Smoked Bratwurst from Aldi’s: Yummy!

 

A day too late for a Memorial Day barbeque, but I’ve been busy and somehow this blog has become a lower priority this May because I am utterly consumed with work, gardening and especially tired due to recovering from my knee replacement surgery. Not writing to share excuses but there they are, regrettably valid.  I’m writing today to share a tasty meat product I found at Aldi’s: smoked bratwurst.smoked bratwurstThey taste so great after you grill them a bit; get those grill marks going and they burst just a bit on the sides, perfect!   We had ours with gf hot dog rolls by Schar; okay but seemed bready to me as I tend to want a thinner bun. I am so over eating a lot of bread these days but a roll to put my wurst in seemed appropriate.  For condiments we had an unusual combination but it worked; spicy whole grain brown mustard, finely chopped Vidalia onion and horseradish from a just opened bottle.  Lots of zing going on and it matches well with the flavor of these brats.

To me they taste like the best hot dogs ever. I had a Nathan’s hot dog the other week and while it was decent; these brats were so much tastier. They are fairly cheap; about $3 for five of these fat brats.  The package even says gf on it; no guessing involved. Great flavor, easy to fry up and super pricing: awesome choice for a bbq.  They are vacuum packed which keeps them very fresh until you are ready to fry these chubby wursts up for a hungry group of friends at your next barbeque. Enjoy!

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Seafood Cakes

Once at the Springtown Inn I had the most delicious seafood cakes, this was 8-9 years ago.  Well, to be honest, maybe twice I had them. Anyway, they were made with two or three different seafood proteins I think they had shrimp and crab but it was such a length of time that I can’t remember for sure.  Anyway, I had long wanted to create a similar dish.  Searched for a recipe and not finding one that was really close I took one from Food Network and modified it.  The recipe featured small sized cakes with a fresh salsa on top, made by Robert Irvine. I didn’t do the salsa and I made a few changes to the cakes.

I made them two different versions; lobster, shrimp and crab and one with flounder instead of the crab.  Both were easy to construct and delightful. The flavor is delicate and light. I didn’t make a sauce in the interest of that delicacy plus it was easier and included less calories. We agreed they were fine all alone but go right ahead and made a sauce of your choice. Mr. Irvine suggests a sauce of equal parts crème fresh and sour cream.  I might try that next time!

seafood cakes frying

Angie’s Seafood Cakes

¼ lb medium raw shrimp; peeled and no tails

a 4oz. lobster tail, removed from shell and still raw

1/3 lb raw flounder or crabmeat

2 tbsp. finely chopped shallots

2 tsp. finely chopped fresh parsley

1/3 cup gf bread crumbs, preferably panko plus more if desired for coating cakes

1 tsp. garlic powder

Half a lemon, zested

1/3 cup Mayonnaise, might need a tad more….

2 tbsp. finely grated parmesan cheese (I made one version without)

1-2 tbsp. mild olive oil

Directions:

Chop the raw lobster tail into chunks. Put the seafood in a food processor, process briefly until fairly small particles but not even close to a paste.  Dump in a big bowl, add the shallots, parsley, bread crumbs, garlic powder, zest, mayo and cheese, stir to blend well. Don’t overblend; stop as soon as it seems fairly even. If you like; before stirring add salt and pepper to taste; maybe ½ tsp. sea salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Form into 4 cakes. If you want them crunchy on the outside gently press into some more bread crumbs to crumb both sides.  Put on a large plate and chill an hour so they hold their shape.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet to hot and fry them about 3 minutes to a side; do not let burn!  I turned down the heat after a minute so they kept cooking but at a temperature less likely to turn them dark brown. But don’t use low temps or you will get a greasy cake!

seafood cake with risotto

Serve with some rice pilaf and your favorite vegetable; asparagus comes to mind! I made pea risotto which was divine.

1774 Grille & Tap Reboot

Eating out on a Thursday as opposed to a noisy Saturday night can be a very different experience.  I returned to 1774 Grille & Tap in Hellertown, Pennsylvania recently and enjoyed the quiet of the side dining room at the 1774 Grille.  It was nearly deserted when we got there although by the time we left close to eight it was filling up. This lovely small dining room has several windows that look out on birdfeeders and it was just perfect for enjoying a quiet meal. Just outside was a long, narrow herb garden which I am guessing plays a key component in creating their fresh and made to order entrees.

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We were promptly seated and ordered drinks.  My companion enjoyed his micro brew watermelon beer although he said he didn’t taste much watermelon flavor…maybe a good thing? I had a wonderful glass of Riesling; not the same one as last time but possibly even better. Touches of fruit and an inviting crispness that made me long for a bigger glass!  He was served some warm slices of bread and a plate of dipping olive oil, which I wished I could indulge in…

