Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Miguel's Organic Dippers

There's honestly too much gluten free food in my house when I come home.  The cupboards are bursting with snacks -- chips, cookies, popcorn; you name it it's in my cupboard here at home.  The cupboards aren't the only area that is full with gluten free goodies as the countertops are overflowing with freshly baked brownies, cookies, cakes... again, anything you can imagine.  It's hard on my waistline, but a great opportunity to try new products out.


One such product is Miguel's Organic Tortilla Dippers.  They come in three different flavors: Vegetable & Seed, Three Pepper, and Everything.  I tried the Vegetable & Seed flavor and I was instantly enamored with it.  My family and I matched the chips with a fresh salsa made by one of my mother's friends and the combination was an enormous hit; the bag of chips was gone within an hour.

We normally eat the Garden of Eatin's Blue Chips, but Miguel's are a great change of pace with a bit more flavor.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Miguel's Organic Tortilla Dippers

Monday, December 28, 2009

Emeril's Southwest Essence

As my mother tried to prepare me a gluten free dish for Christmas dinner, we kept running into obstacles.  Worcestershire Sauce?  Iffy.  Cocktail sauce?  Also potentially hiding gluten.  She was making a potato dish too, and needed to know about potential gluten in spices.  I went googling and found some useful information about Zatarain's -- and by useful I mean they don't list potential gluten in their spices.




Instead of Zatarain's my mother turned to Emeril's Southwest Essence.  Luckily B & G Foods, the distributor of Emeril's Essence line, has a great list of their gluten free products.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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B & G Foods
Gluten Free List Here

O'Scugnizzo's

Whenever I travel home for the holidays, I'm shocked by the amount of gluten free food available in my small hometown.  The Celiac support group here is extremely active and has made enormous strides in making gluten free food available for those who keep a gluten free diet.  For a small, rural town, there is an inordinate amount of gluten free options.  It makes it much easier to stomach the snow and cold when I know I'll be plied with all sorts of gluten free treats.

The latest gluten free offering in my hometown is pizza.  Gluten free pizza seems to be all the rage these days, with Pizza Fusion, ZPizza, Deano's Gourmet Pizza, Fresh Brothers, Lucifer's, and Garlic Jim's all offering gluten free pizza in L.A.  Unfortunately, prior to O'Scugnizzo's gluten free offering, my hometown was severely lacking in comparable options.

With the addition of O'Scugnizzo's, however, my hometown has stepped onto the gluten free playing field in a big way.  I won't go as far as saying that the pizza is up to the high bar set by my favorites in L.A. (here's looking at you, Fresh Brothers and Deano's); nonetheless, it's a great option for pizza if you're in upstate New York.



The pizza my look strange to those of you not initiated to the cult of O'Scugnizzo's, but they always make their pizza with the cheese directly on the crust with the sauce on top.  The crust isn't made in house but is instead made by a local company and shipped to O'Scugnizzo's.  The above size is the only size available in the gluten free crust.  It's definitely more of a personal pizza than a family pizza -- there were only 4 slices.  The gluten free pizza costs $7.95, a bargain compared to ZPizza and Pizza Fusion.  Of course, those two chains exclusively use organic ingredients whereas I'm certain O'Scugnizzo's does not.

All in all, O'Scugnizzo's offers a great gluten free pizza for those of you in, or traveling through, the upstate New York region.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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O'Scugnizzo's
3963 Oneida Street
New Hartford, NY 13413 (Map)
315.737.8000
Gluten Free Pizza only available at this location

Friday, December 25, 2009

Strawberry Macarons Recipe

Whenever I come home I'm guaranteed to be force fed the latest gluten free recipes that my mother and sister have found.  My latest trip has been no exception to that general rule.  I finally arrived home after three cancelled flights and a 1.5 hour delay through Atlanta back home to upstate New York to a plate full of gluten free cookies.  The local time was 3 a.m. but that didn't stop me from indulging in a few of these delectable pastries.




I particularly enjoyed the Strawberry Macarons my mother made me, and have reproduced the recipe below.  The cookies were flavorful, light, and very simple to make.  The recipe comes from TeaTime Magazine's March/April 2008 issue.  Unfortunately I don't have any photos of the cookies; I turn into a cookie monster when I'm home and had eaten all of these before I thought to photograph them.  Whoops.  The picture above is from the magazine.

