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I just saw this article in ScienceDaily. Apparently probiotics and prebiotics can help alleviate the inflammation response characteristic of celiac disease. Let’s hope this research leads to some concrete steps we can take to heal our ailing guts!

I was under the impression that maltodextrin was on the celiac no-no list. Which bummed me out majorly as I waffled at the cashier today over whether I could eat the cracked pepper potato chips I was greedily eying. I played it safe and returned to my desk empty-handed and a little less crispy. But a smidge o’ googling when I got back revealed I was mistaken! First, the Wikipedia page for maltodextrin says it’s so highly processed that the gluten protein is no longer present by the time it hits your smacking lips. (So highly processed? When was the last time I cheered for that?) So just to be safe, I consulted my trusty safe/unsafe food lists from celiac.com. That confirmed it. Woooowee! Ima get me some chips now. BOOM.

I love this line from the executive chef at New York’s Ilili:

It’s a poor man’s dinner, eaten with eggs, or with tomatoes and scallions…

He’s referring to a dish he makes called Lebanese Potatoes with Cilantro Sauce, which may or may not appeal to you given the centrality of cilantro to the dish. Being a reformed cilantro-hater, I’m psyched to try it. And we just got potatoes from the stupormarket on Saturday. Woo.

Hummenah-hummenah. I am in gluten-free bliss. We just got a new waffle maker and naturally couldn’t wait until the morning to test it out. So I was forced to come up with an excuse… ahem… a recipe to use it. And oh, nellie, did I.

The first thing you must know is that I’m way more of a salty gal than a sweet one. Give me leftover pizza for breakfast any day of the week over pancakes with maple syrup, gag. Ok, I dramatize, but you know what I’m saying. When I went to China, they served salty peanuts for breakfast and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. So why not savory waffles? And for dinner? Yes. Yes.

Mano Y Metate Mole

The second thing you must know is there is this mind-bogglingly good mole mix (actually, there are several) from this company called Mano Y Metate. Only three of their mixes are gluten-free, but of those three, I can recommend all without reservation. For us glutards, there are few shortcuts to great cooking, but listen close, my fellow foodie: Mano Y Metate has got you covered. Use one of their mole mixes and your dinner is a guaranteed success. Heck, I bet it’s even good with ice cream. Erp?

Blab no more. Here is the recipe:

Gluten-free Savory Waffles with Adobo Mole and Tomatillos

Savory Waffles with Adobo Mole and Tomatillos

A savory twist on waffles: Waffles with Adobo Mole and Tomatillos

For the waffles:
  • 1/2 c. each: teff flour, sorghum flour, tapioca starch, and sweet rice flour (or 2 c. of your favorite gluten-free flour)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of some sort (cow, soy, rice, whatev)
  • 4 T veggie oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 c. flax seed meal (optional – mainly for extra nutrition)
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (also optional)
Adobo Mole with Sauteed Tomatillos
  • 1 packet Mano Y Metate Adobo Mole Mix
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 c. vegetable broth
  • 3/4 c. raw, blanched almonds
  • 1/4 c. raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 c. cooked chickpeas
Sauteed Tomatillos
  • 8 medium tomatillos
  • 1/4 c. chopped cilantro
  • juice from half a lime
  • 1 T oil

Directions: Start with the mole: Heat 2 T oil in a sauce pan. Empty the contents of the packet of mole into the oil and saute for a minute or two, being careful not to burn. Add 1 c. vegetable broth and the almonds, sunflower seeds and chickpeas. Turn down the heat and simmer while you prepare the tomatillos and waffles.

Prepare the tomatillos: Peel the papery skin off the tomatillos and wash them to remove the sticky coating on the exterior. Dice the tomatillos into 1/4″-1/2″ cubes. In a large fry pan, heat 1 T oil. Add tomatillos and saute until they begin to soften. Add the cilantro and lime juice. Salt to taste. Turn down the heat to low and cover while you prepare the waffles.

Waffle-time: Combine dry ingredients for the waffles in a large bowl and mix to evenly distribute flours, spice, etc. Add eggs, oil, and the milk. Mix until smooth. Pour into greased, heated waffle iron in batches. Should make 4-6 flat waffles. Top each waffle with the mole and tomatillos. Thank heaven for your good fortune. Salty waffles!?! What could be better!?

The Philosopher's Kitchen by Francine Segan

The Philosopher's Kitchen by Francine Segan

I just came across the coolest cookbook. It’s called The Philosopher’s Kitchen by Francine Segan. Apparently, the author has spent time studying ancient texts to glean recipes from Ancient Greece and Rome which she then adapts for the modern kitchen. And, if we believe that eating 2 lbs of meat per person per day is a relatively modern occurrence (which we do), it should come as no surprise that there are many delicious vegetarian recipes in the book. And, BONUS! Most are also gluten-free. Recipes such as

Minted Garlic Spread
Red Lentils in Garlic-Roasted Artichoke Cups
Lemony Celery and Leek Soup
Acorn Squash with Pine Nuts and Honey

… Interesting, no?

Here’s more from her site

It has been implied by some pooh-poohers that my elaborate recipes are evidence of having too much time on my hands. What a joke. I am soooooo much busier than these people.

Curses! Just when you think you have the gluten-free diet down pat, some jerk food scientist sneaks up behind you and bites you in the ass. This time it was masquerading as the Easter Bunny. Insidious bastard.

Trader Joe's Jelly Beans have wheat!

Don't be fooled! Trader Joe's Jelly Beans have been kissed by the wheat-beast!

You wouldn’t think it, but the second ingredient in these Trader Joe’s jelly beans is “wheat syrup,” whatever that is. And I only found out after I’d eaten a handful. To add insult to injury, as much as I’d like to say it was my ever-vigilant self who discovered The Wheat-beast in the ingredient list, it was not. My husband absent-mindedly picked up the box and saw it. I thought they were safe. Boo.

Wheat syrup! What the!?

Wheat syrup! What the!?

See what I mean? This kerfuffle renews my distaste for Trader Joe’s. Not only have they betrayed me with their excessive packaging and their commitment to greenwashed foods, but now they’ve forced me to ingest The Beast in jelly bean form, on a holiday, no less. Boo, boo, and more boooooo.

Slowly but surely my cravings for Chinese food are being sated. I may not be able to order Chinese take-out anymore, but no need. Chinese food is mine again! I’d still be game for lessons from a real Chinese gourmet, though. If you see one wandering aimlessly on the street, holler. Mmm, kay!?

Mu Shu Vegetable

Gluten-Free Mu Shu Vegetable

Gluten-Free Mu Shu Vegetable

  • 4 eggs + 2 t. sesame oil, beaten
  • 3 T oil
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 head of green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 4 celery stalks, shredded
  • 4 oz. shiitake mushroom caps, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced into thin rounds
  • 1 oz. dried wood ear mushrooms, rehydrated in 1-2 cups hot water
  • 1 T grated ginger (lightly packed)
  • 1/4 c tamari
  • 1/2 c. rice cooking wine
  • 20-25 soft corn tortillas, warmed
  • double recipe of gluten-free Hoisin Sauce

A note on mu shu: Real mu shu gets its flava-flave from lotus shoots and wood ear mushrooms. Both can be found dried at Chinese markets, but seriously, peeps, how often will you have those chillin’ in your cupboard? If you do or if you can make a special trip to Chinatown, hot dang. If not, cabbage is a great substitute. As for the wood ear mushies, they actually sell them at Whole Paycheck. Niiiiiize.

Soak your wood ears in warm water (they may take up to 30 minutes to rehydrate, so be prepared) and prep the other ingredients. This’ll be a fast dish once all the parts are ready, so take the time now to get organized. Also, while you’re at it, turn the oven on to 200° F. Wrap a stack of corn tortillas in tin foil and place in the ov to warm. Word. Let the cooking begin.

Makie ze omelette: Put a bit of oil in a frying pan and heat until hot. Pour the egg beaten with sesame oil into the pan and turn down the heat to medium. As the omelette begins to cook, take a fork and pull the cooked edges towards the center of the pan while simultaneously tilting the pan so the uncooked egg runs out to fill the space you just created. Keep doing this until the egg is no longer runny. Now you’re ready to flip ‘er. That’s right. Man (or woman) up and just flip the beetch. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely.

Makie ze other schtuff:In a large wok or high-sided pot, put 3 T of oil and heat on high. Add garlic when hot and saute for a minute or two. Add the cabbage, celery, and shiitake mushrooms and saute until the cabbage begins to turn translucent. At this point you can add the remaining ingredients: the scallions and wood ear mushrooms, the ginger, and the rice wine and tamari. Saute until the cabbage is nice and tender, about 10 minutes.

Serve hot with the warmed tortillas and gluten-free hoisin sauce. As with real mu-shu, let everyone assemble their own at the table by taking a tortilla, spreading a bit of the hoisin on first and then spooning ~2-3 T of filling on top. Fold the tortilla in thirds over the filling and chow. Serves 3-4 if it’s the main dish. Alternatively, for a full gluten-free Chinese meal, serve with gluten-free hot and sour soup as an appetizer and gluten-free tofu with black bean sauce as another main dish. Then it’ll go much further!

Greetings from LA-LA-land (Los Angeles). It’s funny coming to the land of plenty from the midwest. In ways, it’s comforting and easy; there are so many people doing so many oddball diets that no one raises an eyebrow when you take twenty minutes to grill the waiter before ordering.

I’ll have the grilled panini sandwich, but hold the bread, and can I have avocado instead of turkey? Thanks. And oh, can I have the special house dressing on the side? Does that have any gluten in it? You’ll check? Thanks. And, one more thing…

Apparently, Californians aren’t afraid to order it how they want it and waiters will wait all day for you to spit out all the gory deets of your high maintenance order. Refreshing.

But here’s the catch. Although a ton of restaurants think they know what a gluten-free diet entails, many of them make honest mistakes when putting together a gluten-free menu. Check this menu out. See what I mean? More than half of the things on their supposedly “gluten-free” menu are not remotely gluten-free due to the fact that they’re fried in oil that has also crisped wheat-beasty things. Uhm… right.

So, moral of the story: never assume a restaurant knows what they’re talking about when they say their entrees are gluten-free. Always, always, always tell them you have a severe allergy and grill them on their ingredients! Don’t let the wheat-beast sneak up on you.