One of my favorite things about writing here is getting the chance to explore. Blogging and interacting with the community involved with food has led me into so many wonderful directions – I’ve learned a lot about cooking, tried new recipes, flavor combinations, experimented in the kitchen, and made some awesome friends. And just about every culinary milestone I’ve shared with you, in hopes that my trials and failures as well as my successes can be helpful to others.
Usually, I am overly enthusiastic, anxiously waiting to push that publish button and share about my latest experiences. But lately, I have found myself at a loss for words. Why? Well for one, crazy awesomeness is happening in life that has kept me on my toes a bit the last few months, but also, I have been searching for my voice – what is it exactly that I want to say here? Why am I writing this? Am I simply just sharing what I made for dinner and hoping you all enjoy it? Well, I do hope you all enjoy what I cook – but what is my purpose of writing in this space to you??
I found myself searching through my favorite sites to see what magic inspires me so – I love a variety of food blogs out there, and realized it’s not about the writing quality, snappy design, or the photos or even the recipes. It’s that my favorites have something to say.
Something to say beyond “Hey, I made this, I liked it and ate it”.
Something to say beyond “Enter my giveaway now (and like me on facebook, twitter, etc. etc.) !!!”
Something to say beyond “I got this product for free so now I’m writing about it in hopes that you’ll buy it and the company looks favorably upon me”
While each of those things may indeed be very cool in their own right, if not surrounded by any substance then they aren’t really that exciting, now are they? Would you want to read some variation of those three phrases over and over post after post? I don’t.
I prefer something stimulating, that sparks conversation – that makes me think about food or myself or my life in some way I didn’t before. Whether that be through words, photos, or recipes (I do not think the medium so important), it’s that voice that shines through – the personality, as if I can imagine them in the room communicating their story to me right then and there.
Stories can be told with words, they can be told with photos, recipes, they can be told with example. I truly believe that everyone has that voice inside them – the one that says they have something to share and that brings light into the world in some way. Finding that voice is a little bit trickier though, and something I struggle with daily.
I think I am here to share my experiences in the kitchen, and also a bit of ourselves as my husband and I journey along this path we call life, which changes and turns towards new directions with each passing day. In the end we are fairly normal people who are just trying to find our own as we navigate the world of gluten free. We experiment and try new things, some great, some not (notice I say “we”, because while I am the one blogging, my husband is always there with me helping to cook, taste, even sometimes helping hold a reflector for a photo, ha!). I was chatting with my friend Amanda of Gluten Free Maui the other day, and realized that I need to share more of those experiments – and if they didn’t work, then so be it – maybe together we can help figure out why! Let’s start conversations together – conversations about food and all the fun/surprises/anxiety/stress/ that goes with it. It’s one of the reasons I love participating in the Gluten Free Ratio Rally, because participants get to have that conversation with each other during the month as we all try the challenge theme.
Today I am sharing one of those experiments in the kitchen, that I made earlier this Fall for my husband’s birthday. We had chanced upon an awesome find of gluten free lasagne pasta, and rather than try a traditional stacked lasagne, I wanted to do something different. So after cooking the pasta we stuffed and rolled them and baked them all together, and voilà, cannelloni! Ha ok, maybe not quite, but as close as I am going to get with gluten free pasta (you haven’t seen GF cannelloni shells sold somewhere, have you?). It took a little coordination to stuff and roll the cooked lasagne pasta, but once they were placed well in the baking dish all was fine.
For flavors, I’m sure you could stuff the pasta with whatever you want – I think ricotta stuffings are popular, but being Autumn when I made this, I wanted something a bit more Fall inspired, and so went with a pumpkin purée as my base – added in some onion, garlic, sage and ground pork, and then a sauce to bake them in with cheese. I decided to top them with sautéed chanterelles and our dinner was set, and a total success
What have you been experimenting with lately, and what food conversation do you want to have?
Prep Time: 30 min to cook ground meat and prepare stuffing
Total Time: 1.5 hours
200 g (1/2 lb.) ground sausage, cooked and chopped up (make sure GF if you need to)
220 g (1 cup) pumpkin purée
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
some dried herbs – sage, parsley
salt and pepper to taste
12 lasagne sheets (find GF ones if you need to be GF)
around 2 cups or so of your favorite tomato or béchemel sauce (depending on what you prefer)
200 g (8oz.) grated cheese – (mozz goes well with tomato sauce, gruyère goes well with béchemel)
200g chanterelles, sautéed in butter and seasoned with your favorite herbs
1. Preheat the oven to 175 C (350 F). Combine the sausage, pumpkin, garlic, onion, herbs and seasoning together into a bowl to make the stuffing.
2. Cook the lasagne according to package directions, and drain – take care not to rip the pasta. If using gluten free pasta it may help to drizzle some olive oil over the pasta to help keep the sheets separated.
3. Pour some of your sauce on the bottom of the baking dish (I used a casserole dish about 9″ x 11″, but whatever you have that fits your rolls tightly should be fine). Then spoon a few tablespoons of stuffing onto one side of the lasagne sheet and roll it up. Place the roll in your baking dish, and continue with the rest of the lasagne sheets.
4. Pour some more sauce over the pasta and then cover with grated cheese. Bake for about 45 minutes, until everything is well heated through and the cheese is browned on top. Then remove, serve, and enjoy. Top with sautéed chanterelles if you like.