Sunday, July 29, 2012

Beer Guide - a List of 16 Gluten-free Beers

One of the only things that I missed after going gluten-free was beer.  Just a few years ago when I quit gluten for good, there wasn't much to choose from as far as gluten-free beer was concerned.  Well, we've come a long way, baby.  Here's a list of all the gluten-free beers, from best to worst according to my personal preference.

I'll list only beers that are commercially available in the Portland area, and most of them will be available beyond.  (Note that Deschutes gluten-free beer is only available at their brewery locations and isn't included on this list.  I've done a number of posts on it, so search "Deschutes" on this site for more information about it.)  I'll link to posts that I've written for more in-depth reviews.  I'll also make this page a tab at the top of my blog for easy access.

#1 Green's Quest Trippel Blonde Ale - A complex Belgian ale
#2 Green's Endeavor Dubbel Dark Ale - A fruity dark Belgian ale
#3 Estrella Damm Daura Lager - A beautiful clean barley flavor
#4 Omission Pale Ale - A stand-up pale ale
#5 Omission Lager - A regular lager
#6 Green's Discovery Amber Ale - A nice, hoppy amber
#7 St. Peter's Sorghum Beer - Citrus and hops
#8 Harvester Dark Ale - Nice and dark
#9 Harvester Red Ale - Nice and red
#10 Harvester Pale Ale - Nice and hoppy
#11 Red Bridge Beer - Your fall-back economy GF beer
#12 Bard's Tale Beer - Malty sorghum
#13 New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale - A sorghum-y pale ale
#14 New Planet Tread Lightly Ale - A nice light ale
#15 New Planet 3R Raspberry Ale - A not-too-sweet raspberry ale
#16 New Grist Beer - The worst beer ever

I'll keep this list updated with all kinds of Gluten-free beer.  I haven't had some of these beers in a while, so I may revise my ranking as I revisit some of these.  In particular, I suspect that the Harvester Ales are still coming into their own and may work their way up in my personal rankings.  Stay tuned to find out.  In-depth reviews will come with photos of a pint of beer and images of the beer bottle for easier detection in the store.

Need a place to find gluten-free beer in Portland?  Go to Belmont Station for the most comprehensive offering.  They have almost everything on this list.

Is there a beer that I missed?  Is there something new on the horizon?  Please let me know about it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eating Friendly Reviews Gluten-free Gourmand Flours and Mixes

I'll let fellow blogger Rebecca Clark do the heavy lifting today with her insightful review of my flour mixes and Pastry Flour.  Plus get a delicious dairy-free recipe for carrot cake with vegan cream cheese frosting!  Head over to Eating Friendly for the recipe and review.
Read a review of my Pancake Mix at Eating Friendly

Thursday, July 12, 2012

No-bake Peanut Butter Balls

I had a craving for peanut butter and flax.  I can't explain it.   I'd been tasting some flax seeds because the package claimed that Romans used to snack on them like nuts.  I guess I wanted to pass my summer like a Roman, lounging around snacking on flax seed and having someone fan me.  Well, I haven't found anyone to fan me yet, but I can do the flax seed in style.
Here's the concept: packed with protein and fiber, these tiny snacks will make you feel full for longer than a sugary bar.  (I happened to have some Chia Seed on hand, which has even more fiber than flax seed, so I used both.  However, you can use just flax in this recipe if you'd like.)  Plus you can make them in minutes and they are good finger-food.  I didn't make mine too sugary because I don't like things that spike my blood sugar.  That's so hard to find in a snack!  Also, this snack is vegan, vegetarian, raw, dairy free.... Well, you get the point.

Here's how you do it:

Recipe for No-bake Peanut Butter Balls

In your coffee mill, grind until fine:

Golden Flax Seed

Remove the flax to a bowl and set aside. Then, grind until fine:

Chia Seed

Remove ground chia seed to a separate bowl.  Mix in:

Peanut butter (about an equal volume as the chia)
a dash of Sugar (omit if your peanut butter already has it)
a pinch of Salt (omit if your peanut butter already has it)

Mix those three ingredients together well.  Taste it and adjust flavor as needed.  When the mix has the right taste and texture, form small balls by rolling the peanut butter mixture in between your palms.

When you have a round ball, place it in the bowl with the ground flax seed and roll it to coat.  Roll it between your palms again to press the flax into the peanut butter.  Roll that ball in the flax again and repeat until the ball will not take any more flax seed coating, then form your additional balls in the same manner.

