Thursday, April 28, 2011

Best Gluten Free Crepe Ever?!?!

Sometimes you are just at the right place, at the right time! It was a girls weekend getaway - celebrating my belated birthday. We decided to head to Key West, it's close (driving distance from us in Miami) and always a good time. I was worried about food options, as it turns out, rightfully so (but, I'll get to that later)...

On Saturday afternoon we decided to get pampered, and headed to a local salon for manicures and pedicures. The prior night I was glutened at Santiago's Bodega... I told the waitress I was gluten free (reviews stated the restaurant was GF accommodating) and specifically asked about 5 menu items, I am a meat and potatoes kinda girl, and asked about the lamb chops, chicken, potatoes, etc. She came back and said all were well, she confirmed it with the chef... But, whether or not she really checked is beyond me... Bottom line, if you're gluten free, DON'T order the lamb chops... And you're better off speaking to the manager to discuss menu items before ordering...

So... after my sad experience, one friend in particular decided to make it her mission to find a GREAT gluten free restaurant for me to enjoy the next day. We were discussing restaurants and menu items at the salon, and funny enough - the woman sitting next to my friend say "Are you a Celiac"? So funny how she knew from tiny tidbits of conversation that didn't even specifically discuss gluten in any way. She went on to tell us she was the owner of French Cafe Creperie and made GLUTEN FREE CREPES!!!!! I was shocked, I've longed for crepes and put them out of my mind. She uses buckwheat flour, and has Celiac friends she's made them for, hence her deep knowledge of Celiac disease and desire to cater to the gluten free community. Needless to say, I loved her instantly. She let us know we needed to "pre-order" the gluten free crepes, so of course, we did instantly. It takes her 24 hours to prepare the gluten free crepe - so ORDER before you go!

The next morning, we anxiously head to La Creperie in Key West. It is a quaint low key restaurant with a wonderful stress free key west kinda vibe. The crepes are made in front of you, if you choose to sit at the bar, there is also other indoor, and outdoor seating. Word to the wise, BRING CASH - its a cash only restaurant - but, sooo well worth it!

Here's a sneak peak at the menu items. The owner was FANTASTIC, SOOO accommodating! She remembered us from the salon and went through the menu with me and specifically discussed which would be best pair with my gluten free crepe. She was most excited to tell us about the "red velvet" sweet crepe ($8.50). It had a raspberry chocolate ganache, fresh strawberries, scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream on top. (For us GF folk, we only needed to subtract the raspberry coulis - which she immediately advised me). After hearing of this delicious sweet crepe, I knew this was a must.

On to the savory crepe. The owner raved about the Ratatouille ($11.25) - which has tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, red and green peppers (thankfully both are sweet), onions, garlic, herbs and melted swiss cheese. I am not a vege lover, but, onions, herbs, cheese, and red peppers sold me. I decided to be adventurous.

I started with an expresso - a single (at least that's what it was supposed to be) - it was ginormous! In a real coffee cup, strong and delicious! No way I could have finished it. A great start though.

I shared the savory and sweet crepes. We started with the savory Ratatouille.

This gives you a good idea of the yumminess inside the crepe. For someone like me that isn't in love with veges, this was a pleasure to eat. The cheese was delightful, not a sharp swiss, a savory one. The veges were not strong, they complemented the crepe and cheese perfectly - (I even ate most of them!).

Next up, RED VELVET!! Just thinking about it makes me want a return trip.

This is my half of the crepe, it is filled with delicious chocolate, covered with strawberries and ice cream. Oh my!
Since you know I am a chocoholic, I did ask for additional chocolate to smoother the crepe with, and I was obliged easily - (after I was laughed at... but, that's ok!). There's never enough chocolate!!

I had such a delightful experience at La Creperie and hope you get to make your way down to Key West to enjoy it as well. I've never had a better crepe, and will make you the same bet, you'll be hard pressed to find a better gluten free crepe!

HUGE THUMBS UP for La Creperie!!!

Santiago's Bodega on Urbanspoon

La Crêperie on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Pizza and Smores, for Passover, Oh My!

Passover... a time for family, Seders, remembrance, but, for Celiacs, a somewhat difficult time to eat! Passover isn't meant to be a comfortable and delicious experience. We're remembering when we were slaves and were freed, and had no time at all to cook, so we eat matzoh - unleavened bread, as our ancestors did (for 8 nights).

During Passover, many products are made with matzoh, or matzoh meal - for Celiacs, its a problem, as they have gluten. Thankfully, we live in such an advanced wonderful time, and there are amazing alternatives. This year, I've been LOVING Yehuda's gluten free matzoh style crackers. They are made with potato starch, not gluten based ingredients (and really are reminiscent of a pringle).

This year, my two favorite snacks were.... Matzoh Pizza and Matzoh Smores!!

Matzoh Pizza is really SO easy to make (as are the Matzoh Smores). Seriously, the prep time is all of 3-4 minutes. I line my disposable pans with aluminum foil (makes for easy clean up). You do not have to spray the pan for either recipe. Lay a sheet of Matzoh (your preferred gluten free version). Add your sauce, I was pleased to see different options at my local market that were kosher for Passover and gluten free. Then, I love cheese - so I add a LOT of delicious shredded mozzarella cheese on top. Bake in oven for 10 minutes at 425 degrees, and then pump the oven up to broil - to get the top nice and brown, for just 2 minutes.

