December 7, 2009

My French Thanksgiving, sans gluten!




I apologize for this post being a bit delayed, but I have been busy nannying, cooking, and enjoying the outdoors. This year, I celebrated Thanksgiving on another day just like last year. Although instead of being a week off, I was only a couple days! I had wanted to celebrate thanksgiving on the actual day itself, but because of my nanny job I was off running the French kids to hockey practice instead of demolishing a turkey! So I postponed thanksgiving until Sunday, so that I could make it a full day event. Originally I was only going to invite a couple people to the party, but the list kept growing and growing. Finally it topped off at 15 people, but three of those people were children. I also was not able to cook a whole turkey. You see in France, apparently they eat every part of the turkey, but not together as a whole. Oh sure you can find turkey legs, turkey wings, turkey breasts, etc in the grocery store. But try and find a whole one and you are out of luck! We went to the butcher to inquire as to whether we could purchase a whole entire turkey, well rather FP did. When he was asked what he would like, he replied a turkey! The butcher and the whole entire store look at him as if he has asked for a whole cow! The butcher replies, you want a whole turkey??? Like the whole thing?? Yes, that is what I said, a turkey! She then stated that he must be English, as only English speaking people seem to want a whole turkey!After she finally calmed down she explained that the only size of turkey we could get was going to be over 16 lbs and would cost almost a 100 dollars! My dreams of a Thanksgiving with turkey were crushed. So instead we loaded up on turkey breasts and the evening turned out wonderfully. Although, I will note that when I went to the grocery store yesterday I saw a whole turkey! Yes a whole turkey sitting in the meat section for 17 dollars! hmmmm, seems like this French butcher was a bit off.

The day of Thanksgiving started off well and I found myself living in the kitchen whipping up dinner rolls, stuffing, gravy, etc. FP was a HUGE help and I think he will have Thanksgiving down pat for next year. Our guests arrived and were greeted with an array of wonderful appetizers. They had their choices of cold cuts, a cheese ball, a Mexican layer dip, and yes more cheese. For dinner we had turkey breasts, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, dinner rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, and green beans. And finally for dessert I served pumpkin pie, apple pie, and an amazing chocolate chip pumpkin bread! The Brits loved the cheese ball, the frenchies loved the sweet potato casserole,the french Canadians loved the pumpkin bread, the English speaking Canadian loved the pumpkin pie and the lone Slovenian was a fan of the stuffing. I personally loved everything and ate leftovers for almost 5 days! It turned out to be a wonderful thanksgiving, with great people to share it with! I just hope next year we can actually find a whole turkey haha. So enjoy these holiday recipes because I will probably use a couple of them again for Christmas dinner, that is if I can convince everyone to eat something other than raclette! Bon Apetit!

Cheese ball to die for

-2 (8 ounce) packages gf cream cheese, softened
-1/4 cup grated cheese of choice, I used a mild white french cheese
-1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1/4 cup gf mayonnaise
-1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
-1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
-3 T freshly chopped chives
-1 T freshly chopped basil
-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 cup slivered almonds

Mix all ingredients together except nuts. Form into a ball. Roll in nuts to coat the outside and then refrigerate. I made this the day before the party, so it would be cold and set for the night of the party. Serve with gf crackers or chips.


Sweet Potato Casserole
Adapted from allrecipes (serves 10-12)

-3-4 large sweet potatoes
-1/4 cup white sugar
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs, beaten
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-4 tablespoons butter, softened
-1/2 cup coconut milk
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping
-1/2 cup packed brown sugar
-1/3 cup mix of flour (I used sweet rice, brown rice, and a touch of starch)
-3 tablespoons butter, softened
-1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (165 degrees C). Pierce a couple holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork. Bake in over for 1 1/2-2 hours. Once done, scoop out the inside and place in large bowl.
In the large bowl mix together the sweet potatoes, sugar, eggs, salt, butter, milk and vanilla with an electric mixer. Mix until smooth. Transfer to a casserole baking dish. In medium bowl, mix the sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven (325 degrees F) 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly brown.

Dinner Rolls
http://www.bookofyum.com/blog/adeenas-gluten-free-rosemary-teff-dinner-roll-recipe-1478.html Found on this website, although I made a couple minor modifications

-3 eggs - use Extra Large!
-1/4 cup oil
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 1/4 cups milk
-1 tsp. salt
-1 Tb xanthan gum
-1/3 cup potato starch (NOT flour)
-1 cup sorghum flour
-1 cup brown rice flour
-1 cup tapioca starch
-1/3 cup GF teff
-1 Tb active dry yeast
-1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tb active dry yeast
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Preheat Oven to 380 degrees.* Note: I actually started these at a higher temperature, more like 450, and then turned the temperature down, in the attempt to get a crunchier crust. Try experimenting with the temperature and see what you like. Add yeast and sugar to milk. Let sit in a warm area for 10-15 min. or until the yeast starts to foam.
Beat eggs and vinegar together. In a big bowl combine all dry ingredients. Add the milk yeast mixture to flour mixture. Finally add in egg and vinegar mixture. Add oil only until you feel the dough is ready. I ended up only uses a couple Tb. Flour hands with gf brown rice flour and knead dough with hands for a couple min. Form into 13-15 even sized balls. Add brown rice flour to the balls if they become too sticky. Place on floured pan. Then allow them to rise 20 min or so. Finally brush with olive oil and garnish with rosemary before you place them in the oven.

Five minutes before you put the rolls in the oven, put ice cubes (in a pan) in the bottom rack of your oven and let them evaporate into steam. Open oven, put in your rack of rolls and let bake for 20-25 minutes. (Halfway through baking time, you may wish to turn over your rolls for even browning.)



Chocolate Chip Pumpkin bread

-1-3/4 cups gf all-purpose flour (I used arrowhead)
-1 tsp. xantham gum
-1 cup packed dark brown sugar
-1/3 cup white sugar
-1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
-1/2 cup coconut milk
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-Dash of salt
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-3/4 cup cup dark choc chunks( I used lindt 70%)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one loaf pan.
In a large bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, baking soda, salt, ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Mix together pumpkin puree and coconut milk . Add to flour mixture. Mix until all of the flour is gone. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow bread to cool. I also placed a towel over the bread for about 10 minutes once it was done.

Pumpkin Pie

-Use pie crust from last years thanksgiving page
-Follow the recipe for libby's famous pumpkin pie!

December 1, 2009

Tea time with coffee cake!

I have started baking again when FP is away on the road. It gives me some sort of peace of mind and some how keeps me sane in this living situation. I wasn't sure what to make, but I knew it had to be something I hadn't tasted in quite a while. So I set off by browsing through a couple cook books that I brought here with me. When I turned the page to the recipe for a delicious struesel coffee cake, I knew I had hit the jackpot! However, I did not follow that recipe. I have found that it is better to go online, find a recipe for the real and true thing (full of gluten!), and then adapt it to be gluten free. So I again ventured to one of my favorite websites, allrecipes.com, and conducted some serious coffee cake searches. Now the best thing about this website is that you can read reviews from all those cooks out there that have tried the recipe. That is the major problem with a cookbook. The recipe may look delicious, but will it turn out that way??? On allrecipes you can read the reviews, look at the modifications people have made, and adapt your own recipe! I think I really do swear by that website now! I even have FP using it all the time as well!!!

Back to my coffee cake.....I found two delicious recipes for a coffee cake that I adapted to make sans gluten and to fit into a bread pan, as I am adamant in using that 13 euro pan whenever possible!!! I have become so confident in my bread endeavors, that I thought I was completely capable of making a coffee cake in a bread pan. Well let me just say next time I either need a bigger pan or less of the batter! I whipped up the cake in no time, dribbled it into the pan, and voila, that I was a genius! However, about 10 min. into the baking process the batter started oozing down the side of the pan. This baby rose more than I thought was possible. I am convinced it is because of the altitude. At one point I got so tired of wiping the dribbly mess off of the pan I contemplated throwing the whole thing out and cutting my loses. But I gutted it out and pulled the cake out when I thought it was done. But in honesty, I had no idea if it was done or just a disaster! But low and behold the cake turned out wonderfully! Now I must say that it looked like a mess in that bread pan and had collapsed in quite a bit, I am still convinced it was because of the altitude, but the taste was spot on. I loved it, FP loved it, and well the roomies didn't try it. One doesn't like dessert and the other, I am not sure what his thoughts were. But it just meant more cake for me!!! I personally think this cake would be a great edition to any get together or for a little tea party. In fact it would be perfect for an afternoon chat with a good friend and a hot cup of tea or coffee.

Coffee Cake
-adapted from allrecipes

-1/3 cup butter
-2/3 cup white sugar
-1 egg
-2/3 cup sour cream
-3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
-1-1/3 cups gf all-purpose flour (I used arrowhead blend)
-3/4 tsp. gf baking powder
-1 tsp. xantham gum
-3/4 tsp. gf baking soda
-3 T brown sugar
-3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
-1/4 tsp. nutmeg
-1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Topping

-2 T flour
-1-2 tsp butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a loaf pan. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, xantham gum, baking powder and baking soda together. In a separate small bowl, combine 3 T brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and nuts.
In a large bowl, cream butter and 2/3 cups white sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Add flour mixture and beat until well combined. Pour half of batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture on top of batter in pan. Add remaining batter, and sprinkle with topping. To make topping, cut butter into flour and add remaining nut/ sugar mixture. This creates a bit more of a struesel topping. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean. You also may find the topping to start to brown, lightly cover with foil if this occurs.

