Friday, March 30, 2007

Baked Red Snapper

Red Snapper was on special this week at the grocery store, so here's a nice Asian-style recipe for the files:

Sesame-Ginger Baked Snapper

2 lbs. red snapper fillets
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
3 Tbsp. hot sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or run through a garlic press
2 Tbsp. sherry
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
Juice of one lemon
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley

Oil a 9x13 inch glass baking pan. Rinse and pat dry snapper and coat with a light film of oil in pan.

Combine all remaining ingredients except parsley and pour this marinade over fish. Cover pan with foil and let sit at least one hour in refrigerator.

Place fish in 375 degree oven and bake 25-30 hour, or until fish is flaky and firm.

Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.

We paired this light dinner with some steamed jasmine rice and broccoli tossed with Parmesan and lemon.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

March Mushroom Madness

I had never tried shiitake or oyster mushrooms before, but my local supermarket had them on sale for 99 cents a package, so I decided to play around in the kitchen. The following dish was slurped up by my hungry crew, although they did remark that it was a bit bland after all that spicy Indian food we’ve been scarfing down.

March Mushroom Madness

1 (14 oz.) pkg. gluten-free fettuccine or other noodles
1 (3.5 oz.) pkg. oyster mushrooms, chopped
1 (3.5 oz.) pkg. shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup white wine
½ stick butter
½ cup ricotta cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook pasta al dente and rinse with cold water. Drain and set aside.

Melt butter in sauté pan. Add garlic and swirl around 1-2 minutes. Add onions and stir until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté several minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add white wine and turn to high heat. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and reduce pan juices to half. Add ricotta and adjust seasonings again.

Pour hot sauce over noodles and toss to coat.

Serve with Parmesan cheese.

If my garden were in season, I would have added a handful each of chopped Italian parsley and snipped chives, not only for looks but for taste.

Serves 4-6.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Skytown Stew

I wanted to make a tomato-bean-corn gazpacho for supper tonight to use up some garden produce from the freezer, but the weather was cold and damp, so hot soup was called for. Here's what I came up with:

Skytown Stew (Skytown is the hip, happening moniker for Schuylerville)

1 onion, peeled and chopped
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 green pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can corn, drained
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes (I had a bag of frozen roasted tomatoes from our garden)
2 cups cooked rice
Grated Cheddar and Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in pan. Saute onions and garlic until golden. Add peppers and saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Puree tomatoes in food processor and add to pan. Bring to boil and simmer 10 minutes. Add rice, beans and corn and stir until heated through. Serve with cheeses on top. Season with salt and pepper (Dan used his ubiquitous chipotle hot sauce too).

Serves 4-6.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

All Hail the Almond Horn

It was only a few weeks after Dan's discovery that his world would be forever gluten-free that we were at the annual Chocolate and Coffee Festival organized in support of the Glens Falls Symphony. Our daughter Amy was singing with her school choir as part of the entertainment, so while waiting for her group we circled the tables of sweets feeling rather bereft. Dan was feeling like his dining future would consist of rice cakes and carrot juice when we spied the familiar face of Sue Harrington, owner of Effie's Baked Goods. We had been devotees of Effie's Cheese Bread, lightly toasted, which Sue would sell at local farmer's markets. While we were chatting and bemoaning Dan's gustatory dilemma, Sue pointed out that her Almond Horns and fingers dipped at the ends in dark chocolate were wheat-free. Dan pounced and was hooked.

You can purchase the divine Almond Horns from Effie's Baked Goods at the Saratoga Springs, New York farmer's market in High Rock Park on Saturdays or at the Glens Falls farmer's market in the Civic Center on Tuesdays. Otherwise, you can email Sue at her Argyle, NY bakery at

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Adventures in Gluten-Free Baking

Dan's favorite sweet treat is carrot cake. In our post-celiac era, I've tried a lot of gluten-free carrot cake recipes and found the following fiddling of a recipe I found on to work out the best. In the accompanying carrot cake action shot you'll note that the frosting is somewhat skimpy, but that's only because I was low on cream cheese at the time.

