Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Gluten-free tea party
May is Celiac Awareness Month, so for Wellness Wednesday, I'm sharing tips on holding a gluten-free afternoon tea.
Scones, sandwiches, and pastries are often gluten-full, so if you want an afternoon tea and you have celiac (or someone in your group does), you will probably have to do it yourself. The good news is -- it's not that hard!
Most black and herbal teas are gluten-free, but occasionally they have barley malt in them -- check the ingredients (and here's a list also). (It seems pretty ironic that Yogi Tea's "Stomach Ease" has barley malt in it.)
So now you've gotten your tea picked out. If you want to make scones yourself, you can use a mix (King Arthur flour makes some good ones) or you can make some from scratch. There are scone recipes which tell you how to make your own gluten-free flour or you can buy it already mixed. I do the latter; it's easier. I have had good luck with all of the ones I've tried (Cup4Cup, King Arthur, Bob's Mill). You can use any scone recipe with them. These Lime-Pineapple Scones are nice, and these White Chocolate Chip Raspberry Scones. With your scones, you'll want some toppings, such as preserves, honey, whipped butter, clotted cream, vanilla or lemon curd.
Okay, let's talk about sandwiches and other savories. You can use gluten-free bread, or you can make sandwich fillings and put them on other things, like cucumber slices, celery sticks, gluten free crackers, gf bagel chips, lettuce leaves. I have also put gluten-free savory foods (like gf meatballs, roasted potatoes, and cherry tomatoes) on mini skewers. Sandwich filling possibilities include crab or shrimp salad, egg salad, chicken salad, broccoli-carrot salad.* I made some wee shepherd's pies that went over well. These spinach brownies are great (use gluten-free flour). Brie on gf crackers with preserves on top is delicious.
For dessert, you can use the gf flour to make any kind of tiny baked goods, such as these cookies made with tea. You can also dip fruit (fresh or dried) in chocolate. One time I put strawberries and marshmallows on little skewers and drizzled them with chocolate. I have also drizzled fruit with rose syrup or jasmine green tea syrup, and I've taken a small silicon ice cube tray and made little chocolate cups which I filled with raspberries in a glaze. I've made spiced nuts and put them in tiny serving dishes next to each plate. Topping apple rounds (sliced whole apples with the center removed) with caramel sauce is yummy. Basically, if you think outside the "flour-based" box, things will start to pop into your mind.
On different occasions I have fixed dairy-free teas, kosher teas, nut-free teas, vegetarian teas. Anything is possible if you do a little planning.
If you have additional ideas, feel free to share them, and if you have any questions, please ask! (I don't have celiac, but one of my daughters does and my late father-in-law did.)
* When you are making your savory salads, make sure that your ingredients are gluten-free. For instance, I use Duke's mayonnaise, which is gf, but there are probably some mayos out there that aren't safe. Also, imitation crab can have wheat in it, I think. If you are used to checking ingredients, then you do this already, but if you are making your first gluten-free meal, this could be new for you. Just saying -- trust nothing! Check!