Monday, September 20, 2010

Dancing in the Kitchen with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

So, remember back when I went gluten-free for a while? Well, during that time I did a lot of reading of both regular books and blogs on the subject. Mainly I was looking for recipes, but I got a lot more than that. One of the books I read was, Gluten-Free Girl. I thought it was an excellent book, a combination of recipes and life-story. I tried a few of the recipes in the book and then went to find the blog that was mentioned in it. I found it and all the great new recipes that she'd blogged about there. I thought it was wonderful and real how she paired recipes with little tidbits from her life. She just has a way of making everything (even vegetables I'd never thought to try, like fennel!) look wonderful. All of her recipes I tried were wonderful, and so I have continued to follow her blog even since I re-introduced gluten.

Well, she's got a new cookbook coming out, and it's actually one she co-wrote with her chef husband. (After reading her first book, I think its so sweet how it's now Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef!) Not too long ago she posted an inquiry on her blog about if anyone would want to try one or two of her new recipes from the book, before it comes out. I read it and immediately responded. It seemed like a no brainer--the recipes sounded wonderful (and you all know how I love to try a new recipe) and to be one of the first to try it?! Not too long after responding, I got an email with the actual recipes. I opened it right away and could hardly wait to try them. I knew we were headed up to the lake that weekend for Labor Day and figured I'd have to try them when we got home.

Boy, was I wrong!

I happened to mention the recipes to my mother-in-law, who is a wonderful cook in her own right, and she was totally game for doing them together and then serving the meal to our families. I was so pleased to be able to cook them with her. For one, she's great in the kitchen and it was so reassuring to have her expertise as we went through each recipe. For two, instead of cooking all by myself and serving to just Erik and the girls, I got to have a cooking partner and serve two more adults, Erik's Mom and Dad. It really was fun to cook with her in her kitchen.

Let me say, it was a day well spent, and the meal we were able to enjoy as a result of our all day prepping?


We started with Seared Shrimp with Garlic-Almond Sauce....
I must say that the sauce was seriously one of the best things I've ever tasted. I would for sure make this again. Everyone loved it, as well, although the youngest kid ate the shrimp plain.

Then, we went on to the main course, Pasta with Anchovies, Lemon and Olives...

It required a lot of ingredients preparation, but then once you started cooking, it went fast.

It was sooo good.
Erik asked, "Is there meat in there?", which didn't surprise me, but I think he was surprised at how good it was without "meat". I loved how all the flavors melded together with the pasta.

Then, we finished with Chocolate-Peanut Butter Brownies...

So rich and chocolaty and wonderful. The perfect ending to a yummy meal, and especially when enjoyed over looking the beautiful Flathead Lake.

Which brings me to one of the great things about this meal. Sure, it came from recipes created by a chef, but all the ingredients came from either my mother-in-law's garden or the local supermarket. And they grocery shop in a town with maybe 5,000 people in it. None of the ingredients were so fancy or specialized that we couldn't replicate them. (We did have to punt with the almonds for the appetizer, but that's only cuz we didn't have time or order them online, and I think it turned out just as great even with our replication). And even if you can eat gluten, these gluten-free recipes are soo good you won't even miss the gluten. (I must confess that we did use regular ol' fettuccine noodles though, I wasn't sure what my father-in-law would think of rice or quinoa noodles! Even though I think they are just as good as the gluten-filled ones.)

I asked my family which of the three recipes they enjoyed the best and they had a hard time picking just one, they liked all three. In fact, my 8-year-old said that this meal ranks right up there with juicy steak, mashed 'taters and country gravy, which is actually saying a lot coming from her. Everyone ate and came away from the table with their bellies quite a bit fuller than they started with, which I think portrays success!

Although I would love to, I can't share the recipes that I followed with you.  But I can highly recommend the cookbook they came from. I know will definitely be getting one. It's called, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes and it will probably be going into my shopping cart as soon as I hit publish on this entry!

Happy cooking, and of course, happy eating! :-)


  1. This challenging day in the kitchen was delightfully interrupted by a little recreation outdoors. The aromas upon returning to the meal preparation made it all finish smoothly: it was the immediate photography that briefly interrupted service! Thanks for mentioning the "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef" -- I can hardly wait to do see what menu we do next! (Love the visuals!) G'ma Karen

  2. This makes me and Danny so happy. It's one thing to have a good meal in a restaurant, but it's far more joyful to cook with family and eat well together.

    We're so glad that everyone enjoyed the meal! What a beautiful place you live in.

    thank you.


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