Monday, October 13, 2008

A food meme

This arrived in my email box, and it looked cute, so I thought I would answer the questions. At the end, a quote.

Allez cuisine!

1. How do you like your eggs?

Over easy, hard boiled, or scrambled with onions, garlic, and cheese. There are very few dishes than onions, garlic and cheese can't fix. When I was a kid, I liked scrambled eggs with catsup. That sort of makes me nauseous to think about now.

2. How do you take your coffee/tea?
Iced tea Splenda'ed within an inch of it's life. I almost never drink coffee, but when I do, it has to have a lot of cream and artificial sweetener.

3. Favorite breakfast food?
Crisp bacon. There is nothing better than bacon. Nothing. I like oatmeal, too. But bacon is the Food of the Gods.

4. Peanut butter?
What about it? Oh, yeah. Well, I don't eat a lot of it, because I no longer eat bread and that is how I usually ate peanut butter. But, I still buy it for the kids and the hubby. Their favorite is the peanut butter at Whole Foods that comes from the grinder mixed with honey. You would not believe how good that stuff is. While we're on the subject though: if you ever get a chance, try Macadamia nut butter. You will not be disappointed.

5. What kind of dressing on your salad?
Newman's Own Lighten Up Honey Mustard Dressing. It's delicious, and has a pretty good nutrition profile(^).

6. Coke or Pepsi?
Diet Pepsi. Srsly.

7. You’re feeling lazy. What do you make?
Spam Musubi. It's basically Hawaiian Spam sushi. It's a very popular snack dish in Hawaii, so much so that Hawaiians consume the more Spam per-capita than anyone else (well, the Hawaiians along with the Guam-ish(^).
It's cool because even people who don't like or can't eat raw sushi like it.

Here's my recipe for Spam Musubi

You'll need:
1 can of Turkey or Lite Spam
1-2 sheets of Nori
1/2 cup terriyaki sauce (or make your own)

1). Prepare sushi rice according to whatever directions you prefer, or use the ones on the rice package, your choice. Either way, skip the sugar and vinegar at the end.

2). Once the rice is cooking, decant a tin of Spam(^).
Isn't it pink? Marvel at the pinky-meatiness.

We prefer Turkey Spam, but we haven't been able to find that for a while, so now we use Spam Lite. It has 50% less fat & 33% fewer calories. We don't use Armour Treet(^), because it has gluten. If gluten isn't an issue for you, and you like it, feel free.

You could use "regular" Spam, but it'll be pretty salty when you're done.

3). So, there you are with your block of Spam, marveling at it. Seems a shame to whack it up, but that's what you are going to do. Cut it into 8 or 10 equal slices with a sharp knife. I sometimes score one side of each piece lightly with a knife to make a diamond pattern. It looks pretty when it's cooked.

4). Fry the slices at medium heat with a spray or two of Pam. When it is nicely browned and crispy, flip over to cook the other side and add a half cup or so of teriyaki sauce to the pan, making sure it covers the pieces. Allow to cook for a few more minutes, and when the sauce starts to cling to the Spam and thicken, remove from heat.

(BTW: You can make teriyaki sauce yourself if you like, but I usually use LaChoy brand, which is gluten free. I make enough dishes from scratch because of Celiac Disease to appreciate the time savings of using ready made, but if you'd like to make it, the recipe follows).

5. While the spam cooks, cut the sheets of Nori into strips about an inch wide, and the length of the sheet.

6). Ding! Rice is done! If it isn't, wait. When it is, proceed. Press your rice tightly into mounds using wet, clean hands, a Musubi mold, or a large cookie cutter (we often use one in the shape of a bear or piggy head).

7). Set a piece of cooked Spam on top of each mound, and wrap with a piece of Nori, sort of like a belt. Nori is what dried seaweed for sushi is called in Japan. It is sold pretty much everywhere at this point - even Wal*Mart sells it in their little Asian section. Nori generally comes in sheets in a package of a dozen or so. Use scissors to cut it into strips.

8). Serve and enjoy!

One can of Spam plus rice and nori is enough to feed our family (usually 4 for dinner) when we add a small salad, veggies, or cooked fruit. One thing that's fun is to cook pineapple rings in the teriyaki sauce left over in the pan. I usually throw in a bit of brown sugar. The rings will be sweet/salty and go well with the whole Hawaiian theme.

