Monday, December 29, 2008
For many of us, parties can lose their luster once diagnosed with Celiac disease. Since most parties center around food and drink, many gluten-intolerant find it difficult to partake in celebrations where they can’t eat the food and prefer not to drink on an empty stomach. Instead of feeling left out, try hosting your own New Year’s Eve Party! In this article we will focus on everything you need to host a fabulous holiday party, entirely gluten-free that all your guests, gluten-intolerant or not, will rave about! As with any successful endeavor, it all begins with a plan.
Plan your party
Decide on your guest list. How many guests will you invite? How many are men, how many women? It is important to be aware of the number of men and women guests because generally, men will consume more food and beverages than women.
Decide on a theme. Themes not only add an element of fun and uniqueness to your party, but will dictate recipes, decorations and even suggested attire for your guests.
There are a limitless number of theme ideas, among them, ethnic themes, such as Italian, French or Japanese can be great fun for both you and your guests.
Last year we hosted a New Year’s Eve Sushi Party. I had prepped many different sushi ingredients, prepared huge bowls of sushi rice and set up sushi rolling stations all over the kitchen. After a short rolling demonstration, all my guests energetically created their own sushi masterpieces. When all the sushi was made, we filled an entire dining room table with platters of fabulous sushi. I decorated the table and room in Japanese style and served a miso soup, green tea and plenty of sake. The party was great fun because everyone was involved and interacted together. Even guests who differed in age and background and who didn’t previously know each other were laughing and competing on who’s sushi was the most creative and interesting looking. It was great fun. And, there was no cooking involved!
You can also host a black tie party, dessert party, hors de oeuvre party or anything else you can conceive of.
Once you have your guest list and an idea of what kind of party you would like to have, you’re ready to plan the menu.
How much food is enough?
The answer to this question is relative to a few variables. Are your guests big or small eaters, or a combination of both?
Will you be serving hors de oeuvres only, or will you be serving a meal?
For an hors de oeurve party, the rule of thumb is 2-3 pieces of each appetizer for each guest. If you plan to serve only appetizers, make at least six different types. Think through a balanced menu of fish or shell fish, meat, vegetables, breads, dips and don’t forget the desserts! A good balance of foods will ensure that there will be something for everyone regardless of food intolerances or preferences.
Once your menu is complete, plan your decorations. Decorations help put everyone in a party mood. Decorating can be elaborate or as simple as decorative serving dishes.
If your party will include a buffet, make your table decorations as inviting as possible. One of our favorite ways to decorate a buffet table for the holidays is to first start with many different sized card board boxes, the largest about 2’ tall. Cover your table with a tablecloth. Place the boxes, (lids removed) upside down on your table so that they are touching each other down the center of the table. Place small boxes on top of large ones. The smallest box should be large enough to hold a serving plate. Place a string of small white Christmas lights around the bottom of the group of boxes. Select a large piece of shear or semi-shear material that enhances your theme and drape it over the boxes and the lights. Bunch up the material and tuck in the raw edges. Plug in the lights and you have a table of beautiful pedestals to present your food on.
No matter what type of party you would like to host, we have hundreds of delicious gluten-free recipes to suit any party. Just search our archives by category, recipe name or main ingredients.
To get you started, here is a collection of fabulous gluten-free hors de oeuvres everyone will love!
Mini Crab Quiches
Pesto & Sun-dried Tomato Torta
Marinated Shrimp Wrapped in Bacon
Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese on Polenta Triangles
Smoked Salmon Cheesecake
Chicken Liver Pate with Cranberries & Pecans
Spinach & Artichoke Dip
Bruschetta with Smoked Salmon & Herbs
Mini Beef Filets with Horseradish Crème Fraiche
Baby Red Potatoes Stuffed with Garlic & Herbs
Baked Crab Dip
Fried Mushroom and Leek Spring Rolls
Green Apples with Crème Fraiche and Smoked Trout
Melon Wrapped in Prociutto
Parmesan Crisps with Pecans & Basil
Spicy Chicken Skewers
Happy Holidays from Glutenfreeda.com!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Celebrating the holidays with friends and family can be a fun and joyous event….but it can also be filled with stress and frustration. After all families are family — you just never know what can happen and preparing a feast of all feasts can be a little overwhelming at times…especially if you are the host.
My favorite memory of Christmas dinner was last year at my mother-in-laws. My in-laws had just moved into a beautiful home and were scrambling to unpack, get settled and decorate the house (all within about a month’s time) with a deadline of Christmas to have everything perfect. The goal: a picture perfect Christmas with kids running around, a feast unmatched by no other, holiday ornaments sparkling in the background and cousins, nieces, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers, and of course the on-looking grandparents soaking up the moment. Now don’t get me wrong, it did end up being picture perfect but it was a little messy along the way.
It all started off Christmas morning…I received a call from my mother-in-law casually asking if I would help her prepare the $100 beef tenderloin she purchased for dinner. Of course I happily agreed to help. We arrived at her house a couple hours early with a batch of homemade eggnog to add to the festivities (remember the eggnog, it plays an important roll in this story). The house was beautiful — something straight out of Southern Living — the tree was gorgeously decorated and donned with beautifully wrapped presents, the table setting picture-perfect, the beginnings of a bountiful buffet coming together rapidly as she put the finishing touches on the Christmas ham and the sides. Everything seemed well under control….until the tenderloin emerged. My dear mother-in-law graciously sets a very large hunk of meat in front of me and says "here it is!". (Now keep in mind I had thought that she had a plan for the tenderloin and just needed help putting it together while she worked on the other sides and so forth). I wish I had a picture…this was an untrimmed tenderloin, complete with fat and all the trimmings! I have to admit, I was caught off guard! I asked her for a knife and was handed a serrated edge knife (ok — the true kitchen snob is going to emerge now…so be prepared) that was less than sharp. I hacked away at that tenderloin desperately trying to get it to resemble a nicely trimmed piece of meat that it so richly deserved (especially considering its high price tag!). I asked if she had some kitchen twine — she just looked at me with a funny look on her face. Getting the hint, I asked if she had some dental floss. "Floss? Oh yea, I’ve got floss". She ran upstairs and returned back with "mint" dental floss. I think it was at this point that I started to get a little testy with her…"No that won’t work — we need unflavored dental floss", I snapped back at her.
