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Posts Tagged ‘gluten-free’

I saw a post on In Search of Bees blog about making dairy-free ice cream.  I’m in the middle of trying to convince Hubby that I want need must have an ice cream maker.  The Thai Tea Ice Cream sounded so good that I had to start experimenting, ice cream machine or not.

The recipe is only three ingredients: coconut milk, tea, sugar.  How could this go wrong, I thought.

Oh, but it did…

The can of coconut milk was not milk at all.  I read the label again after opening the can and seeing something that resembled hair gel.  Coconut Cream?  It didn’t look like cream of any sort!  It was sweet and thick, and the can was already open, so I kept going.

I have a box of Indian Chai in the cupboard waiting to be brewed, steeped and enjoyed.  I made a sachet for the chai and put in the pot of simmering coconut cream.  Nothing happened, there was not a hint of diffusion of the dark spicy tea out to the coconut.  The cream was too thick and did not let any flavour out of the bag.  I opened the stupid bag and poured the chai into the pot.  There.  Now do something!

Instantly you could smell the chai and coconut.  How the heck am I going to get the tea out now?!?  A sieve might work.  Cupboards, drawers, nooks, and crannies did not possess the one tool I needed desperately, and right now.  I only have one wire strainer that was to be my sieve for this experiment, and it’s lost.  So much for mise en place, eh?

I turned to the closest thing in my kitchen with small holes: my cheese grater.  It wasn’t perfect but it managed to catch the bigger clumps of chai as the auburn coconut cream cascaded over it into a bowl.  There’s still chai bits in the bowl.  I picked out the chai, painstakingly, one little piece of crud at a time.  What did remain would stay in the ice cream.

The sticky chai coconut caramel mixture was poured into a freezer bag and plopped into the freezer.  I went to sleep.

This morning I checked on the chai “ice cream”.  It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t look frozen.  I’m afraid to taste it now.  In the spirit of experimentation, I tried it.  It has a caramel overtone and a heavy sweetness, too sweet to be consumed alone.  So I made coffee…

The coffee with the failed ice cream wasn’t all together unpleasant, still on the sweet side though.  Let’s call it the ice-coffee-coconut-chai-escape.  The kids seemed to like this concoction more than I did.

Lesson for today:  coconut cream is not the same as coconut milk.

To-do list: Buy coconut milk and a wire mesh strainer.  Don’t forget the ice cream maker.

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Warm Greek Salad

warm greek salad

Part of my Greenling Box was this awesome Chicken salad, which included:

organic garlic
organic crushed red pepper
organic kale
organic chicken breast
organic brown rice
organic black olives
Dill Vinaigrette (organic red wine vinegar, organic lemon juice, organic agave nectar, organic canola oil, organic mustard, organic dill)

Get the kit and make this salad!

I left out the tomatoes that came with it, Little Sister got a hold of them and demolished half the container, so she was awarded the remaining tomatoes.   I’m normally not a huge olive fan, but this worked because they provided the salty bite needed to round out the dish.  There was no salt added to the chicken, only black pepper.

Given the list of ingredients, you could expand the portions of this to feed more hungry friends.  You know you could swap out the olives for dried cranberries and apple pieces!  For those of you without allergies, throw in pecans or something.  Have fun and play with your food.

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spicy sweet potato kale

I threw together this dish using a few ingredients I had on hand.  Simple. Spicy. Earthy.

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 baked sweet potato, skin removed and cubed
  • 2 large handfuls of shredded kale, spines removed and washed before shredding
  • chili powder
  • ginger powder
  • salt
  • pepper
  • sesame seeds

Heat the oil in a skillet.  Add the sweet potato cubes and kale.  Add the spices to your taste, I just put a few dashes of each, enough to dust the surface of the vegetables.  Hold off on the salt until the kale it wilted and crispy.  Add the sesame seeds to an empty corner of the pan to toast lightly before stirring into the kale and potato.  Plate immediately.  I had also fried courgettes in the same pan to eat along with the kale and sweet potatoes.

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*I was offered a tasting of Carino’s gluten-free menu as sponsorship for this post. My thoughts and comments are my own.*

Carino’s, located along I-35 in Round Rock, has expanded their menu to include gluten-free entrées and pizzas.

Making a good gluten-free pizza crust is a tall order, but the chefs at Carino’s pulled it off with the help of Udi’s.  You get to choose up to five toppings for your specialty pizza ($12.99 for a medium, plenty to split with a friend).  I ordered mine with artichoke, bacon, spinach, chicken, and extra cheese and you could have fooled me… it didn’t taste like a gluten-free pizza!

