Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Hard Boil an Egg

When I was first diagnosed with Celiac my mom promptly ordered me three gluten free cookbooks off Amazon.  They were in my hands and filled with post it notes within a few days.  In Jacqueline Mallorca's The Wheat-Free Cook there is a page in which all she has is a brief description of how to hard boil eggs.  I remember looking at that page and realizing that, at age 25, I had no idea how to hard boil an egg.  I'm so glad I know how to now, and I wanted to make sure you know how to too.

In Jacqueline's own words, here's all you have to do:

Perfectly Cooked Hard-Boiled Eggs
Place the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil.  Cover the pan, remove from the heat, and let stand for 12 minutes.  The yolks as well as the whites will be firm all the way through, and just right.

That's it.  When the eggs are done I drain the hot water, run some cold water over them, drain that, and then put them right in the fridge.  Cooking up a few on Sunday night makes for a very easy weekday breakfast.  I grab two on my way out the door and eat them at my desk with salt and pepper.  They keep for 3-5 days.

What's everyone else eating for breakfast?  You are eating breakfast, aren't you?

Saturday, October 29, 2011


I've been to Rubirosa twice now.  It's a cute little Italian place in SoHo.  Dark and cozy, it's a good spot for a fall or winter evening dinner.  The hostesses are a bit sassy, but if you ignore them then it's a pleasant place.

Their gluten free menu isn't on the website, but they do have a separate menu.  There are several appetizers, entrees, homemade pastas, and pizzas.  I've tried the meatball and mozzarella stick appetizers.  The meatballs were good and you really can't go wrong with fried cheese.  I'd also like to try the rice balls.

When I went last night I had the sausage ragu penne for my entree.  It was really good.  The other time I went I had the chicken parmesan.  The portion was quite large and it was definitely enough for two meals.  Next time I go, and there will be a next time, maybe I'll try the pizza.

This place is great because it's good Italian food for gluten and gluten free eaters alike.

Anyone else been here?  How's the pizza?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crustless Quiche

What is the difference between a quiche and a frittata?  Honestly, I had to Google that and I'm still not sure I know the answer.  Especially when the quiche is crust-less.  But what I got from Google is that quiches have a bunch of milk in them and frittatas don't.  Either way, they are both good.

Worried about the gluteny crust on a quiche?  Don't be, you can just make it without a crust!  I found this recipe in The Gluten-Free Bible and tried it out last night.  I'll definitely be making this, and variations of it, again in the future.

2 cups sliced asparagus (1/2 inch pieces)
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons rice flour
4 eggs
1 cup cubed ham
2 tablespoons dried basil (fresh if you have it)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1) Preheat oven to 350.  Combine asparagus, bell pepper, onion, and 2 tablespoons water in a microwavable bowl.  Cover with waxed paper, microwave on high for 2 minutes, drain the excess water.

2) Whisk the milk and rice flour in a large bowl.  Add in the eggs.  Stir in the vegetables, ham, basil, salt and pepper.  Pour into a 9 inch pie pan.

3)  Bake for 35-40 minutes.  Sprinkle the cheese over the quiche and bake for another 5 minutes - or until the center is set and the cheese is melted.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

The good thing about quiches and/or frittatas is that you can pretty much put whatever you want in there.  Veggies, meat, cheese.  Next time I might try broccoli.

Anyone know the difference between a quiche and a frittata?  Suggestions for favorite ingredients?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gluten Free Pumpkin Granola

Sunday morning I woke up to a recipe for pumpkin granola posted on my facebook page from an old college roommate.  Sunday afternoon I made this granola by Lisa at With Style and Grace.  Right after the granola I made the pumpkin spice muffins.  It was a day of pumpkin.

I love granola.  An endless supply of "low fat" cafeteria granola greatly aided in making me fat in college.  Due to the fact that it is actually not as good for you as you'd like to think, and that gluten free granola is absurdly expensive, I tend to steer clear of it except every once in a while.  But I couldn't pass up the chance to make it on my own.  I could control the amount of fat that went into it and it would be much cheaper than buying it.  Win win.

