By Heather Marshall, Tri County Celiac Support Group
Winter is a time of cold and snow here in the northern climates, a time to snuggle in the warmth of our homes. Thankfully, looking out the window right now I only see a dusting of snow on the grass. So we’ve been lucky on that measure, though it has been quite cold.
Winter brings memories from my childhood of a lopsided snowman and the half igloo forts from which snowball wars were waged. I remember the comfort foods I greedily ate after coming in from the cold. My mother’s homemade chicken soup with these extra-large fat egg noodles and buttered rye bread, my friends’ moms’ baked macaroni ‘n cheese or southern fried chicken with pan-fried poppy seed bread, even my grandmother’s potato and kraut pierogi or the grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup. Happy and warm tummies always abounded after our time of play.
Those with celiac or gluten sensitivities lament that comfort foods from our childhoods have become, like Proust’s Madeleine, remembrances of things past. Not so! There are so many ways in which to tweak a meal to resemble the dishes of days gone by.
Many strides in gluten-free foods have been made in the past five years. There are more manufacturers out there making gluten-free soups, noodles of all sorts, breads and even pierogi. Noodles that you can add to your homemade soups or pasta meals are made from corn, rice, or my favorite — quinoa. Breads, found in the freezer section, no longer feel like sawdust in your mouth, they have flavor, softness and give to them. And wonderful gluten-free caraway bread feeds my need for rye. You can buy frozen bagged pierogi and ravioli to pair with gluten-free pasta sauce like Amy’s, Rao’s, or Classico.
Plus, there are numerous flour blends now containing xanthan gum, which is used to replace yeast for bread and other baked goods. Different items require different amounts of xanthan gum, and these options eliminate the need to worry about mixing in the right amount. Homemade cookies, cupcakes, or a batter for frying come to mind.
Or you can make everything from scratch with organic, raw fruits and vegetables and hormone-free meats. There are many new cookbooks out that are written for those with celiac and other allergies that will give you wonderful recipes using raw foods. This way when you cook them at home you know exactly what is going into the dish, plus you can change the recipe to suit your tastes. One book I highly recommend is by Elizabeth Gordon, The Complete Allergy Free Comfort Foods Cookbook.
Hiller’s Market has a wonderful and varied selection of fruits, veggies and meats. Making meals from scratch is my preferred way to cook for my family. Plus, Hiller’s makes it easy to shop every aisle with their shelf flags that say ‘gluten-free.’
With so much available at our fingertips for creating gluten-free meals, making comfort food memories for the next generation of young gluten-free eaters will not be so difficult. Here’s to making memories, and as one of my favorite chefs used to say at the end of her show, “Bon Appétit!”
Hiller’s offers our customers the widest selection of Gluten Free items including ingredient alternatives for your favorite comfort foods:
Noodles & Pasta
•Hodgson Mills Brown Rice Elbows
•Tinkyada Brown Rice Shells
•Andean Dream Quinoa Macaroni Pasta
•Ancient Harvest Elbows
or Veggie Curls
•Mrs. Glee’s Crazy Curls
•Mrs. Glee’s Gluten Free Flours, Multi Purpose and Navy Bean Flour
•Bob’s Red Mill Corn Flour
•King Arthur GF Flour
•Bisquick GF Baking Mix
•Rumi’s Challah Bread
•Katz Challah Bread
•Food for Life
•Glutino Bread Sticks
Suffering With Celiac Disease?
Let Hiller’s make your gluten-free shopping a breeze. Schedule a gluten-free shopping tour at any one of our seven locations.
Contact Lynn Lederman:
Creamy Roasted Garlic White Bean Dip with Lemon and Thyme
1 head of garlic
1 15 ounce can white cannellini (kidney) beans, drained and rinsed
Juice of 1 lemon (about 1 tbsp)
Zest of 1 lemon (about 1tsp)
1 tsp fresh thyme
Small handful of fresh, flat-leaf parsley
3 tbsp olive oil
1⁄4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Cut the head of garlic in half. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast in the oven at 400° for 45 minutes.
In a food processer, combine roasted garlic, cannellini beans, lemon juice and zest, thyme, parsley, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Run the food processor until a smooth dip is formed.
Serve cold or room temperature with veggies, tortillla chips or gluten free crackers.
Brown Butter & Pumpkin Blondies with White Chocolate Chips
1 stick unsalted butter (melted until slightly browned)
1⁄2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1⁄2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup gluten free flour mix
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
3⁄4 cup white chocolate chips
1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts,toasted
Combine, white and brown sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla and pumpkin puree until smooth. Add flour, salt, baking powder, pumpkin spice and cinnamon, mix until well incorporated, and fold in walnuts and chocolate chips.
Pour into a parchment lined 8-inch baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cut into individual bars and enjoy!