I am so glad you stopped by. Since being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I've been converting my Italian family's recipes to gluten free. My family and friends can't tell the difference! I also create my own delicious recipes. I will be posting new recipes weekly which will range from traditional comfort foods to gourmet dishes. Not all of the recipes will be Italian, but they all will be delicious! In addition, you will find helpful tips for gluten free living, related links and product recommendations. I welcome any specific requests for recipes. If I don't have it, I will find it! You can email me directly. A link to my email is located in my profile. . . simply click on the tab to view my full Enjoy the site!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Eve Is Right Around the Corner!

In my family, Christmas day is the day for the big sit down dinner and Christmas Eve is an all night 'grazing fest'! I decided to start this blog with some gluten free Hors d'oeuvre recipes. Some of these are naturally gluten free (no glutens called for in the original recipe) and some have been converted to gluten free. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

Clams Casino

1 5oz. can of Minced Clams (water packed)
2 Strips of Bacon broiled crisp and crumbled (Please be sure that the bacon is gluten free)
1 Small Green Bell Pepper minced
1 Celery Stalk minced
1 Small sweet yellow onion minced
1 Medium Garlic Clove minced
3 Tblspn. Pimentos lightly chopped
3 Tblspn. Sliced Black Olives (optional)
2 Tblspn. Capers (Non-Pareil) (optional)
1/4 Tspn. Salt
1/4 Tspn. Pepper
1/4 cup of Italian Seasoned Gluten Free Bread Crumbs*
4 Tblspn. Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese grated finely
3 Tblspn. Olive Oil
1 Pad Unsalted Butter

Heat the olive oil and 1 pad of unsalted butter over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Add the minced Green Bell Pepper, Sweet Yellow Onion, and Garlic to the pan and cook until the pepper is tender and the onion is translucent. Add the Minced Clams, Pimentos, Crumbled Gluten Free Bacon, Black Olives and Capers and stir to incorporate mixture. Allow to cook for approximately 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and turn to low heat. Add in the Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs and the Parmigiano Reggiano and stir until the bread crumbs and cheese are well incorporated into the mixture. Remove from heat and serve.

Serving suggestion: This mixture should be served in either decorative clam shells or in a cupped leaf of Radicchio. It also could be served in leaf of Belgium Endive. The casino also works well as a spread with crackers. An additional Pimento could be used on top of each serving as garnish.

Serves 6

*I usually will make my own gluten free bread crumbs by running a loaf of brown rice bread in a food processor with salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, dried basil and dried oregano. You can also mix these ingredients into packaged gluten free bread crumbs. Per two cups of bread crumbs I add 1 Tspn. salt, 1 Tspn. pepper, 1/2 tspn. garlic, 2 Tblspn. dried Parsley, 1 Tblspn. dried Basil, 1 Tspn. dried Oregano.

Portobella Bellisimo

1 Large Portobella Mushroom per person
1/4 Tspn. Sea Salt per 6 Mushrooms
1/4 Tspn. Pepper per 6 Mushrooms
1 Medium Shallot minced
2 Tspn. of Capers (Non-Pareil) per 6 Mushrooms
8 Tblspn. plus 1 pad Unsalted Butter
2 Tblspn. Olive Oil

Wipe the Portobella Mushrooms with a soft cloth to remove any dirt. Do not rinse mushrooms as they act as sponges and will absorb water.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil plus 1 pad of unsalted butter in skillet. Place mushrooms in single layer in the skillet and cook for approximately until lightly golden brown on each side. After Mushrooms brown in color sprinkle them with salt and pepper to taste.

In a separate skillet melt the butter over medium heat and the minced shallots and capers (rinse the capers under cool water and drain thoroughly before adding to butter) and cook over low heat until shallots are translucent. Season to taste with salt and pepper, but be aware that the capers are somewhat salty so I encourage you to taste the butter sauce prior to adding more salt.

Spoon the butter sauce over the top of each Mushroom and Serve.

Note: If you prefer, the Mushrooms can be grilled instead of cooked stove top, but prior to grilling, lightly brush each Mushroom with olive oil.

Prosciutto and Roasted Asparagus

12 Asparagus Spears
12 Thin slices of Gluten Free Prosciutto
Parmigiano Reggiano for shaving
1 Tblspn. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/8 Tspn. Salt
1/8 Tspn. Pepper
1 Tblspn. Lemon Zest
1 Tblspn. Fresh Lemon Juice

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Trim the tough end off and clean the Asparagus Spears. Arrange on a small baking sheet. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice over the Asparagus and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Use your hands to roll the Asparagus so that they are well coated with the olive oil, lemon juice and seasonings. Place in oven and allow to roast until fork tender and slight carmelization begins (slight browning from the natural sugars being released in the cooking process).

