Posts tagged ‘gluten free’

March 14, 2012

Pork + Candy = Bliss!

Yes, candied pork. It sounds obscene, doesn’t it? One bite and I guarantee you’ll be moaning in ecstasy. This recipe came to me from my brother, who found it at What could be better than combining pork with brown sugar and bourbon? But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, the slab of pork shoulder is rubbed with a mixture of spices, including cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and slow-roasted for many hours (I cooked mine for 6), until it’s tender and falling apart. Then, you brush a mixture of brown sugar and bourbon over the the meat and roast it again until it turns into a sweet and spicy candied crust. Break the pork into chunks and eat like a cave man.

This is a straightforward recipe that doesn’t require much skill. What it needs is time to slow-roast to ensure the meat will melt in your mouth. Making this was virtually a comedy of errors at my house. I had prepped the shoulder for roasting before we had left for church, so it could cook while we were away. Right before I put the pork in the oven, my husband came through the kitchen and saw that the oven was on but nothing was in it. So, he turned it off. On my way out the door, I slipped the roast in the oven, not noticing the oven had been turned off. Three hours later after church, lunch and shopping, as we’re driving home I mention how great the house must smell because of the pork in the oven. To which my husband responded, “Uh, what? I turned the oven off because nothing was in it.”

I tell you, this pig did not want to be eaten. When I got home, I immediately turned the oven on and started roasting the pork. But then, my 3-year-old came along behind me and pulled the lever for the cleaning lock. Thankfully, my oven didn’t go into nuclear mode and clean itself. However, it did shut off the heat. And it took my a little over an hour for me to realize what had happened. When we finally had the candied pork for dinner the following day, the kids went crazy. I had never seen my son eat with such zeal. Both kids made sure they had the perfect ratio of meat to candy before taking each bite.

For S’s lunch I made a couple of pulled-pork sliders. Even after that, I still have about 2 pounds of meat left. It’s time to get creative. Any ideas?

September 23, 2011

Homemade Mac and Cheese with Swiss Chard

The crinkly whisper in the air signals the advent of fall. And nothing complements the cooler weather like macaroni and cheese. Not the kind that comes in a blue box with a packet of yellow powder. But the one that gets all crispy on top from being baked.

Inspired by the chilliness, I made my first macaroni and cheese last night. I wanted to see if I could make a delicious mac and cheese with brown rice pasta and goat milk products. And I wanted to use up some swiss chard. It wasn’t a cheap casserole when it was over, but it was more than tasty. I used goat gouda, goat cheddar and goat monterey jack, as well as goat milk. Although I used brown rice pasta, it wasn’t gluten free because I used regular flour for the cheese sauce and panko breadcrumbs to top it off. Looking back, I could’ve used rice flour and crumbled rice crackers.

I combined a recipe from Alton Brown and Epicurious. Both included swiss chard. Topping the casserole with cumin seed really made the dish stand out. But I only put it on half the casserole, in case it was too adult for the kids.

It packed easily in S’s lunch today, as does most pasta.

September 3, 2011

Red Curry with Chicken and Thai Eggplant

This is not a good sign. It’s the first week of my blog and I’m posting about dinner instead of lunch. I went to the Asian market today and found some beautiful Thai eggplants. For those of you unfamiliar with this kind of eggplant, they’re white with green striations and about the same size as tomatillos or golf balls. On the inside, they’re seeded like regular eggplant. Discovering these was just the excuse I needed for making Thai curry. I know it’s too spicy for the kids to eat, but there are certain nights when it’s worthwhile to make separate meals, one for me and K, and another for the children. And since I love curry, it was a no-brainer. Nothing beats the smell of simmering curry.

Really, cooking curry is unbelievably simple and quick, as long as you’re not making your own paste. Even then, it’s pretty straightforward. I originally planned to cook green curry, but when I got home I discovered that I didn’t have any green curry paste. All I had was red curry paste, so red curry it was.

There are a couple secrets to making a good Thai curry. First, you want to to simmer the coconut cream until the cream separates and a layer of oil forms on the surface. You get coconut cream from a can of coconut milk, but it’s only available in full-fat coconut milk. Do not shake the can and the coconut cream should rise to the top. Simply scoop the cream off the top. Second, you need the right ingredients: kaffir lime leaves and fresh Thai basil leaves. That’s basically it. Tonight, I made a red curry with chicken, bamboo shoots and Thai eggplant, but this adapted recipe (from the Food of Thailand) can be used for green curry. And you can make it vegetarian or with seafood, like fish and shrimp.

Red Curry with Chicken and Thai Eggplant

Serves 4

1/4 cup coconut cream

2  – 3 TB red curry paste (or green)

12 oz. chicken thigh or breast, sliced

2 1/2 TB fish sauce

1 3/4 cups coconut milk (I swear by Chaokoh coconut milk)

1 TB palm sugar (or brown sugar)

8 0z. can bamboo shoots

12 oz. Thai eggplants

7 kaffir lime leaves, torn in half

a handful of Thai sweet basil leaves, for garnish

1 long red chili, seeded and finely sliced for garnish

Put the coconut cream in a wok or saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the cream separates and a layer of oil forms on the surface. Stir the cream if it starts to brown around the edges. Add the curry paste, stir well to combine and cook until fragrant.

Add the chicken and stir for a few minutes. Add all of the coconut milk, the fish sauce, palm sugar and simmer over medium heat for another 5 minutes.

Add the eggplants, bamboo shoots and lime leaves and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the eggplants are cooked. Taste, then adjust the seasoning if necessary. Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with the basil leaves and chili.

That’s it! Serve with a bowl of steaming rice. Curry is the ultimate in comfort food.

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