Thursday, June 25, 2009


****2 MINUTE SOUP****

It starts with broccoli stems hidden away in the fridge, almost on their way out.

Cleaned and trimmed and peeled 
and diced, they become these pretty cubes.

Boil water, add vegetable soup mix (I like Better than Bouillon), slice a mushroom, grab a few cubes of frozen squash, and mix all briskly to heat squash and, of course, the broccoli cubes.

Sprinkle with soy bacon bits and it's ready to eat!


Sunday, June 21, 2009


The only difference between these saltsticks and the crispy-crust Italian bread you'll find in the May postings is the piece of baking equipment above. I've had it for years to make cornsticks with regular old cornbread batter. With this pan, it's super-easy to make what we call in some NYC bakeries, saltsticks. They could also be called, mini-breads, breadsticks, rolls, but the main thing is, they're delicious! The sticks are covered in coarse sea salt in these pictures, but Kosher salt would be good, too. These are plain, but feel free to go wild with any combo of seeds, herbs, cheeses, garlic, onion.....or maybe even.....the everything saltstick!  
If you don't have a cornstick pan, spoon the batter into a zip-top sandwich bag out of which you've cut a 1/4 inch corner to make an inexpensive, disposable pastry bag. Pipe out 5 inch lengths on a greased cookie sheet, Leaving plenty of room for the sticks to expand as they rise and bake.

Makes 14 saltsticks

2T yeast

1 1/2 T sugar

1 1/2 c water, 110 degrees (lukewarm)

1c cornstarch

1c sorghum flour

1c brown rice flour

1T xanthan gum

2 tsp salt

2T olive oil

1 tsp vinegar

3 egg whites

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix sugar, water and yeast in small bowl. 

Mix salt, xanthan gum and flours on low, in mixer.

When yeast mixture is foamy, add to flours.

Mix egg whites, oil and vinegar in medium bowl. 

Add to mixer bowl.

Mix on high for 4 minutes.

Oil cornstick pan.

Spoon batter into pan or onto sheets.

Sprinkle with salt or other topping.

Cover and let rise to double in warm place. 

(I use top of stove as oven heats.)

Bake until internal temperature is 200 degrees, and until golden brown, about 1 hr.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Here's another wonderful guest poster, and this time from Europe--Belgium, to be exact.

Michel M.,the author of this post, in addition to baking, takes photographs, designs graphics, composes and plays and sings and produces music, has been an architect, world traveler and, best of all, dear friend of many years.

Michel and Cecile came to visit NY soon after I was diagnosed. I hesitated to make dinner for them, thinking they'd mind eating my "strange" food. We went to a diner. where I had an omelette and baked potato, very specific about my no-toast order. I explained I had this celiac thing, hence no bread. To my surprise, Michel said he had it, too! I cooked a totally gluten-free meal for us a couple of nights later and since then we've exchanged recipes. We wanted to share this one with you.

I've taken the liberty of calling these Buckwheat Dinner Rolls. They're baked in a muffin tin, but are more like little individual breads. They're called dinner rolls but are also great for breakfast on the run. What follows is a note from Michel, his recipe and beautiful photos--enjoy!

These easy and delicious rolls are made in a muffin tin. They are crispy outside and tender inside. It’s better to eat them fresh and make them every time you need to. Otherwise, freeze and reheat … the best way I have found to reheat is 20 seconds in the microwave, maximum heat, and then 2 minutes in a toaster oven, low temperature.

Makes 12

Here it is (of course, better when organic)

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

3/4 tsp sugar

8oz water

1c white rice flour

1/4c buckwheat flour

2T coconut flour

2T each of sesame and flax seeds (or whatever seeds you like).

Note: Coconut flour is not necessary but adds fiber and a nice, subtle flavor.If you don't add coconut flour,reduce water by 2T.

Preheat oven to 450 F

Dilute salt and sugar in water.

Mix dry ingredients well.

Add water. Mix until batter is smooth and sticky.

Fill muffin tins to the top.

Sprinkle seeds over muffins.

Bake 25 minutes.

Let cool a few minutes and … eat.

Monday, June 15, 2009



Guest Poster Fleababe Reviews

This morning I awoke to the smell of baking, and by the time I got downstairs to the kitchen, my darling husband had a batch of chocolate brownies cooling on the counter. He'd used the 365 brand Gluten-Free Brownie Mix that he'd bought as a surprise for me, so I didn't know what to expect; I'd been disappointed before, and didn't want to get my gustatory hopes up. 

But I was unable to resist the amazing chocolate scent, so I quickly downed half of a brownie for breakfast. And what an amazing brownie it was. Moist and ultra-chocolatey inside with a lovely cakey outside. The other half went down just as easy because, as I told my mate, "It tastes like a real brownie." Meaning it didn't taste like the poor substitute we sometimes have to tolerate when it comes to our GF sweets. 

I like my brownies very chewy and almost fudge-like inside and these fit the bill; perhaps it was the 7 tablespoons of butter that you have to add? No one said these were heart-healthy, but you could serve these at a summer picnic and unwrap them without the caveat that "uh, everyone, these are gluten-free but they're really good." 

Once cut into squares, the brownies stayed together nicely even when I broke a piece off, with just a few crumbs left on my plate. The only other ingredient you need on hand is 2 eggs; nuts are optional. The instructions suggest freeezing the cooked brownies for an hour before serving but we ignored that stage, since I like my gratification to be instant.

Thanks to guest-poster Fleababe for this review. She is a designer, freelance writer, vintage enthusiast and art appraiser. Though not a celiac, she eats gluten free for stomach comfort and to keep her best friend company through the mysteries of celiacworld.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Only two ingredients:
4 oz Dates.
And 4 oz cashews.

Only three instructions:
Toast the cashews in a dry frying pan.
Process dates and cashews in food processor to a thick paste.
Shape into bars.
That's it.

Scout your local health food megamart for a bar with the same two ingredients. You'll see that by making these yourself,wrapping them in waxed paper and popping them in your lunch bag, you've saved 50% on the store price!

Can you spare 15 minutes to make a dozen bars to save a ton? Thought so, which is why I've shared this basic recipe. I hope you experiment. They freeze and defrost nicely so no problem stashing away a range of combos. I'm thinking cranberries, or coconut, or figs....the possibilities are vast.

Onward Frugal Gluten-Free Vegetarian
Energy Bar Creator!

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Ta-Da! All toasted and buttered up, the long-awaited (by me, anyway) Trader Joe's Gluten-Free English Muffins!! 
As you can see, they toast nicely and hold up to the butter (actually, Smart Balance Spread) puddled in the lower right of the bottom photo. They're crispy after a standard amount of time in my toaster oven, nothing extra needed to get this pleasing color and texture. I can see these as the base for the mini English pizzas my mom used to make, for quick cheddar and tomato grills, and just plain jam butties as I believe they're called overseas. 

My only problem–-and I really am glad to have these available just a quick walk down the street from my house–-is that (dare I say it–-please don't leave because I don't think you're perfect!) they are a tiny bit bland. They're missing a certain salty tangy edge I remember. Could the famous nooks and crannies be a little deeper? Sure, but, in the end....

These are HERE NOW, while the others no longer exist for me. Until I work on my own version (which I may yet do--watch this space!), I am grateful that TJ is once again reaching out to the gluten-free community with a useful and affordable product. This one's a perfect fit for those moments when energy for home cooking doesn't extend beyond an English muffin mini-pizza--and I'm sure we've all had those moments!

So, all in all, here's a heartfelt, crumb-dusted thumbs-up for Trader Joe's English Muffins!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Last night, on my way to dinner, stopped for hors d'oeuvres at Whole Foods--and free ones, at that! The Union Square store in NYC was hosting a 5-7 pm Gluten-Free Tasting Night. Good thing I dropped in: almost every department had something wonderfully gluten-free to taste.

The bakery: squares of almond-covered cookies. The salad bar: a perky mix of quinoa, cilantro, orange juice, orange zest, olive oil, red onions and grape tomatoes. DeBoles rice pasta spirals served with Braggs aminos, peanut butter, sesame oil, lime juice, garlic, cayenne and edamame--spicy and filling! Samples ranging from creamy chocolate mousse, a tangy cheesecake to a ground flaxseed/coconut mix yogurt topping. More GF dairy and non-vegetarian gluten-free foods, but I skipped those since I'm, of course, vegetarian, and to be on time for dinner.


A quick detour to the 14th Street branch of Trader Joe's where (and I never win anything!) I nabbed the last package of the new, economical ($3.49) store brand, gluten-free English muffins. TJ French rolls are a bit large and sweet so I'm hoping these will be more to my liking. Will report on twitter (where I heard about them from tweeter GFBklyn) after I try them. 


Ultimate destination of the evening: S'Mac (see Stepping Out in the column to the right), featuring a dozen varieties of macaroni and cheese, some vegetarian, some not, all available gluten-free or not. Diner/cafeteria/food stand atmosphere but no one minds. Maybe it's that each serving arrives bubbling in its own little cast iron pan, maybe it's the herbs, the variety...I'll stop. It's clear I'm in love with this tiny East Village spot. 

I ordered the Nosh (small) Garden Lite gluten-free veg (with broccoli, roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic, portabellos, scallions, lite cheddar and parmesan). Usually it's the Major Munch (mid-size) hypercheesy All-American (no vegetables) topped with crunchy breadcrumbs (gluten-free of course) but, trying to lose those last five pounds, I restrained myself (with mac and cheese?). 

My vegetarian, but not gluten-free, niece had the Parisienne (brie, figs, shitake and rosemary), truly luxurious. As we walked toward the subway, I thought that if we'd stayed a minute longer, I would have ordered another dish of mac and cheese, diet or no diet! 

And there ended tonight's culinary tour of 14th Street (well, S'mac is on 12th...), a totally satisfying, totally gluten-free vegetarian evening, and, worth mentioning in these difficult times, ranging in price from free to cheap. Not easy with the simplest of diets, so in this case, I might even call it a real achievement!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Makes 9 Burgers

2 1/4 cups cooked black beans

3/4 cup diced onion

1T minced garlic

2T olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

3 oz fat free milk

1 egg

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1 1/2 tsp ancho chile powder

1 1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder

1 1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 cup garfava flour (or other gf flour)

2 oz canola oil for frying

Saute onions and garlic in 1T of the olive oil.

Process black beans and nuts until grainy.
Mix eggs, milk, flavorings, olive oil, onion/garlic.
Slowly add flour, beating as you go.
Add bean/nut mix and combine well.
Heat 1/2" canola oil in large pan on medium heat.
Use scant 1/3 cup of batter per burger.
Drain on paper towels or brown paper bags.

•Toast nuts and cumin seeds (for freshly ground).
•If batter is hard to handle, freeze 15 minutes before forming burgers (or add a bit of flour).
•Turn burgers only when edges are dark brown.
•These freeze well. Microwave 90 seconds (no defrosting required).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I was invited to my first party as a celiac after writing online: Bring your own!" (like actress Carol Channing, strict vegetarian, with thermos of brown rice and veg at White House dinner) "Research! Call ahead!" But with MY big invitation, I followed none of my own advice, buried my head in the sand,considered not going. Or going for a half hour. No one will miss you, party pooper par excellence: non-drinking, vegetarian celiac on Weight-Watchers, I thought. I was a wreck.

But I did go. Usually late for everything, I was first to arrive. (Plan: first to arrive, first to leave.) I came with one diet soda, not an evening's supply, but I’d be gone soon. I chatted with friends, even started to enjoy myself. I was so happy to see the guest of honor that for a moment I forgot I was starving. I had a tiny ziplock bag of popcorn hidden in my bag. Hors d'oeuvres: fish or veg, all on flour tortillas, it seemed. Too shy to ask if they were white corn, I ate my dwindling popcorn.

Main dishes were brought in: a pork roast, zucchini, green salad, rice. Popcorn was long gone. Light-headed from lack of food, I lunged into the kitchen whispering, "I'm a vegetarian celiac, could you tell me what I can eat?" Relief: only the pork was off  limits! The food was great, worthy of seconds. Soon, one of the guests left. A while later, before cake, but not before more chats and laughs, I left too. Proudly, NOT first in, first out. Nice, except for one thing.

The weeks before my friend’s birthday? Foolishly self-inflicted anxiety! I could have phoned, asked the menu. Brought a gf veg main dish, not a puny bag of popcorn. Hey, I could even have brought a my own slice of birthday cake and stayed all night. I could have destroyed the dread in so many ways! I gave up gluten, to be done with the physical pain it had caused. Now I'll give up those just-as-painful celiac mind games. Life's too short to miss the party!