The guests started to arrive. My sister in-law arrived with her 2 year old daughter and rushes in the door with pure panic in her face. She accidentally locked the door to her car with her daughter inside! My husband and father in-law rush outside and do everything humanly possible to unlock the door but to no avail. A call is placed to the fire department — and this is when the eggnog comes back into the picture. Out comes the eggnog and my husband so kindly spikes it with another few glugs of Jack Daniels and begins serving it to all to calm the nerves that are now unraveling at the seams. Several glasses were poured and everyone took a few sips, set their cups down and returned to address the problems at hand — most importantly the small child locked in the car in the middle of winter, and of course, let’s not forget… the tenderloin! My mother-in-law did manage to dig up some plain dental floss so I was now back on track. The fire department had arrived and were checking my niece’s legs to see if they were starting to turn blue-ish due to the cold weather….and my mother-in-law started consuming all the half full cups of eggnog…her mood improving with every sip!
The tenderloin is now nicely tied with strips of dental floss and now we hunt for a pan to brown it in. Unfortunately, that box was not unpacked and cannot be found…so, we improvised. I say sure a paella pan will work. Why not? I asked her for some olive oil. No olive oil. Ok — "How about some butter?" - "Oh it’s in the fridge". I look and what do I see…but a miniature cube of "I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter" and eight more cups of eggnog! Ok- I can do this, I say to myself. So, I flame on the paella pan and dissolve the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter (which I can believe, by the way), and I begin to brown the beast. I transferred it to the oven and roasted it to perfection. Now for the gravy or sauce…what to use…I scoured her cupboards for anything that would make a nice sauce. We did have wine (and lots of it), no herbs, no stock, no BUTTER, and very little of anything else that would work. What I did find was garlic, onions, and some raspberry jelly. That will work in a pinch! So, I deglazed the pan with the wine, added the garlic and onions and sautéed until tender and then whisked in the jelly and begrudgingly finished it with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter". Dinner is served!
Amazingly, the child was released from the car, the tenderloin turned out beautifully and the dinner ended up being the feasts of all feasts and definitely a Christmas to remember! As you can see, Christmas disaster can strike us all — the trick is to improvise and imbibe in a lot of eggnog!
Below you will find two beautiful Christmas dinner menus that will hopefully prevent a Christmas disaster in your house. The first menu is more of a sit down, plated menu and the second can be served quite easily as a buffet. The key — prior preparation, having a good game plan and of course a freshly made batch of homemade eggnog!
Christmas Dinner Menu I (plated menu)
Chicken Liver Pate with Cranberries and Pecans
Swiss Chard Stuffed Crepes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Mustard & Bacon Crusted Prime Rib
Roasted Potatoes with Rosemary
Roasted Broccoli with Toasted Walnuts
Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse & Vanilla Ice Cream Bombe
Christmas Dinner Menu II (buffet style)
Smoked Salmon Stuffed Gougere
Lemon Cumin Chicken Meatballs
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Mixed Greens with Apples & Pomegranates
Dry Brined Turkey with Cognac Thyme Gravy
Andouille Cornbread Dressing
Mashed Potatoes with Fennel
Carrots with Sausage & Rosemary
Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse & Vanilla Ice Cream Bombe
Now, you don’t think I’d end this without a recipe for the homemade eggnog, do you?
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 cups milk
- Scrapings from 1/2 vanilla bean
- 1/2 cup bourbon
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set over a double boiler or a pan of simmering water (being careful not to touch the bottom of the bowl to the water). Add 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar and whisk over low heat until the mixture is pale yellow and thickened, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the milk, vanilla bean scrapings, bourbon and transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites with the remaining sugar until very soft peaks form. Stir the egg whites into the yolk mixture. In a medium bowl, beat the cream until lightly thickened. Fold the cream into the eggnog. Season with freshly grated nutmeg and chill thoroughly. Before serving whisk to re-blend mixture.
Happy Holidays from Glutenfreeda.com!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Nothing will tantalize your holiday guest’s appetites more than a sensational bowl of soup. Winter vegetables or shell fish make the perfect main ingredients for savory soups that will have your guests oooing and ahhhing not only after each delectable bite, but also over exquisite presentations.
Soup as a first course should be served sparingly. Beautiful shallow soup bowls filled halfway or 3/4 to the top are perfect for such an occasion. The purpose of a first course is to tease the appetite, not to fill your guests up before the main course.
Soup can also be prepared ahead, even a day ahead of the meal then simply re-warmed just prior to serving. This is a great help when tackling a holiday dinner with several menu items.
Most elegant soups are prepared in a similar way.
Saute the vegetables which may consist of onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, celery, leeks and other vegetables.
Add dry white wine and reduce until liquid has almost completely evaporated.
Add stock, chicken, fish or vegetable and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree.
Strain soup to remove solids and return to a clean pot.
Add cream and bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to a simmer.
Adjust seasonings and keep warm until served.
Once you have the soup, what transforms it from great to spectacular is the presentation and garnishes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Serve small squash soups in a halved squash shell. Cut a flat spot on the bottom of the shells to make sure they sit solidly on the plates.
Garnish with contrasting colors.
Puree garnish sauces and pour them into squeeze bottles and squeeze a design on top of the soup just before serving.
Place an herb that has been used in the soup on top of the soup for garnish.
Garnish with 2" pieces of chives in the center of the soup and sprinkle chopped chives around the lip of the soup bowl.
The following are a collection of beautiful, out-of-this-world delicious soups that will impress even the most sophisticated gourmet.
Roasted Yellow Pepper & Roasted Tomato Soup
Cream of Mussel Soup
Pumpkin Soup w/Gruyere
Butternut Squash & Caramelized Apple Soup
Butternut Squash Soup w/Mushroom Mousse & Chives
Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Red Pepper Puree
Cream of Mushroom Soup
Smoked Salmon Bisque
Cream of Shrimp Soup
Orange & Carrot Soup
Roasted Eggplant Soup
3 Mushroom Consomme
Happy Holidays from Glutenfreeda.com!
Friday, December 12, 2008
My husband’s family gets together every year after Christmas to draw names for the next year’s Christmas gifts. The concept is that each member of the family will buy a nice gift for one person instead of buying less expensive gifts for everyone. This method simplifies the season’s gift buying frenzy, plus our family members are all adults who are difficult to buy gifts for because generally if they want something they buy it themselves.
A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea that since none of us really needed anything and we were all difficult to buy for, why not change the rules a bit. I suggested that we draw names, but instead of buying a gift, we had to make the gift. The gift could be anything, as long as the gift-giver made it him or herself. The result was wonderful. Every person gave great thought about what that special someone would really like and took immense pride in the gift they made. On Christmas day, each person was emotionally vested in watching their gift being opened, I am sure that everyone cherishes the gifts they received that day.
