Eating Lightly: Savory Gluten-Free Roasted Red Pepper Tart

Today is August 8th, which means that depending upon whether we go by the Anglo-IMG_4347Saxon tradition or the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we are either in the midst of (July 15-September 5th), or the end of (July 3- August 11), the heliacal rising of Sirius, the dog star, in the constellation Canis Major: the dog days of summer. Regardless of whose calendar we adhere to, modern weather pattern knowledge notwithstanding, we’ve entered the hottest, most uncomfortable part of the year. Down here in South Texas, the weather is downright hostile. The heat and humidity assault people as soon as they leave the refuge of their air conditioned homes, causing labored breathing, hair to frizz or fall flat, sweat to gush from every pore, and clothes to stick to skin. Just walking through the parking lot from the car into the grocery store becomes overly laborious in such harsh summer conditions. The August heat saps one’s motivation to do much of anything, including spending much time in over a hot oven cooking a large meal. Fortunately, the heat also discourages one’s appetite for large, heavy meals. A simple meal that requires minimal preparation can, however, be both flavorful and elegant. This deglutenized roasted pepper tart recipe from Chowhound is just such a recipe. Continue reading


Why, Yes! That Gluten-Free Pasta Is Made With Mesquite Flour!

Mexican Chocolate Filled Vanilla Bean Mesquite Ravioli With Caramel Sauce

mesquite chocolate ravioli3

I recently taught a gluten-free pasta-making class , in which one of the attendees recounted her growing up years, when she and her siblings gathered fallen mesquite pods from the ground to be given to a Hill Country rancher who used them to feed his livestock. For most of its existence in Texas, however, the tenacious mesquite tree has been the bane of Texas ranchers and farmers. The mesquite tree spreads like a weed, absorbs much of the water from the ground in which it grows, and causes other vegetation to die. Long before this hearty tree gained its bad reputation, the mesquite tree was valued as a important food source among ancient peoples in South America, Mexico, and the Southwestern region of the United States. As I explained in past post about mesquite flour, these people used the dried, ground mesquite pods and beans for drinks, as well as for breads, tortillas, and porridge. Continue reading

Classy and Romantic: Strawberry Rosemary Balsamic Ice Cream Drizzled With Cabernet Sauvignon Syrup

Another rainy Sunday, of which we’ve had plenty this year. With the weekend chores mostly strawberry ice creamfinished yesterday, and my long run checked off the list this morning, I’m ready to sit down a while: to slow down the day’s pace a bit. The dark clouds and rain outside make staying inside rather cozy. With Frank Sinatra’s smooth, sultry voice floating through the house, Phillip relaxing in the chair next to mine, and tiny Rex curled up against me, I think the time is right for a bowl of the ice cream Phillip made yesterday. Definitely, strawberry-rosemary-balsamic ice cream with drizzled with Cabernet Sauvignon syrup and Frank Sinatra are perfect complements, just like a chocolate milk shake perfectly complements music by the early Beach Boys, and pecan pie perfectly complements music by Robert Earl Keen. Frank Sinatra’s voice and music are completely classy, a bit jazzy, and a bit romantic. As Frankie, with the help of the Count Basie Orchestra, fly me to the moon and fill my heart with song, I think about the classy flavor of strawberries, jazzed up with a hint of balsamic vinegar reduction, made somewhat romantic by the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon syrup lightly drizzled over the perfectly round, creamy delectable scoops of ice cream in the bowl. Continue reading

By Special Request: Gluten-Free Limoncello Dark Chocolate Cheesecake

My oldest son, one of our children who cannot eat gluten, chocolate limoncello cheesecake 2recently sent (via text message, naturally) a special request. He discovered Perugina Dark Chocolate Limoncello candy bars, a flavor combination he thinks sounds pretty delicious. The candy bar’s ingredients, however, are as follows: sugar, chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, natural flavors (wheat), sunflower lecithin, artificial flavor. Could I, he wondered, come up with some dark chocolate, limoncello treat that is also gluten-free? Perhaps cheesecake, he added? Those proverbial wheels started spinning in my mind and I drew from various cheesecake recipes I’ve made in the past to come up with the dark chocolate limoncello cheesecake I made for his birthday this month. Continue reading

