Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rebecca's Friendly Quiche

I adapted this from my chef hubby's quiche recipe. His recipes always allow for a little flexibility, so I recommend reading the directions through before proceeding. Because the flavorings in the custard can vary, depending on the season, I am providing you with the custard base below. Feel free to add whatever flavoring goodies you like. Mine consisted of mild italian sausage, spinach, goat cheese, garlic, and mushrooms.

The interesting part is that I've used the gluten-free pie crust before in a pumpkin pie recipe, and I didn't like it very much. This time it was really great. I realize now that the pumpkin pie recipe needed longer to bake, so the crust was slightly overcooked and slightly bitter. In this recipe, it came out "buttery," flakey, and delicious.

An important note: Since my blog is about reviewing products and sharing good ideas, I tend to feature products instead of providing entire scratch recipes. So I have provided a link to a gluten-free pie crust below for the adventurous cook with a little more time on his/her hands.

Rebecca's Friendly Quiche:

Products used:

  • Barvaria Mills Gluten-free Pie Crust (ready made)
  • Vegan Gourmet Sour Cream (I don't recommend Tofutti, because it's too dry and dense compared to this product, which is very creamy. You could use silken tofu as an alternative, but it will not be as flavorful as the vegan sour cream. If you do use silken tofu, you should puree it first.)

(For an alternative to Bavaria Mills GF Pie Crust, check out this link to a Gluten-free Pie Crust Recipe.)

Custard Ingredients:

2                          Large Eggs (or 3 small)
1 1/2 C                Vegan Gourmet Sour Cream (original recipe calls for 1 1/2 C cream)
1/2 tsp                  Salt
1/4 tsp                  Ground pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook off flavorings (see below.) Spread your flavorings over the crust, leaving enough room for the custard. Whisk together the custard ingredients (if you are using cheese, or dairy-free equivalent, mix into custard.*) Pour the custard over the flavorings and bake at 350 for 35 minutes, or until custard is set. It will puff up during baking, but it will deflate while cooling.

*I stirred in about 1/2 C of goat cheese crumbles to the custard before pouring into the pan. Another excellent alternative is cheddar flavored Daiya Vegan Cheese.

Flavoring options:

Bacon, Spinach, Tomatos, Leeks, Artichoke Hearts, Crab, Sausage, Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, Roasted Red Peppers, etc. Most of your flavorings need to be cooked first, unless they come processed, like canned artichoke hearts or olives.

My entire mixture of sausage, mushrooms, garlic, and spinach equaled just under two cups. Because the spinach cooked down, I used about two bunches. I like to cook things in phases because I have more control over their outcomes. (Make sure you salt according to taste as you go.)

I cooked off about 1/4 lb of sausage and placed it into a bowl. I drained the grease into a clean pan, washed the sausage pan (it was pretty sticky), then I returned the grease to the original pan and added olive oil. I simmered my spinach leaves in the oil until they were tender, then I put them in a colander to drain*. I simmered about 1 C sliced cremini mushrooms in olive oil. Then I added two pealed, chopped garlic cloves to the mushrooms and took the pan off the burner once the garlic began emitting its aroma. I chopped the sausage into finer pieces, and I chopped the spinach, and then I mixed all the flavorings into one bowl before spreading them across the crust. Then I poured the custard over the top, made sure it was settled, and then tucked it into the oven.

*If you cook a wet or oily product, make sure you drain it before you spread it across the crust.

A recap, in approximate amounts:

1/4 lb sausage
2 bunches raw spinach leaves (about 4 C uncooked)
1 C mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Salt to taste
Olive oil

Simmer, drain, chop when necessary, mix together, spread across crust. (If you wish to cook everything together, make sure you honor the delicate nature of certain ingredients, and their cooking times. So with my ingredients, I would start with the sausage and let brown a little, then add the mushrooms until they begin to sweat, then add the spinach until wilted, and then add the garlic, stir once or twice, and remove from burner. Then I would drain the ingredients before spreading across the crust.)

Be well, my friends. And enjoy Eating Friendly.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rebecca's Dairy-free Hot Chocolate Recipe

A satisfyingly, chocolatey, delicious hot beverage, and it's just in time for a lactose intolerant Santa!

Rebecca's Dairy-free Hot Chocolate:

2 C                     soy milk (or coconut milk, such as So Delicious or Silk)
1.5 Tbsp             cocoa powder
2 Tbsp                cane juice (or sugar, or honey, or agave nectar...syrups can be added to taste) (or 1 dropper full of liquid stevia)
Pinch                  salt
1/2 tsp                vanilla
1/4 C                  Silk French vanilla soy creamer (optional, but it adds depth without making it too rich.)


In a sauce pan, on medium-high, add the ingredients in the order you see above. Stir regularly to keep from scorching until steam is rising from the pan. [Do not boil.] Total time: about 5 minutes.

To check your consistency, temperature, and flavor, taste a spoonful before serving. If it's how you like it, serve it up! Feel free to make adjustments with any of the above ingredients, according to your tastes.


1. Stir in a couple dashes of cinnamon just before taking the pan off the burner.
2. Add a small scoop of coconut oil for richness. (It will separate and look oily, but it's good. I wouldn't suggest that you add it if you choose to use the soy creamer.)
3. Add one or two drops of food grade peppermint oil to your cup.

