Saturday, March 25, 2017

{Gluten-Free} Oven-Baked Chicken Over Waffles


I've joked that my boys think they live in a restaurant. But, sometimes, I realize that they practically do.

"Mom," requested the little Wom yesterday, "I'd like to have chicken and waffles for breakfast for your anniversary." Okay.


So, today, on my seventeenth wedding anniversary, I made him chicken and waffles. But I made them gluten-free so Jake could enjoy them, too.

I'm just going to share my recipe for the chicken as I used a gluten-free mix from Trader Joe's for the waffles...and the gravy was an afterthought that I threw together after I discovered that I forgot to pack the maple syrup. So, just use your favorite waffle recipe and your favorite gravy recipe. I'll share mine eventually.

Ingredients

  • ¾ C gluten-free baking mix (I used the blend from Trader Joe's)
  • ½ C grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins (approximately 10 tenderloins)
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 3 T butter, melted
  • Also needed: waffles and gravy for serving

Procedure

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a medium size bowl mix together gluten-free baking mix, cheese, and oregano. In a smaller bowl, whisk the eggs. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Dip chicken into eggs then toss in flour mixture. Place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining tenderloins. Drizzle melted butter over the chicken (approxmately  ½ tsp on each).

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip chicken and bake for an additional 8 minutes or until chicken is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center.

To serve, place a waffle on your serving plate. Top with 2 tenderloins. Drizzle with gravy. Serve immediately.


It was a hit! Jake even declared, "Now I know why he orders this when we go out to brunch." I'll admit: It was pretty darn tasty!! 


With full bellies, we walked across the street and rented bikes for the morning. What fun. Happy anniversary to me...and Jake! I'm glad D suggested chicken and waffles. It was a great way to start the day.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Hard Cider Tasting


After a seven mile trek (round-trip) to Tumalo Falls, Jake spotted Atlas Cider Co. on our way home. We swung in and picked up three different ciders from cider houses in Oregon and Washington. I have never seen any of these brews at home, so I was excited to try them. Ever since Jake went gluten-free our beer tasting evenings ended. This was great fun.


We bought the Hard Apple Cider from Atlas. We selected the Marionberry Dry Cider from Incline Cider Company; and our third pick was the Basil Mint Hard Cider from Seattle Cider Company.


He poured and we sipped.


Sadly, we didn't love any of them and, oddly, we ranked them exactly the same. The top cider was the Marionberry Dry Cider. It was slightly bitter with a hint of sweet. The one we liked second was the Basil Mint which was also slightly bitter, but herby and intriguing. The Atlas cider came in last. We found it too sweet and too weak. It just seemed watery.

If we have a chance, we might head back there for a few more. Or, perhaps, we'll stop back by The Bite  - read my tasting notes - and have a pint while we play cornhole and giant jenga!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Cavendish Cream Pie #FoodieReads


As March nears its end, I am logging my first selection for the month. It's not that I haven't been reading, it's just that most of my books this month didn't have a foodie element. I know, that's almost unheard of for me. So, I'm trying to do some catching up in the Foodie Reads Challenge while we're on Spring Break.


I grabbed my copy of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit that Changed the World by Dan Koeppel* and, while Jake stayed in the house, I took the boys to the pool and breezed through the second half of the book. I had just started it in the morning.


On the Page...
Bananas are not my favorite fruit, but I'm always interested to learn more about a food's history and biology. After reading this book, I know more about the banana than I ever imagined knowing. Who knew how politically charged the banana industry was?!?

A few fun facts that I just learned: the banana tree is actually the world's largest herb; most of us eat just one kind of banana, the Cavendish (hence the title of this recipe!); there is a banana in the Philippines that tastes like crème brûlée; banana cultivation and trade has had a significant impact on world history. I learned all of this and more in this well-written, quick read. There was also an interesting discussion about GMOs.


On the Plate...
When I asked my trio what I should make that used bananas, I can't remember who suggested it, but the other two were quick to agree: yes, banana cream pie!! So, I made my gluten-free crust and the Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf found a recipe on the Food Network that we adapted to fit what we had.

Ingredients makes one 9" pie

Crust
  • 1-1/4 C gluten-free flour
  • 1-1/2 t organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 C butter (1 stick), cubed
  • cold water
Banana Cream Filling
  • 4 C whole milk
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 12 egg yolks
  • 1 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/2 C cornstarch
  • 3 T butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 ripe bananas, sliced into coins 
  • whipped cream, for serving (if desired)

Procedure

Crust
In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Add the butter cubes and pulse until chunks the size of small peas form. Pour in 1/4 cup of cold water and pulse, again, till the dough comes together in a ball. Turn out the dough onto a piece of parchment paper and knead 2 to 3 times. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate until firm, approximately 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, then transfer to a 9-inch pie plate.


Prick the crust all over with the tines of a fork. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned around the edges. Let cool.


Banana Cream Filling
Combine the milk, salt, and vanilla in pot and heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, turn off the heat and stir the mixture for one minute. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale yellow, then whisk in the cornstarch until moistened and smooth. Gradually whisk in half of the hot milk mixture.

Pour the yolk-milk mixture back into the pot and cook, whisking frequently, until the mixture boils and begins to thicken. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring, approximately another 5 minutes. The mixture should become very thick, like a set custard. When cooked, turn off the heat. 


Stir in the butter until it melts completely and fold in the bananas.

 

Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shell. Gently push the banana slices below the surface to prevent them from browning. Cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing the plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 7 hours or overnight, and serve with whipped cream.


*This blog currently has a partnership with Amazon.com in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to Amazon.com and search for the item of your choice.



