Huancaina Sauce, A Peruvian Classic, Now Gluten-Free

Papas a la Huancaina

I remember the moment very clearly. Standing in the kitchen with my husband, contemplating what this new gluten-free lifestyle would mean, when he looked at me and said,

This means you can’t have Huancaina Sauce anymore.

I broke into tears. Not pretty, one tear running down your cheek kind off tears. Ugly, heaving, my life is ending tears. Of course, I knew my life was not ending, but learning that I cannot eat the foods I love made it feel as though.

After meeting my husband I developed a love for Peruvian food.

I love it all, but one of my favorites is Papas a la Huancaina, Potatoes in Huancaina Sauce. It is a spicy, creamy, cheesy deliciousness. Rather than wallow in my tears, we set out to develop a gluten-free version that would allow me to continue to enjoy this Peruvian classic. What we came up with is just as good as the real thing, so good in fact, that rather than making two versions of sauce for family gatherings, our family now only makes the gluten-free version. No one can even tell the difference!

The recipe is fairly simple.

The major difference is the type of crackers that are used to thicken the sauce. Below the each ingredient there are some notes, just in case you are not familiar. All of these ingredients are readily available in the South Florida area, but if you are creating this masterpiece and cannot find an ingredient, they are available on Amazon as well. Just click on the link!

Here we go:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 block (3 and 1/2- 4 ounces) Queso Blanco

We like Vendito brand, but any one will work, just be sure it is not “para freir” or “for frying”.

  • 1/3 cup ground Saltine Style Crackers

We use Schar brand, they have amazing, consistent results. One sleeve is the amount you will need. In South Florida you can find them at Whole Foods or Milam’s Market. When all else fails, Amazon is your friend! We make this so often we order them by the case. If you are not gluten-free you can use regular saltine crackers. I would recommend the ones without the salt on top.

  • 1 Tablespoon Chopped Onion
  • 1-3 Teaspoons Aji Amarillo Paste

Aji Amarillo Paste can vary greatly in concentration. Start with a small amount, you can always add more to increase the spice level. Currently I am using a jar of Inca Food’s Aji Amarillo Paste and 3 teaspoons was just the right amount for a little bit of heat without it being overwhelming. If I was making this just for my husband I would probably add more. I have used other brands that use a smaller amount for the same amount of heat and our family sometimes makes it as well.

  • 1 Teaspoon Chopped Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

Add the salt last, some cheeses may vary in the amount of saltiness. I always add it, but if you are using a different brand of cheese, you may not need it.

  • 1 Cup Milk

I would not recommend using skim milk in this recipe. Your sauce will be runny. Whole milk would be best, but at least use 2%.

 

Directions

  1. Grind the crackers.
  2. Break apart cheese.
  3. Place all ingredients into a blender (I use a Nutribullet)
  4. Saute the Onion, Garlic and Aji Amarillo in a small pan, just until the onion is a bit soft.
  5. Blend until smooth. This may take a few minutes, you will be tempted to add more milk, but give it a few minutes. The cheese needs time to fully incorporate into the milk.
  6. Taste and adjust your seasonings, add more salt or more Aji Amarillo Paste if needed.

Serve over cold boiled potatoes with sliced hard boiled eggs and olives (or on whatever you wish, I also love it over rice).

Enjoy!

Papas a la Huancaina, Gluten-Free
Papas a la Huancaina, Gluten-Free
Amanda Kanashiro
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    For the Huancaina Sauce
  • 1/2 package Queso Blanco (3.5-4 ounces)
  • 1/3 cup ground Scharr cracker crumbs or other saltine type gluten free cracker
  • 1 Tbs chopped onion
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-3 tsp aji amarillo paste
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • For Serving
  • 4 baking potatoes, boiled, peeled and sliced
  • 2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • black olives

  1. Grind the crackers.
  2. Break apart cheese.
  3. Place all ingredients into a blender (I use a Nutribullet).
  4. Saute the Onion, Garlic and Aji Amarillo in a small pan, just until the onion is a bit soft.
  5. Blend until smooth. This may take a few minutes, you will be tempted to add more milk, but give it a few minutes. The cheese needs time to fully incorporate into the milk.
  6. Taste and adjust your seasonings, add more salt or more aji amarillo paste if needed.
  7. Serve over sliced, cold boiled potatoes with sliced hard boiled eggs and olives (or on whatever you wish, I also love it over rice).

Consider adding the salt last. Different cheeses have varying saltiness, so taste before adding. Aji Amarillo paste can vary in intensity. More can be added to achieve desired level of spiciness.

; Yield: 4 Servings
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This post is linked to Gluten Free Fridays! Be sure to check it out for more great gluten-free recipes from bloggers around the globe!

