“Phở”

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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).

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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.

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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}

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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.

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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!

 

 

Roasted Tri Tip

Tri Tip (also referred to as Santa Maria steak) is one of my favorite cuts of meat, however many of you are probably wondering what the heck Tri Tip is. If you aren’t from California or out west, you are probably unfamiliar with this specific cut.  Tri Tip is a triangular cut of meat from the primal cut sirloin.It is tender and delicious. When living in California I usually had it grilled (or as they say, barbecued) and it was always fantastic tasting. There is so much you can do with this fairly inexpensive (at least in CA it wasn’t too badly priced) cut of meat.

Below are some images of the primal cuts of the beef and where exactly the Tri Tip is located. So if you have a local butcher, be sure to ask for this cut and give it a try. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

I haven’t seen it really since moving back east which means I have sadly missed out on this delicious cut of meat for the past two and a half years. However last year I won a gift card to Organic Prairie from Easy Eats and it was about to expire late last month. So I headed to the website and saw they had a 1.5 pound organic Tri Tip available , I got all excited and I placed my order and waited patiently for it to arrive. The Tri Tip was around $30.00 (plus shipping), but I had a gift card so it wasn’t a big deal. When we can afford to buy this again, I will. It is worth the money (in my opinion), and the people over at Organic Prairie were extremely helpful and friendly, especially Lori (Thank you again for all your help).

Bryan had never had Tri Tip but has heard me talk about it quite a bit. So I thought I would make him a delicious meal that would highlight the flavors and tenderness of the beef. I really enjoy organic beef because you can actually taste the flavor of the beef and not what it has been eating. I decided to marinade it over night, but with ingredients what would enhance the meat and not overshadow it by any means. Seeing as hurricane Sandy was heading our way we had already put our grill in a safe place so I decided to roast it, which I have never done nor had before but I figured it was worth a shot. We invited our neighbor over to join us (we didn’t want to be disgusting pigs and eat the 1.5 Tri Tip ourselves!!)

Marinade for Tri Tip

  • 1/2 cup Red Wine – Merlot or Pinot Noir work well
  • 1 tablespoon red wine or sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce (San-J)
  • 2 large cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grey salt
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig of rosemary – left whole
  • 1 sprig of oregano – left whole
  1. Place all ingredients in a large zip lock bag.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Add Tri Tip and marinade over night.

Roasted Tri Tip

  • 1.5 pounds of Tri Tip
  • Marinade (see above – marinade over night or for at least 4 hours)
  • Roasting Thermometer
  • Roasting pan/dish with rack
  1. Preheat oven to 450•
  2. Remove Tri Tip from marinade and place in a roasting pan/dish with a rack
  3. Insert thermometer probe in the thickest part of the Tri Tip and set it to medium (135•)
  4. Place Tri Tip in oven and cook for 30-40 minutes (check thermometer, you do not want to over cook this)
  5. Remove from oven when the internal temperature reaches 135• and cover loosely with foil for 10 minutes.
  6. Slice against the grain in thin slices. Serve with garlicky green beans, and mashed sweet potatoes – or your choice of vegetables.

Red Wine Reduction Sauce

  • 1 Cup Red Wine – Merlot or Pinot Noir
  • 1 clove of garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary (fresh)
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced oregano (fresh)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  1. Add all ingredients into a small sauce pot.
  2. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until it reduces in half, about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Strain reduction through a fine mesh sieve and discard solids.
  4. Serve over sliced Tri Tip

sorry for the pic of the meal – it was taken with my phone…too hungry and it smelt way to good to get the real camera out.

Sriracha Burgers and Cheese Fries

If you are on a diet this recipe probably isn’t for you :)  We try to eat pretty healthy in our house by eating lots of veggies and fresh products.  We usually have a salad with every dinner but every once in a while we crave those fast food type meals – those that I usually can’t eat because of cross contamination issues.  To fulfill those cravings I try to recreate the items that we used to like to eat out and make them at home.  I’ve made a version of Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich, P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan, P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef, and P.F. Chang’s Shanghai Cucumbers (we really like P.F. Chang’s and I am slightly obsessed with Chinese food in general).

