whee!

Looking for Gluten Free Desserts – Katz to the Rescue

January 3, 2010 - Written by Diana

There was an amazing coincidence this past holiday visit to the family homestead in NJ.  One day before leaving I received a box of Katz gluten free-dairy free-nut free goodies to try out. That same day on a family forum, a discussion formed around my nephew’s girlfriend who as it happens has Celiac disease.  My mom was providing alternatives for her for the dinner, hoping it would work out.  I threw all of the desserts in a sack and took it with us.  I figured I could judge the taste just fine, but this was  an opportunity to share it and maybe make a holiday meal a little more fun.  My mom was making jello for her dessert, but I decided to wait and surprise the girlfriend and see what her opinion was.  Well, she was not only surprised but thrilled at eating some treats that she hasn’t enjoyed in years.

I want to say, for my part of the tasting that everything tasted exactly the way it would if you weren’t gluten free.  That was amazing to me.  Most of my experience with gluten free is that the foods come out doughy, or a little different tasting, though it’s still acceptable and even delicious.

 image The chocolate chip cookies were crisp and great for dunking. Best gluten free chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever tasted. 

image The challah rolls we had with dinner were a perfect accompaniment to the ham she had (and went well with turducken also).

 image Rugelach tasted like cinnamon rolls but maybe a little flakier or crisper (exactly like rugelach is supposed to )  .

image We didn’t share the chocolate rugelach because we wanted a taste of something before we brought it along.  It was so delicious.

image The piece de resistance was the marble cake.  The marble cake is moist and divinely good.  That’s the one I had trouble parting with the most. 

I gave the leftovers to the girlfriend, though any of us could have and would have eaten it.  I know how dear gluten free products are in cost and availability.  I received a thank you note from my nephew letting us know how touched his girlfriend was that we brought desserts she could enjoy.  Like I said it was an amazing coincidence that I was thrilled worked out for everyone. 

My grade on all of the Katz Desserts products is A +.

 

My question to all of you who can’t allow gluten in their diet, how do you handle gatherings?  Do you bring your own?  Is it bought or homemade?

 

Disclosure: I was sent the Katz gluten free/dairy free/nut free products to review.  My review is unbiased and honest.  I regret not having more marble cake.

Gingered Carrots & Kohlrabi

November 15, 2009 - Written by Diana

Kohlrabi from Wikipedia Kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi, kohlrabi.  There’s a joke that goes – If you say the name of something 7 times it’s yours for life, and then some girl says – John, john, etc.  It doesn’t matter how many times I say kohlrabi, my mental picture doesn’t match up with that name and I go blank trying to remember. Kohlrabi is a nice crunchy vegetable, similar to a turnip, but tastes more like a cross between cabbage and turnips to me with a little bit of sweetness. My sister in law adds it to salads, or just peels and slices it up for people to chew raw.  My dish was baked, bringing out another level of flavor.

I peeled off the leaves, scraped off the skin and julienned the kohlrabi along with some carrots. I used my frozen ginger in this dish, which smells so wonderful when grating. I did all the mixing right in the baking dish, so it’s truly a one pot dish. Even though this would have served more , with my husband repeatedly dipping into the dish,  it only served 3.  It was delicious, did I say that yet?

Gingered Carrots & Kohlrabi Ingredients:

Directions:

Throw all of the ingredients together in the baking dish – up to the olive oil, mix around a little. Drizzle white wine over top, sprinkle on herbs and spices,  cover with foil, bake at 375 until veggies are firm soft.

 

 

What was the name of that vegetable?  Carrot.  No the other one.  Ummm, (look at title) Kohlrabi.  Yes, that’s it.

Slightly Spicy Sweet Corn Cakes

September 13, 2009 - Written by Diana

Fresh sweet corn is one of my favorite things to eat in the summer. Hot on the cob with salt and butter is a really delicious treat.  Not everyone enjoys picking the corn out of their teeth though.  One way to handle this would be to cook your corn and then slice it off the cob, or slice it off the cob, then cook it.  I wanted to do something fun with it, so I made corncakes.  Bob’s Red Mill has a gluten free corn meal that they sent for me to try out.  I wanted the whole recipe to be gluten free, though you can use wheat flour as a substitute for the rice flour that I used.

