Category Archives: Wheat-Free Corn-Free Dairy-Free Dinners

Hutterite Bean Soup


Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

I haven’t posted in a while because of some life changes so I was excited to try a new recipe and have the time to write about it!

Hutterite Beans from Shady Side FarmI’ve never made Hutterite Bean Soup. I had never even heard of Hutterite beans until I saw them at the Holland Farmers Market. Locally grown by Shady Side Farm, the Hutterite variety is a white bean that’s not quite as soft as a navy bean.

Inspired by a recipe I found online, I took the Tuscan route, as I once did with another bean recipe I made.

First I soaked the beans overnight. If you don’t have the opportunity to plan ahead, you can always do the quick soak method, which is written on the back of the bean bag. Just put the beans, well covered in water, into a large pot. Bring to a boil for two minutes and remove from heat. Cover pot and soak for an hour. It’s a handy trick!

Hutterite Beans

Here they are all plumped up with water, rinsed and drained.

Hutterite Beans

In the stock pot I sautéed a whole onion (chopped) and a couple cloves of garlic (minced) in olive oil.

Chopped onions and garlic

Then I added a ham hock. This one happened to be fresh, not smoked, so the meat looks more like pork than ham.

Fresh ham hock for Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

I browned the ham hock in the olive oil after pushing aside the onions and garlic. Then I added about 2 1/2 quarts of water. It would be great to use stock if you have it. Instead, I added a teaspoon of organic chicken bouillon, which is my back-up plan when I don’t have stock on hand. I also added dried sage (fresh would have been better!). Then I simmered the soup on the stove about two hours, until the ham hock meat was tender.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

Once the meat was done, I removed it from the pot, pulled the meat off the bone, and returned the meat to the soup.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

Then I added a bunch of lacinato kale, stems removed, leaves chopped.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

Simmer another half hour or so until the kale is tender, and it’s soup! Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This could easily have been an excellent vegetarian recipe. With the beans and kale, you have a very nutritional meal easily devoured from a bowl.

Hutterite Bean Soup recipe

Chez Marcita Presents: St. Paddy’s Lamb Stew


I’m not Irish, but I love lamb. What could be better for St. Patrick’s Day than lamb stew? Join Bill and me in the kitchen as we create this wheat-free, dairy-free, corn-free one-pot meal. Find the recipe on page 40 of my cookbook, Nothing to Sneeze At: Main Dishes for People with Allergies.

Chez Marcita Presents: Bill’s Fab Meatloaf


I already posted Bill’s meatloaf recipe a few years ago on Life Is Fare, but now you can see the chef in action as he prepares this cozy comfort food. It’s wheat-free, corn-free, and dairy-free, and made with grassfed beef and pastured pork. Happy food heaven!

Chez Marcita Presents: Coq au Vin


I’m not sure who started the big-meal-on-Sunday tradition but it works well for Bill and me. It’s the one day we generally don’t go anywhere so we have plenty of time to cook in the kitchen together. I love making a one-pot meal in the oven those days, especially in the wintertime.

This demo on Coq au Vin is from our cooking videos series. It’s a variation on the recipe in my cookbook Nothing to Sneeze At, which is a variation on Julia Child’s recipe for Coq au Vin. No wheat, no corn, no dairy. I’ll show you how to make this easy chicken-in-a-pot-with wine. And I’ll even show you how to cut up a chicken!

Grassfed Beef Tenderloin


Grassfed beef tenderloin recipe with mashed potatoes and braised carrots

Since Bill and I have been buying our own local grassfed meat, I’m appalled–even disturbed–by the sizes of meat cuts served in mainstream restaurants. That’s why I wasn’t surprised to see our tenderloin portion we received in our mixed quarter of beef from Lubbers Farm this year. The filet mignon (French for “cute filet”) is from the smaller end of the tenderloin, which runs along the spine of the cow.

Filet mignon from grassfed beef tenderloin

Known as the most tender cut of meat in beef (as well as pork and venison), it’s also the most expensive part. An “average” steer or heifer (probably the feedlot variety) produces just 4 to 6 pounds of tenderloin, which is why our piece from a mixed quarter yielded just .63 pounds.

One saves a special occasion for preparing such a prime piece of meat. For Bill and me, it was New Year’s Eve. I chose an easy recipe but was very vigilant to make sure the meat wasn’t overcooked, especially since grassfed beef takes less time than feedlot meat. It was called Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce.

What I didn’t expect was for the meat to be cut into two pieces when I opened the package. So I had to be even more watchful since the surface area in the oven was nearly twice as much.

