Bone Broth

IMG_4040Bone broth has become very popular – you can even sign up for weekly or monthly deliveries in some places. It has been around for a very long time, often the base for soups in many cultures, and is making a come back. Most people use broth (regular or bone) and stock interchangeably as they are all are made with similar ingredients and cooking method: simmer water, meat or bones (or both meat and bones), seasonings (herbs) and sometimes vegetables (carrots, onions). Once the broth, stock, or bone broth has simmered long enough, the solids (meat, bones, vegetables, etc.) are then removed by straining (typically done with a fine mesh sieve), leaving behind nutrient rich liquid. However, there is quite a difference between the three.

Now let’s break down the differences…

Broth: is usually made with meat and has a small amount of bones in it (whole chicken for example). The simmering time for broth is the shortest of the three, typically its anywhere between 45 minutes – 2 hours and the end result is usually light in flavor, thin, but a good source of protein.

Stock: can be made by either roasting the bones (usually has some meat one them, but not a lot), or not roasting them first, however roasting the bones creates more depth of flavor in the finished product. The simmering time for stock is longer than broth, typically between 3-5 hours. Due to the longer simmer time stock is richer in both minerals and gelatin and also a good source of protein.

Bone Broth: the bones used to make bone broth have the least amount of meat on them. Again, roasting the bones first brings out more flavor for the finished product. The simmer time for bone broth is much longer than that of broth or stock; typically the bones simmer for 24+ hours! Why so long? The extensive simmer time helps to remove as much of the minerals and nutrients that you can get from the bones (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, gelatin, collagen, etc.). Bone broth is a bit thicker than regular broth and has the highest source of protein…the Pacific Naturals that I use has 9gm per 8oz.

All of these are easy and affordable to make at home – make a big batch and freeze it in quart containers, which can easily be defrosted and used in recipes later on. If you don’t have the ability to make it at home (like myself right now), there are some delicious pre-packaged ones on the market. Pacific Naturals is my favorite…its organic, delicious, affordable, and very convenient.

Organic Bone Broth Chicken

With bone broth being so rich in nutrients and gelatin, it is often drank warm…especially during cold and flu season. Bone broth can be also used in numerous culinary applications. I used it recently to make a batch of spicy chicken soup when I was feeling under the weather. When I just want to drink a cup of it, I heat up one of the 8oz package of Pacific Naturals Bone Broth Chicken with either lemongrass or ginger – delicious!

Spicy chicken soup with Thai Chili Peppers

IMG_4035Ingredients

  • 2 Teaspoons Oil (of your choice)
  • 4-5 Large, Dried Thai Chili Peppers
  • 4 Cloves Garlic*, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Ginger*, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Shallot*, minced
  • 2 Small Baby Bok Choy* (White and green parts separated – White parts cut into 1/2 pieces and rough cop on the greens)
  • 1 Large Carrot* cut into 1/4 inch rounds
  • 1/2 Cup Zucchini*, Cut into 1/2 rounds, then quartered
  • 1 box of Pacific Naturals Organic Chicken Bone Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Gluten Free Orzo Pasta
  • 1 Large Chicken Breast*, halved lengthwise, sliced on bias, cut into ⅛ inch thick pieces
  • Cilantro* – to your taste, torn for a garnish

Method of Preparation

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, add oil, chili peppers, garlic, ginger, and shallots – cook for 1-2 minutes, careful not to burn
  2. Add in bok choy (white parts only), carrots zucchini, cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften
  3. Add in Bone Broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Next, add the gluten-free orzo pasta and chicken, and reduce heat to a simmer
  5. Cook until orzo is al dente, chicken, and bok choy greens is fully cooked throughout – about 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve with a garnish of freshly torn cilantro

*organic

“Phở”

IMG_3881

I know that this is by no means traditional Phở, but instead think of it as a tasty interpretation of traditional Phở.

Phở is a Vietnamese noodle soup that has linguine like rice noodles, fresh herbs, a delicious broth and meat (typically beef or chicken…I prefer beef). Given my current situation of lets face it being extremely poor, there was no way that I could go out and buy all the ingredients to make the broth from scratch (it is on my list to do at some point though), so I used a Phở “starter” broth…it was a concentrated liquid broth that you add water to from Savory Choice. Pacific Naturals also has several Phở  to choose from (which are delicious, if you haven’t tried them yet, you should).

ChickenPho_large

I started off by sauteing some fresh ginger, garlic, and turmeric in a large pot, then adding a whole bunch of vegetables, the liquid broth, and water, brought it to a simmer and let it hang out for a while. I was going to leave it just like that but remembered that in my little freezer I had a small piece (about 3 oz) of hanger steak. I defrosted that and quickly marinated it in some 50% less Sodium Tamari from San-J and about a tablespoon of chili paste. This turned out so delicious especially with the added Thai chili peppers and chili paste. You can add whatever vegetables or meat you wish. I would have added some cilantro, green onions, and bean sprouts if I had them.

IMG_3875

Phở” – Spicy Asian Vegetable Soup w/ Seared Hanger Steak

Ingredients

  • 12 oz of hanger steak
  • 1/4 cup 50% less sodium Tamari
  • 2 Tablespoons Chili Paste
  • 2 teaspoon oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 1/4 inch fresh turmeric minced
  • 1/2 inch of fresh ginger minced
  • 4 Thai chili peppers
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots (purple, orange, white, etc.)
  • 2 large portabella mushroom caps diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded cabbage (green and/or red)
  • 1/2 cup chopped baby bok choy (white parts. Green tops – chiffonade)
  • 1/2 cup summer squash, julienne
  • 3 packets of Savory Choice Pho Liquid Broth (Chiken)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 4 oz Sorghum noodles, broken in half

Toppings (optional):

  • Bean Sprouts
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onions
  • Lime Wedges
  • Chili Paste

Method of Preparation

  1. In a container or bowl marinade beef in tamari and chili paste – set aside.
  2. In a large stock pot heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic, turmeric, ginger, and Thai chili peppers, cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add carrots and mushrooms, and cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.
  5. Next, add shredded cabbage, bok choy (white parts), summer squash, liquid broth packets and water. Bring to a simmer
  6. Add in bok choy tops and sorghum noodles, continue to simmer until noodles are soft but not over done, about 10 minutes.
  7. In a small pan heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat.
  8. Once the oil is nice and glossy and moves easily around the pan, add steak.
  9. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness (you want a nice sear but not cooked throughout as it will finish cooking in the soup).
  10. Remove steak from pan, and let rest.
  11. Thinly slice steak against the grain.
  12. Ladle the soup into four bowls, top with 3 oz of sliced steak and any additional toppings mentioned above (optional)
  13. Serve immediately

This recipe is gluten-free and dairy free and can easily be made vegetarian!

