31 May 2009
Well, I planned out meals for Thursday through next Wednesday, but the Nerd and I went out on Friday and Saturday night.
On Friday we met up with a friend for coffee downtown, and since it was past dinner time by the time we all said goodbye I decided to treat the Nerd to dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.
The restaurant is Saigon Cafe. It's known around here as "The Restaurant Without a Sign." Saigon Cafe is located Wailuku, and there are stars on the roof. Nope, I'm not kidding, there are electric light stars on the roof. It's a little tricky to get to, but if you take the first right in Wailuku, past the overpass, and then take a right onto Nani St. You'll see the restaurant to the right. Look for the stars on the roof. The parking is somewhat limited, and there is an apartment complex with reserved parking. But, it's never been a real problem to find someplace to park. Besides, if it was really difficult it'd still be worth the trouble.
The waitstaff are friendly and quite funny. I'm careful about what I order. I avoid the "special" dipping sauce that comes with the summer rolls and instead I use hot sauce.
Our favorite items are the Hot and Sour Fish Soup with Mahi-Mahi, and the Shrimp Claypot. I've never had stomach problems after dining there, and I've never felt glutened. If you're very concerned about cross contamination, you might try elsewhere, but you can always talk with your server about the menu items. Presenting a dining card might help make things clear in case of a language barrier.
When I went to the mainland last year, the first place I went after leaving the airport was Saigon Cafe. Hot, flavorful, and comfortable were a great combination for returning home. Not having to cook was also great.
Last night the Nerd and I went to Sansei sushi, in Kihei, with some friends. This wa a planned outing. Sansei's waitstaff was amazing when it came to Celiac Disease. The waitress informed me that they often have people with food allergies dining there. She was able to list every item on the menu which would be safe for me to eat. The restaurant also has San-J Wheat Free Tamari, just ask for it. Most of what us non-gluten eaters can have are the very simple vegetarian rolls and the Nigiri sushi and Sashimi. Beware. Just because it is an expensive sushi place does not mean they use only crab in their California rolls. The waitress informed that it is actually a mix of crab and imitation crab in them, so please do not eat these if they are unsafe for you. I left totally full, and completely satisfied.
After sushi, we all went for a stroll on the beach before the concert. The concert was held at Mulligans on the Blue. This is an Irish restaurant, and no it's not on the water. It's actually on a golf course. From what I was told, it's the old clubhouse/restaurant for the Wailea Blue Course, from which Mulligans took part of its name.
Don't even dream of eating dinner here. Just about everything looks to be covered in gluten, and I wouldn't risk cross contamination for the world there. However, I did have some delicious vanilla ice cream and alcoholic beverages(Mojito and Sandtrap). There is no gluten free beer, and the hard cider is a gluten containing beverage.
Oh, and did I get sick? Nope. I'm doing really well. It's just hot as the dickens today.
Here's what the meal plan for the week looked like:
Thursday Dinner: Black Bean and Pumpkin Enchiladas & Salad
General Tao's Tofu & Salad (from vegweb.com)
Venison Teriyaki & Salad
Caribean Chicken Stew (from Savingdinner.com)
Indian-Style Apricot Chicken (from Incredibly Easy Gluten Free Recipes)
Chili con Carne & Cornbread (from the Gluten Free Vegan)
I am also planning on baking a Lemon Chess Pie.
Oh, well, here's where you get to see my life happen LIVE. We're now going out to a friend's house to watch True Blood. This means I have no time to whip up any of the meals on the meal plan. Time to bust out pre-made freezer meals.
Seriously, make your own frozen dinners. They're healthier, cheaper, and taste a heck of a lot better than anything you could get at the grocery store.
What is somewhat okay about this, is that I can simply push the recipes further back. I will need to freeze the meats now, but they'll be fine. Don't thaw and refreeze meat. That can lead to food poisoning. The venison is already frozen, and the tofu is fine already. So, the chicken and beef will go into the freezer.
