31 July 2009

'WichCraft Gets Ya Every Time.

It's really not the rhythm that's going to get you, it's Tom Colicchio.

Yes, that's right. Evil Tom Colicchio. We're harmlessly, wheatlessly walking through the streets of Manhattan and G spots the 'WichCraft logo and of course we have to stop. And never mind that it's all crazy expensive, I can't afford the steak house so it's a 'wich for me.

I look at the menu and settle immediately on the no-brainer, meatloaf sandwich. AND OH MY GOODNESS WAS IT FANTASTICALLY COSMICALLY DELICIOUS! Meatloaf with gooey cheese... no really, look...

With very crisp bacon and my all-time fave condiment, tomato relish. Be still my rapidly beating heart. It was so amazing. The sandwich was warm but not crazy hot, the bread was a bit too thick, but the meatloaf was amazingly tender but firm, holding up well to the sloppiness of the relish and cheese. The bacon was very crisp and salty, really ideal bacon.

It was great, though honestly, this sandwich could have fed two people. It was my morning snack! (You can see why I gained ten pounds while I was gone. Thank heavens for the Wii EA Active for getting me out of bed and pumping some sort of iron.)

29 July 2009

The Carbs Won Big.

So yeah, the Shake Shack killed me. It forced wheat down my throat and made me totally crave even more wheat. And once it's out the window, the window gets slammed shut with my will-power looking in like a whiner. So forgive this next meal...

We met up with our friend C (so nice to see him and his Buffy/Edward shirt... my peeps!), and went on a walking tour of the Lower East Side. My stomach was GRUMBLING and I was starving. My good g-free intentions were no match for C's restaurant choice. It had, he said, an amazing mac n cheese. So yes, I had to have it. With a side of fries. My arteries are still clogged....

Wow. My heart was racing and I was already feeling guilty about the stomach upset to come...but then the innards called out, and I was hooked...

Goodbye guilt!!!

Oh, and those fries???

YES! They were so crispy and well done. I absolutely loved them. Yum!!! Go C! Thanks for a great day!!! You rule!


I have entered my first recipe contest. I know I know.


You can vote for me if you wanna...there's a readers vote section...


26 July 2009

Breakfast Speaks to Me Through Eggs.

A few weeks ago, we decided to have a big blow-out breakfast. We'd had a couple of not super breakfasts in a row and really wanted to do it up right! We went to the market and bought some turkey strips that ended up being EXTREMELY salty and will not be purchased again, and were actually too salty to even be a guilty pleasure, but we soldiered on.


There's some multi-grain gluten-free toast with two lovely cooked eggs on top. On the side is the aforementioned super salty bacon and left over potato salad. Yum!!!

If It's Good Enough for Nelson Mandela...

When I was in Cape Town, I bought a cookbook called Zhoozsh! Cooking with Jeremy and Jacqui Mansfield. G's cousin Debra thought that I might like it as he is a radio personality there with good cooking technique. So I bought it and have greatly enjoyed reading it.

For dinner tonight, I really wanted to have curry. Since I am in the countdown of a friend's wedding and the need to fit into the lovely dress I just bought, we are trying to eat more healthfully at home. As such, we started looking for a chicken curry recipe that would allow us to use the food that is currently in the house.

Enter Zhoozsh. I looked in it and found a delicious recipe that I became hell-bent on making, Madiba's Chicken Curry. For those who don't know (and I didn't), in South Africa Nelson Mandela is known as Madiba, an honorary title adopted by elders in Mandela's clan. This recipe is one that Jeremy Mansfield made for Madiba at his home in Houghton (according to the cookbook). I made it and we served it along with a beetroot curry that G made. YUM!

Yummmmmmy!!!!!!!!!!! This was amazing!!! My version turned out beautifully, though I had to make a full adaptations in order to use what was in the house. It went something like this:

Jennifer's Take on Madiba's Chicken Curry

serves 4
3/4 lb of boneless chicken pieces (white and dark meat -- we get 1/2 chickens that are enormous from a local farm that we deboned and used for this)
1 tsp salt

1 tbsp gluten-free all-purpose flour
1 tbsp tumeric
1 large chopped onion
3 small dried chili's crushed
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp crushed garlic
2 tsp crushed ginger
2 tsp garam masala (g makes her own)
1 regular tin of diced tomatoes (410 g)
100 ml of boiling water
1/2 g-free chicken bouillon cube
Salt and Pepper as you go

1. Mix the salt, flour, and turmeric in a baggie and add the chicken cut into pieces. Shake to coat.

2. Brown in a large pan with a lid and remove.

3. Take the garlic, ginger, cumin, chili, and garam masala and smash together in a mortar and pestle. Add to the pan that you cooked the chicken in, adding more oil if necessary.

