Posts filed under ‘Guest’

Gluten-Free Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner

The following guest post is from NFCA volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

Here we go! Make this for the whole family, those who are gluten-free as well as everyone else: Gluten-Free Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner!

Here in the USA, we typically see Corned Beef Brisket sold in supermarkets just around St. Patrick’s Day, but some specialty markets will carry it all year round.  So, if you’re spotting it during May or September, grab it & know you’re a lucky one!  Make this dinner and savor the flavors many times over and over.  It’s easy to prepare, don’t be intimidated by the time element. It mostly does all the work while it’s simmering along.  Let’s get you started.

Gluten-Free Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner

Gluten-Free Corned Beef Dinner

Make this dish and get ready for the compliments!

Serves 4 to 5
Prep time: 20 min.
Cook time: 3 hrs.

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2 ½ lbs. gluten-free corned beef brisket
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed.
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into big chunks; about 2 in. long
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced in quarters
  • 5 potatoes, peeled of skin (I used 3 medium sized Yukon Golds and 2 medium sized Red Potatoes, just to have both flavors and tastes in there.)
  • 1 cabbage, cut into quarters or fifths (Leave spine attached or it will fall apart while simmering.)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns (Leave whole, don’t crush)
  • Dash of thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. Salt
  • Few parsley sprigs
  • Water, enough to to cover meat well.
  • Mustard (for serving at meal time as a garnish. A must for everyone I know!)

Directions:

(It’s easy, so please don’t be discouraged!)

  1. Remove meat from packaging and briefly rinse under water .
  2. Take a large pot or Dutch oven and place meat inside. Add enough water to cover it well. Don’t skimp on the water, since it will be simmering for a long time. Cover it by approximately 2 inches.
  3. Throw in (well, not literally,) the bay leaf, parsley, salt, peppercorns and thyme.  Cover and bring to a boil. When you see it’s come to a boil, lower heat and simmer for 2 hrs. Occasionally, check to be sure it’s simmering on a light boil and after 1 hour, using 2 large spatulas or spider tool, gently turn over to reverse side. Be gentle. It’s getting very soft.
  4. After 2 hours, stick a fork or knife in the meat and it should be very tender and pierce right through.  Using that spider tool or spatulas, remove to a large platter and cover meat with foil.
  5. Add all of the vegetables to that pot and simmer for ½ hour. Veggies will be getting nice and soft, soaking up the flavors of that “broth.”
  6. Re-position meat into the pot for another 15 minutes to reheat.
  7. Remove meat to a carving board and slice to the thickness you prefer.
  8. Serve on a large platter with the veggies along-side and provide your favorite type of mustard to accompany each bite. You can drizzle a little of the broth on top of the slices if you like. So good. Get ready for the compliments!

– Annette

February 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm 1 comment

The Pacific Northwest Tour Continues: The GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour Visits Seattle

After receiving such positive feedback in Portland, the GREAT Kitchens team headed to Seattle for its third stop on Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour. With the same mission of working with restaurants/foodservice professionals across the country, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) set out to share information on the importance of not only providing gluten-free options, but also providing ease of mind for those with celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’) through safe protocols and practices

Upon arrival, the NFCA team headed to KING-TV to participate on the New Day show, alongside one of Seattle’s partner chefs, John Howie.  During the segment, Chef Ambassador Jehangir Mehta created a special gluten-free dish, featuring halibut from Washington, as well as lentils and chickpea flour to showcase alternative gluten-free ingredients.  Chef Howie created a delicious quinoa salad, featuring fresh vegetables and olive oil, a perfect accompaniment to Chef Mehta’s dish. The show’s host, Margaret Lawson, asked questions about the tour, proper gluten-free protocols and how chefs can get involved with GREAT Trainings.  Besides becoming educated through the GREAT Kitchens training program, Chef Mehta spoke on the segment about a call for gluten-free recipes to be featured in an upcoming cookbook.  For restaurants interested in submitting a recipe, they can be submitted at www.GREATChefsChallenge.com.

Want to watch the segment? Check out Chef Mehta on the New Day Show at this link.

Portland Stop: New Day Appearance
GREAT job by Chef Mehta and Chef Howie on the New Day Show!

