# Thursday, November 24, 2011

Instead of the more bookish and sporadic notes, today I figured I’d blog about the Brannan gluten free Thanksgiving. It was yummy and relatively easy. Hope it helps some who have struggled. Oh, these are also dairy free, egg free, and cane-sugar free. And free of other stuff too; the list of allergies around our table today is too long to list. If you have questions, feel free to follow up with me if you’d like (email is on sidebar).

It’s true, we had gluten free turkey, stuffing, gravy, and mashed potatoes. I only made the turkey, stuffing and gravy; my sister-in-law made the mashed potatoes and green beans. Oh, and my lovely wife made GF pumpkin pie and apple crisp. Mom T made the sweet potatoes & fruit salad. Yum, yum yum.

Gluten Free Turkey

Many turkeys are gluten free; you’ll need to check web sites to ensure. Costco’s turkeys were Foster Farms Fresh or something or other, and their web site confirmed their GF-ness. I popped it in a roaster, put lots of Earth Balance (non-dairy butter) between the skin and the breast meat, about 1/3 cup, salt, pepper, rosemary and sage. No stuffing in the bird. It was a 14lb bird, roasted for around 4 hours. Carved the turkey, reserved the drippings.

While the turkey was roasting, I made broth from the neck & giblets. This is very easy. Just put the parts in a saucepan. Fill with water until they’re covered. Bring to a boil, simmer over low heat for like 30 minutes. Strain, set aside; you’ll use this in the stuffing.

Some background at this point: We basically can’t buy anything that lists “spices” in the ingredient list. This means we can’t buy any chicken/beef/veggie stock at any store in the western world. Chicken and turkey stock is gold in our house. So after the the turkey was carved (I cooked it on Wednesday) it was time to make stock. I stuck all the stuff I didn’t put on the meat plate — bones, skin, fat, whatever — into a stock pot. Filled with water until everything was covered. Added some rosemary. Bring to boil, then simmer over low heat for 45-60 mins. Pull bones out, dispose of those. Strain, label containers, put in containers for freezer.

Back to the good stuff.

Gluten Free Stuffing

I winged this one and it turned out. My basic source was Betty Crocker’s recipe, modified as follows.

First, I used a loaf of Trader Joe’s GF Brown Rice Bread. This stuff is heavy. I cut each slice into cubes, then dried in the oven (like, 250 degrees for 10-15 mins). Then I chopped a medium sized onion into oblivion, melted 1/4-1/3 cup butter (Earth Balance) in a frying pan, added a bunch of garlic, and cooked it until the onions were happy.

Dumped the bread pieces into a big bowl. Then 2tbsp parsley (plus a little more); 2tbsp sage (plus a little more); salt, pepper, butter-onion mixture. I’m assuming you’ve done the research to know if your spices are GF. Then Betty’s recipe says 1/2 cup broth, but her recipe assumes you’re putting it in the bird, which will emit all sorts of juices into the stuffing. Instead I baked it seperately. So I needed more broth. I put in at least two cups, probably more like 3. Stirred like crazy. Put it into a casserole dish, mashed it down. This went into the fridge, I ended up cooking it for probably 45 mins on 350F.

Gluten Free Gravy

While the stuffing was turning from wonderful to awesome, I made gravy. Got the reserved drippings and warmed them up again. I also got some GF corn starch and rice milk. Probably at least 1/4 cup corn starch. Put it in a small bowl that has a tight lid. Then add some rice milk, enough to liquefy. Put lid on, shake like the dickens. When drippings are boiling, add the mixture to thicken. Whisk it. If not thick enough, repeat the thickening mixture bit. Simmer it for awhile, and you’re awesome. Add some salt and pepper if you wish.

That’s it.

See, not too hard. The key is to start with the bird, and only use the broth/etc. from the bird to make the other parts. For me, this works better if I do the bird the day before (Wednesday) then the stuffing/etc. the day of (Thursday).

Hope it helps y’all. All I know is it was awesome, and my wife (several food allergies) and sister-in-law (celiac) could enjoy it all too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Post Author: rico
Thursday, November 24, 2011 10:37:40 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, September 14, 2007

Today (Friday) was the annual Logos Soup Cookoff. I entered, but didn't win. In Logos Cookoff tradition, I made my own soup sign, so people would know what they were eating:

Here's the recipe, if you're interested. A little place just down the street from Logos, the La Vie en Rose bakery, has awesome soups for lunch. One soup they regularly serve is a Tomato-Sausage-Eggplant soup. That was my inspiration.

