Singapore street noodles and sunday brunch

Ok, I know I am a day late here with my menu of the week (see the next post), but I have a good excuse.

Saturday afternoon, my boyfriend decided that he wanted to cook brunch for everyone (8 of us) on Sunday. He started picking up my recipe books and started making a grocery list. Then, we went shopping. Mind you, I did not know what we were shopping for except for the items on my list. I only knew that he was going to make some wheat free bagels. So of course I had to make some nifty cream cheese spread to go with the smoked salmon I had on store just for that moment. Apparently we purchased groceries for about 15 different items, as there were other things that he wanted to make during the week. When your boyfriend gets a baking and cooking bug, you go with it. You do anything you can to encourage it. Be the lovely sous chef and make him coffee or cocktails, whatever he wants, just to keep him in the kitchen. It feels so great to have someone cook and bake for you!

While I was in the shower (so that we could go to the store) he made a batch of brownies. That quick folks, from scratch. So, while he was focused on what to make for our friends, I focused on what to make for dinner.

Singapore street noodles with shrimp and chicken. Thankfully PF Changs is in the habit of listing their main ingredients and these were the noodles I wanted to replicate, but not the ones with the GF sauce, rather the curry sauce (it had been several years, but I had that curry memory in my head….). So that I had to wing, my winging needs a bit of tweaking but it was pretty good.

Singapore Street Noodles for 4

Purple cabbage, shredded (probably 1.5 cups worth); julienned carrots (one carrot); chopped green onions (a bunch and 1/2) (whites and greens separated); one tomato de-seeded and sliced; shallots (4), cilantro (a good large handful); and marinated thinly sliced chicken(two small breasts) and shrimp (I used 14, don’t know why). I used brown rice vermicelli and soaked it for 5 minutes in cold water and then drained it. The purple cabbage was so striking in the stir fry, I highly recommend using it, but if you have green on hand, then use that up. I marinated the chicken and shrimp in garlic, ginger, GF tamari and a dash of curry powder (Penzey’s sweet curry would work great here, if I had the forethought to get some.). For the sauce I used GF tamari, toasted sesame oil, a dash of rice vinegar, lime, freshly grated ginger and garlic, szechuan peppercorns, some curry powder and chicken broth.

In a wok, I sauteed the chicken, then shrimp and set aside and sauteed the cabbage, shallots and carrots, and set those aside. I then tossed the noodles in and gave them a go around. Add the white parts of the green onion and the tomato for a few seconds. Then back in with the previously cooked ingredients, sauce, and add the dark green parts of the green onion and the cilantro, toss, toss again and then serve. It came pretty close, and I will keep experimenting to get that curry taste down pat.

Since blood oranges seem to be cheaper than ever, I have been stocking up. The blood orangeito was tasty. When I ran low on blood oranges, I began squeezing tangerines to mix with vodka:

blood orange and vodka blood orange and tangerine juice

So that was dinner. By this time, my bf was ready to offer up what he had planned for Sunday morn and prepping began in earnest. Here is the list of what we had all wheat free/gluten free of course:

Wheat free water bagels (from whole spelt) with plain cream cheese or my spread with fresh dill, red onion, lemon, capers and black pepper (all things that go great with smoked salmon) and pepper smoked salmon. Can I just say how great it was to eat a somewhat normal bagel? It was chewy and flavorful and they were fun to make.

water bagels from spelt dough spelt bagels after roasting

Ginger Daddies – giant ginger molasses cookies that tasted just like lebkuchen in Germany

Irish Soda bread

Build your own burrito with corn or spelt tortillas, cheese, breakfast sausage, eggs, oven roasted hash browns and New Mex red chile sauce.

Candied bacon – wow, is this a treat. We coated some of our own bacon with brown sugar and three types of red chile and baked it. Spicy, sweet, smoky, salty. Need I say more?