Today Bryan had a craving for cheese fries – and I have to admit I’ve never really had cheese fries.  I do however love french fries so I told him we could have those and burgers on the grill tonight seeing as I have a package of the Udi’s new gluten-free hamburger buns in the freezer. If you haven’t tried these yet, you really should they are simply awesome.  If you local store doesn’t carry them you can request that they do.  I also have a package of their hot dog buns that I still need to try.  I didn’t want to buy any pre-made cheese sauce because let’s be honest they aren’t very good.  I wanted something with simple ingredients that I knew what they were so I found a few recipes online and the one from Serious Eats is the one I decided to go with.  I did make a slight moderation that you will see below, but we were very happy with the results.  It was four ingredients and didn’t turn out oily, clumpy or grainy! While on their site I also noticed a recipe for Ultimate Siraracha Burgers and almost started to drool.  We love spicy things and even more we love Sriracha.  (Have you visited Serious Eats yet?  If not please be sure to do so…it is an awesome site with plenty of delicious recipes and gluten-free ones too) I did change this up a bit too with not only the measurements (we are only two people so no need to make eight patties) and omitted some of the ingredients, and changed the sauce- but please check out the original recipe and try that one also.  Below is my version of Serious Eat’s Cheese Sauce and Sriracha Burgers, I hope you enjoy them as much as we did – which we LOVED these by the way.  When you first take a bite it takes a second for the flavor to hit you but if you love Sriracha Sauce you won’t be disappointed in these. 

Cheese Sauce (naturally gluten-free!)

  • 8 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese grated on large holes of a box grater
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha Sauce
Add cheese and cornstarch to large bowl. Toss to combine. Transfer to medium saucepan. Add can of  evaporated milk and hot sauce. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with whisk until melted, bubbly, and thickened (about 5 minutes). Mixture will look thin and grainy at first but will thicken and come together after heating. Thin to desired consistency with additional evaporated milk. Serve immediately with fries (tortilla chips, burgers, or hot dogs).
We served some store-bought gluten-free french fries with dinner tonight.
Sriracha Burgers
  • 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce (I use San-J)
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Gluten-free buns such as Udi’s (or Canyon Bakehouse or Katz)
  • 2 thick slices Swiss cheese
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Dynamite Sauce (recipe below)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, soy sauce,  Sriracha, and the pepper. Do not overmix. Form the mixture into 2 patties, and set aside.

  2. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium-high heat. 

  3. Grill the burgers, turning once, 4 to 41/2 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer registers 130° to 135°F for medium-rare. Place a piece of cheese of cheese on each burger and cook until melted.

  4. To assemble, spread the Dynamite Sauce on both halves of each hamburger bun. Stack a burger patty,  and a few pieces of  romaine between each hamburger bun.

Dynamite Sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons Mayo
  • 1 Tablespoons Sriracha (I like mine spicy so adjust according to your spice level)
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until well combined – taste for spice level and adjust accordingly. Spread on burger buns.

And for a little fun…if you love Sriracha Sauce as much as we do, you have to check out The Oatmeal‘s post called “Dear Sriracha, a.k.a Rooser Sauce”
Hope you enjoy – if you get around to trying these please let me know what you think

Making Snacks At Home

Before we go grocery shopping I start by getting out that weeks ads to see what is on sale, and then try to plan meals around that.  I also look at the coupons we have, new ones that have come in and also search online for them (at first Bryan made fun of me and my coupon clipping but once he saw how much I save each time he’s pretty thankful) I then make a list of all the items we need and next to it I write what the sale is and at which store, I also write if we have a coupon for it.  For the most part we try out best to stick to the list as best we can, but every now and then we find a thing or two that we really want and that is usually a snack or two.  Well actually it is mostly Bryan that finds these things because for me it is a bit harder to find gluten-free snacks.

He will usually grab some cinnamon buns, beef jerky or corn muffins, all of which I love but sadly can’t find gluten-free options in the stores so I decided that I could learn to make a few snack items at home.  I’ve made cinnamon buns and corn muffins/bread before and they came out great.  I hadn’t attempted to make beef jerky or granola bars and those are two things I have been wanting to attempt for a while, so I finally did.

Making snacks at home is easy, a great way to control what you and your family are consuming but also it is a great way to save money!

Beef Jerky

Bryan and I both love beef jerky and we usually buy him a bag of it but its gone in one sitting!  Before moving back east I bought a great cookbook “Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It And Other Cooking Projects” by Karen Solomon.  Including in the cookbook are recipes to make your own bacon, cheese, marshmallows, limoncello and so much more.  The recipe calls for very lean top sirloin or flank steak, I choose the flank steak because at BJ’s you can get two pounds for the same price, if not less than one pound of flank steak at our local grocery store!