Ingredients

  • two eggplants, peeled, chopped in small pieces (1/2 inch squares? sure)
  • one onion, chopped
  • five cloves of garlic (minced or pressed w/a garlic press)
  • two pounds of ground italian sausage (I used hot italian sausage).
  • five 14-oz cans of tomato sauce
  • one 14-oz can of chopped tomatoes
  • one can chicken stock
  • salt, pepper, fennel, oregano, thyme, basil and whatever else you'd like

Process

  1. dump a bunch of olive oil in a big ol' stew pot. 1/3 cup?
  2. add some salt
  3. saute eggplant for, say, 5 minutes or so. You want the eggplant soft and mushy, so however long that takes.
  4. remove from pan, set aside.
  5. dump some more olive oil in your stew pot. (a few tablespoons).
  6. saute onion & garlic; add more salt, pepper, fennel, etc.
  7. add sausage & brown it.
  8. add chopped tomatoes
  9. add tomato sauce & chicken stock
  10. get the stuff hot (not boiling, but hot), stirring occasionally
  11. remember that eggplant? it's your thickener. get it wet with some of your tomato sauce, then get a stick blender and puree it. then dump it into the soup and stir.
  12. bring to a slow boil, simmer for, say, 20 minutes.

That's it.

I was originally going to thicken the soup even more with feta cheese, but I put too much seasoning in as it was. I'd recommend using less sausage or add more tomato sauce/puree (or even more chicken stock) to tone it down a bit; then you could experiment with the feta as a thickener.

Post Author: rico
Friday, September 14, 2007 3:00:22 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, May 30, 2007

While Amy and I have been waiting (and waiting) for our baby to make its appearance (as of this writing, Amy is 9 days overdue) I've been doing a lot of grilling. After reading a few recipes I've concocted a simple and yummy quick marinade for white fish. Amy and I like pacific snapper or rockfish, which we've been getting fresh (if you're in B'ham, try the Pescadaria on Railroad by Starbucks) for around $5.50/lb. I'd guess it would be good on tilapia or even mahi-mahi (which we're laying off of until after the baby comes as it can have high mercury content).

Now, a short warning: I never measure stuff like this, so all amounts are very approximate.

Lemon-Dill Quick Marinade for White Fish

  • olive oil
  • lemon juice
  • dill weed (dried or fresh)
  • garlic powder
  • salt & pepper

Basically, you're looking for a 3:1 mix of olive oil to lemon juice (so, try 3 tbsp olive oil to 1 tbsp lemon juice if you fear eyeballing your dumping and pouring). Sprinkle in a ton of dill -- more than you think you should, the fish should end up covered with the stuff. Then salt, paper and garlic powder to taste, but don't be bashful.

Do this in a small container that seals. Pop on the lid, shake it like crazy. It's ready.

Put your fish on some tinfoil and fold up the edges close around the fish so the liquid won't run all over. Spoon the liquid over the fish, make sure it is adequately covered. Pop it on a hot grill. Chances are it'll be done in 10 minutes (it's done when the fish flakes apart with a fork).

I'm thinking the same marinade might actually be good with chicken too.

If you're looking for something to eat along with the fish, head to the store and get some ears of yellow corn. It's in season and is relatively cheap. Amy and I got 3 ears for a dollar the other day, which is cheaper than canned corn, fresher, and tastier to boot. Cook these on the grill too. Here's how:

  1. Pull husks back, but don't detatch. Remove silk. Put husks back in place.
  2. Soak corn ears in cold water for at least 10 minutes. The water soaked up and captured by the husks will help steam the corn as it cooks, which makes for corn that's more moist -- and it should cook a little faster too.
  3. Place on hot grill for, oh, 15 minutes. Turn 'em every five minutes or so until you think they're done.
  4. Take off the grill. With your kitchen scissors, cut off the base of the husks as close to the ear as possible. Pull of the husks. It's handy to do this with an oven mitt on, the corn will be hot. If some cinders from the husk got on the corn, just rinse it with hot water. No biggie.
  5. If you don't think the corn got done (maybe some spots look lighter than others) just put the shucked corn back on the grill for a few minutes.
  6. Butter, salt and pepper ... then chow down.

So, get your grill hot. Put your corn on. Get your fish ready. Put it on too. It's all ready 'bout the same time.

Let me know how it goes!

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, May 30, 2007 9:22:15 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, July 07, 2006

Today was Logos Chili Day, but unfortunately I caught a bit of the flu or something, so I took off just before the festivities started.

