Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gluten Free Dinner: Asian Food Fusion Faux Bimbimbap

Photo Credit: Rex Roof Bimbimbap
Imagine that it's a hot summer night. You have leftover, browned ground turkey and last night's white rice. What can you do to amp up the nutrition, cut time in the kitchen and stay cool?

Photo Credit: Open Cage Bimbimbap
Blogger Shannon from Just as Delish displays a true Korean Bimbimbap recipe on her site.

Whereas, my recipe is a mix of what ingredients were on sale at Diablo Foods and some guidance from my sister, Sabrina, who is a healthier cook than I am.

Sabrina, my younger sis, is the first one to serve me a superior version of this gluten free dinner bowl.

Here's an easy gluten free dinner that I served him on Wednesday night:

Gluten Free Asian Food Dinner Bowl

pre-cooked brown or white rice
1/2 pound pre-cooked ground turkey
1/4 cup raw shredded carrots
1/3 English cucumber cut into matchsticks
1/4 cup rinsed mung bean sprouts

1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 TB powdered sugar

2 fried eggs
2 TB canola oil

Optional add-ins:
1/2 TB toasted sesame seeds
1 TB sliced green onion
1/4 tsp sesame oil
Photo Credit: Flickr Pen Waggener Bimbimbap
1/4 tsp crushed garlic

Step 1: Mix powdered sugar and soy sauce in a medium sized bowl.

Step 2: Reheat rice and cooked turkey in microwave.

Step 3: Fry the eggs in canola oil.

Step 4: Layer the rice and protein topped with raw veggies into a bowl.

Allow each diner to pour as much or as little sauce on top of  his/her serving.

Note: This can be made without turkey or eggs and substituted with plant protein such as tofu for vegan diets.

The result? The glory of texture! The contrast of hot and soft with cool and crisp! A delight for the eyes. Bright orange and fresh green! Elegant silver sprouts in a sweet dark sauce!

Photo Credit: Tyra Banks's Modelland
If you like sprouts solo, you might like Blogger Eating and Living's Mung Bean Sprouts recipe. Comment below to tell me your favorite gluten free dinner in the summer.

In Tyra Banks's Modelland, this is what would appear in Eatz for me! I'm reading this book, Modelland, for summer. Banks's characters may prefer pomegranate juice-drenched oysters or neverending whipped cream but I'd ask for this gluten free dinner every day, three times a day.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vegan Pumpkin Coffeecake: Vegan Dessert Recipes with Pictures

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Bake Sale Items
Summer brings too many low-fiber, eggy, fatty sweets.

Just count how many neighborhood bake sale and lemonade stands you've stopped at. How many overpriced cookie boxes have you purchased from scouts outside the grocery store?

If you are willing to introduce a fall flavor this summer, then this is a comfort food vegan dessert recipe to try: homemade vegan pumpkin coffeecake. 

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Vegan Pumpkin Cofeecake Dessert Recipe
It's fat-free with protein and fiber. Plus it has a lofty yet dense pillowly texture that is satisfying. Drizzle with a vegan icing and you have dreamy breakfast coffee cake for pennies.

Vegan Cake
3 cups bread flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 TB cinnamon
5 TB pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp cloves
2 TB baking powder
1 TB yeast
1 1/3 cups soy milk

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp rum
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 TB soy milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Vegan Pumpkin Coffeecake Slice
Mix dry ingredients together. Heat soy milk in microwave for 1 minute and mix with pumpkin puree. Combine the liquid with the dry mix. Spread the thick batter into an 8x8" oven safe glass pan that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake for 32 minutes.

Combine rum, soy milk, powder sugar and sea salt in a small bowl. Mix with a fork and drizzle over hot cake.

Amazing loft without eggs because of the baking powder. Moist because of the puree and soymilk without any oil!

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol Non-vegan cookie lollipops
Enjoy your healthier dessert! I purchased a vegan cookbook from Kaiser Permanente to make a gradual lifestyle change. If vegan desserts taste this good, I wouldn't mind ditching my signature non-vegan sweets.

Note: This is still a high carbohydrate dessert. If you wish, you can add oats, drief fruit or flax meal to boost the fiber content.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies
I reviewed a black bean gluten free brownie recipe from Happy Herbivore and a vegan raspberry truffle brownie from The Post Punk Kitchen. I also read recipes for gluten free snickerdoodles from Betty Crocker's site.

