Monday, November 11, 2013

Fine Scotch, Discerning Labs and a Gluten Free Kitchen - Only at HOTR

I was on call Saturday, so with just Barkley and I hanging out at the crash pad,  I had time to experiment in the kitchen. This weekend's menu.  Gluten Free Bread!

Gluten free is everywhere.  I am not gluten sensitive, but don't eat a lot of  highly processed carbs, outside of the Saturday Pancake O'rama.  I do love my grains, especially cornbread, but I have two friends that have Celiac Disease and want to learn more about preparing things they can enjoy when we get together.

But I was really glad to find out good Scotch Whiskey was gluten free as tonight was Scotch  Club Night, a monthly ritual of some squirrel pilot types I know.
Why is gluten on the menu this weekend?  A friend I know through the volunteer community recently had to go gluten free, due to health issues with gluten intake.  After just a week (under doctor's advice) she said she felt immensely better.  But it's hard to make the change, as she loves to bake and cook as much as we all do.   So, for the next two weeks, I'm her gluten free buddy and we'll try an assortment of recipes that we can share.

I can only imagine what Barkley will say -
Oh, it was awful, we went Gluten free and there was nothing to eat but pickled herring, gluten free gruel and Styrofoam packing peanuts with Tabasco. 

No, Barkley, I'm doing my homework and there's some really good stuff you can make gluten free. I tried one of the mixes for French Bread, one from Gluten Free Pantry.  It  required six other ingredients and didn't have quite the texture of a regular French baguette, being a bit more dry and crumbly.  But I would buy it again if I needed a quick base for French rolls, adding some herbs for flavor.   But I wanted something else to add to go with the pot of soup on Saturday.

Cornbread!
I get my stone ground cornmeal from Graue Grist Mill, which is an easy weekend trip from the Range  (it's more expensive  but once you've tried stone ground versus the corn dust sold in the store you won't go back).

The first Gluten Free Cornbread recipe is infused with a bit of vanilla, and having as ingredient items things  the gluten free kitchen normally has.  Potato Starch, Cornstarch and xanthan gum.  Honestly, it was better than the "regular" cornbread I made last week with flour, with a moist texture, nice taste and an extremely tender crumb.

The second recipe is one you can make with things you likely have on hand, perfect for a last minute guest you just found out can't eat gluten.  It's s slightly drier, more chewy texture than the first recipe, still with a good flavor, one that would go best with a flavorful soup, stew or along with breakfast.  Perhaps a bowl of gluten free Sausage Lentil Soup
This" no special ingredient "cornbread recipe is also a snap to put together, with minimal measuring. This version was simply sweetened with a bit of honey (I love honey).  For a savory taste, add in some chopped onions caramelized in some butter, than stirred in the batter.
So you can save those packing peanuts for returning that trebuchet that didn't match your living room decor.