And without further ado, here's the how:

4 cups gluten free oats (if you aren't gluten free make this recipe using regular oats)
1 cup chopped almonds
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup applesauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup (as a Vermonter, I beg you to use the real stuff)
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup dried cranberries

1) Pre-heat oven to 325.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

2) In a large bowl combine the oats, almonds, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.  In another bowl combine the brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Add this mixture to the oat mixture until everything is coated.

3) Spread the granola mixture onto the baking sheets.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, then stir to ensure it bakes evenly.  Bake for another 20 minutes.

4) Remove from the oven and let cool before mixing in the cranberries.  Store in an airtight container.

I was pretty amazed at how easy this was to make.  Lisa bakes hers in two batches and suggests you either do the same or use two sheets.  I must admit I only own one baking sheet and was too lazy pressed for time to do two batches.  It was probably a mistake because the granola didn't turn out quite as crunchy as I like, but it was still good, don't worry.  Not only was it good, but now I have a ton of it!

Speaking of having a ton of it, you might notice there is no oil in this recipe.  That's good for not making you fat.  It has a pumpkin taste, but not overbearingly pumpkin.  Who knew making granola could be so easy?  Thanks Margaret!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

Photo compliments of my roommate.
I came across this recipe on Quick Feet, Good Eats recently and have been dreaming about it ever since.  Apparently I really like cream cheese in my baked goods.  I made these yesterday with a few adjustments to the original recipe and they were pretty great.  Here's how I made them:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners sugar

3 cups GF flour (I used 2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose and 1 cup brown rice)
1.5 tsp cinnamon
4.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
4 eggs
1.5 cups sugar
2 cups canned pumpkin
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons GF flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

1) In a medium bowl beat the softened cream cheese and confectioners sugar until smooth.  Put mixture in the freezer while you prepare the muffins.

2) Pre-heat oven to 350.  In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking soda. 

3) In a larger bowl beat together the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, and oil.  Stir the flour mixture into the liquid mixture.  Set aside.

4) To make the topping combine the sugar, flour, and cinnamon.  Using a pastry blender, two forks, or your fingers, work the butter into the mixture until it's crumbly.

5) Grease 24 muffin tins.  Fill each tin 1/3 of the way with the pumpkin mixture.  Put a dollop of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin tin, then cover with more of the pumpkin mixture.  Sprinkle some of the topping mixture over each muffin.

6) Bake for 20-25 minutes.

That's it.  They are especially good straight out of the oven when the cream cheese is still gooey.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pala Pizza

I keep a list of gluten free restaurants in my phone.  It's a mixture of places I've tried and places I've been wanting to try.  It has the restaurant name, type of food, and location.  With this list I can satisfy any food craving or find a place to eat within a 20 minute radius of whichever Manhattan neighborhood I am in.  It has come in helpful time and time again.  It it much longer than the list of restaurants I have reviewed here, but I'm working on adding them all to this site.

Pala Pizza has been on my list since I first went gluten free over a year ago.  I'm not sure why I'd never been until yesterday, but I finally made it there.  The menu has appetizers, salads, pastas, and pizzas.  Just about everything can be gluten free.  Not only do they have gluten free pasta and pizza, but they have three varieties of gluten free pasta - which is very exciting for us gluten free folks.  They also have a large vegan menu if that suits your fancy.

I had the risotto ball appetizer and gluten free spaghetti with meatballs for my entre.  I liked the risotto balls.  They were crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and served with a marinara dipping sauce.  The spaghetti and meatballs were fine, which was kind of disappointing because I was hoping it would be great.  The spaghetti itself was good, but the sauce had a really strong taste that I couldn't identify.  The portion was also a bit small in my opinion.

I left a little disappointed.  The guy next to me had ordered a gluten free pizza that looked pretty good, so I did the fat kid thing and went back today to try the pizza.  I didn't want to review the place as "meh" without having tried their specialty.  I ordered the zucchini pizza with goat cheese and cherry tomatoes.  It was good.  It was served on this pizza board, which clearly marked it as gluten free:

They go out of their way to ask if anyone at the table has any food allergies and make you feel comfortable that your food will be safe.  This is a plus for the very gluten sensitive folks. 

