Spicy Salmon Tacos With Watermelon Salsa

Have you seen hints of its arrival? On Yahoo news? Huffington Post? Twitter? VariousIMG_4352
food-related blog and web sites? That ubiquitous (albeit lovely, warm) flavor that takes over everything, every autumn? Pumpkin spice latte, bread, beer, cookies, cake, dog treats, pumpkin spice everything! Hey, I love pumpkin spice as much as the next girl, but I also love those light, fresh, cool summertime citrus-y, fruity flavors. While we’re still in grip of  August, held fast by bright sun and heat that still sing notes of high summer, we can delay the pumpkin spice extravaganza that accompanies the fall season and still enjoy light, easy, fruity, flavorful dishes such as this this salmon taco recipe, served with watermelon salsa and a light coleslaw with avocado dressing. Continue reading


Super Simple Solution for Your Gluten-Free Flour Tortilla Fix

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Severin states in his grand work The Physiology of Taste (a delightful IMG_4254book which I recently began reading, and that I recommend to everyone whose love for food leans as much toward the philosophical as to the epicurean side) that “good living is an act of intelligence, by which we choose things which have an agreeable taste rather than those which do not.” This aphorism, I believe, probably resonates strongly with people who must eat gluten-free and are always searching for the most agreeable gluten-free version of a gluten-containing food. Individuals may disagree with each other in their judgments concerning which foods taste agreeable and which do not; however, most people do have preference for food they find pleasant in flavor and texture. Usually, one has a standard by which he judges the quality in each category of foods he prefers, and he measures all food in that class by that standard. For this reason, a person who would never refuse a slice of pizza from such places as Mello Mushroom or Via 313 will often forego having pizza if her only choice is a piece of much less quality grocery-store frozen pizza. Continue reading

Celebrate (A Gluten-Free) Labor Day In Austin

As the long Labor Day weekend arrives, our thoughts turn to the end of yet another summer, the rhythmic and dependable change of seasons

Guacamole with pumpkin seeds and cojita cheese

Guacamole with pumpkin seeds and cojita cheese at Jack Allen’s Kitchen

marked by such natural signs as the end of peach season, and such human signs as the beginning of a new school year. The end of peach season and the beginning of the new school year each bring with them a certain melancholy, for nothing tastes quite as magically and sweetly as a perfectly ripened peach plucked at the  height of the season, and nothing feels as quite as delicious as summer days void of the burdens that school schedules and responsibilities add to family life. Labor Day, the official end of summer, gives us the opportunity for a last gasp at holiday as another lazy summer slips into the past. Unlike most holidays, Labor Day lacks association with traditional foods, and with temperatures still in the triple digits, a nice way to celebrate Labor Day is to stay out of the kitchen. For gluten-free people spending their holiday in Austin (either as a visitor for the long weekend, or enjoying a “stay-cation”), I recommend two restaurants: Jack Allen’s Kitchen and Milano’s Cafe. Continue reading

Delicious Tex-Mex: Easy, Safe Gluten-Free Eating At Rosario’s

In a recent blog post, I wrote that I have reduced the number of high carbohydrate foods in my diet. I emphasized in that post that I do not

Rosario's on San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX

Rosario’s on San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX

plan to completely omit carbs altogether. Food factors into my quality of life and to do away with carbs completely would mean to reduce the joy I derive from eating delicious food; for example, I live in South Texas, where one can find the best, most satisfying, carb-laden delicious Mexican food in the world. Of course Mexican or Tex-Mex food naturally low in carbs is available, but I, for one, cannot and will not resist those traditional enchiladas or tacos just to skip a few carbs. I find other dietary areas from which to delete my carbs – from other foods in which they’re not so irresistible. My claim about the superiority of Tex-Mex food in the Southern region of Texas is fact, not at all hyperbolic. No one has to take my word for it, however; doubters are free to do the field research themselves. I suggest they begin their culinary investigation at Rosario’s in San Antonio. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Sweet Tea Pie: A New Thanksgiving Tradition

Earlier this week, the first week of December, we had temperatures in the upper eighties. Temperatures this high around Thanksgiving sweet tea pie 3and Christmas are not that unusual in South Texas; in fact, one reason so many few people seem to be choosing to run the half, rather than the full, San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon / Marathon seems to be the consistently high temperature we have on race day every year (next year the race has been moved from November to December, but we consistently have high temperatures throughout December, too, so the move may not do much to improve race conditions). At any rate, considering the number of extremely warm and down-right Hellishly hot days we experience all year long, we have a legitimate reason to down gallons of sweet iced tea all year long. Sweet tea goes down so smoothly; it’s so cold and tastes so clean and sweet – so pure. As a beverage, it complements just about any food at any meal, served at any time of day. It can even complement dessert, as a part of the dessert, as served in the form of sweet tea pie at Lucy’s Fried Chicken in Austin.

I’ve never eaten at Lucy’s Fried Chicken. I’m sure such sides as the collard greens, black-eyed peas, and the grilled corn on the cob may be gluten-free, and probably some of the oyster dishes are too. I just can’t see myself sitting at a table at Lucy’s Fried Chicken, watching my dining companions enjoy such delicious but glutinous fare as deep fried deviled eggs, fried chicken spaghetti, or a fried chicken salad sandwich. Sometimes, I confess, I lean a little toward bitterness when I have to manipulate and twist menu items in a restaurant to form a gluten-free meal for myself while Phillip and others order with ease – totally without angst – whatever they want from the menu. As I watch others at the table bite into juicy, plump pieces of fried whatever (because just about anything fried is delectable in taste and texture!), I take on the characteristic of Aesop’s fox who, finding the grapes on the tree beyond his reach, assured himself that the grapes were probably sour, anyway. But I know I just lie to myself at those times. Sigh. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Crab Enchiladas

“The traditional techniques of tortilla making reflected the “hard but sure” nature of Mexican campesino kitchens. crab enchiladas 4Twentieth century anthropologists found that a woman cooking for a large family typically spent the entire morning, five or six hours, making tortillas. Work began the night before, when she simmered the corn solution in lime to make nixtamal. The woman rose before dawn to grind the corn on the metate into a dough called masa. Immediately before each meal, she deftly patted the dough into flat, round tortillas and cooked them briefly over the comal. Tortillas could not be saved for the following day, or even the next meal, because they became hard and inedible after a few hours. The dough likewise would not keep more than a day before it began to ferment. So each morning she returned to the stone on hands and knees, with back sloped as if she were a metate wielded by some tyrannical maize goddess.” (Jeffery Pilcher, Que Vivan Los Tamales: Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (1998), 101)

“Visiting writers such as Stephen Crane, author of Red Badge of Courage, were charmed by the Chili Queens [of San Antonio]. He recalled in 1895 that “upon one of the plazas, Mexican vendors with open-air stands sell food that tastes exactly like pounded fire-brick from Hades — chili con carne, tamales, enchiladas, chili verde, frijoles.” Crane depicted a romantic scene: “In the soft atmosphere of the southern night, the cheap glass bottles upon the stands shine like crystal and lamps glow with a tender radiance. A hum of conversation ascends from the strolling visitors who are at their social shrine.”’ (Frank W. Jennings, “Popular Chili Queens Graced San Antonio Plazas,” Journal of Life and Culture in San Antonio)

Two important factors make cooking and eating easier, in some ways, for those who have Celiac and who also live South Texas: the prevalence of Tex-Mex cuisine, and the invention of the mechanized tortilla press. Corn tortillas, most of the time, are perfectly safe for consumption by those who have Celiac or who are gluten-intolerant. Continue reading