 

 

 

Beef & Broccoli {Take-Out-At-Home}

IMG_9063

I need a wok. Seriously. With the amount of Asian food that I make it amazes me that I do not own one. Someday.

My dad however has one, so we put it to use one night and made some gluten-free beef and broccoli. My dad is awesome for many reasons, but I love how good he is about gluten-free awareness and cross contamination. He even has a separate peanut butter jar just for me so I don’t get sick when I am there. He keeps gluten-free bread and goodies in his freezer for me as well. Like I said, he is pretty awesome.

Who doesn’t love a quick easy version of one of your take-out favorites?! I know not all of the ingredients below are traditionally what is found in beef & broccoli but it tastes pretty darn good. There are a bunch of other beef & broccoli recipes out there on the web, and I really wanted to make something simple yet flavorful. Hope you all give it a shot and enjoy it.

IMG_9065

Beef & Broccoli

  • 1 pound beef – tenderloin cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1-2 medium heads of broccoli cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 inches of ginger peeled and sliced or grated
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil (or oil of your choice)
  • Boiling Water (for broccoli)
  • Bowl of ice water

Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce (San-J reduced sodium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar (Marukan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons potato starch (you can use corn or tapioca)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper

Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce (San-J reduced sodium)
  • 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce (Dynasty Brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (white or brown)
  • 2 teaspoons of potato starch (you can use corn or tapioca)
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust as needed or omit)

Method of Preparation

  • Slice beef and set aside
  • In a medium bowl combine all ingredients in the marinade and add beef. Marinade for 30 minutes.
  • In a large stock pot bring water to boil, and blanch the broccoli florets – about 10-15 seconds and remove with a slotted spoon.
  • Immediately place blanched broccoli in ice water to stop the cooking process.
  • Repeat with remaining broccoli. Once all broccoli is blanched and then placed in an ice bath, strain and pat dry. Set aside.
  • In a wok or large skillet heat 1 tablespoon of oil over high heat. Add half o the beef and cooking until about 75-80% cooked throughout (this will be quick at high heat).
  • Remove from pan and set aside. Repeat with remaining oil and steak.
  • Add ginger and red pepper flakes, stir-fry for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  • Return the beef to the pan to finish cooking. Add broccoli and stir fry for 1 minute
  • Add sauce and toss to coat – as soon as the sauce begins to thicken remove from the heat.
  • Serve with steamed rice – white or brown.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad

IMG_4495

I love soy products and sadly I don not consume enough of them, but that will be changing soon. I actually fell in love with soy milk when I lived in China.  I would wake up early to head down to the dining hall on the campus where I was working just so I could grab as many of the cups of fresh made soy milk that I could. I love both warm and chilled so I would drink one or two with my breakfast then put the rest in my refrigerator for later.

To me tofu is like risotto. By that I mean they are both blank canvases and you can do so much with them. Tofu is very versatile it can be used in smoothies, soups, desserts, stir-fries, fried, enjoyed as is, and so much more. It also takes on the flavor profile of whatever you marinade or cook it in. If you haven’t had a chance to try it, you really should. I feel like tofu gets a bad rap some times, people say they have had it and hate it but I wonder how they had it? Was it a not so good preparation or recipe? If so maybe this recipe will change your mind?

Here is a little information about Soybean and Soy Products

(information take from lecture notes, Vegetarian Cuisine lab at JWU with Chef Cwynar)

  • Soybeans are a wild plant from East Asia and have an edible seed.
  • The seed colors can vary from yellow, green, brow, black, or multicolored – here in the US we consume the green beans.
  • Soybeans are oilseeds – which are mainly grown for oil extraction.
  • Soybeans are great sources of protein and their composition is: 33% protein, 39% fat, and 28% carbohydrates. 1 cup cooked soybeans = 28 gm of protein (about 1 ounce)
  • Rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
  • Great sources of protein for diabetics
  • Low in saturated fat
  • FDA recommended soy food intake: “25 grams of soy protein a day as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease”
  • Soy protein is one of the only plant proteins that is equivalent to animal protein.
  • Contains all 9 essential amino acids with high digestibility (.91)
  • Other benefits of soy: Reduces Cholesterol (could cut heart disease risk by 25-30%), Slows Artery-Clogging (neutralizes the ability of LDL cholesterol to infiltrate artery walls and trigger plague buildup which aids in avoid a heart attack), Fights Cancer (soy isoflavones – genistein, suppresses the growth of cancer cells), Strengthens Bones (new evidence that soy foods can cut the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in later years),  Eases Hot Flashes (because soy has estrogen like activity, a decrease of hot flashes may occur), and Helps Equalize Blood Sugar (for diabetics).
  • Isoflavones – studies show that as little as 25% grams of soy per day (less than 1 ounce!) reduces the risk of: heart disease, breast cancer, digestive disorders, eases symptoms of menopause, eliminates the problems of lactose intolerance, prevents symptoms of milk allergies, and is beneficial in diabetic diets (equalizes blood sugar)

Tips on ways to add soy products into your diet

  • Soymilk – don’t expect it to taste like cows milk, it has a nutty flavor, comes in many varieties such as: plain unsweetened, sweetened, vanilla, and chocolate
  • Tofu: use silken tofu in soups (miso soup), smoothies, and custard like desserts, it takes on different flavor profiles, if you marinate it before cooking it will have a deeper more intense flavor, you can grill it, bake it, fry it.

Last week was soy week in vegetarian cuisine and below is the recipe that I created.I like to make different noodle dishes at home, some warm, some cold, and I never write down how I make it because usually it is one of those “what do I have in the house” type meals. So when I knew that I had to make a salad for class that night I thought, “oh this is the perfect opportunity for me to actually write it down!”. I tend to change up the ingredients based on what I have on hand so feel free to get creative with this. Sometimes I drizzle in a little toasted sesame seed oil, and chili oil (we like spice in this house!), and even top with some toasted sesame seeds.

This salad works great for summer cookouts because there is no dairy. It travels well and the longer it sits the more intense the flavor. I would suggest eating it within a day or two though (if there is any left).

