Sunday, March 9, 2014

Gouda Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Gluten-Free


Gluten-Free, Gouda Grilled Cheese

People are wildly mistaken in assuming that the gluten-free diet has to be hum-drum and boring. In fact, soon, I will post some photographs of other foods I have been making lately, just to show you how good it can be.

For now, I will stay on topic. I am still working on perfecting my own version of grilled cheese. But, for now, this is a hit at my house, with all four children.

  •  Udi's gluten-free (as well as wheat, dairy, soy, and nut free) white sandwich bread - fresh (not frozen)
  • organic butter, thin slices from the stick
  • shredded cheese
  • Gouda cheese, sliced thinly
  • olive oil

  • Pour some olive oil in a non-stick pan and turn the stove on to low-medium heat. While the pan is heating up, prepare the bread for making grilled cheese, by putting 3-4 thin slices of butter on each piece of bread, adding a next layer of shredded cheese, and then topping one of the (two) slices used to make a sandwich with slices of Gouda cheese. Once the pan is heated, place the pieces of bread in the pan until the cheese is melted.
  • Once the cheese has begun to melt (I didn't wait until every strand was melted), I combined two slices of bread into a sandwich.
  •  Wait 20-30 sec and flip the sandwich over, and the grilled cheese is ready to serve.

 Well, I guess this isn't technically a 'grilled' cheese sandwich. But, it is the same idea, and I can call it whatever I want, right?!

Today, I had mine with fresh strawberries and mango.

The children and I were satisfied. And, I am not even a fan of sandwiches. In fact, I have a distaste for most anything that involves sandwiches or placing food between two slices of bread.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Kimchi Fried Rice


Kimchi Fried Rice

Today, dipping my fingers into first-time ventures took me in the direction of making kimchi fried rice. I must confess that my one major short-cut was that I did not make the kimchi, from scratch or on my own; I bought it from a Korean grocery store.

  • fried rice
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced very thinly
  • egg(s)
  • kimchi juice
  • kimchi, sliced very thinly

  • make fried rice - this time, I used frozen peas, carrots, corn; egg; Applegate organic (gluten-free) uncured beef hot dogs
  • bring kimchi to a boil in a sauce pan - I don't know that this is a necessary step, but I used kimchi juice that had been sitting around for a bit (in the refrigerator), long after the kimchi had been consumed, and I felt better killing any unfriendly germs that might have gathered
  • fry thinly sliced sweet onion, with some olive oil, in a pan until nearly transparent. then add kimchi.
  • add kimchi and onion to fried rice.
  • in a clean pan, cook an egg sunny side-up. i like the yoke a bit runny. i made sure the whites of the egg were cooked well by cooking by flipping over the egg to make sure both sides of the whites were cooked (and not transparent). whilst cooking the egg, I drizzled freshly grounded rainbow peppercorns and freshly grounded garlic sea salt.
  • to finish, I put the kimchi fried rice, adding the egg sunny side-up on top.
I don't have any clue whether my version of kimchi fried rice matches authentic versions of Korean kimchi fried rice (I'll be sure to have some of my Korean friends taste test my dish at some point), but one of friends and my 2 year old twins could not eat enough of it! The twins asked for seconds, thirds; I lost track of when they stopped asking for more. Wait, they didn't stop wanting more; I had to stop them from getting more.

I am delighted my dish was such a hit. The popularity of the dish alone made my day.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Gluten-Free Caramel Pretzels, Popcorn, and Chex Mixture

Caramel Pretzels, Popcorn, and Chex Holiday Mixture

I am calling this a holiday mixture, because if I eat this all the time, well, I might be in trouble. It's very addictive and it is GLUTEN-FREE! I am sorry I don't have exact measurements on the amount of pretzels, rice Chex, popcorn, and raw peanuts I used. I will say that the first batch I made was too sweet for me; so, I added more stuff (Chex and pretzels, mainly) to temper and thin out the sweetness, and I really like the second batch.

