This month I hosted our local Celiac Bay Area Support Group potluck at my apartment clubhouse. Although our branch of the SFBay Celiac Support Group is fairly new, we’ve formed a cohesive little community around our interest in gluten free foods and the gluten free lifestyle. We are in the process of establishing a web site resource for San Francisco Celiacs as well as considering strategies for gluten free Bay area restaurant education. We are all quite jealous of the glorious gluten free food scene in New York, enriched as it is by Risotteria and Babycakes bakery, among many others. Anyway, I will keep you updated as our Support Group resourses are developed! Our potluck food themes have included Italian food, The Foods of Asia, and now our most recent dinner was all about delicious, Mediterranean food. The Menu?
Appetizer: DH Grilled Artichokes with Dip
K’s Veggies and Chips with hummus and dip
Salad: V’s Greek Salad with Feta and Dressing on the Side
EntrÃ©e: Sea Vegetarian Risotto with shallot marinated grilled crimini and portabella mushrooms. (recipes below)
EntrÃ©e: E’s Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh
Protein EntrÃ©e: K’s Turkish Moussaka
Bread: Sea Bette Hagman’s French Bread
Beverages: L#1 Wine
Dessert: L#2 Fresh Fruit with cream
Sea Homemade Ice Cream- Vanilla, Banana
*note: my compatriots have been transformed into letters of the alphabet to protect their super secret identities. Are the letters random? Who knows… Do any of you know what Q’s name stands for in 007???*
We are a group that just loves delicious food, obviously. Of course I can’t refrain from making enough food for an army, no matter what size the gathering. DH grilled some of his delicious artichokes and I prepared a scrumptious fresh herb dip to accompany it. I also made vegetarian red onion risotto in both a dairy and dairy free incarnation. Because risotto just isn’t complete without yummy mushrooms garnishing it, I whipped up an original recipe for Shallot marinated grilled crimini and portabella mushrooms. I made my classic party food item- Bette Hagman’s rapid rise french bread, found in her book, More from the Gluten free Gourmet. After all, every gluten free party should have some killer gluten free bread.. And then because DH and I have been eying our unused ice cream maker a lot lately and thinking that we really OUGHT to do something with it, we also made an egg free vanilla and banana ice cream recipe. Too much? Probably, but it was fun and there was enough risotto to send almost everyone off with a little dinner portion to take home and still leave us with enough for some risotto cakes. But there were quite a few gourmet chefs at this gluten free gathering of ours. V’s Greek salad was delicious, and prepared just the way I like it with a wide assortment of greens, kalamata olives, feta cheese and an absolutely delish wine vinaigrette. I think E’s Gluten Free Quinoa Tabbouleh was the best quinoa I’d ever had- it was light, refreshing, and perfect for a summer Mediterranean feast. K’s Turkish Moussaka was gobbled up by all the happy omnivores at the party, and I was really jealous of the decadent eggplant starring in the dish. L#2 Fresh Fruit with cream was the perfect end to a summer feast, and we were all completely full and happy by the end of the evening.
See how much delicious fun it is to get together with other gluten free foodies in your neighborhood? Don’t you want to start or join your own Gluten Free Support Group? Why not give it a try- I bet you’ll discover all kinds of tasty gluten free dishes you’ve never had before… I can’t wait for our next meeting, but I’m thinking I need to join a gym to compensate for all this gourmet gluten free dining I’ve been doing lately… ;)
Red Onion Vegetarian Risotto Recipe
6 cups homemade Gluten Free vegetable stock (or use gluten free veg bouillon)
4 tbsp unsalted butter (OR olive oil OR margarine)
1 red onion or 8 shallots, finely chopped
4 whole garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cup arborio rice (short grain japanese sushi rice also works)
1 1/2 cup white wine
2 tsp. italian seasonings
1/2 to 2/3 cups grated parmesan cheese and romano cheese (optional)
2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, julienned for garnish
salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper
Grilled Mushrooms for serving
Heat stock in a pan until almost boiling, then lower heat to simmer.
Heat butter or oil in fry pan, heavy bottomed saucepan or dutch oven on medium heat. Add onions or shallots, galic cloves and bay leaves and cook until onions are softened but not browned.
Add rice and stir until grains are translucent and glistening (a minute or two). Pour in wine and let simmer until it is absorbed.
Add stock to risotto one cup at a time, stirring and letting each cup be absorbed, repeatedly until you’ve used almost all the stock liquid and the rice is tender (about 20 minutes).
Add the last bit of stock. When it is absorbed, add the grated cheeses and seasonings. Combine thoroughly, remove from heat, cover and let sit for a few more minutes.
To serve, add julienned basil and top with grilled mushrooms (Recipe below)
Serve and garnish.
I made a homemade stock with butter, olive oil, garlic, onions, leeks, carrots, celery, fennel, parsley, bay leaves and fresh thyme. Homemade stock is the best!
Vegetarian Grilled Stuffed Mushroom Recipe
10 crimini mushrooms and 2 portabella mushrooms (or 30+ crimini)
Steak and grill type seasoning blend (I used Trader Joe’s, Spice Hunter probably has one as well)
white wine vinegar
3 or more finely diced shallots
3 or more pressed fresh garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground Pepper to taste (optional, especially if your steak seasoning blend contains it)
Needed equipment: foil grill topper tray with holes but plenty of solid surface area (not the wire trap type), grill (you can use grill pan but best results from a propane or charcoal grill)
Prepare mushrooms- remove caps from mushrooms. Leave crimini caps whole and slice portabella mushrooms.
Make marinade by shaking a healthy amount of steak and grill seasoning (we’re talking teaspoon(s) here)
Take your mushroom caps and immerse in marinade. Rub seasonings and garlic/shallots on the surface of each cap, and fill each cavity with diced shallots and garlic mixture. Place on a plate. Coat your sliced portabellas in any leftover marinade. Reserve. (Keep any leftover marinade for basting mushrooms while grilling.)
Heat your grill (or if propane, just turn it on!) to a medium heat. No burning inferno temperatures please, or your mushrooms will cry.
Carefully place your crimini on the grill topper cavity up and distribute your portabella slices. Put any broken or especially thin slices on the grill topper, and if you like you can put sturdier, longer slices directly on the grill for attractive grill marks.
You can enjoy these as appetizers or on risotto, polenta, pilaf, mashed potatoes, or plain rice. Mmm mmm tasty!