GF + GF = A little bit of heaven on Earth.

Gluten Free + Good Friends = A little bit of heaven on Earth. Truly.

Last night my love and I were invited over to a friend’s home for a cooking and eating party. No, not really a dinner party. We all stood in the kitchen cooking together and eating as things came out and were ready. It was heavenly.

These friends of ours are the most delightful couple and their kids are gems. It was wonderful for us to have such fun out of the house (Truth be told – we are boring home-bodies. LOL). As anyone with Celiac can attest, the friendly invitation to dinner is not nearly as simple as we wish it were. When we moved to our current town, we left behind our friends who knew and understood my diva-eating status (kidding!). Once we got here, we met some lovely people who invited us for dinner. While we were excited to meet new friends, eating out anywhere – let alone someone’s home – is daunting. I never was a very good advocate for myself (still working on that one) in public with food things, so I’ve had to learn. I’ve gone from eating salads only without dressings to venturing in to the world of food with both feet at parties. I ask questions and I explain why I’m asking clearly.

But with these friends? They get it. And they are so good! In fact, while we were out running errands yesterday afternoon, Mohammed called just to make sure I could eat soy. LOVE that! Don’t you? Please, who could ask for me. (Yes, by the way, I do/can eat soy.) We packed a bag with food to cook once we got to their house. (I desperately needed a hummus-tutorial and boy, did I get one. MMM! Hummus!) Once packed, we were on our way.

 Packing for a cooking party

Gaby is avoiding wheat. So we spent part of the evening talking about the mood and physical changes we undergo when we cross paths with grains. Not pretty for either of us. It was *so* very helpful to hear about someone else’s struggles. I think my favorite moment was catching the same glimpse of exasperation in Gaby’s face when we talked about the sadly missed convenience of NOT having to cook something when we are tired. (Yes, I was whining about not being able to order pizza for dinner. LOL) It was a heart-to-heart connection over a missed pizza delivery. I love this woman. Really. She’s the absolute best. (Okay.. I have to put a plug in here. Mohammed & Gabi have a home run business (and work and raise kids and paint…and and and..!!! They make the most beautiful stones. Here’s a link to ONE of their businesses that I oogle.)

Anyway – on to the food. Mohammed is celebrating Ramadan – so it was a perfect night to cook A LOT to share after sundown. We made a huge menu of deliciousness. The picture above is missing the roast duck. I wish my brain would have been on picture taking when it came out of the oven. After an entire day’s labor of love on Mohammed’s behalf, the duck was incredibly beautiful. And delicious. But no photo. By the time it came out, Gaby and I were engrossed in conversation and the men were fawning over meat.
Gabi's Spring Rolls
Here’s the menu:
Miso soup
Hummus with hot chile oil and GF Wrap bread toasted & cut
Quinoa and Corn salad
Gaby’s Spring Rolls with Sweet Thai Chile sauce
Roast Duck
Baked figs with hazelnuts, honey & Irish Whiskey

I feel like I’m missing something off this menu. I was surrounded by food and love. The next time someone asks you for dinner, jump in with both feet and pack a bag of food to cook and share with them. You won’t regret it. Your heart and soul will go to bed just as satisfied and filled with life and love as your stomach. I promise.

Quinoa & Corn Salad

Quinoa & Corn Salad

Ingredients:
2 cups of quinoa, washed three times or until water runs clear
finely grated zest from two lemons (about 2 Tablespoons)
16 oz. frozen corn
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from one of the lemons you just zested)
1/2 stick of unsalted butter, melted PLUS 2 Tablespoons for the corn
1 Tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
4 scallions or green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a saute pan. Once melted, pour in frozen corn. Cook until heated through or slightly browned (according to your tastes). Set aside to cool.
  2. Put rinsed quinoa in a pan (with a lid) and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes. Drain quinoa. Add one inch of water back into pan. Set strainer over pan. Cover. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes to fluff quinoa.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, melt remaining butter (1/4 cup). Whisk in honey, salt, and peppers (red pepper flakes and black pepper).
  4. Place corn and fork fluffed quinoa into a large bowl. Add green onions and mint. Pour butter/honey mixture over and toss in. Taste-test. Add salt/pepper to taste.

This quinoa & corn salad is a great dish to accompany any meat item but is also great on it’s own. It can be served hot or cold.

