Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Paranoia of the Gluten-free.

So, I'm on a message board where an innocuous-seeming thread was posted.   "How do you chop up your eggs for egg salad?"

One of the answers was genius, but also paranoia-inducing.  A pastry cutter.

AUGH!  Gluten! Nooooooooo.

It is the little ways that gluten can creep into a meal.   The baking powder where someone has used a measuring spoon in the flour, and then dipped in to the can.   Or just rinsed something off after using it for a gluten product.   Or multi-taskers.

And some things you can clean adequately.   And some things you cannot.

I went to a restaurant where they deep-fried the baked potato to warm it up.  In the same fryer with breaded fried things.

It isn't worth it to go out and eat.  To go to people's houses and eat.

Gluten is an evil, evil, insidious substance to those of us who avoid it.

It limits my life so much.

I have not dated, in part because of it.

I'm an adventurous eater, but not when it involves gluten.

And man, I HATE sounding like Meg Ryan when I order.   And I hate that that stereotype exists enough that everyone knows exactly which character I mean.  

I'm not picky, I'm paranoid.  

I just hate that I have to read every single label, every single time.  Cheese, bread, chips, coffee, tea (yes, herbal tea can have gluten)

I hate that in a shared home, I feel like I have to have my own kitchen.  I hide my gluten-free cutting boards in a closet.   I have notes and sharpie over various jars "gluten-free" "Do NOT TOUCH" "use clean knife only".  If someone reaches into a gluteny snack and then into my bag of chips, you just glutened me.

Most of the time, I don't say anything, if I see a transgression.  I just avoid the food.  Or throw it out.

*sigh*

I do comment on boards and things with a hey! great idea, but!  One friend, on FB has banned me from "glutening" up his threads for a month, though.

I just wish this was easier.   Because I feel like a pariah.  But I cannot turn off the voices in my head.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Deconstructed Sushi Salad...

So, this was born out of necessity.   The CSA is giving us cukes, cukes, and more cukes.


No quantities, just however much you want to serve people...  (I'm a casual cook)

I cooked up some black rice.

While that was cooking, I diced (medium dice) up two cukes, a scallion (you could use two) and some green garlic (or just use a little microplaned garlic in the dressing).  I cubed up an avocado, and tossed it with a dressing of rice wine vinegar and tamari, combined everything, including the cooked rice, added a handful of crumbled nori and some pine nuts, and voila!  dinner!

(No pic, I was hungry enough that I inhaled the whole thing, and then went for seconds)

You could add shrimp or salmon, if you wanted some protein, but if not, this makes a lovely vegan lunch/light dinner.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Soup and salad, fennel and carrots.

Ah, csa season...  Fennel, carrots, scallions....  Today I have created a lovely carrot and fennel salad, and a carrot top ( note the LACK of capitalization here) soup.

These use most of the same ingredients, as you see in the picture.  Fennel, carrots, scallions.  The chicken broth and V-8 are for the soup, as is the yogurt.  (Chicken broth and V-8 are in a later pic...oops)


So we start with the salad/slaw.  
Scallions, fennel, some of the fronds of the fennel, carrots, golden raisins, candied ginger if you have it.  Shred the veggies using the slicing blade on your food processor.  Chop the fennel fronds coarsely, chop the candied ginger finely.  Toss everything in a bowl, along with a lovely vinaigrette.  


I just made a simple, slightly sweet one with vinegar, honey, olive oil, mustard.  You could throw in a little lemon or fresh dill if you wanted to!

And voila!

Now the soup is equally easy as well as delicious .

You will need a large pot, more scallions, a few carrots, fennel fronds, carrot greens, chicken broth (or veg broth, or water, in which case I would add some garlic in with the scallions), a small can of V-8, and yogurt.  And a little olive oil. 

Chop up the scallions,  sauté in a little olive oil in the pot.  Slice up the carrots, add those.  Chop up the carrot greens (feathery part only), and the fennel fronds, throw them in and sauté.  Add the chicken broth and V-8, and simmer.  Add more water if needed.
Stir yogurt in right before serving or chilling.  Top with a little scallion. 

Note: you can add potato or brown rice to this soup.  You can also purée it for a smoother texture...



Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Gluten-free Memorial Day Weekend.

Ahhh, summer is almost upon us.   The feel of sand under our feet, ticks in our hair,  road construction delays... and BBQs/cookouts.   A new way for hidden gluten sources to reach out and throttle us!   Time with family!  (Hopefully NOT followed by a glutening!)

So, you say, how can I have a fun gluten-free cookout for family and friends?   I'm here to tell you!

1) Make sure any BBQ sauce you use is gluten-free.  You can even make your own by cooking together tomatoes (canned are fine), brown sugar, a bit of chopped onion, garlic, a splash of vinegar, and worcestershire sauce.
2) Toast the rolls in the oven.   Not the grill for the hamburgs/hotdogs/lamb/etc.   There are gluten-free hotdog/hamburg rolls out there which are quite tasty...here's a way to win some:

Udi's parties down.

Quinoa substitutes wonderfully for bulgur.   Make a quinoa "tabbouli" instead of potato salad.

