Posts Tagged ‘Gluten Free’
In today’s world it is very hard to take a large group of people out to eat and somebody not have a food allergy. Just in my close circle of friends and family we have people who cannot eat dairy, and of course fish and seafood is always been a popular allergy, people who cannot eat nuts and of course the dreaded wheat intolerance and celiac disease. The funny thing about all of these items is how the older generation does not have these problems. Sure maybe they do but not nearly as bad as the young people of today including the small children with peanut allergies to the middle-aged typical food allergies, and of course I could not forget the person in our family who cannot eat meat because of the protein.. I cannot think of anything in the world that my grandparents could not eat. Sure I found out years later there was stuff my grandfather was told not to eat, but he ate it anyway. It or pay the price the next day or later that evening with an upset stomach or maybe a strange rash. Today I want to talk about. Many people try to do their best in accommodating these types of allergies. You see a tremendous amount of restaurants now that say they have an item that is gluten-free. For instance Domino’s pizza now sells a gluten-free crust. Now a person with wheat intolerance they could probably get away with eating this crust that was cooked on equipment that is cross contaminated with wheat but a person who is a true celiac cannot eat anything that is prepared with items that may possibly contain wheat. One of my own personal favorite stories was my allergy to tilapia. I ordered whitefish from a national chain and I was served tilapia. A lot of people enjoy tilapia but unfortunately it cause me a severe allergic reaction. When I inquired about what I was served I was told I was served whitefish. After some inquiries I discovered that Ruby Tuesday’s does not serve whitefish, and they only serve tilapia. So was it my fault for taking a chance on a product that I know I have some allergic tendencies to? Sometimes I think that I can eat that and it won’t bother me so I don’t entirely blame Ruby Tuesday’s for their inattention to food allergies. There is a national chain that does a very good job of helping people with food allergies, and that is Applebee’s. It may not be the most desirable food, but they do a pretty good job trying. I’ve never really had bad food or service from Applebee’s. As my wife says it was just food. Not great, not bad, just food.
Our son can get items that he needs for his allergy as well as other friends and family members. Where else can you go to have pizza and pasta? Ferri’s Pizza, Natale’s in North Scranton, Sabatini’s in Exeter, Café Classico in Scranton, my son likes the dairy free pizza from Pappa’s and Nichola’s Pizza. Both pizzerias are on Washington Avenue in Scranton. If you have just the wheat sensitivity you can give Domino’s gluten-free pizza a try.
So where can you eat at in the city of Scranton if you have gluten issues? One of the first places I would start out is Alternative Eating in West Scranton. It is a great little store near the United States Post Office in West side on Main Avenue. They have a tremendous amount of gluten-free food and they cater to the allergy people. If there something that you need or want they will find it for you. They also have freshly made baked goods from Erin’s Edibles, a personal favorite. The store is owned by a nutritionist. Whenever I mention the store to somebody more often than not they will say say “Oh don’t they sell that stuff at Wegmans?” They may or they may not I prefer to support the little business in West Scranton. For the people who can look back in time before there was Walmart and Target, and all the other national big-box grocery stores. We had mom-and-pop stores that sold just the items that you needed to survive. I would love to be a able to go back in time to the local corner store. Who remembers penny candy from Zoomo’s on Marion Street in Scranton? You could take 20 min. on your seven cents purchase and they were more than happy to help you. Not anymore, the big box have won. But you don’t have to let them. My family takes great pride in the fact that we do not shop at the world’s largest store. The cost to me is just a few dollars more a month? Maybe. Maybe not. Bigger isn’t always cheaper.
If you’re a person who suffers from food allergies or certain food problems there are suitable alternative eateries. I have found that most eateries are more than happy to help make your meal enjoyable. Whether it be a special menu item just for you or for your child most restaurants are more than happy to help you get a meal. Am I preaching to the choir? Probably so. If you have a question or you want something special don’t hesitate asked to talk to the manager and tell him or her your concerns. She finds food suitable and you enjoyed your meal make sure and tell him or her on your way out. A big thank you goes a long way to making a chef go home happy.
Its hard to say for sure if the breakfast I ate as a child was really that unhealthy. Although today my breakfast of yesterday is not recommended. Things like sweetened cereals, cinnamon pastries, brownies and eggs predominated our breakfast. That is when we ate breakfast. Of course today we all know we need to eat a healthier breakfast as it does provide the fuel for the day. And now there are statistics to show that kids who eat a healthy breakfast do a better job in school. I looked hard and long at the cereals, pop tarts, frozen meals and making my own various meals. What would I eat if there were no health implications: Cinnamon roll, 2 eggs over medium, toast loaded with butter and jelly, Lots of BACON and a big glass of chocolate milk. Can you really ever eat to much bacon? Drink to much chocolate milk? Sure you can. Its funny how our parents ever made it to be so old. Based on what the doctors of today tell us we will be lucky to see forty. So I went to the natural department at Wegman’s. Looking for a healthy breakfast choice. Here is a healthy breakfast any kid could could eat. Making him or her eat it though that’s a different story.
Peppermint Tea. A nice warm tea. No sugar or caffine.
Gorilla Munch: No refined sugar. It really is almost as good as the old Captain Crunch. But to be honest its not as good as the captain with crunch-berries. Try measuring out what the serving is. Its always on the side of the box. My bowl was only about a third of the way full. I ate about three servings before I measured it. I was eating way to much! I guess I need a much smaller bowl.
