Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chicken Parmesan, Gluten-free



I like to eat big.  When I was a kid, just a skinny little thing, family and friends would marvel at the huge piles of pasta I would heap on my plate and top with meatballs.  I mean, I would really pile it on – and at 10 I would pack away more of the dish than most adults.  Italian food was a staple growing up and my mom taught me how to make my grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs, as well as other hearty meals like fresh pasta and home-made bread.  Whatever I loved to eat, I would learn how to make it.

My home-made creations weren’t always perfect.  I am still teased for the time I tried to make eggplant ravioli without a recipe when I was 16.  It took 5 hours.  When we finally sat down to eat at 10 pm, everyone was famished, but I had made some miscalculations.  Each person got about three ravioli.  They weren’t even good!  That was when I learned that eggplant, while delicious, can be spongy and bland when not cooked properly.  Eggplant ravioli was one recipe I never tried again.

Fortunately I didn’t mind the disasters.  Maybe my family did, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to eat.  A lot.  When I found out I couldn’t eat pasta anymore, it was a major blow.  Corn pasta was okay, but it didn’t taste the same.  I ate a lot of bad substitutions when I first went gluten-free eight years ago.  That’s why I was amazed at how good the Jovial Foods brown rice pasta is.  It tastes like the real thing! The Jovial Brown Rice Pasta is some of the best gluten-free pasta I’ve had, and I love that you can get lots of shapes.   Capellini, my favorite pasta shape as a kid, is perfect for this meal, and it’s a shape that’s hard to find GF. 

It was finding good products like Jovial pasta that made me realize that gluten-free could be just as good.  I started to experiment and realized that as long as I didn’t mind some trial and error, I could still make anything I wanted to eat.  I started recording my recipes – and sometimes my disasters - on this blog, Gluten-free Gourmand.  I did all my trouble-shooting for this recipe in creating one of my signature dishes: Eggplant Parmesan.  You can see that vegetarian-friendly recipe here.



Thanks to my success making Eggplant Parmesan, my Chicken Parmesan was delicious the first time I tried making it, and it has been a staple meal in my household ever since.  It seems like it would be daunting, but it’s actually very easy to make, and doesn’t take any particular kitchen know-how – just a little time and some good ingredients.  The Jovial jarred tomatoes are fresh and tangy just like tomatoes from my garden.  The sauce is a quick version of my Grandma’s sauce that I learned to make when I was young, so this recipe is like something my mom might have made for me as a kid – and that I would have eaten a lot of!

Gluten-free Chicken Parmesan


Prep time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Sauce Ingredients:

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic (optional)
2 jars Jovial Diced Tomatoes
¾ tsp. salt (or to taste)
Basil or oregano to taste
 
Chicken Parmesan Ingredients:

4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or enough to coat the pan
¾ cup white rice flour
1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 eggs
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
4 slices mozzarella cheese
12 oz. Jovial Brown Rice Capellini

Sauce Instructions:

 Heat Jovial Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large, shallow skillet (ovenproof if possible) on medium-low.  Slice the shallots and sauté until browned.  Chop the garlic and sauté until fragrant and beginning to turn golden.  Pour one of the cans of diced tomatoes into the pan.  Simmer the sauce to reduce the tomatoes to a paste, stirring often.  Cook the chicken in the meantime.  When the chicken is ready, stir the second jar of diced tomatoes into the sauce and add the salt and herbs.  Stir and heat to a simmer. 

Chicken Parmesan Instructions:

Heat oven to 375.

On the stove, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet on medium heat.  Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisk the eggs in a second bowl.

Dip the first piece of chicken in the egg, coating it on all sides. Then coat it in the rice flour mixture.  Dip in the egg again, coat with rice flour again and place in the heated oil to fry.  Repeat the procedure with all four pieces of chicken.  

Turn the chicken over when it is golden brown on the bottom and fry the second side.  When the chicken pieces are well browned on both sides, set them aside on a paper towel. 

When all pieces are cooked, finish preparing the sauce (the last step of the sauce recipe) and then place the chicken pieces on top of the sauce, either in the ovenproof skillet or in a casserole dish.  Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella.  Bake the dish for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top.

While the chicken is baking, cook the capellini according to package directions while the chicken is in the oven.

Serve the chicken over the pasta with plenty of the sauce.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Quick Pie Crust Recipe



I've been working on this recipe for my mom, who requested an easier, faster recipe than a traditional all-butter pastry crust without any egg.  This crust is every bit as good, and much easier to handle due to the egg.  Plus, it's just in time for making your first strawberry rhubarb pie of the season.

Gluten-free Pie Crust Recipe


Makes one crust.  Double for pies that need a top crust.
mix time: 5 min
rest time: 30 min (optional)
cook time: 
30-50 minutes filled (like apple pie) or 
20 minutes pre-cooked for a custard filling or as a gallette

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Fluffiest Waffles with Blueberry Sauce


When a person first goes gluten-free, she often immediately thinks of all the delicious foods she won’t be able to eat again.  Croissants?  Beer?  Baguettes?  WAFFLES?  What a catastrophe!  Well, catastrophe averted.  I haven’t figured out how to make my own beer yet, but waffles are one thing that no one should ever have to miss with easy gluten-free recipes like this one.  In fact, these waffles are even lighter, fluffier, and more delicious than the wheat version.  Why?  No pesky gluten, of course!  Gluten can toughen waffles if you aren’t extremely careful in mixing.  With this recipe, there’s no gluten worry.  The texture is extremely pillowy, the flavor is full and buttery, and they are easy on the belly. They are even soft and springy the next day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gluten-free Pad Woon Sen

Here's a post from my sister publication, Just Another Shallot and Asparagus Blog.  I collaborated with "Shallot" blogger Christopher on this recipe.  Just make sure your fish sauce is gluten-free, or substitute with gluten-free soy sauce, and you're good to go with this healthy asian meal.


Monday, March 17, 2014

GF 24-hour Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is a very traditional sourdough bread recipe, using artisan methods to create a nice, tangy, San Francisco-style sourdough bread.  If you like a really sour-but-smooth sourdough bread, this is the recipe for you.


There are just a few differences between this recipe and a standard wheat-based recipe.  The most notable difference, of course, is the psyllium husk, which is a gluten substitute.  Read more about psyllium and other binders here.  Then of course there's the flour.  I use the No. 7 Bread Artisan Bread Flour for bread baking, but if you live outside the U.S. read my post Make Your Own Gluten-free Bread Flour.  If you use your own flour blend, you may have to adjust the amount of water and psyllium you use.

Why sourdough?  It's incredibly delicious, for one thing.  The natural process of fermenting the bread through the sourdough process makes it really good for you, too.  Then there's the fact that sourdough bread stays fresh much longer than regular bread.  It will stay soft and flexible for about four days, and it can stay good for a week or two on the counter without molding - even in damp climates like Portland, Oregon where I live.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Brief History of Bread

Breads are considered the stuff of life in many cultures.  Those of us who are gluten-free in a gluten-loving country can fee left out of the main event of our culinary heritage.  Knowing something about the history of bread has helped me keep gluten in perspective.


When did people start making bread?  The most ancient and the simplest method of making bread does not use fermentation.  This is the method that's still used to make tortillas: a simple mixture of flour and water, patted into a flat circle and grilled on both sides until done.  People have been using this process for making flatbreads since time immemorial.

People figured out how to ferment the water-and-flour mixture as long as 20,000 years ago in Africa.  The invention of cultured doughs made injera and other types of sourdough pancakes possible.  The grains used for these yeasted flatbreads are mainly teff and sorghum.