Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trial Run

Share it Please
      This will be my first major holiday being gluten-free, so I wanted to practice a dish or two before hand so I fudge as little as possible when it comes down to the line. I want to avoid any last minute scrambles if at all possible. Our grocery stores here are always crowded and busy no matter what time of the day. It is one of the only 24 hour grocery stores in the area so shopping at night is fun and much less busy, but it also increases the chances of getting hit by a car on the bike. I got side swiped in a parking lot just yesterday in broad daylight by someone not paying attention – I was on my way to the grocery store, too.

      Last night I decided to try my hand at gluten-free green bean casserole and it came out pretty good. I was quite intimidated at first that I was not able to use any pre-made ingredients, but it was so easy that I might throw it into the normal rotation of random meals we eat.

      Here's the best part: it's vegan without being weird. Some dishes that you make with milk or butter can turn gross when you try to make them vegan, but this just happened to come out vegan and taste awesome!

Tasty Vegan Green Bean Casserole

1 lb green beans
½ onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, smashed
2 or 3 white button mushrooms
1 ½ C soy milk
2 tbs butter
Dried basil and dill
Salt & pepper
2 heaping tsp gluten free flour blend
½ C water
Olive oil

      Wash green beans, cut both ends off and cut to bite size pieces. Wipe mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove most of the dirt and grime, remove center stalk (unless you like that part) and cut into small pieces.

      Heat skillet over medium heat and add oil and onions when hot. Cook until browned and softened and add garlic, mushrooms, green beans and spices to taste. Continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes mixing well. Add milk and butter and bring to a slow simmer. Place flour blend in a cup and add water, stir until dissolved. While green beans are simmering, pour the flour mix into pan and turn off heat. Stir well and add water or milk if you need to thin things out. Pour into a pie plate and bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes or so. This will result in the green beans being still crunchy so if you want them soft, boil them for a while before you add them to the pan or just used canned.

      I served this on the side last night with quinoa stuffed herbed tomatoes. The tomatoes were a no-brainer and were done, start to finish, while the casseroles were in the oven. I hollowed out the tomatoes and sprinkled olive oil, salt, basil and pepper on each and stuck them under the broiler for about 10 minutes before I pulled them out. Added the quinoa and served! Tasty, yum and fast.

      This whole meal came together so fast and easy – I enjoy cooking so much when things just work like that. The goat is always in and out of the kitchen checking in on things and offering to help chop or peel something. Cooking is more than just making something for dinner. It's a process of love that you have to want. Many pregnant women talk about the joys and feelings of sustaining life within them and how much of a miracle the whole process is. I do not have kids and they are not in my foreseen future, but I can relate to this same intimate level when I cook. I sustain not only my life, but the life of those I share the final resulting meal. Each cut of the knife and stir of the pan gives way to warm lingering smells that make their way into each meal that I share with those near and dear to me.

      The miracle of vegetables, grains, fruits and fungus coming together to make a life sustaining experience is a miracle in itself. Sharing it with someone else is like no other feeling in the world.

      How do you share you meals?

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