June 2008


In the midst of my food journey, a friend of mine mentioned the secret ingredient of her allergy-free life; smoked paprika. Her battle with foods has been ongoing since I met her and when she described this single spice as smoky and robust, rich and flavourful, a perfect compliment to simple cooking, I knew I had to find some.

I think she got hers at Stong’s, but I was happy to discover some, for only a few dollars, on a trip to my favourite store, Galloways. In truth, my Mom was never much for cooking, and although I’ve learned to bake from cookbooks and can muddle my way through nearly any recipe, the delicate art of spices is relatively new to me. That being said, I have made a number of dished using smoked paprika as the primary flavouring.

I made amazing chicken burgers; home-ground chicken breast, finely diced onions and smoked paprika. Cooked on the grill, these juicy burgers shrunk little, and had the authentic taste of smoke and grill. So easy and so delicious. I think these are all I ate for the first 3 meals of my camping vacation.

I’ ve been enjoying the flavours of rice pasta as of late; complimented on one occasion by a seafood white sauce, complete with shrimp, scallops and the delicious flavour of smoked paprika. More recently, I made a traditional meat pasta sauce, however the addition of smoked paprika to my browning ground meat, added a depth and dimension to the meal that was hard not to enjoy.

Finally, last night, I made a roast, using a recipe I found in a recent issue of Real Simple Magazine for a homemade BBQ Rub. I haven’t had much experience with rubs and this particular one was intended for BBQ-ing steaks, chicken or ribs – but it was incredibly easy and yielded a delicious roast. Unfortunately, despite my best searching efforts, I cannot seem to find the recipe and accompanying article online, but due to the simplicity and wonderful flavour I will post it here.

Barbeque Rub
(Taken from Real Simple Magazine, June 2008 )

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tbsp Paprika (I recommend a smoked paprika)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp ground coffee
  • 1.5 tsp sea salt
  • 0.5 tsp pepper

Directions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl – mix well.
  • Drizzle up to 2 pounds of meat with 1 tbsp Olive oil.
  • Sprinkle rub on meat and press it gently to the food.
  • Flavours will intensify if you apply the rub to meat ahead of time.

*note: this made enough rub to cover two small roasts with extra to spare – I froze the second roast after applying the seasoning, and still had a small amount leftover to use on another occasion.

*note: include the ground coffee regardless whether you are a coffee-drinker. It enhances the flavour and provides depth. My husband doesn’t like coffee and he didn’t even notice it was there!

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This Thursday was a big day for me;
June 19th marked my 1-year Gluten-Free-Anniversary.

It has been 1-year since I willingly, chose to eat a piece of toast, a slice of bagel, a muffin or a plethora of other food. It has also been 1-year since my body stopped hating me – since I stopped running to the washroom within an hour of every meal, since I had stomach pains and cramping so constant they weren’t even worth mentioning when someone inquired how I was feeling.

I’ve come a long way since that first day, when I was filled with frustration, anger even over the constant battle that I hadn’t even known I had been fighting. I was filled with doubt, uncertain that removing a long list of my favourite foods could possibly result in improving the current state of my stomach. This is understandable of course, my doctor had previously diagnosed my pain as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and when I followed the diet and took the medication, the symptoms did subside somewhat, however as soon as STRESS reared its ugly little head, both the diet and meds showed themselves to be utterly useless for me.

As I mentioned on my ABOUT page, within approximately 5 days of stringently following a gluten-free diet, my stomach cramps started to subside, my irritation and frustration began to decrease and I started to feel functional and human again. Not to say it was easy, for the first month all I ate was rice, chicken breast, vegetables and rice crackers…and I continued to be hungry and angry, asking questions such as why me, what am I supposed to eat and will I ever be able to eat out again? I think this blog is helping me to address my previous frustration and share my answers to those questions.

Fortunately, support was not far away. My direct supervisor’s husband has Celiac Disease and she has been wonderful to have around; providing tidbits of information, suggestions for gluten-free meals and as a wife that chooses to eat GF the majority of time, she has been a source of inspiration that a family can function with a gluten-free parent.

I had a dream last night. I remember very little, except for the fact that I was at some sort of function, a dinner party perhaps, and the food was delicious. When dessert came around there was this lovely chocolate cake, layered between fudgy chocolate icing. I ate about half of the piece of cake, before suddenly realizing that it was certainly not gluten-free. I swear I had stomach cramps in my sleep and that’s why I remember this portion of the dream so vividly.

It’s only been a year, but I know that at this point in my life, I would never eat baked goods without assurance it was gluten-free, I’m happy and healthy living the Gluten-Free life, but it turns out that says nothing about my dreams and my sub-conscious mind.

I haven’t been writing much…or cooking much…or baking much, to be honest.  I’ve just been so tired.  We had a friend and her baby over for a week, it’s softball season, which takes up a minimum of 2 nights a week and when you add in my part-time job one night a week, there really just hasn’t been any time or energy.  In fact on Friday I managed to step out of work early and was home by 3pm, and instead of baking up a storm or something else deliciously fun, I fell asleep and had a very restful nap until almost 5pm.

Of course this means I have been eating out a little more often than I like, and thus potentially exposing myself to gluten…but as of yet, I have made careful choices and avoided any undesirable episodes.

The one thing, I have been making is quiche, and lots of it.  As I mentioned in my last post, I have been using Cassandra’s Baking mix and continually making my favourite Quiche recipe.  Note the recipe is mine (from my old blog), but the link uses the traditional bisquick.  I used rice milk in the last batch and it turned out delicious – this is a very forgiving recipe – do try it if you have a weakness for quiche.  

Personally, I love quiche and can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner – sometimes even consuming it for two out of my three meals of the day. 

note: GRrrrrrrrrrrrr I’m having trouble with my IE and inserting links…I will try and update the links later in the week. a:)