Brands of soy milk used for this recipe:

Silk vanilla soy milk, light
Silk French vanilla soy creamer

Enjoy :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Easy Gluten-Free Granola Recipe

I adapted this recipe from my chef hubby's restaurant version. It's so delicious, you'll want to eat it by the handful. I think the Olive Oil version of Earth Balance is superior to the original flavor, and it does very well in this recipe. The maple syrup adds depth to the flavor, giving it more of a caramel note. The honey version is cleaner, and will satisfy the tastebuds of any purist. Using coconut oil makes the recipe more rich. You can also do a blend of the Earth Balance and coconut oil.

Friendly Granola

1/2 C Earth Balance (or coconut oil or butter)
1/2 C Honey
1/8 - 1/4 C Maple Syrup (optional)
1 teaspoon salt
4 C Uncooked Gluten-free Quick Oats (I like Bob's Red Mill: see below)
1 C Raw Almonds (or nuts or seeds of your preference)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit.

Melt the Earth Balance, salt, honey (and maple syrup if desired) in a pot over low heat, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and fold in almonds and oats, making sure everything is coated by the sauce. Then spread out thinly over a sheet pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, stir granola, spread out thinly again, and return to oven for 15 minutes. The last 15 minutes can go pretty quickly, and sometimes the granola will brown pretty fast, so keep your eye on the granola during the second half. You may need to stir it a couple more times before the 15 minutes is up.

Total baking time is 30 minutes.

The granola will be soft when you remove it from the oven. Let it sit and cool for about 30 minutes. The granola will harden as it cools. If you need to bake another batch using your sheet pan, just scoop the granola into a bowl or flat container, and allow the granola to cool while repeating the process above.

Feel free to add cinnamon, shredded coconut, or dried fruit as desired. Sesame and sunflower seeds are also a nice addition. Just make sure that whatever you add, you take away the same amount of almonds. You can replace some of the oats, but they will soak up the sauce, whereas the nuts and seeds won't.

Product used: Bob's Red Mill Gluten-free Quick Cooking Oats, 32 oz bag. This is my preferred gluten-free oat product for this recipe. Bob's GF quick cooking oats are perfect because they come out tender and crunchy, unlike rolled gluten-free oats, which tend to be more chewy and hard to break down. The economy size of the bag shown above yields many servings. I used it to make two batches of granola, and I still have nearly half a bag of uncooked oats left!

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Saturday, October 27, 2012

In The Spotlight! Gluten-free Olive Rosemary Loaf From New Cascadia Traditional

Another Friendly Favorite!

This is one damn good hard loaf from New Cascadia Traditional, Portland's first gluten-free bakery. Soft, chewy center with juicy, whole black olives and hints of rosemary. Yummm. This bread is so good, it's hard to tell it's gluten-free.

New Cascadia only bakes their olive rosemary loaf on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and it's so good it practically flies off the shelves. They sell it at the Saturday Portland Farmer's Market, at New Seasons Markets, and at their bakery/cafe on the corner of SE Market and 6th.

It stays soft for 2-3 days, which is really great for gluten-free bread. It's excellent with soups and salads, dipped in olive oil, and served with cheese (goat and sheep for me.) It's a crowd pleaser at parties, even for gluten eaters.

I'm sorry that my readers living outside the Portland area can't also enjoy this product. But you will know where to go when you come for a visit.

For a complete list of the purveyors who sell New Cascadia's baked goods, click here.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

In The Spotlight: Harvester Gluten-Free Pale Ale

Another Friendly Favorite! Enjoy a pint of crisp, bitter/sweet, well balanced pale ale from Harvester, Portland's only dedicated gluten-free brewing company.

Harvester is a relatively new, up and coming brewery. They can be a daringly experimental with their beers from time to time. For instance, I bought a bottle of their new IPA, and it was so bitter that I found it undrinkable. However, these guys are learning as they go, and in a few months, their IPA may be their best beer on the market.

But as far as their pale ale is concerned, they've got it figured out. It's consistently good and satisfyingly refreshing. Just remember to be careful when removing the cap. Some of them don't come off that easily.

In The Spotlight: Glutino Gluten-free Lemon Wafers

Another Friendly Favorite! Glutino Gluten-free Lemon Wafers. Crispy, sweet, tart, delicate, lemony wafters as light as air. Mmmmmm. Need I say more?

My only complaint is that I eat way more than I should in one sitting. Their wafers also come in chocolate and chocolate vanilla. I can't eat them because they're made with dairy. Glutino makes good products, so I bet they're good.

They usually cost just under $5, but right now (October 23, 2012) they are on sale at New Seasons Market for $3.99.

Go get your wafer on.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gluten-free, Dairy-free Pumpkin Pie Recipe

During the holiday seasons of years past, I spent hours in the kitchen experimenting with gluten- and dairy-free recipes and dreaming of my delicious first bites. Many times, the actual results were utter disappointments, and I would be the only one at holiday parties chewing through my embarrassingly semi-edible breads and desserts while everyone (including me) pretended not to notice how bummed out I actually was.

But times have changed, and pumpkin pie not only tastes good again, it's delicious!

My entry here is also a review of two products: Bavaria Mills Pre-made Gluten-Free Pie Crust (Pair) and Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Evaporated Cane Juice

The evaporated cane juice was grainy, so I mixed the sugar blend with the eggs before I put the pumpkin in, giving the cane juice time to dissolve.

The gluten-free pie shell from Bavaria Mills was okay. Its texture was great, but the bare crust's flavor was slightly bitter, dry, and lacking in salt. Simply put, it's a vehicle for your filling and nothing more. Overall, I give it a B, because it comes in handy when you're in a hurry. I would use it again. 

