Travel – Soy Sauce {Tamari}

Even though many Oriental restaurants, especially Thai, will make your food GF, many don’t have GF soy sauce available so I carry my own.

And last week I saw a women taking a bottle of GF Soy Sauce out of her purse. Okay—I know we like to make sure we have what we need to take care of our selves as far as GF food goes. But carrying a bottle around? NO WAY!

Well, I’m sorta a busy body. I walked over and said, “you know they make travel packs don’t you?” She said “WHAT!”. I said “travel packs of Soy Sauce.” So I gave her two. You’d thought I’d given her a million dollars. {or five}

Actually it’s Tamari – What is Tamari?? Tamari is a premium Japanese soy sauce. While most soy sauces are made with about 50% soybeans and 50% wheat, Tamari soy sauce is made from soybeans with just a touch of wheat or no wheat at all. All San-J Tamari is made with 100% soybeans and no wheat.

In response to customer requests, and knowing just how hard it is to maintain a gluten free diet when traveling or dining out, San-J has created a Travel Pack. This is San-J Organic Gluten Free Tamari packaged in convenient travel-sized sachets.

San-J’s bottled Organic Gluten Free Tamari, are certified gluten free by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization and certified organic and kosher.

Where do you get these?

Whole Foods….You can also order them on Amazon.

***I put several in a snack size zip lock baggy – just in case one tears open.

Great for travel or just to have with you when you are out and about.

Freschetta Frozen GF Pizza – A Review

 

Maybe I’m late to the party. But I just saw these by accident at my local grocery store. I was looking for something else in the frozen case and looked up and saw this pizza. Cheese and Pepperoni & Four Cheese medley.

The ones I tried were quite small {personal size} but I got on their website and a full size pizza is available at many stores. Store locator.

Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza, with 100% real cheese and Freschetta’s Signature Pepperoni. The cheese pizza is 100% real mozzarella, savory asiago, rich fontina and hearty parmesan. The crust is crispy – no after taste.

This is by far the BEST frozen GF pizza I have had in six years. Just the right amount of cheese and sauce and the pepperoni was not greasy.

I usually add toppings to my frozen pizza. Chopped garlic, sautéed mushroom and roasted bell pepper are some of my favorite add ons. But for experimental purposes I cooked it as is. The box said that the crust was extra thin to allow for crunchiness – oh be still my taste buds, they did not lie.. The instructions said to put it on a pan but I did veer there and baked it on my oven rack. Check your pizza {if you decide to try it} after 10 min. – mine was almost over done.

I had to go back to the grocery store to get something to go with my dinner – I bought two more……

Grub Burger Bar – Review

First of all, why they chose this location is beyond me. The parking is awful. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of a large office building so maybe they were hoping for a captive audience – I don’t know.

Kari and I entered and went to the counter to order. There is no menu on display and all the menu’s are on the order desk so you can not see what to order while you are standing in line. I had to reach around the person ordering to get menus.

We placed our order and said two Gluten-free buns. The cashier mumbled something about “Gluten friendly” and “out side company” bun. Neither of us could understand what she was talking about. We had her repeat it. After the third attempt I said “so what you are saying is you make a Gluten free bun in house but you do have one available that comes from a dedicated bakery, correct?  A hummm, she answered.

Now down to the burger. Grub grinds its own meat –  it contains:  Angus chuck and brisket. All of the sauces and dressings are homemade. We ordered the in house baked Gluten-free bun. My first thought was, if you have celiac, I’d recommend getting the “outside co.” bun {read comment below}. The burger was very good. Juicy without being greasy. The Gluten-free bun was also very good. It’s kinda fell apart when holding it in your hands but that’s pretty common for Gluten-free buns.

FYI- the vegetarian option burger is not Gluten-free as it contains  tabbouleh (that may be served on the side, I didn’t ask – I like meat). And, as we left, I noticed someone else was manning the cash register, maybe he could explain the bun situation better.

They have two Gluten-free bun options, that’s a plus….but….

But will we go back? No. By the time I got home I had tummy issues {further description, not needed}. In checking with Kari, she has fatigue, brain fog and is feeling lethargic, which is her issue when cross contamination is a problem. In hindsight maybe the “in house” bun may have been the problem but there are plenty of other places that serve a good burger where we don’t feel ill afterwards. And since they are going to go to the trouble to offer two types of Gluten-free buns, you’d think that they would train the staff better.

