Monthly Archives: February 2012

Gluten-Free Los Angeles: The Counter

Ahh, yeah, it’s about time a burger joint loaded up on gluten-free buns in the greater Los Angeles area. I’m tired of bringing my own bun to every greasy spoon, chain, and friend’s house. Sure I’m prepared to go protein style, and I usually do, but when I see a gluten-free bun on an actual menu, well, my heart grows two sizes larger.

What made this discovery especially exciting was that I stopped by The Counter on Wilshire Boulevard with my toddler, in hopes of having a mom and me lunch date. I had zero expectations about gluten-free, I just knew that my little dude would eat a cheeseburger, and hopefully not go batshit crazy in public. (Wrong, on both counts.) Still, when I was presented with my order form that The Counter is famous for, imagine my surprise when a bun option was gluten-free. Wheeeeee! Continue reading

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Wolfgang Puck Doesn’t Care About Zooey Deschanel & Her Gluten

How crazy do I look, here? Really?

So as everyone within a 20-mile radius knows, I’m going to the Oscars this weekend. What everyone may not know (and I didn’t even know earlier this week) is that I got to go to a sneak preview of Wolfgang Puck’s menu for the Governor’s Ball, where all the Hollywood stars head to get their eat on after they’ve picked up their gold statues. You guys, I got to sample the meal that Ryan Gosling would be eating had he not been robbed of an Academy Award nomination. Except, I didn’t at all because of all the gluten.  (Insert sad face here.)

I know Gosling feels for me, if this tumblr blog is to be believed, but I’m even more concerned about fellow gluten-hater, Zooey Deschanel. While she’s not nominated for an Oscar, Zooey is most definitely an A-lister who could score a ticket to the hottest dinner in town. But I’m here to warn you: Deschanel, stay away from the biggest ball in Hollywood. It’s all covered in gluten. This kind of gluten. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Apres Ski Near Mt. Baldy

I’m prepared for all of you Colorado types, Vermont residents, and anyone in the actual north where snow happens to totally laugh my latest trip to a ski “resort.” Because over the holiday weekend, my family and I went to Mt. Baldy in Southern California. To do snow things. Even though it was sunny and shorts weather where we live. But dammit, my family was about to get some snow time action if it killed us (or at least made us drive, like, an hour away). Even if this is what it looked like going up the mountain.

Cute, but snow-less. Which is what I always suspected when people swore that SoCal living meant “snowboarding in the morning, and surfing in the afternoon.” Show-offs. Yet, we still took the kids snow tubing. And whether it was man-made snow, or a hallucination, or a combo, it was super fun that looked like this — Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Coconut Layer Cake to Wreck Your Diet + Giveaway!

I’ve been trying to be all healthy and stuff for the past few weeks, yet I whipped up a gluten-free coconut layer cake. That’s called sabotage, my friends. But for the best of reasons! You see, the lovely people at Bob’s Red Mill are looking for a little recipe development and I drew the “coconut flour” straw. On purpose, because one of the main things I think about since I lost my ability to eat gluten without it attacking my insides, is that luscious coconut cake from the farm of Pepperidge. A cake farm is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

I know those guys don’t use coconut flour in their layer cakes, but when I hear the words “coconut flour” I automatically think about those white layers of icing and cake and a smattering of coconut. Mmmmm . . . smattering. So I was sent some coconut flour and flakes to do some experimenting. (Note, in addition to making this amazoids cake, I made some coconut flour gluten-free meatloaf, and scones. All RAD.) Yet this coconut layer cake was the mother scratching bomb, so I’m going to lay it all out for you.

But before we get to the butter cream frosting, let me fill you in about the wonders of coconut flour. Some fun facts, if you will.

1. Coconut flour is hella’ dense, so you’ve got to either cut back on the amount you substitute when cooking gluten-free, or add tons of moisture. Or both! Experiment a lot to get the right texture. Also, you might want to sift it before using to give it some air up in there. I did.

2. Coconut flour is packed with protein. Great for vegetarians and vegans. Or people who love coconut flour, duh.

3. Coconut flour smells like weed. (Okay, I think this. My husband thinks I’m crazy. But I’m standing by this, as I’m pretty sure I know what marijuana smells like.)

All of this is to say, you need some coconut flour in your diet. I worked with a couple of different recipes and re-jiggered them to create this coconut layer cake, and it was so delicious my husband took half of it to his office to remove the temptation from our home. At least I think that’s why he took it to his office. Hmmmmmm. I, however, can’t seem to stop eating this incredibly moist, fluffy, coconut cake. And there goes my Oscar diet.

If you, too, want to blow your diet and wow your office-mates with this gorge coconut layer cake, it’s your lucky day! I’m giving away a bag of coconut flour, and coconut flakes from Bob’s Red Mill, along with a $50 gift card to tha’ Mill. Just leave a comment on my Facebook page telling me how you like to wreck your diet. Easy! I’ll do a random drawing, and announce the winner next week. After the Oscars, and after I can see how much damage having another piece of cake for breakfast is doing to my body.

Here’s how to make that cake: Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Banana Bread Muffins Better With Chocolate Chips

Isn’t everything, though? Making a pie? Throw some chocolate chips on top. Hiking solo with hopes on scoring a major movie deal where you are played by James Franco? Better put some chocolate chips in your trail mix, if you want to survive long enough to cut off your own arm. Basically, chocolate chips rule.

So when pulling together some banana bread muffins to take with us on our big President’s Day snow tubing (which I’ve never heard of, and cannot figure out how there is snow in Southern California, but I’m so totally game. Still, I HAVE NO IDEA HOW SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WORKS.) trip, I thought I’d add them into an otherwise pretty basic recipe. Guess who is about to get applause in the car on the way to Mt. Baldy? Me. Or at least I’d better, or I’m turning this car around and no one will be allowed to see snow EVER AGAIN. Continue reading

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My All New Gluten-Filled Diet

I'm coming to get you, gluten.

I’m pretty sure I’ve found the answer to my latest dilemma. You see, I’m covering the red carpet at the Academy Awards next week for my other job, and wow do I wish I was about ten pounds lighter for the gown that would inspire either, “Is she famous?” or even, “Hey, that girl that no one cares about behind the scenes looks hot in that dress.” Sure, I could go work out, and  stop trying to re-create an amazoids gluten-free sponge cake that goes perfectly with mozzarella sticks. Or, I could just eat as much gluten as possible for the next week and drop that pound-age like it’s hot. Come on, don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it too.*

This is how I would start: Continue reading

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Cheater’s Chana Masala Is Gluten-Free (Because GF ‘Parents Need to Eat Too’)

Debbie Koenig knows that parents need to eat too, even if you’re stuck in the middle of a spit-up and poop explosion (hopefully not yours). Debbie Koenig taught me how to make Indian food, and I’m going to show you how too. Debbie Koenig is also an awesome dining partner when you’re in Atlanta and are trying to find a restaurant to make a bunch of food bloggers happy, one of which is a pain-in-the-ass newly diagnosed Celiac.  Debbie Koenig tips well, and leaves nice notes around the house. (Okay, I don’t know about that last one.) All of this is to say, I am super stoked to have a copy of her new cookbook, and life book, Parents Need to Eat Too. I mean, look at this awesomeness -

(A note: This is not Debbie in the photo. Debbie is much cuter.)

So I’m joining this blog party that is to help you — the new cook, the old cook, the new mom, the new dad, the exhausted old mom/dad — figure out how to grocery shop, stock your pantry, and whip up delicious, healthy dinners while still keeping your shit together. The trick to all of this is buying Parents Need to Eat Too, and reading it from cover to cover.  And anyone who orders before February 21 receives a free Digital Starter Kit including bonus recipes, a gift card, and MUCH MORE! (Their words, but I’m excited too.)

After receiving my own copy of this super duper guide, I decided to make what I assumed to be the most difficult dish in her entire arsenal: Cheater’s Chana Masala. I say this, as a native Oklahoman who did not know what Indian food was until I moved to New York City. As a part Native American Indian gal, I just thought Indian food meant “maize.” Needless to say, I impressed myself, and my husband, by whipping up this delicious, naturally gluten-free, dish in no time. Cheater’s Chana Masala is the BOMB. Gf, or not gf. But it’s totally gf, or I’d be complaining that; Debbie Koenig really wants to poison me.

