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I had a ton of errands to get done today. I succeeded at most of them. A Costco run was on that list.

I was on my way toward the pet treats and paper products when I spotted these - dried mango slices covered in dark chocolate. Two of my absolute favorite things combined. The bag had my name on it.

Now home, as I read the package, I'm both amused and impressed.

Sustainably farmed, gluten free, kosher, organic, fair trade, rich in both fiber and antioxidants. All but as words that certainly catch my attention. The only thing not listed was halal. I feel like Costco must have seen me coming.

I have to say, damn these are good! I got 3 bags & they're so good I'm putting them up high in the pantry. I definitely don't need them too easy to get to. They're that good.
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I awoke this morning with a knife in my ass. At least that what it feels like.

I have a history of my right SI joint tweaking out of position. When it does, it just aches and is worse in certain positions. Sitting is not something I'm enjoying right now. I'm not as bad as I was this morning when I got out of bed and immediately, had to sit right back down. I've had a hot shower, and a couple of tabs of Norco left over from dental surgery I had last year, and while I hurt, especially to sit or bend over, I feel better than I did this morning. Now I'm just cranky. I'm hoping I'll be able to stretch out later and coach my husband into trying to stretch me into a pose where the joint might reduce back into place. Any of you who've ever met him, are probably smiling at this thought; he's half my size. I've been known to introduce him as my better third. The Osteopath I used to see, who'd put this joint back into place when this happened has retired (ironically due to repetitive motion injuries to his hands - go figure), and my two friends who're CMT's are not available to do the kind of massage that might make me pliable enough that this will reduce back into place.

Once I was mobile, I went to the kitchen to get the beans out of the soaking water and into the crock pot. Hobbling around the kitchen, I climbed the step ladder to get the crock pot down, browned the chunk of uncured pork butt to get into the crock along with it, toasted then ground the cumin seed, sauteed two chopped onions to get into the crock along with every thing and finally left it all to bubble away for 8 hours for dinner tonight. Spent almost an hour getting everything together; it all took me longer because of the blasted knife in my butt.

Well, I just got home from running a bunch of errands this morning and early this afternoon, and walked into the kitchen to check on and stir the beans. They were raw and ice cold. WTF?!?

The kitchen island does not have power running to it. We ran a permanently placed, surge protected extension cord to the wall next to the island and that was what the crock pot was plugged in. There is a lighted on/off switch on the extension cord and while I had turned it on this morning and the crock was hot before I left, someone had switched it off thereafter. My husband is notorious for shutting this particular switch off and on one of his trips through the kitchen this morning, it's exactly what he did. He doesn't remember doing it, but I have had him do it to me while I have been standing there in the kitchen in the past. He reminds me at times of my father (he should rest in peace) who routinely walked through the house turning off lights in empty rooms throughout my childhood.

I just exploded. I'm hurting and cranky and not really wanting to go out again today, nor do I feel like making something else for dinner tonight. He doesn't cook. He doesn't know how. Moreover, I'm not feeling particularly social and given how much I'm hurting, not feeling like I want to go anywhere. As someone with celiac disease, I wind up having to watch what's put in front of me with care or I'll pay for it. Last night at dinner, I asked if the soup was safe for me - this is a local place we eat at frequently and generally they're appropriately careful with what they put in front of me. It was busy there last night and my soup came to the table adorned with a couple of packages of crackers. At least they were on the side of the plate rather than already on top of the soup, so I was able to hand them back to the server, who immediately apologized, for bringing them out. At the moment, I'm not feeling like I want to look over somebody's shoulder to ensure my own safety.
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In the past 6 months I've become a pretty devoted Grocery Outlet shopper. Almost everything for tonight's dessert came from there. The prices are nothing short of phenomenal and the quality is often exceptional. Plenty of organics, lots of stuff gluten free and always new stuff coming in. You never know what they'll have. Trouble is often if you find something you really like, it's gone when you go back for more. If you're lucky they have it gain a few months later.

So dessert tonight was a sundae - a satsuma mandarin sectioned ($1.99 2# bag), Fox's tangerine and dark chocolate frozen yogurt ($1.49 pint), chopped glacéed candied orange peel (other market) and a shpritz of chocolate whipped cream ($1.49 spray can).

Incidentally, tonight's supper was all from there as well. The smoked salmon was $10/lb, the havarti $2.50 for a 1/2# chunk, the eggs $3.59 for a dozen jumbo organic brown, the onion $1.59 #2 bag organic, the shrooms $2 1/2#.