Gluten-free at the Dreaded Dentist

Gluten-Free

 

I’m petrified of the dentist. I haven’t been in years and if I wasn’t already scarred enough, the recent news stories about crazy dentists pulling out people’s teeth without their knowledge have not helped. Almost anything is better than the dentist, or at least so I thought.

Last week I finally sucked it up and went.

I did not want to, but I knew I had a cavity and let the responsible adult inside me make an appointment. I got a sitter and dragged myself there. After a battle to find parking I nearly gave up and left, but I’m glad I didn’t. It was the best dental experience I have ever had. Not only was my hygienist fantastic, the dentist nice and office staff helpful, but my gums were actually in good shape. It was the first time ever. In my past experience, no matter what I did, there were always problems. At first I could not figure out what was different, I was pretty sure not going to the dentist for 5 years or so doesn’t improve your teeth and gums, but then it hit me. I had gone gluten-free.

Could it be possible? Had going gluten-free really contributed to healthier gums and teeth?

I mentioned it to my hygienist and she said it was highly possible and it made sense, but she wasn’t sure. I decided to hit the trusty ole’ internet to see if their had been any studies done on Celiac and dental health. Low and behold there had been. There was even evidence of dentists being the first to see signs of Celiac disease and referring patients to Gastroenterologist. It makes sense. If your body does not absorb nutrients properly than your teeth are not getting the nutrients they need either.

According to the Celiac Disease Awareness Campaign of the National Institutes of Health the first step for many who discover they have Celiac is a trip to the Dentist. Some problems that can be seen involve tooth discoloration and poor enamel formation.

It is amazing how connected the human body is. Celiac disease can manifest itself in different… Click To Tweet

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Back to School in Gluten-Free Style Part 2: Snacks and School Parties

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Lunches are easy…

When it comes to lunches, it is easy to pack a lunch and know that your child is safe from any sources of cross-contamination of gluten or other food allergy, unfortunately it is much harder within the classroom situation. Often teachers hand out snacks or candies as rewards, as well as the common instance of classroom parties. No parent wants their child to feel left out, but gluten is very common in many snacks and party foods. While most teachers are awesome and more than willing to read ingredients before giving your child a snack, there is still a risk, especially if you child has Celiac disease or an allergy to gluten or wheat.

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Back to School In Gluten Free Style Part 1: Lunch

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Making lunches can be stressful enough, making lunches for a child with food allergies even more so. When it comes to lunch, most children have two options:

Buy lunch from school

Bring lunch from home

Making school lunches is stressful, and even more so if your child has food allergies! Click To Tweet

Lunch From School

For a child with food allergies the safest option is always going to bring lunch from home, but sometimes it isn’t always possible. Miami-Dade Public Schools has a new function in which you can look up the ingredients of a specific school lunch. While it can be time-consuming, it can also be helpful in determining if lunch that day is acceptable for your child.

For Miami-Dade County the website is HERE. There is also an app available for download on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Other cities should have similar functions on their school websites.

Children who have diagnosed Celiac Disease should also file a 504 plan with their school. More information on what this is and how to file one visit the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Unfortunately, upon review of the daily lunches, unless you have prearranged something with your child’s school, a gluten-free lunch is a rarity.

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Back to School in Gluten-Free Style

Back to School

Back to school is stressful enough, but if your child suffers from a food allergy or intolerance, such as gluten, than it can be even more so.

Parents worry about creating gluten-free lunches, preparing snacks, and how to make their child feel included in school parties and the endless stream of birthday parties. What is a parent to do? In this three part series we will give you practical advice on how to handle:

School Lunches

Snacks & School Parties

Birthday Parties

Join us  of next week as we discuss each topic, give practical advice on how to handle these situations, and prepare your for this Back to School season. There will be a separate post on each topic, complete with downloadable printables! Don’t miss a single part!

Start From Scratch- Bakery Review

New in Town

There is a new bakery in town AND it is gluten-free and vegan. Start From Scratch has not even been opened a week and I have now been there twice, it is that good! Located in Pinecrest, just south of Trader Joe’s, they have a variety of baked good and a fabulous lunch menu, all from a certified gluten AND dairy free kitchen. It is rare to find such a place in Miami, and to find one this delicious is a real treat. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, owners and staff are knowledgeable, and it is the ONLY completely gluten-free bakery in South Florida. Delicious, vegan, organic and gluten-free, this place is sure to become a hit. Start From Scratch Bakery gets a green light when it comes to being Celiac and Gluten-Sensitive friendly!

