Friday, June 24, 2011

The Birth of Dinner Night

Hello my fellow bloggers,
I have decided to try something new.
     Once a week me and my mom, Lisa, from messybedstudio, are going to work together in a collaboration to create a gluten free meal that everyone can enjoy.  My mom, a mixed media artist (and much more), has been selling her art work and writing a blog about her daily adventures.  This is our way of combining the world of art and food, which we realized are not very different.  We will alternate posts, the first will be here on dylansglutenfreedom and the next will be located on messybedstudio, then back to mine and so on.  I will notify you in a post when a new recipe is available.
     One of the points of this collaboration is to hopefully make the process of  "making dinner" which over time can be cumbersome, a little easier and more fun, for you and us!   Some of the recipes we make are going to be totally original and consist of whatever is fresh and in our pantry, while others will be our gluten free adaptions of recipes from cook books.  And thanks to the Salvation Army, we have just found a new cook book that looks promising!  Every post will consist of original photos by yours truly and my cooking partner, Lisa.
      We are calling this segment, Dinner Night.  We would like to welcome you to our dinner table.

Toady we are making...

Gluten Free Pasta with Fresh Vegetables and a Mixed Green Salad

     First off, I have to say how lucky I am to be part of a farm veggie share/co-op program.  Having fresh vegetables right from the fields is an amazing thing, and I would suggest that if there is a farm with a co-op program near you that you check it out.  If you are a foodie like me, you will actually taste the difference between the veggies from the farm and those from the supermarket.  Unless you have picked a fresh cucumber, you would not know that they are covered in little spikes.  This is the epitome of fresh, and its amazing to see how different fresh veggies are from those that make it to the supermarket. 

     We made this meal after picking up our veggie share from the farm and were instantly inspired.
This meal consisted of.... (Quantities can be changed, feel free to experiment! There is no wrong way to go with this recipe)
1 Zucchini
2 Yellow Squash
7 Baby Turnips
6 Kalamata Olives
Cherry Tomatoes
3 Garlic Scapes
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Bag Tinkyada Brown Rice Penne Pasta
Left over Grilled Chicken
Mixed Salad Greens
Salad toppings... Grapes, Strawberries, whatever you like.

     We started our night by cracking open a bottle of red wine, and playing Fever (Adam Freeland Extended Remix) By Sarah Vaughan from the Adjustment Bureau soundtrack, and began to cook.
     We began by heating up a large frying pan with high sides with the butter and olive oil.  We chopped the turnips into small pieces and put them into the pan to begin softening.

 We chopped the zucchini and yellow squash, into little triangles, by halving and then quartering the zucchini length wise and then just chopping the "sticks" into small triangles.


      We then chopped the olives into a fine chop.  They are hard to chop, so if they end up more like a paste that's fine.  We also sliced the cherry tomatoes in half and chopped the garlic scapes like you would scallions.  Once the turnips have gotten a bit soft and have played around in the hot butter and oil, put in the zucchini, yellow squash and mix. 

      Depending how soft you like your veggies, or if you still like them to have a little crunch, use a knife or spoon to test the softness of the veggies as they cook.  Once they get close to your desired tenderness, add in the olives, cherry tomatoes and garlic scapes.  Stir together.

      At this point, wash and dry your mixed salad greens and garnish with veggies or fruit.  Grapes are always good in a salad, but since its strawberry season that's what we used.

     Cut up the basil in a rough chop, just fine enough to spread throughout the veggies.  This is a good time to salt to taste.  Don't be scared away by the salt, like I am sometimes, the salt really brings out the flavors of these veggies and is a key component.  And remember that you will be adding this to pasta, so the flavors can be a little stronger than normal.  Because we had some left over grilled chicken, we cut that up into small strips and added it to the veggies.  You don't have to add the chicken if you don't want to, or you can substitute it for something else.  This recipe works with everything.  Let everything mingle together for a few minutes as you prepare the pasta.

     Follow the directions on the bag on how to cook the pasta.  I like mine more mushy so I let it cook a little longer than it says.  Once it is cooked to your liking, strain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the water and add a dab of butter or olive oil to prevent sticking.  Then take the veggies and add them to the pasta and stir together.  Use reserved 1/2 cup pasta water if you would like it a bit more saucy.

Sometimes simple meals like pasta and veggies can be so rewarding.  Great flavors, that can be interchanged and substituted with almost anything.  This is just the beginning of Dinner Night, check back for more meals!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Gluten Free Newcomers!

        I have to say that living gf is only getting easier.  All the time I am shocked with new products that are actually ADVERTISED as gluten free! Can you believe it?  There are a few new editions to the family I would like to introduce.
        For those of you that don't know, King Arthur Flour has joined us from the dark side.  Yes, King Arthur Flour now has eight new gluten free mixes.  I think someone at King Arthur headquarters decided that Betty Crocker needed a little competition, and that they too, want a share in the gluten free market.  And that's always good news for celiacs; more competitors = more gluten free foods.
        King Arthur Flour has seven different mixes.  A bread, cookie, brownie, muffin, chocolate cake, pizza crust and pancake mix.  They also have an multipurpose flour.  I have to say that they make one mean brownie mix.  The texture and chocolaty flavor is just great!  As you can see in the photo, it did not come out of the pan in one whole piece... but since when are brownies supposed to be little indestructible bricks like you see on TV?  Naw, brownies should be crunchy/chewy on the outside and awesomely gooey on the inside.  Now I want some brownies... *where are those darn eggs...*
         All of the King Arthur Flour mixes can be found at any major supermarket.
         These items can be found on in a box set of 3 and individual for significantly cheaper.  Click the links below.  Bread 3pk., cookie 3pk., brownie 3pk., muffin 3pk., chocolate cake 3pk., pizza crust, pancake mix and All Purpose Flour

        Bisquick now also has a gluten free all purpose flour!  If you don't like the multi-grain flavor of Pamela's Baking Mix, then this maybe the perfect gluten free mix for you.  While I have only used it for making pancakes, which turned out great and had a similar texture and flavor to gluten pancakes, I think it will work well for other recipes.  I'm excited to use this as a frying batter!
        Gluten Free Bisquick is available at any major supermarket.
        You can also order it from amazon here (3 pk.).


        Have you been watching TV lately?  If you have then you have probably seen the great Gluten Free Chex commercial.  If not, you can watch it below.

        Personally I found this commercial to really capture the essence and difficulty of being a celiac.   Chex now has five gluten free cereal options.  Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Honey Nut Chex, Chocolate Chex and Cinnamon Chex.  My brother eats Chex every morning and whenever he can gets his hands on it.  I would even dare to say that he could even be addicted... and I can see why, Chex are good!
        Chex can be found at any major supermarket.  
        You can also order them here from amazon.  Rice Chex 7pk, Chocolate Chex 6pk. and Cinnamon Chex 4pk.
         Caution:  The wheat chex and multi-bran chex are NOT gluten free.  Make sure the boxes say "gluten free."
        Just a note about  Since my family uses a lot of Pamela's, we order from Amazon using their "Subscribe and Save" feature.  You can have the products you choose automatically shipped to you every month, week or as often as you specify.  You also save a percentage off of the price for pre-ordering.  This way you don't always have to order one at a time or enough to last a life time.  And you can always change the rate at which they are delivered.
         Well my gluten free friends, hopefully this will make your cooking and shopping experiences a little easier with these new gf conveniences.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free Resturant, Cafe and Specialty Store

     Ever since my brother was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, we have been on an eternal search for Gluten Free restaurants.  The Gluten Free Restaurant Guide by Triumph Dining is a great tool but finding it yourself is just as rewarding.  Ever since we found Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free Restaurant, bakery and cafe, our confidence in outsiders making safe and delicious gluten free food has been overwhelmed.  We are always looking for excuses to visit Sherry Lynn's!
     Sitting at a table, set in a Halloween decor just adding to its charm, I experienced something new.  There is some kind of camaraderie here, knowing that every other person there at the restaurant shares the same difficulties when eating out and can now enjoy a perfectly safe and enjoyable meal, because they are all Celiacs! 
     Now for me, being a deadly gluten eater (insert booing here), I get to enjoy sharing food all the time.  At a restaurant I can just slide my plate over for one of my other gluten eater friends to try, without a care in the world.  For Celiacs, and others with food allergies, that is a different story.  Remember when you were young and could not eat the ice cream cake for your friend's birthday?  Remember after that business meeting when all your friends were going out to get a drink and a bite to eat?  If you have food allergies, you know what I'm talking about.  This whole mentality changes in a gluten free restaurant.  You can literally pass your plate to someone else and not have to worry that they are going to use a contaminated fork or spread the gluten cream sauce sauce all over your GF steak.  In a gluten free restaurant you can actually have a plate passed to you, and you can try it!!  This was something that I could experience first hand and I could tell how much it meant to my brother.
     We started out our dining experience with warm fresh mozzarella sticks with red marinara sauce and French Toast Sticks with maple butter syrup.  Got to try a bit of everything especially since everything is Gluten Free!!  I have to apologize for the poor picture quality, these photos were taken with my phone.


     I have to say that I was greatly impressed with both appetizers.  The breading on the mozzarella was crispy and flavorful while still retaining its shape, which for something that is gluten free is surprising.  And that warm stringy cheese inside mmm...! The French Toast Sticks were fried and crispy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside.  I have to say that Aunt Jemima's Butter Rich Syrup is just one of my vices, so to have it with the French Toast Sticks, there was no way I wouldn't like them!
     For the main course my brother ordered a Phillie Cheese Steak on a gluten free bun.  I ordered a Ham and Swiss Cheese Panini with mustard and our mom got the Turkey Panini with American Cheese.

     I have suddenly had a great palate revolution and now I crave foods that have mustard or even better, horseradish! So I was plenty happy with my Panini.  The bread seared well on the Panini press but was not like a rock and had good texture.  My brother greatly enjoyed his Philly Cheese Steak, especially since it was the first time he had ever had one.  In a past visit, I got one and I remember that the onions and steak were cooked perfectly together with two big slabs of American Cheese (my favorite, Craft Singles all the way! Just another of my vices.) all on two fluffy, flavorful GF buns.  Yum.  My Mom also enjoyed her Turkey Panini which was much like mine, except the mustard.
     Conclusion: Sherry Lynn's has good Gluten Free food that everyone enjoyed, including the gluten eaters!  For more information about Sherry Lynn's Gluten Free Restaurant, menus, directions and more, visit their website here.