Here's what everyone else read in March 2017: here.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Tasting Notes: Taps and Trucks in Tumalo


On our way into town, we spotted a gathering of food trucks in Tumalo. And, we decided that when we didn't want to cook lunch, we'd head over there. Today was the day.


Turns out, it's called The Bite. Today there were four trucks there, but only three were open. We perused all the menus and ended up ordering from Heidi's Grilled Cheesery and The Rogue Chef.


We found a table under the twinkle lights inside and I couldn't resist getting a pint of Blood Orange Cider from Elemental Hard Cider in Washington. I have never seen any brews from them before. But, if this cider was any indication, I definitely want to get my hands on more. Cheers!


Jake and I ordered from Heidi's. I got the special: Stella Blue. Jake had the Cheesus Crust on gluten-free bread that was sharp cheddar, cream cheese, bacon, and jalapenos on gluten-free bread. He also tried the French onion soup. Yum!


Also, from Heidi's, D tried their soup of the day, their Sunshine Curry made with red and yellow curry, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and yam. It was spicy and delicious.


The boys both ordered from The Rogue Chef. R can never resist a BLT when he finds one. And D wanted a burger with bleu cheese and bacon. 


The Rogue Chef delivered on both counts. D declared it almost the best burger he's every had. That is saying a lot as he loves burgers and has had great ones.


All we had left at the end of the meal were empty plates, drained glasses, and dirty napkins. Wow. I hope we can squeeze in one more visit to The Bite this week!

{Gluten-Free} Marionberry Thumbprint Cookies


Yes, the reason we always try to get a kitchen when we go on vacation: cooking is relaxing for us! Today the boys wanted to make cookies with some local marionberry jam I found at a market. So, the Baker Manns went to town and made a batch of gluten-free thumbprints that Jake could enjoy, too.

Ingredients 
makes approximately 30

  • 3/4 C butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 C organic granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 C ground almonds
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 t cold water
  • marionberry jam (or whatever jam you have on hand)

 Procedure

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the egg yolks until incorporated. Stir in the flour, ground almonds, and ground cardamom until a flaky dough is formed. Add in the water and pure vanilla extract, gently working the dough until it forms a ball. Place the ball in the freezer for 10 minutes.


Pinch off pieces of dough and form into small balls, about the size of a walnut in its shell. Place each ball onto the baking stone or parchment-lined baking sheet, pressing a "thumbprint" into the center of each and slightly flattening. The cookies will not spread, so make them the size that you want!


Spoon about 1/2 t jam into each thumbprint. Place cookies in freezer for 5 minutes.


Bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cookies cool for several minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Early Anniversary Dinner at Café Maddalena


Years ago, a friend asked if I had ever been to Café Maddalena in Dunsmuir. Nope. I filed it away as a 'must try' if we ever came close. And, last night, we were only six miles away; well, truth be told, I booked our hotel for this leg of the trip based on going to this restaurant!

When we rolled into town, I called, made a reservation for dinner, loaded up the boys back up in the car, and headed out in the pouring rain. I'm so glad we did...you know it's going to be good when they have a display of Edibles at the front door!!


I always love seeing the waitstaff's dubiousness about two kids in their restaurant dissolve as soon as my boys open their mouths. "Mom, they have tripe! I have to try the tripe," gushed R, when he saw the Special board. Back, when he was in 5th grade, and they were studying the human body, his teacher - our beloved Mr. Spedding! - brought a cleaned cow's stomach, and they cooked and ate tripe. It's been one of R's favorites ever since. And, whenever he sees it, he orders it.


Their homemade focaccia was pillowy soft with just the right amount of flavor from fresh rosemary and salt. I tasted one piece. The boys polished off two plates' worth.


They had two kinds of San Pellegrino which made the boys happy. And Jake and I ordered a single varietal red wine by the glass. We picked a Mourvèdre. Like R with tripe, whenever I see that on the wine menu - and not part of a red wine blend - I order it. We were celebrating an early anniversary, but with the crazy storm, neither of us wanted to be out driving after wine. So, I had two sips and he enjoyed the rest. Their pour was generous!


Here's my Precise Kitchen Elf and his tripe. Our server placed it in front of him and he was in heaven. He did share a few bites with all of us.


Though the seasonal menu looked amazing, the evening's specials were too good to resist. So, literally, we ordered one of everything. That included a Meyer lemon soup, in the style of Greek Avgolemono; the tripe; and roasted duck over sweet and sour red cabbage with green beans. And off the regular menu, Jake also ordered their grilled beef tenderloin with salmorejo sauce, crispy potatoes  and chorizo stuffed piquillo pepper. Dylan had to get their red onion and olive pizza with housemade sausages and mozzarella di bufala.


I don't typically order dessert - I just steal bites from theirs - because I don't have a very robust sweet tooth. But they couldn't decide on which three desserts to get. All four it was! Chocolate marquise with raspberry sauce; pistachio cake with cardamom ice cream; mixed citrus tart with almond cream; and caramelized honey cheesecake with apple compote.


What a dinner! What a restaurant! Thank you, Cat, for the recommendation. We had a fabulous early anniversary dinner. Seventeen years with this man. 

photo by D
Well, seventeen years of being married to him and nineteen years of being in love with him. What a life.

photo by R
Jake looked at the empty plates and asked, "Well, this was a great meal to kick-off our vacation. How do you plan to top it?" I guess I'll be cooking for the rest of the week because we aren't going to find many restaurant meals to to this.


We don't often find ourselves in this part of the state. But, when we do, we'll definitely be back. And, should you ever find yourself in Dunsmuir, Café Maddalena is worth it!

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