Gluten-Free Las Vegas: Crush, Black Bear Diner & Mon Ami Gabi

gluten-free las vegasI’ve finally recovered from my trip to Las Vegas in January. OK, that’s not totally true. I’ve finally recovered from sitting through Jersey Boys in Las Vegas. My eyes! My ears!

But one thing that was super awesome was my gluten-free belly. Every single restaurant I found myself in had a gluten-free menu, you guys! Every. Single. One. Which is one good reason why even though Vegas is kind of, umm, gross, it’s also awesome!

Srsly, every time I go I’m like, “Well, I don’t really like Vegas . . . ” but I wind up having a bang-up time, mostly because of the company I’m in, but also because I keep thinking about how family-friendly Vegas could be and how it would blow the kid’s minds if we took a family vacation to the most surreal place on earth.  And the relief that comes from being able to eat safely kind of seals the deal about Vegas being a great vacation spot. Between the fancy (see above) to the greasy spoon, gluten-free grub is around every corner. That spread up there? That’s from the super fance MGM restaurant, Crush. In addition to the roasted cauliflower and hamachi you see above, I also scarfed down the shrimp risotto. They even have a vegan menu!

Now for something completely different, the Black Bear Diner is a local chain with breakfast as big as yo’ head. They also have homemade biscuits that everyone around you will eat and you’ll be sad. Still, check out this skillet full o’ gluten-free goodness. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free New York City: Maialiono, Artisanal, Gramercy Tavern + More

gluten-free new york city

I think this was supposed to me, and I’m scared

I just ate my way through NYC, you guys. I did. I’m lucky enough to have great friends who love great food so anytime I find myself in the area I get at least one dinner date that just blows me away and makes me say things like, “Ohmygod, New York food is sooooo much better than Los Angeles,” while I’m about three glasses of wine into a meal. Because, you know, judging dinner while drunk is an excellent measure of a meal.

Still, I did have some amazing gluten-free meals and can’t wait to head back, meet more friends (it was a quick trip), eat more food, and get more fab advice from NYC Grubber who I follow obsessively on Instagram. First awesome tip? Maialiono in the Gramercy Park Hotel.

gluten-free new york cityYeah, that’s some gluten-free pasta with cannellini beans and escarole, what of it? It was great and all, but two more things made this meal spectacular: gluten-free bread, and THREE KINDS OF GLUTEN-FREE PASTA TO CHOOSE FROM!!!!! Oh, and awesome friends. Duh.

The next night I had a bang-up risotto at Peasant. This restaurant, while a bit more difficult to navigate, was one of those magical places where you feel like you’re in a movie while you dine. The wine was crazy good, and our waitress had just enough attitude.

gluten-free new yorkSpeaking of movies, I highly recommend you follow up a dinner at Peasant with a vodka shot at Pravda coupled with an intense argument with your bestest friends about Woody Allen. Or maybe just the vodka.

Hold the mother scratchin’ phone! For those of you who have been reading for a bit, you know that I heart the cheese so much. I remember very well the first time I went to Artisanal right off Park Ave. and enjoyed cheese followed by a side of cheese. I met the dearest friend (wow, that sounds SO proper!) for lunch after a morning of wedding registry (not mine, hers) and was slightly worried about being disappointed on account of the lack of fondue I was about to consume. Guess what came out with the seasonal cheese tray?

gluten-free new yorkRecognize those Glutinos up in there???? I also had a lovely tuna lunch, which, while not a grilled cheese, was still good.

The true test of my fave New York restaurants came on our last day there. See, before we moved away my husband and I had a tradition of going to lunch at Gramercy Tavern on our wedding anniversary. Why lunch? Cheaper, no reservations, and the tavern seating is kind of more awesome than the white tablecloth dining room. Also, you still get the greatest food. See that cappuccino up there at the top? Yeah, they did that.

Gramercy is constantly at the top of like, every list, all the time. So I was pretty scared to walk in as if I could eat there safely. Yet, everyone was SO on board. Not only that, you guys, this may not look like much -

gluten-free new yorkBut what you’re looking at is seriously the greatest thing I have ever eaten in my life ever. And when I told the waitress that, she was like, “Yep. We get that a lot.” This is how good the house made bacon, whatever most perfect cheese in the world that was, freshly ground burger tasted. I said this, “I’m not even interested in that bun. It looks awful, in fact. I’m 100% sure that my gluten-free version is better.” I repeated this often and more than once I got the reply, “Yeah, you might be delusional.” Still, that’s what I FELT you guys. Oh, and look at this -

gluten-free new yorkWhat. The. Hell. Roasted + raw vegetables that taste as good as they look. Oh, just on the house with some dipping sauces, all gf. Beautiful!