Maple Sausage links

Wheat free beignets with powdered sugar

Fruit cobbler made in a dutch oven on a charcoal grill

Mimosas with orange or grapefruit juice

Home roasted free trade coffee

And the brownies can’t forget about those…

Do you notice the lack of fresh fruit or vegetables? That is because he was in charge and he has a big sweet tooth. I was in charge of the bagel spread, potatoes, candied bacon, red chile sauce and frying up the sausage for burritos. He did the rest.

Did I mention this was a brunch? Guests did not leave until 7:30 pm! That’s right, by then it was dinner time. When I started to throw together some vegetable beef soup with lots of tomatoes (canned from the garden) after all those carbs, they went running. My sweetie collapsed on the couch. It is hard to drink home brew all day long! Once we finished one bottle of champagne off with mimosas, I wisely stopped drinking. They all powered through!

So my menu of the week is late due to the fact that we are entertaining fiends! I forgot to take any pictures! Now, to work on my menu…

i’m out

Menu of the week, hopefully and beer is brewing!

Gluten Free Menu Swap Monday - Rosemary

This week’s menu swap is hosted by Ginger Lemon Girl!

Once again I am attempting to get organized.

1. It makes it a lot easier to plan ahead and not spend a lot of time every afternoon thinking about what to cook that eve.

2. It saves on trips to the grocery store.

3. I have a freezer full of grass fed, organic beef and pork and that implies it is frozen. So, when thinking of what to make, if something is not thawed and it never is until I think of what I want to make, that idea gets shoved aside for something un frozen.

So, getting a menu together means I can take stuff out to thaw in an appropriate time frame.

Monday (today and since it is 5:30, I had better get cooking)

Indian: Pork vindaloo, saag aloo, paneer paratha and of course some rice and raita with that.

paratha with paneer making paratha making paratha

Tuesday

Greek: Homemade pitas and homemade gyro meat (with fresh rosemary, oregano, thyme and garlic) cooked on a rotisserie with shredded cabbage, sliced onions, tatziki and dolmades (dolmades made by WholeFoods)

red cabbage and red onion and sumac for turkish style gyros gyro lamb on the grill gyros slightly fuzzy gyros spelt pita

Wednesday:

Grilled salmon with a mustard dill glaze, sauteed kale and grilled polenta

Thursday:

On the road will be stopping by Whole Foods for some GF sushi (it is great road food! ) and I keep a bottle of GF tamari in the car.

Friday:

Chicken, style yet undetermined. We have three organic free range chickens in our freezer and must grill them at some point. Maybe it will get the Mexi rub, or roasted with chestnuts or blackened seasoning, herbs (Rosemary), garlic and lemon? Send your votes in and come and join us for dinner as I don’t like leftover chicken. We ended up with Coq au Vin and rosemary roasted potatoes and it was perfect for a very cold wintery night. This pic does not do it justice, but here goes (yes, please ignore the oven that really needs cleaning):

coq au vin roasted potatoes

ok, time to get working on my paneer paratha (1st attempt ever!)

One more thing, we brewed some spelt beer (all grain of course) this weekend and it smells so great! I named it Tolerant IPA after gluten intolerance and MLK day (different kind of tolerance). It is fermenting away in the dining room and things seem so quiet around here without the squirrels.

i’m out

Eggs why do you hate me so?

For about 1.5 years now Ihave figured out that egg whites give me stomach cramps, bad ones, the more egg white consumed, the longer the pain and nausea. I have always felt a bit icky after eating eggs, as long as I can remember. It usually involved an omelet so I just attributed it to grease as there was likely cheese and/or bacon involved. On day I had some hollandaise sauce on my hash browns. No pain. Another day I ate a egg casserole and pain. It took a while to figure out, but now I just avoid egg whites. If I make a breakfast casserole, I dilute the eggs with egg yolks until I know that I would only be eating about 1/2 of an egg white per serving. For unknown reasons, sometimes I can pop a deviled egg into my mouth before I remember that egg whites don’t like me and if I just eat 1/2 of the egg, I am fine.

I finally remembered to mention this to my doc and ask for a blood allergy test, as the overall allergy test I had the year before showed nothing. Results? I am not allergic to anything, anything. I just have Celiac. Strange. Cheeses of all sorts, milk and yogurt do not bother me at all, thankfully! Lots of people with Celiac also have lactose intolerance.

