I am a GF Cook. I make Good Food that happens to also be Gluten Free. For my family and others with celiac disease it is out of necessity. For many others it is a way to eat healthier or just feel better. In the past 2 years since my son’s diagnosis of celiac disease, there have been ups and downs. I have discovered that you do not have to sacrifice taste, texture or being adventurous with new foods. You do not have to throw out your family recipes and favorite cookbooks. Yes there are limitations, but after the first several months, we found our groove and now know the resources that can help navigate the world of gluten-free eating.
Cooking gluten-free food often means making it from scratch because convenience food (like prepared frozen meatballs from Trader Joe’s that used to make a weekly appearance at our house!) often contain gluten. More and more gluten-free items are appearing in the market, which is great, but as I love to cook and now have a giant freezer in my garage, I make my own convenience food packs and freeze them.
I spent a great day testing meatball recipes last spring and had some family and friends test recipes. I made Italian meatballs stuffed with mozzarella, homemade sausage meatballs and the winner – Bahn Mi flavored meatballs. I made about 4 pounds worth and saved them in 2 pound batches, perfect for our family of five for dinner with leftovers for lunch. You can cut this recipe in half. I serve them with cucumber noodles (or coodles) for a spin on spaghetti and meatballs. You can use them in a lettuce wrap or as an appetizer with your favorite Asian dipping sauce. My kids love hoisin sauce and I love peanut sauce. I grind my own meat using the Kitchen Aid attachment but you can buy ground meat in the grocery store or ask the butcher to grind it for you, but know that that contains more fat, so you won’t need to add as much bacon in the recipe below.
Bahn Mi Meatballs
Makes about 35 meatballs
2/3 cup cucumber shredded (about 1 English cucumber)
1/3 cup shredded carrot
3/4 cup rice vinegar
3/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons sugar
About 4 1/3 lbs ground chicken and pork (I use 2/3 pork loin and 1/3 chicken thighs. It was also tested with only pork)
3 pieces of bacon, minced (you might have to test how much bacon you add depending on the fat content of your ground meat)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 Tablespoon ginger, paste or grated fresh
handful of Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 tsp coriander
1 egg (still add one whole egg if cutting recipe in half)
1/4 cup of bread crumbs (use gluten-free if making this gluten free)
2-3 Tablespoons of canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
Mix the rice vinegar, water and sugar in a small bowl. Add cucumber and carrots. Soak at least 3 hours, up to overnight. Drain and dry between some paper towels while you prepare the meat mixture. Pre-heat oven at 375 degrees. In a small bowl mix salt, pepper, ginger, cilantro, coriander, egg and bread crumbs. Place meat in a large bowl and add drained cucumber and carrots and the egg mixture. Get your hands dirty and mix it all together.
TIP: Cook a small patty of the meat mixture to taste and adjust seasonings if you need before cooking the whole batch.
Heat a large not stick-pan to medium-high, add canola oil and sesame oil. Brown meatballs and transfer to a baking rack that sits on top of a cookie sheet.
Roast for 15 minutes. (You can put directly on rack without browning and cook for about 25 minutes, if you don’t have time to brown). Serve or freeze.
I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I love cooking for and writing it. My plan is to post weekly. You will see my own recipes, recipes from my favorite cookbooks (gluten free and not) that I have adapted for my family and ideas for entertaining and cooking in bulk. You don’t have to eat gluten free to enjoy these recipes. They are tasty enough for everyone!
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