Monthly Archives: September 2009

Gluten-Free Indian Cuisine, Part 4 of 4: Dal Makhani

Indian food, whether dining out or staying in, always has that kick of flavor that is sure to help you spice up your gluten-free diet. Our first post discussed the intricacies of dining out at a gluten-free restaurant, including tips on which ingredients to avoid, what questions to ask, and how to best use our dining cards. Next we showed you how to make Tandoori chicken, a North Indian dish with all the right flavors and seasonings to make it a classic family dinner dish.

Gluten-Free Indian Food

In the final post in our series on Indian food, we’ll show you how to make dal makhani, a lentil dish with loads of spices and seasoning and cooked to a buttery, velvety texture. We first ate this dish at Haandi, a local Indian restaurant, and it was delicious and gluten-free. However, this is not always the case. Watch out for hing, which is an Indian spice we first talked about in our first post. This spice is often milled with wheat, so be sure to check with the chef before ordering at an Indian restaurant!

Hing is believed to be an antiflatulent by some, and so you’ll find this in lentil dishes more frequently than in other Indian dishes. However, in my experience, hing is used more in home cooking than in restaurants.  (Perhaps because any post-meal flatulence isn’t really the restaurant’s problem. Patrons are usually long gone by the time “consequences” roll around!)

Below, reprinted from the Veggie Cookbook blog, is a recipe for gluten-free dal makhani. Enjoy! And tell us what you think!

Ingredients

1 cup whole urad or black gram lentil
1/3 cup kidney beans (rajma)
1 tbps grated ginger
2 tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds
Red chili powder

1 tsp. turmeric powder
3-4 tbs. ghee or clarified butter or oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp minced ginger & garlic
1 medium onion (thinly chopped ,optional)
2-3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1/2 cup fresh cream.
2 tbs. chopped coriander leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
5-6 cups water (to cook dal)

Directions

Wash and soak black urad whole and rajma overnight. Then, cook in 5-6 cups of water with salt, red chili powder, fennel seeds powder, turmeric, and grated ginger till dal and rajma are soft. Lightly mash the dal and rajma mixture and set aside.

In a separate pan, heat oil or butter. Add cumin seeds and hing and cook until you hear them crackle and pop. Add ginger, garlic, chopped onions, and cook until the onions turn light brown. Add garam masala and chopped tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are soft. Add in the mashed dal and rajma to this mixture. You may also want to add some water to bring it to your desired consistency. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Next, add fresh cream and let it simmer for 5 more minutes. Garnish with coriander leaves.

Gluten-free Chocolate Cake from Pamela's Passes Taste Test with Flying Colors!

CakeRecently I won a bag of Pamela’s Products gluten-free Chocolate Cake Mix. Since a gluten-free friend of mine had used this Pamela’s mix before, she suggested I make a chocolate sour cream cake, for which the recipe is on the bag. There are actually many different recipes on the bag, including a chocolate loaf cake. I assume this is like a chocolate quick bread of sorts. Since I love most any kind of quick bread, I’ll have to make that next time.

The chocolate sour cream cupcakes I made with the mix were absolutely delicious! They were very chocolaty, moist and good enough for gluten eaters to scarf down. I served the cupcakes at a get together where people who eat gluten came back for seconds. That is the true taste test of a gluten-free product for me!

As always, none of the guests that can eat gluten were told the food was gluten-free. Otherwise, they probably would not tasted the food in the first place. More than one person asked how I made such great cupcakes without flour. I explained that there are many flours that are not made from wheat, and that I’d actually used a gluten-free cake mix that contained almond flour, among other things.

To frost the cupcakes, I made homemade chocolate frosting using this recipe from Recipe Zaar. Please note this is not a gluten-free website, but one I get outstanding recipes from all the time. The frosting recipe is super easy to make and quite delicious. In the past, I have enjoyed Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Frosting and it’s outstanding in both taste and texture. Since I don’t think it’s hard to make frosting from scratch, I rarely use frosting mixes. If you like using mixes, the Pamela’s Dark Chocolate Frosting Mix is definitely one to try!

Because I like to know how well things freeze, I froze a half dozen unfrosted cupcakes and frosting on the side. One week later I defrosted a cupcake. It was still tasty but it was not as good as it was the day it was made or the day after. When I make cake from this mix in the future, I’ll do so when it will be eaten within two days. I find this is needed for most gluten-free cake mixes I’ve tried. The chocolate frosting defrosted quite well but I already knew that from previous freezing experiments. The frosting pretty much tasted the same as it did the day I’d made it two weeks prior.

