Friday, February 28, 2014

Los Pinos - Orting

Today was a beautiful blue sky Pacific Northwest day. We decided to take the convertible, top down, to Orting for late lunch; it is only seven miles away. Easy drive, very little traffic.

There are only a couple choices in Orting, we decided to visit Los Pinos Family Mexican Restaurant, 228 Washington Avenue S. I was leaning towards Tim's Kitchen, but Kathy noticed there were a lot of vehicles in the parking lot. The restaurant has been there seven years and the owner is Clementina Perez and our server was one of her nephews. He was very polite and seemed to be service oriented.

The prices seem reasonable, I love the chairs around the tables, with their hand carved style and on the top of the booths, they have Mount Ranier carved in relief. The food came out pretty quickly, as is common for Mexican restaurants. The food was fine, we didn't do anything exotic, I was craving enchiladas, they were a bit too salty, but good, and Kathy surprised me by ordering two chicken tacos and a side of guacamole.

They also do catering, you can give them a call at 360.893.2333.  If you are in Orting, drop in. On the way back there was a police checkpoint, but we did not get pulled over.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Bamboo server tapas - Jeff and Millie, elder and deaconess at Lake Tapps Community Church

We are excited to have our neighbors Jeff and Millie over for dinner!

When I was preparing the food for the Rijsttafel, I made extra and froze it. Tomorrow, Wed. Feb 26, I will pull the stuffed peppers, chicken paprika balls, rice cakes, and fish and vegetable cake out of the freezer and into the meat drawer to thaw.

Here are the remaining planned dishes. I will make the pizza tomorrow. Then on Thursday I will complete the rest.

Flax seed/Cornmeal Pizza

Chopped some vegetables, pepper, carrot, celery finely, added some corn meal, ground flax seed, corn oil, egg white a pinch of black sea salt and a touch of paprika and thyme. Put it all in a non-stick skillet, and put on the range on low. After about three or four minutes, put in the broiler. When the crust is done, I put some San Marzano pizza sauce on top and put it back in the broiler. For the cheese I used Beecher's flagship cheese, it is a bit pricey, but I love the way it tastes and also, how it melts.

Zucchini Sliders

Cut the zucchini in two equal pieces. Then flatten two sides by cutting off a bit of the skin. Cut into 1/4" slabs. They should end up like rectangles.

I use some ground chicken with some well cooked diced onions, diced cremini mushrooms, salt, pepper, oregano, and powdered garlic. Make small patties the same size and shape as the zucchini.

Cut some cheese to put on top of the zucchini. Broil the cheese till it is soft. Place the chicken patty on the cheese. Normally, I drizzle some olive oil and pizza sauce before serving. However it would be hard to clean the bamboo server.

Tapioca Blueberry Balls

Make tapioca a day before serving according to the directions on the box except try to reduce the liquid a bit. Leave uncovered over night in the fridge. Chop some small fresh blueberries. Mix it all together, form balls, preferably at least eight hours before serving, return balls to the fridge still uncovered.

Cranberry Drops

Handful of pecans, matching handful of slivered almonds, blend these into a granular nut flour, cup of cranberries, 4 dried apricots, 1/8 cup dried cherries, tablespoon of hazelnut oil. Blend. You may have to add a little water, but keep it to a minimum. Shape into a cone. We will be serving four people so that only used up have the mixture. No problem, we want sauce for the the rice cakes and paprika ground chicken balls. Feel free to add a bit of salt or red pepper to taste.

Sweet and Slightly Sour Cherry and Apricot Sauce (modeled after Moscara sauce)

Add 8 more dried apricots, another 1/8 of a cup of cherries, a tablespoon of Bragg's apple cider for the sour, (you can substitute lemon juice), and some water, or better unsweetened ginger tonic to the blender so you can blend to a puree. You might not add enough water/ginger water at first, you can add more, aim for the consistency of apple sauce. Now taste and see what other spices you want to put into the mix, I chose vanilla, (I still have a few beans left from Tahiti and used about a two inch piece), and a very small shake of Tony Chachere's Creole Seasoning.