What I learned from that Christmas was that everyone has a talent to create, no matter how ‘non-creative’ they may think they are and that a gift from the heart is far more meaningful both to the gift giver and the receiver.
Have you guessed yet what my gift was? Gifts from the kitchen.
As a side note, everything I cook is always gluten-free and I have no other family member who suffers from Celiac disease, (or not that they know of) still everyone is always delighted to receive gifts from my kitchen.
The obvious choices for food gifts are candy or cookie boxes or holiday quick breads. These are always a welcome gift but there are many other ideas that go beyond sweets.
A great idea is to center your food gift around ingredients indigenous to your region.
I live in the Pacific Northwest, famous for many great foods, most specifically, seafood.
Last year we smoked and packaged many pounds of salmon which made excellent gifts, especially to those who for which Pacific Northwest smoked salmon is truly a delicacy.
When choosing food gifts, take into consideration the durability of the food item. In some cases, your gift will need to survive the post office and at minimum remain fresh for several days. Gifts like smoked salmon or candy are great ‘keepers’ but cookies and other baked goods will perish quickly, especially gluten-free baked goods.
Another great food gift that I have given in the past are rubs. Rubs can be used on any meat, fish or poultry, are easy to make in bulk, and can be packaged in adorable wrappings. I package rubs in decorative little tin cans or small holiday gift bags tied with ribbons.
Use your imagination and you will find that gifts from your kitchen and your heart will be the most treasured of gifts this season.
Kitchen Gift Ideas:
The following are is a rub recipe. Experiment with adding your own signature ingredients to create your own special rub.
Kansas City Rub Makes 2-1/2 cups
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1/3 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup seasoned salt
- 1/4 cup garlic salt
- 1/4 cup celery salt
- 2 Tablespoons onion salt
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 2 Tablespoons black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon lemon pepper
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Rub generously over meat. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes or marinate in refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Store in an air tight container.
For Smoked Salmon visit our Cooking Class Archives for July 2002 Smoked Salmon.
For Beef Jerky visit our Cooking Class Archives for February 2002 Homemade Gluten-free Jerky.
Another great gift is granola. Try our recipe, ‘Glutenfreeda’s Granola’. This recipe is a subscriber rated ‘5 star’ and makes a wonderful gift.
There is an enormous collection on sweet gift ideas in our Recipe Archives. A few great choices are:
Bourbon Espresso Truffles
Orange Pecan Biscotti
Stained Glass Cookies
Cranberry Nut Bread
Holiday Spritz Cookies
Happy Gift Giving,
Monday, November 24, 2008
Perfect for an elegant meal and frequently served to enhance the flavor of an entree, chutneys and relishes are usually made from a delightful combination of salty, sweet, spicy and hot ingredients blended together to create an intense explosion of flavors.
Chutneys and relishes are a refreshing alternative to a standard cranberry sauce or heaven forbid, the jellied cranberry sauce variety in the shape of a can we all remember as a required Thanksgiving dinner accompaniment.
Chutneys can be made from an unlimited list of ingredients, but common ingredients for chutneys are garlic, brown sugar, onions, nuts, fruit, ginger and a variety of spices.
Relishes can be cooked or prepared from fresh ingredients and as chutneys, are usually served at room temperature or cold.
Preparing a Thanksgiving dinner requires a lot of prep, so it is helpful to prepare as much of the dinner as far ahead of time as possible. Chutneys and relishes can be made days ahead of the meal and refrigerated until ready to use.
Serve one or two of these recipes with your turkey this year and they’ll probably become your families new required Thanksgiving dinner accompaniments!
Cranberry Orange & Ginger Relish
Cranberry Sauce with Port
Apple, Raisin & Nut Chutney
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This Thanksgiving we are delighted to bring you two spectacular roasted turkey recipes that are sure to impress even the most sophisticated of turkey experts. The first is marinated in a honey brine solution over-night, which produces an unbelievable succulent bird that is juicy and flavorful all the way through.
The second is a wonderful maple glazed turkey. This turkey is marinated over-night in a marinade of maple, spices, lemon juice, shallots, garlic and thyme. The marinade imparts a tender moist turkey with unbelievable taste throughout.
Honey Brined Turkey Stuffed with Lemons & Thyme
- 1- 20 pound turkey
- 8 quarts water
- 2 cups coarse salt
- 1 cup honey
- 2 bunches of fresh thyme
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 Tablespoons coarse ground black pepper
- 2 lemons, halved
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 4-5 cups gf chicken broth for basting
- 1 cup pan drippings
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 5 Tablespoons gf flour
- 4-5 cups gf chicken stock
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- Salt and pepper
Rinse turkey and place in a large, heavy plastic bag. Place turkey in the bag in a large stockpot. In a large bowl, add water, salt and honey and mix until the salt dissolves. Add 1 bunch of thyme, garlic and pepper and blend. Pour the brine into the bag with the turkey. Gather the bag up tightly around the turkey and secure it so that the air is removed and the turkey is covered with the brine. Place the pot in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Drain the turkey and discard the brine. Pat the turkey dry inside and out. Squeeze the juice from the lemons inside the cavity and place the lemon halves along with the remaining bunch of thyme inside the cavity. Tuck the wings under the back and tie the legs together with kitchen string. Place the turkey breast down on a rack in a large roasting pan. Rub the turkey all over with olive oil. Roast the turkey for 1 hour and baste with chicken broth. Continue to roast for 1-1/2 more hours then remove the turkey from the oven and turn turkey breast side up. Place back in the oven and continue roasting, basting with chicken broth every 30 minutes until done. Turkey is done when internal temperature reaches 170-180 degrees F. with an inserted meat thermometer. Remove from oven to a platter, tent with foil and let rest for 30 minutes.
