Friday, July 31, 2009

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN PURPLE SANDWICH & SALAD LUNCH

I was at the Union Square farmer's market here in NYC this morning. These purple Pennsylvania peppers were right at the entrance, and irrestible. 
Since I have some version of a pepper and egg white omelette every day (peppers mushroom, pepper zucchini, pepper onion) I knew they wouldn't go to waste.

But by the time I got home I remembered I'd posted about purple radishes a few weeks ago, or had meant to, but had only gotten as far as the picture. 
Even though the radishes are long gone, I grabbed what I had on hand to make this purple and red salad, using the inspiring purple peppers, one Jersey tomato from the farmer's market (it really was that red!!), some red radishes, and some red (actually purple) onions, salt, fresh pepper and a tiny bit of balsamic vinegar. You could add oil, but I prefer vinegar to oil, and I used so little, I used it alone.

I defrosted a roll I'd made a couple of months ago. I dId a 30 second microwaving, then toasted it. I made these rolls using my Italian bread recipe (see the Looking for Something Specific list in the right sidebar). I just poured the batter into some short tuna-sized cans with both ends removed--I used water chestnut cans or rings of aluminum foil. (I'll get into the technique in detail in the near future.) You could also make this sandwich using Trader Joe's French Rolls or Trader Joe's English Muffins.)
I'm watching my weight, so this sandwich (assembled while the bread was still warm) is made of fresh red peppers, Laughing Cow Lite Swiss cheese spread, and 1T Trader Joe's olive tapenade, very purplish in real life if not in these photos, just to keep the theme going.
If I were not dieting, I'd use brie instead of Laughing Cow and roasted peppers or sundried tomatoes in oil, but this was pretty filling and tasty as it was for a diet sandwich!
For dessert, I found more purple food in the fridge, these sweet plums. Nice contrast to the salt of the olives and vinegar of the salad. Everything was accompanied by several glasses of the very refreshing iced tea I made this morning. Not purple, but necessary on a day like today--they say it's 82 but feels like 92 to me!
I guess the only way to end this post, given all the trailers I've seen recently of Julie & Julia, is by wishing you all a hearty "Bon Appetit!"

Monday, July 20, 2009

GLUTENFREE VEGETARIAN TRADER JOE'S GINGER SNAPS


When I first found out I had celiac disease, I think I went through a bag of glutefree cookies every two days or so. I was skinny from malnutrition and wanted to gain weight, and with that style of eating, did I ever! 

It's been a while since the excesses of the first post-diagnosis months, and slowly, I'ved added (occasional) snacks into my diet. I buy almost no processed glutenfree foods, baking and cooking almost everything I eat. (My biggest snack item right now is the airpopped popcorn I make almost daily.)

The things I buy from TJ, though, almost go in a separate category in my mind. The store isn't far from my apartment, the prices are always the lowest around, and if there's something gluten free, I feel it's almost my duty to try it, since I'm grateful for their efforts on behalf of the gluten free community. (Especially when, as in the case of these ginger snaps, they are about half the prices of ones at health food stores!)

There they are. Crunchy, dusted in cinnamon sugar, spiced nicely and if you're on weight-watchers, five of them will set you back only three points. No preservatives. No artificial colors or flavors. Delightful. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN DISAPPEARING STARBUCK'S VALENCIA ORANGE CAKE




No one likes to be given something,

and then have it taken away.
VOTE HERE:


GLUTEN FREE VEGAN FAMILY FAVORITE STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

This is a dish that not only my mother cooked, but both my grandmothers, a REAL family favorite. It's made pretty much they way they all did it, but I use a mix of TVP (textured vegetable protein, dried soy granules) and soy tempeh instead of chopped meat. Please make sure the tempeh does NOT contain wheat, rye or barley. Three-grain tempeh, such as the one I find at my local Trader Joe's, for example, is definitely not gluten free since it contains barley. 

Here's the recipe:

1 head cabbage
80z package tempeh
2T minced garlic
1/4 c dry TVP
1 1/2 c chopped onions
2 tsp oil
1 c chopped celery stalks with leaves
1c diced green, red or yellow pepper
1c sliced carrots
4oz diced mushrooms
2 tsp lemon juice
2 T golden raisins
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cayenne
28 oz whole canned tomatoes with juice
28oz canned crushed tomatoes 
1/c c vegetable stock or bouillon mix
uncolored wooden toothpicks

Core, steam and cool cabbage.
Peel off leaves . Set on towels to dry.
Hydrate TVP in bouillon in large bowl. 
Steam 1/2 inch cubes of tempeh 10 minutes. 
Crumble tempeh in bowl with TVP.
Heat oil on low in soup pot.
Cook peppers,garlic,celery,onions 2 mins.
Add salt, cayenne,mushrooms. 
Cook till almost dry.
Break up canned tomatoes into bite-size chunks.
Add all to pot.
Cook, stirring occasionally, 30 mins or more.
Place solids (except carrots) in medium bowl. 
Place 2-3T of mix at thick end of each leaf.
Roll toward thin end, burrito style.
Fasten rolls with toothpicks, heat in sauce. 

The traditional rice has been omitted, for a lower carb version. If you think you'll miss it, you could serve the cabbage over rice, fettuccine or simply with its own sauce and a slice of my gluten free Italian bread (see recipe under Breads). If you're seriously watching your weight, though, you might consider broccoli, which I often use as a vitamin-rich substitute for pasta.

Note: For those who aren't familiar with TVP, it  is textured vegetable protein.You can buy it from Bob's Red Mill or Barry Farm or other places on line. It's granulated soy and when you add liquid to it, it has the texture of ground meat.Very useful. I mix it with Better than Bouillon vegetable bouillon concentrate but it would also be good with vegetable stock or soy sauce and water or mushroom stock.

Monday, July 13, 2009

GLUTEN FREE MOZZARELLI'S NYC PIZZA, COOKIES AND CAKES



If you're in midtown Manhattan, in New York City, there are plenty of places to grab a slice, as we New Yorkers say. However, if you're a celiac who wants pizza in midtown, there's only one place to even bother mentioning, and that's Mozzarelli's.

I've invited friends and family here--gluten-free and not--and everyone loved everything. Sounds like an exaggeration, I know, but fortunately for those who must have gluten-free food, it is not.


As you enter, there is a gargantuan wall of cookies. Odd, for a pizza place? Maybe, but when you're a celiac, your first reaction is disbelief and wonder at the fact that you are going to be this well cared for! Does a wall of 65 different cookies, all dairy and gluten free sound varied enough? Just in case you're overwhelmed by such a glorious selection, try some varieties from the sample trolley before you make your final choice. And order at least one of the chilled desserts on the opposite wall: cheesecakes, a red velvet roll, just to name two.
But first, to the main dishes. I expected gluten free pizza, of course, but I didn't expect to have to mull over an entire row of them!

For those who are gluten free but not vegetarian, there's pepperoni, and there's sausage. For those gluten free vegetarians such as myself there's fresh mozzarella with tomato sauce, and there's basil, mozzarella, tomato sauce, as well as mushroom spinach with mozzarella and sauce, or chopped broccoli, tomato, sauce and cheese. Some days: red onion and green pepper. Other days: ricotta, cheddar and mozzarella. And who knows what gluten-free inventions appeared on the days I wasn't there?
My favorites so far are the chopped vegetable
the fresh mozzarella with tomato and basil
and the spinach,mushroom, tomato, mozzarella
The more I visit Mozzarelli's the more I realize it's the crust that keeps me coming back. Crunchy, nutty. Not gluey, as others have been, too sweet and cakey as I've had elsewhere. It's reportedly a mix of bean flours with rice and potato flours, but to me the taste is more whole-wheaty than beany.


The Mozzarelli brothers are knowledgeable about cross-contamination issues, and despite the fact that non-gluten-free items are served in the same restaurant (there's pasta, as well as pizza, but the pastas aren't gluten free), I've never had a problem any of the times I've been there. In fact, I love being able to invite both gluten-eating and non-gluten-eating friends and family to the same place. And with the large Mozzarelli menu, it's a sure thing everyone will be satisfied!
Once again, don't forget dessert!
Above: carrot cake, and chocolate-dipped creme-filled chocolate sandwiches.
For more info:
www.mozzarellis.com

Saturday, July 11, 2009

ORGANIC VEGETARIAN SUNLAND FLAVORED PEANUT BUTTER AT FANCY FOOD 2009


If you're the kind of person who thinks of peanut butter as something to quickly spread on a rice cake before heading out the door in the morning, then you probably haven't been missing the ten different varieties of organic peanut butter that Sunland makes. 

I eat the occasional peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwich, but what I really enjoy is savory not sweet peanut-based dishes, soI had high hopes for this range of flavors, which is fairly evenly divided between sweet and salty or spicy. 

Unfortunately, I would have enjoyed the Vanilla Cranberry if it had had more tang. It seemed over-sweetened to me. The Onion Parsley was flat, more like unflavored peanut butter, with a strange aftertaste. The Southwestern was so spicy I could only see using it as a dip or sauce heavily diluted by another ingredient. 

Despite these reservations, I can't say enough good things about the Thai Ginger, which was spicy and complex, not heavy-handed yet strong enough to be part of a sauce. I'm thinking of trying a salad dressing with it as well. Versatile and delicious. 

With ten choices in the organic peanut butter range, and more beyond that (other nut butters as well) you might still want to check out this product for yourself. 
Though the peanut butters I've tasted have no gluten-containing ingredients, and I was told at the Show that all flavors are gluten-free, they are not produced in a gluten-free certified facility. I have consumed them with no ill effects, but you must take that into consideration if you are celiac and extremely sensitive. For more information, go to sunlandinc.com. 

Friday, July 10, 2009

GLUTEN-FREE VEGETARIAN MARY'S STICKSandTWIGS AT FANCY FOOD 2009

This will be a short review, because it seems everyone loves Mary's Gone Crackers.
I bought a box of the Everything crackers when I was first diagnosed. Never finished them. Thought I was chewing on wood. But as I say, people are crazy about them. 

Then I went to the Fancy Food Show. I'd been tasting a lot of rich foods. I needed a cracker, and there were Mary's, right in front of me. Since I knew I didn't like them, I compromised, deciding on the Twigs. "Oh, boy," I thought. "First, wood. Now twigs." I almost walked away. Fortunately, I didn't. Those twigs were tastier than any wood I've ever come across!

The curry was delicious:

The chipotle was, too:

I hereby eat my words. And in the future, most likely, many bags of perfectly crunchy little pretzel sticks called Sticks & Twigs. All the bite I disliked in the crackers (and yes, I'll probably give them another try), are an absolute plus when it comes to pretzels. They are the best! Crispy, layered, with chia seeds for fiber and a nice well-rounded spice mix. NOT that dunked-in-chili (or curry) flavor that some spiced items have.  

In short, highly recommended. 
(Even to the few who are not 
Mary's Gone Crackers fans!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN ALL-CHEESE CRISPS AT FANCY FOOD 2009

Yes, entirely of cheese! But that really doesn't say it all. Take cheese, double (quadruple?) the intensity of the cheese flavor, and then you have this tiny (see below) little crisp. The small package is handy but it would be a mistake to eat it all at once, since these need to be savored, slowly, they are so very rich. 

But apart from plain old munching? Perfect with a sweet roasted red pepper dip? Or sprinkled some over a simple spinach and tomato salad? They're high in protein, low in carbs, (not so low in fat, which is why I like them paired with no-fat vegetables) and just fifteen of these little guys provide 20% of a day's needed calcium.

If the aged-cheese intensity has made you a fan of the coin-sized crisps, their big brothers (about the diameter of a water cracker) will send your hors d'oeuvres into appetizer heaven and your allegiance will switch to, for example, the Everything crisp (pictured above) or, my favorite: the Garlic, or my runner-up: the Jalapeno. But then, I can't say I'm sure of the pecking order, here,  because they were all (including the Italian Herb, Rosemary, Flax Seed, Aged Parmesan) so wonderful. Made by Kitchen Table Bakers, available at Whole Foods. 
Here's the family portrait:

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

GLUTEN-FREE VEGETARIAN GARDEN LITES SOUFFLES AT FANCY FOOD 2009

Eating a vegetable egg white omelette daily, my weight's been peeling off, but I am bored. Luckily, Garden Lites, ten low-cal egg white souffles yanked me out of that rut with just a brief tasting.

I loved the zucchini portabella's spaghetti-like texture and woodsy mushroomy taste. The roasted vegetable was a lovely, slightly sweeter vegetable souffle. Neither like my too-familiar omelette!
Speaking of sweet, I'd tasted the carrot. Though I can easily see these being a meal with salad and fruit, wouldn't carrot souffle (or butternut squash?) be perfect with sliced glutenfree vegetarian tempeh roast and gravy? I see the cauliflower Garden Lite beside vindaloo beans over rice. And how about the spinach paired with a glutenfree vegetarian BeastlessBurger™ (right on this blog) for one high-powered, high-iron, high-protein meal?
Loved the taste, the convenience and the fact that all are good choices for vegetarians, celiacs, and dieters of any stripe. Can you tell I find Garden Lites inspiring?

DON'T MISS A GLUTEN-FREE RECIPE OR REVIEW--SUBSCRIBE!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

VEGETARIAN POPCHIPS AT FANCY FOOD


GLUTEN-FREE VEGETARIAN LARABARS AT FANCY FOOD 2009



And that's how I met Larabars. They're widely available, glutenfree, vegetarian, well-made with no fillers, come in a huge range of flavors, so there is no boredom factor. Here are the newest additions to the Larabar line: Tropical Fruit Tart, Peanut Butter and Jelly, and German Chocolate Cake bars.


Tops for me was the Tropical Fruit Tart, and for not particularly exotic ingredients, but one so fresh in a bar: orange peel. Yes, dates and coconut, and other tropical stuff, but it's the orange that perks it all up. A winner!


Next, the Peanut Butter and Jelly. Though my childhood memory of that combo is of commercial, sweetened peanut butter with grape jelly, this more wholesome rendition has the added spark of unsweetened cherries, which I really enjoyed. Nice twist!


And finally, the German Chocolate Cake. I must admit I'm such a fan this (actual) cake that I once ate an entire frozen one in one evening. This bar is neither cakey nor specifically reminiscent of a GCC. But is it chocolatey? Yep, and richly so. Could be sweeter, but that might be my large sweet tooth talking. Final verdict: hate the name, really like the bar.


In closing, just want to say again how happy I am that there are Larabars in the glutenfree vegetarian world!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

GLUTEN-FREE VEGETARIAN SAN-J PRODUCTS AT FANCY FOOD 2009


There were many new (to me, or to their line) gluten-free vegetarian products at San-J. Exciting! But it's still always fun to see an old friend. I've been a fan of this sauce before I knew I was celiac. Mainly because I'm a strange sort of vegetarian: I need tofu, that food I know is so good for me, to be frozen, dried, minced, just about morphed into something other than tofu before I can stomach it. And that's where the San-J Thai Peanut sauce has been a true magicmaker. 

If I only have time to stir-fry pre-chopped frozen vegetables, and some un-morphed tofu, the addition of the San-J Thai Peanut sauce turns the mix into a great meal where I'm no longer focussed on the soy sponge, but on terrific taste. 

And now, knowing it's gluten free too?
Really, really nice! 

In addition, San-J has four other gluten-free sauces I'm dying to try not only with tofu, but how about that Asian barbecue sauce the next time I broil up some tempeh, or roasting some vegetables in teriyaki sauce?

I'd be thinking of turning these sauces into salad dressings as well, and I might, but San-J has gone ahead and made some prepared salad dressings for us gluten-free folks, too.

I'm curious as to whether the tastes are different enough from anything I could make with their sauces. If so, guess I'll just have to expand my San-J shelf space!

Have I saved the best for last? Possibly, if you like a salty-sweet nutty cracker that is rich in flavor on its own, and yet, with its strikingly deep color, a beautiful foil for cheeses, vegetables, spreads of all kinds. The San-J Black Sesame Oven-Baked With Tamari: Wow, whatta rice cracker! (FYI: marked wheat-free, but certified as gluten-free by gfco.org.)


As a gluten-free vegetarian, I think I'll always be interested in keeping up with new San-J products!

Friday, July 3, 2009

CLICK HERE ON JULY 4 TO SEE OUR GUEST POST AT GIRLGETSTRONG.COM

The gfveg July 4 contribution to http://girlgetstrong.com, a great site about health, fashion, finance and of course, food, is a recipe for the wheatless and meatless Fiesta Casserole, the perfect addition to any Independence Day celebration!