Gluten-Free Cooking For One

Celiac And The Single Girl, Or: How To Make Food That Does Not Suck For One Person {Although I Suppose You Could Feed Other People, Too}


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Well Hello There, Pork Pie

Sorry it’s been so long; I’m back once again like a renegade master (or something like that). If you’re not part of my soi-disant “real life”, I can both explain the break and catch you up like this: starting in mid-March of last year, I was having rather irritating pain in my abdomen. Then it started spreading and getting more pervasive, and more intense, and altogether just MORE of everything. Staring April 1, I had a period of a couple months of intense pain and not-fun-ness that can best be described by this list: 3 ER visits, 1 hernia, 1 ulcer, and 7 kidney stones. I was on opioids the whole time, so my memories of last Spring are cloudy to say the least. Then in May, I got a job. About the time I started feeling competent there, I got promoted, and had functionally two part-time jobs, both in retail, just in time for Fall and the start of the holiday sales push.

I feel like I’m now coming up for air, a bit…so it’s time to start cooking again! Hopefully I won’t celebrate the Solstice with another season of WTAF IS HAPPENING TO MY BODY.

My eating habits are largely informed by what I’m watching on TV; when I’m obsessed with medieval history (this happens often – for example, Wolf Hall is on pretty much endless repeat over here. Or any of the “Farm” shows from the BBC, and Tudor Farm and Green Valley are two favorites.), I want to eat what’s in the TV shows. I tend to pick up handicrafts that go with the period (blackwork embroidery and weaving). When I’m watching Regency shows, the same applies. Recently, I’ve been binge-watching “Escape To The Country”, a show about people from British cities escaping to the countryside and buying rural homes, all with lovely budgets. The landscapes are to die for, and the shows include a bit of local history and color, so that also hooks my interest. Last week, I watched one where they went to Melton Mowbray and tried the pork pies, which are a historical regional specialty. Pork Pie action here.

If you can’t see where this is going, I’ll be quite surprised.

I could say I made pork pies in honor of Pi Day, but I didn’t. I made them in honor of my utter lack of ability to resist food in TV shows.

The first pie, the tester, was – well, it wasn’t bad, but it lacked flavor. So tonight I made another, and I think this shows a lot of promise.

Here’s a loose recipe. I never really do a very good job of measuring until the third of fourth time I make something, and this is still Tester Town, so expect some inaccuracy.

PORK PIES (gluten free, of course)

1 lb pork (use a cut you like. I found pork roast on sale and used that)
bacon, lots (I used uncured, about 1/2 a package)
sweet onion
shredded cheddar cheese
mashed potatoes
apples, sliced and peeled
salt/pepper
garam masala
whatever other spices rock your boat

METHOD

I start by chopping up the raw bacon and pork (I cube the pork). Also, chop the onion (I like a rough, uneven chop). I sliced and peeled red apples (can’t remember what variety, use one you like; mine are fairly sweet but still crisp and a little tart).

I fried up the bacon and the pork until they were fairly well cooked, while preheating the oven to 425F. Last time, I sauteed the apples and onions until they were soft, but I felt the pie lacked definition and was kind of a mushy soft whatever, so this time I left the apples and onions raw. Will let you know if that was a good idea. 😀 I like to add my spices to the pan, so I threw garam masala (sweet/spicy mix that has cinnamon and lots of other goodies in it), salt, and pepper in while I was cooking the pork.

I didn’t want to use a pie dish a) because I didn’t want a pie crust and b), I had waaaay too much stuff inside for a pie pan. So I started layering the items in my beanpot (normally used for applesauce and baked beans). Pork, apples, bacon, cheese, some onions. Repeat.

On top, I spread the mashed potatoes like a lid (well – last time. This time, I didn’t have enough mashed potatoes and I made them too runny; so I kind of poured them into the pie. Hey, it’s still potatoes. lol) and then put cheddar cheese on top of that.

Put the lid on, then put the whole shabang into the oven for about 20 minutes, and after turning the oven off, removed the pot lid so the top could brown up. When I brought it out, it was bubbling and gorgeous. Be warned, there will be lots of juices in this pie as the inside cooks down. I like it, it firms up into a gorgeous sort of jelly in the pie. You might not be a fan.

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looking FAB despite its lack of lid

It smells amazing. I’ll let you know what it tastes like after it cools and sits for a while.

Snaps!

my assistant is eagerly waiting to try our creation


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Avocado Cherry Vanilla Pudding

I love avocados, and they’ve been 5 for $5 around here recently, so I’ve been on a bit of an avocado stampede. Ooh. That would be squishy!! lol SORRY

Back to the food. I know you can make frosting with avocados, but a lot of the recipes called for cocoa (which I shouldn’t have) and lots of powdered sugar (which I’m trying to avoid), so I started looking for other options. I found an article on Shape’s website listing “10 Delicious Avocado Desserts”, and this seemed to combine the felicities of being low in sugar, easy to make, quick, and having only ingredients I already had in the house. DING DING DING, winner!
(Shape article is here)

I whipped it up, and it was glorious. Hit the spot, and it also satisfies the part of my brain that misses chocolate SO much… it’s creamy and rich, not too sweet, and cherry-licious. I’ve made it twice now, and the second time I was able to do it without a recipe: it’s that easy. (However, I didn’t put in the vanilla the second time, because I honestly don’t have that great a memory; and I can report that it tastes just fine without the vanilla. :}

I made it with frozen dark sweet cherries (truly; I think that’s what they’re called on the bag) from my freezer, I believe I picked up the bag at Costco and OMG am I glad I did. Also, I used maple syrup instead of the stevia, because of migraines.

The recipe calls for a nut or seed milk, but I can and do drink milk, so I used that instead. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and just made the pudding. I didn’t need any of the toppings, I was very happy with just the pudding.

From Kibby’s blog (link below), there was this tip, which seems a winner to me:

“I was having all kinds of variations fly through my head and had to whip this one up and share: Blueberry Vanilla Pudding. Basically, use all the same ingredients but substitute frozen or fresh blueberries for the cherries. I am going to make raspberry/chocolate, mango, banana, acai. I made a strawberry version several weeks ago and it is YUMMY! WOW! So many options to play with.”

So obviously I’m going to need to try lots of possibilities. 😀

Have fun and good eating!

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Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 large avocado
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder)
13 to 15 organic cherries, pitted, plus one for garnish
14 drops vanilla-flavored liquid stevia (or 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup)
1 pinch sea salt
Goji berries, for garnish (optional)
Hemp seeds, for garnish (optional)
Cacaco nibs, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Put all ingredients into a blender (pudding will be smoother if you use a high-end blender) and blend until smooth and creamy. Top with goji berries, hemp seeds, or cacao nibs and an extra cherry, as desired.

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Recipe provided by Kibby’s Blended Life