Crazy that it looks like real pizza, actually tastes AMAZING as well. I made 2! (just for me!)...

Next up, Matzoh Smores, my specialty (it's easy, and very chocolaty, so its very me)!

Add one sheet of Matzoh. My secret trick I'll share with you is this. I break up the Matzoh when it is in the pan (this is a messy delicious treat, it helps when the Matzoh is already in pieces, makes it easier to break apart later - you'll see!). I typically put a little bit of butter on top of the Matzoh, before I add the marshmallows, I did find that the butter tastes better with regular Matzoh, with the gluten free Matzoh I'm not as big of a fan of the butter - up to you. Add marshmallows to cover the Matzoh - they do spread and become about 1 1/2 times the size - so spread them out. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. When brown on top - like below, take them out of the oven.

My favorite part is next, add MANY wonderful chocolate chips, try to cover every marshmallow, none should be neglected!

Bake for 2 minutes at 350 degrees.

Now, this is my favorite part, you know they are ready when you can smear the chocolate with ease (with your finger of course!). You can spread it over the marshmallows, like I did above, or leave the beautiful chocolate chips in place - either way works just fine. Now, you enjoy. YUM!! Thank me later.

End your Passover with these great treats and tell me how wonderful they were!!

Was thrilled to find a Kosher Celiac Passover guide on Amazon, if you've heard of it, or recommend it, please let us know! HAPPY PASSOVER to those celebrating!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Gluten Free Chicken Tenders That Plain & Simply ROCK!

S' Better Farms, a family owned company, makes wheat free, gluten free, KOSHER and absolutely delicious chicken fingers. The chicken is not fed hormones, and is able to roam - isn't caged.  It's remarkable, they taste just like I remember them tasting - when they weren't gluten free. You don't taste a bite and say, ehh - they're ok, I still feel like I'm missing out. You say, seriously, did I just cheat on my gluten free diet??

Had to share them with you because I was so excited to finally get to try them. They were difficult for me to find. (As you can see here, they are only available in a few U.S. states - they are also available online here - but, beware of astronomical shipping costs).  Also exciting to note, is they make gluten free beef CORN DOGS and four other types of chicken.  My local publix only carries Bell & Evans gluten free chicken tenders/nuggets - which are great, but... not kosher.  For those of you in Dade or Broward County in Florida --Aroma in Coral Springs has them.  

They look like the real thing, and taste like the real thing, YUM

All ready, add ketchup and enjoy!

I am SOO happy when I find quick meal ideas.  For those of us that are exhausted coming home from work, and have no desire to cook - delicious frozen meal ideas are a great fix.  I'm happy to have found S'Better Farms, and hope it helps you as well!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Food Allergy/IntoleranceTesting, To Do or Not To Do?

While I'm studying up on food allergies and food intolerance's, I'd like to hear what you think on food allergy/intolerance testing. Have you, or anyone you know been tested to deduct what your food intolerance are?
First - I've come to learn there's a big difference between a food allergy and food intolerance.

WebMD defines both: 
    • food allergy "is an immune system response. It occurs when the body mistakes an ingredient in food -- usually a protein -- as harmful and creates a defense system (antibodies) to fight it. Food allergy symptoms develop when the antibodies are battling the "invading" food. The most common food allergies are peanuts, tree nuts (such as walnuts, pecans and almonds), fish, and shellfish, milk, eggs, soy products, and wheat." 
  • A food intolerance on the other hand is "a digestive system response rather than an immune system response. It occurs when something in a food irritates a person's digestive system or when a person is unable to properly digest or breakdown, the food. Intolerance to lactose, which is found in milk and other dairy products, is the most common food intolerance."

Thus far, I've only been told about Alcat, which claims to:
"accurately and objectively measure leukocyte cellular reactivity in whole blood, which is a final common pathway of all mechanisms. The test utilizes electronic, state of the art, hematological instrumentation. Standard allergy tests, such as skin testing or RAST are not accurate for delayed type reactions to foods and chemicals. They measure only a single mechanism, such as the effect of mast cell release of histamine or the presence of allergen specific IgE molecules. Delayed reactions to foods and chemicals are NOT IgE mediated.

The ALCAT Test also differs from standard IgG tests in that they rely exclusively on one immune pathway, serum levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG). In fact, high food specific IgG titers are indicative only of exposure, not necessarily intolerance.

The ALCAT Test reproducibly measures the final common pathway of all pathogenic mechanism; whether immune, non-immune, or toxic. It is the only test shown to correlate with clinical symptoms by double blind oral challenges, the gold standard."
Your Hidden Food Allergies Are Making You Fat
 (written by co-founder of Alcat, Roger Deutsch) and reviewing the Alcat testing system, but, I've also read Dr. Weil's claims that the only way to verify food intolerance testing is by eliminating foods and testing your reactions. The food rotation/elimination process is also part of Alcat's system. 
I'm intrigued and tempted - but, cautious nonetheless. I've listened to the DVD that comes with Alcat information for potential customers, where Roger Duetsch the co-founder, and Dr. David Brady, an Associate Professor of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bridgeport discuss Alcat testing.  During their interviews, they admit the food testing is 83% accurate, but, claim this is the best percentage out there.

Who's right?

What do you know about the subject?

Appreciate you shedding some light!