Miscellany: Coffee Flour and Gluten-Free Pastry Demo

Guess what? That fruit that’s usually discarded when coffee beans are harvested is now

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credit: coffee flour.com

available as a gluten-free flour! Dan Belliveau, one the Director of Technical Services at Starbucks, came up with the idea to salvage the wasted fruit his company calls coffee flour (it doesn’t really taste like coffee, though). It’s full of potassium, iron, protein, and fiber, so it’s a healthy addition to gluten-free baked goods. In addition to providing a unique, new healthy ingredient for people interested in healthy diets, harvesting the fruit will provide jobs and new sources of income for people in some of the most poverty-stricken places in the world. The flour is not available in brick and mortar stores, though, so I just ordered some from Nuts.com. It’s also available from Marx’s Pantry for the same price per pound, but Marx’s pantry charges $12 shipping (vs $5.99 for shipping from Nuts.com). I’m not here to sell anything to anyone; I’m just super excited about the find and want to share the info!  Continue reading

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Excellent Find: Del Destino Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad

While walking down the rice and bean aisle in HEB recently, I spotted product I had never IMG_4262noticed before: Del Destino Ready to Eat Quinoa Salad. On the off-chance that it might be gluten-free, I picked up a package and read the label: Quinoa, Hearts of Palm, Artichoke, Water, Sunflower Oil, Piquillo Pepper, Onion, Basil, Jalapeño Pepper, Sugar Cane Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Ginger, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid. So far, so good. No gluten. Then I read the allergy warning: Produced in a facility that also uses milk, pine nuts, almonds, chestnuts, nuts, mustard, sulphates, and lysozyme. (I actually had to look up lysozyme, which is an enzyme found in tears, leukocytes, mucus, egg albumin, and certain plants. It destroys bacteria and functions as an antiseptic.) Again, looks good! No wheat! I picked up two flavors, the artichoke and hearts of palm and the piquillo peppers, to try. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Cookie Coated Peppermint Truffles

Another January arrives; another Christmas now lives on in memory and hearts, only. Christmas time is christmastruly the best time of the year. The weather, though not exactly frigid, is less harshly hot. Houses and lawns sparkle with brightly colored lawn decoration and lights. Selections from Handel’s Messiah flow through the air in random places. My favorite Bible verses from the books of Isaiah and St Luke are highlighted in the liturgical readings of Advent. I can finally watch the original The Bishop’s Wife (1947), the original Christmas in Connecticut (1945), the original Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Scrooged (1988), A Christmas Story (1983), and Elf (2003) openly without comment from family and friends. Limited edition Christmas products show up on store shelves, and we indulge in delicious, favorite foods we cook, bake, and eat only during this most glorious of seasons.

This year, we added a new treat to our canon of Christmas comestibles: gluten-free cookie coated peppermint truffles. For years I’ve made truffles by hand, but only at Christmas time. I used a fairly easy truffle recipe, rather unsophisticated but easy enough for Jacob, Christopher, and Elizabeth to help with the making and rolling when they were younger. Over the past year, however, I have devoured and re-devoured a used copy of  Alice Medrich’s combination memoir and cookbook Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate (2003). Inspired by Medrich’s work to create classic ganache truffles, I decided to use her technique and recipe to make some classic truffles for Christmas. Beginning in November, I made a couple of practice batches. I wanted to know what I was doing, come Christmas time. For my first attempt at truffle-making, I made a dark chocolate cognac ganache, which I coated in dark chocolate, then rolled in pumpkin pie spice. These turned out pretty well, actually; the centers were velvety and the flavor combination was scrumptious . Continue reading

Woot! A GLUTEN-FREE SALE!!

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Starting today, to make room for the new size muffin mixes, all current ATX Ultra Eats gluten-free, grain-free muffin mixes are 50% off, with free shipping. See the individual muffin mix flavors at atxultraeats.com for details. What can be better than a sale, unless it’s a sell on delicious, minimally-processed gluten-free, grain-free muffin mixes??

