When friends & family don’t get the gluten-free thing!

  See Frittata Recipe below.

Being gluten-free (GF) and having a gluten-free business means that I think about GF issues every day. As a cook and baker, I am making gluten-free food everyday too. It is simply a big part of my life. I have talked to so many people who are either gluten-free or close to someone who is GF. Last week I did a presentation and one attendee asked “what is gluten”? That’s a great question; however, I was under the assumption that most everyone knows where gluten comes from – wheat and wheat flour – and several other gluten grains. It is a protein that some of us cannot digest. I’m one of those people. Some  GF folks are sensitive/intolerant and others are celiac and are dreadfully allergic. Either way, we need to steer clear of food and products containing gluten.

We can’t depend on others knowing how to keep us safe. Family will think they are being nice when they insist that their celiac adult child have a piece of their non-gluten birthday cake. Sometimes, friends serve food at a dinner and overlook the fact that you can’t eat wheat pasta or chicken covered in wheat bread crumbs.

What do you do? Throw caution to the wind and eat the food or be assertive and stay strong. Without a doubt, BE ASSERTIVE. And, be ready, be organized and prepare for these events. Have a “gluten-free food kit” that you can bring with you. The kit will vary, depending on where you are going and what the occasion is. Please don’t arrive empty handed; don’t be caught without some gluten-free food you can eat. I usually bring a bag or a cooler and fill it with GF bread or crackers, cheese, fruit, nuts and other healthy snacks.

 

This weekend, I went to a family function and I made several vegetable-cheese frittatas. I was able to resist the gluten foods and enjoy a wedge of frittata with the salad set on the buffet table. I make frittatas using different fillings, but this weekend, I roasted 3 vegetables: potatoes, zucchini and onions. I filled baking trays with each vegie, that was tossed in olive oil and roasted them until they were golden brown. I then added enough eggs, milk and some shredded cheddar cheese to make it a thick-like batter. I start cooking them in a hot, well-oiled cast iron pan on the stove. When they are still wet on top, transfer them to a preheated oven to finish cooking. The nice thing about frittatas is that you don’t really need a recipe, once you get the idea. I will give you a recipe below; but, try it with other ingredients like GF leftover pasta, rice and myriad vegetables. I always put some milk and grated or thinly sliced cheese in it. Let me know what variations you come up with.  Frittatas are just as good at room temperature as they are hot.

 Gluten-Free Garden Vegetable Frittata

Serves 4 – 8         Active cooking time: about 15 minutes

Ingredients   (Feel free to change the vegetables or cheeses)

4 medium white potatoes, washed, dried and cut into cubes

1 T.  dried rosemary

1 – 2 medium zucchini, unpeeled and cut into cubes

1 – 2 large sweet onions, peeled and rough chopped

8 large eggs, farm raised is best

¼ cup milk

5 oz. (approx.) melting-type shredded cheese, i.e. cheddar or Monterey Jack, etc.

salt and pepper

Optional: fresh herbs, such as parsley or chives.

 Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cover baking tray with aluminum foil and oil well.  Toss vegetables with oil, rosemary and salt & pepper and spread in one layer on sheet.  Bake until nicely brown, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Whisk eggs and milk in large bowl, add 3 oz. cheese, salt & pepper.  Stir in vegetables and mix.  Add to very, well-oiled and heated cast iron pan and cook on medium-high heat on  stove top until bottom is set.  Add remaining cheese.  Transfer to hot oven and cook until top is set.  Insert paring knife to check for doneness.  Do not overcook.  Let cool for 5 minutes in pan and use 2 metal spatulas to remove to cutting board.  Garnish with chopped parsley or chives.

#Learn to love your gluten-free life!

www.countrykitchencenter.com

As good as it gets, gluten-free buttermilk pancakes!