– The Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour Team

November 5, 2013 at 10:01 am Leave a comment

Portland: A Booming Foodie Community

After a wonderful kickoff in New York City, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ (NFCA) GREAT Kitchens team headed to Portland this week for the second leg of the Gluten-Free Chef’s Table tour.  Upon entering the city, Beckee Moreland, NFCA’s Director of Gluten-Free Industry Initiatives and Chef Ambassador Jehangir Mehta, were greeted with unseasonably warm weather and a full schedule of activities.

The first day began Monday, October 28 at the International Foodservice Editorial Council’s (IFEC) Annual Conference.  IFEC brings foodservice media, communicators and retail food product companies together to discuss food trends, what food topics will be written about in 2014 and provides companies with a chance to introduce their brand/product/service to some of the foodservice community’s most influential individuals.  As a part of the conference’s welcome reception, the GREAT Kitchens Chef’s Table Tour presented a delicious gluten-free dish, masterfully created by Chef Mehta, to attendees as they arrived.  The dish, an onion-seed shrimp wrap, proved to attendees that safe, gluten-free food can be complex, full of flavor, delicious and prepared properly with no cross-contact worries.

Guests from publications like Nation’s Restaurant News and Campus Dining Today stopped by the table to discuss the GREAT Kitchens gluten-free training program for both restaurants and universities, as well as the purpose of the educational tour. Also, organizations like the National Pork Board and brands like Chobani stopped by to discuss gluten-free options and recipes.  As NFCA engaged in ongoing conversations with media/organizations in Portland, the GREAT Kitchens team encountered that Portland restaurants/individuals have increasingly embraced serving customer’s dietary needs, including a booming interest in gluten-free offerings.  With that, the team set out to educate Portland restaurants/foodservice establishments on the need for proper gluten-free training to ensure that those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity have access to safe gluten-free options when dining out.

Portland: A Booming Foodie Community: Chef Jehangir Mehta speaking at IFEC

Chef Mehta explaining the importance of safe gluten-free food preparation.

Portland: A Booming Foodie Community: Shrimp

This shrimp was amazing!

On Tuesday, October 29, the GREAT Kitchens team headed to its first restaurant event, held at Beast in Portland.  Beast is owned by Naomi Pomeroy, a chef you may recognize from Top Chef Masters.  Chef Naomi opened her doors for a private luncheon specifically for Portland/national food and health media and bloggers, including Portland Monthly and the Portland Business Journal to name a few.  The luncheon began with a brief introduction to GREAT Kitchens and the NFCA before heading into a four course gluten-free meal, prepared exclusively for the group by Chef Naomi and Chef Jehangir.

The meal began with butternut squash velouté with fried herbs and creme fraiche created by Chef Naomi, followed by a delicious chicory and apple salad with a brown butter & sherry vinaigrette. While guests sampled their meal, Chef Mehta prepared a cumin red snapper with shishito, beet and a chickpea onion ring.  For individuals with celiac, often they go without food like onion rings because of ingredients and access to a dedicated fryer.  For this meal, Chef Jehangir created a dedicated frying pot and used a chickpea flour to make the batter gluten-free. For dessert, Chef Naomi created Quince and Frangipane Galette with lemon verbena ice cream. The full meal was a great opportunity to showcase to media that creating delicious gluten-free food does not mean you have to compromise on flavor or technique.  In addition, some of the best feedback that was received was how receptive attendees were to supporting NFCA’s mission of making safe gluten-free food for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity in Portland.

Throughout the meal, Chef Naomi and Chef Jehangir both went into detail about exchanging ingredients in their restaurants to serve a gluten-free customer safely. The event truly was a great success and provided the opportunity for media/bloggers in Portland to ask one-on-one questions about celiac disease and accessibility for gluten-free foods in restaurant and retail environments.

Portland: A Booming Foodie Community: Chefs Naomi Pomeroy and Jehangir Mehta at Beast

Chef Naomi Pomeroy and Chef Jehangir Mehta at “Beast”

The second event on Tuesday was a media/blogger event at Imperial by Vitaly Paley.  Chef Vitaly is very well-known in the Portland community, particularly because of his interest in keeping menu items truly farm-to-table, enabling the opportunity for guests to try new items based on seasonality or availability of produce.  National foodservice media such as Plate Magazine and Portland media/bloggers came out to celebrate and learn about the tour and indulge in a gluten-free tasting menu.  Chef Vitaly overdid himself but creating unique dishes like puffed sorghum (sourced from Bob’s Red Mill), a slow-braised veal and a delicious icebox cake.  Chef Vitaly also provided the group the unique opportunity to taste a limited offering of sorghum whiskey that he was commissioned to create earlier in the year.  The stop garnered more 20 guests, all of which are influencers in the Portland market. Chef Paley recently released a new menu with gluten-free menu items, as well as added a new grill that will remain free of gluten, and believes executing the proper training is the only way for staff to truly understand the proper protocols for serving the gluten-free guest.  It was a GREAT night!

