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.

IMG_2729

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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Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Roast

This is adapted from here, and it made up into the most delicious pulled-pork sort of thing I’ve had in a long time. I do enjoy a traditional pork roast, but… I get sick of it after a couple of servings, and I knew I was going to be eating it for a while, so I searched for slow cooker pork recipes and found this one right away. Tried it, loved it, here is my version.  :}

I’ve no idea how big my pork roast was. lol I forgot to weigh it. I just shlurped it in the pot, because that’s the kind of cook I am. I didn’t have the red pepper flakes, or broth, or Worcerstershire sauce. As you may have gathered, the overriding rule in my kitchen isn’t “measure twice, cut once”, it’s: “where is that [ingredient/implement/recipe]? Oh well, I bet this would work. Let’s try it!”

I am of the No Fear school. I just want to keep from poisoning myself long enough to eat my next meal. So far, so good… and when things turn out well, or spectacularly badly, you’ll hear about it here. Anyway — back to the pork roast.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Pork Roast

  • pork roast
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (I didn’t have, so I put in a pinch of red pepper powder)
  • 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth (I used water)
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I used Black Cherry balsamic vinegar instead)
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Season the pork with salt, garlic powder and red pepper flakes and place it into the slow cooker. Mix together the broth and vinegar and pour it over the pork, then pour the honey over and set the timer for 4 hours on High or 6-8 hours on Low.

Once the pork is cooked and tender (it should shred easily with a fork), remove from slow cooker with tongs into a serving dish. Break apart lightly with two forks and put back into the slow cooker and ladle 1/2 cup sauce over the pork and keep warm until ready to eat.

There are days, with my Fibromyalgia/migraines/ADD, where I don’t read things worth a tinker’s damn, and this was one of those days. I did the instructions *completely wrong*. I put the pork into the Crock Pot (I was using the smallest one), and just tossed the wet ingredients in over it. Then realized I was supposed to have seasoned the meat first with the spices… oops. I didn’t want to get all gooey with honey (I’m also a tad OCD about my fingers when I’m deep in migraine country), so I got a big spoon and rubbed the spices onto the meat in kind of a half-doing-it way. It was pretty bad. lol The bottom of the meat got nothing. :} I spooned some of the juices back over it as kind of an apology, or a plea to the goddess of the Crock to bless my meal in spite of my failings, then turned it on Low and stuck on the lid.

The Crock Pot goddess apparently found favor in my offering, because that pork came out delicious. It was tender, it was scrumptious, just a little spicy, tangy, sweet, omg good. I’m definitely making it again. 😀

Unfortunately, another thing I didn’t do is take photos. If you’d really like to see some, you can click on the link above and look at their beautiful glossy photos and see how they did the recipe in all of its achingly perfect correctness. lol It’s gorgeous.

Until next time, my friends!!


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Super-Posh Pill Pocket For A Super-Fussy Pooch

I didn’t take any photos as this was an on-the-fly affair; my apologies. But I think you can kind of imagine what this would look like, pretty utilitarian and ugly. To the dog’s nose, however, with its jillions of scent receptors, I think it was probably the Sexiest Thing Ever. It certainly went down in one big “glorp”. :}

So today is the day for Señor Snaps’ monthly flea pill, which I usually put in a glop of peanut butter, and he usually chomps it down with joy and his tail wags and all is well. Not so this morning.

Yesterday for the first time ever, he turned his nose up delicately at peanut butter, and I am mystified. No clue why, after 6 months of a passionate love affair, he would have decided that PB is not “for him”; however, many and mystifying are the Ways Of Dog, so I just shrugged my shoulders and moved on. I meant to remember it this morning when I went to give him his pill, but forgot until I’d already put the pill in the PB with his dry food and set it down in front of him. He sniffed it, lifted one lip apologetically, and then backed away with a nervous tail wag… uh-oh, I thought. I added some carrot shavings. No luck, he picked out the carrot but left the rest with surgical precision. Dangit.

So, I thought, it’s time for a pill pocket. Went and fished the pill out of the peanut butter, then thought about my options. The pill pockets are, of course, made of rice flour and peanut butter. DOH!! So I needed another fat for the pockets. As I was thinking, my eye fell… on the jar of bacon fat. Oh, I thought, you lucky dog. lol

So I took a small dollop of bacon fat, mixed it with rice flour, and formed a small ball, which I then pressed the (gooey, disgusting) pill into. Put that into the freezer for about 10 minutes to harden, so Snaps would have a harder time simply licking off the good stuff and spitting out the pill. Also, hoping he’d “forget” (yeah, chance is a fine thing) that I was trying to give him a pill. As a final propitiating touch, I pulled out a piece of pre-cooked bacon from the freezer, tore off the end, and formed it around the now-hard pill pocket, using the warmth of my fingers to press it gently into the ball without melting the ball too much. Hey, it’s bacon. It didn’t have to look good, just tempt him enough so he’d eat it fast.

I put it in his bowl, which I’d washed to get the PB taint out, and moved back. He investigated gingerly, much of his brain thinking “pill pill pill pill pill” but it was a beautiful thing to watch as the scent receptors in his nose took over one by one and flooded his brain with “pill pill bacon? bacon bacon baconbaconbaconBACON BACON” gulp!!

Pill be gone!

And now his pill is down the hatch for another month, and my little boy is soooo happy because he thinks he banished the hated PB and the pill, and pulled one over on Mama besides.

And we both got to eat a little bit of bacon, so win-win there. 😉

Alternate Pooch Pill Pocket (1)

Dab of bacon fat (I store mine in an unromantic jar)
Enough rice flour to make a dough
Small piece of pre-cooked bacon (optional)

Form it into a ball – it will still be quite soft, and greasy, and a bit gross. Press the pill in, and put into the freezer for several minutes to harden. If you want to sexy this up at all, take a pre-cooked piece of bacon and form it around the ball once you’ve had it in the freezer to harden; the bacon may not adhere to the outside of the pocket very well, but it doesn’t have to be beautiful. It’s all about smell, not presentation, in dog feeding land. Or at least in Snaps feeding land. :}

**note: you could probably make a whole batch, but there would probably be health concerns with feeding your dog bacon-fat pill pockets every day, so be aware. For one, there’s the weight gain concern, and for another, you might cause excessive… um… “regularity”. Intestinally. With that much grease. But his or her coat would probably be really shiny, I’d imagine!! Erm. I’m not a vet, so just, yeah. I’d say probably not every day, any more than you would feed a human a huge piece of grease every day. lololol

Bon Appetit!! ❤