I have an inspiration for a meal to come. I got it from my dad. Sausage and Potato Soup. Not extremely original, but sounds good.
Speaking of my dad, I'm so proud of how he's cooking these days. Since he has such a fruitful garden he has been eating a lot more vegetables and is losing weight and getting healthier. He's also getting to be inventive in the kitchen. He had some patty pan squash that he filled cored, scraped, and filled with a meat and tortilla chip stuffing. He saw a similar recipe online that used cooked rice, but he was inspired to use the tortilla chips. Serving that with some chili powder spices or salsa would be pretty darn healthy, and tasty. Way to go dad!
Aloha! Dinner calls!
28 May 2009
While they do offer extremely fresh ingredients, beautifully plated food, and healthy yet generous portions they are lacking in things for us on a gluten-free diet to eat.
According to Maui Time the restaurant uses 80-90% local ingredients. I've also read about delicious offerings for vegan and vegetarian fare, as well as something for the carnivorous of us.
Most of their lunchtime options (which is when I went) were sandwiches or burgers, and their entrees included crab cakes and another dish containing gluten. Obviously the gluten containing ingredients are no gluten containing grains are grown locally
I ordered a beet salad with a side of pan seared fish (additional charge).
I wasn't excited by their limiting menu, but the food I ate was worth it. The fish was cooked superbly, and it was a large piece. The beets were of multiple varieties, and the greens were lovely. I'm not a huge fan of beets, but I can't say I didn't enjoy them a little, even though I still think they have a weird flavor. The dressing was a pesto vinaigrette. It contained parmesan cheese, but I went for it anyway. I figured that with how much dairy I'd been consuming at home, I could handle a tiny bit out. I was correct in my thinking.
The waitress didn't understand gluten, and she had trouble with me telling her that there is wheat in soy sauce. She kept thinking I was allergic to soy too, and I had to correct her on that a few times. The head chef was out that day, or else I would have asked to see if he could come up with something creative for a gluten-free diner.
I do intend to dine there again sometime, but I'll know that I am extremely limited.
The atmosphere is quite nice, and they have outdoor seating in a beautiful courtyard. The restaurant is new, and dined at the restaurant holding the space prior to Market Fresh Bistro.
We tried to go last night for dinner, but the restaurant was closed. I've read online that they serve brunch and dinner(BYOB), but we must have gone on an off night.
To make sure you don't miss out on your chance to dine there, give them a call.
Market Fresh Bistro
3620 Baldwin Ave, Makawao, HI 96768
Park in the back, or on Baldwin Ave. The restaurant is in the back of the courtyard next to Hot Island Glass and a cute little boutique.
27 May 2009
Yesterday I whipped up some of Rachael Ray's crockpot Indian curry. I first saw the recipe over at Crockpot365, and then I saw it again later on the Rahcael Ray site. I ended up following the directions from the RR site, but left my chicken breasts frozen like on CP365.
Following the directions from RR I didn't put the chicken at the bottom of the crock, but at CP365 she did. I wish I had, just so it would have absorbed more of the curry flavor.
The curry turned out pretty good, but on a scale of 1 to 5, the Nerd and I give it a 3. We weren't impressed, but we'll eat the leftovers and possibly make this meal again.
Now, I've heard that anything in the grocery store called "curry powder" is just wrong wrong wrong. However, even Rachael Ray uses it. Not everyone believes she's a great chef, but she does great food. Heck, she has a cult following. Typically when a celebrity known for doing something well puts out a talk show, it's a flop. But not Ray. She's got staying power, and way too much energy.
So, if she puts out great recipes why did we only give this one a 3?
Well, it just wasn't amazing. We've had better. It's not a flop, but it's not worth going out of your way to make. It is simple, it does taste good, and it fills up the belly.
Perhaps we're picky, and so we're not fans of the "curry powder" from the store spice racks. Maybe the Madras Curry Powder I have would make things better.
