Fall River style chow mein

I have been aware of another long stretch of absence. A change in our lifestyle resulted in less eating out.

This summer, we made a quick move to Attleboro, MA. We’re still trying to find the best Chinese restaurant around here. Back in Newport, which is close enough to just across the Bay from Fall River, we found one sister restaurant which served the famous Fall River style fried chow mien noodles. In the meantime, we made a trip to Fall River for the best noodles ever to be found and served them to our out of town guests. They look forward to them each time they visit!

Read more about the Oriental Chow Mien Company (a.k.a. Hoo Mee) and chow mien sandwich in this great blog post by a Fall River sister and fellow foodie:  Fall River style chow mein.

Oven Toasted S’mores

Sometimes you have s’more makings. It just happens. There’s a sale at the grocery store; you like s’mores; you buy graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. Even though you don’t have a firepit. Or a grill. Or a gas stove. You wouldn’t dream of using the microwave. What do you do? Use your toaster oven, of course.

Yes, all of these things happened to me a few years ago. I started making s’mores in the toaster oven, really loved how they came out and kept doing it that way. In some ways, it is way better than using a fire. Nothing compares to a fire charred marshmallow, but if you’re looking for consistency (or electricity is the only option), this is the way to go.

Ingredients:

Oh, you know —
graham crackers, broken into squares
medium sized marshmallows
chocolate bars, broken into individual pieces (I prefer dark chocolate.)

Cooking Instructions/Commentary/Pictures:

Line a baking sheet with foil. This is not just to keep your baking sheet from getting marshmallow goo on it; it is also to keep the graham from burning.
Assemble the s’more, leaving the top graham off: layer the ingredients square graham, a single piece of chocolate and a marshmallow.

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Place in the toaster oven on the bottom rack to allow enough clearance for the marshmallow to puff up and toast at 350 degrees (Do not preheat the oven. You want the marshmallow to be crispy, don’t you?) for 7-9 minutes. Watch very closely around minute 5, as your oven might toast unevenly, yadda yadda yadda.

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When the marshmallows are puffy and goldeny, it’s time to pull the s’mores. If you wait until the marshmallow is brown, unfortunately the chocolate will be way too hot and the graham will burn. However, if you pull the s’more within the right window, you will have the most consistent layers in a s’more you’ve ever had. Unlike the s’mores made with a fire, the chocolate will be nice and melted and the graham crackers won’t break. But the chocolate won’t be so hot and you can eat ’em right away, while the marshmallow is still gooey. Just top with the remaining graham cracker square and let cool a minute or two.

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The simple directions:
Line a baking sheet with foil.
Assemble the s’more, leaving the top graham off: layer the ingredients square graham, a single piece of chocolate and a marshmallow.
Place in the toaster oven on the bottom rack and toast at 350 degrees (Do not preheat the oven.) for 7-9 minutes, until the marshmallows are puffy and goldeny. Top with the remaining graham cracker square and let cool a minute or two.

Dairy and Citrus Free, Conveniently

Speaking of dairy free foods, they are difficult to find anywhere, not just in restaurants. Even your run-of-the-mill prepared or packaged foods contain dairy: breads, crackers, soups, frozen meatballs, salad dressing, etc. Add a citrus allergy and then it seems you are going to die of starvation. As a result of nursing a baby who was allergic to both, I’ve had to find the right recipes and make a lot of my own items from scratch. However, since I’ve never had the time to make everything from scratch, I’ve also ferreted out some dairy and citrus free convenience items. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but since it is common for small babies to be allergic to these foods, I thought it might be helpful to others. Just be sure to double check the facts if you have a serious allergy. Then enjoy!

Takeout food

Asian cuisine: Some Southeast Asian cuisine heavily features lime but most Chinese or Japanese food is citrus free.

Burgers: Burger buns usually have dairy product in them. But Ruby Tuesday‘s buns are free of the allergen. Some burgers come with cheese so be sure to ask for no cheese. For a list of other entrees from Ruby Tuesday that are dairy free, see its allergen info here. And of course there are the vegan burgers at Crazy Burger.