I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season!
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Strawberry Macarons
Makes 40-54 cookies, 20-27 sandwiches

1.25 cups confectioners' sugar
1.25 cups almond flour
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 4 drops red food coloring
Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling (see below)

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Sift confectioners' sugar into a medium bowl.  Blend in almond flour.
3. In a large bowl, and using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat egg whites until foamy; add salt.  Slowly add sugar; blend until soft peaks form.  Add vanilla extract and food coloring, being careful not to overmix.
4. Gently fold the almond flour mixture into the egg whites until just incorporated.  Do not overmix.
5. Gently fill pastry bag with mixture (no tip is necessary).  Pipe batter into 1- to 1.25-inch rounds on prepared baking sheets.
6. Bake until bottoms of cookies are just set and tops are only slightly firm, about 20 minutes.  Do not overbake.
7.  Remove parchment sheets from baking sheets immediately after removing from the oven.  Allow cookies to cool completely on parchment sheets.
8. When completely cool, spread a thick layer of Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling (see below) on the flat bottom of a cookie.  Sandwich with a second cookie; repeat with remaining cookies.  Reserve remaining filling for another use, if desired.

If possible, prepare cookies one day before serving to allow Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling to fully set.
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Strawberry Cream Cheese Filling
Makes about 1.5 cups

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1.5 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup strained strawberry preserves

In a large bowl and using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy.  Sift confectioners' sugar into mixture.  Add vanilla extract and preserves; blend until smooth.
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Do you love it or do you love it?

Prego Italian Sauces

Being home for the holidays is a bit like surviving an obstacle course, particularly around the holidays.  With so many potential dishes for hidden gluten it's a difficult time to be around, no matter how carefully my family tries to prepare my food.

Luckily, when I asked for pasta the other night, my parents found out that Prego now labels their sauces with a large "Gluten Free."


Creating great pasta dishes just became that much easier for us Celiacs!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Prego Italian Sauces

Monday, December 14, 2009

Xooro in Santa Monica Potential Changes

According to Eater LA's sources, the Xooro in Santa Monica may soon be re-done as a Spanish bistro.  It seems that the Santa Monica branch, which is substantially larger than the West Hollywood location,  isn't picking up the slack for the chain.

Xooro makes great gluten free churros that can be drenched in chocolate, peanut butter, or a host of other delicious flavors.

If you're a fan of Xooro, make sure to stop by the Santa Monica location to support it!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Xooro
125 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90401 (Map)
310.260.2919
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8360 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069 (Map)
323.951.9592
Note: Call ahead at this location to ensure they have gluten free churros available.

Friday, December 11, 2009

San-J Tamari Peanut Salad Dressing

If you're anything like me, you avoid most Asian food except for P.F. Chang's, which has an extensive gluten free menu.  I don't avoid it because I dislike it; I used to be a very picky eater and not eat anything other than pasta with butter.  The irony is clear -- I can no longer go to any restaurant and order pasta.  Nor can we Celiacs (or people who keep a gluten free diet) imbibe in soy sauce-laden Asian food because of wheat's use as a thickener in soy sauce.

Well, San-J to the rescue!  I've been using San-J's Wheat-Free Soy Sauce for a long time but didn't know that San-J made other gluten free.  I was recently over at my friend Lauren's apartment while her roommate, Vanessa, was making dinner with her boyfriend.  Vanessa randomly looked at the salad dressing bottle they planned to use and saw that it was marked "Gluten Free."


Forgive me that the quality isn't the best as it was taken on my camera phone.  Regardless, it's good to see San-J making more gluten free products!  I tasted a bit of the sauce and it was great, particularly after staying away from peanut sauce for so long because it often contains gluten.

After a quick look at San-J's website, it looks like the company makes two additional gluten free dressings: Sesame and Ginger.  All of the company's cooking sauces are gluten free too!

The company's website even has a great recipe listing, in which you can choose the product you want the recipe to be based on.  Watch out for gluten in the added ingredients, of course, and make changes accordingly.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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San-J

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Eat My Blog - Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes

On my way to the library today (finals are the best!) I stopped by the Eat My Blog Charity Bake Sale in West Hollywood.