Remove fat from turkey drippings with a baster. Heat drippings over medium heat. Place 1 cup chicken broth and 4 Tablespoons flour in a small container with a lid and shake vigorously until blended. Pour flour mixture into simmering drippings and stir until mixture begins to thicken. Add about 4 cups chicken stock and cream and continue to stir. For desired consistency, add more of the flour/chicken stock mixture to thicken, or more chicken stock to thin. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Roast Turkey with Maple Glaze
- 3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 large shallots, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- 6 large garlic cloves, sliced
- 4 fresh thyme sprigs
- 3 bay leaves
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- One 13 lb. free-range turkey
- 3 medium onions, coarsely diced
- 3 medium celery ribs, coarsely diced
- 2 carrots, coarsely diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- 6 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Maple Glaze:
- 6 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tablespoon gf flour
- 2 cups gf chicken stock or turkey stock
- Freshly ground black pepper & salt to taste
Rinse turkey and place in a large, heavy plastic bag. Place turkey in the bag in a large stockpot or a large bowl. In a medium bowl, combine the lemon juice, orange juice, canola oil, shallots, sliced onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaves, lemon zest and black pepper. Pour mixture into the bag with the turkey. Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible. Marinate in the refrigerator 24 hours, rotating occasionally.
Meanwhile, make the Maple Butter. Place the butter, maple syrup, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a food processor. Process until blended. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate. (Remove from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before turkey goes in the oven.)
In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the maple glaze; maple syrup, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Remove the turkey from the refrigerator at least 1 hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Position the oven rack near the bottom of the oven. Remove the turkey from the marinade (reserve the marinade) and wipe the turkey dry with paper towels. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the turkey skin over the breast and legs. Spoon half of the Maple Butter under the skin, patting gently to spread the butter evenly. Season the inside of the cavity with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stuff the cavity with half of the celery, onions, and carrots. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Set the turkey breast side up, in a roasting pan. Rub the outside of the turkey with half of the Maple Butter. Invert, breast side down, and continue to rub with the remaining Maple Butter. Place the turkey in the oven, breast side down, for 30 minutes, basting twice. (The skin may appear dark in patches — this is OK and is just due to the maple syrup in the marinade and the caramelization of the butter.) Cover the turkey loosely with foil to prevent the skin from burning.
Strain the reserved marinade, reserving the shallots, onion and herbs in a separate bowl.
Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Spread the remaining onions, celery and carrots around the turkey and continue to roast for 30 minutes. After the turkey has been in the oven for 1 hour, turn the turkey over, breast side up, and continue to roast, basting frequently for an additional hour or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thigh registers 180°F. During the last 30 minutes of cooking time, remove the foil. Add the reserved shallots, onions and herbs from the marinade to the roasting pan and baste the turkey twice with the Maple Glaze. Transfer the turkey to a carving board and tent with foil to keep warm.
While the turkey is resting, make the gravy. Set the roasting pan over 2 burners over high heat. Cook the vegetables, stirring, until golden brown. Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan. Add the gf flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add the reserved marinade and the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Simmer, whisking constantly, for 3 minutes. Strain the gravy into a saucepan and boil over high heat until the gravy is reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Carve the turkey. Serve the gravy alongside the turkey.
We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
For many, the preparation and production of Thanksgiving dinner can be a stressful and frenzied operation. The meal is complicated by a menu that usually includes many side dishes, salads, gravy, condiments and servings of large portions that are a little more cumbersome to prepare than usual. Add to the equation, the dynamics of visiting relatives, a house full of people that require a bull horn to get them to sit at the table and the stress of trying to get the food to the table still at least warm….and, well, you get the picture.
And how about the gluten-free issue? At our house there is no gluten-free issue because we, and everyone who dines with us, always eat gluten-free.
This year we would like to share a Thanksgiving dinner game plan that will enable you to keep stress to a minimum, get everything to the table hot, and on time and even allow you a little time to freshen up before the feast begins. I prepared the following Thanksgiving dinner for twelve by myself and was able to take 30 minutes before serving the hors d’ oeuvres to relax. You may still need a bull horn to get your guests to the table, but at least the dinner will be on the table when they get there.
The key to an efficient game plan is to prep everything ahead of time and prioritize the order in which you prep and prepare the dishes. In this way, your kitchen will remain organized and you are less apt to forget garnishes, toppings and the special touches that will make your dinner extra special. As most of us know, the real test is the final hour before serving. This is when a lot of the actual cooking occurs and much of it needs to happen simultaneously. If you are well prepped, even the final countdown will be far less work and far less stressful.
Don’t feel obligated to do everything yourself. (This is advice I should really think about taking myself) Some of your guests would rather help in the kitchen than wander around looking at your family photos and talking to the other relatives. Give out jobs that won’t affect the outcome of a dish, such as peeling or mashing potatoes or ladling the soup into bowls. These jobs can be done by anyone and will free you for more complicated tasks.
Prepare Your Menu
(Order your turkey. We prefer organic natural free-range turkeys and order them from our butcher. They are more expensive but as your turkey will be the star of your meal, we feel it is well worth it. If you can’t get an organic free-range turkey, be sure the turkey you select has no added solutions or flavorings, as these may contain gluten.)
When selecting your menu items, remember to think about ‘make ahead’ recipes. These are recipes that will store well in the refrigerator or at room temperature. It is always nice to have a few things that can be done even the day before and set aside. The more you can do ahead, the better. Choose an appetizer that is simple to prepare and is a light compliment to the coming meal instead of several appetizers. Serve two or three bite-size appetizers per person. Appetizers should be an appetite stimulant, not something that will fill your guests up before dinner.
Once your menu has been selected, read through every recipe very carefully,. Make notes regarding the time it will take to prep and cook each dish. Make a shopping list from each recipe and shop for groceries a couple of days before the meal to make sure you have time to look for harder to find ingredients and to assure the freshness of the produce.
Prepare Your Game Plan
Go over your notes and put your plan together beginning with the turkey. The method of preparation and weight of the turkey will dictate the game plan for the entire meal. For our dinner, we prepared a Honey Brined Turkey, which required 24 hours of marinating time in a brine solution. Therefore, our game plan began the day before our dinner. Your game plan should be as specific as possible. And don’t forget to allow resting time for your turkey after it comes out of the oven!
Thanksgiving Dinner Game Plan
Butternut Squash Soup
Honey Brined Turkey Stuffed with Lemons & Thyme With Gravy
Mashed Potatoes w/Glazed Nuts
Asparagus with Parmesan & Procuitto
Cranberry Sauce with Port
Pecan Pear Torte with Cream Cheese Frosting
The day before:
- Wash, dry the turkey and prepare the brine solution. Place the turkey in the brine and refrigerate for 24 hours.
- Prepare the Spiced Pecans, cover and set aside.
- Prepare the Cranberry Sauce with Port and Blueberry Chutney. Cool, cover and refrigerate.
- Prepare the Glazed Nuts for the Mashed Potatoes. Cool, cover and set aside.
- Fry proscuitto, cover and set aside.
