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Friday, September 7, 2012

Noodles and what to choose

Noodles and what to choose

OK, you are at the grocery store staring at the overpriced gluten free noodles asking yourself if you want to get corn noodles, rice noodles, or some mixture.  If you want rice do you go white or brown?  Well the answer depends on what you are making.  If you want something with a texture most like regular noodles then you are going to want corn.

Corn Noodles:  the color is going to be very wrong but corn has the best texture.  Also corn will hold up  so it works well in mixtures and casserole.  However, other than the color being slightly off it also tastes like, well, corn.  Huge alert, these noodles dry out too fast so have a good crust on any casserole, also be sure to bag the leftovers not just cover them or you will end up with little, dry, crunchy things shaped like noodles with the mission of breaking your teeth. 

Rice Noodles: are great in stir fries and soups since it doesn't have a strong flavor on its own.  However, it has a higher glycemic index for those that are watching that stuff.  Also the rice will get mushy very quickly and doesn't hold up after a short period of time.  It is really easy to overcook rice noodles. That was a fun moment, I have a dinner party and my noodles now resemble a gluey paste substance.  This paste substance happens less with brown rice noodles, but still more often than with corn noodles.  Brown rice is better for you since it a whole grain and it has a slightly stronger flavor than the white rice noodles.  However, it is not as pretty in those stir fry dishes with your favorite gluten free soy sauce.  If you are not looking for color and happen to like the slightly stronger flavor of brown rice noodles, this would be the best choice for a soup.

Quinoa: This is pronounced kinwa or occasionally Qin-wah according to the ever so reliable wikipedia; also I pronounced it wrong for most of the year I say it as Quinn-O-A, I was later set straight by food network. This is an ancient grain that was recently rediscovered blah blah blah.  Anyway, it has more of the stuff we need from wheat products in it than any of the other choices.  This makes it good for us.  I tend to use this in salads and the like and leave the other noodles for the more mainstay dishes.  However, give it a shot if it is your thing.

The fifty ingredient mixture noodles: It is so much fun when your recipe base is the the mystery meat of the noodle world.  These say that they will hold up really well and not get mushy however; some of them come with that unpleasant gluten free after taste.  This works if you are putting them under a stronger flavor such as a heavy cream sauce or a marinara since they don't get mushy.  However, they are a pain to cook correctly.  It says easy to follow instructions, sure if they are so easy to follow so they are saying I have the cooking knowledge of a first grader. (Who knows, some may be great cooks.)  However, again these hold up really well but they have the same issue as the corn noodles, they can quickly dry out.  I would just stick to the corn noodles if I have the choice since I would use both corn and mixed ingredient noodles for the same dishes. 

 Mac and Cheese recipe: Gluten free (contains milk and other possible allergens)

1 med size block cheese
1 package corn elbow noodles 
1 tbs butter
1 tbs rice flour (brown or white)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 and cut up the block of cheese into cubes, lightly grease your chosen baking dish
Boil water and salt water to taste
Follow the instructions on the noodle package.  Under cook by about a minute and then drain
Make a basic roux with the butter and the rice flour.  (If you don't know how to do this, you are currently on the internet, look it up.)
Add the cup of milk to the roux mixture this makes it white sauce
Add the cheese one block at a time slowly mixing the cheese into the white sauce. Depending on the color of the cheese I think this makes it yellow sauce??? Or not.
Once the cheese sauce is too taste, (it should be thick and bubbly) mix the noodles and the sauce
Bake for 30 minutes
Eat any leftover cheese cubes

This is how I make it anyway, a better recipe was found and copied from glutenfreemom.com 

·         2 cups GF macaroni (elbow works best)
·         3 T butter
·         2 T GF flour
·         ½ t salt
·         Dash of pepper
·         2 cups milk
·         ¼ cup finely chopped onion (optional)
·         8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese cubed (makes 2 cups cubed)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 1 ½ quart casserole.
Cook GF macaroni in salted water according to package directions.
In a saucepan, melt 3 T butter.  On medium heat, blend in 2 T GF flour, salt and pepper.
Stirring constantly, slowly add 2 cups milk (I have noticed that GF flour seems to blend better at a higher temperature, so I add the flour and milk at a temperature that is a little higher than I’d use for traditional wheat flour).
Cook and stir until thick and bubbly.
Add the onions (optional) and cubed cheddar cheese.  Stir until melted.
Mix with the cooked macaroni and turn into the casserole dish. 
Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes.

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