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So it was recently Passover, which I secretly call Celiac Appreciation Week. Of course, the two don’t exactly overlap (I guess it depends on how strict your views are on what is and is not acceptable fare during that time period) but anywhoo, I always listen smugly to my friends who kvetch heartily about how hard it is to cut bread out of their diet for a WHOLE WEEK. Mmm-hmmm. Yes, it is hard. Try it for life. But as I’m sure you’ve all noticed, they’re making everything gluten-free these days. We even found gluten-free matzohs at our regular grocery store! Who knew? Now, to the purist, they are not acceptable Passover fare but I’m a celiac shiksa, what do you want?

Gluten-Free Matzoh Ball Soup

Gluten-Free Matzoh Ball Soup

Gluten-Free Matzoh-ball Soup

for the matzoh-balls:
1 (10.5 ounce) package gluten-free matzoh
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 eggs
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

if you’re making your own vegetable broth:
1/2 an onion
2 stalks celery, cut in half
2 carrots, cut in half
4 cloves garlic, whole
2 bay leaves
handful of parsley, whole
1 tsp peppercorns
salt to taste

for the soup:
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic

Make broth: Use your favorite gluten-free vegetable broth, or throw 1/2 an onion (quartered), 2 stalks celery (cut in half), 2 carrots (cut in half), a handful of fresh parsley, 4-5 cloves of garlic (peeled, but not crushed), 1 t. peppercorns, and 2 bay leaves into a large pot of boiling water. Let boil while you prepare the matzoh-ball batter and chop the soup ingredients.

Make the matzoh-balls: In a food processor, grind the gluten-free matzoh until a pebbly consistency. Pour in a large bowl and sprinkle with water until just moist (start with 1/4 c. and add tablespoon by tablespoon until just a teeny bit of dry crumbs remain). Salt & Pepper to taste. Add 3 eggs, parsley, and melted butter and mix well. Set aside.

Put it all togethuh: Strain the vegetable broth if you’re making your own, saving the liquid and discarding the large vegetable chunks and spices. Return liquid to your soup pot and add your diced celery, onion, carrot and parsley. Bring to a rolling boil. With your hands, form the matzoh-ball batter (mush? I don’t know if it really qualifies as “batter”) into small golfballs and drop them into the boiling broth. They will float relatively quickly. Let them boil for a few more minutes and serve. Makes many, many delightful matzoh-balls. Mmmm…

Could it be true?!? Have I discovered the answer to my four-year quest for gluten-free filo dough? This guy sounds legit, the video looks legit, and the baklava looks like it might just make my yiayia proud. Oh, nellie. You know what I’ll be up to this weekend!!!

I love it when being gluten-free allows me to be totally gluttonous. For example: crustless pumpkin pie. There’s no reason why I couldn’t make a gluten-free crust, it’s more a matter of why bother? It’s the filling I’m after.

Gluten-Free Crustless Pumpkin Pie

  • 2/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. white sugar
  • 2 T gluten-free flour (all-purpose or sweet rice)
  • 1 t. cinnamon-a-mon-amon
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 1/4 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground allspice
  • 1 1/2 c. pumpkin puree (save yourself the BPA and get it from a real pie pumpkin)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 T maple syrup

Combine first 8 ingredients in bowl and mix. Add wet ingredients and beat until smooth. Put in greased pie plate. Bake at 450 °F for 10 minutes. Then turn down to 325 °F and bake for another 40 minutes until set.

Bi bim bap, anyone? I used to think that was safe for celiacs, and I especially relished the thick, red sauce, gochujang, that came with it. I even found it at an Asian market and got through an entire jar before bothering to read the ingredient list. No surprise, the wheat-beast was featured prominently on the list. Dangit. So the search was on for a recipe. Unfortunately, I came face-to-face with the following line from Wikipedia:

It has been made at home in Korea since the 16th century, after chili peppers were first introduced. The making of gochujang at home began tapering off when commercial production started in the early 1970s and came into the mass market. Now, homemade gochujang can hardly be found.

Hardly be found?!?! Was this written in the age of The Internets?! Impossiblum. I set to searchin’.

Mercifully, I found two recipes relatively quickly. I tried this one first, from the Shizouka Gourmet. Since the measurements are all in grams and mL (awkward!) I’ve included the conversions below. Then just follow Shizouka’s directions. Deeeeeeeelish!

