Thursday, November 18, 2010

Buttermilk Substitute

Did you know that a reasonable substitute for buttermilk is:
For every 1 cup of buttermillk take 1 cup of alternative milk (usually for this I do rice milk) or 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup rice milk (or other) and 1 tablespoon vinegar (or in a pinch you can do lemon but it might alter the flavor)

I was just re-reading my gluten free coffee muffin posting and wanted to share this little technique to replace that ingredient if you are also a dairy free-er.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Is it time to clear the spice cabinet?

My dear yoga instructor and I were chatting on Sunday about the asafetida posting and in the middle of the discussion I thought I might send a reminder about keeping our spice cabinets tidy.

If you have not used a particular spice in 6-8 months - toss it.
Sad but true for us waste phobes. The flavors are probably no good anymore, and just like food, you want the essential bits in the spices to be alive to nourish you (because yes Virginia, spices have micro nutrients you can't get in other foods and are really good for you!)

So what are you to do? Here are some suggestions:

Invest in some small spice holders - like these - and consider
Doing a spice share (splitting with friends or family to cut down on cost and waste) or,
Going to a store like Rainbow foods in San Francisco. They not only have some really interesting spices, but they allow you to buy what you need. Bring your jars with you if you go this route.

Otherwise, only buy what you need. Consider growing fresh herbs to have some of the basics on hand at all times, and then if you venture into new ethnic foods (which I strongly encourage) just stick with the program. Don't just try it once and give up and let those spices go bad - when making your weekly menu make sure you have at least one of those recipes baked in so you can use your goods.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Great Leg of Lamb Recipe

So we actually did this last week - and I will be making it really soon - but I might forget....

This was a GREAT way to use a leg of lamb. For those phobic of the supposed game like flavor of lamb, this recipe is warming and delicious and complimentary of lamb but covers all flavors that you might not like. For lamb lovers, this is not so powerful it ruins the lamb flavor but really compliments it.

It took a bit but my favorite way to have lamb is slow cooked. It gets all tender and just falls apart in your mouth.

It's good with brown rice or with the kicheri recipe I posted last week.
We omitted the yogurt on top and there was nothing missing. This was just absolute heaven.

Try it!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Weekly Menu 11.14.10

Usually I do most of my planning and cooking on the weekends.
Sometimes, like this weekend, things are just too busy.
So with the little time I have I am going to plan a few basic meals to be able to throw together this week - so I have some options available without heavy lifting.
Just doing basic grilled meats, soups that we have already made and froze and simple salads or sauteed vegetables.
Then, I need to catch up on my fancier stuff next weekend!
We have one dinner this week that is not just us - and I have the perfect idea from a good friend that looks like heavy lifting but is so easy and quick! So we will be able to impress without working too hard.

Lamb riblets - simple, grilled with lots of rosemary and garlic and oregano, squirt of lemon on top + a Greek salad spin

Japanese rice bowl - basically you make an omelette with eggs and then whatever meat (I will be using chicken), and veg (I will be using mushrooms, carrots and sprouts). It's cooked with some tamari sauce and/or udon broth. Then place on a bowl of rice. Satisfying and delish.

Split pea soup (homemade defrosted from freezer)

Duck breast with currant sauce, rice and simple salad (recipe to be posted)

Steaks on the grill with sauteed chard and roast fingerling potatoes

Appetizer night - olives, dolmas, personal gluten free-dairy free 'pizzas'

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Lamb Guy

I can't remember if I had shared this before, but I was reminded again as we recently picked up another lamb.

Check this out - This guy is great. Ordering is easy - you email, then pickup.

We typically use a whole lamb in 3 months or less, but we pick up for several friends and family members who use a half lamb in the same amount of time.

The cost, knowing your source, the sustainable efforts - beyond worth it. It seems to just stress folks out because - well - you have to cook it!
So this time around, I will post as we prepare it so you too can enjoy easy recipes with local lamb.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Indian Food Craving

So it's probably been nagging at Ben and I for about 2 months - but a serious hankering for some good Indian food. It's always when I drive past my favorite buffet. I just want to run in and smother myself in rice and curries - oy.
Trouble is, last time we did this - about 2.5 months ago, we both left not feeling so great. Ben especially. Major gluten problemo.
We asked what had flour in it and what didn't - and I trust them so I didn't get why the bad feeling. So I am in the Indian store on Saturday and pick up the asafetida. Uh. Damn.
Wheat starch.
It's in almost every Indian dish. I forget exactly what it is, but I think it comes from the bark of a tree. In any case, it adds a nice depth and it's supposed to help with digestion - but not for celiacs.
That's a hard one. So officially, I am determined in the next year to become an expert at a much larger variety of Indian dishes. It's a must.
So yesterday, I busted into a few that were FANTASTIC.
I started watching this show, Indian Food Made Easy on the cooking channel. Seems funny for some reason as I write about it, butI won't complain because the two dishes I made were great.
The three tricks are get the go to the Indian store so you can get the right lentils and real curry leaves (and I tried to find these nigella seeds with no luck but it worked out just fine), use your judgement, if you fail - try again!

The first I made was a cabbage dish - this was so incredibly easy and I had a small head of red cabbage in the fridge I had to use up anyway.

The second thing I made is a great breakfast, comforting - pretty much any time of the day thing. Kicheri. YUM. Pretty easy too. Here I actually doubled the recipe and it was not enough - ok, I pigged out on it.

Be on the lookout for more Indian food recipes and tricks I am picking up. I am bound and determined to figure it out, and explain it - because many of these sites that I have been looking at, they don't explain how they get the depth - and it's tricky stuff like just toasting the spices enough for example. Anjum (host of that show) kind of stinks at this too, but if you watch the show and try the recipe, you can figure it out. But, I will explain it once I get it down!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'M Back!

It's been awhile - ok, an unreasonably long time since I have posted!

To my loyal readers, thank you for hanging on and waiting. To my future readers, welcome!

It's been a crazy year and a half since I last blogged. Changes in family (my father passed), official changes in diet (husband is officially a celiac), I am now the proud owner of a VitaMix (Amen!), been dabbling in quite a few other cooking modalities like raw, more ethnic, etc.
It's time I come back and share all this with you.
I am hoping to bring back the weekly menu on Sundays, and then my usual running commentary.
For the non-Silly's (that is the fun name for celiac), don't shy away from the fact that I am posting with food sensitivity stuff here. I am not that gal. And actually, my husband would take over my blog if I got all stuffy and sensitive about it.
Over the past year, we have tried wayyyyy too many store bought gluten free products. Mostly, horrible. Mostly, unreasonably priced. The other problem is when we eat out - there is almost always some hidden source of gluten - so those overwhelming cravings for Indian food have to be satisfied somehow. When we try these things at home- they are great! and for about 1/4 of the cost - After too many examples of this, I just can't not write about this. Other folks must know!
So this is tasty, reasonable, hilarious stuff. Read it.