Sunday, July 31, 2011

Super Quick Gluten Free Bread Crumbs Recipe (stop throwing away your bread ends!)

[Note - depending on the bread you use this could be dairy free / vegan / allergen free as well.]

When I first went gluten free I did what my mother did, I let left over bread go stale, then stored it in a cabinet in a zip lock bag.  I then tried to use these remains to make my own stuffing and/or bread crumbs.  It was a disaster!  Any bread that contains rice will dry out to a point that you can't cut it.  So cubing it for stuffing is out (and frankly more than a little dangerous) and even running it through my magic bullet to make bread crumbs would leave plenty of large un-crumbed chunks.

The solution is simple - throw the left over bread in a bag in the freezer.  (I usually just add any ends that come on the bread, or any mis-shapen slices that I can't readily use for a sandwich.)  When you need to make stuffing or bread crumbs, take out the amount you need, cube it, dry it in the over, and you're good to go.  [To dry out the bread, just put on a cookie sheet in the oven at 300 degrees for 15-20 minutes turning once, halfway through.  Make sure you all it to fully cool afterwards or it will gum up when you try to crumb it.]

4-6 slices of dried out Gluten Free bread (cubed and dried - see above)
1 tsp of dried parsley, crushed
1/2 tsp of dried basil, crushed
1/4 tsp of dried oregano, crushed

How to prepare gluten free bread crumbs:
Add bread to food processor, blender or magic bullet and blend until the coarseness you'd like. Empty crumbs and herbs into a mixing bowl and stir until well blended.  (Alternatively, you could add the herbs while blending.)

Depending on the size of your GF/DF bread slices this should yield 1 to 1.5 cups of bread crumbs.  I usually just make however much I need and then use it.  I'm not sure how I'd store extras if making a big batch.  If anyone has any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below!

If you are looking to purchase bread crumbs, I can't really recommend a brand as I've never bought them.  I'm throwing out the bread ends anyway, so why not put them to better use?  Most stores on my gluten free / dairy free store list carry at least one brand and if not, you can get them online at the Gluten Free Mall.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Restaurant Review: Cheeseburger in Paradise (Iselin, Secaucus, and Wayne, NJ)

A Hamburger on a Gluten Free / Dairy Free Hamburger Bun with
French Fries (fried in a dedicated fryer) at Cheeseburger in Paradise
I recently met a Gluten Free friend of mine (and her family) for lunch at Cheeseburger in Paradise.  I've been wanting to eat here ever since I found out they were going to be offering a Gluten Free / Dairy Free Hamburger Bun.  I actually had never really looked at their menu before.  I assumed that any restaurant with the word Cheese in the name wasn't somewhere I'd be safe eating.  Bad mistake - it turns out that even before they started carrying these buns their gluten free menu included french fries in a dedicated fryer, a large number of bunless sandwiches, and a couple of entrees. 

Well, those sandwiches are bunless no more!  Their GF/DF bun is terrific and just $1 more.  They actually manufacture their own buns which are light and airy and best of all they made it through the whole burger without falling apart!  (WARNING: they do butter their non-GF buns and claim to not butter the GF ones.  If you are dairy free too, I would absolutely make sure they don't accidentally do this!)

Overall, it was a great lunch both for the company and the food!  Oh, and by the way, it is very difficult to lose to a 4 year old at Tic-Tac-Toe!
Cheeseburger in Paradise on Urbanspoon

Don't forget to check out my full Gluten Free / Dairy Free NJ Restaurant List or my full Gluten Free Chain Restaurant List.

And click here for other restaurants with gluten free fries!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gluten Free Dairy Free Stuffed Shells Recipe (vegan)

I bought a package of Tinkyada Brown Rice Shells from Fairway a couple of weeks ago and have been dying to try them.  I finally gathered the other missing ingredients (a package of Nasoya soft tofu and a package of Daiya Shredded Mozzarella Cheese).  While I love Daiya in Amy's Gluten Free Non-Dairy Rice Macaroni with Non-Dairy Cheese, I'm not a big fan over all.  I think I prefer to shred Vegan Gourmet and broil it on top.  (And I'll do so next time!)

Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Vegan Stuffed Shells

If you have fresh herbs they are definitely better just use about a 1/4 cup instead of a tablespoon.

Here's the recipe.  Enjoy!

