Lunch Misadventures

“So, is anyone here a picky eater?”

The question from a co-worker came as our department sat down at a dim sum restaurant. The restaurant was busy with a lunchtime crowd, and our group took up two large round tables in a private dining room. Already the lazy Susan was laden with dumplings, and another cart filled with delicious food was being wheeled into the room. Everyone was grabbing steamer dishes and exclaiming over flavors.

“Because,” my co-worker continued, “this is not a place for picky eaters.” Then he looked directly at me, like he’d found a picky eater. “Aren’t you going to eat anything?” Continue reading “Lunch Misadventures”

Beef with Broccoli

If there’s one thing I miss about my pre-gluten-free days, it’s going out for Chinese food. Sure, even then, I could make it for myself, but there’s something about the way restaurants prepare the food that had me going back, time and again.

Yeah, that’s generally a solid clue what I ordered wasn’t the most healthy choice on the menu. Except when I ordered beef with broccoli. Done right, it’s a fairly healthy dish. And, it turns out, it’s so easy to make at home.

Which is perfect for those times when I want to treat myself with my favorite food!

Chili con Carne

When the craving for chili hits, you gotta go with it. Otherwise, it haunts you. There’s nothing in the world that can be substituted.

The process of making chili ranges from complex to very simple. My recipe is in the moderate range. Do a little work upfront, then let it simmer for a while. It’s very customizable (see the Notes and Meal Suggestions). This recipe calls for beef, but you can go with ground turkey (or shredded turkey). You can use pork. You can use chicken. Don’t want beans? Don’t have to have ‘em.

In fact, there is only one, unbreakable rule when it comes to chili-making: do not skimp on the cumin! You can adjust this seasoning, that ingredient, but the cumin is essential.

Once we were at a friend’s for a Super Bowl party. I took one sniff of his chili and knew it would be good. The cumin was right there. He seemed surprised that I knew about the cumin rule. I think he doesn’t get out enough.

A note about heat. My husband loves his food very spicy. I am more of a medium, and this recipe reflects my tastes. As you review the list of ingredients, take your personal tastes into consideration. You can always start on the careful side and adjust the seasonings as you go.

Basic Burgers

It doesn’t take much to convince me to grill burgers. They’re perfect for weeknight meals, weekend barbecues, and even parties. I usually enjoy my burgers without a bun, unless I’ve splurged on gluten-free buns. But the longer I go without adding breads of any kind to my meals, the less I am inclined to add the bun. I make up for this lack with lots of interesting, and sometimes unusual, toppings.

It all starts with the basic burger, a recipe I think should be part of every cook’s repertoire. This bare-bones recipe results in a delicious burger every time. And, of course, modifying this recipe to suit your own taste and cravings is as easy as opening your pantry and adding different elements.

Hamburgers Beyond The Bun

I have a friend who asks the same question whenever we go out to dinner: Is there anything I can eat? This friend has zero dietary restrictions. He can eat anything. Unfortunately, he refuses to try anything beyond a (very) limited list of foods.

(Yes, it amuses me that he is always focused on what he can eat, without considering the challenges faced by his GF friends…I’m not the only person he knows who must eat gluten-free.)

He’s a hamburger freak. So am I. The difference is he limits himself to a plain burger with just salt and pepper as seasoning. Nothing else. Not that there’s anything wrong with salt and pepper on a burger. But, really, nature gives us so much more to enjoy with our burgers!
Continue reading “Hamburgers Beyond The Bun”