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Archive for the ‘Asian’ Category

With this week’s Gluten Free Menu Swap theme of light and easy for summer, I thought I would post this recipe. We have fallen in love with napa cabbage chopped salads and slaws. This one was inspired by a couple of the napa cabbage recipes over at Kalyn’s Kitchen where she blogs about South Beach Diet recipes. Many, if not most, of her recipes are naturally gluten free or easily modified with minimal substitutions. But that doesn’t mean that they are missing any flavor! We’ve just loved everything we’ve made from Kalyn’s blog. (This is starting to sound like an Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger post…hmmm.) Thanks for the inspiration Kalyn!

Napa Cabbage Salad with Sesame-Ginger Dressing

Inspired by Kalyn’s Kitchen

This makes a lot so feel free to make only half but it is a great dish to take to a potluck or picnic.

8-10 cups napa cabbage, sliced or shredded

2 cups shredded carrots

2 cups red bell pepper, sliced, matchstick sized

1/2 cup green onions, sliced

2-1/2 cups edamame, shelled and cooked

1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

Dressing:

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 Tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

1-2 Tbsp agave nectar or honey

1-1/2 Tbsp ginger, grated on your Microplane

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil, light-tasting, I used a light and fresh Spanish olive oil

Toss together all of the salad ingredients, except the sesame seeds, in the largest bowl you have. In a mason jar with a lid, mix together all of the dressing ingredients and give it a good shake. Taste and add more salt if needed. Or ginger. Or sweetener. Or whatever.

Start small and stir some of the dressing into the salad. Add more if you would like. Adjust it to your preferences. Top with sesame seeds.

If you won’t be eating this all at one time, I would suggest keeping the edamame in a separate bowl and adding it when just before eating it. Same with the sesame seeds. We were able to eat this salad for an entire week because I kept the salad and dressing ingredients separate until we were ready to eat it.

Do you have a favorite napa cabbage recipe?

This recipe was submitted to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays over at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. As well, this recipe was cross-posted over at Gluten Free Easily’s Virtual Support Group.

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Do you like sushi? We sure do! I wish we could go out for sushi more often. Unfortunately we don’t have a sushi place very close to our house. Plenty of New Mexican food, but not a lot of Asian options available, let alone gluten free Asian options.

Of course since my husband is vegetarian we like a lot of vegetarian sushi; cucumber rolls, avocado rolls and before I became intolerant to eggs, tamago nigiri (sweet egg omelet). (I also learned that the tamago often have soy sauce in them, which typically isn’t gluten free.) Now I have branched out from only eating the vegetarian rolls and I like Spicy Tuna and Philadelphia rolls too. My husband will also often get the Green Chile Tempura rolls (only in New Mexico!), which unfortunately are not gluten free.

But simple sushi at home? Yes you can! A few months ago I saw a recipe for sushi rice salad on Dana Treat’s blog, Treat Yourself, and knew I had to try it. We have made sushi rolls before but they are quite a bit of work so I thought this might be easier. And it was! These ‘scattered sushi bowls’ do have an actual name, they are called Chirashizushi.

Below I have adapted her recipe to better suit our tastes. One particular change I made was to broil the tofu. I like tofu fairly dry and chewy. You could also try dry-frying it. We also felt like there was too much of the vinegar-sugar sauce for the amount of rice, so we upped the rice quite a bit.

Sushi Rice Bowls

Adapted from Dana Treat, Treat Yourself

Serves 4-6

2 cups long grain rice or brown rice, uncooked

8 oz. extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

finely chopped pickled ginger

green onions, thinly sliced

shredded carrots

cucumber, seeded and chopped

1 sheet nori (seaweed), cut with kitchen shears into small pieces

avocado, chopped

toasted sesame seeds

Dressing:

1 tsp. wasabi paste

3 tbsp. water

2 tbsp. soy sauce, gluten free

2 tsp. pickled ginger juice

Start cooking the rice in your rice cooker or on the stove.

Turn on broiler. Cut tofu slabs into small 1/4-1/2″ cubes. Place in a greased, foil-lined baking dish. Place under the broiler for 10 minutes, stir and broil for 10 more minutes. Allow to cool. (Don’t place your rack too close to the broiler as you don’t want the tofu to burn but instead dry out and firm up. Your oven may be different from mine. Check your tofu frequently until you know how it does under your broiler. My oven is feisty. Also, I cooked up the entire pound of tofu and put half in the frig for something else. Pictures below.)

