chip truck: safest gluten-free fries (but always ask!)

French fries. The ultimate gluten-free fast food... providing they are not cooked in the same vat of grease as onion rings, wontons, chicken nuggets etc. You want potatoes cooked with nothing but potatoes. Hard to always be sure in restaurants where the menu may switch up from night to night (but the fat in which the myriad of items is fried, remains the same). 

I love the chip truck. You can quickly peruse the limited menu beside the window to know whether or not there is anything else bubbling away in the greasy metal basket besides hand cut potatoes. 

You get to look the guy who makes your fries in the eye and ask the questions. He's only one guy, and he owns the truck and likely peeled your potatoes. Ironically, while most will see this as a junk food experience, I think that the chip truck is one of the safest places for a gluten-free gal to get a fix. 


Prairie Girl Cupcakes

Prairie Girl bakery has been a hot spot with the gals in my office for some time now. I'd heard that they made great gluten-free cupcakes, but had yet to make the trek to one of their downtown locations to give them a try. A couple of weeks ago we had an office celebration... and imagine my delight when I found this box beside the larger offering of gluten-laden cupcakes. There are 3 gluten-free gals in our office, and someone had gone out of their way to make sure we were part of the festivities. 

I tried a chocolate one - and ate two of the vanilla ones pictured in the box above. About 50% of these cupcakes are icing - the good kind. Quality. I've posted a link to the Prairie Girl website HERE so that you can learn more about where to get your hands on some. If you want to jump on the cupcake crazed bandwagon... this is the way to go.


greek is good for gluten-free

Classic chicken souvlaki dinner is rarely a dangerous choice for the gluten intolerant. First, it's GRILLED. Second, it's  marinated in oil, lemon, garlic and oregano. It's typically served with two gluten-free carbs.... rice AND potatoes. 

photo credit: westcoasttastebuds.com

Tzatziki sauce is made of yogurt, cucumber and garlic. A standard souvlaki plate is also often served with a crunchy salad made of iceburg lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes and olives dressed with oil, salt and oregano. I like the simplicity of it all. I also prefer to enjoy this classic fare with someone who will share the extreme garlic breath that's all part of the experience.

Steer clear of the pita bread (obvious) and some classic Greek specialities like spanikopita (puff pastry with spinach and cheese) and the moussaka (eggplant/lasagna type dish that includes flour in the bechamel sauce).  

I wrote about Indian food recently, and the same rules apply. Getting to know who's making your food means you can broaden the selection you try. In general, ordering the grilled souvlaki dishes means getting a plate full of safe and delicious food. This being said, ALWAYS tell your server that you are gluten intolerant.Try the ouzo (liquor that tastes like licorice, goes down easy and will have you drunk in no time if you're not stern with the person who wants to keep refilling your glass). It's gluten-free too :) OPA!!



You won't believe these are wheat & gluten free

Wow Brand makes a selection of gf cookies
The top of this bag reads: "....You won't believe these are wheat & gluten free". I thought that this was an ironic marketing pitch. 

I don't know about you, but whenever I taste something that's a little too good to be true, I often do have that moment of panic. I need a gluten eating person to taste and say... nope, these taste different. I've been known to stop after one cookie, to make sure that I don't get ill. Of course when the coast is clear, I'll devour the rest of the package in one go :).

These were yummy, soft, gingery... and left a really pleasing taste in my mouth. Thank you to my friend Laura who bought them for me :) I'll keep my eyes open for the WOW brand of treats in the future! I've linked to their website HERE.


baked with love: celebrating with gluten-free cake!

My Mum makes a tasty gluten-free version of a classic English sponge cake (with apricot jam in the middle). She's been making it for me since the 1970's.

This is a simple, light, airy and dry cake - very different from the Betty Crocker variety. It tastes like my childhood, and I love it. 

I'm particularly fond of Mum's hilarious 'binary' code birthday candles on this one pictured above, in celebration of my 40th birthday a few years ago.

People don't often have or take the time to bake from scratch. It's such a special treat to have a cake baked especially for you. When you can't pick one up at the local grocery store - it's an even bigger deal to have a cake baked in your honour.

Mum showed up at our family wedding party this weekend with this classic cake (sans candles of course). Bill got a slice, but aside from that I haven't been sharing it. I'm having my cake and eating it too :) Thanks Mum!!


risotto: easy gluten-free entertaining

mid way through cooking, slowly adding liquid...
Making risotto is one of the easiest dishes you can make. A lot of fuss can be made around perfecting this dish... but trust me, it's pretty hard to muck up. 

Here's how I make a super simple spinach or kale risotto.
Saute a finely chopped onion in good olive oil, when onion is clear, toss in a cup of risotto rice (arborio is the most common type). Coat rice with the oil, when heated through, toss in a small glass of white wine (optional), when the liquid has cooked off toss in a full bunch of chopped greens and stir until wilted. Add boiled water from your kettle slowly until it covers the ingredients. I toss in a gf bouillon cube too. Keep stirring. Add more water until the rice is cooked through (but not mushy). 

At the end you can either stir in some butter and parmeggiano cheese to taste. Alternatively, stir in some butter or oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. 

There are umpteen variations on this dish (seafood, mushroom, etc.) Essentially it's all about the order in which you cook things. Veggies like asparagus or anything that you don't want cooked too much can go in closer to the end. 

Note that I don't go too much into measurements. This is a dish where you use your instincts to deliver a consistency that appeals to your palette. Ideally, it should be just soupy enough that it "sets" in a shallow dish. Leftovers are going to be goopier... more like an oatmeal consistency. Tasty all the same. After you've experimented and get comfortable with this dish, I'm sure you'll find it an excellent option when entertaining.


gluten-free brownies

I could see this sign from my living room window. Who could resist? I didn't even give the "gluten-full" cake a second look.

little fish is a bakery & brunch place across the street from our home (see a past post HERE for what gf brunch looks like). 

The magic brownie ingredient: black beans. 

Yep, gluten-free goodness is often a result of weird baking practices. I plan to post about using beans and assorted veg in baking soon... would love to hear about what strange ingredients you've found yourself using to make gluten-free goodies.