Monday, May 31, 2010


What is more American than food made of the Native American staple, corn? And here you have it in white corn, blue corn and corn colored with beet powder. Serve these chips from Trader Joe with whatever salsa you have in the house, or to emphasize their patriotic coloration, with a sour cream and yogurt dip lightly flavored with garlic, onion and cilantro.  
If information about these all-Americans has reached you too late for your Memorial Day celebration, all is not lost. Stock up for the upcoming national festivities. Flag Day is fast approaching (June 14th), followed of course by Independence Day on July 4th. If you'd like another excuse to eat these attractive crackers, September 17th is Constitution Day. These would also be perfect as you watch the returns on Election Day. November 11th is Veterans Day ad December 15th is Bill of Rights Day, good to know, even If Trader Joe isn't still carrying these tortilla chips by then. And if they are, there is Martin Luther King Jr Day January 15, and of  course, Presidents' Day the third week in February. 

Or just eat them because they're pretty and taste great. Gluten-free, of course. 


Friday, May 28, 2010


This spicy sausage is a versatile, vegan, gluten-free meat substitute that is hot!

Squeeze some of the sausage paste out of its plastic casing, stir fry it in an oiled pan and you've got great ground meat texture ready to take the place of meat for chili, to fill a burrito, or to use in any recipe where traditional hot sausage would be required.

If you like truly spicy foods, don't dilute the flavor of this sausage. Serve it this way: two fried eggs over patties made from the sausage paste. Add a couple of tortillas to complete the plate.

Fast food that's healthy and delicious, vegetarian and gluten-free!

Note: If you have any difficulty finding this product, Trader Joe sells a vegan sausage similar to this called Soyrizo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


This is a healthy little cookbook with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free recipes, and with some interesting moneysaving tips, too. Recipes range from useful sauces to breakfast ideas, soups, salads and dressings, greens and grains to main dishes and desserts. Recipes which use seitan can usually be made gluten-free and vegetarian with the substitution of tofu or tempeh. The bread recipes would be trickier to convert to gluten-free diets, although they will probably give you ideas for gluten-free versions to research or experiment with. 

The recipe for Leslie's Mushroom Spread is easy and versatile, since it would be excellent for a picnic basket, either as a stuffing for vegetables or a spread fcrackers. Also try the Jicama Salad, very crisp and fresh-flavored, perfect for a hot day.The recipe for fruit preserves is amazing--only two ingredients and no canning involved. Time-saving, money-saving, and sugar-free,  too. There are many more quick and easy, always healthy, recipes in the Chicago Diner Cookbook, written by Jo Kaucher, chef at the diner which is, yes, in Chicago, where it has been since 1983. Thanks to Book Publishing Company for providing a review copy of this book.
Shown here is the Shepherd's Pie, made with tempeh, lentils and vegetables. It's recommended to be served with Diner Gravy, the recipe for which is given in the book, and it should be served with a gravy, because the instructions in the recipe to cook the filling till all liquid is evaporated might be better given as "cook until some liquid" has evaporated, because, without gravy, although the taste is still very good, the result is a bit dry. 


Filling Ingredients:

8oz tempeh, cubed

2T olive oil

1T tamari

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

3 carrots, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp sage

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp basil

2 cups cooked lentils

Topping Ingredients:

3 or 4 potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender. salt, pepper, nutmeg added to taste

1/2- 1 cup soymilk

1T extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, saute the tempeh with the oil and tamari until the tempeh starts to brown. Continue sauteing, adding onion, celery, mushrooms and carrots. Stir in remaining filling ingredients except lentils. When carrots are tender, add lentils and simmer until the liquid has evaporated. 

In a medium bowl, mash the potatoes with the olive oil and soymilk.  Add salt, nutmeg, and pepper to taste Set aside. Pour the vegetable-lentil mixture into a lightly oiled 10-inch pie pan or 3 to 4 quart casserole, and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake 25 to 30 minutes. 

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More gluten-free main dish casseroles to make: 

Fiesta Casserole

Herbed Noodle Pie

Tortilla Bean and Cheese Pie

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


"A Vegetarian Shrine in Another Place and Time." 

That is how the Korean restaurant, Hangawi, located two blocks from the Empire State Building is referred to on its website. It is clear from the moment you step inside Hangawi that every effort has been made to create an atmosphere that transports guests from the bustle of lower Fifth Avenue to what one imagines might be a tranquil inn of old Seoul. Shoes are removed before entering the dining area, and meals can be eaten either sitting in the traditional Asian style on pillows provided, or Western style. Subtle lighting and examples of Korean crafts and art at each seating area further enhance the atmosphere.

The menu is strictly vegetarian, and most of the dishes appear to be vegan as well. For gluten-free dining, it is suggested you discuss your dietary restrictions with the waitstaff, which, given their attentiveness to detail, is a comforting experience for those who must take their gluten-free diet seriously. Dishes which are gluten-free are pointed out, and those which can be adjusted to be gluten-free are suggested, as well. The kitchen stocks wheat-free soy sauce, which easily changes a gluten-containing dish to a gluten-free one.

