Monday, April 23, 2012

Gluten Free Gnocchi



I wish I had sweet childhood memory of gnocchi to tell you and to liven up this entry a bit, but sadly I had never tried gnocchi during my gluten full days. I have no idea what it is ‘supposed’ to taste like. I do, however, know that I tried it at the only 100% gluten free restaurant in Ottawa, Ontario during a work trip and was not disappointed. On my last trip to Ottawa  I made it a point of finding my way to Caprese Ristorante Italiano on the first night. I landed, caught the bus to my hotel, dropped off my bags and grabbed a taxi to the restaurant. Who cares if it was only 4pm my time, it was 7pm local time and they were closing soon. Actually it was a little later than that by the time I got there, but as soon as I did I ordered 3 dinners; one to stay and two to go.


The one to stay was gnocchi in a creamy rose sauce. I had never had gnocchi before that point and figured, what the heck, I should try something new. After the first bight I wished I had ordered gnocchi for all of my meals. It was so yummy! I think I may have actually fallen in love with the sauce more, but the vehicle for the sauce was darn good too.

So I endeavored to learn how to make it at home. It’s not difficult per say, just time consuming. I watched this video on how to make traditional gnocchi and then adapted the recipe. My recipe is not nearly as good as what I had at the restaurant, but it’ll do for now. Perhaps you have a better version? This version does best with a good tomato or cream sauce. You can use pesto to, but I think I like the creamy sauces better.


Gnocchi

2 lbs potatoes
¼ cup potato starch
¾ cup quinoa flour
1 cup chickpea flour
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
2 eggs
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg

First bake or boil 2 lbs of large potatoes (russet or yellow). While they are hot, using oven mitts, peel them and pass them through a potato ricer or the shredder of your food processor. Let them cool slightly so they don’t cook the eggs, but they work better warm. 

Place shredded potatoes onto a counter coated in chickpea flour or on wax paper with chickpea flour and sprinkle remaining dry ingredients over potatoes. Form a well in the centre and crack your eggs there. Then with your hands, mix the potato with the flour and eggs and kneed into a dough. Once everything is mixed evenly break of a small junk and roll it into a long rope (see video). Cut the rope into 1 inch segments and continue until all the dough is done.  You can leave as is for a rustic look or you can press with a fork or mold around your thumb for other shapes that hold sauce well.

Once gnocchi are formed you can throw them into a pot of boiling water. Boil until they float (approximately 1 minute). Then throw them into a sauce of your choice and heat for a few more minutes. Serve.

Alternatively, if you have too much gnocchi, you can place them on a cookie sheet and freeze them in a single layer for a few hours  and then put them in a freezer bag until you want to use them. Cooking directions are the same, only it takes about 3 minutes for them to float from frozen. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Serious Coffee


Image taken from http://www.seriouscoffee.com/

A few years ago, I travelled to Australia for a wedding. While I was there I discovered that Australia is MILES ahead of Canada in the world of gluten free offerings. One more of the more noticeable details, for me, was that all of the coffee shops had at least one gluten free treat … even if it was just a cookie. That was incredibly helpful because if you were in an area that was low on the gluten free restaurants you and no grocery stores, well you knew you could at least get a quick snack to tide you over.

That lovely little treat is hard to find in Canada, but one coffee chain here on Vancouver Island has started catering to those of us with gluten aversions. Serious Coffee’s up and down Vancouver Island all carry Laughing Daughters Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf and Ginger Cookie. Recently they’ve brought out a coconut chocolate chip shortbread cookie, yum. Now they carry two more products by Sweets From The Earth: Chocolate Chewy Nut Bar and Brownie. Both companies are dedicated gluten free facilities so there are no worries about cross contamination. They also carry an in-house gluten free cookie but I haven’t tried that yet and probably never will, as I prefer the safety of products made in dedicated facilities.

Image taken from http://www.seriouscoffee.com/

To top it all off Serious Coffee carries Almond Milk. So if you are lactose intolerant and allergic to Soy like I am, you can get your Chai Tea Latte made with almond milk. I love Serious Coffee because they try and they are the only chain out there (that I’ve found) that carries gluten free treats that are actually treats and not just a bag of fruit or nuts :) I only wish there were more of your stores!

p.s. My blog isn't know enough to get offers of money or product to advertise, so this is just a freebie for a company I think is doing a great job!