Wednesday, March 21, 2012

soup for you! A bit of local love in Farmington, Maine

A few weeks back Dave and I found ourselves in Farmington at lunchtime. I was pretty stoked as it wasn't a Sunday and I could finally duck into soup for you! I've heard good things from friends about the Gluten Free factor down there- specifically that Buffy, the owner, is a diagnosed Celiac who knows firsthand about the importance of safe food prep.

It's an overwhelming space to walk into and has the menu posted on the back wall. It's easy to get lost in the sandwiches themed after a well-known sitcom that made the Soup Nazi famous. The soups were also temping and well marked with levels of free-dom: 

codes: v-vegetarian vv- vegan wf- wheat free gf- gluten free df-dairy free sf- soy free

Which is a wonderful thing for those of us who avoid other foods as well. I'd been craving a good sandwich so I got my classic turkey with cukes and carrots to go and it was love at first bite.

I was even lucky enough to meet Buffy in person and have her make my sandwich. No qualms about this lunch spot in downtown Farmington!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

carrot curry

This boy just dried his tears.

He cried when our carrot curry leftovers lunch was all gone yesterday.

For that story, though, you'll have to head on over to my day-to-day blog. (The one about Kate's adorable nephew Moyer and stunning niece Keturah's everyday lives in Asia.)

But the lunch Moyer cried over, well, I'll post that recipe right here. (Did I mention that I may post on Think Outside the Breadbox now and again?)

First, a couple of disclaimers:

1. If you're looking for authentic curry, this is NOT your recipe.  It's curry-ish.  It's curry inspired.  I'm a Western cook however, and cannot claim any true curry prowess.
2. This is good. I wouldn't post the recipe without favorable reviews from the whole fam, but it's not gourmet. Considering that it's chief ingredient is a vegetable, though, it's remarkably tasty.

So, if you're still interested, this carrot curry is a great way to eat your veggies without actually tasting them.  Inspired partially by a recipe on yummly, and partially by the concept behind skinnytaste, I used part of our stockpile of carrots as the base for this meal.

And, by the way, since I'm working on collecting dinner ideas for our family that are corn-free, dairy-free, and egg-free in addition to gluten-free, you can use this recipe for a variety of food-sensitive eaters!

So without any further ado, the recipe Moyer cried over, folks:

~Carrot Curry~

2-3 carrots, peeled & chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 inch ginger, sliced
several cloves garlic
2 T oil
1 lemon (both zest & juice)
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 lb cooked chicken breast, in pieces
salt & pepper
3 T sweet rice flour (or other thickener of choice)

We served this on rice, so if you're planning to do that, don't forget to put the rice on!

You can fry up the chicken in a pan with a little oil ahead of time, or simultaneously.  Just chop it up into bite-sized pieces and set it aside to add at the end.  Or leave it out.  (But just a heads-up, Moyer favored the bites with chicken in them.)

Heat the oil (or butter if you like!)  in the bottom of a large wok, or medium soup pot.  Saute the carrots, onion, ginger, and garlic together until the onions are nearly translucent. Add lemon zest and toss it all around.  Pour in both coconut milk and chicken stock, cover, and simmer for twenty to thirty minutes.  Add water if needed.  When carrots are cooked all the way through, add the juice from one lemon, and run through your blender.

Pour the pureed mixture back into your wok or pot, and add the cooked chicken pieces.  Cook uncovered, then thicken as desired to bring to a curry-like consistency. 

(I removed a ladleful of puree, mixed thoroughly with sweet rice flour, and then cooked it back into the "curry" until thick.)

Salt and pepper to taste.  Serve on rice. 

Due to the carrot content, this turns out very orange.

Do not be alarmed.

Not only was I expecting it to taste exactly like carrot puree with a hint of coconut and lemon when I served it up to the family, but I was a tad turned off by it's nearly-glowing appearance.  My first bite was taken with extreme caution, and lots of skepticism.

Needless to say, I didn't plan on making it again, didn't photograph it, and certainly didn't plan to post it.  (My goals at the time were more in the realm of getting everyone seated around the table to eat enough of it to count as the evening's sustenance, actually.)  This tangy curry-like meal was a surprise--one that everyone finished happily.

Thus, I have no pictures to offer, except the ones that I snapped after Moyer's tears were dried.

Including, of course, the boy himself . . .

Hope you like it as much as he did!

Monday, March 12, 2012

gluten free sandwich love.... D'Ellies at Sugarloaf

I've always been a fan of a good sandwich. In my gluten-eating days I've had two great sandwich shops, The Brown Bag in Telluride and my first love, D'Ellies at Sugarloaf, Maine. I was very lucky in Telluride to have gluten free bread at the Brown Bag and when I left Telluride I accepted the fact that a good gluten free sandwich was going to be a thing of my past as I moved back to the western mountains of Maine. Then I saw it on Facebook 
So I walked in.... I made sure to go during a timeframe when it wasn't busy so I could ask questions without driving the people in line behind me crazy. We talked about bread making (in house), cross contamination (possible but they're very cautious), levels of sensitivity (high) and more. I placed my order and waited while I enjoyed a view of the Bigelow Mountain range.
 My gluten free order was similar to my D'Ellies orders of the past, turkey with carrots, cukes, hots, onions and their homemade pesto mayo but with gluten free bread instead of my beloved Anadama a glutenous bread made with cornmeal and molasses. 
As always D'Ellies included their signature homemade pickle which is a lightly picked cucumber. The bread had a good flavor but was a bit crumbly. (Toasting wasn't an option) I'm really excited to have D'Ellies back in my life and to be able to enjoy a sandwich after a day on the hill. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

gluten free lunch and a snowshoe in the Maine woods

It's been a funny winter this year and we haven't seen as much snow in Maine as we'd like to. That hasn't stopped us and a few weeks back we ventured out to the Mount Abraham area for a snowshoe hike. We dug the snowshoes out from our trusty Thule box and dressed the pups up in their technical Ruffwear Soft shells so that when they rolled in the snow they'd stay a little dry. 
These pups love good gear and sometimes can be found sporting doggy backpacks on our adventures. Chaos isn't able to walk too far so we tromped through the woods and down to the river and had lunch. Dave fired up our stove and within 20 minutes we were enjoying a bit of curry from Backpacker's Pantry.

We've often used these meals for convenience while camping last summer and the meal was very satisfying after a winter trudge through soft snow. The upside with the funky weather is that we've enjoyed a lot more sunshine then normal for a Maine winter which has helped to ease the transition from the high altitude sunshine of Colorado.