Perfectly ‘Creamy’ Perfect Dairy Free, Gluten Free Pea Salad

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My daughter and I recently attended an IF Table Event. If you have never heard of IF, you are not alone. I hadn’t either. Well, correction, I had HEARD of it, I’d just never thought of going. My daughter however, wanted to go and it was a perfect opportunity to not only do something together, but do it together in faith. IF Table is where women gather to share food, fellowship and faith. An introductory story or theme sets the stage, with questions posed for the group to share personal perspective on. It may sound corny but it can actually be quite cool. If (yes, a little pun intended) you have the opportunity to attend one, I recommend it.

With that ‘table set’ (yes, I did it again, LOL) I wanted to bring a couple of dishes that my daughter could eat, if there was nothing else available. (Watch for my super simple asian glass noodle shrimp salad recipe to be posted next)
I decided, with the blush of spring finally upon us, to make a perfectly creamy pea salad w/o the dairy. This was such a hit with the ladies, I’m sharing it here. I’m really glad I chose this because surprisingly, in the group of 18 women, sitting at my table were 2 others who were not only gluten free, but dairy free also! What are the odds? Well, there are no coincidences in the life of a christian, so there you go!
This salad is a snap (I just cant seem to get enough of wordplays!) to put together, and is easy to make to feed a crowd, or just your family. (If its just 1 or 2 of you, make just 1 bag of peas and adjust the other ingredients to taste)
Its also flexible. If you have fresh basil, parsley or even cilantro on hand, use that. If you want to make it more hearty, add a chopped hard boiled egg, ham or bacon. Fresh farmers market tomato, diced, would be yummy too.
Since we are flush into spring greens here in MN, this is a great way to take advantage of all the fresh produce, and get your healthy veggies in!
Enjoy!

Perfectly Creamy Pea Salad (dairy free & gluten free)

*Serves 4 generously as a side
*double this to make for a potluck or larger gathering.

2 bags Stringless SugarSnap Peas (or approx 1 lb total)
1 medium shallot (about 1.5 tsp) diced fine
1/4 c *Silk Plain Almond Yogurt (see notes below)
1 tbsp Mayonaise
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
8-10 Leaves fresh Mint, chopped fine (I julienned)
1/2 Lemon, zested and juiced.
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a 4qt saucepan, set 2 quarts of water on the stove to boil. Prepare an ice bath: large bowl with ice and a small amount of water next to the stove.
Salt the boiling water, and add 1 bag at a time to the water. Allow to cook 1-2 minutes, just long enough to set the color. You are not cooking, but merely blanching the peas. They will retain their textural crunchiness, but take on a vivid green color.
Immediately remove, using a spider ladle (see example here) and dump the peas into the ice water bath to stop the cooking. Repeat with the second bag of peas.
Remove the peas to a dry, clean tea towel and pat dry.
In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, and then toss with the peas.
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Transfer to decorative serving container if desired. (I prefer lightweight plastic when I take to potlucks. Its easier to carry something light.

Note:
Because you shock the peas in ice cold water, this dish is ready to serve right away, awfully convenient when the opportunity to a last minute potluck invitation arises!
*I just started using DF plain yogurts. I know there are a growing number of brands of plain yogurts now on the market, just be sure there is no added sugar. You do not have to use Silk brand, that is what I used.


Gluten Free Grilled Sausage & Peppers

In between chasing a brand new puppy, trying to find a moment to vacuum my house and getting my daughter ready to start college, I wanted to make time to whip up a GF version of grilled sausage and peppers.

Oh, the magic of the internet!

After a couple of google searches for ‘Gluten Free Brat Buns‘, it appears most just make a standard bread recipe, but the trick is to put it in mini-loaf pans. I just happened to have quite a few of those on hand, from my days of making Christmas food baskets (as gifts) for friends and family. With pans and a package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Bread Mix on hand, I got started.

First I made the bread dough and filled the mini-loaf pans. They turned out beautiful. I brushed them with butter before baking, and after, to keep them a little softer like a brat bun would be.

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Then I gently simmered the Italian Sausage links in beer. (Be sure to check for gluten if you are intolerant; and if I’m not cooking for my daughters I simmer them in beer) [2015 update: Gluten Free beer is on the rise, and delicious. Find one and simmer away!] ¬†Simmering them gently in beer adds flavor and keeps them moist. Once done, I set them aside while I waited for the bread to cool and prepped my onions and peppers for the grill. When all was ready, I headed outside to grill up some tasty vittles.

I use a basket for my veggies, lightly salt (no pepper until they are off the heat, the pepper can burn and taste bitter) and a bit of olive oil to prevent sticking. The sausages get a brief visit to a blazing hot grill to get a little char and heat back up again. Watch them, and when you see the juices bubbling inside the skins, they are done! Don’t wait for them to split and start squirting like an open fire hydrant, that will only result in dry as bone sausages. I also gently split the buns and grilled cut side down for a moment to get a slight grill flavor to them. Yum. Aren’t they Bee-U-Ti-ful??

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Voila! Dinner was served!

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As a fresh and light side dish to the heavier brats, I included an heirloom tomato salad, but with a twist. Instead of your typical Caprese (olive oil, balsamic, garlic, basil, mozzarella) try this some time: EVOO (the highest quality you can find), raspberry vinegar, mint, basil and feta. The feta and raspberry are shockingly good together, and that hit of mint really takes it to another level.

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There you go, 2 recipes for the price of one read! Bon Appetite!