Portland: A Booming Foodie Community:Portland: A Booming Foodie Community: Chefs Paley and Mehta

Chef Vitaly Paley of Imperial and Chef Jehangir Mehta discussing gluten-free food preparation.

The two restaurant events were a huge success.  We look forward to reading the recaps of the evening in the blogs/publications in attendance.

October 30th started off with the opportunity for NFCA to participate in a KATU-TV segment that addresses the gluten-free diner in Portland.  Beckee Moreland talked to KATU’s Valerie Hurst about her experience as a gluten-free consumer at a restaurant and went through a menu, discussing questions she asks during a restaurant experience, including ingredients and kitchen protocols.  Chef Vitaly also participated in the segment, showcasing his gluten-free menu and sharing his thoughts on the importance of serving all customers in his restaurants, including those with dietary restrictions or celiac disease.

The last event we participated in was a trip to Portland State University.  With students and the foodservice staff equally excited for gluten-free options, Chef Mehta cooked alongside Chef Matt Kemp from PSU. Jehangir created a shrimp wrap that was a huge hit by students, who lined up outside his station beginning at 11:00 a.m., with some grabbing 2-3 for their plate.  While on campus, the NFCA team had the opportunity to speak with Portland State students with celiac disease and were excited to hear the strides that Portland State are taking to serve these student’s needs.  With a “worry-free” station that includes gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free items, students are given the opportunity to have safe, gluten-free dishes.  Although a limited selection according to students, the university is making strides in increasing its offerings and the staff is passionate about being accommodating to all students. We look forward to the opportunity to work with Portland State in the future through our GREAT Kitchens training program.

Portland: A Booming Foodie Community: Chefs Kemp and Mehta

Chef Matt Kemp of Portland State University preparing gluten-free dishes for the PSU students with Chef Mehta.

Overall, Portland was a great example of a city taking the right steps in serving the gluten-free consumer, including businesses like Petunia’s and Tula’s, two gluten-free bakeries that NFCA visited while in the city. With dedicated bakeries and other restaurants increasing gluten-free offerings, NFCA found that Portland is in the forefront of making the necessary steps to increase options for people living with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.

On to the next stop: Seattle!

– The GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour team

P.S. Follow the tour on Facebook or by following the hashtags #GREATKitchens or #GFChefsTable on Twitter.  We’re posting lots of photos from the road on Instagram, too!

November 5, 2013 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

Chef Janet’s Time-Saving Tips for the Kitchen

The following guest post is from Chef Janet, a certified culinarian.

So many of my clients are new to a gluten-free diet, most due to celiac disease. They are people who used to eat out or do a lot of take out, so they don’t have a lot of confidence in the kitchen. Many think that cooking from scratch always takes a long time – but that’s not true. Yummy, interesting meals can be quick and easy. The key to easy meals is simply knowing how to plan your cooking. So here are some of my tips to remember.

  1. If you’re using the oven or the grill turn them on first, so they’re hot when you need them.
  2. To do your preparation, pick a spot that is as close as you can get to the stove/oven and the sink. If you have a small kitchen this is easy.
  3. Bring the trash can to that spot. I know some people use a garbage bowl, but that just means more dishes to wash. This will save you time walking around the kitchen.
  4. Next pull out all the ingredients AND tools you will need to prepare the meal – cutting boards, knives, pans, pots, cooking utensils etc. Take an extra minute to think about it so again, there is no extra time spent walking around the kitchen trying to track down the missing items.
  5. If there is any chopping or cutting to be done, do it all at once. Cut produce first, meat last so you can use the same cutting board – we like washing less dishes!
  6. Start with the items that take the longest to cook. Then while they’re cooking you can prepare the rest.
  7. Always cook more than you’ll eat in that one meal so that there are leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch or dinner. The only thing that I don’t like the next day is seafood, anything else can be eaten again. Items can always be re-purposed with a new sauce or by adding different ingredients. Throw extra veggies on a salad, make curry chicken salad from leftover plain chicken.
  8. If you have one day with a little extra time make an extra veggie dish, some extra rice or quinoa, a big green salad to last a couple of meals. All these items will store well in the fridge.