So, I have a friend with Celiac that has the opposite problem, egg yolks bother her. Anyone out there with similar issues?

Egg whites and egg yolks chemically do not do the same thing in cooking/baking. One adds fat (of course the one I can eat) and the other binds. So, just adding more egg yolks to equal one normal egg is not really following the recipe, although it works. It takes about 3 yolks by the way, to equal one egg with yolk and white.

Here is the other oddity. Egg whites do not seem to bother me if they are in some sort of baked good. Mostly just when I am eating pure egginess like scrambled eggs, frittata, egg bakes, etc.

I hope this goes away. It certainly is more severe since cutting the wheat out of my diet as prior to then, I would just feel icky. Food for thought….Since I have no egg pics, I will show you a pic of a future egg producer:

one baby chick1

i’m out

Cheesecake with ganache and kinnikitoos and fluffy

For a baby shower I co-hosted last weekend I was asked to make something for dessert. Now a lot of you might cringe, but I rarely think about desserts because I usually can’t eat them unless I make them and it is enough to cook dinner most of the time. But apparently others think about desserts/sweets with some frequency. I hadn’t made a GF cheese cake yet, mostly because I only find occasion to make a cheesecake about every two years. Somehow, I decided that I wanted an Oreo style cheesecake, even though I don’t recall ever eating one. Mostly I wanted the chocolate cookie crust. So I made one. And, if I am going to make a dessert, well, I want to be sure it will be delish and what makes everything delish? Ganache. It conveniently covers up any blemishes that may occur while baking too. Here is the cheesecake framed by my partial spice rack:

cheesecake<br /> with ganache

Looking back over the last 3 months blogs, I noticed that I haven’t included very many food photos. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been taking them. They all get loaded on Flickr.com. So today is photo day. After digging into the long awaited cheesecake (well it was about 24 hours after making it) I regretted crushing up the extra cookies and mixing them into the batter. They were soggy and actually took away from the cheesecake flavor I think. The ganache made up for it.

I have been on a huge “eat as much seafood as I possibly can” kick and this happens to me every January. So to satisfy my craving I made my own sushi rolls one day:

spicy tuna roll with flying fish roe

and some miso soup with sizzling rice (I know they traditionally don’t go together, but it sounded good):

Jan 08 031

I am always in the mood for Vietnamese food and lately I have been experimenting with ban xeoh and dipping sauce:

pdrworkdrinkshizzle 120 ban xeoh or vietnamese crepes ban xeoh or vietnamese crepes

These are so fresh, tasty and easy to make. The crepe consists of rice flour mixed with turmeric, coconut milk and water and then you make the crepe and add bean sprouts, pork, and loads of fresh asian herbs and cut a piece off, wrap it in a lettuce leaf and then dip it! The dipping sauce is shredded carrots, fish sauce, green onion, a bit of sugar and maybe some rice wine (I will have to check). I marinate my pork in GF tamari, ginger, garlic and red chile before frying. This dish is so satisfying as it is crunchy, salty and porky (new adjective) with coconut overtones.

Now, on to fluffy the killer squirrel.
Fluffy was very quiet today, so quiet that I thought I had better make sure that Fluffy was not in the trap. We expected to hear lots of noise and protesting if the trap went off. Wrong. Quiet as a mouse. I opened the door and there he was, in the haveaheart trap. So I picked him up and set him down in the hallway and he promptly pee’d on the floor. I grabbed some tissue to soak it up and then picked him up again (in the trap) and he pee’d again. So, we moved a little more quickly this time. Down the stairs and into the sunroom – but before you are free you must pose for a picture:

Fluffy the killer squirrel is trapped!

I hope he learned his lesson, but I am guessing he will be back in the roof tomorrow as they have been working on destroying the foam we put in the hole. 

fluffy is outside now

I am off to a hard cider tasting!