I used the recipe listed in the cookbook just as a guideline and made it gluten-free and adjusted the ingredients to our spice level.  My recipe is below – I checked their website and they don’t have the beef jerky recipe listed so I can’t link to it, however you should really buy this book, you will love it!

Gluten Free Beef Jerky


2 pounds lean flank steak (remove every bit of fat from the meat!  this is very important-if you leave the fat on it will like go rancid!)

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce

4 teaspoons dark brown sugar

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

3 teaspoons red pepper flakes (you can adjust this to your taste level, we really like heat)

Advanced Prep: Freeze steak for 30 minutes – this will help with the slicing. Line two sheet pans with foil and oil (canola or gluten-free cooking spray) two racks.  Place one rack in each of the pans, set aside. Pre-heat oven to 150 degrees – if your oven doesn’t go that low, set it to the lowest temp that it will and leave the oven door cracked open an inch or two, or use a wooden spoon to keep it ajar.

Remove steak from freezer, and make sure that all the fat has been removed (see note above).  Thinly slice steak 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick pieces.

In a large bowl mix together salt, gluten-free soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Add meat and let marinade in the refrigerator for two hours (or over night).

Lay the meat on the racks in a single layer, but don’t let them touch or over lap.

Dry the meat in an oven for 5-7 hours.  Check for doneness for the first time around 5 hours.  The jerky shouldn’t be brittle but should be able to be torn into strings and not look raw in the inside.

Allow jerky to cool completely and enjoy!

Store in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for up to six weeks.

Granola Bars

I love granola bars, but since going gluten-free I haven’t had one, and I’ve really missed them.  They are the perfect take along snack.  I’ll be making more of these when it comes time for school.  They are super easy to make and you can add in pretty much anything you like.  I think next time I might add in some peanut butter chips.

Gluten-Free/Allergy Free Granola Bars

The recipe listed below is from Martha Stewart’s website.  I did a few little tweaks to the recipe and they are noted in red below.

Makes about 16 bars

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oatmeal (I used 3 cups of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats)
  • 1 1/4 cups gluten-free crisp-rice cereal (I didn’t have any so I omitted them)
  • 1/2 cup mini gluten-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup honey

Directions

  1. Spray an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray; line baking sheet with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides. Set aside.
  2. Place oatmeal and rice cereal in a large bowl; stir to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, mix together brown sugar, oil, and honey. Place over medium-high heat; bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add to oatmeal mixture; stir until oatmeal mixture is fully coated and well combined.
  4. Evenly pour oatmeal mixture into prepared baking dish; sprinkle with chocolate chips. When mixture is cool enough to touch, press down into pan. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into 16 (1-by-4-inch) bars. Granola bars can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 week, and frozen up to six months.
From The Martha Stewart Show, April 2010

*I would recommend following the directions – I got distracted when making these and ended up adding some of the chocolate chips in with the oats and when I poured the liquid over it they all melted so it became chocolate granola bars. Woops – I mean they still came out pretty good.  I would also suggest that if you have the gluten-free crisp rice cereal, use it.  Also Martha’s photo is WAY better than mine!

Hope you enjoy these two homemade snacks!



Roast Beef, Peppers and Potatoes

If you have been following my blog you’ll notice my love for Martha Stewart’s magazine, Everyday Food.  It is by far my favorite magazine because the recipes are easy, not overly complicated, if they aren’t naturally gluten-free, they are easily adaptable and there are so many great tips in them.  My mom bought me a subscription when it was first published and over the years I have tried my best to keep up with it.  If you don’t have a subscription you can find all the recipes online, however I suggest getting one of the magazines and checking it out for yourself.

Each time a new one comes in the mail I start flipping through it right away and marking all the recipes I want to try.  I don’t always make them right away but I eventually get around to trying my hand at them.  The recipe I made tonight comes from January/February 2007 Light edition.  The recipe was 100% gluten-free (even if it doesn’t say so in the magazine, just read the ingredients).  The only modification I made on this one was I omitted the onions.  Such a simple meal and all in one pan!  Quick, easy, great tasty and easy clean up! Bryan really liked this meal and said he wouldn’t mind having it again!

