Archive | September 2013

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival

moonfestI’m so happy to have come back and not missed the Mid-Autumn Festival.  Because you know what that means?  Moon cakes 🙂  Here in Taiwan, everyone has a BBQ with their friends and families.  There are fireworks (of course), pomelo, moon cakes, snacks of all kinds; and everyone is in front of their house with an itty-bitty BBQ.  Kind of peaceful and sweet.  I’ve made attempts at re-creating a gluten free version of the moon cake above.  Not my best culinary creation, so I’m not including a recipe.  Instead:

DSCN4682Yeah.  Doesn’t look very appetising to an American.  These are Apple Pears.  Chances are, you can find them in your local grocery store, especially if you live on the West Coast.  There are many different varieties, large and brown to small and almost yellow.  They are lightly sweet, and have a delicious crisp crunch to them (better than an apple in my opinion).  So how to pick a good one?  I’m not sure… but it should feel firm, and not be too dark brown or tinged green.  Peel off the skin on the outside (bitter and chewy), then slice like an apple.  Like I said, they have a delicate flavor, so don’t try them the first time if you have just had something strong before hand.  Savor alone 🙂

中秋節快樂!

Lentil & Rice Pancakes

lentil pancakes2These turned out to be blueberry pancakes.  Aren’t they lovely?  I didn’t take a picture until the pancake was halfway gone because it was that good.  I know you’re thinking lentils should be a savory item, served in soup.  But if you forget about that, lentils make gorgeous pancakes, crepes and waffles (still working on that muffin recipe).  You don’t even notice a different flavor or texture to the pancake.  Try it yourself, you’ll love it 🙂

Lentil & Rice Pancakes

*Start this the night before: rinse and soak 1/2 c. rice and 1/2 c. lentils overnight.

Wake up, drain your rice & lentils and place in your blender.  Add:

1/4 c. milk/soymilk

Starting on low, and moving towards high/puree, blend your grains.  It doesn’t work well at first, but be persistent, and you’ll get them mostly mashed up.  It’ll still be a bit gritty at this point.  Add:

1 egg

2 TB milk

Blend again at high until smooth, at least 2 minutes.  (If you decide to skip all this adding liquids slowly business you’ll most likely end up with gritty pancakes.  Rice is hard, and it takes a bit to grind it up – you’ll also need a good blender.  My small Phillips blender would never do this, I had to break out the old beast in the back of the cupboard)

Once smooth add:

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 TB oil

1 TB honey

Blend until smooth.  Once you add the leavening agents, the batter will thicken up again, but it should still blend smooth.  Hopefully you’ve heated up your pan/griddle by now, to about medium heat or medium low.  Pour the batter onto your pan, making a circle about 3 inches in diameter.  Place blueberries on top if you desire.  Flip the pancake over slowly, it tends to splatter if you flip it too fast.  Makes 6 medium sized pancakes.

You can also sprout these grains if you have the time.  I find that I forget to plan ahead, and it’s all I can do to soak the grains overnight.  Do Not try to make this without first soaking the grains, or only soaking them 2 hours.  Gritty pancakes is what you’ll get.lentil pancakes

Back from Vacation

vacationI know I’m not the most prolific of bloggers… but I didn’t give up on all this, I was just gone for 3 months on vacation 🙂

We were able to take a break for health & family reasons, and I swear we travelled the whole continental United States (except for Texas, that is).  It’s good to take a step back and contemplate things for a while.  Jump in the ocean (brr) see friends and family, read a few books and wander Trader Joes again (sigh).  Which brings me to –

WHAT is up with “Natural Flavors” ya’ll??  I mean seriously, it’s in everything now (including organic food items) and it’s a chemical item that is not labelled in your food, and basically could be anything.  I used to think it was just vanilla extract, but they didn’t want to waste time and ink to write that out on the food label, so it became “natural flavoring” instead.  But no.  It’s anything “derived” from a natural substance, meaning chemically derived.  As my cousin pointed out, MSG (Mono Sodium Glutamate) now has to be labelled on foods, but not Glutamate.  Which is pretty darn close, and he’s allergic to it as well – so he avoids the “natural flavors” on foods just to stay safe.  Seriously America, you need to boycott this and demand for it to be removed from foods.  Rant rant.  I had sources for all this info, but I’ve been chasing kids all day and didn’t want to spend the time finding them again.  Look it up for yourself and decide.  As for us – we’ll abstain.  I suggest you do the same.

Well, back to my pile of dishes.