Happy Day After Thanksgiving to all! I hope this day finds you well fed and in good health and spirits.
Each year I make a huge Thanksgiving dinner for my husband's family, with the occasional addition of some of my family or other friends. Yesterday was no different. We had (if I do say so myself) a pretty amazing meal followed, of course, by some pretty amazing pie. Now, I won't get into all of the other stuff. It's all pretty standard - turkey, cranberries, potatoes, stuffing, etc. But, I will talk about pie!!
This year was my first Thanksgiving being gluten free so, of course, my major concern was pie. What would I have for dessert? Well, I should have known Flour Chylde Bakery would come through for me. In addition to an assortment of regular pies for everyone else, I picked up a pumpkin pie from Flour Chylde Bakery in Novato, CA (just north of me) and, as I expected, it was delicious! The pie is described on the menu as a combination of pumpkin and yams laced with brandy. Sounds yummy, huh? Well, it was ridiculously yummy! Better than most wheat crust pies I have had. The whole thing, crust and filling, was rich and dense and topped with a sweet crumb topping.
Now a couple of things must be said here. First, if you have nut allergies or sensitivities, this is not the bakery for you. Many of their "wheat free/gluten free" baked goods at Flour Chylde are made using a base of almond flour. The almond flour creates a delicate flavor and rich, moist texture, but is certainly not for those who have adverse reactions to nuts. Second, this is not an exclusively gluten free bakery. The primary selection here is made from traditional wheat flours. They do note in a disclaimer on their website that they do clean everything thoroughly, but that there is a chance of cross contamination and that, "For those who are highly sensitive to wheat flour, glutens, nuts or any other food allergens we suggest that you do NOT risk eating our baked goods." My reaction to gluten is not severe so I have taken my chances here several times and, for the record, have never had a reaction to any of their baked goods.
With all that said, I cannot recommend this place highly enough. They make a selection of other gluten free items that are available year round and are delicious and certainly hit the spot if you are aching for a really yummy baked good and a hot cup of coffee or you need a gluten free cake for a party. Be sure to check out the website to see the full menu.
This week, my Gluten Free Friday post is simple! Wednesday, our boy had a Scout meeeting smack in the middle of dinner time. So, rather than take the whole family out late for a frustrating meal in a restaurant or trying to race to get something interesting together at home, we decided to make it simple all the way around. Easy dinner for the kids before the meeting and then, pick up dinner for The Mr. and me on the way home. The question, of course, "What do we pick up?"
I recently read an advertisement for Lotus Cuisine of India here in San Rafael mentioning that they specialize in gluten free food. I had no idea! Now, I do realize that most of the entrees on a standard Indian restaurant menu are already gluten free. The excitement about Lotus is all in the menu and how it is put together. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that the food is delicious!
The best part for me...appetizers! So hard to find a truly satisfying restaurant appetizer that is gluten free and I was definitely in the mood for something fried. The Spinach Pakaros more than did the trick. I followed them up with a meal of gluten free Naan, Chicken Tikka Masala, and Lamb Rogan Josh.
The thing about the menu is that each item or section is marked to let you know exactly which dishes are gluten free - no guessing or asking a million questions of your server. Lotus is a must if you like Indian food, gluten free or not. I would have taken pictures of the meal but it disappeared too fast and who wants to see a bunch of empty dirty plates and take out containers?
So with my Dad and Step-Mother in town, my sister and I decided, that rather than go out to dinner which offers little opportunity for visiting and is always tough with kids, we would instead have a potluck at her house. I offered to bring the entree and, of course, I wanted to make sure it was something gluten-free.
Thinking...thinking... well, enchiladas of course! This is a recipe I got from the wife of one of Mr. Spilly's business associates years ago. I don't use it often, but when I do, I always wonder why I don't make them more often. I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I assure you that on the outside they look like regular old enchiladas. On the inside, however, they are uniquely delicious!