Remember just take a few minutes every week or every few days to think about how you can cook once and have enough for a couple of meals and meal planning will be a breeze!

About Chef Janet

Chef Janet

Chef Janet applies her culinary knowledge into creating gluten-free dishes that rival your favorites and will satisfy even the fussiest eaters.  She is a Certified Culinarian with the American Culinary Federation and is ServSafe Certified with the National Restaurant Association.  Janet has a Master’s Degree in Education from UCLA and more than 20 years of experience as a teacher and trainer.  She combines all her skills as a teacher and chef to design customized gluten-free recipes and menus and teaches clients to prepare them for their family and friends. Chef Janet has been gluten-free for 10 years.

September 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm 1 comment

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations

The following guest post is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer, Candice Clifford of Embrace G-Free.

What does, “expect the unexpected,” mean to you? This was an exact interview question, which was given to me during my international service trip (ISP) interview.   As I heard these words I felt both fear and a thrill of excitement.  However, as I thought more about this central ISP theme, I began to realize this phrase could describe my life for the past eight years.

I don’t understand why certain events have happened in my life, but I certainly know that each hardship has taught me valuable life lessons. While dwelling on the “why question” was a part of my grief process when I was first diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’), I quickly realized this was not going to help me live my best life.

As Robin Roberts of “Good Morning America” says, “make your mess your message.” Whether big or small, we all have our own challenges.  In the end I truly feel that you will not be defined by your “something,” rather people will remember you for what you did with your life after you faced adversity.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations: Meeting the Group

That’s me starting my journey of empowerment (Keep reading, I’ll explain).

After I was diagnosed, I was full of fear. Food, going out to eat and getting sick again were fears hat controlled my life. However, in 2011 I made a choice to make a change by starting my blog, Embrace G-Free. Not only did this help get me back cooking in the kitchen, but it also empowered me.

Empowerment is one of the words which is continually tossed around in my counseling classes. However, I truly believe empowerment is a concept that you can’t fully understand until you personally experience it.   As a future counselor I feel blessed that I will have the opportunity to help my clients become empowered. However, it is possible to discover self-empowerment without the guidance of a professional.

One of the best things you can do to achieve self-empowerment is set a goal; big or small, size doesn’t matter. What makes the difference is your attitude. Throw the self-doubt out the door. “I can’t” isn’t an option. By no means am I saying you will achieve all your goals. I for sure haven’t; failing is part of life.  It is possible you may discover a barrier which prevents you from achieving your goal. However if you take all the proper steps and know you did everything in your power to try and achieve your goal, consider it a success. In taking action rather than letting your dreams pass you by, you will begin to feel more empowered.

If you haven’t picked up on it by now, self-empowerment is something I am so passionate about because becoming empowered has moved my life in such a positive direction and has provided me with experiences which I am forever grateful for. Finding empowerment through my diagnosis was one of life’s “unexpected” moments, eventually leading me to achieving a goal which I was ready to give up on. However, a long-term college dream was achieved this past May when I was blessed to go on an international service trip to El Salvador.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations:  ISP Group

Me and my fellow students in the El Salvador ISP group

It was a long process to see if this goal could even be achieved. I started back in April 2012 and continued when I returned to school in September to make sure the sites could accommodate my needs. It was one thing to want to go on an ISP trip, but I needed to ensure I could do it safely. Patience, diligence, determination and an incredible program director helped me get through step one. Once I got the green light, it was onto getting over the hurdles of application selections and an interview process.

I will never forget the day I received the e-mail notifying me that I was selected to travel to El Salvador. I cried and would have screamed if I wasn’t at work. The planning process was incredible and in May 2013, my group and I were ready to head off to El Salvador.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations: Candice Clifford

How amazing is that view?

While many people see a service trip as a way to serve others, I can honestly say that the people and experiences I had taught me more than I could ever give to the people I served. Although I felt empowered prior to ISP, this experience truly allowed me to take my feeling of empowerment to a new level.  Not only was I faced with the challenge of new food allergy diagnoses a month before the trip, but while in El Salvador all my fears that I had prior to leaving happened. Despite this, I was OK.

Finding Self-Empowerment despite Limitations:  Building

I can honestly say that the people and experiences I had taught me more than I could ever give the people I served.