Gochujang: Korean Spicy Bean Paste

  • 1 1/8 c. water
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. + 1 T Korean chili powder (I suppose you could substitute any ol’ chili powder, but real chiliheads would cry foul)
  • 1 c. miso paste (be sure to read the ingredient list because some misos are fermented with barley)
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 t. sake
  • 1 t. rice vinegar

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!?

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!

Gluten-Free Artisanal Loaf: Look at those air bubbles!!

Gluten-Free Artisanal Loaf: Look at those air bubbles!!

I just stumbled upon this gluten-free artisanal loaf recipe recently and decided to give it a whirl. I think it’s the best gluten-free bread recipe I’ve come across. I followed their directions to a tee, making a half recipe to start. The only change I made was to cook the loaf at 450° rather than their suggested 500°. I also disagree with their advice about waiting until the loaf cools completely to eat it. Wait about ten minutes for it to go from insanely hot to warm. But then dive in because it would be a cryin’ shame not to taste this bread’s spongy goodness while still warm. Oh, nellie. My belly!

Woohoo! I did it! Very respectable gluten-free hoisin sauce is mine, allllll mine. And yours, too. If you want it. Let me share.

Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce... one step closer to Gluten-free Mu Shu!

So some serious googling returned the results that hoisin is made from fermented soy bean paste, among other things. Armed with my new-found knowledge I hit Chinatown and found me some of this alleged fermented hoisin magic. The label said the only ingredient was fermented soy bean paste, but I was suspicious. Fermented with what? Wikipedia, oh great fountain of knowledge, says the soy beans are fermented using either wheat flour, pulverized mantou, rice, or sugar. Hmm… what are the odds… BAH! Until someone develops a quick and easy at-home gluten test, I’m going to avoid the sketchball Chinatown bean paste and go with what I know.

Luckily, what I know is pretty dern good.

Gluten-Free Hoisin Sauce*

  • 1/4 c. sweet red bean paste (the smooth variety)**
  • 2 T wheat-free tamari
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • dash of white pepper
  • (optional) squirt of Sriracha chili (or “Freshred Chili” if you have it)

Combine all of the above ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for a week.

*Before you get all sassy and tell me that Premier Japan makes a gluten-free hoisin sauce, I want to save you the disappointment of buying and trying it. Honestly, it tastes like orange-flavored BBQ barf. Not even close to hoisin. I’m not trying to be snobby here – bleeeeve you me, my heart skipped a thousand beats when I saw it on the grocery store shelf. But it really tastes absorootly nothing like any hoisin I’ve ever had. Sad, but less so because of the above recipe.

**If you can’t find smooth red bean paste in Asian specialty markets, sweet red bean paste is easy-po-cheezy to make at home. has a recipe.

Gluten-free Pizza á la greca: with spinach, feta, tomatoes, and dried olives

Mmmm… zaaaa.

Gluten-Free Pizza à la Greca: with Spinach, Feta, & Olives

  • One package Gillian’s Wheat, Gluten & Dairy Free Pizza Dough (available at Whole Paycheck)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pint fresh cherry tomatoes
  • 8 oz. chopped spinach
  • 2 oz. feta cheese
  • 1/4 c. pitted olives, coarsely chopped (try Penna’s Olivasecca – they’re amazing!)
  • 1-2 T steel cut oats or corn meal
  • oregano, salt & pepper to taste

This is a great quick meal if you have the foresight to thaw the pizza dough the night before. Of course, you can use a different pizza dough that doesn’t require thawing. Do a little exploring in the frozen foods section of your gross-hairy store and see what you can come up with.

Preheat the oven to 400° F. Slice the onion and garlic and saute in olive oil until glassy-looking. Add the can of crushed tomatoes and let cook down until there is very little liquid left. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook until their skins start to split – approximately 10 minutes on medium high heat. Add the spinach; saute another 5ish minutes.

Cut a large piece of parchment paper and set on a flat surface. Sprinkle 1-2 T steel cut oats or coarse corn meal (polenta works) in a circle about 6-8″ in diameter. Flatten the pizza dough into a 1″-thick disc and place on the oats/grits. Roll the dough out until it is 12-14″ in diameter. Pinch the edges so you have a little ridge all the way around. Spoon the tomato/spinach/onion mixture onto the crust and distribute evenly. Spread the crumbled feta cheese and chopped olives on top. Sprinkle with oregano, salt & pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust turns golden brown. Ta-zaaa!

This recipe for Mushroom Burgers with Almonds and Spinach from the New York Times looks good for all you vegheads out there. Of course bulgur is a wheat-saster, but you could try substituting gluten-free quick-cook oats or gluten-free bread crumbs instead. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out!