Posts tagged ‘food photos’
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
Serves 4 to 5
Prep time: 20 min.
Cook time: 3 hrs.
- 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!)
(It’s easy, so please don’t be discouraged!)
- Remove meat from packaging and briefly rinse under water .
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.”
- Re-position meat into the pot for another 15 minutes to reheat.
- Remove meat to a carving board and slice to the thickness you prefer.
- 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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
The GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour has officially started! The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) kicked off the tour at Chef Jehangir Mehta’s New York City restaurant, Mehtaphor, yesterday afternoon.
Gluten-free bloggers, food bloggers and reporters from the New York area came out to enjoy a 100% gluten-free lunch with us at Mehtaphor. And while I was excited to eat all of Chef Mehta’s gluten-free dishes (which, by the way, were fabulous), I was even more excited to have the opportunity to talk about the need for safe gluten-free food preparation. We even proved one of my favorite points – gluten-free does not mean taste free! There were no gluten-free bread or pasta substitutes on the menu, but rather Chef Mehta focused on serving a Mediterranean-style meal that left everyone completely satisfied (quite to the surprise of some of the attendees!). If ever there was a perfect meal to satisfy gluten-free and non-gluten-free eaters, this meal was it.
While we enjoyed Chef Mehta’s dishes, we all had the chance to chat about celiac disease and the medical aspect behind the gluten-free diet. Most of the attendees had some sort of connection to celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity (‘gluten sensitivity’). Some had a deep understanding of gluten-related disorders while others were still learning, which made for an incredibly diverse conversation. If there’s one thing I love, it’s raising awareness of an autoimmune disease that is still vastly underdiagnosed.
I have to admit, I was truly touched by the interest of the folks who attended yesterday’s luncheon. Sure, there was delicious gluten-free food to enjoy, but everyone was genuinely interested in learning about celiac disease and the GREAT Kitchens program. They wanted to understand why this online gluten-free training program exists and how much of a difference training makes for people living with celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Everyone was engaged with the program, asked a lot of questions and, to put it simply, they cared.
To all those who attended the luncheon – thank you so much for recognizing the need for people living with gluten-related disorders to have access to not just gluten-free meals, but meals that are safe and free from cross-contamination.
Today, Chef Mehta and I hung out at New York University (NYU) to serve gluten-free dishes to students in the Weinstein Dining Hall. There are some photos from the event on NFCA’s Instagram account you can check out now. Keep an eye on the blog for more updates from today’s stop and the rest of the tour. If you are on Twitter, follow NFCA (@CeliacAwareness) and Chef Mehta (@jehangir_mehta) to get the play-by-play of the tour. You can follow me as well at @abast. We’re using the hashtags #GREATKitchens and #GFChefsTable, so feel free to jump in the conversation!
P.S. You can find more pictures from the tour on NFCA’s Facebook page. We’ll be updating the album at each stop on the tour.
I knew when the Mardi Gras parade came down the main aisle of the exhibit hall with the band playing Dixieland and masked characters throwing beads that this was not going to be your typical food show. With lots of revelry and champagne, the 60th “Toast to Talent” Louisiana Restaurant Show was a full three days of fun, southern hospitality and amazing aromas and tastes. Fortunately, my husband Dave and son Cole agreed to come along. Since we are all in the foodservice business, we could learn a few things at the show and explore the city together at night.
When Sandy Riddle, Louisiana Restaurant Association (LRA) Exhibitors, called to invite me to speak at the LRA show this year I was so excited, but a bit sad too. I hadn’t been to New Orleans (NOLA) since my 20’s, before my celiac disease diagnosis (or as I like to call it “pre-CD”). I remembered all the amazing food like gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya and beignets, which of course all contain gluten, and all but the beignets contain roux. (Roux is a mixture of flour and butter cooked together until bubbly and brown. The desired color depends on what you are preparing and sometimes it can take a good long time of stirring and waiting to get the perfect color and taste.) But I was hopeful that I would find some new flavors and gluten-free foods while exploring the city.
