Highlights of gluten-free life in LA:
Love Your Food Everyday (Culver City and other locations) : Order at the counter and sit down for a lovely dining experience! The counter staff know every ingredient in every item on the menu. Great for gluten, nut, rice, egg, and “you name it!” allergies. Also a great choice for vegan and children. Seriously, a menu that can accommodate everyone and that focuses on healthy food and cooking. When’s the last time you had air-baked, gluten-free, sweet potato fries?!
Factors Deli (Beverly Hills) : I stuck with huevos rancheros, but they also offer gluten-free waffles, pancakes and more! Great service and I felt very safe in their hands.
California Pizza Kitchen (Beverly Hills): I stuck with the grilled peach spinach salad with grilled chicken… but CPK has upped the ante with their gluten free offerings. They received a lot of criticism for contamination issues when they first issued gluten-free pizza options. Now they have teamed up with the Gluten Intolerance Group to guarantee better efforts at avoiding cross-contamination. I was game to try it out but the crust has rice flour (I’m allergic) so I skipped it. Anyone out there tried their pizza recently?
Besides all these, I had a great time visiting my friends and family… They stocked the house with lots of fruit, yogurt and chips/salsa for me to snack on. I travel with GF instant oatmeal, so with all of this, I was pretty much ready to go. At the wedding they labeled all the food gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or such and there were tons of great options! [all of it was nut-free!] So wonderful of them to make the wedding safe for their friends with food allergies. Plus, fresh lemons for lemonade and cooking!
Fall turns into winter and the instinct to put food away kicks in. Perhaps like me you’ve visited your favorite apple orchard or can resist the huge variety of apples in the store.
I decided to foray into canning this year. Except for watching my mother can way back when I was a toddler, I was a novice. Conveniently, a family friend has become one of the most popular canning experts in the country! Head on over to Food in Jars to get instructions on canning from Marisa McClellan.
I started with the a half bushel of Courtland apples that I picked up at Allenholm Farm at Pam’s suggestion for sauce and butter. The first step to making apple butter is making apple sauce, which I describe here. I wanted to make enough to give to friends for the holidays so I started with this recipe from Its Not Easy Eating Green.
Vermont Maple Bourbon Apple Butter [Original recipe makes 4 cups. Scaled recipe in ( ) makes ~14 full 4oz jars].
6 cups (6 quarts) unsweetened apple sauce from Vermont apples
1/2 cup (8 cups… or less) apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup (I substituted maple syrup) granulated white sugar
3/4 cup (12 cups) Vermont maple syrup
1/2 cup (8 cups or less) bourbon
2 teaspoons (10 tablespoons) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (5 tablespoons) ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon (1 1/4 tablespoons) ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon (2 teaspoons) ground allspice
Combine all of the ingredients in a slow cooker set to high. Once an hour stir the apple butter scraping down all the sides and bottom of the slow cooker. Repeat this process for 4-5 hours or until the mixture is very thick and dark. To tell when the apple butter is done, drop a small spoonful of it on a plate and wait a minute or two. When the apple butter is done, a liquid ring will no longer ooze to the outside of the drop of apple butter; it will stay solid. Store in the refrigerator. Or, to can, carefully pour into in sterilized jars and process for ten minutes in a hot water bath. For larger batches, turn slow cooker to low after 4-6 hours and prop lid open with the handle of a wooden spoon. Use the test above to tell when the butter is done.
Cousin Jill visiting with a gluten-intolerance. Brother Mike has gone paleo. Gramma must have her pie. How to juggle all these needs? Fear not, putting together a delicious, gluten-free Thanksgiving takes some planning and will turn out great.
Try a spinach salad or stuffing made with gluten-free croutons.
What about that bird? Most Celiac’s or gluten intolerant folks won’t eat a turkey that’s been stuffed with regular stuffing. Try one of these delicious gluten-free stuffings! All are crowd-pleasers.
Now, what about pie??? By far my favorite part of Thanksgiving, so please don’t forget the whip cream. You can buy a frozen crust, make one from a box, or try one of these easy recipes! Or this one! These are all tried and true pie recipes… even Gramma will love them.
Side dishes? Easy! Try a sweet potato dish a la my cousin Julie or sweet potatoes with a twist from Mark Bittman. See the croutons above for a great spinach salad recipe. Check your green bean recipe– could be easily made gluten free!
Looking forward to the rest of the holiday session, give Gramma Ginnie’s brownies a try– modified to be gluten free, they are easy and always delicious!
Check out Gluten-Free Goddess for even more great inspirations for the holidays!
A whole list of gluten-free alternatives accompanies Hannaford’s list of great holiday dips. This is a cheerful addition to the typical lists of holiday foods that are either NOT gluten-free or involve ~1 bazillion calories. Are you hosting someone gluten free for the holidays? Check out this list of great crackers or chips to use as an alternative to traditional crackers. Just do them a favor and make sure you keep them out of contact with the traditional stuff, perhaps even providing a separate bowl of dips just to go with the GF snacks! Your guests will appreciate it.