Under Pressure

As I think I’ve mentioned about a thousand times, I use a lot of chicken (and vegetable stock). And years ago, I realized that I was spending a small fortune to buy stock. I much prefer to make it myself, and it really doesn’t take that much active time.

In the past, I’ve set a pot on the back burner of the stove, added some aromatics like onion and garlic, tossed in some seasoning like salt and peppercorn, added the chicken carcasses I’ve bagged and tossed in the freezer. And for the next couple of hours, the stock or broth or whatever you prefer to call it would simmer away. I put the liquid in one-cup size containers and freeze them until needed. Continue reading “Under Pressure”

Risotto Milanese

Our first meal in Milan was this delicious, beautiful rice dish. While it is technically a first course or served with Osso Bucco, my husband and I devoured a huge serving of Risotto Milanese and declared ourselves happy. I will confess to eating this dish a, um, few more times over the next week.

And, of course, making it the moment we got home. Risotto is a perfect gluten-free dish — elegant and delicious.

Risotto has a reputation for being challenging and time-consuming. This is only sort of true. Yes, you need to keep on eye on the pan while the rice is absorbing liquid, but this generally happens in about thirty to forty minutes. Constant stirring is important, but you can also find time to do other tasks, including drinking a glass of wine!

Gluten-Free Pulled Pork

I think of pulled pork as the beginning of a very good week of leftovers (see this article for ideas on what to do after you’ve made delicious pulled pork). It’s also a truly bargain dish — pork shoulder (also known as pork butt) goes on sale frequently, in quantities that make leftovers a no brainer.

If I were Southern, I suspect I’d be appalled at my version, but since I’m Californian with a full-time job, I will confess the ease of throwing pork into the crockpot and letting it simmer away all day is my idea of a good time. Walking into the house after a long day and smelling dinner? Priceless.

Since I’m committing heresy left and right with the recipe, I’ll confess to another secret: I don’t brown my pork before putting it into the crockpot. Phew! So happy to get that off my chest. I simply toss it, well seasoned (salt generously and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight), into the crockpot. The rest of the seasoning is in the braising liquid.

(Yes, pulled pork is naturally gluten-free, but some people add soy sauce to their braising liquid. I like the idea of adding that additional level of umami, but will remind you to use to GF soy sauce or tamari!)

See notes below for ideas on making pulled pork in your pressure cooker!

Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Topping

I think gluten-free versions of “cream of anything” soups are like unicorns. Very expensive unicorns. I’ve heard rumors of companies like Progresso making GF cream of mushroom soup, but haven’t found it at my local store. And I use soups like this so infrequently, it doesn’t make sense to order from my usual sources.

Luckily, I stumbled across a great Smitten Kitchen version of a green bean casserole with homemade mushroom sauce that was easily (easily!) converted to gluten-free. Add crispy fried onions, and you’ve got yourself that most traditional of Thanksgiving dishes — one nobody will ever know is GF. Though they will know it’s incredibly delicious!

Rice Pilaf

I live in a neighborhood filled with Armenian and Lebanese businesses. Or, as I like to think of it, filled with Armenian and Lebanese food. Falafel (sadly, not available to me as nobody around here makes a gluten-free version), kebabs, hummus (oh, the hummus!), and, of course, rice pilaf. Unfortunately, many of the establishments in my ‘hood cook their pilaf with wheat-based vermicelli, so finding tasty pilaf is a bit tougher than it should be.

Hence, making my own. This recipe is fairly simple, and you can make the rest of the meal while the rice is cooking and resting. I like doing this in the oven, but you can do it on the stovetop if you prefer. I was discussing the recipe via Facebook with a friend; she talked about how her mother made pilaf…and there was no skimping on the butter! I try to be a little more health conscious these days, but do sometimes increase the amount of butter when I make this dish.

Seriously, butter. Use it liberally!

Traditional Lasagna

I’m not a huge tomato sauce person, but lasagna is one of my weaknesses. How could I resist? Gooey cheese, layers of meat and noodles, that sauce pulling the whole thing together. And because I couldn’t find gluten-free lasagna noodles ahead of time, I bought 12 boxes from Amazon. That’s a whole lotta lasagna.

The way I figure it, I have enough noodles to last me several years!*

It takes about five minutes of Internet research to discover that everyone has a favorite lasagna recipe, ranging from quick to laborious. Or, there is no wrong way to make a lasagna. Take what works for you and don’t worry too much about doing it “right” — as long as it’s tasty, you’re good.

This recipe involves making your own Bolognese sauce, so it will take some time (think of a terrific sauce simmering on the stove all afternoon, that’s what we’re doing here). Letting the sauce simmer develops a rich flavor — one I find hard to replicate with store-bought sauces (which, of course, I use when time is working against me).

As you will see in the notes, you can skip steps 1 − 6 if you are pressed for time.

* — Okay, truth: those noodles will be gone in no time since I’m testing different lasagna styles.

Chicken, Sausage, and Spinach Lasagna

It should be obvious by now that I love meals that result in lots of yummy leftovers. Lasagna fits that need perfectly. It’s such a flexible dish — there are so many ways to make it, it can be made ahead of time and popped in the oven later, and it’s a great dish for those nights when it’s your turn to host your book club.

Because my local grocery stores don’t carry gluten-free lasagna noodles, I bought a case from Amazon.com. The price was fantastic, and knowing I have the noodles handy opens up a wide range of of possibilities…including lasagna roll-ups and cupcakes! Once you have your favorite base recipe, it’s easy to try different serving ideas.

I know that most people think of red meat sauce and loads of cheese when they think lasagna (I know I do), but this recipe takes the dish in a whole different direction. You can continue with the Italian flavor profile, mix in a little Mexican or Southwest American, or go wild with Caribbean spices. Whatever tickles your palate.

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