I was “GLUTENED” this week in culinary school! I have no one to blame but myself. It went down like this…
We were making fillets of sole stuffed with this delicious mixture of leeks and citrus, rolled up and cooked in a Sauternes wine sauce. The recipe calls for the sauce to be thickened with a buerre manie (a mixture of equal parts of softened butter and flour). In anticipation of this recipe, I brought in my own flour and made a gluten-free buerre manie to thicken the sauce for our team.
Let me take a break here and tell you how awesome my chef and classmates have been in terms of supporting my gluten-free needs at school, from the gluten-free frying station chef Ted set up for me to the understanding and flexibility of my classmates. Everyone is definitely allergy aware.
Back to my story. So, we are all allergy aware, prepped (with a gluten-free thickener for my table) and ready to go. Chef Ted calls us over, as he usually does, to demonstrate the technique for cooking the sole. After he completes the demo (using a regular buerre manie), he tells us all to come over and taste the dish. This is where my brain completely shuts off and I somehow approach those innocent-looking fillets of fish without sensing any danger, stick my spoon in the sauce, taste it, grab another tasting spoon and take a piece of the fish and put it in my mouth. Chef Ted then says, very matter-of-factly, “That has flour in it.” $@#% (insert your profanity of choice here. I’ll keep the one I used to myself). A collective gasp was then heard by several of my classmates as I looked up to see a few stunned and frightened faces. What was going to happen? Was I going to die? Should they run for the epi-pen?
I knew I wouldn’t die but I had no idea when I would feel the symptoms and what they would actually be. I haven’t knowingly eaten a bite of gluten since I was diagnosed back in October 2011. I’ve definitely felt like I may have been “glutened” in the past. Usually I get pain on the left side of my abdomen, feel slightly nauseas, somewhat foggy-headed and have low energy. Nothing as acute and worrisome as anaphylaxis however, that doesn’t negate the fact that I felt like hell for a few days and know that my body is literally being damaged. It’s easy to see why people may not take celiac disease and gluten-free requests so seriously since the reactions are not blatantly obvious and there is a whole subset of people out there on this diet stating they are on it to lose weight, etc. However, it is a serious disease and the symptoms are not only uncomfortable but very real. If you are interested in learning more, read here.
By the end of the week, this dish was exactly what my body needed and craved. Quinoa is dubbed a “super food” by the World Health Organization. It is considered a complete protein because it has all eight amino acids. This is an ideal grain for a gluten-free diet. Although, I admit, I haven’t actually found a way to prepare it that I really loved until I made this recipe in school. It was, hands down, my favorite of the week and one I will be making often at home because it is delicious, healthy, light and easy to prepare. Enjoy!
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable (or chicken stock)
- 1 cup water
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 scallions, finely sliced
- 1/ tsp cilantro, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- LIME VINAIGRETTE
- ½ lime, juiced
- 3 oz extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ tsp ginger, minced
- ¼ tsp cilantro, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place water and stock in saucepan and bring to a boil
- Add the quinoa, return to boil, reduce heat to simmering, cover and let cook for about 15 minutes ( or until liquid is absorbed). Quinoa is done when grains are translucent and the crescent-shaped germ separates and becomes white. The grain should be somewhat firm.
- While quinoa is cooking, put all vinaigrette ingredients in a tupperware container with a lid and shake vigorously to emulsify, taste and adjust seasoning, as needed, to balance the acidity.
- Remove quinoa from the heat and spread out gently (you don't want to mash the grains) on a parchment-lined baking tray to allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
- Add the red pepper, scallions and cilantro and toss with 1-2 Tablespoons of the vinaigrette at a time, tasting as you add to be sure it is not over-dressed. You will not use all of the vinaigrette.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature. Enjoy!