Ingredients:                                             (again, I used only gluten-free ingredients)
  • 1 c of butter (1 stick of butter)
  • 2 c of brown sugar (I will probably use a bit less in the future)
  • 1 tsp + a few more pinches of sea salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c corn syrup (Not sure there's a 'healthy' version of corn syrup, but I got a light, organic version at Sprout's)
  • rice Chex (I used nearly 1 box)
  • butter popcorn (I used 1 single serving - 42.5 g - bag of Orville Redenbacher's jbutter microwave popcorn)
  • gluten-free pretzels (our family likes the Glutino brand)
  • gluten-free pretzel sticks (again, I used the Glutino brand)
  • raw peanuts (I purchased my bulk at Sprout's)

  • Preheat the oven to 225 degrees.
  • Place the dry stuff (pretzels, rice Chex, popcorn, peanuts) on to baking pans and mix the contents up. I placed the dry stuff into two pans to make a larger batch and to keep the mixture from being too sweet).

  • Place all the stuff that comprises the caramel glaze (butter, salt, brown sugar, baking soda, vanilla extract, corn syrup) into a pan and place on lower medium heat. Once the caramel glaze has melted and blended together, it is ready to pour over the dry goods.
  •  Bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

Here is the finished product.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Eating Well. Does That Make Me a Food Nazi?!

For a year to a year and a half now, I have been avoiding, as best as I can, canned foods, processed foods, and the like, not keeping it in my house and not cooking with it. Around last January, two of my (nursing) children and I went completely gluten-free, as I had good reason to believe one was gluten-sensitive. Add to that our dairy sensitivities, and we have loads of fun. Not so much. But, I will not complain, because there are people with much more comprehensive and serious dietary restrictions, and I still have access to a variety of foods.

I have to confess that I am a meat eater. Not a die hard eat-large-quantities-every-meal sort, but I do eat meat, fish, and other seafood. Eating meat from animals or sea creatures that were treated decently, humanely, was already on my radar. But, after I commented on a paper at a professional ethics conference this summer, on ethical vegetarianism, my views on the issue became firmer. Though not a convert to vegetarianism, I am not willing to trade the welfare and decent treatment of animals and sea creatures for (saving or cutting down on the) expenses.

I still enjoy food - the presentation, the taste, all of it! - very much.

Here is merely a small sample of what I have made. And some of the recipes might have been before I went with only or exclusively organic, pasture-raised, (grass-fed in the case of cows) animals.

A nice treat in the summer. Or any time. That garnish on top is fresh mango.

This is my gluten-free version. A good friend of mine, who is Celiac, fell in love with this dish at a restaurant, before she found out she's Celiac; and she asked me whether I could figure out how to make it. And so I did.

For a Masquerade Tea

And yes, we do have junk food in our home from time to time. Those are chips see at the far end of the photograph and cupcakes in the middle. Those are gluten-free chocolate cupcakes. Also on the table: blocks of cheese, miniature (sweet) peppers, watermelon, strawberries, grapes, blueberries. We were getting ready for a masquerade tea birthday party, celebrating my birthday as well as my firstborn's birthday.

I haven't updated my fried rice recipe in awhile, but the above link will do. The version I make now is gluten-free (the soy sauce/tamari sauce is the biggest change in making it gluten-free). And, sometimes the vegetables vary. I might not have been using pasture-raised eggs in the recipe linked above.

This was another request made. Could I make a Japanese Rice Omelet? Sure, why not. This recipe is gluten-free.

Healthy good can be good and not boring, mmm-kay? And? It can be cheaper than the processed, put-together food or junk food. Fresh fruit and vegetables, especially if purchased in-season, is cheaper than buying junk food or processed food. Here's a helpful article on how to eat healthy for less: How to Eat Healthy for Under $6 a Day. I will add one caveat to that article. Eating humanely treated animals or sea life is more expensive. Personally, if I cannot afford that more expensive meat, then I will not buy it. Since I have been gluten-free, I have craved meat more than previously, perhaps for some of the nutrients in those. So, I will purchase it in smaller amounts, as I can afford it.

