Posts tagged ‘dietary needs’

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

GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour – Coming to a City Near You!

Alice BastThe National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) is proud to call Chef Jehangir Mehta, a finalist on the popular Next Iron Chef series, a partner in creating safe gluten-free options in restaurants so people living with gluten-related disorders can eat without fear.

NFCA team members and Chef Mehta will be taking NFCA’s online gluten-free cooking program on the road over the next six months. Introducing the GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour! The tour will cover 10 cities with the goal of educating chefs nationwide on the need for gluten-free menu items that go beyond just using gluten-free ingredients. It is amazing to see gluten-free options popping up on menus across the country, but unless restaurants are educated on the importance of safe gluten-free food preparation, our community cannot dine safely.

Many things have changed in the 20+ years that I have been diagnosed with celiac disease. When I was diagnosed, gluten-free food was not even available in the U.S. Today, we have access to a wide range of gluten-free food, but the next step on our journey is ensuring all gluten-free food is safe for our community. A gluten-free diet is the only treatment for people living with celiac disease; there are currently no pills, vaccines or cures for celiac disease. Research is taking us closer, but for now, we have to ensure the people living with this autoimmune disease can have access to the food that is our only medicine.

It has been 10 years since NFCA first opened its doors and set out on its mission to raise celiac disease awareness and improve the quality of life for those on a lifelong gluten-free diet. In that time, I have met many chefs and foodservice industry professionals eager to understand celiac disease, the gluten-free diet and our need for food to be free from gluten-containing ingredients and the gluten that can enter our food through cross-contact (commonly referred to as cross-contamination by the gluten-free community). These professionals are eager to accommodate their guests, but first they have to know training and resources are available to help.

NFCA’s GREAT Kitchens program gives restaurant employees from the wait staff to the chefs the tools they need to serve safe gluten-free food. Our ten city tour will help spread GREAT Kitchens logo the message that for the 3 million Americans living with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet is not a fad, but the only way to restore their health and reclaim their lives. Ranging from cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, we will be working with executive chefs in some of the best restaurants – complete with gluten-free cooking demonstrations, of course!

Stay tuned as we start the journey at Chef Mehta’s Tribeca restaurant, Mehtaphor on Tuesday, October 22.  Follow the tour by liking NFCA’s Facebook page and following NFCA on Twitter (@CeliacAwareness) and Instagram (@CeliacCentral).  Chef Mehta will also be live tweeting from the road.  Follow him at @jehangir_mehta.

To our GREAT health,
Alice

October 18, 2013 at 4:51 pm 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 Leave a comment

Opinions Aside, Why We Should Celebrate the FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rule on gluten-free labeling is an accomplishment. Whether you fully support it or have several criticisms, this is a milestone that has been years in the making, and that deserves some celebration.

Let’s all take a moment to take a breath, consider what we’ve collectively achieved, and thank ourselves and each other for all the hard work that brought us here.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease over 20 years ago, and in the 10 years since the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) opened its doors, we have been working to improve the safety of gluten-free food.  I have been waiting day-after-day for the FDA to set a standard for gluten-free labeling, just as you have.  The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here.

On August 2, 2013, the FDA ruling hit and I was ecstatic that NFCA could bring you the news.  Because this news, despite the mixed emotions among the gluten-free community, is huge.  You can imagine the feeling here at the office.  The news hit, there was a collective gasp through the office, followed by the sound of fingers pounding away on computer keyboards.  We’ve been waiting and we were ready.  We knew the rule would eventually come.  The question was when.

It took nine years.  But we did it.  All of us.  Every single member of the gluten-free community, whether you’ve been diagnosed for 20 years or 20 days.  We all played a role in getting the FDA to finalize a definition because people living with and affected by gluten-related disorders are not a small minority of people.  By speaking up together, we’ve proven that this community is large and we have a big voice. The final rule means that the gluten-free community has been heard.

“Gluten-free” has made headlines over the past few years because of the fad diet.  But, when the FDA ruled on that Friday, celiac disease went right alongside the words “gluten-free.”  The media took notice of the autoimmune disease and the reason the gluten-free diet exists in the first place.  The ruling and its implications for people with celiac disease have been in The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, the front page of Yahoo!, MSN… the list goes on. That itself is something to celebrate.

I have seen the comments, questions and concerns from all of you on social media, listservs and blogs.  Some of you are thrilled with the regulations, and others are worried.  NFCA is keeping track of these and we’re compiling them so we can tackle your questions.  We are actively working on a free webinar series and complementary fact sheets so we can break down the final rule and help you understand what it all means and how it’s going to affect your everyday life.  There is a lot to this ruling and let’s be honest; some of it is downright confusing.  Just know that NFCA will get you all the information you need to make informed decisions concerning your health.  This rule is important to the staff here, too.  We’re also affected by gluten-related disorders.

