Thursday, March 26, 2009

Product Review - Garbo Toast Bread

Garbo attended (and gave out samples) at a support group meeting last fall. I was amazed at how good their bread was even untoasted. On occasion, "Livin' Gluten Free" a local sandwich shop has their Sun Bread but I was excited to find that my neighborhood Kings Super Market is carrying their Toast Bread and Sport Bread.

The Toast Bread is great. It browns up nicely in the toaster and the taste reminds me of the homemade loaves of yeast bread my grandmother used to bake at Easter. I do however see why they call it 'Toast' bread. It unfortunately does not have the durability to be sandwich bread.

I don't really eat enough toast to justify the extra trip to Kings (it's local, but not a store I usually shop in). I'll just toast a slice of sandwich bread instead. It won't be as good as Garbo's but it will do.

If you can't find Garbo's Toast Bread locally, you can purchase it online here: Garbo Toast Bread.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mom's Turkey Cutlets - gluten free/dairy free

I've been on a kick to duplicate everything that Mom used to make growing up, only this time gluten and dairy free. Some were easy (spaghetti and meatballs) as her sauce and meatballs are already gf/df and gf pasta is easy to come by. Others, such as steak and handcut french fries, were already gluten and dairy free. Others took a little work.

One of my favorites was Turkey Cutlets with a side of Fettuccine Alfredo. This was also the first thing I learn how to make when I learned how to cook (of course back then it contained gluten). I'm going to split out the two recipes for those who are looking for one or the other but they really are best together!

Mom's Turkey Cutlets

1 pound Turkey Cutlets
1 egg
1/2 cup GF bread crumbs
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup water
2 tsp gf chicken bullion

Add egg to a shallow pan and beat with a fork or whisk.

Add bread crumbs to another pan.

Dip each cutlet first in the egg and then in the bread crumbs to coat.

Heat oil is a frying pan over medium heat. Add cutlets and brown on each side (about 3 minutes a side). Don't worry if they don't all fit at once; fry them in batches.

Return all cutlets to the pan and add water and bullion. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes (or more) until tender. Note: if not fully covered by the water, rotate them (top to bottom) at least once during this simmer.

Serve covered with the juice from the pan and a side of Fettuccine Alfredo and enjoy!

Serves 4.

Fettuccini Alfredo - gluten free/dairy free/vegan

Growing up Mom used to make Fettuccine Alfredo as an accompaniment to her Turkey Cutlets. I've broken out the recipes into separate posts for benefit of those looking for one or the other.

Please note, this recipe is for 8oz of pasta however, some GF brands come in 12oz or 16oz. In that case, the recipe easily scales up (by half for 12oz and double for 16oz).

Fettuccine Alfredo

8oz Gluten Free Fettuccine
1 cup rice milk
2 Tbsp GF flour
3 Tbsp Vegan Parmesan Cheese
3 Tbsp olive oil

Cook the pasta according to the manufacturer's directions. Meanwhile in a sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the flour and stir until it starts to brown. Add vegan Parmesan and rice milk while continuing to stir. Allow to thicken stirring occasionally. If it finishes thickening before the pasta is done, remove from heat until pasta is done (you'll need to reheat it once the pasta is ready). Drain the pasta and cover with sauce.

Makes 3-4 side dish servings.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Product Review - Organic Bistro Frozen Meals

A little while ago I noticed a link for Organic Bistro appearing in the Adsense ads on this site. Since Adsense doesn't allow me to click on my own ads, I typed Organic Bistro into google and checked out their website. Everything about these meals sounded great: gluten free, dairy free, all natural, etc, until I got to the part about where they were on sale and realized they weren't available here in NJ! Since I don't like to order food online (I prefer to support the local stores that carry GF/DF) I figured I would just have to wait until they were available here in New Jersey. Well, thanks to Whole Foods, I didn't have to wait long!

On my last shopping trip to Whole Foods, I noticed two varieties of Organic Bistro meals in their freezer case and bought both. The price is pretty reasonable especially when compared to other gluten free frozen meals on the market. I ate the Ginger Chicken (see photo at right) over the weekend and the Chicken Citron (see photo below on left) last night. The Ginger Chicken had green beans, carrots, snap peas, edamame and brown rice while the Chicken Citron had spinach, edamame, sun dried tomatoes, carrots and quinoa.

The meals are organic and contain multiple vegetables and whole grains. Best of all, their entire line is both dairy and gluten free! I think the meals will take some getting used to as my palette adjusts from what it remembers of frozen meals packed with salt, refined sugar, white rice, unpronounceable additives, and/or refined flours. I am certainly a fan of the convenience as well as the nutrition packed into each meal.

I've been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables but when grabbing something quick (read: microwaved in a couple of minutes) that can be hard to do. I think these meals will be a nice addition to the nights I don't have time to cook.

Update: I ran to Whole Foods tonight and they now have what appears to be the entire line! Since I have such a small freezer I'll have to try these one or two at a time. Up next are the Jamaican Shrimp Cakes.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Bread Crumbs - Gluten and Dairy Free

Just a quick recipe for gluten/dairy free bread crumbs today.