There was an impressive spread of baked goods out at Zeke's Smokehouse, but I had my eye on the prize -- the gluten free Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes I had seen in the bake sale's advertising.




I was fortunate enough to pick up the last one.  This cupcake was AMAZING.  Words can't even describe how rich and decadent it was, particularly the frosting.  Luckily, the baker attached her website to the cupcake so when I arrived to the library I was able to find the recipe.

The recipe is included below -- thanks to L.A. Easy Meals for the simple and delicious gluten free recipe!  Instead of using the Whole Foods mix she uses, try it with Betty Crocker's Gluten Free mixes!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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This dessert is really too good to be true. The cupcake itself isn’t sweet at all, I don’t even know if it would be worth eating if it weren’t for the frosting. Although the frosting may taste very decadent, all the ingredients are very low in calories. I’m usually not big on using cake mixes because of all the unnatural ingredients in them, but you can go to Whole Foods and pick up a standard box of organic Devil’s Cake mix. This is also a super simple recipe to whip up for the holidays.
Peanut butter Chocolate Cupcakes
18 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) devil’s food cake mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 eggs or ¾ cup egg whites
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup All-Natural Peanut Butter Spread
  • FROSTING:
  • 1/2 cup cold fat-free milk
  • 1 package (1.4 ounces) sugar-free instant chocolate pudding mix
  • 1 package (8 ounces) fat-fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup All-Natural Peanut Butter Spread
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen fat-fat whipped topping, thawed

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, eggs, applesauce and peanut butter. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
  • For frosting, in a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 1 minute. In a small bowl, beat cream cheese and peanut butter until smooth.
  • Gradually beat in pudding. Beat in half of the whipped topping; fold in remaining whipped topping. Frost cupcakes . Store in the refrigerator

Thursday, December 3, 2009

General Mills Creates "Live Gluten Freely"

General Mills, the creators of great gluten free products like Chex, Betty Crocker Gluten Free Mixes, and Gushers, has created a new website to help gluten free customers select General Mills products safely.

Live Gluten Freely has great gluten free recipes and the entire listing of General Mills' gluten free products.  Before seeing this website I didn't know so many Progresso soups were gluten free!  The site also says to look for "Gluten Free" below ingredient listings on General Mills products; if the product is gluten free it will be listed.



It's a very simple, easy to use website that is incredibly useful for Celiacs or people who avoid gluten in their diets.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Live Gluten Freely

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New Counter in WeHo?

An item on LA Eater says that there will soon be a new branch of the great burger place The Counter in West Hollywood.  The Counter has an extensive gluten free menu that can be accessed here.  Use caution when reading this menu -- I see they don't list their malts as gluten free.

The item reads: From a tipster, "Just noticed a notification posted outside Baja Fresh at Sunset and Hayworth across from DGA. Application to serve alcohol and its being replaced by The Counter. Inside Baja they say its happening in this month."

The restaurant's official website doesn't reflect the news;  I'll keep you posted with updates.

Do you love it or do you love it? 
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The Counter
2901 Ocean Park Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405 (Map)
310.399.8383
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Other SoCal Locations Here

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dawn's Dinners

This is particularly for my readers a little outside of L.A.  I was recently contacted by Dawn of Dawn's Dinners.




Dawn is gluten-intolerant and own's Dawn's Dinners, which prepares full meals for people around the Santa Clarita Valley.  She is beginning to make entirely gluten free meals, and wanted to offer her services to people in the Santa Clarita Valley.

For more information, check out her website here.  I haven't made it up to Santa Clarita to try the meals and won't be able to make it out there until next year (which is only a month away!).  If any readers stop in, please leave comments about your experience!

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Dawn's Dinners

Babycakes in LA - New Video!

Babycakes just posted a new video celebrating the upcoming opening of their new branch in L.A.!


BABYCAKES NYC: COMING TO LOS ANGELES IN DECEMBER!!! from BabyCakes NYC on Vimeo.

Do you love it or do you love it?
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Babycakes
130 East. 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014 (Map)
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248 Broome Street
New York, NY 10002 (Map)
212.677.5047