So, no worries. Eat up if you'd like to. I'll stick to my other curry recipes, and continue to hunt for other curries with "Mmm" factor.
P.S. A friend of mine gave me a new gluten-free cookbook as a graduation gift. I'll be choosing a recipe from it to make this week.
Why can't dinner cost less than $2 per person while still causing eyes rolling back into heads and noses hunting out your leftovers?
Well, not to fret my friends. Delicious cheap eats do exist. In fact, they exist in my kitchen all of the time. They aren't always so cheap as to be less than $2 per person, but they have happened. In fact, one happened last night.
After reading about lentils with burnt onions over at Cheap Healthy Good I just had to find out more. I looked up Mark Bittman's original post (which CHG links to) and read what he had to say about something so basic as burning onions.
The onions aren't black and dry, but they're right between there and caramelized. Putting them with onions, some carrots, kale, lentils, and brown rice creates a healthy and cheap well balanced meal. There's protein, whole grains and plenty of vegetables. Many other vegetables could be added to this dish to increase the nutrient power and vegetable serving count for the day. I bet a bit of shredded chicken would taste pretty darn good too.
But, last night it was just the basics. I followed the directions at CHG and substituted kale for the spinach. Kale is quite a nutrition powerhouse as it is high in potassium and vitamins A and C as well as being a good source of calcium and fiber.
There is no picture of this meal as it was eaten rather quickly. The smell of it drew us in too quickly for a snapshot. It's probably better that way anyhow as I tend to have a problem with over-stirring causing foods to break down a bit (i.e. lentil mush).
When I took leftovers to work today my boss and coworker could smell the deliciousness radiating from my container. They wanted some. Only my boss sampled the food. It made her remember why she likes lentils, and made her question why she's forgotten them. She's early on in her cooking education, and lentils were one of the first foods she really learned how to cook (other than scrambled eggs). I told her how simple this dish was and she was stunned.
All anyone needs for this dish is a little forethought. At least in cooking the brown rice. Actually, you could wait until you have an hour left to get dinner on the table and you'll be armed and ready to feed the troops.
Put 1/2 cup of brown rice to boil on the stovetop. Once it starts bubbling, turn the heat to low (about #3) and top the pot with a double layer of paper towels and a lid. I got that idea from Gluten Free Cooking School. Simmer it for 45 minutes.
While the rice is cooking rinse 1/2 cup of lentils and put them into a pot to cook with the appropriate amount of water(check the instructions on your bag, they should say it's a 1 cup to 2 1/2 cup ratio). My bag of lentils said to cook them similarly to the rice, but with no paper towels and for only 35 minutes.
Meanwhile, as they're both simmering away, dice up one and a half large onions, 3 carrots, and 1 packed cup of kale.
Coat the bottom of a pan with extra virgin olive oil (non-teflon would be best, but use what you have).
Bring this up to medium high heat (I know this goes against what I've told you before, but it'll be worth the olive oil flavor, use a high heat oil if you'd prefer to not risk it).
Add in the onions. They should sizzle. Stir frequently for about 15-20 minutes. Turn the temperature down to medium if things are progressing too quickly (meaning: beginning to burn rapidly). We want these onions to burn slowly.
Watch the onions to see that they go past the golden, caramel color. At this point add in the diced carrots. When the onions reach the blackened edges and some blackened middles stage add in the kale. Let the kale wilt down. Turn off the heat.
The rice and lentils should be done at this point. Drain any excess liquid from the lentils.
In a large bowl mix together the lentils and rice. ***Don't over stir.***
Then add in the onion, carrot and kale mixture. Once again, combine but don't over stir.
If over-stirring does occur, simply hide the meal from your guests and eat it all yourself.
If not, proudly serve up your inexpensive, nutritious, and tasty dish.
25 May 2009
I've just returned from camping up at the Nerd's family cabin. His grandmother's dad built it for his mom. It's a lovely little place without electricity or hot water. There is a gas range, but the oven doesn't work. That's a bit of a bummer because I'd love to bake a pie. However, I suspect not having the oven working is a safety thing as well. If the oven worked, someone might forget it is on when they leave, and we definitely don't want to see the consequences of that.
