Once again, it is time for Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, a great online event that encourages gluten-free bloggers to try recipes posted by other gluten-free bloggers. It’s a great way to expand your cooking knowledge, connect with other gluten-free bloggers, and find some great new gluten-free recipes. This month I turned to Gluten-Free Girl for recipe inspiration.
It feels a little awkward to “introduce” Shauna of Gluten-Free Girl to you, because she is so well-known in the gluten-free community, food blogging community, and beyond! But perhaps some of you are new to the gluten-free diet and haven’t yet stumbled across her story, book, site, recipes, etc. Shauna has been sharing her stories with us since her diagnosis of Celiac Disease in 2005. She’s a beautiful writer who shares her heartfelt stories of life, family, friends, sharing, and, of course, gluten-free recipes. We’ve read about her diagnosis, her book, her marriage to the Chef, cooking tips from Danny (the Chef), the birth of their daughter, and the myriad of gluten-free recipes along the way.
I actually tried three recipes from Gluten-Free Girl this month. Nothing too daring, I’m afraid. I was really looking for some simple, but tasty vegetable recipes. And I just happened to find them at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef. I started with the Broccoli Winter Slaw at the beginning of the month, and moved on to the Roasted Asparagus by the end of the month. I also had a need for some brownies this month, so decided to try her recipe for those as well.
I’ll start with the Broccoli Winter Slaw, which I loved. I’m a big fan of broccoli, and lately have become a fan of Brussels sprouts, too. So, this recipe had been calling to me since she posted the recipe earlier this year. I made the recipe as it is written, except for the Napa cabbage which was not in the stores the day I was shopping. Instead of the Napa cabbage, I added a little regular cabbage and a little Cosmopolitan lettuce. And, yes, I did make the mayonnaise from scratch. I don’t think I’ve done that since nutrition class in college. If you haven’t made it before, it’s really a very simple recipe. You just have to be sure to add the oil slowly. The salad was very good. Crisp, fresh vegetables, with a little dressing is just what I was looking to make. And, the best part about the recipe, is that you can add whatever extra flavors you might want to add to your menu. Add some spices, or herbs, to change up the flavor. If there is any downside to this recipe, it’s that I made too much and didn’t eat it up fast enough. I often make more than I need so that we have leftovers to eat for lunches and dinners. A few days after I made it, the dressing started to separate and just wasn’t as appealing anymore. Perhaps if I had made it with store-bought mayonnaise, it would’ve lasted longer. Of course, it may not have tasted as good either. Either way, I would recommend this recipe to anyone looking for a fresh tasting salad with winter vegetables. We’ve decided to make it for our Easter celebration this month.
Next I tried Shauna’s recipe for Roasted Asparagus. I don’t think asparagus needs a lot of dressings, sauces, or flavors. And this recipe has a simple, but really nice balance of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It’s just enough to complement the flavor of the asparagus. I have to say that although the taste of it was just right, I did overcook it a little. The blanching that I was suppose to do to the asparagus, ended up being a boiling bath about 5 minutes too long. So, they were a little softer than I was expecting. But, still very good, and not mushy at all. I really like the simplicity of the recipe, and how quick it was to get it done. A necessity for our family during these busy spring days. I think this may be my favorite way to cook asparagus now.
And finally, I tried the Gluten-Free Girl’s recipe for Gluten-Free Brownies. I needed brownies for my daughter to take to school. Another student was bringing brownies to share with classmates for his birthday. So I wanted to have a gluten-free brownie for my daughter to eat with the other students while they celebrated his birthday. Now, normally on such an occasion, I would pull out a brownie mix (The Gluten-Free Pantry or Betty Crocker) because on busy school nights sometimes that’s the only way to get it done. But, since I didn’t have any mixes, and I was out of time to go to the store, I decided to see what recipes I could make up quickly. Shauna’s recipe looked great, and thankfully I had all the ingredients necessary. (I used Brown Rice Flour Superfine and Tapioca Flour.) I was surprised by the brownies and the recipes. I had never used an ice bath to cool a pan of brownies before. But, it seemed to work out great. Although it wasn’t written in the recipe, I used parchment paper to line the pan. I like to do that so I can pull the brownies out of the pan whole. Then I can lay it on the cutting board and use a pizza cutter to make nice cuts. The brownies were really very soft in the middle. They almost seemed undercooked. The edges were definitely the perfectly chewy brownies you would expect. The brownies in the middle were soft and creamy. But not gooey, and not chewy. Definitely different than I was expecting, but still very good. And Shauna was right, they were even better the next day. Refrigerating them overnight, gave them a chance to set up, and get a little chewier — just the way I like them. Did I mention they were a rich, dark chocolate flavor? How did I leave that out? Wonderful. Really.
If you haven’t checked it out before, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef has quite a library of recipes on the site. And, she and her husband, “the Chef,” have a new cookbook due to release this year. She’s given hints about some of the recipes that will be in the cookbook on her website, and I can’t wait to try some of them. I’m sure there will be lots of comments about it online after it’s released, if you want to wait. But based on the recipes on her site, the cookbook will be fabulous. I’m signing up to receive one of the first copies of “Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef” through Amazon.
As always, I want to thank Sea for continuing to organize this fabulous online event. And, to Shauna and Danny: Thanks for being such an inspiration to all of us trying to navigate our way through the gluten-free diet with healthy and delicious gluten-free foods.