Archive for September, 2009

Delicious Dining at Sugo in Roswell

Posted in event, Restaurants, Uncategorized on September 17th, 2009 by Betsy – 3 Comments

sugo

Last week I attended my first Atlanta Gluten Free Dinner Club event at Sugo Restaurant in Roswell. What a meal! I can confidently say that this feast was worth the 30 minute drive from our apartment.

Sugo is an Italian and Greek restaurant that has a gluten free menu every day. Last week the management even created gluten free specials for our dinner. Everyone in our group dined gluten free so I could actually share food with people, and sample other meals. I love sampling and sharing at a meal and I rarely get to do that when going out to dinner.

Let me tell you what I ate. The menu speaks for itself! As you’ll see, there was a large variety and many fresh vegetables and flavors are used by the cooks at Sugo. We started the meal by sharing the crispy potatoes for our appetizer. This sizable dish was so yummy, crunchy and salty. The roasted, then flash fried potatoes came with a paprika aioli dipping sauce. This simple dish did not disappoint and it was great to have something fried for once. For my entrée I ordered the butter poached salmon dressed with walnut fig pesto, served with grilled and marinated peppers, char-grilled pencil thin asparagus, caramelized parsnips and radishes and finished with extra-virgin olive oil. Sugo’s portions are very generous and the different flavors on my plate went together very well. I also got to sample the other two specials, each one very unique. The squash blossoms stuffed with marscapone cheese and spinach, served over rice pasta with a white wine sauce was such a delicacy. The squash blossoms were lightly fried too and had a great crunch to them. Cooking with GF pasta can be tough but the folks at Sugo used a thin pasta that was cooked perfectly. I also tried the slow braised veal cheeks with shallot, fennel, fresh mint, and sage, slow roasted for 6 hours, served with sautéed cremini, shitake, oyster and porcini mushrooms. Wow! What incredible tastes and variety of choices.

While these were the specials that evening, Sugo’s regular GF menu has a large variety, including homemade meatballs! The best part about Sugo was just how friendly and knowledgeable the entire staff was about celiac and gluten. They seemed willing to accommodate anything a gluten-free diner would want. Sugo even has gluten free vodka that they used in a watermelon martini!

We were too full to have dessert but of course there were GF dessert options. Thank you, Sugo, for a great meal and for going out of your way to accommodate all of us!
Sugo on Urbanspoon

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Is that Gluten Free? iPhone App

Posted in GF product, travel on September 12th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

gluten appI’m loving the ‘Is That Gluten Free?’ IPhone App.  I just downloaded it onto my Itouch and it allows you to look up pretty much any product you can think of to see if it’s gluten free.  You can search by category, brand, or ingredients.  When you click on a product it tells you if it’s gluten free and when that information was verfied.  It has everything from marinades, to bacon, to peanut butter.  It even provides generic brands, like Publix and Kroger.  Not only does it tell you if a product’s listed as gluten free but you can read what the manufacturer writes about the gluten free status.  So depending on how sensitive you are, you can learn whether the manufacturer processes wheat on the same belt as their ‘gluten free’ products (such as Doritos) or if it’s totally gluten free.

I definitely think this Ap is worth the $5, especially when at a friend’s house or just doing your grocery shopping.

Here’s the link to purchase the Is that Gluten Free?

Let me know what you think about the Ap.  Is there anything you’ve discovered from using it that’s unusual or surprising?

Upcoming Gluten Free Atlanta Events

Posted in Atlanta, event on September 10th, 2009 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Hope you’ll check out some of these great events!

Shaun’s Restaurant Celiac Menu Friday, September 11th- Sunday, September 13th. Once a month Shaun’s puts together a 4-course gluten free menu. It looks yummy! You can also order off of their regular menu as well, which I’m sure they’d be willing to accommodate and it’s probably a safe place.

The Celiac Menu:
appetizer warm mushroom salad, organic poached egg, brown butter hollandaise

intermezzo
carolina gold rice soup, grilled quail, peanuts, scallions
entrée braised all-natural range veal breast, spaghetti squash and chestnut honey
dessert local muscadine sorbet with lambrusco bianco

Shaun’s Restaurant
1029 Edgewood Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
404.5774358

Harry’s Farmers’ Market in Roswell Celebrates National Celiac Day: Sunday, September 13th from 12-5

Many fun events including, gluten free demonstrations, a birthday party, and cooking instruction.