Having the new gas range up there is great for making delicious meals while away. Using a two burner camp stove just doesn't provide enough room or control for whipping up a hot breakfast without frustration. Trust me, I know from experience.
In case anyone is wondering, there is no refrigerator. We used a cooler and what was considered a refrigerator in the late 1920's. It's a box built onto the outside of the back of the house. It doesn't get a lot of sun, and because we're up between 4000 and 5000 ft on the mountain. It stays nice and cool.
Of course I took along the trusty cast iron skillet. It was its first time on a gas stove, and it's first time at the cabin. It performed beautifully, and I believe I have another best friend in my kitchen.
There are utensils and dishes at the cabin, but I took along my own spatulas and tongs. However, I was risking cross contamination from the flatware and the other dishes I used. But, I ended up having no problems and everything was up to par.
I did miscount the amount of my loaf of bread I'd need for the trip, so I had to remove toast from the breakfasts and serve one of the sandwiches open face. It all worked out thanks to a 5 pound bag of potatoes I brought along. No, we didn't eat 5 pounds of potatoes but we ate about 2 1/2 pounds between us.
Here's all of what we ate, and how we breezed through that many potatoes:
Friday Dinner: Imagine Foods Creamy Sweet Corn and Lemongrass Soup with Salad with Homeade Dressing and Cottage Fries(meant to be toast)
Saturday Breakfast: Kapalua Farms Eggs, Cottage Fries, and Kula Country Farms Strawberries
Saturday Lunch: Tofu, Tomato, Avocado Sandwiches
Saturday Dinner: Maui Cattle Company New York Steak, French Fries, Papa Leroy's local Sauteed Spinach with Pine Nuts
Sunday Breakfast: Bob's Red Mill Mighty Tasty Gluten Free Hot Cereal with cinnamon, nutmeg, and Kula Country Farms Strawberries
Sunday Lunch: Open Face BLT Sandwiches along with a salad and leftover corn and lemongrass soup
Sunday Dinner: Chili beans, local onion, and gluten free TVP spiced up chili style on top of Gluten Free Hoecakes and Salad
Monday Breakfast: Kapalua Farms Eggs, Bacon, and fried potatoes and local onions
There was also a Chocolate Chess Pie to eat for dessert of the course of our stay. It absolutely was the best pie I've ever eaten.
The Tofu, Tomato, Avocado sandwich shocked and awed the Nerd. He wants more.
The Nerd was also amazed at how tasty the Alae sea salt is compared to standard iodized salt. He even called the iodized salt "cardboard salt." He told me about a TV show he saw on which people were taste testing different kinds of salts and were astonished to find such variations in the flavors. Looks like I might have a salt connoisseur on my hands before too long.
What's for dinner tonight? Lentils and Burnt Onions from Mark Bittman. Although, I think I'll do like someone else did over at Cheap Healthy Good and add a few extras to it. Gotta have those extra veggies whenever you can. I do know that I am out of spinach, but I've got some kale I could steal from if I want to.
While I was away I worked up a new life schedule for myself. That's what getting away to the cabin is for. It's for time to think and manifest things for your life. Time to step back, way back, and look down at the world and view how you've been fitting into it. It's a good place to question whether or not you're liking how you're fitting into things, and how things are working out for you.
I also had time to think on what my next few steps in life will be now that I've graduated.
Don't you all worry though, because this blog did get a daily slot in my schedule. I'll do my best to not neglect posting again, unless I absolutely must. I do enjoy sharing with you all. It's like having you sit at my dining table, even if you're not saying anything. Perhaps your mouths are busy savoring something delicious.
