Gluten-Free Dinners in Less Than 30 Minutes: The Science of Sautéing

I have been teaching gluten-free cooking and baking classes for many years and once a new student gets the basic gluten-free substitutions down the next request I get is usually about learning how to prepare healthy delicious gluten-free dinners in 30 minutes or less. My answer is always the same: learn how to roast and sauté. Many people understand the concept of roasting but sautéing is something new. I love to sauté because the selection is endless. And with More Than Gourmet® Glace & Demi Glace, I am turning out restaurant quality food that is plate licking delicious!

What is a glace and demi-glace?  A glace is flavorful, reduced stock. A demi-glace is a sauce made from stock, roux (a cooked mixture of butter and flour), caramelized vegetables, herbs and sometimes wine and tomato paste.  It has a very concentrated flavor and is used to enhance sauces, sautés, stews, and soups.  Many demi-glaces’ on the market contain wheat, but More Than Gourmet® makes a gluten free line. Always remember to read the ingredients label- companies change recipes! A demi-glace gives a sauce that deep complex flavor you taste at restaurants. I use a demi-glace to flavor a reduction sauce for when I sauté.

Sautéing or pan-frying is a great way to get dinner on the table fast. Tender, single size portions of meat, poultry or fish are cooked in a small amount of oil or other fat in a skillet or sauté pan over direct heat. The food is not submerged in the fat as it is in deep-frying. Pans for sautéing should be hot enough for food to “sizzle” but not smoke. It is important that the food is dry before placing it in a hot pan and, that the pan stays hot during the cooking process.

After the meat, poultry or fish is sautéed, it is removed from the pan to a nearby dish and covered with foil. The hot pan is deglazed by adding a small amount of liquid (usually stock, wine, or vinegar) which is stirred to loosen browned, caramelized bits of food on the bottom. The resultant mixture becomes the basis for a quick pan sauce.

A good, solid, deep-sided frying pan (or skillet) is an invaluable piece of kitchen equipment. I use an assortment of inexpensive nonstick (6”, 10” and 12” diameter and 1” to 2” deep) and heavy grade (12” diameter and 2” deep with tight fitting lid) skillets and fry pans.

My basic sauté method in five steps:

1.      Sauté Prepare meat, poultry or seafood according to recipe. Heat oil and/or butter in heavy skillet over medium/high to high heat. Add meat and cook without moving pieces until underside is brown. Turn meat, rearrange position in pan and brown other side. Don’t crowd the pan or the food will steam rather than brown.

2.      Flavor Remove meat to plate and set aside. Add garlic, shallots, onions, or mushrooms and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes.

3.      Deglaze Add broth, wine or vinegar to pan, scraping loose the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

4.      Reduce Add remaining sauce ingredients (such as tomato, cream and/or seasonings) and bring to boil, stirring frequently for desired time. Boiling reduces sauce and creates a more flavorful sauce.

5.      Serve Return meat to sauce and cook for additional time or pour sauce over meat and serve immediately.

For a delicious “ready in 20 minutes” Gluten-Free Chicken Marsala recipe go to: http://www.foodphilosopher.com/assets/docs/dbfiles062804/printerfriendly.cfm?ID=74

For more information and recipes go to http://www.foodphilosopher.com and The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

Gluten-Free Casein-Free Oat Rolls for a Leaky Gut

In the past blogs, I have discussed how inflammation is the underlying cause of most chronic and autoimmune disorders. But for many who suffer from diseases such as arthritis, colitis and fibromyalgia, the big question is “What triggers the inflammatory reaction in the body?” Simply, the food we eat.

Food allergies and intolerances have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions, affecting every part of the body: from mildly uncomfortable indigestion, to embarrassing diarrhea, to severe illnesses such as celiac disease and affecting over 60% of the U.S. population. The inflammatory reaction occurs when an ingested food molecule acts as an antigen, a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it. When you ingest something your immune system does not like or perceives as undesirable, it attacks by means of inflammation. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. This release of toxic chemicals increases blood flow to the area and may result in irritation, redness and swelling (think arthritis). The common thread in all these conditions is an unusually permeable gut caused by inflammation in the small intestine as a response to the food we eat- mostly wheat, sugar and acid forming foods like polyunsaturated oils and beef. With a leaky gut, undigested food proteins, bacteria, viruses, and even yeast can escape into our blood system thru the inflamed cell walls of the small intestine. The body recognizes these proteins as foreign invaders and our immune system attempts to fight them off causing more inflammation which sets the stage for various chronic and autoimmune disorders including IBD, lupus, allergies, asthma, even eczema. For more information go to http://www.foodphilosopher.com and The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

What can we do to heal a leaky gut? Eat a varied seasonal diet based on whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, and monounsaturated fats that contain omega 3 oils. Avoid common foods that cause an inflammatory response in the body, such as wheat and sugar, which are commonly used in many processed foods. Other allergenic foods include soy, milk, eggs, and peanuts.