November 23, 2009

White wine mussels and pasta

Yesterday was fantastic. I finally had a day to myself in the house! I woke up with a touch of bronchitis like coughing, thanks to the massive amounts of black mold in our house. We are currently in the process of getting the hockey team to either fix it or move us, as we are all starting to get more and more sick. Ok enough about our mold problem. So we were supposed to go to EATaly yesterday with the roomies, but I didn`t feel up to it. EATaly is this market in Italy were lots of locals bring their goodies like cheese, meats, wines, etc. Obviously I did want to go since I haven't had a thin sliced piece of decent prosciutto since I have been here, but I just didn't think I could handle the bustle and hustle of the Italians when I was feeling a bit under the weather. FP and I opted to stay home.

That morning we bundled up in rain gear to walk the half mile to the store to get some fresh mussels for dinner. The fish guy comes to Briancon every Saturday and Sunday. Well no, he really isn't the fish guy. He is more like the shellfish guy. He brings buckets of oysters, sea urchins, clams, shrimps, and mussels. After buying over a kilo of mussels, we set off towards home and debated exactly how to cook our treasure from the sea.

I spent the afternoon in pure excitement for dinner. After eating lot's of mussels on our trip to Italy, I knew just how good they could be when paired with pasta. Dinner was fabulous and the sauce turned out absolutely perfect. Before we commenced making dinner, I googled the recipe for white wine mussels over pasta. Of course I was flooded with links after clicking search. However, I decided on two and tweaked them to my liking. I also have to honest and say that neither FP or myself have cooked a batch of mussels. Therefore, we were confused as to what was a good mussel, what was a bad mussel, and why are some of them opening?????? After doing some research I was informed how to figure out which mussels to discard and which mussels to keep. So I set to work. At first I was amazed at how dirty these little black guys were! Then I started to resent them for being dirty because it took me a good half hour to get all their ``beards`` off! I also came across more than a few open mussels that were apparently saying ciao! I started a pile in the sink and frequently checked on those little guys to see if they had closed at all. It turns out most of them were still good! After checking and rechecking my mussels, they were ready to get steamed in the pot. Before I steamed them FP and I had the discussion about killing things in hot water, ie lobsters. We also discussed how they make a bit of a sound when they are dying. This kind of freaked me out and made me a little weary to put my live mussels in the pot! But I couldn't see them moving, so it made it a lot easier. However, I am not joking there were a couple mussels that sound like they were squealing in there!!! I had to just grit my teeth and think only of the final product! But everything turned out wonderfully and we had not one mussel that did not open! Obviously the shell fish guy does his job well!

White Wine Mussels

-2-3 lbs mussels (washed and scrubbed)
-3 cloves garlic minced
-1 shallot finely chopped
-touch of cayenne pepper
-2 dried bay leaves
-2 cups dry white wine
-2 T butter
-2 T olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste
-Gf spaghetti or linguine

Scrub Mussels very thoroughly removing any dirt, ``hair``, and other items stuck to the shell. Scrub with either a scrub brush or new sponge. Discard any mussels that appear to have stayed open during the whole cleaning process. Also discard any mussels that have a broken shell. In a deep pot saute garlic in olive oil for about 4-5 min. Add wine and butter, bring to a boil. Start to cook your pasta in another pot as well. Add to wine sauce bay leaves, touch of cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Then add mussels. Stir mussels into the sauce and try to coat all of them. Cover pot and let mussels cook for 5 min. Remove lid after 5 min and stir mussels again, coating them in sauce. After another 5 min. check to see if all mussels have opened. It will take between 10-15 min. for mussels to all cook. Remove any that have remained closed, they are bad. Pour over cooked pasta and bouon appetito!

November 20, 2009

Viva la Mexicana!

I love Mexican food. I seriously love everything about it from the spicy salsa, to the creamy guac, to the succulent fajitas. Really I think I could eat it everyday. And thank goodness that most of it is gluten free. Don't get me wrong. I desperately miss the delicious tender flour tortillas laden with goodies. But at least celiacs have a substitute. The delicious corn tortilla and really thank you Mexicans for creating this wonderful substitution.

Last year we were unable to find corn tortillas. There was an abundance of flour tortillas, but no soft corn tortillas. Instead we were able to find hard taco shells, which I am going to be honest about....I don't really like them. For me they always cut up my mouth and fall all over my plate. AND most importantly you can not use them for fajitas, which is my ultimate favorite Mexican meal. So this year I got a bit more savvy and I brought my own masa harina flour! I had tried last year to create a corn tortilla with corn flour, which I am pretty sure was some sort of polenta flour, and let me just say.... It was a disaster. However, this year I am starting to become a tortilla making pro. OK no, I take that back. FP is becoming a tortilla making pro, I am just in charge of frying them.

The first time we had Mexican food we invited over two French guys from the team. One of which had never tasted the deliciousness of Mexican food and the other claimed his mother made it every now and then. But let me inform you first that French people, or Europeans for that matter, do not know what true Mexican food is like. They have the occasional Mexican restaurant placed around Europe, but it is nothing like the Mexican food you will find in the states. It has bizarre add ins such as wurst and veggies you have never heard of. So when the French guy claimed that his mother creates Mexican masterpieces, I was seriously skeptical! I decided to show them what a real Mexicana dinner was like, complete with guac, mexican rice, homemade pico, and of course fajitas!!! Everyone loved it, although both the French guys concurred that my rice was too spicy. I personally thought it had just the right zing to it and could in fact have used more jalapeno, but they went through glass after glass of water claiming their mouths were on fire. If they thought that was spicy, I have no idea what they would make of Indian food.....But then again many people in Europe aren't used to spicy food. They think a dish with pepper in it is spicy!

The second time I made Mexican food was the other night. It really was a team effort between FP and I. I made the pico, the guac, the dough for the tortillas, and the rice. FP grilled the fajitas and rolled my tortillas out with pure finesse. I am trying to get him to join me for some serious pie making for Thanksgiving next week since his rolling pin skills have become impressive, but I think he may just become MIA for that afternoon!

So if you feel like taking a trip south of the border that does not involve going to taco bell, I suggest making a couple of these delicacies, or why not just make a whole night of it! Put on a sombrero, mix up a Margarita, and salsa around that kitchen cooking up these enticing dishes!

Pico De Gallo

-6 plum tomatoes
-1 small onion diced
-1-2 cloves garlic
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
-Juice of 1-2 limes

Chop tomatoes and place in a bowl. Add diced onions, you may need more or less that 1 small onion. When I make this I never use real measurements. I just eyeball everything and make it according to how many people will be at dinner. Add garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper. Mix together and let sit in the fridge for about an hour before you serve it. This allows the flavors to marinate together. Try it after a bit and add more lime, salt, or cilantro if needed.

Guacamole

-1 avocado
-2-3 T finely diced tomato
-2-3 tsp. finely diced onion
-1 clove garlic minced
-salt and pepper to taste
-touch of lemon juice

Remove skin of avocado and seed. Whip the avocado with a fork until smooth. Stir in onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whip all ingredients together. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Fajitas

-1-2 limes juiced
-3 T chopped fresh cilantro
-3 cloves garlic minced
-2 T olive oil
-1-2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
-1 tsp. whole coriander crushed
-1 tsp. salt
-1tsp. pepper
-1-2 tsp. cumin
-1 lb chicken breasts

Combine all ingredients together. Marinate chicken for 12-24 hours. Then place breasts on BBQ (make sure BBQ is hot and coals are ready to cook). Cook 7-8 min. on each side or until chicken turns white all the way through. Chicken can also be cooked in a frying pan on stove.

Corn tortillas(makes 7 small tortillas)

-1 cup masa harina flour
-2 cups water
-touch of salt
-touch of lime juice (optional)

Knead ingredients together. Allow dough to rest for 10 min. Roll into 7 equal balls. Place one ball in between two pieces of parchment paper. Press with either a tortilla press or heavy pan. If using a pan, then roll out the tortilla until reaching desired thickness. The tortilla dough will be kind of delicate. If you mess up, knead the dough up and try again. fry for 30 seconds on one side med. heat (no oil in pan). Then fry the other side for 1 min. Flip tortilla back to the first side and cook for another min. or so (until tortilla starts to fluff). Your first tortilla will probably be your trial tortilla. It is ok if you mess up, they still taste good!

Mexican Rice

-2 cups rice
-4 cups water
-1 can crushed tomatoes
-1-2 tsp diced jalapeno (to taste)
-1-2 tsp cumin
-1-2 tsp paprika
-1 cube chicken bouillon
-1/2 cup diced onions
-1 clove garlic minced
-1-2 T butter

Saute garlic and onions in butter. Once they are almost done, add rice and saute for 2-3 more min. Add water, crushed tomatoes, bouillon cube. Bring to a boil. Add cumin, paprika, and jalapeno. Cover and simmer until rice is done and liquid is evaporated.

November 17, 2009

Chinese Takeout please!

So FP and I started talking about what to make for dinner while we were on a walk with Smiley. We deliberated over jambalaya, spring rolls, pork chops, when we finally decided we wanted something Asian. We both remembered that there was some left over fresh ginger in the fridge from the other day when I made Indian food and we hadn't had pork in a while..... ginger pork it is!
I had never made ginger pork before, but I had a fairly good idea of what the recipe might include. I have been acquiring my normal stocked pantry over the past months, so I was quite confident I had everything necessary at home, except pork of course. Last year FP was quite adamant that I had way too many spices on hand. This year, I have been more secretive in my spice acquirement. About every week I bring home a new spice. He really hasn't seemed to notice that the spice rack has grown from 5 spices to about 12 in the past month!

