Friday, January 25, 2013

10th Anniversary dinner

Ok, so as promised, recipes from last night’s dinner and a bit about my history leading up to all of this. 11 years ago I was living in Salt Lake City, Utah. right smack in the middle of the Olympics. All normal activity had ground to a halt because of the games, so I had gone online to look for some new friends to chat with or meet up with, whatever. Something to help pass the time. Then one night, I got a message from some guy in Alaska. It was July 24th, 2002 and I was having a very bad night. Exactly one year prior, I’d been victim of a break in and my local friends had all forgotten that they’d promised to check in with me that night, because I was still having minor panic attacks. Anyway, long story short, we began chatting after that and soon found that we had quite a bit in common. Soon we had our first phone call, and by September I was headed up for a long weekend to visit in person and we officially got engaged.
Things kept moving at a crazy pace and the opportunity to move me and my things up to Alaska came in January, so, we quickly planned a wedding and were married 6 months to the day of our first online chatter. Up I came to Alaska and suddenly I was step mom to 4 kids, ages 15 to 4. There were a lot of adjustments as the kids came in and out for visits. My step son lived with us for a few years in there, and right now the youngest daughter (now 14) is living with us. I’ve had a few health problems pop up over the years. Mysterious ailments and the like. We learned in 2006 that I have PCOS and would likely never be able to have children of my own (at least not without lots of money for doctors and some out of state travel..) Then in 2007 I was in a rather nasty car accident which, honestly, probably should have left me crippled, and certainly left me in a lot of pain and took most of a year to recover from. I was still dealing with a lot of pain and problems after I was “recovered” but it was more or less assumed it was going to be a lingering permanent pain due to damage.
And then Hubby was deployed at the end of 2008 and he was gone for a year, during which I had more medical problems and test after test and we discovered I was severely anemic, had super high blood pressure, some other heart problems and severe sleep apnea. We got all of that sorted and Hubby got home (yay!!) Then in February 2011 I went on an elimination diet. Was the first time in absolute ages I was able to loose any weight at all and, miracle of miracles, most of that pain I was suffering, the headaches I’d had for years, and so many other of my “odd little problems” that I’d had for years and years, went away. They were either gone completely or greatly reduced. This was proof for me that there was something wrong with the foods I’d been eating that was making me sick; was, in fact, slowly killing me. As I started adding foods back in, one by one, gluten was my big problem food. I would have a severe migraine within half an hour of ingesting even the tiniest bite of bread, or something with barley malt. So, I started doing some very hasty research into what all it would mean to be gluten free. I will leave that long story for another long post. But for now, on to last night’s 10th Anniversary dinner.

Blueberry Glazed London Broil:
I bought a Top Round London Broil just under 3 pounds and marinated it in blueberry syrup (I pretty much used the recipe on this site for making my syrup. I love this site and reference it all the time when I have questions about canning)
I let it sit in the syrup for 24 hours, flipping it once so that it will get a nice sweet glazing on both sides. To cook I put it put a little salt and pepper on both sides and put it on a rack in a cookie sheet under the broiler and let it go til it got nice and caramelized, then flipped it and let it do the other side as well. Time will depend on the thickness of your meat and how you like yours done. Then let it sit and rest for a few minutes before slicing it up.

I had a partial jar (about 2/3rds of a pint) of beef stock that I’d made last week. (I’ll do another post on stock making one of these days...) So I emptied that into a small pan and added a few spoonfuls of potato starch. Again, no, I didn’t measure. I warned everyone I was terrible about this sort of thing, but they wanted me to do this anyway.. *lol* stirred to combine, added about 2 tablespoons of water, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and a small splash of red cooking wine and then let it sit for about 5 minutes or so (because I was working on other things.. ) before it went over the heat. I let it come to a simmer and heat through and thicken a bit. Honestly, I think I might have added a bit too much starch as it was a bit thicker and “cloudier” then usual, but it tasted just perfect.

Mashed Potatoes:
Uhm.. I took 4 very large bakers, peeled them and boiled them. (Remember to salt your water!) Drained, added some butter and a large dollop or two of sour cream and some pepper. No, I tend not to measure these things.. I just eyeball and adjust to the consistency I want.

Onion Rings:
 I didn’t do my “usual” recipe, but I did like this one. Again, I didn’t measure anything at all.. (I really will have to work on remembering to do that..) But I put about a cup and a half of coconut flour in a bowl with some salt, pepper, garlic, basil and oregano and some Italian seasoned gluten free bread crumbs (Aleia’s brand - I had a few left in the fridge that needed to get used up..) I added an egg and enough milk to make a thick but loose batter. Onions were sliced, dredged in more coconut flour then dipped into the batter and into the fryer until golden.

Bread: Pamela’s bread mix into the bread maker as per directions.
This was my second time using the doughnut maker. Hubby liked the recipe I used last time better, but we’re still experimenting with it and this time I used a pre-packaged gf chocolate cake mix from Gluten Free Cafe. Unlike some gf cake mixes, this one apparently makes a “full” size cake (Regular box cake mixes will do 2 8” rounds but their gf counterpart will only do 1, but still costs $2-3 more.. This one will do the 2 8” pans as well, not just one, so am liking this box mix brand much better for that alone... ) I followed the instructions to make the batter, but instead of baking it in the oven, I poured it by spoonfuls into my little doughnut maker and followed the instructions that came with that. They cook fairly quickly so you need to be right there with it. I will admit that about half way in I decided I was done and just poured the rest into a smaller cake pan and baked the other half of it that way.

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