Gluten-free, Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie Filling

(EDIT: if you want to use regular sugar, you can substitute it for the cane syrup crystals. The original recipe called for 1/2 C brown sugar and 1/4 C white sugar. I'm sensitive to white sugar, so I went looking for an alternative.)
   3/4 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice
    1/2 Teaspoon Sea salt
  1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
   1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
   1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
   1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
   2 Eggs
   1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
   1 15-oz Can Pumpkin Puree
   1 Cup Coconut Milk 

Needed: 1 Unbaked Pie Shell. 
Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
Combine the cane juice, sea salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon in a small bowl. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Beat in the sugar mixture until cane juice dissolves. Add vanilla and pumpkin puree, and mix until smooth. Fold in the coconut milk, making sure it is evenly distributed. 
Pour the filling into the unbaked pie crust. Bake for about 60 minutes or until a butter knife comes out clean.
Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. 
I recommend refrigerating it over night, to let the spices mingle. 

Bavaria Mills Unbaked Gluten-Free Pie Crust

(EDIT: I don't provide a gluten-free pie crust recipe here, but if you're looking for one and you need a recommendation, comment in the box below. Also, look for my upcoming apple pie recipe, in which I review a gluten-free pie crust mix. That one will come out before Thanksgiving.)

For those of you who can't enjoy soy-based whipped cream with your pumpkin pie, try vanilla flavored Enlightened Creme from Enlighten Your Palate. See my previous article about Enlightened Creme for images and details. For a list of retailers who carry Enlightened Creme, click here

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Friendly Spotlight! Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Tortilla Chips & Sonoma Golden Teff Wraps!

Ingredients: stone ground corn, (one or all of the following oils: sunflower, safflower, canola), brown rice flour, flax seeds, evaporated cane juice, oat fiber, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa, soy flour, sea salt. 
This crispy little treat came into my possession in a GF snack pack put together by an airline. (Thank you progress!!) I love their subtle sweetness and lightness of salt. They are so good that my picky-about-allergy-friendly-food chef hubby went looking for them at the health food store the next day, and helped me polish off a bag in one sitting! If you're living in Portland, they are on sale for $2.99 at New Seasons right now! (October 18, 2012.) Their other chips are great, but these are by far the best product they make.

Ingredients: water, tapioca flour, whole grain ivory teff & millet,  expeller pressed canola oil, soy lecithin, cultured corn syrup solids, cellulose gum, maltodextrin, carrageenan, and less than 2% of the following: guar gum, sea salt, honey, aluminum free leavening powder.
If you haven't tried these wraps, you should. Pull them out of the bag, and they smell just like flour tortillas made from wheat, and they taste like them too! But they need to be warmed up to make them soft and flexible. They can be used to make wraps and burritos. I haven't tried to make enchiladas from them yet, but I should!

Today's snack: a veggie-melt wrap of crimini mushrooms, chard leaves, and fresh garlic simmered in olive oil, topped with my favorite goat gouda from holland and a sprinkle of cumin. The garlicky olive oil is all the sauce you need for a wrap like this. Just make sure you don't scorch your oil.

My favorite way to warm these tortillas is to throw them onto a hot burner. I have a glass, electric burner, but you can use a hot skillet instead. Don't use any oil or grease, or they'll turn out greasy and gross. Use tongs, and please don't burn yourselves.

As always, my friends. Be well, and enjoy Eating Friendly!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Introducing The Friendly Spotlight!

Gluten-free, vegan pumpkin whoopee pie from Back to Eden Bakery. A soft, sweet confection that will haunt you after it's gone. No kidding. And it's just in time for the holiday season.

Hey folks! Every day I enjoy great allergy-friendly products, like this melt-in-your-mouth delicious pumpkin whoopee pie from Back to Eden Bakery! Mmmmm. Can you smell the cinnamon and nutmeg?

This delicious whoopee pie is one of the many treats that make me think, "I really need to share this with my readers, without the pressure of writing an entire article on the company that makes it...and eating their line of products and gaining a bunch of weight!" :|

No fair, I already wrote an article on Back to Eden today, right? Okay, okay. But the whoopee pie is one of my Back to Eden Favorites! So this one gets an exclusive plug during the introduction of my new concept: The Friendly Spotlight! From time to time, when I have one of my favorite allergy-friendly products in hand, I will give it a brief mention, without writing a feature article about it.

Look for The Friendly Spotlight! here on Eating Friendly, and on my Facebook and Twitter pages!

As always, my friends. Be well, and enjoy Eating Friendly.

Update: Back To Eden Bakery Now Dedicated Gluten-Free!!

Hands down, Back to Eden is my favorite Portland area allergy-friendly bakery. Why? Because they make it so easy! (Click here to read my previous article about Back to Eden.)

Back to Eden is open seven days a week, from 9a.m. to 9 p.m. (Everyone else is closed on Sundays.) They are a vegan bakery, which means that dairy and egg-sensitive eaters aren't limited one or two choices.

And now they make Eating Friendly even easier!! Last week, they made the switch to dedicated, gluten-free!!

As a frequent diner at Back to Eden, I can tell you that their deserts are always consistent. And now that they are all gluten-free, there are more to choose from, including cookies, coffee breads, cakes, and chocolatey confections! My new favorite is the pumpkin whoopee pie. 

(By the way, the guy at the counter said there's a good chance that Back to Eden will sell single serving pumpkin pies for the holiday season.) 

The change to dedicated gluten-free has sparked an increase in the savory options, and not surprisingly, a rise in lunch sales. Here is a link to their lunch menu.

From left to right: garden salad, curried chicken salad, quinoa pilaf, curried chicken salad wrap, chickpea tuna salad wrap (surprisingly popular!), tomato and kale quiche, tomato and kale cashew tart (one of my absolute favorites!)

Corn and Potato Chowder
Today's soup was a light, yet creamy corn and potato chowder with prominent flavors of cumin and celery. The creamy base was made from cashews. I ate mine with a cheddar, apple, sage scone--a surprisingly moist, salty/sweet biscuit. The scone was light for being gluten-free, and yet it didn't crumble. The only disappointment was that the cheddar flavor just didn't come through. That's vegan cheese for you. It just doesn't make much of an impact.

A closer look at the scone.

Back to Eden is still serving soft-serve and the sundae bar, even though the rainy season is here. For something warmer, try Townshend's Tea or coffee with So Delicious Coconut Creamer.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Gluten-Free Chicken Hot Pot Recipe

Hello eaters!

With the overwhelming introduction of new blogs and articles about eating gluten-free, I've been rethinking the concept of Eating Friendly. I still plan to review restaurants and bakeries, occasionally, but I've decided that you, my readers, will get more out of my articles if I create recipes using allergy friendly products, such as pizza crusts and cake recipes, and then share my findings with you here, on Eating Friendly. Here's my first recipe: Gluten-Free Chicken Hot Pot!

My GF Chicken Hot Pot has always been a crowd pleaser. It's a perfect recipe for adjusting amounts of certain ingredients, depending on your palate. And it's right on time for the chilly autumn season!

Gluten-Free Chicken Hot Pot:


Rice (or) 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles (see below)
Avocado (optional)
Chopped green onions

Both versions (rice, soba) serve about 4

Ingredients for soup: 

2 inch ginger root
1 whole spicy pepper or chili (optional)
1 whole bay leaf
2-3 cloves raw garlic
2-4 green onions
Quartered Crimini (or) sliced Shitake mushrooms, about 1 cup (optional)
2-3 whole chicken legs, skin on
1 TBSP olive oil
Salt (to taste)
Water (about 2 cups)

Directions for soup:

To begin, salt both sides of your chicken legs and set aside.

Salting beforehand allows the salt to penetrate the meat. Otherwise it comes off in the pan the moment it hits the oil. 2 legs are enough, but 3 impart more flavor and provide more protein.

Cut your ginger lengthwise and peel your garlic cloves. Rinse and cut green onions in half. Set the greener, more delicate ends aside. Cut the tougher, whiter ends into 2-3 inch-long pieces and keep them with your ginger, bay leaf, and garlic. (The picture below will give you a good idea of how thick you want your ginger to be. You can use more or less ginger, depending on your preference for its flavor.)

In a soup pot, heat the olive oil until it's just beginning to ripple, but not smoke. Brown your whole chicken legs in the oil on both sides. (Below is a picture of the skin after it's been browned.)

After the chicken legs have been browned, fill your pot with just enough water to cover your chicken, and then add your ginger, garlic, bay leaf, pepper, and the "white sides" of your green onions. Salt your water with one or two pinches of salt (or to taste.) Cover and bring the temperature up to a steady simmer, and then turn down the heat to mid-low or low, depending on your stovetop's power. (You want it to be simmering lightly, but not overflowing and not boiling.)

(You can also add mushrooms to the broth about half way through the cooking process. My favorites for this recipe are shitake and crimini. If you forget to add your mushrooms half way through, you can cook them in the broth while the meat cools (see below.)

You just want to cover the chicken with water, and then add your flavoring components: ginger, pepper, bay, green onion, garlic. Then cover with a lid and let simmer.)

Let simmer for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, cut into the chicken to see if it's cooked through. If it isn't cooked through, then let it go for another 10 - 15 minutes.

If the chicken legs are cooked through, turn off the soup, pull the chicken lets out, place them into a bowl, and let them cool. It's a good idea to separate the meat a little, so it cools down faster.

(If you want to put this over rice, now is the time to cook your rice (see below.) This is also where you want to cook your mushrooms if you forgot to add them halfway through the cooking process. If you slice them thin enough, you just need to add them to the hot broth, and they will cook without the need to turn the burner back on.)

After the meat has cooled, pull it off the bone into bite sized chunks, and then replace the pieces in the broth. Remove your pepper from the broth. (I leave the bay leaf and ginger in and let them continue to impart their flavors.)

Directions for Rice:

1 cup sticky rice
1 1/2 cups of water (salted)

Heat water to a boil. Add rice. Turn heat to low. Stir rice. Cover and let simmer for 18 minutes.
Turn off, stir rice.
Serve soup over rice.
Garnish with sliced avocado and sliced green onions.

Serves about 4.

100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles:

I buy these buckwheat soba noodles at New Seasons Market, a healthy grocer located in Portland, Oregon. They are made in Japan, so it's possible that they are made at a facility that also processes gluten containing products, so celiacs and ultra sensitive eaters should either avoid this product, or check to see if it's 100% friendly, and then let us know in the comments box below ;)

The texture of the noodles should come out dense and slightly chewy, and they should impart a nutty, earthy flavor. I love this product, and it's more nutrient rich than white rice.

100% buckwheat soba noodles are tricky. Follow my directions exactly, and you should be successful in this cooking endeavor.