I’ve met some really nice people at various shows across the US and always enjoy that first day when I’m able to meet fellow vendors setting up in the same aisle. It’s also a good time to check out which spots will have safe food choices when you need a nibble to keep up the energy and pass the time. Luckily, I happened to be smack dab next to one of the most popular exhibitors, Your Way Cuisines, a gluten-free roux company. Kristie Buford and her husband Chad are brand new to the gluten-free industry and saw a need and decided to fill it. They have created two roux bases made from corn and sorghum and they’re delicious. I have not had gumbo in 20 years and the gumbo they prepared with their product was full-flavored with a nice, smooth back heat.
Evenings consisted of strolls through the French Quarters from Bourbon Street to the Riverwalk. We tried to get the full NOLA experience, a concert at Preservation Hall, a ghost tour, shopping and people-watching on Bourbon Street.
Of course my guys had to find the bar, “Spirits” from the TV show Bar Rescue and purchase some kind of voodoo potion. We did find some tremendous restaurants that offered gluten-free options. Red fish was a popular entrée at many spots especially at Redfish Grill. The chicken with jambalaya risotto was succulent and spicy at Bourbon House and the service was impeccable. We really loved the music, atmosphere and Caribbean flavors at Rum House in the Garden District.
By day, I enjoyed meeting many of the chefs and restaurateurs from some of the famous and well-known establishments. We talked a great deal about the increasing demand and requests for gluten-free options, and how GREAT Kitchens, an online training course from NFCA, would be a valuable tool for staff to learn about safe preparation. When I was able to take a break from the exhibit, I found some tremendous booths showing off their gluten-free spice blends and recipes to create Cajun cuisine so I’m looking forward to putting my samples to good use. But by the end of the week, I was feeling a bit crabby; swampy heat can take its toll on a woman from Nebraska! NOLA certainly delivered new flavors, new recipes and new friends – even on a gluten-free diet.
The following guest post and recipe are from National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) volunteer, Annette Marie of Best Life Gluten-Free.
I am a former New Yorker, where there are more restaurants than you can shake a stick at! And quite often we enjoyed frequenting a Chinese place serving both Sechuan and Cantonese dishes, with all of the various tastes that just make your mouth water. So, when I wanted something similar, (don’t get me wrong-I’m not that familiar with Chinese cooking, after all, I’m Italian-American!) I fiddled around until I was happy with this dish.
This is a really quick chicken recipe that’s a one-dish meal, ready in about 30 to 40 minutes. And with the warm weather months ahead, that’s perfect for supper after a day outside enjoying yourself!
The trick to this recipe? Cook the white rice on one burner while the main dish is going on a second. Then everything’s ready at the same time.
Gluten-Free Chicken with Broccoli over Rice
- White rice (Cook as directed, amount is per your needs)
- 6 or 7 chicken tenderloins, cut in half on diagonal
- 2 cups broccoli florets, washed and stems removed.
- 2 scallions sliced, but do not use the last 2 inches of greenest ends
- ½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- ½ lb ( or more if you prefer) sugar snap peas, washed
- 1 cup gluten-free chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (Natural Soy Sauce Alternative)
- Dash of salt & pepper
- ¼ tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
- Put up the rice, as we said, to be cooking while you’re making the chicken-broccoli dish.
- In large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter. When melted, saute the chicken tenders on a low to medium heat until there’s a golden tinge and there’s some golden-brown bits in the pan from the butter.
- Remove chicken and place on a plate, but keep the butter residue in the pan.
- In the butter residue, saute the scallions first, then add the peas and broccoli. Saute for about 3-4 minutes until starting to get a golden color.
- Add the broth, spices, amino liquid, and cover pan.
- Simmer on low for about 15 minutes.
- Remove cover and pour out about ½ cup of liquid into a measuring cup or small bowl.