4. Add the can of tomatoes, the hot water, and the chicken bouillon. Bring to a boil. Add the chicken.

5. Simmer for approximately 45 minutes, covered, with the lid off for the last 15 or so minutes. Serve with rice.

And G made up the beetroot curry recipe because she wanted to recreate the one that they make at Rashnaa. It was fantastic! She has graciously allowed me to print the recipe here for you...

G's Beetroot Curry
Serves 4

6 small or med beets
100 ml of coconut milk
1 onion chopped
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp curry powder (more or less depending on how hot you want it or how hot your curry powder is)
1 tomato chopped
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
juice of one lime
1 tbsp chopped ginger
salt to taste

1. Cut beets in half so all piees are roughly the same size.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Put beets in the foil with enough oil to cover with a pinch of cumin seeds and a smattering of whole coriander seeds. Roast in foil for 40 minutes until soft but not totally cooked. Let cool. Peel them.

4. Slice the cooked beets so that each half gives you 5 or so pieces.

5. Heat oil in medium pot and add onion. Cook to translucent.

6. Add curry powder, garlic, ginger and fry together.

7. Add mustard seed and fry until popping then add the tomato and fry until mushy.

8. Add beets and the coconut milk, then stir in the lime juice and salt. Cook for 15 or so minutes.


I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. If you try either, let me know. And if you are able to get your hands on the Zhoozsh cookbook, I would highly recommend that you do! There are tons of great recipes, lots of cool stories, and a recipe for on of G's favorite foods Sadza and Nyama.

New York at Night.

This is taken from across the Brooklyn Bridge. Sigh. Beautiful!

25 July 2009

Eating by the Water.

After heading out to the South Seaport in New York City, we had no idea what we were going to eat but knew we needed to grab some lunch. We wer starving!!

I have this weird issue with restaurants. I don't want to eat at chains as a general rule, but I am always leary of places I haven't heard of. It's an issue. So at the Seaport, we were walking around looking at the shops and the restaurants and decided to go to this Latin restaurant that had decent (read: cheap!) lunch specials.

We walked in and were seated straight-away on the patio overlooking the water. It was quite windy which made it slightly cold, but it was really a beautiful sunny day so I didn't mind at all.

First up, drinks for a vacationy Friday by the water!

G had a pina colada...

And I ordered a mojito...

My mojito was nothing but alcohol so I would take a sip and then let the ice melt for a bit, then take a sip. Sad to say, not being a big boozer, I did not get through even half of this delicious drink!

The specials were basically a soup or salad starter and a large plate of meat with rice and beans. Sounds good to me!

First up, we both had the gazpacho.

This was crazy garlicky. I am not a huge fan of gazpacho as a general rule. 1) it's cold and I don't particularly care for cold food. 2) It often tastes like a bowl of salsa, and really, I don't need to eat a bowl of salsa with a spoon. Give me chips or give me death, or something. But this was actually pretty refreshing. It was very fresh tasting and was a nice way to start the meal.

Following this, our mains came. G had ordered the chimichurri beef with no beans (she can't eat legumes of any sort any more) and when they sait it down, the smell was amazing.

The beef was pretty thin and very savory with an amazing sauce that G mixed in with everything. The onions were slightly pickled and really delicious.

I ordered the slightly less glamorous but very delicious chicken.

It was pretty plain, a grilled chicken breast or two with a slightly smokey chili sauce and a pyramid of rice. I also got beans, but wanted the pinto beans over the black beans. I mean, really, pinto beans slowly cooked with chorizo and onion over regular old black beans for the EXACT SAME PRICE. Don't waste my time with the black beans!!!


The chicken was a bit dry (which I quite like sometimes) and the beans added a nice smokey flavour. Really delicious.

We were quite full after this delightful meal and were well prepared for our continued walk around the city! I highly recommend this place for a cheap delicious lunch, it's on the top floor of the seaport shopping centre. I don't remember what it was called...

19 July 2009

Standing in Line for Hamburgers

As has been mentioned once or twice on this blog, I love hamburgers. I haven't been eating them that often these days, and I when I do, it tends to be on g-free buns when there's a bun at all, but I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by to eat at the world-famous Shake Shack. We went there at about 3pm, not thinking that the line would be overly long.

