There are some animated movies I absolutely love. Like Ratatouille. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. And Up and Despicable Me…“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!!!”Yeah…there are several that rank way up there on my list. But this is not a post about movies. This is a post about “Pasta Ratatouille”or Ratatouille Pasta –whichever you prefer. This is what we had for dinner last night. And lunch today (don’t tell my allergist I “backed-to-backed”a meal!). It’s too good. I couldn’t resist.
If you’ve read a few of my posts,you’ll know that I like cooking with my hands. And tasting as I go. And I love things that I can throw in a pot together. And I hate measuring. It’s true. I hate,hate,hate measuring.
If my darling husband had listened to me at all when I told him to go relax on the couch in front of our dark,cable-less,channel-less tv,our dinner would have been mediocre. Because I would have thrown all the veggies in a pan together. Oh,the horror! Thank you,B,for keeping me from sliding down the treacherous slope that is careless cooking.
The key,apparently,is to sautee the veggies separately.
Ratatouille: sans garlic,but only because I’m allergic 2 small onions 1 medium eggplant 3 medium zucchini 1 yellow pepper 1 red pepper 1 green pepper (if you have one in the fridge…we did not) 1 can (28 oz) GF tomatoes –preferably diced –we didn’t dice them this time or fresh tomatoes –several,seeded,peeled,and diced 1 bunch of fresh basil –chopped –more if you like more,less if you like less. dried basil dried oregano olive oil salt and pepper to taste
In a large pan over medium heat,heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions when hot. Cook until they turn golden and take them out and set aside.
Add another 2-ish tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and when it’s hot,add the zucchini. Cook until soft and take them out and set aside. We put all the veggies in one bowl once they were cooked.
Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan,and when it’s hot,add the eggplant. The eggplant will soak up the oil,which is why you need a little more. But it’s olive oil,so it doesn’t count (in my book,anyway). Cook until they start to soften. I like my eggplant to still have substance,so unless you like it squishy,keep an eye on it and stir it regularly. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. When they’re soft,take them out and add them to the bowl of cooked veggies.
Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and when it’s hot,add the peppers,stirring frequently until they are soft (but not too soft!). Take them out and add them to the other veggies.
Add to the pan the tomatoes. Stir frequently and cook over a medium heat. Add the chopped fresh basil,dried basil,oregano,salt,and pepper to taste.
While this is cooking,put a pot of water on to boil and cook your pasta. Since I’m still off the rice,and because quinoa pasta really is my favorite,we went with Ancient Harvest GF Veggie Curls Pasta. I love it. And if you can’t find it at your local grocery store,it’s Amazonable in Boxes of 12. Always a treat if it can come directly to the door.
You’ll just know when it’s time to add the veggies to the tomatoes –your nose will twitch and your stomach will growl and before you know what happened,you’ll be adding the veggies. It’s okay. It happens. When the pasta is ready (follow the instructions on the box and start tasting for your preferred texture after about 7 minutes),I like to mix it in with the ratatouille. Just to make sure each and every noodle has some ratatouille goodness on it.
Garnish with fresh basil (unless you used it all in the ratatouille –oops) and my favorite –shaved romano cheese. Thanks to D&W next door who had a wedge! I’ll replace it tomorrow. I like to shave it with a vegetable peeler instead of the shredder. But that’s just me.
This was the perfect comfort food on a cold,cold night in LA. And it went great with a bottle of red.
I saw this recipe on one of my favorite GF blogs,Art of Gluten Free Baking. A beautiful and delightful blog,btw,so if you haven’t stopped by there –get on it! There are a bunch of recipes over there that I can’t wait to try and now that we’ve dumped cable tv (yes,you read that right),I think I’ll have a lot more baking and experimenting time. Since I’m still off the rice and potato (flours and starches included),I will be attempting many of Jeanne’s recipes with alternative flours. Thank goodness this cornbread is exactly,and only,that…Corn. Bread.
This was the easiest cornbread I’ve ever made. And I have to put it out there. I’m secretly (not so secretly) a Southern girl at heart. Born and bred a Yankee raised in North Carolina,I often crave the foods I had to go to a friend’s house to get. Cornbread is one of those delectable treats. This one is perfectly moist yet crumbly in a good way. Nothing the perfect pat of honey butter won’t hold together long enough to get it from your hand to your mouth (fork what?)…Or salty butter and a drop of molasses. Ooh…molasses. Thank you,Jeanne,for sharing this recipe on your blog!