Directions for soba noodles:

1 pkg 100% Buckwheat Soba Noodles
Pinch salt

Bring salted water to a boil in pot.
In a medium to large-sized bowl, add cold water and ice cubes. (This is called an ice bath. Keep the bowl of ice water in the sink, or keep it next to your cooking pot.)
Add a small amount of soba noodles (1/2 inch to 1 inch thick) to the boiling water, and immediately settle into water with tongs. Try to separate noodles without damaging them. Let boil for about five to eight minutes (the cooking time varies), and then pull one noodle out and pinch with fingernails. (You can also bite into it to see if it's to your liking.) If noodle is tender and breaks apart easily, immediately remove remaining noodles and put them into the bowl of ice water.

Keep cooking noodles this way until you have the desired amount.
You can remove cooked noodles from ice bath and place in bottoms of soup bowls while you wait for the remaining noodles to cook.
Serve soup over noodles.
Garnish with sliced avocado and sliced green onions.

Serves about 4, but if you're a hungry group, you should consider having another package of noodles on hand, just in case.

Things to know: The ginger is for seasoning. It is edible, but it's rather shocking if you get a big bite of it. That's why it's cooked in large slices. It's easy to see them and pull them out. The bay leaf should not be eaten, and if you like its flavor, you should put it in the leftover broth and let it continue to flavor your soup. The same goes with the ginger.

Feel free to add vegetables to this dish as you see fit. Leafy greens are a perfect addition, and they are so easy! All you have to do with chard, collard greens, or kale is slice the leaves and add them to the broth while the chicken is cooling. You don't need to turn the heat back on and simmer them more. The temperature of the soup should cook your tender greens without turning them into mush.

Let me know how you like this recipe, and if you would like to see more. And if you have any eureka moments, feel free to share in the comments box below!

As always, my friends. Be well, and enjoy Eating Friendly!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Flour Mixes from Gluten-Free Gourmand

Prepackaged desserts are convenient, yes, and they can be delicious, but sometimes the do-it-yourselfer within must do a little baking. The obstacle is in knowing which products to choose, such as gluten-free flour bases.

In the years past, finding a quality gluten-free flour blend was challenging. Some mixes would be imbalanced, or bitter from bean flour, or of poor quality in general. It was easy to wonder if producers of flour mixes had ever even tasted their own products before putting them on shelves.

Times have changed since then. People like you and me, the do-it-yourselfers, are making an effort to bring better products to the market. Who better to produce our allergy-friendly food than someone with the same dietary restrictions, whose needs and desires are similar to our own?

Fellow blogger and food pioneer, Gina Kelley, is that kind of producer. Gina is the author of Gluten-Free Gourmand, a blog that offers tips and recipes to gluten-free eaters. Gina has created a line of gluten-free flour mixes, such as gluten-free pastry flour, pancake mix, and all-purpose flour, and she sells them on her website. I got my hands on Gina's pastry flour and pancake mix, and I did a little experimenting.

My resulting pancakes. Don't they look mouthwatering!

I started with the pancake mix. I followed the instructions on the back to the letter, substituting butter and cow's milk with Earth Balance and So Delicious vanilla flavored coconut milk. The pancakes cooked up a little differently than they would have if they had been made with dairy, and the sorghum flavor was quite present in the resulting batter. Since cooking these pancakes dairy-free changes the outcome, I have decided that next time I will lower the amount of liquid and add another egg instead. I think the extra egg will soften the texture and make the resulting pancakes more golden and fluffy.

Savory pancakes with spinach, mushrooms, oregano, garlic, and olive oil, topped with two eggs over easy. 

The sorghum gave the pancakes the taste of maize, or corn flour, which added a savory flavor to the pancakes. They were spongy, yet slightly dense, but not heavy. Having them with maple syrup didn't do it for me. The combination felt imbalanced, as if sweet just didn't work with this batch of pancakes. So I had them in a savory fashion with mushrooms and spinach simmered in olive oil with garlic and oregano, and topped with eggs over easy. I made sure the olive oil was copious enough, and that it was flavored well with garlic and oregano, to behave like a savory syrup. The combination was out of this world delicious! It was so good that I lay in bed later that night and dreamed of the next morning's breakfast!

Teresa Estrada ices our GF carrot cake made with Gluten-Free Gourmand pastry flour.

For the pastry flour, I got together with Teresa Estrada, creator of Enlighten Your Palate and Enlightened Creams, to bake a carrot cake. First of all, I want to say that Teresa really knows what she is doing. I'm glad she helped me test this product, because I learned a lot from her about the performance of ingredients. And her recipe and resulting cake were absolutely amazing. (See recipe below.)

One of the first things we noticed about Gina's pastry flour was how finely ground it was. It was so fine, and so well cared for, that we didn't need to sift it into the bowl. We noticed the sorghum flavor in this product as well, which added a savory element and a slightly grainy texture to the dough when wet. And the batter was drier than other flour bases we had used in the past, and needed more moisture than we had anticipated.

The cake baked up nice and fluffy for being made with a gluten-free flour mix. And with the carrot shreds, pineapple chunks, and pecan pieces baked into the cake, there was plenty of texture to make this sweet and hearty cake a satisfying delight to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee at breakfast, or as an after dinner dessert. Teresa created a tofu-based frosting with lemon zest, which brightened the flavors of the cake, making a normally wintery dessert refreshingly light and summery.

