Along my career path, I’ve been watching an emerging trend over the last dozen or so years. Many people now are becoming a little more health conscious, due to the rising costs of healthcare and the overall mentality of wanting to achieve the status of being physically and psychologically fit. Plus, those with ailments that weren’t as prominent a decade or so ago - such as Celiac’s disease - are turning to a healthier diet in an effort to gain control of their health problems.
A growing number of our population has turned to a gluten-free or low-gluten diet … and let me tell you my friends, I have been witness to this onslaught at the front lines. Working in the restaurant business (especially in a town like Ellicottville that consists of many healthy vibrant people), I get a lot of requests for gluten-free appetizers, entrees and desserts. There are many new companies riding this healthy food trend, making everything from pastas to brownies, cookies, and blueberry muffins … every kind of bread you can imagine is now available gluten-free. The pastas need some work still, but there is a French company that makes g-free desserts that are to die for!
I myself have tried going wheat and flour free for a few different week-long stints. It is truly amazing the difference you feel after eating just rice, potatoes, and quinoa as your only carbohydrate options. (And yes, I know there are many others out there … those were just the most easily accessible to me.)
I’ve come to realize that this may be a “trend” to us here in the U.S., but other countries, and even smaller groups - like the fitness industry - have been generally more gluten conscious than us for generations.
All this gluten talk got me thinking about running an entirely gluten-free entrée for the month of September at the EBC brew house … just to see how it stands up to the rest of our menu items. What I’ve come up with is a little non-typical, but I believe it to be very tasty. It’s a great light and healthy option to close out the summer season as we look forward to the beautiful sights and smells (and let’s not forget beers) of autumn.
PORK AND SHRIMP STIR FRY OVER RICE NOODLES
For our stir fry, you will need a good amount of fresh vegetables and meats. It may seem daunting, but realize that you can customize the ingredients to your liking and availability. This recipe will feed four people.
1 lb. pork tenderloin julienned
3/4 lb. raw shrimp (peeled and deveined)
1/8 cup rice wine
1/8 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tsp. white pepper
2 oz. Shitake mushrooms
1 ea. whole carrot julienned
2 ea. celery stalks thinly sliced
1/2 ea. yellow onion thinly sliced
1 ea. garlic clove minced
8 oz. bean sprouts
4 leaves Napa cabbage
14 oz. rice noodles
1 T. Cornstarch
2 T. sesame oil
When stir frying, the key to making it a good meal is heat, heat, heat. Get your pan so hot that when you add cold ingredients to it, the pan won’t cool down, which will allow for the continuation of a nice caramelizing of the foods. This recipe is very simple once you have everything prepped.
Up first, add your pork and shrimp to the pan and sear them in a little bit of vegetable oil. Remove the proteins from the pan once they are cooked most of the way. Then cook all of your vegetables, starting with the carrots and celery, and moving on to the softer vegetables. (Don’t add the bean sprouts and cabbage until the very end.) Next, deglaze the pan with the rice wine, and add the soy and teriyaki sauces. Reducing liquids like soy sauce isn’t the best idea since it will get very salty, so mix your cornstarch in a few tablespoons of water and add that mixture to your stir fry. Place your pork and shrimp back into the pan now, and throw in the cabbage at this point.
Drop the rice noodles in boiling hot water for just a minute or two.
Toss the rice noodles in four separate bowls and top each with an equal amount of proteins, vegetables, sauce … and last but not least, some fresh bean sprouts.
Because this dish is very complex and flavorful, it’s a bit difficult to choose an accompanying beer. My suggestion: our Mowmaster Ultra Pale Ale; it makes for a great summer send-off. The Mowmaster is brewed with American and Belgian malts, with all the hoppiness you would expect from a pale ale, but it’s got that hint of late summer love that is just soothing and peaceful.
Stir fry is fun, healthy, and delicious. And like a lot of Asian foods, it’s very vibrant and brightly colorful if cooked properly. If you are an enemy of gluten and would like my help in your battle against its dark forces, stop into EBC this month and give the stir fry a shot. It’ll surely make you smile. Until next time folks … be safe, have fun, and just think: autumn is right around the corner!