Rollin’ into the Holiday Season

December 13, 2011 at 4:18 pm Leave a comment

[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experiences as she follows the Phillies year-round.]

Rollin’ into the holiday season

A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog

The end of the year is a time to evaluate results, existing players and their performance.  Organizations strive to reach goals, college students prepare for final class exams and Phillies management continues to negotiate with players. The latest buzz to reach media channels follows the potential deal to re-sign shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Only time will tell if the Phillies will be Rollin’ into the holiday season with him on the team.

December is an exciting time for my family team, as we also roll into the holiday season. When we get together, there is always a kitchen stocked with delicious gluten-free sweets, snacks and meals. We whip up favorite recipes, create new concoctions and document the All-Stars. My secret is to introduce festive ingredients, including cinnamon, pumpkin butter and cranberries, into all types of dishes.  Plus, the sweet aromas stick around longer than the food on the plate!

Below is a new restaurant dish review on the following baseball-inspired scale:

Single– Fair
Double– Good
Triple– Very good
Home Run– Must try
Grand Slam– Sublime

Herb braised Skate, cherry tomatoes, white wine over rosemary roasted potatoes at Melograno- Home Run

Herb braised skate at Melograno

Herb braised skate at Melograno

Overview: A must try, one-of-a-kind herb braised skate completed a delicious meal.

The Scene: It was a special celebration at Melograno. As the Phillies management continued negotiations, we enjoyed the lively and cozy ambience of the BYOB.

Safe Dining:  At Melograno, the chefs in the kitchen are educated in gluten-free dining.  Melograno has completed gluten-free training through NFCA’s Gluten Free Resource Education and Awareness Training (GREAT) Kitchens program. [See more GREAT Kitchens.]

Presentation:  The herb braised skate was plated over baby roasted potatoes, topped with cherry tomatoes and surrounded by cooked oils and white wine. The crisp, golden-brown sear showcased braising technique from searing in the kitchen.  A glistening plate of liquids seeped into the tomatoes and roasted potatoes, which enhanced color and texture.  (Note: I ordered baby roasted rosemary potatoes to replace potato puree on the menu.)

Taste:  The herb braised skate is cooked for enjoyment!  The sear locked in the Mediterranean seasoning, wine, oils and the slow braise developed the rich flavors.  For other first time skate eaters, the texture of the fish resembled braised brisket. Similar to brisket, the layers pull apart easily in a stringy formation. The juicy tomatoes and crisp baby potatoes soaked in flavors on the plate accompanied each tender bite of skate.

Result:  The one-of-a kind herb braised skate and complementary vegetables are a great way to start rollin’ into the holiday season with friends and family. (Tip:  Be creative when dining out and inquire about tasty, gluten-free recommendations from the chefs).

Everyone have a happy, healthy gluten-free holiday season!  Stay tuned for new restaurant and product reviews to enjoy during the baseball off-season.  Be-Lee-ve it — Spring training is just a few months away!

– Nadina

About Nadina:
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011, and will be happy to answer messages sent to the email account. Nadina learned that she has gluten sensitivity in February 2011, and is grateful for having been diagnosed promptly and correctly by a knowledgeable gastroenterologist. She enjoys running, shopping for gluten-free sweets and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy. Nadina is a Marketing and Communications professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies.

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