Wednesday, January 27, 2010

my version of street noodles

One of my favorite restaurant meals is the simple street noodles from PF Chang's but since 7 hours is not a reasonable drive for take out I've been working on making them at home. We have these at least once a week and make a large batch so that I can have leftovers for a lunch or two.

This is my recreation of PF Chang's Street Noodles.

Boil water for noodles in a pot that can also have a steamer placed on top
Cut veggies. Use at least 1/2 cup of mixed veggies plus 1/2 medium onion and 3 cloves of garlic. I like 'em all small and uniform. Take your pick- broccoli, carrots or something else fun. I saved a lot of time by getting sliced carrots the size of matchsticks from the food store. I'm kind of an OCD carrot cutter and was spending at least 20 minutes cutting them into matchsticks.
Cut chicken (thin slices) and marinate in a gluten free Asian sauce (1-2 breasts) I usually make up a bunch and freeze in packets for future meals in the marinade. San- J has a good selection of Gluten Free sauces or sometimes I just use La Choy Soy if I'm out of marinade

Steam veggies (but not the onion or garlic) on top of boiling rice noodle water until desired tenderness then drain and set aside
Saute onions and garlic in 2 Tablespoons of toasted sesame oil (TSO)  then cook chicken.
Boil Mai Fun noodles for 2-3 minutes, drain then rinse with cold water. (6oz will feed 2 people and have leftovers for lunches)
Add 1-2 more tablespoons of TSO and add noodles and veggies
Add 2-3 tablespoons of gluten free soy sauce to the noodles and cook on a high heat.
More TSO and Soy Sauce may be added for more flavor. The noodles will absorb a lot a flavor and high heat is recommended.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

granola treats and powder days

I live in a ski town and had the good fortune to have a few days off as a winter storm rolled in. Friday presented 15" of fluffy goodness and another 5" this morning. I actually skied the better part of the day on Friday which I haven't done in a long time.
I used to have to quit after 2-3 hours because my knees hurt... I told myself that it was because I can go whenever I want but the truth is that I haven't skied much in the last few years because it hurt. I was either exhausted or aching. I'd rather be at happy hour then out making turns. I'm the person that shaved her head because of a lost bet with my ski team in high school, who picked her colleges based on proximity to ski mountains and skipped more school then most students to enjoy days on the mountain. The change happened slowly and I blamed it on work and picking up telemark skiing (which is like doing lunges the whole way down the mountain) but I really just wasn't having fun anymore because I had no energy and a lot of aches.
This October when I started my ski conditioning class for the second year in a row I felt different. I felt like the class was having more effect on me then last season. I'd have to say that after around 20 days on the mountain this season so far (I had 22 the whole season last year) that I'm stronger, have more energy and am enjoying the sport again.  Did anyone else notice anything like this? Not just increased energy but a new responsiveness in atheletic endevors? My hand eye coordination has also seemed to improve from horrid to deccent.
I skied from 10am to 3:30pm in 15" of powder- then went to a friend's party last night! We made pizzas and other folks even tried my gluten free, dairy free pie and enjoyed it. I brought my own GF pizza stone and had premixed a Chebe crust in addition to shredding up some Almond "Cheese". I kept mine all seperate from the flour covered doughs that they had picked up from Baked in Telluride.
One bummer about the ski season is my apres options. We go to a place at the base of the mountain called The Hop Garden. As the name suggests this is a place that's very focused on beer. The menu is just as unfriendly for glutards with dairy issues. I could have a salad but that's just not my thing. I bring in my own snacks and think about how sick every one's wings and fries would make me. I now ski with a Lara Bar or Stretch Island Fruit Strip in my pocket to have for these scenes. I go because Dave and a lot of our friends are in the mug club there and they have a good price on his PBR for happy hour. The bartenders are not only nice but our friends and they happen to make a good margarita. So I pack a snack and try not too think about wings and things.  I'm not a huge fan of the texture of Lara Bars- so I'm working on a homemade granola bar with certified Gluten Free Oats to carry me through a long ski day and happy hour.
First I toasted 3 cups of GF Oats, 1.5 cups of coconut and about 3 tablespoons of flax seeds in a 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
I then brought 1 cup of brown sugar, 1 cup of agave nectar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, a dash of salt and 2 tablespoons of Earth's Balance to a simmer and mixed it with my toasted goodies.

