Friday, February 4, 2011

Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger: Simply Gluten-Free

Carol Kicinski is not like Martha Stewart. Or so she claims. But let me tell you a little about this beautiful woman. She cooks, she bakes, she has her own cupcake cookbook coming out, she has a gluten-free cooking segment on Daytime TV, and she has her own all-purpose flour blend. I have a feeling she does a lot more too, but let's stop there and call it a day. Are you intimidated yet? I know I am. But Carol is also one of the most down-to-earth women I know. For all her fame, she is always present with a kind word on twitter, a comment on my posts, or an encouraging nudge to submit my photos to her monthly contest. And, well... I just have to show you one of her many amazing food photos. Oh, did I mention she's a great photographer too? I think, in my perfect world, I would get to take photography lessons from her while she baked cupcakes for me daily. For her cupcakes, I would conveniently forget that I'm sugar-free. Not Martha Stewart? No, she's better than that because she does it all gluten-free!

Shirley Temple Cupcakes at Simply Gluten-Free

Carol sent me a package of her gluten-free flour blend a while back, and I wanted to write a post on it. However, I was so busy having fun experimenting that I ran out of flour before I perfected any recipes. Well, that and the photos I took looked horrendous. I can't even find them, which leads me to believe I probably deleted them in disgust. Carol's blend is perfect for desserts though, and it's a great flour for converting your old recipes to gluten-free.

This month, a friend and I tried out one of Carol's recipes for homemade pasta. As part of Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, there were so many other recipes I wanted to make, but time got in the way, so I'll share with you my pasta experience, and leave you with links to the recipes I would have made if time (and in some cases, food sensitivities) permitted.

My biggest surprise with this fresh pasta was that it was really as easy to make as Carol said. Now to be fair, I didn't really do the work. My friend made them while I sauteed veggies. But I watched, and it looked really easy. Note all the plastic wrap in this photo? That was my suggestion for minimizing gluten contamination in a gluten-filled house. I loved the process of making and eating a meal like this completely from scratch. How many people can say they've made their own pasta? It's certainly not something I would have even considered before being gluten-free opened up so many new cooking avenues for me.

My only issue with the pasta was that it was a bit rubbery, but that was not Carol's fault. She explicitly says in her recipe to cook the pasta for 2-5 minutes and not to overcook it. I definitely left it in the pot too long, so I'll take the blame for that one. But the structure, the was all there, and I know I'll be making this recipe again, being sure to follow Carol's instructions to the letter the next time!

Now, if I could plan a perfect day, here's what I would like to eat:

I would start with a hearty breakfast of mini-frittatas and ricotta lemon pancakes. Since breakfast was filling, I'd have a light morning snack of salt and vinegar roasted kale chips with roasted red pepper and sundried tomato dip. After playing a rousing game of soccer with my friends (this is my perfect day after all), I'd be plenty hungry for a lunch of grilled vegetable salad and grown-up tomato soup and grilled cheese. Then I'd get to read my book in the sunroom with warm heat lulling me to sleep until I was awakened by the scent of peanut butter banana muffins coming out of the oven. I'd take a muffin and savor it slowly, the afternoon sun creating a warm glow in the kitchen. Then I'd be off for a light hike on the mountain in my backyard (who says you can't have a mountain in the backyard?), coming home just in time for the supper bell to ring. Dinner would begin with a light cold shrimp with tropical fruit salad, then I would enjoy grilled pizza with a side of quick roasted beet salad. And then finally, when I was sure I could eat no more, out would come that most glorious of meals. Dessert. And I would swoon at the array in front of me, sure I could not choose just one, so I must have a bite of each pecan tassie, cherry brownie bite, strawberry cheesecake pie, and chocolate pavlova heart. Finally, I would sleep in contentment, sure that no more satisfying day could be had.

Okay. Are you hungry yet? Good! Head on over to Simply Gluten-Free, and get cooking!


Simply...Gluten-free said...

Thank you so much! I am blushing over here. You are so sweet and generous, you are inspiring me to try and live up to your wonderful words!

Iris said...

No trying necessary, Carol. You do it naturally!

hunterslyonesse said...

LOL Iris! That's a lot of food for one day. ;) I am definitely going to have to try out the pasta. I've never made it from scratch either and would love the challenge!

BTW, I think I'd want to get photography lessons from BOTH of you while she baked us cupcakes. hehehe

Stephanie said...

She really is better than Martha ;) I really want to try that pasta recipe!

gfe--gluten free easily said...

Beautiful adoption post, Iris! Carol is a doll. Meeting her in person last year at IFBC was a special treat. It would only have been better if I'd actually gotten to enjoy some of her special treats! ;-) I'm sure Carol's pasta recipe is delicious as are all the other recipes of hers you managed in that perfect day. :-)

Hugs to you both,

Wendy @Celiacs in the House said...

Beautiful adoption, Iris. I agree with Shirley that meeting Carol in person was a treat. She is so funny and smart and of course our own gluten-free Martha Stewart. Visiting Carol's blog is like entering a gorgeous food magazine. She's given ol' Martha some gluten-free competition.

Farty Girl said...

I've been reading pasta recipes lately, and am, like you, totally blown away that they are so simply... why do we make pizza? Pasta has like 5 less steps to it! And it's faster! Ha!

I penned down the gluten free girl's recipe at B&N the one day. Are you interested? I can email it to you. ;)

Iris said...

Sure, send it my way! Thanks!


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