- Sugar and freeze cranberries for garnish for the torte.
- Make the cream cheese frosting for the torte, cover and refrigerate.
- Set the table.
The day of:
- Step 1. 8am: Make the torte
- Step 2. Poach the pears, drain and refrigerate
- Step 3. Peel potatoes, cut into pieces and cover with cold water
- Step 4. Prep the soup
- Step 5. 1:00pm Remove turkey from brine solution, stuff with lemons and thyme and put in oven. Our turkey weighed 20 lbs. and took about 5 hours to roast, about 15 minutes per pound.
- 1:30pm Roast turkey
- Step 6. Blanch asparagus
- Step 7. Make soup
- Step 8. Assemble torte
- Step 9. Prepare Salmon Roll-Ups, cover and refrigerate
- Take a few minutes and relax!
- 6pm Serve Salmon Roll-Ups and Spiced Pecans
- Step 11. Prepare Pumpkin Muffin batter and bake
- Step 12. Cook potatoes, drain and cover
- Step 13. Reheat soup
- Step 14. 6:30pm Remove turkey from oven and tent with foil. Turkey should register 170-180 degrees F with a meat thermometer.
- Step 15. Make gravy
- Step 16. Finish mashed potatoes
- Step 17. Prepare Asparagus dish
- Step 18. Carve turkey
- 7pm Serve
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Every year at my house my two young children eagerly anticipate the coming of Halloween. There is something about getting dressed up in their favorite action hero or character and collecting more candy that can possibly be eaten in a year! Choosing costumes (or if you are crafty enough — making costumes), planning parties and preparing for classroom treats can be an overwhelming proposition for parents. Well, we can’t help with the costume preparations but we can certainly help with some great ideas for ghoulish, but yummy Halloween treats.
Try these tasty treats out on your "Spiderman" or "Cinderella" this Halloween!
Pumpkin Ice Cream
Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Filling
Pralines with Hazelnuts
Spooky Chocolate Cupcakes
Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
Mini Chocolate Cupcakes
Maple Pecan Popcorn
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Monday, October 20, 2008
It’s amazing how all of a sudden one day you wake up and its fall! The leaves start falling and the weather shifts and changes to brisk mornings and cooler afternoons. You can even almost smell the difference in the air. The coming of fall also brings one of my kid’s favorite holidays — Halloween. Ever since my son was little we have made a special trip to the pumpkin patch a week or so before Halloween. It is a great time to get out in the cool autumn weather and share some wonderful moments with our kids. Riding the tractors, picking out their perfect pumpkins and enjoying the fall harvest festivals is something that we all will cherish for many years. Halloween has become an event not just focused around trick-or-treating, but a time to enjoy special moments with our family. Our lives are so busy these days — sometimes we need to just slow down and spend some quality time with each other and relish in the kid that exists within each one of us. Here are some fun ideas to make your Halloween unforgettable:
Plan a trip to the pumpkin patch:
Check your papers for fall festivals and pumpkin patches open to the public. Often there is much more to do at these farms then just pick out your pumpkins. The farms we have found have had tractor rides, music, pony rides, games, corn mazes and so much more. Make sure you bring lots of film!
Pumpkin carving night:
Choose a night a week or so before Halloween and plan a pumpkin carving party for friends and family. Kids too young to carve can use tempera paint and create their own crazy faces and/or give your young child glow in the dark stickers they can apply to their pumpkins. Make goofy pumpkins by attaching small gourds as ears or noses.
Pumpkin carving safety tips:
• Don’t let children under 5 handle knives
• Keep seeds away from younger children — possible choking hazards
• Choose a flat, sturdy surface for carving
• Don’t let younger children handle lit candles
• Don’t place lit jack-o’-lanterns near curtains or other flammable material
• Don’t leave a lit jack-o’-lantern unattended
And don’t forget the food. A pumpkin carving party would just not be a party without great food. Here are some great ideas for Halloween party fare:
Spinach & Artichoke dip with Tortilla chips
Mini Chocolate Cup Cakes
Make sure your children get a good balanced meal before they go out trick-or-treating. They will be less apt to eat tons and tons of candy and they will feel better all around. On the morning of Halloween start a stew like our Country Beef Stew and some delicious cornbread (try our Perfect Cornbread). No need for dessert — they’ll get plenty of that with all the candy.
Once your child brings home the candy, make sure to inspect the candy. Discard any candy that appears to have been tampered with or unwrapped or look suspicious in any way. Throw away treats that aren’t commercially wrapped or are known to contain gluten (unless you know the giver — and you trust that the treat is gluten-free). Call the manufacturers to verify that the candy is gluten-free. Keep in mind that manufacturers can change their processes at any time, so it is always a good idea to double check.
We hope you and your family have a safe and memorable Halloween!
Monday, October 13, 2008
No matter how you slice them, potatoes are just about everyone’s favorite in one form or another. Great accompaniments to just about any entrée, potatoes can be elegant or casual to suit any menu.
Mashed potatoes, one of our favorite quick meal accompaniments, can be completely changed meal to meal just by adding different ingredients to the same mashed potato technique. Make mashed potatoes with cream, or milk for a lower fat version, half & half or buttermilk. As toppings, add chives, sweetened nuts, fried shallots or any other interesting topping that will give mashed potatoes a brand new taste.
Roasted potatoes can be altered in the same way. To a regular roasted potato recipe add garlic, onions, red peppers, hard cheeses, and any assortment of herbs that strikes your fancy. Try mixing different kinds of potatoes together for a pretty and different presentation like Yukons, Reds, Whites and Purples.
Need more ideas? How about french fries, potato gratins, potato pancakes, potato soup, scallop potatoes, potato salads, potato skins, stuffed potatoes, or baked potatoes.
Need more ideas? Try these ten great potato recipes, we’re sure they’ll become your favorites too!
- Champ (Mashed Potatoes with Green Onions)
- Mashed Potatoes w/Glazed Nuts
- Parmesan French Fries
- Pear & Potato Gratin w/Horseradish
- Baby Red Potatoes Stuffed w/Roasted Garlic & Herbs
- Mushroom Potatoes
- Parsnip Potato Pancakes
- Potatoes w/Garlic & Parsley
- Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes w/Fried Shallots
- Roasted Potatoes w/Pesto
Monday, September 29, 2008
Creamy polenta, polenta rounds, polenta with seasonings, polenta with vegetables, polenta stuffing, soft, fried, sautéed and yes, even grilled; there are so many ways to prepare and enjoy naturally gluten-free polenta.
