Sunday, December 24, 2017

Gluten Free Nuts and Bolts

Nuts and Bolts is a recipe that once graced the back of the Cherrios Cereal box. It was a special treat to make for the holidays and of course I proudly made it at Christmas time. I was feeling nostalgic the other day and my son Stephen and I decided to make it again. But,  I wanted it to be Gluten Free and more flavorful than the original recipe. Like it's sister recipe, Chex Mix, it does include Chex Cereal and I used Rice and Corn Chex but not the Wheat Chex.  It also includes Pretzels, which are now easy to find Gluten Free and we added Pecans and left out the Cheese Crackers.  We used a bit less Butter and upped the amount of Worcestershire Sauce and doubled the Garlic and Onion Powder. We also used a small amount of Lawry's Seasoned Salt as we used unsalted Butter. Oh my, it was so good!  Not just for nostalgic reasons, it was delicious. So, I promptly made some more to give as gifts. It's about time I brought this recipe back for Christmas, or anytime!

Gluten Free Nuts and Bolts

3/4 - 1 cup unsalted Butter
1 1/2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 1/2 Tablespoons Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Celery Salt
1/2 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt (omit if using Salted Butter)
3 cups Corn Chex
3 cups Rice Chex
2 cups Cheerios
2 cups Pretzel Sticks
1/2 cup Pecans

Heat oven to 250 degrees.  In a large bowl, put in the Corn Chex, Rice Chex, Cheerios, Pretzel Sticks and Pecans.  Then in a small frying pan, melt the Butter and then add in the Garlic Powder and Onion Powder, Celery Salt and Lawry's Seasoned Salt. Turn off heat and mix thoroughly.  Pour over the Cereal Mixture and toss with a big spoon.  

Pour the mixture onto 2 half sheet baking pans. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cool completely before putting into tins or plastic bags or serve.

Five Element Analysis

There are so many ingredients in this snack mix that you know that several elements will be present. The Butter, Garlic and Onion Powder and Rice Chex contribute the Metal Element.  The Water Element is present in the Pecans, Worcestershire Sauce and Salts. The Earth Element shows up in the Corn Chex. The Pretzels add even more Earth as they are made of Potato Starch and Tapioca Starch along with Rice Flour so a little more Metal. Because all the cereal is so crispy and you bake this snack, I think the Fire Element is present too. So, only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to add some vegetables later in the day.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Buckwheat Soba with Scallion Oil Sauce

Scallion Oil is one of those simple sauces that is so outstandingly good that you just can't believe how easy it is to make.  It is usually served with Chinese alkaline wheat noodles, but I like it best with Buckwheat Soba made with only Buckwheat flour so it is gluten free. I buy the Eden Foods brand at my local health food store. Buckwheat has a earthy taste and the savory Scallion Oil Sauce compliments it perfectly. All it takes to make this dish is to boil the noodles and while they are cooking, you sauté some cut up Scallion pieces in oil until they are just starting to brown. Then you add some Salt, a pinch of Sugar and a bit of Tamari.  You pour this sauce over the drained noodles, stir and serve. It is really delicious and you are just going to have to try it to see for yourself!

Buckwheat Soba with Scallion Oil Sauce

1 package (8 oz) Buckwheat Soba or other noodles
4 large Scallions, washed, ends trimmed and cut into small pieces ( about 1/2 cup)
1/3 Vegetable Oil (I used Safflower)
2 Tablespoons Tamari
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Sugar

Cook noodles according to the package directions. Drain and put into a serving bowl

In a small frying pan, heat the Oil and add in the Scallions. Cook over medium high heat until most of the Scallions are beginning to brown. Take off the Heat and add in the Tamari, Salt and Sugar. Stir to combine.  Pour over the Noodles and toss to combine.

