When I received the motherload of gluten-free products from BFree I wasn’t sure what to do. As a carb lover who is fortunate to not have issues processing gluten I don’t purchase gluten-free food. Sometimes I seek out extra gluten if I’m dining with someone who can’t eat it. With more product than freezer space, I figured I could give some to my biggest readers (my mom and grandma).
I am usually skeptical of alternative grain products. As a lover of food delivered via a tortilla, I was delighted when I saw the wraps. My first inclination was to approach the food like a child who first sees vegetables.
I touched it.
I smelled it.
I examined it closely.
All this before I put it in my mouth. Continue reading 3 Gluten Free Recipe Ideas
For a while quinoa was the IT food, boasting fiber and super high protein. Spellcheck still squiggles under quinoa suggesting a misspelling. While fun to say and less fun to spell, I received two quinoa mixes in the mail from Pereg to review. The have nine different varieties to chose from.
Similar to other ready-to-go grain mixes, these come in an assortment of flavors. I have quinoa with spinach and with vegetables. Where Pereg differs is that these are gluten free, vegan and kosher (known as the culinary trifecta). They are also non-GMO, which could make it the superfecta.
My last quinoa stint was a few years ago when I bought a 4-pound bag at Costco. Based on the advice from a cooking instructor, this was the most economical way to purchase the grain. It has become far more accessible since then and the price has come down a bit. Pereg goes for about $4 a box.
Here’s a quick video on how to make the super grain if you hate reading directions.
Quinoa Mix Review
Following the instructions on the box, this mix cooked up perfectly. When I had the mondo bag years ago (I did eventually finish it), the quinoa could come out gummy or would have a bitter taste. The other issue I ran into was rinsing it before cooking to try to remove bitterness. Finally, the cooking time was never consistent.
None of that occurred with Pereg’s mix. The quinoa was light, fluffy and sweet. The mix I made had currants which could be the source of the sweetness. It was done cooking a few minutes before the recommended 15 minute lower limit. Total cooking time is about 30 minutes including water boiling and letting the quinoa steam before fluffing with a fork. Skip the hassle of making your own quinoa and give these packaged mixes a try.
It doesn’t get easier than this for new cooks.
Bachelor Tip: I made chicken to go with the quinoa. Marinade a few chicken breasts in Italian dressing before cooking in your cast iron skillet. Think of it as a flavor bath.
How can I make smoked chicken better?
As much as I love tortillas, smoked chicken and assorted fatty meats are my summer go-to. Most weekends I’ll grab a whole chicken or roast for the grill. My summer approach is cook once, eat all weeklong. Much like my #TortillaChallenge, I think of different ways to consume smoked chicken. You’ll notice it makes a frequent appearance in a lot of these posts.
I noticed I don’t have a thorough walk through of how to turn your grill into a smoker, so I’ll take more detailed photos next time I fire up the coals.
The above dinner was a smoked chicken leg and thigh served with blanched green beans, slices of pecorino, cherry tomatoes on a grilled tortilla plate topped with bulgur.
I’ve made bulgur a few times so far. It’s a faster quinoa without as much protein. So if you are impatient or starving, go for the bulgur instead of quinoa.
Consult your hierarchy of grains: white rice<brown rice<bulgur<quinoa
Coincidentally, the price also escalates as you buy more nutritious grains, with quinoa high atop the pennies per grain metric.
These quickly turned into bulgur and green bean tacos using the smoked chicken like sprinkled cheese.
After creating and destroying a fair share of my homemade egg rolls, I still had ingredients for a wok-tastic stir fry. Learning that fennel is one of the key spices for Asian cooking certainly helped up my culinary game. Previously when aiming for Chinese cuisine, I’d add soy sauce or a pre-made teriyaki sauce. The only variation on turning the egg roll recipe into an entree was adding some more veggies and rice. I also omitted a few things out of sheer laziness. #BachelorBasic
Here’s a refresher on the ingredients for the egg rolls:
- 1-2 chicken breasts, sliced in small pieces
- 1 c. frozen shrimp (about 1/2 pound of the smallest you can find)
- 1/2 c. celery (1 rib)
- 1/2 c. mushrooms
- 1 green onions, chopped. Save some for garnish.
- 1/2 c. fresh bean sprouts
- Shake of fennel, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg
- 4-5 cabbage leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp. peanut butter
- 2 tbsp. oil
The beautiful thing about stir frying is it’s easy and fast, which makes it great for dates. The key, as in most cooking, is simply to not burn the ingredients. If you can master that, you’re set.
First step is to start your rice or quinoa.
Then get your pan hot, slowly bringing a pan to hot is better for the long term life of the pan than cranking the heat to the max. After a few minutes add the oil, then the meat. Brown it a few minutes, then start adding the veggies. Stirring often. You can also skip meat or swap it out for tofu. I personally wouldn’t, but I’ve customized dishes for dates who had allergies or dietary preferences. Women read this as “compassionate” or “accommodating.”
Bachelor Tip: Heartier vegetables like carrots or broccoli take longer to cook than mushrooms or bell pepper.
The meal shouldn’t take longer than it takes for the rice to cook (about 20 minutes if you’re making brown rice). Feel free to experiment and try other veggies. Serve it up with a delicious egg roll.
Fortunately for me, there was a sale on all foods with a “K” sound at the grocery.
Tonight’s supper included: quinoa, kale, carrots, chicken, stock, garlic, broccoli. I also included mushrooms, lemon juice, and green pepper, which sadly don’t contain a “K” sound.
I await the nutrient overload this evening.
Festival season is upon us. That means fun party games like, “High or Just that Strange?” After a day of condo hunting, walking around the Blues Fest and Old Town Art Fair, I was fascinated by two things:
- Why do people bring their dogs to public events?
- What am I going to eat for dinner?
So, inspired by man’s best friend, I turned to my best friend: the cast iron skillet. Continue reading Man’s Other Best Friend