You can refrigerate the Peanut Butter Balls to make them more firm, or you can store them at room temperature.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Fresh Berry Italian Soda

Need to beat the heat?  Here are five easy steps to quenching your thirst:

1. Go to the farmers market.  Get some berries.

2.  Put some ice, sugar, and the berries in a glass.
3. Muddle.

4. Fill the glass with San Pellegrino.

5. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The First Ripe Tomato 2012

Every year, I try to record my first ripe garden tomato.  Here are my results for the last few years:

2011 - August 5th
2010 - July 23rd
2009 - July 17th
2008 - Sometime in September (I got my garden in late)

In 2009 I had a bumper crop.  I had tomatoes ripening as soon as July 17th.  Well, this year is looking promising.  I have at least two ripening tomatoes - and it's not even the 4th of July!
These are Sungold tomatoes - they're small, they ripen early, and they are bright orange.  They are amazing in salad.  Since I discovered them, they have been my first tomatoes to ripen every year.  They are incredibly high producers and they are indeterminate - which means they flower continuously throughout the season.  Flavor-wise they can't be beat.

I had a few other things to harvest today.  My artichokes are the envy of my community garden.
They were delicious with dinner tonight.  Here was the rest of my harvest:
My lettuce is starting to bolt finally, and this onion that I planted a year and a half ago finally decided to get big enough to pick. 

As you can see, the garden has been so productive that it's time to weed again.  I better get on it!

Is your garden doing well this year, or have you had problems with the heat?  I know in the Pacific Northwest we have been pretty sheltered from the excessive heat of the rest of the country.  I hope everyone else's gardens are going well!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Easy, Fresh Gluten-free Pasta Recipe

It's summer, and everyone is trying to think of ways to keep their kitchen cool but still make decent meals.  The best thing about fresh pasta is you only need to cook it for 2-4 minutes.  Easy!  Top it with cilantro pesto if you don't want to cook a sauce.

 I've made fresh pasta with my amazingly versatile Deluxe Pastry Flour several times and thought I'd share the recipe.  This pasta is strong enough to make ravioli with, or any flat pasta shape, rolling out or in a machine.  I prefer to roll it out - I think it's easier and faster.

I've heard it's a saying that "If you want to taste butter, eat a croissant.  If you want to taste grain, eat pasta." Well, this recipe puts my Deluxe Pastry Flour to the test.  You can really taste the blend of flours.  And it tastes beautiful.

I decided to make a tagliatelle style hand-cut pasta with extra-wide noodles.  I love wide noodles!  Next time, I won't go quite so wide, though.

Fresh Pasta Recipe 

serves 2-3.  Double or triple as needed.

Whisk together in a medium bowl:

200 g Deluxe Pastry Flour
1/2 tsp salt

Make a well in the flour and add:

2 eggs
1 tsp olive oil

Blend the wet and dry ingredients together briefly.  Add:


in small increments until the dough starts to come together - about 1/4 cup.  Knead the dough for a few minutes until it starts to smooth out a bit.  The dough should be a little sticky but not unmanageable.  It should form a nice cohesive ball.  If the dough seems crumbly, add more water.

Let the dough rest at least five minutes.

Once the dough is rested, separate it into 2-4 roughly equal pieces.  Take one ball and knead it in your hand until it becomes smooth.  Not smooth?  Add water or more flour as needed.  On a large piece of wax paper or parchment paper, dust:

liberal amounts of potato starch

Flatten the ball of pasta dough and flour that with potato starch as well.  Roll the dough ball out until it starts to resist you.  Flip it over and flour both sides liberally again with potato starch and keep rolling the dough out until it is very thin.  Get it as thin as you think you can get away with.  Remember, it will swell up during cooking.  With a sharp knife or pizza wheel, cut long strips of pasta.  I decided to make an extra-wide tagliatelle, but I think I over-did the width.  Don't cut the pasta this wide!  Go for about 1/2-3/4 inch wide.  Use a straight edge if you prefer.
Don't cut the pasta this wide!

Once the pasta is cut, flip it over onto another piece of parchment paper to rest.  Peel the paper off carefully if it sticks, and use more flour for the next batch if needed.

Repeat until all the pasta is cut.  Let the pasta rest as long as you can stand it.  Supposedly an hour is great for pasta to rest, but I wouldn't know because I don't have that much patience.

Put a pot of salted water to boil.  Once boiling, gently place the pasta in the water.  Stir a little to prevent it sticking together.  Cook for 2-4 minutes, or until done.  Immediately drain the pasta and serve.