Japanese Beef Curry

Japanese Beef Curry

I originally made this Japanese curry with my brother for dinner while staying at my folks place. I was helping my mom to wrap up her classroom in preparation for the end of the school year. This was not only her students’ last week of third grade but hers, as well, as she was about to retire. Congratulations to Mom! I was also helping out around the house. My brother was also really great about helping me make dinners, which was really nice and was giving us opportunities to spend some time together.

During some nights this week, I’ve stayed late with my mom in her classroom after school, sorting through old project templates, posters, class mascots, and whatnot, which means dinner preparations couldn’t begin until later. This does not jive well with my finicky digestive system, even if I bring snacks with me in lieu of eating dinner earlier. Thankfully my brother decided to make dinner. Yay! We used leftover beef rib roast, bok choy, and carrots from the beef sukiyaki donabe (hot pot) dish I made the night before, since Dad bought more than enough.

Japanese Beef Curry
Adapted from S & B Foods Medium-Hot Golden Curry Sauce Sauce Mix package directions.
Originally posted at Three Chicks Talking About Food in May 2012.

Yields: 4 to 6 servings

Meat and Vegetable Ingredients
14 Baby Carrots, sliced 1/4″ think
2 1/2 C Fresh or Frozen Green Peas
1/2 Red Onion, chopped
1 Bell Pepper (Any Color), cored, finely chopped
1/2 Large or 1 Small Bunch Bok Choy, cut into 1″ by 2″ pieces
1 lb Thinly Sliced Beef Rib Roast, cut into 1″ squares

Sauce Ingredients
1 3 1/2-oz. pkg S & B Foods Medium-Hot Golden Curry Sauce Mix, broken into 5 sections*
2 tsp House of Tsang Wok Oil, enough to cover bottom of pan (not 2 T in directions)
2 1/2 C Filtered Water

4-6 Servings of Cooked Quinoa, Rice, Barley or Noodles (Any Kind)

*This is an instant curry roux sauce mix that comes in bar form and is not gluten-free, since it includes wheat flour as a thickener. For a Japanese curry, the medium-hot spiciness is on par with some of the spicier mild Mexican salsas I have eaten.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large sauce pan. Saute the onions and beef over medium-high heat for 2 to 4 minutes or until the meat reaches medium doneness (has a only a little bit of pink). Add in the vegetables and water, and bring them to a boil, stirring constantly and mixing the ingredients from the bottom of the pan to the top. Reduce the heat to a low boil over medium-low heat. Cover and cook the meat and vegetables for 10 minutes. Remove the lid. Simmer and stir the mixture for 3 minutes. Stir in the sauce until it is fully incorporated. Simmer the curry for 5 minutes, frequently stirring to thicken it. Serve the curry with or over hot cooked grains, quinoa or noodles of your choice. This curry is also a good accompaniment to chicken, lamb and shrimp.

Cooking Curry

Gluten-Free Japanese Curry
In Jefferson Adams’ post on Celiac.com, he stated that he found a bar-form S & B instant curry mix (it’s a sweet curry roux), called “Curry No Ohji-sama” (prince of curry or curry prince?) and packaged in a cartoony red box, at Nijiya Market in the San Fransciso on the same block as the Japantown mall. This sweet curry includes cornstarch and white sorghum as the thickeners and is gluten-free. I also read in the Celiac.com forum that the blue-box Curry No Ohji-sama is not gluten-free, but I looked at the ingredients on the box in person and found it also contains sorghum flour instead of wheat flour and is therefore gluten-free. If you use these are sweet curries, you may want to add more Japanese curry powder and gluten-free or wheat-free tamari soy sauce, like Mr. Adams did. Apparently, wheat allergies are also becoming a hot topic in Japan, just like it is here, so some food companies are starting to make gluten-free products. Instead you can always just use the S & B mixed curry seasonings to make your own gluten-free sauce recipe, like Russ Crandall did over at The Domestic Man.

Here’s a commercial for Curry No Ohji-sama for your viewing pleasure. Apparently S & B has been making sweet curry roux for kids since 1966. It’s nice to see that they are starting to accommodate for children with allergies and digestive issues. Watching the commercial did make me wonder what the other sweet curry at at he end of the commercial is that features the fairy and the princess. I also wonder if S & B even makes it anymore. Does anyone know what it is? Do you have a favorite kind of curry? If so, which kind do you like best? What kind of seed or grain do you prefer as a side with your curries?

Black Bean Chocolate Brownies

Black Bean Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate is pretty much essential to me, and eating it in bar form can be even better. Brownies are great if they are made well, especially if they are gluten-free. The first time I had these, a girl friend made them (with me in mind) for a get-together. At the time, it was a cheat day. Once I devoured the first fudgy little morsel, I had to have more. Before the end of the night, we had scarfed down the entire plate. They were so good, I was relieved I was not the only person, who went back for seconds.

