Monday, January 31, 2011

Gluten Free Super Bowl Sliders

I look forward to the (ads on the) Super Bowl every year, but this year we are really excited around here because the Steelers are back! If you love Green Bay, sorry. Don't stop reading. I also get really excited about the Super Bowl food that you get to eat, which is almost like a total junk food binge, but I always see great little recipes and ads in the paper for Super Bowl snacks that I wish I could eat but most of them are full of gluten. Which makes me mad, but only for about 10 seconds. Since I like to cook anyway, I love coming up with great party food for one really fun day out of the year. I posted some other great recipes last year, like Spinach and Artichoke Dip, Strawberries with Sour Cream and Brown Sugar, and Hearty Chili. I have a great easy recipe based on one of Rachael Ray's that makes about 16 delicious mini burgers called sliders. Come to think of it, I don't even have a clue as to why they named mini hamburgers sliders. Is it because they are easy to slide down your gullet? That is a great question for someone to Google.

To start, I made some hamburger buns using Grandpa's Kitchen bread mix and I put little handfuls of rolled dough into muffin tins to see if that would help them keep the bun shape while they were rising. It worked, and the buns were pretty good, although I guessed on the baking time (25 minutes) and I think they baked about 5 minutes too long. So check the buns at around 20 minutes and see if they're ready to come out. I'm not so good with the yeast breads and I would really love to perfect the art of baking gluten free yeast dough. Maybe that's my new resolution. I'm dying to try the Cheese Bread Mania gluten free buns to see if it's good with the cheesy flavor.

Then I took 2 1/2 pounds of hamburger and added 1/3 cup of A-1 sauce, and one packet of onion soup mix, which now I have to make by hand with this recipe. It says to use 5 tablespoons of the mix to equal one packet. I mixed it all together in a huge bowl with my hands and then patted it out in a greased 9x13 pan. I baked it in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. (I checked it at 12 minutes, which the recipe calls for, but the meat was still raw. At 15 minutes it was just a bit pink in the middle. Cook it until you feel comfortable with the meat's doneness.) When you take this out of the oven, be careful, because the fat from the meat will be hot and bubbly and you'll have to carefully pull it out so as not to burn yourself. I used one of those basters to suck the fat out of the pan. Then I cut it with a pizza cutter into squares (so cute) sized to fit onto my buns. I got about 16 patties out of this batch. The nice thing about this recipe is that you can make all the patty batter for everyone and they can use little dinner rolls and you can put a little patty on your own gluten free buns just like the rest of the world. For the toppings, I sliced roma tomatoes, because they are small and cute for the mini burgers, tore some romaine lettuce into small chunks, used the small rings of a red onion, and cut pre-sliced cheese into fourths and let people have at it with the ketchup and deli mustard. You could use arugula instead of lettuce if you wanted to. I served them with some homemade fries, which were really simple to make.

Homemade Fries
1.Peel 4 potatoes and slice into steak fries. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
2.Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt to taste. Toss to coat.
3.Roast for 45 minutes-1 hour in a 400 degree oven, or until desired crispness, stirring occasionally.

I loved these fries! If you love fast food fries, they might not be your favorite, but they tasted like delicious homemade fries to me.
Check back tomorrow for another gluten free Super Bowl Recipe!
Happy eating and Go Steelers!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Caring For Your Wooden Chopping Block

I am lucky enough to be married to the most indulgent husband in the world. Granted, it goes both ways and he has pretty much everything he wants, too, so I don't feel too guilty. He almost always gets it right when he buys me gifts and almost always buys the best one he can afford. I just adore that man. Last year I got some divine knives and I didn't dare use them without a wooden chopping block, because you can really ruin knives if you're cutting on plastic, even if it's sturdy. Trust me and just go buy yourself the best Boos Block that you can afford, whatever size that may be, and treat it well. This one is only $45 and is totally worth it. Most people shy away from wood because they think since they can't wash them in the dishwasher they are germy. Not so! Almost all of the germs on a cutting board are dead within a few minutes of sitting on there. Wood can absorb water, unlike plastic, so it dries faster than plastic and the germs die without growing. The only thing that can cause alarm is if there are deep gouges in the surface of your board, which can be avoided by rotating your board often. There's lots of research out there about this topic if you still doubt me, and although wood boards do need a little more care, they definitely aren't more germy than their plastic cousins. Luckily, caring for a wooden chopping block is not that difficult. Here's how I do it:

I cut a lemon in half and spread about 1/4 cup of kosher (coarse) salt on the board. I squeeze a little juice out and rub in circular motions across the whole surface of the board until it's nice and clean. The lemon has acid, which helps remove stains, and a nice smell to combat odor from onion and garlic, and makes it's own little hand-held scrubber you can hold easily. The peel and pulp are a nice, scratchless cleaner. The salt acts as an abrasive to help clean the surface as well. Then I rinse it thoroughly and DRY it well with a hand towel. Once it's dry, I rub a nice coating of mineral oil all over it, making sure I oil the sides of the board and all the little crevices. Mineral oil is available at most kitchen stores. I usually rub this on with a paper towel which I can then just throw away. Mineral oil keeps food odors and stains from soaking into the wood and also gives it a nice, water-repellent surface for a while. It keeps the wood conditioned so it doesn't develop cracks between the wood as well. I do this about once a month or sooner if the board looks dry.

I do have one other rule: I never cut meat on my board. I use a plate to cut it or drag out the dreaded small plastic one I have that fits in the dishwasher and sharpen my knife after cutting on it.

Happy chopping!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Easy Gluten Free Cinnamon Rolls!

One of my favorite movie lines of all time is from "Bee Movie" with Jerry Seinfeld where he is telling Matthew Broderick all about his travels with humans and he says, "Do you know what a Cinnabon is? It's bread, and cinnamon, and frosting, and they heat it up, REALLY HOT!" I have a little thing for Jerry Seinfeld and I also have a secret thing for Matthew Broderick, so the movie fills all my needs at once. Ah, the days of Cinnabon are long gone for me, but I have nonetheless tried and failed several times to make gluten free cinnamon rolls just for a quick walk down memory lane. You dear readers have never known about it because I am way too embarrassed to even post my failures for a laugh on this particular experiment. Seriously. But the other day I got lucky and took out a box of 123 Gluten Free Biscuit dough to make for dinner and I noticed on the inside of the box is a recipe for Cinnamon Buns using the biscuit dough. I quickly scrapped my plans to make biscuits and made these instead. Wowee. It has been a really long time since I have had a cinnamon roll, and let me say it was a nice way to come back to that craving. Not only was the recipe easy, but it made delicious rolls that were not only good out of the oven but even yummy heated up in the microwave the next day. I think next time I make them I will do a cream cheese frosting instead of a milk and sugar glaze, just because I like the flavor of that better, but this was definitely good as is.

This is one of those things where I think: I wish I'd thought of that! The instructions are really straightforward and easy. After making the dough like usual, you brush it with butter, sprinkle with tons of cinnamon and sugar, roll the dough into a log, slice into rolls, brush with milk to make them brown in the oven, and let rise, then bake. Frost or glaze them when they come out of the oven. Mmm, the perfect winter activity: baking, then eating. Thank you 123 Gluten Free for figuring out how to do this for the rest of us who can't make gluten free yeast dough worth a dang!
Happy eating!

Monday, January 24, 2011

What I've Learned from Alt Summit and Great Links to Great Blogs

Last week I spent Thursday and Friday at the Altitude Design Summit for bloggers here in Salt Lake City at the fabulous Grand America Hotel, which is full of fancy things like this chandelier. I learned a lot, and I will try not to bore you with the nitty gritty, but maybe you'll find something that interests you in my travels. Get ready for some link love, because I'm full of it today.
First and foremost, holy crap...I met Kelsey Nixon from the Food Network's sister channel, the Cooking Channel! I had to control myself and not turn into a total groupie. Yes, we are both totally short and totally cute. Look how cute she is in horizontal stripes, nonetheless. Although she already has a show, she decided she needs somewhere for her fans to go to get more Kelsey, so she's starting a blog. And yep, she is just as sweet and kind in person as she is on TV. Check out her show called Kelsey's Essentials on the Cooking channel.

The next holy crap moment was getting to meet Stephanie Nielson from the Nie Nie Dialogues. Talk about your gracious and kind people. Stephanie just exudes love to people and spreads joy while triumphing over adversity with her blogging. If you've ever read her blog, I'm here to tell you she's the real deal. And if you've never heard her story, head over there for the morning. You won't be disappointed. I could go on and on just about what I learned from her, but that's a post for another day.

I got to hear Mondo from Project Runway 8 talk a little bit about how he comes up with designs for clothing and his inpirations. The best thing he said was: If you're shopping for trends, stop. Go thrift shopping. That's where the good stuff is. Yes! I've been thrifting a lot for the last 6 months and I love being validated.

I attended an awesome (read: informative, deep, and pulpy) roundtable discussion with Pam Keuber of Retro Renovation. She is one of my new faves, and her site is amazing if you are in love with vintage fixtures like toilets and faucets for mid-century houses. She even has another little website called Save the Pink Bathrooms. Too cute.

Here is a stalker-ish photo I took of Heather Armstrong of Everyone loves a little dooce now and then. I felt bad because she obviously had a cold and didn't feel too well, but she was doing her duty and even singing "Welcome, welcome, Sabbath morning" to us, which is only funny if you're Mormon like me and read dooce to get the joke.

Have you heard of Swiss Miss? Apparently everyone else in the WORLD has. Her name is Tina Roth Eisenberg and she's a Swiss native who moved to Brooklyn and created your basic blog empire. If you've never seen her site and you love clean, graphic-laden euro design, check it out. She is like the Renaissance woman of blogging. She told us she reaches around 250,000 people a day with her blog. Are you kidding me? Wow. She gave a great ending keynote address that was also pulpy and helpful.

The best surprise was getting to hang out with my blog's designer, April of April Showers Blog Design. We sat and giggled and oohed and aahed and basically had a couple of girl's days out. She owns like the world's fastest laptop. She didn't even laugh at me when I pulled out my gluten free sandwich from home on the first day! True friendship, I tell you. Yeah, we're hot snot in this here photo.

But let's get to the real reason you're reading this: what did I eat at the fancy lunches? I actually had the foresight to call the hotel before and ask what the menu was. Day one they were doing sandwiches and soup and a bunch of stuff I couldn't eat, so I brought one from home. No one even noticed. Ha. Day two they had a lunch waiting for me that was mostly the same as everyone else's, and it was sooo dang good. Salad was first, and then this honey mustard chicken with warm cranberry compote and veggies. Yum-O with a capital Y. I'm going to try to replicate it for dinner sometime this week. I love how I just think I can figure out how to make something by tasting it. We'll see how good my skills are... Then dessert, and those of you who know me will be rolling your eyes at my lemon obsession here, but we had Lemon Mousse Bombe with citrus sauce and fresh berries. I was literally scouring the back tables looking for an extra one to eat because it was so tart and delicious I wanted about five more of them to satisfy my lemon-tooth. I even toyed with the idea of paying April to eat half of hers, but I thought we might not be friends after that.This is one recipe I'm going to HAVE to learn how to make, it was that good.

Every afternoon I would casually wander into the hotel's new patisserie (bakery) called La Bonne Vie and buy a $1.50 macaron for a little pick me up. They have different flavors every day, and I told them they needed to add...lemon, of course, and the manager happened to be there and he was having a V-8 moment, like, yes! Why didn't we think of that as we put our bakery menu together? I felt smart.

They had a grand display of the new ElectroLux appliances there, too. Drool.

I met a lot of great people and learned tons of tips and tricks, so hopefully my blogging will continue to improve as well as the recipes! Here's a list of my favorite new blogs from Alt:

Jenny from Little Green Notebook
Erin from Design for Mankind
Liz of Cool Mom Picks
Maggie from Mighty Girl
Karey of Mackin Ink
Marta of Marta Writes
Nicole from A Little Sussy
Brittany from One Charming Party
Victoria from The City Cradle
Cambria from Re-Nest

I didn't meet one food blogger other than Kelsey...hmm. Interesting. But I do want to know more about you, and what you'd like to see more of on Off the Wheaten Path. Recipes, product reviews, weekly menus? Less opinion and more how to? What are you interested in reading about? I hope no one says fish because it's not going to happen. Leave me a comment, I'd love to know!
Happy eating!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me...A Gift Or Two

It's my birthday today, and I have spent the entire day doing what my friend Anna calls "being good to myself," which is actually something we frown upon because it means you are self-indulgent. However, the older I get the more I don't feel guilty about doing what I want to do one day out of the year. It's a good place to be. Tomorrow it's back to self-imposed restrictive lifestyles, but today, I'm living in the now.