Carrot Cake Jagareski

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1-1/4 cups vegetable oil
1-1/4 cups rice flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-6 carrots, peeled and grated (about 3 cups) (I use the food processor to speed up grating the carrots and apples and for chopping the nuts)
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
3 apples, peeled, cored and grated

2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp. softened butter
3/4 lb. confectioner's sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2 round layer cake pans with shortening or spray with cooking oil. You can also bake this in an oiled 9 x 13 baking dish.

Beat eggs, gradually adding sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in oil slowly to blend. Sift in dry ingredients. Add chopped nuts and stir well. Mix in carrots, apples and nuts.

Bake 55-60 minutes for layer cake or 45 minutes for 9 x 13 pan. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack. Cool completely before frosting.

Make frosting by beating cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla and blend well.

This cake is very moist and only lasts two or three days in our household of four.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Teriyaki Salmon

When my girls were little, they were hooked on the Berenstain Bears children's books by Stan and Jan Berenstain. This furry foursome presents wholesome life lessons with a good dose of humor and is a big hit with the preschool set. As with many preschool literary faves, parents initially love them too, but quickly get sick of the repetitive bedtime readings. Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Sister Bear and Brother Bear love a feast of barbecued salmon and honeycomb and we got our kids to love eating fish, Berenstain style, at an early age. Here's our recipe for:

Teriyaki Salmon

1-1/2 lbs. salmon fillets
1/4 cup wheat-free soy sauce
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger or 1 (1 inch) piece of ginger, peeled and grated
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. sesame oil

Wash and pat dry salmon fillets. Place in oiled glass baking pan skin side down. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over salmon. Marinate at least an hour before cooking. Broil in oven for about 20 minutes, or until salmon is cooked through.

Serves 4 hungry bears.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jazzing up Mac and Cheese

It's the vernal equinox and while Spring has threatened to come to upstate New York, today it's twenty degrees outside with lots of strong wind blowing the powdery snow up our noses. We need some comfort food. Here's our spicy version of macaroni and cheese:

Jazzy Macaroni and Cheese

1 (10-12 oz.) box gluten-free pasta (short squat pastas are best for this dish, like elbows or shells or rotini as they soak up lots of sauce)
3 small onions (or 1 large onion), chopped
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
3 cups milk
1 stick butter
8 oz. grated Cheddar cheese or any other combination of cheeses (I had a few dollops of leftover sour cream and ricotta and added that to the mix)
Salt to taste
1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles
1 (7.75 oz.) can red jalapenos, sliced and drained (optional: very spicy with these, but awfully beautiful)
½ cup gluten-free bread crumbs

Cook pasta until firm and drain. You don’t want to let it cook fully as it will soften more in the oven.

Saute onions in a couple tablespoons of butter until browned.

Mix cornstarch with a few tablespoons of the milk to dissolve. Combine milk and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Do not let burn. Add cornstarch mixture and cook over low heat until thickened. Add cheeses and stir until melted. Season with salt to taste. Add sautéed onions, chiles and jalapenos and stir to coat.

Add noodles and blend thoroughly. Pour into a buttered or oiled 4 quart baking dish. At this point, I would have topped with some gluten-free bread crumbs, only I didn’t have any. I threw on some grated Parmesan cheese to compensate.

Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until everything is nicely browned and bubbly.

Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, March 19, 2007

An Exotic Dessert

Several years ago I was in the college town of Ithaca, New York with some friends and we ate a fantastic dinner at the legendary Moosewood Restaurant. Moosewood was one of the first nationally known vegetarian restaurants and they have chugged along since 1973, churning out many wonderful cookbooks. I have several, but my very favorite is "Sundays at the Moosewood Restaurant" (NY: Fireside Books, 1990) which presents diverse ethnic recipes. We are still exploring the cuisines of India, so we tried a dessert recipe on a leisurely cooking Sunday of our own. Dan made "Cheese and Nut Dessert Balls", using a soft Indian cheese he cooked up from milk. It was very good, sort of like an Indian cannoli.