Other mixes from Pamela’s Products that we enjoy are the Cornbread & Corn Muffin Mix, the Pancake & Baking Mix and the Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. I use the baking mix for muffins and quick breads and make killer pan bars with of the cookie mix. By the way, muffins, quick bread and cookie bars made with these mixes all freeze really well!

Pamela’s Products offerings and many other baking mix lines are listed in The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide. Let us know what your favorite Pamela’s Products mix is in the comments below.

All zpizza locations offer gluten-free pizza!

provenceOne of the main things people who can’t eat gluten miss when dining out is pizza. I never made pizza before my celiac diagnosis but I soon learned that I had to start, or go without it. At that time, we did not have any gluten-free pizza options in Atlanta.

Even though I eventually settled on the pizza crust mix from Gluten Free Naturals (which is excellent by the way), I don’t think a pizza made in a home oven will ever be as good as one from a pizza place. These days Atlanta seems to be in a race with NYC in regards to how many places offer gluten-free pizza. Therefore I very rarely make pizza at home anymore.

But not everyone lives in NYC or Atlanta. Presently, zpizza has 88  locations around the U.S. They came to offer gluten-free pizza because the CEO’s sister has celiac and he wanted her to be able to enjoy pizza. The rest as they say, is history. Now anyone near a zpizza location can enjoy great gluten-free pizza as well. There are new stores set to open in NYC (in the West Village) and San Francisco!

The CA based company started rolling out their gluten-free service slowly. They wanted to get it right of course, but the company just confirmed to me that they now offer gluten-free pizza at all zpizza locations! The company prides itself on using fresh ingredients and offering interesting toppings. The result of their efforts is great tasting unique pizzas! I’ve only eaten at the Metro Atlanta locations in  Alpharetta and Duluth. Those stores actually offer gluten-free brownies and carrot cake! Sorry – this is available only in the Atlanta area.

applepiie0133

Don’t worry, you can order an apple pie pizza if you can’t get cake or a brownie at your zpizza. It’s sort of a large dessert and will serve 2-4 people. It’s a wonderful apple dessert, with a strong almond flavor. I order it without the extra almonds on top.

The carrot cake is some of the best in town and a gluten eating friend of mine could not believe the brownie was gluten-free. The trick is that zpizza does not tell their gluten eating patrons those two desserts are gluten-free. This is how they can afford to stock them – they sell them to everyone. And everyone loves them because they are in fact, quite delicious! If you want to make your own carrot cake, check out this post.

Danny Kim owns the two zpizza locations in the burbs here. He’s very involved with the local gluten-free and Autistic communities.  zpizzawould do well to have more people like Danny owning stores around the country. Danny and his right hand man, Glenn Hockert, are simply fine individuals. They very much care that we get safe gluten-free pizza and even desserts – what more could we ask for?

Let us know if you have a zpizza location near you in the comments below. If you’re not sure - check out the locations here!

Blogger of the Month – September 2009

Kathleen RealeOur blogger of the month is Kathleen Reale over at BeFreeForMe. Kathleen was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004 and decided to put her business expertise to good use by creating the first and only web site to offer coupons and samples to gluten and food allergy-free consumers.

Kathleen’s past extensive business success has been duplicated with this new venture, dedicated to helping the allergen free community live easier, tastier and less expensive lives. We can all benefit from that!

Like the rest of us, Kathleen quickly figured out that living a gluten-free lifestyle takes preparation, time and money. Her sky rocketing grocery bills prompted her to put her marketing and event planning experience to work. And that is how BeFreeForMe came to be.

On the blog part of the website, Kathleen shares product reviews of items she thinks her readers will enjoy knowing about. You’ll find informative articles that address the allergen-free lifestyle.  The allergens addressed on the website are gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and fish.

This except from the BeFreeForMe website explains how they came up with these particular allergens -

Why are there only five categories for the allergens (gluten, fish, dairy, nuts and soy)?  Why didn’t you subcategorize the nut category between peanuts and tree nuts, or separate wheat from the gluten category?

BeFreeForMe researched the feasibility of breaking down the allergens further than the five allergen categories currently being used (gluten, nuts, dairy, fish and soy).  After the research, it was decided to use these five broader allergen labels, since there can be replacement product used (i.e. many recipes generalize ingredients such as “nuts” or “seafood” with no specification to the type or source) We suggest that you explore each one of our recipes and further evaluate the specific ingredients, and if any contain the allergen specific to your concern.

