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Fried Fish and Hush Puppies

November 4, 2015 Leave a comment

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Hi…remember me? Yeah, it’s been a while. I have a good reason, but at this time, I can’t really get into it. Suffice it to say, my time hasn’t been my own of late (no, I wasn’t in prison…haha) but I’m determined to make a concerted effort to write in this here blog once again. Why? Honestly, I miss writing and I haven’t stopped eating yet…so the whole “I can’t have gluten” thing hasn’t fixed itself and probably never will.

Anyway, food. I still like food…a lot. We have this give and take relationship at present and it’s working for us (truth be told, it’s working better for the food than for me, but that’s the way it goes sometimes, I guess). I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting with different things and have come up with some tweaks to previous recipes posted here, as well as some new things…so let’s get on with it.

I’ve missed the bad things in life. That’s not to say that eating better hasn’t had it’s side effects…but, food is just so comforting, and fried food is doubly so. This last weekend, I did some more experimenting with different batters etc and have MAYBE gotten this fried fish thing down. And, did I mention hush puppies? Oh…I see in the title I did…well, I made those too. Here goes…

3 fillets of Cod (I bought frozen stuff as Montana isn’t known for fresh sea food…can’t imagine why…)

2 eggs

A little bit of water

Mix egg and water mixture till it’s…well-mixed? Cut the fillets into 3 equal pieces and then place them in the egg mixture. I let them sit there for a while before cooking.

For the breading:

1 Cup Corn Meal (I was going for the southern style fish fry)

½ Cup Corn Starch

½ Cup Potato Flour

1 Cup of crushed up Rice Chex cereal (trust me, it’s awesome)

2 tsp kosher salt

2 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp garlic powder

Put the above in a plastic bag and then shake it all up (with the bag closed, mind you).

Oil:

I used Canola oil. I know it’s not the “best” oil for frying and stuff, but we didn’t have any peanut oil so I used what we had.

I put about ½ Gallon of oil in a dutch oven and set it to medium heat. It’ll get to about 350 degrees F.

When the oil is good and hot, take a piece of fish out of the egg mixture and put it in the bag. Make sure the breading completely covers the piece of fish, and then tap off the excess breading. Put the fish back in the egg mixture (yeah, I double dip) and then repeat the process. Gently place the piece of breaded fish into the oil. Repeat this for the pieces of fish that are all the same thickness (you will have 3 pieces of fish in the oil at a time…the same thickness means they will cook evenly).

Repeat the above for the other 6 pieces of fish. Be sure to watch the oil temperature as when you add the fish, the temp will drop.

Hush puppies:

1 ½ Cup corn meal

¼ Cup corn starch

¼ Cup potato flour

2 tsp Xanthan gum

2 tsp baking soda

1 ½ tsp kosher salt

2 tsp sugar

Put that all in a bag and (with the bag closed) shake it up till it’s all mixed well.

1 Cup milk (buttermilk or otherwise)

2 eggs

2 Tbsp oil

¾ Cup (or more!) grated onion (trust me on the grating…it makes it turn out right)

Put the dry ingredients into a bowl, then add the milk, eggs, oil and onion. Stir till it’s mixed (but don’t over stir!).

To make the hush puppies, I took a regular tablespoon and formed balls by rolling a heaping spoonful around in my hands.

Fry these as above (oil about 350 or so) till they are a nice golden brown color.

When done…eat them while they are still warm. Your tastebuds will thank you.

Anyway, I promise to try and write more often. Until then, happy eating.

Going Gluten Free – Interesting Side Effect

January 9, 2013 1 comment

Pickles and Jam

So, I’m rapidly approaching my 2 year anniversary for going GF and, I can honestly tell you, it’s getting much easier. That’s not to say that it is EASY…but it’s not near as bad as I thought it was going to be…which is a really good thing.

As you can see above (the picture, mind you), we’ve been doing some canning over the last couple months. I honestly can’t recall how many quart jars of pickles, beets and jam that we’ve put away, but there are quite a few of each. The pickles are saltier than the store-bought ones, and I couldn’t figure out why that was until I realized that I was using the recipe for pickled green beans (which would logically require more salt). We happen to like them the way they have come out, so I guess that’s all good. If anyone ever has problems with too much sodium, however…we’ll have to adjust that a bit. The beets were good also and the jam…well, you can never go wrong with home made strawberry jam. We also tried our hand at Huckleberry Jam but, having never made it before, we neglected to strain all the pulpy stuff out…so it’s a bit grainy. Still edible…but grainy. Lessons learned.