Polenta in its varied forms is a great alternative to pasta or rice as a side dish. This is a food that can easily take on the different ethnic flavors of the world by adding a few regional ingredients. Make it Italian by adding garlic, roasted red peppers or tomatoes or give it a Latin flair with jalapeno peppers, garlic, onions and cilantro. Polenta’s flavor possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination.
Now imagine grilled polenta! Grilled polenta can take the place of bread and can be served on the side as an accompaniment or like a slice of ‘toast’ covered with a variety of entrees.
For Basic Grilled Polenta:
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup polenta
- 2 Tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
- Olive oil
Instead of potatoes, try these grilled polenta recipes at your next out door grill;
Grilled Polenta with Gruyere
Grilled Polenta with Tomato Sauce
Grilled Grits with Goat Cheese
Monday, September 22, 2008
Chicken Salad, once an old restaurant standby, has come of age. Flavored from spices and ingredients from around the world, today’s Chicken Salad has been transformed into a nutritious meal fit for an elegant lunch or entrée.There are many ways to prepare the chicken meat to be used in a salad. Steeping, produces a moist, breast that can then be shredded and flavored. Roasting, is a method that will leave you with the remaining roasted chicken parts that can be eaten as is or used in numerous other recipes. Quick pan frying, is a simple method that results in tender inside meat and a browned and slightly crisp texture outside.
To steep:Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil.
Add skinned and boned chicken breasts to the pan; cover and return to a boil. Removed from heat and let stand. Let chicken sit for about 15-20 minutes or until it is no longer pink. Remove chicken from water and let cool before shredding.To roast:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Wash and dry a whole chicken inside and out. Salt and pepper inside of cavity and outside of chicken. Place chicken on a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue roasting for 45-60 minutes or until inside temperature reaches 180 degrees F.To pan fry:
Melt 1 Tablespoon butter with 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Flatten skinless, boneless chicken breasts with a meat mallet until they are uniform in thickness. Salt and pepper chickenbreasts. Place chicken in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown on one side and then turn breasts over and reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. Remove cover and test for doneness.Whatever your method for cooking the chicken, we’re sure you will love these flavorful chicken salads!
Monday, September 15, 2008
If you are discouraged with school lunches, bag lunches and so forth, I’d like you to think about the positives this diet offers your children. Being on the gluten-free diet actually forces your children to eat healthier. All the processed junk food is now on the forbidden list, many fast food, pre-packaged ‘quick’ foods are also eliminated from their diet. Your children now can focus on eating wholesome foods, largely organic, in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables. Think about it — most "average" kids are consuming copious quantities of junk that their bodies simply do not need and could also benefit by eliminating these ‘empty’ foods from their diet.
So let’s talk about lunch and what your child can easily take to school and enjoy with pride. Here are some great tips for your child’s next ‘sack’ lunch:
Purchase small hot/cold containers that will hold a single portion. This way you can cook an extra serving or two for dinner and pack a hot lunch serving in your child’s lunch.
For some unknown reason, children who usually turn up their noses to hard-boiled eggs will eat a hard-boiled egg if it is any other color than white or brown. Color a dozen eggs and slip one into your child’s lunch as a colorful and nutritious surprise.
Cut up fresh vegetables and include a small sealable container of dip.
Make extra popcorn for an evening snack and mix some with nuts for a snack for lunch.
Print this calendar out and stick it on your fridge for great lunch ideas. Quick and easy meals your kids will enjoy every day of the week.
Celery Sticks w/Peanut Butter
Colored Hard-boiled Egg
Boar’s Head lunch meat wrapped around cheese sticks and pinned together with colorful toothpicks
Hormel Mini Salami or Pepperoni
Blue Diamond Nut thin Crackers
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (made with the Gluten Free Pantry’s Favorite Sandwich Bread mix)
Gf Corn Chips
Chili & Hot Dogs
Gf Corn Chips
Colored Hard-boiled Egg
Gf fruit flavored yogurt (transfer to a thermos to
Blue Diamond Nut thin Crackers
Gf Corn Chips
Gf Corn Chips
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich (made with the Gluten Free Pantry’s Favorite Sandwich Bread mix)
These menu ideas are just that…’ideas’. Don’t break your back trying to make each and every thing on this calendar. But instead use the calendar as a idea place to vary your kid’s lunches and keep them excited about their food!
We hope you and your kids have a great school year!!!
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Flavored butters are as versatile in ingredients as they are in their uses. Flavored butters are a great finish to grilled or broiled steak, fish, on gf bread, vegetables, chicken and too many things to mention them all! Flavored butters are a wonderful way to add a splash of flavor to grilled or broiled meats and fish without changing or adding any more steps. Flavored butters can change a plain meal to a meal with layers of flavor, simply and quickly. Make a few different flavored butters and store them in your refrigerator or freezer for future use. They are a great way to create a delicious meal when you’re out of time and need to pull an Ace out of your pocket. To serve, simply place a slice of the flavored butter on the cooked food and heat to just melting with a kitchen torch or briefly in the broiler.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 Tablespoon parsley, minced
- 1/2 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 cloves roasted garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper
- 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 Tablespoon buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 Tablespoons pecans, toasted and chopped
Monday, August 18, 2008
What separates a good barbecue from a fabulous barbecue? Delicious sauces and rubs! The flavor of any meat, fish or vegetables can be greatly enhanced by marinating, using a rub and or basting with a sauce towards the end of the cooking process. The terrific news is that all homemade marinades, rubs and sauces are easy to make and easy to make gluten-free. Barbecue sauces can be made with a limitless combination of ingredients to produce traditional to very uncommon flavors. Although there are probably a million different formulas, there are five different groups of ingredients that combined together will produce delicious barbecue sauces; tomato ingredients, sweet ingredients, sour ingredients, liquids or flavorings and spices. We have a simple formula that you can use to experiment an develop your own signature sauces:
- 4 cups of tomato ingredients
- 1 cup of sweet ingredients
- Up to 1 cup of sour ingredients, add a little at a time to taste
- Up to 1/4 cup liquid or flavoring ingredients
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper
- Up to 4 teaspoons spice ingredients
Ideas for Ingredients: Tomato ingredients
- Gf Catsup, tomato paste, tomato sauce
- Gf brown sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup
- Vinegars, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, wine
- Fruit juices, jellies, gf hot sauce, mustard, soft drinks, gf soy sauce, gf chicken and beef stock, water, Worcestershire sauce
- Allspice, basil, cayenne, celery, chervil, chili powder, chipotle powder chives, cilantro, coriander, cumin, dill, dry mustard, fennel, garlic, ginger, lemon, lime and orange zest, marjoram, mint, nutmeg, onion, oregano, paprika, parsley, tarragon, rosemary, sage, savory, salt, thyme, etc.
