Sunday, August 14, 2011

Gluten in Ice Cream???

Summer and ice cream just go together.  This summer I've been addicted to indulging in ice cream almost every night.  Being celiac and gluten free I always stay away from those flavors that obviously have gluten, i.e. cookie dough, brownie sundae, cake batter and such.  Recently I have learned that many chocolate flavors as well as those with chocolate chips, contain gluten.  As a matter of fact, my local ice cream parlor cannot guarantee there is no gluten in all but 5 flavors.  BIG BUMMER!!  So here is a heads up to all gluten sensitive and celiac's . . . ask if the ice cream is gluten free and if they don't know, the safest bet would be to order vanilla.  I have found that adding nuts or coconut or m & m's will help satisfy that chocolate craving.  Goldbaum's also makes the best gluten free ice cream cones, they have a cocoa cone that just has a hint of chocolate that is great.  You can bring your own cone for your favorite ice cream parlor to fill.  Hopefully this addiction will end before my scale reflects the indulgences.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Irish Soda Bread

What is St. Patrick's Day without Irish Soda Bread.  I'm not really Irish but married into an Irish family.  My mother-in-law used to make the best Irish Soda Bread.  (Actually, it's the only one I've ever had, but I loved it from the first bite, some 35 years ago.) I've been making her recipe every year since for St. Patrick's Day.  For the past few years I have not been able to eat it.  Recently, I decided to try to make a gluten free version.  It turned out surprisingly good but I knew there were a few things I needed to tweak.  Tonight I made the new and improved, gluten free Irish Soda Bread and I have to say, it passed my taste test and that of my husband.  Try for yourself.

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups gluten free flour *
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 cup sugar - can make it slightly heaping for a little sweeter taste
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder

Mix dry ingredients and then add:
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 cups milk mixed with 2 Tabls. vinegar)
2 Tabls. melted butter

Stir well - may be thick, you can add a little bit more milk if needed
Mix in 1 cup raisins
2 tsp. caraway seeds (optional) - I don't like caraways seeds so I skip them

Put into greased loaf pan and pour 1 Tabls. melted butter on top, can sprinkle with 2 tsp. sugar, if desired

 Bake 375 degree pre-heated oven for 10 minutes then lower temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking an additional 50 minutes.  Toothpick inserted should come out clean.

*There are many flour and flour blends that are gluten free.  I prefer a mixture of tapioca flour, garbanzo flour, fava flour, sorghum flour.  Arrowhead Mills has a flour blend but there is rice flour in it that can make it somewhat gritty.  Bob's Red Mill also has a flour blend with garbanzo and fava flour.  I preferred to mix both Arrowhead Mills and Bob's and another called Bette's Gourmet Four Flour Blend.  By doing this I achieved the perfect consistency with no grittiness.



Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm working on a recipe for gluten free chocolate chip cookies.  Made a batch last night but didn't care for the way they came out.  Too gritty, even though I've used the flour combo in other items and it seemed to work.  Not so good with the cookies.  Back to the drawing board.  Will be trying again this weekend and hoping  for a better result.  Will post the recipe and photo when they have been perfected.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Joe's American Bar & Grill - gluten free

I love a great meal.  Before being diagnosed with celiac, our primary form of entertainment was trying a different restaurant every weekend.  Gluten free was something that most restaurants never heard of.  Actually, until I needed to know, it was something I had never heard of either.  Learning that gluten was in so many things like chicken broth, soy sauce, blue cheese, not to mention the obvious like flour, bread crumbs, and pasta and so much more, really put a damper on our dining out.  When I thought of all the things that I could not eat and then about the potential for cross contamination, I felt like my restaurant hopping days were gone. 

Over the past year, I've been finding that many restaurants, and grocery stores for that matter, are becoming more aware of gluten sensitivity.  It may have something to do with the fact that more people are being diagnosed with some form of gluten intolerance or perhaps part of the latest fad diet.  Whatever the reason, all of us living with celiac disease are happy to see there are now more gluten free choices available.  The next few blogs will be focused on my review of gluten free dining in some local establishments.  Please add your own comments to share.

Today's review:  Joe's American Bar & Grill

A few weeks ago, I had lunch in Fairfield at Joe's American Bar & Grill, my neice had done a little investigating and found they had a gluten free menu, so that made it a perfect choice.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised.  I had a burger on a gluten free roll and it was served with fries.  Although they do not have a gluten free fryolator, they said would cook the fries in a pan, so they were not contaminated by the other breaded items.  The burger was great, nice treat to have it on a roll as I usually have it served on a piece of lettuce and sometimes just on a plate solo.  The fries were ok, but not close to the real deal.  The best part was feeling comfortable that the staff knew what the issues were and being able to have something other than a salad.

