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

Cloud Bread – Yup…That’s Its Name!

Finding or baking decent gf bread can be problematic.  Poor texture, weird flavors, big holes the middle of the loaf, leaden brick like baked products, high prices and lots of ingredients which must be compiled exactly according to the recipe.  It adds up to a fair amount of stress as to just having a sandwich.

A year ago I made some really interesting bread called “cloud bread” (also called oopsie bread) and it has no flour, no oats nor any grains.  I was intrigued when I saw this cloud bread popping up in my support group messages and just had to try it. My recipe has five ingredients but three should be in your pantry already.  It was very easy, quick and yes; tasty.  So it made a super bread for a ham and cheese sandwich and a ham/turkey and cheese sandwich.  I ate one warm out of the oven, also enjoyable. Great with a little jam or jelly on top.  Posted it back last March and sharing again so you who missed it can give it a try.

I added a couple toppings which add a lot to the flavor and look of it.  I recommend them but it sure can be made plain.   You have to use full fat cream cheese to make it work, only a few tablespoons so don’t get all freaked out over that issue!

Cloud Bread/Rolls

3 eggs, separated

3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. honey

Pinch salt

Toppings; sesame seeds and a tbsp. of chopped fresh rosemary

 

Directions

Beat the egg yolks with the cream cheese until it is very smooth, lemon yellow. Add the baking powder and honey, beat in.

Beat the egg whites until foamy, add a sprinkle of salt. Beat until stiff peaks form.  Fold together with the yolk mixture until mostly blended together.

While the egg whites were beating I lined a big baking sheet with parchment paper and sprayed it lightly with Pam.  Heat oven to 300 degrees. Some people heat the pan in the oven before spreading the dough; I didn’t bother but feel free to preheat your pan.

Using a big spoon spread the bread mixture on in six big circles spaced 1-2 inches apart.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and or finely chopped fresh rosemary. Bake until golden brown between 20 and 30 minutes.  Using a spatula separate them from the parchment paper. Let cool.  Store in a ziplock bag overnight; they will get soft and be ready for sandwiches.  Keep them in the fridge. I put slices of wax paper between them to avoid sticking.  shoe fly pie, hash 012They keep about 3 days there and a week in the freezer.  Wonderful for sandwiches: I used one for the top and a second one as the bottom of the sandwich.  Did I mention they are virtually no carbs in this bread? Yeap; great for my low carbing friends!

Originally posted in spring of 2016. Minor changes, none to the recipe.

Dinner Out at 1774 Grille & Tap in Hellertown, PA

The hottest new eatery in the Lehigh Valley is right here in Hellertown, the 1774 Grille & Tap right on Main Street just one block south of the Municipal Building. I couldn’t wait to eat there, the on line menu looked amazing and there was a note that most things could be made gluten free as they are all cooked to order.  Fantastic!

1774 grille

We were about five minutes late for our reservation and were urged to get a drink at the bar while we waited for our table. I had some Riesling that was quite tasty and my guy enjoyed an iced tea.  The place was full of patrons: loud and hopping. It took about ten minutes for our table to be made ready but eventually we were placed by a window underneath a screen that displayed ever changing photographs; mostly old ones of Hellertown in years gone by, kinda fun to guess where and when they were taken.

Our waitress went over a short list of daily specials.  It was tough to hear her in the crowded and noisy main dining room.  Maybe they should put up some drapes to deaden the noise a bit…just a friendly suggestion.  Anyway, I alerted her to my need to eat gluten free and she responded that one of the daily specials was gluten free and that the mahi mahi on the dinner menu was gluten free.  Nothing else.  I was a bit non-plussed as I remember the on line menu saying otherwise.  So, with few options, I went with the mahi mahi and Joe had the halibut special so I could taste it.  I was pleased to find that their gold and red beet salad was gluten free so I had that as my starter. Joe went with their Caesar salad.  We both loved our salads although he was a bit surprised to find the salad greens to be kale. I couldn’t taste it due to the bread croutons but he loved the dressing and enjoyed every bite.  My thinly sliced beets were delightful as was the fresh goat cheese.  The pistachio vinaigrette was very discretely applied but I loved this salad. I have eaten similar salads in expensive big city restaurants and this was just as good as any I have ever enjoyed.

1774 salad

I forgot to take a pix of my gorgeous beet salad and this was the only one I could find for their salads; very pretty.

Our entrees made it out not long after we finished our salads.  Joe’s halibut was a beautiful presentation, laid on top of extremely thin long slices of baby cucumber sprinkled with black sesame seeds with a jalapeño pepper dressing which was so mild I would have ordered it.  Normally I find jalapeno pepper to increase the heat to a point where I am uncomfortable but the heat was quite lightly applied which made me happy and left Joe who loves the heat to be wondering where the fire was. I loved my bite of it; the cucumbers were sliced razor thin and seemed summertime fresh as was the fish. It was delightful with such a great clean taste. I think I need a whole portion of it next time!

1774 mahi

I had a shallow bowl of miso broth with extremely fine rice noodles, lots of delightfully snifty smoked shiitake mushrooms and a large piece of mahi mahi, perfectly cooked and very tasty. The broth was delicate; but I didn’t really taste the ginger the menu mentioned. I think that would have kicked the flavor up one more notch! I shared some with Joe and still was barely able to finish it, leaving me too full for dessert.  The only gluten free offering they had anyway was sorbet or ice cream. We passed on that and got our check.

Note: When I looked at the on- line menu later, that statement about any entrée being made specially gf was not to be found…weird.

I must compliment the restaurant on their wait staff; very friendly and ultra polite.  Plus they were quick to get an ice tea refill and to deal with the check.

The décor is pleasingly antique-ish, the bar cozy and I hope the owners can figure out a way to lower the sound level just a bit.  It was very busy and that definitely adds to the noise level. The joint was jumpin!

I would like to return when they have some other gluten free menu choices for me.  My palate was all ready for either of their deliciously described lamb offerings or the duck breast or maybe the sautéed scallops.  I was so disappointed that none were able to be made gluten free. I contacted the restaurant about that issue and am awaiting an answer.  Maybe they will add some gf entrees for me to try… sure hope so!  NOTE: see my update at the bottom of this post; good news!!

Note: I borrowed a few pictures of the restaurant from the net; I hope they will forgive me. This blog is not a huge commercial enterprise where I can go back to eat the same food again just to get a few great pictures and I wanted to liven up my post with some images of this new dining spot right here in my town.

UPDATE: I wasn’t contacted directly but I am informed that most of the menu can be made gluten free upon request.  That is great news and I plan to go back at some point and enjoy a few things that tickled my fancy on the menu.  My server misinformed me and now I wish I had asked to speak to the manager.  Still, my meal was quite delicious. Their menu will be changing in a few weeks; it was a “winter” menu so I assume it will go to spring? Great; but I hope that the duck breast is still around when I find time to return to sample it.