Tres Latin Foods Gluten-Free Pupusas: Delicious For Snacks or Meals

Every week, I receive dozens (yes, dozens!) of emails from marketers offering me free samples of this, that, or the tresother food or drink so that I will review their products on my blog. I ignore most – actually about 99.9% – of these promotional opportunities. The most prominent reason for my refusal to respond to the marketing emails is that I am not interested in the products being offered. Some of the products have nothing to do with following a gluten-free diet, and many of the gluten-free products I’m offered for review sound unappetizing. A couple of months ago, however, I received an email offering me free gluten-free pupusas in exchange for a review of the product on my blog. I actually answered this email, and agreed to accept the offer: two coupons, each for a box of free pupusas. One reason I accepted this particular offer is that the company, Tres Latin Foods, is a small, family-owned business. As an individual finally reaching the launch date of my own small business (early March! Whoo-hoo!), I am interested in helping out other small business owners when I can. The other reason I accepted this offer is that when I was first diagnosed with Celiac disease, Walmart actually carried a brand of gluten-free pupusas. I don’t remember the name of the brand. As I adjusted to life without gluten, the gluten-free pupusas I bought at Walmart were a mainstay in my diet. Within a couple of years of my diagnosis, though, the pupusas disappeared from the Walmart frozen section. By that time, I had adjusted to eating, cooking, and baking gluten-free so I managed to live without them. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Peppermint Bark Cheesecake: The Only Dessert You Will Ever Need For A Christmas Celebration, Again

These days are a bit harried, barreling toward Christmas as we are. Shopping, baking, and cleaning are edging out my IMG_0293running time; sadly, my runs are the easiest activities to give up when deadlines and other responsibilities expand to squeeze my limited time. In less than a month I will run a half-marathon for which I am currently NOT training! In some ways I am preparing for this particular half-marathon, though. It’s the Women’s Cocoa Half, in SATX on January 18th: a chocolate themed race. I’m eating plenty of chocolate these days, and baking with plenty of chocolate as well – which leads me to this quick post about the cheesecake I made yesterday. I want to have a special dessert for Phillip, our children, and grandchildren Christmas day. For the past year, my mind has been working on a cheesecake recipe, using seasonal Mi-Del Gluten-Free Candy Cane Cremes. I did a test run of my recipe this weekend, to see if it works, or whether it needs some adjustments if it does work. I am pleased to report that the recipe does work, and although I hate that whole proverbial toot one’s horn thing, I have to be honest and say that this cheesecake is one of the best I have ever baked or tasted. No kidding. I never kid about matters as serious as cheesecake. Now, I don’t have much time to put into writing a post this week, and most people don’t have time to read a long post this week, so I’ll get right to it. I want to share this recipe while we’re in the midst of the Christmas and New Year season just in case some people might find it useful as they search for a perfect, easy, gluten-free dessert to take to a Christmas celebration. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Sea Salt Caramel Candied Bacon Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake With Gingersnap Crust

I’ve read a couple of articles in food magazines and on food blogs recently, in which food writers bemoan the continuing pumpkin cheesecake 7love affair we’re having (at least in the USA) with salted caramel and bacon. A cursory look at restaurant menus and baking resources online show that these trends have yet to play out. Salted caramel and bacon are showing up as flavors in everything these days, for sure, and seem to have reached every last market possible. Betty Crocker offers a maple bacon-flavored cookie mix; Vosages offers a chocolate bacon bar; J & D Foods offers Baconnaise (yep – bacon flavored mayonnaise); McDonald’s offers a salted caramel sundae; and even Walmart offers a salted caramel gooey butter cake.  I’m pretty sure the reason for the persistent popularity of these flavors among all stratification of society (the fad started in France, with French chefs, after all)  is that anything tastes better if it has either salted caramel, bacon, or both somewhere in the ingredient list. Continue reading

