I enjoy taking cooking classes on a variety of subjects. The less I know about it, the more appealing the class is to me!
So when I heard Ingredients was offering a class on gluten free meals, I definitely wanted to check it out. A few years ago we were invited to a small potluck get together and one of the guests was gluten intolerant. Yikes! I ended up doing a simple vegetable dish because I didn’t know what else to do.
The class was taught by Sarah-Jane Bedwell (she taught the “Rev Up Your Metabolism” class I took last winter). She is now the nutrition blogger for ‘Self’ magazine at http://www.self.com/fooddiet/blogs/eatlikeme
According to the Wikipedia, “Gluten sensitivity is thought to affect approximately 6% of the general population. Symptoms of gluten sensitivity include bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea; or it may present with a variety of extraintestinal symptoms including headaches and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, autism and schizophrenia, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.”
And even if you are not gluten sensitive, it is starting to be suggested that one cuts back on the amount of gluten products in their diet. That means wheat and wheat products (bulgur, couscous, farina, graham flour, matzo, spelt…) of course; but it also means barley/malt, oats, and rye/triticale.
So what sorts of starches are ‘good’? A few are beans, corn, legumes, lentils, nuts, peas, potatoes, rice, soy, buckwheat, tapioca, teff flour (Yes! My Ethiopian injera is good!).
But it is not as easy as just avoiding certain baked goods. A cereal may be made out of corn… but has malt for flavoring. Seasonings in rice mixes might have gluten. Processed meat. Non dairy creamers. Processed cheese. Dried fruit!! Some brands of baking powder contain wheat starch. Sauces might use flour to thicken them.
You have to read the labels.
Myself… I want to start avoiding gluten products as part of my weight loss program. And I am curious if I will feel any physical benefits to cutting back. (I’m not going completely gluten free but plan to cut back heavily).
As part of the cooking class, Sarah-Jane used different gluten free products so we could try them out.
We started with an appetizer of Brown Rice Quesadillas with Goat Cheese. Interesting. They are thinner and more delicate than a flour tortilla. Still haven’t decided if I like them for a quesadilla… but I think they might make a great oven baked chip.
Next was Lemon-Dijon Salad Greens with Herbed Croutons. Salad was no surprise. The gluten free croutons. Meh.
The entrée was Parmesan Cayenne Baked Cod. This was a winner! Found out that a lot of the “shaker” parms have wheat starch to keep them from sticking together! Use the real thing… it is better anyway.
And dessert was Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake. Another winner! Dense, moist, good! But you have to make sure you check the peanut butter for allergens!
Parmesan Cayenne Baked Cod
1 pound of cod fillets (or similar mild white fish)
1 tablespoon of olive oil (enough to lightly coat a baking dish)
3 tablespoons of mayo
1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced onion
Dash of ground cayenne pepper (add or reduce to your taste… I would add)
2 oz grated Parmesan cheese (I would probably up that amount…but I love parm!)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wash and pat dry the fish. Coat a baking dish with the olive oil, and set the fish inside.
In a small bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, and onion. Mix well and spread over the fish fillets.
Next sprinkle the fish with the Parmesan cheese, and season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Bake uncovered for about 30 minutes, or until fish becomes flaky and the top is crisp.