FYI - Naturally, if you want to make sure these stay gluten-free, be sure to check the ingredients in the enchilada sauce and tortillas you choose. You never know and believe it or not, my local market carries corn tortillas that contain wheat flour so, be careful.
Fiesta Chicken Enchiladas
2 cups chicken breast
1 cup chicken broth & 1/2 cup water for poaching chicken
2 cans (10 ounces each) mild enchilada sauce
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilis, undrained
1/3 cup green onion (I always use a little more)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack Cheese, divided
10 corn tortillas (7-8")
1 can sliced black olives
Pre-cook the chicken as follows: Season 12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast with salt & pepper. In a large skillet, place chicken along with 1 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender and no longer pink. Turn about halfway for even cooking. Drain well. This yields about 2 cups of chopped cooked chicken.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Chop the chicken well and place in a large bowl. Add sour cream, chilis, onion and salt. Stir to combine. Stir in 1 cup of Monterey Jack Cheese. Pour 1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce into bottom of 13x9 baking dish.
Tricky part: Warm a pan on the stove - preferably non-stick. Place a tortilla in the pan and warm slightly on each side. Place about 1/3 cup of chicken filling in the warm tortilla and roll I use my 1/3 cup measuring spoon to ensure I divide evenly). Place seam side down in prepared pan. Continue until all 10 enchiladas are rolled and lined up in your pan. Warming the tortillas as you roll is essential! Otherwise they crack and your enchiladas will fall apart.
Drizzle the second can of enchilada sauce over the enchiladas evenly, spreading if necessary to make sure tops of enchilada are covered. Sprinkle sliced olives over enchiladas, followed by the second cup of Monterey Jack Cheese. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and bubbly. Enjoy!!
Even though eating gluten free, whether by necessity or by choice, is not all that rare these days and there is certainly no shortage of great gluten free blogs out there, I've decided to make Fridays here "Gluten Free Friday". Of course, the rest of the week I will still be up to posting my crafty sewing thoughts and family related stories. This decision came about for two reasons: one, I can, and two, this will not only inspire me to think more about expanding and maintaining my gluten free commitment, but will allow others to benefit from various new discoveries that I make as well.
The content of Gluten Free Friday will include recipes, reviews and info on products that I try, reflections on my experiences being gluten free, links to sites containing information on being gluten free and having Celiac Disease. For those who come here looking for sewing stuff, but can still happily eat a chocolate chip scone or blueberry muffin with your coffee in the morning, I hope you will bear with me. Since I have been such a slow starter with this blog in the first place, I think creating a separate blog just for my gluten free thoughts would just bog me down.
So to start, I wanted to mention that this week I attended my first meeting of the Gluten Intoloerance Group of Marin. This group is co-founded by my new-found friend, Alison St. Sure, author of the blog Sure Foods Living, and Sheila Wagner, a local physical therapist and nutritionist. What a great pair with tons of useful information presented in a light and entertaining way. This was a great meeting for me to start with since the theme of the night was "Back to Basics" where Allison presented a thorough list of what the gluten intolerant can and can't safely eat. So many ingredients are hidden sources of gluten! I was aware of much of this information through my doctor and other reading, but it was a great reminder and I definitely learned some new things too (like the names of a few tasty gluten free beers to get me through the summer). In addition, Sheila talked about lunches and snacks with ideas for getting through the day when you are out running around and not sure if any GF foods will be available. She had all sorts of tricks to share about carrying snacks and supplies in your car or while traveling, so you can be confident you can eat safely on the run. As an added bonus, the guest speakers of the evening were a brother and sister who intend to open a gluten free market in San Rafael. So excited about that and as soon as more information is available I will post it here.
So, this meeting made it a great week to be gluten free. Click into Allison's blog to read lots of great information. She posts about other common food allergens as well and you can join the Gluten Intolerence Group while your at it. If you don't live in Marin, check around - you may find a group in your area.