Monday, January 30, 2012

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN AT NAKED PIZZA NYC


Located down the street from Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, both near Union Square, Naked Pizza is a new addition to the healthy pizza trend in NYC, and a great place to pick up a gluten-free pie, to either take home or eat on the spot (another location: 57th and 3rd). And, of course, they deliver. The gluten free basic pizza is $9.99 and comes with mozzarella and your choice of sauce. Add-ons are $1.69 each, and even if you're a vegetarian, there are quite a few to choose from: pineapple, cilantro, black beans and artichokes, to name a few.

The pizza you see above is a simple mozzarella cheese with tomato sauce, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes. The crust was not at all greasy, a definite plus, and was well-baked, with charred bits at the edges, just as I like it! Because this was not one of those underdone somewhat gluey pizzas I've come across since going gluten-free, the pie was baked long enough to render the cheese totally melted and browned. Lovely! One question: where's the vegan cheese option?

Next time I might go wild--I'm thinking a Mexican barbecue with black beans, roasted red peppers, cilantro, onions, jalapenos and bbq sauce. The menu is on the wall, and for those who find the options too numerous, there are pre-selected options such as the greenhouse, smokehouse and ragin' cajun pizzas, to name a few. The crust is great, creativity is in the air, the staff is friendly--try this place!
Naked Pizza info here.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN DAIRY-FREE SOUPS BY KETTLE CUISINE

These frozen, gluten-free, vegetarian and dairy- free soups are wonderful, and if you are familiar with my recipes, you know I make a lot of soup! Kettle Cuisine also makes other soups you would like if you're gluten-free but not vegetarian. You might also be glad to know that these soups test for gluten at less than 5 parts per million, which should make you feel comforted even before you taste these lovely comfort foods.What I liked most about the three-bean chili was the heat. It was really a chili, and not a tomato bean stew, as can sometimes be found in prepared foods. Three cheers for spicy! Nice deep color, too. Hearty, filling (lots of beans), as well. Can't be improved upon, as far as I can see.
This roasted vegetable soup was earthy and creamy and a yet a bit on the sweet side--lovely aroma, too. Very much a comfort food. I enjoyed that the vegetables were only lightly pureed, so there were several kinds of texture in each spoonful. Extremely satisfying.

The best thing about this vegetable soup was actually seeing all the individual vegetables. They are very much present both in taste and chunk: nice to enjoy a prepared vegetable soup that isn't overcooked, for once! The tomato base has long-simmered and rich flavor.

I love that when you examine the ingredient list of each of these soups, you find that there is nothing you wouldn't choose to include in a soup you'd make for your own family. I love a convenience food that provides convenience without compromise, and these soups are very much that!

For stores that carry these soups near you, check here.

Note: Thank you to Kettle Cuisine for these soups. These opinions are solely my own, and I was not paid for this post.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

VEGAN COLE SLAW: LOWFAT, GLUTEN FREE

Bought my first bottle of Vegenaise, the lowfat kind, the other day and all I could think about was whipping up some cole slaw. Above, my tricolor version. I shredded about 6 cups of carrots, red cabbage, and white cabbage in my food processor. Added about a tsp of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of celery seed, 3 tablespoons of Vegenaise, about a tsp of salt, a few grinds of pepper, and that was all. Whole thing took maybe 12 minutes.

Monday, January 23, 2012

COCONUT KALE AND YAM GLUTEN FREE VEGAN SOUP

This gluten-free soup contains a vegetable that, until recently, I carefully avoided: kale. After a green smoothie that neither killed nor repulsed me, I changed my tune, and now add kale into any dish I can. Here's a soup that doesn't particularly read as focused on greens, but they're there, and with all their nutritional value! Here's the recipe:

In a soup pot, saute one chopped large onion and three minced garlic cloves 3T oil.
When onion is translucent, add 2T minced ginger, 1/2 T thyme, 1/8 tsp cayenne, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp allspice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Stir till onion is coated with spices.

Add
6 cups shredded kale (no stems)
2 cups diced sweet potato
2 cups diced butternut squash
(or all sweet potato or all squash if that's what's available)
Stir to coat with spices.

Add
1 28oz can tomatoes, torn into small pieces
4 cups vegetable broth
4 oz coconut milk
2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or other white bean)
1T agave syrup
salt and pepper to taste
Stir well and simmer until squash and potatoes are tender.
Top each bowl with a squeeze of fresh lime juice

Serves 4-6

GLUTEN-FREE VEGAN JULIENNED CARROT VEGETABLE SOUP

This gluten-free vegan vegetable soup is easy to assemble and ready in about 20 minutes. If you've made tomato-based vegetable soups before, there's probably not much new here for you except for one little difference that will add color, texture and perhaps even a bit of relief from your winter-weight worries. This is a low-fat, high fiber, low-carb dish that you can use as a mid-afternoon snack, as well as a starter for lunch or dinner. It will help curb your appetite and aid in portion control with the higher fat or calorie dishes that might be following the soup course. My silly little secret? Julienned carrots are added last to this soup that is really more of a method than a recipe (feel free to substitute the vegetables listed below with whatever you have around--just don't omit the carrots!).
In soup pot, heat 1 T olive oil on low flame.

