Monday, September 20, 2010

Dancing in the Kitchen with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

Shauna James Ahern at the Flying Apron Cafe in Seattle, holding a copy of her brand new cookbook: Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes."

Lessons in Cooking with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef

Several months ago I met Jaime though my blog. Jaime lives close to me and her daughter had recently been diagnosed with celiac disease. Jaime desperately wanted help making foods her daughter could enjoy. Mostly... bread. Good gluten free bread.

You see, Madelyn loves mustard sandwiches. Yep. Just plain 'ol mustard slapped between two slices of bread. And the poor girl had missed her sandwich for nearly 6 weeks after being diagnosed. No bread. No sandwiches.

Soon after meeting Jaime, I taught a small gluten free baking class and showed her how to bake good gluten free bread.  That small class and one little girl's desire to have a mustard sandwich began an immediate and lasting friendship. I now talk to Jaime several times a week. We often connect on Facebook and through email. She makes me laugh, she's learning how to bake, and she's hungry for more knowledge about anything and everything gluten free. This made us fast friends.

When Shauna (Gluten-Free Girl) sent a request out on her blog a few weeks ago asking for people to try several of her recipes from the new cookbook, I gladly volunteered! After meeting Shauna in Seattle it was evident to me how much she wanted to share her passion for good food! I emailed Jaime soon afterwards and asked her if she wanted to help me make Shauna's recipes. I said, "Let's have a cooking party!" Thankfully, Jaime jumped at the chance! She couldn't wait to get a sneak preview of Shauna' new cookbook: "Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A love story with 100 tempting recipes."

Sometimes stories are best told through pictures (even when you're a lousy photographer... Ahem...) Saturday evening our families gathered together for a gluten free cooking party. Here is our story of Dancing in the Kitchen with Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.

The first thing we did was make Shauna's Crusty Bread from the cookbook. While I made the bread dough, Jaime made the chocolate peanut butter brownies for our dessert. I love Shauna's method of making crusty french bread. We allowed the dough to rise free form in a greased bowl while we started the homemade gluten free pasta.

We used fresh eggs from a local farm to make Shauna's gluten free pasta dough. We made the dough by hand because I wanted Jaime to know what the dough should feel like. Not too wet, not too dry. Just slightly tacky.

Meet Madelyn. The mustard-sandwich loving celiac daughter of Jaime. She was eager to help us roll out and cut the pasta dough.

The best part of the whole evening for me was having everybody pitch in to make pasta. Families often love each other through cooking. Shauna & Danny's cookbook is one such story of loving each other through food.  Making Shauna's pasta was a great way to bring everybody together to learn a new skill.  Thoughts of future "gluten free pasta making parties" warms my heart!

Sarah from Celiac in the City shared a tip with me for hand-rolling out the pasta. Use a straight-edge like this ruler to get straight lines and evenly wide strands of pasta. We cut the noodles using a pizza cutter.

It took us over an hour to roll out all of the pasta (we made a double batch!) By that point everybody was hungry so we decided to make Shauna & Danny's Garlic-Almond Sauce with seared scallops. This sauce was really delicious.  Bold flavors of garlic intertwined with the smoothness of extra virgin olive oil.  This recipe calls for marcona almonds which I had never used before. A lovely thing about Shauna and Danny is that they encourage you to try new ingredients and techniques in the kitchen.

Once our hunger was appeased with scallops and garlic almond sauce, we started prepping the ingredients for the main dish. Fresh pasta with Anchovies, Lemon, and Olives.

The first instruction was to cook the pasta. It was beautiful. Jaime and I had to make ourselves stop eating the freshly cooked pasta right out of the colander. Homemade gluten free pasta a bit heavier than boxed pasta (especially when you make it by hand) so expect to have a filling meal!

Madelyn helped Jaime zest the lemons. They also squeezed  & strained fresh lemon juice for the pasta sauce.

The girls decided they just wanted fresh pasta with butter. Can't really blame them there. The pasta was absolutely delicious by itself! As you can see, Madelyn was a fan!

