Some of your best friends are herbs. My kitchen window houses rosemary, oregano, thyme, and on the counter is last year's basil, now replaced by a newer bushier plant.
Many people think Gluten-Free (GF) equals Blah. Not so. A touch of spice or a pinch of herbs can do wonders for the flavor of gluten-free foods--anything from salads, sauces, poultry/fish/meat, to vegetables and breads.
Here's a tip: Don't discard your regular cookbooks, you know the ones, they have all those wonderful recipes that feature wheat and other forbidden foods. Once you get the knack of substituting GF flour and xanthan gum for regular flour mixes, you'll be able to use those old recipes as guides and create more variety in your menu.
Here's a short list of commercially packaged flour and baking mixes:
Arrowhead Mills Bob's Red Mill Domata Glutino
Hodgson Mill Pamela's
Most have recipes on the package. Try some!
You can also get bread mixes--most can be baked in a bread machine, some only in a conventional oven. Try different brands to find the one you and your family like best.
Don't forget quick breads--fruit-flavored and cornbread especially.
All the above are available in chain grocery stores and discount stores here in the Midwest. Check your area to see what your stores carry. If you don't find much variety, seek out health food stores and co-operatives. They love folks with special diets.
RECIPES FOR THE GLUTEN-FREE LIFE
Since the holidays are waiting in the wings, I’ll start with a few dishes you might want to use for dinners or entertaining.
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If you’re stuffing a bird—or baking stuffing separately in a pan—here’s a tasty version.BREAD STUFFING (for 12-lb. turkey)
¾ c. chopped onion
1 ½ c. chopped celery
1-3 T. butter
9 c. bread cubes (soft)
2 t. salt
1 ½ t. dried sage
1 t. dried thyme
½ t. pepper
2 c. chicken broth
Cook onion and celery in butter until tender. Stir in 1/3 of the bread cubes. Turn into deep bowl. Add remaining 2/3 bread cubes.
Add herbs to chicken broth. Pour over bread cubes and mix.
Stuff turkey and cook using time and temperature for the bird.
Bake covered 25 minutes at 325 degrees.
Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.
Makes about 10 stuffing balls.We have Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter’s home. I bake gluten-free bread and she uses it to make stuffing. The stuffing balls are yummy with gravy poured over them. Gluten-free gravy, of course! She uses arrowroot powder to thicken--use just like cornstarch.
* * *Bridget is my daughter’s stepdaughter-in-law—this gets complicated, so we just say she’s my granddaughter-in-law. Every year she brings Corn Casserole for Thanksgiving dinner. There’s neverany left.
BRIDGET’S CORN CASSEROLE (Gluten-free version)
½ c. margarine or butter
1 15-oz. can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15-oz. can creamed corn (if not gluten-free, buy another can of whole kernel corn and cream it yourself – instructions below)
8 oz. sour cream or plain yogurt
2 eggs or 3 egg whites
1 recipe dry cornbread mix (follows this recipe)
Mix together. Bake 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
For DIY creamed corn, drain the liquid from whole kernel corn, add 1-2 tsp. cornstarch and heat till cornstarch thickens. If too thick, add a little water. Use just enough liquid in the recipe to simulate a can of creamed corn. (Use arrowroot powder if desired.)
Use this dry mix in the recipe for BRIDGET'S CORN CASSEROLE.
1 ½ c. cornmeal
½ c. gluten-free flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¾ c. sugar
1 t. salt
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. xanthan gum
To make a pan of cornbread, add the following liquids:¼ c. melted shortening or oil
1 ½ c. milk with 2 tsp. vinegar added
2 eggs or 3 egg whites
Mix all ingredients and beat vigorously 30 seconds only. Pour into greased 8x8x2 pan.
Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 35-40 minutes. Serves 9-12.
Or make 12 muffins—bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.
Here’s a holiday cookie, adapted by my daughter for the GF crowd.
1 c. butter, softened
½ c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 ¼ c. GF flour
2 tsp. xanthan gum
¼ t. salt
2/3 c. chopped nuts
Extra powdered sugar (for coating teacakes)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix butter, ½ c. powdered sugar, and vanilla.
Stir in flour,, xanthan gum, salt, and nuts. Mix until dough holds together.
Roll into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake until set but not brown, about 10-12 minutes. (Check first pan to see what works with your oven.)
Roll in powdered sugar while warm. Then cool completely. Roll in sugar again.
Makes about 4 dozen teacakes.
The following recipe--in a different incarnation--was featured in Parade magazine some years ago. We’ve adapted it for people who can’t eat nuts. My daughter learned about it from her friend Amy, whose mother makes these. I call them
EARTH’S EASIEST COOKIES
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1 c. sunflower seed butter
1 c. sugar
Roll into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheet.
Bake 9 minutes at 350 degrees. (Check after 5 minutes.)
Use peanut butter, almond butter, or other nut butter.
Insert chocolate chunks, M&Ms, Hershey’s Kisses, or dried fruit in center of ball before baking.
Hope these give you some delicious ideas for your holiday celebrations!