In the end, I did not feel intrepid enough for any of these for my first summer bake sale's gluten free baked good. So I chose an American classic, the simple chocolate chip cookie.

In the early 2000s I remember buying gluten free flour mixes that were woefully savory-tasting. I remember recipe fails baking for my boyfriend on an IBS diet.

The gluten free cookies of those days were strangely salty rather than sweet and puck-like like hardtack. Unappealing.

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol's Kitchen King Arthur Gluten Free flour
To this day, I can't bear to buy a package of wheat free flour containing chickpeas.I chose King Arthur Gluten Free Flour because it relies on brown rice instead of ground beans as its base. Disclosure: I have not been paid to endorse any company, brand, product, or blog.

I'm testing wheat free cookie recipes tonight to determine if gluten free flour has improved in the past 8 years.    

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 3/4 cups King Arthur Gluten Free Flour
3/4 cups white granulated sugar
1 TB molasses
1/4 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup soy milk
1 TB ground almonds
3 TB oats
2 TB coconut oil

1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips (conventional or vegan)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheight.

Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Mix the wet ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Combine dry into wet mixture. 

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
 Use a measuring tablespoon to form 8 cookies. You'll notice the sandy texture of the gluten free dough. Bake the first batch for 14 minutes. Adjust baking time for crisper or softer cookies for second batch. Let cookies rest on cooling rack for 30 minutes before sampling.

Note: Contains nuts, oats and soy. If you use vegan chocolate-style chips, the recipe will be dairy-free. The Post Punk Kitchen's Wheat Free Chocolate Chip cookie recipe inspired this version.

My review? The oat flavor was more noticeable than the chocolate. This was dissappointing. Also the texture was crackly like toffee on the browner edges. Unfortunately, the cookies had a dusty aftertaste. It still tasted better than the past bean-based gluten free flour and neutral rather than salty. I would rate this a B- as opposed to the F of the early gluten free flour mixes.

I don't expect the fresh batch, tomorrow morning, to sell well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

10 Bento Lunch Boxes: Eco-friendly Meals

Photo Credit: Kawaii Bento Boxes
Imagine steamed baby carrots, hard-boiled quail eggs and sea vegetables.

Are these lunch items for an adult on a macrobiotic diet?

Add whimsical teddy-bear faced pancakes and smiling squid made from sausages and you have a different take on lunch. Melissa Sharp, blogger of Another Lunch, also presents tutorials on making lunch fun with bento boxes. Disclosure: I have not received payment to endorse any company, product, book or blog.

Kids bento boxes can be just the right portion for toddlers. What's another benefit? Good Housekeeping has hinted that this bento-style is eco-friendly too.

If your family serves seafood, you can include shredded scallop, shrimp and even imitation crab meat in Japanese bento boxes. I borrowed Kawaii Bento Boxes: Cute and Convenient Japanese Meals on the Go as inspiration for an upcoming dinner party that includes children age 3 and under.

If my toddler-friendly home decor article for La Chapstick Fanatique, I mention toddler-proofing the party of choking hazards that may appear on a conventional menu.

In this cookbook by Photographer Yasuaki Okada, I found 10 bento lunch boxes that I would recommend to readers of SmartyGirlHealthyRecipes:

I am impressed by the distribution of soy protein options and sea vegetable side dishes. When I execute these recipes I plan to use cupcake liners as mini food cups to divide food in kids bento boxes. I might choose to avoid food picks for preschoolers because of possible chocking hazards. Just as I would avoid skewered onigiri for the same reason.

Dividers such as the green "grass" often seen in Japanese take out can be made with food-safe paper. I look forward to paper craft so that will be another how-to project.

1.  Oval Onigiri Piglet. Made with rice and salmon flakes decorated with carrot ears, cheese snout and nori seaweed eyes.

Photo Credit: Yum-Yum Bento Box
2. Omelet Rice Bento. A folder omelet filled with pre-cooked easy-to-digest shredded chicken and rice. Decorated with lines of ketchup to look like a fish.

