Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cauliflower a la Anna

Yesterday I was reading through my latest edition of Everyday Food by Martha Stewart and I came across an interesting sentence. It read, "Eating season has begun, so make those yummy dishes for your family without guilt." Eating Season? I have been alive on this earth for 30-some-odd years and never knew about Eating Season? Well, sign me up. I'm ready for some good filling and good tasting food. On that note, I have not one but two recipes for one of the most underused vegetables in American kitchens today: the humble cauliflower.
My friend Anna is the one who got me thinking about a cauliflower gratin dish a few weeks ago when she shoved some leftovers in my face and told me I would love it. I totally did, but I couldn't remember her simple recipe, which happens to be this:
Cauliflower Anna Style
Melt together 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese and 4 tbsp melted butter, and add 1 cup of mayonnaisse. Pour over 1 head of steamed cauliflower, cut into florets. Broil for 1-2 minutes until browned and bubbly.
So I turned to my old friend the internet to find a recipe that would be close to it. I knew there was cheese and mayonnaisse in it, and for some reason I thought there would be sour cream in it, so I found this recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen for a Cauliflower Gratin adapted from A Pinch of Salt Lake cookbook.
Cauliflower Gratin with Sharp Cheddar and Parmesan
from Kalyn's Kitchen
1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
4 T mayonnaisse
4 T sour cream
1 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
fresh black pepper to taste
3 T finely grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place cauliflower into boiling water and cover, steaming for about 10 minutes, or until it just starts to get tender. Drain into a colander placed in the sink.
While cauliflower cooks, whisk together mayo, sour cream, lemon juice, mustard, and pepper. Stir in cheddar.
Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the well-drained cauliflower into the dish and spread out evenly. With a rubber scraper, pour the cheese mixture over the top. It won't cover the cauliflower completely, it's more like a topping. Sprinkle with parmesan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and bubbly.
Both recipes happened to be fabulous. The only problem is that even in this form, my family wouldn't eat the cauliflower. I ended up eating almost the whole thing by myself. I don't even want to think about how many calories are in a whole version of one of these. Not to mention the number so much cauliflower did on my stomach. But that is a post for another day. The good thing is, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, this is another great veggie side dish you can make and WOW people with. It's beautiful, easy, and healthy. (We'll just focus on the cauliflower healthy, not the mayo healthy, okay? Okay.) I think the next thing I'll spring on my family is Mo's Cauliflower Pizza Crust. They'd love that, wouldn't they?
Happy eating!

Monday, October 25, 2010

More Fun With Greek Yogurt: Greek Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

Sitting at my computer this morning eating my breakfast of a yogurt parfait with granola (which seems to be my go-to breakfast these last few weeks), I decided I really wanted to find another recipe that uses this high-protein, gluten free yogurt. Luckily Emilie from Yoplait had emailed me some yummy yogurt recipes and I think this is one I'm going to try soon, because a)I've never actually eaten a turkey burger, and b)I have had yogurt/dill sauce before and it is DIVINE, and c)the only substitution I'll have to make is getting my own gluten free hamburger buns.

Greek Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

1 6 ounce container Yoplait Plain Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup chopped cucumber
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed or 1 teaspoon dried dill
2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 pound ground turkey
1 cup (4 oz) crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup chopped red onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed or 1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
4 gluten free hamburger buns, like Dr. Schar's version or your own homemade ones
1 thinly sliced tomato

In a small bowl, mix 1/2 of the cup of yogurt with other sauce ingredients, place in refrigerator, covered, and chill. Heat grill or grill pan to medium heat. In another medium bowl, add burger ingredients and the rest of the yogurt and combine well. Shape into four patties, about 1/2 inch thick. Put patties on the grill and cover; cook 8-10 minutes, flipping after 5. Burgers are done when a thermometer inserted into the center reads 160 degrees. Serve on warmed gluten free buns with tomato slices and yogurt sauce.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Macey's and Me...Coming Up!

Just a quick reminder to all of my Salt Lake City area peeps...Tomorrow night, Thursday October 21, at 7 p.m. at the Sandy Macey's store on 7800 South and 1300 East I will be teaching the Gluten Free Cooking Class. We are going to be doing pumpkin recipes, like the delicious Pumpkin Cake Roll and the Butter Pecan Pumpkin Shakes. Joyce from Grandpa's Kitchen is coming and she's bringing her famous Pumpkin Bars! You can all come and watch my rusty teaching skills and see me get nervous enough to give inaccurate information that I'll have to correct later. I'm just saying. It will be fun and informative, and hopefully delicious! Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Gluten Free Expo...Exposed!

