Navigating the wheat free, gluten free diet

Posts tagged ‘recipes’

Living Without Offers Secrets to Boosting Gluten-free Flavor

I just got my April/May edition of Living Without Magazine, and in it was an article about some cooking methods I’ve been curious about lately.  I’ve been wanting to try poaching since I had a delicious poached chicken rice bowl at a downtown Gainesville lunch stop last week and then there it was featured in the magazine article – along with en papillote (how fancy does that sound?), braising (a Food Network buzzword) and good-ol-fashioned stir fry.


On poaching, the article says,

Beautiful in its simplicity, poaching involves submerging  meat – most often poultry or seafood – in a liquid where it gently cooks on the stovetop.

The chicken I had last week was wonderfully moist, and I can’t wait to try it this week.  The article recommends infusing the poaching liquid with green tea and I’m definitely up for the challenge.

En Papillote

Believe it or not, I’ve actually cooked “en papillote” before.  It really just means “in a bag.”  All you have to do is wrap all of your ingredients – meat, veggies, spices – in parchment  paper and cook – everything steams inside the bag and stays incredibly healthful.  Here is the recipe they recommend:

This recipe is equally good with chicken breast and other seasonal vegetables, such as sugar snap peas and fiddleheads. Try serving with quinoa.

4 boneless, skinless turkey breast fillets (about 1½ pounds total)
Zest + juice of 1 orange
¼ teaspoon sea salt + more to season vegetables, to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
1 bunch asparagus, woody ends trimmed, each cut into three pieces
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium zucchini, sliced into
½-inch rounds
1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Rinse turkey breasts and pat dry with a paper towel. Divide breasts among 4 pieces of parchment paper.

3. In a small bowl, mix together orange zest, salt, pepper and cayenne. Top breast meat with zest mixture.

4. Toss vegetables with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and sprinkle with salt, to taste.

5. Divide vegetables among parchment hearts. Squeeze orange juice over top of each breast and vegetables. Close packets, place on a baking sheet (they may overlap slightly) and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes before slicing open.

Photo from Living Without


For those who prefer heartier meats, the article recommends braising (quickly searing and then slow-roasting) brisket, oxtail, short ribs, lamb and pork for tender, fall off the bone meat that fills the house with an undeniable aroma.  The good news for vegetarians is that braising also amps up the flavor of hearty vegetables like carrots, parsnips and potatoes.


Stir-frying was by far my most oft-used method of cooking when I first started eating gluten-free.  Asian food (with GF soy sauce) just seemed like the obvious choice.  And the quickness with which  everything gets cooked was definitely a plus, as was the one-pot clean-up.  Just like braising, it’s good for meat and veggie lovers.  Here’s my tried and true 5-step stir fry recipe:

Step 1: Begin boiling white rice in a medium sized sauce pan or rice cooker. The ratio is generally 1/2 cup rice per 1 cup of water per person.

Step 2: Heat a tablespoon ot two of sesame oil in medium sized skillet or wok.

Step 3: While it is heating, cut 1 chicken breast into bite-sized pieces and set aside. Dice vegetables of your choice. I would suggest broccoli, mushrooms and red peppers but anything will do.

Step 4: As the rice cooks on low-medium heat, stir fry the vegetables and chicken together in the sesame oil, adding LA Choy soy sauce periodically. Feel free to use any Gluten-free stir fry sauce you want.

Step 5: When the water has been absorbed by the rice, dump it in the skillet and stir it around until it is brown and coated with the sesame oil and soy sauce.

One of the best things about the gluten-free diet is all the kitchen experiments that are somewhat of a requirement.  I encourage anyone to try any of these four methods.  You won’t be disappointed.



A Light Spring Dinner: Pork Tenderloin and Avocado Salad

Spring is springing here in Gainesville, with mild, sunny days and chilly nights, flowers and trees blooming, and more and more sundresses being pulled out of the closet.

When spring hits, my tastes change.  I crave heavy meat and potato meals less and light, refreshing meals more.  I also feel the need to slim down before summer hits and the Florida heat renders all but the shortest, airiest garments useless.

So the other night I put together a meal that was both filling and refreshing, and because I had made the tenderloin the day before, took mere minutes.

What you’ll need:

-1 pork tenderloin

-1 tbsp. cumin

-1 tbsp. paprika

-1 tbsp. chili powder

-1 avocado

-1 bag of store bought salad mix or fresh greens, whatever you prefer

-Your salad dressing of choice

What you’ll do:

-Ahead of time, rub the pork tenderloin with cumin, paprika and chili powder and sear on the stove for 2 minutes on each side, then roast in the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees

Note: I used the oven because I don’t have a grill.  Grilling the tenderloin would be a great way to cook the pork without heating up your kitchen – and you can do this the same day that you plan to eat the salad.  Plus it adds an extra layer of flavor.

– Let the pork rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing into medallions.

-In the meantime, slice the avocado long ways and mix it with the salad greens.

