Archive | January, 2012

Meals with Mantou has a New Home

16 Jan

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Asian Noodle Options

6 Jan

When I am at at Chinese restaurant that specializes in noodles, there are usually just two noodle types I could choose between, the thin rice vermicelli or the chewy rice ovalettes. I think about getting the rice vermicelli some times but I always end up ordering the rice ovalettes. The vermicelli can be a little bland but the rice ovalettes keep more flavor. I order the dish with salted mustard greens and shredded pork instead of a stir-fried version with soy sauce (most Chinese restaurants don’t have wheat-free Tamari on hand). Since I’m usually ordering the same noodle dish, I figured I could try to learn and make them myself. In doing so I have discovered a whole lot of other options of Asian noodles. There are rice noodles, green bean noodles, potato starch noodles… it’s a whole new world of noodles. Here’s a great write up of 11 types of Gluten-Free Asian Noodles from the Kitchn.

Noodles dishes are a big thing for my family. We intentionally serve noodles during birthdays because long noodles means a long life. We eat nian gao (the rice ovalettes) during Chinese New year. Nian gao translates into sticky cake and my mom says we eat nian gao so that our luck can stick on us and continue into the following year. (Actually there are two versions of nian gao the savory noodle dish or a sweet cake version which is more like a dessert- but for purpose sake I’m writing about the savory dish). I found a recipe online from Steamy Kitchen with great pictures and is probably very similar to what I get at the restaurants. I haven’t tried it out yet but would definitely try it with with wheat-free soy. I would include my own recipe but I haven’t really measured all my ingredients and it’s similar to what I previous wrote in a previous blog entry about Noodles. Seriously all my noodles have similar ingredients but because of the type of noodles I use, the flavors may be slightly different based on the noodle itself. For example, a rice vermicelli noodles stir-fry would need more oil otherwise it would be too dry. I just made a nian gao noodle dish this week that was so good, I altered my ingredients a tad by adding a touch of sesame oil and cilantro. Yummy!


Steel Cut Oats

5 Jan

My friend lives in Connecticut and I had invited myself over to visit her before we visited my in-laws for Christmas. (Hey it’s along to way, isn’t it ? kind of but no really – we had to fly into Chicago with a 2 hour layover. Then when we went to m in-laws we had to stop in Baltimore for 3 hours. At least when we flew back home we had a 2 hour layover in Vegas). Before coming out she asked me what we usually ate for breakfast and was trying to her best to accommodate our allergen-free diet. I told her that we ate oatmeal for most mornings, so on our first morning there she made us some steel cut oats. I can’t say it was my first time eating it but still that stuff is so delicious. We had it the following morning too! When I got home I made sure to pick some up at the store. It’s just so unfortunate that it takes a half hour to cook. I rather sleep in, haha.

Last Date Night of 2011

1 Jan

My husband and I didn’t have any plans for New Years Eve. I hadn’t planned anything, nor did he have anything up his sleeve. So I kind of suggested he plan something. He sent out an email to a bunch of our friends to see if anyone wanted to go to karaoke. These karaoke places in the bay area are really cool because you can reserve a room all to yourself and pick and choose from silly videos of mainstream songs. You don’t have to embarrass yourself in front of random strangers, just your friends. Well, no one was slightly interested in karaoke so we scratched those plans. Then on Friday, the 30th my husband calls me and tells me he made a reservation at a restaurant who serves New Orleans style dishes. He spoke with the chef and he would accommodate the foods we avoid – tree nuts, wheat, eggs, dairy, peanuts. Now we had to hire a sitter… almost didn’t get one and actually called the restaurant to cancel our reservation only to call them back 10 minutes later to keep it; my aunt heard I needed a babysitter from Facebook.

We arrive at CreoLa at 8:30 PM, the parking lot was packed and we found whatever parking we could find. When we arrived, the hostess asked for our reservations and told us to wait while she look into our table. The chef, Edwin, then came out and introduced himself and told us that he is well prepared to accommodate us and had prepared a dessert for us. BTW, this is a major whoohoo for me because we can never find a restaurant with a dessert menu that would suit us – it would either have nuts, eggs, flour, and/or dairy, and I LOVE sweets. I’m such a sweet tooth.

When our waiter approached our table for our order, we told him about our allergies and he knew about each of the dishes and how the chef could possibly make it suitable for us. For example, the shrimp appetizers would usually be battered and fried but they grilled them for us. We then had a salad, which it was supposed to be a pear salad and we didn’t get any pear so I wonder if it was soaked in something that we couldn’t eat. We didn’t ask since we forgot that the salad was even supposed to have pears until someone at a nearby table mentioned pears.

For the main entree, my husband had the pork chops and I ordered the smoked duck leg. The pork chops were cooked to a perfect temperature and came out moist and tender. It was a little too salty for me but it was my husband’s dish and he enjoyed each morsel. My duck was very good and the blood orange glaze was a great touch.

So the dessert was not on the menu but it was ice cream sandwiches made from coconut ice cream and rice crackers, with a caramelized banana. It was sprinkled with edible flowers. It was delicious and I wanted to lick the plate!


It was a wonderful last date night of 2011. My aunt came through on the last minute babysitting and we found a new restaurant worth going to again. We didn’t quite make it to midnight, we were in bed by 11:30 PM. We’re not quite the young and spunky… especially knowing that a little one would be waking up early the next morning.

I wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope 2012 will bring happiness, joy, and adventure. I will continue on my own adventure and continue on our allergen-free diet for Mantou. I hope I can provide more stories this year on how we deal with Mantou’s allergies. He’ll be realizing soon enough that he can’t eat everything everyone else is eating. Happy 2012!