Monday, August 31, 2009

Back at It: Pickled Peaches, Pork & Maple Balsamic Reduction


Soooo. I don't have a dishwasher in my new place. That, and the fact that I'm still unpacking bit by bit has stifled my cooking for the past few weeks, but I'm back: on a schedule and finding my routine.

I'm a graduate student now. Instead of working forty hours a week I am now taking classes for fourteen hours a week, working as a graduate assistant for another ten and then working part-time for at least another five. I haven't decided which I prefer. So far, with my hours and hours of class work included, my free time is looking sparse.

But that won't stop me from cooking. It's therapeutic for me: mixing and tasting and measuring. Your mind must be in it and not thinking about the hundred other things that could be occupying your mind (like another pending deployment for the A-man). So on Saturday I decided I was going to use three peaches I had from the Farmer's Market, plus a pork tenderloin and use up that half-bottle of balsamic vinegar I toted from Boston. And after some research and recipes, this is what I came up with:



Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pickled Peaches and Maple Balsamic Reduction
(gluten-free, dairy-free)

Maple Balsamic Reduction:

1 cup of balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons earth balance (or butter)

Put balsamic vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a medium-low and let simmer for twenty minutes. Add the maple syrup and earth balance and whisk. Take off heat and let cool and thicken slightly, then it's ready to use.

Pickled Peaches:

The pickled peaches recipe that I used was taken from the Whole Foods website, which can be found here. The only substitution that I made was using agave instead of sugar.

Pork:

1 pork tenderloin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Coat the pork in olive oil, then coat with the garlic, thyme, salt and pepper. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours. Then, grill over medium heat on a grill about twelve minutes, turning four times.

I served this dish with pureed sweet potatoes (the balsamic reduction goes really well with this) and kale chips. And, Henry really liked the pork.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Photo Phriday: Missing Boston

I'm almost settled in my new city in the mid-west and almost back to regular blogging. It's a big change from my beloved Boston, but so far, so good. During my last week up in Beantown I went out to eat with Sally and Jenny at Burton's Grill near Fenway Park. It was great -- they have an extensive gluten-free menu and the manager came out to speak with us. Unfortunately, they didn't have any Redbridge at the time (which was suspicious because we saw a guy walking past us with a case of the stuff) so I had a potato blueberry vodka from Maine (I think this is the vodka - Cold River vodka) mixed with Sprite. It was delicious, and I usually don't say that about alcoholic drinks (the vodka was made with fresh blueberries). However, Sally had it mixed with tonic and it tasted like 'tussin, so I don't recommend that.

Food wise I had a great avocado salad with spiced shrimp on top. Sally had a burger with a gluten free bun and Jenny had a delicious looking chicken dish. But most important, I had great gluten-free company: miss you girls!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Honeymoon in Maui Part 2

I need to get this up before fellow Bostonian and gluten-free blogger Allie gets married and leaves for her honeymoon to Maui (I'm so excited for you Allie)!

Along with our fantastic in-room chef-prepared dinner, we had quite a few great dining experiences on the island of Maui. My favorite was the dinner we had at Mama's Fish House. The hotel concierge booked us the reservation and let the restaurant know we had a gluten intolerance in the party so they knew ahead of time. The place is like a well oiled machine, with a staff that doesn't make you feel like just another customer. These people are true professionals. As you can see, our view during dinner was amazing:

And the food was just as good. The server checked with the chef and let me know which dishes were gluten-free. Even the drinks were gorgeous:

The A-man and I started with a delicious lobster guacamole served with sweet potato chips. It was so. darn. good.

And my main dish was a white fish prepared with deliciously seasoned vegetables and perfectly cooked white rice:


It was hard to top that dinner, but the Feast at Lele came very, very close. In fact, if you're gluten free and want to attend a luau (though it's technically a Polynesian dinner show) while in Maui -- this is a must. The Feast at Lele has four acts, each representing a different culture and four courses of food doing the same. It takes place in a gorgeous setting on the water. And not only did the server know exactly which dishes were okay for me to eat, but I didn't feel deprived in the least when there were dishes that had gluten in them: I either received double of the dishes I could eat, or an entirely new plate of food. It was a beautiful evening with dramatic and wonderful entertainment and a food experience that I will never forget. (how often is it that you actually feel special, and not in a bad way when dining out?)



While I could write an entirely separate post on how much fun we had at the Surfing Goat Dairy Farm, I'll spare you my obsession over how badly I want a goat of my own and will just say it's a blast. You can go on a tour, sample goat cheese (for those of you saying huh? I thought you were dairy free too? I eat goat products every now and then since they are much lower in casein than cow's milk), feed goats, and check out their giant pot bellied pig. I definitely recommend spending a few hours there.


Also somewhat food related was our horseback riding trip at Ironwood Ranch. This place is run by true animals lovers and our riding experience was a great one. The ride took place through an old pineapple farm. At the end of the ride you're welcome to pick fruit off of the trees on the property which we enjoyed and then we were able to hang out with the dogs at the ranch and spoke with a woman who works there and runs a catahoula/pit-bull rescue group. My heart went out to her and the dogs, since we're pretty sure Henry has some catahoula in him. If you love animals, a visit here is a must.



I can't forget the great experience we had one night at Flatbread Pizza. I have mentioned Flatbread before because there's one in Massachusetts, but there's also one in Maui! And they carry gluten-free pizza! However, they do charge quite a bit for it because it is imported, but our waitress was very upfront about that. And, she was just plain awesome: friendly, but not forced and truly knowledgeable about the restaurant and its ingredients. Oh Flatbread, how I love thee. (sorry no pictures from here, but it's in the cool town of Paia which has lots of neat shops, including a great health food store called Mana Foods with loads of gluten-free products)

Non-food related experiences I would recommend would be surf lessons with Goofy Foot surf school (our instructor was amazing), wind surfing (though I can't say I'd recommend the school we went with), riding down Haleakala Mountain on a bike and watching the sunrise, and taking a boat to Lanai to snorkel and visit the Four Seasons Hotel there.

Congratulations if you made it this far on this marathon-long post! I hope it enables those in the gluten free community to travel to this beautiful island.

And, if you're interested, below you will find a quick video of some very playful wild dolphins showing off for our boat in the waters off of the island of Lanai:

video