Posts Tagged ‘Gluten Free Cooking’

Yesterday was CSA day!!  In fact this whole week in one way or the other has been a seasonal eater/localvore’s dream.   We picked our own strawberries, which my ice cream cone, pirate booty, Spaghetti-o (yup the original MSG filled can shaped processed pasta product.  Uh-Oh is right, but she loves them and there are worse things) loving daughter was gobbling  up like  Cookie Monster with his cookies.  The strawberries became delicious jam that we will enjoy for months as well as a pie and handfuls of sweet and delicious treats whenever we wanted.   We picked fresh lettuce and herbs from our garden and officially started the girlies on their diet of garden greens.    Then of course the CSA came, delightful and fresh we have already had two sumptuous meals made with CSA pesto: Garlic Scapes, Basil, Parsley, Spinach Leaves (those came from our garden), Lemon Juice and Olive Oil.   Delicious and full flavored this summary pesto was featured in homemade mushroom risotto (A GF Staple) and in a pesto chicken salad Panini tonight.  The risotto was served with a delicious slow cooked local chicken stuffed with a fresh herb bouquet and rubbed in paprika and garlic.  Tonight’s chicken salad Panini was served with crispy baked kale chips (also from the CSA).  Tomorrow we will be serving a tossed salad full of CSA and garden lettuce, onions, chives, radishes and herbs.  Saturday morning there will be a breakfast casserole loaded with CSA sautéed chard, scallions and garden chives.   My favorite part of it all?  I got all of  that in one stop and was completely inspired by the grab bag full of goodies.  My husband who normally hears “pesto” and responds with “please, no.”   Enjoyed each fresh and summary tasting bite of both meals.    For week two my CSA contained:



Swiss Chard





Garlic Scapes

Total: $27.oo    Total Meals Inspired by CSA: 4 so far.

Commercially Prepared Pesto: $10 a jar if you want organic.   Homemade fresh and delicious pesto: $6.00 (that’s even a high estimate, as I know by the end of the season I will have paid undervalue for the CSA in total.)   Homemade pesto will always beat the commercially prepared stuff in a taste test and it truly is one of the best tastes of summer that you can freeze and enjoy all year-long.


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When you live Gluten Free, the dream of fresh-baked bread daily and chocolate chip cookies that melt in your mouth dies a painful death.   When I was diagnosed I had just begun baking my own bread once a week and lived and breathed the King Arthur Flour Baking Book.   Essentially, I was left with an abnormally large cookbook and a giant container of whole wheat flour that I would never use again.   Another kick to the ribs came when I realized that I would  need to sell my first-born to afford  a thimble of GF Flour.    I truly believed that I might never bake from scratch again.   Eventually,  I learned how to make a delicious all-purpose GF blend in bulk and that GF baking has its own tiny nuances that make it fun and challenging.   So the idea of making GF baked goods that do not taste like chalk so that my whole family might enjoy them was born. I have created a goal for myself of perfecting Gluten Free baking to the point where it just becomes baking, because no one really knows the difference.   Perhaps one day I will sell these items in my farm store.

Today, was not that day.  First, I burned the gluten-free brownies.   This would be less embarrassing if they had not been from a BOX mix and if I had not made the same mistake twice in a row.   Next, I did not drain the zucchini appropriately for my modified recipe from Bob’s Red Mill  for Zucchini Bread.   I can tell you that I added blueberries which was delicious and I exchanged 3/4 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of maple syrup for the turbinado sugar.   The flavor would have been extraordinary if only I had cooked it all  the way through and possibly made two loaves instead of one over sized one.  Part of my problem was my haste.  Baking is an act of patience and love.  Gluten Free Baking requires that you shave your head, done a brown robe and take a vow of silence.   Multitasking, which I tend to do far to much of as a rule, must be checked at the door of a baking kitchen.  In the end, today was not a day in my kitchen that I would like to record in photo history.  While you may see one of my brownies featured in your local street hockey game as the puck, I am confident that there may still be hope for the undercooked blueberry bread as a prominent member of tomorrow’s breakfast.  In the end, what I learned today is what I imagine homesteaders throughout time have learned: Sometimes your kitchen is the dream, sometimes it is the nightmare.  Once you have mastered one skill, you will need to learn and master another.   While today’s Gluten Free baked goods were nothing to brag about, I am confident in tomorrows.  In the meantime, I am forever thankful that I have a family who is willing to try anything once, even if it nearly breaks their teeth or glues them together.