I invited my friends to try out the pizza with me.  They were equally impressed.

If you like soda, try the raspberry Italian Soda with cream!  Not too sweet for my taste and you get refills for free, good deal since I drank three of them.

The entrées on the gluten-free menu are mostly some kind of meat with vegetables.  There is gluten-free pasta, but I didn’t try it on this trip.

Carino’s

2600 N. IH-35 Round Rock,TX

512-238-8288

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After a long morning in Georgetown, I took my Dad out for lunch to Jack Allen’s Kitchen.  I’ve been hearing great things about chef Allen from other AFBA Members, so I had to feed my curiosity.  JAK sources as much as possible from Texas farms and producers, which gives me those warm hippie fuzzy feelings.

fish tacos Jack Allens Kitchen

Baja Style Fish Tacos

My father, being the adventurous type like me, ordered Baja Fish Tacos, a dish he claims he could not find at home in Alberta.  He vacations in Mexico and the Caribbean, I was surprised he hasn’t encountered a fish taco yet.  However, this is Texas after all,  and we do things weird in these parts.

Chicken Enchilada Jack Allens Kitchen

Chicken Enchilada

Forgive me, but in my moment of gluttony I forgot the name of the dish I had (!!!).  It resembled chicken enchiladas in stacked form, with a fried egg on top.  It was as if I was eating the circle of life, smothered in a creamy chipotle sauce.  Damn fine dish, what ever it was.  Both of our dishes would pass as gluten-free thanks to the corn tortillas.

Paired my chicken with a pint of Independence Brewery Stash IPA, it was dark and smooth, just how I like my water slides.
Key Lime Pie (to die for!)

Key Lime Pie (to die for!)

Finished out the lunch with a slice of heaven, a key lime pie slice that is!

Our server was very knowledgeable of the entire menu, including the beers on tap.  Jack Allen’s Kitchen is perfect for any occasion to celebrate with locally sourced fare.  Reservations for dinner are recommended.  Lunch crowd was not bad at all during the week, but I would guess the weekends are busier.

Jack Allen’s Kitchen

2500 Hoppe Trail, Round Rock, TX 78681 

512.215.0372

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2011-10 lemon poppy loaf 2

We were at a friend’s house this weekend to celebrate Mike’s birthday.  Friend of friend Sam made Avgolemono for everyone.  She graciously allowed me to share her recipe for this lemon egg soup, which was amazingly tangy and silky. A flavorful soup is one that takes time, love and affection. Like raising a child, you have to watch it carefully, give enough to keep it going, and know when it’s time to let go. A poignant analogy as many parents I know have let their chicks out of the nest to join the collective (a.k.a. college). My aunt is probably freaking out right about now as my youngest cousin begins his college career. Boy, do I feel old saying that!

Anyways, on to the soup!

Sam described creating the foundation of the soup with a homemade chicken stock. You can find posts here and here which discuss stock. For this soup, a simple mirepoix and a roasted chicken will suffice. Over a period of 8 hours, the stock should be watched, more water added as needed to extract every bit of chicken flavor from the carcass of a lemon-rosemary roasted bird. Keep the breast meat aside, but everything else can be used for stock. If you don’t have all day to make soup, you’re forgiven, go ahead and use the box or cubes instead. You’ll need 10-12 cups of stock. This will make 8-10 servings, depending how hungry y’all are.

Add shredded breast meat to the stock. Simmer while you work on the next step.

Get 1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 10 lemons), less if you’re making less soup.

Separate 6 eggs. Set aside the whites (make a lemon meringue pie or something!). Whisk the yolks then add small amounts of stock from the soup to temper the eggs.

Add the lemon juice to the tempered yolks while whisking.

Turn the temperature down to a bare simmer. Slowly incorporate the yolks into the soup. Adjust the salt if needed.

OPTION: For people who can eat gluten, some cooked orzo may be added to this soup. Sam left it separate from the soup so everyone could choose to add some (or not) to their respective bowls. You can cook the pasta in the stock for 10 minutes before adding the chicken meat as well.

Thanks Sam for sharing your soup!

