December 14th, 2008

Wheat is my enemy

Three New GF Products Tried This Week

First, Trader Joe's Gluten-Free Rice Pasta and Cheese (better known as GF Mac and Cheese). So, in keeping with their ever expanding line of proprietary GF foods, Trader Joe's recently released their version of GF M&C. I've tried about 4 other brands of GF M&C and they all sucked. Or more specifically, the pasta of those box meals sucked, the cheese sauces all tasted good, but the pasta it was put over was just HORRIBLE. (Annie's was the first I tried and I spit it out into the sink it was so bad) And I admit, I'm not the biggest fan of boxed Mac & Cheese, but I did appreciate having one in the pantry so if I was starving, I'd have something decent tasting to eat. So I was a little reluctant to try TJ's Mac & Cheese. I didn't want another disappointing experience. But I took into account that all the other TJ's GF stuff was, if not good, but excellent, I'd invest the dough to try a box. I was not disappointed. I cooked it up the other day for lunch, it made exactly one bowl, perfect for a mid day repast. The sauce was a bit thin, and I need to cook the pasta just a hair longer next time, but it was really, really good. I won't make a steady diet of the stuff, but the next time I pop into TJ's, I'll buy a couple of boxes, assuming I find any, my local TJ's has a hell of a time keeping GF stuff on the shelves, it just flies out the door.

Second, one product, two different preparations. I tried Gluten Free Pantry's Quick Mix, made into bisquits and dumplings.

I finally made Chicken and Dumplings for dinner tonight, and pulled a box of the Quick Mix out of my pantry. I've been told that when I make Chicken and Dumplings, my dumplings are odd. Joe grew up with a rolled out and cut dumpling. Me? I use a baking powder drop bisquit recipe, and just drop it into the boiling chicken soup by the tablespoon. It cooks in about 15 minutes, it not only makes dumplings, but thickens up the soup beautifully. From previous experiences, even before going gluten-free, I found that a full batch of bisquits was waaaaay too many for the soup. Dumplings left in overnight in leftovers become sodden lumps of dough. Not appetizing. So I mixed up the Quick Mix using the instructions for bisquits, put about half of the dough in the oven (about 6 good sized ones) and put the rest in the soup.

The Bisquits are very good. Warning! They crumble when hot, so let them sit a bit if you can stand the lovely smell.  After cooling they hold up under the weight of honey very well. These are a bit sweet tasting without any adjustments. Next time I might add some more salt to savor it up a bit. And they will be perfect for pouring hot leftovers on.

The Dumplings were also very good. My last few attempts of making GF Dumplings have been abject failures. Not fluffy on the inside, just a nasty, gluey, inedible lump. These cooked up beautiful with fluffy centers. Yea! The only problem I have with them is one I just mentioned. This mix is a bit on the sweet side. It was just a bit too sweet for my taste for a savory soup. Next time I'll add a bit of salt and herbs to the dough before dropping them in.

I'll definitely be buying more...I can't find it in a 5 lb size, which is annoying, I'd prefer to buy in bulk. Much cheaper!

Three (okay, two) new products, and three thumbs up!

EDIT: Oh yea.The Quick Mix calls for 1 1/2 cups of butter. Next time I'm going to try 1/2 & 1/2 butter and shortening...the biscuits might not spread so much. The butter flavor was good, but a bit much.