Spicy Tofu and Cold Noodle Salad

IMG_4496(close up)

Sauce/Marinade (divided)

  • Ginger, fresh, grated                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Garlic, fresh, grated                                                                                        1 ½ tsp.
  • Tamari, gluten-free, low sodium                                                                      4 tbs.
  • Chili paste                                                                                                       1 tsp.
  • Hoisin Sauce, gluten-free                                                                                1 ¼ tsp.
  • Agave or honey                                                                                               ½ tsp.

Cold Noodle Salad

  • Tofu, extra firm, diced                                                                                      6 oz.
  • Mushrooms, baby portabella, diced                                                                10 oz.
  • Zucchini, diced                                                                                                10 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, red, diced                                                                                    4 oz.
  • Bell Pepper, yellow, diced                                                                               4 oz
  • Water, tap                                                                                                        1 qt
  • Rice noodles, Medium                                                                                     12 oz
  • Green onion, cut on a bias                                                                              ½ oz
  • Bean sprouts                                                                                                   4 oz
  • Cilantro, chopped (divided)                                                                             1 tbsp.

Method of Preparation

1.   Gather all the ingredients and equipment.

2.   Peel the ginger and garlic and grate them into a medium bowl using a microplane.

3.   Add remaining sauce/marinade ingredients (Tamari, chili paste, hoisin sauce, and agave), mix well.

4.   Check sauce/marinade for spice level and adjust if needed.

5.   Take 2 tablespoons of sauce/marinade and place in another medium bowl. This will be used to marinade the tofu.

6.   Gently wrap tofu in a several paper towels and press it lightly to remove any additional moisture.

11. After you have pressed the tofu, dice it into ½ inch chunks and add to the second bowl to marinade for 20 minutes.

12. Gently wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt.

13. Cut the mushrooms into quarters and set aside.

14. Wash the zucchini and pat dry. Cut in half, length wise, then cut in half, length wise again. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

15. Wash peppers. Remove tops, seeds, and ribs. Dice into ½ inch pieces and set aside.

16. In a large sauce pan add 1 quart of water and bring to a boil.

17. Once the water is at a boil, add the rice noodles and cook for 7 minutes.

18. Add all mushrooms, zucchini, and red and yellow bell peppers to the boiling water. Continue to cook for an additional 3 minutes.

19. Strain all contents of the pot in to a chinois and run cold water over the noodles and vegetables to stop the cooking process. Drain well.

20. Add the noodles to the first bowl with the sauce/marinade and mix well to make sure all the noodles are coated with the sauce/marinade.

21. Add in the green onions, bean sprouts, and ¾ tablespoon cilantro, mix well.

22. Place the noodles and vegetables on a serving dish and top with marinated tofu and the remaining ¼ tablespoon of chopped cilantro.

Chefs Notes:

A)    The medium rice noodles work very well in this dish, they absorb the sauce nicely, however you may substitute thin or thick rice noodles, buckwheat noodles, or gluten-free spaghetti (Sam Mills corn pasta works great in this).

Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables. A Le Creuset and EdgeWare Review & Giveaway!!

Updated 2/18/12 10:15 am – This giveaway is now closed.The two lucky winners have been chosen!! Congratulations to Marnely (Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set) and Karol (EdgeWare V-etched Zester). Please check your e-mails. Winners were chosen using random.org. I would like to again, thank Le Creuset and EdgeWare for sponsoring this giveaway. 

Over the last three and a half years I have had the opportunities to do many reviews of great products. I truly enjoy doing reviews of cookbooks, and gluten-free products, and I’m looking forward to do more in the future along with any culinary based items (kitchen appliances, tools, etc.).

I love kitchen gadgets. Here are a few of my “must-haves”  items: Chef Knife, Stand Mixer, Mixing Bowls (different sizes), Prep Bowls, Boning Knife, Steamer (pan/bamboo basket), Zester, Grater, Silicone Whisk, a good set of Non-Stick Pans, Cast Iron Skillet, and a Crock-Pot. There are plenty more items, however this is a great starting point.

Two of my favorite companies for kitchen products are EdgeWare and Le Creuset. I mean, don’t well all hope to own their products?? I was sent one of each of the following products to test out and review and I have to say, I am honestly in love with both of them. And, now two lucky winners will have a chance to win one of the following prizes (one winner for the Zester, and one for the Farm Fresh Steamer!)

First up we have a fantastic Zester from EdgeWare – The V-etched Better Zester! Here is what their website has to say about it:

New for 2012! The star of the new Edgeware V-etched line of graters is the Better Zester.This zester takes zesting to a new level with its innovative design and features. The V-etched Zester blade is made up of over 300 tiny V- shaped teeth and is covered with a non- stick coating. The food- approved coating allows the zester to smoothly glide across the surface of all types of citrus, while finely zesting the outer layer of skin and not the bitter pith. The Better Zester includes a “fresh zest” storage container with squeegee. This additional accessory gathers the fresh zest as it is grating and the squeegee helps remove the moist zest from the back of the blade. The ergonomically shaped kitchen tool features a non-slip tip and soft touch handle as well as a reusable protective cover. The Better Zester is available soon at specialty retailers nationwide in Stealth Charcoal Gray or Zesty lime Green.  Dishwasher Safe. Designed in the USA.

I’ve been using this almost daily since I received it…for zesting fruits, ginger, garlic, etc. I love the back of it where the container/measurer is, because it has the “squeegee” that works so well for getting all the little pieces. It is perfect for so many applications and a “must-have” in every kitchen.

Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set. This is a three (3) piece set that is a must have, especially when you are looking to make healthier cooking choices. I’m currently taking a Nutrition and Sensory Analysis course and our two main cooking methods are steaming and poaching – talk about a perfect time to review this huh? We are also trying to eat healthier this year by cutting out a lot of the “bad” foods and cooking methods and replacing them with “healthier” ones.

I’ve used this pan a few times, and it is wonderful. I’ve had another steamer for a while but was never a big fan of it. The Le Creuset one is a 3-quart steamer and its  base is constructed of tri-ply stainless steel and can be used separately to prepare sauces or side dishes.

For vegetables and seafood with maximum nutrients and the truest flavor and texture, steaming is the way to go. Le Creuset’s Farm Fresh Steamer Set, with its 3-quart base, fitted 2 3/4-quart steamer basket and tempered glass lid, offers a convenient and healthy option for meal preparation. Less water to heat means vegetables cook quickly, while maintaining their flavor, texture and nutritional value.

