Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Roasted Red Pepper-Pumpkin Soup

Fall is such a wonderful time of year for so many reasons, but one of my favorites is the arrival of the pumpkin. It is no secret that I love to bake with pumpkin, but really I love to eat pumpkin just about any way I can. This Roasted Red Pepper-Pumpkin Soup is a perfect way to warm up on a cool Autumn evening. It can also be a great starter for any fall gathering.

Roasted Red Pepper-Pumpkin Soup
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Shallots or 1 Red Onion, Chopped
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
4 Cups Chicken Broth
1Yukon Gold Potato, chopped
2 Large Red Bell Peppers, Roasted and Chopped*
1 Teaspoon Cumin
¼- ½ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
2- 15 oz. cans of pumpkin
¼ Cup Balsamic Vinegar

Over medium heat in a large stock pot, add olive oil and shallots or onion. Sauté until translucent, then add garlic. Stir for one minute. Add chicken broth, potato, bell peppers, cumin, red pepper flakes and pumpkin.  Bring to simmer and cook 15- 20 minutes or until potato is cooked through. Add balsamic vinegar and simmer another 3-5 minutes. Puree soup with a handheld blender.

Roasting Bell Peppers- Cut bell peppers in half removing seeds, veins and stems. Place the bell peppers on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Press your hand on the bell pepper forcing it to be as flat as possible. Place the baking sheet under the broiler on high for 3-5 minutes. When the skin of the pepper is black and bubbly remove the baking sheet from the oven. Wrap the aluminum foil up over the peppers to form a sealed package. Remove foil package from the baking sheet. Wrap a kitchen towel around the aluminum foil package to keep the heat in and set aside for 15 minutes.  Open the package saving any juices from the peppers to add to the soup. Remove the outer blackened skin from the pepper. At this point the pepper can be chopped and added to the soup.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rice Contains High Levels of Arsenic

No one wants to hear about arsenic in their food. It is especially concerning when the item is consumed often. Rice is such a staple for so many people who live gluten-free that the latest reports about arsenic levels in rice are extremely concerning.

Consumer Reports has recently reported the levels of arsenic found after testing many common brands of rice and rice products. These results can be alarming, especially when you stop to consider how many gluten-free products and recipes contain rice, rice flour, rice bran or rice syrup.

Consumer Reports and the FDA are working together to make products safer going forward, but are strongly urging consumers to reduce their consumption of rice products. Their recomendations are listed in this consumer reports article.

Luckily there are other alternatives out there. This would be a great time to give buckwheat a try. Buckwheat is related to the rhubarb family, therefore not a grain at all. It is a very safe and nutritious gluten-free alternative to rice. Buckwheat can be found in the form of light and dark flour to be used in baking. Buckwheat can also be found in the form of groats. Groats can replace rice or other grains and be used as a side dish, in a salad, or as a cereal.
My cookbook, Delicious Gluten-Free Baking with Buckwheat Flour, is full of incredible gluten-free recipes that use only buckwheat flour. The recipes are easy to follow and fun to bake. Look at this as an opportunity to try something new. You may be surprised at how Delicious it can be!