Wednesday, April 18, 2012

HYSYS Stole My Soul (aka: why I fell off the face of the earth)

Hi there ChemEGirl Cooks followers!

So, I haven't updated for a while... I'm fine, but school is getting in the way of my life... specifically HYSYS and Matlab are getting in the way of my life!

^^^^ That is HYSYS ^^^^^

What does it do, you may ask? It steals your soul It can be used to design chemical plants! I'm currently "building" a plant that makes dicyclopentadiene out of cyclopentadiene, and writing a 50+ page report on it. That's not my process, mine involves lots of reactors and distillation columns and tanks, but it gives you the general idea.

I also have a coding project in Matlab for my numerical methods class, a take-home test for nanotechnology, a formal report for senior lab and a test Thursday in my HSE class.
Basically, it's hell week.

ChemEGirl cooks should start getting updated again after this weekend, once I'm done with classes FOREVER!!!!! (can you tell I'm excited to graduate, maybe just a little bit... :D )
I'll also probably be MIA for a little while while I move. Exciting stuff!
Thanks for your patience, and if anyone wants to do my homework hit me up in the comments section :)

All I have left to do now is the math project and some plant design!!!! Almost there!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Gnocchi Sans Gluten

It's Friday, Friday, Gonna Get Down On Friday!
I'll shut up now :)

I don't have classes Friday afternoons, so this is the time I do the "heavy-duty" cooking that needs to happen for next week. Aka: the stuff that takes a while to make and uses just about every pan, utensil and dish in my kitchen.

I'm a big fan of Italian food, and one of my favorite things that I can no longer eat is gnocchi. Those little dumplings just make me all sorts of happy :) I keep checking the labels in the grocery store, in vain, for some wheat free gnocchi... but apparently that's one thing that hasn't been translated over yet. So for my heavy-duty cooking this week I made gnocchi!

Gnocchi (Makes ~ 8 dozen)
~2.5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and sliced
3 Cups Rice Flour
2 Eggs, beaten
Salt - to taste

First off, remove all rings, watches and bracelets... you'll thank me later. Otherwise, enjoy picking bits of potato out of your jewelry...

Boil your potatoes in salted water until they can be easily poked through with a fork, reserve about 1 Cup of the potato water. Using a potato masher (or a potato ricer, if you've got fancy kitchen stuff) squish the potatoes until there aren't any chunks left. Put the flour, eggs, 1/2 Tbsp salt and potatoes into a really big bowl. Knead it together, with your scrupulously clean hands, until it forms into a big ball. If it's too sticky add more flour, if it's too dry add a little of the potato water you reserved earlier. 
You can see my dough was a bit sticky, so I had to add some more flour...

Grab an orange sized chunk of the potato dough and roll it into a snake...  you know, like you made with play-dough in kindergarten. It should be around 1/2" wide.

Then you're going to cut the rope up into 1/2" chunks and boop them on the head squish them a bit with a fork so they have a cute little pattern on top. (I seriously said "boop" every time I squished one, it makes it a bit more interesting :D ) I put mine onto waxed paper lined baking sheets.

Now you're left with two options: cook them now or store them in the fridge for a while.
If you want to cook them right now, put them into boiling salted water and cook for around 3 minutes. They'll float to the top when they're done.

Serving suggestions: spaghetti sauce or just a little bit of butter and garlic. 

Edit: I tried freezing these and then thawing them after a few weeks, it was a disaster... :( It could be because the gnocchi I made were too dry, but more likely the lack of gluten means the starch doesn't bind together as well

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I finally made curry!

Exciting news over in my corner of the apartment today!
I made one of my favorite curries today: chicken korma curry
AND I managed to make it wheat and gluten free, AND it turned out good!
I'm kinda freaking out right now :D

Here's the recipe! Sorry for the long ingredients list, but I promise it's worth it :) I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Chicken Korma Curry - wheat and dairy free!
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, cut up into small pieces
100 mL Coconut milk, from a can, and do not use the light kind!
1 Large yellow onion, diced
1 - 1" Piece of ginger, grated or finely chopped
4 Cloves garlic
4 Tbsp ground almonds *see note*
1 Tbsp Tomato paste
4 Tbsp Vegetable oil
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2" piece of stick cinnamon, bruised
3 Whole cardamom pods
2 Whole cloves
100 mL of water
1 tsp Ground coriander
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 tsp Garam Masala

For The Marinade:
1/2 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Cumin powder
1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder 
1 Small cup Coconut or Soy based unflavored yogurt (~50 g or 6 Tbsp)

Chop the garlic, ginger and onion. Add half to a bowl and store the other half for later.
Put the chicken, yogurt, and marinade spices into the bowl with the garlic, ginger and onion. Allow it to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 mins, longer is better!

After the 30 minutes are up, or you're ready to cook:
Get the onion mix and the marinated chicken out of the fridge. Heat the oil in a large fry-pan over medium-high heat. Add the cinnamon, cardamom pods and cloves to the oil and fry for a few seconds. Add the remaining onion mix and fry until golden brown and fragrant. Add the almonds and tomato paste and stir well, then add the coriander, cumin and garam masala. Stir in the marinated chicken and add the coconut milk, add the salt and sugar to the pan and stir well. Add the water and simmer for ~15 minutes until chicken is tender, stirring occasionally. Serve with rice or wheat-free naan (I have yet to find any, but Tulsa doesn't have the best selection of wheat-free groceries)

*note about the almonds: you can use almond flour for this, or grind some slivered almonds in a coffee grinder. Almond butter also may work, as long as it is unsweetened.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Pasta" Salad With Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Alright, its getting way too hot!

It's April 1st, not July 1st! The high is supposed to be 89F today... That's getting past the point of "Ooooh! Its nice outside!" and getting into "Eeeew! Sweat!" territory. If you've been to Tulsa, you understand that once it gets past about 75F you've got some serious humidity going on... gross!

Anywho, I decided to make "pasta" salad for lunch today (and probably dinner too... yay leftovers!) because I have no desire to make my apartment any hotter. So here ya go :)

"Pasta" Salad with Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 lb Quinoa & Corn blend pasta
1 Cup Chopped sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
1 Cup Green olives, pitted (you can use the manzanilla olives with pimentos, it still turns out well)
1 Cup Fresh basil
2 Cloves garlic
1/3 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
Zest and Juice of 1 Large Lemon
3/4 Parmesan cheese (omit if you're dairy free like me!)
Salt and Pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain but reserve 1 cup of cooking water. Rinse under cold water and toss with a little oil and parmesan cheese.

In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, olives, basil, garlic, oil, lemon juice, cooking water and lemon zest. Process until it is well combined but still somewhat chunky. Pour over the pasta and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and serve!