Gaby’s spring rolls were so good too. I think I’ll have to make a post just to recreate them.
Thank you Gaby & Mohammed for a wonderful evening. You are truly two incredible friends!
Better yet – thanks for this tasty GF Treat from our local bakery. I’ll head there soon myself!

GF Cake for me!

7 comments on “GF + GF = A little bit of heaven on Earth.
  1. alliezalley says:

    What a wonderful story! I too have the same isues when someone invites me to dinner whether out or in. My breath gets caught for a minute with fear! What a great way to spend time with your friends. They sound wonderful and understanding. So glad you had a wonderful time!

    So the spring rolls are gluten free? What was used for the wrap?
    -Allie

    Ah yes, the caught-breath syndrome. Too bad it doesn’t just happen when we see our honeys, huh? It happens to me too when dinner invitations etc happen. But with these friends, I’m set and in heaven. =)

    For the spring rolls, there are two varieties of wraps that you can use. Either a tapioca or rice wrap. You can buy them at local asian markets. They are hard, thin disks that you gently soak in hot water until pliable. Then fill and wrap up like a mini-burrito. =) The sauce my friend had – Sweet Thai Chili Sauce – she also got at the Asian market. It was GF and delicious! -Kate

  2. I would love the recipe for the Spring Rolls. I love those and haven’t had them in a while.

    I can’t wait to make the wraps — soon, very soon.

    Hummus on!
    Ginger

    I do hope you come by and tell me how the wrap works and any rolling out tips you come up with. LOL. I’ve got a plan for the spring rolls and it gives me a GREAT excuse to see/talk to Gaby again! LOL -Kate

  3. loztnausten says:

    So talk about the miso soup! :) I’m looking for some gf miso…

    Miso! Good idea! I will absolutely work on that one too! – Kate

  4. nellbe says:

    Ah I love this post, thank you for sharing your lovely dinner party – sounds like heaven to me! I sooo know what it is like to be invited for dinner and I often say no. it isn’t worth the effort or risk sometimes.

    I say whine away about always having to cook something! I so know how you feel!

    I think some days I am the Queen Whiner of where I live. But then… well.. I go to work at the local high school and I think “Dang, I’ve got nothing on those girls over there! They win!! LOL Something about surrounding yourself with teenagers in the throes of constant drama makes my GF whines SO much more tolerable and less intense! LOL

    Wouldn’t it be great if we all had huge kitchens where everyone could fit around the counter and cook and eat GF together? It’s a lovely idea! We do it once or so a year for Chinese New Year (haven’t done it in a while though… hmmmm.. gonna have to change that!). We have friends over and a GF house party. OH! It makes my world go ’round, I tell you!

    I don’t know where I’d be in life without family, friends, love and good food. And GF good food at that.

    -Kate

  5. carrie says:

    That corn and quinoa salad looks absolutely lovely!! I just had quinoa cereal yesterday. That salad looks like a great starter recipe for actual quinoa! A must try! Thanks!! Great story about your friends! I must admit I feel like a loner down here in eastern NC… not too many gluten-free choices!

    I hear ya on the loner-factor. It’s taken me a LONG time to figure out that I’m not alone here. I think it started to dawn on me when I went to the local food co-op and market and saw the GF section growing. Huh…. I must NOT be alone here then… LOL. Statistically speaking, there are a lot of us floating around. There are almost 2000 kids at my school. That means there are 180 kids with CD there? WOW. Where are they!? I wanna do lunch with them and starting begging for GF pizzas in the cafeteria! LOL

    I hope you find your niche soon. It’s such a relief to have company on the journey. And the quinoa? It’s a great place to start. And OH – what a conversation starter it is! Especially if they see the word “Quinoa” and you get to begin by teaching them the sound “Keen-Wah”. And from there… you will be the cooking expert. =)
    -Kate

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "GF + GF = A little bit of heaven on Earth."
  1. [...] Maybe the most difficult part of people is figuring out what they need to buy in order to have the spring rolls they like/remember from a favorite restaurant. It’s important to remember that there are as many variations of spring rolls as there are people who love them. I’m including directions for a simple version with a nice twist that my friend Gaby included in her spring rolls when we had our cooking party/dinner party together. [...]

  2. [...] I had leftovers!  The leftovers lasted as long as a single car ride where we dropped them off for sweet Gaby who wasn’t able to make it.  She saved me from having to purchase larger pants by taking the [...]

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