One last note… The work that Alba is doing is absolutely fascinating, so take a few minutes to watch our interview with Dr. Van Parijs and listen to all she has to stay about the drug and the study. Then take a look at their website for even more information! www.albatherapeutics.com.
“I have enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the NFCA for over a year,” Nancy said. “Using their skills and expertise, I am confident that we will move the programs launched in The Celiac Site from start up to national awareness.”
NFCA Executive Director Alice Bast said she is “thrilled to have Nancy Baker on board” and is “eager to get started with training a dynamic group of chefs in 2008.”
Keep it Simple. In my family, all meals that I cook are gluten-free. Some families opt to cook up a separate pot of gluten-free pasta for the one child in the family who is a celiac, while the rest of the family eats “regular” pasta. Having just one child, I do not have to deal with issues of keeping things fair amongst siblings, so we eat the same food as a family. For one thing, it validates for my daughter that gluten-free food is just as good as other food, if not better. More importantly, it makes her feel good that (to borrow from High School Musical) “we’re all in this together.”
Do my husband and I ever eat gluten-containing foods in front of her? Sure. Remember those Friday night take-out meals? We order what we want, she orders what she wants and everyone is happy. Especially me, because I have the night off. Keeping it simple also means not reinventing the wheel. We keep a list of our favorite meals on the side of our refrigerator and it is a great reminder to draw from when writing up our weekly menu.
Substitute. I have nothing against gluten-free cookbooks, particularly when it comes to making bread and pizza dough and pie crusts—foods in which gluten ordinarily plays a critical role, and alternative flours and stabilizers are required. But for everyday meals, I find that any good recipe source will do. When cooking gluten-free, recipes generally fall into one of three categories: fine as is, fine as long as a specific brand of ingredient is used (for example, a Worcestershire sauce that you know is GF), and fine with the substitution of one or more ingredients with their gluten-free counterparts (like breadcrumbs or pasta). It is surprisingly easy to cook gluten-free once you have a few key substitute ingredients on hand. I recommend pastas in different shapes (my favorite brand: Tinkyada), flour for dredging or thickening and breadcrumbs. (See my special recipe, below.)
One final thought: what works for cooking in general, works for cooking gluten-free. Use fresh ingredients, season your food using a variety of herbs and spices, use good olive oil, and don’t be afraid to experiment.
Want to contribute to our upcoming What’s Cooking database? Send your favorite recipe to me at [email protected] and I may include it in a future recipe section on the NFCA web site. Use the word recipe as your topic (no attachments, please).
Ultimate GF Bread Crumbs When I cracked the code to making the ultimate breadcrumb, a world of recipes formerly off-limits to our newly gluten-free lifestyle, suddenly became ours to use. And use them we do: veal parmesan, crab cakes, casseroles with a buttered crumb topping, and the best chicken fingers on the planet. The secret? Instead of using bread (which always tasted too sweet and came out too soggy) I use crackers. I buy the rectangular crackers that look like Saltines; the ones that are made by Glutino and by EnerG (slightly different crackers, but either works very well). I buy them by the case and grind them into crumbs in my food processor. Then I season them liberally with dried seasonings: salt, pepper, parsley flakes, onion powder, garlic powder and basil. I mix them well and store in an airtight container until needed. Sometimes I will add ground cayenne pepper or dried tarragon for a specific recipe, but the basic mixture above is my go-to Italian breadcrumb for anything breaded or crumb-topped. Here is my recipe for the best chicken fingers on the planet:
Best Chicken Fingers on the Planet
boneless, skinless chicken tenders, rinsed and strip of cartilage removed
rice flour seasoned with salt and pepper (put this in a shallow dish)
2-3 large eggs, lightly beaten (put this in a separate shallow bowl)
GF bread crumbs (use recipe above—place these in a third shallow bowl)
Form an assembly line of ingredients, as listed above. Dip chicken pieces first in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Coat them next in beaten egg, followed by a good dredging in the bread crumbs, making sure to get both sides. In a frying pan, heat good olive oil or vegetable oil on medium heat. When oil is hot, carefully add chicken and cook each piece until golden brown and crispy. Do not immerse chicken in deep oil—a coating to 1/8-inch will do. Wait to flip chicken until one side is nice and brown. Add more oil, if needed. After removing chicken from frying pan, immediately season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Enjoy!