Saturday, April 30, 2011

All Things Thai

Lately I've been absolutely obsessed with Thai food. I've been eating curry multiple times a week, both homemade and out at restaurants. I told my boyfriend the other day that I could eat Thai food every day and not get sick of it, and so far that has held true. If you are a Thai fan like I am, then get excited. I've got restaurants, products AND a recipe, all in one post!

If you are a regular reader, you know that I love Ginger Pop, a Thai restaurant that has been nothing but accommodating to my needs (not to mention that the food is out of this world). But I'm always trying new places, and I think I may have found a place that tops the ol' GP. Enter Siam Society. Located on Alberta, this restaurant has everything I want in a dining establishment. Think vegan, vegetarian, AND gluten free menus, a cocktail list that I promise will blow your mind (although more than two of those and you won't remember dinner), and an extremely friendly and knowledgeable wait staff that will make you feel right at home, even if you are the pickiest customer EVER.

I remember a while back my parents mentioned they ate at Siam Society...They said it was good, but they didn't mention it was Thai food. Basically, they've been holding out on me. Thankfully, Groupon seemed to have my best interests in mind when it offered a deal for the restaurant. After using one, Joe and I ended up buying three more, cause we know we'll be going back. So let me paint the picture for you. The restaurant was classy without being stuffy, and hey, it's Alberta street, so no one is going to be dressed to the nines anyway. Our waitress was super goofy and amicable, I liked her right away. She brought out both the vegan and gluten free menus, and when I asked if certain dishes could be made both vegan and gluten free she didn't even hesitate when telling me yes. She also knew off the top of her head that the curries don't have sugar in them, and offered to swap the potatoes in my yellow curry out for kombocha squash , which was way better. Joe had the Pad Kee Mow and loved it, he even mentioned it might be the best he's tried yet. As for my food, well, I ate all of it. And had two Hibiscus Mojitos. Moderation be damned.

It doesn't stop there...another place I'm growing to love is Vege Thai, a completely vegetarian thai restaurant that makes all its dishes without fish or oyster sauce, and has a bunch of different faux meats to add to your meal. You can view my whole review here.

Now if I ate out as often as I had thai food cravings, I'd be 300 pounds. I knew I was going to have to teach myself to make curry at home. And while you just can't replicate that perfect restaurant curry without being a chef, Thai, or both, I think I do a pretty decent job. Although I do have the help of a pretty awesome product: Thai and True curry pastes. Thai and True is a local company that makes vegan, non-GMO and gluten free curry pastes, as well as sarachee and peanut sauce. And they are so easy to use. Throw a tablespoon into a saucepan with about a cup of coconut milk, heat until blended, and voila, you have a blank canvas to create curry masterpieces of your own! My favorite concoction is below.

Easy Curry

Serves 2

1 c. brown or black rice
1 tbsp. Thai and True red curry paste
1 c. coconut milk
1/2 tsp. Thai and True hot chili oil
1/2 block of tofu, cubed
1/2 large onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. mushrooms
1 bunch kale, chopped.

Prepare rice according to directions. Heat curry paste in large saucepan with coconut milk over medium heat until blended. Add onions and peppers and cook until soft, or 3-5 minutes. Add remaining vegetables and cook about 5 more minutes or until ideal tenderness has been reached. Add chili oil and mix well. Serve over rice.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

An Allergy Friendly Easter (and raw frosting recipe!)

First and foremost, exciting news! The Vancouver Voice just put out a Clark County dining guide and it features an article about my blog! While the dining guide itself doesn't exactly do a great job of outlining which Vancouver restaurants are gluten free, the article has a few suggestions that Christina, the Lingonberries owner, and I made (obviously Ginger Pop and Chutneys). I'm so flattered and excited to finally have some publicity! Hopefully it just gets better from this point!!

Alright, I get excited about holidays because it means I get to experiment with new twists on old recipes. This year, I didn't help at all in the preparation of dinner since we dined at my grandma's house, but I wasn't showing up at Easter dinner without at least one dessert I could eat!

I ended up making two desserts, in addition to my grandma's famous "bunny cake" that she made with Bob's Red Mill's gluten free vanilla cake mix this year (which I still had to stay away from because of the corn and sugar). The first was a cake mix Lingonberries just started carrying called 1, 2, 3 Gluten Free Devil's Food Cake (shown below). When we got this mix in, I noticed the list of allergens on the front of the box that the mix didn't contain. I turn the box over only to find that it's also free of potato! Amazing! So obviously I had to try it.

The inside of the box has recipes to make the cake either sugar free or egg free, but unfortunately not both. I went for the sugar free version since I get a lot worse symptoms from sugar than eggs these days. The first thing I noticed was that the batter was to DIE for. I could have easily eaten the whole thing right out of the mixing bowl. It's very thick and fudgy, as opposed to most cake mixes that are generally runnier.

The cake came out great for the most part. My only complaint is that it was a bit dry, but we ate it after it had spent a weekend in the fridge so that could have had something to do with it. Flax gel as an egg replacer generally makes baked goods moister, so if I made this again I'd definitely make it egg and sugar free. What was really awesome though was the raw cashew cream frosting I made to go on top...

Vanilla Cashew Frosting:
  • 1 1/2 CUP cashews
  • 1/2 CUP water
  • 2 TBS agave syrup
  • 3 TBS coconut oil
  • 1 TBS vanilla
  • 1/4 TSP salt
Soak cashews in water for 2-4 hours. Drain, rinse and place the nuts onto a kitchen towel to gently roll them dry. Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until creamy and smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate for a few hours to thicken up. Keep the icing and cake separate until serving.

I can't even tell you how excited I was to perfect a dairy and sugar free frosting recipe, I'll be using that for all my sweet treats from now on. The cake and frosting definitely got the family approval too, which is an added bonus. (or else I probably would have eaten the whole cake).

Mad props to 1, 2, 3 Gluten Free for being the first to realize that you don't have to add refined sugar to mixes to make them delicious! I've been waiting forever for a product like this to come out! Now if they'd find a way to make their other mixes potato free... Oh well, little victories :-) Until next time, live free!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Pecan Apple Brussel Sprouts

When I was a kid, I HATED brussel sprouts. My mom would have to force them down my throat, they were the worst. It wasn't till I got older that I realized brussel sprouts prepared well can actually be pretty damn good. And they are so healthy for you, definitely an added benefit. This recipe can me made vegan or omnivorous, or as a side by omitting the protein.
Brussel Sprouts with Apple and Tofu

1 lb brussel sprouts, shredded
1 medium apple, diced
1/3 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. cubed tofu or chicken
1 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. water
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Put the brussel sprouts, water, and some salt in a frying pan over medium high heat. Cook 7-10 minutes. Add apple, maple syrup, tofu and garlic and cook 3-5 more minutes. Remove from heat, toss with lemon juice, pecans, salt and pepper. Serves 2-3