Made some gumbo this last weekend and already have plans to tweak it a bit to make it better. I won’t mention which recipe I used (I’ll say it was by the one chef I enjoy watching, though)…but once I get everything perfect, I’ll post it up for critique. This weekend, we’re making more and it’s going to be better.

Anyway, the title suggests that something has happened that wasn’t expected and, while that is true, to some extent I should have realized this would be en effect. February 2012, we had a weight screening at work and I was frustrated with my weight, but didn’t put too much worry into it as the first couple months of 2012 were BUSY (bought a house, got married, moved our office into a new building). Since then, and as of this morning, I weigh exactly 53 lbs less than I did then. I freely admit that I’ve been trying to watch what I eat a little better, but that hasn’t stopped us from eating Chicken Fried Steak, spaghetti (with rice noodles, of course) and whatever else we want…just being mindful of how much we eat. It’s made a huge difference.

Why this wasn’t really expected is that it hadn’t dawned on me that, as every time I ate I got sick, my body was basically in starvation mode and was holding onto as many calories as it could. Nothing would stay in me long enough to digest! Now…well, now everything is “normal” (I put it in quotes because this IS me I’m talking about here, and “normal” isn’t a word I would use to describe myself).

Anyway, that was good news and an excellent way to end this post. Happy eating!

Even now, I get cravings.

December 11, 2012 Leave a comment
Alton Brown is a god among men...

Alton Brown is a god among men…

Greetings fellow lovers of food. Well, food lovers who aren’t loved by their food? People who enjoy food under certain constraints? Anyway, if you are reading this, either you are another of the growing number of those of us who have some sort of gluten allergy (be it Celiac Disease or just an intolerance for that stupid protein chain). I welcome you…you aren’t alone.

I was at the local coffee place the other morning (I’ll call it “Barstucks” just so nobody knows what place I’m talking about…hehe) and happened to look through the glass case at the fine assortment of baked goods and had my first real craving in a long time. You know, it’s been almost 2 years since I ran my little experiment and discovered that I have negative reactions to gluten…and I honestly thought I was over this “gluten craving” thing. Well, I’m sad to say that, no…I’m not. The apple fritter (which I realize is REALLY bad and not om nom at all) was calling my name. It wasn’t this quite whisper of a calling…it was a “name shouted from mountain top using a bull horn” type of calling. That fritter loved me, and I loved it. We would grow old together and…well, I wanted that fritter more than I’ve wanted any baked goods in quite a while.

Strangely, I just smiled and shook it off. I say “Strangely” because, let’s face it, when it comes to food some things are hard to ignore. I know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that had I taken a bite of that flaky, sweet, baked deliciousness, that I would have been sick. Not just for an hour or two…but for days. It just wasn’t worth it. Nothing, really, is worth it to be honest.

I guess I’m writing all this down because I know I’m not the only one that fights urges. Sure, we all fight the urge to say words to co-workers who clearly aren’t using their brain (assuming they have one) or to smack those people upside the head (when they deserve it, I mean…hehe)…but fighting the urge to eat something that you know you shouldn’t, to me anyway, is more difficult. We can do this…we’re all strong people who don’t want to face the consequences of poor decisions. The thought of being sick for days (or up to a week sometimes!) isn’t worth the 5 minutes of sheer joy one would get from an apple fritter. I have to believe this is true…

Anyway, Thanksgiving just passed and Christmas is RIGHT around the corner. I still haven’t figure out how that was possible…but…sure enough, it is. My wife and I had a couple people over (none of which have food allergies) and I made a completely GF meal. It was OM NOM! The turkey (pictured above…all thanks go out to Alton Brown for the recipe!!) was perfect. I also made dressing out of some pumpkin bread that had been part of an experiment that didn’t have the desired results. Let me tell you…the sweet bread with the herbs and salty flavors were a PERFECT combination. Had two pies (one pumpkin and one pie I’m calling an Apple Crisp Pie) with GF crusts that were great as well. All-in-all, a very successful meal.

I’m starting to experiment some more with food and am having fun in the process. I made a batch of pumpkin bread (recipe in the blog somewhere) in which I substituted half of the pumpkin with apple sauce (the thought being Apple and Pumpkin are both Fall fruit/vegetables that both pair well with cinnamon and the other spices). It was om nom as well. Made some more pickles and pickled some beets with a friend of mine. More jam (strawberry and huckleberry this year) was also made. It’s been a productive Fall…and I’m looking forward to more experimentation as the year comes to a close.