Add 1 diced onion, 1 cup sliced bell peppers, 1 sliced mushroom, 1 tsp salt, 1T smoked sweet paprika, 2T dried oregano, !T dried parsley, 1/2 T garlic powder. Mix well. Cover and cook on low until onions are soft.

Add one 28 oz can crushed tomatoes, 5 cups vegetable stock, 2 cups shredded cabbage and 8oz frozen chopped spinach. Mix well. Cover and cook on low until spinach is warmed. Add julienned carrots (I used the shredder blade on my food processor), and cook until carrots are softened, but still slightly firm.

The variety of textures in this soup, especially the pasta-like al dente quality of the carrots, makes this feel like more of a caloric indulgence than it actually is. Enjoy a second helping--guiltlessly!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

GLUTEN-FREE SOFT PRETZELS BY TONYA'S KITCHEN

A gluten-free soft pretzel, reminiscent of street pretzels here in NYC? One you can make in your own home in less than a minute? How deliciously convenient!
Tonya's gluten-free pretzels are so rich and tasty that I love them sweet (without using the small envelope of pretzel salt included in each box of six frozen pretzels) or more traditionally, salted.

Warning: Defrost one at time or you will easily make your way through the entire box. Or maybe that's just because I'm a pretzel fanatic? Still, these are delicious plain, salted, cut up to become dippers for sweet or savory dips (prune butter? peanut butter? hummus?).

Thanks to Tonya's Gluten-Free Kitchen for providing these samples. However, this is not a paid post and all the opinions expressed are strictly my own.

Tonya's Kitchen is here.

GLUTEN FREE BISQUICK CHEESE BISCUITS

Here is the easy recipe for cheddar cheese muffins made from Bisquick's gluten free mix.
Here is how my version differed from the one on the Bisquick site.
1) I made 22 biscuits, not 10 as recommended. Yikes!! Those 10 must have been HUGE.
2) I did not use a half cup of cheese, but 3/4 cup. I put the extra on the tops of the biscuits.
3) I did not glaze with butter and garlic powder. Cheese topping, I felt, was plenty of fat!
4) I did not use butter in the dough, I used Earth Balance Soy-Free spread.
Here is what I would do differently next time:
1) I would reduce the garlic powder in the dough to 1/8 tsp.
2) I would increase the cheese to 1 cup inside the dough and 1/4 cup for topping.
I froze most of these after the first round of snacking. They are just too much of a temptation. Planning to microwave them one or two at a time for future use.

But if you want a biscuit recipe that is not all white rice flour, and using egg whites instead of whole eggs, and thereby lower in fat even when you add the cheese, try this:

Friday, January 20, 2012

GLUTEN FREE VEGAN DINING AT V-NOTE NYC


The V-Note is a comfortable upper east side Manhattan restaurant with vegan, raw, and/or gluten-free menu options. The menu is large (although it shrinks considerably once you are limited to gluten-free foods).

This is the corn salad which accompanied the Barbecue Tempeh I ordered. The tempeh was served on a bed of potato salad, as well. You might think two starches would be an odd choice for the plate, but in fact, it was the acidity of both dishes that created a not-too-pleasant sensory overload.





The tempeh, itself, though, was very tasty. I would have preferred more caramelization on the tempeh, but the barbecue sauce was well-balanced and delicious.









My dinner companion had the stuffed poblano chiles. The green rice it was served with was an excellent relief from acid overload (once again, an acidic filling to the pepper!).




But finally I needed something gluten-free to fight back against the vinegary stomach I was starting to experience. Sweet potato fries, guaranteed gluten-free by the server (I asked twice), helped. Only problem, now that I check the online menu they are not listed among the gluten-free sides, probably because of cross-contamination in the fryer. Sigh......



So, my final assessment: lovely setting. V-Note is great for vegans. Less so for gluten-free guys and gals. But if I return, and I may, I will choose very carefully and ask lots of questions.

COCORON SOBA SHOP NYC: FOR GLUTEN FREE SNACKING


MY MISTAKE: FORGOT MY SAN-J GLUTEN-FREE TAMARI PACKETS!!
Sometimes a gluten-free vegetarian wants time with friends more than she wants to be in a gluten-free vegetarian restaurant alone. Which is how I found myself at Cocoron, a small soba noodle shop on Delancey Street in Manhattan with almost nothing I could safely eat. Of course, the noodles were problematic. Even buckwheat noodles are made with wheat flour most of the time, and are very costly if they are not. But, I digress. Much of the noodle-free items I had hoped to order were unfortunately cooked or served with soy sauce (hijiki, my favorite seaweed, for example). No hearty soup bowl for me, so I had to get creative. I examined the "sides" and this is what I ordered:
I ended up with the green tea served to one and all in beautiful ceramic cups (infinite refills!), a plate of salted edamame, some buckwheat porridge, sobagome, served with wasabi (Japanese horseradish) paste. Both the sobagome and the daikon (mild Japanese radish) mochi (pounded sweet rice), far right, really called out for tamari, so I left the restaurant, which is near Chinatown, hoping to pop into a little shop for some, but, alas, it was CHINAtown, and only wheaty soy sauce was to be found. I bought a small bottle of toasted sesame oil, which helped only a bit, and which convinced me I must NEVER leave the house without my San-J tamari packets.
I was feeling a bit dejected from watching my pals happily slurping away at their soba, or possibly from all the starch I'd consumed in such a short space of time, when I realized there was a board of specials with several desserts listed. The others in our group were too full of soba to order, but I went all out and got the most complex dessert.