The recipe section of  BeFreeForMe offers recipes in every category from appetizers to dessert. The really neat part of their system is that you can choose up to five allergens to avoid. You just check all items you can’t eat and search the recipes – it’s that simple! Just for fun I searched for gluten, dairy and soy free recipes and over 150 of them popped up. Now that is quite impressive!

BeFreeToMe+Logo+Outlines[1]

At BeFreeForMe you can sign up to receive coupons and samples sent directly to your home. This offer also includes a Newsletter – sent to your inbox monthly. There are three other free services you can sign up for as well. You can join BeFreeForMe and start saving money today! If you are already a member, let us know in the comments below.

Blogger of the Month – September 2009

Kathleen RealeOur blogger of the month is Kathleen Reale over at BeFreeForMe. Kathleen was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004 and decided to put her business expertise to good use by creating the first and only web site to offer coupons and samples to gluten and food allergy-free consumers.

Kathleen’s past extensive business success has been duplicated with this new venture, dedicated to helping the allergen free community live easier, tastier and less expensive lives. We can all benefit from that!

Like the rest of us, Kathleen quickly figured out that living a gluten-free lifestyle takes preparation, time and money. Her sky rocketing grocery bills prompted her to put her marketing and event planning experience to work. And that is how BeFreeForMe came to be.

On the blog part of the website, Kathleen shares product reviews of items she thinks her readers will enjoy knowing about. You’ll find informative articles that address the allergen-free lifestyle.  The allergens addressed on the website are gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and fish.

This except from the BeFreeForMe website explains how they came up with these particular allergens -

Why are there only five categories for the allergens (gluten, fish, dairy, nuts and soy)?  Why didn’t you subcategorize the nut category between peanuts and tree nuts, or separate wheat from the gluten category?

BeFreeForMe researched the feasibility of breaking down the allergens further than the five allergen categories currently being used (gluten, nuts, dairy, fish and soy).  After the research, it was decided to use these five broader allergen labels, since there can be replacement product used (i.e. many recipes generalize ingredients such as “nuts” or “seafood” with no specification to the type or source) We suggest that you explore each one of our recipes and further evaluate the specific ingredients, and if any contain the allergen specific to your concern.

The recipe section of  BeFreeForMe offers recipes in every category from appetizers to dessert. The really neat part of their system is that you can choose up to five allergens to avoid. You just check all items you can’t eat and search the recipes – it’s that simple! Just for fun I searched for gluten, dairy and soy free recipes and over 150 of them popped up. Now that is quite impressive!

BeFreeToMe+Logo+Outlines[1]

At BeFreeForMe you can sign up to receive coupons and samples sent directly to your home. This offer also includes a Newsletter – sent to your inbox monthly. There are three other free services you can sign up for as well. You can join BeFreeForMe and start saving money today! If you are already a member, let us know in the comments below.

Delight Gluten-Free Magazine is Truly Delightful!

all_three_coversDelight Gluten-Free magazine is the Vogue of gluten-free magazines. Though I don’t understand the low subscription price (only $14.50 a year / 4 issues) considering the size of the publication, I’m thrilled to be able to take advantage of the incredible value. No other gluten-free print publication offers so much information for less than $3.75 an issue!

In the most recent issue of the magazine, you’ll find over 60 recipes – many both gluten and dairy free. Some are also egg free! Need to make tasty gluten-free meals that won’t break the bank? No problem - Gluten-free On A Budget has you covered.

Fall brings thoughts of yummy soups to warm the soul and seasonal desserts. Speaking of seasons, the magazine includes some timely recipes in Fall flavors. This is just a partial list of them!

  • Skillet Caramel Apple Torte
  • Easy Caramel Sauce
  • Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup
  • Spinach Stuffed Zucchini
  • Pop’s Famous Split Pea Soup
  • Autumn Shepard’s Pie
  • Cranberry Apple Stuffed Pork Loin
  • Chicken Green Chili
  • Cornbread Muffins with honey butter
  • Gingersnap-Crusted Sweet Potato Pie

Flour Power will tell you where you can find gluten-free cupcakes at bakeries around the country and how much they all cost. Tips for a Gluten-free Halloween offers advice about what candy your gluten-free Trick-or-Treaters can indulge in. Years of Hope includes information about the interesting work at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Celiac Research, headed by Dr. Alessio Fasano.

The travel section articles include Gluten-Free Dining in the Holy Land, Gluten-Free Maui and Gluten-Free Dinner Clubs. The latter is my article and since so many people have asked me about the photos, I’m listing them in left to right order below. Please note: many of these dishes are only available during special gluten-free dinner club events.