  • Steamer insert can be used with all Le Creuset stainless steel saucepans
  • Precision-pour rim allows for clean, convenient pouring directly from the pan
  • Tempered glass lid locks in moisture and heat while providing a clear view of food as it cooks
  • Brushed steel exterior prevents fingerprints
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning

I also really loved the facts that it is dishwasher safe and the brushed steel prevents fingerprints.  I tested it out in the dish washer and it works great! Even with out the dishwasher it is still a very easy item to clean. This pan also has very even heating and you don’t need to use very high heat due to the material and design.

Below is a recipe I made one night to try both of these items out. We have been craving vegetables and lighter foods lately so I thought a simple dish of steamed shrimp and vegetables would be a great solution.  The cooking time was about 15 minutes!! Perfect for a weeknight meal that is also healthy and delicious.

Steamed Shrimp and Vegetables

Yield: 4

3/4 Pound Medium Shrimp (raw/cleaned and deveined)

2 Tablespoons light gluten-free soy sauce (San-J)

1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil

1/2 Teaspoon Chili Oil

1 Large Garlic Clove – grated

1/2 Inch piece of Ginger – grated

1/2 Teaspoon Brown Sugar

1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar

1 Large bunch of Bok Choy – Chopped

1/2 Cup Shredded Carrots

1/4 Cup Sliced Water Chestnuts

1/4 Cup Sliced Bamboo Shoots

1/2 Cup Snow Peas

Grate the ginger and garlic with the V-etched Better Zester. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, garlic, ginger, sugar and vinegar. Add shrimp to a separate bowl and poor 1/3 of the mixture over the shrimp, toss to coat well and set aside.

Fill the Farm Fresh Steamer with about 1 1/2 quarts of water (or stock…slightly more flavor if you use stock with aromatics in them like crushed garlic and ginger pieces – this is what I normally do), and heat over medium-low heat.

Once the steam starts to build up in the pan, add the bok choy, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and cook for 2-3 minutes (these take a little longer than the shrimp). Add the Shrimp, carrots, and snow peas, cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until shrimp is cooked throughout. Do not over cook the shrimp.

Toss with remaining sauce and serve over steamed rice. Top with a little chili paste if you like a bit more heat (we love spice so it is usually added).

Now for what you have all been waiting for…the giveaway!!

Two winners will be chosen – One (1) for the Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and One (1) for the EdgeWare V-etched Better Zester.  Both of the products are awesome and I am very excited to be offering a giveaway. There are several ways to enter so be sure to do as many as possible to increase your chances. You must leave a separate comment for each entry. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

  1. “Like” Le Creuset on Facebook (Mandatory)
  2. “Like” EdgeWare on Facebook (Mandatory)
  3. Follow Le Creuset on Twitter (Optional)
  4. Follow EdgeWare on Twitter (Optional)
  5. “Like” Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (Optional)
  6. Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter
  7. Leave a comment below saying what dish you would make first!
  8. Tweet about this giveaway “@LeCreuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and @SmithsEdgeware Zester #Giveaway at @Creatively_GF http://wp.me/pnrJm-tv enter today! Pls RT”

Please leave a separate comment for each entry!

The giveaway ends on Friday February 17. Two winners (one for the Le Creuset Farm Fresh Steamer Set and one for the Edgeware V-etched Better Zester) will be chosen by using random.org. Winners will be notified by e-mail on Saturday February 18th and will have until noon on Tuesday February 21st to respond. If no response is received a new winner will be chosen.

I would like to thank Coaction Public Relations, EdgeWare, and Le Creuset for the opportunity to review these wonderful products and for offering this giveaway.

*This giveaway is sponsored by Coaction Public Relations, EdgeWare and Le Creuset. I was not paid for this review, and the opinions expressed in this post and my original review are completely my own.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

As you have probably gathered from reading my blog, we love Asian food. We often say to each other that we could live on Asian, Mexican, and Italian food…but mostly Asian. Bryan said the other day, I could eat Chinese food for breakfast lunch and dinner…I have and it was awesome. I lived in China for a little while in 2003, while I was a Program Liaison between two colleges/universities – one located in Worcester, MA where I was employed and our partner Beijing Geely University located in the Changping District.

My time spent there was right in the middle of the SARS epidemic so traveling outside of Beijing was out of the question. I did however get to spend quite a bit of time doing the “tourist” thing by visiting places such as The Great Wall (twice) (Bādálǐng), The Forbidden City (Zǐjin chéng), Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén), The Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (Máo Zhǔxí Jìniàntáng), Ming Dynasty Tombs (Míng shísān líng), Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán), Temple of Confucius, and many more.

While I didn’t get to travel much, I ate some of the most amazing food. Most of my meals in the beginning of my stay were supplied by the on campus dining rooms – all of which were really great. We (my Chinese colleagues and I) would venture out to local restaurants to try some more delicious and local dishes. My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng) (I am working on a gluten-free recipe for these, stay tuned), fresh hot soy milk ( dòunǎi) which has a slightly sweet flavor to it. Lunch was a number of different options (sadly most of which I can’t remember their name): kung pao chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng), egg flower soup (dàn huā tāng), the most delicious spicy cucumbers, steamed dumplings (xiǎo ​lóng ​bāo) – either veggie or meat filled, and for the occasional dessert some Mantou (mán ​tou) which is steamed bun that is served either steamed or deep-fried with condensed milk. For dinner my favorite dish was Peking Duck (Běi​jīng ​kǎo​yā), Hot Pot (shuàn ​guō ​zi) was another favorite of mine, although they tended to order mutton (yáng ​ròu) I opted for the chicken (jī​ ròu​) and Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with some ground pork.

So I have lived solely on Chinese food and would do it again in a heart beat. Thankfully Bryan loves the same styles of food that I do. Many of our meals are Asian and Mexican inspired dishes. We venture out but always come back to our love of Asian food.