Getting “Un-lost” at Kroger

I was running errands in a near by town a few days ago. And I friend had mentioned that there was a new Kroger grocery store there. I decided to check out the “Gluten free” isle. Well there isn’t one!

I found some frozen “rye” styled bread and a few other things, but I’m lost. Then I see a clerk stocking shelves.  Where is the Gluten free isle, I ask. Oh.!  we don’t have one. The GF products are in all the isles. That’s very confusing I say. Although, my local store does have a GF isle but GF Soy Sauce is in the Oriental food isle.

So, he asks, what are you looking for{secretly, I don’t know – remember, I’m on a expedition} I blurb out…crackers {I don’t need crackers}. He says- this way. We proceed down the cracker/snack isle. He points to a green sign and says that this is a “new concept” store.

He goes on to explain that all products deemed “healthy” [GF, low sugar, sprouted wheat. etc. } are together in the isles under the green sign. I say, that that is very confusing and he leaves me there shaking his head. Then a light bulb goes of in my head. Why would I be confused ?- I know how to read the GF on the package. I start going up and down the isles looking for the green sign. I find product after product. Now, I had already been in the frozen food isle – I go back, but now, I’m on a mission – the hunt for the green sign. What, not one green sign but three in a row! I find, chicken pot pie, eggplant parmesan and more! I think I like the little green sign……

Blake’s Gluten-free Chicken Pot Pie {A Review}

I was in unfamiliar territory yesterday and I spotted a brand new sparkly Kroger. If I have time I like to pop in to different grocery stores,  and scout out  what Gluten-free products they have to offer, opposed to what is sold at my local small chain . I found a new product {to me that is} in the freezer case. Blake’s Gluten-free chicken pot pie.

Blake’s Pot Pie is made with White Meat Chicken raised without antibiotics, garden vegetables and a Gluten-free crust. Blake’s is made in small batches using organic and natural ingredients.

The Blake family story can ne found here. Made from scratch from 1929.

Blake’s  meals can be cooked in either a microwave oven or conventional oven. They recommend using a conventional oven for the pot pies, as it ensures the crust will cook as it was intended. This is how I prepared mine.

First of all – that smell. The smell from the steam escaping from the crust of then Chicken pot pie as it’s coming out of the oven.  I sat down to eat it and I pushed all that crust in to the bowl so it would sop up the gravy. And the verdict is in – IT’S PRETTY DANG GOOD. Now would I eat it all the time, no. But I wouldn’t eat any frozen product on a regular basis. However it’s “keep it in freezer just in case” good. For those times when you can’t or don’t want to cook. I had mine for lunch and the portion was perfect. That being said, I think for dinner you may want to add a side salad to the plate.

Can’t wait to try the Shepherd’s Pie and Hearty Beef Stew which are also gluten free. They test these meals for the presence of gluten on a regular basis to ensure there is no cross-contact.

Oh – and don’t be surprised, there is NO bottom crust. They’ve been making their pot pies without a bottom crust for over forty years: they’d rather fill the meals with more chicken, veggies and gravy. This  makes the pot pies significantly lower in fat, sodium and carbohydrates than most other pot pies.

Store locator here.

Review – Max’s Wine Dive Dallas **Update CLOSED

The back story – Why is Max’s Wine Dive so particular about the menu? MAX’s Wine Dive founder and CEO Jerry Lasco found himself diagnosed with celiac disease. He made a mission to perfect the GF Fried Chicken recipe. But Max’s goes beyond Fried Chicken, many other items can be made Gluten-free or are naturally Gluten free {look for the *}. Just ask your server, they are very knowledgeable and when in doubt they will always go ask the chef.

Their slogan is, “Fried Chicken and Champagne? … Why The Hell Not?!” and the Gluten-free Fried Chicken is really wonderful.

But last night I tried one of the Summer specials. Seared Diver scallops w/ plantain cakes and watermelon mango salsa. Total disclosure – the picture is from Max’s Intsagram cause it was so good I forgot to take a picture. Well that’s a lie, two glasses of wine and talking to good friends was the real reason. It did not disappoint – scallops can be a tricky thing. Under cooked or over cooked and they are ruined. Max’s chef got it right…cooked to perfection.