Remove from oven and transfer from the hot pan to a plate. Wrap each Asparagus Spear with a slice of Prosciutto and plate for serving. Prior to serving, shave Parmigiano Reggiano over the top of the wrapped spears.

Note: Please inquire with your deli manager to ensure that the Prosciutto you choose is gluten free. I believe that Boar's Head luncheon meats are gluten free, but please double check directly with the company or its website.

Calamari Fresco

1 lb Calamari
3 Stalks of Celery Chopped
1 Small Red Onion Chopped
1 Large Garlic Clove minced
1/4 Cup Kalamata and Green Olives roughly chopped
1/4 Cup Flat Leaf Italian Parsley and Fresh Basil finely chopped and mixed together
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 Tblspn. Red Wine Vinegar
2 Tblspn. Lemon Zest
Fresh Juice of ½ Lemon
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Clean Calamari thoroughly (make sure to squeeze the Tentacles to remove all matter). Cut tubes into rings. (Calamari can be bought cleaned and cut if you prefer). Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Drop Calamari into the boiling water and stir well until it reaches a boil again. Cook for two minutes and remove from heat, drain immediately under cold water until Calamari is cooled down. (This is important to avoid any residual cooking.)

Mix celery, onion, garlic, olives and herbs with Calamari tossing to incorporate thoroughly. Add oil, vinegar and lemon juice. Salt and Pepper to Taste. Toss to coat all ingredients. Refrigerate for 24 hours prior to serving. Before serving salad, taste test as you may need to add additional olive oil and vinegar to taste as well as salt and pepper.

Mellanzane di Mama

4 Medium Eggplants
1 Large Sweet Yellow Onion
8 Celery Stalks including the leafy ends
5 Medium Garlic Cloves
Salt (Amount to be discussed in detailed instruction)
Pepper (Amount to be discussed in detailed instruction)
1 Tspn. Hot Red Pepper Flakes
Olive Oil (Amount to be discussed in detailed Instructions)
2 Cups White Vinegar

Prepare Eggplant by cutting off the stem and tip of the Eggplants. Peel off the skin. Slice into 1/4 inch slices on the round. As you slice them place them into a container of liberally salted cold water so that no discoloration takes place. The salt helps eliminate any bitterness from the Eggplant.

While the Eggplant is drying, dice the celery and onions and mince the garlic. Toss the diced celery, onions and garlic together in a bowl and set aside. Put 3 tablespoons of salt in a small bowl, 3 tablespoons of pepper in a small bowl and 1 teaspoon of hot pepper in another small bowl.

Once all of the Eggplant is soaking, let them soak until the water turns brownish in color. Drain the Eggplant and lay the slices in a single layer on sheets of paper towels. Let the eggplant dry for at least 30 minutes.

Have a sealable large container available to you near the stove at this point.

Pour 1 cup of the white vinegar into a large skillet and heat until slightly bubbling. Place as many slices of eggplant into the hot vinegar as will fit in a single layer. You will turn the Eggplant over after approximately 1 minute. The Eggplant should be removed as soon as it becomes slightly limp. Remove the Eggplant and place in the container in a single layer. Some overlapping is acceptable.

Spread a large handful of the onion, celery and garlic mixture over the Eggplant and then sprinkle the salt (approximately ½ tspn.), pepper (approximately ½ tspn) and a pinch of the red pepper flakes over the layer. Add olive oil until the eggplant is barely submerged. Repeat this process until all of the Eggplant is in the container and prepared as described.

Seal the container and refrigerate. The eggplant will be ready for serving after 24 hours of refrigeration. Please note that the eggplant will hold for approximately 3 to 4 weeks in the refrigerator and the taste improves with time.

Please note that during the cooking process the vinegar will evaporate and you should add more as you go along. The vinegar should be kept at approximately 1/4 inch thick in the skillet.

To serve, ensure that each eggplant is topped with the vegetable mixture. Use a slotted spoon to avoid excess oil in the plate.

This recipe yields approximately 3 quarts. Of course it can be adjusted to smaller portions or larger portions.

Note: In addition to an appetizer, these eggplant are delicious in a sandwich by themselves or as a accompaniment to other sandwiches, such as Italian cold cuts or hamburgers.

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