Gluten-free doesn't have to mean flavorless - PineCreek Journal

Gluten-free doesn’t have to mean flavorless

Trib logo Sherry Esser

Monday, July 29, 2019 | 12:01 AM

What do you know about gluten-free baking or cooking? Unless you are forced to think about it, it probably doesn’t even cross your mind.

Cindy Hasking, a resident of Pine, has been cooking this way for eight years. Making gluten and dairy changes restored her life to normal. After three weeks of researching recipes and changing her diet, Cindy couldn’t believe the difference it made. Two of her favorite recipes are Banana Walnut Coconut Flour Muffins and Shrimp in Tomato-Olive-Caper sauce with Polenta for two.

For those dealing with certain types of health issues, gluten-free cooking may take you on a journey of restoration.

Banana Walnut Coconut Flour Muffins (Paleo)

(Makes 12 muffins)

½ cup coconut flour

¼ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

4 large eggs

¼ cup melted coconut oil

¼ cup honey

2 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Heat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin tin. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut flour, salt and baking soda. In a smaller bowl, beat together with a fork the eggs, coconut oil, honey, mashed bananas and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat with a hand mixer on medium speed for about one minute or until well combined. Stir in the ¼-cup walnuts. Spoon batter evenly into well-greased 12 muffin cups and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped walnut on top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Looking to share a nice meal for two? Here is a dish that not only will tantalize the taste buds but also is visually appealing.

Shrimp in Tomato-Olive-Caper Sauce with Polenta

(Serves 2)

For the shrimp:

2 teaspoons olive oil

½ yellow onion, finely chopped

pinch of red pepper flakes

⅔ cup dry white wine

1 can plum tomatoes, preferably San Marzano

10-12 ounces jumbo shrimp (16 to 20 per pound) peeled and deveined, tails intact

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and quartered lengthwise

1 tablespoon capers, drained

2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Prepare fresh-made or store-bought tubed polenta. Set aside.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and red pepper flakes and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and boil until it is reduced by half, about 4 minutes.

Add the tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the sauce thickens slightly, breaking up the tomatoes with a wooden spoon, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the shrimp lightly with salt and pepper. Add to the fry pan, turn to coat with the sauce, cover and simmer until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes. Mix in the olives, capers and thyme and simmer until the shrimp are cooked through, about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Divide the prepared polenta onto two warmed plates, spreading it out in a circle. Spoon the shrimp and sauce over the top and serve.