Spring egg rolls – WIP

This spring/egg roll recipe is definitely a work in progress. These were definitely edible (as I’ve already eaten 3), but they need some work. This is partly the recipe base I used, and partly because I made do with what was on hand. Next time? Ground lamb is a bit too gamy for this, definitely go with some other ground meat (beef? chicken? veal?). I think this also needs more garlic and ginger, and definitely more siracha. The filling could use a bit more flavor, but I’m not sure yet how else I want to modify it.

These aren’t really egg rolls, from what I understand, because I don’t use egg roll paper, but the filling I used reminds me more of an egg roll than a spring roll. I know I can make gluten free egg roll paper, but I’ve got other things to do right now. Maybe next year.

Spring/egg rolls
If you don’t have a deep fryer, I suggest reading up on stove top frying. I won’t go into all the safety here that you need for doing something like that. You could also oven bake these; I suggest looking at the various recipes on allrecipes to figure out how to do that.

1. Preheat the deep fryer/oil to 375F.
2. Cook up 1/2 lb ground meat. Place into a medium bowl.
3. Chop finely 1 clove of garlic and 1 thumb of ginger. Add to the bowl.
4. Chop thinly 1 cup cabbage. Add to the bowl.
5. Finely shred about 1/3 cup carrot (about the last three inches of a carrot about the size of my middle finger). Add to the bowl.
6. Lastly, to the bowl, add 1 teaspoon siracha, 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil, and 1/2 tablespoon oyster sauce. Mix everything together well. (Next time I might just go with a tablespoon each).
7. Set up your work area. A flat container large enough to fit your rice paper sheets and to the side of that, your cutting board, with the deep fryer on the other side of that.
8. Dip the rice paper into warm water in the flat container. Make sure it gets good and wet. Raise the paper off and let it drain a bit. I found the round papers easier to fold and make neat rolls as compared to the square ones we had. I know there are difference between the types of rice paper, but other than size, I don’t really understand them yet. If you get spring roll paper, you should be fine. We aren’t going for traditional here. We’re going for gluten free and tasty.
9. Transfer it to the cutting board. To the bottom-ish side, pile in 2 tablespoons of mixture. Carefully fold up the bottom up over the mixture, and then roll the whole thing over once onto itself. Fold in the sides making things as compact as you can, but you don’t want to stress and break the paper. Once the sides are folded in, continuing rolling up the roll onto itself. You could be fancy and seal with corn starch/water, but I was lazy and figured they’d fry themselves shut fast enough to not worry about it, and it worked.
10. To the deep fryer basket, add two rolls at a time, frying for about 3-4 minutes. Using a fork or something, *try* to turn them over half way through frying, don’t worry if you aren’t successful, many of mine just wouldn’t stay flipped over. When they are done, they won’t brown much, transfer them to a wire rack over something that can catch dripping oil. Fry the next two.
This yielded 12 rolls for us. Dip in sweet chili sauce and nom.

I really recommend not working too fast on this. I’d set two up, fry them, while those two were frying, set up the next two, fry them, and so on. I found they had a propensity to stick to the cutting board if I let them sit there too long before frying.

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Daal

This isn’t paleo. But it is gluten free and vegan. And tasty. And good to feed to people who can’t chew or consume solid foods, for whatever reason.

The original recipe comes from ‘Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone’ by Deborah Madison, but I find the original bland, so all the flavor components have been upped in my version.

Daal
1. Combine 1 c red lentils and 3 c water in a medium pan with 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil and lower to simmer for 20 min, or until the lentils are mushy. If you need to add more water, do so, but be sparing. I’d suggest skimming off the scum that accumulates while the lentils are cooking.
2. While the lentils are cooking, dice a 1/2 jalapeno pepper with a bit less than a thumbs amount of fresh (peeled if you wish) ginger, and 2 cloves of garlic. Chop these all together on the cutting board until it becomes semi-pasty-ish. If you want the spice of the jalapeno, keep the seeds, otherwise deseed it. I might use more next time, as I think it could use more kick.
3. When the lentils are done, add in the jalapeno/ginger/garlic mixture.
4. Add in coconut cream to taste. I suggest buying the Thai kitchen coconut milk, as I find it has the best cream top to it of the brands we’ve tried. When you open the can, the thick stuff on top is the cream. Add a few tablespoons to the lentil mixture. If you don’t like the taste of coconut like me, don’t worry, you won’t taste it as long as you don’t over coconut cream the mixture.
5. Mix well and serve.

