Saturday, March 26, 2011

rockin' Udi's and New Planet with a bit of Telluride style

It hasn't been nearly as snowy as I'd like this winter and lately my minds been wandering to other endeavors beyond skiing. Last weekend we loaded the dogs, friends and gear in the 4Runner and headed a mere 30 minute drive away to a whole different climate without snow and hit the wall. It's a nice drive and as soon as the car hits the dirt road the dogs know- we're going to go have fun. This day will be good for them. A few more miles and a couple of big turns later we park and throw packs on all of us, dogs included and go for a short steep hike to the wall in Clay Creek that was named after Austin Powers.

 I had a few good climbs until my office bound paws screamed at me and then a nice hike/scramble with the golden boys while the human boys climbed more. The ending of our outing was perfection.... Udi's Bagel for a post climbing lunch and a New Planet Off Grid to celebrate our early induction to spring.  
chaos considers knocking over my new planet for himself...
 This weekend winter is back and a fresh blanket of snow covers Telluride and our wall. Thankfully Udi's and New Planet still complement skiing as well as they do climbing.

We didn't have our post climbing libations on ice so my first taste of Off Grid wasn't the best. I haven't had time this week to stage a tasting off between my beloved Tread Lightly and Off Grid. My first impression was that I was drinking Anadama bread. Anadama is a bread made with cornmeal and molasses which I loved in my gluten days. I've got a recipe to try a GF version but I've been scared to test it out at 9,000 feet. Perhaps in the next few weeks as we sink into a quieter season here in Telluride...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

who needs chinese take-out....

I'm working on expanding my veggie-land and picked up an eggplant last week. I had no real plan for it and wasn't sure where I wanted to go with it until it came to me as I was out walking the dogs. It was already late as I've been trying to catch up in office-land but I googled some eggplant recipes, made a list and headed to the store. An hour later I began chopping. My inspiration for the dish was a distant memory from my trip to China in 2004. We had an eggplant dish that was in a spicy soy sauce and all this time later I still long for it.
I found a Szechuan Spicy Eggplant recipe here and made a few changes as my little store didn't have everything I needed. Who has green onions in a small ski town in late March? Oyster Sauce- nope but they did have Thai Kitchen Fish Sauce and Chili Paste (both clearly labeled Gluten Free)
I also hate fish so went light on that sauce while going heavy on the soy and and white sugar and did chicken instead of shrimp. I had mushrooms and shredded carrots in the fridge so I added those to my eggplant.

From TOBB Fakeout Chinese
I prepped all my veggies, sauces and chicken so when I started up the pan I'd have things ready to wok.
Following directions to the best of my abilities I made the dish and served it over leftover white rice with a touch of cilantro for garnish.

From TOBB Fakeout Chinese
Who needs Chinese takeout when you can make this? I'll admit I was overwhelmed by the eggplant so tonight when I made the dish I did a medley of other veggies instead- onion, carrots, mushrooms, broccoli and asparagus. Again I prepped all my veggies and the chicken before getting started. I also started the rice cooker for fresh rice and threw some spinach in the veggie steamer on top. This way I could add spinach to mine while leaving Dave's spinach free.

From TOBB Fakeout Chinese
I made the sauce from memory and only forgot the black pepper...then the oil at the end of the dish. I had almost forgotten the cornstarch and water slurry but remembered in time.

From TOBB Fakeout Chinese
I'm just as happy with my second round of this dish and I'm sure Dave will be happy to have an eggplant free version as well. I grabbed a New Planet and settled in with the dogs for a night of Private Practice, enjoying the show but missing my weekly dose of Grey's Anatomy. Thankfully I'll get a good fix next week with a new episode.

From TOBB Fakeout Chinese

Saturday, March 12, 2011

roller coasters and more East Coast travel

It's been a doozy of a winter for us, in the addition to the normal craziness of ski town winter life we've also been dealing with some very hard stuff. Dave's mother fell ill in December and without going in details it's been a hell of a ride for her and the whole family. Instead of the happy recovery we had all hoped for the roller coaster derailed and she lost her arduous fight.
The bucket of things I can't control overflowed and the little things at work and home were pushed aside. My need for action had me booking tickets, setting up dog sitters, packing for us as we were East Coast bound once again in a 24 hour whirlwind. As you know a glutard must not only pack the usual clothing but also food. I knew some items I could find but had others I wanted plus snacks to navigate the poor selection of airport food with. I set up an email list of friends to keep folks informed of what we- specifically Dave was really going though. We had flown to Boston in early February when one round of complications had us all terrified and spent time visiting her in the ICU. A month later we were back on the plane and it was time to say goodbyes that no one was ready to say.