Country Kitchen Ch
aos focuses on two topics, close to my heart and daily life: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and gluten intolerance and gluten allergies.  Someone might say it is a lot to deal with, but it has given me challenges that make the best of my life. As a person with ADD, I am always dealing time and organizational issues.  When I cook, I must be organized and specific with my cooking instructions.  If I want to double a recipe, then I write down the new amounts, otherwise I will make a mistake.  Mostly, I write the new amounts in a column, to the right of the one in the cookbook or on a printed computer page and put a 2X above the new amounts. If my eyes are straying to the single batch column, then I place a paper over it.   I doubled this pancake recipe since one batch is not enough for any pancake loving person. You can freeze any extra pancakes and have a tasty fast weekday breakfast.  You certainly won’t get gluten-free pancakes at any fast-food restaurant!

This weekend, I made amazing gluten-free fluffy buttermilk pancakes.  They fit my credo:  as good as regular-gluten food. I had a bottle of my favorite brand, “Kate’s Creamery – Real Buttermilk” and wanted to make a breakfast dish using it.  If you haven’t tried it, do so…it is the best thing to making it yourself!  I tweaked a pancake recipe from 1000 Gluten-Free Cookbook by Carol Fenster.  You can use her sorghum based flour blend or another all-purpose gluten-free flour mix. In either case, keep a gluten-free flour mix on hand for quick breakfasts and other baked recipes.

Here’s my method for making these pancakes, which are sure to be a family favorite.  Mix & blend well the dry ingredients.  In a separate large, liquid measuring cup, mix well the wet ingredients.  I added a little more buttermilk since the batter was too thick, but you may need to adjust it each time you make it.  It should be thick, but still pour slowly from the measure cup. I added two yellow organic, sliced bananas (save the really ripe one for your baked goods).  I also added 1/2 cup small pecans pieces; which increases the protein content. I gave it a spice boost with a bit of cinnamon.  Pancakes give you lots of room to play with your favorite flavor palette.

I mostly cook with cast iron pots & pans.  I have a griddle pan that covers two burners and can cook a small bunch – about 2 to 4 at a time.  Cast iron can over-heat quickly; keep a close eye on the heat level and even your first pancakes will be good ones.  When you make the pancakes, have some butter or oil melted and ready to brush your griddle. I use a silicone brush, one of my favorite tools.  Fill a scant 1/4 cup with batter and slowly pour it onto the hot griddle.  Cook until top side bubbles, then use two metal spatulas to flip the pancake.  Lift with one spatula and keep it from sliding as you turn it.  The second side will brown very quickly.  In no time, you will be enjoying a wonderful, hardy breakfast.  I serve the pancakes with real maple syrup and a touch of sour cream.  I get my syrup from local maple producers, one of the perks of living in upstate New York.  It’s also where I base my gluten-free cooking school, Country Kitchen Center.  Check out my website for details.  If you would like to schedule a class, check out my website: www.countrykitchencenter.com  and/or email me at ckc@countrykitchencenter.com.  I’ll be glad to touch base with you and assist with your gluten-free questions.

Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes
2 cups  all-purpose gluten-free flour blend
1/4 cup  sugar
2 teaspoons  baking powder
1 teaspoon  baking soda
1/2 teaspoon  salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup  buttermilk
1/4 cup butter
2  large eggs
2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2  bananas, sliced
1/2 cup  pecans, small pieces
Additional butter or oil, melted, for cooking

In a medium mixing bowl, measure & mix the dry ingredients, from flour mix to xanthan gum. In a 4 cup liquid measure cup, whisk wet ingredients until smooth.  Gradually add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Gently incorporate the bananas and pecans using a large wooden spoon.  Make sure all the flour is well mixed.  Let stand at least 5 minutes.
Heat griddle, lightly brush with melted butter or oil. Dip greased 1/4 cup into batter, level and quickly pour onto griddle.  When bubbles appear on top side, about 2-3 minutes, use 2 spatulas to turn and cook until bottom is brown, about 1 minute.  Continue until pancakes are done.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven.

Tips for making pancakes
Have your ingredients all prepped and the workspace ready.
Use cast iron pans and two spatulas for a better technique.
Pre-set your table.  Warm your food plates in a 200 degrees oven and keep cooked pancakes warm too.