Here’s how you too can buy Parents Need to Eat Too, and make your own masala. Continue reading

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‘Dear Abby’ Takes On Gluten-Free Dining, Finally

As an avid reader of Dear Abby of all generations, Ann Landers & co., Miss Manners, Cary Tennis, and anyone else with a big mouth who wants to tell us all what to do — I was delighted to see the advice column address dining out etiquette in a gluten-free world. Here’s the dilemma:

Q. Dear Abby: I was recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant. My question is, when dining at a restaurant, while everyone else is eating the bread that is served, is it acceptable to discreetly take a few gluten-free crackers from my purse and snack on them so I’m not starving while waiting for dinner?

My husband thought it was inappropriate, so I didn’t take them. I did ask the waiter if he had gluten-free bread or crackers, but he didn’t. I have many medical issues. I try to eat only what is healthy for me and thought providing my own crackers was a minor deal. What do you think, Abby? — Gluten Intolerant in Florida

While Abby, or whoever is carrying on the Abby tradition, answered pretty much perfectly I think she might have held back in one particular area. That would be the area of, “Your husband is a douche, and you might be off your rocker.”

Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Valentine’s Day Dinner: Braised Short Ribs & Twice Baked Potatoes

This Valentine’s Day dinner, my friends, will get you laid by a celiac. Who am I kidding? A gluten-free doughnut will get you laid by a celiac, but it’s Valentine’s Day and you should totally make the extra effort. Also, never take a celiac out to dinner on Valentine’s Day to a place s/he’s never been before. You know, in case of the gluten’ing.

But if you have a special person in your life who is tired of seeing delicious short ribs on every farm-to-table/gastro-pub/pretend “diner” that’s actually fancy-pants, in the neighborhood, and never being able to order them. Because most people put soy sauce in the delicious glaze, or coat the ribs in flour before cooking. Let me tell you right now, I’m not going to do that craziness.

So head out to your butcher, pick up some ‘taters, and don’t forget like maybe some kale because it’s wicked good for you. Here’s your gluten-free Valentine’s Day menu for luv-ahs. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Spinach Lasagna Cupcakes

So I listen to a lot of NPR. I live in Los Angeles, I’m a mother of two, I lean left politically, helped organize a CSA for my kid’s pre-school, and I’m in my car a lot. Therefore, this admission of public radio fandom should not surprise you one bit. What is surprising (to me, anyway) was my visceral reaction to a commercial (I know! On public radio!) that was playing all through the holiday season.

There is this company in Los Angeles that makes an incredible variety of lasagna cupcakes that are so mouth-watering that it is torturous to a celiac to even think about them. Much less hear them being pitched as the greatest holiday gift anyone could ever receive. And I’m pretty sure, by the way, they are the greatest holiday gift anyone could ever receive. Unless you’ve got the sprue.

All I could think about through the holidays were, can I please eat a lasagna cupcake, Lord? Just one? Or five? Already knowing the answer to this prayer, I took it upon myself to make some g-free lasagna cupcakes of my own. It’s much harder than it sounds, my friends.

You see, the one brand of gluten-free lasagna sold in Whole Foods is one of those “no-boil” lasagna noodle types. Which means you can’t make it into the bowl-shape. It also means that if you’re making lasagna cupcakes, which do not need as much cooking time as regular lasagna, your “no-boil” lasagna noodles are bullshit. And you’ll have to improvise with just breaking lasagna noodles like this –

Not only can you not make a bowl, they’ll crunch when you eat them. Even if the package scolds you for even thinking about cooking those noodles, you’ve got to boil those gluten-free noodles. No matter how many times you’ve wound up with gluten-free noodle mush. Boil those mothers. Cook up those noodles, shape them into a cupcake holder, and in return, you will enjoy the most divine creation ever, or at least since you’ve been banned from eating the semolina. Seriously. Love. Lasagna. Cupcakes. Next time, I’m experimenting with veggie, short rib, and roasted squash lasagna cupcakes. That’s how much I love this idea.

In the meantime, here’s how you can make your own handheld gluten-free lasagna cupcakes. Continue reading

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