So here is the plan

Monday, February 17, 2014

Gluten Free, Lactose Free, Chicken and Spinach Pizza

I used up one half of the Costco rotisserie chicken yesterday on the coconut crust on three meats meal. As I am building for the Rijsttafel party, I need to manage the space in the fridge carefully so pulled the bird apart and diced the second breast.

My church small group has a couple that is lactose intolerant, Kathy needs to avoid gluten and that is challenging me to cook some of my favorites in a new way.

For the crust, I mixed equal parts corn meal and brown rice flour, and enough corn oil and egg white in the medium size Taramontina non-stick skillet, (both Costco and Wal-Mart have been selling the set of three for about $25.00, they are cheap pans, but they take abuse very well), to get a good consistency. Put it on the range to get the bottom done, then broil the top.
NOTE: should have added a bit of salt to the crust, it was a bit too bland.

I was out of tomato paste, so I had to resort to pasta sauce, (yikes). Put the sauce on, put the pan straight back in the broiler to deal with the excess water. After it had dried a bit and looked like a 50/50 tomato sauce/tomato paste mix would, pulled it out, added the chicken, put the spinach on top of the chicken, sprinkled minced garlic on top of the spinach and put it back in. Keep a close eye, you want to spinach to dry out some, but not burn.

What to substitute for the cheese? My vegan friends talk about using cashews, so I thought I would give it a try. WinCo sells broken cashews in their bulk section for next to nothing, so I filled up a bag, I used the blendtech to create cashew flour with 1/3 of the bag, the second third, I hit the pulse button a couple times to make smaller pieces and left the last 1/3 as they were. I used the mixture as my "cheese" and mixed in some spices like red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika and time. Then I drizzeled some olive oil and a touch of water to help encourage the cashew mixture to stay together.  One last trip to the broiler.

It all worked pretty well. I think I will try this again before bringing to shall group, but I am in the hunt.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Coconut Shrimp, Chicken, Salmon

I was digging around in the freezer and found an open resealable bag of shrimp. The expiration date was January 2014 and it was already February 2014. Time to cook. My first thought was to make up some shrimp sauce and do the peel and eat thing with Kathy, but I wanted to bring something to our church small group meeting and take something to our next door neighbor.

The credit for the basic idea goes to Gina's Skinnytaste recipes. I went a different way, but that is fine. I had a bag of coconut, but it was chunks, so I tossed them in the blendtec and voila, coconut dust. The skinny recipe calls for equal coconut and panko, Kathy is responding very well to a gluten free diet so I used GF breadcrumbs, I also added a bit of No-Salt, red pepper and smoked paprika to the coconut mixture. Cooked and peeled the shrimp, (note to self, always buy peeled shrimp). I wanted to move fast so ....

Canola oil spray on a large non-stick skillet. Put a teaspoon of coconut mix ever where you plan to put a shrimp. Pour some Wal-Mart Egg White, (it is thicker than a lot of egg white products), into a bowl, put the shrimp in the egg, drop it onto the coconut in the skillet. Then a spoon of coconut goes on top, cook the bottom on the range, then broil the tops, the meats are cooked, the egg is pasteurized, so no food safety concerns.

Had a rotisserie chicken from Costco, (I love their chickens and am greatly disappointed if I buy one anywhere else), it was still warm. Cut half a breast free, pulled the skin, cut it into slices and did it again.

With the salmon, for some reason I decided to only put coconut on the top, put a thin coat of horseradish on the salmon first and directly to be broiler.

I did not have any apricot preserves, but did have dried apricots in the snack area of the kitchen. They worked just fine as a dip. Other than that I followed the Skinnytaste recipe.

I am excited to try this one again. Two possible changes, my coconut did not come out as brown as the picture on Skinny. I think I will pre-cook the coconut to a light brown. Also, wondering about substituting ground almond for the breadcrumbs.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rijsttafel - Jim and Mandy, Neighbors

This Thursday we will host Jim, Mandy and Joe for a Rijsttafel, a "rice table", small portions, often side dishes and always accompanied by rice. All the dishes are safe in the fridge for up to three days and there is a lot of prep work, so I did it sections. All dishes are prepared gluten and lactose free.

