Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Date Night & Gluten-Free Cooking

You made it past Date #1.

(A small victory)

And, you were creative enough (and listened on date one) to think of a non-dinner, spontaneous Date #2.

(Nice Work)

And now, you've mustered up enough balls to cook for her.

(Congrats)

"Sure...but, I'm gluten-free"

(Wait....what?!?!)

Living in the days of gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw, paleo, whole, or organic, it's easy to become inundated with cooking restrictions. But in reality, those words shouldn't be taboo - it's actually easier than you think.  If you can confidently cook a gluten-free meal, in the words of Vince Vaughn, "you're money baby."

I have a cookbook that contains "1,000 gluten free recipes" and there are hundreds of people sharing thousands of gluten-free recipes online. But I want to keep it simple, besides you're probably stressing about too many other things:

The Basics:
  • Gluten is found in wheat, barley, rye
  • Gluten is not synonymous with carbs (potatoes do not contain gluten)
  • It's easy to eat and cook gluten-free


The Guidelines:
  • Vegetables, fruit, quinoa, rice, beef, pork, seafood are all safe
  • Beef and pork can naturally be difficult to digest, if you both like seafood, try fish
  • If you want a theme, focus on other cultures - Mexican (primarily corn-based) or Asian (primarily rice-based)
  • Since she'll be cooking with you or watching, she'll say something if you misstep
  • Most packaged food will say if it's gluten-free or not


From Experience:
  • If you want to cook pasta, buy the blended gluten-free pasta (made with a combination of rice, buckwheat, and potato flours). Rice flour is too grainy by itself and surprisingly companies have done a pretty good job at perfecting the ratios
  • New Grist and Bard's are both pretty good gluten-free beers
  • Wine is fine
  • Gluten-free bread or english muffins may look and feel like solid, indestructible miniature frisbees but you just need to microwave them


The Nitty Gritty:
  • If she's extremely sensitive to gluten, watch cross-contaminating cutting boards and knives
  • Many sauces contain gluten as a binding agent (check labels!)
  • Regular soy sauce, BBQ sauce, and most salad dressings have gluten
  • Some commercial soups use gluten products to thicken the soup


Some Pretty Fool-Proof (Personally-Tested) Ideas:
  • Appetizers (while she watches you cook): Wine, Hummus, Cucumbers, Rice Crackers, Olives, Cheese
  • American: Cast-iron, grass-fed rib-eye steak + Sauteed Portabella Mushrooms & Sweet Onions + Quinoa (the easiest thing to cook in the world)
  • Seafood: One pot - Salmon/tilapia/haddock sauteed with chives, tomatoes, and green squash in gluten-free soy sauce + Rice/Quinoa
  • Quick Seafood: Seared tuna steaks (with some dry cajun spices) + Sauteed okra or green beans in olive oil
  • Mexican: Make your own fajitas - Thinly sliced skirt steak + Red onions, Avocado, Shredded Cheese, Tomatoes, Salsa + Corn tortillas
  • Quick Asian: Stir-fried vegetables + Shrimp + Jasmine rice
  • Italian: Gluten-free spiral pasta + Homemade sauce (mushrooms, onions, sausage/ground beef (watch the casing), basil) + Fresh green salad with Oil & Vinegar
  • Breakfast: Yogurt + Fruit. More Fruit. Scrambled Eggs + Gluten-Free Toast + Tomatoes. Gluten-Free English Muffins + Laughing Cow + Smoked Salmon + Capers. Cinnamon Chex (I know...a sugar-laden carb...and not sexy...but God did I love Cinnamon Chex went I was gluten-free)

4 comments:

  1. Need not have written this entry.

    Why?

    Because when faced with "Wait, I'm gluten-free!" the only acceptable response is "Get the fuck out of my apartment, you hippie. And take your vegan friends with you."

    ReplyDelete
  2. Unless, you know, the girl is gluten-intolerant - you feed her pasta, pizza, and bread then she feels terrible, bloated, has stomach pains and is tired the whole night...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry but someone that eats 'gluten-free' products are allergic to gluten! It's not a choice. My boyfriend hates not being able to eat things like everyone else he can't even drink beer unless it's gluten free. Being vegan and vegetarian is a choice, being allergic to gluten isn't.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I am impressed by the quality of information on this website. There are a lot of good resources here. I am sure I will visit this place again soon. Gluten Recipes

    ReplyDelete