Monday, December 30, 2013

Slow Cooked Chinese Pulled Pork

As you may have noticed, I have not blogged much in the last year... forgive me, I am working full time and am in grad school, so I have very little time to cook and blog!  I've been eating very simple tofu kale salads that serve my most immediate need: to fuel my brain, but not necessarily to indulge my creative urges to cook and enjoy a delicious meal.  I was talking to my sister about how I never have time to cook and she suggested that I get a crock pot to make easy, but warm and comforting meals during the busy semester.  Well, of course I have not had the time to buy a crock pot, but luckily my sister got me one for Christmas!  The first dish I attempted to make was Chinese style slow cooked pork for Christmas dinner.  I found a great recipe online, bought a hunk of pork and put everything into the pot on Christmas morning, turned it on low and left for the day.  I went to Glide Memorial Church for a joyful and soulful Christmas service, saw the Nelson Mandela movie, and then by the time I came home, there was a deliciously cooked piece of meat waiting for us!  It turned out so well!  I am very proud of myself as I'm usually intimidated by cooking meat, but I think this crock pot slow cooking thing is the way to go!  I can't wait to try some lentil soup, chili, and honey sesame chicken in my crock pot!  Enjoy this delicious dish!

  • 2 lb pork sirloin center cut roast
  • 1 cup of gluten free soy sauce/tamari
  • 1 cup of gluten free chicken broth (I needed about 2 cups to fill my crockpot because it is a large one, but use 1 cup if you have a regular small crockpot)
  • 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil, plus a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp of Chinese Five Spice
  • 5 gloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbs of freshly grated ginger
  • 2 scallions sliced
  • 2 cups of sliced shitake mushrooms
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper

  1. In a bowl (or tupperware if you want to let it marinate overnight), mix together all of the ingredients except the pork and mushrooms and let sit.
  2. Season the pork with salt and pepper, and leaving the string on, fry it in a pan coated in olive oil on medium/high heat for about 7 minutes on each side, or until golden/browned.  
  3. Place pork and marinade into the crock pot and turn knob to "low" setting and let cook for about 7 hours.
  4. When you think the pork is close to being down (maybe 30 minutes before), throw in the sliced shitake mushrooms.  
  5. When the mushrooms are tender and the pork can be pulled apart, turn off the crock pot and serve over rice and steamed bok choy, kale and snow peas!  

Thursday, December 26, 2013

New Favorite San Francisco Restaurants


It is a good thing for people like me that "gluten free" has become trendy!  More and more restaurants are offering gluten free options and accomodations.  If you have an extreme case of Celiac disease or gluten allergy, please always be cautious in eating at restaurants that are not totally certified gluten free, as there is always a chance of cross contanimation.  Luckily my allergy is not severe, and I have had wonderful experiences eating at great places in my city that accomdate someone like me!  Here is a list of a few new places I've discovered that are very friendly to people with allergies and food restrictions. 

This local chain of cafes has a lovely San Francisco vibe, energized by the parks near them, and a warm and friendly atmosphere.  I've always enjoyed their cobb salad and smoothies, but they now have gluten free bread!  Try their delicious turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich or their curry chicken salad sandwich! 

Burger Meister, a classic burger joint in the Bay Area, was a place I used to always walked by, assuming I couldn't eat anything there.  But one evening in Berkeley, while my gluten free mother was visiting, we were wandering around trying to decide where to have dinner, when I suddenly had a craving for a burger.  Burger Meister was right there and we asked if they had gluten free buns, and to our surprise they do!  We gorged on burgers and sweet potato fries!  They also have a gluten free veggie burger that I have yet to try!  Check out one of their multiple locations!

Radish is a relatively new restaurant in the mission that has deliciously fresh comfort food, plus they serve gluten free bread with their sandwiches.  I tried their yummy marinated tofu sandwich and their house made root chips and salad.  They also make their own gluten free flat bread!  Check this place out!

Plant Cafe is high class healthy dining.  Plant Cafe uses local and organic ingredients to make a plethora of dishes that will please vegans, meat eaters, and gluten free folks!  They even have gourmet gluten free pizza, house made kombucha, killer kale salads, and the best acai berry smoothies.  They also have a little take-out cafe including a dessert case that has gluten free sweets like this chocolate mouse brownie treat!  They have several locations including a cafe in the Virgin terminal at SFO.  Seriously, if you have not tried Plant Cafe yet, make it your New Year's resolution!  

I have been waiting for years for someone to invent gluten free ramen, and finally Sobo Ramen opened up in Oakland serving gluten free ramen options!  My friend had a coupon for this place so we made our way over the bridge and enjoyed the most delicious gluten free ramen ever!  You have to check this place out!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Summer Squash and Kale Salad

Summertime....I have fond childhood memories of running through the sprinkler at the park, of biting into a cold coconut popsicle from the corner store, of building sand castles at Crane's beach for hours, and enjoying the freedom of summer.  Working in education, I am lucky to still have the summers "off," and this year especially I am grateful that San Francisco has been unusually hot so far this summer.  I am in full summer mode: lying in the park reading a good book, staying out late with my friends, and cooking fresh summertime dishes.  Summer squash are a delicious seasonal vegetable that goes well with almost any meal: topped onto pasta, mixed into an egg scramble or omelet, or as a simple side dish to grilled chicken or burgers.  This squash and kale salad can be enjoyed hot or cold!