I truly believe it was my individual choices, which helped me overcome the challenges I faced. For example, rather then crying when I walked in the first night and realized I couldn’t eat the main meal, I took a deep breath to calm myself down, told myself it was going to be OK, and made an almond butter sandwich.  Overall that was one of the only meals I couldn’t eat and when I was unsure, I did without and turned to a safe option I brought with me.

After going on this trip I really began to realize even though food is our medicine, it doesn’t have to make or break our experiences. Of course enjoying some of the cultural dishes was wonderful and delicious, however, when I look back 20 years from now, I will not remember the foods I ate. Rather my memories will be of all the wonderful relationships I built during those 7 special days in El Salvador.

Food is our medicine, but don’t let it stop you from achieving your goals.  Become Empowered!

– Candice

About Candice Clifford & Embrace G-Free

Visit Embrace G-Free where you can find empowering tools to live your happiest and healthiest gluten-free life! Browse through great recipes, product reviews and helpful resources. Candice Clifford started Embrace G-free in January 2011, after being diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Follow her journey as she rediscovers her passions for baking and cooking. Candice shares her story with others to spare them from years of misdiagnoses and to inspire hope.

Follow Candice on Twitter (@CandiceRose90) and like Embrace G-Free on Facebook.

August 19, 2013 at 4:10 pm 2 comments

Gluten Free Cranberry-Orange Scones

The following post is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

I had no desserts or snacks on hand today, and for me, that’s a horrible situation! I have a tremendous sweet tooth. So…out came the measuring spoons, cups, and other essentials.

There are certain flavors that go so well together…and these two are a perfect example: Cranberry and Orange.

I had a Cranberry-Orange Scone that was commercially made, gluten-free of course, and loved those tastes together. So, rather than spend $5.00 on one (“gulp!”), I decided to experiment on a recipe at home.  And you know what? It didn’t involve that much work or even that much time.

So, if you have the desire, and a little bit of time, try my scone recipe. And I’ll bet you can even change up the flavors once you’ve made this recipe and come up with something special that you’ll like just as much as I love these.

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Gluten-Free Cranberry Orange Scones

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend (such as Arrowhead Mill), plus additional for dusting your board or surface.
  • 1 tsp. xanthan gum (Omit if already added to flour blend)
  • 1 stick cold sweet butter (8 Tbsp.) cut into small pieces. Keep cold until ready to begin adding.
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup heavy cream (If you like, use ¾ cup Half &Half instead of milk & cream)
  • 1 egg1 tsp. gluten-free pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. orange juice- from a fresh orange
  • 1 Tbsp. orange zest – from same orange of course.
  •  1/3 cup cranberries – dried
  • Small amount Demerara sugar for sprinkling on top.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line your baking or cookie sheet with parchment paper. No need to grease or spray.
  2. In large bowl, place all dry ingredients. Mix by hand just to make sure they are all incorporated together. Add the zest and combine.
  3. Take out the cold butter and “cut in” to the dry ingredients with pastry cutter tool or forks. Don’t use mixer here.
  4. In another smaller bowl, hand blend the wet ingredients including the egg and orange juice.
  5. Add the wet to the bowl with the dry. If you use a hand mixer, don’t beat too much. Once it gets a little stiff, stop and use clean hands. Form 2 balls. It should be easy to do this, since the batter will stick. If you feel it’s really too dry and doesn’t “stick together,” add a drop or two more milk. But not a lot of additional milk.
  6. On the dusted surface, place the two balls and flatten into 2 discs. They should be about 7-8 inches wide.
  7. Brush top with a little bit of milk and sprinkle with Demerara sugar.
  8. Cut with a sharp knife into triangles and using a flat spatula, gently lift off board and place on the parchment paper on your baking sheet.
  9. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until light golden in color.
  10. Cool on the paper, and store in air-tight container when cooled. (Don’t cover while warm or moisture beads will form inside.)

This is really easy to do, and makes a great breakfast treat on a weekend morning! Actually, it’s a nice treat at any time of day!

– Annette

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free


Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

August 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm 1 comment

Gluten-Free BBQ Shrimp with Lime Marinade

The following guest post is from NFCA volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

I love jumbo shrimp and this is an easy way to have them on the barbecue, with just a few steps beforehand.  After they’ve soaked up the marinade, just thread through skewers, or even place in one of those metal baskets for the grill.

The lime adds a great “tang”!

