Monday, July 19, 2010

I'm back...

So for the past two weeks I have been eating a strict gluten-free diet. Although my final test is still months away, celiac or not - this diet agrees with me. Until I'm able to see a gastroenterologist (late September) my doctor has reccomended I follow this diet and I think I'm finally ok with it. My energy level is up to where it used to be, if not better. No more naps right after work and it's no longer so painful to get up early in the morning. My stomach has completely settled down and no more headaches (with the exception of a little worsterchire mishap.. it's only gluten-free in the states! Who knew?). My appetite has returned and it feels like the fog has lifted in my brain.
I felt like the pressures of putting a good looking meal on the table and maintaing a positive attitude with these changes was just too much so in my previous post, I gave up. Although feeling extremely overwhelmed at first, it turns out I've done some of my best cooking these past few weeks. I have felt so bad not taking pictures and sharing some darn good recipes with you all! Eating gluten-free means I'm forced to use whole foods and very little seasoning. This in turn means I am relying heavily on the herbs in my garden and the vegetables at the Farmers Market. I've read some very inspiring books, blogs and websites regarding the gluten-free diet as well. That, in combination with my guilt for not sharing some fantastic recipes, has made me come to make the decision to continue blogging through this transition.
For those of you (most of you) who are able to eat gluten, do not fear! I re-created one of Jason's favorite meals (spaghetti, meatballs & garlic toast) with 100% gluten free ingredients and he rated it at an 11/10.  Although he can still eat gluten, he's very much enjoying the new recipes and it's no problem to add some pasta or bread to one of my g-free meals for him. I just make sure that my meal is cooked first and all utensils are clean.
So, for my comeback post, I would like to introduce you to some absolutely fantastic Gluten-Free Potato Pancakes. This is the third time in the past 2 weeks I've made these and I could probably eat them everyday. My mom came across this recipe on an inspiring blog - Gluten Free Girl. The author has also written a book, which I am about half-way done. It would be a good read for anyone who loves food - celiac or not. She has a way of describing things so you can almost taste it with such vivid words.
I made a few changes with the herbs but here's the recipe as written:
As an added bonus, I made Jason some bacon pieces to sprinkle on top. Although I can't eat it, I do love the way it makes the house smell!
2 Russet potatoes, peeled and shredded on a wide grater
1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced (didn't use this)
¼ cup green onions, finely sliced (used fresh fill instead)
1/8 cup corn starch
kosher salt and cracked black pepper to taste (try ½ teaspoon of each, to start)

Preheat the oven to 425°.

Peel the two potatoes, then shred them on a grater. You want these to be medium-to-large shreds. (Don’t use a microplaner, for instance.) Put all the grated potatoes in a nest of paper towels, then squeeze as much water out of them as you can. Go back again and wring out more. When they are as dry as can be, place them in a large bowl.

Turn a burner of the stove to high heat. Place your favorite skillet on it and bring to heat.

Put all the ingredients in the large bowl. Mix them up with your hand, squeezing and turning it all, fast, until everything is combined well.

Form the potato mixture into little cakes, about the circumference of a good coffee mug, approximately one-inch thick.

When the skillet has come to its full heat, put two tablespoons of good-quality olive oil in and turn the burner down to medium-high heat. Add the potato cakes.

After a minute or two — or when the underside of potato cake has browned and you start to smell the warmth of it — flip the cakes over and brown the other side for one minute more. Immediately place the skillet in the oven. Cook the potato pancakes for ten minutes or so, or until they are browned and smell so delicious that you just can’t wait another moment to eat them.
 Jason likes sour cream on his and I opt for ketchup - gluten-free of course!
To go along with these I steamed some tiny beets with their greens from our garden.
For a fresh salad I used a 99 cent bag of mixed ripe yellow and red tomatoes I scored at the Italian Market today. In addition to that I ripped up some fresh basil, drizzled organic olive oil and added pearl bocconcini.
MY REVIEW: I enjoyed putting this meal together. The potato pancakes were, of course, the best part of the whole meal. To get all the liquid out I put the shredded potatoes in a fine strainer and smoosh them around for a while. That works best for me. 
JASON'S REVIEW: Super tasty.

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