Even with going back to try the pizza, I wasn't overly excited by this place.  It is good, not great.  Fortunately for me, but unfortunately for them, there are many places in NYC that serve good gluten free pizza.  That being said, it is a good restaurant to keep on my list in case I find myself in the Lower East Side needing a place to eat.  I'd like to try more of their pastas, and I'm kind of wishing I had some of those risotto balls to eat right now.  It's also close to Babycakes, which is a plus for dessert (although I like Tu-Lu's better).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

With my lack of recipes you might think I don't cook that often.  Well, that's kind of true.  It's especially true in the summer when I mostly eat fresh fruit with cottage cheese or plain yogurt.  Also, living in a city with so many food options, I find myself eating out a fair amount.  But as the season starts to turn to fall, I start to turn to soup.

My mom makes this delicious butternut squash soup.  We ate it while I was home last weekend and then I made it this week.  Easy, healthy, and lasts for days.  It's easy because we use pre-cut squash.  If you have the time and energy to do it yourself, I am very impressed.  The amount of the veggies isn't so important, so don't worry if you don't have it exact.

2 packages of pre-cut butternut squash
2 medium russet potatoes
1 package mini carrots (1 pound I think)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
4 cups gluten free vegetable broth
2 cups cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish

1) Preheat oven to 425.  Chop the potatoes and onion into large pieces (similar in size to the butternut squash).
2) Put all vegetables and vegetable broth in a large baking dish.  Cover and bake for one hour.
3) Transfer the roasted vegetables and broth into a large pot and blend with an immersion blender.  Or blend in a regular blender before transferring to the pot.
4) Stir in the cheese and shake in a bunch of salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with some parsley.

Serve with warm bread.

Pumpkin Pie and Kinnikinnick Graham Crackers

*Update: Kinnikinnick now makes already crushed grahams for pie crusts.  So much easier!*

Oops, I burned the crust.
Last weekend I baked a pie.  A pumpkin pie.  With a gluten free graham cracker crust.  I should probably tell you that I’ve only made a handful of pies in my life, mostly apple pies with my mom doing the majority of the work and using a Pillsbury pre-made crust.  I also made a raspberry pie once trying to woo my high school boyfriend.  I don’t remember if it was any good or not.

I spent the long weekend at home in Vermont visiting my parents and aunt.  It was a perfect fall weekend with foliage near peak and temperatures in the mid 70s.  I had already baked two loaves of (gluten filled) banana bread for my folks when my dad started talking about pumpkin pie.  I’ve been waiting for an excuse to try Kinnikinnick's gluten free graham crackers for months now.  I promptly volunteered to make a pumpkin pie.

Let’s talk about these grahams first.  I hadn’t had a graham cracker in at least a year, but I thought these were pretty darn good.  So good that several of them didn’t make it into the pie.  Oops?  I’ll be using these grahams in future baking and also anxiously awaiting your invitation to a campfire next summer so we can make s'mores.
And now about the pie.  I looked up graham cracker pie crust recipes and came up with the one below.  It was really good, but for some reason the edges burned a little while the pie was baking.  This is what it looked like pre-pie filling:

I used this basic recipe for the pie part.  But let me admit something: I forgot to add the eggs.  I didn’t even know there were eggs in pumpkin pie.  There are.  So while the pie was good without them, I would add them next time.  Also, the idea of condensed milk has always creeped me out, but I decided to go for it anyway.  I have no idea what condensed milk is, but it worked.

Ingredients for the Crust:
1.5 cups gluten free grahams
6 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Ingredients for the Pie:
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

1)    Pre-heat oven to 375.  Using a rolling pin, crush 1.5 cups worth of graham crackers (approximately 2/3 the package of Kinnikinnick grahams).  In a small bowl combine the crushed grahams, melted butter, and brown sugar.  Press into a 9 inch pie pan.  Bake at 375 for 7 minutes.  Take crust out and turn the oven up to 425.

2)    In a medium bowl combine the pumpkin, condensed milk, eggs, and cinnamon*.  Pour into the pie crust.

3)    Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the middle is set.  When the pie is done, turn the oven off and let it cool in the oven to prevent cracking.