Five Element Analysis

Buckwheat is a seed that is dark in color and is considered a Water Food.  The Tamari adds even more Water.  The Green Onions contribute the Metal Element but the other Elements are missing. So be sure to serve this with some other dishes to create a balanced meal. 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Baked Creamed Baby Spinach and Baby Kale

I have this ability that is a little unusual. I somehow can pick up a favorite food of a person who is coming to visit and I end up making it for them.  It's not something I try to do, it just comes to me and it always makes me happy. I had a friend visit the other day and was inspired to make Creamed Spinach and Baby Kale, which was perfect because Creamed Spinach is one of her favorite foods. It's a really simple dish and perfect as a side dish to a steak or roast. The Baby Kale gives the dish a depth of flavor that Spinach alone doesn't and the Parmesan Cheese brings in a savory note that is a counterpoint to the sweetness of the Cream and the hint of Nutmeg.  It's a rich, unctuous way to cook greens and can easily be prepared ahead to pop into the oven while the rest of the dinner cooks.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that you love it too!

Baked Creamed Baby Spinach and Baby Kale

2 Tablespoons of Butter
1 5 ounce package Baby Spinach
1 5 ounce package Baby Kale
1/4 teaspoon Salt
A very light sprinkling of Nutmeg
1/2 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  In a frying pan, melt the Butter and add in the Baby Spinach and Baby Kale. Cook just until the greens are wilted and take off the heat. Sprinkle on the Salt and Nutmeg and pour in the Cream, mix to combine. Then put into a heat proof ramekin or baking dish. Smooth the top and sprinkle the Parmesan Cheese over the greens evenly. If serving later, cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Place in the oven and cook until it is bubbling and the Cheese is browned.  This takes about 15 - 20 minutes. It will take slightly longer if it has been refrigerated. Serve immediately.

Five Element Analysis

Since this dish is composed primarily of leafy green vegetables, it is definitely a Wood Element food. The Cream, Parmesan and Nutmeg also bring in the Metal Element. So this is a very good side dish for Steak or a Beef, which are from the Earth Element or Lamb from the Fire Element. 

Friday, December 8, 2017

Hawaiian Style Chili

Zippy's Chili is a Hawaiian favorite. I've even seen it sold here in Seattle in the freezer at Uwajimaya. Of course, I've had it in Hawaii but I've never bought the frozen version because I learned how to make a copycat version from my Hawaiian friends. For those of you who have never had Zippy's Chili, it is very mild and has an unusual creamy texture. There are many theories a to what makes it creamy, but the consensus amongst the people I know who live in Hawaii is that you add a bit of mayonnaise at the end. I know that sounds weird, but it works perfectly and creates the perfect texture. This Chili incorporates little pieces of Portuguese Sausage too and requires a relatively small amount of Tomato Sauce so it's somewhat thick. I used Kidney Beans in keeping with the color of the Chili although Pinto Beans or both would be good as well. This Chili is very easy to make and is meant to be eaten over Rice. This is a really delicious Chili and I encourage you to make it!

Hawaiian Style Chili

1 pound ground Beef
1 Red or Green Bell Pepper, destemmed and cut into small pieces
1 small Onion, minced
1 16 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 - 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
1 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1  Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 Beef or Chicken Bouillon Cube, crushed
Dash of Worcestershire Sauce
1 16 oz can Kidney Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Water, if needed
2 - 3 heaping Tablespoons Mayonnaise, depending on how creamy you want it
Optional: 1 cup Portuguese Sausage, cut into cubes. Add in with the Tomato Sauce 

Cook the ground Beef, Onion and Red Pepper in a large frying pan until the Beef is no longer pink. Spoon out extra fat. Add in the Tomato Sauce and spices , Bouillon Cube and Wocestershire Sauce and stir to combine. Then add in the Kidney Beans. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 30 minutes and add more Water if too thick. Then stir in the Mayonnaise and serve. over Rice.

Five Element Analysis

Tomato Sauce, the Red Pepper and Chili Powder all belong to the Fire Element. The Beef contributes the Earth Element and so does the Brown Sugar. The Metal Element is represented by the Onion, The Mayonnaise, the Spices and the Rice. The Water Element is found in the Kidney Beans, the Portuguese Sausage and the Worcestershire Sauce. Only the Wood Element is missing so be sure to serve this Chili with some green vegetables to create a Five Element balance.