1 package of large gluten free shells (8oz.)
1 block Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella Cheese (enough shredded to cover top, about 1/3 of the block)

Tofu Mixture:
1 package soft tofu (14oz)
1 tbs dried parsley
1 tsp dried basil
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp oregano
1 ½ cups pasta sauce (for tomato free version click here: Tomato Free Pasta Sauce Recipe)
Salt and pepper to taste

How to prepare:
Boil the shells as directed but remove when still very al dente (they will continue to cook while baking).  [For the Tinkyada shells, I boiled them about 12 minutes out of a suggested 18-20.]  Drain and rinse them to cool them off and stop them from cooking further.

Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl combine tofu, 1/4 cup of sauce, parsley, basil, garlic powder, oregano, salt and pepper. Hint: crumble the dry spices in the palm of your hand before adding to increase their flavor. Use a whisk to crumble the tofu until it resembles the ricotta cheese used in the dairy version of stuffed shells. (Do not use Vegan Gourmet shredded mozzarella in the mixture; it will not melt like real mozzarella unless it is broiled on top at the end.)(If using Daiya Shredded Mozzarella, go ahead and add half a cup to the mixture.)

Preheat the oven to 375.

Line the bottom of a 9"x12" pan (at least 2" high) with about 1/4 cup of sauce.  (If you don't they'll stick when baked.)

Fill each shell with a little less than a teaspoon of the mixture.  (Don't over stuff them or you'll run out of mixture before you run out of shells.)  Cover the shells with the rest of the sauce.

Bake, covered, at 375 for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Remove from the oven and cover with shredded soy mozzarella. If using Vegan Gourmet, place under the broiler and broil – watching carefully until shredded cheese begins to bubble. (If using Daiya, just bake another 5-10 minutes.)  Remove promptly once the cheese is melted. (Note – Most soy cheese will not melt unless it is broiled as noted above.) [Warning, do not bake the shells with the mozzarella on top or it will dry out and not melt as much when you broil it, it is better to add after baking.]

Alternatively, you can cut the 1/3 of the block into pieces then microwave in 30 second increments stirring between each until it is fully melted and hasn't separated.  Then drizzle it over the top of the shells and bake a bit.  (I first read about this method here: The GFCF Experience)

Serves three - four.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dairy Free Lupin Ice Cream (gluten free and vegan too)

Dairy Free / Gluten Free / Vegan Lupin Ice Cream
I just saw this news article yesterday that German researchers have created a dairy free ice cream alternative made from Lupine (it's a type of flower). 

You can read the full article here:  Dairy Free Lupin Ice Cream

I don't really mind the soy ice creams (Tofutti, So Delicious, Purely Decadent) but if you can't have soy, the alternatives aren't as good.  I'm not a big fan of the Rice, Almond, or Coconut ice creams.  (The latter two because the taste comes through the flavoring, the former because it isn't as creamy.)

Right now it is only in Germany but if it comes here I will definitely try it . . . especially if it is cheaper than a pint of Tofutti!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Gluten Free Replacement for Fig Newtons (Product Review: Jovial Fig Fruit Filled Cookies - Dairy Free Too!)

A couple years ago a friend of mine convinced me to try to bake a gluten free version of a Fig Newton. It was a disaster! I had scaled the recipe and was off on one of the ingredients, which made it a runny mess which then over cooked in parts . . . you get the idea. Eating the broken pieces of a cookie disaster is never fun and I figured I’d never have fig newtons again.
Jovial Gluten Free / Dairy Free Fig Fruit Filled Cookies

That was until I was introduced to Jovial’s Fig Fruit Filled Organic Cookies! As you can see from the photo they are round button cookies (not bars) and they are softer than their glutened counterpart. The cookies are imported from Italy and are both gluten and dairy free (they do contain soy and egg). Each box contains six individually wrapped two-packs (12 cookies total).

Jovial also makes Chocolate button cookie (choice of chocolate or vanilla cream filling) but these both contain dairy. One note of caution: Jovial also produces Einkorn cookies and Einkorn is a strain of wheat so definitely not acceptable for those with Celiac Disease or on a Gluten Free diet. (According to their website, the GF cookies are made on a dedicated line in a shared facility on alternate days. They also test to 10ppm.)

Rounding out Jovial’s product offerings are five shapes of gluten free brown rice pasta - Spaghetti, Capellini, Penne Rigate, Fusilli, and Caserecce in 12oz packages. (Again, watch as they also make Einkorn pasta.) I’ve had the Penne and it is pretty good. To my knowledge they are the only company making a gluten free Capellini and/or a gluten free Caserecce. According to their website, the pasta is made in a gluten free facility and is also tested to 10ppm.