But I did bring in my chili, which I made on the morning of July 4. And it turns out I came in second place! Now if I'd only been there to vote for my own chili ... maybe Eli wouldn't have won. But I'm sure his chili (called "Chilisaurus Rex") was yummy.

For Logos cook-offs, each entrant makes a sign. Mine is below, followed by the recipe.

Here's the recipe I based the Pork chile Verde on: http://pork.allrecipes.com/az/ChilVrdII.asp.

I did the following:

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 lbs pork ribs, country style, no bones.
  • 2 28oz cans Tomatillos
  • 11 Jalapeno peppers (note: control heat by amount of Jalapenos)
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 massive walla walla sweet onion
  • 3 tbsp garlic (or however much you want)
  • Spices: Salt, Chili Powder, Red Pepper, "mexican seasoning", Ground Mexican oregano. Don't be bashful with these.

Process:

  1. Cube ribs. Trim off major fat chunks but be sure to leave some fat there.
  2. Pulverize Tomatillos and Cilantro in food processor (or blender, or whatever).
  3. Pulverize Jalapenos (including seeds!) similarly.
  4. Chop Onion (I used a food processor for this too).
  5. Brown cubed pork in Dutch Oven. Do this with the spices (don't be shy!). I browned the pork in corn oil.
  6. When brown, remove pork. Reserve 2 tbsp drippin's in pot, pour balance of drippin's in container with pork. Don't lose that juice, that's flavor!
  7. Saute chopped onion & garlic in Dutch oven (in reserved drippin's).
  8. Add pulverized jalapenos after a few minutes
  9. Add Tomatillo/cilantro mixture after a few minutes
  10. Add the cubed/browned pork after a few more minutes
  11. Simmer for half an hour
  12. Remove from heat, let sit in refrigerator for 3-4 days. Like Eli, I cooked on the morning of July 4 and let it sit in the fridge until I brought it in.
  13. Heat in crock pot on high for 2.5 hours.
  14. Turn heat down to low. It's ready to go!

Of course, you could probably just eat it at step 12; though I'd probably simmer 45 minutes to an hour if I was eating it the same day.

Enjoy!

Post Author: rico
Friday, July 07, 2006 8:06:34 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, April 27, 2006

Don't know what to cook? Looking for something a little exotic to spice up your menu?

I just noticed this book (originally published 1908) in Project Gutenberg: 365 Foreign Recipes. Stuff like:

  • February 2: Haggis.
  • February 8: Bombay Spinach (that actually sounds good!)
  • March 7: Austrian Apple Strudel
  • March 14: Spanish Stewed Rabbit

What's on the menu for today, April 27? Why, Vienna Milk Rolls, of course:

Sift 1-1/2 quarts of flour; add 1/2 teaspoonful of salt; work in a large tablespoonful of butter; then stir in 1/2 cup of milk with a piece of yeast dissolved in the milk and a teaspoonful of sugar. Beat all up well with 1 pint of milk; let raise over night. Roll out an inch thick; cut with a biscuit-cutter; rub with melted butter; lay in a buttered baking-pan; let raise one hour; then bake in a hot oven twenty minutes.

And what should my birthday meal be, according to the book? Belgian Chicken:

Cut a cooked chicken into pieces; add some slices of cold veal. Heat 1 cup of stock; add 1/4 teaspoonful of mustard, 1/2 teaspoonful of paprica, a pinch of white pepper and salt to taste. Add the chicken and 1 glass of sherry wine. Let all cook ten minutes. Add 3 tablespoonfuls of currant jelly. Serve hot with toasted croutons.

Enjoy!

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 27, 2006 11:15:07 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 21, 2006

Today, April 21, 2006 is the official Logos Curry Day.

I love curry day. We have 17 curries lined up, and I am so stoked! I'll update this article as necessary with further details.

Here's my bloggin' from Curry Day 2005. Check it out.

Update: My curry, which I named Blando Calrissian (see sign above) didn't win, show or place. But I had lots of positive comments after the event and even requests for the recipe. I'd thought of the name probably three years ago, and this year decided to make the curry to match. It was a very mild Thai green curry (with chicken) and lots of basil.

To respond to Murray's question about Curry Day frequency — at Logos, we have Curry Day once a year, right around this time. We also have Chili Day (around July 4), Soup Day (mid-September), Salsa Day (mid-February) and a Bake-off during the holidays. Fun stuff! Logos is an excellent place to work, be sure to check out our jobs page to see if you'd like to come and join the party!

