Monthly Archives: December 2011

Gluten-Filled Bagels, It’s ON

EVIL! EVIL!

I’m totally ready to kick some ass. Some bagel ass. You see, I thought it would be super rad to have some bagels up in our house for Christmas brunch. I didn’t have a chance to get over to Culver City, where the best g-free bagels exist. And honestly, I’m so over bread that I have no problem serving up gluten-filled bagels when I have people over. You know people. People who eat gluten.

But something happened on Christmas, and now I swear on everything holy, I will never allow another bagel into my home again. Ever. Eff you bagels. EFF you. If you’re a fan of the bagel, you should really stop reading now.

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Gluten-Free Gifts for Celiacs & the People Who Love/Hate Them

Also, what you can expect to get from a celiac. Because the kitchen is closed to gluten, you guys. I don’t care if I only know like, one other celiac besides me. No one is getting gluten from me this year. NO ONE. The good news is, if you’re buying for a hard-to-please gluten-hater, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, it’s a little bit hipster. Which means I’m assuming your gluten-free friend is also a hipster. No offense to you or the hipster you pal around with.

This is how you make gluten-free dreams come true — food and booze. Hence, this booze- and food-filled record bowl. Pile your gift bag, bowl, or box with gluten-free cookies and gluten-free candy. Add a Mason jar or two of infused liquor, and voila! Hipster celiac gift.

You’re probably wondering how I got that album bowl. Well, I learned how to make something out of nothing this year. Having worked in the music biz, and been a dorky yard sale album collector, I’ve got a lot of useless LPs sitting around my house. Like this one -

But you can turn that record into a bowl in like five seconds if you’re willing to part with your vinyl. Here’s how!

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Best Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cup Cookies in the GD Universe

I have this friend Jodie who used to make a gang of us the most amazing baked goods you’ve ever had. Ever. Jodie has the gift. There was one amazeballs cookie that hid a peanut butter cup in its creamy center and was surrounded by goodness that we all looked forward to every holiday season. I’m telling you guys, these cookies were the mother scratching bomb. I’m pretty sure they could cure leprosy. I even woo’d my husband — then boyfriend — with these cookies. I knew that paying my friend to make cookies for the guy I had only been dating a few months was weird, but whatever. Totally worked.

While Jodie always kept her recipe a secret, now that I live across the continent from her and her lovely treats, and I can’t even eat them anymore, I decided to try to figure out how to do them myself. And, of course, make these peanut butter cup delights gluten-free. Dear reader, I did it. (I think. Jodie, tell me what I left out. Chocolate liquor? Fairy dust? Chocolate liquor fairy dust?) They are almost as perfect as Jodie’s. Which means, amazing, but not transcendent. If only I had that secret ingredient. (Jodie, are you reading??? Please don’t tell me it’s “gluten.”) My husband claims they are the Jodie cookie. I thought so at first too. But I must test them on other fans of the cookie to make sure before I go around bragging that I can make you cry while eating a baked good. Oh, what the hell. THEY’RE AWESOME, EVERYBODY!!!

Okay, one weird thing. They kind of stick to your gums. But if you’d like to look on the bright side, that means you have an extra bit of cookie to keep and enjoy later. You’re welcome.

Once again, thanks to Thomas Keller and his scrumptious Cup4Cup gluten-free flour mix I was able to produce some seriously delish cookies. It took some practice, and I’ll admit my first batch is downright ugly, if not mouth-watering. But I’ve cracked the code on these peanut butter cup chunks of orgasmic heaven and I will now share with you, the secrets of the universe. In a cookie.

Step 1: Roll into a lovely peanut butter ball

Step 2: Add scrumptious peanut butter cup

Step 3: Create deliciousness in a patty

Step 4: Bake, eat, repeat.

Happy freaking holidays, celiacs.

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Gluten-Free Latke Recipe From a Celiac Shiksa

You cannot have the Hanukkah without some lovely fried potato pancakes, or as the chosen people call them — latkes. Even though my own Protestant mother used to make potato pancakes with leftover mashed potatoes (ohemgee, yummm), I’m determined to make these ‘cakes the way my husband usually does: Jewish style.

Now, I’ve fried many a food item in my day, but I took one look at this latke recipe that is naturally gluten-free and I totally do not get how you can make something fry in a patty without flour. Even hash browns at Denny’s come from some kind of super pressing  machine, right? Or something?

Yet I do love a recipe with very few ingredients, and this is all you need: potatoes, onion, salt, water, egg and oil. Oh, and this awesome menorah my two-year-old made in pre-school:

Yes, he does have a gift.

You know who else does? My daughter, who did all the squeezing of the ‘taters in a kitchen towel, like so.

And this kid HATES potatoes! But that’s how you do it, people. No, I don’t know why we keep the menorah in the kitchen.

But I do know how amazing these latkes are. Which is, so amazing. In fact, my husband and I ate all but two of them while my toddler was napping. Sadly, he woke up and ate the last two and then he cried for more. Of course there were no more, because we couldn’t help but stuff ourselves while he was completely unaware of the deliciousness going on in his own home.

Great latkes, bad parents.

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Gluten-Free Christmas Candy Because You’re Worth It

It’s time to stuff your face with candy, or make it for holiday gifts. Or both! Luckily lots of candy is naturally gluten-free. Unluckily, you’ll have to make it yourself since if you buy it, your candy of choice just might have all kinds of unpronounceable ingredients that may or may not contain the devil gluten. But yet, luckily again, I’ve been slaving over a hot candy thermometer just so you guys can have some great recipes for the holidays! Yes, that’s totally the only reason. Don’t look at me that way. No that’s not butter mint on my boob shelf/catch-alls.

So after experimenting (and failing miserably with the divinity — I clearly should never have moved away from the South’ish) I’ve found three winners that simply scream Christmas candy. Put these into your goodie bags, or stuff them all up in your face, I don’t care. They’re gluten-free and festive as hell. I made this:

See’s Fudge

Here’s the story with this fudge. My mother put together a family cookbook a long time ago, and this recipe was via my Aunt Shirley. Of course, I always thought See was some crazy old ancestor no one ever talked about, but was instead memorialized in this amazing fudge recipe. Then I went to California and understood that See is actually a huge candy corporation that may, or may not, sue me for reprinting this recipe. Still, this is super easy and I’ve been making it every holiday for years. This year, however, I learned a very valuable lesson about See’s Fudge: Go cheap, or go home. You see, I thought it might be nice to take it up a notch and try some organic condensed milk, maybe low-fat, some very fancy chocolate, and hey, why not some organic raw sugar while I was at it? Four attempts later I went back to the cheap stuff — we’re talking Carnation, Nestle, and Pure Cane Sugar from Hawaii — and voila, the fudge was to die for.

Butter Mints

When I was growing up I went through a candy making phase that can only be described as “crazy” and “of the ’80s.” I had rubber candy molds, lollipop molds, chocolate molds, the works. One of my favorite things to make were these butter mints in little flower patterns. This recipe, however, tells you to go to town with a cookie cutter. So I did!

Pretzel Almond Turtles

So incredibly easy, I could make, and eat, these in my sleep. The only trick is making it gluten-free. The pretzels are a no-brainer because I’m addicted to Glutino’s gluten-free pretzels. But finding chocolate covered caramels that are gluten-free is another task altogether. Lucky for me, I live near Trader Joe’s and they have chocolate covered salted caramels. But you may not, so always check with your candy company first. In a pinch (like I was in last night) buy Dove candies as their ingredient list is safe, even though it’s been manufactured in a facility with wheat. If you’re super sensitive, skip the sampling and give these out as holiday gifts to those without the sprue.

Here’s how you too, can be the talk of the neighborhood when you show up with your gluten-free candy. Oh, who are we kidding, you’re already the talk of the neighborhood because you’re gluten-free and a massive pain in the ass to prep for when invited to a party.

Happy Holidays!

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Gluten-Free Spaghetti and Meatballs To Kill the Gluten Craving

I don’t know if it’s the holidays, or just that I’m in month twelve of living gluten-free, but damn did I almost have a relapse yesterday. You see, my daughter had a school function at 10am, which I thought was a safe time — food-wise. Yet when I arrived there was a huge table that stretched all the way to the end of my rope, filled with donuts, bagels, kugel, sugar cookies and latkes. It was a gluten extravaganza and I thought I was going to lose my ever-lovin’ mind. The gluten envy hit me hard yesterday and no manner of stuffing myself with meat and cheese could drive it away. Then it hit me: I had to have pizza.

I found myself driving by Pizza Hut. Yep, it was bad. So I decided the only way to get this out of my system was to make some homemade meatballs and bust out the gluten-free spaghetti and surprisingly, this was a huge hit with every member of my family. Which is kind of sad when you think about it, since the last time we actually ate Italian food together was before I was diagnosed and that one time I made gluten-free pizza. Which I don’t even think counts because it was nothing like going out to eat at all. Clearly my family has been suffering due to my celiac. Even though their suffering means less carbs, I don’t think anyone in my family of four actually is trying to diet. Especially not the two-year-old.

But dry your tears, family, for these big spicy meatballs atop of some gf spaghetti totally hit the spot.

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Gluten-Free Kugel & Brisket When You’re Allergic to Hanukkah

Hanukkah, Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, the “other” Christmas. Whatever you celebrate, if you’ve got an issue with gluten, you’ve got an issue with Hanukkah. Those delicious Jewish foods just loooove flour as an ingredient, so the celiac in league with Judah Maccabee has got to get creative.

Part one of my foray into the gluten-free Hanukkah goodness found me preparing a gluten-free kugel (sweet, of course) and a gluten-free brisket for an unsuspecting crowd of friends. Most of them weren’t even Jewish, but hey! What better mixed religious group to test out my gluten-free Hanukkah recipes than people who have never even had kugel before? (Tony, I’m looking at you.) Don’t they seem happy, and well-fed?

The wine helps.

Which is my first piece of advice to you, if you’re preparing a gluten-free holiday meal. Serve lots of booze and no one will notice if there’s a weird xanthan gum after taste. Hell, they won’t even notice if you’re serving kosher meat or not. Suckas.

Kugel is actually super easy to make gluten-free if you just get a fantastic gluten-free pasta. The people at Swanson’s (not the turkey pot pie people, darn it) let me shop in their amazing online food stuffs store where you can browse by diet, and I came away with this gorgeous gluten-free pasta made by Casalare. Don’t they look totally normal?

These macaroni twists may not be the traditional egg noodle, but they made for an excellent kugel. Right, Tony?

This is where I mention I also made a brisket using 6 onions. SIX! I just swapped in my favorite gluten-free all-purpose flour for the browning of the meat and voila, gluten-free brisket. I skipped the garlic in this recipe because one of my friends who came over has a garlic allergy. Yeah, puts your little wheat thing in perspective, doesn’t it? Garlic allergy. How much would that suck? A lot.

But as you saw in the photo above, no one missed the gluten, nor the garlic. I did, however, have to break down and buy a traditional challah. I just don’t have the patience to make gluten-free challah anymore. But feel free to skip that as well, for your Hanukkah celebration. Serve more wine instead.

Here’s how you can g-free your Hanukkah. Stay tuned for gluten-free latkes!

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