Update on fluffy:  Fluffy was indeed sealed in the roof for 5 days as there have been no attempts to return to the hole in the roof.  I think fluffy’s partner was running around on the roof and trying to tell fluffy what corner to try to break out of and it was also ripping up the foam on the outside in an attempt to rescue it’s friend.  Both squirrels are back to playing happily in the backyard.

i’m out

Squirrely deal..how fluffy the killer squirrel became a housepet

I believe I have previously mentioned that my house is for sale right now. We put quite a bit of mola into redoing the kitchen floors and painting the kitchen cupboards and three rooms in the basement. (I will get around too blogging about cooking and knitting in a bit, hold on) Ah, we were happy to have a new floor and show the house on occasion. Then, there was a leak in the roof. Whenever it rained, drops of water would appear between the sun room and dining room and eventually work their way down the wall to the laundry room in the basement. Luckily, we have a friend who is a roofer. He came over and put us on his list of projects. About 6 weeks later (all the while, panicking that it would rain while the house was being shown) it was our turn for roof work. It took them 2 partial days to rip off the old one and repair it. Ah… we can relax, no more water in the house, life is good. Relax.

Wait…..what is that noise? Squirrels playing on the roof? It must be that they too enjoy the new roof over the flattish dining room. Wait, that noise sounds like it is inside, as I run over and stand directly below the door arch. (sound of squirrels playing in a close location and then sound of squirrels scratching) Holy something, those squirrels are in my roof, not on my roof. So we called my friend the roofer who brought his guys over to check it out. Sure enough, there is a hole right under they work that they did, it was rotten collapsed wood there before and now it was just open. Whoops. A bit of steel wool and some expanding foam will take care of that they say.

So, the next day, best boyfriend ever got up on the ladder (once we thought the squirrels were out for the day) and we shoved the hole with small bricks to block it temporarily to make sure no squirrels were inside before permanently sealing it. Those little suckers moved the bricks and still got back in. So, we have to wait for a day when both of us are home during daylight as they will be no ladder climbing by one’s self – safety first – what if a squirrel jumps out at your face and surprises you on the ladder? You see what I mean. Friday night I was upstairs in the hallway and heard the squirrels making noise from a new location. Uh oh. I opened the built into the side of the slanted ceiling closet doors and looked around with a flashlight. All looked well on that side. I moved some clothes aside and shined the light on the other side of the roof. Hum, that insulation used to be pink and now it is pink and black. Now the insulation is staring back at me with little beady eyes – yikes! I yelped and it ran. The only thing separating the squirrel from my closet and the interior of the house was a piece of clear plastic over the insulation, one scratch and it would be through to the house. Panic! So, we carted big pieces of plywood, little pieces of plywood and a drill up into the closet (more like an attic) and sealed the potential hole, knowing that it would only hold for so long before the squirrel would find it’s way over to a new section of insulation. We slept easy that night. Bourbon likely helped calm me down, it usually does.

my bourbon

Yesterday we were co hosting a baby shower so no time for squirrel business, so it waited until this morning. So out came the ladder, the expanding foam sealer and the steel wool. It is afternoon. Squirrels are out in the yard trying to get to the freshly filled bird feeders. In goes the foam, the ladder goes back into the garage. BF is outside roasting coffee on the grill and I hear a scratching. NOOOOO! It can’t be. I move closer and listen to the sounds of a sealed in squirrel panicking in the roof. Crap! We never expected it to be inside on a nice balmy January day. What to do? The squirrel is not happy he can’t get out and will find a way. Ah, the closet. I go up and check it out and make sure there is nothing left in it that he can destroy should he break through. I close the door and shove a big heavy box up against it as the door doesn’t have door knobs, just handles and no latch, very convenient right now I know, but I have a big heavy box, so that works.

I go back downstairs and fire up the computer. Then I hear some squeaking and a pitter patter. This fellow is walking around, not just in an in closed area now. He has busted through to what he thought was freedom, the closet. The cats are going crazy now and jumping up on the counter to be closer to the ceiling where they can here the squirrel. I run upstairs to check the box. The squirrel is in there and is not happy. I hit my hand on the door and tell it we will get it out side and it rushes the door and body slams it (not kidding). That squirrel is pretty strong and very mad.

