Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slow Fall Days in the Kitchen

I was recently asked to do some recipe testing for Shauna and Danny of Gluten Free Girl at  When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease I stumbled on Shauna's nearly new website and was swooned, not only by her writing but her attitude. Like myself Shauna embraced the disease considering what she could have, ignoring the idea of deprivation. Her mantra, a tattoo on her wrist "Yes".  Yes to everything. My first gluten-free cooking adventure involved a recipe she posted for lemon olive oil cookies. I must have emailed her a dozen times with questions. Each time, an answer and encouragement which meant a great deal to me. When Shauna published her first book, Gluten Free Girl, I traveled to Chicago for a cooking class and a book signing she was giving. We had dinner together. It was a lovely visit and for what ever reason, I feel a kindred connection to this internet stranger that blogs about living life to the fullest. It seemed so fitting that she would marry a chef, Danny. Now the two of them are living life large, out the pacific Northwest writing a cookbook. When they contact me and asked me to participate in some recipe testing for their new cookbook I was flattered and thrilled.  My assignment, a recipe for meatloaf, meatloaf that called for roasted chicken stock. You'll have to wait for the book to come out next year to see the recipe. 

I love new recipes and I love a dinner party so I invited 6 friends to join me for a fall meatloaf dinner last evening. My work started on Sunday, going to the farmers market to get as much of my ingredients locally as I could. Local, humanly raised steers and chicken for my ground beef and chicken bones to make the stock, vegetables from the market, and herbs from my garden. I hardly needed anything at the grocery store. I spent all day Monday making roasted chicken stock. I sure do need some practice, my stock was a bit gelatinous and cloudy, probably from letting the stock come to a boil which is a big no no! I needed the stock for a rosemary infused glaze. It was worth a days work! I have cups and cups of roasted chicken stock stowed away in the freezer.

The test was on, Tuesday morning I made the glaze which involved three hours of reducing. Again, no recipe here, but let me say when you reduce anything for three hours the result is bound to be remarkable. The glaze turned ordinary meatloaf into company fare! I did spend all day making a remarkable fall feast! Mashed potatoes laced with sour cream, cream cheese and butter, meatloaf adorned in a rosemary perfumed  glaze, roasted carrots and onions tossed in parsley and honey crisp apples dipped in homemade caramel sauce. Over the top! Not to mention a cool crisp sunny evening. Nothing could have improved the evening except our friend Craig who at least got left overs sent home. It was a fun busy three days, lots of work with a great result. I have another recipe to test, this one requires lining a pan with plastic wrap before baking. Anyone out there ever "cook plastic wrap"? I am stymied!

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