Once upon a time, Sea at Book of Yum came up with a great idea. What if there was a way for gluten-free bloggers to get to know one another better? What if there was a way to encourage them to try each other’s recipes? In an effort to enhance the gluten-free blogging community, Sea created the Adopt a GF Blogger program. This program has been in place longer than I’ve been blogging (it was created in February of 2008), but this will be my first time participating. I noticed that Ginger Lemon Girl adopted me this month, so I thought I’d adopt one of my favorite gluten-free bloggers – Shirley at Gluten-Free Easily.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of checking out Shirley’s blog, I strongly encourage you to do so! Shirley is a wealth of information, especially if you’re new to a gluten-free diet. She’ll show you how to navigate the diet without a lot of strange flours, without buying high-priced specialty items, and without a lot of stress. She has created some amazing things, like flourless gluten-free pizza made with a cheese crust, or surprise mint chocolate chip ice cream with spinach (no joke!). While I’ve been dying to try out her ice cream, I instead opted for 2 of her other recipes – her coconut chicken tenders and her pound cake.
First, the chicken tenders. Coconut is one of my favorite ingredients. I love it. So when I saw chicken tenders with coconut on her site, I knew I had to try it. As coconut is a nice, tropical flavor, I decided to keep with the tropical theme and make chicken tacos with these tenders. I made a pineapple salsa to top the chicken, and served them up in warmed corn tortillas, with a bit of lettuce for additional crunch. Even though I used sweetened coconut flakes, the chicken was not overly sweet – the heat from the chiles and the acid from the lime in the salsa provided perfect balance to the coconut and pineapple.
The only change I made to Shirley’s recipe was that I opted to bake instead of fry, and I added a touch of salt to the breading mixture. I placed the tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet and baked at 450 degrees for about 12 minutes, flipping halfway through. The coconut came out lightly browned, and the chicken was moist and flavorful. It might have been chilly outside, but indoors, we enjoyed a tropical meal.
You can check out the chicken tenders recipe here. Below is the pineapple salsa I made.
1 T onion, diced finely
juice of 1 lime
pinch or two of salt
1 c diced pineapple
1 T cilantro, chopped
1 thai bird chile pepper, minced
Place the onion in a bowl and squeeze lime juice over. Add a pinch or two of salt and stir to mix. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add pineapple, cilantro, and chile pepper and stir. Taste and add more salt if needed. Store in fridge for 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.
As for the pound cake, this was my second attempt. Shirley posted a perfect pound cake recipe a few weeks back, and I knew I just had to try it. Even in my gluten-eating days, rarely did I come across a decent pound cake. Most were dry and uneventful. However, there was one pound cake I can still remember like I tasted it yesterday. At our office, the widow of the former CEO bakes cakes and other goodies for us every Christmas. I cannot recall if she baked last year or not for us, (I was on vacation during the holiday, and I would have had to abstain anyway) but I remember fondly this lemon pound cake that she baked. It was moist, with the perfect amount of lemon, with a light, sweet glaze. It was amazing. When I saw Shirley’s recipe, I imagined recreating this pound cake of my dreams, gluten-free.
My first attempt was less than perfect. I tried to bake it in one loaf pan instead of two (or in other words, I didn’t follow her instructions!) and I didn’t change the baking temperature to compensate, so it came out underbaked in the middle, and browned on the outside. Rookie mistake. Second time around, however, I got it right. And there it was, lemony perfection. I followed Shirley’s instructions this time, subbing lemon juice for the orange juice, and adding 2 teaspoons of lemon extract. I also glazed the top making a simple lemon glaze – 1 cup of powdered sugar, about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, and a few tablespoons of water. It was amazing. I am sitting here right now, eyeing the cake on the kitchen counter, considering another slice. So good.
Many thanks to Thomas at The GFCF Experience for hosting Adopt a GF Blogger this month. I am so glad I participated. Actually getting to try some of Shirley’s recipes just validates what I knew already – that she’s amazing in the kitchen!