If you are a gluten-free diner who studiously avoids ordering a salad to avoid severe pangs of jealousy while your companion is devouring something battered and fried as an appetizer, have no fear of the Hangawi house salad, since its complexity and novel ingredients will prevent any appearance of the jade monster. In addition to delicate greens, the salad contains dried persimmon, cucumber, shredded pear, and crispy taro in a carrot ginger dressing. Hardly your standard steakhouse fare.

Wine, beer and sake are served, and some interesting non-alcoholic drinks: the ginger iced tea is very strong and refreshing. The corn and spinach chowder is creamy, sweet and a beautiful bright green. Kabocha squash in a stone bowl of fried rice is a good choice for a gluten-free vegetarian. Just be sure to ask for the rice to be fried in wheat-free soy sauce and the squash to be steamed, not battered and fried. Even with those adjustments the dish was attractive, tasty and filling.

One word of advice: the restaurant can be noisy when filled with a raucous Saturday night crowd. Try to visit on the more peaceful weekdays, when you can easily savor the many elegant details, culinary and otherwise, for which Hangawi is known.

Other gluten-free-friendly Manhattan restaurants:







Lilli and Loo


Sunday, May 23, 2010


Being  gluten-free doesn't mean you are immune to the hype surrounding the main event of this month's TV schedule, the series finale of Lost. Perhaps you've slowly realized that, yes, you'd prefer to be surrounded by your friends on this important celebration of mass culture but now, sadly, you are somewhat unprepared for this change of heart. How to invite your best buds over to gasp and sigh together without breaking the bank? Herewith, suggestions:

 Gluten-free starters, appetizers, hors d'oeuvres, whatever you call them, are the snacks to have ready when the crowd is starting to show up and you're still in the kitchen putting the rest of the evening's dishes on plates. Try these, which require little more than heading to the store and opening some packages when you return home.

A platter of cubed Garden Lites Souffles

Ka-Me Rice Crackers with cheeses from Murray's

Trader Joe Edamame Thins with Trader Joe Hummus

Crackers made entirely of cheese

Set up a sandwich bar. Buy a few loaves of gluten-free bread, cheeses and cold cuts, mayo, mustard, pickles and cole slaw and you're done. Here are some bread suggestions:

Udi's Gluten-Free Sliced White Bread

Udi's Gluten-Free Sliced Whole Grain 

Gillian's Onion Rolls

Gillian's Raisin Cinnamon Rolls

Clever mixing of several prepared gluten-free foods can result in good eats without much effort at all. Try these:

Amy's Mac n Cheese Vegetable Casserole

Trader Joe Dal Makhani Indian Stew

Trader Joe Mexican Style Foods 

Head over to the nearest gluten-free baked goods supplier, whether that's a health food store, neighborhood chain supermarket, Whole Foods, or if you're lucky, a gluten-free bakery, and pick up some of these delicious items, which will satisfy any sweet tooth:

Babycakes  Gluten-Free Bakery

tu-lu's Gluten-Free Bakery

Glutino Sugar Wafers

Trader Joe Ginger Snaps

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Gluten-free or not, the suspense of the final reveals could lead to some pretty intense feelings, and when that happens, moviegoers or TV viewers have been known to rapidly make their way through large bags of mediocre cookies without even realizing it. But even if you pride yourself on being a moderate, though carefully gluten-free diner, you deserve a well-made treat after all the mystery you've endured as a Lost fan. Here are some impressive ones to offer your friends, everything from homemade or baked from a mix to cut open a bag--yet they're all delicious! 
This impressive little dessert is actually easy to make. Bake the red velvet chocolate cake, cover in whipped cream, decorate with cherries, add dotty sprinkles, and you've got something truly fitting for a special occasion as momentous as a series finale.
Personalize foods you make from mixes, if you have the time. In this case, a Betty Crocker gluten-free devils food cake mix was made into a dozen cupcakes topped with homemade peanut butter frosting and walnut halves. Almost everyone loves the delicious mix of chocolate and peanut butter.
These lemon walnut wafers are a hit with the glutonians and gluten-free alike. In addition to being extremely tasty, they are high in protein (made with nuts and soy flour) so if cookies want to occasionally overindulge, these certainly would be the ones to eat.
These old-fashioned oatmeal cookies are made from certified gluten-free oats and filled with coconut, walnuts and raisins. Feel free to tailor them to your own taste: remove some or all of those additions and add chocolate chips, pecans, dried cherries, or anything else that will put your own stamp on this great tradition.
Chocolate Spritz cookies by Aunt Gussie's are somewhere between a candy and a cookie. However you see them, you won't be disappointed by the rich taste. Pretty, too!

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Problem: You're gluten-free, it's the night of the Lost finale, and you don't want to spend it alone because of your dietary restrictions. Solution: Throw a gluten-free sandwich-fest for your pals. If you choose the bread and rolls wisely, no one will know they're gluten-free. All the diners will enjoy the same food very happily, and nothing is less distracting from subtle plot points than mindlessly devouring a fantastic sandwich
A caraway sandwich loaf you can easily make at home is a bargain compared to what you would pay in the store for any gluten-free bread and tastes just as good or better than loaves twice or three times the price. Use for sandwiches straight out of the oven and freeze the rest if there's any left over (unlikely!).

This gluten-free onion roll by Gillian is definitely what you want if you'll be serving cold cuts. A typical deli-style roll with tons of flavor and non of the gluten. Tasty!
When you've got Udi's bread in the house, you're set. A large part of the line of Udi's gluten-free baked goods is now available at Whole Foods. If you've got a sandwich grill to set up near the viewing area, go for it. Otherwise, use this great bread (shown here is the white version) for any ungrilled sandwich you can come up with.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010


If you're gluten-free and want to celebrate the night Lost ends with your friends, why not have a potluck (hand out the gluten-free recipes for safety's sake) or make some easy dishes and get everyone over to your place?

Lasagna is a real crowd-pleaser no matter what the occasion. For gluten-free lasagna, rice pasta from Tinkyada is one of the best choices you can make--your gluten-eating friends won't even know this wasn't made the conventional way.

When someone decides to contribute a roast to the evening and your gluten-free vegetarian friend has shared this cabbage cheddar and tortilla casserole, it's not a problem because it functions beautifully as a side or a main.

Semi-homemade Indian Pav Bhaji is practically ready to serve after a trip to Trader Joe's for a few items.

This cauliflower, chestnut and parmesan bake is rich and flavorful, once again, excellent as a side dish or a light main.

Many vegetarian dishes of chili are just not filling enough. This one has four sources of protein, and that's before you top it with shredded cheddar or monterey jack. Hearty!

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More gluten-free main dish suggestions:


If you're looking for some gluten-free snacks at your local bar's Lost Finale party, you might be better off inviting the gang over for a gluten-free event of your own design. Here are some foods that will impress, but of course never distract, the finale viewers.

Almond oat crackers flavored with caraway seeds and topped with Kosher salt are fast to make and delicious. Some people mistake them for rye crackers, but they are totally gluten free.
Oikos herb dip lends itself beautifully to a bowl of crudites, if you want to take a break from the traditional TV snacking tradition of all carbs all the time.

Make these multigrain spice cookies as hot or as mild as you like. They're made with ancho and chipotle chile powders. Just vary the proportions to taste.

The dips shown here are three types, and three colors, of hummus, which make a very impressive platter for any event. Lemon-lime hummus is cream-colored, edamame hummus is green and the red hummus is made with sweet red peppers.
If you're comfortable eating certified gluten-free oats, then this crunchy delight is for you. Use them as a base for cheese spreads topped with herbs, as shown, or just eat them out of a big bowl. Great flavor and texture.

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More gluten free snacks you might enjoy:

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Arrowhead mills puffed rice cereal is versatile, light, low calorie, fresh-tasting and made of nothing but rice. It is not made in a dedicated gluten-free facility but as a full-fledged celiac, I can say it has never been anything but wonderful for me. If you must eat gluten-free foods that are made in dedicated facilities, though, this cereal is not for you. If you have tried many gluten-free cereals and found them strongly or oddly flavored, you will love this cereal. It tastes of nothing but rice. No added salt or sugar, no maple or vanilla flavoring, no flavoring at all. Perfect with blueberries, sprinkled with sugar, Splenda or absolutely nothing. Perhaps they'd work as marshmallow treats. (If you're vegetarian as well as gluten-free be sure to use vegan marshmallows or marshmallow cream.) Crushed, then tossed with butter and sugar, they might  make an interesting tart crust under some chocolate pudding. Experiment, since this is certainly a flexible food, but you might find that a bowl of these rice puffs with a bit of milk is truly your heart's desire.

Here are some other gluten-free cereals you might enjoy:


Wednesday, May 19, 2010


These gluten-free cookies are delicious! Finally, it is possible to say that many gluten-free sweets you will find in a local store taste good, but these are truly wonderful. These are not delicate little crispy wafers, but dense and thick, more resembling a shortbread studded with tiny nut bits. The lemon flavor cuts what might be an overly rich cookie with a hit of brightness that is perfect. Then, just as you think you've appreciated all there is to appreciate about this little snack, a hint of berry flavor starts to appear and you realize you may have tasted one of the most delightfully complex little cookies in the gluten-free world.

The mystery is the ingredient list. Although you may think you've tasted butter, sugar, lemons, nuts and raspberries, in fact, you have not. These cookies proudly announce themselves as being sugar-free,gluten free, dairy-free and cholesterol-free. Also, prebiotic, but we will get to that in a minute. What you thought you tasted was actually soy flours (soy flour, soy protein), maltodextrin, organic palm oil,canola oil, chicory root, soy lecithin, natural flavors, baking soda,and sea salt. Oh, and the prebiotic? That's the chicory root, which enhances the growth of beneficial intestinal flora. It is sometimes added to recipes to reduce the baking time, and also acts as a low calorie high fiber sugar substitute.

If you are a purist,and enjoying something delicious that is not what it seems would bother you, then these are not the treats for you. However, if you can put aside the fact that the soy flour is not wheat flour, the soy protein is not a chopped nut, the oils are not butter, and the natural flavors are not lemon juice and raspberries, then you will have a great time with these cookies, because the taste is extraordinary.

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