The flowers we used here are not edible. We picked what we had and used them for decoration, so don't use this as a guide for selecting edible flowers. Edible flowers in season right now: nasturtium, calendula, borage, marigold.  

Gina, our Gluten-Free Gourmand, is passionate about creating quality products that satisfy her customers' palates and dietary needs. I wouldn't doubt that she will make adjustments to her flour mixes based on consumer feedback, like lowering the amount of sorghum, or replacing it with another gluten-free grain flour altogether. I hope she keeps the pastry flour as is for her tortilla recipe, because the sorghum is perfect in that context. Maybe she will create a separate package for her tortilla recipe, just like she has done with her pancakes.

Gina offers several mixes beyond pastry and pancake flour. She sells mixes for scones, pizza dough, waffles, and she even sells a complete baking kit! So if you're not satisfied with the gluten-free baking products made available through your local grocer, I suggest that you check out Gina's website. You may just find what you've been looking for.

A slice of carrot cake. Look at all that texture! So sweet and delicious! 

Carrot Cake Recipe:

3 1/2 cups GF flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

2 buttery sticks - softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla

2 cups shredded carrots
1 can shredded pineapple - drained
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (toasted for 7 minutes)

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees
Butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans
Toast pecans and set aside

Sift dry ingredients together and set aside.

Blend buttery sticks, eggs, sugar, and vanilla - beat well. Add carrots, pineapple, coconut, and pecans. Fold in dry ingredients until blended.

Folding in dry ingredients.

Pour into cake pans and bake for 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cake batter smoothed into pans just before baking.

Cool on a rack for at least 15 - 20 minutes before turning out cakes. Cool completely on racks before frosting. (Teresa lined the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper, which made it easy to turn out the cakes from the pans, and then cool them on the racks by setting them--with parchment paper on their bottoms--directly on the racks too cool. If you plan to be gone for a while after you turn out the cakes, make sure to cover them with a towel.)

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting:

Three 8 ounce tubs of vegan cream cheese (tofu based in this case, from Trader Joe's)
1 1/2 buttery sticks - softened
3 cups of sifted sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon zest

The frosting turned out a little lumpy, so Teresa said the tofu cream cheese should be room temp before making the frosting. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Eating Friendly at the Portland Farmer's Market, PSU

Most people think of produce when they think of the Portland Farmer's Market. So do I, unless I happen to be going early in the morning. Then I think of coffee and pastries. But for years, there's been one little problem with that second thought: I can't eat gluten or cow's dairy.

For years after I discovered I had food allergies, I found myself avoiding the Farmer's Market. My reason was simple: it wasn't fun for me anymore. I could easily pick my produce up from New Seasons or the local Co-op, and since none of the purveyors were producing anything for sensitive eaters at the time, I felt alienated. With helplessness and jealousy, I would watch my husband savor whatever gooey, crispy, savory or sweet thing he could get his hands on, and I would feel my heart sink into my belly like a brick. The Farmer's Market experience was no longer mine. So I stopped going.

That was eight years ago. Things have come a long way since then. Now an allergic eater can go to the PSU Farmer's Market and expect to find all kinds of goodies, especially pastries, scones, and pies. And now that there are several options, the issue isn't feeling left out, it's knowing which products are worth your money and time. 

The following vendors are the highlights of my findings, but I'm sure you can find more if you go digging. 

New Cascadia Traditional
Petunia's Pies & Pastries
Divine Pie
Eatin' Alive (Most noteworthy!)
Nonna's Noodles (not a dedicated vendor)
The Smokery
Anthem and Wandering Aengus Ciderworks
Verde Cocina (not a dedicated vendor)

 If you think I've missed an obvious vendor, feel free to make note of it in the comments box below.

New Cascadia Traditional's case of gluten-free cookies, cupcakes, pastries, and breads. Some are vegan, but many of their items contain butter, dairy, sugar, and eggs. 
New Cascadia Traditional is an artisan style, dedicated gluten-free bakery, which pioneered the gluten-free movement in 2007 by showcasing its breads and pastries at the Portland Farmer's Market. They were needed so badly by the gluten-free community that they could barely keep up with the demand. Their star rose so fast, it nearly launched out of the atmosphere, leaving a glowing mist of crumbs and sprinkles trailing behind them.

Cupcakes by New Cascadia Traditional.
When New Cascadia started, it was novel, the first of its kind. Then other gluten-free bakers came along, and it was shelved by the media in favor of the sexy new kids on the block. But New Cascadia Traditional remains a quality producer of gluten-free baked goods. I've been eating there since they first opened, and I have consistently enjoyed their products, especially their vegan cupcakes: vanilla, chocolate, and carrot. They are always soft, spongy, sweet, and well-balanced. You would never know that their creamy, melt-in-your-mouth frostings were vegan. Their vegan chocolate chip cookies are crunchy, chewy, sweet, with hints of salt and large chunks of chocolateMy only complaint about New Cascadia's pastries is that they've shrunk their vegan options to a minimum, which used to be more abundant.

New Cascadia Traditional's bread case. 

New Cascadia still corners the gluten-free bread market, baking all kinds of artisan style hard and soft loaves. I've tried their seeded bread, baguette, teff loaf, hamburger buns, bagels, and cranberry walnut bread. All were delicious, but the baguette was a little difficult to cut. The important thing to note about the breads is that they have a short shelf life. They are best if bought and eaten right away. They can be frozen and reheated, but there is no comparison to fresh baked. Some say the cost of New Cascadia's breads can be a little hard to swallow, but when you're sitting down to break bread with friends who have access to artisan baked loaves, what better way to show off your savvy than to have a loaf of your own?