- 1 cup sugar ingredients
- 1 cup salt ingredients
- 1/3-1/2 cup paprika
- 2-4 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1-2 Tablespoons pepper
- 3-4 spice ingredients, up to 1 teaspoon each
Ideas for Ingredients: Sugars
- Brown sugar
- Maple sugar
- White sugar
- Kosher salt
- Garlic salt
- Onion salt
- Celery salt
- Same as for sauces
Friday, August 8, 2008
Delicious peaches are now in season everywhere. The fuzzy exterior is sweet to taste and melts in your mouth, while the juicy flesh tantalizes your taste buds. Take advantage of these delicious fruits while they are in season. Always pick "tree-ripened" peaches for optimal flavor. Look for peaches that are sweetly perfumed and give slightly when pressed between your palms. Dont let skin color or size deter you from choosing the best peaches. Often large peaches can be just as sweet and tender as the smaller ones, and unless it is green, different skin colors just reflect the different variety.
If your recipe requires peeled peaches, simply blanch the peaches by placing them in boiling water for 1 minute and immediately follow by submerging them in a large bowl of ice water. The skins will practically fall off. To remove the pit, cut along the seamline and twist the h lves in opposite directions and gently pull apart. If the pit doesnt come out with the tip of a paring knife, slice the remaining half and pull the pieces away. If you want to enjoy the skin, but dont want to eat the "fuzz", rub the fuzz off under cold running water.
Nothing beats the taste of a ripe, fresh peach, however cooking peaches often deepens their flavor and accentuates the sweetness that the fruit has to offer. Peaches can be baked, grilled, poached, puréed, canned, dried and frozen.
Try these delicious recipes this summer with fresh "tree-ripened" peaches:
Peaches and Berries
Peach Ice Cream
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
To grill corn in the husk:
First, soak the ears of corn in cold water for 2-3 hours before grilling. There is no need to remove the silks because they will come off easily with the husks after they are cooked. However, if you want to season the corn with a flavored butter, or even just butter and salt, you may want to fold back the husks and remove the silks. It will then be easier to apply your butter and seasoning. Rewrap the husk around the ear and lay the ears directly on a prepared grill. Turn the ears often with tongs so they cook evenly and don’t burn. A fair amount of black husks is normal. The corn should take between 10-15 minutes to cook through. Try these grilled corn recipes, Cajun Grilled Corn on the Cob, Jerk Grilled Corn on the Cob and Chili Grilled Corn on the Cob.
To grill corn without the husk:
Remove the husks and silks and lay the corn directly on a prepared grill. Turn the ears frequently with tongs for even cooking. Cooking time: approximately 5-7 minutes.
To grill corn in foil:
This method is actually steaming the corn inside the foil wrapper, not grilling, however you can accomplish this method on a grill as well as in the oven. Place the ear of corn inside a piece of foil. Rub ears with butter, salt, herbs or any flavoring. Wrap the foil around each ear of corn. Place ears directly on grill and grill, turning with tongs, for 8-10 minutes.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Zucchini is one of those vegetables that transcends typical likes and dislikes. If you are a person that generally does not like squash, it is entirely possible that you may still love zucchini.
Zucchini are best when picked early, while they are still tender and fairly small, about the size of a small to medium cucumber. They should be firm and feel a little heavy for their size. If you can grow your own, all you need do is to plant the seeds and water. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of zucchini that hasn’t flourished with very little care. Zucchini are so easy to grow, if you have a place to plant them, you will soon find that your biggest problem will be finding people to give your over-abundant crop to!
Zucchinis have such a mild and tender flavor that they are a perfect marriage with other summer vegetables or even used grated in breads and cakes.Try any or all of these zucchini recipes. If you do grow your own, we’re sure you’ll be happy to have as many recipes as possible for your never ending crop!
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Lemon Rosemary Chicken Skewers with Zucchini
Barbequed Sausage & Shrimp Gumbo
Summer Vegetable & Pasta Stew
Zucchini Stuffed w/Cheese
Chocolate Zucchini Bread
Fried Zucchini Sticks
Orange-Herb Chicken w/Crunchy Zucchini
Polenta w/Mixed Vegetables
Salmon Filet w/Zucchini, Carrots & Shitake Mushrooms
Summer Vegetable Pancakes
Zucchini and Corn Soup
Zucchini w/Cream & Gruyere
Monday, July 21, 2008
This summer I’m sure many of you will hear over and over again…”I’m hungry!” from your kids, as I do daily! Cool your kids off this summer with some great snacks that will satisfy their tummies without ruining their meals.
Healthy Cool Snack Choices
Always have fresh fruit within hands reach for your kids. Give them healthy choices for their snacks and help them build great eating habits for later in life.
A great, healthy snack for anytime.
Freeze grapes, blueberries, strawberries, sliced peaches, blackberries, watermelon and the list goes on and on and on….for another cool, healthy alternative.
Get your kids involved and make your own juice pops. Take an ice cube tray and fill it with their favorite juice. Cover with plastic wrap. Cut small slits in the plastic wrap in the center of each cube. Insert popsicle sticks in the center and freeze.
Blend gf yogurt, orange juice, frozen fruit, and bananas for a delicious, healthy snack.
Root Beer Floats
A special treat for those really hot days.
Ice Cream, Sorbets & Popsicles
See our recipe for this special treat.
Monday, July 14, 2008
What do you think of when you think of foods from the Caribbean? Hot, spicy flavors married with tropical fruit? Aromatic spices blended with fiery hot peppers? Bananas, pineapple, mangoes, ginger, allspice are all flavors indicative of the Caribbean.When I think of Caribbean cuisine, I first think of jerk seasoning. Jerk is a seasoning that imparts a spicy, complex flavor to meats and vegetables. Jerk is usually a combination of hot peppers, spices and fruit. The combination creates an exciting layering of hot, aromatic and sweet flavors that are spectacular on chicken and pork. Jerk seasoning is also naturally gluten-free.