  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 pint of brown mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 long summer squash, cubed or sliced
  • One large bunch of kale, de-stemmed and cut into small pieces
  • Olive oil, salt, and pepper

  1. In a large pan, saute the garlic and mushrooms in olive oil over medium heat until mushrooms soften.
  2. Add summer squash and saute until squash begins to soften.
  3. Add kale and a splash of water (maybe 2-3 tbs) and cover for a minute.
  4. When kale is bright green and soft, turn off the heat.
  5. Add salt, pepper, or any spices you wish.
  6. Serve hot or cold!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Watermelon Juice!

I love watermelon with a passion - it is so sweet and refreshing, especially on a hot summer day!  Watermelon is not only delicious, but is also high in vitamin C.  I also love to drink watermelon juice, but it can be hard to find, so I finally tried making my own.  It is super easy if you have a blender!  Try it out and enjoy a refreshing glass of beautiful watermelon juice this summer:

  • One large watermelon 
  • 1 or so cups of coconut water (or regular water is fine too.)

  1. Carefully cut the watermelon into small cubes.  If there are seeds, try to pick them out! 
  2. Place watermelon cubes into blender (in batches depending on how big your  blender is).
  3. Add approx. a 1/2 cup of the coconut water (or regular H20) and blend until liquefied.
  4. Repeat until all watermelon cubes have been pureed.
  5. If you want a watermelon smoothie, just pour blended watermelon into a glass and enjoy.
  6. If you want pure watermelon juice, strain blended watermelon through a fine mesh sieve and then enjoy.
  7. I like to add some mint and enjoy!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chai Spiced Chia Seed Pudding

Ch-ch-chia!  Yes, we all remember those infomercials about selling the Chia Pet.  Who knew that chia seeds were actually incredibly good for you?  They are full of omega-3's and anti-oxidants.  These seeds are quite magical.  When soaked in liquid, they form a tapioca-pudding like texture around each seed.  You just soak the seeds overnight and in the morning, voila- you have pudding!  It feels like a science experiment, perhaps inciting the same kind of wonder and excitement consumers felt growing their Chia Pets?  The seeds are still whole in the pudding, which I love the texture of, but if you don't like it you can smooth it out in a blender.  Enjoy this easy, delicious and very healthy recipe!

  • 2 1/2 cups of almond/rice/hemp/soy milk
  • 1/2 cup of chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons of maple syrup or agave
  • 2 tablespoons of chai spice mix or: 
    • 1 tbs of cinnamon
    • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg
    • 1 tsp of ground cloves
    • 1 tsp of ground cardamom
    • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • (Star anise for garnish!)

  1. Mix everything together in a jar or bowl.
  2. Cover and place in the fridge overnight.
  3. Take it out in the morning and enjoy! You could add fruit, shredded coconut, or sliced almonds to this if you like!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Homemade Gluten Free Bread

There is nothing like freshly baked bread, especially gluten free bread!  On this cool and misty Sunday, baking bread seemed like the perfect afternoon activity.  This recipe comes from Jennifer Katzinger's Flying Apron's Gluten-Free and Vegan Baking Book.  It is an amazing recipe that never seems to fail!  The bread comes out hearty and slightly sweet, with a crunchy crust and soft inside.  The dough can be used to make pizza crust (bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes) or individual flat breads (bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes).  It takes a while to bake, but is well worth the wait!  Feel free to experiment with adding fresh rosemary, or cinnamon and nutmeg to the dough.  

  • 3 and 3/4 cups of gluten free flour (I used rice flour, chickpea flour, and sorghum flour)
  • 1/4 cup of flax meal
  • 1 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp of xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 1 cup of lukewarm water (94 degrees F)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of active dry yeast
  • 1/3 cup of sweet potato puree or apple sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the yeast and water, oil and maple syrup.  Wait till the yeast is activated, you will see it bubble up after a few minutes.
  3. In another bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients together.
  4. Slowly mix together the yeast mixture and dry ingredients.
  5. Add in the sweet potato puree and mix until all ingredients are incorporated.
  6. Knead dough gently on a well floured (or oiled) surface and then form into desired loaf shape.
  7. Cut slits into the top of loaf and place on a floured baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 2 hours.  It will be done when a knife can come out clean from the center of the loaf.
  8. Enjoy with some Earth Balance and fresh fruit jam, or dip a chunk into some garlic-infused olive oil!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Gluten free cinnamon french toast

Ok people, I am back.  I know it has been a while since I have blogged! Forgive me, I'm in grad school and work full time - I just haven't had time for cooking and blogging.  But the semester is over and I am so excited to have my weekends back, including Sunday brunch time!  My first free weekend I slept in and woke up craving something sweet and comforting.  So I whipped together some cinnamon french toast.  I remember when I was kid, my mother used to make me cinnamon toast, which is just toast with butter, cinnamon and sugar spread on top - so simple yet perfect!  This recipe below hints at this comfort food from my childhood, but in a french toast form - and wheat/sugar/dairy free!  I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients (for 2 people)
  • 6 slices of great gluten free bread (I love Canyon BakeHouse brand)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup of almond/soy/rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of 100% maple syrup (plus more for later)
  • Some Earth Balance or coconut oil or something to grease the pan.

  • In a bowl, mix together eggs, milk, spices, and syrup. 
  • Soak 2 slices of bread in the egg batter, making sure both sides are coated.
  • Grease pan and turn burner to medium-high heat and cook soaked bread slices in pan, about 2 or so minutes on each side.
  • Repeat until all slices of bread are cooked.
  • Top with fresh fruit and maple syrup and enjoy, preferably NOT while you study or write a term paper!