So I learned something last year during Turkey day-- that my childhood feelings about brussell sprouts were totally en pointe. I hated them when I was tiny, and I hate them now. I thought that my love of all things cabbage-y, tart, and savory would lead me down the path to a love of them, but I should have trusted my 8 year old tastebuds. They taste terrible. For those of you with a penchant for these tiny, foul tasting veggies, I salute you.
So anyway, last year, after making this totally delicious dish that every one else adored and literally ate every last bit of, I made a pledge to myself... to remake it this Thanksgiving but to use a totally inoffensive veggie-- the infamous haricort vert/skinny green beans so I could eat the whole thing instead of trying to scrape the extra sauce from the bottom of the dish to slather on everything around.
I just finished prepping this and it's cooling on the counter as I type. I modified the classic Screaming Heads recipe... and, boy, it's TASTY. If you like prosciutto and garlic, watch out. I was thinking about just making the sauce as a coating for pasta... don't mind me slobbering over here...
screamin' (green) beans
2 lbs green beans (fresh or frozen)
4 or so oz of thinly sliced prosciutto (you will chiffonade this)
1 container of fresh crimini muchrooms (I like the smaller end of the mushroom size scale, here)*
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 roasted head of garlic (see step 1 below)
3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten free flour (I use Orgran)
1.5 cups heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
.25 cup Sherry or White Wine Vinegar
1 cup grated parmesean + .5 cup for sprinkling over the casserole before baking
1 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated or ground)
1 tsp kosher salt
.5 tsp freshly ground pepper
.5 cup gluten free bread crumbs (I use Udi's and just put it in the food processor)
other thing you'll be needing: a casserole dish
1. Crank your oven up to 350 degrees. Take a whole head of garlic and chop off the top of the side that has the thin papery bits that taper... I sort of took a paring knife to gingerly cut off the tippy tops so I didn't lose any garlic. I love garlic and seeing the little pieces in the trash breaks my heart so I go FULL GARLIC. Lightly drizzle the top of the exposed garlic with olive oil, put it into a little foil tent, and let it get delicious in the oven for 45 minutes. You'll be adding this to the tastytown cream sauce you'll be cooking soon.
2. Make sure your oven is still at 350 degrees. Roll up the thinly sliced prosciutto and begin to chiffonade into thin pieces. I go thin since I like to have lots of little pieces throughout the casserole.
3. Heat your pan over medium heat, add the butter, and saute the prosciutto for about 2 minutes. Add the roasted garlic and green beans to the pot and let all the flavors mix together, about another 3 minutes.
4. Add the gluten free flour and give this a really good mix-- you're aiming to get that flour coating all of your green beans. Once you get this going (be sure you get it done fairly quickly so the flour doesn't burn), add in the heavy cream, half & half, and your acid (vinegar or sherry), and the mushrooms. Let this come up to a solid simmer-- I find that the gluten free flour tends to suck up any moisture so this could happen pretty quickly.
5. Stir in your nutmeg, salt, and pepper... and the CHEESE!
5.5. Marvel at your handiwork and transfer the deliciousness into the casserole dish you've set aside. Top it with the reserved half cup of cheese and bread crumbs, bake it, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
6. Serve immediately and enjoy.
* I like to pop out the stems, clean them off with a damp towel, and cut them in half since we have mixed feelings about mushrooms in our house... if they're halved, they're easier for the people I love to pick them out and put them on my plate so I can eat them. YUM. But really, cut them however you like.
Last night I tried my hand at the pizza dough made by the lovely and wonderful Shauna and Danny from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. A couple of things first-- the flavor is great, the crust is chewy, and it is TASTY. I genuinely believe you should keep these 3 key things in mind if you decide to embark on a gluten free pizza making adventure. Another thing to keep in mind is that gluten free pizza dough does tend to be a bit sticky-- it is better to go into this baking adventure NOT expecting it to behave like a wheat based dough (remind yourself as you work!) despite your mind veering into the "I need to add more flour/use less water next time" train of thought you may find yourself mentally meandering through.
While I do have their fantastic cookbook where this recipe comes from, Shauna and Danny were generous enough to share their gluten free pizza dough recipe with Michael Ruhlman on his blog so you can taste test one of the many (and really, there are many) fantastic recipes these two have created.
The lead-in to the recipe will probably also make those of you living with celiac and gluten sensitivity a case of the chuckles... sometimes it's just funny to read about other people who are in the same boat. Anyway, enough blathering from me-- go check out the recipe here.
In terms of our experience with this dough, we rolled it out between two layers of waxed paper but I have read that other people have had more success rolling this out between layers of saran wrap. Next time we do this, we're going to try shaping the crust on parchment paper that we can put directly onto the pizza stone. We tried a couple of different ways to flip the dough onto our pizza stone and wound up with two pizzas with lots of... character. Another tip from Shauna and Danny is to let the dough hang out in the fridge overnight to help further develop some extra flavor. While we were both totally tickled with the flavor on the crust, we figure it's worth a shot! Also, this is critical, be sure to do a prebake on your crust-- it's a pretty important step in making a chewy and well cooked crust.
I've been on something I can only call a beauty product making rampage recently. I did some quick copywriting work for a beauty products company that is totally fantastic (and vegan!) and I got real hung up on the ingredients. Don't get me wrong-- this company has an absolutely outstanding ingredient list, but lots of their products contain hydrolyzed wheat proteins in them. While I was writing out the directions for use, I made a mental note to check out the ingredients in the shampoos, conditioners, and body wash in the house later. Boy, was I bummed out.
I've been pretty vigilant about makeup and lip goop especially, but never thought to investigate everything else (duh on me!). Anyway, what I turned up was that nearly every single thing in the shower had wheat in it. Smack dab in the middle of the Bumble and Bumble Quenching shampoo was Hydrolyzed wheat starch. BLERGH! Imagine forking over 28 bucks for some liquid gluten that winds up all over your face and body when you rinse. And then imagine, following that up with the conditioner, that contains not only wheat germ extract, but also barley extract, hydrolyzed wheat protein, and hydrolyzed wheat starch as the 4th, 5th, 6th, AND 7th ingredient. DOUBLE BLERGH!
Anyway, I've settled into using the totally great Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle and Rose shampoo (no wheat! gluten free!) but have yet to find a great conditioner that doesn't use wheat in it. Tips, anyone?
So, back to my new obsession-- lip balm. Since the weather started turning (for a brief moment there, since yesterday we hit 90 degrees?) my lips have been getting VERY dry and chapped. In my hunt for a good gluten free lip balm that wasn't going to set me back too much, I started thinking about making my own-- and I did it. I'm super tickled with how it all came out... I absolutely adore all things honey related (due to a serious bee obsession) so the lip balm I've made uses local Santa Barbara honey, beeswax (sadly, not local-- yet!), lanolin, sweet almond oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and right now, organic orange essential oil. It's smooth and wonderful-- not too thick, not too shiny... it's just right. Anyway, I've got it for sale in my Etsy shop-- Charles Vintage-- if you want to take a gander and maybe buy one.