  • Spinach Dip with home made chips at Paper Mill Grill in Marietta, GA
  • Gluten-free Beignets at Outback Steakhouse in Roswell, GA
  • Sesame Chicken at Lavender Asian Bistro in Lawrenceville, GA
  • Barbecue Pizza at Pepperoni’s in Duluth, GA
  • Flourless Chocolate Cake at Ritters in Marietta, GA
  • Chicken Fried Rice at Lavender Asian Bistro in Lawrenceville, GA

The most inspiring story to me, in the current issue of the magazine is No Limits. It highlights Phyllis Kessler’s mission to provide gluten-free foods to those in need. She founded GFFAP (Gluten-Free Food Assistance Program) and has raised around $20,000 to help people who can’t eat gluten enjoy the gluten-free foods they can’t afford. Her program serves the South Florida area, but I can envision it being a nationwide program eventually. If anyone can make that  happen, I believe Phyllis can!

Let us know if you have seen Delight Gluten-Free at a newsstand near you. If you can’t find it in your area, you can sign up for a subscription on the the magazine’s website.

Frozen Entrees from Gluten-free Cafe

gfcafe_sidebottomGluten-free Cafe frozen entrees by Hain Celestial are now available in most health food stores and also many mainstream grocery stores. The meals are somewhat pricey, as are many gluten items in the convenience foods category. The Gluten-free Cafe meals I’ve tried are very good but my favorite is the Lemon Basil Chicken. The simple delicious meal is comprised primarily of rice, basil, lemon and chicken and it’s really quite delicious!

Other flavors are Asian Noodles, Pasta Primavera and Fettuccine Alfredo. These frozen meals come in super handy whether you need a quick meal for one, or easy meals when visiting friends or family. All you need is a microwave and a fork and you have a tasty gluten-free meal in five minutes flat!

Hain Celestial makes the wonderful line of Imagine soups. My favorite flavors are the Creamy Potato Leek and the Butternut Squash – both are very tasty! The company also offers several excellent soups that do not contain gluten ingredients, that are not marked gluten-free. The company will not label them until the FDA agrees on a law regarding exactly what that means. At least that is what the company told me the last time I called to check the gluten-free status of my favorite mushroom soup from them –  Walnut Acres Organic Portobello Mushroom.

Hain Celestial “no gluten ingredients” products include, but are not limited to, the Healthy Choice soup flavors : Cream of Celery, Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken. All flavors work great for casseroles but since the soups are not condensed, I often use sour cream to thicken them. If a sour cream flavor isn’t appropriate for the dish I’m making, I use cornstarch (mixed in a little water) to thicken but it does take time to get the consistency I like for casseroles using that method.

It will be great when FDA makes a definite ruling regarding exactly what gluten-free labeling means in the U.S. Hain Celestial is not the only company waiting on the FDA ruling before adding “gluten-free” to their “no gluten ingredients” product labels – no doubt.

Check out what Hain Celestial is doing for the environment:

  • Green Buildings: Every facility, from our corporate offices to our manufacturing and warehousing sites, is adopting procedures to evaluate and maximize our recycling practices, reduce waste, and improve energy efficiency.
  • Green Packaging: We are committed to reducing product packaging (versus using more material than absolutely necessary), in combination with sustainable, ethical sourcing of raw material.
  • Green Awareness: We are bringing environmental concerns to the forefront by integrating such messages into our various brand marketing campaigns. Our goal is to increase support and awareness for the need to take action and do as much as we can to protect our environment now.

Have you tried these new frozen meals from Gluten-Free Cafe yet?

Note: Please read the ingredient labels of all products that are not labeled gluten-free as ingredients change often. Something that is gluten-free today might not be tomorrow.

Review of Joan's GF Greatbakes Gluten-free Products

Photo courtesy of Joan's GF Greatbakes

Photo courtesy of Joan's GF Greatbakes

Bagels are not just a breakfast staple for New Yorkers. The rest of us love a good bagel as well, though many transplanted New Yorkers say that one can not find a decent bagel in Atlanta, GA. I beg to differ as Panera Bread makes a pretty good (gluten) bagel – though it’s not as good those from H&H in the “Big Apple”.

Over a year after my celiac diagnosis, I came across a review of Joan’s GF Greatbakes bagels online. By then I’d tried every frozen gluten-free bagel I could buy locally but I never finished one bagel before throwing them out.  I’ve probably never read a more glowing review of anything gluten-free than the review of Joan’s bagels. When I found another such review – and yet another – I immediately placed my order and hoped for the best.