Below is a recipe that is inspired by the P.F. Chang’s Gluten Free Lettuce Wraps – it is not a copycat recipe like my Beef a la Sichuan is but just inspired by it. We were at P.F. Chang’s last night to celebrate Bryan’s birthday (a little early, but we wanted to go before school started up for the both of us again). Since I was making lettuce wraps tonight we opted for our other favorite appetizer, their Shanghai Cucumbers.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps {Crockpot Recipe}

3 large chicken breasts* – diced into small pieces

3 large celery stalks – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – diced into 1/4 inch cubes

1 8oz can water chestnuts – chopped (divided)

1 8oz can bamboo shoots – chopped

3 cloves garlic – finely chopped

1/2 inch piece ginger – peeled and grated (I use a microplane)

1 tbs brown sugar

1/2 tsp chili garlic paste

1 tbs sesame oil

1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J low sodium if you have it)

2 tbs hoisin sauce (I use the Dynasty brand)

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients according to the above directions.
  2. In a crockpot (mine is 7qts…you can use a smaller size too) add the Hoisin Sauce, Soy Sauce, Sesame Oil, Brown Sugar, Garlic Paste, Ginger, Garlic, Bamboo Shoots, 1/2 of the Water Chestnuts, Celery, and Mushrooms.
  3. Mix together.
  4. Add the chopped chicken and mix until evenly coated.
  5. Cover the crockpot and turn it on low.
  6. Cook for 5 1/2 hours.
  7. Stir about half way through to incorporate everything and break up some of the larger pieces of chicken.
  8. Add the remaining water chestnuts, mix well, cover, and cook for an additional 1/2 hour.
  9. To serve: Peel the leaves off of a head of iceberg lettuce, butter/boston lettuce, or use romaine hearts. Scoop about 1/4 -1/2 cup into each leave, “roll up” and enjoy. You can top these with shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and chopped peanuts. We’ll be serving ours with a side of steamed edamame.

Notes: Many recipes out there call for ground chicken, which is completely acceptable, however I wanted a more hearty version so I choose to use chicken breasts and dice them instead.

You can also add all the water chestnuts at once, they will retain their crunch, but I wanted a bit more crunch so I added half of the can in the beginning and half towards the end.

Vegetarian version – instead of chicken increase the amount of mushrooms and celery, add zucchini, yellow summer squash, baby bok choy, etc.

Non-Onion Free version – replace the celery with 1/2 cup 1/4 inch diced white onion.

Hope you enjoy this crockpot dish – I dished out a little bit to take a photo and then I couldn’t put it back sooo I ate it…its delicious!

(The chopsticks in the photo were sent to me from a dear friend, Shiho whose family runs one of my favorite little sushi places, Ocean Sushi in Monterey and Pacific Grove, CA. If you are in the area stop on by – they have gluten-free soy sauce!! Thanks Shiho, these get quite a bit of use!)

Gluten Free Asian Kitchen – Giveaway!!

UPDATE: 12/10/11 9:30 am – Giveaway has ended – The lucky winner is Brittany  who said: “I want to try the stir-fried rice noodles with chicken and peanut sauce. I would keep it. I could live off of Asian food (and Mexican). I might actually buy this if I don’t get it.”  Brittany – please check your e-mail! Congratulations Brittany and thank you to all who entered.

A few months ago I was fortunate enough to review Laura B. Russell’s cookbook The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. This is by far one of the best cookbooks out there, especially if you are gluten free and miss eating Asian inspired dishes. Bryan and I could live on Asian food – of all kinds.  We have thoroughly enjoyed all of the recipes that we have made so far. You can read my complete review here.

Today I will be sharing two of the recipes from Laura’s book and giving away a copy to one lucky reader!  Trust me, you will want to enter this giveaway – you won’t be disappointment in any of the recipes.  Roasted Pork Meatballs

serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as an appetizer

 

11/2 pounds ground pork

8 green onions, white and green parts, minced

7 cloves garlic, minced

2 stalks lemongrass, bottom 4 inches only, peeled and minced, or substitute the grated zest of 2 lemons

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

11/2 tablespoons sugar

11/2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce

3/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Nuoc cham (page 27) or Spicy Mango Sauce (page 32), for serving

Lettuce leaves, hoisin sauce GF, Carrot and Daikon Pickle (page 114), and fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)

In a large bowl, combine the pork, green onions, garlic, lemongrass, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, and salt. Stir to combine the ingredients. Refrigerate, covered, so the flavors have a chance to marry, at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. More time equals more flavor.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Oil a baking sheet. Stir the cornstarch into the meat mixture. Form the meat into twenty-four 11/2-inch meatballs. (You can form the meatballs several hours ahead of time. Keep them refrigerated until ready to cook.) Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet. Cook the meatballs until browned and cooked through, turning once with a spatula, 12 to 15 minutes.

For serving, skewer the meatballs with toothpicks and arrange them on a serving platter with the nuoc cham or mango sauce for dipping. Alternatively, using lettuce leaves as wrappers, spread a bit of hoisin sauce on each lettuce leaf and add a meatball, some of the pickle, and a few cilantro leaves.

variation For a juicy, coarse-textured meatball, substitute pork loin, cut into 1-inch cubes, for the ground pork. Toss the cubes with the ingredients in the first step and then freeze the mixture for 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse until the pork is coarsely chopped, about twenty (1-second) pulses. Proceed with the recipe, including the marinating time.

heads up

You’ll need to marinate the pork for at least 3 hours and up to 24 hours. The dish calls for nuoc cham (page 27) or Spicy Mango Sauce (page 32). You can prepare the nuoc cham up to 2 weeks ahead, or the mango sauce up to 3 days ahead.

Spicy Mango Sauce

makes about 11/2 cups

11/4 cups diced fresh or frozen mango (thawed if frozen)

1/4 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 jalapeño chile, seeds and ribs removed

3/4 teaspoon salt

Combine the mango, cilantro, vinegar, ginger, oil, jalapeño, and salt in a blender. Puree until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

Nuoc Cham

makes about 13/4 cups

1/3 cup sugar

1 cup very warm tap water

1/4 cup Asian fish sauce

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a small bowl, combine the sugar with the water. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use. The sauce will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Kung Pao Chicken

serves 4

11/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch dice

4 tablespoons soy sauce or 
tamari  , divided

1 tablespoon sake or dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons warm water

1 tablespoon sugar

21/2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar

21/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

8 cloves garlic, minced

6 green onions, white and green parts, sliced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts or cashews

Steamed rice, for serving (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce, the sake, salt, and pepper. Set aside until ready to use.

In a small bowl, stir together the warm water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Add the rice vinegar, sesame oil, and the remaining 3 tablespoons soy sauce.

In a large frying pan or a wok, heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add half the chicken to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned but not all the way cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining chicken and 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the cornstarch to the chicken. Toss to combine. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, garlic, green onions, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat. Stir in the soy sauce mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook until the sauce coats the chicken and everything is heated through, about 2 minutes longer. Stir in the peanuts; serve hot with steamed rice.

