Earlier this month, I attended a gluten-free cooking class at Cooks of Crocus Hill. It was a Christmas gift from my parents to me, my hubby, my brother and his wife (who also eats gluten-free). The class took place just a few hours after we returned home from our adventure in Wisconsin Dells. Let me tell you, after several days in the Dells with small children, I was thrilled to have someone pour me a glass of wine and make me dinner.
Our instructor, Robin Asbell, is a local chef who often teaches classes at Cook’s about special diets. The menu she pulled together was delicious, if a bit carbohydrate-heavy. Given that replacing starches can be the biggest challenge on a gluten-free diet, though, the emphasis on breads, pastas and desserts made sense.
We started with gluten-free pasta dish (using Tinkyada brown rice pasta) featuring a variety of vegetables and a light cream sauce. It’s been awhile since I’ve had wheat pasta, but this tasted like the real deal. Even my husband was impressed.
Then we enjoyed a roasted vegetable and goat cheese sandwich on gluten-free focaccia. Again, I thought the bread was an impressive substitute for traditional focaccia. This leads me to conclude that the surest way to develop an appreciation of gluten-free baking is to forget what real bread tastes like. ;) Along with the sandwich, we sampled cream of asparagus soup with toasted almonds. Mmmm.
Dessert brought on a silky flourless chocolate cake and a lemony triple berry crisp. How could that go wrong, really? It couldn’t. Delicious.
Finally, we tasted gluten-free teff flour muffins. They were good, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wishing for a hunk of steak or salmon at this point. (Meat is my favorite gluten-free food.)
Overall, the class proved a solid introduction to gluten-free flours, thickeners, pastas and baking techniques. Oh, and there was wine, Crispin hard cider and gluten-free beer. Fun and informative!