Gluten-free goes gourmet with High Pointe Catering
March 22, 2010
Truckee and#8212; From creating the perfect guest list to selecting the ideal venue, entertaining can be tricky. Throw in a challenging gluten-free diet and a frazzled party host might put the kibosh on the whole soiree.
However, according to Mike Lathbury of High Pointe Catering, gluten-free cuisine can be just as tempting and delicious as standard party fare and guests will be none the wiser.
and#8220;There are a million people in the U.S. who have gluten allergies,and#8221; the Truckee chef and catering company owner explained. and#8220;Does that mean these folks canand#8217;t entertain? Absolutely not!and#8221;
He says gluten-free menus can be creative and sexy and still be as tasty and eye-appealing as any regular party menu.
and#8220;We offer 100 percent gluten-free menus that allow the gluten-free host to be worry-free and really enjoy the party,and#8221; Lathbury says.
Lathbury suggests hiring a caterer who is well-versed in the idiosyncrasies of gluten-free cooking.
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and#8220;Many professional chefs are aware of gluten in bread, but they donand#8217;t realize that is also found in many common ingredients used during cooking, including sauces with flour, glazes, MSG, modified food starch and textured vegetable protein,and#8221; Lathbury adds.
Gluten-free hosts need to be mindful of cross-contamination if they are offering a few items with gluten. To cross that worry off the list, Lathbury suggests a 100 percent gluten-free menu.
Think gluten-free food canand#8217;t provide the celebratory vibe that good party food evokes? Think again, said Lathbury, whose specialties range from Dungeness Crab Cakes to Roasted Garlic Brie on Flat Bread with Blueberry and Apricot Puree.
and#8220;Great parties feature great food, and everyone and#8212; the host and the guests and#8212; should be able to join in the fun,and#8221; Lathbury says.
The expert High Pointe team can turn any setting and#8212; be it a Lake Tahoe beach or a corporate meeting room and#8212; into a memorable event, matching every style, taste and budget. For more information, call (530) 414-3357 or visit http://www.highpointecatering.com.
By Mike Lathbury, owner and chef of High Pointe Catering
If you are starting with live crabs follow the recipe from the beginning. However, you may start with precooked crabs that you would find in most super markets. Or you could substitute pretty much any crabmeat available. Having grown up on the East coast, Blue crabs were the only crab I ever knew of. Simply substitute approximately 3 lbs. shelled meat.
2 whole Dungeness crabs 1 1and#8260;2-2 lbs. each
2 C chop scallions
1and#8260;2 C chopped parsley
1 1and#8260;2 Tbsp. Old Bay seasoning
1 C ground flax flakes
1 C Best Foods mayo
1and#8260;4 C fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. white pepper
Potato flour for dredging
Virgin Olive Oil
To cook the crabs, bring enough salted water to a vigorous boil to in a pot big enough cover the crabs completely. Toss in the crabs for about 2 minutes. Remove from the pot and cool under cold running water until cool enough to handle. Place the crabs top side up and stick your thumb under the edge of the top shell, then pull forward and lift the shell up and off. Scrape out the gills and discard. Turn the crabs over and on the under belly you will find the and#8220;apron.and#8221; This is a triangular flap, which can be lifted off and discarded. The soft yellow matter inside is the fat or also known as the crab butter. For our recipe it can be discarded or saved for a different use later if you wish. Rinse the crabs thoroughly of all of the spongy material found inside. Next is to remove all of the meat from the body and legs. You can use a large knife to split the legs and body to more easily remove the meat inside and set aside.
For the ground flax, I use flax cereal flakes. There are several brands and flavors available. The best for me is to have the least amount of additional flavors, which might contrast with the flavor of the crab. Using a food processor, grind the flakes into the consistency of course breadcrumbs.
I use Best Foods or Hellmanand#8217;s Mayonnaise for two reasons. It has excellent flavor and is always gluten free. Some mayos are not, so read the labels to be sure. Old Bay seasoning can be found in most grocery stores.
In a large mixing bowl gently combine with your fingers the crabmeat, scallions, parsley, lemon juice, and Old Bay, being careful to not break up the crab lumps. Add the mayo, eggs, and flax and gently fold with a rubber spatula until it is just mixed and clings together. The consistency should allow you to form small balls that hold together and wonand#8217;t fall apart.
The size of the crab cakes is up to you. For appetizers about 2-3 ounces will suffice. Five ounces for an entree-sized portion. Form the mixture into balls then gently press down into cakes that are about 1and#8260;4 to 1and#8260;2and#8221; thick.
Heat a skillet with enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan, about 1/8 of an inch deep. The pan should be just hot enough to sizzle when the crab cakes are placed inside. Gently dredge the crab cakes in the potato flour and coat lightly not allowing the flour to cake up, then place the crab cakes in the hot skillet. Use a spatula to loosen from the bottom so they donand#8217;t stick. When golden brown, flip to the other side and continue until golden. Remove and set on a platter ready to serve. Spoon the Mango Relish (recipe follows) over the top and enjoy.
1 C mango, fine dice
2 oz. red bell pepper, fine dice
2 oz. red onion, fine dice
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1and#8260;4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 limes juiced
1 tsp. Sambal (a chili-based sauce)
Salt and pepper to taste
The salsa can be prepared ahead of time. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.