Jacqueline Mallorca, Gluten Free Expert

SOMETHING NEW TO SAVOR

Lentils are, of course, gluten-free. They’re also a nutritional powerhouse, whether green, brown, black or red.  Lo and behold, you can now buy pasta spirals (rotini) made entirely from organically grown red lentil flour.

Made in the USA by Tolerant Foods, these rotini are high protein, high iron, high fiber, low glycemic, and packed with vitamins. Last but not least, this pasta has good texture and flavor when cooked. I winced at the cost, but I will buy it again. (Just for the record. I do not solicit samples or payment from food companies!) A sauce made from frozen cooked medium shrimp, quickly thawed in a zip lock bag under running water, goes beautifully with this pink pasta.

LENTIL ROTINI WITH SHRIMP SAUCE

Warm 2 T. olive oil in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add 2 minced garlic cloves, a pinch of hot red pepper flakes and ¼ tsp. fennel seeds. Cook for 20 seconds.  Add ¼ cup dry white wine, increase the heat, and boil until it evaporates. Add 2 cups diced ripe tomatoes and season with salt & pepper. Simmer briskly for about 5 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down but still hold their shape slightly. Stir in 10 oz. thawed shrimp, 2 T. chopped parsley and 2 T. heavy cream, and heat through, 1 minute. Meanwhile, boil 5 to 6 oz. lentil spirals in salted water until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes.  Drain, and add to the skillet. Toss together and transfer to dinner plates. Serves 2.

WOULD YOU BELIEVE…

According to a January, 2013 report from the NPD Group, a global information company that has tracked nutrition-related issues since 1976, one in every three American adults is now either avoiding gluten completely or making an effort to cut down.

Maybe they’re right. It’s claimed that the gluten-free market is going to balloon to a $6.6 billion industry by 2017. I do appreciate all the good stuff,  but really, we could do without the profusion of gluten-free junk food.

And did you know it is now possible to buy gluten-free dog biscuits?  (Come to think of it, I’ve sampled gluten-free cookies that tasted a lot like dog biscuits; maybe the manufacturer just repackaged them.)

 

A GOOD READ

Be sure to pick up the latest (August) issue of GLUTEN-FREE LIVING, where you’ll find plenty of interest for the gluten-challenged. In my regular recipe section, I’ve included ways to prepare some of the really fresh produce to be found at farmers markets, from a satisfying eggplant gratin to a lemon bundt cake that’s just right with freshly picked, aromatic strawberries. You’ll also discover tips on what’s new in gluten-free beer, recipes for gluten-free treats to take on road trips, and what to do if a gluten-free diet simply isn’t working. For more information about the magazine, click www.glutenfreeliving.com

THE QUICK GLUTEN-FREE COOK

GLUTEN FREE KITCHEN TIPS

  • Use glass jars (recycled, mason, whatever) for storing gluten-free flours, grains, xanthan gum, baking soda, and whatnot. Snip the label off the package and put it face down in the bottom of the jar before adding the contents, so you can identify the stuff later. Adding the date doesn’t hurt, either.
  • For something sweet after dinner, spread a few pecan halves, golden raisins and dark chocolate chips on a small plate and enjoy s-l-o-w-l-y. Much better for you than ice cream.
  • For instant fresh flavor to whatever you’re cooking, wash, dry and chop a whole bunch of parsley or green onions and freeze in a screw top glass jar. They don’t freeze solid, and are ready to use.
  • Keep a “dedicated” electric coffee mill for milling items other than coffee into flour, such as flax seeds (these simply whirl about in a food processor), sunflower seeds, or simply making rice flour or cornmeal finer.
  • Just a little bacon can perk up stir-fried veggies, scrambled eggs, or braised chicken without packing on the pounds. Keep the package in the freezer (it won’t become too hard to cut) and slice across the whole package to make little strips, aka lardons.
  • Cooked veggies are the new finger food. Putting out a platterful on the kitchen counter while prepping dinner keeps jaws busy and increases antioxidant intake.
  • Nip the tops off green beans (the tails are tender, leave them be), boil for 5 minutes until just tender-crisp, toss with a little olive oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Good warm or cold.
  • Dust “coins” of zucchini with white rice flour and brown in a little olive oil, 2 minutes per side. Season with coarse salt and black pepper; serve warm.
  • Cut small Brussels sprouts in half and toss with a little olive oil. Roast in a single layer at 400°F. for 10 minutes, turn, and roast for another 6 minutes, until lightly browned and caramelized. Sprinkle with chopped salted peanuts. Serve warm.

BOOKSHELF

If you hanker after delicious Asian food but worry about ingredients such as soy sauce, oyster sauce and/or noodles that contain gluten, rejoice. In The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen, Laura Russell has done a fantastic, professional job of making Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese and Vietnamese food accessible and inviting. Along with sharing approachable and delicious recipes, she demystifies Asian ingredients and provides a long list — from bean sauce to wasabi — that details their gluten status, a safe alternative, and brands to look for. Great photos, too. You can visit her website at www.theglutenfreeasiankitchen.com.