- Add the cornstarch and hand-blend until combined.
- Add to the skillet and replace pan on low heat. Cover and heat for another 5-7 minutes until it only thickens a little. You should have a gravy-like liquid now. Shut heat.
The rice should be done and ready for your plate!
Quick! One-Dish! Ready to go!!
- Annette Marie
About Annette Marie
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.
Spring is has sprung and that means baseball is here! All of us at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) have started following our favorite teams and are ready for a great season of America’s favorite pastime. And, we are preparing for our annual night out at the ballpark.
This year, Celiac Awareness Night with the Philadelphia Phillies is on Friday, August 16that Citizens Bank Park as the Phillies host the Los Angeles Dodgers. This will be NFCA’s 6th Celiac Awareness Night and we are looking forward to a great night of great baseball.
This year, we are excited to have a special free raffle to offer visitors to our information table near Section 210. Thanks to the Phillies and Aramark, the basket will include Phillies memorabilia, two tickets to a 2013 regular season game in section 116, a preferred parking pass and a complementary food coupon valued at $30. Better yet, there will be an expanded menu at the gluten-free concession stand that is set up for NFCA’s night out.
Last Friday, I went to the Phillies Home Opener. I either am a terrible influence or a great grandmother as I snuck my grandson Zachary out of school for the afternoon so he could cheer on the home team. The weather was perfect, the seats were good and we were all set to start a winning season. Unfortunately, the Phillies weren’t quite as ready as we were and lost to the Kansas City Royals. As the crowd streamed out at the 7th inning stretch, my grandson refused to lose faith and declared, “I am a Phillies fan and I am staying!”
We did have a great chance to check out the new permanent gluten-free concession stand in Section 136. What a boost to the Phillies experience! We had delicious hot dogs and cheesesteaks and watched as people who were thrilled to find gluten-free food so available ordered pizza and chicken fingers. Sweet Christine’s furnished brownies and other sweet treats, along with the hot dog rolls. Of course, you can get a gluten-free brew with that dog—Redbridge beer and Woodchuck Hard Cider.
No matter what the final score, it always is a good day at the ball park. With more gluten-free food, it is even better.
See you at Celiac Awareness Night! You can grab your tickets here.
[As you know, the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness staff members are big Phillies fans. So when one of our volunteers, Nadina Fraimow, told us she shared the same passion for sports, wellness and all things Phillies, we had to get her on board. Nadina will be sharing her gluten-free experiences as she follows the Phillies year-round.]
Healthy Times Ahead
A Phightin’ to Be Gluten-Free Blog
There are many reasons to love February, but Phillies Spring Training definitely tops the list. While the excitement of team changes, athlete updates and ticket sales resonate for fans, the Phillies pitchers, catchers and position players are preparing for Clearwater, Florida in one week. If healthy teammates translate into prospective wins, it is imperative the lineup stay off the injured list this season. Be-Lee-ve it, healthy times are ahead for Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and the rest of the Phightin’ Phils.
For those of us Phightin’ to be gluten-free, the food we eat determines how healthy our season will be. When it came to our wedding menu, my husband and I made no exception.
Criteria: Kosher, gluten-free and lactose-free menu that incorporates our favorite foods and fresh ingredients.
Vision: Beautiful presentation, delicious flavor and variety that is reflective of us and our enjoyment of healthy, delectable dishes.
Experience: Romantic, festive, memorable and a gourmet gluten-free culinary experience for our friends and family.
Our lineup for the big day included Jannette Axlerod of Food Designs and her chefs. They had prior experience safely cooking gluten-free for affairs and were a great addition to our Fraimow-Bronstein all-star team. Practices were rigorous with menu tastings, ingredient changes and creative food pairings.
Outcome: Grand slam! With the support of our strong, loving management team, we pulled-off a perfect win. Our playbook now includes new dishes that we can replicate for healthy, fun times ahead. Read below for a taste of our wedding bliss and ideas for your next party.
