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Oven-Baked Taro Fries

12 Nov

So after making and eating sweet potato fries the other day, I decided to try a different root. I’m talking about the big heavy taro roots, not the little individual bite size ones. I also tried baking them differently than from the sweet potato fries since those didn’t come out as crispy as I wanted them. I used aluminum foil instead of parchment paper to see if that made a difference.

I peeled then sliced a large taro root into rectangles that made a decent size fry. I dusted them with some garlic powder and coated them with extra virgin olive oil (since that’s the only kind I had in my cupboard, however I learned that regular virgin olive oil is better since it has a better high-heat  index and won’t burn). I then sprinkled some white rice flour over them hoping that this would help get the taro fries crispy since it usually works in the fried version. I placed aluminum foil on a baking pan and tossed the coated fries onto the baking pan, making sure all fries were in one layer.

Oven was preheated at 400 degrees and I started baking them for 7 minutes first to just see how they would bake. I turned the pan around and baked for 11 minutes. My husband added another 10 minutes to that and again turned the pan around. We decided to bake it another 5 minutes.

Once out of the oven I added kosher salt and fresh ground pepper on top of them, let them cool for a bit, then served. The taro root fries were crispy!!! And tasted yummy. We probably didn’t need the extra 5 minutes at the end. So either the recipe turned out crispy because of the foil or because I added the rice flour… will have to investigate another time but am happy with the results!

Spicy Sweet

5 Nov

My co-worker found a recipe for sweet potato fries, however, I couldn’t remember the link so I dug around and put together my own version. Most online recipes for sweet potato fries adds a little spice. I wanted to add cinnamon on top of that, so that’s what I did.

Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • fresh black pepper
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • paprika
  • coarse salt/sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub the sweet potatoes or peel the skins off. Slice the potatoes till you get them to the thickness you prefer. Put them in a bowl and lightly cover them with olive oil. Add some black pepper and cumin with a dash of paprika and sprinkle of cinnamon.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the sweet potato on the baking sheet in one layer. Put it in the oven on the top rack. Letting them bake for 25 minutes. When ready add  a dash of salt and serve warm.

Side note: I had tried putting the sweet potatoes in at 400 degrees for 23 minutes but the fries came out soggy, so for the second batch (since 2 sweet potatoes did not fit as one layer on the baking sheet) I upped the temp to 425 and baked for 25 minutes. The sweet potatoes were more crisp this second time around.

Mantou enjoyed a few fries but the spice (probably from the fresh ground pepper and paprika) had finally got to him so I will have to figure out a way to make a recipe that isn’t as spicy. Maybe a sweet version with cinnamon and sugar.

Scallion Pancakes

26 Oct

Wow, I can’t believe Wikipedia has an article for cong you bing. I love these green onion pancakes. While in China, my husband and I had our favorite street vendor that we’d buy about 2 kuai worth. It is a flat pancake like roti that is thin and layered with green onions folded within the layers. In the US, many Chinese restaurants serve cong you bing as a weekender snack along with other specialties like sweet warm soy bean milk with Chinese doughnuts. A couple of restaurants in our neighborhood sell them. Alas, they are made from wheat flour so I haven’t had been able to savor those fine snacks. Well guess what? I found a recipe for making these green onion pancakes online from “Diet, Dessert, and Dogs” and finally got around to trying it this weekend.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp (360 ml) Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten Free flour

2 Tbsp (30 ml) glutenous rice flour

3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) Bob’s Red Mill Xanthan gum

1/2 cup to 10 Tbsp (120-150 ml) warm water

2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml) extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper, optional

3 green onions, white and light green parts

Combine the all-purpose gluten-free flour, rice flour and xanthan gum into a bowl and whisk to combine well.  Add the warm water slowly and mix with your hands till it forms a soft dough. Form the dough into a ball and cover with a damp cloth; let rest for 15-20 minutes.

Prepare the surface area to roll out dough by covering with a light layer of all-purpose flour. Roll out the dough to a disk of around 12-14 inches, dust with flour as needed to keep from sticking.  Brush lightly with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and green onions.

Roll up the dough tightly to form a long roll. The dough will be a little dry so be careful the roll doesn’t fall apart. Cut the roll in half and pinch the ends closed.  Stand each roll up and push down on the dough to create two pancakes. By doing this you are creating the layers. Flatten out the pancakes using a rolling pin or your hand to make it to desired thickness (flatter is better).

Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add about 1 tbsp of olive oil.  Place the pancake into the pan cook for 4-5 minutes or until the bottom is a crisp brown. Gently flip the pancake and cook the other side another 3-4 minutes. Do the same for the other pancake.

Cut each pancake into 4 pieces and serve immediately. Use chili sauce and or wheat-free soy sauce for dipping sauce.

By the way, the picture above is of the first pancake which was on the thicker side. For the second one, I decided to flatten out more and it was super yummy this way. Also, I thought this picture was great since in the background you see Mantou peeking to see what was on the table.

Boo-bear

18 Aug

Mantou LOVES berries. There’s a picture on the blog where his face is covered with blackberry remnants from his hands as he shoveled them to his mouth. His favorite berry by far is the blueberry. We used to cut them in quarters and give them to him but he’s perfectly fine grabbing these berries whole and stuffing them into his mouth.

Mantou learned how to say blueberry rather quickly. Probably because he liked them so much and wanted more. He signs “more” forcefully and says “boo-bear” at the same time. He says the two syllables together fast and jumbled so it is really very cute to hear. I have yet to get him saying blueberry on video though.

At the grocery store he spotted the berries in the produce section. He moved his body in that direction, signed “more”, and pointed to them. When I placed them in the back of the cart he almost had a fit! He wanted them right there, right now. I was able to calm him down a bit and move his attention to something else, but he kept looking towards the back of the cart. Even when I put them on the checkout conveyor belt, Mantou was determined to get a blueberry.

Blueberries are great portable snacks and packed with antioxidants. However as I had learned recently, I will not give too many at one time. I’m going to say it came out rather messy on the other end.

So get your blueberries now, pack them in the freezer for the future because we’re approaching the end of blueberry season!

Sneaky, Sneaky

28 Jul

Two days ago I wrote about wheat being in gummies and it didn’t occur to me that those chewy, sweet, yummilicious candies may have an element of grape in the mix. The culprit is grape extract. Mantou’s grape allergy is going to make me really look at the ingredients. I went shopping at Costco today and wanted to get some fruit snacks. It suddenly hit me that those snacks usually have elements of fruit juice, and there it was the fourth or fifth ingredient listed, the sneaky allergen.

According to the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCP) of 2004, the major food allergens to be listed on packaging include milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. What’s not listed – grapes, that’s why I call it a sneaky allergen. I recently learned about this new allergen because we requested a second round of allergy testing at his last wellness check-up. A couple of days after the results came in and after I had already finished drinking a tall glass of Aloe drink, I looked at the ingredients, which of course was in hind site, listed grape extract. Another time this allergen snuck up was at my anniversary dinner. I noticed there was a lot of A-1 sauce being used when the waiter cooked up our dinner at our table. I didn’t have the bottle at my table so I wasn’t sure what went into A-1 sauce. I actually thought that there would be wheat in the sauce. So the next time I went to Safeway, I pulled A-1 sauce off the shelf  to exam the ingredient list – raisin extract (but no wheat).

I need to find a new fruity sweet snack – I guess it’s fresh fruit for me. I hear it’s nectarine and peach season.

Whey(t) A Minute

21 Jul

I should read ingredient labels more carefully. I just saw “rice crackers” and assumed it was good to eat. I bought the Lundberg Rice Chips in Sesame Seaweed yesterday and started snacking on them. It didn’t sound to me to be harmful. Big mistake, I re-read the ingredients after collecting some of the “munchies” and found that the label clearly listed Milk as an allergen. Argh!

Then today I knew I was going out for dinner with friends and I had seen that our restaurant had a gluten-free menu. BJ’s has a “food & allergen sensitivities and gluten-free selections” menu that lists the menu items and indicates if it is free of particular allergens. It was amusing to me that anything that was gluten-free contained milk.  I ended up choosing something that was “new” and wasn’t listed on their special diet menu – The Maui Glazed Porkchop. Does this description sound bad? – “One center cut pork chop, lightly seasoned and glazed in a sweet and tangy sauce, grilled and served with oven roasted red potatoes, steamed green beans and topped with grilled sweet red onions”. I’m guessing they might have some soy sauce (not wheat-free) but no other allergens. Double Argh! Eating out is quite difficult with multi-allergies.

It doesn’t sound like I’m doing too well with my diet 3- 0 in the past 2 days is not very good stats. It just tells me I need to cook at home more often.