Grassfed beef tenderloin recipe

For a recipe like this, it helps to prepare the side dishes in advance as much as possible because the roasting time is fast. After rubbing with fresh garlic and sprinkling the meat with salt and pepper, I preheated the oven and got busy on the sauce. (You’re supposed to do this with the pan drippings after the meat is roasted but I wasn’t anticipating much in the way of drippings so I thought I’d start it and add whatever I could salvage later.)

First I sautéed green onions and garlic in olive oil.

Beef tenderloin red wine sauce

Then I added rice flour instead of wheat flour to accommodate Bill’s allergies, and made a roux.

Beef tenderloin red wine sauce

I added the red wine and some beef stock, omitting the mushrooms because I detest them.

Beef tenderloin red wine sauce

The meat was done in about 25 minutes. I poured the drippings into the sauce and covered the meat with foil to let it rest while we finished the rest of the preparations.

Grassfed beef tenderloin recipe

Alongside our tenderloin we had mashed Yukon potatoes with raw milk buttermilk, braised carrots with carmelized onions in balsamic vinegar, and a Caesar salad (plus a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon and a little bubbly Prosecco to ring in the new year!).

Grassfed Beef Tenderloin recipe

Pork and Bok Choy Stir-Fry


Pork and Bok Choy Stir-Fry recipe

Every two weeks Bill and I get lettuce greens from our local CSA—all year ’round. Usually the day before delivery our farmer emails our CSA group about any extra produce she has, and we often take her up on it. When bok choy was on the list recently, I knew I had to make a stir-fry. We used the entire head in one meal, and it was so tasty—especially knowing it was freshly grown and harvested about ten miles from where we live.

Local, organic bok choy

To make this recipe, I browned a half pound of ground pork in a wok. (I also put some white rice on the stove to cook so it would be ready when the stir-fry was done.)

Browning ground pork

I removed the meat, then threw some sliced garlic and a 1/2-inch slice of fresh ginger (peeled) into the wok with safflower oil on medium-high heat until fragrant.

Garlic and ginger in oil

Meanwhile, I chopped a bunch of green onions and the bok choy so they were ready to throw in, separating the thicker pieces from the stem of the bok choy.

Sliced green onions

Chopped bok choy

I removed the garlic and ginger and added a pinch of red pepper seeds, then quickly sautéed the bok choy stem pieces for a minute or two.

Green onions

Then I added the green onions and the leafy parts of the bok choy, stir-frying for another minute. I added about a 1/2 cup of chicken stock mixed with a 1/2 teaspoon of arrowroot to thicken it. (Arrowroot is a good substitute for cornstarch if you’re allergic to corn.)

Green onions and bok choy

At the end, I mixed in the pork, then served it over rice. Filling, delicious, and healthy.

Pork and Bok Choy Stir-Fry recipe

For a vegetarian option, omit the pork and add cashews or peanuts at the end and substitute vegetable broth or water for the chicken stock.

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving


I am fascinated by the variety of Thanksgiving traditions people bring to their table. I love how we are influenced by our families, our heritage, and our experiences. But I have to say I can’t think of a single thing that I must have for Thanksgiving every year. As long as I get to cook—using local, organic, and seasonal ingredients as much as possible—I’m happy.

Most of the fun is the creative process in cooking but it’s also about trying new things. So when Bill and I had guests with vegetarian preferences this year, I was excited to look for recipes. I was also challenged to find ones that would accommodate both a vegetarian diet and Bill’s allergy restrictions: wheat, corn, and pasteurized cow dairy. Thankfully, the world is at my fingertips through the internet!

After a light appetizer–and a favorite at our house–of Warm Goat Cheese Toasts with Rosemary, Walnuts, and Honey (substituting Manchego cheese for goat cheese), we started with a bowl of Winter Squash Soup.

The rest of the meal was a selection of sides and two vegetarian main dishes: Veggie Balls and Potato Leek Quiche, but this time with a Greek twist on the quiche since I used sheep’s feta cheese and added spinach.

For sides, we had one of my favorites from Epicurious.com: Wild Rice with Butternut Squash, Leeks and Corn (sans corn). Also, instead of just wild rice, this time I used Lundberg’s Wild Blend.

We also had Mark Bittman’s Mashed Cauliflower from his book How to Cook Everything. It’s a great substitute for mashed potatoes if you want to take advantage of a seasonal vegetable that’s difficult to store, or if you’re looking to lower carbs!

Finally, for a little greenery, I made a simple Raw Tuscan Kale Salad recipe from one of my fellow foodies over at 101Cookbooks.

And for dessert? Two choices: my first ever Pumpkin Pie, plus Gourmet magazine’s Flourless Chocolate Cake (made with raw milk butter!).

