Monday, February 20, 2012

Gluten Free Travels to Quebec City

On a recent chilly weekend my dear friend celebrated her birthday and I joined her on a trip to Quebec City to commemorate the occasion. Like any seasoned gluten free traveler I googled my options, downloaded a french restaurant card  and packed a bag full of snacks. French is the sole language of Quebec and although it's less that a four hour drive from our home in Maine it felt worlds away.
 So far away that we thought about taking on new ice figures. Until we realized that we'd melt eventually.

We did some great sightseeing around the area including the Hotel De Glace for a chilly drink and a ride down the ice slide.
The first night we had dinner at Voo Doo which was near our hotel on the Grande Allee. I had the risotto which was warm and filling on a very chilly night. Thankfully I wasn't around a thermometer to remind me exactly how cold it was but it was a don't-go-outside-without-long-underwear-and-at-least-two-jackets-cold. Our waiter was great and took one of my print outs back to the kitchen. Plus they brought Sara a flaming birthday cake...

The next night we had dinner at a traditional Quebec restaurant the
Aux Anciens Canadiens  and I was delighted when I found Risotto on the menu. Seriously, I'd much rather have risotto on a cold night then a salad! Our waitress was less enthused that our waiter from the night before but double checked with the kitchen for me.
Their risotto was covered in cheese and my favorite part was the veggies. After a chilly walk in which I couldn't even begin to work off that plate of cheese, we ended our night at the revolving restaurant above the city.
It was a great trip and I was glad to be prepared with my bag of gluten free goodies. I managed to eat safely but was pretty nervous with the language barrier at times.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Cooking versus Knitting

I've been meaning to post more but now that we're in the thick of winter I'm finding that I'm craving knitting time more so then cooking time. Thankfully one of my gluten free sisters has been picking up my slack and offering her insight to Think Outside the Breadbox showcasing not only her lovely Pumpkin Bisque but also a hand knitted sweater covered in soup. Two loves collide...thankfully it's a washable merino wool. My knitting project list keeps growing and I seem to always have at least 3 projects rolling at once. I've been finding it hard to put my needles down to catch up on my blogging.
However, a knitter does need to keep up her energy and I've been fueling up with some great staples. I like to start my day with breakfast before I hit the needles to hard and have found that frozen Maine blueberries defrost quickly when added to a bowl of gluten free quick oats.

I've whipped up items for household use like a swiffer cover that I found on Pinterest, I need to make a few more. The textured cotton works much better then the Swiffer pads and are eco-friendly.
I made mine so I could just tuck it into the little swiffer holds.  Somehow I've even been on a salad kick lately. I'm not sure what's wrong with me as it's usually not in my rotation. Perhaps it's the Maine winter with it's lack of sunshine that's making me crave greens or maybe it's the lovely greens I've been knitting with.
I did manage to find a new gluten and dairy free dressing to use. I've also got a gf/df ranch but I'm holding that one until our next homemade chicken tenders night.
What keeps you out of the kitchen and how do you get your mojo back? I did manage to eek out a batch of Whoopie Pies for Valentine's Day (shouldn't everyone get  a little whoopie for the holiday?) but overall my flour usage has dropped considerably.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

pumpkin bisque

Somebody enjoyed her soup.

That somebody is Keturah, Kate's niece. 

I'm her mom, and Kate's sister.  I've posted here on Think Outside before.  And seeing as I've pretty much joined the gluten free club, I just may post here again. (Convenient having a sister with an already up and running GF blog--besides, if I were to start my own, there's no way I could ever come up with a name quite as clever as Think Outside the Breadbox. I have loved this name for as long as she's had the blog, and am happy to be posting under it!)

We're in the experiment stage of living with dietary restrictions.  I, like Kate, am gluten free--currently in my fifth month of being gluten free, actually--while my daughter, Keturah, is gluten free plus.  For now, the 'plus' means corn, dairy, and eggs.  She's still showing signs of food sensitivities, though, so we have some testing to do, and possibly a few more limitations to try as well.

As we experiment with what Keturah can and cannot eat, we're also experimenting with meals that work for the whole family.  My husband and son don't seem to have any food issues,  but they do like their food to be good.

Which is why I was really thrilled that this Keturah-friendly soup was deemed "restaurant quality" by Patrick the other night!

~Pumpkin Bisque~

1 small (not quite bowling ball sized) pumpkin, cut into chunks
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 large carrots, peeled, and sliced
1 large onion, chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and sliced

2 T butter
1 t ground coriander
2 T olive oil
2 t sea salt
1 t freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chicken stock

After you've prepared all of the produce, melt about two tablespoons of butter (or use olive oil) in the bottom of a soup pot.  Toss in at least a teaspoon of ground coriander, and let fry for a minute.  Toss in the chopped onion and ginger.  Saute until onions are tender.  

At this point, if the bottom of the pan has dried up, add about two tablespoons of olive oil.  Put in the sea salt, black pepper, and the rest of the produce.  Toss the produce around with a large wooden spoon until coated with seasonings and olive oil, then let cook for a few minutes (with the lid on), come back, and toss with the spoon again to rotate which veggies are on the bottom.  Repeat for about fifteen minutes, until the produce looks like it's beginning to cook, but not burn or dry out.

Once everything was hot and just slightly browned, I plopped in a tupperware-shaped cube of chicken stock that we had in the freezer.  (Boiled from the bones and meat of a roast chicken carcass from a few weeks ago.)  If you use a prepared broth that has sodium, DO remember to omit some of the salt used in this recipe!  Add water as needed, but keep the lid on, and stir now and again for as long as you have time to let it simmer.  Ours simmered stove top for almost two hours.

Then I turned off the heat, and waited until dinner time to run it all through the blender and reheat.

This turned out rich and creamy, and was a very filling main dish.  The kids both scraped their bowls clean--as did their daddy and me.

In fact, the only thing that was not satisfying about this meal was Patrick's assessment that not only was it restaurant quality, but it that it would taste fantastic in a bread bowl.


I think somebody needs to try a little harder to think outside the breadbox.