In my version, I doubled the recipe to share the brownies at a holiday party, so feel free to reduce it of you are only making them for your household. Just keep in mind, the brownies are really good, they will be gone before you know it, so you might want to keep the portions as I listed them below. They also freeze very well, so you can have them at the ready when you run out. In lieu of nuts, I added more chocolate to my chocolate by incorporating chips not only into the batter but also by sprinkling them over the top. If you want, you can also use other types of mix-ins to compliment the dark chocolate, like peanut butter, butterscotch, toffee, mint, or caramel chips, dried fruit, nuts, or seeds. In addition, you can also replace the Earth Balance with more apple sauce to preserve moisture and further reduce the amount of fat. These brownies are also particularly good for you if you need to add extra iron and fiber to your diet.

Brownie Bar

Black Bean Chocolate Brownies
These brownies are based on the Meal Makeover Mom’s Kitchen’s Fudgy Black Bean Brownies. I originally posted a dark chocolate peanut butter version on the previous blog, Three Chicks Talking About Food. I’m going to update it and post it here, too.

Yields: 2 8-inch square baking dishes worth

3 C Cooked Black Beans, drained, rinsed*
6 T Chia Seeds, fresh ground
1 1/2 C Filtered Water
4 T Earth Balance Butter Stick, melted
1 C Smooth Applesauce
1 C Sucanat
2 C Unsweetened Cacao Powder
3 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 Big Pinch Sea Salt
1 1/2 C Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 C Vegan Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chunks
More Chocolate Chips, Garnish

*Make sure to properly prepare your beans by sorting and soaking them to make them tasty and easier to digest (removing the phytic acid and indigestible sugars and softening the fiber).

Cooked Black Beans

Mix the seeds and water with a fork in a medium sized bowl to form the “eggs”. Set this mixture aside for 15 minutes to obtain a thick egg-like consistency. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil two glass 8-inch square baking pans or dishes. Dust the pans with cacao powder to prevent the brownies from sticking to the sides of the pans and make them easier to serve. Set the pans aside.

In a high speed blender using a blender plunger, puree the beans with the apple sauce, butter, and “eggs” until they are smooth and creamy. Since this recipe makes a large quantity of batter, transfer the mixture to a large bowl. Stir in the sucanat, vanilla extract, baking powder, and salt with a large spoon or electric beaters until the batter is smooth. Mix in the cacao, ensuring all lumps are removed. Fold in the chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Evenly distribute the batter between the two and smooth with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula. Garnish the top of the brownies with more chips.

Bake the batter for 50 to 60 minutes or until the brownie edges shrink away from the sides of the pan. The decorative chips should be shiny, soft, and slightly melted. Remove the brownies from the oven, and cool them in the pans for at least 15 to 30 minutes on wire racks before cutting the brownies into 2-inch squares and serving them. If your brownies still have a squishy bread pudding-like consistency after cooling completely, chill them in the refrigerator for a few hours let them solidify.

Chicken and Vegetable Meatloaf

Chicken and Vegetable Meatloaf

I wanted to make a healthier meatloaf with lots of vegetables in it. At one time I made a delicious one for my husband and I, but last night I couldn’t find the recipe. I didn’t want to completely wing it (no pun intended), so I dug around and used a few recipes (1, 2, 3, 4) I found online as guidelines. I also wanted to use what I had in the house.

Generally I try to use organically grown or raised foods. I also avoid dairy products, wheat (and or gluten) and egg yolks due to allergies. In October I tried being vegan, mostly succeeding, since I’m not really supposed to eat meat either (too bad it tastes so good). The only exception I made was eating fish about four times. At the beginning of this month I reintroduced meat into my diet, only eating it during one meal a day and being otherwise vegan. Honestly I am feeling much better than before my “diet” when I was eating meat more often. I still think I would feel even better if I didn’t eat meat daily, since my stomach usually lacks the enzymes to efficiently and effectively digest meat. (Mental note: pick up digestive enzyme supplements.)

This meatloaf is actually dairy and wheat free. If you want, it should be rather easy to make it without eggs by using flax or chia “eggs” instead*. Either way, I hope you enjoy it. Sorry I didn’t take many pictures. (We were entertaining guests. It wasn’t done until midnight, and we were in a hurry and starving.) Keep in mind that when I served up the portions, I cut it into six rather large pieces (four and an half square inches), but you could cut it smaller to serve with salad or a side of veggies.

Chicken Vegetable Meatloaf
I originally posted this recipe on Three Chicks Talking About Food in November 2011.