A sampling of Butlered Hors D’oeuvres:
- Tuna rumaki with wasabi on a gluten-free cracker
- Lox on a gluten-free cracker
- Cherry tomatoes stuffed with quinoa
- Sushi rolls
A sampling of Stations:
- Portabella bar
- Carving station, including oven roasted turkey and prime rib
- Spring vegetable soup with rice noodles
- Alternating strawberry kiwi and lemon sorbet
- Herb crusted baby lamp chops
- Grilled sea bass with mango salsa
- Vegetarian Napoleon
- Baby carrots and green asparagus
- Roasted russet potatoes
Nadina Fraimow began volunteering with the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) in April 2011. In January 2013, Nadina was conclusively diagnosed with celiac disease by one of the nation’s leading gastroenterologists. Prior to her diagnosis, Nadina was living gluten-free for over three years due to what was originally thought to be non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Nadina enjoys having fun in the kitchen and creating recipes that are both tasty and healthy with her husband. She is a Communications and Marketing professional living and working in Philadelphia. Nadina is also a proud Penn State alumna and an avid fan of the Phillies. She will be happy to answer messages sent to her attention at email@example.com.
Two northwestern sections of Philadelphia were jumpin’ on Saturday, January 26th. Weavers Way, the fabulous community owned co-op that has made a name for itself in the Philadelphia region, held its annual Gluten-Free Day from 12 until 4 p.m.
This year, the savvy folks at Weavers Way expanded the event to include both their Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy stores. Bettina de Caumette, Outreach Coordinator at Weavers Way, put the day together to everyone’s delight. Frigid weather aside, the day seemed just right to explore the wonderful world of gluten-free goodies.
The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) was on hand in both locations to discuss the gluten-free diet and to go beyond that to the underlying need for this special approach to the menu: celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders.
The NFCA team was pleased and proud to have two long-time, stalwart and extremely knowledgeable volunteers distribute literature and answer shoppers’ questions. Becky Lownes Urbano returned to the post she manned last year in Chestnut Hill. Annsley Klehr took a brisk walk from home to spread the word in Mt. Airy. Tema Esberg, a new member of the NFCA volunteer team, joined Becky in Chestnut Hill.
Chestnut Hill store manager Dean Stefano and Mt. Airy store manager Rick Spalek each donated an enormous basket of gluten-free products for a raffle benefiting NFCA. One lucky winner from each store went home with a bounty of delicious treats that will have them trying out new items and enjoying old favorites. For our part, NFCA is grateful for the donation that will go toward our educational programs.
On a normal Saturday, about 1,100 people pass through the doors of Weavers Way in Chestnut Hill. That number swells significantly on Gluten-Free Day and this year was no exception. I don’t know how many came to the Mt. Airy store but it certainly was a steady stream of eager shoppers, many with questions about gluten-free food and celiac disease.
In short, it was great! The NFCA team is looking forward to Gluten-Free Day 2014 at Weavers Way!
After pulling long hours leading up to Appetite for Awareness last month, you’d think our staff at the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) would take some time to wind down. Not the case.
We immediately went full throttle on our next activity, which was hosting a Gluten-Free Culinary Workshop leading up to the Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE), an annual meeting for food and nutrition professionals run by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association). Planning had already been underway for months, and all the pieces were in place:
- A Gluten-Free Baking Workshop with Chef Richard Coppedge, CMB, author of Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) and a professor at CIA.
- The Ancient Grains Challenge, featuring a “Chopped” style cook-off between teams of dietitians.
- Educational sessions, including “Current Understandings of Gluten-Related Disorders” and “Case Studies: Living with Celiac Disease,” led by NFCA’s Alice Bast and Beckee Moreland, respectively.
I eagerly volunteered to help out and take photos and video at the workshop. (A chance to spend some one-on-one time with dietitians and top chefs? Please, I’m there.) So, bright and early last Saturday morning, I pulled up with a car full of goody bags and made my way up to the Academic Bistro at Drexel University.