We casually browsed the grocery store for our supplies, which was a nice change from our normal fast past ``family`` grocery time. During our browsing we actually discovered that the store had both maple syrup and peanut butter! Clearly the three of them had not looked hard enough the times before when they stated to me that there was no absolutely no peanut butter or syrup to be found in this town! Sometimes you just have to browse the aisles and look in the exotic imported food section, that is the key! After spending way too much time in the grocery store and also realizing smiley was still in the car (whoops!), we trucked our supplies home.

Last year I cooked quite a bit alone in the kitchen, but this year has been different. FP and I cook a lot together, which I don't mind at all. He takes directions very well and doesn't argue you with my messy ways haha. So after googling a couple recipes and gettin the main idea of what is in ginger pork, I came up with a recipe. FP helped me carry it out along with some homemade fried rice. The ginger pork was amazing and full of ginger! My mom would have loved that FP insisted I use all the ginger we had left, which I thought was way too much! But it came out tangy, zesty, and perfect. In fact I was tempted to put it in take out boxes and write Chinese all over the sides just to feel like I was eating Chinese take out again! But trust me after making this, you won't miss it.

Ginger Pork

-1lb pork (I used chops, but I think loin may be better) cubed or cut into strips
-1/2 cup gf flour blend, I used arrowhead
-1-2 T olive oil
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1/2 cup water (or 1 cup water w/ half a gf chicken bouillon cube)
-2 T soy sauce
-2 T rice vinegar
-2 green onions chopped
-1/2 cup broccoli
-1 clove garlic minced
-1-2 tsp. white sugar
-fresh grated ginger
-touch of cayenne pepper

Place cubed pork into bag of flour and coat evenly. Add olive oil to skillet. Brown pork over med. high heat in skillet. Remove and set aside. Combine broth, water, vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Add in green onions, garlic, sugar, broccoli, ginger, and pork. Simmer for 15 min or until pork is tender.


Fried Rice

-4 cups cooked rice
-2-3 T butter
-2 eggs
-1-2 tsp garlic powder
-1 small glove garlic minced
-1-2 T soy sauce
-2 green onions chopped
-1 carrot chopped into small pieces
-1 tomato chopped
-pepper to taste

Add a T of butter to skillet. Saute carrots in butter for 3-5 min. Then add in green onions, garlic, and more butter if needed. Saute for another 2 min. Add eggs and tomato and stir to combine eggs with onions, tomatoes, and carrots. Once egg is almost cooked, add rice. Add rice, 1 T. butter, and soy sauce. Fry at low-med. heat for 5-7 min. Add garlic powder and pepper while frying. Taste after 5 min and add more soy sauce if needed.

November 16, 2009

The best breakfast bread ever!

It's official. I found the secret to gluten free baking.

I finally watched the movie Julie and Julia. I felt both amazed and inspired after the movie! I was amazed that Julia had such an easy time fitting into and most importantly living within the French culture! It was like she really was French! Obviously she has not tried living with three French Canadians, or things may have gone a bit differently for her. She probably would have written a book entitled the key to shepards pie instead of 500+delicious French recipes......No, no I am kidding! The movie also inspired me to embrace the culture here and start cooking with a passion again!

Everyone for the most part is very cautious about their gluten in this house, but at times they lack quite a bit. It is mostly from the fact that they all seem to have the need to eat french bread all the time. Now I loved french bread with serious intensity in my gluten eating days, so I understand the temptation to eat it all the time...and well because we obviously live in France where french bread is made!! So the french bread has become my nemesis. Not only does it throw bread crumbs all over the counter, it secretly places them in grocery sacks, on my fruit, and quite honestly it just leaves a trail of crumbs to follow wherever it goes. I started to hate it with serious rage. Finally after hiding the french bread wrapped in 3 sacks in the back of the pantry, I think everyone got the hint. I have not seen my enemy in this house for one week, but I am sure that I will see it again soon.

OK enough about the vile french bread. I took over the kitchen about a week ago and have never been more happy. I have cooked Indian food complete with homemade mango chutney (which I will write about later), stuffed peppers and apple crumble, etc. The roommate has seemed a bit standoffish when I announce that I am making dinner yet again, but too bad, if he had celiac disease as well, maybe I would be more sympathetic! Although I do allow him a couple days a week of cooking just so I don't create too much tension in this house.

Ok on to baking. Before FP and I went on vacation in Italy a week ago. I made some scones from a box I brought with me. My original plan had been to make cranberry scones, but for some reason the French do not enjoy eating dried cranberries. So I was forced to choose another fruit. After much deliberation at the dried fruit section, I decided on the dates. However it was a huge box of dates. Needless to say I had masses of dates left over. So yesterday I decided to make some bread. I have not made any bread yet since my diagnosis. In fact I have always been a bit afraid when baking, as we all know how disgusting some gluten free baked good are. Well I went against the odds and decided to make some date nut bread. As a child I remember my mom buying these boxed breads that I loved. My favorite kind was date nut bread and I honestly can not tell you the last time I ate that bread until yesterday. I spent quite a bit of time googling for recipes, until I combined the knowledge of a gluten free breakfast bread recipe together with a non gluten free recipe of date nut bread. With a deep breath I undertook the impossible, trying to create a moist gluten free bread. And yes I did it. My secret......no not massive amounts of french butter, but sour cream......yes that is right, deliciously rich sour cream. I swear by it now and have used it also in cookies and scones. When my bread had cooled I cut two big slices and spread cream cheese all over one and left the other plain. I took the steaming, sweet smelling pieces of heaven into the bedroom and handed them to my boyfriend who was still in bed. He took a bite and looked at me with astonishment and stated ``oh my god Katherine, this is really really good!`` And trust me, I know when he is lying about my gf food. So we hunkered into bed together and ate the most delicious bread I have tasted in the past year and a half. So please make this bread and pass on the recipe to all those celiacs out there so they too can enjoy a cold morning in bed devouring slice after slice of heaven.

Gluten Free Date Nut Bread

-3/4 cup chopped dates
-3/4 cup liquid (half sour cream, half hot water)
-2 T butter
-1 1/8 cup all purpose gf flour, I used arrowhead blend
-3/4 cup sugar (half white, half raw)
-1/4 cup walnuts for topping
-3/4 tsp. gf baking soda
-pinch of salt
-1 tsp. xantham gum
-1 egg
-3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
-touch of nutmeg
-touch of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine chopped dates, sour cream, hot water, and butter together in bowl. Let this mixture sit for 5 min. Combine flour, baking soda, xantham gum, nutmeg, salt, and cinnamon. Combine egg and sugar together and beat with a fork for a couple minutes. Add vanilla extract to egg mixture. Combine flour mixture and date mixture together. Stir and carefully add egg mixture. Slowing stir until just combined. Place mixture into greased loaf pan. Sprinkle chopped walnuts onto bread. Bake for 45-50 min. Check occasionally and cover loosely with foil if top is browning too much. Remove from oven once a toothpick comes out clean when placed in bread. Let cool in the loaf pan.

November 14, 2009

Raclette, the epitome of cheese

Raclette involves cheese. Not just your average cheesy masterpiece, but massive amounts of gooey hot stinky delicious cheese. I first experienced raclette 2 years ago when my brother was visiting me in Austria. We traveled across the border to meet up with one of his college friends who lives in Switzerland. After a vigorous day of skiing, his friend insisted that we eat raclette for dinner. He lifted out this very odd looking grill apparatus that you had to plug in. There was also a lot of space between the grill part and the stand. He looked at our baffled faces and explained while laughing that you grill meet and veggies on top and below you melt your raclette cheese in these nifty trays. It was glorious!

Since then I have partaken in many more delicious and obviously nutritious (actually far from it!) raclette evenings. Last year the couple below us has a raclette machine, so for special occasions such as new years, we got everyone together and had a wonderful cheesy dinner. This year is different. The French not only enjoy raclette, they embrace it like it is a long lost cousin. It is a staple of food in this mountain town of Briançon and they eat it with fervor. The first time I experience racletted de francaise was rather different. We had a french couple over that brought their wonderful raclette set and 2 bottles of white wine, not just any white wine, but sweet, sparkling white wine. We were incredibly confused as all of us have always thought that you drink red wine with cheese, naturally. According to the French, red wine is only for dessert cheeses. White wine is what you drink while eating raclette and fondue. Hmm..... They then put the spread on the table of cold cuts, raclette cheese in every flavor possible(they even had white wine flavored raclette cheese?!?!), and potatoes. The French girl beside me attacked the cheese like she hadn't eaten in days. With military preciseness she cut her potato, cold cuts, and cheese into tiny bits that were eaten with perfected French skill. I felt weak beside her and inexperienced. So I attacked my cheese as well. I ate so much that I was miserable, aching with with a cheese filled belly all night long. The next time I had raclette was at another French girl's house. The guys were away that night playing. So we had a little girls night that involved raclette. Again we had cold cuts, potatoes, and a variety of raclette cheeses. The French girl attacked the cheese and even had two trays of cheese going at once under the grill! I was thoroughly impressed. I simply could not compete with her. I knew the French loved their cheese, but this was going above and beyond!

Then last night we had raclette again, but it was a different kind of raclette. It was raclette Montreal style. We had some cheese, but we also had beef, chicken, shrimp, peppers, onions, etc. all to cook on the grill above where you melt you cheese. It was delicious and filling and I did not feel like a disgusting glutton. The French, when told about this sort of raclette, exclaimed to us that this is not real raclette. They were literally disgusted that we would think to put cheese on our shrimp. I had to laugh when I saw the expression on their faces. It was like you might as well put raclette cheese on dog poop, they were literally that disgusted with us. Now I do think the french have one up on us in a lot of their cooking methods and dishes, but I think they are incredibly behind in their raclette techniques. So in conclusion I can say that the French do speak way better French than the French Canadians (don't tell my roommates!), but they really do need to come off their high brie horses for one minute and take note of the way the French Canadians do raclette.