Yields 6 – 9 servings

1 T Olive Oil
1/2 Sweet Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
2 T Garlic, peeled, minced
1/2 C Vegetable Broth
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns, ground
1 tsp Sea Salt
2 Brunches Broccoli, finely chopped
1 pkg Frozen Mixed Vegetables, chopped
3-4 Stalks Celery, chopped, optional
2 Medium Carrots, chopped, optional
1 lb Ground Chicken
1 lb Pesto or Italian Chicken Sausage, removed from casings
1 Egg or 2 Egg Whites*
1 1/2 T Italian Seasoning
1/2 T Herbs de Provence
2 tsp Mustard Seed, fine ground
2 T Gluten-Free Teriyaki Sauce
1 1/2 T Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking dish with foil, and lightly coat the foil with oil.

Saute the onion and garlic in oil until the onions turn clear. Add the broth, vegetables, salt and pepper and cook the mixture on medium heat for 8 minutes. (You can add herbs and spices now or later, depending on how strong you want them to taste.) Set aside.

Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, hand mix the meat, egg, herbs, sauces and vinegar. Mix the vegetables in the meat.

Transfer the meat-vegetable mixture to the prepared baking dish. Smooth the mixture to evenly distribute it in the dish. Cover the loaf with foil, and bake it for 30 minutes. Uncover the meatloaf, and bake it another 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle (do not touch the thermometer to the bottom of the dish) reads between 160 and 170 degrees F. Remove the dish from the oven to cool for 5 minutes. Portion the meatloaf as you like. Serve and enjoy.

Note: You can wait until the meat is fully cooked to use the teriyaki as a glaze on top instead of adding it to the meat mixture earlier on, if you like, for a different texture and color.

*Typically flax or chia (yes, the same seeds used on chia pets) eggs are made by mixing one tablespoon of either kind of seed (I prefer ground for a smoother texture) and three tablespoons on water. If you want a more yellow or golden color to your eggs, use golden flax seeds. If you aren’t worried about the eggs affecting the color of your dish, go ahead and use brown flax or chia, which I have found only in black with white speckles and turn gray when ground up.

One of the reasons it took so long to make this dish is that one of my meat thermometers broke. I’m very glad I had an extra one to double check. If it takes longer than an hour to reach 160 degrees F, definitely double check. I highly recommend having a back-up cooking thermometer! In addition, I also recommend testing your oven with an oven thermometer before hand to learn how to trick your it into cooking at the right temperature; many ovens out there are inaccurate to varying amounts in either direction. So be careful. I ended up baking the meatloaf for at least an extra hour.

Zucchini Almond Mini Loaves

Zucchini Almond Mini Loaves

Zucchini bread is amazing! I love that is made with vegetables and cinnamon, just like pumpkin bread. This version uses almond meal in lieu of wheat or a mixed gluten-free flour, which means breads made with this recipe are higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than conventional ones. You can mix in all sorts of goodies into the batter, too, like fruit, chocolate or carob chips, seeds, or nuts. It also goes well with coffee and tea for breakfast, snack, or dessert. I really like dressing slices with Daiya’s cream cheese on top instead of Earth Balance. For dessert, I suggest topping it with cream cheese frosting. You can bake it in loaf pans, cupcake tins, or baking dishes, depending on how you want to serve it. For more zucchini information and recipes, please see my Madras Curry Zucchini Spears.

Zucchini Mini Loaf Bread with Cream Cheese

Zucchini Mini Loaf Bread with Cream Cheese

Zucchini Almond Bread
Based on Elana Amsterdam’s Zucchini Bread from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

Yields: 2 Small Loaves (About 12 slices)

2 tsp Chia Seeds
4 T Water
2 C Almond Meal
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 C Smooth Unsweetened Apple Sauce
1 T Grape Seed Oil
1/4 – 1/3 C Dark Agave Syrup
1 C Shredded Zucchini
1 C Fresh Blueberries, optional
1 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, optional
Daiya Cream Cheese Spread, optional
Earth Balance Olive Oil Spread, optional.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and grease two mini bread loaf pans. Dust the pans with almond flour or line with parchment paper. Combine the chia seeds and water in a small bowl and stir into an even into an egg-like consistency. Set aside.

In a large bowl, thoroughly stir together the remaining dry ingredients to remove lumps. In a large bowl, combine the “eggs”, apple sauce, oil, and agave, gradually adding the agave. Adjust the amount of sweetness to your liking, since apple sauce contains sugar naturally . Mix the dry mixture into the wet a third at a time. Fold in the zucchini and blueberries and/or chocolate (if you are including them) into the wet mixture. Spoon the batter into the pans. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes on the low rack or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pans to a cooling rack to let them rest for an hour. Slice and serve.

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

Blueberry Zucchini Bread

The flavors of the cream cheese and zucchini bread blend well together, so feel free to use as much as you like. I prefer spreading cream cheese over the top of the whole loaf, but you can spread it on each slice if you are feeling extra indulgent. I tried both methods, as shown above, but merely “icing” the top keeps down the amount of fat per slice.