To get you in the island mood, let’s start with, ‘Island Banana Bread’, a great blend of bananas, rum, lime and coconut – a delicious start to a summer breakfast. For dinner, if you are in the mood for something spicy try, ‘Jerk Chicken with Pineapple Chutney’, deliciously hot and sweet. For an island style side dish try ‘Jamaican Rice & Beans’ or ‘Caribbean Risotto’. And for those fish lovers, ‘Caribbean Fish Fillets’ is a great way to spice up your next fish meal. And let’s not forget dessert – try our mouthwatering Grilled Fruit Kebabs! Serve this delicious combination of grilled fruit over gf vanilla ice cream for the perfect ending to a ‘Caribbean’ meal!
Caribbean food is generally pretty hot, but you can tone it down by controlling the amount of peppers you add to the recipe. Serve your Caribbean meal with a cool glass of Chenin Blanc. The fruitiness will offset the heat of the peppers.
So, put on some reggae music, let a warm breeze drift through your windows and share a Caribbean meal with a few good friends.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Enjoying a slice of pie is the perfect ending to a delightful summer meal. Many people with Celiac think this is a forbidden pastime…well, think again. Making delicious gluten-free pies your whole family will enjoy is just within your reach.The obvious challenge is the crust. Our solution to this problem is turn to the people who already have developed a great pie crust…The Gluten Free Pantry. The Gluten Free Pantry’s Perfect Pie Crust is absolutely delicious and virtually indistinguishable from the gluten variety. It is very simple to prepare – a little difficult to transfer to the pie crust, however if you are making a single crust pie, it is not critical if it doesn’t lay in the pie pan perfectly the first time. If it happens to rip, just piece in the dough until it forms an even layer along the bottom of the pan (no one will even know!). Poke holes in the bottom of the crust and bake at 400 °F for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned. Let cool before filling.
If you prefer not to use a traditional pie crust you can also use a cookie crust with great results as well. Try our Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies as a great base for a cookie crust. We have also had great results with Pamela’s Shortbread Cookies. Just simply place the cookies in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add about 1 tablespoon of canola oil and pulse until blended. Press cookie mixture into a greased pie pan and fill with your favorite filling.Make your summer dessert menu complete with one of these delicious pies:
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
The 4th of July weekend usually brings up some interesting challenges when dealing with a gluten-free diet. Not only do you have to contend with those well-meaning relatives and friends who desperately try to accomodate you on your diet, but you also have to be somewhat creative on finding gluten-free foods at picnics, boating excursions and outdoor barbecues. We hope that we can provide some helpful suggestions this fourth of July on how not only to survive, but actually thrive on this wonderful summer holiday.
If you happen to be invited to a family picnic or a 4th of July party, offer to bring some delicious gluten-free foods that everyone will enjoy. Not only will your friends and family see how delicious gluten-free food can be, you will also be assured that you can safely enjoy something at the picnic. Or if you are planning on hosting a 4th of July event we have a plethera of items to choose from for a delicious summer menu. Here are some wonderful suggestions that will delight all who attend the party, particularly those on a gluten-free diet. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if your biggest problem will be competing for the last piece!
Smoked Salmon on Crackers
Smokin’ Hot Drummettes
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Grilled Polenta with BBQ Sauce
Pasta Salad with Chipotle Dressing
Ceasar Salad Wraps
Black Bean & Tomato Salad
Grilled Fruit Kebabs
Banana Mango Frozen Yogurt
Have a safe and fun 4th of July!
Monday, June 23, 2008
We were delighted to find this method for tart crust that will produce a delightful, flaky crust even with gluten-free flour. This method eliminates the rolling out of the dough, which is wonderful because as we know, typical gluten-free pie crust dough does not usually ‘roll out’. No more trying to patch work pieces into the pie pan.
This simple preparation blends the ingredients in a food processor. Once combined, you can then easily free form the dough into round disks. Refrigerate, then wrap the edges of the crust over on itself so that it forms a ridge, continue around the tart. After baking, you merely cover the tart with fruit, top with meringue and bake until the meringue is golden. It couldn’t be easier and more beautiful! Free form tarts are lovely and problem-proof.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
If you like to grill, or if you want to learn how to grill sensational meals, this is the month for you! For starters try Sesame Shrimp with Miso Dipping Sauce or Grilled Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas. Fish has never been better than Grilled Salmon Steaks with Citrus & Herbs, Grilled Salmon with Vegetables and Hoisin Sauce, or grilling Oriental-style with Grilled Teriyaki Salmon. Everyone from the south knows that nothing goes better with grilling than pork. Try our Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Pineapple Salsa or for a quick meal; BBQ Pork Chops. And for beef; Grilled Spiced Steaks with Onion Marmalade. We’ve selected grilled chicken recipes from around the globe; Hot and Spicy Asian Chicken and Caribbean Grilled Chicken. How about salad? Absolutely! Grilled Chicken Salad with Asparagus!
June begins the grilling and barbeque season, so strap on that apron, heat those coals and let’s get grilling!
Monday, June 2, 2008
Outdoor dining can be a challenge on a gluten-free diet because many of the foods associated with picnics are typically gluten oriented. Gluten-free foods generally do not keep as long and can suffer quality if made too far in advance of your outing. The trick to great gluten-free picnics is to choose the right foods that will keep and travel well.Here are a few ideas:
- Gluten-free corn chips with Bean & Cheese Dip: Dip should be warm
- Robert’s Snack Foods: Many flavors and varieties, most are gluten-free
- Ener-G Foods Pretzels
- Barbara’s Natural Potato Chips: Arguably the best gf potato chip on the market!
- Fresh vegetables
- Fresh fruit
Breads and baked goods:
- Chili & Fresh Cornbread Muffins: Bake the morning of your picnic
- Strawberry Bread: Bake the morning of or the night before
- Carrot Spiced Muffins: Bake the night before
- Cherry Tomato and Fresh Corn Salad
- Tropical Fruit Salad
- Chicken Pasta Salad w/Tomatoes & Kalamata Olives
- Fresh Corn & Black Bean Salad
- Summer Coleslaw
- Pasta Salad w/Corn & Chipotle Dressing
- Grilled Half Chicken with Abodo Recado
- Grilled Brats with Onion Marmalade: Marmalade can be made the day before
- Barbecued Pork Ribs with Blackberry BBQ Sauce: Make the day before and rewarm
- Chicken Burgers with Pesto: These are great if you can grill on your picnic
- Fried Chicken
- Blueberry Sour Cream Pie: Make the day before
- Lime Cheesecake Pie: Make the day before
- Decadent Brownies: Make the day before
- Cookies Make the day before
- Lemon Squares: Make the day before
Have a great summer!