Even if you aren’t eating gluten-free it’s easy to entertain gluten-free guests without having to buy a lot of specialty items.
Although most of the people I know who eat gluten-free truly don’t mind if there are certain items on the table that they can’t eat, it’s nice to make the extra effort and have all the food able to be enjoyed by everyone. It’s just more fun if all your guests can partake in every part of the meal – that way there are no temptations and nobody feels left out.
It doesn’t have to be stressful to cook gluten-free. With these few quick tips, you can have a great meal on the table in no time.
1. Make naturally gluten free foods
The easiest way to cook for someone who is gluten intolerant, without worrying about messing around with new ingredients, is to simply make foods that naturally don’t have any wheat. That way you don’t have to try out new recipes or figure out how to adapt a favorite.
Here a couple of ideas of foods to serve at different mealtimes.
- homemade sausage, bacon, eggs
- fruit salad, fruit cups, fruit bottom yogurt
- homemade granola, roasted pear crisps (both made with gluten-free oats)
- butternut squash and apple soup
- quesadillas made with corn tortillas
- main salad
The main is easy – meat is, of course, naturally gluten free. Turkey, ham, lamb, etc. are all great options
- risotto or other rice side dish
- side salad
- vegetables such as roasted squash or stir-fried brussels sprouts
- cranberry jelly/sauce
- mashed potatoes
- gravy made with cornstarch
- appetizers with fruit, nuts, cheese and vegetables
- bean dip or hummus served with vegetables
- guacamole or taco dip served with corn chips
- truffles and bark
- ice cream, semifreddo or sherbet
- baked or poached fruit
2. Get Your Bake On
If you really want to bake something for everyone to enjoy, you don’t have to worry about running around town searching for different flours or things such as xanthan gum. Just buy one pre-made all-purpose mix and you’re ready to go. It will mean one purchase and no stress. Just make sure that it can be substituted straight over for flour and needs no other additives to make it work.
Martha Stewart’s number one recommendation for gluten-free flour mix is Cup4Cup from Williams-Sonoma. And based on it’s high star reviews, it sounds like a winner. It will definitely be joining my shelf soon in preparation for gluten-free guests.
Of course, there are many great options out there so use what’s available to you. Why not ask your guest for a trusted recommendation?
3. Watch out for Hidden Wheat
Gluten can show up in some pretty surprising places so it’s best to do a quick scan of your ingredient labels before starting. Condiments and sauces are the most common culprits and many of them are used for other pre-packaged foods as well, so make sure to always check the back first.
Besides the obvious words such as flour, multi-grain and whole grain, here are some other words to look out for:
- hydrolyzed vegetable protein
- soy sauce
- textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- vegetable starch
- wheat germ
This isn’t to scare you off. You just want to make sure there are no mishaps. You can always ask the person you’re cooking for too, if you have any questions. I’m sure they would appreciate the effort and not look at it as an inconvenience.
And remember, if you cook with as many raw ingredients as possible, there should be no “oops”.
The point is – don’t be afraid of cooking gluten-free. It doesn’t have to be scary. And don’t stress, because this season is all about peace and happiness. And, the most important thing is that we savor our time together – stress free.
Merry Christmas everyone!
|Black Forest Brownie Trifles|| |
- 6 large eggs, room temperature
- 18 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup butter
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with foil. Spray it with cooking spray.
- Melt chocolate and butter slowly over low heat. Stir in vanilla. Cool mixture to room temperature.
- Beat eggs on high for approximately 5 minutes or until tripled in volume.
- Fold half of eggs into cooled chocolate mixture until no streaks remain, then fold in the other half.
- Poor batter into prepared pan and smooth out top.
- Place the 9x13 pan into a larger pan (such as a roasting pan). Fill larger pan with hot water until it comes halfway up the sides of the 9x13 pan.
- Bake for 15 min on center rack at 425ºF. Turn off oven and leave pans in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove brownies from the water bath and place on wire wrack to cool.
- Cover and refrigerate brownies overnight, before slicing.
- In one large trifle bowl or individual glasses layer brownies, cream, cherries and chocolate. Serve immediately.
Do you eat gluten-free or ever cook for someone who does? Do you have any tips to share?
All Photos by Cheri Neufeld