Food & Drink

‘Small Bites’ cookbook provides gluten free snack options

By Joan Leotta

For The Sun News

Planning your Super Bowl party? To me Superbowl Sunday represents the all-time best occasion for my favorite way to eat—small plates, mezze, little bites, hors d’oevres, whatever you call the plates of goodies set out for host-guest grazing. Many of these involve crackers, bread bases, flour. These ingredients, harmless thought they may be to most of us, are anathema to people with gluten sensitivity. This book is the lifeline that rescues guests and gluten-sensitive hosts from the veggie tray and no-cracker cheese tray. It’s an entire book of wonderful creations of savory and sweet hand held treats that can be used as handy portable lunches or laid out to make the best super-bowl treat table in history.

The first part of the book discusses commercial and home-made gluten-free bread, breading and cracker substitutes. Recipes are provided. In fact, the recipes are the star of this book. I have not seen so many recipes I want to try, all in one book, in a long time. I am not gluten sensitive, but I might try some with the gluten free options and some with regular pastry doughs and breads. If you are gluten sensitive, you will want to use them as Hunn directs, with the gluten free doughs.

Author Hunn is well known among those who follow the gluten-free lifestyle. She started her blog, “Gluten-free on a Shoestring” in 2009 and is the author of three other cookbooks specializing in gluten-free foods. Her recipes have appeared in the New York Times, Parade, Better Homes and Garden, Parents, and on Epicurious.com.

The book’s recipe sections starts out with friend delicacies like friend onions and pickles. Hunn also ventures into the realm of gluten free tacos and tortilla shells, pastries for empanadas, Spanokopita bites, spinach lasagna roll-ups and then, in the dessert category, even tackles home-made phyllo and how to make the choux pastry for éclairs. There are also recipes for glazed donut holes and apple hand pies. Organization is easy to follow. What’s not to love?

There are options given for several of the recipes so you can enjoy them with your own touches. Author Hunn says of her stuffed mushroom recipe, “Stuffed mushrooms are always a crowd favorite, and luckily they’re not time consuming to make. Made with a savory combination of onions, garlic, soy sauce, chopped artichokes, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and goat cheese, the filling is packed with flavor. These baby stuffed mushrooms are gone in about two (small) bites, so make plenty! If you decide to go with the “Bigger Bite Option,” try placing the stuffed, baked large portobello mushroom in a roll and serving as a sandwich, or slicing it into strips and serving over a salad.”

Not only are the recipes delicious sounding, (imagine a platter with empanadas on one side and miniature shepherd’s pies on the other), but also lovely to look at. Since we also eat with our eyes, beware that the photos in this book will make you hungry.

At A Glance

Title | Gluten-Free Small Bites: Sweet and Savory Handheld Treats for On-the-Go Lifestyles and Entertaining

Author | Nicole Hunn

Publisher | DaCapo Press

Cost | $22.99

Stuffed Mushrooms

(Excerpted from Gluten-Free Small Bites:Sweet and Savory Hand-Held Treats for On-the-Go Lifestyles and Entertaining by Nicole Hunn. Copyright © 2016. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

Makes 24 mushrooms

Ingredients

24 large baby bella or button mushrooms

2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter

1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce or tamari

½ cup (60 g) panko-style gluten-free breadcrumbs

1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and chopped

2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, finely grated

3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled

1 egg (50 g, weighed out of shell)

Method

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil and set it aside.

Clean the mushrooms by brushing with a damp paper towel or cloth. Remove and dice the stems, and set aside.

In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add the diced mushroom stems and mix to combine. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, breadcrumbs, and artichoke hearts, and mix to combine. Allow the mixture to cool briefly before adding the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, goat cheese, and egg, and mix gently to combine.

Place as much filling as will fit inside each of the mushroom caps, packing it tightly but taking care not to burst the caps. Place them about 1 inch apart from one another on the prepared baking sheet. Place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven and bake until the mushroom caps are golden brown and the filling is melted, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Make-Ahead Option: The filling, without the goat cheese and egg, can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Add the egg and crumbled goat cheese right before stuffing and baking the mushroom caps. Once baked, they can be eaten right away or stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days before being warmed gently in the oven or microwave and served.

Bigger Bite Option: In place of small mushrooms, use large portobello mushrooms for stuffing. Increase baking time to 20 to 25 minutes.

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