Check out New Cascadia Traditional at the PSU Farmer's Market, or you can visit their bakery at the corner of SE Market and 6th. For a list of locations that sell New Cascadia Traditional's products, click here.

Petunia's case was filled with gluten-free whoopy pies, cupcakes, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, and pies.
I first met Lisa Clark, owner of Petunia's Pies & Pastries, at the Saturday Farmer's Market a few years ago. She was just getting started. At the time, she had a simple table that featured a hand full of her gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free pies and pastries. I bought a hazelnut pie with a nut crust...for a lot of money, I might add. Regardless of the price, I had to try one of her baked goods. Baking gluten-, dairy-, and sugar-free is really hard to get right. I wanted to see if she had pulled it off. In short: her hazelnut pie was awesome and worth every penny.

Since then, I have watched Petunia's grow into a full-fledged bakery. Now Lisa's pastries can be purchased at several grocery stores and coffee shops around town, and at Portland Farmer's Markets. Lisa also teams up with local chefs and presents her pastries at restaurants and private dinners.

Petunia's from afar. The crowd was so big, and constantly growing, that I couldn't snap a picture of the case until it was my turn to order. 
I love Petunia's, but I have often shied away because of the sticker shock. That's why I was surprised to see a huge crowd standing around the kiosk at last Saturday's Farmer's Market. That is until I approached the case and saw how reasonably priced her pastries were. Still the same good-for-you confections, but at a manageable price. Most items were between $3.00 and $4.00.

I bought a cinnamon roll for $3.50. The dough was soft, yet a little dense, which is expected of gluten-free. The gooey cinnamon filling stretched and broke apart with every bite. It was so delicious that I forgot to snap a photo before I devoured it, and people walking by kept staring at my pastry as I ate it.

The lower cost is good news. It means that Petunia's is available to everybody, not just to people who can afford boutique prices. And because every item is gluten-free and vegan, and some are sugar-free, there's something for every allergic eater. I was standing next to a man whose wife had so many allergies he couldn't remember them all. He named the usual suspects--gluten, dairy, white sugar, and then he mentioned peanuts. Unfazed, the guy behind the counter guided the man toward their most allergy friendly products. You've got to love it when the counter service is as good as the product.

It's hard to tell you which kiosk you should visit, but if you're not interested in sugar, and you want all the benefits of eating gluten-free and vegan, I highly recommend Petunia's. And judging from the crowd around her kiosk, I would say I'm not the only one who thinks so.

To find a list of places that sell Petunia's Pies & Pastries, click here.

Divine Pie. Gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free, and LIVE!
Since we're on the subject of desserts, let's talk about Divine Pie--rich, decadently creamy pies made from living ingredients, such as dates, nuts, and berries. For example, Alissa Martucci, creator of Divine Pie, uses cashews to make some of her cream fillings and hazelnuts for some of her crusts. According to the documentary made available on her website, Alissa got the inspiration to make her pies when she was on a raw food cleanse. Now she makes them available to everyone. At the kiosk, she sets her pies out on display, and shares yummy little scoops of them on wooden popsicle sticks. From the few I've tasted, I can tell you that the creamy texture is quite surprising--silky, smooth goodness, my friends.

Not everyone can afford to shell out $7.00 for a single-serving pie. Divine Pies are beautiful, absolutely delicious, and good for you, but they are expensive. Of course, it's important to remember how expensive the ingredients are in the first place, and just how much energy goes into making each one. So they're worth it if you can afford them. It's just that, for many people like myself, purchases will be limited to special occasions.

For a list of locations that sell Divine Pie, click here.

Eatin' Alive 

(Most Noteworthy!)

Eatin' Alive, offering gluten-free, vegan, and LIVE sweets and savory foods. Paige Common, owner and creator, shares samples of goodies, so don't be too shy to ask. 
This kiosk is by far my favorite. Why? Because every single item is vegan, live, and gluten-free. The best part is that Eatin' Alive offers an assortment of savory and sweet treats. You can buy a falafel or collard wrap right there, unwrap it, and eat a very healthy lunch! If you want something crunchy, you can purchase a bag of live krisps, like kale or pizza flavored, and eat them by the handful. Eatin' Alive also offers several jars of sauces, such as pesto, or "ranch" for dipping your krisps. The most interesting item on the menu is a raw, vegan, zucchini lasagna. 

For dessert, you can either buy a jar of live, vegan strawberry rhubarb or razzle dazzle (vegan cheesecakes in jars), or you can enjoy a live peanut butter cup or chocolate truffle. I had the peanut butter cup, or PB Loves, as it was called. The top chocolate layer was creamy and rich, almost like a mousse but without the air. The center was filled with real peanut butter, not peanut butter mixed with oil or margarine. The bottom layer was a blend of crunchy nut pieces and chocolate. It was a sweet and salty confection with textures of crunchy, chewy, soft, and smooth. For $2.00, it was a bargain!