Honestly, I didn’t have a lot of time to explore New York because it was a quick trip. Which now, embarrassingly, makes this post look like I ate an incredible amount. But I got a hot tip from a friend (an LA friend, actually because they’re all so down with the gf) about a bakery near my hotel.

gluten-free new yorkAll of that business up there was gluten-free! I got this savory spinach muffin and a super chocolate chip bar situation. SO GOOD. Pip’s Place, The Gluten-Free Cakery also has the best name. Pip’s, for chrissake.

All right, gang. This was another test (because all I do is test New York, apparently) when I went to my favorite very gluten-filled restaurant in my old neighborhood, No. 7. I loved their fried broccoli so much I recreated it gluten-free and vegan for my book. Still, gluten all up in there when you dine in. These gluten-free broccoli tacos, however, SHIZZLE -

gluten-free new yorkI forgot to photograph my steak, but yeah, you can get a steak.

Go forth to New York, my friends, and eat gluten-free.

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I Made My Husband Gluten Intolerant

gluten-free Indian foodIt’s a Tuesday night and the usual is happening. Kids are in bed, we’re previewing our DVR to see what we have to look forward to and getting ready to chow the hell down. Tonight it’s a homemade chicken masala with rice (hold the naan). I did decide to bake up some Brazi bites to go with our dinner, hoping it would make the naan-less Indian food somehow better. It did! For me. O.M.G. I love Brazi bites.

I would actually not know about whether or not my husband felt satisfied with the gluten-free version, because dude rarely complains about the diet that most of the household maintains. Also, I cook a heck of a lot more so naturally I’m not making gluten up in here. That’s just silly. But just last week my husband did actually have an issue, and it was 100% my fault. Or maybe 90%, 10% genetics. Or perhaps 60% me, 20% genetics, 10% processed wheat. Or maybe it was 90% processed wheat and 10% me. Oh, who am I kidding. It was totally me.

After three years of living with gluten-free me, my husband can’t really digest the gluten so well. We were out of town last week and dining it up and sure, he availed himself of the bread basket whenevs. No judgment from me. Hey, it’s not my kitchen and I say load up and party when you can, my friend. Then we got back to the hotel, and . . . not so much.

So yeah, I feel pretty bad. Not as bad as I do for me who really, really, really can’t ever gluten, but still BAD. If this man had not been enjoying the gluten-free life (or pretending to, because, come on) he would most likely still be munching away on breadsticks happy as a clam. Well, not a clam, because he’s kind of got a shellfish thing.

What I’m trying to say is, WEIRD. I know that I react much strongly now if I get cross-contaminated than I did before I cut gluten out of my diet and ate it every damn day. I mean, it’s brutal if I get gluten’d now and when I was shoving it up in my mouth I might have at least one day where I wasn’t on the pot 18 out of the 24 hours. I’m more sensitive now to gluten, it seems, and so is he. Bummer.

I owe that guy. I owe him.

Has this ever happened to you?

Oh, and here’s how to make that yummy winter dish!

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Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free (Well, Except for One Thing) Crispy Cauliflower Pizza

gluten-free dairy-free pizzaSo there was a shout-out on my FB page about a serious need for gluten- and dairy-free pizza. Some might say that taking the gluten and dairy out of a pizza = not a pizza. I am not one of those people. Although, admittedly, I couldn’t quite leave the cheese off the top when I was done. But you can! You, who know the evils of dairy.

I’ve heard of making a pizza crust with cauliflower so much I’m pretty sure everyone is doing it. I decided to try The Lucky Penny’s version of a cauliflower crust because she says it’s the best. I’m not going to stand for just the second best. So that’s what I tried. Of course, her best, best version calls for dairy in the form of Parmesan and mozzarella in the crust. YUMMMMMM. But I know that’s not what you asked for people, so luckily she also has a version that is dairy-free where she subs nutritional yeast and allows the crust to cook longer. So I did that! Now, hold your nose and let’s get started. This is what you start with, and wow does it stink! Continue reading

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America’s Test Kitchen Goes Gluten-Free! + Giveaway!

gluten-free bread recipeThat’s a lot of exclamation points in one headline. But I kind of get excited when an institution like America’s Test Kitchen gets all up in our gluten-free business by publishing The How Can It Be Gluten-Free Cookbook and creating their own ATK gluten-free flour blend. Woot! The experts are in the hiz-ouse.