Impulse Purchase: Apple Flour

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Image from the Anti-Grain website

Every few months, I commit a couple of hours to researching where I might find current best prices for the gluten-free ingredients I regularly use in my kitchen and my business. During today’s research session, I came across a product that I have never seen: apple flour. It contains only dried, ground apples and apple peel. It contains no preservatives, nor any other processed ingredients. Intrigued by the thought of adding powdered apple to baked goods, I ordered an 8 oz bag from Amazon. The flour is a little pricey, but then those of us who cook and bake gluten-free are used to paying quite a bit for the ingredients we use. Continue reading

Fresh Gluten-Free Rose Pasta With Rose Mint Pesto

Did the name of the recipe in the title of this blog post draw you to this site? I thought so. The idea of rose Aroma Kitchenpasta with rose mint pesto is intriguing, and it actually led me to finally figure out how to make gluten-free pasta from scratch. After seeing this recipe (for non-gluten-free) rose pasta the first time I opened the cookbook Aroma Kitchen: Cooking With Essential Oils, by Sabine Hönig and Ursula Kutschera, I knew I had to try it. The only way I was likely to be able to taste rose pasta with rose pesto, however, was to learn how to make gluten-free pasta, and then to make the recipe myself. This book, then, inspired me to challenge myself in the kitchen beyond the recipes that appear between its beautiful covers. Continue reading

Say It Ain’t So, Joe!!!! No More Cashew Meal @ Trader Joe’s????

Today I went on my usual replenishing-the-cupboard trek: Trader Joe’s for the things I can’t get at Whole Foods, then on trader joe'sto Whole Foods for the things I can’t get at HEB, etc, etc, etc. On my list to replenish (because I’m down to 1.5 lbs in inventory) was Trader Joe’s Just Cashew Meal. I love cashew meal. It tastes sweet and flavorful. It’s full of healthy oil and nutrients. And at Trader Joe’s, it’s a veritable steal (or at least it was . . . . ) at $4.99 per pound. On the shelf where the tag read Cashew Meal were packages of gluten-free flour. The packages of almond meal were right next to that spot, right where it was supposed to be, in plentiful number. No cashew meal, though. I looked behind the gluten-free baking mix. No straggler packages of cashew meal. Thinking I might find it in another spot in the store,  I strolled over to the shelves that hold all the packages of dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and what have you. No cashew meal. I was dismayed, but continued my shopping. As the cashier rang up my purchases, I asked him about the cashew meal. I could not believe my ears, nor contain my emotion, when he explained to me that Trader Joe’s has discontinued carrying cashew meal. While I cried out my fervent devotion to the product, he further explained that the cashew meal didn’t sell well and the shelf space was needed for products that would sell better. Having trouble processing the information that few people desire the product, for just about every cooking / baking resource I read includes recipes in which cashew flour is used, I asked whether it is discontinued at this one particular Trader Joe’s, or at all Trader Joe’s location. He affirmed my worst fear. Cashew meal has been discontinued at all Trader Joe’s, everywhere. Continue reading

Open For Business: ATX Ultra Eats Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Muffin Mixes

We’re finally ready to sell our delicious muffin mixes! We’ve been working toward this goal for a long time, but we have cacao orange spicefinally arrived. Please visit the ATX Ultra Eats website and see what we have to offer!

For those of you who follow this blog, to whom I am so grateful, please keep visiting this blog site. I will keep this blog going as a separate interest of mine. It will remain a blog devoted to the gluten-free lifestyle. It will not turn into a vehicle for ATX Ultra Eats business. Our business website has its own blog, and its own Facebook page, for such purpose. Now that we have our business started, I hope to return to a more normal routine in which I can get back into the kitchen to cook dishes for which I can share the recipes on this blog. I do miss being in my kitchen!

Certified Gluten-Free Wheat Starch??? HHhhhmmm.

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Image from schar.com

Schar, a European maker of gluten-free foods, is set to release its newest product in March: gluten-free croissants. These croissants contain certified gluten-free wheat starch, which the FDA now allows (new labeling law as of August 2014) as an ingredient in gluten-free foods, as long as it registers under 20 ppm. According to the Schar website:

Certified gluten free wheat starch has been used in Europe for many years.  The safety has been documented in several research studies where individuals with celiac disease consuming wheat starch had comparable results to those consuming a naturally gluten free diet.  There was no adverse effect of adding certified gluten free wheat starch to the diet of individuals with celiac disease.

Also according to the Schar website, the process by which starch is made from the wheat removes the protein that effects people who suffer from Celiac. For this reason, it’s supposedly complete safe for Celiacs and other gluten-intolerant people. Gluten-free wheat starch apparently gives gluten-free foods in which its used an improved texture and quality.

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