3. Blooming Tulip Bento. Dyed-hard boiled quail eggs shaped like tulips over rice. Diagonally cut pea pods to represent leaves.

4. Sushi Salad Bento. Sliced ham, cheese and carrots cut with an heart-shaped cookie cutter. Meat and vegetables over seasoned rice.

5. Cauliflower Lamb. A cauliflower floret boiled in salted water and drained. A carrot for a face with black sesame seed eyes. 2 pretzel legs.

6. Okra with Bonito Shavings. Boiled drained okra. Bonito shavings for flavor and to absorb moisture.

7. Buttered Squash. Simmer cubes of winter squash in a pinch of sugar and salt with a tiny bit of butter.

8. Simmered Hijiki Seaweed. Seaweed seasoned with dashi, soy sauce and sugar.

9. Candied Sweet Potato. Fry in vegetable oil.

10. Almond Tofu. Similar to Italian panna cotta but flavored with almonds.

For pictures of cute kids bento, I also recommend Design Swan and Creation Z Studio

For adults who haven't tried nori, this is also a fun introduction.

Happy Bento Lunch!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easy Gluten Free Easter Treats

Photo Credit: SmartyGirl Renee's Gluten Free Easter Care Package
Photo Credit: Renee Marchol's Cocoa Mochi Gluten Free Easter Treats
Photo Credit: SmartyGirl Gluten Free Cocoa Mochi Truffles
Photo Credit: SmartyGirl Gluten Free Almond Cookies

If you would like to bless your guests with gluten free Easter treat choices this holiday, consider these two easy recipes: gluten free almond cookies and cocoa mochi truffles.

Almond Cookies

1 cup white granulated sugar
3 egg whites
1 1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp pure almond extract (optional)

Combine the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in a mixing bowl using a a fork. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake teaspoon-sized cookie mounds for 22 minutes. Allow to cool on cookie rack. Use a sharp knife as opposed to a plastic spatula to separate the cookies from the paper because they can be sticky. What is the texture of these gluten free Easter cookies? Chewy-crisp and soft. I experienced these at Bijan Persian Bakery when I went to graduate school in San Jose. You can find this type of cookie also in French bakeries decorated with powdered sugar and toasted almond slices. They are usually sold in the shape of lucky horseshoes.

Cocoa Mochi Truffles

6 TB unsweetened baking cocoa powder
2 cups of powdered sugar
12 oz of sweet rice flour
1 cup of water
1/4 tsp sea salt

Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture. Grease a microwave safe 8"x8" baking dish. Microwave the cocoa batter for 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir to break up lumps. Microwave for 6 minutes. Repeat. Microwave for 3 minutes for the final time. Be careful not to burn your fingers. Use a spoon that has been sprayed with non-stick vegetable oil. Pour the hardening dough onto a greased surface such as a large ceramic plate coated with canola oil. Allow to cool for 8 minutes. Dust the dough with additional 3 TB of unsweetened cocoa powder to reduce stickiness before shaping. Use a sharp knife to cut ropes of dough into 1 TB chunks. Keep the Easter treats cube shaped or roll them into spheres. Disclosure: I have not been paid to promote any company, brand, product or blog. However, I will reveal that I used Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder because I'm a San Francisco gal.

Joyous Easter!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

5 Spring Seaweed Snacks for Health

Posh Spice eats laver seaweed and so do I. I remember reading about Victoria Beckham's sea vegetable consumption for weight maintenance in 2011. Not all Chinese Americans are exposed to kelp and laver sea vegetables but it was part of my childhood diet. Yes, I lived near Berkeley but it wasn't because of a macrobiotic food trend.

Photo Credit: Chenhai Laver
For me fungus as kitchen staples such as snow lichen and black wood ears were as common as having chicken, on hand, for dinner.

My grandma was known for her steamed chicken with light soy, shitake mushrooms, black wood ears, and ginger slivers. It helped warm my blood during winter when I ate this with jasmine rice.

How did our family get their supply of seaweed in the 1980s? Grandma traveled to San Francisco to buy groceries for my parents. She'd return laden with plastic Asian grocery bags full of fresh produce and discs of laver sea vegetables. In the 1990s, my parents moved closer to Oakland so the commute for Asian groceries became less difficult. 