I call animal control. They are conveniently closed on Sunday. Apparently squirrel emergencies need to happen between 8 am to 11pm Monday through Saturday. The BF is over at a friends helping put together bedroom furniture from Ikea. I call in a need for traps – get 3 different kinds, one will work for certain and then we can let fluffy the killer squirrel out. I had kinda hoped that it at least was Oscar the grey squirrel who I have been hanging out in the yard with for years, but this is the black squirrel, the one that fights with Oscar.

So, here I sit to keep myself occupied with a killer squirrel in my closet and three confused cats. On to cooking and knitting then.

One reason we didn’t get to blocking up the squirrel hole yesterday is because the library finally had a copy of Spelt Healthy available and BF picked it up and started reading it on Friday night while I was making chicken roulades. He kept asking do we have any of this? Do we have yeast? Do we have… Yes, yes, no, I used the rest of that up yesterday.

So, on Saturday morn, I wake up to hearing the microwave beep, the cupboards opening and general sounds of the kitchen aid whirling. Whatcha making I ask? Cinnamon rolls and beignets. Wow!

Now he is a recipe follower. I have a hard time not wavering from one somewhere, even when baking, he doesn’t. I went down stairs to work out and when I came back up the cinnamon rolls were out of the oven and the beignets were being fried up. I immediately bit into one and felt teary eyed. It was first donut like thing I have eaten in almost 2 years. It was so airy and light and tender. Amazing. I ate four of them without guilt. It was fabulous! I immediately wanted to call the author of the book and thank her! What a difference it is to know how to work with the nuances of spelt. It tastes a lot like wheat, but needs totally different TLC, half the mixing time, half the kneading time, a wetish dough etc. I had been adding too much flour to stuff so that it felt like the wheat loaves of bread I used to occasionally knead. Tonight, once the squirrel trap is in place, we are making pizza.

I know there are many of you out there shaking your heads about being Celiac and eating spelt. (It is ok Sea, comment away!) If you are willing to risk it, please do try it. I started by eating just one pretzel. Just one bite or less will tell you. Try one when you don’t have to go anywhere in case you do react. You might not. You just might be able to eat spelt. It is a crazy thought and everything, yes everything on the internet says spelt is a no no. Yet is has hardly been tested and most sites say that it is assumed that since is it so like wheat, that it must contain the same glaidin protein and react the same. I took a risk, I am glad I did. It is not for everyone. Not everyone with Celiac can eat it, but you won’t know unless you try. I will be honest, I had a friend try it and it did not work for her. Please let me know if it works for you!

I will post a pic of my chicken roulades when flickr is finished with their massage. Whoops, I have to upload them first.

browning up the chicken roulades chicken rolades with proscuitto, spinach and fontina

I took some chicken breasts and sliced them open three ways so that it was a huge flat piece of chicken (will have to find the term for that) and then I pounded them thin. Next sprinkled the chicken with salt and cracked pepper, then I placed two slices of prosciutto on them, a layer of fresh spinach (next time I will use twice as much spinach) and grated fontina cheese. I rolled them up, tied them up and then dunked them in an egg wash and rolled them in a combo of ground almond and parm cheese. Into the sauté pan to brown on all sides and then into the oven. I poured white wine into the sauté pan along with some shallots to make a pan sauce and added a dash of heavy cream and then drizzled it over the finished roulades. Served it up with some sautéed broccolini and homemade style “rice a roni” with jasmine rice, brown rice noodles, broth and seasoning.

Verdict: Why don’t I do this every week? Delish!

Now for a bit of knitting: Flickr is still massaging, so when it is finished I will post the two baby hats that I knit for my friend’s baby shower. They are very cute, esp on my cat’s head. I am now working on a scarf for another friend’s birthday next Friday. Then, onto several more hats. It is winter in Michigan…sort of.

baby hat fergus trying on the baby hat baby hats

I am checking on fluffy the killer squirrel and

i’m out