Slice of Life 25 of 31

It’s my spring break this week, so I’m down on the west coast of Florida living it up for a week of sunshine, museums, food, reading, and relaxation! Life is very good right now! For this cooking Monday post I’m going to write about two of my favorite seafood dishes at the moment. I love all kinds of seafood dishes, but for the sake of this post I’m just going to keep it to two.

Shrimp Tacos
Total Prep Time: about 7 minutes

I use Oretega taco shells because they are gluten free 🙂 Warm them before filling
Using Penzey’s fajita seasoning I coat the uncooked shrimp ,then sautee in some oil and butter (a little butter is used to make the oil safe to eat after being at high temperatures)
Sautee the uncooked shrimp until pink

Add shrimp to bottom of taco shell
Layer with finely shredded lettuce
Add more shrimp
Add teaspoon of Rotel spicy diced tomatoes
Add a handful of shredded Mexican cheeses
Top with sour cream or guacamole, or both!

Garlic & Parmesan Shrimp Pasta
Total Prep Time: about 12 minutes

Sautee uncooked shrimp with minced garlic and butter until pink

Boil water in a separate pan
Add gluten free pasta to boiling water – I use Bionaturae from Italy
Add salt to pasta

When pasta is al dente drain
Add shrimp
Add 2/3 of a cup of finely grated parmesan cheese
Dust with Penzey’s dill weed
Stir well and serve.

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Slice of Life 18 of 31

Mince Pies

Yesterday (Sunday) I got to attend a huge family dinner created by mum baking quiches, pasties, cherry pie, apple pie, mince pie, roasted chickens, and constructed salads. The dinner was for my dad’s best friend and his wife, who arrived from Liverpool yesterday.  They bought the house next door to my parents, so they will be starting to visit more often. I haven’t seen them for 3 years, it was lovely to sit and eat a wonderful dinner and catch up.

During dinner mum sat next to me, and halfway through she leaned in and whispered: “I also baked a small mince pie.” My eyes grew wide and I sucked my breath in loudly and replied: “Ooooo thank you!” Mince pie is a British dessert and is a winter season treat, so I felt very lucky to taste such a dish in spring. I love mince pies so much that I want to eat them all year round, not just winter.

Mince pie is not meat. It is a cured dried fruit mixture (almost like a jelly) that my mum opens up and pours in brandy. She seeps the fruit mixture in brandy for several months before baking with it, and o my! I love it so much. One of the loveliest things about mince pies is that they come with folklore – it is said that for however many mince pies you bake and donate to friends is how many months of good luck you’ll receive in the coming year. I think the sentiment is true because if you give you also receive.

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Slice of Life 11 of 31

Baking Gluten Free

One of my favorite things to bake is sweet loaves of bread, like banana nut bread or blueberry oat loaf. I enjoy baking these kinds of breads because I love to eat them! And also because I really want to bake French bread, but the process, as mentioned last week, is very intimidating. Baking is a part of my life, and I find lots of enjoyment from making the dish to sharing and eating it, which is why when I found out I was gluten intolerant  at the age of 32 I was rather distressed.

At first I denied my intolerance and would eat gluten anyway, but then I started to pay attention to what foods had gluten. It was hard to change my diet according to my intolerance because bread is a staple food for me. In part, I was raised on toast and sandwiches, and after 32 years it was going to be super tough for me to just stop eating toast and sandwiches.

Trying all different kinds of gluten free bread was a nasty process, until I listened to a friend of mine and tried Udi’s. I was overjoyed! Udi’s is a brand that makes gluten free bread that tastes normal, toasted or not. I also found out about gluten free flours and my mum and I tried several until my friend (same friend) introduced me to Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour! 

With this flour I make all my bread, cakes, pastries, pies, and any recipe that calls for flour to make the product gluten free. I have had success with the flour and like Udi’s it tastes great! So if any of you are out there and have just found out you are gluten intolerant Udi’s and Bob’s Red Mill products are the way to go. Since not eating gluten I have more energy, and I feel happier.

 

Slice of Life 4 of 31

Not the teacher, but the learner

I’ve been cooking since I was a little girl, stood on the kitchen stool to reach the countertop with my 1950s mother baking pies and pasties, cakes and cookies all day long.  I’ve been baking and cooking for many years now and among some of my favorite dishes are: chocolate shortbread, all kinds of sweet bread, coconut macaroons, breakfast muffins, chiken tikka-masala, fajitas (chicken or shrimp), eggplant parmesan, jambalaya, 13 bean chili, chicken salad, tuna salad, etc.  Ok basically all kinds of good foods are my favorite to prepare!  What can I say I actually like cooking – I just wish I had more time to enjoy it, but that’s ok I cook when I can.

So last week I received my first copy of Joy of Cooking!!!  I am so Happy with it – I love it – I want to make everything in it!  I want to make French bread SO much – I’m just afraid to – I’m afraid the effort will not be enough – that years of rolling dough and floured towels is what it really takes to make authentic French bread, and my first attempt is going to fail.  It puts me off – and I know I should just do it anyway and keep making it until it is right.  So that is one of my cooking challenges I am undertaking this year – to make the perfect French loaf.

I’m also badgering my mother into making a Buche de Noel  with me.  She keeps blowing me off though and I want to make it with her rather than on my own. She did agree that the meringue mushrooms were adorable and easy enough – she’s just reluctant about the Buche part – the actual cake! One day perhaps . . .

Another goal of mine is to make the perfect Jambalaya  – real authentic Jambalaya is tough with the baking of the uncooked rice into the dish – I keep getting either a little burning or too fluffy rice . . .

I’ll be learning about cooking until the day I can no longer stand and face the stove. Praise be to Joy!

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