Archive for November, 2010
Triumph Dining is quickly becoming a rockstar in our world. We’re currently hearting them because they just launched the first-annual Best of Gluten-Free Awards to select the best gluten-free products on the market. The companies voted The Best Of will be officially thanked, which they SERIOUSLY deserve.
Wanna weigh in & help pick the winners? Not only will you get to honor your favorite brands and products, but Triumph Dining will also give the first 2,000 voters a chance to sign up for their newsletter and get a FREE five-pack of American Dining Cards, which is worth $11. The dining cards are completely free to anyone with a US shipping address, just for completing the survey (they’re even covering the shipping costs).
The Best of Gluten-Free Awards consist of 43 different categories like “Best Gluten-Free Bread Mix” and “Best Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie.” Winners will be announced in early 2011. Do it! Recognize your favorites! Voting here!
You’re in good company here. We get you. We get how hard it is to leave your very own familiar kitchen – your mixing bowls, your pantry of gluten-free flours, your favorite recipe books & sunny countertops — and put your health and the whole experience of food in somebody else’s hands.
Going to visit family over the holidays can be stressful, especially if they don’t understand why you’re on a “low carb diet” (because dear Aunt Betty just can’t seem to wrap her brain around why you don’t enjoy a big, fat slice of french bread with your turkey, no gravy).
Here’s the good news: Triumph Dining’s The Essential Gluten-Free Restaurant Guide. Buy it. Dog-ear the pages of unfamiliar cities you’ll be cruising through over the holiday season, and for good measure, mark the pages of cities you want to visit next year. The book features over 6,500 restaurants nation-wide; 100 gluten-free lists from chains like P.F. Chang’s, Panera, and Subway; and a full print or online restaurant database that is verified & updated every year.
Already, the GFL headquarters (located in Healdsburg, California) are impressed with the thorough restaurant listing and the sample menus from chains, which allow you to, in effect, try before you buy.
While this article doesn’t say anything explicitly about how autism often intersects with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, it does present a fascinating new topic of clinical research over at UCSF, which aims to expose whether a certain subset of autistic kids would benefit from a regular enzyme dose. The hope is that this enzyme would help autistic kids “digest proteins, which may in turn improve their brain function and ease some symptoms of their disease.”
“Some studies have shown that autistic children are more likely than healthy children to have gastrointestinal problems, and that a certain subgroup of autistic kids have enzyme deficiencies. But whether those problems cause autism or are just another symptom of the disease isn’t known for sure.”
It’s worth a read and a followup once these studies have cranked out some results.
Oh, Bon Appétit, how you surprise us! The latest issue of your magazine is crammed with Thanksgiving recipes, and among them is a recipe for gluten-free sweet potato biscuits. Rejoice and praise the test cooks & editors who have realized that gluten-free has gone mainstream! GFers, they’ve thrown us a bone by way of this one little recipe. Woo!
Nary a day went by before we put this recipe to the test. We appreciated its seeming speediness and its simplicity of ingredients (it calls for GF baking mix rather than a whole slew of flours, so there’s a good chance even those very confused-by-your-food-”allergies” family members of yours might even give it a go on your behalf). But while following the recipe, we discovered the preparation instructions really could have used some additional directions and guidance. We want to help; here is the original version the recipe along with notes we would have found helpful in following this recipe…although even without these notes (and a few missteps along the way) the biscuits were beyond delicious.
Gluten-free sweet potato biscuits
from Bon Appétit, November 2010
1 large red-skinned sweet potato (yam; about 1 1/4 pounds), pierced with fork [you only use half of the yam for the biscuits]
1 1/3 cups gluten-free flour plus additional [Bon Appétit suggests King Arthur's Gluten-Free Multipurpose Flour, and we agree, although Pamela's Gluten-Free Baking & Pancake Mix would be a great stand-in]
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal [the finer the better, as far as we're concerned]
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped [we omitted the pecans out of preference]
[Transfer dough to a surface dusted with flour.] Sprinkle dough with flour. [Using floured hands,] pat into 8 1/2- inch square. [Dough will be about 1/2-inch thick. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough. Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet so that they just touch. Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting into 16 biscuits.] Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 18 to 22 minutes.
The Missing Menu is an up-and-coming resource to help people with food allergies – not just gluten-free folks – dine out safely. Simply plug in your coordinates and enjoy the fruits of The Missing Menu’s labors. This resource is still in its infancy, and only two regions are really fleshed out, so if you’re lucky enough to live in Denver, Colo. or the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll get to reap the benefits. But not to worry! Regions that will be featured in the near future include Atlanta, Chicago, L.A., Northern Colorado and Philadelphia.
If you have a devoted interest in helping the allergy-friendly restaurants in your area become known destinations for other diners, you’re welcome to suggest restaurants to be included in The Missing Menu’s lists. Just use the submission form to share the details you know and The Missing Menu will be sure to track down the details.
So why do they do this? True story:
“Recently diagnosed with a gluten allergy and a passionate foodie, I was frustrated… Even beyond frustrated. All at once, I was hit with (and those of you with food allergies know what I’m talking about) the lack of dining options, the new intimidation of dining out, and embarrassment at social and business meals. I began to distrust restaurants and the “true” ingredients in my food. Just a few weeks in and I was already tired of searching endless blogs, forums, and websites for allergy information. Perhaps most of all, I dreaded being that high maintenance diner; the one who needs to ask a thousand questions about a restaurant before committing to a simple dinner out, or a million questions about the menu items before I can order. The result? TheMissingMenu.com.”
This is a resource that could really catch on…do we see an app in the near future?
In case you didn’t get enough sugar through the Halloween weekend (and we know it’s not like you’re going to suffer any shortage of sweets through the next month, but you know our undying love for sweets!), here is a recipe for a super quick, super easy, super tasty sandwich cookie. Not at all like an Oreo, despite the coincidental black-and-white thing going on.
Chocolate almond sandwich cookies
makes 18 cookies (9 sandwich cookies)
3/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
1 teaspoon GF almond extract
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, cold
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon GF almond extract
TO MAKE COOKIES: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine brown rice flour, almond meal, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. In a separate large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and almond extract, stirring to combine, then gradually add dry ingredients until well combined.
Form mixture into 1-inch balls, flattening slightly with palm of hand on baking sheet. Bake until set and tops are just beginning to crack, about 10 minutes. Let stand two minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
TO MAKE FILLING: With an electric mixer, combine cream cheese, butter and yogurt. Sift in powdered sugar and stir until there are no lumps. Stir in almond extract. To adjust consistency, add more sugar to thicken or a few drops of milk to thin. Filling should be stiff.
TO ASSEMBLE COOKIES: Spread 4 teaspoons (or to taste) filling on flat side of one cookie. Top with the flat side of a second cookie approximately the same size as the first to make a sandwich. Repeat with the remaining cookies.