This wasn’t my son’s favorite recipe, since he doesn’t like anything that has a bite to it.  My husband, my daughter and I all loved them.  I am trying to decide if I want to come up with a sauce for it or just keep eating it the way it is.  My husband liked it with butter on top, and also with salsa on top.  My daughter reheated the leftovers and ate them with her fingers and no utensils.  I’m not sure what that means, except maybe that she liked it.  I added some lemon grass to brighten the little cakes up, plus some sage because my daughter picked and dried some earlier this summer and it was just waiting to be used.

Slightly Spicy Sweet Corn Cakes Ingredients:

Directions:

Pour oil on the bottom of the pan and heat up.

Bowl number 1 – Microwave corn 2 minutes, strip kernels from ear into bowl.  Mince small hot pepper, add to bowl along with minced onion.  Chop up lemon grass stalk and add into bowl.  Stir in crumbled chevre.

Bowl number 2 – Dry ingredients – Mix corn meal, flour, baking powder, salt and dried sage

Bowl number 3 – Stir together the melted butter, eggs, and milk.

Mix together bowl 2 and 3 until just combined.  Stir in the corn mixture that’s in bowl number 1.

Drop by big spoonful into heated pan.  When browned on one side, flip over to cook on the other side. 

Yams & Chard

May 10, 2009 - Written by Diana

I had Yams I wanted to use before they went bad, and Chard out in the garden starting to take over and go to seed.  So I put together a dish using both.  My lovely daughter took one look and said – “What are we frikken vegans?  Where’s the meat?”  Sorry guys, this is a meatless meal, but it turned out very delicious.  I like maple syrup, but didn’t want it overly sweet, so I used Maple Syrup wine instead.  My daughter even admitted it was good, and didn’t bother getting herself a meat sandwich. Lots of great vitamins and nutrition in this meal.

Yams & Chard Ingredients:

Directions:

Rinse and tear up chard.  Combine chard and yams in steamer and steam for about 10 minutes.  Heat up oil in large pan.  Saute shallots and garlic until soft. Dump in yams and chard plus seasonings. Heat up a little and serve.  It was pretty darn good.

Kettle Cuisine Soups – A Gluten Free Start For Your Lunch

January 26, 2009 - Written by Diana

Kettle Cuisine Gluten Free Soup I had the opportunity to bring Kettle Cuisine Soups to my work for lunch recently, and they are very tasty soups.  The 10 oz. microwaveable bowl is the perfect size portion for your meal, although I usually brought along some fruit or vegetable sticks to have along with it. Kettle Cuisine’s gluten free soups were inspired by founder Jerry Shafir’s experience with his daughter’s need for a gluten free diet. A gluten free diet is required by those diagnosed with Celiac Disease and other conditions where foods containing gluten are not tolerated. Not all their soups are gluten free, but they now have nine soups that are gluten free. 

They are:

and now also:

My husband and I both brought the soups to our works to try out.  I wanted to see how well they traveled and heated up in my work microwave, you know, the ones that are really low powered. I am here to tell you that they were the perfect start to our lunches.  We liked their flavors and how quickly they heated up even in substandard microwaves like they have at my work.

My favorite was a surprise. I loved the Organic Carrot Soup with Coriander.  While I don’t love carrot juice – I don’t know why, I just don’t – this was more of a puree and the slight spiciness of the coriander set it off just right.  I also tried the Chicken soup with Rice Noodles – and although I did enjoy it, the chicken pieces were a little chewy, but still good and the veggies, were delicious.  I’m not a Clam Chowder fanatic, but I loved their New England Clam Chowder, with nice potato hunks and small clams here and there.  It was really creamy.

My husband had the Angus Beef Steal Chili with Beans.  He said it had a slightly spicy taste to it, but not a kick, which he was expecting.  However, he thought the slightly spicy taste was perfect for him. He also loved the Tomato Soup with Garden Vegetables – he said it was a Vegetable soup that leaned toward the tomato side, but was very good. 

So there you have it, we recommend it highly.

The only negative is that I can’t find it at my neighborhood store, but if I’m willing to travel I can get it from Whole Foods. Also, it can be ordered online through the Gluten Free Mall and delivered to your home.

