March 3, 2010

Adopt a GF Blogger: Gluten-Free Easily

Once upon a time, Sea at Book of Yum came up with a great idea. What if there was a way for gluten-free bloggers to get to know one another better? What if there was a way to encourage them to try each other’s recipes? In an effort to enhance the gluten-free blogging community, Sea created the Adopt a GF Blogger program. This program has been in place longer than I’ve been blogging (it was created in February of 2008), but this will be my first time participating. I noticed that Ginger Lemon Girl adopted me this month, so I thought I’d adopt one of my favorite gluten-free bloggers – Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking out Shirley’s blog, I strongly encourage you to do so! Shirley is a wealth of information, especially if you’re new to a gluten-free diet. She’ll show you how to navigate the diet without a lot of strange flours, without buying high-priced specialty items, and without a lot of stress. She has created some amazing things, like flourless gluten-free pizza made with a cheese crust, or surprise mint chocolate chip ice cream with spinach (no joke!). While I’ve been dying to try out her ice cream, I instead opted for 2 of her other recipes – her coconut chicken tenders and her pound cake.

First, the chicken tenders. Coconut is one of my favorite ingredients. I love it. So when I saw chicken tenders with coconut on her site, I knew I had to try it. As coconut is a nice, tropical flavor, I decided to keep with the tropical theme and make chicken tacos with these tenders. I made a pineapple salsa to top the chicken, and served them up in warmed corn tortillas, with a bit of lettuce for additional crunch. Even though I used sweetened coconut flakes, the chicken was not overly sweet – the heat from the chiles and the acid from the lime in the salsa provided perfect balance to the coconut and pineapple.

The only change I made to Shirley’s recipe was that I opted to bake instead of fry, and I added a touch of salt to the breading mixture. I placed the tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet and baked at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. The coconut came out lightly browned, and the chicken was moist and flavorful. It might have been chilly outside, but indoors, we enjoyed a tropical meal.

You can check out the chicken tenders recipe here. Below is the pineapple salsa I made.

Pineapple Salsa

1 T onion, diced finely

juice of 1 lime

pinch or two of salt

1 c diced pineapple

1 T cilantro, chopped

1 thai bird chile pepper, minced

Place the onion in a bowl and squeeze lime juice over. Add a pinch or two of salt and stir to mix. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add pineapple, cilantro, and chile pepper and stir. Taste and add more salt if needed. Store in fridge for 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

As for the pound cake, this was my second attempt. Shirley posted a perfect pound cake recipe a few weeks back, and I knew I just had to try it. Even in my gluten-eating days, rarely did I come across a decent pound cake. Most were dry and uneventful. However, there was one pound cake I can still remember like I tasted it yesterday. At our office, the widow of the former CEO bakes cakes and other goodies for us every Christmas. I cannot recall if she baked last year or not for us, (I was on vacation during the holiday, and I would have had to abstain anyway) but I remember fondly this lemon pound cake that she baked. It was moist, with the perfect amount of lemon, with a light, sweet glaze. It was amazing. When I saw Shirley’s recipe, I imagined recreating this pound cake of my dreams, gluten-free.

My first attempt was less than perfect. I tried to bake it in one loaf pan instead of two (or in other words, I didn’t follow her instructions!) and I didn’t change the baking temperature to compensate, so it came out underbaked in the middle, and browned on the outside. Rookie mistake. Second time around, however, I got it right. And there it was, lemony perfection. I followed Shirley’s instructions this time, subbing lemon juice for the orange juice, and adding 2 teaspoons of lemon extract. I also glazed the top making a simple lemon glaze – 1 cup of powdered sugar, about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a few tablespoons of water. It was amazing. I am sitting here right now, eyeing the cake on the kitchen counter, considering another slice. So good.

Many thanks to Thomas at The GFCF Experience for hosting Adopt a GF Blogger this month. I am so glad I participated. Actually getting to try some of Shirley’s recipes just validates what I knew already – that she’s amazing in the kitchen!

20 Responses to “Adopt a GF Blogger: Gluten-Free Easily”

  1. oh my goodness. this all looks so good I think I just gained 5 pounds from the pound cake photo alone! I’m off to go learn a little more about the GF adopt-a-blogger program. It sounds like a great way to learn a lot!

