Tuesday, December 29, 2009

For the Love of Comfort Food

Let's face it, comfort food is almost always about the starch, which in many cases means gluten. Wait! Potatoes - wonderful, creamy, starchy, comforting potatoes. Here's a recipe that's all about cheesy, easy, comforting potato goodness. Enjoy!

Roasted Blue Cheese Potatoes
1 pound of thin-skinned, baby potatoes (I used a mix of red, white and purple.) - cut in half
Olive Oil
Fresh ground sea salt and pepper
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Heaping 1/3 cup crumbled Blue Cheese
2 scallions, thinly sliced

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the potatoes in a glass baking dish and generously coat with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste and arrange them evenly in the pan, cut side down. Roast about 40 minutes or until tender and the undersides are golden and crispy.

In the meantime, toast the walnuts. I always do this in a skillet on the stove so I can move them around a bit and not burn them, as I invariably do in the oven. Once toasted, set them aside in a bowl and add the scallions once cooled.

Once the potatoes are done, sprinkle with the walnut and scallion mixture and the blue cheese, in the pan the potatoes were roasted in, and mix well to coat. Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Channeling Willy Wonka

There's no gluten in good quality chocolate...and for that I say "Thank God!". I celebrate this gluten-free fabulousness on a regular basis and also love to make candy every Christmas. The stars of this year's creations...Molded Chocolate Truffles! I'd made Hand-Rolled Truffles for years but last summer I took a class with Anne Mills, founder of Eat Chocolates. What a wonderful class! Anne is patient and generous with her time, knowledge and materials and the class is very reasonably priced. Classes are small, for lots of individual attention, and held in her professional kitchen in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood.

Once you're ready to tackle truffle making on your own, Anne rents out her kitchen and equipment and sells all the necessary supplies. Alternately, you can rent the necessary tempering machine and molds from Bill Fredericks, AKA The Chocolate Man, and mess up your own kitchen as I did. Bill also sells chocolate and carries a wide variety of high quality brands and additional candy making supplies. Call him up, tell him what you want to make and he'll tell you the best chocolate for the job; and his prices beat anything you'll find in stores and the quality is much higher. Bill also teaches classes through community colleges and cooking schools throughout Seattle.

I made a wider variety of truffles in Anne's class than I did at home this holiday season, but no one complained that they only received three varieties...Dark Chocolate with Cardamom Ganache, Dark Chocolate with Kahlua Ganache, and Dark Chocolate with White Chocolate Irish Cream Ganache. Yes, it pays to be on my "Nice List" each holiday season!