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.
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.
Here’s the menu:
Hummus with hot chile oil and GF Wrap bread toasted & cut
Quinoa and Corn salad
Gaby’s Spring Rolls with Sweet Thai Chile sauce
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
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
- 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.
- 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.
- While the quinoa is cooking, melt remaining butter (1/4 cup). Whisk in honey, salt, and peppers (red pepper flakes and black pepper).
- 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!