Sunday, November 22, 2009

Slow-cooker chicken and rice

Started with this recipe:


1) replace soy sauce with tamari.

Why> It's gluten free and it's what I've got in the house. ^^;;

2) replace fish sauce with ketchup.

Why, you ask? Fish sauce is a dicey proposition for me since I'm allergic to shellfish and some fish sauces are made with shrimp, etc. And Koffer won't go within 20 feet of anything called "Fish Sauce". Normally, for an "umami" ingredient, I'd use tamari, but I was already using the tamari above. So. Ketchup. It's slightly sweet, a little salty and savoury.

3) addition: 1 can veg broth.

WHAT? reason: I decided to make this similar to pulled pork. The chicken simmered in the sauce and fell apart in the crockpot.

Served over short-grain brown rice.

Steamed up some green beans as well and used the remainder of the sauce in the crockpot to dress them for dinner as well my lunches this week. YUM!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Making Peace With Cabbage

you know, I may have to revise my opinion of the internet. Previously, I've mostly seen the information superhighway as a place to find fanfiction and greymarket russian MP3 downloads.

But today, the internet came through for me.

As you might have guessed in the previous post, I've been hitting the farmer's market lately. I can't resist brilliantly coloured fresh veg at a cheap price.

Which is how I ended up with a $1 head of purple cabbage.


Cabbage and I go way back with serious enmity. My mother, a firm believer in keeping up with "ethnic traditions" was obsessed with making corned beef and cabbage - which I found awful. I had friends obsessed with sauerkraut- which I detest. It seemed as if cabbage and I would never find common ground.

But there it was today- gleaming purple, sensuously round, and only a buck. The cabbage.

Before I knew it, I was adding it to my pile with the sweet onions and the watermelon.

I got it home, and let the cat stare at it for a bit while I pulled up a chair and googled "What do I do with a head of cabbage"

I'm apparently not the only person who's faced this dilemma, because the first page of google results were answers to just that question. (I found it surprising that there didn't seem to be any pornographic results in there, because rule 34 states there must be a cabbagef****er out there somewhere.)

But after a look through a couple of recipe sites, I discovered the answer to my prayers. "Nuke the whole head in microwave for 5 min, carefully peel off whole leaves and wrap seasoned ground pork/beef mixed with sauteed carrots, shitake, onions for a Japanese style cabbage roll, stewed in soy/dashi broth."

It was a revelation. I could just bung the whole damn thing in the microwave? WHY HAD I NEVER THOUGHT OF THIS?

I wasn't feeling the asian motif, though, so I took my sweet yellow onion, some garlic and fresh tomato and lightly sauteed them before adding some fresh ground beef (tofu would work magnificently here too). I added a can of tomato paste and some italian seasoning and a little bit of smoked paprika.

Once the filling was done, I wrapped it up in leaves. No stewing required- I just ate three of them and they were magnificent.
of course, that still leaves me with a half a head of cabbage left.

oh dear.

Grilled corn/Savoury Corn Pudding

Oh yeah.

Corn season is upon us with a vengeance here on the eastern seaboard and over the weekend, there were dollar basket-fulls of "short" ears. There's no way in hell I could pass THAT up.

Recently, we've started grilling the corn, and frankly, I don't know why it took me so long to suss this out. Because I am intensely lazy, I don't even shuck the ears first, just bung them in a pot of water to soak for a 1/2 hour+. Afterwords, I put the ears on the grill, turn it up (I have a 4 burner gas grill and turn 2 burners on high) and leave it go for a little bit. Every five minutes or so, come back, open the lid, and turn the ears. Repeat until the outer leaves are dry, crispy and brown.

Inside? Steamed to perfection. :D

There's only one problem with this, and that's there's only so much grilled corn 2 people can eat. So, faced with some ears that were slowly drying out in the fridge, I searched for something else to do with them.

Enter: Not Eating Out In New York. Cathy had a magnificent corn pudding recipe involving chiles and tomato that set my brain to working overtime. Even better, I had all the ingredients (or very similar to them) already handy!

I cut her recipe back to four ears instead of 8, and subbed 2 hot cherry peppers for the jalapenos, scallions for the shallots, and a couple of dashes of pizza spice for the seasoning.

The result? DELICIOUS. The cherry peppers are hot as hell, though, so be careful if heat is not your thing.

I can't wait to put this in my bento :D

Sunday, July 5, 2009

If it's sunday, I'm cooking/ GF cake from starbucks

Sorry no updates on the vegan GF sausage- I haven't had a lot of time to spare recently.

Of course, I'm pretty certain no one reads this anyways, so, if someone DOES, let me know :D

But as I type this, the house is filled with the scent of thai curry. I picked up a can of curry paste at the local Asian Food Market last week, along with some coconut milk. Right now, the sauce is simmering with potatoes, carrots and kale (yes, yes, not authentic, but it was going off and I figured I'd bung some in the sauce before I fed the rest to the chickens) and I'm going to whip some quinoa up in the rice cooker using Karina's method in a bit.