*If you like ginger, cloves, or nutmeg, use them.  You can also use a pre-spiced pumpkin mixture, but if you do, omit or decrease the amount of cinnamon.  I used pure pumpkin instead of a mixture because I was afraid it would be too sweet for my liking in combination with the sweetened condensed milk.

Even with my snafu of forgetting the eggs, I was pretty happy with my first pumpkin pie and gluten free graham cracker crust.  I will definitely make this pie again.

Anyone else ever forget a key ingredient?  Theories on why the edges of my crust burned a little?  Should I not have baked it first?  Invitations for a s'more date using these gluten free grahams?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halloween and Gluten Free Candy

As Halloween approaches I thought it would be appropriate to let you know that tons of candies are gluten free, including most of the good ones.  This is really handy year round, but especially relevant around Halloween.

Halloween brings back the following fond memories of my childhood:
1) Arguing with my parents about not wanting to put a winter coat over my super cool costume

2) Driving from area to area because we lived in the middle of nowhere and trick-or-treating wasn't possible on foot

3) Trying to find an almond joy for my mom and junior mints for my dad (their favorite candies, but not really the most popular Halloween giveaways, so this was always a bit of a struggle)

4) My brother and I dumping our pillow cases of candy on the floor after, sorting out our candy, and then trading (more snickers for me, more milk duds for him)

5) My brother being mean, taking candy that wasn't his, and me crying and/or whining

6) Getting a stomach ache from way too much candy

Ahh the good old days.  Don't worry, I still make a point of eating a lot of candy on and around Halloween.  I've found that adult Halloween parties are heavy on the booze and light on the candy.  I think adults have their priorities all wrong.

And now for the real point.  There are plenty of candies that are gluten free - at Halloween and all year round.  Halloween doesn't have to be yet another time for gluten free children (and candy addicted adults like me) to feel left out.  There is enough safe candy for everyone!

Gluten Free Candy:
3 Musketeers
Almond Joy
Baby Ruth
Candy Corn
Hershey's Kisses, Milk Chocolate, Almond, Dark Chocolate, and Mr. Good Bars
Jelly Belly Jelly Beans
Jolly Ranchers
Jr. Mints
M&Ms (all kinds but pretzel)
Milk Duds
Milky Way Midnight or Simply Caramel (NOT regular)
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups
Reese's Pieces
Sour Patch Kids
Swedish Fish
Tootsie Pops and Tootsie Rolls
York Peppermint Patties

Obviously Not Gluten Free Candy:
Butterfinger Crisp
Crunch Bars
Hershey's Cookies and Cream
Kit Kat
Reese's Sticks

Surprisingly Not Gluten Free Candy:
100 Grand
Lindt Truffles
Milky Way original

This list is by no means exhaustive, but rather some of the most popular candies.  For an extensive list, I suggest you check out this list I found.  This lady has really done her research.  So has this lady.  Happy candy eating :)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keste Pizza

Keste Pizza has gluten free pizza options on Mondays and Tuesdays.  Today is Tuesday and I went to try it with two lovely ladies from my old job.  The menu is really just pizza and wine.  Oh, and some salads.  There are only three gluten free pizza options: marinara, margherita, and a meat choice.  Why stray from the classics, I guess?  Lisa and I split a caprese salad and a margherita pizza.  There was wine all around.  I liked the pizza a lot, but Lisa (a gluten eater) confirmed that it was actually good (I'm starting to lose touch with what is "good" and what is "good for gluten free").  This pizza was good.

Ok ok, I wasn't thrilled with the $18 price tag of the pizza.  But this is New York City, and this is also gluten free, so I guess I'll have to suck it up.  The only other thing to note is that Keste is literally right across the street from Risotteria.  Seeing as I don't travel to the West Village very often, if I was standing in the middle of the street with Risotteria on one side and Keste on the other, I might tend to pick Risotteria.  This is really just because of their amazing bread sticks and the fact that I am generally more likely to order risotto than pizza.  This being said, if you are big into pizza, I would definitely give Keste a try.  It's worth it.  This is me and our gluten free pizza:

Compliments of Lisa Y.

And now that I feel sufficiently dorky for sharing a picture of myself...good night.