It’s so great that there are many events in Atlanta supporting celiac and gluten free dining. Please keep me posted on any other events coming to the area.

Figs!

Posted in Uncategorized on September 9th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

Right now at The Local Farmstand, there are beautiful Brown Turkey and Celeste figs. I had been eyeing those figs for about a week, determined to purchase them and make something with them. Did I want to go savory or sweet? I asked my customers what they planned to do with their figs. Did I just want to keep it simple and stuff them with goat cheese and wrap them in prosciutto? Did I want to make a dessert? Decisions, decisions!

I started to think about when I’d enjoyed figs in the past and I quickly realized that only rarely had I eaten figs. I did remember that last summer I ate one of the most delicious meals ever at The Farmhouse Inn in the Russian River Valley, California. At this meal I had my first savory experience with figs, served with pork chops. While this might seem like an odd duo of foods, the combination of salty and sweet was delicious. So I decided to try to make my own version of a pork chop-fig dish with my newly purchased figs. While it was no Farmhouse Inn, (I couldn’t quite figure out how to make the Zinfandel-fig jam or cut my figs into perfect star shapes) I must say that I made a unique dish that brought out great flavors in both the pork and figs.

Here’s what I did (with some guidance from Fine Cooking):

Ingredients:
2 thick bone-in pork chops
Kosher salt & black pepper
Olive oil
1 cup GF chicken broth
3 T. balsamic vinegar
Chopped fresh figs (I used about 1/2 cup but you could use less)
1 ½ T. honey
Chopped fresh rosemary or thyme
2 T. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
S & P
4 whole figs, cut in half

David and I always make pork chops in the skillet. A little olive oil, salt, pepper and the pork chop. Very simple. I did the same thing with this recipe. Dry the pork chop, then rub with olive oil, S & P. Preheat oven to 400 and heat the skillet. Cook pork chop in skillet on medium high heat for about 5 minutes on each side. (Warning, the kitchen might get a little smoky.) I used bone-in pork chops because I think these provide more tender and flavorful meat. If you go with boneless pork chops, it will be a shorter cooking time. Put the skillet and pork chop into the oven for another 10-15 minutes, depending on the size. (The internal temp should be about 145.) Remove from oven and skillet and cover pork chops with aluminum foil.

Now the figs come in!

With oven still preheated to 400, put the halved figs onto a pan and brush with butter and salt and pepper. Roast for 7-10 minutes while making the sauce.

Return the skillet to high heat. Add broth and balsamic vinegar, scraping any leftover bits of the pork. Stir until broth is reduced to ½ cup. Add honey and herbs and stir until reduced by another 1 to 2 T. Add butter and mix until it’s completely melted. Season with salt a pepper. Put sauce on pork chops and garnish with roasted halved figs.

For my side dishes for this meal, I made parmesan risotto and sautéed spinach with garlic and lemon. While I usually keep my meat simple, making this fig sauce definitely added to the complexity of the dish and made for a great use of the figs.

Let me know what dishes you’ve made with fresh figs!

Labor Day Picnic in Piedmont Park

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8th, 2009 by Betsy – Be the first to comment

As I mentioned last week, there was an ‘Eat In’ yesterday in Piedmont Park organized by Slow Food Atlanta. The purpose of the picnic, which happened at 306 locations nationwide in all 50 states, was to advocate for better, healthier food in schools.

What a way to spend a beautiful Labor Day! We packed our gluten-free picnic and brought some friends to share the meal and support a good cause.

Here’s what we brought for our picnic:

Homemade Chicken Salad (see recipe below)

Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Chips (This brand is a recent discovery and all of their flavors are great. I personally love sweet potato and cinnamon.)

Cape Cod Potato Chips: David’s addition to the picnic, but also GF

Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: This was my first time making her GF cookies and while they are a little crumbly, they’re very tasty and easy to make.

Freshly baked bread made with Pamela’s Bread Mix: like any bread mix, this bread takes time to make but I find it tastes more like ‘real’ bread than any of the frozen breads I’ve purchased.

Fresh tomatoes to go on our sandwiches

Strawberries and apples

It was a feast!

Kim’s Chicken Salad Recipe

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8th, 2009 by Betsy – 1 Comment

My mom borrowed this recipe from a friend who uses it for her UGA tailgates. I have since used this recipe and love it! Kim describes it as ‘a process, not really a recipe.’ She’s right but it’s so worth the process!