Two of my friends had the Cracklin’ Chicken over mushroom risotto {I didn’t tell them that it was Gluten free and they didn’t know}. Both of them got the “Clean plate” awards.

Service could not have been better. The bartender served us drinks at the bar and when we moved to a table she said, “no need to check out, I’ll just wait on you  at your table and continue your check there.” She even recommended a wine for me and had me come back to the bar for a taste.  FYI- Max’s now has a full bar for those customers that don’t drink wine.

 

Address

3600 McKinney Ave., Ste. 100
Dallas, TX 75204

 

 

 

 

Review – The Accidental Dinner at Urbanos

Kari and I had reservations for a wine dinner at Jimmy’s Food Store one evening, and the dinner was cancelled. So a very nice gentleman from Jimmy’s not only gave us two bottles of wine gratis but suggested that we take them next door to Urbano’s to have with dinner. So we did. And I am so glad that we  took his advice.

I had eaten there before but Kari had not. This was a real treat.

Urbanos bills themselves and American/Italian Bistro. It’s  a Chef driven restaurant that features a good basic American/Italian menu in addition to, a specialty menu that features local signature offerings with a twist. I asked the waiter to show me what was Gluten-free and he remarked that almost anything can be made Gluten-free per request. Even the Panko Crusted Salmon, they would just leave off the Panko. Why can’t it always be that easy?

As a starter we split the Confit Of Baby Beets Salad – I’m trying to be all about the beets since I know how healthy they are and it was outstanding. We both enjoyed it immensely.

Confit Beet Salad

I ordered off the regular menu and had Pan Seared Scallops with lemon risotto and Dijon cream sauce.

Seared Scallops

Kari chose to order off the nightly specials menu and had Mahi with risotto – it was excellent also.

Mahi

With so many options it was really hard to make a decision. I’ve already got my pick for a return visit. Italian Sausage Risotto { with Jimmy’s Homemade Italian sausage, San Marzano tomatoes, leeks, pancetta, English peas, asparagus and summer squash .} Oh yea!

Be an insider & signup for the mailing list .  They often have music, happy hours and wine tastings on the back patio. In addition to four course guest chef dinners.

 

BYOB Policy.

BYOB Corkage Per Person – $5

Urbano Cafe offers BYOB service to all diners. Our secondary dining room, Two Doors Down, offers BYOB to diners and also has a variety of beer and wine by the glass or bottle. For those not dining at Two Doors Down, and for those enjoying appetizers and drinks on The Back Porch, BYOB does not apply.

A visit to Trinity Hall Irish Pub – Dallas

Last night a friend and I popped in to Trinity Hall Irish Pub. Trinity Hall offers Gluten Free food options, whiskey tastings, Gluten free beer & ciders, plus live Irish music, trivia night and more. It’s located in the middle of Dallas at Mocking bird Station. The wide varied menu includes  – snacks, salads, sandwiches & dinner entrees. Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten free – no problem. Most items are prepared in house from scratch, the kitchen is happy to work within dietary needs. Just let them know.

On my past and recent visit the staff could not have been more attentive or friendly. In fact, I couldn’t tell who my actual waitress was as we were tag teamed by two waitresses on our visit last night.

I had the Texas Ruben. Thick fresh, juicy slices of home cooked Corned Beef with house made sauerkraut, onions & peppers, 1000 island dressing on locally baked Gluten free bread from Reverie Bakeshop .

Trinity Hall I will be back.

White Chicken Chili – via Green Chef

A couple of months ago a friend started ordering the “hot new thing”. Ingredients and recipes delivered to your door. Say goodbye to long grocery lines, parking lot power-struggles, and Pinterest-induced food fails that leave you ordering takeout at 11 PM.


I cook, why would I need this. I got curious. Unfortunately the most popular service does not offer Gluten free food. Kari started doing a little research. She found three services that have Gluten free options. Green Chef, Sun Basket, Home Chef.

Green Chef and Sun Basket have the most choices for us Gluten free folk. Each service is a little different. I usually look at the menus and decide where I will order from. Some weeks I don’t order from any of them. One thing that they do have in common is that they contain pre-portioned ingredients, you also eliminate food waste.