Want to win The Gluten Free Asian Kitchen from Laura? This would make a great gift for a family member or friend with Celiac Disease (or you could keep it for yourself). Please leave a separate comment for each entry – up to 6 entries per person.

1) Visit Amazon and check out the cookbook by “Looking Inside” – then come back here and post a comment telling me which recipe you would like to try most (Mandatory)

2) Post a comment telling me if you would gift it or keep it (its okay if you keep it:) (Mandatory)

3) Like Notes from a Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen on Facebook (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

4) Follow Laura B. Russell on Twitter (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

5) Like Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

6) Follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Twitter (optional) – if you already do…leave a comment telling me so.

Entries are open until Friday December 9th at midnight! Each person can enter up to SIX separate comments (see above guidelines). The winner will be chosen on Saturday December 10th using random.org – the winner will have 24 hours to respond via e-mail with their contact information.  If I do not hear back within the allotted time frame, another winner will be chosen. The book will be shipped directly from Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publish Group. Giveaway is open to all who are residing in the contiguous United States.

I would like to thank Laura and her publishers for not only sending me a review copy but also providing an additional copy as a giveaway to one of my lucky readers.  The opinions expressed in this post and my original review are completely my own.  I have enjoyed this cookbook and very thankful to Laura for putting together such a wonderful and comprehensive book on my favorite cuisine which I have missed very much since being diagnosed.

Reprinted with permission from The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen: Recipes for Noodles, Dumplings, Sauces, and More. Copyright © 2011 by Laura B. Russell. Published by Celestial Arts, an imprint of Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA. Photo Credit: Leo Gong.

The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen {Review}

If you follow Creative Cooking Gluten Free on Facebook or Twitter you have probably seen my recent posts about receiving a review copy of Laura B. Russell’s cookbook The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen.  When I first received the book in the mail, I don’t think I put it down for about thirty minutes (okay it was probably longer than that). It is simply beautiful.  Bryan’s first response was “the cover looks so good I could eat it”. Thankfully Bryan loves Asian food as much as I do.  The majority of the food we eat is Asian inspired.

I was more than excited to receive this cookbook.  If you read through my recipes or take a look at my “pantry” page you have probably noticed the large selection of Asian inspired dishes and ingredients.  Since I can remember I have had a deep fondness of Asian foods and their cultures.  My mom used to tell me that while she was pregnant with me she craved Chinese food all the time.  That statement there could probably be the root of my love of Asian food, however it grew even more when I had the opportunity to live in China for a little while in 2003 (yes right in the middle of SARS).

While living there I had some pretty interesting foods but also some of the most delicious food I have ever tasted.  People used to make fun of me saying I could live off of Chinese food and eat it for every meal, well I had the opportunity to do so and I have to say I would do it again.  My breakfast usually consisted of the following: fresh made wonton soup or red bean porridge , scallion pancake (cōng yóu bǐng), fresh hot soy milk ( dòunǎi) which has a slightly sweet flavor to it.  Lunch was a number of different options (sadly most of which I can’t remember their name): kung pao chicken (gōng bǎo jī dīng), egg flower soup (dàn huā tāng), the most delicious spicy cucumbers, steamed dumplings (xiǎo ​lóng ​bāo) – either veggie or meat filled, and for the occasional dessert some Mantou (mán ​tou)  which is steamed bun that is served either steamed or deep-fried with condensed milk. For dinner my favorite dish was Peking Duck (Běi​jīng ​kǎo​yā), Hot Pot (shuàn ​guō ​zi) was another favorite of mine, although they tended to order mutton (yáng ​ròu) I opted for the chicken (jī​ ròu​) and Sichuan Dry-Fried Green Beans with some ground pork.

As I’m looking and every recipe and every picture in The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen I am taken back to my time in China.  All of my wonderful memories came rushing back, not just about food but all the places I had the opportunity to visit, the amazing friends that I made, and the beauty of the country.  As I mentioned above I was there during SARS so I was unable to travel very far. I was fortunate enough to visit, The Great Wall (twice) (Bādálǐng), The Forbidden City (Zǐjin chéng), Tiananmen Square (Tiān’ānmén), The Summer Palace (Yíhé Yuán), Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (Máo Zhǔxí Jìniàntáng), Ming Dynasty Tombs (Míng shísān líng), Temple of Heaven (Tiāntán), Temple of Confucius, and many more. The best part about it was I was there pretty much by myself.  Not many people were out visiting and there were definitely not tourists around. You can view some of my photographs from China on my Flickr Page (this was pre-digital so I have a ton to scan still)

Sorry for being side tracked on memories of China, I just couldn’t help it.  Now back to the book. After I looked (drooled) over the recipes and photos I handed the cookbook to Bryan and asked what he wanted me to make first.  With out much hesitation he asked for the recipe on the cover: Gingery Pork Pot Stickers with the Soy Vinegar Dipping Sauce.  Thankfully I had enough of the flours the recipe called for to make them. You can get the recipe by ordering The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen on my Amazon Store! (This is still available for pre-order, release date is August 23rd! so order now for only $14.50)

Over all the recipe its self is pretty simple with simple ingredients that most of us (especially if you are gluten-free) already have in your pantry.  The only two items I needed to pick up were the pork and the green onions.  We don’t normally cook with any form of onion in our house because of Bryan’s allergy, but we decided to give these a try to see how he felt (he felt fine after eating them, woo hooo). I read the instructions a few times because I didn’t want to screw anything up…I had my heart set on these dumplings and probably would have shed a few tears had they gone wrong.  Due to the heat and humidity I had a bit of a hard time “rolling” out the dough, but I just made it work.  We ended up with a few less dumplings than the recipe yield but we devoured them all regardless.

It is amazing what a huge flavor impact just a few ingredients can have.  I had a little bit of the sausage mixture left over so I added it to a skillet, cooked it up and then tossed it with my spicy green beans as a side dish.  I’m not joking when I say I almost cried when I first tasted them.  Between the dumplings and the green beans/sausage it brought me right back to China.  I was in love with this cookbook when it arrived and after tasting this first recipe I am even more in love with it.  Laura did an amazing job with this recipe and the whole cookbook.  My next recipe to try is her Kung Pao chicken.

We plan to make these again but I have to order some flours first.  However, when I do make them I will be making a triple batch and freeze the majority of them.  That way we have them for a quick dinner and something that Bryan can just make while he is home for lunch and I am at school.