First you make the Chenna:

2 quarts whole milk
3-4 Tbsp. fresh, strained lemon juice

In a large, heavy saucepan, bring the milk to a rolling boil, stirring often to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat and stir in 3 Tbsp. lemon juice. Return the pan to low heat and stir gently until white curds separate from the yellowish whey. If this doesn't happen within 15-20 seconds, add an additional tablespoon of lemon juice. (Dan used the microwave for this process, to avoid scorching).

Pour the curds into a strainer or colander lined with a piece of thin, damp cloth or several thicknesses of cheesecloth. Let it drain until cool enough to handle, then gather up the cloth and squeeze out any remaining liquid. Now you have chenna.

Makes 1-1/2 cups.

We saved the leftover whey to use in making rice.

Cheese and Nut Dessert Balls

1-1/2 cups chenna
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 tsp. grated orange rind
1-4 tsp. orange juice
1/8 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup finely chopped almonds or pistachios

Place chenna in a bowl and add remaining ingredients, except the nuts. Mash until smooth with a spoon or your fingers. Form the mixture into a dozen or so walnut-sized balls and roll each ball in the chopped nuts to coat. Chill until ready to serve.

If you've used freshly made chenna, these dessert balls will keep for 3 or 4 days if tightly wrapped and refrigerated.

Makes 12 dessert balls.

We found these dessert delights a little big and would make them smaller and more bite-sized next time, as they crumble easily. It would be easier to pop a smaller dainty into one's mouth.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Mexican Minestrone

My mom says:

"Made a good Mediterranean veggie soup yesterday that your family might enjoy. It consists of: Water, canned tomatoes, fresh carrots, celery, onions, garlic, spinach, and I put in potatoes instead of macaroni. Add 1 bay leaf, 4 vegetable bouillon cubes, 2tbs. of olive oil, salt, pepper, basil, parsley, and grated Parmesan cheese.

Then put some Brie cheese inside some wheat-free rolls, wrap in alum. foil and heat in oven for 2-3 minutes. It's a very hearty combo and warms you up in a jiffy.

Sounded good. My mom is the Queen of Soups, although my brother, sister and I did not appreciate such talents when we were younger. She used to throw in the perpetually-growing collards into the soup pot all the time and we would hate the arrival of the dreaded "Garbage Soup" on the dinner table.

At any rate, here's my version of mom's recipe above based on what I had in the cupboards:

Mexican Minestrone

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
4 cups vegetable broth
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. frozen spinach
1 (14 oz.) can hominy, drained
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Handful chopped cilantro

Saute onions, garlic, celery and carrots in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until soft. Add broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Throw in spinach and hominy. Bring to a boil again, then turn down to a simmer and cook, covered about 20-30 minutes. Top with Parmesan cheese and cilantro. The hominy is nice and chewy in this soup.

As with most soups, this is better the second day.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Thai Shrimp Stir-Fry

Don't attempt the following recipe unless you have most all of these ingredients, even though I, as the High Priestess of Substitutions, normally do this all over the place. The key to this stir-fry is the magical blend of exotic salty-sour tastes. Alright, maybe one or two alterations, but that's it!

My husband got me this lovely little cookbook (Practical Simple Thai, Bath, UK: Parragon 2002) at our local dollar store, so perhaps you can pick one up on the cheap too. It has many color pictures, which is key to attempting a complicated recipe or cuisine which is new to you. Inspired by the Rice Noodles with Chicken recipe, I switched things around to make the following wheat-free, meat-free version:

Thai Shrimp Stir-Fry

4 oz. rice vermicelli noodles

1Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 tsp. red curry paste
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
2 stalks celery, julienned
1/2 red pepper, julienned
1 carrot, peeled and julienned
1 cup sliced cabbage
Handful of snow peas, sliced
1 (14 oz.) can bean sprouts, drained
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
3 Tbsp. wheat-free soy sauce
Handful each chopped cilantro, peanuts and mint

Bring a pot of water to boil and add vermicelli. Take off heat and let soak 8 minutes or until softened. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking or the noodles will get mushy.