Well, from that juicy title, you better believe this is a full post. I'm so sorry about the delay...I started writing this post in a very timely manner and then proceeded to leave for a six-day trip to Disneyland with six people, most under the age of 12, so admittedly it fell behind in the order of things. But it's still going to be an awesome post, late or not! I attended Utah's First Ever Gluten Free Expo sponsored by Smith's Grocery Stores last Saturday and took my camera, as promised, so I could bring my dear readers the breaking news like a good cub reporter. Just kidding, my photos are far from newspaperly and not so viewable, in some cases. This is what happens when you try to photograph in a bustling expo hall. In any case, I did make some interesting finds and I got to meet (and re-meet) some lovely people.

But before I get into the nitty gritty of the booths and the food, I have to explain that I went to the expo with a whole new respect for food allergy. Sam's test results came in: NO celiac disease, no stomach problems, no allergy cells or infection. Great! But he does have esophageal irritation (an -itis of some kind) probably caused by a dairy allergy. So a no dairy diet for a few weeks to see if he feels better. No butter, no mac and cheese, no chocolate milk, no fishie crackers, no pancake mix. Pretty much all his favorite foods. So going to the expo with dairy-free in mind definitely put a new layer of detective work into my research. And I also found out how difficult it is to keep a six-year-old out of foods he really really wants to eat.

First of all, thank you to Smith's for making this event affordable ($6 at the door, I paid $3 at 2:00), easy to maneuver (free grocery bags for stuff) and easy on those of us with kids in tow. The giant bouncy house was quite the hit with my kids.

I got to meet some of my favorite people in the whole world, some of them for the first time. Like the lovely lady who makes the French Meadow Bakery products that I can't keep my fork out of.

I saw my old friend Joyce at the Grandpa's Kitchen booth,(who I apparently love so much I can't do her the justice of taking a non-blurry picture of her) where she was handing out gluten free pumpkin bars. Little did she know that pumpkin was Sam's favorite. (I think he ate 7 of her little tasters. Ooops.)She showed me her new cookbook, which is one of my favorite kinds of cookbooks: the ones with all the secret recipes from real cooks out there, otherwise known as the Ward Cookbook. Check back on her website to see where you can buy one.I saw David from Tree Street Grains and they even had a pancake with no butter on it for my little Sam. I think he ate three of those, as well. Sheesh. I just love these two people. They are what my husband calls salt of the earth types. This is my favorite hearty gluten free pancake/waffle batter.

There were booths from my old standbys, like Kinnikinnick, (where would I be without your Oreos? In a sad, sad place, that's where.)Glutino (thank you for the crackers to make fried chicken with! And the wafer cookies! I have issues with cookies, it seems.) 123 Gluten Free (best EVER gf biscuits, and look how empty their plates are...apparently everyone else likes their stuff, too.)And Mary's, whose crackers have kept me from certain death several times late at night. It was so great to see those products represented and a whole bunch of people becoming fans of them.

But there were also booths with some newcomers, and welcome newcomers at that. First off was Christina Davis (plus husband--so supportive), with her bee-youtiful new gluten free cookbook called Irresistibly Gluten Free. It's a gorgeous, full-color cookbook with photos of every single one of her 32 delicious recipes, like a cream soup mix (how often have I wished I had a recipe for that come dinnertime!), doughnuts, chicken nuggets, graham crackers, orange chicken, I could go on and on. So needless to say, I'll be interviewing Christina soon and posting all about her and how to get a copy of her book. (She's a girl after my own heart: 6 kids and 3 with celiac along with herself. Sista, we need some time together!)

I also was happy to see showings from King Arthur's Gluten Free line, a welcome addition to any celiac pantry's shelves, Nana's cookie bars, which is both gluten free and dairy free and I really wanted to try, and not just because they have my favorite cartoon monkey on their package, *love Curious George so much* but couldn't try because every time I stalked, er, walked past their table the samples were gone,
and Veggie Slices, cheese made from vegetables. It's not necessarily dairy free, but not completely un-cheesy...I tasted it! Not bad!

I also saw the cute people from Eleanor's Bake Shop in Sandy, where I happened to eat the most delicious gluten free lunch and CAKE POP, yes I said gluten free cake pop, just two weeks ago. The post on that little bit of heaven is forthcoming, but they are located at 9495 South 560 West in Sandy. Go there. Order the Arepas. Eat a cake pop. We'll talk later. And by the way, can you say gluten free wedding cake? I didn't think so. But Eleanor can.