I have a little travel buddy that's sort of a good luck charm. The turtle found us in the winter of 2007 and has been on many road trips with us. I brought him along this round in hope that he'd bring some good luck on a difficult trip. 

From Droid think outside

 I made only one questionable choice during our airport navigation as we grabbed dinner at Wolfgang Puck in DIA. It ended up being fine but I was a touch nervous that my desire for a warm meal had me making questionable choices.

From Droid think outside

 We spent a lot of time in the hospital and had just one visit to the cafeteria where they had a number of GF options for snack time. This was a goodbad snack- good juices in the Odwalla but the brownie was very bad for me despite it's fudge like yumminess.

From Droid think outside
Each morning I'd have a bowl of Cinnamon Chex and a banana to ensure the energy to make it through the day and make good eating choices despite what the day held in store for us. I'm a person that needs to eat to maintain blood sugar levels so I can deal with life with a level head even when I have a heavy heart.

From Droid think outside

Goodbyes were said by all- It was hell and all I wanted to do was bake but the family isn't a group of stress eaters and my whoopie pies and cookies couldn't fix the real issues as three grown sons, their father and families dealt with the loss of the beloved cruise director.

I had two excellent cookie helpers (ages 8 and 6) and it gave all three of us something to do for a while during a very rough day in a stream of many rough days. They creamed the butter with sugar and mixed in eggs- I like to think that these actions provide mediation and are therapeutic for others like they are for me. Plus I love the smell of fresh baked cookies. I had packed bags of gf flour measured out and labeled with all the dry stuff added in. Dave was convinced that TSA would find them in our checked bag and think I was up to no good so I threw in some prepackaged mixes as well to assert my flour bag needs.
I come from stress eaters so it was an adjustment for me to not have people wanting to eat. All the kids (ages 13 to 5) are well aware of my gluten free needs and each time I ate anything I'd have a small voice (not my own) asking if that was gluten free. I was exceptionally careful (with the exception of DIA) because the last thing I needed during our 10 days on the East Coast was a glutening. I even managed to sneak in a few meals that I love by hitting Flatbread Pizza Company who offer a gluten free crust and organic products.
We also ventured out and hit Not Your Average Joe's in Newburyport. They had a gluten free menu and it was a decent meal- great to know it was safe but it's no PF Chang's.
It was a hard trip but we both needed to be there and were very lucky to have understanding from all back in Telluride. We also had some great dog sitters so I didn't have to worry about my furry monsters even when our trip was extended. Now comes the readjusting to life after a big loss... bills still need to get paid, dogs and people both need to be fed and walked daily and we both have jobs we have to return to... thankfully the furry monsters are helping with the ongoing therapy for both of us. Let the comfort food cooking begin...
Winter waves on a New England beach

a bit of local love... 9545

The 9545 Restaurant is nestled in the boutique hotel The Inn at Lost Creek. The name is the elevation of the establishment and it's located in Mountain Village- Telluride's sister town that's connected via a free gondola. It's upscale and has a small dining room of about 45 seats with a nice ambiance. I had a great dinner last night in the bar and caught up with friends. Leah the bartender was very attentive and helped ensure all my menu choices were gluten free.
I had the Cinnamon Coffee Rubbed Pork Tenderloin and it was a generous cut of meat. The pork was very tender with a good crust of the rub. The menu has a heavy southwest influence that you might expect in Telluride and my entree was served with spanish rice and beans along with roasted veggies. The roasted veggies left me longing for more and wishing I could make veggies taste like that at home.
 As you may know I'm one of the few Mainer's that isn't a fan of fish but the plating of this trout had me reconsidering----almost. I can't recall what the pink sauce was- agave mixed with something red...  Dinner menu entrees range from $19 to $36.