January 23, 2013

Gluten Free Cheesy Broiled Polenta with Mushrooms

With half of my family living in the deep south, grits and polenta have always been among my favorite side dishes.  In this recipe corn meal takes the main stage in a delicious meal that can be served hot or cold, although bubbling hot is the best!  You can use any kind of mushroom you wish; experimentation is best when tasty.  When using the broiler, make sure to keep a close eye on your polenta, since it can quickly go from a beautiful golden brown to a charred black in a matter of seconds.  Try not to like this one:)

Total Prep Time = 30 minutes
Serves = 6

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Meal)
  • 3 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 large garlic clove (minced or pressed)
  • 1 tblsp. dry white wine (or water, but wine is better)
  •  1/8 tsp. salt (in addition to the salt needed for the boiling water above)
  • 1/2 cup smoked cheddar or provolone cheese (shredded)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • dash of marjoram, basil, or tarragon (optional)

Cooking Directions
  1. Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. of salt to a boil. When the water is rapidly boiling, add the cornmeal slowly while stirring constantly to avoid creating lumps.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, making sure to stir often to avoid sticking, until the polenta is nice an thick.
  3. While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until the oil is absorbed.
  4. Stir in the wine (or water), and 1/8 tsp. salt. Simmer gently for a couple minutes.
  5. Preheat the broiler.
  6. Spread the polenta evenly in a buttered or oiled flameproof casserole dish.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the polenta. Spoon the sauteed mushrooms over the cheese, and top off with another layer of shredded cheese.  Add ground pepper according to your taste.
  7. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. 
  8. Remove from broiler and top with a sprinkling of marjoram, basil or tarragon if you wish.
  9. Serve bubbling hot and pull up the blanket of comfort food you're about to enjoy!

January 16, 2013

Gluten Free Nutty White Chocolate Cranberry Candies

I've never made chocolate candies before, so you'll have to forgive me for how chunky these are. These were a mouthful to say the least! Next time I make them I'm going to chop up the nuts real nice before mixing them with the melted chocolate.  You can be all professional and use a double boiler to melt the chocolate, or... you can simply use a microwave to quickly and easily melt the chocolate.  All you have to do is put your chocolate chips in a glass bowl (or any other microwave-safe bowl), and heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each round, until the chocolate is melted and creamy.  I'll probably work with a double boiler in the future, even if only to see if there is any difference at all in taste and texture of the chocolate I'm working with.  But for now, as a novice chocolateur, I'm going to keep my sweet experiments as easy to execute as possible:)

  • White Chocolate Chips (2 bags)
  • Dried Cranberries (about 1 cup)
  • Mixed Nuts (1 to 1 1/2 cups) - chopping them up would be good:)

  1. Chop up your mixed nuts, stir in the dried cranberries and set aside.
  2. Use a double-boiler to melt your chocolate, or... place your white chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Remove and stir. Return to microwave for another 30 seconds. Remove and stir.  By your 3rd round of 30-second nuking and stirring, your chocolate should be ready.
  3. Mix your nuts and dried cranberries into the melted chocolate.
  4. Let sit for a couple minutes and then use a spoon or a small 1/2 inch ice cream scooper to form small mounds of chocolate goodness on a non-stick surface (I used cupcake papers).
  5. Allow candy to cool for 1/2 an hour.
  6. Devour and share!


Just So You Know...

The information presented in this blog is intended to educate and entertainment. However, I'm not a medical expert.  I also do not know absolutely everything about Celiac Disease.  What I do know has been learned through trial and error, research, and what has been taught to me by friends who also share my food-related affliction.  Please take the time to do your own research about Celiac Disease and gluten-related issues.  I have a list of links to useful resources along the left-side of this blog. Also, feel free to cross-check my statements. If you find contrary information, please let me know. Thanks so much for visiting Trav's Gone Gluten Free!