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My husband and I tried the

Pita Stuffed With Spinach, Tomatoes, Homemade Baked Falafel & House-Made Chipotle Mayo With A Side of Potato Fusion and Nachos Organic Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, Black Beans, House-Made Pico de Gallo, House-Made Chipotle Mayo & House-Made Sour Cream for lunch.

They were great. Pita bread was nice and soft, the nachos were full of flavor. I am not sure what is in vegan sour cream, but it was really good.

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Gluten-Free Tips for Dining Out

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My husband and I were lucky enough to have a babysitter the other day. We were so excited to have some time to ourselves and decided to go out to our favorite Japanese/Thai restaurant Thai Moon. Thai food in general is great for people with Celiac Disease because it is naturally gluten-free. I had always loved this particular place because they had a gluten-free menu, unfortunately they had a change in management and no longer offered a separate Gluten-Free menu so there was I was back to having to ask about individual items and guessing.

Dining out can be stressful when you are gluten-free. Try out these tips to make the experience less stressful!

1) Look at the menu before you go!
2) Call ahead and ask questions.
3) Inform your server.
4) Watch out for common areas of cross contamination, such as the deep fryer.

Three Gluten-free Kitchen Essentials

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Setting up a gluten-free kitchen can be overwhelming. Reading labels, googling products, it is enough to make your head spin. In order to make things simple for our family I determined the 3 things that we used most often and replaced them in EVERYONE’S kitchen, this has made things much easier when eating at family members houses. Plus, some of these taste better and are better for you regardless if you are gluten-free or not!

1) Tamari- soy sauce is a common place ingredient in most kitchens. Tamari is soy sauce that is just made from fermented soy beans, where as regular soy sauce is a mixture of wheat and soy beans. Tamari is used just like regular soy sauce, and personally I think it tastes better. Plus, it is easy to find organic and non-gmo and the price difference is minimal.

soysauce

2) Better Than Bouillon- Hispanics love their “cubitos” (little chicken bouillon cubes), and my family is no different. Unfortunately, they all have gluten. Often we do not think of chicken broth as possessing gluten, but it often does and is a common source for contamination, especially in restaurants. In order to make things easier at home I buy a little jar of organic Better Than Bouillon. It keeps forever in the refrigerator and is just as easy to use as the “cubitos”. *see note

chickenbase

3) GF Jules Flour-There are many one-one gluten-free flours on the market. This one is my favorite! I will be posting a review of just this flour soon. It makes life so much easier to have a flour you can use just like regular white flour. There are many different ways you can make your own flour blends, but I do not have time for that. This flour has been consistently awesome in everything from thickening sauces to baked goods. If you decide to use a different one, just be sure it already has the xanthan gum already added. It is needed for baked goods, and while you can add your own, I personally prefer to make things easier on myself and have it already added.

You can get a sample of GF Jules Flour here:

gf jules

***This is not a certified gluten-free product, but there are no gluten containing ingredients and research on the company has shown that there is not any cross contamination issues, if you are unsure you can always buy a few boxes of chicken broth to keep on hand, but be sure to read the label, as these to often contain wheat. Trader Joe’s Organic Chicken Broth boxes are gluten-free and fairly inexpensive, as are the Organic Chicken Broth boxes from Aldi’s.

Aldi’s Live G-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I walked in to Aldi’s in Pembroke Pines and was in Gluten Free heaven. There was pasta, cake mixes, pizza, and chicken nuggets….there was cookies, chips, granola bars, and hot pockets. It was pre-made gluten-free ecstasy. I couldn’t leave without picking up something to try, so I settled on a package of Live G-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies. We are chocolate chip cookie lovers at our house and have probably sampled just about every variety of Gluten Free chocolate chip cookies we have found. Generally Gluten Free cookies run about 5.00 a package or more and these were only 2.99, so even if they weren’t great, I figured I was not out a lot of cash. I have to say I was pleasantly  surprised.

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Udi’s Gluten Free Lasagna with Meat Sauce

Who doesn’t love a good lasagna? I have an amazing gluten-free lasagna recipe of my own (stay tuned, it will be up soon!), but when I saw this in the freezer section today at Target I just knew I had to try it. I love lasagna and I love an easy dinner, at 10.00 I felt that is was worth a try.

The directions on the package are easy to follow, you can microwave it or put it in the oven. I chose to put it in the oven. It takes almost an hour and fifteen minutes to cook, so be sure you have the time. On the plus side, you do not have to defrost it first. At first glance it looks just like a normal frozen lasagna. It is a bit small, serving size suggests for 3.5 servings.

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It smelled amazing while cooking, and I couldn’t wait for the timer to go off. The instructions say to let it sit for five minutes, I would suggest at least fifteen. As I took it out of the oven it looked great, but was still a bit watery. It definitely needed to sit for a bit before cutting.

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