I saw my good friend Eliot on my lunch hour this week and he asked what I was doing that evening. I said nothing and he said great - I should come over to his place for dinner. Fantastic! He's a great chef and always creates delicious meals. But then I added the "Do you have gluten free foods?" He said he'll think of something.
Probably almost half of his pantry is gluten-filled foods. Courtesy of me. So it is a bit harder to think of things we can create last minute. (We are both part Italian - so his pasta supply doubled after graciously taking my pasta stockpile.) After work, we went to Whole Foods and bought food to make a beef stir-fry. When looking at the produce, Eliot asked me if I liked certain vegetables, since he knows that I'm traditionally the queen of picky eating. I told him that I'm saying yes to things and trying new foods. Great! He chose some mushrooms, summer squash, onion, and green bell peppers. He was free to be as creative and imaginative as he wanted with the produce. Since all his sauces were gluten-filled, we looked at the selection provided and there were a lot of gf choices! Obviously, a good number of the sauces contained the soy sauce made with wheat, rather than soybeans. When making his selections, Eliot said that he was only getting gf sauces so that way he can always cook for me worry free. He doesn't want to cook with anything that makes me sick! He's so good to me!!! I offered to buy smiley face stickers to put on things that are gf and dairy free in his pantry so we know those are safe. He offered the opposite - get skull and cross bone stickers instead since he has the tendency to add lots of ingredients and doesn't want to grab anything unsafe. Now where to find these not around Halloween time...
Cooking with Eliot is always a treat because I can learn so much! I should have taken notes on what he does and all his tricks, but I'm sure the opportunity will arise again in the future...many times. He showed off the box method for cutting the green peppers - which was a lot safer, easier, and faster than my made-up method, which closely resembles carving a pumpkin... One of his greatest kitchen gadgets is a large food processor. Those mushrooms were perfectly sliced in no time! Eliot does not understand why people buy already sliced mushrooms, he was saying as his food processor was working its magic. "This is cheaper and a lot more fun!" He handled the stir fry and as his sous chef, I was in charge of the rice. Since I received a rice cooker for Christmas, I have become used to putting water and rice in the cooker, stirring it for half a second, putting the lid on, pressing the button down, and walking away and coming back to perfect rice when the cooker button pops over to warm. On the stove, rice needs a little more loving, and sometimes a little extra water.
We had a delicious, colorful meal that had a lot of good flavors. I normally hate mushrooms because of their texture, but I found myself liking them because of their texture! The variety they gave was needed. I'm now open to the possibility of cooking with them myself.
I'm afraid I also didn't have my camera with me while we were cooking, so you are left with a picture taken of my leftovers. It doesn't do the food justice because it was not plated properly. Like any good friend, he sent me home with a container filled with leftovers - enough for two and a half meals!