For those of you who are concerned by the gluten-free labeling rule and its implications, your feelings are totally justified.  But, do take comfort in knowing there will still be certified gluten-free products, and the naturally gluten-free products we eat regularly are just the same.  While the FDA has not required manufacturers to test their products to ensure they contain less than 20 ppm of gluten, there is now an accountability system in place.  By putting “gluten-free” on a package, manufacturers inherently agree to meet the FDA standards and, with an official definition, they will be held accountable if the products fail to meet those standards.  It’s up to us to remain diligent and continue to advocate for our own health.

Keep asking questions. Voice your concerns.  Continue to tell manufacturers what we as a gluten-free community need from them. It is the persistence of the gluten-free community that pushed this ruling in the first place. There’s more work to be done, and while the FDA rule is a key milestone, you can count on NFCA and all of the celiac disease patient advocacy organizations to continue pushing for better options, greater safety, wider education and more research.  We’re just getting started!

So, as we dissect, discuss and debate the gluten-free labeling rule, let’s also take a minute to step back and appreciate what we’ve accomplished.  We have come a long way since the days of having to special order gluten-free food, and that’s a testament to our strength.  I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the free resources being developed now by NFCA to explain this ruling.  To continue this progress, we need to understand the new standards.  Whether we realize it or not, we as consumers do play a major role in shaping policy.

Let’s celebrate!  Our voices have been heard and that means we as a community have power. Together, we can continue to make changes.  We will make things better.

Alice Bast
President
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA)

NFCA welcomes your comments and questions on the FDA Gluten-Free Labeling Rule.  E-mail them to webinars@celiaccentral.org. Your questions and comments will guide the development of our webinar series and other free educational resources that explain the FDA rule.  For the current resources, visit www.CeliacCentral.org/fda.

September 4, 2013 at 10:00 pm Leave a 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 Leave a comment

Easy Gluten-Free Recipes for a Summer Block Party

I have three criteria for the perfect block party food:

1)      It has to be handheld.

2)      It has to be tasty.

3)      It has to get people talking.

With those stipulations in mind, I embarked on creating two recipes – one savory, one sweet – for NFCA’s Virtual Summer Block Party. The only requirements were that I use Blue Diamond’s new Artisan Nut Thins and one of the many gluten-free products from Go Veggie! (I chose the dairy-free cream cheese alternative because it seemed the most versatile.)

Gluten-Free Summer Block Party: Blue Diamond and Go Veggie Recipe Ingredients

Just a few simple ingredients made for delicious gluten-free block party snacks!

Products in hand, I proceeded to take a “Chopped!” approach and made my dishes using only the ingredients I could find in my kitchen. Since the whole point of the Summer Block Party is to help everyone feel more confident and included at food-centric social events, I decided to make my recipes not only gluten-free, but also vegetarian.

First up, I created a spin on stuffed tomatoes. I have looked at a number of stuffed tomato recipes online, but never have tried them myself. Some call for baking the tomato, but for this batch, I left the oven off. Instead, I crumbled up the Artisan Nut Thins and toasted them in a pan, which added a nutty flavor and crunch to each bite.

I’m not one for exact measures when creating recipes, so you’ll have to bear with me when I say just wing it on the amounts. Everyone has their preferred veggies-to-cream cheese ratio, and I tend to use more pepper than salt in my seasoning. So, customize it to your liking.

For the sweet dish, I first tried blending strawberries with the Go Veggie! Cream Cheese Alternative. What I didn’t anticipate was that the water in the strawberries would thin the cream cheese out too much. It was delicious, but didn’t have the heft that I was looking for in a cracker topping. My guess is that it would make a fantastic pie filling, especially if mixed with a gluten-free, dairy-free vanilla pudding. Chilling the mixture in the fridge also helps it set up.

In my second attempt, I opted for a deconstructed strawberry cheesecake. I mixed the cream cheese alternative with agave nectar, spread it on Artisan Nut Thins, and then topped it with balsamic glazed strawberries. This recipe earned a verbal declaration: “Winner!” For an even sweeter bite, I would recommend dusting the Artisan Nut Thins with some cinnamon and sugar and giving them a quick bake in the oven before adding the toppings. (Make sure they are completely cool so the cream cheese spread doesn’t get runny.)

