Archive for February, 2011
Wild Goat Bistro is cute. As in cuh-UUTE like a European bistro, all warm & glowing inside at nighttime, fellow diners not far (but just far enough), a friendly and just-attentive-enough waitstaff, an exciting menu to ogle (and it really IS ogle-worthy: many options are gluten-free!), yummy specials and a select list of $19 bottles of wine. Our meal went something like this:
TO START: Slow Pork
braised pork shank, simmered garbanzo beans, Spanish chorizo, Mediterranean spices. AMAZING. And available in a full-size dinner portion, too!
TO DRINK: The Goatfather
one of the handful of $19 bottles of wine available. A totally drinkable wine, perfect for pairing with this bistro-style meal.
GREENERY: Farmer’s Market Salad
shredded beets, carrot & broccoli strips, goat cheese, black raspberry herb dressing. A basic salad made nice with the bits of freshly shredded veg.
PIZZA: Fog Lifter
tomato sauce, spicy fennel sausage, Applewood smoked bacon, Pepperoni, Mozzarella. A smallish pizza for the price ($13.25 plus a $2 up-charge for the gluten-free dough), but excellent topping-to-crust ratio. Crispy around the edges, bready and airy toward the middle. This pizza would please both schools of pizza aficionados with its nod toward the crackery-crust and the doughy-crust.
FEEDING THE SWEET TOOTH: Fig Ginger Cake
a tall slice of deliciousness with a flavor akin to spice cake singing with the sweetness of figs, balanced with the subtle presence of ginger, and iced with just the right amount of frosting. This cake did not seem gluten free. And that’s a good thing.
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If you go, be sure to take charge of your own experience. Even though we know that some of the gluten-free sweets and breads are prepared by Bliss Bakery and Mama Baretta (both of whom take great care to ensure a safe gluten-free experience), ALWAYS ask how your gluten-free items are prepared and tailor your ordering to your own level of comfort and tolerance.
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Open for lunch daily 11:45 – 3, and dinner Sunday – Tuesday 5 – 8, Wednesday & Thursday 5 – 8:30, Friday & Saturday 5 – 9:30. 6 Petaluma Boulevard North A5 (in The Great Petaluma Mill), Petaluma CA 94952, 707 658 1156
We keep the snack pantry pretty well stocked over here at The Gluten Free Lab headquarters. And on our last regularly scheduled trip to Trader Joe’s we spied these Baked Lentil Chips with sea salt & black pepper. We sidled over slyly, grabbed a bag and uttered “why, hello you!” Later, with fingers speckled with diamonds of salt and flecks of black pepper, we smiled and deemed them good. Get your fingers on a bag at your local Trader Joe’s, or look for Mediterranean Snack Food Co.’s lentil chips, which are equally as delicious, and available in sea salt & black pepper or cucumber dill flavors.
Is it just us, or is this time of year absolute torture? Girl Scouts peddling delicious cookies door-to-door. Girl Scouts outside the grocery store. Girl Scout cookie-buying sheets in the office. There’s nary a place to escape if you’re a cookie-loving gluten-freer. According to the Girl Scout website, the future of a gluten-free cookie is dim, as their foray into the alternative cookie market via sugar-free cookies didn’t produce the number of sales they had hoped:
Q: Why don’t you offer cookies that are whole-wheat, wheat-free, non-dairy, dairy-free, vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, organic, low-carbohydrate, low-calorie, low-fat, non-fat, fat-free, etc.?
A: The demand for specialty cookie formulations is simply not great enough to make it economically feasible to offer a variety of specialty types. Of all the different possible formulations, sugar-free seems to be the most popular, yet in the past, even the sugar-free Girl Scout cookies that have been offered have had to be discontinued due to lack of demand. (“Sugar free cookie” is not synonymous with a “diabetic cookie” labeling.) Our bakers continue to experiment and develop formulations that balance the best tasting cookies using the healthiest ingredients.
Thus, we are left to our own devices. And rather than biting our lip when a friend crunches down on one of those perfectly crisp thin mint cookies, let us unite, put on our aprons, and make our own Girl Scout cookies! Here is our roundup of recipes for the most popular Girl Scout cookie varieties, which we hope you will use, reference, taste, and send us a box of your faves (kidding! but only sorta!):
Peanut butter filling sandwiched between crunchy oatmeal cookies
Thin Mints I
Thin Mints II (NOT a gluten-free recipe, try subbing King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Baking Mix for the flour called for in this recipe)
Thin Mints III
Thin, mint-flavored chocolate wafers dipped in a chocolate coating
Samoas II (NOT a gluten-free recipe, try using Bob’s Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix for the cookie base)
Samosas III (NOT a gluten-free recipe, try using pre-made gluten-free shortbread cookies such as Schar)
Vanilla cookies coated in caramel, sprinkled with toasted coconut and laced with chocolate stripes
Crispy vanilla cookies layered with peanut butter and covered with a chocolate coating
We have yet to sample the wares of Mama Baretta bakery in Penngrove, a bucolic town nestled among the Sonoma County, Calif. hills, but our mouths are watering and we’re eager to stop at one of a handful of Bay Area stores that carries this product line. Mama Baretta offers old world Italian flavors in delicious treats free of many allergens, including gluten, soy, peanut, egg, dairy and refined sugar (vegans: note the occasional use of honey). Staple offerings include multi-seed bread (with or without almonds), coconut macaroons, amaretti, corn bread, Italian snowballs, biscotti, Italian croutons, jalapeño corn bread & more!
