My struggle with gluten-freefoodaphobia

Well, look at that. 3 posts in 3 days. Who’s impressed? Remember back in the day (about a year ago…) when I cooked/blogged every day and I almost put my family into cardiac arrest from all the fatty foods I was making? Ah, good times.

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Let me guess, you are trying to eat better and exercise more? Or, you’re trying to read more? Or, you’re trying to be as totally amazing and hilarious as I am? Well, I have a less predictable resolution. I’m going to conquer my fears. But not just any fears. No sir. I, Piccola Italiana, am going to conquer my fear of making gluten-free food. As that great quote goes by that one person whose name I’m too lazy to Google, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” My comfort zone is pretty much made up of Betty Crocker brownies and Eggo waffles. You can’t deny that I have the most delicious comfort zone in the world, huh?

If you’ve ever made gluten-free food, you know how easy it is to mess up. Is it too gritty? Too crumbly? Did I add enough guar/xanthan gum? Will the food come alive and take me captive back to its home planet, The Land of Green Bean Aftertastes? These are all legit concerns, am I right? So I have a list of foods that I want to make gluten-free and still edible. Want to hear them? Actually, you have no choice. Muahhahaha. Here’s the list:
Lady fingers, so I can make tiramisu. Yum.
Puff pastry (remember those awesome mushroom puffs I made with puff pastry? Well, they were awesome minus the mushroom part. Ick)
Meringues…which are gluten-free anyway, but them seem hard to make and they scare me…
And biscuits.

Oh, biscuits. One of life’s most delicious foods and one of the most disgusting gluten-free foods. Bad gluten-free biscuits make hardtack seem like marshmallows. Hence my apprehension about making them. I’m sure the list will grow, but for now I’m going to focus on these things – mainly the biscuits. Blech.

Tonight I used Quinoa for the first time. Yes, it’s pronounced keen-wa. I said quin-oh-ah for a long time. But quin-oh-ah sounds cooler anyway… my verdict on this “nutritious super-food”? Eh. It’s fine.

Can we all just take a moment here and admire the bacon grease? I was debating on whether or not to use this picture, but its deliciousness overruled its grossness, so there it is. I make my bacon in the oven and it’s like melt-in-your-mouth-have-I-died-and-gone-to-heaven-wait-I-better-not-have-because-the-new-Batman-movie-hasn’t-come-out-yet-and-I-can’t-die-before-I-see-it. Yeah, that good. Stick raw bacon on a cookie tray lined with Ryan Reynolds wrap (also known as Reynolds wrap, also known as aluminum foil), and put it in a cold oven. Then turn the oven to 400 degrees F, and set the timer for 20 minutes and when the timer goes off, try not to eat all the bacon at once. It basically cooks in its own fat. Delicious.

I didn’t want to make quinoa by itself, since I wasn’t sure how it would taste, so I used it as part of a recipe. I made Santa Fe meatballs. Ok, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “Santa Fe”? If you answer with “Are you there? Do you swear you won’t forget me.” then I officially dub you my best friend on the entire planet. Gahh, I love Newsies. I feel like I just said that yesterday…

On a scale of 1 to Joseph Gordon-Levitt holding a pound of bacon and a 2-liter of Dr Pepper, with 1 being disgusting and JGL being the most delicious thing ever (obviously?), I’d give these meatballs a 7. I drizzled them with fresh lime juice, which helped with the tastiness factor, but they needed…something. Since I don’t put anything gross on my blog (and when I do, I tell you that it’s gross), of course I recommend making these. But they need something. If any of you end up making these and tweaking the recipe a bit, let me know what you do. Merci.

If you ever need a gluten-free cookbook, just let me know. It’s like the Library of Congress over here.

Oh and welcome to all the new subscribers I’ve gotten the last couple of days! I used to get a new subscriber about every other week, but 6 of you have signed up in the last 2 days. You guys are the bomb diggity and I love you all…in a totally non-creepy way, I swear. Awkward.

Santa Fe meatballs

From the book Quinoa 365

1/2 cup water
1/4 cup quinoa

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
6 slices of bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 finely chopped fresh cilantro, Italian parsley, or curly parsley
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons minced pickled jalapenos (I left these out, and maybe that’s why they lacked pizazz…)
1 tsp ground cumin (left this out too. Hmmm…now I see why mine were so bland)
1/2 tsp salt

1 lime

Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 5 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff the quinoa with a fork. As they say in Horton Hears A Who, “It’s so fluffy I think I’m gonna die. IT’S SO FLUFFY!” *ehem* Set aside.

Preheat the over to 400 F

Combine the ground meat, cooked quinoa, bacon, onion, cilantro, eggs, garlic, jalapenos, cumin, and salt in a medium bowl. Blend well and form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Place them on a large nonstick baking sheet, or one lined with parchment paper. Bake 7-8 minutes, then turn the meatballs over and cook for another 7-8 minutes, until they are no longer pink in the middle. Drizzle with the juice of the lime. Devour.

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15 thoughts on “My struggle with gluten-freefoodaphobia

  1. first time I tried quinoa, my mom made it as a breakfast cereal, and it was totally disgusting to me..hence turning me from quinoa for like…life. :shock: haha those meatballs look…i’m just gonna say it – weird.

    but the bacon looks amazing! and I’m so-o trying it in the oven next time. :D Great idea!!

    -Tia

    • Hating on my meatballs? NICE, Tia. Hey, they have bacon in them! Therefore you are officially kicked out of the Bacon Lovers Association. BLA? ;)

      Bacon is always amazing! When is bacon not amazing…except when you’re Jewish…?

      • oh yeah and I forgot to say that my mom didn’t like the quinoa that way either….so later she made it with like chopped peppers and onion and stuff….that wasn’t so bad, but I’m not really sold on quinoa, haha.

        I’m so heartbroken to be kicked out of BLA. Now I have no clue what to do with my life.

        I know, right? I think Jews are definitely missing out. Bacon is an essential part of life. :P

        -Tia

        • Yeah, it’s ok. Not my favorite. But I’d eat it again…maybe?

          My food is heartbroken that you thought it was weird. So you two can go be sad together while I eat my bacon. Whacha.

          AMEN! :)

  2. Ah, quinoa. I remember making it a time or two. The famous question about it was, “What is this stuff? Bird seed?”

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