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.