13 December 2010

Tis' the Season for Sugar

My absolute favorite part about Christmas are the Christmas cookies that come out of the woodwork during this time of year. I love Russian Tea Cakes, the peanut butter ones with the Hersey kiss in the middle, but my absolute favorite . . . sugar cookies!

I was overwhelmed by gluten free cookie recipes that included up to five different types of flours and a little thing called xanthan gum (what is this stuff??).

So when I stumbled upon Sugar Plum's Gluten Free Sugar Cookie, that didn't have a page list of ingredients, I jumped for joy! The secret . . . cream cheese. I know, it threw me too. I used Bob's Red Mill White Rice Flour, but any white or brown rice flour will work.

Be warned, the dough will be stickier then your typical sugar cookie dough. Use a hearty amount of flour when rolling them out. They will also be whiter and more fluffy than other recipes.

I was literally in shock when I compared these cookies to our flour filled ones. I liked them 10x better and I know you will too!!! I took a giant plate to work  today, mixed the GF with the regular and the teachers were totally tricked!

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies
By Emily, Sugar Plum Blog

1 1/2 cups white rice flour
2 teaspoons meringue powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat cookie sheets with cooking spray.

To make the cookies, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together white rice flour, meringue powder, baking powder and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, cream cheese and granulated sugar until creamy - about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture until combined. Chill dough for 30-45 minutes in the refrigerator, or until firm.

Sprinkle additional rice flour on a work surface, and roll out in batches, to a 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out heart shapes and place on cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden and set. Cool 2 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

30 November 2010

I'll Take the Whole Sea: Masu Sushi

Obsessed. Obsessed like the movie Obsessed. In order to cleanse from the Thanksgiving extravaganza, I was courted to Masu Sushi. This however was not a cleanse. I ate a sea worth of sushi. I died and went to sushi heaven. It was a nice place made of wasabi clouds. It rained sake. 

This is shi shi sushi. This is tres chic sushi. Not cheap . . . keep that in mind.

We ordered the menu. I know my pictures don't prove this, because this asshole I was with was "embarressed" of my photography skills, complaining that the flash was bothering other patrons. I was able to snap a few pictures before the camera was snatched from my death grip. It was OK though, I needed my full attention on the sushi.

Their specialty rolls are ridiculous.

…..death by sushi . . . salmon, unagi, crab, avocado and cream cheese rolled and fried then topped with masago, green onion, fantasy and eel sauce 6 pieces $12.

…..st. helen’s volcano . . .whitefish, crab, scallops, shrimp and avocado baked with our volcano cream sauce, eel sauce and smoked bonito. 6 pieces $12.

. . . . ragin’ cajun . . . dungeness and softshell crab and cucumber inside topped with cajun seared tuna and avocado finished with fantasy sauce, green onion and togarashi. 8 pieces $17.

 . . . japanista . . . spicy crab, spicy tuna and kawaire with seared hamachi, cilantro and red jalapeno on top served with our hana and sweet chili sauce. 8 pieces $15.

 . . . .on the cheap . . . The Caterpillar role is probably the best value. Large and only $9. Their happy hour is practically half off of sushi (minus the specialty rolls). Rolls are between $3.50-$5.00. They also offer some non-traditional Japanese for your less cultured friends--like a kobe beef burger with house tonkatsu for $8.

Park in the Indigo Garage for 2hrs of parking validation.

Masu on Urbanspoon

27 November 2010

Foodbuzz 24x24: An Italian Thanksgiving Goes Gluten Free

Thanksgiving is a time of . . . well in my family, being very gluttonous. It means eating for 8 hours straight. It means having antipasti plates to feed 40 when we’re only serving 20. It means wine, wine and more wine and of course, a multitude of desserts.

The word glutton reminds me of the word gluten. A thing until very recently I relied on for practically every meal. Gluten intolerance has left me dumbfounded curious with the many GF alternatives. An Italian goes gluten free; the predicament of this very statement. Rice pasta, quinoa flour, flourless anything! And so I explore . . .

My sponsor, Foodbuzz, does a monthly challenge called 24x24. 24 Featured Publishers across the world are chosen to blog about a unique meal and all within 24 hours. Mangia was chosen. November’s challenge: Get creative on a Thanksgiving meal.

The task at hand: turning the most gluten-ous Italian Thanksgiving into GF deliciousness. Oh, and no one can know . . . Italians are very proud of their gluten.