If you ask me, these recipes offer more interest than the standard chips, salsa and fruit salad, but I’m eager to hear what you think. Invite the neighbors over, give these recipes a whirl, and let us know how it goes!

Stuffed Tomatoes with Gluten-Free Cracker Topping

Stuffed Tomatoes with Cracker Topping

Easy & delicious!

Gluten-Free Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

Gluten-Free Summer Block Party Recipes: gluten-free strawberry cheesecake bites

A simple, bite-sized dessert.

- Cheryl

July 25, 2013 at 10:50 am Leave a 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

Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

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

There is a local farmers’ market near me in New Jersey that carries these little zucchinis that are a different shape from those you typically see: these are round! As soon as you see ’em, you think “I’m gonna stuff them!”  They are probably picked early, though that’s only my guess, since I’m not familiar with the manner in which they‘re grown or harvested. I’ve only grown the usual zucchini which are long and thin, of course.

Now, if this recipe appeals to you and you aren’t able to find these round ones, you can certainly stuff the long shaped zucchini. Slice them horizontally and using a spoon, scoop or scrape out some filling creating an almost boat-like appearance. Save the filling to use in the stuffing as I’ll describe later.

Don’t be turned off by the steps involved. It really is worth the effort!

Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Stuffeed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • A few fresh zucchini ( I used 3 for this recipe.)
  • Save the filling that’s removed, as directed, and dice it.
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ shallot- diced
  • 1 cup Italian-Flavored Bread Crumbs (Gillian’s Gluten-free are my favorite)
  • ¼ cup Pecorino Romano grated cheese (or Parmesan grated is fine too)
  • Dash of salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 small button mushrooms or baby crimini‘s – diced
  • 1/5 of a red bell pepper – diced.
  • Dash of garlic powder, not garlic salt

Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 can (28 0z.) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 fresh basil leaves – slivered or chopped
  • 1 garlic clove- minced
  • 1 Tbsp. minced onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use a dash of each)

Directions:

  1. First, wash the zucchini and then cut off the top, about ¼ from the top, trying to create a little “hat.” Using a sharp paring knife, remove some of the center to make space for stuffing. We’ve included lots of photos for this recipe to guide you. You need to leave enough zucchini inside though to provide some body to stand up.

    Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato: Raw Zucchini

    The raw zucchini.

  2. Save the filling you cut out. We’ll incorporate it into the other items for the filling.
  3. Place the hollow zucchini in a saucepan of water, but don’t submerge them. Water should only meet the zucchini half way up.

    Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato: Zucchini in Water

    Be sure to not submerge to zucchini in water!

  4. Cover pot. Simmer them for approximately 15 minutes, but keep carefully pressing the side to see if they are softening. Do not allow them to become mushy. We need some “body” in order to handle and stuff without falling apart.
  5. Using a ladle, gently remove from water and allow to cool on paper towel.
  6. Now make the filling:
  7. In a skillet, add the oil and when heated saute the shallot and then garlic for a short time. Don’t allow either to brown. While they are doing this, mix the bread crumbs and grated cheese in a small bowl. Add the Salt & Pepper to this and combine. Set aside.
  8. Into the skillet with that onion & garlic, now add the chopped zucchini you removed from the centers, and the small amount of red pepper. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the diced mushrooms and do the same.
  9. Lastly, stir in the bread crumb mixture and incorporate into the vegetables.
  10. Remove to a bowl or dish to cool slightly-just long enough to be able to handle.
  11. Take the cooled, empty zucchini and “stuff!” Use a teaspoon or whatever is easy for you to manage and fill the zucchini as in the photo.(I know this seems like a lot, but it’s really an easy dish and worth it! )

    Stuffed Zucchini in Tomato: Stuffed Zucchini Uncooked

    Looking good, right?

  12. In a skillet that has a cover, place 2 tbsp Oil, and when warmed, saute the garlic and onion. Don’t brown, juts allow to become translucent.
  13. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and basil, a dash of salt and pepper. Stir well.
  14. Lastly, place the filled zucchini in the sauce, and over a low heat, cover pan and simmer for approximately 30 minutes, stirring the sauce all around them frequently, making sure they don’t stick to bottom of pan. The zucchini stay in an upright position during the cooking. Never tilt over. I put the “hats” we cut off at the beginning, in the sauce as well to soften them. The hats aren’t essential to the recipe, they just look cute! LOL!

Serve as a side dish with any entree, whether the meal is Italian or not…doesn’t matter. We love this with some crusty bread for sauce-dipping!

Hope you’ll try this! And let me know if you do.

- Annette Marie

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.

June 19, 2013 at 10:00 am 1 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

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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