Thursday, November 29, 2018

Let Them Eat Quiche

Tonight I made cabbage quiche with mozzarella. Why, you might ask? Because I had some on hand. Parsnips quiche, zucchini quiche, broccoli quiche, mushroom quiche, it's all good. Start with a pie crust and follow the simple Joy of Cooking 2006 Edition.

pie crust for one 9 inch pie pan (here is one similar to the one I make)(Whole Foods sells nice butter crusts, too.
1 1/2 cups cooked vegetables (fried or steamed depending on veggie, but drain all liquid)
6 ounces grated cheese
1/2 cup half and half
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 eggs
1/2 raw onion grated
pinch of nutmeg (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper to taste

Start with a pie crust, either the one I haven't posted yet or Whole Foods butter pie crust. Oven to 375, bake 10 minutes. The nice thing about a gluten free pie crust is, it doesn't really rise on me so you don't have to weight it down. If you do weight it down while baking it, will probably take a little longer to bake.Doesn't need to be completely fully baked - you will be baking it again. Just so it has structurally self-awareness (or it looks kind of baked).

While baking, fry up some vegetables so you have  1 1/2 cups of fried veggies. Tonight it was cabbage. Spinach and mushroom are classic, broccoli (but cut it into tiny pieces and steam it). Add the herbs you think appropriate.

Next, you need 6 ounces of grated whole fat cheese. I particularly like Swiss, but cheddar is good or mozzarella if you are feeling like comfort food.

Spread the grated cheese in the cooked pie crust. Stir together everything else, and pour it on top of the cheese.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, OK to raise to 400 for the last 10 minutes.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Thanksgiving!

Let's see -- Sorry no pictures, I was too busy cooking!

Turkey -
Use a Kosher turkey and it's already brined. I use the Joy of Cooking recipe for brined turkey, basting it with olive oil. Roast upside down on a rack for 2 hours at 350F (for 15 pound bird) then flip it to right side up for the last 30 minutes. Could it get any easier?

Sweet potatoes -
Martha Stewart boils sweets with the skins on, and so do I. Buy fresh sweet potatoes, cut off strings, anything not perfect.

3 pounds sweet potatoes
1/2 cup nondairy margarine
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves (Oh my this was delicious)
salt and pepper to taste

Cut them to roughly equal sized chunks, boil 30 minutes, drain. Cool, remove skins (very easy now), add all the ingredients, mash, preferably in your stand mixer.Place in oven as long as you like, at least 20 minutes, or an hour? Whatever. Just before serving, throw on
mini marshmallows (if that's your thing).

Mashed Potatoes -
OK, the rap on nondairy mashed potatoes is they don't have much flavor. Here, cut up 5 cloves of garlic, and half a cup of nondairy margarine. Microwave them together. The garlic pervades the margarine. This is a good thing. The other rap on mashed potatoes is they get old and blah. So, wait to mash them until just before serving.

3 pounds gold potatoes
1/2 cup nondairy margarine
5 cloves garlic, minched
1/4 cup coconut milk or other similar
salt and pepper to taste

Peel (alas) cut into chunks and boil the potatoes in very salted water around 20 minutes or until done. Keep warm until just before serving. Melt the margarine with the garlic in it. Add the coconut milk, get it warm. 5 minutes before serving, mash the potatoes with the margarine/coconut milk/garlic. Add at least 1 teaspoon of salt.

Gravy -- rice flour works instead of regular flour, but be sure and cook it at least 5 minutes. I don't recommend potato starch or tapioca starch, makes a gummy mess.

Cranberries Sauce with Pineapple -
12 oz bag of cranberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of sugar
2/3 cup of sugar (or to taste)
1 cup of crushed pineapple
1/2 cup of walnuts, chopped

Mix everything except walnuts in sauce pan. Boil until they're cooked and all the cranberries explode. Abut 15 minutes. Cool, add walnuts. This was pretty delicious, but if you like regular cranberry sauce or jelly, stick with what you like. It pretty much never has gluten or dairy.

