Thanks to all my special dietary needs, I’m the one who gets to put in the order for my office’s weekly lunch, except for when I’m out sick. Recently, one of my co-workers took on said duty when I was out, and she ordered Greek! OMG, I love Greek food. Mmm. And this place is not only right across the street from our office, but it is GOOD.
My coworker ordered greek salad, chicken kabobs, gyros, hummus– allll the good stuff. Even spanakopita (pronounced span-ah-COP-it-ah, not SPANK-a-PITA), which is phyllo (pastry) dough stuffed with spinach and cheese. I kept away from those because of the phyllo dough and the gyros, because I couldn’t tell if there was filler used in the beef, but that still left me the chicken, which was in whole chunks, and the salad and the AMAZING sauces. OMG, you guys. George’s Greek Grill in LA makes terrific tzatziki!
Do you have any idea how heavenly baklava smells when you are no longer able to eat it? All that gooey, stick-to-your-fingers honey? All those yummy, crunchy pistachios held together with more honey? Wrapped in delicate, crispy, golden phyllo dough…
Most days if I know there will be goodies I cannot partake in, I bring along a little something for myself, so that I’m not sitting there with sad puppy dog eyes, but this time, I didn’t know it was coming. So after lunch, I ran to the internets for a gluten-free baklava recipe. Hmm. Phyllo dough looks like a pain in the tuckus to make regularly, and if it’s a gluten free recipe, it looks even worse.
*Typity-type, googly-google* … Interesting!
There are these ready-made rice papers from Vietnamese cuisine which look like they would make a decent substitute. You just buy a packet at your local grocery on online. Done! Hmm… Ingredients for the rest of baklava … Crushed pistachios … need to grind those myself? … Honey … is a beeotch to measure because it’s so sticky… Rose water?! Are you kidding me? This sounds like work! You know what else I miss that I’ll bet I can use these stupid rice papers for?!
*Googly-google a recipe or three* Hmm… This one has a yummy looking filling, but it’s fried, so that’s out. (I’m not good at frying things.) This one uses rice paper, but it’s fried. (I’m noticing a theme here…) AHA! This one is baked, but I’m supposed to make my own wrappers. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
In the end I took a couple of different recipes, including one that a friend gave me back in the WV days, smooshed them together, and hoped for the best– or at least something that wouldn’t cause food poisoning.
And that’s how Honey and I ended up stuffing our faces on (safe to eat) Crab Rangoon. It worked out pretty good, for something with no previous testing. It’s not the same as what you’ll get from the Chinese restaurant, because rice cannot replace wheat, but it has it’s own chewy/crispy goodness. Plus I have a couple of ideas for improvement for the future, like spraying the the tops and maybe the inside of the wrappers with a bit of cooking oil to increase crispiness. I’ll let you know how that works out.
Anyway, I’m not a professional food blogger, so I don’t feel any obligation to provide a fully-tested, ready-to-go recipe. In fact! If you want to try this one and let me know your improvements, I’m all ears… and maybe a couple of thumbs… I do try to keep things simple so I don’t give up– washing all those dishes just pisses me off if I didn’t even get something edible out of them. But yeah! Let me know what you think.
Notes on the keeping it gluten free:
1. Don’t use fake crab. That stuff is loaded with gluten. Sorry, but you’re gonna want to use the real stuff. It’ll cost more, but it tastes better.
2. Duck Sauce is everywhere on the East side of the country, but it’s barely even available in SoCal. Best place to find it is online. AND Amazon even carries a gluten free version.
3. You will need to check the teriyaki and orange glaze sauces for gluten also; soy sauce is in everything in Asian cuisine, and it is usually made with wheat. Or grab gluten free versions on Amazon: Teriyaki… Orange Sauce.
Image source: https://orianesrecipebox.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/baklava1.jpg