Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another meal at Tortilla Coast

As any celiac knows, it's great to have a meal at a restaurant and feel healthy the next day, but it's really great when you eat there twice, and both times emerge healthy and happy! I went to Tortilla Coast last night with some friends and the meal was just as excellent and gluten free as the first time I went.

Also, I called ahead in the morning to tell them that I would be dining there that night and they fried a special batch of chips for me before the oil got contaminated with gluten. When I arrived they served them to me and they were warm, salty, crunchy and delicious! So I got to have chips and salsa just like everyone else. How awesome is that?! It's so nice to feel normal when dining at a restaurant.

Vegetables, grains, superfoods and more!

I mentioned Heidi Swanson the other day and her Super Natural Cooking cookbook. Well, I just found out that she has a great website with tons of vegetarian recipes. She also has a section of gluten free recipes! Hopefully this will give you some good ideas for Thanksgiving. Just looking at the pictures will make you want to cook!


Monday, November 24, 2008

Adding spice to your gluten free cooking: Old Bay

The husband and I love Old Bay! Ever since my friend, Becky, gave us a huge container of the seasoning salt as an engagement gift (she's from Easton so that sort of explains the gift), we've loved using it. When I was first diagnosed with celiacs, we immediately checked to see if Old Bay is gluten free. Lucky for us, it is!

Old Bay is a seasoning salt that is typically used when eating crabs. The husband and I have found that it adds good flavor to many foods. Two of our favorites are sweet potato fries and burgers. This combo is one of our go to weeknight meals and it's perfect for having a group of people over for dinner. Old Bay is yummy in both turkey burgers and hamburgers and the recipe we use is the same for both.

Old Bay Dinner for 6

Old Bay Burgers:
2 lbs. hamburger (I prefer 85/15...90/10 gets a bit dry)
2 eggs
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
4 T. Old Bay (the husband and I vary our amount of Old Bay depending on whose taste buds we're feeding...in our minds, you can't have too much! 4 tablespoons is actually a bit conservative)
Sliced white cheddar cheese
Sliced avocado
Sliced fresh tomato

1. Heat olive oil in pan and add chopped onion. Saute until onion is brown.
2. In a bowl, mix meat, eggs, onion and Old Bay.
3. Make into 7 patties and they are ready to cook. I think everything is better on the grill, but you can make them on the stove top as well.
4. Add cheese when burgers are almost cooked through.
5. Top burgers with avocado and tomato.

*Note: we prefer to go bunless with these burgers. I still haven't found a gluten free bun that I love and I find that eating burgers with a fork is not the end of the world; in fact, it makes the dinner seem a little fancier!

Old Bay Sweet Potato Fries:
4 Large sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into strips (think steak fries shape...2 inches wide, 4 inches long, and about 1/2 inch thick)
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Old Bay

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. In a bowl, mix olive oil and Old Bay; then add sweet potatoes and mix
3. Lay sweet potatoes flat on cookie sheet.
4. Cook for 10 minutes and then flip sweet potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes.
I keep my eye on them and serve them once they start to get brown and a little crispy. The husband thinks you can't overcook them!

We usually serve this meal with a nice salad as well to add more color to the plate. You can use the extra tomato and avocado for the salad. One of my favorite GF dressings is Maple Farms of Vermont Balsamic Vinaigrette.