gluten-free

Right off the bat, I’ll admit that yes, I cheated a little here. Asparagus hasn’t been seen at the Ringwood Farmers’ Market for the past two weeks, but 1) I had a craving and 2) didn’t it make for a pretty — if slightly pornographic — shot?

Because I operate under the assumption that pretty much everything is better when topped with a fried or poached egg (especially the super-fresh ones we get from Nina), I went with a variation on a shaved asparagus salad from the pages of Food & Wine for Sunday’s lunch:

The ricotta salata I substituted for the Parmesan was creamy and subtle, but I think I’ll try the recipe as written next time for even more of a punch.

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Because I eat yogurt with fruit every weekday for breakfast, I like to change things up a little on weekends, so we had gluten-free pancakes before hitting the market Saturday morning. I’m still playing around with flour combinations for breads and pie crust, but this pancake recipe was perfect as written. (By the way, I have no plans to turn this into a blog about dietary restrictions, but if you’re looking into a gluten-free diet, I highly recommend the Gluten-Free Girl blog. It’s an amazing resource.)

But back to the pancakes. I cooked them in only about 1/2 teaspoon of butter each, but they were so rich-tasting and slightly sweet on their own that they only needed a dollop of the raspberry jam I picked up recently from B&B Jams to put them over the top.

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I didn’t really load up on fresh vegetables this weekend because I went overboard last week and still had quite a bit hanging around in my vegetable drawers. I’ve been on a leftover kick all week long, but only yesterday did I finally get around to using up the last bit of the smoked beef tongue (courtesy of Snoep Winkel Farm) I made last weekend. Of course, on that first day, we had it in tacos as we always do, but during the week it made appearances sliced on crackers with Dijon mustard or just nibbled out of hand straight from the cutting board.

But my plan for Saturday’s lunch included my latest favorite way to use leftover bits of meat and vegetables: Vietnamese bun, a refreshing salad served with cold rice noodles, and the perfect thing on a hot summer day.

This was made entirely with odds and ends from the refrigerator: Tatsoi, cabbage, carrots, red bell peppers, radishes, green onions, basil and cilantro, all tossed with a sweet-sour-salty-spicy dressing, funky with fish sauce and garlic. And hit with a lot of Sriracha, naturally. I’ve found that if you get the sauce right (I used the one from this Vietnamese Chicken Salad), the rest of the salad just falls into place.

It’s been a migraine-y day for me, so I have nothing more to offer at the moment, but I’m hoping to get around to an apricot & goat’s milk frozen yogurt sometime this week. Hope you have a great one!

recipes after the jump

Braised and Smoked Beef Tongue

1 beef tongue, scrubbed with salt and rinsed with cold water
1 bottle beer
4 large bay leaves
20 black peppercorns
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
1 cinnamon stick
10 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed
1 large onion, quartered
4 chipotle peppers, whole
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano
Dijon mustard
beef rub (recipe follows)

Place all ingredients in a large pot and add water to cover by about two inches. Bring to a boil, cover, then simmer over low heat for four hours. Remove tongue from braising liquid and allow to rest at room temperature until cool enough to handle. Remove skin from tongue and trim away any nasty bits you see, coat tongue lightly in Dijon mustard, then in beef rub (recipe follows). Loosely cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, set up your smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions. I used hickory because beef tongue is sturdy enough to handle the strong flavor, but feel free to experiment with your favorite smoking wood. Smoke low & slow for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Beef Rub

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano

Mix ingredients together. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container.

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