Really nice eating well on the cheap.
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My husband wanted a light supper tonight. I had smoked salmon in the fridge. Onions. Mushrooms. Baby bell peppers. Eggs. Havarti. Sounds like time for an omelet; an elevated version of lox, scrambled eggs and onion.

An onion, a couple of mushrooms and a pepper thru the mandolin, down in some coconut oil and once softened in went a beaten egg with tarragon, couple of slices of the salmon topped with the havarti and then under the broiler to finish.

Along with a latte, he simply inhaled it. I think the meal worked well for a light dinner.
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As I was driving home I tuned in NPR only to hear Susan Sandburg reading Chanukah tales. I think she's mostly retired; I only hear her at the holidays for the last couple of years. Anyway it made me realize it's Chanukah, not that I've done any observing of such Jewish hallmarks of my youth in years. I decided to make Cassoli for supper and invite of tenants in to join us. It is after all, the holidays.

Things fried are traditionally eaten to mark the holiday. The gist of most Jewish holidays is: They tried kill us. We won. Let's eat!. This one is no exception. Chanukah, the Festival of Lights commemorates the reclamation of the ruins of the first temple in Jerusalem and the miracle that happened with oil deemed on sufficient for one night's flame lasted instead for 8. Hence the food cooked in oil.

Many are familiar with the Ashkenazic culinary tradition of potato latkes. Times they are heavenly. More often, just heavy. The last time I had them, the person who made them basically mixed a little grated potato, & flour in a lot of oil, waved an onion at it and incinerated deep fried them in Crisco, and topped the whole kit and kaboodle in sour cream.

Not so cassoli. While many Sephardi make the holiday with donuts, the Italians often pan fry cassola in just a touch of olive oil. These smallish ricotta pancakes are slightly sweet. (recipe below, adapts well for gluten sensitivity.) Best of all, they're fast from scratch and easy.

Cassola


1 cup ricotta (I like Trader Joe's nonfat)
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
2 tbsp sugar

(My variation: while I start with this basic recipe I prefer the batter thinner. I use agave instead of the sugar, add a couple of tsps each of both vanilla and orange blossom water and then use 1% milk to get it to the right pourable consistency.)

The original recipe called you to blend well in a food processor for about 45 seconds pausing to scrape down the sides. This time I did a double recipe in a batter bowl with a better hand whisk which worked just fine. Better actually, cause I could just pour the batter right onto the griddle. I also sifted all the dry ingredients, added them to the ricotta, threw in the extracts, the agave, and the eggs and blended well with the whisk, adding splashes of milk to get it all to the right consistency.

Cook dollar sized latkes on a hot griddle. Turn when the tops are mostly dry and starting to bubble. I used an olive oil spray on the griddle. I served them with plain Greek yogurt and apple sauce. Took about 25 minutes to make and serve. This recipe doubled served 6 adults tonight. I got 3 dozen cassola from it.
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Christmas a few years back I received some soup cups which have proven very useful for things other than soup.

A microwave frittata is a great way to use up a mess of veggies. This morning some sliced mushrooms, snow peas, half a dozen spears of asparagus, half of the small bell pepper and some chopped onion went into one of those cups mixed with an ounce of shredded Colby. One jumbo egg was beaten with some sriracha saucewas poured over the top, & into the microwave for four minutes. Presto, one personal microwave frittata.

While that was in the microwave, a small mango was cut up into some plain Greek yogurt, you slice of GF bread went into the toaster & coffee was put up to brew.

I'm sitting here quite satisfied, as my husband lies napping. Thinking seriously of some fun ways to awaken him. Hmmmm.
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After some 10 hours of being unconscious I feel human again! That's not quite as much sleep in one night as I had had in the previous three.

And our bedroom feels like a bedroom and not a hotbox.

Say amen!


Just finished my coffee and I think I may nap for a bit. (Though the food magazine LJ left on the coffee table is giving me ideas for tonight! It had a recipe for gluten free blondies in it & oddly enough didn't taught or even mention that aspect.)
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Paella sounded good tonight. Rice did not.

I avoid rice as a general rule. Very high simple carb, even brown. Not a great glycemic index. So out came the quick cook steel cut oats.

