Friday, April 24, 2009

Photo Phriday: Practice

It's rare that I go a week without posting but the giant work project that I'm dealing with AND the wedding planning have taken a toll on my blogging and cooking. However! Henry is still being Henry and the A-man got a little taste at what it's like to deal with a tired pooch this past weekend:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Photo Phriday: So Proud.

I've always said that running a marathon is a lifetime goal of mine, one that I'd like to achieve before I have children. On the other hand, my sister and brother-in-law had that same goal, but decided to do so just over one year after having their child.

As a person who has had a strained relationship with distance running (stemming from a horribly mean high school track coach)I understand the time, effort and perseverance it takes to train for and complete a marathon and could not be more proud of my sister and brother-in-law. It was difficult to keep my eyes dry as they ran past me, looking strong and on their way to completing one of their greatest challenges.

Here they are after running the 26.2 miles:

Here's Kate at mile 8 about to give her daughter a smooch:

And bro-in-law about to do the same:

And my niece, the recipient of the mile eight kisses who I gladly hung out with during the race, cheering on her accomplished parents.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Under Two Months

Oh boy: the wedding. It's seven weeks away!

Two weekends ago the A-man and I had a tasting with our caterer, Crazy Chefs. We used them for my sister's wedding a few years back and they were great and now we'll be using them for mine and we're ecstatic. They have been more than accommodating in the food allergy department. We had our tasting in their restaurant location, Loco, in Easton, Massachusetts. I have eaten there before and really, really like the place. It's a tapas and wine bar and again, they were great in pointing out which foods were gluten-free and which weren't.

The tasting went really well. Our appetizers were fantastic: a balsamic reduction atop grilled vegetables was the star in my opinion and Allen loved the lamb chops. We'll also be having a raw bar served in their signature boat (literally, a row boat), and a variety of more passed appetizers and a peach and mesclun salad with a champagne vinaigrette to start. The main meal will be a choice between grilled, then roasted beef tenderloin and striped bass topped with peach salsa. Both dishes rocked. I think I will be choosing the bass for my dish on the day of. The A-man -- the red meat of course.

Here are a few photos from the day: the fish, salad and some of the appetizers. I'm going to make sure to ask my photographer to take photos of the food the day of the wedding so you can see the food in all its glory on the wedding day!

In other wedding related food news, this weekend we will have our cake tasting with Celia Cakes which is super exciting. I'll be sure and post about it.

And in other news, I was adopted! Thomas of The GFCF Experience made my caterpillar cake recipe for his beautiful daughter Olivia and it seemed to be a big hit.

And! My sister clued me in to a great giveaway where you could win a cooler full of Turtle Mountain's new Coconut Milk beverage. I'm a huge fan of their coconut milk yogurt and ice cream, so I'm sure their new coconut milk drink is delicious.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gluten-free Flatbread

Also know as gluten-free naan or gluten-free wraps.

In a moment of desperation, I managed to come up with a substitute recipe for Chebe: the popular and versatile dough mix of the gluten-free world. Chebe, in my opinion, tastes great and has a chewy, doughy texture that is difficult to achieve with most gluten-free foods. However, it's two main ingredients are tapioca and manioc flour which don't offer much in the nutrition department. So, I attempted to make a brown rice flour based mix and in place of the oil and/or eggs typically used when mixing together Chebe, I simply used applesauce and I'm happy to say I'm pleased with the results.

And Henry is too.

Gluten-free Flatbread (gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan)

1 cup superfine brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour (plus more for dusting)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon xantham gum
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup water (plus or minus one tablespoon)

In a large bowl, combine the flours, xantham gum and salt. Then add in half of the water and mix, then the applesauce, then the other half a cup of water. The consistency should be much like a typical gluten bread dough and it will be sticky. Next, liberally dust a few tablespoons of the white rice flour onto a flat surface and take about 1/4 cup of the dough and start flattening with a rolling pin, making sure to put extra flour between the dough. Then add the flattened dough onto a skillet over medium heat (I used cast iron, so I didn't need oil) and "fry" both sides for about 2-3 minutes each. The dough should make between 7-8 corn tortilla sized wraps, less for larger wraps. They are best if immediately eaten but also store well in the refrigerator if kept air tight. You can warm them slightly in the microwave or on a skillet again to make them more pliable.
I see myself making a gluten-free flatbread #2 soon. Look for the addition of rice bran and other fiber-rific flours. I may even attempt to make them without xantham gum...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Kebabs for a Group

When I studied abroad in Australia there was one food that was heaven after a night out: kebabs. They're not like the kebabs we think of here: skewed on a stick and grilled. Kebabs in Australia are basically wraps filled with chicken, cheese and barbecue sauce that are then grilled and served in aluminum foil. In other words, they were pure heaven at 2AM after a few too many drinks. In Surfers Paradise in Queensland where I spent most of my time, kebab stands were as frequent as hot dog stands here. It's amazing to me that I didn't gain thirty pounds when studying abroad there. It probably had a lot to do with the fact I was eating a lot of food that I was intolerant to without even knowing it.

Flash forward six years to the kebabs I eat and serve today: no wrap, no cheese, no barbecue sauce. But still, they're good and my friends seemed to like them too. In an attempt to celebrate the one Spring-like day we've had this year I had some friends over and broke out the grill: chicken, steak and vegetable kebabs were on the menu.

Kebabs (gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo)

10 wooden skewers soaked in water overnight
6 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
2-3 pounds steak, cut into cubes
1 red and 1 yellow pepper, cut into large squares
1 large yellow onion, cut into squares
about twenty small mushrooms, cleaned

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon Greek style seasoning (like oregano, garlic powder, lemon salt, onion powder)

In bowl combine the marinade ingredients and pour into a large ziploc bag. Add the meat and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (and up to 6). Then, alternate the vegetables and meat and place on the skewers. Or, keep them separate to have them cook more evenly. When all of the meat and vegetables are on the skewers, place on a large plate and drizzle with olive oil and freshly cracked salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes per side.

Here's the gang after the feast: