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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Eat Gluten-Free In Austin: A 2016 Guide to the Best Gluten-Free Restaurants

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Austin, Texas is a vibrant, beautiful city in which to live, and to visit. It’s also a wonderful place in which to find delicious food, with plentiful offerings to suit anyone’s dietary preferences. Most restaurants in the city offer vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, with some of the city’s restaurants catering solely to one or more of these specific preferences. Naturally, since this blog is devoted to a gluten-free lifestyle, the restaurants listed below are of interest mainly to people who have, or choose, to eat gluten-free. I’ve included fast (though not necessarily fast-food) restaurants as well as more formal restaurants, to suit the needs of those have time for only a quick meal, as well as those who have time to sit and linger over a meal. 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

Gluten-Free Peach Pie With Whiskey Smoked Brown Sugar

Smoked brown sugar is a mystery to me. That old adage is a saying for a reason: where one finds smoke, smoked peach pie 2one usually does find fire. Fire emits heat, and sugar melts when its heated. How, then, does one get smokey flavor into brown sugar without melting the sugar? Until a few months ago, I’d never even heard of smoked brown sugar. I discovered it last Christmas, while perusing the Net for interesting ideas for meat rubs. The menfolk in my family are difficult people for whom to buy presents. They are pretty content where they are and with what they have; they have few, and simple, desires. One can only give so many running shirts and socks for birthday and Christmas presents. I was bereft of ideas for Christmas presents. Since all the men I love happen to love grilling and smoking meat, I decided to make meat rubs for them as Christmas presents. I searched for rubs for beef, chicken, and pork that require interesting ingredients. One recipe I found called for smoked brown sugar. I was intrigued by the thought of smoked brown sugar, so I ordered some. It’s pricey stuff (about $16 for 8 oz). Just my luck, I LOVE using smoked brown sugar in all kinds of dishes. The smokey flavor adds a pleasant, interesting depth to all foods in which the sugar is used. I thought I was in trouble; I knew I’d be buying this expensive ingredient often. Continue reading

Gluten-Free SXSW in ATX: 2015

Weather confusion notwithstanding, March has arrived. The month of March brings with it blooming mountain laurels, atx run 2 -25milder temperatures (most of the time), and in Austin, SXSW. Austin’s population necessarily swells as people arrive to participate in the tech, music, and film event of the year. Many of these visitors will be looking for gluten-free dining options: this post is for you.

Tarka Indian Kitchen: this restaurant has a glutenl-free menu. My two Celiac children like the food at Tarka Indian Kitchen, and they’ve never been glutenized by the restaurant.


Mighty Fine Burgers
: I regularly eat burgers from this burger place. I’ve been meaning to write a blog post recommending Mighty Fine Burgers; I never seem to get around to it. The employees at MFB are extremely careful when they take gluten-free orders. They also know what’s gluten-free and what’s not (the chili, sadly, is not). Continue reading

Pizza Hut Announces Certified Gluten-Free Pizza

When I first saw the sign at a Pizza Hut announcing the arrival of gluten-free pizza, I was skeptical. Phil asked me if I

Image from pizzahut.com

Image from pizzahut.com

wanted to try it, and remembering the Domino’s Pizza gluten-free pizza debacle (about which I only read, but never experienced), I decided I’d hold off a while. A plethora of pizza restaurants are offering safely gluten-free pizza these days, so I felt no need to take the Pizza Hut gluten-free purity test. Still, I was curious about Pizza Hut’s success in offering a gluten-free pizza that can be safely consumed by people who have Celiac or suffer from gluten-intolerance. I decided to look into it and found that the Pizza Hut people have taken strong measures to prevent the cross-contamination of its gluten-free pizzas. I don’t know the price of the Pizza Hut gluten-free pizza, but I’m willing to bet that it’s probably less expensive than gluten-free pizzas offered by more exclusive pizza restaurants Currently, Pizza Hut offers its gluten-free pizzas in two flavors: pepperoni and cheese. Customers can order more toppings than pepperoni, of course, but the the Pizza Hut people explain that with the ingredients will have to come from bins from which are taken the ingredients for the regular pizzas; therefore, cross-contamination is more likely if additional ingredients are added to the gluten-free pizzas. Several Pizza Huts in ATX, Cedar Park, and SATX offer the new gluten-free pizza. Has anyone tried the Pizza Hut gluten-free pizza? If so, please leave a comment and let us know what you think of it!