Preparing the chicken:

Ingredients:
- bone in chicken breasts (this recipe is great because you can make as much chicken salad as you want. As I mentioned, this is a process so I like to make a lot. I prepared 9 chicken breasts and we’ll definitely be eating a lot of chicken salad for the next week.)
- olive oil
- celery salt
- lemon pepper
- S & P
- Reynolds large oven bags

Wash chicken breasts. I take the skin off some of the breasts before cooking, but not all. The chicken stays moister if you leave the skin on, but if you go ahead and take the skin off, then you get more of the spice flavors in your chicken salad. It’s your call.

Dry breast and rub with olive oil. Season both sides with S, P, lemon pepper and celery salt. Repeat for each piece.

Spray inside of oven bag with Pam. Put about 5 breasts in each bag. Place bag in a baking pan. (Spray pan with Pam as well.)

Cook chicken for one hour at least at 350. Turn oven off and let sit for another hour. Then put chicken in refrigerator to cool.

The chicken falls easily off the bone. Remove the skin if you have not done so yet. Cut chicken into desired size pieces.

Making chicken salad:

Ingredients:
- Prepared chicken
- Celery, cut into desired size (I don’t like a lot of celery in my chicken salad so I use one rib or less per breast)
- Sweet pickle relish (Vlassic is GF)
- Hellman’s Mayonnaise
- S & P

In a large bowl, mix chicken and celery. Add relish and mayo, until you get your desired consistency. Add salt to taste.

Judge how much you want to use based on your own taste buds. I made the chicken salad a day in advance so I added a little more mayo and relish the morning of the picnic. I also like to eat this chicken salad on Mary’s Gone Crackers or on a bed of mixed baby greens.

Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse Pie Crust, Two Ways

Posted in GF product, recipe, vegetarian on September 7th, 2009 by Betsy – 5 Comments

This weekend I created two meals using Whole Foods’ Gluten Free Bakehouse pie crusts. I had not yet used this product and it did not disappoint. We’ll be eating the leftovers tonight!

Both of these recipes are two of my favorite meals from my pre-celiac days and they are naturally gluten free, except for the pie crust. The Whole Foods crust worked perfectly with both meals and my non-celiac friends couldn’t tell the difference.

Tomato Pie: This pie is perfect for Atlanta right now, since you can get gorgeous tomatoes at your local farmers’ market. You should not make this pie unless you have great tomatoes…grocery store tomatoes will make for a mediocre pie. This meal is a family favorite from growing up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. As you’ll see, this is an incredibly simple, yet delicious recipe.

Directions:

- Cook GF pie crust at 350 for 15 minutes and let cool
- Peel four large tomatoes and cut into thick slices (have extra tomatoes in case you need more)
– Put first layer in cooled pie crust (use small pieces of tomatoes to fill in gaps), and sprinkle with chives, basil, salt and pepper
– Repeat for second layer
– Mix one cup of Hellman’s mayo and one cup of shredded cheddar cheese and spread over top of tomatoes
- Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes (the mayo/cheese layer of the pie will start to brown)

Quiche: A great meal for Sunday brunch entertaining, I made the quiche in the morning and then reheated it for about ten minutes once our guests arrived. I served it with a simple mixed green salad and strawberries. Nothing too complicated, but looked pretty on the plate.

Directions:

- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook 4 oz. of Hormel bacon , cut into ½ inch pieces. Remove from heat and drain grease.
- Glaze pie crust with egg yolk.
- Stir together 4 lightly beaten eggs, 1 cup 2% milk, and 1 cup cheese. Add ½ t. salt and ¼ t. pepper.
- Add bacon to mixture and pour into pie crust.
- Cook for 35 minutes, or until the top starts to brown.

Notes about the crust: The crust tasted great and very much like pie crust, but it did seem a little salty to me. I have not yet used this crust to make a sweet pie so I’m not sure what it will taste like with something sweet baked in it. Also, the edge of the crust did not ‘brown’ as much as I would like (even when basting it with egg yolk) so I might adjust the temperature a little bit in the future. Two pie crusts come in a package and the sell for around $5.99. I think this is a very reasonable price. The crusts keep in your freezer indefinitely, but you want the crust to get to room temperature before you start baking. The crust also reheats well when eating leftovers.

Thank you Whole Foods for making a pie crust to help us GF eaters make yummy, quick and savory meals!

Southern Stir Fry

Posted in Atlanta, recipe, vegetarian on September 4th, 2009 by Betsy – 1 Comment

I’ve started working at a great produce shop called The Local Farmstand. I love working here for many reason, but I’m particularly obsessed with the fact that I am constantly surrounded by fresh, local, and gorgeous vegetables. I feel fortunate that I get to spend the day talking to people about food, how to prepare it and thinking about what my next, delicious, gluten-free meal will be.

One of my favorite recent creations is Southern Stir Fry, a great way to use local produce and get lots of good flavor. Southern Stir Fry is basically a stir fry for summer veggies, so it’s great if you have a CSA and aren’t quite sure what to do with that one squash and few pieces of okra. Last week I made it twice, once with okra as my main component and the next time with baby squash. You could also use zucchini, eggplant, or sweet peppers.

Southern Stir Fry can be a side dish or an entrée depending on what else you plan on serving. (If I want it to be a main dish, I serve it with risotto. The flavors go well together.

Ingredients:
- 3 T. olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup red wine
- 3 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
- 1 lb. summer vegetables chopped (I used combinations of okra and summer squash)
- Thyme
- Bay leave
- salt pepper

Heat pan with olive oil on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for another minute.

Add red wine and continue to cook and stir. Let about half of the wine evaporate.

Add thyme, bay leaf, salt and pepper, tomatoes and whatever other veggies you plan on using. (Don’t worry too much about amounts of veggies. It’s totally fine to use more or less.)

Turn temperature of stove to low and cover pan. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The tomatoes will start to melt but the other vegetables will maintain their shape and some firmness. Serve warm. Enjoy!

Atlanta Braves and ARAMARK Announce New Gluten-Free Concession Stand at Turner Field

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3rd, 2009 by Betsy – 3 Comments


Great news for gluten free baseball fans. One of the only gluten free concession stands in the country is at Turner Field. No longer do I have to watch everyone else enjoy a cold beer and a hot dog, while I’m eating a protein bar. Take me out to the ball game!

From Aramark: The Atlanta Braves and ARAMARK, the exclusive food and beverage provider at Turner Field, have announced the opening of a dedicated gluten-free concession stand for fans with Celiac Disease. The location opens Friday, Sept. 4, behind Section 106, and will feature all-beef franks, sirloin beef burgers, chicken sandwiches, chips, popcorn, brownies, cookies, soda, water and gluten-free RedBridge beer.

“In response to increasing requests for healthier and gluten-free options from fans, the Braves and ARARMARK are proud to unveil this new concessions option at Turner Field,” said Ron Ranieri, ARAMARK General Manager at Turner Field. “The gluten-free stand is part of the Braves and ARAMARK’s overall commitment to offer menu options that allow all fans, regardless of dietary restrictions, to enjoy the ultimate ballpark experience.”

Check out the Atlanta Braves website for their game schedule.

Things I Love: Betty Crocker’s Gluten Free Brownie Mix

Posted in baking, GF product, recipe on September 2nd, 2009 by Betsy – 3 Comments

Yesterday I ventured out to the Howell Mill Publix to in search of Betty Crocker’s new gluten free mixes. Having read about them from the Atlanta Gluten Free Examiner, I was eager to try them out. They were a little difficult to find because they were mixed in with the ‘gluten filled baking mixes,’ but the manager was very helpful. I thanked him profusely for carrying them in his store. So I walked out of the store arms full with boxes of chocolate chip cookie, brownie and devil’s food cake mix. The first product I tested were the brownies.

Why I love them:

Simple: There are a lot of reasons why I fell in love with Betty Crocker again yesterday. The mix was extremely simple. All it involved was combining the mix with 2 eggs and half a stick of butter. (And of course I added chocolate chips!) I didn’t even need to break out the Kitchen Aid!

Cheap(er): Betty’s mixes are cheap. They were only $3.99 at the Howell Mill Publix. Most GF baking mixes tend to be in the $5-$6 range.

Taste: The brownies were/are delicious. David and I dug into them last night. Chewy, chocolaty, dare I even say moist? And they don’t leave that weird after taste that some GF baked goods do.

Just Because: I love these mixes because it means that the GF diet is becoming more mainstream and getting more attention from major companies. Hopefully this means that GF prices will start to drop and other companies will follow Betty Crocker, Chex and others that acknowledge what a large consumer base we gluten free eaters (and our families) are!

Ask your local grocery store manager to carry Betty Crocker gluten free mixes! Next week I’ll report on the chocolate chip cookies.