A little coconut oil went down in a Dansk casserole and the pound of hot sausage got browned, then a diced onion went down into the renderings and when translucent, 1/2 lb of slice crimini mushrooms joined, followed by deglazing the casserole with a bit of Reisling. Two cups of oats added to brown a little bit, then a qt of chicken stock added on the stove top with a large pinch of saffron. While it came to a simmer, the slice sausage was added back, some Chicken salzada added, & 1/2 lb of bay scallops & last a chopped orange bell pepper, then into a 325 degree oven. 35 minute later supper was served wih leftovers sufficient for dinner for two tomorrow & Wednesday as well.

LJ had seconds. First said it was delicious and then asked what it was. I'm pleased and satisfied with my culinary efforts. Moreover, I'm happy producing food that's safe for me to eat and healthy and tasty for my husband, which sadly is no easy feat.
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"You're going to Costco on a Sunday?!?"

My husband was incredulous. I was driving between Sebastopol & Santa Rosa & touching base with him by phone. He was bug bombing the bedroom, having found a wood boring beetle in the rafters of our space.

"We're out of coffee. I've got a coupon for something organic."
"You're nuts. Everyone & their kid sister is there in the weekend."
"Watch me. I'll be in and out. Besides we need coconut oil."
"Yeah. Right. Follow your light." He hung up.

I'm not crazy about Costco on the weekends, but more often than not, I can usually get out of there in 15 minutes if all I have are a couple of items and no cart. I grabbed a couple of cloth shopping bags and headed in. As predicted, I was out in 15 minutes.

Everything I was getting was in the organic section at the front of the store. The rainforest coffee was over 25% off at 12 bucks and change per 3 lb bag. 3 bags went into one shopping bag & I was off to find the tubs of coconut oil. It took us 9 months to finish off the last tub.

(Truth? There's actually enough for another dinner or three in the old tub. The tubs are huge and a little goes along way. I like cooking with the stuff as its heart healthy, plus I've been known to work some into my heels when callouses begin to mount up. I have a friend who now uses it as a sex lubricant with his bf, which makes me think twice about eating at their place. I hope there's a separate tub for the kitchen only, but I've been too polite to ask.

There was organic chicken stock on one side of the coconut oil and the largest bag of organic quick cook Steel cut oats I have ever seen on the other. Good thing for me the shopping bag was large. It all fit. Just as I got to the lines for the registers, a new line opened up and I was number 2, right behind another customer with next to nothing to pay for.

I'm making a mushroom oat 'risotto' tonight. The green grocer had some gorgeous trumpet mushrooms on the close out table this morning. Even on markdown they weren't cheap. However, there are a couple of bell peppers, some green onions and some red onions all organic to dispatch, so this should be good. At a minimum, it'll be healthy. Time to hit the kitchen, as my husband gently naps.
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Ricotta Latkes

1 cup ricotta (I like Trader Joe's nonfat)
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
2 tbsp sugar

Blend well in a food processor for about 45 seconds pausing to scrape down the sides. Because of my celiac disease, I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free baking mix which tends to need a little more liquid than regular flour so I used extra large eggs. Next time I intend to add some vanilla to the batter.

Cook dollar sized latkes on a hot griddle. Turn when the tops are mostly dry and starting to bubble. I used an olive oil spray on the griddle. I served them with Fage nonfat plain Greek yogurt. Took about 25 minutes to make and serve. This recipe feed two good sized adult men for a meal.

¡Buen provecho!
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Well it's the second night of Hannukah & I've just served my husband a traditional homemade Sephardic meal, Cassola. These cheese latkes trace their roots back Sicily, carried on the the mainland of central Italy with the Sephardic diaspora.

[livejournal.com profile] ogam sent me a link to a delightful food blog of Tori Avery, the shiksa in the kitchen & this little recipe seemed both tasty & easy. Check & check. The version I made was also gluten free.

I'm jazzed; I made a home cooked meal from scratch and had it ready to serve in under 30 minutes. And he ate it. With gusto!

Plus it was something with which I have some ethnic ties. Remote ties, but nonetheless ties. Bubbe (Nona?) would've approved.
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Persimmons seem to me to be the zucchini of the fruit world. The trees tend to be rather prolific, and it seems like everything on the damned tree is at it's peak simultaneously. Moreover, most folks either love 'em or despise them. Few seem to have neutral feelings about them.

Joann was in to the office on Thursday and on Friday I found out she'd dropped off two very ripe bags of hachiya persimmons. Ripe enough it was either use them this weekend or toss them out.

Time for persimmon bread.