Green beans - see elsewhere in this blog.
Dinner Rolls - These are OK.
Pecan and Apple pies - Joy of Cooking with gluten free crusts, which if they aren't in this blog, deserve their own post.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hosting Large Dinner Parties made pretty easy

We're having 18 for dinner tonight to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. We have around this many every fall, and at Passover, a couple of seders. The first usually has 18-20, the second fewer but still more than a dozen.

it's not that bad, really. Here's how we do it.

First, the key is, have guests who are helpful and friendly and who make everyone there feel happy to be there. This is the expectation for me from guests (also they don't make scenes). 

Guests - do have them bring food. I have a great friend who always brings the brisket (I know, really, isn't that great?). Friends feel that if they bring food, they don't have to reciprocate at a later date, which is fine with me, and they get into the spirit. Of course, I control who brings what. 

OK, now on details. I have a room in your house large enough for a couple of 8 foot tables, and a place to store same tables (the garage?). Then stackable chairs (or folding chairs, you know your audience). I also need a pretty large table/counter space to serve the buffet, because buffet works easier for me.

I used to get paper/plastic everything. Over time, I fugured out the white polyester table cloths from Sams Club/Costco are cheap and you can bleach them clean after any meal. Napkins - I find Party City has cheap pretty washable napkins (buck each?). Other stuff - just keep in mind the tradeoff between having to store it all year and the fact it is much cheaper to buy reusable stuff. Maybe buy one thing a year that's reusable, see if it works, is easy to store, easy to clean up, and build year by year.

Set a timeline and try and bake/cook things ahead of time. You're not cooking everything, remember? Some things taste better cooked ahead, some freeze well.

Send emails to all of the guests together so they have a clue who else is coming, who they know, names of people they don't know so they know who to get to know.

Staff - I personally haven't used staff but I know lots of people really say it makes the event much smoother. 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

I downloaded my Facebook archive, and liked what I saw

I have been on Facebook since before my first smartphone. I started in using a computer, and a browser. Then, when smartphones came along, I thought to myself, do I want Facebook to have all my information? Why, no, no I don't. However, I love posting on Facebook and I really love reading the posts from friends and family. How to solve this dilemma?

I never downloaded the Facebook app. I access Facebook exclusively through a browser at home, or a browser at work (I use one browser for work-related searches and a separate browser for Facebook, Gmail and Twitter). The browser has an adblock on it, of course. I wasn't prescient. It seemed completely clear to me that if Facebook asked for permission to see all my contacts and all the information in my phone including location, etc., it would look at all my contacts, and everything else it had permission to look at. For the same reason, I don't have any apps within Facebook, or connected to my Facebook account. Obviously I never use my Facebook account to log into other websites.

Therefore, my Facebook index contains the cute photos I've posted over the years, and all my posts, which I enjoy re-reading, and copies of my messages back and forth with friends, and few surprises. A page of ads (I guess I clicked on Viking Cruises once).

If you ask, why didn't you tell me this was the safe way to use Facebook, all I can tell you is, I preach it constantly to my family and bore my friends about it. Family considers me "paranoid" about privacy protection. I consider myself cautious. It does mean I have to take 2 steps to post pictures (upload from phone to saved online location, upload from location to Facebook). But friends, I think you're worth it.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Gluten Free Meatloaf

For this meatloaf, all you need is a blender or food processor, and ingredients you likely have around the house. It contains no dairy, no wheat and with slight modifications, no corn or soy so it could even be made kosher for passover. This recipe is adapted from Kosher Cuisine by Helen Nash.

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion or 1/2 large onion
1 clove garlic
1 small-medium potato
1 egg
1/4 bunch parsley
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 Tablespoon gluten free soy sauce (optional)
Black pepper, salt

Line a loaf pan (9 x 5) with aluminum foil. Put the ground beef in a large bowl. puree the egg, onion, garlic and potato in a food processor, and add it to the ground beef. Mix up well. Chop up the parsley, and add it along with tomato paste, ketchup and soy sauce to the beef mixture until thoroughly combined. Season with pepper (and a little salt if you are not using kosher, pre-salted ground beef). Place in the loaf pan and bake at 375 F for 55 minutes, or 400 F for 45-50 minutes. Let the loaf rest a few minutes before slicing.

