Jap chae (Korean sweet potato noodles) with bulgogi

Jap chae noodlesJap chae is one of those dishes for which I like to keep the ingredients in the pantry/fridge/freezer at all times. Then, on those days when I’m lacking a plan but need something quick and tasty, I can just whip it up. The only problem is, I always underestimate how much everybody will gobble up. What looks like a generous amount of noodles in the wok always gets eaten up and I don’t end up with leftovers (I love leftovers). Oh well – I can’t complain too much about my kids eating healthy food without the usual whining.

Jap chae is made with Korean sweet potato noodles, which look like thick, brownish glass noodles. (This is the brand I used.) They have a slightly sticky, chewy consistency that I really like – though this is decidedly not a dish for which you want a gluey sauce. They’re naturally gluten-free. I can’t scientifically say whether they’re low-FODMAP but I can say I’ve never had a problem with them. Although sweet potatoes are moderate in FODMAPs I would suspect making them into starch, then noodles, would probably eliminate most of the FODMAPs. Again, this is speculation. Continue reading

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Flourless banana oatmeal pancakes

Flourless banana oatmeal pancakesA friend of mine recently shared a recipe for flourless banana pancakes and I was so excited, I immediately tried it out. The recipe called only for one mashed banana and two eggs, mixed together and fried like a pancake. It did work, rather to my amazement, and my kids loved them, but the resulting “pancakes” were very light, difficult to flip, and not really pancakey enough for me.

I wanted to improve on the recipe without adding, well, flour. Even gluten-free flour makes a mess and I wanted to pancakes that were easy and quick enough to make on a weekday morning, with minimal clean-up. I also wanted to make something satisfying but healthy that my kids would still like. That’s how I came to add oatmeal and flaxseed. Continue reading

Gluten-free cheddar cornbread muffins

Cornbread muffinsI love cornbread muffins but a lot of them are too crumbly for my taste. I get that cornmeal is crumbly by nature but it gets to be too much when it’s difficult to eat. These gluten-free savoury cornbread muffins are moist and not crumbly at all. With the addition of cheese, corn kernels, chives, and smoked paprika, I got a tasty, easily packable breakfast or lunch food that reheats well. Plus they’re refined-sugar-free!

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Slow cooker pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce

Pulled pork sandwich with saladPulled pork is one of my go-to recipes for something that’s really simple to make but tastes complex. Also, my kids love it. Sometimes I spice it Mexican style, for pork carnitas, but for American week I decided to do it with barbecue sauce for sloppy, delicious pulled pork sandwiches that taste like a sunny day drinking beer and listening to the blues (perhaps at Kitchener Blues Festival).

I know, slow cooker pulled pork isn’t quite the same as pulled pork smoked over a wood fire. But I don’t have a fire pit. Here in our temporary home in England, I very sadly don’t even have a barbecue. However, pulled pork in a slow cooker is not only super easy, it’s really, truly, delicious. With the right sauce it’s honestly hard to tell the difference between this and something cooked by an award-winning barbecue chef who used three kinds of wood chips in just the right proportions.

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Gumbo (Gluten-free, low-FODMAP)

Gumbo with riceI’m posting this a bit late, but this week has been American week at our house. Though Indian tacos and bannock were both Canadian and American, gumbo is totally Louisiana. I visited Louisiana once, years ago, before Hurricane Katrina changed New Orleans forever, and I loved the food. This was also before I had to worry about a gluten-free or low-FODMAP diet, so I chowed down on fried oyster po’ boys, muffalettas, beignets, crawfish étouffés, and of course, gumbo.

However, I left Louisiana feeling unsure about what a “proper” gumbo should be, because every one I had was significantly different. One was thick and stewy, another was thinner and soupy. One was full of seafood, another, if I remember correctly, featured only chicken and sausage. That’s because, I gather, every Louisiana chef has their own version of gumbo. About the only common ingredients seem to be some form of flour-based roux and okra. Unfortunately, both wheat flour and okra (it’s high-FODMAP) are out for me. So how to create an authentic-tasting gumbo without either of those ingredients?

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Indian tacos

Indian taco

Indian taco flat on a plate – to eat, bend in half and eat like a Mexican taco.

I always feel weird saying “Indian tacos” since they’re not at all Indian in the subcontinental sense and not really tacos in the Mexican sense. Also, I feel uncomfortable using “Indian” to refer to the First Nations of North America. But nobody says “First Nations tacos.” The Aboriginal friends I had growing up on the prairies in Canada would have laughed at me if I’d tried. Indian tacos are Indian tacos and they’re as authentically First Nations as Irish stew is Irish (despite the fact potatoes are native to South America) and as vindaloo is Indian (even though chilies too are from the New World).

What makes an Indian taco “Indian” is that, instead of a corn tortilla, it uses fried bannock, AKA fry bread. As to the rest, it usually contains meat, cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. Sour cream is optional. Salsa is optional. If you want to make it even more North American Aboriginal, you can use ground bison. I, however, didn’t have any, so I used ground beef, which is, I would guess, the most common filling in Indian tacos anyway.

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Gluten-free bannock (fry bread)

Gluten-free bannockNo taste takes me back to childhood summers on the Canadian prairies like bannock. Bannock, for those not in the know, is a bread so simple, it can be made while camping. It doesn’t require much more than flour and water and can look like a big round loaf, like scones, or like pancakes. It can even be wrapped around sticks and toasted in the flames.

Although for me the classic bannock is scone-like and made in a skillet outdoors, another, slightly more decadent treat is fry bread. That’s the name for bannock that’s made big and flat and deep-fried. I used to always get it at the Aboriginal tent at Edmonton’s Heritage Festival, sometimes plain and sometimes in the form of Indian tacos. I hadn’t tried to make bannock since I went gluten-free, but bannock is so easy, it turned out fantastic even when switching flours and shallow-pan frying rather than deep frying.  Continue reading