Thursday, April 9, 2009

Gluten Free Easter!

With Easter only a few short days away, be sure your holiday dining is about family time, not food worries! Easter brunch can easily be elegant without hours of preparation. If you’re concerned about entertaining, remember that a good approach is to stick to what you like and what you know best. Do you make a mean scrambled egg? Try dressing it up with some avocado and chives, or making a tasty frittata. Don’t forget brunch options like bacon and sausage (check the label to make sure they are gluten-free), hash browns/potatoes, and fresh fruit--right now you’ll find lots of variety in stores as more fruits come into season. Know of a Kosher bakery nearby? Now’s the time to find gluten-free goodies as Passover begins (wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, and soy are forbidden during the holiday).

Think “ABCD” when preparing or each gluten free food around the holidays:

AWARNESS: Whether you’re the chef or a guest, be aware of cross-contamination. Never share utensils or silverware if gluten-free food is being prepared!

BRING FOOD: If you’re a guest and unsure how many GF options you’ll have, bring the food you just can’t live without.

CHECK INGREDIENTS: Sometimes meats and other products that are naturally gluten-free contain added ingredients (for preservation, etc.) that may contain gluten. Double-check everything!

DIVE IN!: If you’ve been invited over for Easter brunch or dinner, explain your gluten sensitivity to your host and offer to help plan the meal. Chances our your host will appreciate your assistance as well the chance to learn something new.

Here’s a few tasty recipes to get you started...

Gluten Free Easter Recipes

Gluten Free Egg Bake
1 large package of Gluten Free shredded hash brown potatoes (or 2 packages of Simply Potatoes)
1/2 cup of butter
18 large eggs (properly whisked)
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 package sausage links (Pre-cooked and cut up into pieces. Make sure your sausage is gluten free! Most common brands are, but always double check.)
1-2 teaspoons GF Italian seasoning/your favorite GF seasoning

1. Heat oven to 350˚F
2. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Precook the hash browns (thaw them first if frozen) with a light coating of melted butter (with a few dollops on top) in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. While that’s baking, combine eggs, milk, cheese, and seasoning in large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Remove pan from oven and push warm hash browns into the pan, forming a “crust.” Pour egg mixture on top, and then place sausage into the mixture.
4. Bake at 350˚F for 50 minutes to one hour—until a knife comes out clean. Let bake sit for 10 minutes and serve immediately.

For even more variety, try adding green peppers, mushrooms, and (cooked) ham to the bake!

Gluten Free Spiral-Sliced Ham with Maple and Orange Marmalade Glaze
Serves 18 to 20
1 8-to-9lb. gluten free, boneless, pre-cooked spiral-sliced ham
1 cup maple syrup (but sure to check the label; by itself, maple syrup is naturally GF)
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 oranges, sliced (optional)
6 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a sharp paring knife, make shallow crosshatch cuts all over the outside of the ham. Arrange ham in a large roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine syrup, marmalade, juice, ground cinnamon, pepper and cloves in a small bowl to make a glaze. After ham has baked for 30 minutes, remove from oven; increase oven temperature to 425°F. 

Arrange oranges and cinnamon sticks (if using) around ham in roasting pan, then brush ham and oranges liberally all over with glaze, pouring remaining glaze over the ham. Return to oven and bake, basting about every 10 minutes, until ham is hot throughout and caramelized on the outside, about 45 minute more. 

Transfer ham to a cutting board or platter and set aside to let rest for 15 minutes. Arrange oranges and cinnamon sticks around ham and serve.

GF Hot Cross Buns
3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour mix (try Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Mix, found in many supermarkets)
1/3 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons guar or Xantham gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup yellow raisins
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar in warm water. Add yeast and let proof.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the eggs, olive oil, and vinegar separately and then add to dry ingredients.
3. Add proofed yeast and beat on high speed for three minutes. Stir in the raisins.
4. Grease two round pie pans. Using lightly-floured hands, cut the dough in half and roll eight buns out of each section. Place eight buns in each pan.
5. With a knife dipped in rice flour, cut an X on top of each bun. Brush with melted butter.
6. Let rise in a warm place for 35-40 minutes. Bake each bun at 375˚F for 30 to 35 minutes.

GF Hot Cross Buns Icing
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon orange extract

Blend all the ingredients above, adding more sugar to get desired consistency. While the buns are still warm, ice a cross on top of each roll.

GF Lemon Ricotta-Almond Cake
3 eggs
1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour (finely ground)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup GF Pancake/Baking Mix (try Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s, both found in most supermarkets)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk eggs and sugar. Add almond meal and butter, and stir well. Pulse ricotta in blender or mash by hand, and then add to batter. Stir thoroughly to combine before folding in Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix. Lastly, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract and mix the batter to blend. Grease 8" round cake pan. Pour batter into the cake pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving warm. Dust with powdered sugar and/or garnish with fruit.

Gluten Free Easter: The Kids
With all the candy involved, keeping GF kids safe during Easter is a primary concern.
Be sure to check out our GF Halloween entry for more info on gluten free candy and companies. Here’s a small list to get you started. If you’re unsure about a particular candy, remember to check the label! Hershey’s, Just Born, Nestle, and Mars identify even trace amounts of gluten on product labels. All Tootsie Roll products are gluten free.

Wonka Gobstopper Eggbreakers
Wonka Runts Freckled Eggs
Wonka Large Golden Egg (Milk Chocolate hollow egg with SweeTARTS candy inside)
Wonka SweeTARTS Candy Canes
Nestlé Baby Ruth Crème Eggs
Nestlé Butterfinger Nesteggs and Crème Eggs
Nestlé Caramel Nesteggs
Nestlé Milk Chocolate Nesteggs
Nestlé Turtle Crème Eggs

Just Born
Marshmallow Peeps Chicks and Bunnies
Marshmallow Peeps Eggs (Strawberry, Vanilla, and Orange Crème flavors)
Mashmallow Peeps Inside Milk Chocolate Egg
Mike and Ike Easter Treats
Just Born Jelly Beans

Baskets/Egg Hunts

Check out “50 Ways to Fill an Easter Egg,” a great list for ideas on filling Easter eggs and baskets with fun GF treats!