Well, Margaret thinks she’s gluten intolerant. It all started when she had this mystery ache in one of her fingers. Arthritis? I dunno, but, after talking with friends and acquaintances, she started thinking along those lines. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as she knows a lot of people who possess all kinds of ailments that apparently are connected to sensitivity to gluten. After making my last visit to our local Puget Consumers Co-op, I found they’ve color-coded all items that are gluten-free. Look for the light orange labels. Simply amazing.
My one gripe with gluten-free is that bread, pasta, and pizza are not. Yeah, sure King Arthur makes a G-F flour, but I’m skeptical about its ability to make a good pizza crust. I already am missing good pizza just thinking about this dilemma. People are experimenting out there, I know, but I won’t be happy until a pizzeria of the caliber of Tutta Bella, Pizza Veraci, or Via Tribunali (all certified as authentically Neapolitan by the city of Naples) makes a good pie. I wonder if Delancey has pondered the question?
In the face of this tectonic shift in our postage stamp sized house, it appears the only saving grace I’ve found has been in Asian and other non-European cuisines. What it comes down to is either rice or non-wheat noodles. Snooping around the Asian food section of Shoreline’s Central Market, I was consoled by the availability of noodles not only made from rice but also seaweed, yams, and beans. Thank goodness for all the Asians living in Shoreline! Also, I’m amazed by the ingenuity of the Japanese in making noodles without wheat. On top of that, one can buy whole grain sprouted brown rice (aka GABA rice), which is supposed to be the healthiest form of brown rice. GABA stands for gamma amino butyric acid, “exists in people and works as a neurotransmitter that lowers anxiety, increases the sleep cycle giving deeper rest, lowers blood pressure, and improves other cardiovascular functions.” Well, at least that’s what the bag says. At least it tastes better than regular brown rice and cooks up like white rice. Works for me.
While looking for new recipes, I’ve turned to an old classic of mine: Quick and Easy Japanese Cuisine For Everyone by Yukiko Moriyama, pub. Joie Inc. I mentioned this book before in a previous post, titled Daizu no Nimono & Kamameshi. It doesn’t take too much to adapt something like Oyako Donburi to a noodle instead of a rice bowl. Another great book is Ghillie Basan’s The Food and Cooking of Malaysia and Singapore. I’ve been to Singapore on numerous occasions and can attest to the excellence of the cuisine. They be foodies there!
Though the prep for those recipes can consume both time and space, the actual cooking time is usually fairly quick. The end result? Extremely excellent! Will there be a post on some of these dishes? Umm, not right away. After a solid week of working that book, Margaret wants something different. I suppose part of the problem is how the kitchen smells after using shrimp paste. I mean, that stuff has some serious skank going on. However, it does add a very important flavor component to the dishes it’s used in. Just keep a lid on the tub/jar, and all should be fine. Just don’t go around sticking that crap under people’s noses. You ruin them from some of the best food they’ll ever find the opportunity to try. Despite all that, there are plenty of recipes to make that don’t call for shrimp paste.
Ghille Basan has tons of cookbooks, covering not only SE Asian cuisines, but also Middle Eastern. What’s cool about her approach is that her books are less regional than nation and culture specific. They literally bring to the table the people and the culture with the food. It’s like having an anthropologist with you in the kitchen. Now how cool is that?