Gluten-Free In A Gluten-Full Kitchen

Dawn's Kitchen 2Some of you are aware that I spent a week and a half in L.A. at Dawn’s for the birth of her baby, whom I’ll refer to as Mara Jade. Yes, another Star Wars nickname. It was only proper that she get one because Little Obi-Wan has one. If you’ve followed me for a while, you might remember the last visit Dawn bought new stainless steel pots and pans to limit cross-contact in the kitchen for me.

This time, the special was a tub of butter with “GF” in marker on the lid and my name written on the side. So we could cook with butter and not worry about cross-contact with butter everyone else uses.

Dawn's KitchenThe biggest thing I did for myself in the kitchen was take charge of the kitchen, especially once Dawn and her Old Man went to the hospital. I chased everyone out more than once. I made a habit of cleaning the counters before preparing any food, even if it was a PB&J for Little Obi-Wan. I would clean the counters again after I was done. I did have to call Chaz in the first night Little Obi-Wan wanted “pasta” (his word for spaghetti) because I forgot was regular pasta felt like while stirring it when it was done. The second time I did better. While cooking for him, there was a lot of hand washing.

There was also a lot of scrubbing food residue off before loading the dishwasher. Not something people normally think about where cross-contact can happen. Gluten not washing completely off dishes or being washed off and re-adhering before draining and drying to another dish, glass, or utensil.

Dawn's Kitchen 3I did goof once. Thankfully, it wasn’t with gluten. Little Obi-Wan wanted ice cream while we were at the grocery store picking up some things including Hot Wheels for him. Chaz and I were talking about ice cream sundaes and Little Obi-Wan insisted on the Hershey’s chocolate syrup in the can then asked us why we kept calling it “ice cream sundae”. After that, it was Ice Cream Monday. Because it was Monday. I wanted a topping for my ice cream, but everything had soy and/or high fructose corn syrup. So i just had plain vanilla ice cream. That night while making Little Obi-Wan’s ice cream, I wiped my finger around the rim of the syrup can then licked my finger. Oh, hi there corn! It was just a little bit but I did not make that mistake the rest of the time we were there. I immediately washed my hand after. This is what happens when you spend 99% of your time in your own allergy-free kitchen.

All that said, would I do this in everyone’s kitchen? No. I’ve blogged before that when I stay with friends I offer to cook or do the majority of the cooking to make sure meals are safe for me and help minimize any anxiety for my host. Being at your best friend’s is a completely different story, especially when she is at the hospital for four days.


Herbed Skillet Potatoes

Skillet Potatoes 003Potatoes are usually an abundant choice when I do my grocery delivery order every week. Yukon Gold. Red. Adirondack Blue. Fingerling. One of my favorite ways to fix them lately is in my cast iron skillet in the oven. Not only do they crisp up on top like they do in any other baking pan, the bottom gets crusty. You do not need a cast iron skillet for this. Any skillet you regularly use on the stove and in the oven will work.

I tend to make a batch once a week and warm leftovers up in the skillet for breakfast while cooking my eggs.

I prefer to use bacon fat, butter, or olive oil for these. Use whatever you like. If you opt for a fat that needs melting, just add it to the pan and set it in the oven while it preheats. Saves you from washing another pot or dish.

Herbed Skillet Potatoes – serves 4 – 6

1 pound potatoes (your choice), diced

Oil or fat (melted) of your choice, just enough to the potatoes


2 teaspoons Herbs de Provence

Heat oven to 450. Add all ingredients to the skillet and toss well together. Bake for 40 minutes.

Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa


Looking at my note, written in a buzzed state outside a bar in the Highlands of Louisville, I questioned my sanity:  bacon, bourbon, hazelnut hot chocolate.


Yeah, I’m not exactly sure what Johnna and I were talking about when that idea came to me. After some bourbon and moving on to hard cider, you stop questioning things and just write down the ideas that you think are genius because you know you’ll never remember them if you don’t.

I thought I was far from genius as I tried to puzzle out how I would pull it off.

Bacon. Bourbon. Hazelnut. Hot Chocolate.

Seriously. What the hell?

I know I like to put bacon in my food like:

Dairy-Free Corn Chowder

Grain-Free Bacon & Veg Quiche

Kitchen Sink Pasta

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Pancakes

I thought this idea went too far because I couldn’t figure out how it should be done. It only took me eleven months to figure it out. Candied bacon.

This may be more steps than you want for hot cocoa, but it is worth it. You will need Hazelnut milk, which you can make with Hazelnut Butter. This is not necessarily easily available and where most of your prep time will be if you make it yourself. The end result is heavenly though. Mine came out fluffier than you would expect a nut butter to be.

This is not dairy-free because of the whipped cream I used. I can’t make coconut whipped cream because of my allergies, but I think it would work well with this. If you can’t have dairy or coconut, there are lots of nut whipped cream recipes online. And if you can’t have nuts try marshmallows! I prefer marshmallows in my hot cocoa, but because of my corn allergy I need to make my own and I wasn’t up to the task when I developed this last week. I had a lot of other things on my plate.

I’m pretty sure you can make the candied bacon with coconut bacon if you are vegetarian or vegan. I’m guessing some of my followers will be trying it with candied bacon and letting me know.

Candied Bacon

2 teaspoons honey (or pure maple syrup)

½ teaspoon bourbon

2 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper. Mix together the honey and bourbon. Lay out bacon slices on the tray and brush half the mixture over the bacon. Turn slices over and brush remaining mixture on the other side. Bake for up to 30 minutes or until bacon is browned. Remove from oven and allow to cool before chopping into pieces.

Hazelnut Butter

3 cups hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Spread hazelnuts evenly on a baking tray. Roast them for 10-15 minutes, turning the tray halfway through. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place hazelnuts between two towel and rub together to remove the skins or place in paper bag and rub them together in the bag. Remove as much of the remaining skins as possible and place the nuts in a food processor. Add a pinch or two of salt if desired. Process the nuts until you have a creamy nut butter consistency, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Creamy Hazelnut Milk

4 cups  filtered water

4 tablespoons Hazelnut Butter

Add ingredients to a blender and blend on high for a at least one minute. Transfer to an airtight liquid container and store in the refrigerator. Shake before using.Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa 2

Mind Blowing Hot Cocoa

1 ½ cups Creamy Hazelnut Milk

1 – 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or Dutch processed cocoa)

1 tablespoon raw local honey or pure maple syrup (or other sweetener of your choice)

1 teaspoon maca root powder (optional)

1 ounce bourbon

Whipped cream (of choice)

Candied Bacon, chopped

Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Add cacao powder, mace root powder, and sweetener of choice. Whisk together until well-incorporated and allow to continue to heat. Add in bourbon and remove from heat, whisking together before pouring into a mug. Top with whipped cream then candied bacon.