I lined a baking pan with wax paper and spread the mix and topped with Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips. I love how small (and dairy free) these chips are. I used a small piece of wax paper to pat it all down and spread it out. I baked in the oven for 20 minutes and peeked after 15.

I let them cool and cut them into bars and some small squares.... this is when I learned a new lesson. My bars had stuck to the wax paper! I was able to remove it by reheating slightly and peeling it off but should you make these either lightly grease your wax paper or don't let them cool too long! They taste pretty good but I think I needed to add more of the oats mix as when it baked, the liquid mix increased seeped to the bottoms and made the base really sticky. I've got them in the fridge now and will figure out a way to pack them up to be non sticky and last in my pocket all day to help me be strong during apres time.

Monday, January 18, 2010

the perfect whoopie pie and seven fun facts

In my few and far between days off this winter I am working on perfecting a gluten free whoopie pie. This is no easy task and it's been further complicated by aiming for the perfect gluten free, dairy free whoopie pie. Sub one thing and the flavor and texture can change...

This week's whoopies were made with almond milk and artisan gluten free flour. I've been using soy a lot in my baking but have friends that are sensitive. The Artisan flour blend is denser then the Featherlight blend and has less of a gluten free taste to it. The last two batches have also been made with Crisco instead of butter. I think the next batch is going to go to Earth's Balance as I miss the butter but can't compromise my dairy intake. I also whipped up a frosting with egg whites, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla. It wasn't as sugary as I like it but everyone else has enjoyed it thus far. The frosting also held shape better then a canned version.

Why the whoopie pie fascination? Why not just enjoy each batch for what they are? I need to perfect my recipe so someone else can make them and everyone can enjoy them at our event next October.  Count this as the first fun fact about me!

Marlow from Gluten Hates Me has shared the beautiful blogger award and now you get to learn seven fun facts about me-
1} I want to make the perfect GF/DF whoopie pie so then someone else can make them for our wedding next October... it will be in Maine and it's a great New England treat that I can enjoy like everyone else. I might not even tell people that they're gluten free. Our goal is to have a wedding that's fun, casual and gluten free except for the keg of beer.
2} As much as I miss D'Ellies Anadama bread I'm glad that I'm GF.  For me eating gluten was like wearing a 20 pound weight and grey colored glasses and not realizing it.
3} I love watching a TV series via netflix. It starts out tame but by the end I'm watching until 2am trying to finish but then find myself devastated by the end of a good run. I've done this with Felicity and now Grey's Anatomy. I'm really mad that just as I finished Season 5 that Hulu pulled the middle episodes of season 6.
4} I once lost a bet and had to shave my head- good news- I don't have a lumpy head. I was 17 and it was very liberating to break out of my shell. When it grew back I even dyed it blue then fuschia.
5} My idea of a good vacation is driving 2,600 miles (each way)- just so my dog, Chaos can travel with us and we can stop at every Whole Foods even remotely close to our route. Audio books and cheesey music make for a great trip.
6} I'm addicted to I love good gear at great prices. I hate paying full retail for anything now. I have more backpacks then most small gear stores but wouldn't have it any other way.
7} I hate when people on the chairlift ask me where I go to school. I graduated from college 9 years ago... is it wrong to hope for wrinkles?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

lobster night

I am a native Mainer that does not like any type of seafood. I can't stand fish, clams or crustaceans. I even tried a small bite about two years ago. I was at Beaver Creek and everyone was raving about the fish that "didn't taste fishy", I tried a small bite and was overwhelmed by the fish flavor. (yuck) I do appreciate how much others love the stuff and our crew was lucky enough to enjoy a feast of it.
Our buddy Big Dave moved out here with us and comes from a fishing family. He used to spend his summers clamming before moving to Colorado. His family over at The Clam Hunter just outside of Bath, Maine shipped him out a dozen lobsters and a ton of clams for the holidays and he had some folks over on New Year's Day for a lobster bake. The crew devoured the feast, while I can't stand seafood I do enjoy time with friends and quickly made Betty Crocker Gluten Free Cookies and some Cherrybrook Gluten Free Brownies for the New Year's Day lobster bake and the gluten eaters all enjoyed them. They managed to make room in their seafood filled stomach to first sample then demolish the gluten free treats.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Artisanal pancakes

Made a batch to help get me through days number 12 and 13 of work in a row.... Yummy!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless crackBerry
Pancake Recipe from Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking