Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Exploring Gluten-Free Baking & Cooking

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There have been a few difficult moments since I started this gluten-free diet. At the football game on Sunday my dad bought us brats before we arrived. I shouldn't be eating them anyway because of the MSG in the brats themselves, but now that I'm off wheat, the bun is a no-no, too. His heart was in the right place, but he didn't realize I couldn't eat mine. I discretely passed mine to my husband C and tried to put it out of my mind by munching on a Cherry Pie LaraBar instead. (They're delicious, by the way). It was not at all the same, of course, but fairly satisfying and completely distracting.

On Saturday
I tried some really disgusting gluten-free pasta in my ordinarily fabulous traditional mac & cheese. It was so disappointing that I immediately researched better options. I'm excited to give gluten-free mac & cheese another try.

Last night C was off work and decided to eat a turkey pot pie for dinner. The smell was almost overwhelmingly tempting. I wanted just one bite so very badly. But I resisted. And promised myself I'd get to work on a gluten-free pot pie right away.

One of the things I've most looked forward to since leaving my job is spending more time cooking and baking. I know now that the recipes I had in mind must take a different shape than what I'd planned on. But that is okay because I can already tell that certain aspects of my health problems are responding favorably to this change. My tummy issues are markedly improved. So even if the migraines stay the same, as long as they don't get worse, I need to maintain these modifications for the foreseeable future.

I'm excited to try gluten-free baking and add new naturally gluten-free recipes to my arsenal. C and I are hosting his parents for Thanksgiving, so I'd like to be able to serve scrumptious gluten-free versions of our favorite traditional dishes. But I certainly don't want to try to serve anything I haven't made before. I know a lot of trial and error will be required to discover the tweaks that will make my gluten-free baked goods worth consuming.

And I plan to use my best friend as a guinea pig for some new naturally gluten-free meals later this week when she visits for a few days. We have very similar tastes, including a love for dishes that C has absolutely no interest in eating. Eating in will be easier than going out while I'm adjusting to my new diet, and I think it is much more fun to entertain anyway.

Without further ado, here are some of the recipes I'm planning to try. I'll report back with reviews and any tips I discover along the way.

- Moroccan Chickpea Stew (from Cooking Light, November 2007)
- Fried Polenta (from Food Network, Giada De Laurentiis)
- Make Mine a Gluten-Free Cheese Sandwich (from Karina's Kitchen: Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess)
- Kicked Up Baked Mac & Cheese (from Karina's Kitchen: Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess)
- Broccoli & Cheese Soup (from Cooking Light, January 2002)
- Brown Sugar & Spice Pumpkin Bars (from Karina's Kitchen: Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess)
- My Favorite Gluten-Free Pie Crust (from Gluten-Free Girl)
- Basic Stuffing (from Food Network, Sara Moulton)
- Mashed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Caramelized Shallots (from Epicurious.com)
- Cauliflower Gratin (from Food Network, Ina Garten)
- Green Beans with Vinaigrette (from Martha Stewart's Everyday Food)
- Spicy Citrus-Herb Harvest Turkey (from Domino Magazine, Bryant Terry)
- Sweet Potato Casserole (from Gluten-Free Mommy)

By the way, the naturally gluten-free beef stew I made on Saturday was fabulous. The luscious chunks of sweet potato made it special and were my favorite part of the dish.

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