Our salads arrived promptly; mine was watermelon radish carpaccio with cucumber, pea tendrils, feta cheese and a delicate lemon vinaigrette.  If you never have enjoyed a watermelon radish it is a speckled pink inside and pale green as to the skin. It was sliced very thin. I ate every bite of salad, particularly enjoying the lemony dressing. 1774 grille 001 Josh’s salad was a spinach cobb salad with bacon lardons, hard boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes and a yummy looking blue cheese dressing.  My friend consumed it with great gusto. I wasn’t sure I could eat the lardons or I would have begged a taste. Among the other salad choices was a wedge salad which a nearby table had ordered and we agreed it looked well worth consuming.  Next time…

cobb salad

My dreamy sounding duck breast was no longer on the menu as this is now the spring/summer choices.  There is a duck leg confit but it was not gluten free so I couldn’t indulge. I went for the lamb chops which came with tri colored roasted tiny potatoes over a pea puree and perfectly sautéed leek on top.  I enjoyed every bite. Not sure when or if I have had better lamb than that evening. It was listed as Australian Lamb rack. Not sure two good sized chops are a rack but that is my quibble (I am still longing for another chop…or two!)

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Josh had the buttermilk fried chicken which was a substantial looking meal served on a wooden cutting block  Some homemade pickles, slaw and corn fritters accompanied it. His four pieces of dark and light boneless chicken were tender, moist and delicious. The pickled red onions were perfection with the chicken. Those pickle slices disappeared incredibly fast. The corn fritters could have used a bit more corn but were tasty. fried chicken

There still aren’t any gluten free desserts on the menu except sorbet and it was a chilly night so that was a no go. All in all we both enjoyed a delicious meal. The only thing I could have wished was that my radishes had been a touch fresher, they seemed like they had been run through the mandolin slicer much earlier in the day and had lost some of their crispness and juiciness. I am guessing that was a one time error and I might have to try that salad again as it was enjoyable and with freshly sliced radishes it could be fantastic.

This restaurant has several great menu choices and their website says all is created fresh to order. I loved that they had several gluten free choices for me and this writer must confess that nearly a week later I am still dreaming of that lamb. It was so succulent and flavorful. If you love lamb; just do it! Our waiter was very attentive and the service was timed perfectly.  I personally loved the quiet of the side dining room.  But, if you like more bustle and company, the bar is hopping and the big dining room is the place to be seen in town! The staff is still finding their feet on a few small issues but I think the 1774 Grille would be a perfect choice for a celebration dinner.

Ravioli with Greens

After a busy day everyone wants a quick and tummy filling meal.  Mine has to be gluten free.  I was looking for a meal that would use up some plain frozen raviolis I bought at Wegmans. They are quite tasty but they needed a sauce, some veggies and a protein component.  I had some unopened flower shoots, tender stems and leaves from a second year collard plant. So I went for it.  T hen I made it another time; first with canned chopped clams added and next with freshly fried chunks of chicken breast.  Both were delicious and so simple to throw together.  I had the clam version with parmesan cheese freshly grated on top.  Perfect quick supper for one.

You could use broccoli rabe or broccolini for this recipe. I happened to have all these flower shoots on my collard plant just begging to be used in a creative and tasty way. This is a riff off my homemade gnocchi with clams and bitter greens recipe I love but heck of a lot quicker to make.

 

Angie’s Ravioli with Greens

Serves one

Ingredients

4-5 frozen cheese ravioli

A handful of broccoli rabe (1/4 to 1/3 of a pound) or collard bud stems or broccolini

1 tbsp. EVOL

1 garlic clove

½ small can chopped clams or ¼ lb chicken breast

2 tbsp rice flour if using chicken

A pinch of red pepper flakes

1 tsp. butter

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Directions

Put on a quart of salted water to boil. When boiling drop in the ravioli and cook them about 6 minutes; 1 minute less than the bag says is a good plan.  Drain well, set them aside to add later and try to save a ¼ cup of the liquid for later.

In a mini wok or sauté pan heat the EVOL, if you are making the chicken cut it in small chunks, dust in the flour until well coated, and fry 4-7 minutes until golden on more than one side and done.  If they are fat chunks they will take longer.  Sometimes I flatten chicken breast chunks a bit to help them fry faster.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add the minced garlic clove, stir. Add the broccoli rabe and the red pepper flakes, stir and cook about 4 minutes until well wilted. Add the drained cooked ravioli and clams or chicken chunks you cooked earlier.  Stir well, cook a minute or two.  Add the butter and toss once.  Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and serve.  Enjoy!

Spicy Chicken Tenders

There are a lot of commercial food items that I don’t get to eat anymore, specifically most fast food being a major no no.  I miss crispy chicken like I used to enjoy at Wendy’s.  When I saw this recipe referenced on facebook I immediately went to the site, read the recipe and decided I had to try it.  I had some chicken breast tenders and all the ingredients except the gf Bisquick.  I looked on Glutenfreeonashoestring and lucky me; she has a recipe for making your own gf Bisquick; it is attached to a recipe for mini breakfast pancake bite muffins. I had the flours needed; white rice, potato starch and tapioca flour plus the add ins of baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.  Easy peasy to put a double batch together; I will keep it in my freezer in a Ziplock freezer bag; sure have been wanting some of that Bisquick!

I lowered the hot sauce to half, ditto for the cayenne powder as I was pretty sure I didn’t want it so spicy; do as you wish. It was simple to do; mix the spices with the Bisquick, mix the hot sauce with the water, dip the chicken in the spices, then the hot water and back in the spiced flour and fry. The second time I made this I used a non stick stainless steel pan and 1/4 inch canola oil.  It was almost like deep frying but not quite.