There are more ways to mold rice than I could possibly tell you about. As mentioned above, you can use a plain cookie cutter, set on the cutting board, and press the rice into it until it is perhaps half an inch high. Remove the mold and you have a base for your Spam. If you'd rather, many Asian markets carry rice molds. They run 3 or 4 dollars and you can get them in various shapes. If you are extra lucky, and have a Hawaiian market, you might even find a dedicated Musubi mold.

Some people apparently cut the bottom of the spam can out, and use it to mold the rice. It is the same size as the Spam, so it has that going for it, but the jagged edge never seemed worth the risk.

Finally, we sometimes include adding a drop or two of food coloring to the rice, for colored rice. Nothing like pink piggy shaped rice with spam on top :)

Teriyaki sauce:
16 oz soy sauce (we always use San J Gluten Free Tamari(^). Tamari is a type of soy sauce. San J's is the most like "regular" soy sauce we actually like it better)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp. ginger, minced
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup dry sherry

Mix all together in a non-reactive pan, heating until the sugar is melted. Remove from heat and store in a clean glass jar.

OK, back to the quizzy/meme thing:

8. You’re feeling really lazy. What kind of pizza do you order?
I usually don't, because there aren't any to-go places that serve gluten-free pizza. Except wait a minute! What's this? I was reading a local GF list and someone mentioned tht a new chain opened that served gluten free pizza. So I usually make a Chebe bread (GF-bread mix) pizza crust, with pepperoni and olives on top.

9. You feel like cooking. What do you make?
Usually Vietnamese Summer Rolls (recipe later) or Vietnamese Bun Bowls. I almost always have cooked chicken & veggies in the house, and they are easy and quick to throw together.

10. Do any foods bring back good memories?
Yes. Fried shrimp remind me of my dad. Orange creme truffles remind me of Halloween. Slices of bananas on 'Nilla wafers with cold milk remind me of my dad coming home from work late. He and I would lay out the wafers, put the banana slices on them, pour the milk, then sit down and eat and talk.

11. Do any foods bring back bad memories?
Not really. None that I can think of. So, unless I have suppressed something awful, I can't think of anything.

12. Do any foods remind you of someone?
See above. Fried shrimp reminds me of my dad. Eclairs remind me of my grandmother. Divinity fudge reminds me of my dad. Hot anything reminds me of my husband.

13. Is there a food you refuse to eat?
Boiled Brussels Sprouts, aka Devil Cabbages. Mushy, icky, squishy, stinky gross. I won't eat them, I won't serve them, I refuse to acknowledge their right to exist.

14. What was your favorite food as a child?
Fried shrimp with cocktail sauce.

15. Is there a food that you hated as a child but now like?
No, I was pretty good about eating whatever I was served when I was a kid.

16. Is there a food that you liked as a child but now hate?
I don't hate them, but I used to love Lima beans. I don't love them anymore. No idea why.

17. Favorite fruit and vegetable?
Fresh strawberries and fried okra.

18. Favorite junk food?
Anything chocolate.
Except ice cream.
I don't really like ice cream.

19. Favorite between meal snack:
Chex Mix. I think it is my favorite non-chocolate food. After I was diagnosed with Celiac, I couldn't have it anymore, but a few months ago, the good people at General Mills made Rice Chex gluten-free(^), so I make it with Rice Chex only now and it is delicious. And yes, Rice Chex had gluten. Corn Chex still does. Rice Krispies still has it. The gluten is hidden in the barley malt, which is a natural flavoring. Bless the good people at General Mills.

20. Do you have any weird food habits?
Depends. Is bananas, mayonnaise and peanut butter sandwiches weird? How about green banana sliced on Nacho Cheese Doritos? Ok, the second one is weird even to me.

21. You’re on a diet. What food(s) do you fill up on?
Salads. Rice cakes.

22. You’re off your diet. Now what would you like?
A nice aged steak. Medium rare, but more toward the rare than the medium.
Lobster with drawn butter.
Butter chicken and rice.
White chocolate mousse. Regular chocolate anything.

23. How spicy do you order Indian/Thai?
How hot can they make it?

24. Can I get you a drink?
Sure.Gin and Tonic, please. Or a nice single malt scotch.

25. Red or White Wine?
Red. White gives me a horrid headache. My husband is the same way.

26. Favorite dessert?
Pecan pie.

27. The perfect nightcap?
Bailey's Irish Cream and a kiss from my sweetheart.


The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese. ~ G.K. Chesterton

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