If baking , Gfree or otherwise seems overwhelming to you, here are some great sites that I visit often for my baking needs including tips and recipes:

Bob’s Red Mill

King Arthur Flour

The Baking Beauties

Gluten Free Goddess

Tasty Kitchen

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In case you haven’t been privy to my not so wise wisdom tooth whining, I had all four of my teeth extracted on Friday.  Save for nearly killing my husband with embarrassment when, in a  post anesthesia daze, I walked into Price Chopper to find and alert him to an apparent emergency egg deficiency looking a little like something from Night of the Living Dead, I had a reasonable, easy surgery and normal recovery.  Yet tonight, when I just couldn’t possibly eat one more egg, drop of yogurt or spoonful of cottage cheese, I went into a total meltdown when my sweet and patient husband announced that they were out of Gluten Free mac and cheese.   Not my proudest moment.  As I reached for  chocolate pudding and Pirates Booty to make  my evening meal, I thought, what would 1870’s me do?  Well to start I would not have a fridge so there goes the pudding.   I realized, that I was talented enough to come up with something Gluten Free and Tooth Loss friendly if I dipped into my stores.  Sure enough, I was able to raid the fridge and call upon my inner Ina (or Barefoot Contessa for those of you not in the Food Network know) to make this delicious Mushroom Lobster Mac & Cheese:

1 lb Imitation Lobster Meat (or the real deal or Crab Meat, what ever rings your bell)

1 cup uncooked elbows (I use Corn/Quinoa Pasta for the GF Approach)

2 Tbsp  Butter

2 Tbsp  Flour or Starch

1 Cup Broth (reserved pasta water will work in a pinch too)

1 can mushroom slices (or 1 cup fresh, whatever you have)

1 onion coarsely Chopped

2 cups of shredded cheese (whatever you like, I used Mild Cheddar)

3 Laughing Cow Triangles

1 Cup Milk

Garlic Powder To taste


1 tbsp oil

Bring your Pasta to a boil and set aside when done.  Reserve water if using in the sauce.   While pasta is boiling saute onions and mushrooms until soft/tender, about 10 minutes.  Add lobster and cook for another 5-7 minutes until lobster is hot and flaky. Set aside.

In the same pan, melt butter over medium heat.  Once melted, sprinkle in flour and whisk until smooth and bubbly.  Add stock  and stir until thickened and bubbly, about 2-3 minutes.   Whisk in Milk and simmer until thickened.   Add the laughing cow wedges and whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.  Add remaining cheese and seasonings and whisk until smooth.  Add onions, lobster, mushroom and pasta to sauce and stir until blended.  Serve with a salad or in my case not.

You can also sub in any meats or vegetables that you happen to have in your larder.   The moral of this story:  It is easy to forget how to be creative with what we have, when it is just so easy to get what we want.   Part of becoming a localvore (as clearly illustrated by my use of lobster and canned mushrooms), is becoming inspired by what you have.  Some of the best meals I have served were created with what I had on hand vs. what I thought I wanted.   Even though I am far from perfect on the eating local front,  making that shift in my meal time thought process, even in the midst of a meltdown, from wanting to having as allowed me to make preparing food a new and fun daily challenge.   Maybe not always fun for my taste testers, but for right now, there is always cereal in the pantry for nights when my inner Ina is out.

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