Seeing as this is the recipe Bryan choose I asked him what he thought of it (I usually do this anyway but he still can’t stop talking about them) and his response was “these are fucking delicious – anything more would just take away from its deliciousness”.  Now who said you can’t have gluten-free Asian food and it taste like the real thing?

Laura,  I know we’ve been chatting back and forth and I have said this a million times to you but thank you for creating such a beautiful cookbook with amazing recipes that take me back in time.  The recipe that we tried truly made me feel like I was back in China with my friends at a dumpling restaurant or on campus at the dining hall.  You also made my non-gluten-free boyfriend one happy person.  We are both looking forward to trying more of your recipes.

Please visit Laura’s website at: http://www.laurabrussell.com/ You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter

Also, Are you in the Portland area? Laura will be doing a  book signing for “The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen” at Crave Bake Shop on Wednesday, September 7th in the evening. Lots of treats involved!

Weekly Menu Planning

I’m determined to get back into planning out a weekly menu and base our grocery shopping on that menu.  I hope that this will save us money but also the frustration of what to eat each night.  This week is a very Asian inspired week as you’ll see below.  I really miss my favorite little Chinese restaurant in Monterey, Full Moon.  They were so great to me, I would bring them a bottle of gluten-free soy sauce and they would make my food with that. We have both been craving Chinese food lately and Bryan could go out and get some but I can’t so I figured I would make a few Asian inspired recipes this week that will hopefully hit the spot.

When planning weekly menus I usually look at my cookbooks, blogs etc and search for dishes that are tasty, easy and that the ingredients can be used in more than one dish during the week.  This weeks menu inspiration comes from: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking, Everyday Food-Fresh Flavor Fast and a few recipes I found online.

November 29-December 5

Monday

Grilled Steaks, mashed sweet potatoes and corn (these were our last steaks from Omaha Steaks -a gift from Bry’s parents)

Tuesday

P.F. Chang’s inspired Beef A La Sichuan (Bryan’s favorite dish to order there, even off of the gluten-free menu)

Wednesday

Asian Inspired Noodle Bowl (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 30)

Thursday

Beef Stir Fry (Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast pg. 190)

Friday

Penne A La Broccoli (Light dish with red pepper flakes from DrWeil.com)

Saturday

General Chang’s Chicken (Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking pg. 163) I’ll be making this for my birthday dinner along with some cupcakes, or maybe even a cheesecake…I have yet to decided which one I really want.

Sunday

Not 100% sure what to make just yet for sunday, maybe some beef stew or pot roast.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking cookbook by Kelli and Peter Bronski you really should – this cookbook is fantastic.  I’ve made several of their recipes and have enjoyed every one of them.

What are you cooking this week?

Asian Inspired Green Beans

When living in China a few years ago I feel even more in love with Chinese food (and Asian food in general).  I love the flavors, ingredients, smells and verity of cooking styles.  I had some of the best food I’ve ever tasted in Changping District.  Spicy cucumbers, Kung Pao Chicken, fresh made wonton soup and fresh soy milk (nice and warm) every morning.  One ingredient that I feel in love with was sesame oil.  It is one of those ingredients that just even smelling it makes me smile.

The other night when I was making Bryan some Sweet and Spicy Chicken I decided we need a vegetable to go along with it.  Our choices were broccoli or green beans and we opted for the green beans this time.  (I think both green beans and broccoli go well with Asian dishes).  Instead of just plain steamed green beans I wanted to spice things up a bit and came up with the following recipe (which I have since tested – as you can see from the photo above).

Asian Inspired Green Beans

1 pound green beans – ends trimmed

1/2 tsp sesame oil

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp water

1/8-1/4 tsp honey

salt to taste

Steam green beans and drain – reserve one teaspoon of the hot water.  In a sauté pan add water, sesame oil and red pepper flakes over medium/high heat.  Add green beans and sauté for five-seven minutes (feel free to add more sesame oil or red pepper flakes to your taste).  Remove from heat and drizzle with honey.  Stir until green beans are coated well.

You can add any other vegetables you make like – mushrooms, shelled edamame etc.  As you can see in the above photo I added mushrooms and served them over some read quinoa…a great light and refreshing vegetarian and gluten-free side dish or lunch.

Also check out: P.F. Chang’s Shanghai Cucumber

Getting Setteled with some Spicy Orange Chicken

Well we are here….finally!  At some points I wasn’t sure if it was ever really going to happen.  I move out of my apartment in Monterey on June 1st, moved in with some great friends, flew to New Jersey on July 9th and we moved into our condo in Rhode Island on July 31st.  I have been living out of suitcases for two months and was beyond ready to be here and unpack.  The move went very smoothly thanks to all of the help that we had! The unpacking wasn’t so bad either.  It was so much fun combining our things and styles, finding places for everything and getting to hang our artwork up (we are both Photographers).  My favorite part of our new place is the built-in bookshelves that house our camera collection. See Photos at the end of this post:)

We are starting to find our way around Portsmouth, Newport and Bristol.  We live between two vineyards (that we hope to try really soon).  One a mile East and one a mile South of our condo!  Today we visited the farmer’s market that is held at one of the vineyards every Saturday.  It’s a bit small compared to the one in Monterey but it’s awesome!  I found a few stands that had some gluten-free items, not many but it’s a start at least.  We even found a stand that had fresh edamame right on the stalk/branch still!!

Sadly though I haven’t had a chance to do too much baking/cooking but I’m getting there.  I need to find a job still so much of my free time has been spent searching for a job in this not so great economy!  I’m very used to working in higher education but at this point I will take any job that comes my way, including working at a grocery store, bookstore etc…you name it and I’ll pretty much do it as long as we have money coming in.  This whole gluten-free lifestyle, food, flours etc. are just so expensive.  So once I get a job and have some money coming in I’ll be able to stock up on all my gluten-free flours but until them I am searching for recipes to make with the little that I have. Growing up money was tight very often so my mom was great at making meals that would go the distance and either last a while or you could make those leftovers into a completely different meal.

My first big meal was my grandmother’s gravy and meatballs, which I froze a good amount of it for later use and we ate that for about three nights in a row!  We stocked up on gluten-free sandwich meat, chicken breast, hot Italian sausage and a few other things at B.J.’s.  Of course we had Bryan’s favorite – Sweet and Spicy Chicken one night too.  Yesterday I realized I had about a half a cup of brown rice flour left so I decided to make Bryan a little treat, some yummy gluten-free brownies.  I was getting a bit frustrated today because every time I thought of a recipe to make tonight for dinner or something to bake I was short by either one or two (simple) ingredients.  I’m not used to not having certain things in my house anymore, like yeast, rice vinegar, ginger, vanilla extract etc…really simple things but we just haven’t had a chance to buy them just yet.  So we broke down today and picked them up.  I’m very excited to be able to make some bread next week!!