When the rice is finished cooking, transfer to a large, shallow bowl and spread out to cool.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, stir rice vinegar into sugar and salt. Bring to a boil and stir often, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Pour over cooled rice, drizzle oil over rice and stir gently to mix.

Mix together dressing ingredients. Add more wasabi if you wish. (My husband does not like too much wasabi, just a tad so you taste it. This is surprising coming from He-Who-Loves-to-Sweat-While-Eating.)

Spoon rice into bowls. Top with remaining ingredients and a couple spoonfuls of the dressing. Enjoy!

Notes:

* Rice vinegar, pickled ginger, nori and wasabi can be found in the Asian food section of most large supermarkets. Also, toasted sesame seeds can often be found there in large containers for a cheaper price than in the regular spice section.

* I have also made a Philadelphia Roll version of this before by adding tiny bits of cream cheese, cucumber and chopped smoked salmon instead of the cucumber, carrots, green onions, avocado and tofu. I have also been known to add chopped tomato. Yum!

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. Thanks, Amy! And also, Gluten Free Wednesdays over at The Gluten Free Homemaker.

 

Tofu cubes before they went under the broiler.

 

 

Broiled tofu cubes.

 

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This past month I haven’t been blogging so much about each of the individual meals I have been making, although most meals have been photographed. So I thought I would do a little round-up of photos of the meals and a brief yea or nay vote on some of them.

Spinach Avocado Grapefruit Salad from In My Box

I enjoyed this salad, although my husband, who is not a big fan of spinach, did not. The oil in the avocado and then the tang of the grapefruit is all the dressing this needs. The leftovers even held up and made it into my lunch the next day. Yea for me.

Gingered Skirt Steak with Snow Peas from goodLife{eats}

Instead of steak, we used tofu ‘steaks’. We also omitted the oyster sauce and added 1/2 Tbsp more of both the hoisin and soy sauces. We served this over rice vermicelli noodles which I had attempted to pan-fry. (They didn’t turn out so great.) The stir fry was delicious and next time I will serve it over rice instead of the noodles. The noodles didn’t have much flavor and actually detracted from the rest of the dish. Snow peas were fresh from our garden. Yea for us both.

Baked Salmon (me) and Baked Tofu (husband), Stir-Fried Snow Peas with Scallions and brown rice

I baked the tofu in Book of Yum’s Yummy Grilled Tofu marinade. And the snow peas and carrots were sautéed in sesame oil with green onions. I baked my salmon with a red pepper/five spice powder rub and a rice vinegar/honey marinade. It was very tasty. Yea for us both. And yea for using up the rest of the snow peas we had from our garden this year.

Sichuan Tofu with Garlic Sauce from Fat Free Vegan

We’ve made this dish before and really enjoy it. We used canned, sliced water chestnuts instead of fresh ones. On the side we had some brown rice and steamed broccoli. I follow Susan’s recipe for the most part except I have found that we like a little more sauce in the final dish and so I double the marinade. Yea for us both.

That’s it for now. More to come this week…

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If you haven’t checked out Tasty Kitchen, I would highly recommend it. It is a project of Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman. Lots of goodies and plenty of inspiration over there. And you can also post your own recipes too, if you’re so inclined. I saw the following recipe and although I have another recipe similar to this one (Creamy Chickpea Curry), I thought I would try this version, substituting the chicken of course. I liked the inclusion of the additional vegetables with the broccoli slaw.

It was very tasty, although, right off the bat, I began changing it up to fit our tastes and needs.

Red Curry Coconut Noodles

Adapted from nika at Tasty Kitchen

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, julienned

2 red bell peppers, julienned

1 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated

1-1/2 tsp red curry paste

2 – 15 oz cans light coconut milk

2 –  15 oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup packaged broccoli slaw

1/4 cup sweet Thai chili sauce

1 package of rice noodles, such as these

2-4 cups vegetable broth

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Heat oil in your largest skillet. Saute onions and peppers in oil until they are beginning to soften. Add ginger and saute another minute. Stir in the curry paste and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in coconut milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Add chickpeas, broccoli slaw and chili sauce. Add rice noodles and enough broth to cover the noodles. Cook until noodles are tender. Stir in salt to taste. Serve in large bowls topped with cilantro.

Notes:

* The original version called for full fat coconut milk (2 cans!), I used the lower fat version and added a bit of olive oil for sauteing.

* I think you could omit the Thai chili sauce. The curry paste dominates the flavor and the chili sauce is lost.

