Sunday, May 30, 2010

A G-Free Birthday

The sky is now periwinkle and the clouds dissipate by noon like wisps of fluffy cotton balls. It’s been so rainy and cold this winter that I do not even mind the dewy blanket of humidity that seems to constantly coat my skin. It’s all the blessings from Mother Nature as she turns our season into summer. I crave salads, hummus, grilled meats and vegetables, and of course every fruit imaginable. Luckily for me, all the above are naturally gluten free (minus store bought salad dressings and croutons of course but I never cared much for those things anyway).

My pops had his birthday this weekend. The Chicago Blackhawks played Saturday night. You do the addition and it’s a no brainer that we would host a birthday party for him Saturday night and watch the game. I could think of no better birthday present for him than a first game win for the Stanley Cup. Well, maybe the Cup itself but we have to count our blessings one day at a time right?

I have been asking my husband to make his ribs now for quite some time. My pops’ birthday rolls around and he was more than acquiescenced…Ah well, I knew I would get them one way or another! I cannot reveal to you his rib recipe, however, I will tell you the element that I had to do some research on to make sure that I would be enjoying these without stomach pain. The only stomach pain that is allowed is when I eat way too many and I am stuffed to the brim with joy and satisfaction.
I had read on a few blogs on vinegar and a few reported that it was out of the question. Well my friends, if I thought everything contained gluten, go check and see how many condiments have some sort of vinegar in them! After a couple books and online research I discovered that malt vinegar and flavored vinegars seemed to be the only ones I had to avoid. Since I clearly could not have my favorite fish and chips from the White Lion English Pub here in town anyway, malt vinegar was really not a hard blow to this celiac’s ego. Furthermore, I could have apple cider vinegars for example, just not apple cider flavored vinegars. It’s all in the wording my dears, but we are getting used to obsessively reading every label by now anyway right?

Hosting a party on the first big pool Saturday can be done easy without having to sacrifice too much pool time. We had to get the ribs on by two, so that gave us a good amount of time to soak in the sunshine. That said, once we got home I did not want to be slaving in the kitchen when I could be playing outside. I will forever be a kid at heart which means consequently that I will itch to be outside when the sky is blue and the sun is warm. Those days were always so hard to attend class or focus on work. I will be sure to exclude that opinion in my resume.
The menu:

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

•4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
•2 (15 ounce) cans garbanzo beans, drained
•2/3 cup tahini
•2/3 cup fresh lemon juice
•1 cup muir glen fire roasted red peppers
•1/2 teaspoon dried basil

In an electric food processor or blender, combine garlic, garbanzo beans, tahini, and lemon juice. Process until the mixture is smooth. Add roasted peppers and basil; process until the peppers are finely chopped. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer hummus to small bowl, cover and chill until you are ready to serve.
I served carrots for dipping, but any crudités or dipping food of your choice works!

B’s Famous Ribs
Husband will not let me disclose. But they are finger lickin’!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

•4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into sticks
•Ground Cinnamon
•Ground Nutmeg
•Sea Salt
•Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Halve your sweet potatoes and slice into thin strips. Blanch for about 2 hours. Drain.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Add enough olive oil to coat. Add Cinnamon and Nutmeg to taste and toss. Lay strips out on a foil covered baking sheet and sprinkle sea salt over the strips.

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes turning the fries half way through so they do not burn. Broil for 3 minutes at the very end to crisp. They will not be as crispy as normal fries as the natural sugar content of sweet potatoes is higher. If you like a crispier fry, you may have to take the fry in oil route. I like mine freshly baked and oil free!

Namaste Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Maple Icing

I chose to make a vanilla cake from Namaste’s Vanilla Cake Mix and make icing from scratch. Instructions for the cake are on the bag, and I added a tablespoon of vanilla to give it a rich color. It came out pretty well but I think I will add cream cheese or sour cream to the batter next time to ensure that it bakes with a richer, more moist texture. I did not have time to make it down to whole foods for the icing so I made this one up and it turned out delicious!!

Gluten Free Icing
½ cup Spectrum Natural Organic shortening
½ cup butter, softened
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
2 tbs pure maple syrup
3-4 cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbs milk

Happy Birthday Pops and best of luck to the Chicago Blackhawks!

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