Heat oil in work or large frying pan and stir-fry garlic, ginger and shallots for 2-3 minutes. Add shrimp and stir-fry until pink. Stir in celery, red pepper, carrot, cabbage, snow peas and bean sprouts. Stir-fry several minutes, then add red curry paste, lime juice, fish sauce and soy sauce. Stir and then add vermicelli. Heat through and serve hot. Garnish with cilantro, peanuts and mint.

Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Shrimply Delicious

Our buddies Claude and Lisa gave us this recipe after one of their splendid barbecues and we try and make it about once a month. It is spicy and good and you will want lots of hot rice to suck up the two different sauces that meld out of the shrimp. When it is nice out, we spear the shrimp on waterlogged wood skewers and grill them outside, but when the barbecue grill is mounded over with ice and snow, we skip the skewers and broil the crustaceans in the oven (on high) for about 20 minutes. Check on the shrimps halfway through the cooking time and turn them so they cook evenly and get a good char going on all sides.

Plantation Shrimp

2 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced fine
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. honey
2 scallions, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
dash cayenne pepper
24 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/3 cup golden or dark rum
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire
1 Tbsp. cider vinegar
1/8 tsp. powdered cloves
1/8 tsp. allspice or nutmeg
1 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1-1/2 Tbsp. hot sauce
2 Tbsp. dark brown sugar

Rinse and pat dry shrimp. Mix together first seven ingredients and pour over shrimp. Marinate at least 1 hour before cooking.

Make glaze out of remaining ingredients by combining in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Turn heat down to low and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in salt and pepper to taste and another Tbsp. of rum.

Soak bamboo skewers in water. Thread shrimp on and grill on an oiled grate. Grill 2 minutes on each side, turning once. Brush with glaze while cooking.

Serve over hot rice to 4 – 6 people.

Monday, March 12, 2007

An Indian Meal in Three Acts

Dan felt like having an all-day cooking jam yesterday, so we cooked three recipes from one of our favorite cookbooks, (the late film producer and gourmet cook) Ismail Merchant's "Passionate Meals" (NY: Hyperion, 1994).

Act One:

First, we experimented with making Paneer, a soft cheese. It was very easy to make in our microwave:


4 cups milk (we used whole milk)
3 Tbsp. yoghurt or 1Tbsp. vinegar or juice of one lemon (we used lemon)

Heat milk in a saucepan, stirring, until it boils. Add yoghurt, vinegar, or lemon jusic, and stir over medium heat until the mixture curdles. This takes about 2 or 3 minutes. If it doesn't curdle, add a little more yoghurt, vinegar, or lemon juice.

(Microwave variant: We boiled the milk in our microwave, keeping constant guard to avoid scorching, for 8-10 minutes. Since microwave wattage varies widely, experiment with what works with your model).

Remove pan from heat and drain the mixture through a sieve. Press down gently with a spoon to make a flat, solid mass of cheese. The sieve should preferably have a flat bottom. Leave the cheese to cool for 2 hours. It should be fairly solid, but you should be able to cut it.

(I would imagine you could also skip making your own paneer and use pressed tofu for the next recipe.)

Act Two:

Then, inspired by dreamy versions of various Indian spinach dishes we've enjoyed when dining, we concocted Merchant's recipe for:

Palak Paneer (Spinach with Cheese)

1-1/2 lbs. fresh spinach (we substituted one brick of frozen spinach)
Paneer made from 4 cups of milk
Vegetable oil for deep frying
6 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (we substituted 1/2 tsp. powdered cumin)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. salt
Pinch of turmeric

Wash spinach well. Cook it in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water for 2-3 minutes. When tender, drain and chop. (we cooked up frozen spinach and squeezed the water out and chopped)

Cut paneer into 1-inch cubes. Heat 2 inches of oil to 375 degrees in a deep heavy pan. Fry the cubes of paneer in batches, turning over once or twice, until they are light brown. Remove the paneer with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels.

In a large skillet, melt the butter with 1 Tbsp. of oil over medium heat and cook the onion until just beginning to turn brown. Add the cumin seeds and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the ginger, spinach, red and black pepper, salt and turmeric, and stir well. Add the paneer and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Serves 6.


