By: Yvonne Gifford
CEO, Chef Glutenfreeda Foods, Inc.
With all the wonderful things that summer brings, it also presents its share of challenges as the season typically revolves around people getting together for any number of reasons from small dinner parties to large outdoor events. And what do people do when they get together? Eat!
Navigating through our gluten oriented society can be less daunting if one plans ahead. I, for one, am not content to ‘just not eat’ at social gatherings, I want to enjoy myself and that means being able to eat along with everyone else.
Arguably, the most difficult social situation for a Celiac is going to dinner, a party or a potluck at a friend’s house. This scenario is laden with cross-contamination possibilities and the best intentions.
- Discuss your diet with the host ahead of time. You can almost always alter a few recipes to assure you will be able to eat them.
- Offer to bring a dish of your own. Forget a salad or vegetable, these are likely to already be included in the menu and are likely to be gluten-free; instead offer to bring a dessert or an entrée.
- If you are attending a buffet style meal; get in line first before the opportunity exists for serving spoon co-mingling.
I’ve found that the best way to enjoy this season of entertaining and the gluten-free diet is to throw your own parties, dinners and get-togethers. The more you do this, the more you will boost your confidence in cooking gluten-free and realize, as you watch your guests gobble it up, that gluten-free food can be fabulous and enjoyed by everyone.
Here are 4 fool-proof Summer Party Menus that can be prepared in their entirety or pared down for less guests. For menu recipes not printed here, just click the links for complete recipes.
Pasta Salad with Corn Chipotle Dressing
- 6 ounces gf penne (we used Tinkyada)
- 2 Tablespoons gf chicken stock
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder
- 1 corn cob, kernels removed and dry roasted
- 1/3 cup roasted red pepper
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Cook gf penne according to package directions; drain and rinse. In a large bowl combine chicken stock, olive oil, vinegar and chipotle powder. Add corn, roasted red pepper and garlic. Add pasta and cilantro and gently toss to thoroughly coat. Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve at room temperature or chill until ready to serve.
Pecan Caramel Topped Brownies
- 6 ounces semi-sweet gf chocolate, chopped
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup gf brown sugar, packed
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup gf flour mix
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1-1/2 cups gf brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 light corn syrup
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Place a rack in center of oven and heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 13"x9"x2" baking pan; lining bottom with parchment paper. Butter the top of the parchment paper.
Place a saucepan or bottom of a double boiler with about an inch of water over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Place the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler or a metal bowl and place over the pan of simmering water. Melt and stir the chocolate butter mixture with a rubber spatula until almost melted. Remove from heat and continue to stir until completely melted.
In a large bowl whisk the eggs and salt together. Stir in both sugars and vanilla until completely blended. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour.
Pour the batter into the baking pan and smooth to even out. Bake for 30 minutes and place on a rack to cool.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar and corn syrup and bring to a boil. Using a candy thermometer, cook until mixture reaches 240 degrees F. Remove from heat and add the cream slowly. Return to heat and cook until the temperature reaches 248 degrees F. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and vanilla. Cool for 30 minutes. Pour the caramel over the brownie and spread evenly with a spatula.
Place in the freezer for one hour.
Using a knife, loosen brownie from sides of pan and cut into squares
Grilled Chicken & Mushroom Quesadillas
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2-1/2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1-1/2 cups cooked chicken
- 2/3 cup onion, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2-1/2 cups Monterey jack cheese, grated
- Olive oil
- 16 gf corn tortillas
- Salt and pepper
In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-heat. Add chili powder, garlic and oregano. Cook until fragrant; about
1 minute. Add mushrooms and saute about
Remove from heat; mix in chicken, onion and cilantro. Cool for 10 minutes and mix in cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly brush oil on one side of tortillas. Place tortilla oil-side down and spread with chicken mixture. Top with 2nd tortilla; brushing top with oil.
Grill until heated through and cheese melts, about 3 minutes per side.
These quesadillas can be made and assembled ahead. Stack quesadillas, wrap with foil and refrigerate until ready to grill.
Beer Can Chicken
- 1-12oz bottle of gf beer (Anheuser Busch’s Redbridge is available nationwide)
- Rub of your choice
- 1 whole chicken
Prepare a grill. If using a gas grill, turn both sides of grill to high. If using a charcoal grill, heat coals until hot.
Wash the chicken inside and out; pat dry.
Empty a 16 or 24oz. can of gf soft drink or ice tea and rinse the can. With a hand held can opener, punch a few extra holes in the top of the can. Pour the beer into the can.
Rub your favorite ‘rub’ all over the chicken including inside the cavity. Pour about 2 Tablespoons rub mixture into the can.
Slide the can inside the chicken cavity so that the chicken will stand upright.