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 21, 2006 10:14:13 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, October 13, 2005

On previous trips to South Africa, I fell in love with the peppadew.

Now they're here.

They are so yummy. Find them. Eat them.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, October 13, 2005 7:42:08 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, July 01, 2005

Today (July 1, 2005) is Logos Chili Day. This happens every year around Independence Day; this year is our sixth.

We have 18 chilis 19 chilis 20 chilis entered. It's going to be an awesome day!

I have some pictures of previous years online:

Update (2005-07-01): Nope, my chili didn't win. I sort of followed this recipe. If I make it again, I'd do something to thicken it up a bit. I took several photos; when I'm able to upload them I'll post a link here.

Update (2005-07-02): Chili photos uploaded. My chili was named Don't Mess with My Chili, it was a Texas-style chili: no beans, chunks of beef, lotsa spice. Check out those habaneros floating around in there! Time for some chili notables:

  • Best Chili: This year's best chili, as voted by Logos employees, was the last-minute entrant Chunky Chili with beans. This was some awesome chili and it was my hands-down favorite too. I liked it better than my own, and voted for it over my own chili!
  • Best Chili Name: Free Chili, from Vincent Setterholm. Vince's entry last year, "Soylent Red", is the all-time best chili name ever.
  • Best Chili Sign: As usual, this goes to Eli Evans and his sign for his creation, Pure Chili.
  • Best Chili Serving Apparatus: Kudos to Bob Pritchett's egg carton idea, shown in two variations (here and here). I'm sure we'll be using these in future cook-offs!

 

Post Author: Rico
Friday, July 01, 2005 8:18:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 22, 2005

Some folks might think that today is "Earth Day", but folks who work at Logos know that today is Curry Day. That's right, today (April 22, 2005) is the fifth-annual Logos Curry Cook-off!

This means that all sorts of folks bring curry to the office, other folks bring rice cookers, and everybody brings an appetite. By the end of lunchtime, a new Curry Champion has been crowned!

Curry Day is one of my favorite days of the year. This year (as of this writing, anyway) we have FIFTEEN curries to sample! And we may have more by the time lunchtime rolls around.

I'll post pictures later tonight (it's easier to transfer photos from my archaic camera using my laptop at home) but if you can't wait, here are some photos from last year's Curry Cookoff.

For those keeping score: Eli Evans and Bob Pritchett tied and have been co-champions for the past year, so this year is a bit of a grudge match for them. I was in the spot I affectionately refer to as first place loser — you know, the best of the losers but still a loser (aka "second place").

Update: Curry Day was awesome! The results were:

First Place: Dale Pritchett
Second Place: Eli Evans
Third Place: Vincent Setterholm

Bob Pritchett (who made some stellar curry as well) video blogs the Logos Curry Cookoff. Pretty cool, check it out.

Lastly, my curry didn't fare so well (watch Bob's video, you'll see my thoughts on the matter). But I leave you with some curry poetry:

Thy savoriness, O curry, delighteth my palate
Thy spice o'erwhelms my tongue
Thy sweetness, O curry, eraseth my hunger
O'er rice thou art the one.

Update II: Uploaded the curry photos. You can find them on my photo pages.

Update III: Eli Evans finally posts a link to his recipe (the winner in my book — sorry, Dale).

Update IV: Here's my curry placard. (Like the number in Cooper Black?) I won't post my recipe, but I will tell you I based it on this one. If I were to do it again, I'd do basically the same thing only add some chopped apples (I'd planned on doing that, but forgot to buy apples) or applesauce along with some chutney for some extra flavor.

Post Author: Rico
Friday, April 22, 2005 9:22:46 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, January 31, 2005

Over the weekend, I stopped at Costco to do some shopping. Whenever I stop at Costco, I like to pick up a few bottles of wine. I typically purchase something I know (this time it was a Ravenswood Zinfindel — yummy) and something I don't know about. My wildcard purchase this time was a 2000 vintage Merlot from Colvin Vineyards.

I decided to open a bottle for Sunday dinner, and I went with the Colvin Merlot. I knew something was wrong off the bat, it didn't smell right; it had the smell of wet leather. It tasted horrible. The wine had gone bad somewhere along the line and it was simply undrinkable.

After tasting it, I decided to contact the vintner. So I hopped on the web and popped to their home page. It seems the 2000 Merlot actually won some awards. Bummer the bottle I got went bad. I went to their contact form, retrieved the contact email address, and wrote an email letting him know of my experience, that I figured it was a bad bottle, and sent the message. Then I dumped the bottle down the drain.