Gluten-Free BBQ Shrimp with Lime Marinade

Barbecue Shrimp with Lime Marinade: Finished Shrimp

Barbecue Shrimp with Lime Marinade

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb. extra-jumbo shrimp (approx. 16 per lb.)
  • 1 lime (you need the grated zest from it and all of the juice squeezed from it)
  • ½ Tbsp. finely diced poblano pepper (You can freeze the remaining pepper for the future)
  • 3 Tbsp. light extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of fresh ground black pepper
  • Pinch of salt (Sea salt preferred)
  • 1 tsp. fresh parsley flakes, chopped in small pieces

Directions:

  1. First, peel and devein the shrimp, trying your best to leave the tails on.
  2. In a medium bowl combine all of the remaining ingredients, stirring well.  Add the shrimp and toss so they’re coated all around.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  4. Thread on skewers (or use a metal barbecue basket that will allow you to rotate the shrimp so all sides get cooked). If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak in water before threading, so they don’t burn on the grill.
  5. Place on a hot grill, and grill for about 3 minutes on each side, until turning pink.  A lovely side dish is a saffron rice, but whichever side dish you choose, these are great!

For tips on safe gluten-free grilling, check out the Gluten-Free Summer Safety Tips blog series from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

July 10, 2013 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

Trials and Tribulations – My First Experience with Gluten-Free Baking

New to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) team, Healthcare Relations Intern Josh Goldberg has developed an interest in all things celiac disease and gluten-free related.  Eager to get more involved, Josh took to the kitchen to put his gluten-free baking skills to the test.  Read on for Josh’s account of his first try at gluten-free baking.

Savory Avocado Coconut Cookies.

I glared at my monitor incredulously.  It sounded like the sort of thing you would make on a dare.  I had wandered into this recipe while searching for something gluten-free to bake.  If I had a lick of common sense, I would have stuck with something a little more traditional for a dessert.  My eyes darted down to the ingredients and baking steps.  The recipe only required three ingredients: a large avocado, coconut flour, and some salt.  All I had to do was mash up the avocado, mix it into the coconut flour and salt, toss the concoction onto a tray, and leave in the oven for a bit.

Savory Avocado Coconut Cookies.  Three ingredients.  Seven steps.  What could go wrong?

I scrambled over to Whole Foods and picked up the necessary ingredients.  Once I got home, I pre-heated the oven and got to work.  The avocado peel came off easily and I attacked the fruit with all the precision of Norman Bates.  Some of the resulting mess ended up on the floor where the cat sniffed it curiously and then retreated.  I tried not to think of it as a bad omen and dumped the appropriate amount of coconut flour into the avocado’s bowl.

After the salt was added, I grabbed a big spoon and started to mix.  It felt like I was pushing sand.  The flour and avocado were adhering to one another, but the product was crumbling and barely clumping.  It took a good long while to bunch the mixture into what can only be described as The World’s Saddest Cookies.  Despite their less-than-perfect appearance, the bright green of the “cookies” brought me some level of optimism.  I pursed my lips and guided the cookie tray into the oven.  Surely, the baking process would instill some flavor into these little green lumps.

All signs should have pointed to me lowering my expectations for the cookies.  I caught a sniff of the coconut flour and began thinking about sharing these cookies with my family.  I would now have a signature dessert that I could bring to my in-laws when we ate at their residence.  Their fears of the bizarre-looking cookies would dissipate with a single taste.  I would be the new gluten-free baker on the block.  The thought was as savory as I hoped the cookies would be.

Beep!

I vaulted off the couch and grabbed the tray with a gloved hand.  The little green lumps that I had sent in were now…little green lumps with a tan.  I could still smell a hint of coconut, so my hope for a good, savory flavor remained intact.  After giving the lumps time to cool, I brought my fiancé into the kitchen to take a taste test with me.  She was surprised by the appearance of the cookies, but tentatively took a bite with me.

I didn’t even have time to ask her if she liked them before she placed what was left of the lump in my hand and ran to get a drink of water.

Dejected, I got in touch with my stepmother-in-law.  My fiance’s father and sister were diagnosed with celiac disease over ten years ago and it largely fell to her to figure out how to cook and bake without gluten.  Surely, she would give me some guidance as to what went wrong with the recipe or my cooking method.  My stepmother-in-law listened to my story and shrugged.  She had recently spent a Saturday making cookies of her own.  She made the cookies multiple times with different ratios of ingredients to get the right level of consistency and texture, but the end result was the same.  This woman, who had been cooking and baking gluten-free for so long, still struggled to perfect a recipe.

