Sunday, December 7, 2014

It doesn't always have to begin as 'gluten free'

For a while there, I spent an epic amount of time googling gluten free recipes.  You can do that.  You can lose a large chunk of your life to that.  OR- you can realize that much of what you already eat is gluten free or could be gluten free.

Take, for example, a few of my favorite soup recipes.  Like this Perfect Potato Soup from the Pioneer Woman or this Apple Cheddar Squash Soup from Food Network.

Yes, they each call for a small amount of flour as thickener.  Don't let that stop you!  You can substitute your favorite GF flour mix (I like King Arthur or the America's Test Kitchen Blend, which I store in my fridge so it lasts a long time).  I find these thicken soups just fine, and any weird, gluten-free taste won't be detectable in the soup.

Also, let's talk about cornstarch.  If flour is just for thickening, then you can easily thicken with cornstarch- this is especially good for stews and gravies.  Just make sure you dissolve it in some cold liquid before adding it to your hot pot (it will clump otherwise).  This beef stew works well and you can ignore the flour on the beef and use cornstarch to thicken it at the end.  I'm allergic to tomatoes, so I use red wine instead of tomato juice.  You're welcome.  This Shepherd's Pie is also tasty; instead of adding flour and butter, just heat the broth and Worcestershire sauce and then thicken with cornstarch.

Pasta.  You can have pasta.  There is so much good gluten free pasta out there at this point that there is absolutely no need to deprive yourself.  Major brands are now making it- just head to you're nearest grocery store pasta department and start looking.  Voila- you can now make pasta anything (and if you need to thicken a cream sauce, reach for the GF flour NOT the cornstarch).

And then there's all the delicious recipes out there that have been GF all along.  We really enjoyed this Steak with Arugula and Mushrooms from Real Simple the other night.

So, my point is, stop  freaking out.  Stop completely re-inventing the way eat, and stop thinking you have to give up your old time favorites.  Whatever it is, it can probably be made GF with a few easy swaps.  So start experimenting!

Happy Cooking!

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