These lovely folks sent me the book, a canister of pre-mixed gluten-free flour blend (do they know how lazy I am? I guess so) along with a solid bread pan. Which is why I just had to test out a bread recipe. Since I love the cheese so much I made their Cheddar Cheese Bread and wowza! This bread disappeared in like 5 minutes as my kids grabbed it right out of my hands before I even had a chance to make grilled cheese sandwiches.

Since I hid two pieces behind my back, I was able to make myself a toasted turkey, cheese and arugula sandwich. I say toasted, because I just wanted a little buttery crunch instead of a melty mess since the bread was so light and nice. Lookee -

gluten-free cookbook giveawayI SWEAR there was more arugula in there. I’m not just trying to pretend I eat vegetables up in here. Anyhoo. This gluten-free bread was incredibly easy to make, and was ready in no time.

The thing I love about all of the ATK recipes is that they explain why a prep choice was made. In this recipe the instruction is to use a large hole box grater for the Parmesan and talked about why it was crucial. If that had not been there I guarantee you I would have grabbed the microplane. ATK makes sure you’re doing it right. Like your mother. It’s the mother of gluten-free cookbooks.

It really is great for those of us who have been slogging away at this gluten-free cooking thing for awhile, and newbies who may not get why certain things are done in the kitchen. Additionally it’s chock full of information about shopping, substitutions and why everything works. It’s just fab. You want one? Giveaway instructions at the bottom of this post!

Now, you’re probably wondering how you can get some of this gluten-free cheddar cheese bread right up in your mouth asap, right? Here’s how:

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Gluten-Free Valentine’s Day Disaster!

gluten-free valentine's day cookiesWe’ve all been there. You’re all up in your kitchen going, “OMG, you guys! I’m about to rock the house with these treats!” And then, bam, that vanilla you thought you were adding to your cookies turns out to be mint. Amiright? No? Just me?

So that happened.

And the thing is, I was going for the easiest possible Valentine’s Day cookie solution by using Glutino’s sugar cookie mix. That is hard to mess up my friends, but I did. Or I possibly made it BETTER, which I’m really coming around to now that I’ve gobbled up four heart-shaped cookies with a minty tingle in one sitting.

Normally if you’re mixing up Glutino sugar cookies they recommend you just ball it up and bake. But if you want to go at it with a cookie cutter, do what I did and after mixing the ingredients allow the dough to chill for about an hour. Gluten-free flour a surface and a rolling pin, then roll out that dough to about a 1/4 inch thick. Cut into your favorite shapes and bake.

If you don’t have any Glutino handy, you can use this recipe wherein I used the Cup4Cup. These were awesome too. But the best part of my experiment in Valentine’s Day cookies was finally getting the icing right. I love me a buttercream, but butter don’t set. Instead, use a corn syrup based icing and if you want to make it dairy-free, you can substitute almond milk right on down the line. It’s like magic.

The thing is, we all know that sugar cookies with icing really means Christmas. And with that mistake-o-mint, these heart cookies totally reminded me of Christmas. Which made me think, “How many days until Christmas?” Because that means, “How many days until I can take some time off with my family and sit around shoving food in my face, and especially that Garrett’s popcorn?” Those were the days.

Let’s relive them, shall we?

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What’s Your Damage: Gluten & Dairy Free Appetizers

gluten-free dairy-free partyIt’s true that shoving cheese in your face is kind of the world’s best appetizer. Well, unless dairy makes you double over and wish you were dead. Then, it’s the world’s WORST appetizer. But for those of you who are gluten- and dairy-free, you already knew that.

So I sorted out how to make the gfdf crowd feel like, “Whoooo! There’s a party!” without all the gas. DONE.

I will admit that I kind of shoved the pesto pizza all up in my mouth before anyone else could get it. Sorry everybody, but that Kinnikinnick gluten-free dairy-free pizza crust right out of the oven? Damn, it’s crispy. The pesto spread makes it super flavorful and dunking it right into the marinara makes it the perfect appetizer.

Saddled up next to that magic are the Schar’s Italian bread sticks (gfdf, natch) wrapped in proscuitto. Yes, Italians can still eat gluten- and dairy-free, my friends. And eat well. What’s that next to tha’ sticks? Sure, you may say popcorn is easy peasy, but this is a very special popcorn. Popcorn Indiana makes a sriracha popcorn (gfdf, see a pattern?) that you could probably sort out how to make yourself, but hey, buy it and you  have more time to relax before the par-tay.

And finally, that hunk of char you see up there is actually a super delicious cauliflower bake. I’ve been seeing all of these recipes for roasting up a full head of cauliflower and I tried this one. The recipe says to roast it for an hour to an hour and a half, but it was so charry after 45 minutes, I just had to pull it out of the oven. It was good. Dang good. And guess what? GFDF, mother scratchers!

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