Act Three:

Turnips with Ginger (Shalgam)

(Now, our two daughters have been really game about eating gluten-free and healthier all-around, and they have begun to enjoy spicier, more exotic fare as they age, but they are still hesitant about eating most vegetables. We got them to fork down a few mouthfuls of this delicious turnip dish by falsely calling them potatoes, although they were quite suspicious about the texture of these spuds. No clean plate rangers this night, I'm afraid.)

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, peeled and chopped fine
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds (we substituted 1/2 tsp. ground cumin)
1 medium tomato, chopped fine
1-inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1-1/2 lbs. white turnips, peeled and sliced (we substituted one frozen bag diced yellow turnips)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onion until lightly browned. Add the cumin and fry for 1 minute. Add the tomato, ginger, salt, and red and black pepper. Stir and cook for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the turnips and 1/2 cup water and stir well. Cover the saucepan and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. The turnips should be mushy. If they're not, mash them with a wooden spoon.

Serves 4-6.

We popped up some puppodums (see previous post) , threw some basmati rice in the rice cooker, and dined like rajahs.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Gluten-Free Food Find of the Week

After our wonderful Indian meal in New York City last month, we've been inspired to try some new Indian dishes. I was in the grocery store and spotted Sharwood's Indian Puppodums in the international foods aisle. They are labelded as gluten-free right on the front of the package and are made of black gram bean flour, rice flour, salt, lime, sunflower oil and assorted spices. Dan really misses going out to an Indian restaurant and ordering naan and poori breads to sop up all the spicy, saucy goodness. While these poppodums are more crispy and cracker-like, they add that missing bread thang.

They are truly magical to watch cooking. The box notes that you can deep fry them, but it's much, much easier than gluten-free pie to simply flop them in the microwave for 20 seconds and see them transmogrify from thin flaps to flutey UFOs. Culinary alchemy. And our kids are loving them as snacks they can make themselves.

These puppodums come 16 in a package and cost a little under $3.00 at my local supermarket. If your market doesn't carry them, you can order them from (you can click on the puppodum picture at the lower right of this web page). They come in plain and Madras spicy. They are 20 calories each, but have 720 mg of sodium, so they are best eaten in moderation. A Glowing Product Endorsement from the Jagareski household. Four thumbs up!

Next post: A luscious Indian meal to go with the puppodums!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Those Devilish Eggs

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
I shall leave this philosophical conundrum up to minds of deeper current. Or to the rooster salt shaker in the photo.

The humble deviled egg needs no detailed recipe. Every American cook has learned to make these beauties for various barbecues and get-togethers. Kids who turn their noses up at most everything else will scoff these up in a moment.

Here are a few deviled egg tips for the uninitiated.

*Add a few glugs of vinegar to the boiling water to make shelling easier later on.

*You can change around the basic egg yolk/mayonnaise filling with various additions: chutney, curry powder, chopped green olives, horseradish, finely minced red radishes, chives, lemon juice, etc.

*Hard-boiled eggs are very difficult to shell if they are farm-fresh. A chicken farmer I know passed this information on to me. Apparently the ones in the grocery store are a few weeks old and shell better.

*A special deviled egg plastic container will save the appearance of your devilers. There is nothing more unappetizing than a plate of messy eggs with yellow yolk slime all over. You want to preserve their finely sculptural qualities. I was fortunate to get one at a yard-sale, but you can also check dollar stores, thrift stores or go to a Tupperware party if you must.

I did make an elegant, upscale egg for my mother's graduate-degree graduation party some years ago, which I gleaned from one of my favorite cookbooks, "The Picnic Gourmet" by Joan Hemingwayand Connie Maricich. The authors provide detailed menus and evocative anecdotes about various picnics by the sea, while cross-country skiing, on an Italian beach, in Havana, etc. which are great reading. (This book is now out-of-print, but we currently have a copy for sale through our bookstore, This recipe puts a tuxedo on the deviled egg.