October 2, 2009

Marseille



This past weekend we packed up the car, threw the dogs in, and headed down to Marseille. It is about a three hour drive from here. You pass through the alps down into the wine country, so it really is an amazing drive. We arrived in Marseille three hours later and ended up sitting in traffic for about an hour, as we were never informed on the tourist website that it was the Redbull flugtag! The day where people try to fly their ``redbull`` machines into the water. It was also about 85 degrees out and Smiley was about to die of heat! We ended up bringing our own lunch and ate in a nice little park while watching some people play bocci ball, a favorite sport around this area. Then we spent the rest of the day out at one of the islands off Marseille.

As for eating gluten free in Marseille, it is quite possible. We ate dinner at this little Italian restaurant in the old port area, where I had grilled fish and a salad. It was nothing to call home about, but definitely filled me up. They also have a lot of specials to those who eat at 7pm. Many of the restaurants have a fixed menu that has many gf options available from salads, to grilled fish, cheese plates, etc. So don`t be nervous to travel to the French Riviera! However, I do have to say that I thought Marseille sits down in my bottom ten cities I have visited in Europe. The water and the islands off Marseille make up for the incredible dirty and run down city. I have heard though that some of the smaller cities around that area are a must. So if you are in the area and are dying to see Marseille, I recommend spending the day on the islands and not in the city! But keep in mind the city is great to grab a bite to eat!

September 29, 2009

Eating sans gluten in the land of pastries!!



I have been in Briancon, France for almost a week now and am finally all settled in! I arrived here without too many problems other than smiley getting a bit sick on the plane and having massive amounts of luggage to cart around at the end of the journey. Actually it is rather funny now that it is past the fact, but I had a ski bag, a huge suitcase, a carry on suitcase, a huge purse, and the biggest dog kennel ever. So here is little me pushing one cart, pulling another, and walking smiley through customs. I kid you not, not one person offered to help until I was basically through customs! I was pretty surprised, as I was in Turin, Italy! But apparently the Italian men aren't as eager to help a girl in distress in that part of the country!!

Besides that, I haven't had too hard of a time eating gluten free. They seem to have the same sort of selection as Italy and Austria did. You can find most gluten free items in bio stores and can order all sorts of things from the pharmacy here. But I do have to admit I did bring a BUNCH of items from home (flours, mixes, etc.) The grocery stores here are HUGE compared to the two tiny one room grocery stores that inhabited Pontebba last year. My first trip to the grocery store was exciting, as they had a huge selection of fruits, veggies, meats, etc. And I must mention that well their cheese section seriously takes up at least a quarter of the store. Upon walking into the grocery store you are literally hit with a wall of unpasteurized cheese smell. Now I love a good cheese, but wow I don't even want to touch some of the cheeses here with a poll they smell so bad! The other funny thing about the grocery store is all the French people walking around with baguettes under their arms. I had to stifle a giggle the first time I saw that, and the second and third time as well! It is something that you stereotype about France, but you really think it is just talk! However, the French people do love to walk nonchalantly down the street complete with a baguette under the arm! I just want to run over and stick a huge black beret on them!

The second night I was FP made a traditional French Alps meal called tartiflette. Yes, it is a tongue twister to say that as well! This meal is probably the fattiest thing I have ever eaten, well besides raclette. It is a delicious mixture of potatoes, cream, onion, bacon, and them smothered in cheese. It kind of reminds me of some sort of ridiculously fatty potatoes au gratin, although a bit tastier! So if you are in the mood for a good traditional French Alps meal of tartiflette, make sure you climb a mountain before so you don't feel guilty after indulging in this rich treat!

Tartiflette

1-2 lbs chopped potatoes
1 onion
1\2 lb chopped pieces of bacon (aka lardon in French!)
500g heavy cream (or to your liking)
300-500g reblochon (special cheese of the alps, if you do not have this I am sure you can use brie or some other kind of cheese with a bit of a kick)

Boil potatoes until they are starting to soften, but still have a bit of a crispiness to them. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While, the potatoes boil, saute the bacon and onion together until done. Strain potatoes and pour them into a big casserole dish, add bacon and onion. Pour cream over top and mix throughout. Then cover with cheese on top. Bake in the oven until the cheese melts and becomes a bit brown on the very top. Accompany with a salad as the French do, so you don't feel too bad about yourself! Bon Apetit!

July 28, 2009

Montréal- Sans gluten please!

Well I would first like to apologize for my non-existent self on the blog the past oh 3 or so months!!! I have been incredibly busy. When I first got back to AK I was welcomed home by my new puppy smiley, who took up ALL of my time. It is like having a baby, but you constantly have to drag them around the house on a rope toy and clean up all their accidents! Then in May I came down to Montreal to stay with my boyfriend, FP, for a couple months and go to school down here. I got a certificate to teach English as a foriegn language in the hopes that this next year in Europe I will have a job! FP signed in France this year, which is incredibly exciting as I will always have my very own personal translator everywhere I go! My French has also imptroved dramatically, so at least this year I will be able to say a bit more than just Questo!! Questo! NO questo! With that being said let me get down to business. This post is for all those Celiacs or gluten free people out there that may just want to travel to the lovely land of the French Canadians. I have eaten out quite a bit here and have some serious suggestions of where to go and where not to go!

FP and I sublet an apartment for the summer in Rosemont, which is about 20 minutes from the center of downtown, but still on the Island of Montreal. Montreal is absolutely abundant with ethnic restaurants, which is awesome! No where else have I seen so many Vietnamese restaurants. I swear you could probably find one every 5 blocks! Either the Vietnamese love the French Canadians or the French Canadians love to eat Vietnamese food! Anyway I love it here and I highly suggest for anyone to make a point of coming to visit Montreal and Quebec city, which is a very magical place.

Restaurants in Montreal sans gluten!

La Carreta (5 Stars!)
**English spoken
350 rue Saint-Zotique EstMontréal, QC H2S 1L7 (514) 273-8884
This place is my favorite place so far in Montreal! It is a little tiny restaurant with a wonderful ambiance where they serve Salvodorian food. Everything is gluten free on their menu, except for the burrito items (however, I think there are only 2 items that come with burritos!) The sangria is phenomenal and comes by the pitcher. The owner himself will greet you at the door and knows exactly how serious ingesting gluten is for us Celiacs! He also may make a couple suggestions about what to order, but don`t brush them away! We took his word and were speechless at how good the food was. If you are in the mood for South American food, then eat here!

Zero8 (3 stars)
http://www.zero8.com/
**English spoken
This place is ok. Everything is gluten free on their menu, but be aware everything is also soy free, casein free, egg free, etc. So it is great that you can eat with no hesitation, but I am going to be honest when I say I love to eat cheese! I had poutine here and well it wasn`t really poutine. They called it poutine, but yet there was no cheese on my poutine! For those of you who are unaware of what poutine is, well it is the love of quebecers! It consists of fries smothered in gravy and topped off with cheese curds. It sounds absolutely revolting, but lets be honest, it is absolutely delicious! Ok, back to Zero8. This place does have good food, but it is very overpriced and I wasn`t thoroughly impressed. I did not have dinner here, so I could be wrong, but I did have lunch and paid about 16 dollars for a small bowl of poutine and some bruchetta. Ì don`t believe it was worth the price, but then again a trendy little restaurant that is allergy free on one of the hot streets in Montreal is bound to be expensive. So for those of you that have the money and want a nice trendy restauruant, then I do suggest this one.

Sushi time (4 stars)
**English spoken
3129, Rue Masson, Montreal, QC H1Y 1X 514-725-8181
This place is a little hole in the wall that serves excellent sushi. It is incredibly cheap and two can eat for well under 40 dollars! Just bring your own soy sauce. The daughter of the restaurant is trilingual and seems to have a good understanding of what contains gluten and what doesn`t. However, make sure you always ask! The sushi was fresh and they even serve take out and deliver!

Dong Que (2 stars)
**English spoken
1210 boulevard RosemontMontréal, QC H2S 2A5
(514) 490-0770‎
This is one of the many Vietnamese restaurants in Montreal. However, I was slightly disappointed with this one. I read a couple reviews online and was told this place had the best spring rolls in Montreal. I completely disagree. I could make better ones at home! Along with better sauce! I had some pho soup, which was actually really good. My boyfriend had some sort of noodle dish that he wasn`t particulary crazy about. The owner was also very unclear about what gluten was and didn`t even try to read the vietnamese card I had with me, which was very upsetting. He simply told me all I could have was 2 of the pho soups, that was it! I was incredibly disappointed as I was really looking forward to eating here. With that being said, the prices are really cheap and we ate for under 40 dollars. But I am sure at most Vietnamese places in Montreal you can eat for 40 dolllars and have much better food! So I recommend trying another place!

Ottavios (5 stars!)
http://www.ottavio.ca/
This was the first restaurant I ate at in Montreal last year. This place is incredible. Their pasta dishes almost made me cry when I first had them and their mussels are to die for. I don`t really reccomend their gluten free pizzas. Frankly I think a good ol` Bob`s Red Mill crust is way better, but do eat their mussels, pasta dishes, salads, and even the dessert! The restaurant is very trendy and not horribly expensive. The waitstaff are great and I was even able to talk with the owner last time about why he decided to have a gluten free menu. They even have a whole section of their kitchen dedicated to staying gf. And you can also bring your own wine! They have two locations and if you don`t speak French, I recommend the Montreal location. In Laval you find English rarely spoken. So enjoy and bon appetito!

