Last week I had a few co-workers over for a little Holiday get-together. Barry, Jill, Rebecca, Shane & Paulette came over after work to check out my new place, eat some snacks and treats and gossip about work.
Since Jill eats gluten-free, I did a little advance planning to make sure everything would be wheat-free, as I didn’t want her worry about what she could or couldn’t have. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the night (bad blogger!), but I still want to write about what I made, because it worked out great, and I want to remember everything for future soirees!
First, and easiest, I opened a couple bags of Terra Chips (Original Flavour) and Rice Works (Parmesan & Sun-Dried Tomato) to munch on when we got in after work. Jill and I eat these all the time, but the others had never had them before and were freaking out. Terra Chips are made of root vegetables (think sweet potatoes, parsnips, taro, and yuca) and Rice Works are made of brown rice, and both are gluten-free. I also set out a veggie tray I bought at the grocery store, but I supplemented it with sliced cucumber and red pepper strips, as it only came with carrots, celery, broccoli & cauliflower. I also removed the disgusting ranch dip (I have issues) and instead replaced it with delicious hummus.
A few nights before the party, I marinated a log of goat cheese in a mixture of olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, fresh basil, salt and pepper. I put this out with some rice crackers and it was gone in a few minutes. It was the first time I’ve made this, but I will definitely make it again and post the recipe. So easy and surprisingly good for such simple ingredients.
I also wanted a few hot things, so the night before the party I made these Mini Frittatas, and just re-heated them in the oven as everyone was munching away. Giada’s recipe is basically just a guideline for the amount of eggs and milk to use; instead of ham and parsely, I used sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and asiago as the filling. Once again, this was the first time I made these, but they were easy and tasted great. I also made turkey meatballs (Barry doesn’t eat beef or pork) in a horrifying sauce comprised of two ingredients that I would not normally let into my fridge: grape jelly & chili sauce. I know it sounds disgusting, but it’s (shamefully) really good, probably because sugar is the first ingredient listed on both jars! Most of the sauces I was looking at use soy sauce or worchestire sauce, both of which have gluten. I was searching for a wheat-free alternative, when I thought of this sauce my Mom used to make waaayyy back in the day. I feel this originated in the ’70s which is why I refer to these as Disco Meatballs. The meatballs were just a simple mixture of ground turkey, grated onion, garlic, salt and pepper and an egg to hold everything together.
As for treats, I made two of my tried and true gluten-free treats: Chocolate Chip Meringues and Chocolate Financiers with Caramel Kisses on top. I also made this Coffee Toffee that Nicole and I were obsessed with last Christmas. If you have a candy thermometer, this is so simple to make, and the whole process takes under half an hour. I made it a few days before the get-together and just stored it in the freezer in a tupperware container.
Anyway, I know this is kind of a lengthy, frills-free post, but when I’m planning next year’s party, I know I’ll be glad I documented everything!
Source: Smitten Kitchen
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp molasses (you can swap corn syrup or honey)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp instant espresso powder (Note: the original recipe calls for 1 tsp, but I found you can’t really taste it. I used a whole tablespoon this time and the coffee flavour really came through)
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup nuts of your choice, chopped and toasted (SK uses hazelnuts, I used sliced almonds)
- First, get a cookie sheet ready and line with tin foil or parchment paper.
- In a medium-large saucepan, melt the butter, sugars, molasses, salt and espresso powder together over medium heat and whisk to combine.
- Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, and whisk occasionally until the temperature reaches 250 degrees, then whisk constantly until it reaches 300 degrees.
- Pour the toffee onto the cookie sheet and use an offset spatula to smooth it into an even layer.
- Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the toffee and let sit for a few minutes. The heat from the toffee will melt them. Spread the chocolate into an even layer over top of the toffee.
- Sprinkle nuts over top, then stick the whole thing into the fridge or freezer to firm up.
- Amaze your friends with the fact that you know how to make homemade Skor bars.