Makes two servings if serving by itself. More if it’s being served as a pre-meal course.

GF – back pain edition

I’ve been laid up since last night with severe back pain. I’ve done nothing but lie around all day. Ibuprofen didn’t touch it. Naproxen didn’t touch it. Heat and ice help, but having to get up to get them to switch up is painful. Walking is painful. Most sitting positions are painful. Thankfully I can lay on my stomach with relative ease, it just hurts, my upper body to prop myself up like this.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a daal recipe up for you all. Tasty. Gluten free. Vegan. Sadly not paleo/primal.

If I’m worse tomorrow, I’ve promised myself a trip to the ER. Same by Sunday, urgent care. Hoping to be able to hold off until Monday, but we’ll see. Looks like urgent care might be open normal hours Sunday, so perhaps I’ll go any way. Nothing I do seems to help. *sigh* Happy Saturday. Merry Christmas. Joyous Yule.

Fish Kabayaki and sweet potato latkes

I would call this salmon kabayaki, but I didn’t actually use salmon. I used some other pink/salmon colored fish which I no longer remember the name of. About the only place I trust around here to get ‘fresh’ fish is Whole Foods, and salmon was well out of any price range I was willing to spend. So I ended up with some other salmon-esque type fish that was cheaper and the fish monger said had a similar flavor to salmon. When I first mentioned wanting to make this dish, I couldn’t decide what to make with it. As I had plenty of sweet potatoes, I went with sweet potato latkes. I figured the flavor of them would be sweet yet mild enough to complement the kabayaki sauce, and I was right. They pair perfectly for my taste buds.

First, the sweet potato latkes. They don’t really need a recipe. If you’ve made latkes before, this isn’t all that much different.
1. Peel the sweet potato (I used one massive one).
2. Shred the potato.
3. At this point for regular potato latkes, you usually squeeze out the shredded potato to get out as much liquid as you can. I tried doing that with the sweet potato and found it didn’t really make much of a difference; sweet potatoes aren’t as ‘wet’ as regular potatoes and I didn’t get much liquid out.
4. Sprinkle the shredded potatoes with flour (I used whatever random flour mixture I had in the cabinet). I think I might have used 1/4 c for the entire batch. You don’t want to over flour, but you could also probably do this without the flour.
5. Heat up your cooking fat of choice in your pan of choice, in my case bacon fat in my cast iron skillet. When it’s nice and hot, place a small handful of potato in the middle and flatten it down with your spatula. I made mine a bit on the thinner side so that they’d cook faster. Cook until the underside is browned, then flip and cook the other side until it too is browned.
6. Nom.

Fish Kabayaki
This was an ideal recipe for me to try on my own. We rarely eat fish these days, living in land locked WI. Both the ManBeast and I grew up near the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and know what fresh fish can taste like. While we can get fresh fish here, isn’t much more costly than even what I would pay when I lived in DC. So we rarely eat it. The 1/2 pound of whatever mystery fish I ended up with cost me over $7. Not something I’d be willing to spend to buy enough to feed two of us. This was truly my splurge meal of the week.
This recipe came from Elana’s Pantry.

1. While your first sweet potato latke is cooking, in a small pan combine 1/8 c honey with 1/8 c ume plum vinegar. I had a bit of a hard time finding the ume plum vinegar, but I also never got a chance to make it to the Asian market. I ended up probably spending more buying it at Whole Foods, but it also meant I didn’t have to go to another store just for this.
2. Bring the mixture to a boil and turn to low. Stir it every once in a while.
3. Heat 1/2 T olive oil and 1/2 T grapeseed oil in a skillet that has enough room for your fish (I used 1/2 lb). When it’s reasonably heated, add the fish. In hindsight, I should have removed the layer of skin on my piece of fish, but it worked out fine in the end.
4. Cook the first side for 3-ish minutes. Fish cooks fast.
5. Right before you flip it, brush the side that is up with the ume plum vinegar/honey mixture, then flip and brush the other side. Cook for another 3-ish minutes. Fish is done when it flakes.
6. If you had the skin on, now is a great time to peal it off and brush some more vinegar/honey mixture on that side.
7. I reboiled the honey/vinegar mixture and poured it over the fish after it was out of the skillet. The sauce had a very interesting tang that I felt went well with the sweet potato latkes.

Chocolate Bark

Eating paleo/primal has been going as well as I expected it would, and I’m really not struggling with it. I know I’m not hitting it 100%, but I’m ok with that, and I’m ok with the teaspoon or so of sugar in my morning coffee. I’m sure I’ll be back to eating rice, potatoes, and some corn when the ManBeast gets back and returns to his role of cooking the majority of our evening meals. But honestly, I’m not sure it will make much of a difference either way. I don’t eat many carbs to begin with. We’ll see, always things to think about.

