Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A new twist on apple crisp, etc.

Mini White Chocolate Caramel Apple Crisps fresh from the oven!
If you’re new to the gluten-free diet, or if you just want to try out some new gluten-free recipes, I recommend a subscription to Delight Gluten Free magazine. You can purchase it by the issue for only $.99 using your Newstand app on your iPad or iPhone. You can also go to www.delightglutenfree.com for information on how to download their magazine on a variety of devices. Of course, you can also just subscribe to the magazine itself.

This week I tried a recipe from the January-February 2015 issue for Mini White Chocolate Caramel Apple Crisps. Oh, my word! The recipe was delicious, and the presentation—individual apple crisps in 8-ounce canning jars—was a hit.  The jars are full when you load the recipe, but it cooks down so that you can add a scoop of ice cream on top.

I would probably be violating some kind of copyright law if I were to include the recipe in my blog, but I think this recipe (along with about 50 more gluten-free recipes) is well worth the $.99, if you want it. The idea is cute, anyway, and you could even try it with your own favorite apple crisp recipe.

The Prepara can be
used with a reader ...
... or with a cookbook!
While I’m (sort of) on the subject of using online recipes, look at what my kids bought me for Christmas this year! This little iPad/Cookbook holder, called a "Prepara," is “as handy as a button on a shirt,” as my grandmother used to say. (I’m pretty sure they picked it up at Barnes & Noble, and I’m pretty sure it cost around $25. . .)

Monday, February 23, 2015

The real deal: Leong's Cashew Chicken

My version of Leong's Cashew Chicken. Close enough!
Early last year (Jan. 24, 2014), I wrote a blog about Springfield’s (MO) signature dish, Cashew Chicken, and I included a recipe for slow cooker cashew chicken, which I found to be not half bad. In the story I mentioned that the first time I remember eating cashew chicken was at Leong’s Tea House back in the early 70s when I was in high school. Having grown up on the stuff, I sure did miss it when celiac disease forced me to give it up.

Well, a few weeks ago, my son’s friend Annie (a lifelong Springfieldian) gave me Leong’s actual recipe. The recipe had appeared somewhere in a newspaper, and Annie’s grandmother has been making it for years.  I finally tried it out over the weekend. Even with my mediocre cooking skills, I thought it turned out pretty darned close to Leong’s original. I took some of it to my sister, and she thought so, too!

Here’s the recipe as it appeared in the newspaper (See gluten-free suggestions below):

Plated up and ready to eat. I served it over brown rice.
4 whole chicken breasts
3 T. cooking sherry*
1 T. sugar
1 T. soy sauce**
4 eggs
Crisco or peanut oil
3/4 C. cashews
1 bunch green onions, chopped
½ box cornstarch***

3 T. soy sauce
3 C. boiling water
Pepper to taste
1 tsp. oyster sauce****
3 chicken bouillon cubes, dissolved*****
2 tsp. cornstarch mixed with ½ C. cold water to thicken

Marinate chicken breasts, cut in 1-inch cubes, at least 30 minutes in sherry, sugar and soy sauce. Dip each piece in egg batter (or slightly beaten eggs) then in cornstarch, then back in egg batter. Fry in Crisco or peanut oil over medium heat until golden brown. Remove chicken and drain grease. Put in baking pan with ¾ C cashews.

Sauce: Bring to boil and add 2 tsp. cornstarch mixed thoroughly with ½ of cold water. Stir constantly to prevent lumping until gravy consistency. Serve with chopped green onions over cashew chicken.

*I used Holland House, which has “Gluten free” printed on the label.

A few of the gluten-free ingredients
I used to make the recipe.
** I used Kroger brand, which does not contain wheat. Many of the store brands do not include wheat in their ingredients, while the major Chinese labels, such as Kikkoman and La Choy, do include wheat or wheat-containing ingredients. Some brands make a gluten-free version as well. As always, read labels, and take your own soy sauce to Asian restaurants.

***I used the Best Choice brand, because it had “GLUTEN-FREE” printed right on the label and because it was less expensive than the major brand. Argo brand corn starch is also gluten-free, but some others are not. Again, read up!

****Kikkoman Oyster Sauce (red label only) appears to be gluten-free. On the company’s allergen chart, the red label Oyster Sauce is listed as containing no wheat or gluten. I used it in this recipe, and I have used it several times and have had no reaction.

*****I researched bouillon cubes and found that Herb Ox cubes are gluten-free. Since my grocery store didn’t have the cubes, I bought the Chicken Bouillon Packets, which says “Gluten Free” right on the package. One packet equals one cube.

I’m always so happy when recipe ingredients are naturally gluten-free or have gluten-free counterparts. Being a true Southwest Missourian, I am ecstatic that celiac disease doesn’t have to prevent me from enjoying our staple dish!