Toast

The Englishman in New York likes his toast done on one side, says Sting.  I like mine burnt around the edges and dripping with butter.

Back in the day, no matter how hard you tried, it was impossible to get a little color on toasted gluten-free bread.  My mother called it “asbestos bread” because it just refused to toast.

Things have changed as breads just keep getting better and better, using alternative and more healthful grains.  I can achieve a perfect golden brown color with crispy edges with Rudi’s or Udi’s gluten-free bread varieties.  When I made bread, Bob’s Red Mill’s bread would also toast to a crusty texture and achieve a honeyed hue.

What will never change for me, gluten-free or otherwise, is that my toast must have pools of butter.  I love it.  I never switched to a margarine or olive oil spread because butter is my one true indulgence.  I want the real thing in whatever I am making.

Whether it is a sweet cream or salted or Irish version of butter, I prefer butter to any type of spread.  My mother served up toast dripping with butter when I was a kid and it is an acquired taste.  I would rather do without toast at all if I could not put butter on it!

toast and coffee

Yes, I choose peanut butter or cream cheese or even jam every now and then, but if I could start every day with a steaming cup of dark roasted coffee and two slices of heavily buttered gluten-free toast, I would never complain.

Kendall Egan

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GF Panko Crusted Cod

I aim to serve fish as many times per month as I possibly can.  Everyone in my family eats it without complaint so it is high on my “happy and healthy” dinner choices.

I try to buy non-farmed varieties and I really try to pick a fish that has not come from the other side of the world…somewhere up and down the eastern seaboard is just fine with me.  I do pay attention to the heavy metal and overfished warnings as well.  And finally, I take a look at the price.  Sometimes the filets are more expensive than prime beef!

Whole Foods had some beautiful cod filets last week and they are much easier to cook in a saute pan versus a grill so it was perfect for a cold winter evening.  I bought enough to feed the five of us.  For this dinner, I used the Aleia’s Panko to make a fantastic crust for the filets.

aleias panko

A quick rinse of the filets and a dredge in seasoned gluten-free flour starts the process. I am a big fan of King Arthur’s Gluten-Free Flour for things like this because I only need to add a touch of salt, pepper and garlic powder and it sticks like regular flour.  I then dunk the fillet in an egg white and milk wash and mash it into the panko.

One thing that I think is really important is to rest the filets with the crust on it so that they dry a bit.  I find that it helps the crust stick to the fish.  The other important things are a hot pan, good oil and only turning the filet one time!

We have everything from tartar sauce and lemon wedges to siracha, cocktail sauce, ranch dressing and wasabi mayo on the table for dipping sauces.  I never much cared what the kids put on the fish, I only cared that the ate the fish!

The panko crust is absolutely perfect and no one asks, or cares, if it is gluten-free.  I know it is, but the crust is also a lightly toasted, golden brown with a crackly crust holding together a flaky white fish filet.  Yum!

Kendall Egan

Mainstream Recipe = Gluten-Free Success!

I was browsing through a past issue of Martha Stewart Living and came across a dessert recipe that I thought would be easy to make gluten free.  The most important ingredient was pretzels and I knew Glutino pretzels would work well.

I think it is important to remember that mainstream recipes are a great resource as long as you have some gluten-free brands you know will substitute one for one for a gluten containing ingredient.  As for this dessert, these cookies were the perfect salty/sweet/chocolate/peanut combination of flavors to serve with a cup of coffee in order to continue the fun dinner party conversation.

I cut them into two bite squares so that people would try a small piece and go back for seconds.  Everyone had seconds.  The host and hostess of the dinner party kept some of the cookies for their kids and everyone took home a goody bag.  I had left some of the misshapen squares for my kids, but they were a little miffed that I did not bring home more.

Kendall Egan

pretzel cookies

Wellness

One of my new year’s resolutions was to get one massage per month.  January and February went by without a massage, so I was not going to let March come and go without even an attempt to get a massage.

Massage always seemed to be something that was a luxury, like a facial.  But the more I have read about the health benefits of massage, I have tried to wrap my head around considering it maintenance.  I am putting massage in the same category as coloring my roots, even though it took me two months to get started.

I found a massage therapist and the first thing she said to me was that she would “unhook my shoulders from my ears.”  She nailed it without ever laying a hand on me!  We discussed pressure and parts of the body and then she got to work.

There were knots between my neck and shoulders, aka trigger points, that she really worked on. It was this bizarre pleasurable pain.  Actually, the front of my neck was clearly locking in tension as well and that was when I said “ouch” in my out loud voice.  She asked me to try to breath through one more because it would feel so much better when she was done.

The point here is that I can take really good care of my body through exercise and a healthy diet of plants, lean protein and gluten-free food.  I try really hard to get enough sleep, drink green tea, and use chemical free skin care products.  But, I have to manage stress and spending the time and money on massage is going to help me do this.

Today I have a fuller range of motion in my shoulders and neck.  She said she would like to work on my hips next time as well.  I decided the only way I was going to keep my new year’s resolution was to commit fully to a plan…I purchased 12 massages.

