What I learned this weekend: 8 lessons about gluten-free food and family

My dad used to be a teacher, and to this day retains a penchant for educating. As kids, we knew we could ask him questions we were “just curious about” and rely on him to tell us all he knew…which we could then furiously transpose onto our homework sheets, which was of course the point all along. (When he caught on, he was not pleased.)

And Mom homeschooled my brother and me for the early days of our educations: Patrick through fourth grade, and me through second. Homeschooling may account for a few oddball tendencies in both of us, but that’s not really the point of this blog post.

The point is, it’s no wonder I developed a desire to teach. Both my parents had been modeling it since, I imagine, day one.

This past weekend, my sister and I visited for my mom’s birthday. We spent much of our time at home cooking together, in a paper-towel-covered kitchen using all-new definitely-safe gluten-free cookware and ingredients, testing recipes for my mom’s blog.

As is always the case, while visiting, I learned a few things. Here are some:

  1. If you put a head of garlic in a bowl, cover it with a lid, and shake it vigorously, it will unpeel itself. At least, some of it will.

    I suppose "vigor" is subjective.

    I suppose “vigor” is a subjective word.

  2. Adapting a non-gluten-free recipe really isn’t as simple as subbing in a gluten-free flour blend.
  3. But cakes underbaked in the middle can become bundt cakes at a moment’s notice.
  4. And still taste great.

    gluten-free spice cake

    No one ever would’ve known…except Mom was modeling honesty this weekend, too.

  5. Going gluten-free hasn’t decreased my seasonal allergies. It’s just that I’ve been living in a place with no natural flora or fauna. Back in Massachusetts, land of the beautiful fall foliage…a-choo!
  6. Parents have way more fun after their kids move out:

    brandy cocktails

    I also (re)learned that I don’t really like brandy.

  7. Socca is still the best thing in the world, but panisses are definitely in the running. (Check out David Lebovitz’s recipe, which is similar to the one we used.)

    Is there anything that can't be made out of chickpea flour?

    Is there anything that can’t be made out of chickpea flour?

  8. My parents are the best parents a gluten-free gal (or two) could ever want.

I already knew the last one, but just want to be sure you do, too.

What have you learned about food and life from your family? Have you had any kitchen mixups or success with new recipes recently? And, for god’s sake, have you tried socca yet?

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13 thoughts on “What I learned this weekend: 8 lessons about gluten-free food and family

  1. I haven’t tried socca – what am I missing out on?! And HBD to mom!

  2. I love how you turned the sunken cake into a Bundt shape. I’ve never thought of doing that. I also checked out your mom’s blog. I saved it to look at later for some book ideas. Thanks for sharing it. 🙂

    • Molly says:

      Thanks! I think it was my mom’s idea to cut out the center, or maybe my sister’s. I’m sure it wasn’t mine, or I’d be happily taking credit for it right now. Mom has great taste in books so I’m sure you’ll enjoy her blog! Glad you took a look. 🙂

  3. I haven’t tried Socca either. Tell me more.

    • Molly says:

      You guys are missing out! I wrote a recipe for mini socca pizzas here, but the classic recipe is a plain chickpea flour flatbread that is so basic but SO good. Perfect use of a cast-iron pan.

      Check out The Kitchn’s recipe for a starting point, then let your imagination run free.

  4. Laurie C says:

    We miss the gourmet meals now that you’ve gone back to NYC! I liked the socca, but not as much as those Parmesan Chickpea Fries from the Cuisine Nicoise cookbook. (BTW, it was bourbon in the Scorpio-inspired cocktails we had, not brandy, although you might not like brandy either!)

    • Molly says:

      Ha! No, I probably don’t. Thanks for reminding me; I’ll have to update it. We’ve been making somewhat less gourmet meals this week too, using our carrot top pesto, though we did make pesto nachos last night in honor of National Nachos Day, which I personally felt was inspired!

      • cav513 says:

        Mom is forgetting the very tasty Sausage, Cannellini & Sage gratin I made for us on Tuesday 🙂 Which was even better last night!

        But I wish I had known about National Nachos Day! Well, as it happens, I had to make a portable supper for us for tonight as we have to head out early for a meeting before catching our train to DC at 9:30, so I made guacamole and salsa. We’ll have our nachos tonight 😀

        • Molly says:

          She must mean she misses MAKING the gourmet meals. Glad you’re getting in a belated nachos day celebration! To be honest, every day should be nachos day.

  5. […] Doesn’t that sound delicious? We were just going to substitute vegetarian broth for any recipe that called for chicken broth, and serve a completely vegetarian meal, but once I realized we had to jettison the soup and dessert because I hadn’t purchased certified gluten-free lentils or cornmeal ahead of time and couldn’t get them from the local store, I panicked, and threw in plain old sautéed chicken breasts for the non-vegetarians. Sautéing is French, though, right? (And, yes, I did mess up this very simple meat preparation, and had to be rescued by my husband. For dessert, we had homemade gluten-free birthday cake, which my daughter has already blogged about.) […]

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