If you are struggling…know that you aren’t alone. We all face the demons from time to time. We can do this…we can.

As always, happy (and healthy!) eating!

I haven’t died…honest.

June 18, 2012 Leave a comment

 

Hello there, reader. Miss me? No? I don’t blame you. It’s been a busy couple months and I won’t bore you with the details all that much (moved the company I work for, bought a house, got married), but I promise, I have been busy and not just neglecting my writing!

I am doing much better with the whole GF thing. It’s more of a lifestyle change than anything, I think. You have to be REALLY careful what you eat and where you eat it from. What that does is pretty much discourage you from having any sort of social life at all (just kidding!). Actually, there are more and more places even here in the po-dunk town I live in that are offering GF options. Some of them are good…others, not so much.

For example, Staggering Ox is a local sandwich joint here in town that offers GF pizza! Let me tell you, it’s not perfect, but it IS pizza! I also read that Dominoes was going to be offering a GF option here soon, but that it wasn’t actually going to be 100% GF. What does that mean? Reduced gluten still is going to make people sick…and let’s not even start with cross contamination. I’m sure they have special pizza knives and ALWAYS use them to cut up the GF pizza. Riiiiight…

Another example is another local eatery called Steve’s Cafe. They now are offering a GF pancake plate! Once again, it’s not perfect but is a good treat if you are so inclined. I also worry about cross contamination here and have noticed my stomach making some bad sounds after eating there, but I never have full-blown gluten reactions, which is nice.

Baking is still fun, which is nice. I mean, who doesn’t like walking into a house with the smell of fresh baked goods? Ok…so it’s getting warmer out which means that baking is a little warmer than it would be if you, say, lived in Antarctica or had an air conditioner, but it’s still good eats! Along those lines, I made Gluten Free Upside Down Pineapple Muffins. Sadly, I don’t remember where I got the recipe for the cake part of them, but, as you can see from the picture, they turned out pretty good! Ok…so they aren’t really muffins either as they are the size of a softball, but they were delish! And, let’s face it, that’s all that matters.

During Mardi Gras, I also was able to find a good GF King Cake recipe (ok, so I took parts from 2-3 recipes and made my own, but it is the same idea). I’ll post that one up once I find the recipe again because King Cake is om nom x 10 (I even added apple filling to it!).

Anyway, that’s all for now I guess. Hope there is someone is out there that is reading this that gets something from my ramblings! As always, happy eating (because, what’s the point, otherwise?)

Chicken Fried Steak…yeah, it’s as good as it sounds

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

As you can probably tell from some of my other posts, I generally cook for my tastebuds which is, admittedly, probably not the best thing in the world to cook for (this is one of those times that my gut wishes to have words with my tastebuds, but, thankfully, they don’t speak the same language). The craving for Chicken Fried Steak, and the subsequent cooking and eating thereof, is a prime example of this.

I found THIS RECIPE for Gluten Free Chicken Fried Steak and am pleased to announce, it is good. I made some basic modifications to the recipe (I seem to do this for most of them) mostly for flavor enhancement.

#1) I took out the curry and added Cayenne pepper. Why? No real reason other than I had CP in my pantry and didn’t have curry. I will say that curry DOES have it’s place…I’m just not sure that it belongs in a southern dish such as this. Cayenne pepper however…well, my tastebuds were thankful. I don’t know how much I put in there as I generally don’t measure stuff…but I would say no more than 1tsp (well, maybe 2tsp). The other option is to only put a little in the breading for the steak, then add more when you’re making the gravy (om nom).

#2) I’ve made this twice and have used Bob’s Redmill ready-made GF flour once, and then made my own with rice flour and corn starch. Either way works fine (the second way is noticeably cheaper in the long run though!).

Now, when you make the gravy given the instructions listed there, at first, you’re going to think that there is NO WAY that the soupy mixture in your cast iron skillet will EVER thicken up enough to be called gravy. It will…be patient and stir stir stir. It helps to say, “Bubble bubble, toil and trouble…” here as it does kinda resemble some sort of demented mixture that witches would make (but it tastes VERY good!).

Oh! I also used cube steaks from Safeway as they were REALLY cheap and were fork tender after cooking.

