Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daisy's Grits in Bryant Park

I stumbled upon the Holiday Shops in Bryant Park recently and was pleasantly surprised by the ice skating rink, shops, and food booths.  I make it a point to go to the Union Square Holiday Market every year and somehow missed that there was also one in Bryant Park.  This was such a nice discovery and to make it even better, I found a booth with gluten free food: Daisy's Grits!

I always look for gluten free signs wherever I am (this is normal, right?).  I was so happy to find a gluten free sign on the booth of Daisy's Grits.  They have many choices including sweet, savory, and even some vegan options. Almost every one of their menu options is gluten free except for the ones with soy sauce.  I tried the Colombian Chorizo with cheddar cheese.  The grits are topped with Pecorino Romano cheese, pepper, chives, bacon (if you want), and a special seasoning.  Basically, they are warm and delicious.  This is a perfect meal to enjoy while you sit and watch people skate or to take home.  They are also very reasonably priced for a meal in midtown.

The Holiday Shops in Bryant Park are open until January 6th.  If you happen to be in Bryant Park in the next few weeks be sure to stop by.  It's worth it!

A Year of Flour

Photo Credit

Last year for Christmas I asked for flour.  Lots of flour.  I was trying to find a flour blend that I liked and wanted to experiment with making my own.  There were recipes I wanted to try that called for several different flours and I didn't have any of them.  I also wanted to try all the different flours I was reading about to get a sense of the different flavors.  But, as many of you know, gluten free flour can be expensive.  Really expensive.  Especially when you want to try 15 different kinds.

So I put in an ask into Momma K for a box of goodies from Bob's Red Mill.  Included was almond flour, coconut flour, millet flour, amaranth flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, quinoa flour, oat flour, teff flour, sorghum flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and xanthan gum.  I also asked for a bag of Cup 4 Cup.

I set off baking and tried all of these flours in different variations.  The Cup 4 Cup was gone within a few days as it was the first thing I tried.  As I mentioned in my post, I liked it, but it is so expensive I wouldn't normally buy it for myself.

Many of the other flours are gone, but some are resting hardly touched in my refrigerator.  I enjoyed the sorghum, millet, and sweet rice flours the most.  I find the brown and white rice flours the the most versatile.  I tended not to use the starches or xanthan gum because I generally find them unnecessary.

I only flour I really did not like was the amaranth flour.  I only used a little bit of it in two different recipes and I did not like the taste it produced.  The quinoa flour also has a strong taste so I tend not to use that too much.  I haven't found many opportunities to use the buckwheat, teff, almond, oat, or coconut flour.  Who's got recipes for me?

I would like to try this mix from the Gluten Free Girl since I did like the flours she uses in her demonstration, but at the end of the day I'm kind of embarrassed to say that after all my research I still use Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour mixed with rice flour for most of my baking.  I found that I wasn't able to create anything as reliable and it seems to be more cost effective than continuing to buy several different kind of flours.

How about you?  What's your favorite GF flour mix?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Caesar's Pasta Review

I recently received some free samples of Caesar's Pasta.  Caesar's has been around for 42 years making frozen pasta dishes with high quality, all natural ingredients.   They recently introduced their gluten free line which includes lasagna, stuffed shells, ravioli, manicotti, gnocchi, and more.

I really loved the meat ravioli.  Ravioli is never high on my list of things I want to order at restaurants or make for dinner, but this ravioli was so good I would definitely buy it for myself.  I have only tried one other brand of gluten free ravioli and it completely fell apart while cooking and then got stuck to my strainer.  Caesar's gluten free ravioli not only tasted great, but it held up really well.

I like Caesar's not only because it tastes good, but also because their meat and cheese come from grass fed cows. Grass fed cows are happy cows.  Happy cows taste better.  It's a proven fact.

Next, I would like to try their gnocchi.  Give them a try and let me know what you think!