Quebec City

Kameleon (5+++ stars)
http://lekameleonrestosympatique.com/
This place understands what being gluten free is. It is a new restaurant that doesn`t quite have its business in full swing, but I perfered it that way because my boyfriend and I were able to have a nice quiet dinner and a couple nice chats with the waiter. The food was phenominal and in my opinion is closer to fine dining without the prices! I was able to order a 4 course meal for under 30 dollars. I had cream of mushroom soup, followed by the best caprese salad of my life. For my entree, I orderd veal that was done to perfection and was complimented with some incredible gluten free lemon pasta. Finally for dessert my boyfriend had the chocolate mousse, while I had cheesecak sans crust. I was able to sample both desserts and was literally in heaven. It was one of the best gluten free experiences of my life. So if you want to spend an amazing romantic dinner (gf of course) in the lovely city of Quebec, I can`t recommend this place enough!

Enjoy these recommendations and there are more to come next summer!!!

April 11, 2009

Sunday Brunch Quiche



I am finally home and have been for a little over ten days. I have been up to my head in appointments, un-packing, caring for the little pup, running around, seeing old friends, etc. etc. Therefore, I have had absolutely no time until today to do a little blogging. Our last trip around Italy was fantastic, hilarious, and full of eating. I will post about it soon, along with a list of wonderful gluten free restaurants. Being home is comforting and relaxing. I have not been my usual chaotic cooking self, but I still have dabbled into some new recipes. My Mom and I hosted a brunch last Sunday for my Mom's sister and her family. They brought some food, I made some food, and it turned out just perfect. I whipped up a couple of old tried and true recipes and then added a new one into the mix. I created a gluten free quiche, that I thought was quite tasty. My cousin even had seconds, although he really will eat just about anything you put in front of him! This recipe is perfect for a brunch, breakfast, or even to go along with a dinner. There are also many variations of quiches that you can create, but I went with the well-known quiche Lorraine, as my boyfriend and I have had a laugh about this quiche, since it is "named" after his Mom!

Quiche Lorraine

~1 GF pie crust, see http://glutenfreeworldtraveler.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-italian-thanksgiving-senza-glutine_04.html

~1/4 cup green onion, chopped
~1/2 cup GF honey ham, chopped
~1/4 cup-1/2 cup shredded white Cheddar
~4 eggs
~1 Tbs Butter
~pinch garlic powder
~pinch salt
~2 cups hot milk, I used 2%

Work pie crust into ball and let it sit in fridge for at least an hour. Remove crust from fridge and roll out to fit your greased quiche pan, I used a glass round pan. Pre-heat oven to 375 and cook crust for 5 minutes or so. You want the crust to set a bit before you pour in the liquids. While pie is starting to cook, saute onions in 1 Tbs butter. Pull the pan out and line with ham and cheese. Beat eggs together and add hot milk, add this mixture to your cooking onions. Cook on low heat until the egg mixtures starts to cook and become thick. Pour this liquid mixture over ham and cheese in pie crust. Cook for 35-45 minutes or until set.

March 19, 2009

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie


I do apologize that I have been a bit delayed in my posts the last couple days. As said in the previous post I am frantically trying to get everything taken care of before our departure from Italy. I have also been very preoccupied with the purchase of a little goldendoodle puppy. How I found him and managed to buy him within a week, is still a mystery to me. I had been looking for a little doodle puppy for about the last 8 months, but never thought that I would suddenly find the perfect one and located in Alaska!

The last week began with me doing my normal browse through the dog ads on numerous sites, when I suddenly came across an ad for goldendoodle puppies in AK. My first thought was oh I hope this breeder is going to breed some minis, as my boyfriend and I originally wanted a smaller dog. I contacted the breeder immediately to inquire about this. She emailed me back stating that unfortunately she would not be breeding minis, but she still had one dog left, who happened to be the runt of the litter. In my mind I immediately knew he was going to be the one for me! After much discussion with my boyfriend, who at the time was still very weary of getting a dog, and with my parents, who would be taking care of the dog for 2 months while I am away in Montreal this summer, I was given the OK. I immediately went about finding out all I could about this breeder and the little pup, who is temporarily named Smiley. The final decision came this morning after my mom met little smiley and his family. Her and my cousin fell in love with him and insisted that I could not live without him, which I already knew I couldn't!

However, I will admit that the most difficult part of this situation is deciding what to rename smiley. Now don't get me wrong it isn't that I dislike the name smiley, but he needs something just a little bit more sophisticated. I have been deliberating everyday as to what this pup should be named because you see, he will end up two having two names. Yes, that is right two names. He will have an American pronunciation of his name and a Quebecois pronunciation of his name, not to mention he will have to become bilingual! So after much deliberation, I have still not come to a decision. If I name him something more American, he will get confused on his trips to Quebec. If I name him something more French, well I am positive that name will get butchered by all of our American accents. Therefore, it is not the cost, the time, or the training that I am worried about with this soon to be little bilingual guy, the only thing I am worried about is his new name. But, I guess in the end he will just have to learn to answer to both his "French" and "American" name!!!!

Now onto my Chicken Pot Pie recipe, which has nothing whatsoever to do with a goldendoodle! I am still trying to use up my flours, so a lot of my meal items have been geared towards using massive amounts of all the GF flours I have stored away in my kitchen. It has also been a bit chilly the past couple of nights and nothing is more delicious on a chilly night than a warm Chicken Pot Pie.

Chicken Pot Pie

For pie crust visit previous post:

http://glutenfreeworldtraveler.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-italian-thanksgiving-senza-glutine_04.html

~3 Tbs butter
~black pepper to taste
~1/4 cup cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
~3 cups GF veggie broth
~1 cup mushrooms, chopped
~2 carrots, chopped
~2 stalks celery, chopped
~1 small can of peas
~1 lb chicken cooked, cubed

Make pie crust according to previous post. Refrigerate crust for 1 hour. Once pie crust has been in refrigerator for almost an hour, preheat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 F, then cook chicken in a touch of olive oil in skillet. Remove chicken from skillet and add in celery, onion, and carrots. Saute in a touch of olive oil until tender, then add in mushrooms and saute for a couple more minutes. While veggies are sauteing, roll out pie crust. Place one crust in the bottom of a greased pie pan and leave the other one rolled out. Once veggies are tender, add broth to skillet. Bring to a boil and stir in peas. Then stir in half the cornstarch mixture. If broth still appears to thin, stir in the rest of cornstarch. If broth still appears too thin, make another mixture of cornstarch dissolved in water. Be careful not too add too much cornstarch, as you do not want it to be the consistency of jelly. Remove skillet from heat and pour into the pie pan lined with crust. Add the other rolled out crust on top. Seal the crust using your fingers and remove any excess. Cut slits into the top of pie to allow the steam to escape. Place in oven for 30 min or until top becomes brown and contents are bubbling. You may find that you have too much filling. Therefore, you can roll out the remains of the pie crust that was trimmed off. You can pour the remaining filling into a smaller dish and cover with the rolled out excess pie crust, bake this along side the pie. Or just using filling as a thick chicken soup!

Moroccan Beef

Our time is ticking away here in Italy these days as we move closer and closer to the end of playoffs. I have been frantically trying to cook as much as humanly possible in hopes that it will decrease the amount of food, flours, boxed items, etc. in our house. The other day I was pondering what to make for dinner, when my boyfriend called from the kitchen "Why do you have so many crazy spices, you haven't even used half of them!!!" And that is when it came to me... I needed to find some sort of dish for dinner that used a ridiculous amount of spices in order to prove that I really do need 25 different kinds of spices!

After a perusal around on cyberspace, I came across a couple recipes I could modify that called for huge amounts of exotic spices, all of which I definitely have. I also was lucky enough to find a box full of Himalayan red rice that I had yet to use. Personally, I had never heard of Himalayan rice until I started work as a server in a very fine dining establishment during my sophomore year of college. Upon my first taste of this rice, I immediately loved it. However, over the past couple of years I had forgotten about this rice, until I saw a box in Austria ,which flooded back the memories of just how delicious this rice is. If you have never had the pleasure of trying it, please go out ASAP and buy yourself some! The meal was easy to whip up and left my kitchen smelling like a delicious Moroccan restaurant. My boyfriend arrived home from practice that night sniffing the air with pleasure and enthusiastically asking what I had prepared for dinner. After producing a plate complete with rice and Moroccan beef he looked at me in disgust and exclaimed "What kind of rice is this and why is it black!!!" I quickly stated back that it was absolutely the best rice possible for your body and may in fact help you score more goals! With that he dug in and within 30 seconds was telling me with much enthusiasm that he now officially loves Himalayan rice! So for those of you looking for a meal to create that will use up your over abundant spices, this is the recipe for you!

Moroccan Beef

~1 lb Beef, I used steak meat, cubed
~1 onion, chopped
~3 cloves garlic, 2 minced, 1 left whole and peeled
~2 carrots, sliced
~2 stalks celery, sliced
~1-2 tsp. ground ginger (fresh can also be used and is recommended)
~1 tsp. paprika
~2 tsp. ground cumin
~1 tsp. dried oregano
~1/2-1 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
~1/4-1/2 tsp. ground Cinnamon
~1 1/2 cups GF veggie broth
~1 can crushed tomatoes
~1 cup canned chickpeas, drained
~1 zucchini, sliced
~1 Tbs lemon juice

Grill beef in skillet for about 3 minutes. Remove from skillet when meat is about halfway done. Add onions, carrots, celery, and 2 cloves garlic(minced) to same pan with a touch of olive oil. Saute until tender. Then add in spices, cumin, paprika, ginger, oregano, cayenne, and cinnamon, saute for about 1 more minute. Then stir in GF broth and tomatoes. Also add the beef back in. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then add in chickpeas and zucchini, simmer mixture for 15 more minutes or until zucchini is done. Stir in Lemon Juice and serve.