This weekend Dave and I were in Boston visiting our daughters.  Because it was close to where we were staying and we knew they offered a gluten free menu, Friday evening we went to Joe's American Bar & Grill on Newbury Street for dinner.  The gluten free dinner menu was comprised of simply making adjustments on their regular menu.  Basically, nearly everything on their regular menu could be made gluten free. (This is very exciting as usually any gluten free options available could be written on an index card.)  After much pondering on the many choices, I ordered the Blackened Chicken Pasta.  It was a gluten free pasta with escarole, peppers, and blackened chicken in a zesty parmesan sauce.  OMG, it was delicious, full of the many robust flavors. The blackened chicken added just enough zip without being too overpowering.   I would highly recommend it.  My daughter had the same dish in the full gluten version and sampled mine as well, agreeing that it tasted "regular".  Once again, it was comforting to know that the wait staff and chefs were familiar with the food limitations as well as cross contamination.  Joe's American Bar & Grill gets two thumbs up from me.  I only wish there were more Connecticut locations.  Here is a link to their website.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Pumpkin Bread - quick, easy and delicious and gluten free!

I have always loved Pumpkin bread.  It was one of the last things I had to eat before needing to go gluten free.  For over 3 years I could not find a gluten free pumpkin bread and tried several times to make one from scratch but it just didn't seem to meet my expectations.  Last year I took a cooking lesson and requested pumpkin bread.  I thought it was great and made it several times.  Last week I made it and had my daughter and husband sample it.  Although they both thought it was fine, they both thought it was gritty tasting.  The recipe I used called for rice flour, which does seem to be gritty.  Today I decided to try the same recipe but switching out the rice flour for a gluten free flour mixture.  The one I used is a mix of corn starch, tapioca flour, garbanzo flour, fava flour and sorghum flour. (Who would have thought there could be so many different kinds of flour.)  The result:  Delicious and no grittiness or aftertaste, great texture, not dense and it rose beautifully.  See what you think!


Pumpkin Nut Bread

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil

Beat together for a few minutes.


1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or fresh)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix well.


1 1/3  cup gluten free flour
1/4     teas. xanthan gum
3/4     teas. baking soda
1/4     teas. baking powder
1 1/2  teas. cinnamon
1/2     teas. pumpkin pie spice

Beat until well mixed.

Stir in 1/2 to 3/4 chopped walnuts or chocolate chips, if desired.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 55 - 60 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool before cutting.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Gluten Free Pizza???

I've recently found several pizza restaurants that carry gluten free pizza.  The pizza ranges from decent to great.  The problem is one restaurant I have recently encountered is CLUELESS when it comes to cross contamination.  I saw their advertisement in our local newspaper and was excited to see that I could get a pizza.  Here is a recent conversation I had while ordering a gluten free pizza: 

Me:     I understand you carry gluten free pizza
Restaurant:    Yes, we do
Me:    Do you make the dough in house?
Restaurant:    No, we order it.
Me:    Do you bake in a separate pan?
Restaurant:    I don't know.
Me:    Can you find out.
Restaurant:    Sure . . . . . no, we don't have separate pans.
Me:    How about boards, do you have separate boards that you put the gluten free pizzas on.
Restaurant:    No
Me:    So you put the gluten free dough on a board that has been floured and into an oven that is shared with regular pizza dough.
Restaurant:    I guess so.

I was appalled to see that they had a huge sign in their window that said they now carry Gluten Free Pizza!

Thankfully, there are some restaurants that actually "get it" and I feel safe eating their pizza.  This was not one.

Have you ever encountered a similar situation?  Please share.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A bread worth trying and a coupon too!

I've tried several brands of gluten free breads and almost all are very dense and heavy.  One store I recently was in had Udi brand gluten free bread on the shelves with the regular breads.  I bought it and was pleasantly surprised.  It looked, felt and tasted "regular".  I've since learned that it comes frozen but this store usually puts a few defrosted loaves on the shelves.  Here is a link to their web site.  You will find a coupon for $1.00 off a loaf of bread.  I keep the loaf in the fridge and especially like to toast it. Makes a great sandwhich.