AKA My Baby Takes the Mornin’ Train
When you have celiac, it can be difficult to find food on the go that’s safe to eat for any meal during the day. In the morning I am a major bigtime crankypants, and I want something delicious to snack on (and also to absorb the insane amount of coffee I drink, if I’m being totally honest). So I need something delicious and substantive and, most important, easy and quick.
Dumping a bag of granola into my mouth while driving was not exactly working out (too many raisins found their way into my bra). So I decided muffins were the way to go and created a gluten-free granola muffin recipe that is pretty easy to tinker with, depending on what you like in your granola.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Granola Muffins
AKA Pizza to Make Your Doorbell Ring
I’m a big Gilmore Girls fan, but nothing bums me out more on that show than when Lorelai and Rory order pizza. Diagnosed with celiac just as the show went into syndication (and the weekend marathon watching commenced), I still get super-sad when the gals of Stars Hollow try to save a bad day by ordering pizza — something I’ll never be able to do again.
Pizza’s a tricky thing for people who can’t eat gluten. Lots of places make gluten-free pizza, but they don’t use separate prep and cooking areas, and cross-contamination is a risk not worth taking.
Still, there’s no such thing as “out of sight, out of mind” when it comes to the awesomeness that is pizza, whether it’s with icy soda or cold beer.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Pizza Recipe
AKA A Big Old Bowl of Love
Corn may seem meant for summer barbecues, but in my house, my mom would blanch and freeze all the sweet, juicy kernels to have throughout the fall and winter as succotash, casseroles and soups. Of the many options, I most looked forward to corn chowder: thick and creamy, with smoky bacon, sweet and crunchy corn and hearty potatoes. It was perfect on those September and October nights when you needed a warm dinner to offset the unwelcome chill in the evening air or the crappy day at school or the fight you’d just had with your little brother.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Corn Chowder
AKA Who You Callin’ a Tart? Oh Yeah, This.
Late summer is my favorite time of year, and it all goes by too quickly, with its lazy weekends, marathon gab sessions (with bonus day drinking!), birthday cake with too many candles, beautiful sunsets, and farmers markets exploding with gorgeous colors and flavors. August is just the best, and I’m always a little sad to turn the calendar page.
To ward off the impending season-changing melancholy, I am buoyed by the fact that the dog days of summer bring us the best-tasting, most-fragrant tomatoes. And there’s nothing I love more than pairing them with tangy feta and a little tarragon. Before I was diagnosed with celiac disease, one of my favorite things to do was defrost frozen puff pastry and top it with tomatoes, tarragon, feta and olive oil, then bake myself a little treat for breakfast or lunch. Now that puff pastry is a big no-no, I developed a crust I use year-round to make seasonal vegetable tarts. But this combo is my favorite. It’s summer on a plate. Happiness in a crust. Juicy deliciousness for your mouth.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Tomato-Feta Tart
AKA Everything’s Just Peachy
This is the very first pie I made after being diagnosed with celiac disease. It’s fruity and sweet, but ginger and a bit of cracked black pepper give it the tiniest of kicks.
I grew up eating fruit pies my uncle made in his bakery, or that my mom made at home. We were the kind of family that had dessert every night after dinner, and all summer long it was pie after pie after pie. Peach pie was my favorite, followed closely by sour cherry.
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AKA Stone Fruit Summer Lovin’
There is something so special about that first weekend at the farmers market when stone fruit and berries are at their best. Forget the solstice; nectarines and blackberries at the farmers market means summer is officially here.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Blackberry-Nectarine Crumble
AKA Wine — check! Friends — check! Salt air — check! The best dang summer salsa you will ever make? Checkity-check!
One August evening a few summers ago, a group of us were at a friend’s house on the water at the south Jersey Shore. As we sat at the beautiful weathered-teak table on the portico, with the sun well on its descent toward the horizon and the rising tide lapping the dock, a friend poured each of us a big glass of a buttery Chardonnay and plunked down a bowl of corn and tomato salsa.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Corn-Tomato Salsa
AKA All’s Fair in Love and S’mores
An old boyfriend once gave me a beautiful copper fire pit as a birthday gift. The relationship didn’t last, but my love of cooking over an open fire sure did.
On Friday evenings when the weather is nice (and, honestly, sometimes even in the snow), I load up the big copper bowl with kindling and logs, and invite the neighbors over for s’mores and bourbon. No matter what kind of week any of us has had, all our troubles are washed away by the mesmerizing flames and gooey, chocolatey, oozy s’mores.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: S’mores Pie for Grownups
AKA: Strawberry Shortcake. It’s What’s for Dinner!
I grew up in a traditional nuclear family of the ’70s and ’80s. Dad worked, Mom stayed home to raise us kids and we always had a “square meal” for dinner: meat, starch, two veggies, rolls and dessert.
Come summertime, though, the notion of a healthy balanced meal went out the window and Mom got a little crazy. How? She made us strawberry shortcake — for dinner. Yes, siree. It was not for dessert or a special treat. It was for dinner. Warm, flaky, sweet shortcake and sugared strawberries, all served in a bowl with cold milk. And, because she wanted to have some modicum of nutrition, there were two slices of Velveeta cheese on the side. Oh, and sometimes we even had dessert after that. Because it was the ’70s. And who wouldn’t want a bowl of chocolate pudding after eating strawberry shortcake and Velveeta? That, my friends, was dinner at least one night a week for many weeks during the summer. And those were some of the best dinners ever.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake
AKA Because I Was a Jewish Grandmother in a Previous Life
I have always traveled for good food. And as a college student, one of my most-favorite things to do was go to New York City for the weekend with my college friends, most of who were Jewish. We’d take advantage of the student rate on the Trump Shuttle (RIP) and stay in the city or out on Long Island with whichever set of parents or grandparents would have us. Visiting my college BFF’s grandmother was the best because she made challah. Never with raisins (gag) or sesame seeds (eww). Just regular old challah, with a heaping helping of grandmotherly advice and whatever else we needed during our stay. Her challah — and the smell of it baking — cured any college-girl broken hearts or study-related stress.
Since then, I’ve had my fair share of challah at Shabbat dinners, holidays and family celebrations over the years. I was always happy to take home any that was left over because it makes the best French toast. But when I was diagnosed with celiac, I had to press pause on my love affair with challah. Until recently, that is.
Continue Reading Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Challah