Rice Dreams: Tastes almost like low fat milk. Organic that is a plus. Banana: A healthy piece of fruit. Doctor would never say no to that.
Grape juice: The 100% grape juice is a favorite. Although I do like the new V-8 blends.
So what did I get from my eating experiment? You can eat a healthy breakfast that leaves you satisfied. Our friends and family with all of those pesky food allergies most likely can eat this meal. I always read the ingredients and try to stay away from any ingredient I cant read. Servings per container is very important too. That can of green tea may actually be three servings. That full size candy bar may be 2.5 servings. My grandfather lived to be 84. There was never a day in his life where he didn’t have something fried or bad for him to eat. They like the egg yolks runny and cooked in bacon grease. Are we reallyt better off? He never read a box that’s for sure.
Van’s gluten free waffles were a nice breakfast treat this morning. The had a very similar texture to a Eggo waffle. They have numerous kinds and we had the buckwheat with berries. They also have 12% of the daily value for fiber and are listed as whole grain and gluten free. Flavor was good and the texture was nice. I added a little of Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup and they really hot the spot. A 120 calories per waffle, dairy, egg and gluten free.
In our extended family we now have numerous members affected by gluten, seafood, nut, food colorings and dairy allergies. After trying various gluten free recipes I had just about given up. A friend who is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America suggested that I try the Food Philosopher®. The Food Philosopher® has a website dedicated to Gluten Free (GF) Recipes, Health, Nutrition, Diet and Weight loss. The web site is actually not one philosopher but two sisters Claudia Pillow and Annalise Roberts who really have some great tips on their website. Today I am focusing on a GF pie crust recipe. The flour bend that they use is Brown Rice Flour Mix. I make it in bulk and we always have it ready. Remember if you want perfect pie (Link to original) crust no substitutions and only uses the following ingredients:
- 6 cups brown rice flour (Authentic Foods® rice flour is powdery, just like all-purpose wheat flour. It can be bought online and in natural food stores (extra finely ground))2 cups potato starch – do not substitute potato flour.
1 cup tapioca flour
Don’t forget to add your Xanthan gum to your recipes!
Mix your ingredients exactly, and don’t make any substitutions! I mix all of these up in my KitchenAid stand mixer with the whisk attachment. They suggest putting it in a sealable bowl and shake it until mixed well. I then store it in a Cambro container in my refrigerator. You can do like I have done and try so many different ideas on flour blends but this is really the best. I substitute it in all my recipes that call for flour. Sometimes it makes a great item and others it makes a ok item. But it does not make a bad item! It’s funny whenever I talk about GF food people always say “Oh that’s not bad” or “That’s ok”. Nobody ever says “Wow that’s good!”. After you try Claudia’s and Annalise recipes you will be saying “Wow that is good”. A friend who didn’t really like making pies due to just not liking the process tried it this way and now her daughter can have pies. The best part is we made all of our pies with this crust Thanksgiving and everyone loved it and you could not tell it was GF. I am a little lazy so I changed the recipe for use with my Cusinart Food Processor.
This recipe is copied with permission of the Food Philosopher®.
This recipe makes one 8- or 9-inch pie crust
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Brown Rice Flour Mix*
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
2 teaspoons orange juice or lemon juice
- Spray 9-inch pie pan or tart pan (with removable bottom) with cooking spray. Generously dust with rice flour.
- Mix flours, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.
- Add egg and orange juice. Mix on low speed until dough holds together; it should not be sticky. Form dough into a ball, using your hands, and place on a sheet of wax paper. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and flatten dough to 1-inch thickness. Dough can be frozen at this point for up to 1 month; wrap in plastic wrap and then use foil as an outer wrap.
- Roll out dough between the 2 sheets of wax paper. If dough seems tacky, refrigerate for 15 minutes before proceeding. Remove top sheet of wax paper and invert dough into pie/tart pan. Remove remaining sheet of wax paper, and crimp edges for single-crust pie. Dough can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month; line pie shell with wax paper, wrap in plastic wrap, and use foil as an outer wrap.
Take note: When you prebake or parbake this crust, do so at a lower temperature than is commonly used for pie crusts made with wheat (see directions below). This is to make sure the dough cooks before it browns. If you notice the crust rising in the middle while it is baking, open the oven quickly and prick it once with the point of a sharp knife or press the crust down lightly. Partially bake this pie crust whenever you are making a fruit pie or quiche.
To partially bake (parbake) a bottom pie crust: Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake pastry for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Fill and bake as per recipe.
To prebake a bottom pie crust: Preheat oven to 375°F. Gently prick pastry in 3 or 4 places with a fork. Bake pastry for about 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack. Prebaked pie shells can be stored in airtight plastic containers or plastic wrap in refrigerator for 3 days. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and then in foil, and store in freezer for up to 2 weeks.
For my Cusinart variation I put all dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse it a few times to make sure it’s all mixed up. Next I add all of the wet ingredients and the cold butter. Pulse just a couple pulses at a time and keep pulsing until the dough begins to look like small rocks. Do not leave it in the on position. Pulse a few more times and you should have a nice ball. Follow the remainder of their recipe.
Thank you to the Food Philosopher® for granting permission to use their recipe but most of all thank you for providing the GF community with their wisdom. Thier book is available online by clicking here.