Made Elana’s chocolate bark Sunday night to bring with me to a practice talk Monday night. It went over well and I’m almost finished with the few pieces that were left over. I however think that I’m starting to lose some of my sweet tooth. I used to be able to down all kinds of candy, and actually enjoy them. These days, I don’t crave it nearly as much. And I’ve gotten even more snobbish with my chocolate. In an effort to cut down on how much sweets I was eating in the evening a few months ago I decided to try the suggestion of having a few pieces of high quality super dark chocolate instead. Well, I settled on 88% dark chocolate from Endangered Species, and frankly, anything less just tastes like milk chocolate to me now. *sigh* I’m not sure if this is a good thing or not.

So in making the chocolate bark I used a combination of chocolates so that I could use up some of the bars I had bought but knew I didn’t want to eat by themselves. This is reflected below.

Chocolate Bark
1. Shell 1/3 c pistachios and set aside (mine were salted). Combine with 1/3 c sweetened dried cranberries.
2. 2 cups dark chocolate chips/chunks – for me this was almost two bars of 80% plus dark chocolate broken into pieces, filling out the two cups with semisweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips. Place this is a small but wide-ish pot and melt over low heat, stirring regularly.
3. While the chocolate is melting, line a 8×8″ glass baking dish with parchment paper. And yes, you really do want to use parchment paper here.
4. When the chocolate is fully melted, carefully pour it into the parchment paper lined dish and flatten out as best you reasonably can with a spatula.
5. Sprinkle with the pistachios and cranberries and smear it around with the spatula to work them into the chocolate a little bit.
6. Sprinkle with sea salt, less (.5 tsp) (likely) if you used salted pistachios, more (1 tsp) if you didn’t.
7. Patiently let it sit and solidify for at least a few hours.
8. Because you used parchment paper, the whole shebang will come right out of the dish, and with a sharp chefs knife, cut it into chunks.
9. Nom.

Dinner for one

While I am making the Wine Braised Chuck Roast, it didn’t get in the oven until after 5, and there is no way I could wait until 8:30 to eat dinner. Since I never ate the second lamb arm shoulder chop from dinner last night, I figured that could become dinner, and the chuck roast will just be lunch and such for a few days.

Dinner was the left over broiled lamb shoulder chop with a pan wine sauce (adapted from Joy of Cooking, which I likely won’t write up, since it wasn’t really anything special or noteworthy), brussel sprouts, and left over curry sweet potato gratin. Quite tasty all around and I am left full and sated.

This evening I need to get down to do some worm bin maintenance and do some general cleaning around the apartment. Oh, and I’m making chocolate bark tonight to share with friends tomorrow.

Almond pancakes for one

These were shockingly tasty. And definitely a make again. Not sure the ManBeast will find them filling enough, but with an egg and some bacon, I think they might suffice. This recipe comes from Purely Primal, and I do suggest reading a few of his hints and suggestions, as mine will be written a bit more bare bones.

1. Combine in a blender (yes, you do want to use the blender) 1 egg, 1 T honey, 1/2 T vanilla, 2 T water. Blend for 1+ minute.
2. In a separate bowl, combine 3/4 c almond flour, 1/4 t sea salt, 1/4 t baking soda, and 1/2 T tapioca starch, mixing well.
3. Add the dry to the wet and pulse the blender a few times to get everything mixed well.
4. If you’re like me, you’ll want to pour the batter into a small bowl, making sure to scrap out the inside of the blender jar.
5. Heat your pan on medium, I used my cast iron, and melt in a bit of bacon grease (or butter).
6. When the pan is hot enough, pour in batter, maybe 1/8 c plus at a time. I used the 1/4 measuring cup and found I needed around half of it to make a 3″ pancake. I wouldn’t go much larger than 3″, as you’ll likely find them a bitch to flip.
7. Just like regular pancakes, when the top is bubbly and starting to dry a bit at the edges, flip the pancake and cook for a bit longer. I found these browned to a deep brown really easily, with light brown not being cooked enough.
8. My batch made 5 3″ pancakes and a small one. These are not going to be light fluffy pancakes, but lighter and a bit more delicate. I found them sweet and flavorful enough to not want syrup on them. I just slathered them in butter and chowed down (with a few pieces of bacon to round out my breakfast).