Monday, January 30, 2012

beef & broccoli stir fry

Before I was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, my former roommate & I came up with an awesome chicken & broccoli recipe.  It was drool worthy.  Since the diagnosis, I still haven't been able to quite perfect that recipe, but tonight I took a chance on gluten free beef & broccoli.  An added twist: my boyfriend isn't into my soy sauce of choice, San-J Tamari.  Another added twist: I picked up a bottle of San-J Gluten Free Teriyaki a couple weeks ago, not realizing it has my other nemesis, ginger. 
Tonight's variation included:
  • 3 tablespoons Lea & Perrin's Original Worcestershire Sauce (gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon San-J Tamari
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 pound beef for stir fry
  • (roughly) 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • rice 
  • broccoli or other veggies

  • In a 10 inch skillet, mix the first 7 ingredients and heat, stirring occasionally.  
  • Once hot, add the steak.  
  • Steak in a not-so-hot skillet will cook too slowly and may stick.  
  • Stir fry!  
  • Depending how you like your broccoli (or other veggies), you can add it now or after the sauce is done.  (Scott doesn't like broccoli, so I cooked it separately and stirred it into my own dish.)
  • Once cooked to your desired temperature, add the corn starch and stir well.  This thickens the sauce. 
  • Prep the rice.  I used minute rice.
  • Done!

Scott's one suggestion for improvement: more sauce!  Next time, I'll double - at least - the sauce recipe.  This has a nice spiciness, and it had something that reminded Scott of Skyline Chili.  (Random: Skyline has a gluten free menu.)

In other news, today I started a Facebook page and Pinterest.  Hello new addictions!  I've already gotten several great ideas for variations to make recipes gluten free and have had a few items repinned.

Happy eating!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

look at the bun on that!

Red Robin now has a gluten free bun, and it is YUMMM. Scott & I ate there yesterday, after I'd had dreams - literally - about really ordering a bun in a restaurant that (in my experience) is in tune with the worries of food allergy guests. They update their Wheat/Gluten Allergy Menu monthly.  All allergen information is available here. (Please note, the fries shown here are without the seasoned salt, which isn't GF.)

The bun is airy, fluffy, and squishy.  (To my followers who don't eat gluten free, relish in the fact that your bread is probably soft.  That's not the case with most gluten free options.)  This bun is similar to the consistency and flavor of a croissant - and I looooove croissants.  As I ate my burger & did my happy food shimmy - yes, I have a little dance I do as I eat something really satisfying - I played with the springy bun.  Seeing how delighted I was, Scott called the server over to ask about the bun.  Within a few minutes, the manager came over and informed us that the buns are from Gordon Food Service (GFS).  Naturally we took a detour on the way home to track them down! 

Bad news: GFS has a contract to only sell these buns to Red Robin.  Boo!  But there's a 27-page document of products that GFS will happily sell to the general public.  Highlight what you'd like, bring the document in, and they'll place an order!  The sales representative printed out a copy for me.  Here is the lengthy list for the Midwest.  It's mostly in bulk, so if you're in/around Cincinnati and would like to split an order of something, let me know!  Alternatively, a suggestion was made for me to go ahead & buy the bulk products, make kits, and offer them to GF friendies.

I also may have an arrangement with someone who can get these yummy buns for me.  It sounds like it but really isn't the black market of gluten free bread!  If you're located in/near the Cincinnati area and interested, let me know!  I may be seeing about a case early next month.

Happy eating!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

microwaves, corn on the cob, & artichokes

This might shock some of my friends, but I didn't really grow up with a microwave.  Sure, we had one, but we only used it for popcorn and maybe edamame.  I was (and still am) continuously warned to keep my distance from it.  Search 1960s microwave and this pops up as one of the image options:

That's pretty much dead-on.   Add to it the fact that, in my most recent food service experience, there wasn't a microwave in the place. 

So even now in my mid-to-late twenties, I'm fascinated by microwaves.  Sometimes I feel like a child who's just been given permission to use one and doesn't know what to do with this newfound power.  I don't know how often in a month I say, "Whoa, you can heat that in the microwave?!"  Frequently that's followed by someone instructing me, "Sure, just hit the ___ button!"  The stove top and oven are my preferred methods, but wow, the convenience astounds me.  It's the little things in life. 

On to corn...  A nice gentleman from Brown's Family Farm Market who set up at the Fountain Square Farmers Market showed me last year how to microwave corn on the cob.  Since it's quicker and not boiling in water, the vegetable is able to keep more of the nutrients that would otherwise seep into the water in the pan.  

To microwave corn on the cob:
  • Shuck the corn and discard the husk.
  • Wrap the corn in a damp paper towel.
  • For one ear, cook 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  2 ears, 3 to 4 minutes.  3 ears, 5 to 6 minutes.  And so on.  
  • It will be hot!
  • Allow to rest another 2 minutes prior to removing the paper towel.
  • Donezo!
If that works for corn and edamame, I imagined, why not artichokes?  Besides, anything is better than a 45 minute cooking time that yields greenish water and a brownish veggie. 

Artichokes are tasty (especially with butter!) and super-rich in nutrients.  Gluten free foodies need all the nutrition we can get!  One of the biggest problems with Celiac and food intolerance is malnutrition caused by malabsorption.  As discussed in last night's NFCA webinar on Nutrition Beyond the Gluten Free Diet, loading up on whole foods, focusing on nutrition deficiencies, and restoring gut health are immensely important.

The chart below from the California Artichoke Advisory Board provides information on nutrition per 60 grams.  I don't normally post nutrition fact charts, but this has a lot.

To microwave an artichoke:
  • Rinse the artichoke.
  • Cut off the stem and any undesired leaves.  (Some folks recommend slicing off the tip and trimming the leaves.)
  • Place in a microwave safe bowl.
  • Wrap in plastic wrap.  It's okay if the edges stick up just a little.  After all, you're wrapping (probably) a round bowl with a rectangular piece of plastic.  Unless you use entirely too much, it's difficult to get everything stuck down.
  • Microwave a large artichoke for 6-8 minutes.  Two take 10 minutes, 4 cook for 15.  (I haven't yet tried the mini artichokes in the microwave, but I've heard that 4 artichokes at about 2 ounces each cook for 10 minutes.)
  • Allow to rest for about 7-10 minutes.
  • Test for doneness by tearing off a leaf.  If it pulls easily, it's done.  If you have to yank to get it off, it is undercooked.  
What if you've never had an artichoke?  No worries!  Here's how to eat it:
  • Tear off a leaf.  
  • Dip in melted - or, even better, clarified - butter.
  • Between your teeth, scrape the leaf to remove the fleshy portion at the base of the leaf.  You don't actually ingest the whole thing. 
  • Discard the leaf.  I like to keep a big bowl nearby.
  • The leaves become more tender as you get closer to the center of the artichoke.
  • You'll reach leaves that appear white in color and may have reddish-purple edges.  You're about to reach the choke - a thistly portion that is not edible.  
  • Remove the choke with a knife or spoon.  Discard.
  • Next is the best part: the heart.  This is a delicacy.  I've heard it called the vegetable equivalent of a lobster.  Cut it up & enjoy!  
I always tell myself I'll get to the heart and save it for a separate recipe, but I never do.  It's a good thing my dad had hogs until I was born.  I'm a little piggy.

Happy eating :)