More Italian Gluten Free

Well, we have italian coming back up in rotation. I'm having trouble with coming up with new themes. Maybe we've been at it long enough that I'm exhausting my themes. Maybe, I need to be more creative. I tried to cull through my backlog of recipes that sounded interesting to produce a theme bento, but I'm stretching for a "theme". The other thing bothering me is that food costs have gone up, it's harder and harder to fit inside my $6 lunches. I'm frequently running over and I'm not quite sure what to do. I've not done a reset to compare food cost when I started, I might need to really economize better or simply charge more.

Anyhow enough whining. here's what I got.

We start off with an eggplant parmigiana GF style. I saved some of the calories and fat by baking the eggplant and using fat free mozzarella. The texture of the GF breadcrumbs we're a bit undercooked tasting. Appparently the re-heat went fine for the eaters. So maybe some of the undercooked breadcrumbs soaked up the moisture to soften the texture.

I skipped some complexity and steamed some "microwaveable veggies". For folks trying to churn out a fast meal I cannot say enough about the microwave packs of veggies. It's good for you, no oil, low cal and fast to churn out. A bit of seasoning goes a long way here and you're done with a major component of your lunch. Big thumbs up from me.

The first minor side is a Pasta with Creamy Vodka Sauce. I cut a ton of corners here with some lighter cream (half and half) and less butter. I figured that the smaller portion should make up for any real badness contributing to lunch. I think the dish could have used the full pound of pasta instead of the 12.5 oz to soak up the sauce but again, I got wide acclaim for this bento so maybe it was the right mix.

Finally dessert. This came out more like a biscotti than it did a cookie. It's sweet, but not too sweet, and more crumbly that I would have expected from a cookie. The almond and lemon peel really came out making it a flavorful dessert.

Box Contents:
  • gluten free eggplant parmigiana
  • Steamed vegetables
  • Vodka cream sauce over pasta
  • Polenta almond cookies


Julie said…
You can never have too much Italian, if you ask me. Those cookies look a recipe to share? :)
Ironjack said…
Absolutely, I followed this recipe pretty religiously since I'm not great with baking yet:

From: The Friendly Kitchen
makes approximately two dozen cookies
1 cup millet flour
1 cup ground almonds or almond meal
1/2 cup gluten free oat flour (try Bob’s Red Mill brand)
1/2 cup polenta aka corn grits
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. sea salt
2 Tbs. ground flaxseed + 5 Tbs. water, combined in a bowl and allowed to thicken for 10 minutes
1 Tbs. almond extract
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and lightly oil a 9×13 inch pan.

2. In a food processor, combine the flours, polenta, sugar, ground almonds, lemon zest, and salt. Pulse them a few times until just combined.

3. Stir the flax/water mixture and add it to the processor. Add the almond extract and scatter the pieces of butter over the top. Blend the mixture until it is moist and starts to hold it’s shape. If there are still small chunks of butter, it’s okay.

4. Dust your fingers with flour and press the dough evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 30-40 minutes, or until the edges are browned.

5. Allow to cool completely, cut into 2 inch squares and enjoy with a cup of tea or espresso.

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