Does the desire to eat well, take care of my body, look out for how we treat animals and sea creatures make me a food Nazi?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Omuraisu - Japanese Rice Omelette


Omuraisu - Japanese Rice Omelette

A good friend of mine asked whether I would mind figuring out how to make a Japanese rice omelet. I love cooking challenges. Never heard of the dish before, but I was determined to make a more-than-acceptable first attempt. From what I understood, this dish is basically fried rice within an omelet.

Just last night, I made fried rice. For some instructions for how to make fried rice, I can offer some guidance! You can click here. I have been told I make a pretty tasty fried rice, so much so that I was asked by a preschool to make fried rice for some 100 preschoolers this past spring. There was none left for the teachers, teacher-assistants, staff, or volunteers to share!

The ingredients I used to make last night's version of fried rice included: medium grain Nishiki white rice, brown eggs by pasture-raised hens, Tamari gluten-free soy sauce, sea salt, frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, corn), Applegate organic uncured beef hot dogs by cows that were grass-fed, dried shittake mushrooms, water, and Pacific free-range chicken broth.


Abridged Instructions for making fried rice:

The short end of how to make really good fried rice is to cook each component part separately. I cooked my rice by rice cooker. Then I placed the white rice into a larger pot and mixed in some Tamari soy sauce. Mix gently. Then fry each component part separately. I fried eggs first, after warming up a pan with olive oil and green onions. I didn't cook the eggs until they were well-done. The eggs joined the rice. Then in the same pan, I cooked the frozen vegetables with chicken broth and added a little bit of sea salt. Then the vegetables (leaving behind the broth) joined the rice and eggs. Since I was using dried shittake mushrooms, I had been soaking them in hot water for several hours. As I started preparing the fried rice (e.g. cooking the rice), I cut the shiitake mushrooms thinly and marinated them in some Tamari soy sauce. I pan fried the mushrooms for several minutes and then threw the mushrooms into the fried rice mixture. Lastly, I heated up the cut-up hot dogs in the pan for several minutes and threw them into the fried rice mixture. Stir gently, and viola, the fried rice is done.


Instructions for making the Japanese egg omelet:
  1. I was making the omelet for 2 adults, to possibly share with my (24 month old) twins [use 2 eggs per adult]. In preparation for making the omelet, I gently beat 4 eggs in a bowl and then added some chicken broth. Once the pan with olive oil and green onions was sufficiently hot on medium heat, I added the egg mixture.
  2. Once the egg mixture had cooked for a bit and was/is close to being solid enough to flip, I added the fried rice on top, as can be seen in the picture below.
  3. After the fried rice has cooked for several minutes, add shredded cheese on the fried rice as well as over the rest of the egg. The shredded cheese acts as an adhesive (I will be flipping the egg into a burrito sort of shape, so I need it to stick together).
  4. Then flip the egg into a burrito shape. I started with the side that has more egg and cheese available first.

Since I was splitting it with a friend, I spit the omelet in half.

For the finished product I added a few green onions on top for garnish and drizzled organic ketchup.

I had made this dish as a second breakfast this morning. It was so popular, it was the request made for lunch.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie

My smoothies are popular in my household. I am thankful for that because smoothies are easy and healthy to make! A blender is super helpful; my housemate gave me hers as a parting gift. Then the other stuff is yogurt, fresh as well as frozen fruit, and a touch of coconut oil.

These days, I am using whole milk yogurt, because I need the calories for nursing and I feel like a bit of fat never hurt anyone. I know people push skim this and that and as little fat as possible. But, in my non-medical-expert, layperson opinion, I believe our bodies need a little bit of fat. Just a little.

Other ingredients I used in this batch: frozen strawberries and fresh fruit (bananas, blueberries, mango).

Also added in a teaspoon of coconut oil, for its health benefits.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gluten-free Sesame Chicken with (Bell) Peppers


Gluten-Free Sesame Chicken 
with Red and Orange (Bell Peppers)

A good friend of mine, who has Celiac's, has longed for sesame chicken she tasted in a restaurant. Since being diagnosed with Celiac's a couple of years ago, she has craved that same chicken but needed a gluten-free version. Though this is nothing I have tasted before (as a full-blooded Asian and second-generation American), I decided to take this as an interesting challenge and adventure. Since I have never had this dish, I needed my friend to be my taste-tester. This is from my third attempt at tweaking the recipe and actually making it my own. I am very pleased with the results, and so are my children, especially my 20 month old twins and my 5 year old.