We were wrong. The line was out of control. From beginning to end, it took about an hour. G didn't want to stay in line the entire time (and she had to save a table as they were a scarce commodity) so I watched Top Chef Masters on my phone and kept waiting.

The line moved slowly.

I was ready to order, having looked at the signs (and read the menu online), I was prepared for what was to come, and was excited at ordering food and sitting down and chowing on the hamburger!

Crinkle fries!!! YUMMY! And nicely wrapped hamburgers. I had a double burger (which I couldn't eat both burgers on the hamburger, it was too thick!), fries and a coke. G had the hamburger, fries and chocolate malt. The malt was thick and delicious, the fries were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the hamburgers themselves...

Look at that! Juicy seasoned meat, slightly moist but not so much that it soaks the bun, melty cheese, sauce, ketchup, tomato. Delicious. Absolutely fantastic.

Now, I don't know that I would say this is the best hamburger I have ever had, but it's certainly one of the best I have eaten. It was worth the upset stomach!

(I don't know anyone else who is wheat intolerant, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of information about that in the world, but I find that when I eat wheat despite it upsetting my stomach so completely, it makes me crave more and more wheat. You'll see from the rest of the posts from NY that wheat was on the menu more than once after this fateful dive into the burgerverse.)

Shake Shack (Madison Square Park) on Urbanspoon

Mesa Grill.

G and I celebrated her birthday with dinner at the Mesa Grill. Straight away, let me say that I am not a fan of Bobby Flay. I think he's really smarmy and not in any way my favorite chef on the tv food network. But when planning our trip to NY, we had to agree that despite our great non-love for Mr. Flay, we have both always been impressed by the food he cooks, so we made the reservation and showed up on time for dinner.

We had a few rough patches initially. There was a table that was right in the doorway, and neither of us really wanted to sit in the doorway, so when we were being seated at this table (of course), we asked to be moved. The doorperson said that it may be a few minutes before we could have another table, which I said was fine. He seemed really put out that I asked. Almost immediately, he came back over and said there was a table upstairs for us. We head up and we are now being seated in the dishwashing section. No. That's not going to work either. This isn't a cheap restaurant nor were we dressed inappropriately, so I asked to be moved. We asked the server to move us, he said he understood and would personally move us to a table that is actually in the restaurant. We ended up at a great table, and taking a few deep breaths we vowed to not let this sour the experience.

And I am glad we did.

We instantly ordered a great bottle of wine and settled back in our chairs with the menu.

First up. Creamy Wild Mushroom Grits with Poached Egg, Charred Serrano Sauce, Cotija Cheese + Blue Corn Tortilla Crisps. OMG.

The egg was BRILLIANT, the cheesey grits were sensational, the crispy chips were a nice contrast to the texture of the creamy grits and cheese. It was so amazing. Honestly, between us, it was one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten in my entire life. I could eat that every day just for the sake of eating.

G ordered an amazing starter of Crispy Squash Blossoms with Ricotta, Corn, Sweet + Hot Yellow Pepper Sauce.

It's weird because in the picture, the squash blossoms don't look so crispy, but they totally are. They were wonderful. Really flavourful and crispy.

For our main, we both ordered the same thing: Sixteen Spice Duck Breast with Carrot-Habanero Sauce + Chorizo-Goat Cheese Tamale with Thyme Butter.

It was unbelievably good. The duck was meaty and pleasantly spiced and the chorizo tamale was outrageously fantastic. The cornmeal was really moist and soft and the innards were spicy but not too hot. The sauces add a really nice element.

We shared an almost unbelievable side dish of roasted corn. I could have eaten ten of them, they were so fantastic!!!

It seems silly to say that this corn was sensational because it was just a big thing of corn with some cheese and lime, but MAN ALIVE, it was lick the plate delicious.

We were totally stuffed but had to order dessert anyway.

I was drawn to the churros. It was my bad forray into wheat, but really totally worth it (again, yeah for not being celiac and only wheat intolerant!!!)!!!

G ordered the delicious shortcake. It was so good, G was in heaven!

So, our hats off to Mr. Flay. We didn't want to love it, but we totally did!!! It was amazing food and we had a great time at the restaurant. It was such a special dinner and we were happy to spend G's big birthday together. (Awww.)

Mesa Grill on Urbanspoon

Babycakes (or in my house, $@!cakes.

Yesterday morning started well. I went to the store while G was playing soccer, spending my children's inheritance on ingredients for Babycakes' carrot cupcakes. As I said before, I had those cakes at the bakery itself and they were unbelievably good, so I was very eager to give it a try.