One of the differences (besides the taste and texture) between Joan’s gluten-free bagels and others on the market is that you have to bake them yourself. As they rise in the oven and the smell of baking bread wafts through the kitchen, the anticipation builds about how they’ll actually taste.

Everyone who knows anything about gluten-free baking understands that smells and looks can be very deceiving. In the case of Joan’s bagels however, the taste and texture exceeded my wildest expectations. I started worrying that maybe somehow the company made gluten products and sent me the wrong item. I checked the plastic container (they did not come in a bag back then) but the label indicated the bagels were gluten-free. They also happened to be the best bagels I’d ever had, regardless of ingredients!

Joan’s GF Greatbakes also offers incredible Sandwich Rolls, English Muffins and Pizza Crusts. The folks at Joan’s were kind enough to send me their brand new - and quite excellent - Italian Bread to try recently. It’s so exciting to see the bread rising on the counter and then in the oven. The smell alone will make you think you’re walking by an Italian Trattoria in NYC!

It drives me nuts to pay to ship food in but Joan’s products are worth the splurge. I treat them like gold and eat them sparingly. I also order with friends to save on the freight charge. But I must have my Joan’s Everything Bagels when a bagel craving hits – absolutely nothing else will do!

The way Joan’s company came to be is very interesting. She found out she could not eat gluten many years ago. To say there were not many gluten-free “replacement” foods back then is quite the understatement. Joan acclimated to her gluten-free diet and got used to doing without her bagels and her favorite Brooklyn style pizza. But when Joan’s grandchildren had to go gluten-free, Joan decided that unlike her, they would not do without anything.

Joan got busy and created some of the best gluten-free products on the market anywhere.  These days we are lucky to be able to enjoy the wonderful gluten-free products that she painstakingly created with love for her grandchildren! If you have not tried Joan’s products yet, you can take advantage of their online sale through 9-25-09.

Special thanks to Kathleen at BeFreeForMe for letting us know about this fabulous 15% off discount offer. Sale prices are reflected on the website now. Click here to find out more about Joan’s GF Greatbakes products and where they are sold. They’re so good that  that you’ll be proud to serve them to the gluten eaters in your life. If you’re like me however, you might not feel like sharing!

If you can buy Joan’s GF Greatbakes products near you, please let us know where you found them.

Gluten-free Cornbread Mixes and Recipes

cornbread_front_ou_miniOne of our readers recently asked for help making gluten-free cornbread so we set out to find some of the best recipes for it, in the gluten-free blogosphere and beyond. This time of year is perfect for making old fashioned cornbread. It goes perfectly with gluten-free chili – also a Fall favorite around our house.

We love the cornbread mix from Gluten-Free Naturals and the new one from Pamela’s as well. Both products offer outstanding taste and texture and are super easy to make. And that is all I’m looking for a in a cornbread.

For those that don’t like – or can’t find – gluten-free cornbread mixes, here are some tasty looking recipes to try when you have a hankering for cornbread:

Whether you use a mix or make cornbread from scratch, a cast iron skillet is the best pan to use if you have it. Not only does it give you extra iron – it yeilds a perfect golden crunch for your cornbread!

I checked The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide and Arrowhead Mills Yellow Corn Meal seems to be the most widely available gluten-free corn meal available in the U.S. The company makes gluten products so remember to look for the gluten-free marking on the package.

Let us know if you have a favorite gluten-free cornbread mix or recipe we should know about!

Gluten-free Cornbread Mixes and Recipes

cornbread_front_ou_miniOne of our readers recently asked for help making gluten free cornbread so we set out to find some of the best recipes for it, in the gluten-free blogosphere and beyond. This time of year is perfect for making old fashioned cornbread. It goes perfectly with gluten-free chili – also a Fall favorite around our house.

We love the cornbread mix from Gluten-Free Naturals and the new one from Pamela’s as well. Both products offer outstanding taste and texture and are super easy to make. And that is all I’m looking for a in a cornbread.

For those that don’t like – or can’t find – gluten-free cornbread mixes, here are some tasty looking recipes to try when you have a hankering for cornbread:

Whether you use a mix or make cornbread from scratch, a cast iron skillet is the best pan to use if you have it. Not only does it give you extra iron – it yeilds a perfect golden crunch for your cornbread!

I checked The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide and Arrowhead Mills Yellow Corn Meal seems to be the most widely available gluten-free corn meal available in the U.S. The company makes gluten products so remember to look for the gluten-free marking on the package.

Let us know if you have a favorite gluten free cornbread recipe we should know about!