P.S. While I was at the cabin I came across a Wusthof Classic Icon 8" Hollow Ground Carving Knife. People get rid of their unwanted utensils and cookware at the cabin, so since there were so many other knives already there the Nerd thought I should go ahead and snag that little treasure. It's his family, so I accepted his word. I saw the name Wusthof, thought it felt good, and brought it home. Little did I know that it originally retails for $165!
21 May 2009
been enjoying them quite happily. I love the variation in the shell
color and size, and I love that they are laid right here on Maui by
pasture raised chickens. This is definitely a good thing for Maui and
for the world.
I've been purchasing the eggs at Pukalani Superette, and for weeks I
was buying them for $4.50 a dozen. Last week when I purchased these
eggs I had to pay $7.50 per dozen on sale (regularly $9.99). I saw
that Foodland carried the eggs for $9.99 a week or two before, and I
was glad to be getting such a great deal while supporting local
I was stretching my money a little to pay the $4.50 for the eggs, and
I would have paid $5.00, but paying $7.50 or $10 for eggs is
impossible to pay, especially in this economy.
In my quest to continue to purchase locally grown and produced food, I
hope that I can see the price come back down.
I do hope that there wasn't an issue with the farm to suddenly cause
the price increase. Lots of love to the chickens and your farm.
If the price increase was not caused by KF I do hope that I can find
another store that will carry these terrific eggs for a better price.
Thanks for supporting local, the aloha, and for your question.
I apologize for the jump in price. Unfortunately this was an internal
error. When hens first reach laying age of ~6 months, they lay very
small eggs (almost half the size of a large egg). The price they were
sold at to the Superette was at this pullet size. Over time, the eggs
had increased in size, and our packers hadn't quite noticed, so large
eggs were being sold at the medium price - an unsustainable practice,
because our cost of production is high, and chickens eat the same amount
regardless of the egg size!
Now that this error has been corrected, we ran the model again to see if
we could lower the dozen large price, and still be cash flow positive
(which we only very modestly and recently are). We have lowered the
price, so soon (if not now) you should see the price come down a bit,
even with the in-store mark up.
The best deal in town is direct from the farm. If you ever find your
self in Napili, we sell fresh flats (2.5 dozen) for $12.50 at our office
in a honor box system between 6am - 4:30pm M-F. Because they are just
laid, they keep for a month, so most households can make a flat
disappear no problem!
I hope this helps to understand what we are up to. Unfortunately,
pasturing hens in movable cages, keeping low density, importing feed and
hand packing make this local operation many times more expensive to run
than a factory of sick birds on the mainland. The deep yolk color, firm
whites and fresh taste as least are solid indicators that if you can
find a way to swing it financially, you know you are getting a much
healthier food for you, and supporting environmental stewardship rather
Mahalo for being engaged in your food choices, Tova
Diversified Ag Supervisor
Maui Land & Pineapple Co., Inc.
4900 Honoapi`ilani Hwy
Lahaina, HI 96761
20 May 2009
19 May 2009
17 May 2009
15 May 2009
This went over very well. Our carnivorous friend brought a can of beef stew. It was Dinty Moore, and was gluten-free. I was happy to cook it in our cookware for him.
Friday-Wednesday (No Saturday, No Sunday):
12 May 2009
11 May 2009
I'm struggling over here at the computer. I'm trying to come up with a bunch of great bulk food recipes for the freezer. Now, I know I have some, but I want some that are relatively inexpensive but I want them to taste good. I also need them to be gluten-free.
- 3-4 small bananas, sliced
- 1lb of strawberries, rinsed and diced
- 1 pint of blueberries, rinsed
- Nonfat vanilla yogurt
07 May 2009
Finally, Thursday's Meal Plan For Ya'!
