Yesterday was a day of discoveries. I discovered that there are some brie style cheeses that I can still eat, but no blues. I discovered that I can still swear in Italian when provoked. Finally, I discovered that unless you have a very solid culinary knowledge, eating gluten free will either be very difficult or very expensive. That being said, eating gluten free is expensive even if you do know how to cook. Instead of throwing a cup of flour into a recipe, you need to use two or three flours and a stabilizer like guar gum or xantham gum. Flour is cheap. These things are not. However, if you are not savvy enough to put all this stuff in a recipe and are cooking from prepared foods and mixes, you will go broke before you stop withdrawing from wheat.
Big Lots, a discount store chain in our area, regularly carries Bob's Red Mill products and a pretty deep discount. I got three mixes yesterday for under $10, when one is normally in the $6 range. Cornbread mix, pizza crust and shortbread cookie. I figured it couldn't hurt to try them, and I'm glad I did. I made the cornbread last night. This was my first bread type product in a week, so I was praying it wouldn't suck.
It is Southern style yellow cornbread, not at all sweet. A little heavier than mine, and it could have used more corn flavor, but all in all a pretty respectable cornbread. Nice crumb, slight grittiness from the cornmeal, firm and easily sliceable. Not as crumbly as mine, sort of biscuit texture. I made it with melted butter in a heavy skillet just like I would my home made version, and The Man liked it well enough that I can be sure that he will eat it when I make it.
Now, here is where the culinary knowledge comes in. I was going to make a fritatta (crustless quiche). I discovered that I only had three eggs, two of which were going in the cornbread, right about the time that I had the bacon and onions browning in the pan. What to do? Diced celery and carrots, a little roasted butternut squash, fresh parsley, and diced frozen chicken breast went in to the pan to brown in the bacon fat. I didn't want hash, so I went with a country gravy. I added potato flakes to this mix, then good whole milk, making a nice silky creamy sauce. I let this cook down a little, allowing the potato flakes to do what they do best, adding a little more milk to get the right consistency, then added some shredded cheddar for a bit of extra flavor. I split the wedges of cornbread, placed the bottom half into a shallow bowl, ladled on the chicken mix and topped it with the other half of the cornbread. Lo and behold, almost like biscuits and gravy! We both scarfed it up so quickly that we didn't get a picture, but trust us, it satisfied something inside of each of us. He got a good hearty man-type meal, and I felt like I was eating real food.
Next test happens tonight - pizza crust. Fingers crossed, I sure do miss pizza.