  • chicken breasts - free-range, no added growth hormones (if possible) - 1-2 lbs
  • bell peppers - I used a red one and an orange one - 2 total
  • 1 medium sized sweet onion (forgot to include it in the photograph)
  • green onions
  • garlic - I used 5 cloves this time around
  • serrano chili - I used seven of them - really, much of any chili will do. I can't take too much heat; so, I didn't dare venture to something that had more of a punch, such as habanero chili
  • olive oil (also forgot to include that in the photograph) - enough to cook the onion
  • 2 egg whites
  • sesame - around 1/5 c.
  • sea salt - not really sure how much
  • San-J tamari (the gluten-free version) sauce - around 1/4 c
  • brown sugar - around 1/4 c
  • gluten-free, organic chicken broth (also not pictured here) - around 1/4 to 1/2 c
  • water (sorry, I forgot to include at least four things in the photograph - around 1/2 - 1 c
  • rice vinegar (aack, forgot a picture of the poor thing) - 2 1/2 tbs
  • cooked rice (I used medium grain Nishiki - this sort of rice can be more like rice porridge depending on how much water is added. I don't really like how separate and dry long grain is. Didn't have any jasmine rice on hand and didn't see the need for it)


1.  In a dish/bowl large enough to marinade chicken, combine the San-J tamari sauce, water, chicken broth, rice vinegar, and brown sugar. Stir until the brown sugar dissolves.

2.  Cut the free-range organic chicken breast into thin slices and marinade in the sauce for thirty minutes to a few hours. This time I made the dish, the chicken marinaded (covered, in the refrigerator) for a few hours.

3.  Slice the onion thinly. Stir fry, with olive oil, on medium heat until it turns transparent. Somewhere along the way, I drizzled sea salt into the pan whilst the onion was cooking. Set aside most of the onion, leaving the onion juice in the pan.

4. Then, still on lower medium heat, stir fry the peppers. Let it cook for a few minutes (4-5 minutes) with the lid on the pan. I might have sprinkled some sea salt on the peppers while cooking. Like the onion, once done cooking, set the peppers aside, leaving any remaining juice in the pan.

5. Cook rice - I like to use my rice cooker to cook my rice. Takes around 30 minutes to cook the rice. Whatever time you cook the rice, just make sure there's enough time to cook it but also to serve/eat it hot.

6.  Separate the chicken from the marinading sauce (do NOT discard the marinading sauce - I think that would be waste of precious stuff). I wasn't extremely worried about draining all the liquid from the chicken, as you can see. Add two egg whites to the chicken and stir well, mixing the egg whites well and throughout the chicken.

Stir fry the chicken (in the same pan used for cooking the onion and the peppers - I didn't wash the pan in between), just until the chicken is cook. Chicken doesn't have to be well done, since it will still cook some more. Set the chicken aside.

7. I added some mirin to the marinading sauce. Then, pour the marinading sauce into the pan. Let that simmer for a few minutes. Drop the thinly sliced chili and diced garlic (I accidentally combined the diced garlic and thinly sliced green onions into a bowl; so, a lot of green onions went into the pan as well). Let that simmer for a few minutes.

8. Add the chicken into the mixture and let the chicken cook in the chili/garlic marinade for 15-20 minutes.

9. Then add the sesame. My version was a bit soupy, but I did that intentionally. I like some dishes to be a bit soupy, and this is one of them. Soupy sesame chicken over a bed of rice is deliciously exquisite to me.

Excuse me, I am getting carried away here. Back to the instructions.

I do a look and see, in terms of how much sesame to use. Put some in, stir, assess the situation, add more sesame if need be.

Once the concoction, with the sesame added, has cooked for a few minutes, add the onions, peppers, and green onions. Let that simmer, with the lid on, for a few minutes; and viola, the dish is done.

Hungry yet? Taste buds tingling?

 My stomach is churning just blogging about this recipe and looking at these pictures.
 Let me know what you think if you try making this!