I’ve seen Jovial products are Corrado’s and Fairway as well as a couple of independent shops. If you can’t find them in your area you can also order them online from here: Jovial Fig Fruit Filled Gluten Free Organic Cookies

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tomato Free Pasta Sauce Recipe - (Gluten Free / Dairy Free / Vegan)

In addition to gluten and dairy, there are a number of other foods I can’t digest. Pork and coffee are just as bad as dairy for me. I can only handle small amounts of carbonated beverages, green leafy vegetables, and anything too acidic (tomatoes, tomato sauce and citrus fruit). I had actually cut back on tomato sauce to the point where I was putting a single tablespoon on an entire plate of spaghetti! I’ve been working on the following recipe for years and was quite devastated recently when I lost it and all my handwritten notes. I did manage to find the original recipe I based this on (thank you Internet) and recreated my adaptations from memory. I also had to make it one last time to make sure it came out right. (Hence, the delay for those of you who have been asking for this!)
Tomato Free Pasta Sauce over Gluten Free Pasta

I use about 2 cups of sauce per pound of pasta and this recipe makes around 6 cups of sauce. I usually just divide this into three uses and freeze the other two. This time however, I used one, froze one and divided the rest for use in chili and/or salsa (recipes coming soon). How much sauce you like on your pasta and what you are planning on doing with it will have to guide you on how to best use and store. Note: if you’d like to use this in place of tomatoes in other recipes (chili, etc.) then divide it out at step 8 (before you add the seasonings). Just keep in mind that the sauce will lose its red color the longer you cook it (beets turn brown if you over cook them) so be sure to adjust the point at which you add this tomato-less sauce to whatever you are cooking. This also means that if you freeze portions for later, be careful not to overcook when reheating.

You could also easily adapt this recipe to make a tomato-free Marinara style sauce (use only the Basil listed under the herbs section), tomato-free meat sauce, tomato-free Bolognese, tomato-free chili, tomato-free salsa, tomato-free Jambalaya, tomato-free pizza sauce, etc.

And one last thought before I let you have the recipe. I really don’t like beets. I won’t say that I hate them (that’s an emotion I reserve for cauliflower) but I certainly wouldn’t willingly eat them. I can’t detect the taste of the beets in the final sauce.

1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup of carrots (cut into ½ inch pieces)
2 medium sweet potatoes cubed (about 4 cups)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
Fresh black pepper to taste
1 roasted red pepper (omit if nightshade free)
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 (8-ounce) can beets
1 tablespoon cornstarch

Optional herbs to make Marinara or other Italian sauce(s):
1/3 cup Basil (chopped or whole, see below) [Fresh is better, if using dried, 2-3 tbsp]
1/3 cup Parsley (chopped or whole, see below) [Fresh is better, if using dried, 2-3 tbsp]
3 tablespoons Oregano (chopped or whole, see below) [Fresh is better, if using dried, 2-3 tsp]

How to prepare tomato free sauce:
1. In a large stock pot, sauté the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until just starting to brown.

2. Add the carrots, diced sweet potatoes, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper then cover (barely) with water.

3. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer (covered) for 20-30 minutes until the carrots and sweet potatoes are very soft. Add the roasted red pepper if using. (I have read that many people who can’t eat tomatoes also can’t eat red peppers since they are in the same biological family.) You don’t need to substitute if leaving out and if you add more than one they may over power the final sauce.

4. Blend the contents of the pot until smooth (in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender). Add the olive oil during the blending.

5. The cornstarch in step 6 will thicken up the sauce slightly so don’t worry if it is a little runny. If the sauce is too thick already, add some water, if too runny simmer it awhile to thicken (cover the pot but leave the lid askew).

5b. If you boil your meatballs/sausage in the sauce, I would add them here as well.

6. Puree the contents of the can of beets (liquid included) and the cornstarch in a blender until very smooth (if only using for pasta sauce, to save some chopping you can add the fresh herbs here as well!)

7. Add the beet mixture back to the pot and simmer for about five more minutes.

8. If using for more than pasta sauce, portion out what you need and then add a prorated amount of chopped herbs to the remaining sauce.


Nomato Gluten-Free Pasta and Pizza Sauce (No Tomatoes)
Buy Now: Nomato Pasta Sauce
 from the Gluten Free Mall

Updated -  07/06/11

If you don't want to make your own sauce, Nomato makes a Tomato Free Jarred Pasta Sauce.  I've never seen it sold in NJ but it is available online from the Gluten-Free Mall by clicking here: Nomato Pasta and Pizza Sauce (No Tomatoes).

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Other Recipes That Use This Sauce Recipe:

Tomato-free Chili Recipe

Tomato-free Salsa Recipe

Tomato-free Jambalaya Recipe

Other Tomato Free Recipes:

Other GF/DF/Vegan Pasta Recipes: