Tuesday, February 22, 2011

GFree Gnocchi with Vodka Sauce

I have decided not to eat dinner out during the month of February. For a NYC gal who loves going to restaurants this is an EXTREMELY difficult feat to embark on!

My best friend came up to NYC for a visit this past weekend and I knew that if I was going to convince her that eating out was not all it is cracked up to be, I needed to find some AMAZING recipes!

Enter my grand idea...GNOCCHI with VODKA SAUCE!!!!

So after a long day of doing everything other then researching recipes I quickly googled gnocchi recipes and printed out 4! Being that none were gluten free I decided to come of up with a blend of all 4. I had potatoes, rice flour, potato starch, corn starch, eggs and parmesan cheese…the rest of the ingredients on the lists were either not gfree or not in my pantry.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. Let me know how it goes for you!

Here is what I came up with:
3 Medium sized potatoes
1 cup of gfree flour (I used rice, but I am sure most light flours would work)
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup corn starch
2 eggs
1 handful parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter or margarine

Make mashed potatoes aka boil potatoes and mash!
Dump everything into a large bowl and kneed until blended
Flour cutting board (gfree flour of course)
Make ropes of dough
Cut ropes into 1 inch size pieces
Add a handful of raw gnocchi into boiling and salted water
Let cook until gnocchi float (about 2min)
Remove with strainer – DON’T pour water and gnocchi into the strainer, you will crush the gnocchi (that happened to my first batch)
Repeat cooking until all gnocchi is cooked

Vodka Sauce (recipe from Giada De Laurentiis):
1 jar marinara sauce
1 cup vodka
1/2 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Simmer the marinara sauce and vodka in a heavy large skillet over low heat until the mixture reduces by 1/4, stirring often, about 20 minutes. Stir the cream into the tomato and vodka sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is heated through. Stir in the Parmesan cheese until melted and well blended.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gluten Free Gossip's Go To Snack Items

Snacks are one thing that I find difficult when sticking to the gfree diet. Yes, there are tons of fattening cookies and sweets but that gets expensive and is definitely not healthy. I have been trying to come up with some healthy, quick, and cost effective ideas to take to work and here is what I have come up with:

  • Roasted Chickpeas - chickpeas, olive oil, spices of your choice roasted for 30min

  • Chex Mix - make it yourself: corn/rice chex, peanuts/almonds, cranberries/raisins, chocolate/yogurt chips

  • Spiced Pretzels - Glutino pretzels, ranch dressing mix, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, olive oil - mix together and place on baking sheet in the oven for 15min

  • Kind Bars - shop around at different grocery stores for the best price in your area

  • Sunbutter - goes great with everything: apples, carrots, celery, rice cakes, bananas, pretzels

All of these snacks are easy to grab on the go or keep in your purse/car/desk for easy access. Make a bunch of the homemade snacks, they last for a very long time - if you don't eat them first!

If you don't like any of these options - stick to the basics: fruits and veggies! Happy Snacking!

That's all for now, check back later this week for more Gluten Free Gossip!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Gluten Free Gossip is back! Restaurant Style

Well, GlutenFreeGossip is back! I know it has been a VERY long time since I last posted, but after a number of requests I have decided to re-start GlutenFreeGossip and @glutengossip!

There is no way to update this site with all the gluten free discoveries I have made over the past year and a half, but I am going to make an effort to include all the important information throughout my first few entries.

I would like to re-start this blog with my favorite topic: Restaurants!

New York
Living in NYC (Manhattan specifically) I have access to some of the best restaurants in the world. I know that I can walk into almost any restaurant in my neighborhood and be served in a safe manner. (Of course there are exceptions – I don’t expect Patsy’s Pizzeria or Amy’s Bread to contain the massive amount of flour that flies around their store just for me!) I personally enjoy ethnic foods (Mexican, Indian, Thai, etc.) which tend to be extremely convenient when avoiding gluten, but a majority of the restaurants in NYC have become more aware of gluten “allergies”. (Just to clarify – I have Celiac in addition to a gluten allergy – however in restaurants I recommend everyone using the word allergy when explaining your dietary restrictions, it just makes the point more non-negotiable.) My favorite GFree (or gluten free friendly) restaurants in Manhattan are always changing but here are a few:
  • Lilli and Loo: Asian cuisine, 792 Lexington Ave - Recommendation: try the dumplings and general tzo’s tofu
  • Dakshin II: Indian cuisine, 54 First Ave -Recommendation: try the dosa, but everything is delish!
  • Bistango: Italian cuisine, 415 Third Ave - Recommendation: ask for gfree garlic bread (not on the menu but it is really good)
  • Calle Ocho: Mexican cuisine, 446 Columbus Ave - Recommendation: go for brunch – all you can drink sangria is amazing!

I know that not everyone is as lucky as I am in regards to the plethora of gfree restaurants I have near me, however it seems to me that restaurant options are improving all over. I was in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month and although I often avoid chain restaurants I was convinced that going to Outback Steakhouse was a MUST! Before you roll your eyes (as I did) and say “if you’ve been to one you’ve been to them all” – read on. This specific outback in Roswell, GA has an extended gluten free menu. The staff was incredibly knowledgeable and not only knew about the options but had tasted a majority of the gluten free dishes in side-by-side taste tests with the “normal” products. If you ever find yourself in the ATL area I highly recommend giving this Outback a try. I ordered the following (all gfree):
  • Bloomin' Onion
  • Bread
  • Gold Coast Coconut Shrimp
  • French Fries

There were a number of other options on the menu, in addition to the normal gfree Outback option, i.e. chicken fingers, molten chocolate cake, burgers with buns

Rhode Island
I spend the majority of my weekends during the summer in Rhode Island and I am constantly finding new restaurants that are introducing gfree menus. The credit for my latest discovery belongs to my mother – who tried to find someone to accompany her to this restaurant for 2 years before we finally gave in! The vegetarian restaurant located in Pawtucket, RI is called Garden Grille Café. This local gem has based its menu off fresh locally grown ingredients and has an outstanding variety of gfree options. There are many tofu and tempeh dishes and they use gfree options like corn starch and/or tamari for all most of the dishes. My favorite dishes:
  • Vegetarian Crab Cakes (made with hearts of palm instead of crab)
  • Black Bean Cakes (which actually stuck together)
  • Eggplant Rollatini

For now that is all, please check back later this week for more Gluten Free Gossip!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Amy on the radio!

Yesterday I was interviewed by Jenn Brockman from Blog Talk Radio. She asked me all about my life with Celiac Disease! If you have some free time listen to the interview!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Gluten Free Cooking Spree in Washington DC

Last weekend I went down to Washington DC to visit my best friend for my birthday and the two of us went to the Gluten Free Cooking Spree in Bethesda, MD. The event, which was held in the Hyatt, was very different then any of the other gluten free events I have been to in the past. The Cooking Spree was almost like a cocktail party with gluten free foods.

There were food stations set up on the perimeter of room. Each station was showcasing their “best” gluten free menu item. Being that I am not from DC most of the restaurants were new to me.

The event also showcased some well known speakers. The most memorable was Dr. Bob Anderson, a recognized international leader in the immunology and clinical management of celiac disease from Australia, spoke about his recent work on groundbreaking celiac treatment trial. He emphasized the necessity for diagnosing the enormous number of people around the world living with celiac disease as well as eventually finding a cure. He stated that the US is one of the farthest behind in diagnosing and awareness. Some other speakers were Linda Arterburn, Vice President-Development for Alba Therapeutics Corporation which is currently working on celiac treatment study and Dr. Vikki Petersen, a Chiropractor and Certified Clinical Nutritionist.

There was also a “best tasting dish” contest in which each of the restaurant food stations presented their dishes to a panel of judges. The best part was that everyone was able to taste the food which was being judged. The restaurants that participated were Wildfire Restaurant (bacon wrapped scallop), Lilit Café (crab cake), Jaleo (endives), Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza (pizza), Legal Sea Foods (Paella), Peacock Grand Café (tuna), Sweet Sin (Lamb Chops) and Zengo(scallops).

A separate dessert table was set up as well. In my opinion the most note worthy dessert was the Starbucks new gluten free cake which was not yet out in stores. It was delish! Cherry Blossom Cakes was also there, although, I am privy to Babycakes in NYC.

A silent auction was also held in a separate area along with a small vendor sampling area which included booths from Joan’s (my FAVORITE bagels!), Snikiddy, Mahatma Rice, Cabot Cheese, among a few others. Wegman’s grocery store also provided a great gift bag as we left the event.

Overall, the event was a classy affair which I found very enjoyable. I did notice that the event attendees were not as warm as past events. One of the best parts of attending GF events is meeting the people; I have found that most people are willing to talk and share their stories. However, I felt that this event people tended to stay to themselves. The food was great and the wine and beer were flowing!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thrive Allergy and Gluten Free Expo

Last week I attended the Thrive Allergy and Gluten Free Expo in Chicago. Thrive was a two day event (April 18-19) which show cased a number of gluten free vendors. The event, which was held at Chicago's convention center, McCormick Place, provided a large forum for a number of gluten free specialist to share information. The event consisted of a number of speakers, cooking demonstrations as well as booths displaying gluten free products for taste testing and purchasing. The Expo also had booths for people with asthma, skin allergies, and nut allergies.

Most of the booths carrying gluten free foods were local Chicago retailers who specialize in gluten free and allergy free specialties. About 90% of the vendors were displaying baked goods, which I expected. I spent the day taste testing and talking with all the vendors supplying GF products.

My Favorite Products
- Meister’s Angel Food Cake: http://meistersgf.com/
- Deerfield Bakery’s Baguette: http://www.deerfieldsglutenfree.com/
- Toro’s Chocolate Chip Cookies: http://www.tasteslikerealfood.com/
- 123 Gluten Free’s Spice Cake: http://www.123glutenfree.com/
- Sunbutter’s Original Sunbutter (sun flower seed butter, no nuts): http://www.sunbutter.com/
- Lil’s Dietary Specialty Shop’s Powdered Donuts: http://www.lilsdietary.com/
- Van’s Gluten Free Waffles: http://www.vansfoods.com/
- Pamela’s Butter Shortbread Cookies: http://www.pamelasproducts.com/

My Favorite Demonstrations/Speakers
- Kim Koeller, http://www.glutenfreepassport.com/
Kim is publishing her second book later this year empowering individuals with the knowledge to safely eat outside the home, while managing celiac disease, food allergies & special diets

- Jennifer Cafferty, http://www.glutenfreeclasses.com/
Jen made outstanding Gluten Free Coconut Chicken Tenders with Mango Chutney and Tuscan Quinoa Salad

- Jules Shepard, http://www.nearlynormalcooking.com/
Jules made an amazing Gluten and Dairy Free Pizza

The event showcased a number of companies that provide an online shopping outlet for a number of gluten free products. Some of the sites I have ordered from are:

Overall this was a great event, I was able to meet a number of knowledgeable gluten free experts in the Chicago area. I am planning to back to Chicago August 15-16 for the Gluten Free Cooking Expo.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Kosher for Passover Wines

Below are the pictures of the Kosher for Passover Wines we drank over the past week. Incase the pictures are not clear I have provided a list as well. My list is ranked 1 being the best 5 being the worst...let me know what you think about my ranking system!
  1. Alfasi Malbec/Syrah
  2. Alfasi Chardonnay
  3. Altoona Hills Shiraz
  4. Altoona Hills Chardonnay
  5. Manischewitz (GROSS! But classic!)