Announcements

Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by Healthline.com and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Where in the World is Carol?

Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and www.CarolFenster.com

Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Join Carol at the National Western Complex, Expo Hall level 2 in Denver on April 21,10:30 am during the GFAF Expo Conference. See you there!

Lentil Underground: A Case for Eating Beans and Legumes

Lentil Underground? What is that, a crime organization? When I first heard of this book during an interview with author Liz Carlisle (a Michael Pollan protégé), on Splendid Table I thought I misunderstood. But since I’m a huge fan of pulses (which includes lentils, but also beans and legumes such as peas) I listened anyway. I am glad I did.

Enjoy Beans in This Quick Main Dish (photo by Jason Wyche)

Enjoy Beans in This Quick Main Dish (photo by Jason Wyche)

The Story Behind the Book

The story behind the book, Lentil Underground:  Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America, began forty years ago when corporate agribusiness told small farmers to “get big or get out.” But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien took a stand, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils.

Why lentils? Lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so farmers aren’t beholden to industrial methods that require chemical fertilizers. Today, Oien leads an underground network of organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand Timeless Natural Food, their unique business-cum-movement has grown into a million dollar enterprise that sells to Whole Foods, hundreds of independent natural foods stores, and a host of renowned restaurants. You have probably seen these legumes in stores and may have a bag of them in your pantry. Most importantly for us—they are gluten-free.

Why Lentils Are Good for You

While I support farming methods that restore the soil, I’m more intrigued by the importance of underrated legumes in our diet because they are so good for you. Here is a brief summary of these benefits; for more details read here and here:

*full of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals

*facilitate weight loss

*reduce cholesterol (when eaten regularly)

*have a low glycemic index (they break down slowly in the digestive tract)

*help people feel fuller, sooner, and the fiber in these foods “may reduce the absorption of fat.”

How to Prepare Legumes

 I will add another benefit to legumes: they taste good and are amazingly versatile. But the question most people have is: “How do I eat them?”

To answer that question, Pulse Canada (a Canadian industry association) asked noted dietitian Shelley Case, RD and me to write a booklet about the various ways to prepare them, ranging from using them in salads, main dishes, and ground into flour for baking. In Canada (and Europe), they use the term “pulses” to collectively include beans, chickpeas, legumes, and peas. So, Shelley and I produced this booklet, which is free here .

Using Beans and Lentils in Gluten-Free Cooking

Using Beans and Lentils in Gluten-Free Cooking

Meanwhile, enjoy this quick, one-skillet dish that features beans:

Mexican Skillet Beef & Rice

Reprinted with permission from 100 Best Quick Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014).

 This dish will become one of your go-to choices for those nights when you need dinner on the table pronto. You control the heat with the spiciness of the salsa (mild, medium, or hot), so choose accordingly. It is very colorful to serve it with avocado slices and sour cream.

8 ounces lean pork sausage

2 cups tomato juice

2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed and drained

½ cup Mexican salsa, plus more for garnish

2 cups corn tortilla chips

½ cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese or cheddar cheese or both, or cheese alternative

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 small head iceberg lettuce, chopped

[1] In a large, heavy, deep skillet, cook the sausage over medium heat, breaking it up with a spatula, until deeply browned, about 5 minutes. Pour off the fat and drain the meat on paper towels to remove excess fat. Return the meat to the skillet.

[2] Add the tomato juice, beans, and salsa and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and stir in the tortilla chips. Sprinkle with the cheese and cilantro, cover, and heat over low heat just until the cheese melts, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately over a bed of lettuce, garnished with a drizzle of salsa.

Per serving: 480 calories; 20g protein; 23g total fat; 14g fiber; 49g carbohydrates; 34mg cholesterol; 778mg sodium           

 

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