Cook the quinoa according to package directions.  Mix with chopped parsley, mint, onion, and tomato.  Add salt to taste and a squeeeeeeeeeeeze of lemon.   And voila.   (you can also add feta chunks too)

Or instead of hamburgers, how about a leg of lamb?  

With potato salad, just check your ingredients.  

And what about strawberry shortcake for dessert?   Trader Joes has these "French Rolls" which make excellent shortcake bases.   Just top with whipped cream and strawberries....

Or make a pavlova (if the weather ever clears up..since you can only make meringue when it is clear and dry).   Make two large disks of meringue, and flop fruit and whipped cream between and on top.

You can also buy meringue cookies and layer them with fruit and whipped cream to make a trifle-type dessert.

(or replace the whipped cream with a thick Greek yogurt, if you are watching your fat)

Or what I will be having, hopefully, which is watermelon!

If you are serving gluten-foods with gluten-free foods, make sure everything has its own spoon/serving utensil.   And keep the gluten-free foods isolated!

Is there something you would like to know how to cook gluten-free?  Ask me in the comments!

Steak Tartare, it is what's for dinner.

One of the foods I love is steak tartare.   I always lowed raw hamburger as a kid, and when I tried steak tartare at the age of 10 (?) in France, I loved it.   It has always been an occasional treat, as the only way I am comfortable eating raw American meat is when I know where it came from.   And sorry, Whole Paycheck, but no...  that does not include you.

So I decided that I needed a nice, light, summer supper, since it has been swinging from beastly hot to bloody cold.  (Today is humidity central, ugh).  

I went to the farmer's market on Sat, and got a nice piece of top round from our local butcher there.  It was packed April 15, and frozen.  A lovely lean piece of meat.

I picked up some capers and cornichons from Trader Joes.   And GAME on.

Chopped up the capers:


Chopped up the cornichons:
Chopped up some green onion, and mixed it together with a dollop of worcestershire sauce.
Then cubed the meat and ran it through a meat grinder on the largest setting.
Mixed the meat with the greenstuff, piled it on a plate, and dolloped an egg yolk in the center.
Served with fresh asparagus.  YUM

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Un-fried chicken, better than KFC.

So, someone on my friends list had posted to Facebook that she was craving fried chicken, and that started me wanting some.  I have not had fried chicken in years and years and years... and this is GOOD.  And will not give you a tummyache.


So to start:

Chicken legs (or a cut-up chicken, if that is how you roll)
Buttermilk.

Soak the chicken pieces in buttermilk (in the fridge, please!) at least overnight.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix together equal amounts of:
Corn flour (not meal, flour..this is the stuff from Bob's Red Mill, its fine)
Millet flour

add a small amount of amaranth flour (about half the amount you used of the corn)

Parmesan.  (I grated it fresh on a microplane, you don't need much, but it helps the crust adhere)

Paprika, pepper, salt, thyme, (any other spices you want..I used some buttermilk ranch mix, and some dried shallot powder)

mix mix mix.  Put into shallow dish/pan.

Put about a tablespoon of melted butter in the bottom of whatever baking dish you are using, make sure the bottom of the dish is covered.

Dredge the chicken in the mixture of flours, place in baking pan.

Spritz the top with a squirt of baking spray.

Place in oven.   About halfway through the cooking time you'll want to flip the chicken...   I found it took about 45 minutes total  for about 6 legs.

I served it with a lovely fennel and apple salad.  Very simple, sliced fennel, sliced apple, raisins and a simple vinaigrette made with orange juice.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kale-a-palooza!

Why, Hi there!   Yes, I am still alive.   And eating kale.

My first tip..kale smoothies? No, just say no.   Just like a milkshake?  no, just like that green slime I used to play with as a child.   That is EXACTLY what my attempt at a kale smoothie looked like.   If you have to add ten different fruits to disguise the taste of the kale, then guess what?  Not healthy.

*ugh*

Ok, deep breath.  Now, delicious things to do with kale:

Yeah, you all know about kale chips.   Oil, salt, kale, maybe some herbs/spices (I used zaatar).   I would have added a little parm, but I'm out.  And bugs got into the nutritional yeast, or I would have used that too, for some umami. Onto cookie sheet an into a low oven.

I made some quinoa bites, inspired by the pizza quinoa bites floating around the internet.  These were pretty simple and good.   Cooked up quinoa (used red, because that is what is in the pantry).  chopped up some mushrooms, cooked those down, tossed those into the quinoa, added a squeeze of tomato paste.   Rough chop of some kale, toss that in.
An egg as a binder, and a smidge of feta.

Plop into muffin tins and into the oven. (350)

I wish I'd sauteed the kale just a little, but it did come out well...  It would also be grand with swiss cheese and a little bit of ham or bacon.

You could also put whole leaves of kale in the bottom of the muffin tin, then plomp the quinoa mixture on top.  The kale leaves act as a kind of "cup".  (I used baby kale, so you would cut out cup-size pieces of kale if you wanted to go this route)




Lastly, creamed kale.   Kale, pureed and steamed on the stove, with a dollop of ricotta and some salt, and then baked in the oven.  You could, if you wanted to be fancy, put some gluten-free cracker or breadcrumbs on top to add a little crunch.

Pics to come later....