*Make sure that you test the simmering Moroccan Beef along the way. You may find that you need to add in more spices. I put approximately the amount of spices I used in this recipe. However, I added in more spices along the way according to what I thought it needed. You are the best judge of what you like, so if you love spices, add more! Serve this over rice or quinoa.

Himalayan Red Rice

~1 cup Himalayan Red Rice
~2 cups water
~pinch of salt
~1/2-1 tsp. butter

The one thing to know about Himalayan rice, is that because it is higher in fiber, it takes longer to cook than white rice. So allow it around 30 minutes to cook. Also it is important to rinse the rice before you cook it, but don't be alarmed if the rice turns the water purple! I also added in a touch of saffron to really make it pair up with my Moroccan Beef.

March 13, 2009

Austrian Goulash

Guten Tag! This week I have been craving some good ol' Austrian food. Maybe I am missing my days in Austria from last year or have simply just had enough pasta to last a lifetime! Either way, my stomach is wandering across the Northern border here to the land of schnitzels and brats. When we first arrived this year, I immediately cut myself off from even thinking that I could indulge in the delicacies that are so precisely made by the Austrians. To make myself feel better, I constantly thought that at least last year I ate Austrian pastries, wiener schnitzel, Apfel strudel, and brats w/ bread until my heart was content. Not to mention the quantities of delicious wheat beer that I consumed. I was comforted by these thoughts that I had at least sampled these items in grand quantities at one point in my life. However, the past week I have gotten the cravings for hearty Austrian food again.

So I went on a search of how to make one of my favorite Austrian dishes, goulash. The Italians in this region also are known for their goulash served with polenta. But in my opinion, you cross the border for the best piping hot rich plate of goulash served with bread dumplings. And that is where my quest began. After thorough research and finding the "perfect" meat for goulash, which was thankfully labeled at the Austrian grocery store as goulash meat!! I was able to prep myself to cook Austrian cuisine, which I have never ever done before. But I hit a big road bump when I realized I have no idea what to serve my goulash with! Polenta? Rice? even a Salad? Clearly none of those would do. So I again searched high and low before I finally came across the best website ever. How I did not discover this website before, I am not quite sure. I buy a lot of Schaer products, which were created in the Tirol region of Italy. Which in my opinion is really just southern Austria. All the Italians there speak German with Italian accents, not to mention some of them even barely speak Italian! They even eat dumplings instead of pasta. With that being said, I somehow came across Dr. Schaer's website during my many recipe web surfing sessions and realized they had a HUGE recipe selection using their products. And low and behold I found a recipe for cheese dumplings! I was ecstatic!!! My menu was complete! I created the meal for my boyfriend and another team member who we sometimes have over for dinner. I decided to make it a big event and went all out! We had brie and delicious Italian jam with gluten free crackers, followed by the main course of goulash and bread dumplings, and finally came the dessert, a plum clafloutis. I do realize that my meal was not completely Austrian and I did dabble a bit into the french cuisine with this meal, but when you live with a French Canadian you can't help it. The meal was a complete success and I will most certainly make this meal for the rest of my life, yes it was that good! So throw on your lederhosen or dirndl, grab a gf beer, start singing "the hills are alive", and get cooking!

Goulash

~1 liter gf broth, I used veggie
~1 can crushed tomatoes
~600-700g goulash meat, stringy stew meat (about 1 1/2 lbs)
~2 Tbs. paprika, preferably sweet Hungarian paprika
~1 tsp. oregano
~1 tsp. basil
~2 onions chopped
~2 cloves garlic, minced
~1 Tbs. olive oil
~1 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbs. water

Saute the onions in olive oil in a big soup pot for 15 min. Add in garlic and saute for another 3-5 min. Then add in broth, tomatoes, meat, and spices. Simmer on medium heat for 2-3 hours, or until meat is very tender. At this point stir in cornstarch. If sauce still appears to thin, add 1-2 tsp. more cornstarch dissolved in water. Stir and let sit for 15 min. while you cook your dumplings.

Cheese Dumplings

http://www.schaer.com/en/cooking-baking/recipe-collection/cheese-dumplings/

If you do not have schaer, simply substitute in a different gf flour and bread that you enjoy. And Mahlzeit as they say in Austria!

March 10, 2009

Ragu alla Bolognese

During my time here in Italy, I feel that I have made some serious progress in my homemade spaghetti sauce. I no longer buy the canned kind, mostly because many of them contain gluten. And it is a very tedious process to read labels in Italian, French, or German and try to decipher if that word is modified starch made of carob beans or if it is in fact made from wheat. Let me just say every time at the store is a reading adventure! I have just found that it is easier to create my own sauce from scratch, whether it is a plain marinara sauce or a little more elaborate. I also make a lot of batches of bolognese or meat sauce for my boyfriend, as he is constantly eating pasta before practice, before games, before road trips, and really just anytime he feels like it. So over the past 7 months I have tweaked and twisted this sauce to be something that I believe is an excellent bolognese sauce.





Bolognese Sauce

~500-600g ground beef (1 1/2 lb)
~3 cans crushed tomatoes
~3 cloves garlic, minced
~1 yellow onion, chopped
~8-10 leaves fresh basil or 1 Tbs dried basil
~1 Tbs. dried oregano
~1 tsp. fresh thyme
~1 tsp. sugar
~1/2 cup red wine, any kind
~salt and pepper to taste
~1/2 tsp. sugar

Brown the meat with the onion in deep pot. When meat is almost done, add in minced garlic. Cook until there is little grease remaining in pot. Add in crushed tomatoes. Then fill each can with a slight amount of water to clean and add this to pot. Stir in spices and sugar, also adding about a 1/2 tsp. salt to start and a few good pinches of pepper. Then finish off by adding in 1/2-1 cup of any red wine you have available. I usually use whatever is available in my kitchen at that moment. Let the sauce simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Try sauce and add more spices if needed. I constantly tweak the sauce as I cook it. Let it cook for another hour and then test again. If needed, add in more spices, salt, and/or pepper. Finally, I usually cook the sauce for 2-3 hours and it is absolutely perfect. Serve over pasta, gnocchi, or even use in Lasagna!

March 7, 2009

Authentic Tiramisu


I have done it. I successfully made the one thing that I wanted to create while living in Italy, a mouthwatering gluten free tiramisu. I have sat back this year and watched everyone eat homemade tiramisu for birthdays, Christmas, new years, etc. I have also had many tiramisus given to us by Mama Mias, the trainer's wife, and other local Italian women. They have been angrily stored away in my fridge for my boyfriend. But as of yesterday, I officially created the ultimate gf tiramisu!

Some of the wives of the players and myself were invited yesterday to the home of an Italian woman here in Pontebba, that seriously knows how to cook. She is affiliated with the team in one way or another and brought us into her home with welcome arms to learn the art of making tiramisu. We ooohhed and ahhhed over technique and were able to create masterpieces of our own. She speaks very little English, so there were many hand gestures and physical actions throughout the afternoon, but who better to learn to art from than a real Italian!

The other girls used lady fingers, or savoiardi in Italian, that were provided for them, whereas I had to come prepared with my own gf version. It all worked out perfectly in the end and I even learned some important facts about tiramisu along the way. One thing is that true tiramisu does not have alcohol in it, that is us yet again americanizing another Italian dish. Tiramisu is also eaten as a pick me up, thanks to the amount of seriously strong Italian coffee in there! It was a wonderful experience and I am now going to share with you the secret of making a truly authentic Italian tiramisu.



Gluten Free Sponge Cake
-modified from taste.com
~3 eggs at room temp, separated
~2/3 cup sugar
~1/2 cup brown rice flour
~1/2 cup Mix C Dr. Schaer (1/4 cup corn flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch can be used in place)
~2 tsp. gf baking powder
~1/4 cup milk
~1/4 tsp. vanilla

Heavily grease a rectangle glass baking (approx. 2 quarts) with butter. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Use an electric beater to whisk the egg whites in a clean, dry bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tbs at a time, mixing between each addition until sugar dissolves. Continue mixing after all sugar is added for 1 minute or until mixture is thick and glossy. Add the egg yolks and mix until just combined. Sift the combined flour mix and baking powder into the egg mixture a little at a time while mixing. Pour the milk down the side of the bowl and use a large metal spoon to fold until just combined. Spoon mixture evenly in glass baking dish. Then drop the dish a couple times gently against counter to allow bubbles to rise out of batter. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centres comes out clean. You will want the top to brown a bit and the sponge cake to feel firm and springy. It is better you cook it too long than too little, as you want to have lady fingers that the coffee will soak into. Remove cake from oven and allow it to cool. Once cooled cut the cake going from the long side of the dish in sections that are 2 fingers wide. Then cut the cake in the very middle from the short side. This will give you the right length and width for the lady fingers. Take lady fingers out of glass pan and set on separate plate. Each finger is still however too thick, so cut them in half width wise, so you end up with 2 thinner lady fingers. Now pay attention to where the lady fingers went in the glass pan, as you will want to put them back in approximately the same spot. At this point you are ready to move onto step two.