If you decide to try this one out (and you should…even if you aren’t from the South), let me know how it turns out! And…as always, happy eating.

Pan-Seared Tuna with Edamame Salad

April 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Kate and I went to Safeway (TM…R…you know what I mean!) and were trying to find something om nom to eat for dinner (“om nom” should be an adjective, but can also be used as a verb, adverb, gerund, back-scratcher and just about anything else that you want it to be…that is, except for a swear word…nobody would say, “Oh yeah, well you’re an om nom!” At least, I hope they wouldn’t.) The guy working in the meat department was VERY helpful (THANKS LYNN!) and suggested we try something that he and his wife tried recently that was also gluten free!

I’ll be honest here…I have the recipe here in front of me, but didn’t really follow it as it went in a direction I didn’t like (WHY would you put cilantro in a dish with seared tuna…that’s too confusing for the taste buds!). Here’s what I did instead (if you want the recipe that was from Safeway, let me know an I’ll post it):

Ingredients For The Salad:

3/4 Cup Shelled Edamame, thawed.

3/4 Cup canned black-eyed peas, drained

1 Medium Red Bell Pepper Diced into 1/2 inch cubes

2 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp Tamari (it’s like Soy Sauce, kinda…but gluten free)

2 Tbsp Mae Ploy Sweet Chili Sauce (this stuff is so good, I could drink it straight from the bottle…purchased from Wal-Mart, of all places)

Take a bowl, put all these ingredients in there and stir. Ta Daaa!!! You’re done with that (although, you can taste-test a couple times to make sure it’s “ok for human consumption”, but it will be)

For the Tuna:

6 oz Sushi-grade Tuna Steak (this fed Kate and I and we were both full at the end)

1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds

1 Tbsp Garlic Powder

1 Tbsp fresh ground pepper

1 pinch of salt

Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl and pat-dry the tuna steak, then “bread” the steak with the dry ingredients.

Once it rests for just a bit, put the steak in a HOT (and oiled) non-stick skillet and cook for 2 minutes, flip (the steak, mind you) and cook for 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and rest for 2 minutes. Cut into strips (the recipe said 1/4 in strips…but my knives apparently suck and I went with 1/2 in strips instead) of tuna, and plate on the salad.

Anyway…there it is…in all it’s om nom goodness (see what I did there?). Try it out and let me know what you think…and, as always, happy eating!

 

(PS: 210 calories, 5 g of fat….pretty good for you too!)

Pasta and Garlic Bread

March 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Been a while since I wrote anything here. I would like to say that it’s because I haven’t had any more problems with gluten or products containing gluten, but, as we all know, that’s just not true. No…I’ve been busy at work a lot lately. Lots going on and, unfortunately, the thing that suffers is the one thing that helps me through the stress of those things happening. How’s that for irony, eh?

Made a double batch of both the lemon and pumpkin breads. I ended up changing 2 things on the lemon bread recipe to kind of make it “mine” (although, legally, I’m not sure what constitutes one person’s recipe and one that was just modified by another person…so I still don’t want to post the recipe, just in case). I substituted white rice flour instead of the brown and added 1.5 tsp Xantham Gum to it and the bread is MUCH better. It really resembles bread now instead of…well, whatever it was that it resembled the first couple times. I made some and brought it to work for a meeting we had Monday, and everyone that mentioned it to me after said they liked it. So…that was a win. *Note: if anyone reading this knows anything about recipe and recipe rights and what constitutes ownership, please let me know!*

Last night, Kate and I decided we were both in a pasta mood…and I, being the bread lover that I am, wanted some garlic bread. Mmm…oh how I miss you, my garlic-y friend! Anyway, I had purchased a french bread and pizza dough mix from Wal-Mart the other day by Gluten Free Pantry and decided that now (well, not now…last night…you know what I mean) was the perfect time to bake this. I got out my trusty stoneware (by a company that rhymes with “Smampered Sneff”) and mixed up the bread mix as instructed on the packaging. Honestly, it was really good. The texture was perfect…very much like french bread. The flavor was a little bland, so next time I may try to put some roasted garlic cloves or something yummy in there to see how it turns out.

Other than that, have just been plugging along and stuff. One of my co-workers has had stomach problems for a long time and I finally convinced her to go off gluten and now, surprise, she feels great. The more I read about this and talk with people, the more people I see really do have a problem, and just don’t know it.

Anyway, I’ll keep experimenting with cooking as long as you keep reading! And, as always, happy eating.