Posts Tagged ‘gluten free appetizers’

Gluten-Free Crostini Appetizers

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

If you’re looking for a gluten-free appetizer that will be loved by all (aka: even the non-gluten-free folks) check out these gluten-free crostini appetizers.

Crostini means “little toasts” in Italian which is so fitting, since the secret in making the most crunchiest, savory and flavorful crostini lies in the perfect toasting of the bread.

I made my crostinis with Udi’s new French Baguettes. The texture of these baguettes is light and airy. They sliced effortlessly and toasted to perfection.

The first step on making crostini is to slice the baguette at a 45 degree angle using a serrated knife. Next, brush with olive oil and place under a broiler until the toasts are just starting to take on a light golden color. Keep your eye on them when toasting, and be careful not to over broil. When the bread is light yellow in color and still glimmering with olive oil you know you have achieved the perfect little toast.

After you remove the little toasts from the broiler you top them with ingredients. This is where some folks may scratch their head and be at a loss. My only rule of thumb is that you select ingredients that complement each other. Ingredients that give you a medley of flavors that provides the perfect balance in just one simple bite.

Need some inspiration? Look at a menu of a gourmet pizza shop and use the gourmet toppings as inspiration for your gluten-free crostini creations.

Here are some of my favorite scrumptious crostini toppings that I’ve come up with:

Top Row; Left to Right (click on links below for recipes):

–    Broiled Pear and Apple Butter Crostini with Goat Cheese and Rosemary
–    The BLT: Crostini with Tomato Sauce, and topped with a Baby Lettuce Leaf and Smoky Bacon
–    The Southwestern: Tomato Salsa with Sharp Cheddar and Black Olive Crostini

Bottom Row; Left to Right (click on links below for recipes):

–    The Greek: Feta and Black Olive Crostini with a Greek Dressing Drizzle and Baby Spinach Leaf
–    Goat Cheese with Fig Compote and Rosemary Crostini
–    Red Pepper Jelly Crostini with Goat Cheese and Basil

Do you have a Crostini Topping you’d like to share? Please do in the comment section  below!

Gluten-Free Grilled Bacon Wrapped Blackened Pepper Poppers

Saturday, September 8th, 2012

Sometimes you like things hot. Really hot. But this weekend I quickly discovered that my garden’s peppers are, yes indeed, an example of something that is just way, way too hot.

So what is a girl to do with a garden-full of way, way too hot peppers?

And then suddenly a super-cool idea popped into my mind. Grilled Bacon Wrapped Blackened Pepper Poppers.

The saltiness of the smoked bacon, the creamy smoothness of the cream cheese and the blackened grilled peppers are sure bets to offset the spicy capsaicin, the stuff that makes peppers wicked hot.

The key to reducing the spiciness of the peppers in this recipe is the removal of the ribs, membranes and seeds in the peppers. This is a sure way to reduce, but not eliminate some of the heat. Also the casein in the cream cheese helps ease the burn, while the fat, mixed with the oils from the peppers helps neutralize the heat. I also think that blackening the pepper skins helps lower the Richter Scale of hotness.

Oh… and a word of caution – please (pretty please?) make sure that you wear plastic disposable gloves when preparing this recipe. Hot peppers are serious stuff.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Blackened Pepper Poppers

5-6 medium sized hot peppers, (such as Italian, serrano or similar)

About 2 tablespoons olive oil

One 8-ounce package of cream cheese – softened

10-12 slices of smoked bacon

1-2 pairs of plastic disposable gloves (important when handling peppers!)

Wearing a pair of disposable plastic gloves, slice each pepper lengthwise, leaving the stems intact.

Using a paring knife, a small fork and your fingers, carefully remove all seeds, ribs and membranes from inside the pepper (basically all of the white stuff inside the peppers). Brush the sides and inside of the pepper with olive oil.

Preheat a gas grill to medium heat, and place the peppers onto the grill, turning occasionally until slightly blackened. (Note: you could also use a broiler to do this too).

Remove the peppers from the grill and carefully stuff the peppers with the cream cheese. Wrap each stuffed pepper with one to two slices of bacon, and place back on grill and cook, carefully turning occasionally, until the bacon is slightly crispy and cooked through.

Serve immediately.

Serves 3-6 as an appetizer.

‘Tiz the Season of Appetizers

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Appetizers are the ultimate party food. There is nothing more engaging for sociable gatherings and entertaining than numerous types of finger foods that can be enjoyed while mingling among a crowd of old (and new!) friends.

What many don’t realize is that appetizers can be a tough course for those that are on a gluten free diet or have food allergies, since most appetizers are made ahead of time and can not be modified to adhere to special dietary requirements.

If you’re hosting a sophisticated cocktail party, a family holiday or a neighborhood gift swap – use the tips below and plan ahead to include gluten and allergen appetizers to your menu. You’ll find they’re fun to eat, elegant in appearance, and more simple to prepare than you can imagine… plus, your guests with allergens or intolerances will be more than appreciative of your gift of thoughtfulness!

Dips and Sauces: Easy to prepare and so versatile – dips, sauces and spreads are the ultimate party noshes since they encourage mingling around a common area. Make sure that you use gluten and allergen free crackers or better yet, compliment these dishes with fresh veggie sticks or allergen free Vegetable Chips (find the recipe in the BeFreeForMe recipe section.)

Serve hot and cold gluten free and allergen free appetizers: This allows you to serve different appetizers at different times – rather than all at once. Serving hot and cold appetizers also allows those guests that arrive at varying times to enjoy some of the appetizers while piping hot; while the cold appetizers are for all to enjoy throughout the event. This method of combining hot and cold appetizers to your menu also allow you to mingle more with your guests, rather than being tied to the oven – Now that’s a reason to party!

Choose appetizers that can be prepared in advance: Gluten and allergen free dips, spreads, cheeses, olives, and antipastos makes the event graciously streamline, where mingling, chatting and tasting is encouraged and gives all your guests different flavors and tastes to enjoy!

Always veggie it: A veggie platter is the safe haven for those with food allergies and intolerances. A good rule of thumb is to always include a veggie platter at each event you host. A veggie platter is not only enjoyed by the gluten and allergen free, but also those guests trying to watch their middle during the holiday season. Serve the veggie crudités with an assortment of dips, on the side, that take into account different food allergens and intolerances.

A few other appetizing tips:

  • Keep the recipes for all gluten or allergen free appetizers you make handy, since guests may want to see the ingredients prior to enjoying.
  • Many appetizers can be made into the main course – keep all options open!
  • Consider labeling each appetizer as dairy free, gluten free, nut free… your guests will appreciate your consideration!

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