Green chef ~~Pro’s – The most choices for Gluten free. Organic, No synthetic pesticides. No genetically modified organisms. No artificial ingredients. Eco- friendly packing. No growth hormones or antibiotics. Con’s the most labor intensive recipes. $13.49 per meal (each box contains three meals two portions each – so X 6).

Sun Basket~~Pro’s No synthetic pesticides. No genetically modified organisms. No artificial ingredients. No growth hormones or antibiotics. Most meals take about 30 minutes to prepare using easy-to-follow recipe cards. Eco- friendly packing. Con’s- Protein portions seem to be small. Recipe cards are small and no pictures.  $11.49 per serving, $5.99 shipping fee per order (first week delivery is always free) (X6).

Home Chef~~Fresh ingredients, Easy to follow recipes (very basic). Suppliers with sustainable practices. New breakfasts, a fruit basket, and a fresh smoothie options. Con’s- some of the recipes are too simple and the ingredients not as varied, but it’s still good.  $9.95 per serving.  Delivery is free for orders over $45! Shipping is $10 for orders less than $45 (X6).

What I will say is even being a long time Foodie, I have tried several things that I have not tried or have not even thought of trying. One day I made Lamb Kabobs!
This week, I had one of the best meals I have gotten delivered so far. White Chicken Chili from Green Chef.


I made HOMEMADE almond flour tortillas!!
Tomatillos and problano chili saute’ed with chicken. It’s than simmered in a coconut milk broth with cumin, coriander and oregano.
While the tortillas where small as they are meant as an side (like crackers), it was so cool to learn the technique and they were so good.

Gone all day- tired when you get home, FedEx delivers it while your gone and it all stays cold in an insulated box until you get home, no signature required. Anytime I haven’t been happy with a meal or the quality of the ingredients, I’ve sent an email and have been credited back that portion of the box.

We made lasagna – and it was good!

I’ve read on a few blogs about Cappello’s Gluten Free Pasta so I wanted to try it. Cappello’s gluten-free, grain-free lasagna sheets are nothing short of fabulous. Low on the glycemic index, the lasagna is made primarily using almond flour and cage-free eggs. No pre-cooking is necessary; just layer, bake. Cappello’s website says these sheets can be used for ANYTHING – enchiladas, ravioli, manicotti, crackers, sweets, etc.

You can find Cappello’s pasta in the freezer section of Whole Foods.

First, good Lasagna starts with a good sauce. This is a great fast fix – it can be used for virtually any (tomato based) pasta recipe. You can even make a batch and freeze in individual servings.

“The sauce”

1/2 lb. of ground beef

1/2 lb. of ground sausage

1 small onion – chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic minced or put through a press

1 Tbsp. each of dried basil and oregano

Salt & pepper to taste

1 28 oz. can of crushed fire roasted tomatoes

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 8 oz. can of dry red wine (or 1 can of water with 1Tbsp. of sugar)

Brown the beef and sausage. Cook the onion and garlic with the meat. Stir in the basil & oregano. Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce & wine.

Simmer for 15 min. uncovered. Cover and simmer for additional 15 min.

“The filing”

1 15 oz. container of Ricotta Cheese

1 8 oz. package of Mozzarella Cheese or Mixed Italian Cheese

2 beaten eggs

1/4 of chopped flat leaf parsley (optional)

Salt & pepper to taste

Mix well.

“Topping”

1/2 package or 4 oz. Mozzarella (or Italian Cheese)

1/4 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Now build the Lasagna {This is where Kari stepped in. She wanted to learn how to construct the casserole – she’s got sauce down to a T}

Spray a Lasagna pan with oil. Lay two Lasagna sheets in the pan. Spread 1/2 of the filing on the sheets. Follow with 1/3 of the sauce. It goes like this—noodles, filing, sauce, noodles, filing, sauce, noodles, cheese topping.

Spray aluminum foil with oil. {you don’t know want all that cheesy goodness to end up stuck to the foil}. Cover casserole.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 375′ (350′ in convection oven). 40 min. with foil, 20 min. without foil. Take out of oven. Lay foil lightly over pan, let rest for 15-20 min. Do your happy dance.

FYI – Kari kept sneaking back to the kitchen for another fork full. 🙂