Next we made Shauna and Danny's beautiful sauce with olives, anchovies, capers,  lemon juice, and white wine. The pasta's texture worked so well with the rich sauce.  Personally I found the dish to be a bit salty with a lot of bold but competing flavors. The best part was learning the techniques to make the pasta and use it in a main dish like this with a basic sauce. I've truly been inspired!

Who's hungry?

We served Shauna's fresh crusty gluten free bread with our pasta. The bread was incredible. Plain and simple it's just great bread, gluten free or not! Personally, I think the cookbook is worth the cost for the bread recipe alone. The bread was my favorite part of the whole meal.

Finally, for dessert... Shauna's Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies. Jaime made these to perfection. The entire crowd loved them. And to tell you the truth ...every one of those brownies was eaten! Every. Single. One.

And Madelyn was one happy gluten free girl!

Thank you so much Shauna & Danny for inspiring us to learn more, to use bold ingredients, and to get in our kitchens more often. We loved being a part of your story!

Many thanks to Jaime, Jeremy, Madelyn, and Kendall for joining us at our cooking party! I hope this is the start of a brand-new tradition for our families! We loved cooking and sharing these recipes with you!

For information on how to win a copy of Shauna & Danny's cookbook, please visit the Gingerlemongirl facebook page. Details will be posted soon!

For more information about Shauna & Danny's cookbook, please visit them at Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.
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  1. What fun and what a beautiful way to share. Very much in the spirit of Shauna and Danny's book. Love the smudge of flour on your sleeve.

  2. You're so observant Wendy! I'm amazed that flour wasn't all over us!! It was flying everywhere in that kitchen on Saturday!! Thank you so much for reading!!

  3. What an awesome post Carrie, it brought tears of joy to my eyes! What a great thing you did for Madelyn and Jamie, you have a heart of gold (where where you when I was beginning this journey)?? ;-)

    Wasn't that garlic-almond sauce amazing (I'm speaking through the collective voice of my brood here)? I can't wait to get my taste back, this will be a regular sauce in our house for sure. I think this would also be a great replacement for the standard mac and cheese for Luke, since there is no dairy in it! :-D


  4. Awww!! Heidi! You're the best!! You are RIGHT! That garlic almond sauce would be PERFECT for "mac and cheese!" I"M SO giving that a try!! Love ya chica!! Right back at ya!

  5. Awww I loved this post. I love all the pictures and I definitely want to venture into trying my own pasta one day!

  6. Thanks Jenn!! It really is fun, especially doing it with a group of people! i definitely want to have "pasta making parties" in the future!!

  7. I would love to win a copy of this cookbook-your dinner looks amazing!
    I have learned to create recipes since going GF. I have read so many cookbooks and now I can modify ingredients thanks to your help and guidance!

  8. What a wonderful post. Just goes to show gluten-free has no deprivations and can be tons of fun :)

  9. LOVE your post!!! Oh. my. goodness. The bread looks amazing! Cannot wait to use that recipe. And you're right, there were a lot of bold flavors in that sauce. I would have never thought to put them together myself... another great thing Shauna and Danny have taught us.

    Lucky you that you got to meet her. What joy!

    Thrilled to have you in my gluten free life Carrie!

    *And thanks for the shout out...happy to have helped with the pasta tip! :)

  10. Beautiful post Carrie! The food looks amazing :)

    I've learned so much in the past two years but most importantly - you don't have to give up your favorite foods/recipes. You just need to learn how to be creative and adapt them to be gluten free.

    The second most important thing I learned is not all GF food is horrible tasting and lets be honest some of it is - just avoid that junk :) (I've had my share of cardboard tasting gf products, ick).

  11. I follow you on twitter

  12. What an amazing way to spend time with friends :) Loved the story and pictures!! I have learned that gluten free baking is an adventure! Also, it is important to focus on what you can eat rather than what you can't. Having said that most things can be made gluten free and delicious it just takes time and trial and error!

  13. Awe .. what fun!!!
    Everything looks so yummy too!
    I have this book on my wish list but am so glad to see you are using it Carrie!!

    Without going into a "Book"!
    I will simply say that living with GF and cooking yummy food is COMPLETELY possible and adventurous being gluten free!

    BTW, I follow you on Twitter!

