Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gluten Free Adventures: Broiled Sesame Shrimp and Peppers and other Tasty Treats

Michelle and I went on our somewhat annual Best Friend Vacation to Florida a couple of weeks ago.  It was a glorious 5 days of chilling in the sun and reuniting with a good college friend of ours that lives down there. Derek went to college with us our freshman year, and even though he transferred out, we always kept in touch. After he moved to Florida to work permanently, I started making my pilgrimages to the sunshine state. Michelle joined me after my first visit after she saw all of my happy pics and stories, and she's been hooked.

After we disclosed to Derek our plans for cooking for him, he dropped a bomb: he was allergic to gluten. The last time we were in FL, Derek was complaining of stomach pains he'd been having for a while, and...other issues that are less decorous to share. The pains were complications due to his body saying "NO BUENO" to gluten.

Now, I know we hear the term gluten and have no friggin' idea what it is. Basically, gluten is a protein found in wheat that makes bread chewy and toothsome. Unfortunately there are people who are really sensitive to it, with the most severe case being celiac disease. Derek's case wasn't that serious, but, it was serious enough for him to make some changes to his diet and to start drinking gluten-free beer (my verdict: it's not bad!).

Most of the things we thought about cooking for him flew out the window. Could I make a gluten-free meal that we all (me, Michelle, Derek, and his roommate, Jesse) could enjoy? I used a couple of different resources, and I think everything turned out pretty damn splendidly.

Broiled Sesame Shrimp & Peppers

This recipe I got with the help of Tasty Kitchen's Special Dietary Needs section! They're sitting on a bed of gluten-free spiral pasta...I forget the brand name, but it's made of rice flour instead of the regular kind. I would have preferred rice noodles though..and if I had looked hard enough through Derek's pantry, I would have found them. WHOOPS. This was light, tangy/sweet, and delicious.

Orange Balsamic Glazed Chicken with Mac n Cheese and Roasted Carrots & Asparagus
Okay, I know most of people (including myself) find Rachel Ray REALLY irritating. But, she does have some really good recipes, and this one was really easy to make gluten-free. Easily found the gluten-free chicken broth at Publix, and made a substitution. Unfortunately, the mac and cheese was the Kraft kind, and Derek couldn't eat it...which is why I roasted veggies (400 degrees, toss them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and desired fresh herbs...I used thyme) on the side. Since Michelle isn't a huge veg fan, she was happy with the mac. The rest of us ate it ALL. The only thing I would change about the recipe is maybe using less chicken broth. I probably used a little too much oil in the sauteing of the chicken as well. I really wanted a tight glaze and I got a somewhat liquid-y consistency. Otherwise, this came out really good as well.

On the baking front were these two delights:

PW's Orange Marmalade Cake and Toll House Choco-Chip Cookie Bars
For the baked goods, I used two regular recipes and just substituted gluten-free flour for the regular kind. I made the cake, and Michelle made the cookies. The cake and the glaze are both made with yogurt, and made good use of the big ass jar of orange marmalade I bought. The cookies are the regular Toll House recipe, put into a rectangular pan so we wouldn't be scooping out cookie dough all night. I noticed that the flour swap made for a denser product with a slightly browner crumb, but other than that, everything tasted amazing.

And here is proof:

Please not that those chunks they cut, they thought were appropriate serving sizes. Boys are just animals, aren't they? :-)


  1. The food that weekend was SOOOOO good! Not going to lie, when Derek announced he could only eat gluten free food, I mentally panicked. I am about the pickiest eater around with the most restricted palate. Monique is challenged every time she has to cook for just me, but now she had an extra thing to take into consideration. That being said, the chicken was kick-ass and the shrimp from the first night was delicious!! I was pleasantly stuffed by the end of the weekend. Monique knows how to take care of me. =)

  2. This is so cool! Oh and for future reference, this gluten-free mac and cheese - http://www.amazon.com/Annies-Homegrown-Gluten-Macaroni-11-Ounce/dp/B003DIOTX0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=grocery&qid=1306280668&sr=1-2 is kick ass! You can find it individually to purchase too, but Amazon was the easiest place to find it and they sell by the case!