I was stunned.  Having eaten with my in-laws on numerous occasions, I knew her cooking was top-notch.  My stepmother-in-law noted my surprise and told me that cooking and baking is a constant learning process.  You rarely ever get the recipe right the first time.  The issue is compounded in gluten-free baking.  It is important to not be discouraged when a recipe does not go as planned.  Instead, take stock of what you have learned and incorporate it into your next try.  The reward of having a go-to baking recipe is worth the effort.

My discussion with my stepmother-in-law soothed my bruised ego.  She had spent an entire day on a cookie recipe that went nowhere and I was upset over one simple recipe gone awry.  I went back over the avocado coconut cookie recipe and checked some similar, more complex recipes.  It turns out that I need to add some additional binding agents to the recipe to bulk up those green lumps.  It would also help to add chocolate to enhance the flavor.  My lesson has been learned.  I don’t feel embarrassed about the experience anymore.  I feel empowered.

Savory Avocado Coconut Cookies.  I’ll give you another try…someday.

–          Josh
Healthcare Relations Intern, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness

June 13, 2013 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie

The following recipe is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

Summertime means pie!   New Jersey, my home state, is the nation’s largest grower of blueberries. And you know what that means? We get ‘em fresh and in abundance!

There’s a Blueberry Pie recipe on my blog already, but this one is slightly different; it’s semi-homemade using prepared Gluten-Free Pie Crust from Whole Foods Brands, and of course, it’s sporting a crumb topping.

I love this one more than my first blueberry pie recipe…the crumbs get toasty and have a nice “bite” to each mouthful! And it doesn’t hurt that it was less work. HaHa!

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie: Finished Pie

Semi-Homemade Gluten-Free Blueberry Crumb Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made gluten-free pie crust (This is the bottom crust.)

For Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour (Such as Bob’s Red Mill, or Namaste All-Purpose, or your preference)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbsp. cold salted Butter or Vegetable shortening
  • ½ tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. cold water ( More if dough feels very dry)
  • ½  tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup light brown sugar

Pie Filling:

  • 3 pints fresh blueberries, picked clean of stems, washed and dried
  • 1 tart apple, cored, peeled and grated. After grating, squeeze apple shaving in a towel to remove moisture or pie will be very wet
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest and 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ tsp. salt (not sea salt)
  • 1 tsp. butter (To dot on top of berries before baking.)

Directions:

  1. The first thing you need to do is prepare the dough for the Crumb Topping.  Combine the dry ingredients for the topping first, and then add the butter, “cutting” it in with a pastry blender tool or 2 forks.
  2. Now add the wet ingredients and combine, using the pastry blender or forks, and eventually with your clean hands, until you have a ball of dough.
  3. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 45 min. to 1 hour.

Now prepare the filling:

  1. In a saucepan, place half of the blueberries over low heat. As they begin to warm and then simmer, mash with a potato masher or anything that will crush them. Keep simmering until they’re reduced to half of the amount you began with. Stir well and keep an eye on them. Remove from heat and place in a bowl to cool for about 15 minutes.
  2. In a larger bowl, place the remaining ingredients, including the other, raw blueberries, lemon zest & juice, salt, cornstarch.  Add the first berries and combine well with a spatula or wooden spoon, folding under as you combine well.
  3. Pour in the pre-made pie shell and dot with the teaspoon of butter (separated into 4 tiny pieces) scattered about the top.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  5. Remove the chilled ball of dough, unwrap and place in a medium sized bowl. Using the pastry blender tool or forks, create crumbs. What we’re doing is crumbling the dough until the tiny balls of it are about the size of peas. Sprinkle all over the berry mixture.Here’s a photo of the raw pie at this step.
  6. Place the pie on a baking sheet (this promotes even distribution of heat and helps the bottom crust bake) and then place in that 400 degree oven on the lowest shelf for 20 minutes.
  7. Then, reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 45 minutes.  The crumbs should be a golden color and rim of pie also golden.  Cool the pie on a rack for at least 2 to 2 ½ hours, before serving.

My Tip:

I use a pie “protector ring” on my crust so it doesn’t burn.  These are available at most kitchen specialty shops. Here in the Northeast we have “Bed, Bath and Beyond” where I got mine! If the crust seems to be getting too brown, you can even cut a few strips of aluminum foil and make your own protective cover for the rim. Don’t cover the whole pie, just the outer crust.

