Friday, June 27, 2008

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps/Cups

I'll be honest, I have yet to perfect the wrapping of a lettuce leaf. I have tried all different varieties of lettuce and none of them are easy to roll. The one thing I have found to make a difference is putting less filling in...but then I'd have to eat like 8 of them! As you can see my new solution is to use the smaller leaves and make them little bowls instead. I buy the "live" butter lettuce (the kind with the roots still attached) and give the big outer leaves to Emily (she enjoys the challenge), and I use the small inner leaves.

The lettuce looks like this. It is hydroponically grown and comes in a big plastic container with the root ball still attached. Please feel free to use whatever lettuce you like best and, by all means, if anyone finds a lettuce that rolls well let me know!

1 1/4 lbs. Ground lean turkey

4 Green onions

1 Small can of water chestnuts

1 t Garlic powder

1 t Ginger powder

2 T Gluten free soy sauce, I like to use Bragg

Prepared rice

Grated cheddar cheese or cheese substitute

Lettuce for wrapping

Start to brown the turkey in a large frying pan. While turkey is cooking, finely chop the green onions and water chestnuts, then add them to the turkey. Continue to cook and stir for about 10minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and soy sauce. Stir well and simmer until turkey is cooked through.

Put the turkey, rice, cheese, and lettuce on the table and serve family style. Basically the assembly is: a scoop of rice, a scoop of turkey, some cheese, and a shot of soy sauce if desired. Then fold and roll like a burrito or make little cups out of the smaller leaves. Truth be told, my husband just throws it all in a bowl and mixes it up. No matter how you prepare these, half of the filling is going to end up on your plate and there will be a lot of giggling when you look at the person sitting across from you and see them trying to shove it in their mouth before it falls apart! Maybe this is all part of the reason my family loves lettuce wraps so much (aside from the fact that they are REALLY yummy), eating them is good wholesome family fun!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

"Allergen Free" Hot Dogs

Yay, it worked! I mentioned before that the original reason that I wanted the Twinkie pan was to make gluten free hot dog buns, they are. They are about an inch shorter than the hot dog but all in all I think they're pretty cute. There's not really a recipe here, but let me tell you what I did. I used Pamela's Amazing Wheat Free Bread Mix and made the egg free version on the side of the bag. Grease the Twinkie pan and put about 1/4 C. of the dough into each one (I made a hamburger bun out of the leftovers). Then, with oiled or wet fingers, spread the dough so it is as smooth as possible on top. Allow to rise in a warm place (I use my oven) for about an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes or until they sound hollow when you thump the tops. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes then turn them out so they don't get soggy.

Now in order to use these as actual hot dog buns you will need to do a little knife work. Remember how Subway Sandwiches used to cut the big V in their bread so that they could load in more toppings? That's what we are going to do here. Lay the
"Twinkie" on it's side and cut out the center length wise in the shape of a V (or a U if you are really talented). Here is a picture of how it should look.
As for the hot dog itself, we used Jenni-O turkey dogs this time although they do contain nitrates which I try to avoid when I can. Emily is also mildly allergic to mustard which you can see in the picture is on there too. We were living dangerously this weekend! A better choice for us is Sheltons (free of beef, dairy, nitrates, and garlic), but they are just so hard to get. Please use whatever hotdogs are safe for your allergies.
OK, throw in some allergy safe chips and a pickle spear and you have a "regular" old all American lunch! :)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Cherry Blossom Crispy Rice Treats

Spring is here and all the lovely flowers are in bloom (at least that's what I hear from other parts of the country)! Emily and I have decided to celebrate, despite the fact that it has been cold and rainy here 8 out of the past 9 days, by making our own flowers. Our inspiration was not only spring but also the fact that I have a very fancy bottle of natural cherry flavor in my fridge just wasting away. I plan to post "rainbow butterflies crispy rice treats" as soon as I have the ingredients to make them and take a picture, but at the risk of ruining the surprise, this needs to be said now instead of later... Rice crisp cereals DO CONTAIN a very small amount of gluten due to the "malt flavoring", if you want to make a gluten free version use Post Fruity Pebbles as they are completely gluten free (although I don't know about shared equipment). As for Emily's lovely pink cherry blossoms, they are dairy free, egg free, and nut free.

3 T Dairy free margarine
6 C Mini marshmallows (make sure they are safe for your allergies)
5 Drops of red food color
1/2 t Natural cherry flavor from The Spicery Shoppe (optional)
6 C Crispy rice cereal

In a large pot melt the margarine over medium-low heat. Add the marshmallows and stir until completely melted and no lumps are left. Remove from heat and stir in food coloring and flavor. Pour in the crispy rice cereal and stir hard until thoroughly mixed. Pour into a greased 9"x11" pan. Coat your hands with margarine and flatten mixture into pan. Cool treats in pan and then turn them out onto a cutting board. Using a flower cookie cutter (plastic is best, metal tends to bend out of shape) cut out as many shapes as you can, eating the scraps as you go (ok, that part is optional). At this point we took colored mini marshmallows and pushed one into the center of each flower. Skittles, or any candy safe for your allergies, would be cute too. There you have it....spring flowers Oregon style!