This is my first try at persimmon bread since the discovery of my celiac disease. I used the banana bread recipe I tried last month. Cross your fingers; they're in the oven as I write. (Yes, it's midnight. My Saturday was the call day from hell. I only got home @ 10 - only a 12 hour workday.)

I've just used about 3/4 of the über ripe ones. It used a full bag of Bob's Red Mill GF Baking mix plus over a dozen eggs. There are 5 loaves of quick bread in the oven.

update I was worried they might not be sweet enough, as I really cut back on the sugar. I subbed 1.33 cups of agave nectar for 4 cups of sugar. My office staff pretty well polished off a loaf of the persimmon bread today.
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When I was little, a major treat at Grandma Lily's was sliced fresh fruit, especially berries or bananas with a major dollop of sour cream. I can remember sitting with her in the kitchen of her apartment, blissing out over the treat as she sipped a glass of hot tea. (always a glass for some reason, as I recall. Never a cup.) I cannot look at a container of sour cream and not think of her and the filtered sunlight coming in through the kitchen window. She had the most amazing smile and a gentle loving laugh.

I just finished lunch at my desk. It's easily 50 plus years since the afternoon I'm remembering now. The sour cream is now Fage Greek yogurt, today spooned over blueberries and blackberries I snagged at the green grocer the other day on special. How can you say no to $1 per basket? Along with it was a pot of Earl Grey freshly brewed and mellowed with a bit of milk.

I feel nourished, sated, and more importantly reminded of the love I so fondly remember from an afternoon long ago. Thinking of it, Bubbie was not much older then, than I am now.
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Organic eggplant on mark down at the green grocer this morning? Tahini on close out at the local market yesterday? Time to make baba ganouj.

It's been a good 18 months since I made a batch. I grabbed 3 medium globe eggplants this morning and put them up to roast when I got home. After letting them cool a bit, peeled them, and tossed the pulp into the food processor with the zest & juice of one good sized organic lemon, 3 tbsp of tahini, a couple of tablespoons of chopped Gilroy garlic, and some Spanish paprika & blended it till almost smooth. Perfect.
A pint of baba ganouj to relish over the week. I even have a bag of Glutino brand gluten free bagel chips in the house.

Num Num!
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I don't eat much rice.

My husband wanted a light supper, and as I ran outta gas on my way home (poor planning on my part), I was later than expected in getting back to the house. For once, he wanted to eat at home.

I cruised thru Safeway and found gorgeous broccolini, shallots, fresh Anaheim chilies and salad shrimp. I had quick cook steel cut oats in the house. A bit of coconut oil some garlic flavored chicken stock? Time for an oat risotto.

Ingredients:
Two 6 oz. bunches of broccolini, tops separated, stems diced
One good sized shallot, minced
One Anaheim chili, minced (seeds if you like it hot, 1/2 the flesh only if you're a Scovil wimp.
1 sweet red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
3/4 lb salad shrimp
1 cup quick cook steel cut oats
2 cup garlic flavored chick broth
1/4 cup grated mozzarella

Over medium high heat melt the coconut oil, and sauté the broccolini stems, chili, shallot and red bell till the shallots are translucent, then stir in the oats to toast them. Add one cup of the stock and stir till mostly absorbed, then add the broccolini heads, the cheese, the shrimp and the second cup of stock and stir constantly till the liquid is absorbed and the risotto tightens up. If it's drying out too much and the oats are not cooked thru (about 8 minutes), add more stock and keep stirring. Serve modest amounts topped with sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.

This worked well tonight. Dinner took about 25 minutes start to finish.
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The bulk of family of origin is Eastern European. My girlfriend back in college summed our food styles succinctly. "How can you tell if an Eastern European is Jewish or Christian?" (Her father was right off the boat from Poland, as had been her mom's parents.) "If they're Jewish, sour cream is on every vegetable or fruit dish. If they're Christian, it's on everything," she opined.

That wasn't far from the truth. I picked up a love for sour cream over bananas or blueberries or some other luscious fresh fruit, right there in the kitchen at grandma's.

I've always loved the stuff, but not the calories that went with it. So my recent discovery of Fage Greek yogurt was a real treat. I have no idea just how they get the texture so thick and yet smooth, but dayum, they've succeeded! It's not cheap, but it's clearly worth every penny in my book. Far better than any other Greek yogurt I've tried.

