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Cookin’ Local. Gluten Need Not Apply.

Okay. You know I write a Local Foods mystery series. Some of you know I used to be a farmer and I still have a small but productive home garden. At my table, we’re pretty much omnivores, although we keep red meat to a minimum. When I learned my longtime west-coast friend Roger was on a year long cross-country home IMG_2682schooling trip with his wife Leslie and their daughter Janelle, I invited them for dinner, along with my son JD. I asked about food restrictions. Roger said, “Leslie is gluten free and vegetarian, mostly.”

Hmm. I pay no attention to the gluten in my diet and feel grateful not to be plagued with a reaction to it. I LOVE bread, and pasta, and the rest of the starchy, delicious gluten family although I primarily eat it in its whole-grain form. But I didn’t want to make Leslie sick, and I did want to feature all our yummy New England fall foods. I asked if she ate fish, and he replied, “If it’s cooked.”

So here’s the menu. It seemed to be well received. We had a lovely visit, I got to know the dynamite daughter, and we sent them back to their traveling school (aka an RV) happy and healthy.

Here’s the rough recipe for the Rice-Corn Salad: Four ears fresh corn, lightly steamed, cut off the cob. Four cups cooked medium-grain brown rice. I cup or more gold cherry tomatoes cut in half. One sweet red pepper diced. A handful of fresh basil cut into slivers. Mix it up with a few glugs of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, 1 tsp or more of cumin and chili powder, each, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Add or subtract seasonings and ingredients as you wish! Cooked black beans would be a nice addition, too.

Readers: What’s your favorite gluten-free dish? If you’re sensitive, can you find supplies like rice pasta? And have you read the first in Nancy J. Parra’s new series featuring a gluten-free baker protagonist, Gluten for Punishment? We met Nancy at Bouchercon and I can’t wait to read her book!

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