Carefully carry the chicken to the grill and place over indirect heat. If using a gas grill, place the chicken on the off side and turn the ‘on’ side to medium. If using a charcoal grill, place chicken opposite coals.
Close the grill lid. Chicken should cook for 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 180 degrees F.
Carefully remove chicken from the grill and remove can from chicken. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes then carve and serve. Your Beer Can Chicken will be delicious just as it is or you can serve it with gf barbecue sauce.
BBQ Poultry Rub Makes 3 cups
- 1/2 cup garlic salt
- 1/2 cup onion salt
- 1/2 cup maple sugar
- 1/2 cup can sugar
- 1/2 cup paprika
- 2 Tablespoons lemon pepper
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 Tablespoons lime zest
- 1 Tablespoon parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground anise
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Rub generously on chicken
The Dinner Party
Cedar Planked Salmon
- 1 cedar plank
- 1 1-1/2 lb. salmon fillet
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 thin slices of red onion
- 4 thin lemon slices
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
Prepare a grill. Soak the cedar plank in water for 30 minutes.
Rub the salmon fillet with olive oil. Season the salmon fillet with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Remove the plank from the water and pat dry. Using a brush, brush 1-2 tablespoons vegetable oil on the top side of the plank. Place the salmon fillet, skin side down on the plank. Lay the onion slices and lemon slices over salmon and sprinkle with thyme. Arrange the plank on the grill - off heat. (If using a charcoal grill push the coals to one side. If using a gas grill, turn one side off and put the plank on the "off-side".) Cover the grill and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is just cooked through. Using a long metal spatula, transfer the salmon to plates and serve.
Roasted Strawberries w/Wine & Balsamic Vinegar Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 pints fresh strawberries, tops removed
- 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
- 3 Tablespoons dry red wine
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, chilled
- Gf vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Add 2 Tablespoons butter to an oven-safe skillet and melt butter in oven. Add vanilla extract to butter and stir to combine.
Place strawberries, cut-sides down, in skillet and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake at 400°F for 10 minutes or until berries are soft. Remove pan from oven.
With a slotted spoon, remove berries from pan and set aside to let cool.
Add wine and vinegar to skillet and simmer over medium heat until reduced slightly.
Remove from heat and whisk in chilled butter.
To serve, spoon ice cream into dessert bowls, top with warm strawberries and drizzle with sauce.
A Child’s Party
Three Cheese Pizza
- 3/4 cup warm water (105-115°F)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 2-1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast
- 2 cups gf flour mix
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Extra olive oil for forming dough
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup gf pizza sauce (try Muir Glen’s organic pizza sauce)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
In a small bowl combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir and proof for about 5 minutes or until foamy.
Mix gf flour and salt in work-bowl of a heavy-duty mixer fitted with a paddle.
Add 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil to proofed yeast. Pour yeast mixture into flour mixture and mix on medium speed for 6-7 minutes. The dough should be soft enough to cling to the sides of the bowl. If it is too stiff, add warm water, 2 tablespoons at a time until dough softens.
Turn dough out onto a greased pizza pan. Drizzle dough with olive oil and rub your hands with a little olive oil. Press dough into an even layered circle, creating a little lip around outer edges. If it starts to stick to your hands rub your hands with a little more olive oil.
Cover pizza crust with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake pizza crust for 7 minutes. Remove from oven (keep oven on).
Spread pizza sauce on top of pizza crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella, Romano and Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400°F for
20 minutes or until cheese is melted and lightly browned in spots.
Chocolate Cupcakes w/Marshmallow Filling
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1-1/2 cups gf flour mix
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 jar (7 ounces) Kraft marshmallow cream
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Line 12 muffin cups with liners.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water. When melted, remove pan from heat.
In a medium bowl combine sugar, gf flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, sour cream and canola oil. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in chocolate.
Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until all ingredients are smoothly blended.
Fill muffin cups about two-thirds full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Using a small, sharp knife, remove a cylinder about 3/4" wide X 1" deep from top-center of each cupcake. Trim off and discard about 1/2" from bottom of each cylinder, retaining approximately 1/2" for further use. With tip of a knife, hollow out a small cavity inside each cupcake.
Spoon marshmallow cream into a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2" plain tip. Twist end of bag tightly to secure.
Place tip into cavity of cupcake; without moving tip, squeeze filling into cavity, to 1/4" from top of cupcake. Fill remaining cupcakes in like manner.
Insert retained cupcake cylinders back into holes.
In a food processor place cream cheese, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and cocoa powder; pulse until smooth.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes prior to frosting cupcakes.
Spoon frosting into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe onto tops of cupcakes or alternatively spread frosting onto cupcakes with a knife.