Tonight the urge for a midnight snack struck. Four corn tortillas (ultra thin at 40cal per), an ounce of finely shredded asiago, plus one hot dry pan and in under 6 minutes, I had two toasty quesadillas, along with a couple of tablespoons of Greek yogurt on the side. Total indulgence about 275 kCal, and a total yum. Celiac safe too boot.

Off to bed, hunger well sated.
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I am truly torn this morning. The corporatization of this country is something that I truly detest. Small mom and pop establishments are disappearing at frightening speed. The bottom line is truly the bottom-line.

That said, Burger King released a "Proud Whopper" just in time for San Francisco Pride. (Now y'all know I can't eat these things. I saw the video of it.) Folks were asked when they ordered, if they wanted the Proud Whopper or a regular one. People who ordered the Proud Whopper were then shown sitting and eating, then commenting that somehow things tasted just a little different. Then people were seen looking at the inside of the wrapper, which sported a huge rainbow flag and the sentence, "we are all the same inside."

Is this shameless marketing? Probably so. I'll believe that it's something more than that, when I see these hamburger wrappers in Kansas City & Tulsa.

Still, it did make me smile.

(Not that you'll find me in a Burger King ever again. Their food isn't safe for a celiac – nor likely, for anyone else.)
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I am truly torn this morning. The corporatization of this country is something that I truly detest. Small mom and pop establishments are disappearing at frightening speed. The bottom line is truly the bottom-line.

That said, Burger King released a "Proud Whopper" just in time for San Francisco Pride. (Now y'all know I can't eat these things. I saw the video of it.) Folks were asked when they ordered if they wanted the Proud Whopper or a regular one. People who ordered the Pride Whopper were then shown sitting and eating and commenting that somehow things tasted just a little different. Then people were seeing looking at the inside of the wrapper, which sported a rainbow flag and the sentence, "we are all the same inside."

Is this shameless marketing? Probably so. I'll believe that it's something more than that when I see these hamburger wrappers in Kansas City & Tulsa.

Still, it did make me smile. (Not that you'll find me in a Burger King ever again. Their food isn't safe for a celiac – nor likely for anyone else.)
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Not that I have any business consuming the product, but there is a pizzeria here in Santa Rosa that is simply "to die for". I have in fact on more than one occasion walked directly into TV personality Guy Fieri, who lives locally and owns three restaurants in Santa Rosa, as he left Mombo's just as I was walking in. It's a rare to find true 'East Coast' pizza here in the West. The owner of the place is originally from Boston and every last one of the workers throws a crust the same way I remember seeing it done when I was a child back on the East Coast.

In any event, I was not cooking last night. I wanted to bring a pizza home, & not have to cook. I decided to pick up a clam and garlic pie. Well, I ordered and then walked out to my car to get something. When I came back I was told that they were out of clams. I had already paid. The guy behind the counter said, "pick anything you want; I don't care whether it's more money than the clam & garlic, just get what you want. The store will pick up the difference." So I ordered the mushroom cloud pizza, adding on a handful of olives, some fresh basil, and some pesto, and then took a seat to wait.

It wasn't more than two minutes later, then the same person making the pizza appeared at my table with a slice of pizza for me, along with a cup of gelato. "It's on the house," he said.

Just as I finished the gelato, which was nothing short of luscious, the pizza was ready to go and I headed out for home to go feed LJ. It seems, I had already eaten.

And yes, I think Mombo's is the best pizza in town, and they certainly know how to treat a customer.
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I posted a few weeks back about the Spirooli slicing device I got. Well, if you run a knife blade thru the vegetable so there is a thin cut that goes not quite to the center of the vegetable before you put it thru the single blade, you get uber thin slices, rather than an insanely long ribbon.

Last night I put a batch of sunomono up to marinate and the results are lunch today.

Apple Sunomono
2 seedless English cucumbers
1 large fuji apple
1 large sweet yellow onion
sea salt
Rice wine vinegar
brown sugar to taste

I ran a slice thru each item before putting it thru the spirooli. The apple was washed and cored, but not peeled, as were the cukes. I sliced and then tossed the slices to mix, and then got them into 2 qt. plastic food container. I used 1/4 tsp salt and 1 tbsp brown sugar, sprinkled over the top, and then poured over about 1/3 of a bottle of plain rice wine vinegar (the seasoned that I could find all had high fructose corn syrup in them, which I prefer not to use).

This will keep for at least a couple of weeks, not that it's likely to last that long in my house. We polished off the batch I made on Friday at dinner last night. I have not tried the ordinary cuke yet, but that I'll likley try by next weekend.

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