Kettle Cuisine has other soups as well.  Besides gluten free, there’s dairy free, vegetarian, low fat, and organic that are all labeled so you don’t need to search to find what you want. 

Gluten Free Food Suggestions

January 11, 2009 - Written by Diana

For Christmas, I gave my mother in law  1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes , and she gave me a gluten free brownie mix. To me, the hardest part to remember is that the texture is a little different in gluten free things, but it’s not bad, just different from what I am used to.  So, when I get past the texture and go for the taste, I can be a better judge of gluten free baked goods.  Other things are gluten free naturally – like peanut butter, so you can use them the same in any recipe.  Then there are items we substitute for something else in our recipes, these things will help out the gluten free way of living without having to discard those meals you love.   Here are some gluten free suggestions for this week.

Nana’s gluten free cookies (also vegan) – These cookies are more cakelike than other cookies, but have a decent taste.  My husband and kids tasted and thought they were delicious also.  Nana’s Cookie Company prides itself on Nana’s No’s – a list of ingredients that will never be found in Nana’s baked goods: No Dairy, No Refined Sugars, No Eggs, No Cholesterol, No Trans Fats, No Hydrogenated Oils, No Preservatives, and No GMO’s. Nana’s Cookies are vegan and kosher.

Nana’s Cookie Company has the following products:

All of Nana’s Cookies are now available on the snack shelves of Whole Foods Market nationally, as well as regional outlets such as Hannaford, Hy-Vee, and Earth Fare, supermarkets, mainstream grocery, specialty, and natural food stores worldwide. Learn more about Nana’s Cookies and Nana’s Cookie Company by visiting www.nanascookiecompany.com

Thai Kitchen Noodles – Instead of looking for noodles around the other pastas, search in the asian food section.  Rice noodles are gluten free and can be substituted for other types of flat noodles easily in your recipes.  I made turkey and noodles using my Thai kitchen rice noodles the other day and it was delicious.  Be careful when using stock or broth to make sure it is gluten free, some use wheat thickeners.  I made up a stock from the turkey carcass my sister in law cooked for Thanksgiving.  I put turkey and the stock into individual containers  and froze them.  When I want a quick turkey and noodle dinner, I heat up the stock and turkey, add the noodles and then some frozen veggies and voila – dinner is ready.  Thai kitchen can be found in the supermarket in the asian food section or online at amazon Thai kitchen noodles.

1-09 (2) Pamela’s Chocolate Brownie Mix – This is the brownie mix my mother in law gave me for Christmas to try out.  I made it for us to snack on and we enjoyed it a lot.  It has a nice chocolatey flavor and uses the same baking process as other brownie mixes. Pamela’s Products are available in natural food such as Whole Foods, Sprouts, Wegman’s, and more as well as many grocery stores such as Safeway, Fred Meyer, Kroger, Winn Dixie and Publix, throughout the United States, Canada and other countries. They can also be found online at amazon.com. Pamela’s Chocolate Brownie Mix 

 The Green Daily – had a slide show with some really great gluten free recipe suggestions today that they got from Gluten Free Girl.  Gluten Free Girl is Shauna James Ahern and the author of Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back…And How You Can Too.   Her blog is really filled with recipes with gorgeous pictures.  If you need to go gluten free, then this is the place for you.

Smashed Cauliflower Potatoes

December 1, 2008 - Written by Diana

temp 026 I love this delicious great tasting dish. It doesn’t take a long time to make, and the garlic, potatoes and cauliflower all blend together quite well.  I used Grana Padano Cheese, a cheese that is similar to Parmesan Reggiano.  It’s a hard cheese that adds a really nice flavor to this dish.  PR – may be substituted. 

 

Ingredients:

6-8 small red potatoes

1/2 head of cauliflower

3 -4 cloves of garlic

Olive Oil

Salt& Pepper

Herbs du Provence

Grana Padano Cheese

 

Directions:

Quarter potatoes and cut cauliflower florets into similar size pieces.  Boil water in a large pot, add potatoes and cauliflower. When fork tender, drain off as much water as possible.  In a high sided skillet, saute garlic in about 4 tbs of Olive Oil on a low heat until cooked really well in order to infuse the oil with a garlic taste.  Take garlic out and throw  into compost.  After Potatoes and Cauliflower has drained, put back into pot and smash with potato masher, or with potato ricer and mix together.  Add 2 new cloves of garlic – smashed and chopped into potatoes and cauliflower, add salt , pepper, seasonings and mix together.  Put mixture and heated garlic oil.  Grate cheese and stir into mixture.  Place into greased baking dish and into the oven at 400  until cheese is melted. 