Special equipment needed -9″,10″,or 11″ cast iron skillet or an 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ baking pan –I used a 9″cast iron skillet and it worked beautifully
Ingredients 1 C (130g) gluten-free corn flour (like masa harina) –I used Maseca 1 C (115) gluten-free corn meal (I like medium grind) –I used Arrowhead Mills 2 tsp-3 TBL granulated sugar –I tossed in a small fistful 2 tsp baking powder –I use Rumford Aluminum-Free Baking Powder 1/2 tsp baking soda –I use Trader Joe’s Baking Soda 1/2 tsp salt –I didn’t really measure 2 large or extra large eggs – for a vegan cornbread,try Ener-G Gluten Free Egg Replacer –although I used eggs and dairy. 3/4 C yogurt or sour cream (170g) (dairy or dairy substitute) –I used sour cream and it was AMAZING! 3/4 C milk (180ml) milk substitute) - I used milk 2 TBL butter (or butter substitute) - I used butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When oven is heated to temperature,place butter in skillet and place skillet in oven to preheat and to melt the butter.
As skillet is preheating,in a large bowl,mix together corn flour,corn meal,baking powder,baking soda,sugar and salt.
In a medium bowl,whisk together eggs,yogurt,and milk until fairly smooth. Add egg mixture to corn mixture and mix with a large spoon until combined.
Carefully remove hot skillet from oven. Butter should be melted. Carefully swirl butter around the skillet to make sure it covers bottom of pan fully. Pour batter into skillet. Place skillet back into oven and bake for about 20 minutes–until top is golden brown and bread is firm. The top will have cracked a bit–that’s fine. Remove from oven and cool in skillet on top of stove.
Cut into wedges and serve. Makes a great accompaniment to soup or chili! Can also be cut into cubes (when cool) and used for Thanksgiving dressing or stuffing.
Here’s what ours looked like –in the oven pic there’s a tray of carrots and polenta roasting underneath:
This literally took 25 minutes from start to finish and kept us happy for the almost two days it lasted in our house before it was gone. The night we made it we served it with Turkey Bolognese (Revised) over Spaghetti Squash.
I’m a huge fan of Gluten Free Girl and the Chef and was so excited for her to see this article in the LA Times. And many thanks to JK for sending me the link in the first place!
By Rene Lynch,Los Angeles Times November 11,2010
The long narrow plate arrived at her table,and,like any good food blogger,Shauna James Ahern paused to take it all in:roasted red piquillo peppers — plump with a lentil stuffing — alongside graceful strands of quick-pickled green beans and red onions,and emerald pools of cilantro-ginger sauce.
“When people hear ‘gluten-free,’the reaction can be ‘poor thing,’and I just want to say,‘Look at what’s on my plate — does this look like deprivation to you?’”
In the blogosphere,Ahern,44,is best known as Gluten-Free Girl. She’s a Pacific Northwest blogger who was diagnosed in 2005 with celiac disease,ending decades of mysterious ailments and endless medical exams and tests. At one point,she was largely subsisting on jarred baby food because she was too sick to cook for herself. She says the crippling symptoms vanished,overnight,when she stopped eating wheat,barley and rye and anything else that contained gluten.
Any major life change is hard. It’s scary. Going GF usually requires a huge shift in how one approaches meals,shopping,eating out,and socializing in general. These are all challenges that take time to get accustomed to. There will be slips. There will be times when you just want to throw your hands up and eat the way you used to and deal with the pain. But it’s not worth it. I promise. It’s not. We are,by nature,highly adaptable creatures. (Except me to the cold. I only like to visit cold. Don’t want to live in cold all the time.) If you’ve recently been diagnosed and are feeling overwhelmed –It. Will. Get. Better. It will get easier. You will become a pro at living Gluten Freely. If you need guidance,advice,help,someone to talk to,email me. I know the road you’re on and it helps to have a guide. I wish I’d had one when I first started. I learn so much from everyone I meet and I love to share every bit of information and all the recipes and stories. It all helps provide a frame of reference and a sense of perspective…and it’s a reminder that this is all totally,completely,one hundred percent doable.