Thanksgiving Menu

Caprese salad
Antipasti plate
GF French Bread
Fruit and Vegetable platters
Malone y Prosciutto
Penne Rice Pasta with Chicken Sausage Marinara
Orange Cinnamon Cranberry Sauce
Grandma’s Sausage Stuffing with Dessert Lab Gluten Free Bread
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Quinoa Flour Gravy
Brown Sugar Yams
Green Beans with Pancetta
Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Hazelnut Cheesecake
Dessert Labs Apple Pie
Fresh Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream


The De Marco stuffing if I may say so myself, is not only our signature dish, but the best stuffing in all of the world. It’s not your typical dried out mush. Its full of flavor and texture. We decided to have a little test –which stuffing was better? GF or G filled? Let me just say the table was passing around both stuffings and not a word was mentioned.


Sides, sides and more sides . . .

Pancetta Green Beans--to die for. Nothing more then beans, olive oil and pancetta.

 Our 26 lb turkey. Perfectly roasted. Cheers to dad for not drying it out.

On to dessert . . . Pumpkin Pie, GF Apple Pie from Dessert Lab and homemade Chocolate Cheesecake with a gluten free hazelnut crust.  Brilliant and delicious.

 Mi Familia . . .

Grandma’s Sausage Stuffing

1lb Italian Sausage (ground)
1 lb pancetta or bacon
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2-3 cloves garlic
2 cups white onion
2 cups chopped celery
3 bags of spinach
1 cup red wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 eggs
1 0-16 oz dried bread crumbs (depending on how bready you like your stuffing)
*We bought gluten free breadcrumbs from a local bakery
1 teas sage
1 teas marjoram
1 teas rosemary

Cook Italian sausage and bacon and put aside. Saut√© mushrooms, garlic, onions and celery in ½ cube butter. Once cooked add spices and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Steam or boil spinach and drain. Don’t cook longer than 60 seconds. Transfer cooked vegetables to a large mixing bowl. Add sausage and chopped bacon, bread crumbs, spinach, eggs, red wine and chicken broth. Mix the stuffing together until its well coated. Stuff the bird and enjoy!

16 November 2010

Hola Esparza's!

 Tostada Guacamole; $9.95

Close your eyes and imagine you have to pick one region of food to eat for the rest of your life . . . what would it be? When I ask this of people, they more times then not tell me Mexican food (in which I usually feel offended that they wouldn't choose Italian food).

But I do like Mexican food. I like Mexican food with huge portions. I like it with refried beans, guacamole, sour cream and salsa with kick!

Esparza's on SE 28th is best known for their smoked meats. Smoked chicken. Smoked pork. Smoked beef brisket. Smoked wild boar. Smoked lamb. Yes, they have lamb.

Their menu is unique and expansive.

The Trailblazer: Smoked salmon enchilada with chipotle marinated shrimp and topped with jack, cheddar and jalapeno cheese.

Dale Evans: Smoked lamb flour tacos covered in mole sauce.

Of course we went more traditional . . . which was just as good.

Esparza's Tex Mex Cafe on Urbanspoon

07 November 2010

Belly Dance Your way to Morocco: Marrakesh

Sometimes its a Thursday, but it feels like a Friday. Sometimes there's nothing you want more then to just leave, get out of town, skidaddle. But then you realize you have 4 weeks accrued vacation, but no money to go anywhere. And that's when you decide its time to go to Marracco.

"I've been to Morocco" -Margot
"Oh no, this is way better, this is like 'real' Marracan food." -Jerry

We lack restaurants in Portland that transfer you with the restaurants ambiances to the region of the cuisine. This is Marrakesh's speciality. Everything from sitting on plush pillows on the floor, to the waitresses washing your hands in a basin, to the voluptuous belly dancers.

But this isn't the only reason Marrakesh is wonderful--this is simply just the first reason--their food is incredible and if you've never experienced the flavors and textures of Moroccan food, well it will blow you away.

The Marrakesh experience includes a 5 course meal for $18.95. You will leave fuller then you thought was possible. If you are dining with 4 or more people, you can get their Royal Feast, which includes 5 entrees, including a special. I've done this, but nothing and I mean nothing, beats their Honey Plum Chicken. The chicken is coated with a honey plum and almond sauce and falls from the bone. You won't be able to get enough.

I told you this blog wouldn't become all about my new gluten free lifestyle, but for those of you in my same hellish boat, you'll appreciate this info. They were incredibly accommodating about my GF needs. The only thing you can't have is the bread (obviously) and the B'Stilla Royal, which is an egg and chicken in phyllo dough. They switched out the soup, which has a bit of flour, for a vegetable soup, which I thought was better then their lentil soup anyways. Also, they brought me a large salad of my own, since you typically dip bread in the large ones to share.

Marrakesh on Urbanspoon