Tiramisu
~5 egg yolks
~3 egg whites
~8 Tbs sugar
~500g mascarpone cheese
~lady fingers(see recipe above)
~unsweetened strong coffee

Make the coffee, pour into a shallow plate and then leave to cool. Beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until they turn pale and fluffy. Fold in the mascarpone until mixed. In a different bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt(salt is very important according to the Italians! so don't leave out!) until white and peaky. Add the egg whites to the yolk mix and fold together very gently. Think a forward motion coming high out of the bowl with each stroke(this is what we was demonstrated for us and is the key to a good tiramisu). Quickly dip the lady fingers into the coffee, using only one side. Then place in glass cake pan, coffee soaked side up. You do not want to soak the lady fingers very much, just quickly dip them in the coffee. You can also poor the coffee over the lady fingers with a spoon after they are lined up in the glass cake dish. Then cover with the mascarpone mix. Add another layer of the lady fingers dipped in coffee. Top this layer with the mascarpone mix and finish off by sprinkling with cocoa powder or grated chocolate. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours before serving. Buon Appetito!!!!




Pictures are of Rosella demonstrating her Italian cooking skills.



March 5, 2009

Indian Night

I love Indian food. Growing up my mom used to make a fair amount of Indian food, so you could almost say I grew up on it. When I found out I was Celiac, I was overjoyed with relief that Indian food could still be a part of my diet. Obviously I wouldn't be able to indulge in the Naan like I used to do in my earlier days, but curry's, chutneys, and a big scoop or raita would suffice.

I am lucky that we do live so close to Austria, as I would not be able to find some of the "exotic" items I have used in my Indian cooking night if we lived farther south. Italians really only eat Italian food, which I don't blame them for only eating such a delicious cuisine!

Last night I decided to use up some spices and the can of mango chutney stored away in the cupboard. I also wanted to use up more of the plethra of flours that I have here, so I thought maybe I will undertake the task of creating the perfect gf Naan. I do admit that I did not think in any way that the Naan would turn out even similar to regular Naan. I am not very skilled at gluten free bread baking, but I figured it was worth a shot. And ladies and gentlemen I did the unthinkable. I baked Naan! It came out crisy with even the perfect Naan bubbles on it. My boyfriend claimed the bread was delicious, which coming from him who dislikes gf bread is a huge compliment. I paired up my Naan with some delicious Chicken Tikka Masala, Mango Chutney, and some cool Raita. It was the first time since I have been diagnosed that I was able to scoop up delicious Indian food onto a piping hot piece of Naan.


GF Naan
Recipe created by Arvinder Malhotra

~150 ml tepid milk
~275g (10 oz.) rice flour( I used 1/2 cup white, 1 1/2 cup brown)
~60 grams tapioca flour (I used 6 T)
~½ teaspoon salt
~1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
~2 teaspoons sugar
~2 teaspoons dried active yeast
~2 teaspoons vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
~150 ml plain/natural yogurt
~1 egg, lightly beaten
~1 teaspoon xantham gum

In a bowl mix tepid milk with 1 teaspoon sugar and the yeast, then set bowl in warm place for about ten minutes or until mixture starts to foam on top. Mix xantham gum, baking powder, salt, tapioca flour, 1/2 cup white rice flour, 1 cup brown rice(save the last 1/2 cup for later). Then stir in yogurt, egg, sugar, yeast mixture, and oil. Add in the 1/2 cup of brown rice flour a little at a time until you get a dough consistency. This dough will be very delicate, but should not be overly sticky. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes in warm area, covered with a dish towel.
Preheat oven to the highest setting. After the dough has had time to rest, place it on brown rice floured surface. Divide the dough into 2 equal balls, and then take one of the balls of dough and divide it into 3 equal smaller balls. Repeat this with the other ball. Roll out the dough with your hand into almost an oval shape. To make sure the dough doesn't stick, have a pile of brown rice flour on hand to add to surface. You will want the dough to become so thin that if any thinner it would break. It should be about 1/4-1/8 inch thick. Preheat a baking sheet in oven for a couple minutes. Then place one of the pieces of Naan on the cookie sheet and cook until you see it start to bubble, this should take 3-5 minutes. Open oven and brush olive oil onto almost cooked Naan, then place back into oven. Cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until it becomes golden brown. This first Naan is your experimental Naan. If the dough did not bubble, your Naan was too thick. You want to make these very thin! Then repeat with the rest of the dough, placing only 2-3 on a cookie sheet, as you want to allow them room to cook. I also found this bread can be used as pita bread. It separates perfectly in the center to form the "pita pocket".


Chicken Tikka Masala
Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com

~1 cup yogurt
~1 tablespoon lemon juice
~2 teaspoons ground cumin
~1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
~2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
~2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
~1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
~4 teaspoons salt, or to taste
~3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces

~1 tablespoon butter
~1 clove garlic, minced
~1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (I used ground cayenne pepper)
~2 teaspoons ground cumin
~2 teaspoons paprika
~3 teaspoons salt, or to taste
~1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
~1 cup heavy cream (I used whole milk)
~1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

In a large bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, and 4 teaspoons salt. Stir in chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat pan to medium heat. Lightly oil the pan. Place chicken onto heated pan and cook for 5-6 minutes. Remove from pan and place on plate. Melt butter in the same pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno( if used) for 1 minute. Season with 2 teaspoons cumin, paprika, and 3 teaspoons salt(add cayenne if jalapeno not used). Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken, and simmer for 10 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter, and garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over rice.

Easy Raita
~1 cup plain yogurt
~1-2 Tbs onion, thinly chopped
~1/2 cup cucumber, thinly chopped
~1/4 tsp salt
~Cumin, to taste
~1 tsp mint leaves, thinly chopped(optional)
Combine all ingredients together and add cumin to taste. This is how I normally make raita. There are many other recipes out there, but I find this the easiest with a delicious taste.

March 3, 2009

A short Hiatus to Malta



This post is slightly late and should have in fact been posted a couple weeks ago. But I am finally getting back into the groove of things. When my friend and cousin were here a couple weeks ago we decided to take a short trip out of Italy. We were looking at where we could take the train for a reasonable price, when it came to us, that maybe we could just fly somewhere instead! Because in all honesty, who wants to sit on the train for 10 hours. So we started checking out flights on Ryanair and realized we could go to Malta for two days! We also found a wonderful 5 star hotel that was renting hotel rooms for a quarter of the cost! After those finds, how could we pass up going to Malta! We immediately booked the flight, the hotel, and packed our bags for the next day.



Malta was incredible. It has so much history and the people are some of the friendliest people I have encountered in Europe. Our taxi driver even gave us a list of things to do during our two days in Malta! The price of food and other things is very reasonable, as they have just switched over to the Euro about a year ago. Public transportation there is also very efficient and you will have no problem getting around the island, and not to mention a bus trip only costs around 50 cents! The weather was mild and I was even able to strip down to a short sleeve t-shirt at one point. But make sure to bring warm clothes too, as the weather changes constantly. When it began to rain, the temperature dropped down into the high 30's. However, this trip was taken in February and the summers I have heard are quite hot.

The first day we arrived there we took a "hop on, hop off" tour bus, which I highly recommend. We were able to see many cities on the Island within a day. The cost is a bit stiff, so if you are on a budget I recommend not doing the tour and instead taking the public buses to the cities of Rabat and Mdina. And of course don't forget to go to Valletta! All three of those cities are some of the most beautiful cities I have seen in all of Europe. The second day we went to the fishing village of Marsaxlokk, which is easily accessible by the public bus system. We had a wonderful lunch there at a cozy little restaurant right on the water. The owner was wonderful and even let us clamber up to the roof for some fabulous photos. Our lunch consisted of fresh fish, salad, and veggies for under 10 dollars. I had no problem eating gluten free in Malta, as almost everyone speaks fluent English. The only thing that I wish I would have been able to try, was some of their Maltese rabbit stew. I am not sure if this dish is gluten free, as we ran out of time and were not able to travel to the part of Malta that is home to this infamous stew. And unfortunately I can't seem to remember the name of the city! But if you ask, I am sure that someone will be able to point you in the right direction.


Finally, I highly recommend our hotel, The Corinthia Marina Hotel. It was right on the water and had an amazing buffet breakfast. I brought my own cereal and bread, but other than that I could eat many items provided in the buffet. The restaurant in our hotel also provided gluten free pasta! The first night we ate there I noticed that at the bottom of the menu it said to inform servers of any allergies or diet restrictions. I informed our waiter and he provided me with not only gluten free pasta, but warm gluten free bed! I would be back to this hotel in a heartbeat.



If you love the ocean, the salty air, fresh fish, some of the oldest history in Europe, friendly people, great food, and good nightlife, then make it a point to visit Malta.

March 1, 2009

No Bake Cookies




It is official. I am now on a baking rampage. The regular season finished Saturday night and the boys are headed into play downs. Yes that is right, not play offs, but play downs. The Aquile has just not done that well this year. Whether it was due to the two horrible coaches they have had, the goalie getting hurt for over 2 weeks, miscommunication, etc. Either way, they had a bad year and there is no denying it. So the play downs mean that if they win 3 out of the next 5 games, we go home!!! If they don't, we will probably be here for a bit longer. But I am staying optimistic and hoping they win. So that leads me to my baking rampage.....I am trying to use up all of the flours, gf oats, and packaged mixes before we leave. And due to that fact, there have been tons of desserts and baked goods appearing in this house now.


My boyfriend was gone the other night at an away game and I decided it was the perfect time to make up a batch of no bake cookies, since I have more than a pound of GF oats left! I remember that I have always loved these cookies and my mom makes a mean batch of them. I browsed through a couple recipes online and then modified this one. This recipe is easy, takes no time at all, and you even don't have to worry about burning the cookies! Personally, I think no bake cookies are the greatest invention ever!


