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!
I just got back from a week in Germany and I can report good and bad news about gluten-free options there. Which do you want first?
Let’s start with the bad news. It was rather thin on gluten-free options. I was at a conference that served bagels, cookies and other baked goods with a piece of fruit and yogurt for lunch. I was limited to ~3 dishes at a Vietnamese restaurant that met my restrictions (our co-worker wanted some spicy food!).
The good news has several facets. First, everywhere I went, people were very knowledgeable about gluten-free needs. Not speaking any German, I carried a gluten-free restaurant dining card. Everyone readily understood this and helped me pick gluten-free items, successfully (I didn’t get sick!).
My experience at the Humboldt University cafeteria was excellent. They used a list of 30 numbers marking certain allergens or food additives. If I saw a dish label with #21, I knew it contained gluten and steered clear!
Also, Germans eat a lot of potatoes so there are lots of options for dinner as long as you eat meat.
So, on one hand, there weren’t a ton of options… but the options were sufficient and safe (from a gluten-free perspective).
Localvore Today features a $20 voucher to the Hinesburg Public House for just $10! Get it in the next 7 days. Buy one for a friend too!
Great gluten-free options at the Public House include GF chicken wings (buffalo with homemade ranch sauce), poutine with GF gravy, salads, fish, meats and more! They feature local farms as much as possible. The wait and kitchen staff are extremely knowledgeable about Celiac’s disease and take great care in preparing your meal gluten-free. I cannot say enough good things about the GF options here!!!
New World Tortilla is consistently good at taking care of gluten-free me. I usually eat at their Davis Center (UVM) location, so they are able to control cross-contamination pretty well (I believe they make their own tortillas at the Pine Street location). I’m allergic to rice as well as gluten but I love dairy! Today’s order (my regular, Chicken Vera Cruz as a salad bowl) was an epic fail on their part. Normally grilled chicken is served over a bed of lettuce with salsa and sides of jalapenos and sour cream. They grill a few corn tortillas with a little cheddar cheese.
Well, check out what I got today (of course I didn’t check my order until I’d walked back to my office): No chicken, no sour cream and no cheese (just cold, plain tortillas). Wow, thanks NWT… what a bummer of a lunch. At least its a nice picture. Certainly not worth the $9.27 I paid.
Did you know The Kitchen Table is now hosting causal Sunday night dinners? Featuring a 3-course, fixed price meal for $30, this is a great chance to get out to one of Vermont’s very best restaurants. They had no problem accommodating my many food allergies and the food was, of course, amazing. If you aren’t into the fixed price deal, you can also order a la cart with items such as a burger on the low end and a steak at the top of the price list. As a bonus, wine is on special Sundays as well. If you haven’t been, I say mark your calendar and call in advance for a Sunday night supper reservation!
In my travels around the world, nothing has been more consistently amazing than passionfruit. I am so adamant that anything passionfruit-related will be delicious that my Hawaiian friends, who call passionfruit Lilikoi, coined the phrase, “when in doubt, Lili out!” Indeed, the tropics offer an array of passionfruit-flavored food and drink. Mousse, yogurt, sauce for fish and meats, smoothies, juice, and margaritas. Well, this weekend we brought a bit of the tropical flavor to Vermont with passionfruit margaritas. Of course, we added our special VT twist by serving them over snow instead of blending or serving over ice. And we drank them while ice fishing (I only lasted about 10 minutes out on the ice but it was fun while it lasted).
Passionfruit margaritas (scale as needed!)
1 part gluten-free margarita mix
1 part concentrated passionfruit juice (unsweetened)
1 part white/silver tequila
1/4 part grand marnier (or triple sec)
Li hing mui powder (an odd Asian plum powder— give it a try, it grows on you)
Mix together in a pitcher. Sweeten to taste with maple syrup, agave, or liquid sugar. Rim the glasses with li hing mui powder. Pour over ice or snow. Enjoy!
What to do with a roll of left-over polenta? Try mini polenta toasts! Great as a side to any dish, we paired it with venison and a small salad.
Toasted cheesy polenta (aka Polenta Pizza!)
Shredded cheese (cheddar or mozzarella)
Slice rounds of polenta and place on a baking sheet (lightly oiled or lined with parchment paper). Top with sliced tomato and shredded cheese. Toast for 5 minutes at 425F or until the cheese is golden brown. Serve while hot! Add your own flare with pizza sauce, olives or other creative toppings!
Whether your venison is wild and locally caught or farmed, cooking is the key to getting excellent flavor and avoiding that “gamey” flavor people are leery of. The gamey flavor sets in when wild meats are over-cooked, which is easy to do since they are so lean! For a venison steak of a pound or less, grill in a skillet on both sides for 4-5 minutes over medium heat with a bit of olive oil and butter (less than 1 Tb of each). Slice the venison and serve with your favorite sauce– such as a chutney. Here, we served it with our own maple cranberry sauce. Delish!
It’s not every day you have duck. It’s also not every day your boyfriend brings home the duck. While this meal was created during fall duck season, it could be beautifully re-created with frozen or store-bought duck any time of the year!
Soaking your duck breast in a brine will make it moist and tender. Leaving some skin on gives this pan-cooked duck a bit of fat to keep the meat from over-drying.
1 duck breast
1 quart of water
2 Tb salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
Pinch each of thyme and oregano
Salad & dressing (mix ingredients in a jar and shake well):
Mixed greens, spinach or arugula
2 Tb olive oil
2 Tb orange juice
1 Tb apple cider vinegar
1 tsp orange zest (grated or finely chopped peel)
Dash of maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Blue-cheese twice baked potatoes
Two roasting potatoes
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup gluten-free blue cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar or mozzarella cheese
Clean the breast, leaving fat on one side. Mix the brine ingredients in a medium bowl. Brine for at least 2 hours and up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
Bake potatoes whole after poking holes in them with a fork. Typically, 45 minutes on 375F will do it. Allow potatoes to cool before cutting open. Scoop insides out and retain skins. In a medium size bowl, mash the potatoes with the sour cream and blue cheese. Re-fill the potato skins with the mashed mixture and top with shredded cheese. Bake again at 375F for 20 minutes while covered in foil. Remove foil and bake at 425F for 5 minutes or until cheese is golden brown. Remove and prepare to serve.
While the potatoes are baking, prepare the duck breast. In a large skillet, brown the breast 4-5 minutes on each side or until medium-rare (or longer, as you prefer). Note that over-cooked game gets a “gamey” taste and is a common mistake in cooking game. Slice the duck breast to serve.
Plate the potato with a large bed of greens and top with duck breast. Dress with the vinaigrette and serve at a candle-lit table.
Get on over to JumpOnIt and get your discount for the most delicious, gluten-free, baked goods in Chittenden County! Hurry before the offer disappears!
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.