Spicy Salmon Tacos With Watermelon Salsa

Have you seen hints of its arrival? On Yahoo news? Huffington Post? Twitter? VariousIMG_4352
food-related blog and web sites? That ubiquitous (albeit lovely, warm) flavor that takes over everything, every autumn? Pumpkin spice latte, bread, beer, cookies, cake, dog treats, pumpkin spice everything! Hey, I love pumpkin spice as much as the next girl, but I also love those light, fresh, cool summertime citrus-y, fruity flavors. While we’re still in grip of  August, held fast by bright sun and heat that still sing notes of high summer, we can delay the pumpkin spice extravaganza that accompanies the fall season and still enjoy light, easy, fruity, flavorful dishes such as this this salmon taco recipe, served with watermelon salsa and a light coleslaw with avocado dressing. Continue reading

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Deglutenized, Delicious, and Definitely Healthy Slow Cooker Meals

The Healthy Slow Cooker 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness, Second Edition (Robert Rose Inc, 2014)

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 http://www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Judith Finlayson
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0479-6
352 pages, 135 recipes

Recently I read about the possibility of cartilage regeneration in a column by Mark Sisson, on his website Mark’s Daily Apple. In this particular article, Sisson recommends drinking home-made bone broth as a possible aid to the regeneration of cartilage. This information was still fresh in my mind when I first explored the pages of the second edition of The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness (Judith Finlayson, 2014), I happened upon a recipe for slow cooker hearty beef stock; in a box entitled Natural Wonders (115), opposite the hearty beef stock recipe (114), author Judith Finlayson has written detailed information about the health properties of home-made beef broth. She mentions the nutrients and the healing properties of gelatin, the beneficial ingredient in well-made bone broth. The recipe for beef stock sounds delicious; its presence in a cookbook is, though, unsurprising. The nutritional information about bone broth that appears on the opposing page is, however, an unexpected find in a book devoted to slow cooker recipes. Many such nuggets of nutritional information appear throughout this book, all under the headings of either Natural Wonders or Mindful Morsels. One Natural Wonder’s note even explains the dangers of hidden gluten to people with Celiac and details ways to identify and avoid these hidden dangers. This type of information is an exciting addition to a cookbook; with it, one can easily relate the nutritional value of the ingredients she uses to the healthy meal she serves her family when she prepares slow cooker recipes from this cookbook. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Crab Enchiladas

“The traditional techniques of tortilla making reflected the “hard but sure” nature of Mexican campesino kitchens. crab enchiladas 4Twentieth century anthropologists found that a woman cooking for a large family typically spent the entire morning, five or six hours, making tortillas. Work began the night before, when she simmered the corn solution in lime to make nixtamal. The woman rose before dawn to grind the corn on the metate into a dough called masa. Immediately before each meal, she deftly patted the dough into flat, round tortillas and cooked them briefly over the comal. Tortillas could not be saved for the following day, or even the next meal, because they became hard and inedible after a few hours. The dough likewise would not keep more than a day before it began to ferment. So each morning she returned to the stone on hands and knees, with back sloped as if she were a metate wielded by some tyrannical maize goddess.” (Jeffery Pilcher, Que Vivan Los Tamales: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (1998), 101)

“Visiting writers such as Stephen Crane, author of Red Badge of Courage, were charmed by the Chili Queens [of San Antonio]. He recalled in 1895 that “upon one of the plazas, Mexican vendors with open-air stands sell food that tastes exactly like pounded fire-brick from Hades — chili con carne, tamales, enchiladas, chili verde, frijoles.” Crane depicted a romantic scene: “In the soft atmosphere of the southern night, the cheap glass bottles upon the stands shine like crystal and lamps glow with a tender radiance. A hum of conversation ascends from the strolling visitors who are at their social shrine.”’ (Frank W. Jennings, “Popular Chili Queens Graced San Antonio Plazas,” Journal of Life and Culture in San Antonio)

Two important factors make cooking and eating easier, in some ways, for those who have Celiac and who also live South Texas: the prevalence of Tex-Mex cuisine, and the invention of the mechanized tortilla press. Corn tortillas, most of the time, are perfectly safe for consumption by those who have Celiac or who are gluten-intolerant. Continue reading

Duck Fat Plus Gluten-Free: A Delectable Combination

“Jemima Puddle-Duck became quite desperate. She determined to make a nest right away from the farm. She set off on a fine spring afternoon along the cart-road that leads over the hill. She was wearing a shawl and a poke bonnet. When she reached the top of the hill, she saw a wood in the IMG_0515distance. She thought that it looked like a safe quiet spot.” (Beatrice Potter, Jemima Puddle Duck)

”If you want good-tasting food you need to use a good amount of fat,” he said. ”It nourishes meats and seafood. It makes them much more silky. I use duck fat to sear scallops and lobster since it has a nice rich flavor. We don’t advertise it on the menu, because unfortunately people get nervous.” (Chef Christian Delouvrier of Lespinasse, as qtd by Melissa Clark in “The Rich Little Secret of Top Chefs: Fat”)

Jemima Puddleduck is a wonderfully naïve and independent character created by Beatrice Potter. I spent hours of my daughter’s childhood reading to her about Jemima, wearing her poke bonnet, barely escaping the clutches of Mr. Fox one day while on a quest to hatch her own eggs. Elizabeth loved Jemima Puddleduck, who to her young mind, existed as a real creature in our very real world. So it happened one day, while reaching for a frozen duck in the freezer section of our nearest H.E.B grocery, I was stopped mid-action by Elizabeth’s plaintive, fervent objection to my buying and roasting a duck that looked so strikingly like – well – a duck, and hence so strikingly as Jemima might have looked had she not been rescued by the good farm dog who had dutifully followed her that day she left her farm-home. Continue reading

Crab and Cream: A Heavenly Combination

Gluten-Free Pasta with Creamy Crab Parmesan Sauce

“A connoisseur of gastronomy was congratulated on his appointment as a director of indirect contributions at Periguex: and, above all, in the pleasure there would be in living in the midst of good cheer, in the country of truffles, partridges, truffled turkeys, and so forth. “Alas!” replied with a sigh the sad gastronomer, “can one really live at all in a country where there is no fresh sea-fish?”
(Jean Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825)

“Pasta doesn’t make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat.” (Giada De Laurentis, Every Day Italian)

Yes, one really can live in a country where fresh sea fish, and fresh seafood of all types, is unavailable. And here we live, in San Antonio, some 2.5 hours (give or take) from the nearest  coast, and thus from the nearest fresh seafood. When we want to cook seafood, then, we must resort to the previously frozen fish or other seafood we “catch” at HEB, HEB’s Central Market, Whole Foods, Costco, and other such grocery stores. When I decide to serve crab for dinner, I do my crabbing at Costco. Continue reading