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

If only there was a recipe for “baking” social media.

I wish I didn’t need social media, but I do and it’s a part of my business that I do not enjoy.  Maybe, I’ll learn to like it.  However, I love building up my gluten-free culinary business & website: www.CountryKitchenCenter.com.    The business touches on many things that I love: baking, cooking, talking food, teaching food and planning classes and lessons.

Right now, I have a bread in the oven.  I proofed it- let it rise – next to the warm, wood oven and the dough formed such a beautiful dome that it already looked baked.  I’m so excited to learn more about baking gluten-free yeast breads.  I may be a culinary teacher; but I wanted to develop a better  technique for making yeast breads.  I took a course at the Institute of Culinary Education “ICE” in New York City.  The instructor, Michelle, was a “teacher’s teacher”.  I got so much from attending her class about delivering instruction and baking myriad gluten-free bread products.  I aim to provide the same level of instruction – but in a smaller, country kitchen setting. Yes, you can see why I named my blog and business as I did.  I can’t wait for more of you to come experience this pastoral scenery when you come to take classes and tour the area.

I just wish there was a quick way for me to get up to speed on using social media to build my business.  I know how it important it is and I need to use it on a regular basis.  Many of you will say that’s “a piece of cake”!  However, I prefer real face-to-face contact, a good asset for a teacher.  I like to converse in person, I like to have a phone call rather than text and when I’m in a restaurant enjoying good food and company, I am not on my smart phone.

I’m writing this post now to share my feelings about using social media.  I know that it’s important to get on it on a regular basis and share my thoughts, experiences and photos.  Soooooo, please help me out by  sending me your comments to this blog Country Kitchen Chaos and going to my FaceBook/Country Kitchen Center page and my website: www.countrykitchencenter.com  Please send me your thoughts and suggestions on increasing my “social media” awareness & ability to reach out to a larger audience.

The bread is in the oven and I just turned the bread to help it bake evenly.  It smells wonderful, just like a bread from an old-fashioned bakery.

A yeast bread class will be on the fall schedule.  

I look forward to hearing from you.  Please share this post here, and share my FB/CKC page.  Help increase my “hits” and following!

 

 

Summer Gluten-Free Culinary Classes

                       

My culinary business, Country Kitchen Center, for gluten-free culinary classes and gluten-free consultations and event services, is ready to teach classes this summer.  I have a line-up of classes at my country kitchen location.  If you would like me to travel to your town in the tri-state area, please contact me.

Here’s the list.  Also, see the list on Facebook/Andrea Skolnick and Facebook/Country Kitchen Center and share it with your friends.  I look forward to cooking with you this summer.

Facebook Post:

I have been busy doing gluten-free demonstrations and planning the summer class schedule. Have a look at the line up of baking classes to be held at Country Kitchen Center.

Summer Classes & Workshops June – September 2017
Our classes’ explore class subject in-depth. We build confidence to help you master culinary skills.
Gluten-Free Baking Workshop Learn basic principles for baking gluten-free goods and making gluten-free flour mixes. The instructor will demonstrate and sample baked goods. Workshop attendees receive recipes & samples.
Gluten-Free Cookie Class Learn to bake scratch cookies with great taste. Instructor demonstrates making a gluten-free flour mix, the “creaming method” and three cookie types: drop, bar and refrigerator. Students have hands-on practice by baking one cookie type. Students receive recipes and samples.
Gluten-Free Cupcake Class Instructor will demonstrate the “creaming method”, a gluten-free flour mix and a trio of cupcake recipes & frosting. Students have hands-on practice baking and frosting a cupcake recipe. Students receive recipes and samples.
Gluten-Free Muffin & Quick Bread Class Instructor will teach the “muffin method”, how to makes gluten-free flour mixes and demonstrate how to bake three quick breads. Students have hands-on practice baking a muffin recipe. Students receive recipes and samples.
Gluten-Free Kids & Family Classes
Fun and informative class, making pancakes and other family favorite foods. Call for class details.

See More

Image may contain: foodImage may contain: food

Weekend Fit for a Foodie

 

                                                                     Weekend Fit for a Foodie  
                                  
My gleeful selfie-photo at Julia’s house.        My Butternut Squash recipe is at the end of this post.
I’m back from a food-oriented weekend in the Boston, MA area.  I stopped in Cambridge to see where Julia Child lived and cooked.  I was hoping to see a plaque honoring Julia, but there was only a sign discouraging cars from stopping…you can’t stop a foodie from taking photos, including my most gleeful selfie ever.  I later had dinner at Harvest Restaurant, where I had dined many years ago. Before Sara Molton was a TV chef, she used to chef at Harvest and she also in Julia Child’s Cambridge kitchen.

