WHEATLESS Hazelnut cheesecake with salted caramel glaze.
The New York Times has a nice little story about sharing your gluten-free meals with your non gluten-free friends. There is some insight here into how to ‘market’ your dishes, or ways to get friends to love your food, gluten-free or not.
I WAS gluten-free before it was cool to be. In 2000, a doctor told me I was allergic to wheat, barley and rye, and said that avoiding gluten was the only way to end my stomach pains and chronic lethargy. So I had to give up tagliatelle, Belgian-style ale, granola and — I feared — cooking for friends.
Back then, I had been the rare 20-something New Yorker who loved to bake for roommates and give dinner parties for 12 people crowded around a long table. I didn’t want to stop entertaining. So I started defanging potential critics by announcing a dish was gluten-free, thereby lowering expectations. For dessert, I’d say cheerily, I used rice flour for the peanut-butter brownies (code for: sorry, they are a bit gritty.) Sometimes I settled for second-rate: zucchini fritters that tasted of the chickpeas in the gluten-free blend that I substituted for wheat flour.
That was then. These days, gluten-free entertaining doesn’t have to be a drag, as long as you’re willing to spend some time in the kitchen. Armed with superior ingredients likeSchär bread crumbs and finely ground flours, it’s easier to pull off a feast that won’t disappoint the wheat-eaters at your table. And inspiration for gluten-free gluttons like me isn’t hard to find anymore, thanks to all the inventive cookbooks and instructive blogs with gorgeous recipes tempting enough to draw a crowd.
To prove that gluten-free was no longer synonymous with subpar, I set a challenge for myself: I would present a dinner party and not disclose the secret until the end. Goodbye, crutch.
The no-more-excuses crowd is growing. The rallying cry for the blog Autumn Makes and Does is, “No substitutions or good-enoughs here, just damn fine food that happens to be gluten-free.” Carol Kicinski, founder of Simply Gluten Free Magazine, which had its debut this month, said her bar was no longer set at whether it was good enough for gluten-free. “It’s just ‘Is it good?’ ” she said. In the past, Mrs. Kicinski, who has been gluten-free for 20 years, admitted to making pies and dinner rolls with wheat because she didn’t want to risk seeing disappointment at her dinners. “Whenever I had guests, I would feel insecure,” she said.
So could I pull off a feast so good, my guests wouldn’t be able to tell it was gluten-free?