Roast Beef, Peppers and Potatoes (Martha Stewart – Everyday Food Magazine, 2007)

Serves 4

  • 3 red bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 1-inch-wide strips – We had red so that is all we used
  • 2 yellow bell peppers (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 1-inch-wide strips – We had red so that is all we used
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and cut into 1-inch wedges – We omitted these
  • 3/4 pound white new potatoes, well scrubbed and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled (3 left whole and 2 cut into 12 slivers)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds eye-of-round beef roast
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place peppers, onions, potatoes, and whole garlic cloves on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with half the oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
  2. Using a paring knife, make 12 small slits in top and sides of roast; push in garlic slivers. Move vegetables to sides of sheet. Place beef in center, and coat with remaining oil; rub all over with 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and thyme.
  3. Roast 40 to 50 minutes, tossing vegetables occasionally, until tender and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of beef registers 130 degrees for medium-rare. Let meat stand 10 minutes, loosely tented with aluminum foil to keep warm. Cut half into very thin slices (reserve remaining half for leftovers). Serve with vegetables.
  4. Cool remaining beef to room temperature; place in an airtight container, or wrap in plastic, and refrigerate.

Read more at Marthastewart.com: Roast Beef with Peppers, Onions, and Potatoes – Martha Stewart Recipes



P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

My version of P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

Yesterday was day two in my weekly menu planning and Bryan’s last day of classes for his first semester as a 1L, so I decided to celebrate I would try to tackled one of our favorite P.F. Chang’s recipes – Beef a La Sichuan.  Ever since this was put on the gluten-free menu at P.F. Chang’s it is all Bryan will order.  I usually order the Chang’s Spicy Chicken (it’s amazing if you haven’t had it yet, you should).  Sadly though we don’t have a P.F. Chang’s close to us so I’ve been searching online for “copycat” recipes for this dish.  I really only found one, but found plenty of pictures of the dish which didn’t help me at all.  The recipe I found was pretty good, however it didn’t have any measurements for the ingredients! Seeing as we hadn’t had this in a while I had to think back to what it tasted like and try to build a sauce based on memory-honestly I got it on the first shot…not sure if I should be proud of that or kind of embarrassed.  If you don’t know Chinese food is my biggest weakness and seeing as I can’t go to any restaurant and get something I do my best to create recipes inspired by my favorite Chinese/Asian dishes.

I found the recipe on RecipeLink.com and like I said it had no measurements so below is my measurements along with RecipeLink.com’s directions.  Now this recipe is a little in-depth with the preparation so be prepared to spend a bit of time in the kitchen the first time-but I promise it is worth it.  I’m sure you can always find some shortcuts, like finding celery and carrots that are already julienned for you but I wanted to do it start to finished myself.   The original recipe called for green onion stems but seeing as we don’t cook/consume onions in our house we just omitted them but you can add them in if you wish.

P.F. Chang’s Beef a La Sichuan

Stir Fry Ingredients:

1 Pound Flank or Sirloin Steak Sliced thin
3-4 Medium Celery Stalks -Julienned
2 Medium Carrots – Julienned
Green Onion Stems (Optional)
1/2 Cup Peanut Oil or Canola Oil (you may use less if using a non-stick pan, I only use about 1/4 cup)
1/4 Cup Corn Starch
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes(or whole Tien Tsin Chinese Chili Peppers work great)

1 1/2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil

Sauce Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons Gluten Free Soy Sauce (I use San-J)
2 Tablespoons Gluten Free Hoisin Sauce (I use Dynasty)
1 Tablespoon Garlic Chili Paste
1/2 Teaspoon Chinese Hot Mustard
1 Teaspoon Rice Wine Vinegar
1/2 Teaspoon Chili oil/or Mongolian Fire Oil (made by House of Tsang) -(Optional)
1 – 2 Teaspoons Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Minced garlic
1/2 Teaspoon Minced Ginger
1/2 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Directions

Mix all of the sauce ingredients together and set aside.

Julienne your carrots and celery and set aside. It is important to get these done first because when it comes time to stir-fry them, it is a very quick process.

An important step is “velveting your beef” – Thinly slice your beef and place in a bowl. Add the cornstarch and  toss to make sure each piece is thoroughly coated. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Rinse beef free from all cornstarch and pat dry – you do not want any moisture or the oil will splatter when you add the beef to the pan.

In a skillet (or wok), fry the sliced meat in hot peanut (or canola) oil until crispy to your liking. Remove from oil, drain on paper towels.