If you are interested in seaweed to buy for cooking, you can find roasted nori in the ethnic aisle of most chain supermarkets. In 2012,you can find freshly packed seaweed salad at Whole Foods, dried sea vegetables at Sprouts and roasted seaweed at Trader Joe's. This is appealing to non-Chinese also who follow a vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free diet. 

If you don't know much about seaweed as food, you can watch a clip about a sea vegetable farmer on Chow's Obsessives. You may have already encountered seaweed as a snack at Trader Joe's if you've tried their 99-cent roasted seaweed snacks. You might have taken a sip or two of miso soup at a Japanese restaurant and tasted a hint of wakame sea vegetable. Maybe you are reading this because you are already a seaweed connoisseur and want another recipe for chucka salad.

If you believe in Chinese herbal remedies or follow Taoist dietary suggestions, seaweed is considered a cooling food. "Cooling foods" help rehydrate the body after consumption of too many fried or spicy foods. Some say this is a good diet after St. Patty's Day celebrations. 

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol's Kitchen Trader Joe's Miso Soup
3. Miso Soup

Laver Tofu Eggdrop Soup

1/4 disc of dried laver
8 cups of water
10 oz tofu
2 oz green onions
chicken or vegetable bullion (optional)
1/4 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 egg whites 

1. Soak the dried laver in 4 cups in water for 8 hours. Swish and strain to remove sand. 
2. Set 4 cups of water in a stock pot to bill. Add the cleaned, softened laver. Season with bullion if desired. Add ginger and cubed tofu. Simmer for 45 minutes. 
3. Beat the egg whites in a bowl. Pour the egg whites in a stream while stirring the soup with a wooden spoon. Ladle into bowls and garnish with green onions. 

Note: You can omit the egg and chicken bullion to make this a vegan meal. You also have the option of selecting silken, soft, firm or extra firm tofu. Avoid the crispy, deep-fried tofu if you are making this dish as a cooling tonic. 

Happy Seaweed Snacking!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Almond Tofu Dessert: Easy Spring Desserts

Photo Credit: Renee Marchol's Kitchen Almond Tofu Dessert

Last night my husband came down with the sniffles so he requested gelatin for the next day. Specifically, he asked for Almond Tofu Dessert. He experienced this easy spring dessert during our dating years, at dim sum and at my family gatherings. It also goes by another name Chinese Almond J-llo but since it is not truly a product made by Jello, let's avoid calling it that.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons NicnakW Almond Blossoms
To me, Spring is the perfect season to consume almonds. Why? Because almond seems lighter tasting than vanilla. I usually associate vanilla with baked goods and sticky, eggy custards. In contrast to vanilla, I think of almonds as the perfect partner to fresh Spring fruit. Feel free to comment and tell me your opinion of almonds. 

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons Healthaliciousness Almonds
Here is my recipe for Almond Tofu Dessert:
10 oz evaporated milk
3 packets of unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup of sugar or sugar substitute
1 TB pure almond extract (do not use imitation)
8 oz cubed fresh fruit (optional)
3 cups water approximately

1. Boil a teakettle full of tap water.
2. Mix 3 packets of unflavored gelatin powder with white sugar. Pour boiling water into the heat-safe glass 8 X 8" dish about 2" high. Use a fork to make sure all the powder dissolves.
3. Add the evaporated milk to the gelatin water. Add almond extract. Chill for 3 hours.
Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons TurtleMom4Bacon Fruit Salad

Preparation Note: The prep process is quick. The waiting is 3 hrs.

Decoration Tips: Cut the almond tofu into attractive cubes. Decorate the dessert with fresh fruit such as kiwi slices or fresh peach. Be creative. You can even use gelatin as a canvas for Easter bunny scenes. How? Use cookie cutters or sculpt the Almond Tofu in a bunny mold.

Diet Notes: If you prefer canned fruit cocktail choose the one with pear juice instead of corn syrup. Also if you are allergic to cow's milk swap the dairy for a nut or soy-based milk. Contact me if you can share a Kosher substitute for gelatin.

I enjoyed some of this dessert as a light snack. I would like to learn how to make Almond Flan, next, as described in the children's book Esperanza Rising.

Read future tutorials on how to make DIY beancurd and almond nutmilk.

Welcome Spring!