* This was great as leftovers except that the broccoli slaw pieces got really hard and were not good the next day. Omit these if you plan on eating as leftovers.

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A couple weeks ago we ventured to the international market to get just a couple things. Uh-huh. As always we bought more than we went in for, but it was worth it! One of the items we bought was frozen lotus root. Whenever we see lotus root, my husband asks me to make him some just like ate in China. Since I haven’t tasted what he ate in China, I had to go looking for some ideas on what to do with it.

My first stop was Book of Yum. Sea always has great ethnic and vegetarian recipes on her blog. I found her recipe for Lotus Root Sesame Stir-Fry and decided it was the one to try.

We had the lotus root with some brown rice, fried tofu and a small salad with a sesame-soy dressing. The whole meal got full approval from the hubby. Although he did say that he would like the lotus root to have more of a vinegar flavor. But he really likes vinegar. And all of his food memories of China involve vinegar. So next time we will have to try our own recipe – with vinegar!

The lotus root that we bought was frozen. I thawed it slightly under cold water and then left it to drain and thaw in the colander for a bit. It was also pre-sliced and the slices seemed thick, about 3/8″, so I sliced each of them in half so that they would crisp up better. This seemed to work out well.

We only used half of the bag of lotus root for this meal so I have been finding other ways to use it. I did make Sea’s Lotus Root Chips and they weren’t bad but I think I may not have baked them long enough or the slices were too thick; they didn’t crisp up as well as I thought they should. We may try again in the future. I did add them to a recent stir-fry and they were tasty in there.

Our garden has been producing a lot of lettuce and we are trying to keep up with it, so I added a salad to this meal. Also to have a bit of green vegetables with our meal. I have been trying to make more of our own salad dressings lately so that we can better control the ingredients and the fat and sugar content. But most traditional vinaigrette recipes I find are the standard 3:1 ratio of oil to vinegar and this feels too heavy on the oil for me. So I have been playing around with less oil.

I have found that I like to use a small (pint or less) glass Mason jar with a lid to make and store the dressing in, that way you can shake it up well when you are ready to use. But this time I only wanted to make a little bit of dressing, specific to this meal and didn’t want a lot of leftovers. Below is what I came up with. It swings wide from the traditional ratio but it was tasty and complemented the meal well.

Sesame – Soy Salad Dressing

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

2 Tbsp soy sauce, gluten free

2 Tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp sugar

ground ginger

garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together in a glass jar or whisk in a small bowl.

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We just made this last night and I HAD to post about them today! As you may have noticed, I normally lag a bit from when I make something and when I post about it. Not today. These got two enthusiastic thumbs up from the official taste-tester.

Last weekend we were on the search for vegetarian, gluten free oyster sauce for the Vegetarian Lettuce Wraps I posted about yesterday and so we made a trip to the big international market in town. I had a couple of key things on my list and the bean curd sheets for this recipe were one of them. Unfortunately they didn’t have them refrigerated or frozen; we asked and looked, multiple times. They only had them dried and they were already crumbled up pretty good. Those would be good for adding to other dishes but I knew I needed big clean sheets to make this dish. So we went to another Asian market down the road. We looked and looked and I was about to give up when we finally found them, next to the frozen ant eggs and thousand-year old eggs. (There were an awful lot of boxes of thousand-year old eggs – they were quite good at predicting how many to prepare, anticipating our future, ancient egg needs!)

So I grabbed two packages, not knowing the condition of the wrappers nor how many I needed exactly or how many were inside the package. When we got home I placed them back in the freezer and then read – and reread – Susan’s recipe over at Fat Free Vegan. (You should also read the original source of the recipe at use real butter.) Then yesterday, I took the wrappers out of the freezer and put them in the refrigerator. And I reread the recipe again.

I was a little intimidated by these simple bean curd sheets. My husband had come in from the garage as I was beginning to pull out the ingredients and asked me if I needed any help. I think he could tell by the look on my face that I wasn’t too sure about what I was beginning. And once I said I was fine, he happily escaped back to the garage and his refinishing project to let me figure this out on my own. He knows it is usually better that way. But it is always nice of him to ask.

So I told myself, how different is it from making spring rolls? Not very different, really. Same basic methods, just slightly different materials. And I can handle spring roll wrappers just fine. So, I opened the package of bean curd sheets. To my surprise, they unfolded into large circles, almost two feet in diameter. Wow. I needed to clear off some more counter space to work with these babies. I had anticipated that they would look more like Susan’s – large rectangles. But they weren’t. So I cut the circles in half, planning to use a full circle for each roll. The package had five and a half circles of tofu in it. So I had plenty. too much, in fact, and not enough filling to fill them all, so I made a small roll that consisted entirely of the bean curd sheets, no filling. (It was good too.)