I didn’t eat it as a sandwich the first time; had two juicy tenders with a baked potato and some summer squash.  It was very tasty and not too spicy for me.  I had it in a gf bun for a meal, complete with lettuce, tomato and mayo, and it was wonderful. You can also cut the chicken up into chunks, pound them briefly and you have lovely fingers that are somewhat smaller, great for kids. Fried chicken tenders are not something I would eat every week but it sure was yummy! I think this recipe is well worth trying even if you just buy some gf Bisquick.

Gluten-Free Spicy Chicken Sandwich (like Wendy’s)

 

2-3 Tbsp. Frank’s Red Hot Sauce  (the second time I made this I used another red hot sauce so it doesn’t have to be Franks to turn out great)

1/2 c Water

1/2 c Gluten-Free Bisquick

1 Tsp. Sea Salt

1-2 Tsp. Cayenne Pepper (use 1/2 tsp. if you want it close to mild)

1/8 Tsp. Fine Ground Pepper

1/4 Tsp. Paprika

1/4 Tsp. Garlic Powder

1 lb. Chicken Breast tenders – pound them a bit if they are very fat; you want it ½ inch or thinner.

Mix together the Gluten-Free Bisquick, Salt, Cayenne Pepper, Pepper, Paprika and Garlic Powder in a low bowl.  I used a wide soup bowl.

In a separate cereal bowl mix together Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and water. In a  high-sided sauté pan heat 1 cup of canola oil – it should come up about 1/2 inch the side of the pan depending on the size of your pan. I started it on medium heat and put in a candy thermometer to regulate the temperature; I got it pretty hot; 350 degrees before putting in the chicken.  Or use my frying pan method I described above; less oil for that and no thermometer needed. Take one chicken breast tender at a time and dredge it in the GF Bisquick mixture, then roll it in the hot sauce/water mixture and then put it back in the Bisquick mixture and roll it to coat.  This can get messy; try to keep one hand dry and one for the water/hot sauce part. I slid one into the hot oil and then a second one. Cook chicken for about 5 minutes, until they are golden brown and no longer pink in the center (I used a meat thermometer just to make sure).

Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels to blot any excess oil. If you have the oil hot enough they shouldn’t be greasy. If you want a sandwich, serve on a gf bun and top with mayonnaise, tomato and an additional piece of lettuce.

Go ahead, indulge in this delicious chicken and I promise you it will be a hit with your family!

Adapted from creativecookinggf.wordpress.com, February 2011.

Reblogged from a post in August 2015. Minor changes.

A Fresh Start for Better Health

Eight weeks ago today I had my right knee replaced, that demon osteoarthritis did some really major damage inside there.  Now I am feeling somewhat recovered but those first few weeks were pretty hairy.  I lost my appetite on top of all that pain and it was difficult to eat enough to keep my blood sugar decent, I have pre-diabetes as well as my celiac disease. Normally I control that with exercise, healthy snacks and less sweets but when your knee keeps you from all exercise for four months…things can get a little screwed up.  So, I found my self craving fresh produce when I was home from the hospital. Heck, I ate a veggie plate there and a fruit and cottage cheese plate so it began even before I got home. Oranges, tangerines, cuties, grapefruit, berries, snap peas, even broccoli tasted amazing and I couldn’t enjoy a meal without at least a couple fruits and veggies.  That and my reduced appetite gave me a ten pound weight loss which I was more than happy with.  More interesting yet is that I still don’t seem to crave the processed sweets half as much as before.  Oh, they be creeping back somewhat  but I am trying not to buy much of that sort of thing beyond crackers to pair with cheese, plain nuts and some organic baked cheese puffs white-cheddar-puffsI am treating myself to.  Thinking about my close proximity to diabetes plus my recovery time cravings – produced serious soul searching and I have made the decision to try to keep with this program of less processed snack foods and less sugar.

We folks with celiac feel we deserve a treat or two and I am no different from anyone else.  But, now I try to treat those cravings with fruit, nuts or maybe a square of dark chocolate.  Aldi’s has great dark chocolates aldi's chocolateand some nuts that are free of cross contamination. As before, I eat a muffin for a snack most days but it is homemade and baked using coconut palm sugar which has a lower hypoglycemic index which bodes well for my sugar levels. Oh, I’m no saint and I can’t resist an occasional treat of some kind but I am trying to not bake the cakes and cookies I used to delight in.  Pies, tarts, galettes and tartlets are still on my recipe plans so there will be tasty items here on my blog in the future but other than angel food cake or a family birthday party, cake be a rare treat from here on out. I can’t promise no cookies, woman does not live by pie alone…gotta have cookies!

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I will see how the next two months go and let you know if I can keep my plan working.  If you are trying to lower your sugar intake you might want to try some of what I am eating…a good place to start are muffins made with coconut palm sugar.  They are yummy, easy and healthy.  Join me on this new journey and enjoy great homemade foods with less sugar! cranberry-blueberry-muffins