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Showing posts from June, 2009

Deschutes Brewery Introduces the Gluten-free Crystal Weiss Beer

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Deschutes Brewery in Portland, Oregon, out-does itself again with their new gluten-free beer, the Gluten-free Crystal Weiss. Deschutes is really perfecting their gluten-free beers - each one is better than the last. Each one also seems to come closer to traditional beers, and sidesteps some of the pitfalls of the typical gluten-free beer. The Gluten-free Crystal Weiss is very drinkable. The ingredients of maple syrup and molasses come through in the flavor and aroma. This one is very pleasant and smooth, with none of the metallic aftertaste that is the signature of other gluten-free beers die to the sorghum malt.  It has a bit of a fruit quality to it but it holds back from being actually sweet. The aroma is what really stood out for me with this beer. Gluten-free beers often have an unusual odor. While I could smell the sorghum in this beer, the scent was surprisingly pleasant. They don't have it posted on their website yet, but the brew is listed on their beer menu:

Garden Update

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Gardening seems to be a hot topic among my friends and family these days. Everyone is comparing notes on how their vegetables are doing. I've had a few things just sort of fade away, but I consider my garden to be productive so far. Here is one of my mustard plants: Here is a little basil variety called Pistou Basil. It grows in a cute little bush, and it has tons of small leaves that are very aromatic: I'm growing cilantro from seeds: I bought this calendula (marigold) start at the farmer's market back in March or April and it became huge - about a foot and a half high! I couldn't believe it! My tomatoes seem to be doing well, and already have little green tomatoes on them. It's pretty exciting for me because last year my garden went in late and I had to wait forever until I had tomatoes. I'm growing a bunch of different varieties this year. The tag on this one says "Opalka." It's going to produce a dark red tomato with the shape of a chi

Andean Dream Quinoa/Rice Pasta Review

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You may know by now that I'm into pasta. I've done several reviews now, including Ener-G White Rice Spaghetti , Tinkyada White Rice Spaghetti , Tinkyada Brown Rice Fetucini , and a round-up of the Best and Worst of Gluten-free Pasta , in which I declare my favorite gluten-free pasta to be Ancient Harvest Quinoa and Corn pasta. This is still my favorite. However, I was glad to find a new quinoa pasta to try because I was pretty sure I'd like it. I did. This is a very good pasta option, and perhaps the only quinoa pasta available for people who can't tolerate corn. The look, feel, and flavor of the Andean Dream quinoa pasta are all very neutral - even more natural than the Ancient Harvest, which tends to look a little yellow. The Andean Dream is almost semolina colored, but it may have a touch of gray to the color which I don't find overly noticeable. The flavor is surprisingly neutral without being bland. The texture is the stand-out feature of this quino

Another Gluten-free Weekend

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I haven't been posting as often lately. Summer is here, and I've been busy with projects and experiments. In lieu of a solid product review or recipe, I'll give you an idea of what's coming up. I'm still working on some variations for the gluten-free pancake recipe I created. The next iteration will involve buckwheat, (like my waffles ) one of my favorites. I'm almost there! I just have to eat all the reject batches of quinoa pancakes inhabiting my freezer, then get over being tired of pancakes, then I'll make a new batch and complete my recipe variation. I added this tip to the post "Tips for beginners on the Gluten-free diet:" Talk to everyone about being gluten-free. When I first started on the diet, I had a customer who would bribe my staff and me with these delicious-looking chocolate cookies. I wouldn't try them, assuming they were full of gluten. After weeks of constant bribing, I found out that the customer was on a wheat-

Eggplant Parmesan Recipe: Gluten-free, Vegetarian

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I'm going to classify my Eggplant Parmesan (Eggplant Parmigiano) Recipe as kind of traditional and sort of easy. Here are the ways that I make this fairly labor-intensive dish easier: 1) I don't salt or otherwise prep the eggplant in any way. I just buy a fresh, firm-fleshed one and slice it just before battering. 2) I don't use bread crumbs; I just use flour. I was surprised to learn that this is how Italians do it. 3) I use jarred tomato sauce. Classico is my favorite. If I have frozen leftovers, I use some of my own marinara sauce. 4) I don't mix anything for the cheese filling. I just use mozzerella, usually fresh. My former roommate who is from Naples made this for me once, and her boyfriend at the time (now her husband) also made me a gluten-free version. Both came out rather well. Paolo made his with rice flour, which was very crispy and light. For some reason I've found that gluten-free flour mixes don't work very well for deep-fryin

Some Tips for Beginners on the Gluten-free Diet

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A couple of weeks ago I was grilling a steak and making my roasted vegetables for a friend when he made a confession to me: his doctor suspected that he might have a wheat or gluten sensitivity and recommended that he go on a gluten-free diet. I was overjoyed. I have to admit that I get a sense of schadenfreude when my friends have to go on a gluten-free diet. Selfishly, I want more people to commiserate with. More importantly, I want people to do what I did: to figure out what is making them feel bad, and find an elegant solution to their problem. In honor of my friend, I immortalize a few of my tips for those who are just starting on the gluten-free diet. Find a gluten-free friend. They will know where the safe places are to eat in your area, the good products to buy at your local store, and the the stuff to stay away from. Take it easy at first. You may have to cut out additional foods - don' t let that get you down. You may be able to re-introduce them later.

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