This morning, I had an email from Mark Colvin, the owner, proprietor and head wine-dude-ologist (I think that's the term) with the following message:

Sorry to hear of your flawed bottle experience.  That vintage of Merlot is sold out and was well received, but does not guarantee that an occasional bottle will be out of whack.  It happens to all wine, even the most expensive and highly regarded.

If you send your address I will be happy to send a 2001 Walla Walla Merlot.  While I am dismayed when one of these bottles pop up, I have to remember it is a part of the business and do whatever it takes to make it right.

I was down on the winery. I figured they had decent wine, but I didn't want to risk buying another bum bottle. Mr. Colvin's email and offer wasn't entirely expected, but boy was it appreciated. Depending on how the next round goes, his winery could be on my list of wineries to look for when I'm looking for a bottle of wine. 

Post Author: Rico
Monday, January 31, 2005 11:57:02 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Sunday, January 16, 2005

I picked this recipe up off of a web page somewhere; I'd give a link if I had one. But I don't, so here's the recipe:

1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

Put garlic, mustard, and balsamic vinegar in a small container and let it sit for 10 minutes. On the mustard, the recipe recommended using the “country style” Grey Poupon. I went a step further and used Maille Old-Style “Whole Grain Dijon Mustard”.

After 10 minutes, remove the clove of garlic. I used minced garlic and just left it in there — but I like garlic. Add the olive oil. I'm assuming you're using a small container that you have a lid for. Seal the container and shake the mixture like crazy.

It's ready to use. I used some (no additional salt/pepper) on a Spinach/Feta/Pine Nut creation of mine, and whoa — I actually had seconds on salad. If you know me, and you know my history with salad, then you know that's saying something.

Note the proportions; this recipe should be easy to scale if necessary.

Update: Welcome, PunditGuy readers. I figured since someone linked to me, I should find the source of this recipe, so after a little digging, here it is. Enjoy! And have a look around. Here's a little about me and what this thing is all about. If you dig this sort of stuff, I'd recommend you check out some of the “Biblioblogs” listed in the blogroll to the right. Thanks! (and thanks, PunditGuy, for the link!)

Post Author: rico
Sunday, January 16, 2005 3:26:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, November 26, 2004

The Thanksgiving festivities at James' house went well. I think I had the turkey in the oil just a little too long, but all in all it turned out fine. The stuffing was good, the gravy turned out all right, and the masses of food brought by other folks was all excellent. Here are some pics of the deep-fryin' process. Clicking on the thumbnail will open a larger version of the picture.

The setup: a large pot, a propane burner, and a thermometer to measure oil temp. I was able to mooch from my folks as they're in Arizona and they left the necessary equipment at home in Washington.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

Step 1: Get the oil to 350 degrees farenheit. I got it higher, when the turkey gets put into the oil, the temp goes down. This was just about right to settle the temp at 350.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

Step 2: You need a turkey. Note the apparatus the turkey is on, also note that the cavity is facing up, not down.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

Step 3: Lower the turkey SLOWLY into the heated oil. Take your time, there's no reason to rush this step.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

Step 4: Nibble on some more of James Van Noord's fabulous cheese-ball.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

Step 5: After appropriate frying time (3 minutes per pound) remove turkey from oil.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

Step 6: Check temperature. The bird should be at 160 degrees farenheit.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

Step 7: Bring bird inside, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then carve it up.

thumbnail, click for low-res version of original

More photos from the day (including Vincent Setterholm preparing Creme Brulee!) are online at my photo site.

Post Author: Rico
Friday, November 26, 2004 11:04:05 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, November 25, 2004

Seems like a good idea to blog about my Thanksgiving plans.

My folks are in Arizona this year, so I'm orphaned. I'm heading over to James' house where a few other friends/co-workers are gathering. I think there will be 10 of us there, perhaps more.

We're going to be deep-frying, as I've mentioned before. I'll be bringing my camera and may post photos of the process later on today or tomorrow.

In addition to the turkey fryin', I'm also in charge of the stuffing and the gravy. I made the stuffing this morning (it just needs to cook in the oven) so all systems are “go” there. I'll make the gravy later today at James' house. Rumor has it I may be the one carving the turkey too.

All in all, this should be a feast to be remembered, provided the turkey turns out well. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed ...

Post Author: Rico
Thursday, November 25, 2004 9:11:20 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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