Day One 


I started by creating a chicken Italian sausage. They have 95% lean ground 1 lb packs of chicken at WinCo. I added two heaping tablespoons of parmesan cheese and some egg white as binder. The ruling spice is fennel. I took fennel seeds and blended them into powder. Other spices include salt, black pepper, red pepper, garlic, and paprika. Then I cooked up a small patty to taste and make sure the spicing was right.

I also created some black rice flour by using the blender and left a little of the fennel powder.

Next, I selected another rice. I picked up a jar of Harvest Medley, CalMati Brown Rice, Wild Rice, Sweet Brown Rice, Heirloom Red Rice. and cooked it up.

Then I washed a bag of mini multi-color peppers. I divided them in half, there were far more yellow peppers than red or orange, so used all yellow peppers for the pepper sausage, and a mix of colors for the stuffed pepper.

Pepper Sausage

I cut 1/4" rings, put them in a large non-stick skillet, I then filled the inside of each pepper with the sausage and cooked the bottom on the range at low heat. Then I cooked the top side with my broiler. BTW if you ever buy an oven, make sure you can broil with the door open. Then I turned off the broiler pushed the skillet all the way in and closed the door and let them sit for ten minutes to be sure the chicken is fully cooked.  Stuck toothpicks into the center and let it cool.

Stuffed Peppers

Cut the top off the multi-colored peppers and deseeded. Took part of the sausage and mixed it with the rice medley, 40% rice, 60% sausage. Added three heaping tablespoons of cheese powder and half a tablespoon of olive oil. For food safety, I cooked this mixture in a non-stick skillet. I stirred several times to ensure even cooking, when done, be ready to move fast.

I used a spoon since the mixture is hot, but nothing works better than fingers to make sure mixture is completely in the pepper.

Paprika Balls, (Bakso)

With whatever is left over of the mixture from the stuffed peppers, roll into small meat balls. One of the things I do that is a bit different than most Asian meat balls is add paprika. Shake some hot smoked paprika onto a smooth surface. Roll the meat ball around in the paprika, shake some more paprika and move on to the next meat ball, until they are all done.

At the Rijsttafel, these will be served over some of the rice medley which will be spiced with a bit of salt and red pepper.

Black Rice Flour Patties

Kathy wants to do a gluten free bread machine recipe and it calls for two tablespoons of black rice flour. I made some for Kathy and kept some for the meal. There was a little of the chicken sausage left so I put the flour in a pan, poured boiling water over it and stirred. The I added the remainder of the sausage. I also added a quarter cup of corn oil, these are going to be dry and cracker like as it is, but do not want them to be too dry and cracker like.

Even still they are going to need a sauce on top. At the Rijsttafel, these will be served with apricot sweet-sour sauce.

Day 2

Baked Satay

Satay is another version of meat on a stick. But I feel lazy and don't want to bother with sticks or my grill. I I built a version using a medium onion, 8 oz. lite soy sauce,  (if you don't have lite soy, then 6 oz soy sauce, 2 oz water), 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 3 tablespoons crushed ginger, 1 cup unsalted peanuts, a heaping tablespoon minced garlic, 2 dried hot peppers, (I would have used 3, but not sure about my guests' heat tolerance). Added a little water. Blended into a puree, (think creamy paste about the consistency of mashed potatoes).  Taste and see if you want to adjust your mix.

Cut 2 lbs boneless pork in to cubes. Arrange them evenly in a pyrex, cover with peanut sauce, set in fridge, marinate at least overnight and two days is better. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, plan on one hour cook time and a bit of rest time still in the oven.

Fish and Vegetable cake ( My version of Pempek Palembang)

Thawed four flounder and cut up small, two tablespoons diced green onion, 1/4 cup egg white,, a cup of the peanut pasted described above, a tablespoon of powdered ginger, tablespoon of garlic, 2 teaspoons of red curry, 2 tablespoons of cornmeal, 2 tablespoons of corn oil, a healthy shake of red pepper, coriander, and also paprika. Keep a bag of brown rice flour handy and work it into the mixture till you get to a consistency that will let it keep its form in the oven.

I use a non-stick cookie pan, but still spay oil. After I spoon all the cakes onto the sheet, I take my finger and put a depression in each of the cakes. Then carefully pour egg white into the depression for visual interest. Set oven for 325, check in 15.