One of the things I wanted to do this year was eat a delicious birthday cake, since it's been a long time since I had one of those. I usually opt for ice cream or gluten free cheesecake or something not cakey, but this year I had Eleanor's Bake Shop make me a delicious chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. And it was divine. Look at this cake! And look at how big it is in comparison to my cute little girl waiting for a piece of it in the background. Here's how it looked when we sliced into it. A birthday gift, indeed.

The second thing I gave myself for my birthday was a trip to the Altitude Design Summit blogging conference here in Salt Lake City this weekend. I'm so excited to go and learn all kinds of new things and see what the serious bloggers are up to. I'm hoping to get some great inspiration for my blogging and finally learn how to really use my new camera. Stephanie Nielsen from the Nie Nie Dialogues is speaking, as well as Heather Armstrong and Brenda Dargen from I may die a happy death while I'm there! I'll hopefully have some fun pictures and stories when I get back to blogging on Monday. Until then, enjoy the weekend and go ahead and be jealous of my cake. Happy eating!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Delicious Gluten Free Ginger-Almond Pie Crust...Faking a Graham Cracker Crust

Over New Years Eve I realized that our family actually has some pretty odd traditions. First of all, we always have a movie marathon of some kind. Although this year was the first year that all of the kids stayed up until midnight together (scratch that...4 year old hit the hay at 11 p.m.) we usually watch a series of movies until midnight to pass the time. We've done Star Wars and Harry Potter and Ice Age and this year we did Spongebob Squarepants. It has to be something we own already and something everybody likes. Let me say that Spongebob gets funnier and funnier the later we stay up. Besides that, we always drink Key Lime Sodas in bottles and eat cheesecake. I'm not sure where this started but it's what we do. I usually make a regular cheesecake in a store bought crust for everyone else and just leave a little filling in a tupperware for me to eat by itself, but this year I went all out and tried a graham-cracker tasting crust that we all could eat.First, I added 20 of these ginger snaps from Trader Joe's that my friend Aimee gave me to my blender. I know there's not a Trader Joe's everywhere (ahem, in my own state, nonetheless), but you could probably use the Mi-Del gluten free gingersnaps, as they are available all over. They have a little bit stronger ginger flavor than the Trader Joe ones, so you might want to use fewer cookies and more almonds, you'll just have to play with it and see what you like. Then I added 1/2 cup slivered almonds and I chopped them up until they were fine crumbs. I added 1/4 cup of melted butter and mixed it all together, then pressed it into my pie plate. I added my no-bake cheesecake filling over the top and refrigerated it for about 4 hours before we sliced it. Check out my party plate! The good thing about this in contrast to some of the other crusts I've made before is that this needs no baking, no extra sugar or flavoring, and it takes about 5 minutes to put together. This delicious, easy crust will double for any graham cracker crust you might be hankering for. It has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor that complements the sweetness of a cheesecake, but I bet it would be good for one of those Jell-O pies or something. Hope you like it as much as I did!

Happy eating!

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Cody Sandwich: Gluten Free Lunch Heaven

I have this friend named Cody who has celiac disease that is my neighbor. We share treats all the time (because really, I shouldn't eat all four dozen of the batches of cookies I make and there's no way he can eat all that Joy Luck Chinese by himself) and people think we're weird at church because we stand in the hall having animated discussions about food. Anyway, one day in the summer his wife brought me over a sandwich that he makes all the time for himself and she thought I would like it. I'm never one to turn down a free lunch (you all remember the times I've said how bad I hate to make hasn't changed.) so I gave it a go. Now I seriously wake up in the middle of the night wondering if I have the stuff to make this sandwich. It tastes great, it's simple, and it fills you up. I'd say that's a win-win right there. The best thing about it is that I actually use up a whole loaf of Pamela's Gluten Free bread before it gets hard when I eat these. So in honor of Cody turning 38 last week, here is the recipe for the Cody Sandwich:

Cody's Gluten Free Turkey Melt

2 slices of Pamela's Gluten Free bread, made from the mix (I used my breadmaker)
2 T Best Foods mayonnaise
6 slices of deli turkey, your choice (I do oven roasted...plain turkey flavor is my favorite)
1 slice of provolone, meunster, gouda, or monterey jack cheese
3-4 slices of tomato (summer homegrown are best, but we'll suffer through the winter with grocery store versions)

Toast the two slices of bread and spread with mayo. Place turkey with cheese on top on a microwave safe plate and cook until cheese is melted and meat is warm (about 30-45 seconds). Move meat over to the bread, top with tomato and close sandwich. Eat warm.

Now, Cody always toasts his bread and I never do. I think it's a personal choice. Both ways taste great if you ask me. Another simple but delicious lunch option for those of us who hate to think about lunch!
Happy eating and Happy Birthday, Cody!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm in Print! The Salt Lake Tribune and Me...

image courtesy of Salt Lake Tribune
The Salt Lake Tribune ran an article in the food section today all about gluten free eating and where to find local gluten free products, including this delicious-looking cheese bread made by Cheese Bread Mania, which is available at Harmon's, Rico's, and Caputo's Market and Deli. Guess what the title was? "Off the Wheaten Path!" I wonder where they came up with that one... and who should be quoted as one of their incredibly knowledgeable, tasteful sources? Why, me, of course! AAaahhh! I'm freaking out. Check it out here if you're local to find out about the products they showcased and if you're not local check it out to read a witty, insightful, two lines said by me. Back to your regularly scheduled programming!

Gluten Free Au Gratin Potatoes: The Easy Recipe

Ah, who doesn't love the humble potato? Not only are they filling and naturally gluten free, they are cheap. You can buy a bag of about a billion of them for around $3.00, and they have such versatility in so many recipes. Last Thanksgiving I posted a recipe for Au Gratin Potatoes that is pretty much the same as this one, only the way I made it is SO MUCH easier I couldn't resist posting this variation. I have made these this way three times in 10 days for a weeknight dinner, which says a lot about not only flavor but ease for me. If it's not easy, I don't make it on a weeknight unless it's a special occasion. Here's the simple version:

Gluten Free Au Gratin/Scalloped Potatoes

4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced with a mandoline
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded colby jack cheese
2 T minced onion from the pantry
pinch salt
pinch pepper

Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Pour into a medium casserole dish sprayed with Pam, and spread top potato layer nicely with a spatula or spoon. (Doesn't have to be perfect, just not a total mess.) Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees.

There's a few steps omitted from the other recipe and not as many ingredients to remember. My friend made these using all colby jack cheese and she said they were great. I hope you like it as much as we do!
Happy eating!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gluten Free Garlic Pork Roast

I bought a pork sirloin roast the other day for a Sunday dinner. It's been a while since I've made one and when I got home I realized I had forgotten how I had ever even cooked one before. I took a chance and thought I would try to bake it similarly to the Perfect Pot Roast, but I thought that the pork would taste better with different seasonings. I guessed right! Here's how I did it:

Gluten Free Garlic Pork Roast
1 2.5-3 lb sirloin pork roast
2 T crushed garlic (the kind from a jar)
salt and pepper
2 tsp better than boullion beef flavor paste
3/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large dutch oven with Pam. Place pork in dutch oven and spread crushed garlic over the top of the meat. Sprinkle salt and pepper over garlic. Add boullion paste and water to bottom of pot. Cover, bake for 1 hour at 350 and then turn heat down to 250 for 4-5 hours. Makes a delicious gravy.Gravy:
Place dutch oven with drippings in bottom on stove burner and turn heat to medium high and bring to a boil (about 1 minute). When boiling, add 2 T white wine to bottom of pan and scrape drippings off with a spatula or rubber spoon. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil, then add a roux made of 2-3 T cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Stir until boiling and thick. Season with extra salt and pepper, if necessary.

Happy eating!
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