I found all the stuff, going to a few different stores to get all the necessary ingredients, and then came home and started making cupcakes. They smelled great while baking. And then they were finished. And we tried one, and it was gross. Not at all sweet, extremely cakey, just not good. We thought, well, we'll ice them and that will up the sweetness. Except the babycakes icing I made didn't turn out at all. So G, with her family gathered in the next room for her birthday, whipped up some regular frosting. And thank heavens she did, it was the only edible thing on those g-d-forsaken cupcakes.

I know that with baking, sometimes you have to keep trying, but with the exorbitant costs of the ingredients in those little cakes, I doubt I will try again soon. The one bright spot, our niece A said last night, "I don't blame you, J. I blame the cupcakes." Sigh. I blame them, too.

18 July 2009

The Intrepid and a Good Bowl of Chili.

G and I got to NYC pretty early in the morning, went straight to our hotel, got to check in early, and then headed out into the city. On the agenda, cupcakes (naturally) and a visit to the USS Intrepid.

Let me jump in now to say that I have a great pride in the military. My father spent most of his life in the military and I am in absolute awe of people who give so much of themselves to protect the rest of us lazy goons. But I don't enjoy military *things* like movies, museums, books. That being said, G really wanted to go to the Intrepid, and who am I to say no?

But first, LUNCH!

Our hotel was right by Grand Central Station, so on our way to the Intrepid, we stopped into the Food Court. It was a nice little luncheon area, and I was immediately drawn to the chili store. I had the Real McCoy with a mini corn muffin and a big glass of fresh brewed iced tea.

You also go two sides, so I picked sour cream and cheese. It was a non-bean chili, just absolutely wonderful bowl of chili with crumbled up corn muffins in there. So lovely.

Off to the Intrepid!

The Intrepid was quite cool. It had a totally fantastic mess hall that was restored to its former glory.

It looked like any regular regular kitchen, really. Lots of silver, huge bowls, huge utensils, all geared up to make a meal for a large group!

After you leave there, you go on to seeing the fantastic dining area...


And after all that excitement, I had to take a nap on the bunk beds...

Okay, I didn't really sleep, but the bunk beds were a total crack-up and I just had to lay down on it. G took a picture... We also monkeyed around in the lander...

I didn't know this little girl was, but she was in the lander with me...

G hung out on the canoe...

The big blue mat was for making it rock around!

Good times were had by all!!!

So we looked at a million different planes, a submarine, a Concorde, the flight deck of the intrepid, and crawled through a bunch of little tunnels... and we watched a movie about the Intrepid's place in history, and we both got a little weepy... it was good times.

17 July 2009

Taking a Bite Out of Big Apple Delights.

New York City. I love going to NYC to visit, and this past four day trip was no exception. While I did fall way off my no-wheat regime (thank heavens for only being gluten intolerant!), I also got to take in some of the more virtuous gluten-free offerings.

First up, Babycakes Bakery. Of course, as an eschewer of all things wheaty, I was very familiar with the Babycakes phenom and recently bought the cookbook (and will be making my first g-free treats from it tomorrow for G's birthday!). I was so excited to be going to NY and to having the opportunity to try the bakery that we went the very first day we were there!!

For those of you who don't know, Babycakes is a vegan mostly sugar and gluten free bakery in NYC. It's received a ton of press, including winning NY's best cupcake a few years back. There have been some complaints that she uses too much spelt, etc., but she's upfront about not having celiac, etc., and I think (as someone in the same position) that you make the best you can out of the situation and her cookbook offers something for a wide-range of people suffering from a wide-range of food intolerances.

I was not disappointed. I had an idea of what was on the menu because I had read the cookbook and persued the website...and I pretty much knew what I was going to be eating long before I opened the door. And there they were... beautiful cupcakes...

Oh yes!!! YES YES YES!

In the back, we have an amazing chocolate cupcake with a wondrous vanilla frosting. So chocolatey that you could hardly stand it! But in the front. OH MY WORD FOLKS. The front cupcake was amazing. It was a carrot cake with vanilla frosting. And I could eat my weight in them. It was so amazing.

The cupcakes are light, moist, not at all crazy crumbly like the g-free cupcakes I've made. There was absolutely no weird g-free flour flavour or anything of the sort. It was all kinds of good. Delish.

So what are two girls to do after g-free cupcakes?


Yum!!!! (Terrible terrible terrible picture coming up.)

Man-made mascarpone rice pudding. I dream about this stuff. G and I shared this massive bowl of the good stuff. And then waddled our way to do some shopping. Rooster table mats and a new purse! Good times were had by all. VIVA LA NEW YORK!