On a path to overall wellness starting now…the gluten-free diet is only step one!

Kendall Egan

Socially Awkward Celiac

Due to my line of work, two of my google alerts are set for “celiac” and “gluten-free.”  I was reading through them yesterday and was cracking up over one of the alerts, “How to be Gluten-Free Without Being Socially Awkward.” 

I clicked through the to skim the content when my eyes glazed over “Let’s start with the dinner party.”  Holy Crap…brain synapses started firing because, indeed, I had a dinner party on this coming Saturday with someone new to my orbit and the hostess had no clue that I am a celiac!  What if the entire dinner was pasta based and I sat there and pushed it around my plate?  How socially awkward would that be and how BAD would the hostess feel that she served pasta after she found out my GF status?

I immediately sent the following email:

Hi –

So I was just reading through my google alerts and was laughing out loud at this one article, “How to avoid being gluten-free and socially awkward,” and then I remembered I had a dinner party this Saturday!!

Prepare or order whatever you had planned, but I am a celiac and gluten intolerant.  I forgot to fill you in on that weeks ago but I just work my way around gluten at parties but don’t want to alarm the hostess if I choose not to eat a dish.

Can I bring desserts? Or anything else?

So sorry for late notice…just slipped my mind completely. Protein, rice, potatoes, salads….all great…I am not picky just gluten-free!

The hostess replied:

That’s so interesting since just last week Ariana declared that she will no longer eat gluten. I think it must be a trendy thing at school? She has no allergies at all. So I have been overloaded with information on gluten lately!!!  At the moment, we have a lot of gluten-free food in the house oddly, since no one has a gluten issue!

We were thinking about a chicken dish with potatoes and salad, but John and the boys are away in Arizona this week enjoying warm weather. John is the cook so I’m leaving it to him when they return on Friday. Happy to accommodate since gluten-free has been top of mind lately!

Please bring a dessert, by all means gluten-free! Thanks.

My first thought was …PHEW…at least she has heard all about gluten-free food and then my second thought was, why the heck is Ariana doing this to her mother?  She is one of my daughter’s friends so I am going to have to ask why this perfectly healthy young woman is going GF.   There are a couple of celiacs among that friend group and even my daughter says that Glutino pretzels are far better than any gluten containing pretzels, but all any of them really need to do is cut out heavily processed garbage and add more fruits and vegetables!

But, back to the dinner party, I am safe from being socially awkward!  Plus, I have two gluten-free desserts planned.  The first is white chocolate dipped strawberries because they are a crowd pleaser.  The second is this chocolate, peanut, pretzel bark recipe that I found in a magazine.  Glutino pretzels will be perfect and the hostess’ daughter will be pleased.

Kendall Egan

Magazine Musings, GF topics!

My  neighbor subscribes to every health, fitness and fashion magazine that ever existed.  We were chatting over the hedges and she asked if I would like to read them before they got recycled.  In the publishing biz, this is known as pass along readership.  It does truly exist, but it is always a made up number of “double or triple” the distribution.

But, as a devout magazine reader I was ready, willing and delighted to be her pass along buddy!  It is like Christmas morning when she brings her monthly stash over to my house.  I shove aside the daily newspapers and put the books down, because for several days I will be completely entertained by a huge stack of magazines.

Currently, I am flipping through a stack of January and February editions and the one thing they all have in common is a gluten-free section, recipe, medical alert or story about the diet. What a signal that the gluten-free diet is completely mainstream! Seventeen years ago there were a handful of people who could define gluten, now there are alternative flour articles popping up in monthly magazines.

I still really don’t care if Kim Kardashian, Kerry Washington or Gwyneth Paltrow follow a gluten-free diet but I love a good gluten-free food tip or fun recipe.  Many of the authors of these pieces are gluten-free bloggers I have met over the years who have honed their recipe skills or product research to such a high quality that mainstream editors print their stuff on a routine basis!

It is great that gluten-free as a topic of interest continues because I used to feel like a complete weirdo when I had to explain the “411” about gluten to everyone every day.  Those days are over, pretty much everyone knows someone who is gluten-free.  Here is my prediction, gluten-free topics will continue to appear in these magazines for a long, long time!  Hoo-ray.

Kendall Egan

#SnacksInMyPurse

At the Oscars, the tweet heard round the world was Ellen’s selfie but the tweet heard round the gluten-free world was Kerry Washington’s.

I have no idea why Kerry Washington is gluten-free, and I don’t really care, but she nailed it with her hash tag #SnacksInMyPurse.  Haven’t we all been there?  Carting around almonds or a protein bar of some sort is standard operating procedure as I travel or go to meetings.  I used to carry around gluten-free snacks for my son as well…he takes care of himself these days!

In recent years, I have moved on to smaller handbags just because I can always find something to eat.  Awareness of gluten-free issues and availability of product means that a gluten-free menu or a selection of KIND bars is never too far away.

And as Kerry Washington reported from the green room, gluten-free pizza is easy to find these days as well!

Kendall Egan