Shortribs Done Four Ways, Indonesia is where the term "Spice Islands" was termed

Did the first set Dabu-dabu style with chopped fresh tomato, chili, and lime juice.

The second set was done in peanut sauce with coarsely chopped dried hot peppers resulting in a bit bolder version than yesterday.

The third set was fennel and ginger with crushed red pepper.

Last, I used some of the more common spices of the region and blackened them.

Day 3, day of the party


I had a can of coconut milk, tossed in some 5 min Tapioca, a little sugar, a touch of vanilla and ginger and slowly added egg white. Tossed it in the fridge, plan to serve cold.

Monday, February 3, 2014

GF Bitochki - (Russian Chicken and Dairy Burgers), Baked, Spiced Potatoes and Variations

I have been in the mood to cook this for months. There are many many variations of this food, most have meat, but I seen vegetarian versions.

Chicken Bitochki Mixture

4 bunches parsley chopped fine
1/2 pack green onions chopped fine
1 1/4 cup fat free Greek style yogurt (NOTE take the time to read the label and check the ingredients, there are brands with lots of additives)
1/2 cup flax
1/3 cup powdered cheddar cheese
1/2 cup ground parmesan cheese
Optional: two tablespoons of spaghetti sauce, (more for the color than the taste)

Spices in descending order:

Smoked hot paprika
Black pepper
Cayenne pepper

Stir well. Taste; adjust mixture as your taste prefers. Hold off on the salt for now even if you are sure you need it :)

16 oz ground chicken
2 eggs
stir again and cook a test patty, adjust recipe, (yes, this is where you add salt)

Serve with your favorite potato recipe, here is one:

1 potato per person, (I prefer Russet), scrubbed with a vegetable brush, and cut into 1 inch chunks
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pack fresh cremini mushroom, halved (or quartered if large)
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1/2 pack green onions
Fresh rosemary, I am fairly aggressive with rosemary in baked dishes, so cut something like an 8" branch
Dried thyme to taste
Paprika, I prefer the dark red smoked hot variety
Salt, a 50/50 mixture salt/salt substitute, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

I cook this dish in lasagne pan, over to 450, best to pre-heat, check on potatoes after 20 minutes, when they pass the fork test and are golden brown, you have a hit.


Taco filling
Take the appropriate amount of basic mixture, add chili powder, red pepper, whatever seasonings you like in your taco mix. Cut an organic green pepper into thin strips about 1.5 inches long.

Cook the meat to a safe temperature let it cool to warm. Toss the green pepper into a high temperature skillet on high heat. Stir often. The only condiments I put out are salsa and guacamole.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

GF Red lentils and leeks patties

This dish is fairly simple to cook, equal parts lentils, leeks and parmesan romano cheese.I was in the mood for a meatless dish so I cooked some up with too much water and a little bit too long so they were like a paste. The controlling spices were smoked hot paprika and fresh bay leaves from the back yard. I didn't add salt because the binder is Parmesan cheese.

The leeks need to be slightly over cooked, they go into a small sauce pan filled with half water, half chicken stock. Spices are a bit tricky, taste, taste and taste again. Paprika and thyme, mustard, garlic of course, a little cayenne pepper. Just before mixing with the lentils, add enough cheddar cheese powder to thicken.

Mix leeks with lentils match the volume so they are each a third. Taste. If you think you have it right add either an egg, egg white or egg substitute. Spray oil on a baking pan. They don't spread much so you can put them pretty close together. Oven to 320, does not need to be pre-heated or anything like that. My batch was about 15 minutes. Pull the pan from the oven and let it rest, they must be cool before you pack them up.

Fun idea for the mixture, stuffed flounder. Make sure the fish is dry, consider patting dry with a towel if there is any doubt. Take a piece of parchment paper, just bigger than your piece of fish. put some ground flax seed or cornmeal lay the fish down on the flax, then coat with the mixture. 320 degrees for 20 minutes.

I also had five patties that would not fit in my storage container. After church, Kathy was not hungry so I make spaghetti for one and used them as meatless balls. I put them in my microwave for 65 seconds and let them totally cool. When they cool they become pretty tough, but since they are going into a liquid environment this keeps them from falling apart in the tomato sauce.