Marvelous Gluten-Free Pizza at Mellow Mushroom

I just recently experienced one of the most delicious gluten-free pizza’s I’ve ever tasted. I like to take my mom out to mellow mushroom pizza 2lunch once a month, and I usually choose restaurants to which she hasn’t been; I try to choose restaurants to which I’ve never been, either. Ever since Mellow Mushroom began offering gluten-free pizza, I’ve been meaning to try it. My mom lives in San Antonio, so for our January lunch outing, I took her to the San Antonio location: 115 North Loop 1604 East (2426 Guadalupe St, in ATX). Mellow Mushroom gluten-free pizza is made with Smart Flour crusts, so it’s vegan as well as gluten-free. The ingredients of the pizza crust are listed on the Smart Flour website.

mellow mushroom 1Our entire experience at the restaurant was pleasant. The service is impeccable; several people in addition to our very attentive server stopped by our table to make sure my mom and I had everything we needed. Most of the regular pizza offerings can be made gluten-free; my mother and I both wanted to try the Kosmic Karma: Red sauce base with feta and mozzarella cheeses, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and Roma tomatoes with a pesto swirl. Since we wanted to try the same pizza, my mom said she would just share the gluten-free pizza with me. We also each ordered the Greek dinner salad.  The salad was a  common Greek salad, but a better quality than the salads I’ve been served a restaurants lately (an increasing number of restaurants seem to be serving smaller salads with more lettuce cores or wilted lettuce, and a paucity of tomatoes, cucumbers, etc).

The pizza itself was pretty amazing. The ingredients were flavorful, and the crust was perfectly tender, yet crisp. The crust looked and tasted so much like a regular pizza crust that I momentarily panicked upon tasting my first bite; I caught our server’s attention and asked her if she were certain the pizza we were served was gluten-free. She assured me it was. My mom, upon tasting the pizza, said she couldn’t tell the difference between the gluten-free pizza crust and the regular pizza crusts she’s used to eating. Mellow Mushroom definitely made my list of trusted restaurants that serve quality gluten-free food.

Just a note: he pizza was not inexpensive, but then again, people who eat gluten-free are accustomed to paying more for our food, whether at the grocery store or in a restaurant.

Surprising Wide Variety of Gluten-Free Offerings at Walmart Neighborhood Market: Yes, Walmart!

One cannot begin a blog post praising Walmart without observing that many people have many objections to the

manner in which this giant retailer operates. Some of the grievances may be valid, some may not be. When someone, some organization, or some company gets something right, no matter how many righteous complaints people have about that entity, that object of indignation deserves a bit of praise so that it may be encouraged to continue moving the right direction. In the past couple of years, Wal–Mart has rolled out a series of smaller stores, to which it refers as neighborhood markets. These stores sell groceries, and not much else. Recently, a Walmart Neighborhood Market opened on DeZavala, in NW San Antonio. I usually do not do any of my grocery shopping at Walmart; anyone who has to eat gluten-free probably doesn’t. Out of curiosity, as I was driving past the store last week, I stopped to see what gluten-free products I might find in that store. I was really surprised at what I found. Not only does this little market have a wide variety of shelf-stable name-brand gluten-free products, it prices them so decently that that even people who have to eat gluten-free on a budget will be able to splurge. Following a gluten-free diet is expensive, and not everyone who has to eat gluten-free has an income that easily supports their dietary necessity. Here is where we have to give Walmart a kudo for making a gluten-free diet a little less financially painful. Continue reading

Gluten-Free At SXSW 2014

image from ultimate-image.com

image from ultimate-image.com

Austin is a city filled with restaurants sensitive toward their customers’ individual dietary needs and choices. For this reason, people who have Celiac or are gluten-intolerant will find many places to safely eat a meal while they enjoy SXSW activities. Austin Eater recently published a fairly comprehensive list of gluten-free / gluten-free friendly Austin eateries: http://austin.eater.com/archives/2014/02/19/austins-best-glutenfree-dining-options-mapped.php

Many other gluten-free friendly restaurants are in Austin but are not on the list. One such restaurant is Wholly Cow Burgers. Wholly Cow serves delicious burgers on Udis gluten-free hamburger buns. The possibilities for creating a satisfying burger are practically endless, with a variety of cheeses and toppings from which to choose. Topping offerings include candied jalapenos – I mean, what gets better than a burger topped with candied jalapenos? Don’t forget to order fries, though! Wholly Cow fries (both potato and sweet potato varieties) are fried in a dedicated fryer!!!

Gluten-Free Burger From Wholly Cow

Gluten-Free Burger From Wholly Cow

Two Tex-Mex restaurants (actually, Curra’s is a blend of interior Mexico and Tex-Mex) at which Celiacs / gluten-intolerant people can safely eat are Habanero Mexican Cafe and Curra’s Grill. Continue reading

Austin Gluten and Allergy Wellness Event

This post is a little bit of house-keeping. San Antonio / Austin area Celiacs and gluten-intolerant people will want to gaafwe_rgb - Copy (2)consider attending this event. It will be one giant heap of resources under one roof!

February 2, 2014
10 am – 3 pm
Travis County Expo Center Banquet Hall
7311 Decker Lane
Austin, TX 78724
Admission is $10 per adult
Children under 13 are FREE to enter
Parking is Free

For more information, visit the event’s official website.