Gluten-Free Fried Feast

Summer is waning, the “snap” of the season has begun in earnest.  I open up the windows in the morning for warm air and shut them at night to keep out the chill. Sweatshirts and Ugg’s are reappearing from the back of the closet and football season is in full swing…the good, the bad and the ugly this season!

Today I am reminiscing about the gluten-free fried clams I had this past August in Cape Cod.  It had been 19 years since I tasted fried clams and I couldn’t believe my good fortune of finding Marathon Seafood since we vacation in Dennis!  All of their batter was gluten-free and so was their clam chowder.

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It had been so long that I could not recall if I preferred the clam strips or whole clam bellies, so I ordered the fried clam bellies.  And I ordered onion rings.  My son ordered the fish and chips.

I should have taken an “after” picture because we ate every single bite of both baskets. For 15 years we watched others eat their fried goodies at this one particular restaurant that my wheat-eating family members loved. The celiacs resented eating at this place since our menu choices were limited to two options, one of them being ice cream.  This was the year I had planned to skip it and my son piped up that he was done with bunless burgers and ice cream for dinner too.

So finding Marathon Seafood was perfect.  Going forward, if this place thrives and continues to be GF,  I will have a special night out with my son for a platter of onion rings and whatever battered sea food sounds good in the moment.

Kendall Egan

Gluten-Free French Bread Pizza

Remember those pre-celiac diagnosis Stouffer’s French Bread Pizzas?  It was such an easy supper, but the truth is that a French Bread Pizza is easy to make with fresh bread and a few key ingredients…GF or otherwise.

I sliced an Udi’s Baguette and topped it with marinara.  Fresh basil and some kalmata olives from the farmer’s market were my key ingredients for making this a personalized pizza.  The rest of the toppings included sweet tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and some pepperoni, nothing crazy or too out of the ordinary!  Check out how gooey and delicious my gluten-free french bread pizza looked straight from the oven…it was sooooo good.

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

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

Rather be GF than deal with “A New Montezuma”

The New York Times Magazine has an article this week, “A New Montezuma” where a woman is misdiagnosed as having celiac disease.  Spoiler alert, it was her blood pressure medication which caused celiac like symptoms, right down to small intestinal damage.

Doctors put her on a gluten-free diet and this is what the article goes on to say about her experience on the diet:

What was really strange, though, was that almost five years earlier, she had the exact same problem. She ended up in the hospital that time too. They told her then that she had celiac disease — an intolerance to gluten, a protein found in many types of grains. She started on a gluten-free diet while she was in the hospital, and the symptoms disappeared. She stuck with that awful diet for a couple of years. It wasn’t easy. She wasn’t allowed to eat the breads and pastas she loved. The past year or so, she had moved away from the diet and fared fine; so it was hard for her to believe that food had caused all this.”

My first reaction, how rude.  That “awful” diet made her symptoms of dozen rushed trips to the bathroom, stomach gurgling and major discomfort disappear.  If you go on to read this article…this is not a healthy person and is on a plethora of medicines.

Is it so awful to have the cure to a major illness be a diet?  Is eating processed snacks, bread and pasta that important AND has she not seen the selection of  gluten-free food these days?

I once had an acquaintance drop off a bag of gluten-free products.  Her daughter had been misdiagnosed with celiac disease so they had tried the gluten-free diet.  After they figured out it wasn’t celiac, she said to me “Oh, I am so glad she doesn’t have celiac disease because that gluten-free food is awful, even my dog won’t eat those bagels.”  Gee, thanks.

People with celiac disease get frustrated with celeb wheat bashers and trendy posers on the gluten-free diet.  But the people who say to a celiac’s face, “Oh thank God I don’t have to eat that awful food” are TRULY THE WORST.

So it’s not a baguette or a croissant, it suffices and has improved so much over the past twenty years.  Some of the pizzas are fantastic and some of the pastas are even better than a wheat pasta.

Plus, it keeps me healthy.  My cholesterol and blood pressure are in check.  My vitamin levels are good and by not eating gluten, I hope to stay off medicines for as long as possible.  I plan to stay out of emergency rooms and don’t make a dozen uncomfortable trips to the bathroom every day.

So for all of you who think the gluten-free diet is just awful, just keep you mouth shut when talking to a celiac.

Kendall Egan