When Life Gets Busy : Cheat With These Gluten-Free Products

If we’re to be honest, and one always usually wants to be honest, home-cook meals and dishes are far more satisfying in flavor and quality than yogurt blueberry 2processed or mass-produced foods. At times, however, life gets so busy that one has little choice but to save time by purchasing ready-made foods. Thankfully, we in the United States are blessed with a variety of good quality ready-made foods that, although they might not measure up to home-cooked standards, are fairly tasty and healthy. I’m taking advantage of our fortunate selection of convenience foods while work on my ATX Ultra Eats website content and training for the Cloudsplitter 50k take up the majority of my time (I am endorsing these products of my own volition – I am not receiving any compensation from any of the companies whose products I mention in this blog post). Cloudsplitter is in just under three weeks away now, and my running mileage is currently at about 60 miles a week. I’m not under any illusion that my high mileage and hill work will help me finish that 50k in an impressive time, but the arduous training does help with the illusion that I’ll actually feel strong when I do finish! To keep up with my training, regardless of how well it will help me survive complete Cloudsplitter, I do have to take in some quality calories. Ironically, working on my muffin mix business is partly what has kept me from finding time to bake the muffins I usually keep in ready stock in the freezer for my quick pre-run breakfast.My fallback breakfast is yogurt mixed with dried blueberries and shaved chocolate. Continue reading


Antonelli's Cheese Shop 1

This post is only tangentially related to gluten-free food, in that it concerns a food mostly gluten-free, but always 100% delicious and necessary to my gluten-free lifestyle. I really, truly love cheese. As I have mentioned in past blog posts, cheese is my favorite food. Cheesecake is my favorite dessert. Finding unique, artisanal cheese to enjoy is one of my favorite foodie past-times. Because of my love affair with cheese, I am sincerely saddened – though not altogether shocked – at the action the FDA is taking to supposedly make our food more safe, but in reality will make our food more uniform and dull. According to a recent post on the blog Cheese Underground, the FDA has moved to stop artisanal cheesemakers from aging their cheese on wooden boards. Cheesemakers note that the process of aging cheese on wooden boards allows for the unique character of cheeses created to be aged on wooden boards. This restriction by the FDA will negatively impact the cheese business in America, notes Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli: “The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years.” Roelli also states that American cheesemakers will now be “at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated.” The entire article can be found here. I hope this news spreads quickly through the artisanal and specialty food industry, spawning such an uproar that the FDA will have to reverse its stance against the traditional method of aging cheese.

Easy and Delicious Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Pasta

While perusing some of my favorite blogs one day, I happened across this post about a gadget that turnszuchini pasta 4 zucchini into spaghetti. Now, skads of kitchen gadgets exist for imaginative use in the kitchen, and I’m usually wary of being seduced by photos and descriptive writing into purchasing gadgets that, no matter how clever or charming, will end up stealing valuable space in my so-small kitchen after having been used only once or twice. This particular gadget, however, can help me to lower the amount of carbs I eat daily. Here I need to mention that I do not mean demonize carbs in themselves. The only foods I truly demonize are industrialized or manufactured processed foods. I have never understood the appeal of food products such as Cool Whip, a non-dairy whipped topping, or those processed shakes or shake powders people ingest instead of food so that they can lose weight or work out harder, or whatever the case may be. If half and half can be made fat-free, how can it still be half and half? (Hint: It can’t be – the fat is replaced by less desirable ingredients much more hazardous to one’s health than fat.) Every once in a while, one may choose to eat queso made with Velveeta processed cheese or drink a soft drink, but in general, industrialized foods shouldn’t make up a large portion of anyone’s diet. I follow this rule for myself and my family; however, I won’t press the issue with others who choose to ingest the foods I generally avoid. Continue reading