I thought I was done adapting in the realm of food until this week. My allergies have been out of control –yes,there’s something in the air in LA these days and everyone seems to be sniffling,but this is like I’ve never experienced it. Sneezing,runny nose,itchy eyes –crazy. Way worse than my near forgotten East Coast allergies. And I’ve been really tired lately. So I went to the allergist. Three years ago I was tested for food allergies and I didn’t have a single one. Now I’m allergic to nearly everything. And all my favorite foods:Verboten. At least for the time being. So although I have pretty much mastered the art of eating Gluten Free,now I have to eliminate Apples,Bananas,Beef,Cinnamon,Garlic,Grapefruit,Lettuce (Seriously!?),Mustard,Orange,Parsley,Pineapple,Pistachio,Plum,Potato,Rice,Rye,Watermelon,&Wheat.
Obviously the Rye and the Wheat are no problem. But potatoes?!?!?!?! Potatoes might possibly be my favorite thing in the world. Baked,fried,hash browned –I don’t care. You can boil them and I’ll be thrilled. All my favorite foods. Sigh. I used to live on garlic. Even though it has been making me feel pretty awful lately. And until Tuesday,I had started four to five mornings a week with an “Orange Joey” –Orange juice and banana in the blender like my dad used to make when I was a kid –his name is Joe,hence the “Joey”. My husband and I have evolved a bit,however,and we were adding pineapple and berries. Guess the berries are a-okay. I haven’t had a smoothie since Tuesday. And all I want in the morning is a big glass of juice. Thankfully,grapes are a-okay,as well as dairy,so wine and cheese is still on the menu. But how am I going to stay healthy?
When Dr. E. first gave me the list of foods I’m suddenly allergic to,I was a little shell shocked and it took a couple hours for it to hit me. I was on my way home on the phone with Em (I was on speaker,don’t worry,Mom!) feeling totally on top of it and telling her that I am excited about the new challenge and then five minutes later I was in my kitchen with a box full of pretty much everything from our cupboards. And I was sitting on the floor near tears,totally freaking out. We didn’t have anything I could eat! And last weekend my husband and I had sat down to prepare a menu of our dinners for the week. For the last five days,I have vascillated between states of confident certainty that this is just a little bump in the road and I can still be a social,healthy foodie,and utter despair that this thirty day period of elimination of all these trigger foods will be a lifelong endeavor. I’ve noticed the moments of overwhelm occur after I’ve ingested something on that list. Like the delicious Conte’s Gluten Free Cheese Ravioli I had for lunch on Wednesday. I only had four of them,which is one serving,but they knocked me out. I felt like I got gluphed! Rice flour and parsley. Oh. So for the rest of the afternoon,I was low and overwhelmed and panicked about how or if I’d ever eat anything again. I got out of that slump and made Lamb Chops for the first time ever.
They were delicious.
And I felt terrific afterward.
And that’s when I knew it was going to be okay.
So if you’re new to living gluten freely and you’re feeling overwhelmed,I totally get it. You are not alone. It. Will. Be. Okay. You will master GF. I’ll figure out life for the next thirty days without all my favorite foods and hopefully,like Dr. E. says,we’ll be able to reintroduce these foods one at a time and maybe some will be okay. Maybe all of them will be! Or at least potatoes.
Here’s the recipe for Wednesday night’s meal:
Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Pearl Onion Reduction Rub chops with dried Rosemary,Thyme,Basil,Salt,and Pepper and let sit for 15-20 minutes. In a sauce pan over medium-high heat,combine 1/3 of a cup of balsamic,6 or 7 whole pearl onions (peeled),3/4 of a cup of GF (and safe for me) broth until it reduces –about 15 minutes. When the sauce is almost done,toss the chops into a hot sautee pan with a little bit of olive oil for about 3 minutes per side,or to desired doneness. Plate and ladle the sauce over the chops.
Rutabaga and Cauliflower Mash Boil Peeled Rutabagas until they are soft (about 30-35 minutes) Steam Cauliflower until it is soft (about 5-10) Toss both into the food processor until it’s reached the desired consistency (like mashed potatoes,except without the potatoes). I add celery seeds and salt and butter. Yum.
So…that’s how I can stay a foodie without all my favorite foods. I guess I have to find new favorite foods. But,according to Dr. E.,I can’t eat them back to back or more than three times in a week. So many rules!!! Obviously,I have to develop significantly stronger skills in the area of planning ahead. Instead of just planning our dinners for the week,I’m planning my breakfasts and lunches,too.
But here’s the bottom line. I can still eat a whole bunch of different,delicious meals. Going just Gluten Free seems even easier,doesn’t it?