I'm so excited that the farmer's market is open on sundays now. Saturdays are too damn hard to make the trip down there. I came home, having spent the princely sum of $28 - with bags of corn on the cob, peaches, tomatoes, plums, strawberries, freshly-dug potatoes, zucchini, green beans and onions. YAY!

Plus, the farmer's market is right next to Trenton's Halo Farms- a micro-dairy with milk, lemonade, juices about half what the cost in the grocery store is, so yay there too :D


On the way home, I stopped off at starbucks. I have a couple of gift cards that I've been feeding off of and I wanted to try their GF Valencia Orange Cake.


I'm not a super-sweet eater. Hell, I ate baking chocolate once as a kid. The sweetest thing I'll eat is mame daifuku (sweet rice ball with sweetened bean paste in the middle. Despite the abundance of the word "sweet"- it's really not that much)

If you like sweet things, the orange cake is for you. It's got a texture just slightly more solid than a custard and to me, it tastes like orange syrup. It wasn't bad, just...well...


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Gluten Free Bento Lunches and a tasty dressing!

Like a growing number of folks across the world, I pack a bento-style lunch box almost every day for work.

It's cheaper than eating out by far, and even cheaper than prepackaged frozen gluten-free meals. And considering I do as much "pre-cooking" of things on sunday, it's usually just an affair of slapping everything in (artfully :D) into my lunchbox (for fantastic examples of lunchboxes, see Maki's Just Bento, and Pikko's Adventures in Bentomaking, both on the sidebar. Mine aren't quite so aesthetically pleasing as of yet ;D)

The other good thing, obviously, is having complete control over what I'm eating, so it definitely cuts down on accidental gluten exposure ^.^;

One of my favourite veg to put in my bento is green beans (and brussel sprouts. Strangely, bentomaking has taught me to like sprouts 0.o) and I wanted to share my favourite dressing for them!


1 TB Grainy mustard
(I love mustard. The sharper and the grainer the happier I am. None of this yellow stuff in the squeeze bottle for this girl)
1 TB Tamari
(If you're unfamiliar with tamari, it's essentially soy sauce sans wheat. It's delicious and savoury and can be found in the Asian food section of most larger groceries)
1/2 TB mirin
(Mirin... is kind of the Japanese equivalent of cooking sherry ;D. If you can't find mirin in your grocery -it'd be with the tamari above- then your preferred vinegar should go here!)
1/2 tsp dry mustard (optional- for mustard lovers ^.~)

I usually mix the above ingredients in a smallish screw-top rubbermaid container. Each morning, I take some green beans that I steamed earlier in the week, cut them in half and bung them in the container.

Microwave for about 30 seconds, to heat everything up so the dressing really gets into the beans, and then put the beans in my lunch and the container of dressing in the fridge for use tomorrow :D

Easy, see? ^.~

Friday, May 15, 2009

Experiment 1: Afterthoughts

While the final sausages were definitely edible, they're still not quite right.

Next week, I will be starting Experiment 2: Sausage Redux with the following changes to the original recipe:

  • the beans: I used canellini beans because they were handy. I think I will used black beans instead. With a more assertive taste and drier texture, I think they'll be more appropriate.
  • the tofu: since the freeze dried tofu package only nets 1 cup, I used mochiko rice flour to make up the bulk because it too, was handy. I think for Round 2, I will replace that with quinoa.
  • the apple: I think I will hold in reserve to see if the base needs to be moister after the other changes.
  • the liquids: 1/2 cup is definitely the way to go on the broth, and 3 T of tamari vs. 2 definitely nets a richer taste.

the spices:
  • considering I can STILL taste the one I had for brekkies, I think for Round 2 we will definitely be cutting the sage and thyme in half. For people who REALLY love sage, the current qty might be good. I like it, but not this much^_^
  • the increase of dry mustard powder also increased the savoury factor- in a good way, but given the changes I'm going to make in the base, I'll increase it incrementally and see if I can get away with the original amount.
So, join me again next week for Round 2! Suggestions are always welcome in comments!! ^__^v

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Experiment 1: Veggie Breakfast sausage.

So, tonight's experiment is complete. The original recipe is here

First, the prep:

Not pictured is the granny smith apple ^-^ Edits to the initial recipe include: 1/2 cup of rice flour and cornstarch to make up for the fact that a package of kouya dofu only grated up to 1 cup. Also, I reduced the broth to 1/2 cup because of how moist the mix was.

smell while cooking: YUMMY.

Taste: ....too.. sweet? I gave a small bit to the Spouse to try and he confirmed. Considering his definition of "sweet enough" is about 10x what mine is and HE thinks this is too sweet, then ok. time to try and fix.

Edits made for round 2: added another 1/2 cup of beans, coarsely mashed as opposed to the puree. added another 1 tablespoon of Tamari and a tablespoon of dry mustard

cooked up: Much less sweet. Very sausage herby.

Cooked up the rest:

The texture's not right, but I'm going to let them sit in the fridge overnight and reheat a couple for brekkies in the AM.

I think when I try these again, I'll up the beans by another 1/2 cup to start and maybe cut the sage and thyme down by half.

Too strongly flavoured at first, but they do have a pleasant aftertaste. ^__^