I was away because I had a house guest visiting for a few days. The first meal the Nerd and I shared with her was the gluten-free matzoh ball soup(aka gluten-free kneidlach). This was a simple, yet very delicious meal. I am thinking that I'll follow the recipe for the kneidlach again for making gluten-free chicken and dumplings. That's something I've had difficulty in faking since going gluten-free. I grew up with them being made from bisquick pancake mix, and it might be possible to use a gluten-free pancake mix as a substitute, but this recipe may be a tasty and cheap alternative. It's cheap because potatoes are cheap, and so is potato starch. They're tasty because they're not as hard as rocks and they have a neutral flavor which could be jazzed up anyway I like. Our guest brought me a piece of gluten-free vegan pumpkin bread from Mana Foods. I'm glad they are baking up gluten-free goodies now, but I have yet to find out wether or not they are baking them in a gluten-free kitchen or not. So, if you're on the island and are super sensitive, I'd stay away from them unless you find out how they're made and find out they're safe for you.
The second day she and I went grocery shopping. Our first stop was at the adorable farm stand in Kula. They have the best fresh produce, and the stock rotates so I get a variety of produce based on what is in season and available. I picked up three medium sized romaine lettuce heads for 75 cents a piece. I also bought two bags of beans (green and yellow) for a dollar a piece. I picked up a cherimoya as well. If you've never had a cherimoya, please treat yourself to one the next time you see them at a grocery store or produce stand. I was hoping the cherimoya would be ripe before our guest left, but it wasn't. I was bummed. The stand also didn't have the beautiful carrots I had seen the week before, but I was able to pick up a bag of carrots for 69 cents at the superette. The carrots at the farm stand would have been $2.00, but I was willing to pay that considering their level of freshness and the fact that they still had the carrot tops (they are the best way to determine how fresh the carrots actually are: do they stand up well, are they bright green, or do they look wilted and sad?).
Thursday evening, after all of the shopping, she and I cooked up a gigantic pot of my Vegan Indian Curry. I use Patak's mild curry paste, coconut milk, canned diced tomatoes, a wide array of vegetables, and some apple juice (the secret ingredient, and I always use the organic juice that is still cloudy from the pulp). I can't give away all of the secrets to it here because it's so good. Yes, I'll be self-centered and think someone might steal the recipe and sell it and leave me in the dust. It is that good.
I will say that the vegetable that makes it the most beautiful is the Okinawan Sweet Potato. They're so beautiful and purple. They secrete a milky white substance when they are cut, and they do oxidize, so I place them in a bowl of ice cold water to help them retain that purple color until they're cooked. You've never seen beautiful mashed potatoes until you've seen these mashed (unless you have made mashed potatoes from the other varieties of blue or purple potatoes).
Last night we shared some crockpot goodness. In the morning I threw all of the ingredients into the pot so that we'd have a delicious dinner waiting for us after our day out. I made up the Honey Lentil Stew from Crockpot365. I served it over brown rice, with a salad from some leftover romaine lettuce from the week before, cherry tomatoes in red and yellow from the farm stand, carrots grated on my new box grater, and raw yellow beans. I topped it with the basic vinaigrette from Julia's Kitchen Wisdom. So simple, and so delicious. For dessert we shared some fresh Kula strawberries, and I had a little bit of gluten-free, dairy-free mint chocolate by Sunspire from their line called Tropical Source. We munched on these delicious treats while we watched Kinsey.
For our picnic lunch yesterday we stopped by Down to Earth, a health food store in Kahului. While they do have an impressive hot bar, I was a little nervous to eat from it. The ingredients are listed on a name tag above the item, but cross contamination can be worrisome. However, I decided to give it a try and I had some mock chicken tofu, classic mustard potato salad, and a green salad with a multitude of toppings. I forgot to get some salad dressing, so I had to use one of the sample packets of Braggs I had in my purse. I was slightly bummed that I could no longer order any sandwiches or wraps from their deli counter, but I did eat well and I didn't get sick. I noticed that Down to Earth is now using wheat-free soy sauce in their prepared foods now, instead of sticking with the regular shoyu (soy-sauce). That pleased me, but I was still nervous. It had been a while since I'd tried to eat there. Down to Earth is an okay source of buying gluten-free products, but they shelve gluten containing products right next to the gluten-free products which irks me at all health food stores, especially in the bulk bin sections.
Here's something hilarious I discovered in the world of food and gluten-free yesterday. Our guest was drinking a probiotic beverage called Good Belly. It's supposed to be very good for the digestive system and it is dairy, soy, and wheat free. However, it is not gluten-free. It contains barley malt at the end of the list of ingredients. They seem to be forgetting a whole lot of people when they add that particular ingredient. It's made from many juices and has added probiotics, but the barley malt is a silly add-in. Their yogurt cups contain oat flour. Our guest offered me a taste, but I declined. I am glad I read ingredient lists like a fanatic these days. I wasn't so good about it when I first started.
I'm not sure what dinner will be tonight, but I'll do my best to get a photograph.