The sheets are a bit awkward to work with but I was successful. No big mishaps. The hardest part was rolling and trying to keep them tight while not tearing the sheets. Using two sheets per roll helped with that issue as any errors with the first roll were covered up by the second sheet. If you read Susan’s post, she mentions that there are two types of sheets, one being thicker than the other. I think I had the thinner variety.

As is typical for me, I pretty much followed the original recipe to the letter (for the first time at least) and they came out wonderful! They weren’t the prettiest, not as pretty and tight as Susan’s but they tasted SO GOOD! And practice makes perfect, right? Luckily I have another package of sheets in the freezer!

The only change I made was to use fresh shiitake mushrooms instead of dried. But that isn’t much of a change. We made Susan’s five spice sauce to go along with them and I served them up with some stir-fried bok-choy.

My husband, the vegetarian of 14 years, said they reminded him of chicken. I had some chicken last week and I can’t say that the taste reminds me of chicken, but more that the texture does. Maybe it was the umami flavor of the shititake that he was tasting. A lot of people think shiitake taste ‘meaty’ anyway. Regardless, they were great, chicken flavor or not. It’s funny though now, as I look back at the photo above, they almost look like they have a fried chicken-like skin in the picture.

We liked the sauce but I actually preferred them without the five spice sauce. I liked the sweet soy sauce flavor already included in the rolls and the filling and I felt like the two were competing when I dipped it in the added sauce. I think next time I might add some other ingredients to the filling. Cabbage? Green onions?

Have you ever used bean curd sheets before? If you’ve made sushi rolls or spring rolls, you can make these.

Thanks to Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and use real butter for the inspiration and instructions!

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On the weekends, when I have some extra time, I will often tackle a new, time-consuming or difficult dish. Last weekend I tackled P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wraps. Heidi of Adventures of a Gluten Free Mom found a copycat recipe and recently made them for her family. So I decided to try my hand at making them vegetarian. They turned out great!

Be sure to check out the original recipe over at Heidi’s blog. I only made a few modifications.

I used fresh shiitake instead of the dried as they are so easy to find at our local Trader Joe’s. And I used a one pound container of extra-firm tofu in place of the chicken. I sliced the tofu into 8 slabs and pressed them between clean dish towels to remove the excess water. Then I cut the slabs into cubes about 1/4 – 1/2″ in size.

I did omit the oyster sauce as I have not been able to find a vegetarian oyster sauce that is also gluten free. Yes, they make vegetarian ‘oyster’ sauce – it is typically made from mushrooms – but we were unable to find one that was safe for both of us after looking at the international market, an Asian grocery and Whole Foods. If anyone knows of one that is gluten free AND vegetarian, please let me know. I am not sure there is one to be found.

So, instead of the oyster sauce, I increased both the Hoisin and soy sauce to 2 tablespoons.

Initially when I read the recipe I was concerned about the amount of oil used (5+ Tbsp) and so I started out using a lot less but found I needed to add more as I went along. I am not sure in the end whether I used less than called for or not. So, use your judgment and start with less if you want, but I think you will need to add more, just like I did.

The rice noodles were a lot of fun, like Heidi says. The key is keeping your oil the correct temperature, and Heidi’s suggested temperature is right on. Initially my oil started getting too hot and the noodles were burning before I could get them out of the pan. When I brought the temperature back down, they were perfect and even if I couldn’t get all of the little guys out of the pan on the first scoop, they didn’t burn as quickly and I had a little leeway to chase loose noodles around the oil without them burning. Also, you don’t have to make very many noodles. I broke up a bunch of noodles in preparation for frying them and I ended up with a huge plate full, of which some were burnt, but I still had way too many. So our chickens got to enjoy the extras and the overly crispy, burnt ones.

Just a note, if you are cooking for someone who requires a gluten free diet, be sure your ingredients are gluten free; in particular, the hoisin sauce, soy sauce and oyster sauce.

So, if you are gluten free and vegetarian, you can now try some Lettuce Wraps! Check out P.F.Chang’s gluten free menu – they only offer the chicken wraps gluten free, so they aren’t an option for everyone. Perhaps they don’t make them vegetarian because, like me, they can’t find a vegetarian and gluten free ‘oyster’ sauce? Hmm…

Enjoy!

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