It's in the Bag, Gluten Free & The WoW Diet

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Invention Mode!

Yesterday I came home from work to find the kitchen strewn with assorted flours and the pile of dishes mounting. The Bag Lady is in invention mode. That means we eat a lot...and frequently. In the past 2 days we have had 2 different soups, a baguette, sourdough rye muffins, several vegetarian dishes, 2 pumpernickels, a french bread, and parmesan Italian bread sticks (in addition to the regular breakfast, lunch, and dinner). The spelt and barley loaf is currently baking and our house smells like a petite boulangerie.

The crowning achievement of the night was Roasted Portabellos with Gouda and Sauteed Fennel.

This is very much a gourmet dish involving a symphonic fusion of layered flavors. The heartiness of the mushrooms plays well with the earthy Gouda, while the fennel leaves subtle licorice aftertones dancing on the palette. The finale peaks with roasted roma tomatoes and a hint of basil.

We stopped by the Asian market to collect more of the necessary ingredients for "invention mode." For those of you that cook with fresh herbs, Asian markets are the best places to get good quantities of basil, mint, lemon grass, etc at a fair price. As we were checking out, I couldn't help but notice a new delectable, "Sweetened Black Sticky Rice with Custard, *Friday and Saturday ONLY" Well, it was was only $2...and it was in the name of culture...I HAD TO HAVE SOME, because I just hadn't snacked enough today.

As you can see from the emptiness of my carryout box, it was delightful. Sticky rice is my favorite type of rice, and the blackish-purple grains of this variety were as fun to look at as they were to eat. Thai sticky rice has a chewy, sticky, elasticity, that normal white varieties lack. The grains that retain their soft protective shell during the cooking process burst with a slight crunch to reveal the chewy goodness that resides inside. Through a very careful investigation we have determined that this fanciful dessert is steeped in vast quantities of palm sugar and coconut milk. The custard seems to be egg based, but has a slightly gelatinous feel that compliments the chewiness of the rice. A tiny, forbidden, kiss of lemon tantalizes the senses. All in all, it is oh so nice, and although I am partial to sweetened sticky rice and mangoes, this dish puts up a good fight when it comes to ordering dessert.

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