And last, but of course not least, as I was rounding the corner to go down the last aisle I smelled something completely heavenly. I mean, we're talking fancy date night delicious. I saw someone handing out something that looked like this:
And I nearly died. I nearly died right there in the middle of the Expo Center. The delicious red pepper alfredo penne pasta was coming from a restaurant at the Gateway in downtown Salt Lake City called Biaggi's, and I nearly tipped the poor man over grabbing for the yummy alfredo-sauced pasta.
I don't know how they did it, and I don't really care, but it could have been my favorite gluten free pasta EVER, including my own. It's my 10th anniversary tomorrow, and I'm forcing my husband to take me there, because I feel a fancy date night dinner coming on. Creamy, delectable, with vegetables and al dente gluten free made me think I had made it big in Vegas and this was how I repaid myself. And get this: they have an entire gluten free menu including salads, appetizers, chicken parmesan, other pastas, and PIZZA that sounds just as fabulous as this pasta. Definitely delicious. And it made me think about how smart that restaurant is to market themselves this way. Do you know how many people who ate that little sample are going to tell their families when they have a get together, "Let's go to Biaggi's!"? Tons. Smart, smart, smart. Hopefully next year for the Second Annual Gluten Free Expo more restaurants will come. Good ones. With yummy food. And bigger portions.
After all those photos and all those links, if you're still reading, you deserve a gold star. Leave me a comment if you attended the Expo and let me know what your favorite taste was!
Happy eating!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Gluten Free Expo This Weekend!

While I am sitting here in my house waiting for the doctor to call me back with the results of Sam's biopsy the other day, I thought I'd pass on a little bit of interesting gluten free fun. Apparently we are having our first ever gluten free expo sponsored by Smith's at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy tomorrow, Saturday, October 9, from 9 am to 6 pm, and its free! They are having a pancake breakfast featuring Gluten Free Bisquick (by the way I tried their mix and it is divine.) right at 9 am, so head down and check out the gluten free products. I have never been to one of these, so I'm taking my camera and I'll try to report on new fun stuff I might find!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Here We Go Again

It's been a few days since I've posted, and it's not even because I'm lazy. I have a whole list of posts to write about products people have emailed me about and how to make a fabulous Sunday roast. No, no, I'm not procrastinating. I have been having a mommy moment. Thursday was the day I took my littlest boy in to the pediatric gastroenterologist for a consult for a celiac diagnosis. And I'm in the mulling zone. We go in for a biopsy on Tuesday, to confirm some suspicious symptoms that aren't even mainstream. To be honest, I'm not upset, anxious, or even angry about it. I don't even think I'm sad. I'm actually kind of peaceful about the whole thing. Which is weird, given my tendency to overreact in the most benign of situations. But, I'm here to throw the cliche in your face: Knowledge is power.
Given the fact that I have been eating gluten free for almost eight years now, I am pretty comfortable with wheat free food. I grumble about the cost and roll my eyes when they get my order wrong at a restaurant, but on the whole I feel so good that it outweighs the inconvenience. And now that I'm thinking that one of my little guys needs the same things I do and feels crappy like I used to, I feel slightly advantaged with all my recipes and understanding. I have no doubt that if Sam's biopsy comes back positive I will feel relieved. As we prepare for the testing, I remember my own apprehension and can't help but think: here we go again.
I learned some interesting things at the doctor's office. Our doctor, who happens to be NOT fresh out of medical school(read: experienced, highly recommended and ultra intuitive), cares for over 400 pediatric celiac patients, so I'm thinking she knows what she's talking about. She told me the most reliable symptom in pediatric celiac patients is grumpiness. I was so surprised! I told her that my son's nickname at home was Hades, after the guy with flaming hair in Hercules, and she laughed. We have joked about Sam's rage for about three years now. He also has a problem with constipation (not diarrhea...also interesting), and, another new tidbit of knowledge for me since I never take my children in for well-child checkups (this is only funny to JoLayna and Anna, I know), he is in the 10th percentile for weight. I had no idea. He also has a first degree relative with celiac's and blond hair and blue eyes. (Not a symptom, but could be an indicator.) So, lots of things point towards a celiac diagnosis for us.
But here's the kicker. I think I was getting a little worked up about the doctor's appointment and told my friend Anna about it and she gave me the best perspective on the whole thing. She said, "If he doesn't have it, that is great news, because he can eat whatever he wants and be normal and happy and never have to think for a minute about food. But, if he does, then hallelujah! Because he can get the food that will help him grow and he'll be happy and feel normal and only have to change a few things he eats because you already know what to feed him. So no matter what the test says it's all good news." This is so true. Appreciating the fact that I have a son who loves me and is smart and talented and great at building Legos and wants to be an artist when he grows up is the thing to focus on here. My job as the mommy is to help him be the very best Sam that he can be. That's my goal, bringing back the smile that I used to see all the time. And the songs. And the smooches. I read this post by a mom whose daughter struggles with a lot more than just celiac's disease, and I was truly grateful for the easy path that I have before me. I truly hope some mom out there is reading my posts and feeling like she is able to give more to her little buddy or tiny princess with my ideas. I may have to get some ideas from you, too.
Happy eating!
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