  2. Those chicken tenders look so good and I love the flavours in the recipe!

  3. mmmm…pineapple salsa! I must give it a try! Must be loaded with flavours.

  4. These look delicious! I agree that most pound cakes are dry, but when I saw Shirley’s, I thought it looked pretty amazing. Glad to see it turned out well for you too (at least the 2nd time around.)

    And thanks for the nice comment on my blog. It’s nice to know so many people understand…

  5. oh what a fun idea!

  6. Mmmm…pound cake. *drool* I’d eat that whole thing and balance it out with the pineapple salsa. hahaha…

  7. The pound cake looks beautiful! I wish I could have it. :) The salsa looks beautiful, too!

  8. Hi Alta–Oh, my … this post made my day in such a big way. How can I ever thank you properly for adopting me and offering such sweet words? I can’t, but thank you!! I love your variations of both my recipes. :-) The pineapple salsa and corn tortilla idea with the chicken tenders/nuggets is brilliant. (I will bake mine next time. That’s my usual method, but I was anxious to try grapeseed oil.) And, your lemon pound cake is classic. Gosh, I want some right now. I love pound cake and I’m just imagining how wonderful your lemon version tastes. I’m imagining those crunchy, “sweet tart” edges. ;-)

    I’ve read about Sea’s Adopt-A-Blogger event before, but really hadn’t paid enough attention. Now I will. Thank you for making me pay attention by adopting me! I truly feel very special. I’m so glad that the two of us met through Amy (Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free). Life is really all about connections and I love our gluten-free blogging and food blogging network, in general. We all bring something to the table, which is one reason, Sea’s event is such a great idea. And, Alta, you and your blog have certainly entered into “my favorites” category in just a short time!

    Hugs and thanks again so very much,
    Shirley

  9. Adopt a GF blogger is a great idea! And a moist GF pound cake–I have to try!

    • Stacy – It’s delicious even the next day, or the day after. You should try it!

      Shirley – Your comment made my heart warm. Thank you so much. You should definitely check out this Adopt a GF Blogger thing – I have read about it but haven’t really jumped on board. I saw that Ginger Lemon Girl adopted me, so I thought I should turn around and adopt someone else! After all, what a great excuse to make some yummy recipes – and I had already wanted to make that pound cake again anyway!

      Sook – Thank you!

      Jenn – Cake + salsa cancels each other out, right?

      Simply Life – Thank you!

      Iris – You should really try her recipe – it’s great! Of course, you’ll have to find people to give it away to. I ate WAY too much of it that evening. Just fair warning!

      Angie – It was one of those on-the-fly salsas that really came together well.

      Denise – They were tasty! Like summertime!

      Lindsey – I think I gained 5 pounds making that cake! I really need to get to know my neighbors better…

  10. Looks yummy. I’m going to have to try making the pound cake.

  11. You did Shirley’s dish such justice – it’s beautiful. I love the red plate, too. And I might have missed this, but how do you prepare your corn tortillas? Believe it or not, last night was the first time I tried them. Not much of a tortilla person but thought I’d give it a go. I tried steaming them – read that on Rick Bayless’s website. No good for the ones I bought. And then tried heating them in a skillet with a little water. No good either. They were ok, maybe a little rubbery. Any suggestions?

  12. I love the Adopt a GF Blogger event. It motivates me to try new recipes, and get to know other GF bloggers. Everything looks great. And the pineapple salsa sounds like a wonderful complement to the chicken.

  13. Superb recipes…..and photos. Love the look of the cake!

  14. Beautiful recipes. Maybe I could join next time even if most ingredients are really hard to find. We’ll see.

  15. What is a good gluten free flour that you are using?

  16. I have been craving a muffins that sound exactly like the pound cake you made, thanks to Shirley! Even with the glaze and everything. I know just what to do to get it right now! I tired my hand earlier at it today and FAILED :( Better luck tomorrow with converting this recipe to cupcakes…with raspberries too. I have to check into the adopt a gluten free blogger it sounds like a lot of fun.

  17. I’ve been searching for some great gluten-free recipes. Thank you!

  18. Pingback: A Gluten-Free Holiday—Gifts of Good Taste | gfe--gluten free easily

  19. Pingback: Tasty Eats at Home » August Adopt A Gluten-Free Blogger Roundup!

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