Completing My Cooking Bucket List

It has only taken me two years to (almost) finish my 2015 bucket list. I am working on finishing them before the end of 2016 and starting a new list in 2017!

1. Gluten Free Pretzels or Pretzel rolls

I made the rolls one night in August using a recipe from Nicole Hunn at Gluten-Free on a Shoestring. They were delicious! We had some leftover pulled pork and meatballs in the fridge so everyone made their own pretzel roll subs for dinner. The next morning we made egg and cheese sandwiches, which would have been even better with some grilled veggies.

2. Poached Salmon (Still needs to be completed)

3. Gluten free Puff Pastry

I made the puff pastry on Valentine’s Day. It was an all day affair. It was delicious! But very time consuming. Again, I used a recipe from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring, I will definitely make it again for a special occasion.

4. Gluten Free Beef Wellington

I used the GF puff pastry to make Beef Wellington. It wasn’t pretty but tasted amazing! I made a mixture of mushrooms and chicken livers sautéed with fresh thyme, salt, pepper and a little beef stock and spread that on the pastry, when cooled. I used a top sirloin roast because that is what I had in the freezer.  I based my cooking times on the recipe for Beef Wellington in The Good Housekeeping Cookbook from 1973. I did rush it and the meat was warm, so the puff pastry fell off of the roast, but the pastry was buttery and crispy while the meat with juicy and tender. Perfect!  I will definitely make it again.

5. Coq au Vin
I made this way back in early 2015 on Superbowl Sunday. Not exactly traditional Superbowl food, but delicious! Julia Child’s recipe of course, from Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  I skipped the cognac though since I didn’t have any and wasn’t sure if it was gluten free and used King Arthur’s gluten-free all-purpose flour as a thickener. Traditional recipes like this, can easily be made gluten-free. I was so happy with how this came out! It disappeared before I remembered to take a picture!

6. Duck
I made a feast for myself on Mother’s Day, with Karina’s help. I seared the duck breast (saved the fat) and served with lamb chops, a smoked mozzarella risotto and roasted asparagus. It was a real decadent meal! I used the leftover duck fat to make shoestring potato fries the next day! What a treat!

7. Chilaquiles
I made these for my birthday dinner 2016. It was a simplified version using the tomatillo salsa recipe below. I heated up the sauce, added some tortilla chips, shredded cooked chicken, and topped with sunny side up eggs (cooked in another pan), then sprinkled with feta and fresh cilantro. It was so good. The kids even ate it!

8. Develop my own  of GF flours to make an all purpose flour
I haven’t done this yet for a couple of reasons. I am not a great technical cook. I don’t follow recipes exactly. I don’t always measure precisely. I cook from feeling.  So I have taken help from the amazing GF flours already out there. I like to use Cup4Cup and King Arthur’s GF blend.

9. Gluten free pasta from scratch
I have made GF pasta from scratch a couple of times, once without a pasta machine and once with the pasta machine. I still need to do some more testing. Both times, no matter how thinly rolled, it still came out gummy. This is where a good flour blend would help to find a way to take out the gumminess. Anyone have any suggestions?

10. Gluten free gnocchi from scratch
I have made gnocchi several times and it has always come out delicious! I use mostly ricotta and then sweet potato, Yukon golds or leftover mashed potatoes with a little GF all purpose flour. I will write the recipe down soon, I promise! I usually serve my gnocchi with a pesto or light cream sauce.

11. Gluten free bread from scratch that is good enough for anyone to eat
There are two cookbook authors I go to when I want to bake something GF. Nicole Hunn from Gluten Free on a Shoestring which you have heard me talk about a lot lately because of her amazing new cookbook coming out and the other is Roben Ryberg (You Won’t Believe It’s Gluten-Free!).  I have been making Roben’s Everyday Loaf (corn-based) a lot recently. It is a good sandwich bread. More often, I have been making King Arthur’s GF bread mix, but that is expensive as is the GF bread my kids like, either Wegman’s or Trader Joe’s.

12. Gluten free pizza dough that is good enough for anyone to eat.
I haven’t even attempted this yet, but hope to soon. Fridays are our pizza night, so by the time Friday rolls around I’m usually exhausted, so we have frozen pizza (Freschetta’s GF Cheese) or I use the Against the Grain crust to make my grilled pizza recipe below. You can also bake it in the oven at 425 for 12-15 minutes. 

Grilled Pizza (feeds our family of 5 with leftovers)
By Marie Ericson

2  frozen pizza crusts (I like to use Against the Grain)
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 6-ounce can Hunts Tomato Sauce
1 16-ounce block of mozzarella cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper
Toppings, optional and only limited by your imagination! Ham and pineapple, sausage, peppers and onions, fresh ricotta, olives, spinach and feta or leftover hamburger

Heat grill to about 400 degrees. Brush olive oil on one side of each pizza crust. Put that side down on the grill. Brush the other side of the pizza crust with the oil and close the lid for 2 minutes. Using spatulas (I have found 2 work best), flip the pizza crusts and turn the burners down to low or move crusts to a cooler part of the grill. Close lid for 2 minutes. Top the crusts with sauce, 3-4 Tablespoons per crust. (You will not need all 6 ounces, so reserve the rest for pasta the next day.) Sprinkle about 8 ounces of cheese on each pizza and add any toppings you are using. Close lid and cook until cheese is melted, 5 to 10 minutes, depending on your grill.  Using 2 spatulas remove each pizza and put on serving platter, cutting board or pizza stone and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

For the remainder of 2016 I will try to finish this list by making Poached Salmon, maybe testing flour mixtures to make my own all purpose flour and make a gf pizza dough that is good enough for anyone to eat. I predict the Salmon will happen and the other two…well, maybe next year.  What is on your cooking bucket list? 

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