April 22, 2012

Lamb or Pork Pilaf with Apricots and Raisins

When I first thought of putting this dish together, I wondered how well the flavor of the apricots, raisins and pork would complement (or not) each other.  I went with the pork instead of the lamb, not because I preferred using pork, but because Acme was completely out of lamb:(  This dish came out delicious, so no loss at all, but next time I'm definitely going for the lamb.

I decided to use dried apricot halves.  You might want to cut up the dried apricot into small bits, but if you're cool with big bite-fulls of sweet and plump apricot throughout your Pilaf (like I am), don't change anything.  Although golden raisins would be ideal, dark raisins work just as nicely.  This dish is a unique amalgamation of flavors, but they're all yummy!  Prepare to surprise your palate with something very different:)


Prep Time = 20 minutes
Cooking Time = 50 minutes
Servings = 4+

  • 2 tblsp butter or margarine
  • 1 cup long or short-grain brown rice
  • 1 large yellow onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 tblsp fresh ginger (minced) 
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 cups gluten free beef or vegetable stock
  • 3 tblsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 1 pound pork loin or boneless leg of lamb, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 small zucchini (diced)
  • 4 oz small mushrooms (halved)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots (chopped or whole)
  • 1/2 cup dark or golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup minced parsley 
  1.  Melt the butter in a medium-size saucepan over moderate heat. Add the rice, onion, 1 tblsp of the ginger, and the garlic.  Saute until the rice is pale gold... about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover it, and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile... heat 1 tblsp of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat for 1 minute. Sprinkle the pork or lamb with salt and pepper, and then add to the skillet... brown the meat on all sides (about 10 minutes).
  4. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate lined with paper towels and set aside.
  5. Add the remaining oil to the skillet, reduce the heat to moderate and heat for 1 minute. Add the zucchini and the remaining ginger and saute until the zucchini is softened (about 3 minutes).  Add the mushrooms and saute until tender (3 to 4 minutes more). Set aside.
  6. Add the apricots and raisins to the rice, cover and continue cooking until all the liquid is absorbed (about 10 minutes more).
  7. Return the meat to the skillet, add the rice mixture, toss well to mix, and heat just to serving temperature (uncovered), over medium heat.  
  8. Stir in the minced parsley.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

April 6, 2012

Gluten Free at Shoo Mama's near West Chester PA

It seems as if our options just keep piling up!  I don't care if it's the result of trendiness or people looking for a new diet fad, or the fact that more and more people are being diagnosed with Celiac Disease; the proliferation of gluten free products and restaurants offering GF options is simply awesome!

It's never been easier to live gluten free than it is right now.  These days, when people hear about my dietary restrictions they often say things like, "That must be so hard for you" or "I can't imagine being so limited" or "How do you even find something to eat?"  To which I reply, "Nope, it's not hard, I'm not that limited, and it's actually very easy to find good food to eat" :)

Case in point, Shoo Mama's Farm Fresh Cafe in West Chester PA.  I'm a professor at West Chester University, so having Shoo Mama's as a near-by lunch destination is sweet!  Shoo Mama's specializes in farm fresh, local, organic foods.  They also offer a variety of gluten free options including soups, salads, and Panini sandwiches.  If you're in the area, I highly recommend you stop by and get a bite to eat.  Their GF options are local, organic and delicious! Pictured is a gluten free panini sandwich with sweet potato chips fried in a separate GF designated fryer:)

Here's their website: http://shoomamascafe.com/

Shoo Mama's Far Fresh Cafe
66 E. Street Rd.
West Chester, PA 19382
(484) 315-8431


Just So You Know...

The information presented in this blog is intended to educate and entertainment. However, I'm not a medical expert.  I also do not know absolutely everything about Celiac Disease.  What I do know has been learned through trial and error, research, and what has been taught to me by friends who also share my food-related affliction.  Please take the time to do your own research about Celiac Disease and gluten-related issues.  I have a list of links to useful resources along the left-side of this blog. Also, feel free to cross-check my statements. If you find contrary information, please let me know. Thanks so much for visiting Trav's Gone Gluten Free!