Below is a bread recipe free of common allergens but high in flavor. Each roll contains more than 3 grams of fiber (10% recommended daily intake) and almost 600 milligrams (50% of the minimum recommended daily intake) of anti-inflammatory omega-3 oils due to the chia seeds, oats and whole grain gluten-free flours. Chia seeds are a nutritional bonanza in a tiny package. Each tablespoon contains 65 calories, 2.5 grams protein, 4 grams of fiber and 1755 milligrams of omega-3 oils, plus they are chock full of antioxidants and alkalizing minerals such as phosphorous and manganese. Good health can be delicious and gluten-free. These rolls have a crispy crust, a delicate inside and a wonderful wholegrain flavor. I love them toasted and of course fresh from the oven. Enjoy!

GFCF Oatmeal Rolls with Chia Seeds

Makes 12 rolls

1 cup gluten free oat flour

1/2 cup teff flour

1/2 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup tapioca starch

3 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons chia seeds

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 packet (1/4 oz. each) dry yeast granules (not quick rise)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons water (110 F)

Cornmeal

  1. Spray a 12-cupcake baking pan with baking spray and sprinkle with corn meal.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients in large bowl of electric mixer. Pour warm water (110°F) and olive oil into mixing bowl; mix until just blended. Scrape bowl and beaters, and then beat at high speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Scoop dough for rolls into prepared cupcake pan with an ice cream scoop. Cover with a light cloth and let rise in a warm place (about 80°F) for 40-50 minutes, until dough has slightly more than doubled in size.
  4. Place shelf in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F while bread is rising (do not use a convection oven).
  5. Bake in center of preheated oven for 15-25 minutes. Rolls should have a hollow sound when tapped on the sides and be light golden in color. Instant read thermometer should register about 200°F. You can bake them longer to make a thicker crust; the color will deepen, and the internal temperature will continue to rise. Remove rolls from pan and cool on a rack. Rolls can be stored in refrigerator for up to two days or freezer for up to three weeks; wrap well in plastic wrap and then foil. Refresh rolls with a sprinkle of water and rewarm in 350°F preheated oven; wrap in foil if you do not want a crisp crust (but open the foil for the last five minutes). Or microwave rolls for 15 seconds and then lightly toast.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Cherry Parfait to Strengthen Your Immune System

The New Year finds me doing a five day detox of whole organic foods- vegetables, fruits nuts, egg whites, lentils, brown rice and oats. I drink one cup of black tea in the morning sweetened with a teaspoon of local honey (I need a bit of caffeine). Then it is filtered water, warm water with lemons and fresh peppermint, and detoxifying tea for the rest of the day. I eat no gluten, dairy, processed foods, or saturated fat. Today is day 3 and I’m hungry. My big treat each day is a cup of Cascadian Farms Organic Sweet Cherries eaten partially frozen with a tablespoon of flax seed sprinkled on top. I know it is a long way from the champagne and truffles I ate during the holidays, but I must say the Sweet Cherries are addictive and nourishing. One cup of cherries has only 90 calories and 3grams of fiber. They are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries also contain plant sterols that help reduce bad cholesterol and stimulate the immune system. A healthy immune system is the key to good health. For more information about strengthening your immune system go to http://www.foodphilosopher.comto read about The Gluten-Free Good Health Cookbook.

On day 6, I will expand my diet to lean protein and non-dairy yogurt. My mid-afternoon treat will be:

Vegan & Gluten-Free Cherry Parfait

1 cup organic cherries (partially frozen)

6 ounces unsweetened coconut milk yogurt (like SO Delicious)

1 tablespoon flax meal

Sprinkle of cinnamon to taste

1 Hail Merry Blonde Macaroon, crumbled on top (optional) (http://www.hailmerry.com/shop/product/9705300102)

Place cherries in a soup bowl and top with yogurt, flax meal and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Crumble macaroon on top for a healthy sweet treat.

This delicious easy to assemble “meal” has only 355 calories, 9 grams of fiber, 1400 mg of omega-3 oils, and chock full of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It is a great way to start the day or a healthy dessert option. 2011 is shaping up beautifully.