If you’re in the area & want to meet the folks behind the bakery, Jim Rogers of Mama Baretta will share his family’s story and offer samples of their multi-seed bread, corn bread, biscotti, amaretti cookies, and snowball cookies at the upcoming North Bay Celiacs Sonoma County Support Group:
Sunday, February 20
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Conference Room D
1165 Montgomery Drive
(enter the main hospital entrance, continue down the hall to the right of the welcome desk, and look for Conference Room D on the left through the doors to the cafeteria)
email if you plan to attend, but RSVPs are not necessary
If you’ve tried Mama Baretta’s products, tell us about the products you like!
If you’re a Facebook user, you’ve probably seen the ads for Gluten Freeville over on the side of your screen. (Just one more case in point that consistent, targeted marketing works!) But we really like a certain feature Gluten Freeville has just added to their website: a directory. It is, purportedly, “the largest directory of gluten free resources on the web,” and as far as we can tell, it’s growing exponentially. Truth is, it’s a pretty cool idea, albeit there are others in existence out there (The Missing Menu, for onesies). On the Gluten Freeville Directory you can contribute and share your own experiences with others on Gluten Free companies, restaurants, healthcare professionals, blogs, travel & more. The beauty of this directory is that every day the list grows as individuals make their own contributions. If you’re interested in perusing the directory, adding your own input, or linking to it from your blog/website/online resource, go here. You’ll even find The Gluten Free Lab listed. We’re famous!
The Lab just stopped in at Bliss Bakery in Santa Rosa. YUM! Go there now for:
Savory Mediterranean bread pudding
Sweet potato curry soup
Apple pear cinnamon bars
Chocolate bread pudding
Chocolate chip cookies
Toffee cupcakes with frosting hearts on top
Or go there Saturday or Monday for special Valentine’s treats!
463 Sebastopol Avenue, Santa Rosa
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10-4
Make beet simple syrup
Peel 2 beets and cut into rounds about 1/4-inch thick. Place beet slices and 1 cup water into a medium saucepan set over high heat. Once mixture boils, add 1 1/2 cups of sugar, allow to come back to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Stir occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid thickens into a syrup-like consistency, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and separate beets from syrup. Set syrup aside for use in the cocktail recipe, below. When the beets are cool enough to handle, use a heart cookie cutter to create heart shapes from each slice; make one vertical cut from the center of the heart to the edge of the heart so that it will perch on the rim of the glass.
Make the cocktail
2 oz. vodka (good GF options include Chopin, Ciroc or Monopolova)
4 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
2 oz. ginger beer (we like Reed’s Ginger Brew)
1 tablespoon beet syrup for garnish
1 beet slice for garnish
Place vodka, grapefruit juice and ginger beer into a shaker. Add ice and hake vigorously for 30 seconds. Pour into a lo-ball glass filled with ice. Drizzle a tablespoon of beet syrup around the inner rim of the glass. Garnish with a heart beet.
Ah, yes. The Monday night Valentine’s Day. What a way to start the week: with a little romance at the end of the most unaccommodating work day. While this stunning cake isn’t exactly something one would whip up after work, it is something one could tackle over the weekend…and then there would be cake all the week long! (And who doesn’t love a little mid-week cake?)
i am baker. is a fabulously gorgeous, inspiring (and maybe a wee bit daunting) baking blog, albeit fully glutenous. Our long-time readers and long-time gluten-free bakers are sure to know a thing or two about recipe conversion, though, so if nothing else, i am baker. is a wonderful place to start brainstorming clever baking concepts. Like this heart cake! Or these other Valentine’s Day baking ideas! But be warned: gluten-free conversions will be in order. You might need our cookbook to help with flour selection and substitute recipes.
Whoa. Talk about being inspired to start some nose-training exercises with The Gluten Free Lab’s unofficial canine member, Charlie (who also happens to be gluten-free, as many dogs also suffer gluten intolerance)! Time for Charlie to start pulling her own weight and detecting whether or not the food we’re about to consume has gluten in it. Apparently there’s a thing or two our pooch can learn from Elias, a Beauceron showdog who also happens to work as a “hardworking gluten-detection service dog” in his free time.
Elias “…spent weeks in Slovenia completing gluten-detection training late last year (he and Scott [his owner, pictured above] returned at the very end of November, then rested a couple of days before heading out for the Long Beach competition), and now he can detect and warn her away from anything containing gluten, hot or cold, in all its many manifestations.
“Teaching a dog to be alert to the scent of gluten is much more complicated than most scent-detection training, because gluten comes in so many forms…When it’s time for him to do the sniff test for Scott, she places a cover with holes over the item, and Elias does his thing. She practices with him every day with known gluten-containing foods to augment the products she hopes are gluten-free so he doesn’t lose his edge. When there’s gluten, Elias tries to pull it away from her; if it’s safe, he simply looks away.”
We’re hoping The Lab’s dog Charlie lands a face-to-face interview with Elias. Stand by for that.
Always vegan. And also gluten-free. Keep an eye on this up and coming resource that will feature a blog, a community recipe hub (cool!), vegan and gluten-free tips & more!