Sackville New Brunswick: Gluten-free

We have a place out on the east coast of Canada in Nova Scotia on the Bay of Fundy. We have no problem eating gluten-free here. In fact, there isn't a place to buy anything to eat unless you get in your car and drive to the Co-op in a neighbouring village.

While the view is glorious, we occasionally need to venture. This summer I made my second visit to Sackville, New Brunswick. Home of Mount Allison University. If you were a celiac kid going off to school, this place looks pretty ideal. Tiny school. Tiny town. Only a handful of places to eat if you include the coffee shops. 

This might actually sound more like a celiac nightmare... but here one of these places is an entirely gluten-free bakery and shop called The Cackling Goose Market. 

They make the most amazing gf carrot cake. Like, so good that Bill suggested we stop again on our way home to Toronto so we could have more for breakfast. 

For dinner, you walk half a block to Joey's, an old Italian restaurant that serves up gluten-free pizza and pasta and takes your concerns pretty seriously. The owner sat us down and made sure we understood he got it, followed by the server who re-iterated that she was aware I needed safe food.

Not too many readers are going to head to Sackville specifically for this purpose, but I thought that a number of anxious parents searching the net when sending their kids off to school might be comforted knowing that there has never been a better time to be gluten free. Having done this for more than 40 years, I still cannot believe how lucky I am every time I find GOOD safe food. 

Click on Cackling Goose and Joey's for links to more info. 
I hope that this summer you had equally wonderful gluten-free surprises. 


Plantain - an excellent gluten-free side!

It's been YEARS since I made plantain... I seriously can't believe I've gone so long without it. I mean - LOOK AT THESE GUYS!! Gorgeous, crispy and just a little bit sweet with a sprinkle of salt... mmmmmmmmmm!! 

What makes the gap in time even more unbelievable is how EASY these are to make. Thanks to my friend Doug, who taught me how to make these years ago. He has Dominican roots - and boy, can that man cook!

Here's how easy it is. Peel a plantain by cutting the top off and slicing down the sides to peel back. While it looks just like a banana, the skin is a lot tougher. 

Next, cut into slices about half an inch thick. Drop into hot vegetable oil (I use a pot shaped like a wok and only use enough oil to half submerge - not a fan of deep frying!) 

 Cook about 2 minutes and then flip and cook for another 2. Remove and place in single layer on paper towel. Sprinkle one side with salt.

Using the bottom of a glass press down on one side of the plantain to flatten. They should squish down and spread. Don't be afraid of salt here - as much of it will come off in the next step...
Now drop the plantain BACK in the hot oil - for about 1 minute each side. Remove and drain on paper towel until ready to eat (they can stay warm in the oven if you're fixin' other things...)

You want to make about one plantain for every two people if you're serving as a side (as seen here). Honestly, I could probably eat 2 whole plantain all by myself... they ARE a vegetable after all :). 

On that note, I used a green unripe plantain here. They are less sweet and less starch/carb at this stage. They are also firmer and cook up crispier. You can use this cooking method with ripe (dark) plantains too. They will be considerably softer and won't get crispy. They will also have a sweeter, roasted flavour. 

Either way, they are a wonderful change from grains, rice or potatoes and pair well with so many other foods. I think we'll be seeing a lot more plantain on our plates from now on.