We are getting near the end of outdoor grilling season here. Of course you can grill outdoors all year round, if you don’t mind the weather. But those lazy summer days of sitting outside eating grilled foods, is past for this year, here in Vermont. To celebrate ushering in Autumn, my most favorite season, I will share with you this recipe for a Tuscan inspired grilled meal.

I also wanted to share with you, my loyal and faithful readers that for the next month, at least, I will be blogging Gluten Free. As many of my loyal readers already know, I started watching my gluten intake over a year ago, but to be honest, I only did it about 80% of the time. It has helped, a lot, however, there are a few more minor issues I want to see if being 100% gluten free resolves. So now it is time to get down to serious business and see what  life is like at 100% GF.

If I was so close why did it take me this long to go all the way? I asked myself this question a lot, and the truth was because I have been afraid. Afraid that it would be hard to lead a normal life, go out to eat with friends, or be THAT PERSON who can’t just go with the flow, mucking up the works. But then I realized, nothing about me is NORMAL! :)

Even though I have plenty of blogging friends, with GF blogs to get inspiration from, I just wasn’t ready. But I am now. I know I am ready, because instead of being afraid, I am excited!I am excited about this change because it means many new kitchen experiments with breads, pizza and baked goods. I am also excited because I will be able to share how easy, economical and delicious gluten free eating can be. I also am excited to show my readers, that eating a gluten free diet does not mean going to the grocery store and buying all new pre-made items that are part of a “gluten free” line. Instead one can just eat foods that are naturally gluten free, and there are many.

This meal is a perfect example – and I promise you will not miss gluten for one minute! We accompanied it with a garden fresh caprese salad, using the best quality fresh mozzarella we could find and a delicious glass of full bodied red wine.

*note – this is a great meal to serve to a crowd. We were expecting company for dinner, but they couldn’t make it at the last minute. So this is for 6-8 people.


Sausages in Wine

INGREDIENTS:

6 links of Italian sausage
½ cup of good quality red wine
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 TBS oilve oil
salt and pepper
1 TBS each of fresh sage and rosemary

METHOD:

Place sausages in a glass pan, or bowl. In a small bowl whisk together other ingredients. Pour over top of sausages and place in the fridge for about 2 hours, turning sausages after one hour.

***************************************

Tuscan Inspired Grilled Polenta

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups water
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups polenta
2 TBS butter
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 TBS fresh sage, minced
1 TBS fresh rosemary, minced
olive oil

METHOD:

In a large pan bring water and salt to a boil. Gradually stir in polenta. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently to prevent sticking for about 30 minutes, or until mixture is thick. Stir in butter, cheese and fresh herbs.

Oil a medium sized square pan. Spoon polenta in and smooth the top. Place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour for polenta to harden. Then cut into large triangles and brush with olive oil.

*********************************

Mushroom Ragu:

INGREDIENTS:

½ cup dried mushrooms, like morel, porcini, etc.
2 TBS olive oil,
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup red wine
½ cup dried mushroom water
16 oz. crushed tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried oregano

METHOD:

Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with warm water. Set aside for about 15-20 minutes.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat, and sautee onions until they become translucent. Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic. Stir and sautee for 2-3 minutes. Then add the wine and mushroom water, reserving the mushrooms. Rough chop the mushrooms and add to the pan. Then add the tomato paste. Stir until incorporated. Add the crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and dried herbs. Lower temperature to lowest setting and simmer for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile grill the sausages and polenta.

To serve, arrange the sausages and polenta on a platter and top polenta with the mushroom ragu.