Monthly Archives: April 2012

Celiac Disease Convention Surprisingly Delicious & Boozy

News Flash: Dum-Dums are gluten-free

You guys, this weekend was cray-cray! I just got finished partying with a bunch of Celiacs at the annual Celiac Disease Foundation Convention and you know what that means. That’s right, the Tito’s vodka was flowing, the gluten-free pizzas were being passed around, and nobody went home alone. Can I get a wha-what?

Or, you know, maybe the convention started at 7:30 a.m. and since the hotel was all of 2.5 minutes from my house and my kids woke us up at 5:30 I drank a lot of coffee and walked across the street to see what’s new and g-free! Either/Or.

The point is, I discovered some new tasty treats that are all gluten-free, and I’m going to fill you in on that business. As seen in the pile of free samples I walked away with, above. Not pictured: Bard’s gluten-free beer, which was chilling in my fridge; Venice Bakery gluten-free pizza crust, which was in my oven covered in prosciutto and mozzarella; and a snack pack of Lay’s original potato chips which I already ate. I kind of had to, as I didn’t know they were gluten-free, so when the nice man handed them out I immediately busted those chips open.

In addition to these goodies, you could kind of graze your way through the convention hall and fill up for the day on gluten-free foods. I have to say there’s something refreshing and very much an antidote to the disappointment I feel when walking through Costco on the weekend. I could eat anything in that entire place, you guys. ANYTHING. And I did. Here is one of my faves. Continue reading

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5 Gluten-Free Drive-Thru Solutions That Might Make You Sad

I hate to love you, oh Flying Dutchman

I don’t know about you, but I often find myself in serious need of food, with nothing easy in the house, and a toddler in the backseat who should never be allowed out of his car seat harness unless it’s to run inside his own home because that kid is CRAZY. Or perhaps that’s too specific. Do you, like me, get angry when you realize you have very few drive-thru options now that you can’t eat gluten? Yes? Well, come with me, I’ve got some solutions. I like to call it, “Operation: Avoid the Noid” Even though I’ve been avoiding the Noid long before I had to go gluten-free. Creepy dude, that Noid.

One of the first things I ever read after I was diagnosed with Celiac was to never leave the house hungry. We all know how unrealistic that is, what with the busy times. So I would say, instead, never leave the house without a purse full of muffins. Realistic? No?

Okay, how about, buy these 10 items every time you’re at the store so you always have some easy prep food waiting for you the minute you walk into the door, starving and drooling like a manic:

Almond/peanut butter
Gluten-free crackers
As much cheese as will fit in that tiny drawer in your fridge
Tortilla chips
Beans: Black, white, pinto, garbanzo — whatevs
Gluten-free sandwich meat such as: prosciutto, turkey, salami
Carrots, peeled and ready to rock
Corn (gluten-free) tortillas
Favorite fruit
Eggs

I will apologize to the vegans in advance, as I don’t know how to kill that need for fast food if you can’t have dairy. Of course, until they actually have fast food joints for vegans, this issue does not actually exist.

So here’s what you throw together when you get home all starving and angry. Continue reading

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Fava Bean Hummus: CSA Box Recipes

Happy Hump Day! It’s time to bust open the box of produce from your local CSA (you totally have one, right?) or what we used to call “the garden” and whip up something delicious and nutritious. And of course, gluten-free. Again, the awesomeness about produce is that it’s naturally gluten-free, you just have to make sure you don’t add anything in that contains gluten. And you’re not going to do that, are you? No, silly, of course not.

In the spirit of choosing the weirdest things in the CSA box, I decided to tackle the obscenely large fava beans that arrived all fresh and intimidating. Look at this –

Objects in photograph even larger than they appear.

What the heck, fava beans? Since I wasn’t totally sure how to go with this, I followed the recipe provided by my CSA, Good Life Organics, and went to town making some fava bean hummus. Which was terrific, you guys! Totally garlic-y, for those of you with issues, but if you don’t mind stinking up the place, this is your recipe.

First, you have to shell these big boys, which can offer you a lovely moment of contemplation, as shelling beans is not a quick endeavor especially when faced with these oversized pods of manliness. And of course as my mind wandered, I couldn’t help but be reminded of growing up on a farm and serial killers.

The only adaptation you have to make to enjoy this gluten-free is (obviously) enjoying it with crudite or gluten-free crackers, so don’t even sweat it. Instead, blend up this fava bean hummus right now. Do it. Continue reading

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So Here’s a Good Gluten-Free Beer

After my brief foray into testing wheat-free beer (that still had the barley) I’ve realized that’s a fool’s game, my friends. Partially because, why am I tempting fate? It’s not like beer is something I can eat for breakfast which is — let’s face it — the most annoying meal of the day when you’re gluten-free. Beer is just a sidecar to your cheeseburger on a gluten-free bun. Also, Gluten Dude totally bummed me out when he posted about an obituary of a 46-year-old woman with Celiac disease. Yeah, it kind of makes you rethink your cavalier barley drinking when you remember that people can actually die from the side effects of this whole disease.

But enough of that kind of talk, let’s meet my new beer friend, Gluten Free The People Dark Ale. I stumbled upon it at my local BevMo, and have not been able to find out one single thing about it since. No website that I an easily locate, no Twitter feed or Facebook page. It’s just kind of this thing that exists on the bottom shelf of BevMo. (I was going to say kind of like my sister-in-law but that only counts for the Twitter and the Facebook.) I hope they up their profile because this is a dang good beer, and here’s why. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Los Angeles: Zankou Chicken

For those of you don’t watch Curb Your Enthusiasm, or live in the greater Los Angeles area you may be wondering why in the heck I’m posting gluten-free news about a chicken joint. But Zankou is not just any chicken joint (see: Curb, and more recently, Saturday Night Live), it’s an institution.  A hole-in-the-wall that serves up the juiciest chicken, and the freshest hummus (with paprika? I think? whatever — it’s yum-rika) in the SoCal area, Zankou is addictive. I know addictive roast chicken sounds completely insane to the rest of the world. But there’s also the amazing garlic butter, and pita and hummus that round it out. And yes, I realize those things also don’t exactly scream, “gotta’ have it!” So you’re just going to have to trust me on this one.

Naturally once I went gluten-free, Zankou was off the list, since seeing the pita made me sad. But gradually I came around again and last night I thrilled my entire family by stopping by Zankou Chicken and picking up a bird and a falafel plate.

I was inspired by not only my children’s new-found love for the Zankou (their father was sneaking them there when I wasn’t around — hey, it’s better than the strip club), but also by the FAQ section on their website that proudly announces that everything but the pita and the tabouleh salad are gluten-free. Woot!

So this is what our dinner table looked like last night. Continue reading

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27,000-Hour Gluten-Free Greek Lasagna Just Might Be Worth It

Have you ever cooked up something and you were like, “Oh my god, that was so amazing. I’m never making it again.” That’s how I feel about this delicious gluten-free Greek lasagna that seriously took me HOURS to make while I kept telling my family dinner was almost ready. Yes, I lied.

I picked up this magazine called, “Light and Healthy” because you know, we’re trying to eat light and healthy between my forays into deep-frying and sugar loading. I mistakenly believed that light and healthy also meant super easy. But there’s a “light and healthy” bechamel sauce in here, gang! This is where I give you another tip: Always read the recipe in its entirety before deciding you can whip up something in half-a-Wilco-album time.

Seriously, I’m pretty sure this recipe was more difficult than childbirth, if I’d actually experienced child-birth. Which is way TMI for this gluten-free food blog. That’s why I took a picture with the goods, coming out of my oven.

I would not be surprised, however, if you found this recipe to be much more simple than I did. Perhaps, I too could have had an easier time had I not; a) Started dinner at 6pm in hopes of having it on the table by 6:30pm, and b) Not had to throw Tupperware at my children’s heads to distract them from their requests to “help” with all the chopping and sautéing. So perhaps it will only take you like, two hours to complete instead of my 27,000. Good luck with that.

Here’s how you can make a light and healthy Greek lasagna gluten-free. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Pizza in Austin: Southside Flying Pizza + Potential

Here’s the thing about gluten-free pizza. It’s hard to get it right. It’s also one of those things that when you crave it, you kind of need to have it RIGHT NOW. I’ve been lucky here in Los Angeles in that I enjoy Lucifer’s gluten-free pizza in Los Feliz. And when I went to San Francisco I was totally stoked about Amici’s, but I have to say I’ve eaten more crappy gluten-free pizza than good. So when I was in Austin, Texas, home of two of my absolute favorite full-on gluten-filled pizza places (can I get a hell yeah for Mangia and Conan’s?) I thought I could get a great pie since I was also in the gluten-free capital of the world. Turns out, it was more challenging than that.

Another great pizza spot, conveniently located down the street from where my brother lives and where we were all staying, is Home Slice. So I called them with my fingers crossed and they said they were working on finding a gluten-free crust. However, they had not found one they loved yet, but to check back. Right on, Home Slice. As I said on the phone, “Keep on keepin’ on,” and the dude responded in kind. I was in Austin, anyway.

Then I called up Southside Flying Pizza, and this is the place where gluten-free magic happens – Continue reading

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The Best Gluten-Free Grilled Cheese Includes BBQ Pork & Dessert, Of Course

Yesterday was National Grilled Cheese Day, you guys! Which means all of us gluten-hating types stayed in bed with the covers over our heads. That was my plan at least, until Udi’s tipped me off to their gluten-free grilled cheese challenge. “Hey April,” they said, “how about we send you some bread and you work your magic?” “On it,” I said. Here are the breads –

And that is how I wound up in the kitchen making gluten-free grilled cheese sandwiches three different ways. One of which, didn’t actually have cheese. I know! Your mind is totally blown right now, yes? All three were amazoids, but for the purpose of this challenge, I had to pick a winner. That winner is the BBQ Pork, Extra Sharp Cheddar, & Stone Ground Mustard served on Udi’s Omega Flax & Fiber gluten-free bread.

A close second was served up on Udi’s Millet-Chia gluten-free bread, where I combined the magic of brie, ham, and caramelized onions. Of course, I like to call the ham “jambon” and the grilled cheese some kind of a “monsieur” because I’m part French! And part ridiculous. Here ’tis the Frenchie.

Yummers.

And for the finale, I grabbed some of Udi’s classic gluten-free white and made a peanut butter and chocolate grilled sandwich. It was gone this quick –

She looks like she’s really contemplating the beauty of the marriage of chocolate and peanut butter, yes?

So if you want to grill up a mess of gluten-free sandwiches, grab some Udi’s and go to town. Like so: Continue reading

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Miley Cyrus Going Gluten-Free: Awesome or Redonkulous?

Ugh, I think I just got gluten'd

As someone who was just diagnosed with Celiac disease a little over a year ago, every time I hear about a Zooey, Novak, or even a Gwyneth I’m like “Hooray!” After all, that’s one more restaurant I can walk into that might have heard about this gluten thing thanks to the famous. I can totally get behind that. Yet, I realize there’s an eye roll factor here.

After all, if you don’t have to go gluten free, but you think it’s going to help you lose weight or win the U.S. Open, well, eff you. Because when those of us who don’t have a choice hear that people are going gluten-free willy-nilly for reasons that are not only not scientifically sound, but just stupid trendy, it’s annoying.

But before I cast a stone in Miley Cyrus’ general direction, I’d like to first give that little hell-raiser the benefit of the doubt. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake: CSA Box Recipes

Beets. The hot vegetable popping up on every farm-to-table menu across the U.S. of A. is reaching the super ingredient tipping point. Pancakes, any kind of salad, a pot roast — you can throw beets in all of those things and call it gourmet. I, however, hate beets.

Nonetheless, these kind of amazing looking chioggia beets showed up in my CSA box and I was determined to do something with them that I would also enjoy. Otherwise they would just go bad and get thrown out, and what a waste. I have plenty of other vegetables that meet that fate every other week, so I wasn’t going to blow this opportunity. Look at these cuties –

I’ve heard rumors about cakes made with the beets, and this chocolate beet bundt cake was not bad. I mean, it was delicious and moist, and people were requesting the recipe. People who love beets, I’m guessing. People who hate beets probably felt like there was too much beet flavor inside. So you must decide if you want to get your beet on, or you want to have just a normal cake, sans hipster vegetable. Here’s where I give you a tip!

If you’re making a cake for the first time, and you want to taste it before you serve it up, pour a little bit of the batter into a ramekin and take it out about 5 — 10 minutes before your big cake finishes. Use a toothpick to test, by making sure it comes out clean. Then you won’t have an embarrassing moment of OMG, my cake tastes like ass and everyone is eating it! Then, add edible flowers on top so people think, wow, that’s pretty, I don’t even notice the beet/dirt taste!

But seriously, lots of people loved this, it was almost awesome. If not for the beets.

Regardless, it was a totally fun experiment. After that hard sell, here’s how you can do it. Continue reading

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