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This bowl of smoky salmon goodness was inspired by a post on Taste Food, a fellow Food52 contributor (her blog is beautiful, you should look around).  I saw the flour and the cream she calls for and felt worried my tummy wouldn’t deal with it.  I had the stomach flu a few weeks ago and it took forever to recover from it.  I had a craving for cheese and went a little overboard, then paid for it.  I picked up a bottle of acidophilus probiotic, both the chewable (dormant) and a liquid (live culture) forms.  It will take time for this stuff to work but I’m going to give it a shot – anything to feel better again.

Since I’m avoiding dairy for a couple weeks and saw this recipe on Taste Food’s blog, I knew I had to try a dairy-free version.  If dairy is out, might as well replace the glutenous flour with gluten-free all purpose flour mix.  The potato does help thicken the stew (can’t really call it a chowder without cream, can I?).

It just tastes healthy!

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 of a fennel bulb, diced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 2 tsp GF flour
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 large Russet potato, peeled, diced
  • 1/3 pound smoked salmon (not the paper-thin sheets, a hunk of fish!)
  • salt and pepper

Saute the fennel and onion in the oil over medium heat in a small soup pot.  Add the flour and let it cook, stirring the pot.  Add 2 cups of water to start with, you can add more to reach your desired consistency.  Add the potato and simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn the heat to low and crumble the smoked salmon (in bite-sized chunks) in to the pot.  Let the salmon infuse in the stew before adding salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with the fennel fronds.  Serves two.

Easy, eh?

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IMG_1344

Salsa options range from mild and tangy, to slightly sweet fire sauce.  Clockwise above: medium heat tomato based salsa, hot Habanero sauce, and mild tomatillo sauce.

IMG_1345

Lunch specials include $4.99 for two tacos and an iced tea (including refills).  I tried the Cochinito Pibil tacos, pork in a habenero sauce cooked in banana leaves, which was flavorful and very tender.  If you are gluten-free, ask for corn tortillas.  I didn’t ask if they have separate kitchen areas for the gluten-free orders, although a friend eats there on a regular basis who recently discovered their aversion to gluten.

IMG_1346

This is one of the other lunch special tacos on the menu: Green Chile.  Not spicy.  Pork is just as tender as the first tacos.  I removed most of the large pieces of white onion, otherwise it’s a great taco.

Spinach Enchiladas

Also tried the vegetarian option on the lunch menu that did not involve fish, the Spinach Enchiladas, which were tasty and full of veggies.  The black beans were slightly harder than I would make them.

carnitas rojo taco plate

Lastly, the carnitas rojo tacos which are pork simmered in a red sauce, probably my favorite so far.

The atmosphere is hole-in-the-wall but the staff were all pleasant.  They try to spruce up the tangerine walls with art and mirrors.  It lacks in high class comforts but makes up for it with authentic Mexican flavors.  Evidence is on the chalkboard menu on the wall next to the kitchen, it lists “Gourmet Tacos” which are not found on the menu, you’ll have to ask if they have any of them available that day.

Molca’s is at 8127 Mesa Dr, Austin, TX 78759

For more Mexican restaurants check out my city guide post, or view the entire Austin City Guide here.

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I love Christmas.

The Austin Food Blogger Alliance recently organized a gift swap with fellow foodies in Boston.  I was so excited to share a taste of Austin that I decided to put together a box for a lucky reader!

I found Rhythm Superfoods kale and sweet potato chips at my regular grocery store, my favorite flavor is the Mango Habanero because it’s naturally sweet with a background heat that keeps you snacking.  Nuts are not my friend but I’ll gladly share with you.  Honey Toasted Pecans from Austin Nuts and three types of Thunderbird Energetica Bars, go nuts!  Beanitos Chips are gluten-free, corn-free chipotle flavored bean chips, great with dips.  Last of all is a precious addition that I’m having a hard time leaving in the box, Confituras Apple Hatch Chile Chutney.  Austinites love go crazy during hatch chile season and I never buy enough of them to last until I want some.  Next year I’ll have to can some.  For now I’ll offer up this locally made, small batch confection, sigh… 

This time you will have to enter the contest via form, the last giveaway gave me heartburn trying to track down the first two commenters who “won” by random number.  Please enter your mailing address so that there is no delay in getting the prize sent in time for Christmas!  Scouts’ Honor I never share your information, EVER.

Contest closes Nov 30th at midnite.  Open to USA and Canada.  One entry per reader, bonus entry for a Tweet or Pin about this giveaway, leave a comment for each bonus entry.  Good Luck!

Click here to Enter to WIN!

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Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Brownies… they were a bit dry but that can be fixed!

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