My husband keeps threatening that it would also make delicious meatloaf burgers, but we haven't actually tried that. If you do, let me know how it worked in the comments.

Monday, November 20, 2017

In Defense of School Uniforms and School Dress Codes and Dressing Up

I see many who claim that the reason their high school sends them home for wearing yoga pants or shirts that show too much "shoulder" is to keep the "guys" from being distracted, which is a sexist reason, and girls should be able to wear clothes that "look good" to school.

This, to my mind, shows educators and students both are missing the point.

Some religious sects mandate modest clothing for women at all times because suggestive clothing is distracting for men (hijab, bhurkha, sheitl, etc). I agree that these rules are completely sexist and have no place being enforced by public schools or workplaces in this country. Similarly, educators modeling clothing dress codes for the same reason are completely sexist and should be kicked out of schools and workplaces.

Other religious sects encourage modest and nice clothing (Sunday Best) for people attending church for an entirely different reason. This reason I can support.

Dress codes have long existed - probably for thousands of years. Clubs and restaurants require gentlemen wear ties and jackets. Businesses and some professions have long had dress codes requiring suits. Hospitals require nurses and doctors to wear scrubs. These are not a question of whether a suit or scrubs is less distracting than other garments. These rather serve a different purpose. (In the caes of scrubs, hygiene. In the case of ties and jackets, probably not hygiene. But what?)
A much mocked book from the 1970's was called "Dress for Success." It argued wearing more professional-looking clothes enhanced a person's career. More recently, an academic study in a peer-reviewed journal showed that students who were more professionally dressed did better on standardized exams. What is going on here?

Higher, more professional levels of dress demonstrate respect for the school or work environment, and in this way benefit the dresser (not the observer). It's almost like an unconscious seed which runs as follows: "I can succeed at dressing the part of someone who is successful in this environment, therefore I must be able to perform the part." To extend the benefits of dressing well to not only the top students, but to all students, public schools define and enforce dress codes or uniforms.

But even schools that don't have uniforms can enhance the respect they demand from the students by demanding they respect a dress code. Not for anyone else, but for the students' own sense of self. If everyone had to dress up for the SAT's, and then everyone did better, is this such a bad thing?

Whoever you are, wherever you are, dress for yourself. Dress for who you are, but also who you want to be. Dress as if your grandmother was going to be there (if you like your grandmother). 

Another reason to dress non-provocatively (beyond it demonstrates you don't have sufficient respect for the school environment or yourself) is that everyone who sees you can be titillated. Do you really want that? Marlene Dietrich could distract men with the tone of her voice or the twist of her lips. Women, so can you. When you want to. Don't share with everyone what is worth directing at one or two guys.

Ginger Cookies - gluten free

I thought I lost this recipe, and I panicked. I don't know about you, but when I panic, I drink alcohol. So anyway, 3 glasses of wine later, I finally calmed down and found this lovely recipe in the recipe box where it was probably hiding all along, and I decided, if I send it out into the ethersphere, maybe I won't lose it again.

Spice Cookies

1 cu crisco or margarine
1 1/2 c white sugar
1/3 c molasses
1 egg
2 1/4 cups bean or pea flour (this makes it nutritious as well as delicious)
1 c mixed tapioca/arrowroot/potato starch flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp giner
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
Sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350
Line cookie sheets
Mix ingredients together in order listed until it forms a great big lovely soft ball of dough
using cookie scoop or spoon, scoop out balls of dough. Roll in sugar and squish onto cookie sheets. Leave room as they spread a bit.
Bake 10 minutes or so, when done, they'll be a bit crinkly on top, but won't change color since already brown. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes, remove to cooling rack.

Thank you to the person who posted this on the internet 10 years ago and I found it. If I could find it again, I would credit you with honors, but I didn't copy the webpage, just the recipe.

Pictures tomorrow, when I actually bake the darn things.

This was the first cookie I baked for my mother after I was diagnosed celiac. And she ate it, and told me, well, if you can eat cookies as good as that, celiac can't be all that bad.