  14. Oh Carrie! You are one amazing lady! How wonderful for you to share with a new gluten free family that this way of eating is not difficult. And now they know that this is such a delicious and healthy way to live and eat, thanks to you!
    You should feel so proud of what you did to help Madelyn and her entire family!
    Hugs to you, my friend! And thank you for what you are doing to spread the word about how wonderful living gluten free can be!

  15. Since becoming gluten free I've learned how much hidden gluten is in things & how you HAVE to read labels, but gluten free can be delicious when done right.

  16. Thanks for the post, I have never tried to make paste. Am willing to try it now, the step by step pictures are a great help. What a wonderful way to show love for your family. These recipes are what we need to move forward in a GF world.

  17. posted about your post and giveaway at:

  18. i have learned that with the right mix of flours you can make anything! also, never be afraid of a flop- it just means you are learning :) i also follow you on twitter-@strokegirl (given to me becuase i survived a stroke, not anything, um, not family friendly ;))

  19. I have been following her blog as well as your for a long time. I would love to won her book. I tried to leave a comment on FB but couldn't figure out how it must be full. I have learned that since I am wheat intolerant, I can have gluten from other grains.

  20. This book looks absolutely amazing! I had vowed not to buy anymore cookbooks, looks like I lost that one. Since becoming GF, I have found that gluten free can taste AMAZING and isn't as hard as I thought. You also really have to look at labels.

  21. This cookbook looks amazing! I had vowed not to buy more cookbooks, but guess I'm breaking that vow. I have learned that gluten free can taste awesome and that it isn't as hard as it looks. I love your blog too

  22. I just had a conversation with a friend yesterday about making home-made pasta and I'm looking forward to trying some this weekend.

  23. Since going gf(cfsf), I've learned not to be afraid to fail. If a recipe doesn't work out, just try something different. Life is really just one big science experiment. Keep on experimenting. I doubt I would be as open to creating my own recipes if I hadn't needed to change my diet. One of these days I want a tee shirt that says, "Life is just one big science experiment". :^) Thanks for the photo blog, it looks like a delightful day and worth the effort!

  24. Carrie, Danny just got home from cooking at the restaurant. As soon as he walked through the door, I kissed him. And then I sat him down to show him this post.

    We were both a little teary, reading it. The thought of all you gathered in your kitchen, making friends through making friends? It amazes us.

    Thank you.

    What a wonderful woman you are.

  25. great post, thanks Carrie, I've really learned that food can still taste good. My son has multiple allergies/intolerances and is gluten-free, but we've managed to come up with so many wonderful foods for him, some on purpose and others on accident! It's definitely a journey, with ups and downs, but when something comes out good, I think I appreciate it even more now! Also, reading ingredients! Thanks, Breanna...also, I already follow you on twitter

  26. Hi! Great blog. Please enter me in the drawing! I like that since going gluten-free four years ago, I've gained a new appreciation for rice and corn, especially, and all the different dishes you can make with them.

  27. Wow, Carrie. You have a heart of gold. What a great way to share your knowledge - and you shared your home and gave this family some unforgettable experiences. And a delicious meal to boot!

  28. I love this, Carrie! I love the idea of a pasta party, getting everyone involved in the process. Ah, the bonds and memories that are created through food. :) I think, instead of bringing fresh fettuccine to my family's gathering this weekend, I'll just bring lots of dough, and we'll have our own rolling party! Thanks for sharing your story!

  29. What a great idea to have a party! You are a truly special woman. You are very giving, and it shows. I am so very excited to have found your blog and to get peek into your world. You inspire me to do better.

    Thanks for that.

    Tia :P

  30. This is amazing and very sweet. I feel inspired to try my flops again, and they have been many since we went gluten free in May. Thanks for inspiring me! (P.S. I just added this cookbook to my amazon wish list!)

  31. wow, what a lovely post! Your friend and her daughter must be soooooo glad to have met you! What a lovely person you are helping them through the gluten-free transition! Wish you were in New Zealand when I first became gluten-free :-) Looks like you had a lovely gluten-free cooking party, I can't wait to get my hands on my actual copy of the book.The brownies truely were amazing weren't they!!??!! Lovely to have stopped by your blog :-)