(It was meant to have cornflakes--yes!--in it as well, but of course I opted out). This is a sort of trifle, Japanese style. Intense green tea served to pour over the green tea ice cream, which rests in the glass with mochi balls, crunchy buckwheat groats, and red bean paste. LOVED it! So refreshing. Such flavor and texture variety in such a small dish. The height of the meal for me, but then, isn't a luscious dessert always a memorable finale?
61 Delancey Street

Thursday, January 19, 2012

GLUTEN FREE CHEBE BAKING MIX


Chebe is a gluten-free baking mix made mostly of manioc (tapioca/yucca) flour. The traditional South American bread made with it includes a large amount of grated cheese added to the mix. In the interest of keeping calories and fat to a minimum, I decided to follow the recipe on the Chebe site for bagels.

The recipe was for four bagels, but I tend to find most bagels overly large (and I prefer crust to crumb) so I made six. I baked them beyond the time recommended, and even brushed four of the six with an egg wash, but still, this is how they looked: pale, waxy, and not very appetizing, even with poppy or sesame seeds.

When they were cool and I attempted to slice one in half, my knife blade became coated with a substance which resembled something like rubber cement. I had to refrigerate the bagels to extract a knife cleanly after slicing.

After baking in a toaster oven for ten minutes unsliced and five minutes sliced, the bagels began to lose their sticky interior texture and translucent exterior appearance. But even after all this coddling, the result was more a hard thick cracker than a bread-like bagel. Perhaps it's best not to stray this far from the successes of the past, and I should have added the cheese and done things old-style. Also, this is a very white bread, and my tastes lean to whole grain gluten-free baked goods, so perhaps we are just not a good match.

I'm thinking of mixing the Chebe with some whole grain flour to hopefully turn the white waxiness of the final result into something a bit more brown and crusty. Am I dreaming? If you've had success with Chebe, please let me know, as I am willing to try again.

GLUTEN FREE VEGAN DINING AT QUINTESSENCE NYC





For a 100% organic, vegan and raw menu with gluten-free and soy-free options, this might be one of the more comfortable places in Manhattan.

This small, unpretentious East Village storefront restaurant has a simple, elegant decor (great photos!), soft music that enhances the peaceful atmosphere, attentive and informed waitstaff and an absolutely huge menu.







Quintessence is not inexpensive, but rather, moderately-priced and worth every penny!





Recently, I was at Quintessence with my niece Taibi, whose vegan gluten-free food (and lovely art) has appeared on this blog here, here, here and here.
Taibi was able to eat this salad, which I could not, because of the soy sauce in the dressing, and a kamut-crusted mini-pizza, (which was not gluten-free but which she thoroughly enjoyed).
The warm butternut squash soup was pleasantly more complex than some I've had, the cup was a generous serving. I chose to pair it with some raw vegetable crackers and non-dairy cream cheese with scallions (outstanding crackers and cheese--had to double the order of crackers so as to not waste the cheese and to enjoy more crackers, too!)
I followed this with the Vegetable au Gratin, and here's where I have a problem with some raw food recipe names. This really was more, to my mind, two tomatoes stuffed with diced vegetables in creamy salad dressing. The "cheese" tasted more like mayo to me. I liked it very much, but the name had me expecting, if not a full-out dairy-based gratin, then something less summery.

Then we shared this really wonderful dessert!
This is pecan pie a la mode, raw vegan style. The non-dairy ice cream is FIG, and intensely so! Good thing there were two of us to finish off the pie--it is dense, although not overly sweet, and with the creamy sauce served to its side, a large and filling dessert. As we said on our customer evaluation card, we will be back! Here's Quintessence's full site.

GLUTEN FREE GLUTINO BAGEL CHIPS

I'm a gluten-free, ovo-lacto vegetarian, who sometimes eats vegan or raw and almost always low fat, so these crackers, a gift from a friend, were a real treat! Although they're probably perfect for parties and can easily pair with any pate or butter of your choice, they were, considering my normal diet, so rich I ate them bare.
If you're trying to lose weight, I'd be careful not to down a whole box of these, since their fat count is by no means low (7% versus 0% for Quaker rice cakes), but they are pretty, crunchy, and tasty, so worth a nibble, as far as I'm concerned, and definitely a nice switch from the blander rice cakes which are my standard snacking fare.