-Place the pork medallions on top of the salad – if serving individually, I would go with 3-4 medallions per person.

-Top with your favorite salad dressing.  I used Italian dressing, which added a tangyness that went well with the smoky spices.

Bon appetit, and enjoy the beautiful weather!


A different gluten free lasagna: Chicken Lasagna Alfredo

I’ve been waiting for a year for an occasion to use my DeBole’s gluten free lasagna noodles, but the right potluck never seemed to come.  But last Wednesday (my least busy and most likely day to cook) I just couldn’t wait any longer.  Not wanting to go the traditional route and make a lasagna my non-GF friends could get anywhere, I looked around and dug out a recipe for chicken lasagna Alfredo my mom cut out of some Pampered Chef catalog years ago.  It’s a crowd-pleaser, but it worked just fine as a mid-week meal for 2 or 3.  I used the remaining spinach leaves to make a nice side a salad.

What you’ll need:

10 Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles
1 jar (16 ounces) white Alfredo pasta sauce
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
3 cups coarsely chopped roasted/cooked chicken
1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, pressed
3 cups (12 oz. ) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 pkg. (4oz) crumbled feta cheese
2 cups packed fresh baby spinach (4oz.)


Risotto: Your Gluten free V-Day Meal

Risotto is a labor of love.

Constant stirring over a hot stove for up to an hour can be boring, frustrating (why won’t the rice soften???), and totally worth it.

I usually prefer my risotto with a little white wine (in and around the dish)…

But for Valentine’s Day, red wine risotto just seems right.  There are numerous simple recipes for the classic Italian dish, some that involve tomato paste, others, like Mario Batali’s, that do not.  If you’re really celebrating the special occasion, try this recipe for Truffled red wine risotto with Parmesan broth.  Truffles, or even just Truffle oil, never fails to impress me.

Serve with your favorite protein (with red wine I would go steak, lamb, or even a pork tenderloin,) add some chocolate mousse, and you’ve got yourself a simple, satisfying meal that shows you care.  The best gifts are the gifts you get to enjoy as much as the other person right?


Gluten Free Crab Cakes are a Delicate Delight

Having spent 7 years living within walking distance of the Chesapeake Bay, I’m no stranger to the culinary delight that is crab cakes.  Deep fried, lightly fried, on a sandwich, on an English muffin, in a salad…you name it, I’ve had it.

Well, I used to have it.  Crab cakes had already become less common in my diet after I moved to Florida, but when I was diagnosed they disappeared completely. Until this weekend.

Even though my from-scratch bread still hasn’t turned out the way I’d like, a few friends and I enjoyed a light dinner of gluten-free crab cakes prepared by my dear friend Dennis.  Obviously the key ingredient here, other than crab, was bread crumbs.  We tried making bread crumbs out of my freshly baked lopsided, semi-undercooked loaf, but they came out soggy, so Dennis ended up buying a loaf of always-trustworthy Sami’s from Ward’s.

The inspiration for these tasty cakes came from this site, but I’m pasting it below with the variations we used.  Served with a little avocado and some sauteed asparagus, it was the perfect light, summery meal for a chilly Saturday night.


What you’ll need:

  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (We used wet deli mustard)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (omitted this on account of deli mustard provides similar flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound cooked crab meat, flaked (We used Publix claw meat. Mmm.)
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs, more as needed (We dumped Sami’s crumbs in the crab mixture, then used more for dredging)
  • Half butter and oil for frying
  • Lemon wedges

^A word about Bread crumbs:

It’s a common misconception that bread crumbs should be made from stale bread.  In reality, stale bread means stale bread crumbs.  So you’ll want to use a fresh loaf.  However, if your loaf is too freshly baked, it may be too moist, as was part of the problem with my loaf.  You want to cut fresh bread up and place it in the oven for a bit to dry it out.

To pulverize the bread, use a food processor or blender, or, if you’re desperate, a knife. Gluten free bread crumbles pretty easily.

What you’ll do:

“Beat the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the parsley, mustard, mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper; mix well to combine. Gently fold in the crab meat and fresh crumbs until well combined. (The mixture will be very moist. If it is wet, add a few more fresh breadcrumbs.) Divide the mixture into 6 to 8 portions; flatten gently into thick patties. (Packing the mixture into 1/3-cup measure for each cake will ensure even portions and yield seven cakes. For more or less cakes, use a slightly smaller or larger cup.) Lightly coat the top and bottom of each patty with panko crumbs. If possible, refrigerate for 30 minutes before sautéing to help the cakes hold together.

“Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough butter and oil to generously cover the bottom. Add the crab cakes, in batches if necessary, and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. (Be gentle when turning the crab cakes as they are somewhat fragile.) Remove from the pan and drain on a baking rack set on a baking sheet. Serve immediately, with or without the sauce or lemon wedges.”

I also homemade some sauce by eyeballing a little sour cream mayonnaise and sriracha, the spicy + sour flavor went really well with the delicate cakes.


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