Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Pièce de résistance - Turkey!

And how can we describe a Thanksgiving meal without the centerpiece, the Pièce de résistance- the Turkey!!

We got our bird from FreshDirect, complete with a brining kit.  If you are a FreshDirect customer, you can find this recipe known as the "Two Hour Holiday Turkey."  If not, don't fret! Recipe below.

(notice the Aleia's stuffing in the background!!)

For the Turkey
1 Plainville Antibiotic-Free Butterflied Turkey, thawed
1 package FreshDirect Turkey Brining Blend
1 new, sealable plastic brining bag

Additional Equipment
Paper towels
Large sheet tray with rack
1 large sheet aluminum foil
Oven thermometer
Instant-read thermometer
Oven mitts/potholders


1. To brine your turkey, first make sure it's completely thawed, then remove any exterior packaging and rinse the bird under cold running water.

Mix the brining solution by stirring 1 lb brining blend into 1.5 gallons water. (See brining blend label for more detail.)

Put the turkey into the plastic bag and pour in enough brining solution to fully submerge it. Depending on the turkey's size, not all of the brine may be necessary. Press out any air bubbles, seal the bag and chill for 6 to 12 hours in the refrigerator.

After brining, we recommend you rinse the turkey with cold running water, pat it dry with paper towels and chill it in the refrigerator, uncovered, for 2 to 6 hours. Drying promotes a crispy skin and is well worth the effort.

2. Preheat oven to 425°F. (Check temperature accuracy with an oven thermometer.)

Place the turkey breast-side up on a rack over a drip pan, making it as flat as possible. Turn the wings away and under, and turn the drumsticks away from the body to equalize the height.

Depending on the height of the roasting pan, you may pour in up to 1 cup of water to prevent the drippings from burning.

Rub a little oil on a large sheet of foil (to prevent sticking) and loosely cover the turkey. Poke a few small holes in the foil to vent steam.

3. Place the prepared turkey on the center-most rack of your oven. After one hour, if the turkey looks lightly golden, remove foil cover; if the skin looks very dark, leave the foil in place.

Check temperature in the breast (avoid contact with the ribs) with an instant-read thermometer. When breast temperature reaches 160 to 165°F, remove the turkey from the oven and transfer to a platter or a sterilized cutting board. Cover lightly with aluminum foil to retain heat.

To complete cooking and maximize juiciness, allow the turkey to rest for approximately 30 minutes before carving and serving.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Pumpkin pie

Ahh...we have finally made it to dessert!  This pumpkin pie recipe has been passed down from my fiancé's family and we call it "Mom's Pumpkin Pie."  Hope you enjoy!

2/3 cup sugar
1 package unflavored gelatin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3 slightly beaten egg yolks
3/4 cup of milk
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 egg whites
1/3 cup sugar
9" GF pie crust, thawed (I used the GF version from Whole Foods)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 cup flaked coconut (optional)

Put pie crust into 350 degree oven for 10-20 minutes to get a nice golden brown.  Remove and let sit at room temperature.  This can be done in advance.

Separate the eggs and set aside.  In a large pan, combine 2/3 cup sugar, gelatin, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In a smaller bowl, combine egg yolks and milk, and add to the sugar mixture in the larger pan.  Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens slightly.  Stir in pumpkin.  Chill until mixture mounds slightly when separated, stirring often.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form and then gradually add in 1/3 cup sugar.  Fold pumpkin mix into egg whites.  Spoon into pie crust.

Chill until firm.  Just before serving, top with whipped cream.

I hope you enjoyed this week long tribute to Thanksgiving - GF style.  Here is another pic of the meal we had last year - a two plate portion for each of us!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Sweet Potato Casserole with Marshmallows

This recipe is a classic in my home, and Thanksgiving would not be the same without it.  Comfort food at its best.

This version is a variation from a recipe.

2 cans yams (aka sweet potatoes!)
1 tbsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. cinnamon to taste
1/4 - 1 tsp. nutmeg to taste
1/4 c. orange juice to taste
Marshmallows (lg. or miniature)
Cinnamon sugar (opt.)

Drain yams and add to medium bowl.  Mash and add vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and juice.  Spray or grease lightly Pyrex or Corning dish. Put a layer of potatoes, layer of marshmallows until filled. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar for added flavor. Bake about 350 degrees until HOT. Remove from oven and put marshmallows on top. Place again in oven to brown lightly. Serves 10 to 12.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great GF Thanksgiving article today on NPR

I will take a momentary pause in my cooking posts to highlight a great article that appeared today on with amazing recipes for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving!

This article touched me as I felt that I was reading from my own diary!  I'm so glad we can share this and have amazing options for GF Thanksgivings all over!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Mashed Potato Casserole / String bean Casserole

I have to give thanks to my friend Kathy for the delicious mashed potato casserole recipe. It was in her family for years and I'm happy to share with all of you.

The string bean casserole is a GF twist on an otherwise classic recipe. But first, let's get to the mashed potatoes!

Mashed Potato Casserole
6-8 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed in equal-sized portions (depends on how much you want to make)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
2 cups Asiago cheese (shredded)
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 cups GF Breadcrumbs (I like Aleia's which can be found in Whole Foods)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bring water to a boil on the stovetop in a large stockpot. Rinse the potatoes and add to the boiling water.  Add a pinch of kosher salt to remove starch foam.  Boil potatoes until they are fork-tender.  Drain in colander, and add potatoes back to hot stockpot to mash.  Add butter and milk slowly and continue to mash. Add another pinch of kosher salt and pepper if desired.

Put some of the mashed potatoes in one layer in a pyrex dish or oven-safe casserole.  Sprinkle Asiago and Parmesan cheese.  Add breadcrumbs.  Add another layer of mashed potatoes and repeat the process until you have no more mashed potatoes left.  You can add extra breadcrumbs on the top layer for added crispiness.

Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes until breadcrumbs are toasty and cheese is melted.

String Bean Casserole
1 (10 3/4 oz.) can GF Cream of Mushroom Soup (I used Pacific brand)
3/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp. black pepper
2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed
1 1/3 cups homemade fried onions*

For Fried Onions:
1 red onion, cut into equal sized parts about 1/3 inch wide
1 1/2 cups corn starch
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Add 2 eggs to a bowl and mix.  In separate bowl, add cornstarch, salt and pepper.  Take onion piece and add to egg mixture, then into cornstarch mixture, back into egg mixture and again in cornstarch mixture.  Put on greased cookie sheet and add to oven until onions are crispy (about 25-30 minutes).  Remove from oven and let cool (can be made in advance.

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 -qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup homemade fried onions.
BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot.
STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup onions. Bake 5 min. until onions are golden.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: Citrus-glazed Carrots

Thanks to this easy recipe for citrus-glazed carrots makes your Thanksgiving day spread colorful and healthy - well, at least you will feel healthy eating veggies along with those extra helpings of stuffing and pie!

Here is a quick peek of the carrots simmering (my fiancé's arm!)

    2 1/2 pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut on diagonal into 1/4-inch-thick slices
    2 cups (or more) water
    1 cup fresh orange juice
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
    2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
    2 teaspoons finely grated lime peel
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Combine carrots and 2 cups water in heavy large skillet. Add all remaining ingredients except parsley. If needed, add enough water to just cover carrots. Bring to boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil just until carrots are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, 8 to 9 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrots to medium bowl; cool. Boil cooking liquid in skillet until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. DO AHEAD:  Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover carrots and cooking liquid separately; chill.

Bring reserved cooking liquid to boil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots and boil until just tender and liquid is thickened to light syrup consistency, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl. Sprinkle with parsley.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ode to Thanksgiving: First up, GF stuffing!

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I thought I would post once a day this week with recipes you can make this holiday.  Recipes will include stuffing, sweet potato casserole, citrus-glazed carrots, mashed potato casserole (thanks Kath!), stringbean casserole (sensing a theme??) and pumpkin pie.  Here is a quick glance of the spread we had last year!

Feel free to comment and share your own best Thanksgiving recipes. Here's my toast to kick off the holiday season, starting with Stuffing!

Easy GF stuffing:
1 package Aleia's GF breadcrumbs (Available at Whole Foods)

(if you can't find this, you can use your own GF bread to create your own stuffing crumbs, recipe below)


1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1/2 cup carrots (chopped)
1 cup chopped celery
2 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp Italian seasonings (including rosemary, thyme, sage, majoram)
2 cups chicken broth (I use either Kitchen Basics or Pacific but it tends to be very salty, so you can also substitute for 1 Herb Ox cube dissolved in hot water)

Pre-heat the oven to 350.

Saute the onion, carrots and celery in a large pot on the stove using the butter.  Add in Italian herbs.  When veggies are just getting soft, add in the chicken broth.

Combine this mixture with the breadcrumbs and place in an oven-safe dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.

GF Stuffing Crumbs
One package of your fav GF bread (I used the Prairie Bread from Whole Foods GF Bakery)

Cut slices into small squares (this can easily be done when they are still frozen/slightly thawed).
Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake in 250 degree oven until crispy (keep checking to see).  These can be made in advance and used whenever you are ready to make the stuffing.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Garlic-Lime Asparagus, Steak and Parmesan Polenta

This recipe is great for summer grillin' or can be done in the oven during the colder months.  I've learned this quick trick at last summer's cooking club, but since asparagus is in season, we made this again last night.

Buy a fresh pack of asparagus, rinse and snap off the ends (they break easily).  Add to a grill pan (you may want to cover in foil) or pyrex dish.  Add a drizzle of olive oil, about a half of tablespoon of minced or fresh garlic, and few squirts of lime juice (fresh or from the bottle).  Mix and add to 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.

The lime juice brings out the great flavor in the asparagus and adds a citrus zest to the meal! We made this along with steak and polenta and it came out great!  A special trick for the ready to make polenta - add in fresh Parmesan shavings and mix in while the polenta is simmering on the stove top.  Makes a gooey yummy side dish!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Who wants pie?

This time of year always makes me crave my favorite dessert - apple pie.  Although Celiac disease has made this tricky for me to enjoy, I had to learn to bake it for myself - and Gluten-Free.

Using this recipe (also below) from I was able to adapt the pie recipe to Gluten-Free standards, with a few minor adjustments.

You can use any gluten-free pie crust, or bake your own, but for this recipe I used the GF Pie Crust from Whole Foods GF Bakery.  I put it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes at 350 to thaw the frozen crust to room temperature.  This crust was easy to use but not the best for never became that yummy golden brown color.

I mixed the apple filling mixture almost exactly the same as this recipe, but I probably should have added some more GF flour to the mixture, as it was a bit runny/watery when it was done.

The crumble topping was tricky to make, as the brown sugar I had was in large chunks (I never remember the best way to soften brown sugar without cooking it?!) Any suggestions?  This made the mixing process difficult (and needless to say I had brown sugar all over my counter!)  In the end, the topping tasted good, but some bites were a bit sweeter than others ;). I will have to remember to mix better on my next attempt at this pie.

Another tip: I probably should have allowed the pie to vent while it was cooking.  The filling was pretty tight and the crumble covered most of the pie, leaving little breathing room.

This may have been why the pie was so full of liquid.  After a day in the fridge though, this pie was much better on day 2!

If anyone has other suggestions on apple pies, leave a comment!  Would love to be able to perfect this!! 

Apple Crumb Pie

    * 1 (9 inch) pie shell (GF)
    * 6 cups thinly sliced apples
    * 1 tablespoon lemon juice (optional)
    * 3/4 cup white sugar
    * 2 tablespoons GF flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
    * 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    * 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    * 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
    * 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    * 1/2 cup GF flour
    * 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    * 3 tablespoons butter


   1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
   2. Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Sprinkle with lemon juice if desired. In a small bowl, mix together white sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Sprinkle mixture over apples. Toss until apples are evenly coated. Stir in raisins and walnuts if desired. Spoon mixture into pastry shell.
   3. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter or margarine until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle mixture over apple filling. Cover top loosely with aluminum foil (optional based on cooking times).
   4. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes, until top is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inspired by my own post!

After posting the Fall Harvest recipes last night, I decided to make the brussel sprout recipe again...and it did not disappoint!!

This time I have the pics to prove it!

I made this along with some roasted red potatoes and thinly sliced pork chops (can't get enough pork in one meal!)  The red potatoes I washed, sliced and added to a pyrex dish.  I have this wonderful basil infused olive oil, so I used this to drizzle over the potatoes in the pyrex, along with some salt, pepper and rosemary, mixed it up and put into the oven at 400 degrees.  I let this stay in there for about 20 minutes, checking occasionally to make sure the potatoes did not stick to the pan.  I then lowered the heat to about 275 degrees just to keep it warm as the rest of the meal was cooking.

While this was going on, I made the brussel sprout dish in a 12" skillet, and then transferred this to a bowl when it was done. I used the leftover oil to cook the pork chops.  The bacon and onion flavor really brought out a nice taste to the pork chops, which I seasoned with salt, pepper and rosemary.

I'm looking forward to leftovers tonight!!  Hope you enjoy this post!  Happy eating!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Harvest Recipes: Soup to Pie

Each October, my cooking club's theme is "Fall Harvest," featuring recipes with seasonal fruit and vegetables.  Last year was especially good: potato and leek soup, spaghetti squash with marinara, rosemary and pancetta brussel sprouts, and pumpkin pie.  These were very easy recipes to follow (listed at the bottom of this posting), and were for the most part, Gluten-Free! (Apologies in advance for the lack of pictures...but they were just too good - we ate it all before pics were taken!)

The Potato Leek Soup was from, but was originally from the Well Filled Microwave Cookbook.  It was great to be able to use the microwave, as NYC apts are so tiny.  This soup came out creamy and delish.  Great way to escape a cold evening.  If you are not making this for a group of people, you can put the leftovers in single-serve containers and freeze them.  Awesome lunches for work!

The spaghetti squash was something I've never made before...and it tasted great!  Makes a nice substitute for GF pasta, which packs a ton of calories and sometimes is less than stellar.

The brussel sprouts were definitely the star of the evening.  I am not a fan at all of these little suckers, but with this recipe, I can eat them all day long!  The rosemary and pancetta added such good flavor to the veggies, enriching the savoryness of the dish.

The pumpkin pie recipe was a WeightWatchers recipe, and we prepared the filling the same for both my Gluten-Eating friends and myself, only making a small substitute to the crust. I used Josef's Graham Crakers, crushing them in a plastic bag, and adding to a small ramekin.  We then added the pumpkin pie filling to this and refrigerated for about an hour.  Add some cool whip to this and it's amazing!

Potato, Leek and Sorrel Soup

Total Cooking Time: 32 minutes
Standing Time: None
Serves 4 to 6

1. Place the butter and 1 cup of the water in a large bowl and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, or until the butter melts. Add the leeks and sorrel, cover, and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are well wilted.
2. Add the potatoes and remaining 4 cups water, cover, and microwave on HIGH for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft enough to mash when pressed with a spoon.
3. Add the salt and cream, if using. Whisk to mix and mash the potatoes. Sprinkle the chives, if using, over the top and serve right away.

If sorrel is not available, substitute an equal amount of spinach and 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

Spaghetti Squash Marinara (from epicurious)

Per Serving: 97 cal, 3 g pro, 16 g carb, 4 g fat, 1 g sat. fat,0 mg chol, 4 g fiber, 386 mg sodium

1 med spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 lg Spanish (yellow) onion, cut into long, thin strips
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 sm zucchini, cut into 1/4--4" strips
1 med red bell pepper, seeded, and cut into 1/4--4" strips
2 c canned tomato puree
1 c loosely packed fresh basil leaves
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 sm yellow squash, cut into 1/4--4" strips

1. Prick the spaghetti squash all over with a fork. Place it in a microwaveable dish, and microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it softens. Remove from the microwave, and let it cool. (Be careful; it gets very hot.)

2. When the squash is cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise. Then scrape out the seeds, and throw them away. Set the squash aside.

3. Warm 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 4- to 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring often, for about 10 minutes, or until the onion starts to brown. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary to prevent burning. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, zucchini, yellow squash, and bell pepper to the pot, and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables soften slightly.

4. Add the tomato puree and basil, and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes.

5. While the sauce is simmering, gently remove the spaghetti squash strands with 2 forks, and add them to the sauce. Stir in the salt and pepper, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, or until the squash is heated through.

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Rosemary and Pancetta
Makes 4 servings

6 ounces of pancetta, or thick cut bacon (if you cannot find pancetta), diced
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 shallot, finely chopped
1½ pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Over medium-high heat, fry pancetta, or bacon, with rosemary in a medium sized skillet until crispy and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.
Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat and add butter, swirling pan until butter has melted. Add shallot and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, until soft and translucent. Add brussels sprouts and cook, turning brussels sprouts occasionally, until tender but still bright green about 15 to 18 minutes. Add pancetta to brussels sprouts and cook for 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.

Pumpkin Pie with Graham Cracker Crust

POINTS® Value: 3
Servings:  8
Preparation Time:  10 min
Cooking Time:  65 min
•    3 oz reduced-fat cinnamon graham crackers, about 5 1/2 sheets (I used Josef's GF Graham Crackers)
•    1 tbsp packed light brown sugar
•    2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
•    2 large egg white(s)
•    1 large egg(s)
•    1/2 cup(s) dark brown sugar
•    1/4 tsp table salt
•    2 tsp pumpkin pie spice, or less to taste
•    1 cup(s) canned pumpkin
•    1/2 cup(s) fat-free evaporated milk
•    4 tbsp lite whipped topping
•    Position rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
•    Place graham crackers and light brown sugar in a food processor and process into crumbs (or smash into crumbs in a sealed plastic food bag with a rolling pin). Spoon crumbs into a small bowl; add melted butter and combine with fingers into a coarse meal. Distribute crumbs evenly on bottom and up sides of an ungreased 9-inch pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes before baking. Bake until crust starts to turn golden, about 8 to 10 minutes; remove from oven and let cool.
•    Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer, whip egg whites until frothy; fold in egg, dark brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice and evaporated milk. Beat pumpkin custard until smooth and pour into pie shell. Bake until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 45 to 55 minutes. Slice into 8 pieces, top each piece with 1/2 tablespoon of whipped topping and serve warm or at room temperature. Yields 1 slice per serving.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I heart Betty Crocker: Gluten-Free Brownies

I've heard great things about the GF mixes by Betty Crocker, but was struggling to find any in Manhattan supermarkets.  About a month ago, I was deliciously surprised.  Thanks to my future mother-in-law, who was visting NY from out of state, we now had a box, as she was able to buy it in her local store.

These brownies were so easy to make...even easier than the Pamela's mix, which I've used many times before. All you need are 2 eggs and some butter, mix it together and in about 25 minutes you have amazing brownies.  The batter was more delish than other GF mixes, a good sign for the final product.

These are great to bake when you are going to dinner with non-GF peeps (they won't know the difference!), or just to enjoy all on your own! They taste great, real gooey, rich and very chocolatey. 

The edges got a little hard, and removal from the pan became messy, but I chalk that up to the uneven distribution of the batter as it went into the pan (or maybe not enough cooking spray on the edges causing it to stick).

I'm looking forward to trying the Yellow Cake and Chocolate Chip Cookie mixes next.  Stay tuned...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Food & Wine Summer Cooking Club

Our most recent cooking club featured recipes from Food & Wine magazine.  We had a watermelon salad with feta and mint, and a tangy tomatillo-cumin salsa which we put on top of pan-roasted salmon fillets and chicken breasts.  The best part --- these were all naturally gluten-free!!

I apologize for the lack of good pictures, but it was so good I forgot to shoot pics before eating!

Recipes below:

Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint


  1. 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  2. 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  3. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  4. 1 teaspoon Tabasco
  5. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  6. One 8-pound seedless watermelon, scooped into balls with a melon baller or cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks (10 cups), chilled
  7. 1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled (2 cups)
  8. 1 1/4 cups pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped (optional)
  9. 1 small sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  10. 1 cup coarsely chopped mint leaves
In a large bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, salt, Tabasco and pepper. Add the watermelon, feta, olives and onion and toss gently. Garnish with the mint and serve.

Tangy Tomatillo-Cumin Salsa


  1. 1 pound tomatillos, husked and cored
  2. 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  4. 1 jalapeño, stemmed and halved
  5. 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
  6. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  7. 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  8. Salt
  1. In a large saucepan, cover the tomatillos, onion, garlic and jalapeño with water. Bring to a boil and simmer until the tomatillos lose their bright green color, 8 minutes. Drain, transfer to a blender and let cool.
  2. In a small, dry skillet, toast the cumin seeds over moderate heat until fragrant, shaking the pan, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder and let cool slightly.
  3. Grind the cumin to a powder and add it to the blender along with the cilantro and sugar; puree until smooth. Season the salsa with salt and serve chilled.
These recipes were easy to prepare and took about 45 minutes for both prep work and cooking times. Tomatillos can be found in specialty food stores like Whole Foods.  For the pan-roasting skills, I tapped into this recipe as I never did that before!

Hope you enjoy and happy eating!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Gluten-Free Cooking Club

Five years ago, in September 2004, my cooking club was born, where a group of 8 girls would meet once a month at another members' apartment in NYC, to make a home-cooked meal on a budget of $10 per person.

Three years ago, in September 2006, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, resulting in an inability to consume any gluten - a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and malt.  I would need to eat Gluten-Free for the rest of my life in order to stay healthy.

Besides experiencing the normal feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, fear about this huge lifestyle change, I was also concerned about cooking club.  How would this group adjust to my needs?  Should I just drop-out?

The answer was no.  I took this as a challenge to continue to be a part of this club, while making special arrangements for my portions to be gluten-free.  The group was extremely accommodating, and they all quickly adjusted to ask about my needs.

This blog will serve as a Gluten-Free recipe guide, sharing the meals we have cooked in the past, and posting the new recipes we try each month.

I hope you find these recipes useful and I encourage you to post comments.  Let me know if you have any suggestions on future meals that you would like us to make gluten-free. 

I am proud to have conquered this fear of GF cooking, and I am excited to have you all along for the journey as this September we enter another year of cooking club together.

I welcome you all as honorary members of the The Gluten-Free Cooking Club.