PB Loves from Eatin' Alive.
The coolest thing about Eatin' Alive (if you could classify one thing over the other) is the kiosk. It's a bike! Well, it's more like a tricycle than a bike, and on the bottom is a tray that stores all the boxes and totes that hold the goodies. The table top is actually attached to the bike! Paige Common, owner and operator of Eatin' Alive, actually rides her entire business to the Farmer's Market, sets everything up on the table top, and sells goodies from her bike! The entire operation contributes a rather small carbon footprint compared to other purveyors, and that is what makes Eatin' Alive so impressive. Paige's business is smart and conscientious. Her treats are smart and delicious. They will please your palate and nourish your body, and best of all, they're not expensive

Also, when it comes to eating gluten-free at the Farmer's Market, eater's are mainly forced to choose between sweet items from one bakery or another, but Eatin' Alive is selling an entire meal for alternative eaters from start to finish. Not only will your tummy love you, but so will your pancreas. 

Notice, the kiosk is also a bike!
Eatin' Alive may be new to the Farmer's Market, but it has already won over a dedicated crowd. When I was there, people were enthusiastically buying up products by the handful. If you're curious about Eatin' Alive's products, you should look for the bike kiosk located in the center of the PSU Farmer's Market. 

If you're curious about Eatin' Alive, you can read more about it here, and you can find a list of places that sell their products here. If you're looking for a healthy catering company, Eatin' Alive provides that service as well. Here's a link to the menu.

Sarah-Beth (very friendly owner/operator of Nonna's Noodles) holds the last bag of gluten-free pasta she had that day. It was still morning.
I just happened to be scanning the different kiosks for allergy friendly products when I noticed the words gluten-free written on a plaque in the background of a pasta stand. So I stopped and asked Sarah-Beth, owner and maker of Nonna's Noodles, about her gluten-free options. She directed me toward her last bag of gluten-free pasta, made from Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour mix, flax seed, and local free-pasturized eggs.

Nonna's Noodles is not a dedicated gluten-free facility, so very sensitive eaters should probably avoid this pasta, but Sarah-Beth assured me that she takes food allergies seriously. She carefully scrubs everything down before she makes her gluten-free noodles and she keeps them separate from gluten containing products. 

For those of you who are looking for homemade gluten-free noodles, a recipe inspired by Sarah-Beth's Italian Grandma (or Nonna), then you should stop by and pick up a package at her kiosk, or you can search her website for more locations here

The Smokery kiosk. The sign in the back says "Your local source for wild smoked salmon. No preservatives, no additives, all natural."
I decided to add The Smokery to my article because many people are allergic to additives and preservatives. I can't eat salmon because I'm deathly allergic to it, and now I'm afraid to eat seafood, so I can't speak for the products, but I did hear people talking as they were shopping at the kiosk. It seems The Smokery has regular customers who shop there weekly. And if salmon doesn't do it for you, how about smoked, canned tuna?

Anthem and Wandering Aengus are owned by the same company, but they are a little different. Wandering Aengus leans more toward traditional flavors, with a variety of ciders ranging from dry to semi-sweet. My favorite was the smooth, dry oaked cider with oak and apple competing on the palate. 

Anthem is younger and more flamboyant, expressing itself in a number of combinations: cherry, pear, and my favorite, hops. The cherry is dark and deep and slightly sweet. The pear is light and crisp. The hops is rich, yet light and herbaceous. I could get into trouble with the hops cider, if left alone with a few bottles.

If you're not familiar with ciders, they are sort of like beer, but they're made from apples and pears, so they're gluten-free. People often expect ciders to be sweet, but many are dry and sometimes nutty. Think of cider as an alcoholic beverage with a texture landing somewhere between a light lager and a dry sparkling wine, only with the essence of apples instead of grains or grapes.

These ciders are made from real pressed apples, not syrups, so there's quality and care in every drop. The apples are only sourced from Oregon and Washington, which keeps the money local and supports our neighbors. Anthem and Wandering Aengus will purchase organic apples whenever they are available. Learn more about Anthem and Wandering Aengus by clicking on the links.

Eating Savory

Eating Friendly at the Portland Farmer's Market proved to be disappointing in one major category: savory foods. Other than Eatin' Alive, there were no dedicated, allergy friendly savory food kiosks. With the abundance of sweet, gluten-free, vegan goodies laying around, I was hard-pressed to find a savory food cart that could balance out the sugar rush and offer more sustenance to allergic eaters. I did find a food cart that served rice and curry, but I didn't snap a photo of it because the crowd obscured the view. Frankly, I get tired of having to settle for rice dishes "when in Rome," so I passed it by without much interest. 

However, Verde Cocina, whose slogan reads "Northwest Farm-To-Fork Ingredients with a Mexican flair," caught my attention. The aromas wafting from their kitchen smelled amazing, and their food looked fresh and well prepared. I was full from eating pastries, so I skipped out on lunch. But out of the two semi-Friendly vendors selling hot food that day, Verde Cocina would have been my first choice. Neither of these vendors was dedicated gluten-free, so extremely sensitive eaters beware.

As I left the Farmer's Market, I noticed a kiosk selling sausages in buns and one selling pizza. There is potential for gluten-free bakers to work together with these vendors to make gluten-free buns and pizza crusts available to allergic eaters, but they would be sharing the grill and the oven with gluten containing products. But for the not-so-sensitive, wouldn't that be nice! Until then, your choices for savory foods are limited, but things are looking up for sensitive diners who love to shop local. As time goes by, I'm sure we'll see more of a balance between savory and sweet Friendly food alternatives.

These are the highlights of my adventure. I encourage you to take a Saturday and explore the Friendly edibles at the PSU Portland Farmer's Market, or at a Farmer's Market in your neighborhood. You will be keeping it local, personal, and you will be Eating Friendly. 

And who knows? Maybe I will see you picnicking in the park Eating Friendly-style this summer!