Growing up, Mom kept a large ziplock bag full of stale leftover italian bread pieces in a cabinet over the stove. She'd use these pieces whenever she needed to make stuffing or breadcrumbs. I'd been doing the same with gluten free bread for the same reasons with limited success. The main problem with doing this is that any bread with rice in it will dry out to a point that you can't cut it. Cubing it for stuffing is impossible (bordering on dangerous) and even when making bread crumbs my magic bullet leaves a couple of un-crumbed chunks behind. I would either recommend drying fresh GF/DF bread or cubing the bread before letting it go stale and storing it in the bag!

4-6 slices of dried out Gluten Free bread (dried, not stale)
1 tsp of dried parsley, crushed
1/2 tsp of dried basil, crushed
1/4 tsp of dried oregano, crushed

If you need to dry out the bread, just put on a cookie sheet in the oven at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes turning once, halfway through.

Add bread to food processor, blender or magic bullet and blend until the coarseness you'd like. Empty crumbs and herbs into a mixing bowl and stir until well blended.

Depending on the size of your GF/DF bread slices this should yield 1 - 1.5 cups of bread crumbs.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Manicotti - gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan

Success!!!! My Gluten Free/Dairy Free Manicotti were a huge success on Christmas day! I used a flour blend mix by Annalise Roberts but I would think you can use any you like. Her blend recipe is available on her website here. The recipe for my GF/DF Manicotti is as follows:

Ingredients - shell

1 cup gluten free flour
1 1/4 cup water
9 tbs whipped silken tofu (or three eggs)
1/2 tsp xantham gum

Ingredients - filling

1 package silken tofu (16oz)
1 tbsp Vegan parmasean
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 egg (optional, if making vegan leave out and do not adjust)

Ingredients - other
1/2 cup of tomato sauce (I don't eat a lot of tomato so you might need/like more.)
cooking spray (as needed)

For the shells: Add the flour and xantham gum to a large mixing bowl. Add the whipped tofu (or beaten eggs) and water then stir until blended smooth. The batter should be runny and if it is not, then add a little more water until it is.

Heat a small 5" frying pan over medium heat (oil if not a non-stick pan). Add a small amount of batter to the pan and quickly tilt the pan so the batter evenly covers the entire bottom of the pan in a thin layer. Cook about 2 minutes until the top of the batter is dry, then flip carefully using a small spatula and cook the other side. Set aside to cool and repeat until you are out of batter. (Note: it may be helpful to place the finished shells on wax paper so they don't stick together.)

For the filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir (I use a spoon) until combined and resembling ricotta. Do not over stir or the mixture will turn into goo.

To assemble: Spray a baking pan with cooking spray or coat the bottom with tomato sauce.

Hold a cooled shell in the palm of one hand and with the other hand spoon about 3 tablespoons of filling lengthwise across the center of the shell. (I used the serving spoon that came with my flatware - it appears to be the right size for me.) Flip one side and then the other over the filling until you have a mixture filled tube. Flip the tube over (so the folds are on the bottom) and place carefully into the baking pan. Repeat with the remaining shells and filling.

Cover the manicotti with your favorite tomato sauce. (Since I avoid too much tomato, I sort of just brush them with sauce.)

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. (Option: if you want, you could cover with shredded vegan mozzerella cheese after baking and broil until the cheese is melted. Watch carefully while broiling as the cheese will quickly burn and blacken if left in too long!)

This recipe makes approximately 10 manicotti but is easily scaled up.

Don't worry if the first couple of shells are disasters, they take a little practice before you get the exact right amount of batter in the pan and get the hang of tilting to spread the batter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A very successful Christmas Day!

Ok, so I'm two months late with this post but it has been bouncing around on my ideas list for a while. Christmas day worked out great!

First off, after trying gluten free/dairy free manicotti a couple of times, I got them right for Christmas. I'll post that recipe soon. I made way too many (there were 30 for dinner, but my aunt made plenty of the gluten/dairy variety. My father, one uncle, and one cousin avoid dairy so I made enough for all four of us with plenty of left overs (and boy there were). I had also made another batch of Grandma Cookies (sour cream cookies) that were better than last time but still not right.

Now for the best part. My aunt set up dinner buffet style. Everything that anyone brought that was gluten and dairy free (veggies, meatballs, fresh ham, a chicken dish, the gf/df manicotti, etc.) were on one table and everything with gluten and dairy on the other! Perfect, not a worry of anyone swapping spoons, etc.

Since I had made a substitute manicotti for the one thing on the menu that I really couldn't eat, I felt that I was eating the same meal as everyone else. I know, it is a bit silly but psychologically it really does make a difference.

I really consider myself lucky for how accommodating my family is, especially considering the horror stories I hear at support group meetings and read in some other blogs.

Now I've just got to figure out what I'll make come Easter!

Visitors (Counted on Gluten Free/Dairy Free Waffles!)

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