In the same pan (or wok) add the following ingredients in this order with sesame oil: stir-fry celery, crushed red pepper flakes (or Tein Tsin Chinese Chili Peppers) followed by carrots. Do not over cook these ingredients – you want them to be nice and crispy. Add fried meat and green onions. Add sauce and bring to a fast boil, cook for 1 minute and serve immediately over white or brown rice.

This last step should take only 3-4 minutes – it is a very quick process so be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t over cook.

Notes:

I sliced my beef a little bigger than P.F. Chang’s does but not by much and didn’t fry it as much as they do.  Some times the beef can become a bit tough when it is fried too long so I left mine a little tender but still had a slight crunch to it.

The veggies were perfect – like the directions above say DO NOT OVER COOK them – they are supposed to be nice and crunchy.  This process goes very quickly.

I drained off most of the remaining oil from frying the beef before adding the Sesame oil and veggies.  I didn’t wan it to be too oily.

The recipe called for Chili Oil but I couldn’t find it anywhere around me (my grocery stores aren’t so good with stocking “international” cuisine products) so I left it out and didn’t miss it at all.

The sauce was created from memory so if you have had it more recently and attempt to make it at home please adjust the measurements to your liking.

I cooked this in a wok but you can use a large sauté pan.

We had not leftovers!! Like I said this is Bryan’s favorite dish.

Who says you have to go our to have great Chinese food when  you can easily make it at home!  It may take a little longer to make it but it is so worth it and helps save you a little money too.

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?

PJ’s Organics and a Giveaway!

This contest Is now closed! Thank you to all who entered, see below for winners!!


About a week ago I posted a review on PJ’s Organics Gluten Free products and how much Bryan and I enjoyed them.  They offer four great gluten-free options: Gluten Free Beef Enchilada, Gluten Free Chicken Enchilada, Traditional Taquitos and Deluxe Taquitos.

GIVEAWAY!!

The extremely generous people over at PJ’s Organics have kindly offered to give THREE (3) of my readers five (5) free product coupons to be used on any PJ’s Organics products.

AND in addition to the five (5) free product coupons each winner will also receive an iPod Shuffle (winners will get to pick their color choice: gleaming silver, blue, green, orange, or pink)!!

Giveaway Rules

To be entered for a chance to win one of these three (3) amazing prizes please follow the rules below by Monday November 8th by 11:59 PM:

1) (Required) “Like” PJ’s Organics on Facebook – come back here and leave a comment below that you did so (if your Facebook name/account is different from the name you use below, please specify your Facebook user name – Thank you!).

2) For an optional second entry– Read my review and look at the products above and leave a comment below letting me know which one you would like to try most and why.

Three (3) winners will be chosen by using Random.Org and notified by e-mail on Tuesday November 9th.  All winners will have 48 hours to respond with their contact information and color choice of the iPod Shuffle, if winners do not respond within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen by using Random.Org.  All prizes will be mailed directly from PJ’s Organics within four weeks.

Like PJ’s Organics Facebook Page and spread the word!  Visit their website to find out where you can buy these great PJ’s Organics products.

(This contest is only open to those who are living in the U.S.A.)

Our 3 lucky winners are…

1. Sharon J

2. Kristina S.

3. Valerie

Congratulations Sharon, Kristina and Valerie!!

(Winners were chosen using Random.org – Winners were notified by e-mail this morning and winners have 48 hours to respond with their contact information and color choice for their iPod Shuffle to creativecookinggf(at)gmail(dot)com (creativecooking@gmail.com).  If winners do not respond within that time another winner will be chosen using Random.org)

Thank you to all who entered!!  Check back later this week for another great give away.


P.F. Chang’s: A Gluten-Free Experience (Review)

When P.F. Chang’s first released their Gluten-Free menu it was a bit limited, but who was about to complain – those suffering from Celiac Disease actually had options!  I got all excited the first time I went, I could actually look at an entrée instead of a salad with oil and vinegar dressing. If you know me at all I love food but my all time weakness is Chinese food!  I love it so much that when I moved back to the U.S. from living in China one of my first meals was, that’s right…Chinese food!! Now their menu has about 28 items!!! These items range from appetizers, main dishes, sides and even dessert.  And the verity of options is outstanding, chicken, vegetarian, beef, seafood…a little bit of everything.

I think of all the foods that I have had to “give up” Chinese food is the hardest.  Don’t get me wrong being Italian I love my bread products, I’m a carb girl but in my mind Chinese food-to get those deep, authentic flavors are much harder than Italian food. I try making a few dishes but nothing seems to compare to living in China or even going out to a local Chinese restaurant.  When living in Monterey I found the best family run Chinese restaurant named Full Moon.  These ladies became part of my extended family, I literally at there at least once a week and when they found out I had Celiac they said if I bring in my own soy sauce they cook all my food with that and even go to the extent of making sure the pans they use for my food are cleaned first.  Oh how I miss those wonderful ladies.

Now that I don’t live there and can’t eat at Full Moon whenever I want the next best thing is P.F. Chang’s but sadly they are about 25 minutes away from us.  I know it’s not really that far and maybe its a good thing that they are in Providence and not in Portsmouth that way we don’t eat there too much.  Bryan and I love P.F. Chang’s gluten-free menu…he even orders off of it so we can share the dishes…now that is true love.  Plus he says you can’t even taste the difference from the regular options. When we go we normally get the same three things (our favorites):

Gluten Free Shanghai Cucumbers (for our appetizer) – “Sliced, cold cucumbers sprinkled in gluten-free soy sauce and sesame seeds.”

We loved these and get a large order every time.  These are cool, crisp and very refreshing.  The sauce tastes like a mixture of gluten-free soy sauce, sesame oil, rice vinegar and of course has some black and white sesame seeds on them…so good, give them a try next time!

Gluten Free Beef A La Sichuan (Bryan’s favorite) – “Crispy beef strips with julienne celery and carrots. Our spiciest beef dish.”

Yummmy! Since they added this to their gluten-free menu Bryan orders it every time.  It has such a great flavor and the perfect amount of spice which goes great with the cool crisp julienne celery and carrots.

Gluten Free Chang’s Spicy Chicken (My favorite) – “Lightly dusted and stir-fried in a sweet Sichuan sauce.  Our version of General Tso’s and always a favorite.”

Normally we order this but like I said above I mixed it up a bit.  It is really hard for me to order something else know that this dish is so good.  I love the spice in the Chang’s Spicy Chicken.  The chicken is very tender and very lightly coated.  I have never been disappointed with this choice.

(Sorry there is no picture for my favorite dish…but next time for sure!)

But this time around I decided to mix it up a bit and order a different chicken dish (Bryan was not about to give up that Sichuan Beef).  So I ordered the following dish.

Gluten Free Ginger Chicken With Broccoli – “Served Cantonese style on a bed of fresh steamed broccoli.”

Wow…I was impressed with the flavors of this one.  The chicken is beyond tender and good-sized pieces, surrounded by steamed and still lightly crunchy broccoli florets.  The ginger definitely stands out in this dish and we both said it would make a great sauce over other steamed veggies for a vegetarian dish.  And I have to say my favorite part of the dish was the sauce and broccoli.

They also offer you two different options for rice, either steamed white rice or brown rice.  I know brown rice is great and supposed to be better for you, however I personally feel that Asian food in general should be enjoyed with some white rice, so I always order that with my meal.

If you have a P. F. Chang’s near you go and try it out and check out their gluten-free menu!!

Mongolian Beef (adapted from P.F. Chang’s)

gf1782

Mongolian Beef

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon ginger, minced

1 tablespoon garlic, choped

1/2 cup Gluten Free soy sauce

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup dark brown sugar

vegetable oil, for frying (about 1 cup…I used less with my non stick pans)

1lb flank steak

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 large green onions, sliced

~For the sauce: heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat (don’t get oil too hot)

~Add ginger and garlic to the oil and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic and ginger start to brown.

~Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to medium and boil for 2-3 minutes or until sauce thickens.  Remove from heat.

~Slice the steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices

~Dip the beef pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of the steak pieces.

~Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the corn starch sticks.

~As the beef sits, heat up the one cup (or less) of oil in a skillet.  Heat over medium heat until its nice and hot but not smoking.

~Add the beef to the pan and sauté for for two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. You don’t need to cook the beef completely, because it will finish cooking when added to the sauce.

~After the beef is finished cooking use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and rest on paper towels, then pour the oil out of the skillet.

~Put the pan back over the heat, add the beef back into the pan and simmer for one minute

~Add the sauce and cook for another minute while stirring then add the green onions.  Cook for another minute then remove the beef and onions to a serving platter.  Leave excess sauce behind.

~Serve over white or brown rice.