Hope you like it. I love this and have to force myself to stop eating it! But then again, we  do have a major sweet tooth in my family!

About Annette Marie

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

June 5, 2013 at 8:55 am Leave a comment

Gluten-Free Pasta in Bolognese Sauce

The following recipe is from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) Volunteer Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.

Would you like to surprise Mom with dinner on Mother’s Day or on any day, for that matter? Why not an Italian dinner that you can easily make from scratch?

Bolognese sauce is pretty easy and this recipe shortens the time to 1 hour. There are various recipes out there, some simmering the sauce for 2+ hours, but you can achieve similar results with this one, which shortens that by half.

Bolognese sauce also varies in which meat you choose to use. Some recipes call for ½ ground beef and ½ ground veal. I’ll leave that up to you.

Here I used just ground beef, so feel free to follow this exactly or combine the two. Just use half as much of each, if you combine them.

I also don’t use “naked” ground meat. I prepare the ground meat as I would for meatballs. Then instead of rolling into a ball, you just leave it un-shaped and brown it in your saucepan, so its result is a loose meat within the sauce.

Please let me know if you prepare this and how you like it! Bon appetito!

Gluten-Free Pasta in Bolognese Sauce

Gluten-Free Pasta Bolognese

This dish will taste like you slaved in the kitchen for hours, but no one has to know this recipe cuts your cooking time in half!

Ingredients:
Meat Preparation:

  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup Italian-flavored gluten-free bread crumbs- (I like Gillian’s)
  • ¼ cup grated Italian cheese
  • 1 slice of white gluten-free sliced bread that has soaked in small amount of milk. (You will use the center of the slice, the white part, and gently squeeze out the milk. It’s ok if it’s still wet, no need to get it too dry. It adds moisture.)
  • Dash of salt & pepper

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion- minced
  • 2 garlic cloves- minced
  • 1 carrot- shredded. (Use a food processor for speedier preparation or shred by hand.)
  • 1 celery rib, minus the green leafy end – minced or shredded in a food processor
  • The above-prepared ground meat
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 basil leaves, chopped
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Grated Italian cheese to garnish when ready to serve.

Directions:

  1. First, prepare the ground meat, as you would for meatballs.  (It’s easy! Place all of those ingredients in a large bowl, use clean hands and combine well. Don’t form meatballs, just leave it as combined.)
  2. Take a frying pan and brown the meat in the hot vegetable oil, loosely stirring as you brown it, and turning over to brown all parts. Drain off any fat and oil and then set aside until it’s time to add to the saucepan.
  3. In a large saucepot, place the olive oil and when hot, sauté the onion and garlic. Don’t allow to brown. After onion is translucent, add the shredded carrot and celery and sauté for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Now, add the browned meat, and stir into the vegetables.
  5. Add the can of Crushed Tomatoes, the basil ,salt & pepper.Here’s a view of the simmering sauce:

    Gluten-Free Pasta Bolognes: Bolognese Cooking

    Your Bolognese sauce should start to look something like this!

  6. Cover and begin to cook on a low-medium heat. Keep checking. When it’s simmering, reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Be sure to stir frequently and touch the bottom of the pot when you stir! This isn’t something you can set and forget. It will stick to the bottom and burn if left unattended for more than 10 minutes. So, if you feel you may forget to stir, set a timer for every ten minutes so your results will be the best!
  7. When it’s done, you can remove from heat and leave covered until your gluten-free pasta of choice is cooked.
  8. Boil the pasta until “al dente”.  Drain pasta and place it in a large bowl so you can pour this yummy sauce on top and fold into the pasta to coat well.
  9. Add grated Italian cheese on top and enjoy!!

About Annette Marie

Annette Marie

Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free

Annette is a native New Yorker, now living in New Jersey.  Since she was diagnosed with celiac disease well after the age of 50, Annette has made it her mission to raise awareness in the hopes that others won’t have to live for years with unexplained symptoms as she did.  Some of Annette’s recipes are inspired by traditional Italian recipes, but she adds other original gluten-free recipes to the mix.  Her “semi-homemade” and from “scratch” recipes are meant for busy families eating gluten-free.  For more of Annette’s gluten-free recipes, visit her blog at www.BestLifeGlutenFree.com.

May 8, 2013 at 2:38 pm Leave a comment

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