Sirloin Tip Roast with Red Wine


So the last time I made Sirloin Tip Roast I let myself be inspired by dry-heat cooking methods, even though my heroine, Irma Rombauer of The Joy of Cooking, literally shows us in black and white that this meat cut deserves moist heat.

When Bill and I ate it, the meat did seem a bit dry, but I figured at the time that the lean-ness of grassfed meat had a lot to do with the end result.

This time I decided to stick with Irma’s suggestion. I found a recipe on Food.com that called for a dry heat method, i.e., roasted uncovered in the oven, but you also add water and wine to the pot. I loved the idea of rubbing the roast with Dijon mustard—which is really yummy on prime rib—but I decided not to add it because I was going to put a lid on my Dutch oven and that wouldn’t make the mustard nice and crispy like on prime rib. It turned out to be the right approach.

The recipe is simply called Sirloin Tip Roast. As the diagram above shows, this cut is either adjacent to the rump, the flank, or the shank of the cow. And for grassfed beef, it’s extremely lean so cooking time must be reduced.

I followed the beginning of the recipe by taking the roast out of the fridge an hour ahead of time, then sprinkling it with salt and pepper.

Then I poured olive oil in the bottom of my Dutch oven and browned the meat on all sides.

Afterwards, I cut slits in the meat and added sliced garlic cloves, then poured 1/2 a cup of water and 1/4 cup of dry red wine into the pan. Like I said, I skipped the mustard. And, I basically skipped the rest of the ingredients except for some fresh chopped rosemary.

Even when a recipe calls for a rack, I never use one because I don’t own one. Sure, it might be a good idea sometimes, but I don’t want to wreck my pans and I seemed to have done just fine so far without one.

I put the 3-lb. roast in a 325-degree oven with the lid on for just 1  1/2 hours.

I believe it was more moist than last year’s recipe. Served au jus alongside roasted root vegetables, it made a delicious autumn meal—and great leftovers during the week!

Grassfed Oxtail Stew


The mixed quarter of beef that Bill and I got from Lubbers Farm this year included an oxtail. Not a whole oxtail, I guess, because it weighed less than one pound. And not really from an ox! It was a partial tail divided among the other people who share the meat from our cow.

I’ve never eaten oxtail before but I have heard of Oxtail Soup (and stew). So I looked for a recipe online and came across this delicious one that I followed to make the recipe: Simply Recipes Oxtail Stew.

Most of the time I search for recipes they become the inspiration for something I make, or I need to substitute ingredients to accommodate Bill’s allergies. In this case, I pretty much followed the recipe to a “t” except for altering quantities since I only had a third of the weight in oxtail.

It’s so easy…..

First you separate the oxtail by the joints.

After seasoning the meat with salt and pepper, you brown the pieces in olive oil, then remove the meat from the pan and add a chopped onion, carrot and stalk of celery–sauteing until the onion is translucent.

I also added a chopped clove of garlic to the mixture instead of leaving the cloves whole with the skin on. And, I added tomato paste in the next step, when I added the red wine, beef stock, thyme, and bay leaf.

While the stew simmers on the stove for three hours, you cut up the root vegetables and toss them in olive oil with salt and pepper.

Then you roast them in the oven for about an hour at 350 degrees F.

When the meat is falling off the bone, you remove the oxtail, take the meat off, then put it back in the stew. Then add the root vegetables and heat through.

It’s a delicious fall dinner with just a slice of bread (with or without wheat!).

What the Heck is a Fresh Ham Steak?


You’d think with my latest experiments making fresh ham roasts that I’d know what to do with a fresh ham steak. It looks something like a pork steak in the package but a little thicker.

But buying a whole animal from a farmer brings a lot of learning experiences. As usual when I need cooking advice, I went to Google and came across a number of recipes, and this is the one that caught my eye: Pork Scallopini with Butter Caper Sauce.

That’s because it’s easy, quick, and tasty, and it gave me an excuse to use up the fresh raw milk butter I made last week–and which Bill can eat!

I cut up this nearly 2-lb. ham steak into pieces first.

Then I placed them between waxed paper and flattened them with a meat tenderizer.

Next, I sprinkled them with salt and pepper and dredged them in brown rice flour.

In a large, oven-proof skillet, I heated a clove of garlic (smashed) in olive oil until golden, then removed it before browning the cutlets on both sides for about three minutes each.

Then I added some butter and scraped up the browned bits in the pan, and added the wine and lemon juice. By the time I was in the midst of preparing this recipe, I realized I didn’t have any capers, but I’ll add them next time!

I covered the pan and let them cook a little longer in the oven–about three minutes.

Pork Scallopini is delicious with seasonal produce, such as carrots from my garden, sliced yellow onions, and fresh green beans from the farmers market.