Thursday, January 31, 2013

Eating Gluten-Free at Red Lobster

Commonality Breeds Familiarity

Major chain restaurants are rarely my favorite places to go out to dinner. Often the food is unoriginal and not very interesting.

But getting to know if a chain restaurant can take care of my gluten-free needs safely is absolutely invaluable.

Chain restaurants have the advantage of being readily available in many locations and usually use common recipes and methods of food preparation across the entire chain. If I am familiar with a chain restaurant and know that it can feed me safely, then I have fewer problems and I have more options available to me when away from home.

Options are good.

Red Lobster is definitely a chain restaurant and has many, many locations. So, when my daughter requested we go there for her birthday dinner, I didn't groan too loudly. I wanted to find out if they could feed me safely.

Red Lobster on Urbanspoon

Red Lobster

Monday, January 28, 2013

January Sunshine (Gluten-Free Savory Pumpkin) Soup

Sunshine in January

Sometimes sunshine comes in January. Sometimes it comes in two different forms in January.

That bowl there is full of sunshine. Both types.

We already had an inch of snow on the ground from the day before. Then another inch or so fell on top of that.

And it was cold.

Frigid. Frosty. Biting. Snowy. Bitter. Icy. Raw. Chilly. Gelid?


With this outside my front door, I needed soup. Again. Another hot soup. But not the same ol' gluten-free tomato bisque. And I didn't have gruyere or Jarlesberg or even plain swiss cheese to make gluten-free French onion soup.

The soup du jour had to be something I could make with the ingredients I had on hand. I was not going out in that for any ingredients!

It just so happened that I still had some pumpkin purée in the freezer, from one of our uncarved jack-o-lanterns last year. I guess I still have to blog about that....

That one pumpkin made nine of these quart-sized bags full of purée!

Don't think for one minute that I'm interested in sweet pumpkin soup, pumpkin-pie-style. No way. This is January, baby, not October. I'm only interested in a savory, tangy, squashy soup.

It just so happened that the only squash I had available was of pumpkin form. Frozen, pumpkin form.

In fact, let's just leave pumpkin out of this. I had squash purée and it was the color of sunshine. That's enough for me, this frigid, gelid January!

Gluten-Free January Sunshine (Savory Pumpkin) Soup

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Island Beneath the Sea

Book Review

Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende.

This is something I kept seeing again and again and again at the library. In large print.

It is by the same author that wrote Inés of My Soul and I enjoyed that. This is usually a good sign.

And large print is good. I like large print for reading on the treadmill.

I needed something to get me back on the treadmill. I'd been away far too long, due to traveling so much.

I've been staying at a hotel that doesn't have an exercise room. I'm not a happy camper when the hotel doesn't have a treadmill, let alone any exercise room at all.

If I stumble upon the right book, I will want to get on the treadmill more and more often and for longer and longer. That is the true test of a good book!

I thought this book could be that, but there was only one way to find out. I had to check it out.

Island Beneath the Sea

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen in Bush Intercontinental Airport, Houston (IAH)

Airport Food, Relaxed Style

I've been traveling again lately. On one particular trip, I ended up with a more than three hour layover in Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.

Usually I have between a half hour and hour or so between flights.

This was my first long layover in a long time, or relatively so, given that I'm only going across the country. And I wasn't looking forward to it.

Three hours is a lot of time to kill.

On the up side, it was plenty of time to find a restaurant for a real meal.

No rushing. No boxed meal. No eating at the gate, using my lap as a table.

A real, sit-down-and-relax meal.

But I had to find a restaurant. All of my previous eating experience in that airport consisted of packaged, grab-and-go food.

I stopped at a bar that was packed. Normally that is a good sign. I asked to see a menu.

Bar food, alright. And it appeared that all of it was fried.

I'm not willing to risk eating fried food cooked in a probably-shared frier. So I left and kept walking through the airport.

Then I started seeing numerous signs for a French-sounding place that touted seafood. I followed the signs through Terminal E to the area between gates E2-3 and E8-9.


Probably cajun. Cajun in Houston? You bet. It would probably be good.

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen (Bush Airport) on Urbanspoon

Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Ian's Gluten-Free Panko Breadcrumbs and Fresh Salmon Cakes

Breadcrumb Trail or Trial?

If you cook a reasonable amount, you will run into the need for breadcrumbs. And that isn't much of a problem for most people.

Well, I'm not most people.

Gluten-free breadcrumbs aren't available everywhere. When I do find them, I certainly don't waste them on making a trail! But I certainly will give them a trial!

Normally, I just make some fresh gluten-free breadcrumbs from some sort of gluten-free bread product I have on hand: sliced bread, hamburger bun, bagel. These are fresh breadcrumbs.

But that isn't good enough when the recipe calls for panko. Panko is a Japanese variety of dried breadcrumbs and is lighter and cripser in texture than fresh breadcrumbs.

It is hard to make your own gluten-free panko substitute from fresh gluten-free bread products. They just aren't light enough, assuming you do get them dry enough.

So imagine my excitement when I stumbled upon these in one of my local health food stores!

Ian's Gluten-Free Panko Breadcrumbs and Fresh Salmon Cakes