Saturday, February 27, 2010

Poll Positioning!

Today, I am playing with Javascript! At the same time, I would love to know what kind of content to put up here in the future. Your participation in this poll is greatly appreciated!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Asian Style Veggie Summer Rolls with Soy-Peanut Dipping Sauce

For those of you who know me, this is the famous MasterChef audition summer roll appetizer that I stood outside in 15 degree weather for 4 hours to present, only to be told that while the taste ranks a 5/5, I apparently have a face for radio and not reality TV on Fox. So, Fox, while I extend a certain appendage in your general direction, I will happily munch away on these summer rolls, which clearly have more taste than you do. Not that I'm bitter or anything.

1 package of large rice spring roll wrappers (found at most Asian groceries)
1 package pea shoots (optional, but recommended)
1 red bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 package shredded carrots (or use 1 carrot and shred it yourself)
1 shallot, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced into matchsticks
1 package shiitake mushrooms
1 cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
1/8 cup Cormier's Gold ginger-garlic sauce
1 overflowing tsp crushed ginger
1 overflowing tsp crushed garlic
1 pinch crushed chili pepper
1 tbsp sesame oil

Sautee the shiitake mushrooms and shallot in the sesame oil for 1-2 minutes, then add the ginger, garlic and chili pepper and stir fry for another minute or two. Then add the Cormier's Gold sauce and cook until the most of the sauce is evaporated (the mushrooms should still be a little saucy, but not necessarily wet). Set aside.

Carefully separate the spring roll wrappers, and soak them briefly in hot water (you can either dunk them in a bowl filled with hot water, or carefully run them under the tap, whichever is easier for you) until they become soft and easy to handle. Place the spring roll wrapper onto a large plate or other flat surface for rolling. You can use two wrappers at a time if it makes it easier for you--this will also provide a bit more strength, so that the wrappers will be less likely to tear.

Starting about 1/3 of the way in, place the veggies in thin horizontal stripes in the following order: yellow pepper, cucumber, mushroom mix, carrot, pea shoots. Fold the left and right ends of the rice paper in. Then, holding tightly, roll from bottom to top. Use a wet finger to seal the rolls shut.

Slice the rolls in half on the diagonal, and serve over mixed greens. If you really want to be a fancy show off like I was for this audition, then you can also decorate the plate with some sliced bell peppers and half-moons of brie. But don't expect bonus points from the judge.

Makes about 4 large rolls.

Soy-Peanut Dipping Sauce

4 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp gluten free soy sauce
1/2 tsp crushed ginger

Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Gluten Free Veggie Turkey Meatloaf

I grew up in what some of my gourmand friends refer to as a "Shake n' Bake family", meaning that most of what I ate came from either a box, a can, or the freezer. On top of that, my dad was pretty much your typical meat and potatoes guy--in fact, whenever we went to a restaurant and his meal offered a potato and a vegetable as side dishes, he asked for two potatoes. Based on this history, it's pretty obvious that an actual fresh vegetable was a rare occurrence in my household. However, rebellious little pain in the butt that I am, I insisted that when I did the cooking we would have some "real food" in the mix--I therefore often hid the veggies in the meatloaf, as it was the only way I could get my dad to consume them. It's amusing how many cookbooks these days are dedicated toward hiding healthy items in the food for the benefit of children--I'm betting that there is an entire market segment of aging Baby Boomers who would appreciate the hidden nutrition just as much.

1 package ground turkey (if possible, use organic, free-range turkey. It tastes better, it's more humane, and the dose of smugness that comes with purchasing it is even better than salt!)
1 onion, diced
1 package frozen peas & carrots mix (hey, old habits die hard)
1 crown broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 tsp olive oil (or whatever oil you prefer)
3 tbsp gluten free ketchup
1 heaping tbsp crushed garlic
2 tsp basil
1/4 cup gluten free breadcrumbs (I use Dr. Schar brand)
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt and pepper, to taste

Heat the frozen peas and carrots in the microwave one minute less than whatever the package directions indicate (this will assure that the veggies are no longer frozen, but won't be overcooked later in the process).

Sautee the peas, carrots, broccoli and onion on medium-high. Add the garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Cook until all ingredients are combined and the onion becomes translucent. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix the turkey, ketchup, breadcrumbs and basil until combined. Add the veggies and mix thoroughly. Put the meat mixture into a Pyrex baking dish (or ceramic, if you prefer), press with a spatula until evenly distributed, and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Serves 4.

If you are not lactose intolerant or keep Kosher, some mozzarella or cheddar mixed in with the meat is a nice variation. Another is to add a bit of marsala wine to the meat mixture.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Garlic-Soy Japanese Eggplant

If you're on a gluten-free diet, then you probably know about San-J soy sauce, because as far as I know, it's the only one readily available. Luckily, that's not entirely true. Cormier's Gold makes soy-based gluten free stir-fry sauces that are seriously amazing. I can easily go through a bottle per week of the ginger/garlic sauce, though the double garlic, orange teriyaki and jalapeno sauces are also fantastic. I actually used some of this sauce to stir-fry the shiitake mushrooms for my super-fancypants summer rolls, which I submitted for entry into the MasterChef competition. Apparently, I have a face for radio (or so the supermodel-esque judge would have me believe), but the rolls themselves got a 5/5 for taste.

Cormier's Gold is only available in the New England area, as far as I know, but I am hopefully going to work with Mr. Cormier to get the wonder-sauce the national exposure it deserves. Okay, enough sucking up--onto the recipe

1 Japanese eggplant per person
1 tsp crushed ginger
1 small pinch crushed hot pepper
oil for stir-frying (I prefer sesame), about 1tbsp
1 cup Cormier's Gold ginger/garlic stir-fry sauce
2/3 cup water per eggplant


Cut the eggplants lengthwise, and then cut horizontally into small half-moon pieces.
Heat a frypan on medium-high, and add the oil.
Add the eggplant and stirfry until the oil is absorbed, the eggplant gets a little soft and you start to see it begin to brown.
Add the water, ginger and hot pepper. Continue cooking until water is absorbed.
Add the Cormier's gold sauce, and toss until all the eggplant is coated.

Pastaless Veggie Lasagna

I love lasagna, or pretty much any combination of tomato sauce and cheese. Unfortunately, although there are gluten free lasagna noodles available (DeBole's rice noodles), I have found that they either tend to fall apart, or otherwise become too firm and never fully soften. So, this time around I eliminated the pasta entirely, with some pretty happy results.

2 zucchinis
1 cup mushrooms
1 package firm or extra firm tofu
1 jar gluten free tomato sauce (I like Organic Valley)
1 bag shredded mozzarella cheese, or Italian cheese blend
1 bag gluten free breadcrumbs (I like Schar)
1 egg, beaten
basil, garlic powder, onion powder (to taste)
Olive oil for frying (vegetable oil works, too)

Mix the herbs into the breadcrumbs.
Slice the zucchini and tofu into lengthwise strips.
Dip the zucchini (and tofu as well, if you like) into the beaten egg and roll into breadcrumbs to coat.
Fry the strips about 1 minute on each side, or until the crumbs become a golden brown. Put the fried strips on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Layer into a pan (I like to use mini-pans, but use whatever you like) the ingredients in the following order: sauce, zucchini, tofu, sauce, cheese, mushroom. Repeat until all the veggies are used up, then top with a final layer of cheese.

Bake at 375 for 45 min to an hour (half hour if you're using mini-pans), or until the cheese becomes bubbly.