Tonight I decided to make another meal that is great to freeze, has lots of flavor and makes great leftovers.  Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-fry from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine (Issue #50, March 2008 pages 80-81).  My only suggestion would to be use a little less orange juice than it calls for, but that is just me…

Spicy Orange Chicken Stir-fry

1/3 Cup Cornstarch

2 Cups Orange Juice (see above…I would use about 1 1/2 cups instead)

1/2 Cup Gluten-Free Soy Sauce (recipe calls for regular)

1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar

1/4 Cup Honey

4 Garlic Cloves, Minced

1 to 2 Teaspoons Red-Pepper Flakes (I used 2)

Coarse Salt

1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil

3 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Crosswise  into 1/2 Inch-Wide Strips

1 Head Broccoli, Cut Into Florets, Stalks Peeled and Thinly Sliced

1 Pound Carrots (about 5), Peeled and Thinly Sliced on the Diagonal

Cooked Rice for serving

  • Place cornstarch in a medium bowl.  Gradually whisk in orange juice until smooth.  Whisk in soy sauce, vinegar, honey, garlic and red-pepper flakes; season with salt. Set mixture aside.
  • In a 5-quart nonstick Dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Working in batches, cook chicken on the one side until slightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes; transfer to a plate, and set aside (chicken will cook more later).
  • Add broccoli, carrots, and 1/2 cup water to pot.  Cook, partially covered, until water has evaporated and broccoli is bright green, 3 minutes.  Add reserved chicken and cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil.  Cook until chicken is opaque throughout and sauce has thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.  Serve stir-fry over rice.

Additional Suggestions:

Add any of the following vegetables: edamame, snap peas, cauliflower

To Freeze:

Prepare through step 3, omitting rice; cool to room temperature.  Freeze 1 1/2 cup servings in airtight containers.

To Cook From Frozen:

Run container(s) under hot water to release frozen stir-fry.  Place in a medium saucepan with 1/2 cup water per serving.  Cover and heat over medium high, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 10 to 12 minutes.

To see more photos of our place please check out my Flickr Page: Mia Cara Photography

Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad

Things are a bit crazy right now with getting ready to move.  Bryan will be starting law school this fall in Rhode Island, so in July I will be moving back east to be with him.  I’ll be flying to New Jersey (where he is currently living) for a about two – three weeks and then we’ll be heading up to Rhode Island together (into a place we have yet to find!).  I have no job lined up either and I have my fingers (and toes) crossed that the search will be a bit easier once I’m actually there and can see what is around us.

I will not being bringing any of my furniture with me, just packing up some boxes to ship across the country. I”ll be selling all the big things (or I hope to see them anyway!!).  The most important things for me to ship are my kitchen things: my pans, knives and of course my awesome KitchenAid! The trick is to try and figure out how to ship that and my wine and wine rack.  Hmmmm lots of bubble wrap?

With all of that going on and trying to save money and have enough to ship all the boxes, money is umm a bit tight right about now.  This week I have been trying to make meals that either make good left overs or use ingredients that can be used in several meals.  So far this week it was ground beef tacos made with the Trader Joe’s GF taco seasoning (I don’t follow the directions on the back and add tomato paste…I like the spice in it) which last night turned in to nachos.  Tonight will be the Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad.  The extra chicken will be used either in a grilled chicken salad or something of the sort.  I also have lined up some ham steak with a baked potato which will then be made into a ham and cheese frittata – YUMMM

One of my favorite magazines and websites is Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine.  I just packed all mine up to ship next week so I’ve been searching online for recipes to adapt and came across this one that sounded and looked really good…and it tasted great!!  Very light, full of flavor and refreshing.  This would be a great meal on a hot summer night.  Sadly this isn’t a great dish for Bryan because of the onions but I’m sure I can make it with out it and it taste just fine. I made a few alterations to the original recipe (my alterations are in red) to make this gluten free.

Thai Chicken and Noodle Salad

Serves 4

  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced crosswise
  • Spicy Asian Dressing -see below
  • Coarse salt
  • 3 1/2 ounces Chinese rice noodles, broken in half if long (I used the thick rice noodles instead of the thing ones, I think it worked well)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, such as safflower (I used coconut oil – tasted great!!)
  • 2 carrots, sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • 1 English cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, torn
  • Bean sprouts, chopped peanuts, fresh mint leaves, red-pepper flakes, and sliced scallion greens, for garnish (optional)
  1. Place chicken and half of dressing in a resealable plastic bag (reserve remaining dressing). Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes (or refrigerate overnight).
  2. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook noodles until tender. Drain, and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer to a platter.
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Working in batches, cook chicken (do not crowd skillet) until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to platter on top of noodles.
  4. Top with carrots, cucumber, and basil. Drizzle with reserved dressing, and sprinkle with garnishes, if desired.

Spicy Asian Dressing

  • 4 thinly sliced scallion whites
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce (gluten free soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons light-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste (or 1 minced canned anchovy) – (I didn’t have either so I left it out)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

This is my second attempt at using my coconut oil in a recipe but I have one more to attempt this weekend so keep checking back.
Rice Noodles on Foodista

General Tso’s Chicken (A bit lighter)

gf1494

General Tso’s Chicken

(adapted from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food Magazine issue pg, page 34)

1/4 cup corn starch

1 pound snow peas, trimmed and halved crosswise

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons ginger (freshly grated or jarred)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

2 large egg whites

salt and pepper

1 pound chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Brown Rice

~Cook rice according to package or rice cooker.

~In a large bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1/2 cup cold water until smooth. Add snow peas, garlic, ginger, sugar, soy sauce and red pepper flakes; toss to combine and set aside.

~In another bowl, whisk together egg whites, remaining 3 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add chicken and toss to coat.

~In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Lift half the chicken from the egg-white mixture (shaking off excess) and add to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until golden brown about 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a plate; repeat with remaining oil and chicken, set aside (reserve skillet)

~Add snow pea mixture to the skillet. Cook until snow peas are tender and sauce has thickened, about 3-5 minutes. Return chicken to skillet (with any juices); toss to coat. Serve with brown rice.