Even with all the details our VP Jennifer had provided, I still wasn’t prepared for how active this day would be. After spending the first few hours mixing huge batches of gluten-free flour blends and setting up our impressive ‘pantry’ of ingredients and fresh produce, it was time to step back and put the dietitians to work.
Our participants were from the Food & Culinary Professionals Dietary Practice Group (FCP DGP), a subgroup of the Academy. They already had a basic understanding of gluten-free food and cooking, but they came eager to learn even more. I think had just as much fun watching them as they did participating.
Gluten-Free Baking Workshop
Our baking workshop started off with an introductory lesson from Chef Coppedge. It was clear that he’s an experienced teacher, as his presentation was brief, yet informative. He brought good energy to the room and gave us a few chuckles as he talked. My favorite tip: Use seltzer water to make your dough lighter and fluffier, but don’t leave it overnight or it will over-ferment and deflate upon cooking.
Then it was time to hit the kitchen. The dietitians whipped up gluten-free goodies like jalapeno & cheese muffins, spritz cookies and – my favorite – peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes. The hard part was figuring out which of the four gluten-free flour blends to use for each recipe. While the dietitians were mixing and measuring, Chef Coppedge was there offering quick tips. Best of all, they got to bring home a sample of what they baked. And the smells? Heavenly.
Ancient Grains Challenge
Across the hallway, our participants had to think on their feet as we presented them with pre-cooked gluten-free grains (amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa) and challenged them to make a fresh and healthy meal. For the additional ingredients, we had an impressive display of fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, plus sauces, broths, beans and more, to complete their dishes.
To determine the winner, we recruited a diverse panel of judges:
- Alice Bast, Founder and President of NFCA.
- Chef Garrett Berdan, RD, a registered dietitian and chef who is part of the White House’s Chefs Move to Schools program.
- Chef Charles Ziccardi, Assistant Teaching Professor of Culinary Arts at the Goodwin College of Professional Studies at Drexel University.
NFCA Board Chair Dorothy Binswanger even stopped by to assist with the judging – a deliciously good decision, as it turned out.
The Ancient Grains Challenge went above and beyond our expectations. The dietitians were incredibly imaginative and resourceful, and their dishes had wonderful flavors. Among the finished plates, there were breakfast/dessert porridge with berries and a touch of orange zest; homemade soup with a side of bean salad; and ‘croutons’ made out of gluten-free grains and flax seed.
To make the challenge even more realistic, some of the ingredients on the table were not guaranteed to be gluten-free, such as a broth that wasn’t labeled gluten-free and some premade sauces that required verification with the manufacturer before using. For the most part, the dietitians were cautious about choosing ingredients that were clearly gluten-free. On a few occasions, they asked about questionable ingredients, which became a teaching lesson as our VP Jennifer walked them through the process to verify the ingredient. When in doubt, they left it out.
While the hands-on activities proved to be learning opportunities, NFCA’s workshop also balanced those active moments with some thoughtful discussions. The morning session on gluten-related disorders prompted good questions from the audience, and the dietitians left with a better understanding of the disease spectrum.
In Beckee’s session, the dietitians discussed a variety of perspectives and scenarios related to gluten-free needs. There was an 8-year-old with celiac disease struggling with her school lunch program; a 19-year-old newly diagnosed and figuring out how to eat gluten-free at college; and a chef who was catering a gluten-free event. The case studies sparked plenty of “A-ha” moments as the dietitians worked through these real-life applications.
So, to make a long story short, it was a winning day for all involved. My favorite part was chatting with the chefs and dietitians during and in-between each session. It always amazes me how a group can have similar interests and skills, yet put them to use in such a variety of ways.
Bravo to the dietitians for putting in an A+ effort at our Gluten-Free Culinary Workshop. We hope to “see” you again during our upcoming webinar on October 31!
For more photos from the workshop, visit NFCA’s Facebook page.