GF No Bake Cookies


~2 3/4cups gf oats
~1/2 cup milk
~1/2 cup butter
~1 3/4 cup white sugar (you can also substitute a bit of brown sugar in here, I used 1 cup white, 1/2 cup brown)
~4 Tbs cocoa powder (unsweetened)
~1 tsp vanilla
~1/4 cup coconut flakes
~1/2 cup chunky all natural peanut butter


Combine milk, butter, sugar, and cocoa powder in a pot over med. heat. Stir all ingredients together and continue stirring until mixture starts to bubble. From the second it starts to slowly bubble, allow it to continue bubbling, while you keep slowly stirring, and then coming to a full boil for 2 minutes and 20 seconds. It is very important that you keep this time very exact, if you boil for too little the cookies will not form and if you boil for too long the cookies will fall apart. Make sure that you have all the other ingredients measured out before you start to boil mixture. Remove from heat immediately after 2 min. 20 seconds and stir in peanut butter until it dissolves, then stir in vanilla, and finally add oats 1 cup at a time, finishing up with the coconut flakes. Then spoon out mixture onto parchment paper forming a slightly sloppy cookie with each spoonful. Allow at least an hour after this for cookies to set.

February 24, 2009

Gluten Free on the tropical island of Zanzibar




I apologize that I have not posted more recipes this month, but as some of you know I was doing some serious traveling for the past month, therefore many of my posts are geared more towards traveling. But I personally feel that you can never have enough travel advice about countries when you are Celiac!

Zanzibar is a little island off Tanzania that is absolutely magical. It is surrounded by other little islands that are world renowned for their snorkeling. This island is home to many world famous spices such as, vanilla, cumin, cloves, pepper, coriander, ginger, cinnamon, and so many more. It is where I had some of the best Indian food in my life, swam in the warmest ocean, and saw dolphins out my breakfast window almost everyday. It was incredibly easy to find GF food here, as people in Africa view flour as a luxury, whereas people in America feel that they need to "Stretch" food to save money, so flour goes in almost everything! The cuisine in Zanzibar is highly influenced by Indian and Asian foods and if you are like me, this is the place you want to be! They also serve many fish and shellfish dishes that are caught daily. The portions are good sized and you can eat a wonderful meal for under 10 USD. My only advice is to bring an explanation of what Celiac disease is and the things you can and can not eat in Swahili. However, almost everyone speaks English, so questions are well understood. Below is a list of restaurants I ate at while staying in Stone Town, Zanzibar. My final advice is if you ever make the trip to Tanzania, do not miss out on going to Zanzibar!

Archipelago~5 out of 5
This restaurant was so incredibly good, that we ate here 3 times! I could not get enough of their dishes. The food here is cheap and amazing. They offer many grilled fish dishes and believe it or not they do not use flour in anything! They have GF cakes for dessert created with almond meal and date flour. You can easily eat 3 courses here for under 12 dollars. Another perk is the view here. The restaurant sits on the second story of a building overlooking the water and is perfect for a sunset meal.

Silk Route~4.5 out of 5
An Indian restaurant with a great atmosphere. Located on the very top of a building, you can overlook the streets of Stone Town. The waitstaff is amazing and they really catered to my needs. I was able to eat very easily here.
Freddie Mercury's~2 out of 5
This restaurant is named after one of the members of Queen, who was from Zanzibar. They are very proud of him and created this restaurant in honor of him. The food at this restaurant was horrible. However, it gets 2 stars for the incredible water front view it displays. The servers were quite confused about my needs and not very accommodating. I recommend this place for a drink at sunset, but for dinner, I highly suggest you go somewhere else.

Al Jahar~2 out of 5
A fancy restaurant, with reasonable prices. Located on the top floor of a eye pleasing hotel, this restaurant has one of the best views in Zanzibar. Its bar has a very Schick, yet comfortable feel about it. They offer a wide array of drinks, but their mixed drinks lack in flavor. Their soups are incredible, but their food is sub par. I sampled the paella, a traditional Spanish dish, and was so disgusted by it, that I barely ate five bites of it. However, this is another restaurant that I highly recommend their bar for a beer or glass of wine, but really do go somewhere else for dinner.



Monsoon~4.5 out of 5
A unique restaurant where guests sit on pillows on the floor surrounded by low tables. A band plays typical Zanzibarian music in the corner, as you munch on local food. I was able to eat almost everything on the menu here and the staff was wonderful. The ambiance in this restaurant was the best of any of the other restaurants in Stone Town that I visited. It is great for an intimate setting or even a close family dinner.



Activities you can not miss in Zanzibar



~The spice tour
~The Red Colobus Monkey tour w/ a visit to the Green Sea Turtle Sanctuary and Mangrove swamp
~Prison Island
~Chumbe Island

February 22, 2009

The buoni ristoranti in Italy!




I have started to eat out more and more in Italy these days. I guess you can say I have attained experience in having no fear to tell the waiter exactly what I want! Also, I am able to spot places that can accommodate me better than others, call it a 6th sense if you like! haha, I am sure most Celiacs find they develop this "sense" with time.


Therefore, this post is dedicated to those Celiacs living in Italy and those Celiacs traveling to Italy. I have a list of places that I highly reccommend, and places that are Celiac friendly, but may not be my favorite place to find an Italian meal. I also have some advice to those coming to eat your way around Italy. Firstly don't assume that everyone in Italy knows what Celiac Disease is. I have found that many people look at me like a three headed monster when I say to them "Sono Celiachia!!!" But there have been other times where they knowingly nod their head. I have yet to find that dream place where they just made fresh GF gnocchi for me or where there is homemade GF tiramisu waiting in the fridge for me. There are places out there like this, but you may not find it every time! So I have become content with eating risotto, polenta, salads, delicious meats, and of course the to die for prosciutto di San Daniele! Secondly, most people in Northern Italy, located in the smaller towns(this is not including the big cities like Verona, Treviso, Venice, etc.) speak very little to no English, so your job is to either know the words such as NO Farina di Frumento!!! or have them written down. I have found that if I carry a Celiac explanation in Italiano, it helps immensely. Then I do not have to point to things, throw out Italian words, and scream the words NO FARINA!!! Now you may think you have been practicing your Italian and are confident enough to converse with a lovely non English speaking Mama Mia, but a lot of things get lost in translation. The last couple of times we have gone out, I have almost not brought along the translation card, but my boyfriend insisted that saying NO FARINA is not the answer! And he has always been right so far. So in all honesty, just bring an Italian translation and then you won't be sweating in your chair wondering whether your Italian and most importantly, your hand gestures were understood! Thirdly, if you are in a bind and didn't prepare a place to go ahead of time, do not worry. Find a restaurant that offers risotto or polenta for the primi piatti or first course. Then you can usually eat most anything for your secondo piatti, as most of the items are grilled meat. If the item has a sauce, simply just ask them to leave it out! If you can't find a restaurant that offers polenta or risotto, it is no problem, just order a insalata misto(mixed salad) for your first course, followed by a deliciously grilled roast beef! Trust me you won't go hungry in Italy, even if you are Celiac. And if you are in between meals, just pop into a farmacia and grab a gluten free snack! They have a wide array of snacks, cookies, crackers, pastas, breads, beer, etc in most Italian pharmacies.



Restaurants I highly recommend



Alte Hutte~5 stars out of 5!

via Lussari, 1 Camporosso 33018 Tarvisio

A cozy restaurant located by the ski slopes of Tarvisio. They do not have GF pasta, but if you bring your own they will cook it and add some delicious ragu sauce to it! They have a great 3 course meal for around 20 euros.


Moby Dicks~5 stars out of 5!

VIA MICHELANGELO 30, MORENA DI TRICESIMO, UD 33019

-DS pizza point

-GF pasta, pizzas, and desserts!!!

-Fast and good service


Liston~4 stars out of 5

Via Dietro Listone 19 Verona

Wonderful restaurant serving lots of risottos and dishes with polenta. They have the best mixed salad I have had in Italy! And make sure to try the risotto with radicchio!



Gelateria Emmanuel 4 stars out of 5

Via Roma, across from arena, Verona

GF gelatos available here! Lots of choices!
They even use seperate scoops for every ice cream, so no CC worries!


Restaurants that can accommodate GF, but are not my favorite


Al Porto~ 2 out of 5 stars

Muggia, UD


This restaurant is located in the beautiful city of Muggia and has an incredible view. They offer GF pasta and pizza. Their pizza is sub par, but the view is worth it. If you really are looking for a good pizza place I recommend a DS pizza point, as this one tasted like a pizza made on soggy polenta!


Da Poggi~0 out of 5 stars

Venice

I have now tried to eat at Da Poggi, located on the famous street in Venice. The first time I made a reservation via email and did not receive a response until 3 am. I obviously did not check my email this late, nor in the morning at 6am before we left for Venice. I assumed there would be someone in the restaurant that I could talk to either during lunch hours or dinner hours. However, there was no one in this restaurant and absolutely no hours posted. I asked the shop next store if the restaurant would open later and they said "They open when they want". Obviously we did not want to wait for whatever time that would be, as we were starving. So we ate at another place and low and behold on our walk back, Da Poggi was open. The second time I tried to go with my parents. We sat outside the restaurant, as there was someone inside, for 1 hour. The man inside did not acknowledge us and proceeded to stock the fridge, wander around, turn on the outside lights, everything else possible but did not look at us. We finally knocked on the door, after 12 people had already tried the locked door in front of us. He then looked at me shrugged his shoulders and gave the signal for closed. I pointed to my imaginary watch implying what time they would open and he shrugged his shoulders and walked off. I absolutely do not recommend this restaurant, as they are very very rude in my opinion. Find somewhere else to eat in Venice, but not here!!!


~Also, you can visit the Italian website for more options


Just click on the AFC link with the Great Britain flag


~Or even the DS pizza points



This list will be continually updated!