Babycakes NYC on Urbanspoon

Rice To Riches on Urbanspoon

01 July 2009

Chinese Takeaway? No way!

I know I've mentioned it, but I am addicted to food magazines. Particularly British food magazines. But I confess that I don't cook out of them as often as I should. I am trying to change that, making at least one thing from each magazine that I buy (not necessarily the ones I subscribe to, that's asking too much). From Delicious Magazine, I made the following:

Cashew beef with broccoli and egg fried rice!

It was super easy to make. We used some of our CSA meat (top sirloin), sliced it (too thickly), then you brown it in the pan. Take it out, mix three tablespoons of chili sauce with two tablespoons of soy sauce, one tablespoon of ketchup and some water in a separate container. In the pan, fry garlic and cashews for a minute, then add in the sauce. Let it thicken for a second, put the beef in the pan with some broccoli (I left a few big pieces for G and then chopped the rest of teensy for me). Let it heat through and you're laughing!

For the rice, we just cooked some rice and let it cool. We cooked some green onion, peas and garlic scapes in some oil and then added the rice to coat it. You make a hole in the center of the pan, put in two beaten eggs and scramble it lightly, then mix it all together with some g-free soy sauce. It couldn't be easier!

It wa a great meal. Controlled g-free, which was excellent when I a watching my wheat, delicious and FULL of vegetables. It made four good sized servings. G absolutely loved the rice and said she'd eat that on it's own anytime! That's good because we frequently have leftover chicken and stuff, and that's a great way to use it all up. So woo hoo Delicious Magazine! What a great easy dinner!

Muffins for Breakfast? Oh alright!

My previous post describes my new-found love of the very very few Whole Foods Bakehouse items that we get here in super lovely Toronto. And just look at that blueberry muffin. It also has no weird smell or taste, just lovely rich blueberry muffin flavour. I find the secret is to microwave the muffin for about 20 seconds. It takes the chill off and softens the whole thing up. I often eat it with a fork or spoon (if I am having yogurt with it). They are the most amazing gluten-free muffins. I don't know how they do it, but I am glad they do. Yorkville Whole Foods... Keep it coming!

Pizza Heaven.

Pizza is one of my favorite foods. When I was a kid, and I was a little kid, mind you, I could easily polish off an entire medium pizza by myself. I'd feel sick after, but my love of pizza knew no bounds. Ken's pepperoni pizza. Heaven.

Probably one of the hardest things for me with giving up wheat has been giving up pizza. I posted earlier about the kinnikinnik crust, which while good, is not the real thing. It tastes like a substitute. Which is fine. Or it was fine until yesterday.

Do you see that? Hunh? Do you see that delicious pizza? Oh yeah. I found the secret. And you can find it too!

Whole Foods Gluten-Free Bakehouse.

Be still my freaking beating heart.

I had dabbled with this product line while visiting family in the US and was miffed that there didn't seem to be much product available in my local Toronto Whole Foods. I wrote to the store, they said it was a problem with the bilingual labeling requirements. But then, one day, as I was walking around the store gawking at all the products, I spotted the brown label. There were blueberry muffins (which rule, but more on that in a minute) and pizza crusts. They looked a little doughy, cost an arm and a leg, but seemed to be calling my name.

I put them in the freezer because there weren't plans to eat them any time soon. But the night before Canada Day seemed like a good idea. A fast fun dinner to get us through our Battlestar Galactica Season 2 viewing. When I got home from work, I fried some onion and mushroom to use as a topping. We'd also bought some butterball turkey pepperoni to use on top (this is the best pepperoni going in terms of leanness and deliciousness). We shredded a ball of moz and put the pizza in a super hot oven directly on the pizza stone.

And it was amazing. There was NO weird gluten-free taste. No funny smell, no strange after-taste, no weird sweetness. Just crunchy on the outside chewy on the inside pizza. We had a splurge...

I saw a nutrition specialist recently who suggested that the green salad and veg should take up half my plate, so I don't think this is what she had in mind! BUT I did eat TWO servings of salad with lots of veggies and a crazy amount of the delicious pizza. There was plenty leftover, which is very exciting! (Well, it might not be that exciting unless you are me, but for me, it's a total thrill.)

It's so nice to be home on a weekday. It's Canada Day here so we have the whole day off! I am sitting in the sun room, in the sun, with Beanie sitting next to me blazing hot from all the sunshine. It's so lovely. Every Wednesday should be a holiday.


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