Dessert: Pastiche has macaroons and homemade dark chocolate made without dairy. Crazy Burger has vegan options. And Keenwah on Broadway has a fantastic vegan brownie.

Fast food: McDonald’s buns and featured salads contain allergens so I get the Chicken Selects with a side salad.

Mexican cuisine: Avoid Taco Bell; there are virtually no options there. Look for a local spot that doesn’t marinate meat in lime juice. I found SAPO Freaky Burrito, which has pretty plain meats. El Perrito has a variety to choose from and uses fresh corn tortillas (which means no citric acid as a preservative).

Pizza: I haven’t found a chain which makes pizza dough without dairy and/or citric acid but locally, there’s Mama Leone’s. I order my pizza with extra sauce and no cheese. Just be careful about the toppings; lots of sausages and pepperonis contain citric acid so ask about them or avoid them.

Pockets or wraps: The good news is pockets or wraps don’t contain dairy. The bad news is most Mediterrean cuisine features yogurt or lemon so it’s out. One exception may be meat pies. I’ve never had a problem with the meat pies from Sam’s Bakery in Fall River. Also try the Steak Bomb from D’Angelos with no cheese. I’m pretty sure it’s also citrus free since I’ve never had a problem with it.

Sandwiches: An Italian grinder from Marzilli’s or Marcucci’s in Fall River. Hold the cheese.

Pre-packaged food

Breads and buns: You can almost never go wrong with the store brands, which use the least amount of ingredients. As a general rule, go for freshly baked, light and fluffy. Calise & Sons is another option for buns and rolls.

Breakfast sausage, frozen: Jones Breakfast Sausage.

Chicken tenders, frozen: Perdue Breaded Chicken Tenders.

Dessert: Dairy free ice cream such as So Delicious. Oreos, Junior mints, Peeps and Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups. Many brands of dark chocolate.

Meatballs, frozen: Cooked Perfect Turkey Meatballs.

Pasta sauce: Ragu or Bertolli Tomato and Basil varieties.

Pizza crust: Top This Pizza Crust is one of the very few brands that does not contain dairy and/or citrus. It’s made in Rhode Island.

Jelly/jam/preserves: Sorrell Ridge is the only fruit spread I know of which does not contain citric acid.

Salsa: Nature’s Promise, Brad’s Organic, Victoria’s and Mrs. Renfros basic varieties.

Sausage: Aidell’s Cajun Andouille Sausage. This takes like chourico, which is a bonus, because chourico is made with dried milk.

Tortillas: Chi Chi’s is the rare tortilla which does not contain citric acid.

Other Resources

Avoiding citrus: Vicki Clarke’s Citric Acid Intolerance Site

Avoiding dairy: GoDairyFree.Org

Gold Fever Wings

When Micah and I have a fever – Gold Fever, that is – we usually go to Pub 99. But lately we have been catching the fever oftener than a mosquito-bitten *Equatorian – a case which obviously isn’t financially feasible. So we decided to make our own Gold Fever Boneless Chicken Wings and one night sat down with tiny bowls, tiny spatulas, a glass of water as a palette cleanser, sticky notes and bottles of barbeque sauce, mustard, honey and hot sauce.

One of our first attempts at recreating the delicious sauce was thus –

2 parts BBQ
2 part mustard
1 part honey

– but it was too skewed towards the barbeque flavor.

We decided to add the hot sauce in a similar ratio –

3 parts BBQ
2 parts mustard
1 part hot sauce
1 part honey

– but this, also, was too barbeque-y.

It was time to up the ante by getting creative with our ratios and – bingo! – we found our recipe:

6 parts BBQ
6 parts mustard
2 parts honey
1 part cayenne pepper sauce

We used teaspoons and it was enough sauce to cover a bag of chicken tenders. We tossed them in a bowl with the sauce and ate all but one tender. We duplicated the recipe the next day and it was just as yummy!

Try it and tell me what you think!  Did you enjoy the recipe?  Do you think we got it right?

*Equatorian: a person who resides in any of the countries geographically located along the equator.