          
Beet, cheese and cranberry appetizer.         Artic Char on black rice with vanilla sauce.
The meal was as good as I remembered, especially the sauces.  My dinner companion and I shared a beet appetizer that was the star of the meal.  I took this photo after we ate half of it.  My entrée was Arctic Char on a bed of black rice entrée: check out those “balls of vanilla sauce” that were a standout element in the dish.  We finished with a trio of homemade ice cream flavors: chocolate, maple and raspberry sorbet.  Ice cream is always a good gluten-free dessert choice.   When dining out, be prepared to ask questions about the gluten-free options.  By the way, the waiter was very attentive to my gluten-free needs.

Soup Anyone!?! My main purpose this weekend, was to attend a cooking class.  And, with all the snow we are getting in New York, I couldn’t have chosen a better topic.  Luckily, the class was sandwiched in between several snow storms!

Challenges of ADD  If you have read my posts, you know that my blog www.countrykitchenchaos.com  focuses on two main topics besides food: gluten-free living and attention deficit disorder (ADD).  My life is framed by these challenges and special gifts, both of which I’ve learned to appreciate.  Yet, I still need ways to manage my time and organizational issues.  My gift enables me to envision a creative marketing plan in no time; but I can have trouble sticking to a daily schedule.  Alas, getting my culinary business, Country Kitchen Center up and running is a challenge.  (Of course, this is true for any new business.)

               
A Demo on cutting onions.                                      Helen and Andrea. It’s fun to be a student.
Cooking Class in Action 
I got to attend a cooking class that is held in a home kitchen. I was excited to see how Helen conducts her classes, as I also use a home-based kitchen for my classes.  I always learn best when someone can model a task. In this case, how to organize and run a cooking class.  Helen had everything set to go and the class flowed smoothly.

She concurrently make three diverse soups.  The soup class a “watch and learn” class in which we followed the myriad steps of preparation, demonstration and taste evaluation.  I’m a hands-on teacher/student, but I could see the value in having students observe and then practice in their own kitchen.  She also did several demonstrations, including one on the use of salt in food dishes.  I liked that demo.

  Bouillabaisse with aioli toast.
The soups included a fish stock based Bouillabaisse.  I brought my own gluten-free bread and Helen was careful to toast my bread separately, and then spread the aioli before touching any gluten bread.  Another soup was a velvety, roasted butternut squash soup, with a pomegranate reduction.

The last soup, made in a pressure cooked was a smokey lentil soup.  All were delicious and beautifully presented.  If you are interested in finding out more about Helen’s cooking classes, check out her website www.helenrennie.com  for her own recipes.  I will give you my own version of a butternut squash soup.  I also roast the vegetables, which caramelizes them and brings out the sweetness.  Helen showed us an easy way to peel the squash, which I will include in the recipe below.

The Take-Away  After the class, Helen graciously sat with me and talked about how she started and built her business.  My conversation with Helen was an example of true networking and hands-on learning.  I thank her for reaching out to a fellow cooking teacher.  She has given me much “food-for-thought” in building my food business – and making soups!  Merci beaucoup.

   Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with sour cream and toasted nuts

Ingredients:
1 medium Butternut squash, peeled and cut into wedges
1 sweet potato, cut in half
2 apple, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
2 onion, peeled and cut into wedges
olive oil for coating vegetables
4 cups broth: vegetable or chicken

optional: 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter

For Serving:
sprinkle per serving walnuts or pecans, small pieces toasted
1 teaspoons per serving Sour Cream

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prep ingredients and coat with olive oil.
Spread out in a single layer on baking tray.
Bake about 30 minutes, until all is nicely browned.
Puree in blender with a little broth until smooth.
Put soup, remaining broth and optional butter in a medium pot. Heat and serve.
Top with a dollop of sour cream and toasted nuts.

Notes:
Butternut squash – cut off top & bottom, peel from end to end, cut peeled flesh in half then cut into thinner pieces (triangles & rectangles)
Apples – cut top & bottom off, use peeler or knife to remove peel, cut into wedges, removing core
Onions – remove brown papery layer, cut into half
Coat all with olive oil  in a large work bowl and lay in 1 layer on tray.
You can use a blender wand, but the soup will not be a smooth if you use a regular blender.

Tips:
This soup can be a first course or a main dish, in which case follow with a salad and cheese course. 

 

                            

Comments and information:  Let me know how you like this winter soup pleaser…Post your soup photo with comments to this blog. www.countrykitchenchaos.com 
For more information about our gluten-free classes, workshops and consultation services go to our website: countrykitchencenter.com    In addition, you can email me at ckc@countrykitchencenter.com
Off-site classes:  We do classes at our kitchen center, as well as at the homes of host-students.  If you are interested in hosting a class, please call or text Andrea at #646-670-7699 to learn about the benefits.