Stuffed Eggs with Red Caviar, Celery Sticks and Olives

1 dozen hard-boiled eggs
1 stick softened butter (I substitute half butter, half sour cream)
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
1 medium-sized jar red caviar (The authors presume that we all know how big this jar might be, but as I don't have a caviar vendor nearby I just get what I can find at the supermarket. And I think black caviar is more elegant and better-tasting, so I use that)
Small celery sticks
Black olives

Shell the eggs, split them lengthwise, and remove and mash the yolks until smooth with the softened butter, the Dijon mustard and salt and white pepper to taste. Stuff the whites with this mixture. Arrange the stuffed eggs in a plastic picnic container. Bring a medium-sized jar of not-too-expensive red caviar in your pack and put a little dollop on top of each egg just before serving outdoors. Decorate platters with small celery sticks and black olives.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Battle Brewing

One of the things Dan misses most on his wheat-free diet is his beloved Newcastle Brown Ale. In the last year since his celiac disease diagnosis, our good beer-swilling friends Mary, Harry and Ellen have been on the alert for wheat-free replacements and turned us on to Ramapo Valley Brewery's Honey Passover beer, which despite its excellent provenance (I am a Rockland County, New York native too!) was disappointingly weak in taste.

Really wanting to like beers from smaller breweries, we also sought out Bard's Tale Golden Dragon Lager, but were unable to find it in our region. We did find a beverage center some miles away which stocked New Grist Beer, a sorghum-based brew. It was a better tasting beer, reminiscent of a weiss beer, and was markedly improved with a slice of lemon in our opinion. A good summer beverage, but not quite the treat Dan was missing.

We then heard about Budweiser's new Red Bridge beer and went to their website to see where it was being sold locally. As of a month ago, there was no information about local distribution, so imagine my surprise when I was at the local grocery store, browsing the gluten-free section and stumbled over a stack. I was actually rooting around vainly seeking out a palatable wheatless cookie and was annoyed that this stack of crates was in my face, when something about that covered bridge logo penetrated my synapses and I gleefully snapped up a six-pack to bring home to my love.

Well, the Big Boys got it right. Red Bridge is a nice, darker ale and I got a lot of kissin' and huggin' for my beer retrieval. It is inexpensive ($7.00 for a six-pack) we don't have to drive more than five miles to obtain it, and it simply tastes the best. Much as Dan and I like to support the microbreweries, this simply won the Battle of the Brews hands down. Maybe Red Bridge will make it to the refrigerated section of our supermarket soon.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Italian Soul Food

My mom sent me a delicious-sounding recipe for polenta with Gorgonzola she had spied in one of the culinary mysteries by Katharine Hall Page. This is a fun culinary mystery series starring a minister’s wife/amateur sleuth sprinkled with lots of great recipes. Unfortunately, Gorgonzola is not a gluten-free item. All those stinky, glorious cheeses like Blue, Gorgonzola and Stilton are on the verboten list as they are made with bread mold.

Believing as I do that one should always listen to one’s mother, I scoured some other polenta recipes and came up the following version:

Polenta with Gruyere and Roasted Vegetable Marinara

1 cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
1 small minced onion
3 Tbsp. butter
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
½ lb. Gruyère cheese, grated
2 small zucchini, sliced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. rosemary
Kosher salt
Olive oil
½ lb. sliced mushrooms
2 cups tomato sauce

Toss zucchini, garlic and mushrooms with enough olive oil to coat in glass baking dish. Sprinkled with salt and rosemary. Roast in 400 degree oven until soft and caramelized, about 45 minutes. Mix with tomato sauce.

While vegetables are roasting, bring 3-1/2 cups of water to a simmer in a saucepan. Gradually stir in cornmeal and onion with a wooden spoon. Simmer, uncovered, for 25 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in butter, eggs and 1 cup of Gruyere. Season with salt and pepper.

Spread the mixture evenly in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake until the topping is melted and lightly browned, about 10-15 minutes.

Serve with roasted vegetable sauce.

This is a very rich dish, so serve on the side with something plain, like broiled fish or a garden salad.

Serves 4-6.