Cinnamon Apples

November 22, 2008 - Written by Diana

Last weekend, College Girl and her friends stopped by for breakfast.  It was really a fun, loud, easy going, young person’s time at our home.  My husband, son and I enjoyed having everyone there and I made a bunch of different things to fill them up.  I also like to have a variety because not everyone enjoys the same things.  My husband and son helped out with all of the preparations, so it went pretty smoothly.  Most of what I made I stuck in the oven, even the bacon (although I did burn a batch and had to start over).  One of my favorite great food dishes to make is cinnamon apples, and it’s simple too. This would make a great Thanksgiving side dish or dessert.

 

It’s like apple pie without the crust.  The insides are my favorite part, so this is my way of eating the insides without the crust. I have also done this in a crockpot and thrown in fresh cranberries and raisins and even toasted pecans.  You can top with ice cream, that will melt on the hot apples.  I don’t have a picture, because it’s all gone.  I didn’t do the crazy lady taking pictures of the food routine for the kids, sorry.

We picked enough apples this month to can.  Instead of apple sauce, we do apple slices – which is kind of this recipe on a humongous scale.  Then we jar them up and use them with our dinners.  I had some to put out at Easter one year and my brother in law thought it was the best thing at the table.  That was a real compliment and such an easy side dish since I just opened the jar and poured it into a dish and baked.  The apples will brown, but since they’re covered in apple cider and cinnamon I didn’t worry about it.  If you want your apples to look less brown, you can put them into a bowl with some lemon juice before you put them into the baking dish. 

 

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Resources

August 24, 2008 - Written by Diana

Bob’s Red Mill is great for gluten free grains, and mixes for baking.  How do you find it?  Online is one way to find Gluten Free Resources.  Go straight to the company website – Bob’s Red Mill .  Another way is to figure out what stores carry gluten free products and figure out where they’re stashed.  Usually the customer service can look it up for you, or even the store’s website can tell you what products they have and where they are kept.  Kroger’s keeps their gluten free products in the Nature’s Market area, close to the organic foods section.  I searched for gluten free mixes the other day and found them right where the website said they would be.  I couldn’t find gluten free at Walmart or on their website.  It’s probably there somewhere, but just wasn’t an easy find – and I didn’t try customer service because I was in a rush.

Another resource is the Gluten Free Mall.  It’s an online order place, and even has gluten free pastas. Glutenfreeda.com has a whole website devoted to gluten free living, including great recipes.  Glutenfreeda has a weekly newsletter and cooking lessons.  It has a small section devoted to celiac news and even product reviews.  They will soon have frozen gluten free cookie dough coming to stores.  Celiac.com also has a good website for online ordering of gluten free foods.

Right now is probably an easier time to go gluten free since you can use fresh vegetables and meat without opening a jar or can.  In the winter it’s more difficult and you have to rely on reading those labels.  Good luck in your gluten free quest.

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Dei Fratelli – Buying Local

August 22, 2008 - Written by Diana

sauce There are many ways of buying local.  Fruits and vegetables from the Saturday street farm market is one way.  Buying products made at local companies is another.  When Dei Fratelli Pasta Sauce and Salsas were offered up for review, I was thrilled to find out that they were a local company.  Well, semi local, it’s in Ohio. Hirzel Canning grows its own tomatoes in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.  Also they supply the 30 family run farms that they’ve  contracted to grow tomatoes for them with seedlings, and are certified GMO free. 

Dei Fratelli pasta sauces were delicious. We eat pasta sauces and salsas all year long, some I make, some I buy.  It’s nice to know this sauce isn’t flying in from another continent when the main ingredients can be easily grown in the area.  It’s the tree hugger in me that is concerned with those things.  The only issue is that distribution currently is limited to primarily the Midwest, Central and Southeastern states.

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