop them right in our mouths for a sweet snack. We might even preserve some in wine for ice cream sundaes.
This past week, I’ve been cooking out of the Farm to Table Cookbook - quite possibly the best cookbook purchase I’ve made since stumbling upon the Gluten Free Girl cookbook a couple of years ago. It is written by a Portland author, so the ingredients she features for each season happen to also be abundantly available locally, because these are the produce that grow well in Oregon. Also, the recipes are almost all naturally gluten-free, since she features whole foods (none of that “one can of cream of mushroom soup” junk), and for those recipes that are not GF, the substitution is obvious. For example, in a pasta dish that calls for whole wheat pasta - use rice pasta instead. However, the real reason I am in love with this cookbook? Reading the recipes is better than any romance novel or chick lit book you’ve ever tried to read (let’s face it - we’ve all picked up a brain-insulting book for the beach at some point in our lives) and every recipe I’ve tried has exceeded all of my expectations about what good food should taste like.
I started with Stuffed Vegetables Provencal, which stuffs zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, or any other vegetables of your choosing with a mixture of bacon, bread crumbs, herbs de provence and other goodies, along with the ‘meat’ of the vegetables you are using. This smelled delicious and tasted even better. I had never heard of Gremolata butter before using this book, but after tossing it on roasted veggies, I want to bathe in it. Thursday night I made Roasted Chicken Peperonata (pictured below with gremolata buttered roasted new potatoes) and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I’m not much of a bell pepper fan, but this was like no bell pepper preparation I had ever tried. I’m glad I did.
I was inspired to try something I made up - a variation on something I like to cook in the spring with Raab. This is what I call Sausage and White Beans with Swiss Chard on Crostini. I even used a veggie I hadn’t yet tried before - swiss chard. It’s actually pretty darn good.
Sausage and White Beans with Swiss Chard on Crostini I bought a sesame batard from New Cascadia’s farmers market stand to use as the bread in this. If you are not blessed with a source for delicious, artisan-style gluten free bread where you are, and you don’t want to bake it yourself, you might try spooning the sausage mixture over cooked quinoa or some other hearty gluten-free grain. Buy a good pork sausage, from the butcher or the deli for this recipe.
1 small sweet onion, finely diced
1 bunch swiss chard, roughly chopped
1 pound pork sausages, cooked and sliced
1 can great northern beans
2 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 gluten free sesame batard, sliced thick
Prepare your bread by rubbing one side with the cut side of a sliced garlic clove and brushing with olive oil or butter. Place slices oil-side-up on a baking sheet to bake later.
Preheat oven to 350F. Dice garlic cloves.
Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Saute onions until they begin to soften and slightly brown on the edges. Add the herbs, garlic, beans, and sausages and saute for a about 5 more minutes before reducing the heat to low. Add in the swiss chard and stir to evenly distribute. Cover and let simmer.
Meanwhile, slide the bread slices into the oven and bake at for about 15 minutes, or until the edges are golden.
To serve, place two slices of bread on a plate and top with the sausage mixture.
Any transition can be a struggle, but it can also be an opportunity to grow and flourish. Since discovering I am gluten-intolerant, I have grown as a cook and as a person. In fact, I dare every day to live my life in a way that promotes strength, healing, and, most of all, thriving.