- Scrambled Local Eggs
- Buttermilk Biscuits (gluten-free of course)
- Roasted Local Zucchini with Local Onions
- Local Strawberry, Local Blueberry, Local Banana and Organic Yogurt Parfaits (no granola)
- Double Mushroom Miso Soup, Sesame Broccoli, Brown Rice
- Channa Masala (didn't get eaten this week)
- Crockpot Honey Lentil Soup (I'm bulking this out to refill the freezer)
- Gim-Bahp Korean Sushi
- Crispy Sweet and Sour Tofu
I'm sorry I haven't posted for 3 days. This is my final week of school, and then I will have my Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts. Everyone keeps asking what I'll do once I am done, but I don't know. There aren't many Bachelor's Degree offerings that appeal to me at the college here. Many people have told me to go to the college's culinary school. It is something I have considered. I've even spoken with the counselor for the program. However, I need to make some money and pay back the money I used for my A.A.. I also wonder how I would work going to culinary school with my issue with gluten. I certainly couldn't taste anything containing gluten, and I worry about being around too much flour floating around in the air. I don't have any skin issues with gluten, and I don't believe I have trouble with breathing it in, but it seems like I shouldn't chance it. I'd hate to spend the money to go to school, only to be made sick by it. I believe I've discussed this in a prior post.
- 1 small gluten-free pizza crust [from scratch and pre-baked(recipe follows), or frozen]
- 1/4 cup pre-made pizza sauce
- 1 cup Tillamook Vintage White Cheddar, shredded*
- 1/2 a large onion, julienned**
- 2 medium zucchini, yellow and green***, sliced into rounds
- 1 small head of broccoli, cut into florets
- Crushed Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
- 1 cup Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
- 1/4 cup potato flour*
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
- Egg replace for 1 egg**
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar
- 1/2 cup milk replacer (soy works well, but so would hemp or perhaps another)
- 1/8 cup grapeseed oil or canola oil
04 May 2009
03 May 2009
I feel like I do a lot more cooking on the weekends than during the week. Basically I just cook one more meal, but I do tend to plan the more complicated cooking for the weekend.
Strawberry Buckwheat Pancakes
adapted from The Gluten-Free Vegan
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/4 cup brown rice flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 tbsp strawberry guava syrup
- 1 egg or substitute for 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cup milk or non-dairy milk alternative
- 7 medium strawberries, hulled and chopped into 1/8 inch pieces
Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
Combine the rest of the ingredients, including the strawberries, in large bowl.
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until it is thoroughly combined and smooth.
Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil or butter to prevent sticking, if necessary. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter into the pan and heat until bubbles form and pop. Flip the pancake over, and cook until the pancake is cooked through. The pancakes should be a nice brown color.
Serve with more strawberry guava syrup, and if you love peanut butter and jellies use peanut butter instead of butter on the pancakes.
For dinner we had Grilled Chicken Tostadas. These were pretty healthy, and very delicious. We like our Mexican food spicy, so if you don't like too much spice you should use half of the jalapeno and less of the cayenne pepper if you use either at all. The tomatoes and lettuce were locally grown. We didn't have sour cream or yogurt, so we left that out. You could replace that with avocado if you have them readily available.
Grilled Chicken Tostadas
Grilled Chicken Tostadas
- 1 1/2 tsp goya adobo seasoning
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 can refried beans
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 jalapeno pepper, deseeded and minced
- 2 cups tomatoes, deseeded and chopped
- 4 cups crisp lettuce, chopped
- 9 corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 grilled chicken breasts
- Cilantro, minced
- Green onions, sliced
- Sour cream, dairy or non, or plain yogurt (optional)
Grill 2 chicken breasts either on an indoor or outdoor grill. Chop into small pieces.
Empty the refried beans into a pan and add the adobo seasoning, red pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder, and jalapeno pepper. Stir well, and keep over low heat until the rest of the food is prepared.
Heat the oil over medium low heat and add one or two tortillas at a time (depending on the size of the pan) and heat until they are crispy and partially browned.
Remove the tortillas and place onto a platter with paper towels to help absorb some of the oil from the tostadas.
When everything is ready, top the tostadas with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, chicken, cilantro, green onions, salsa and sour cream/yogurt.
Coming Soon: The beauty of pasture raised, not uniform, local eggs.