Saturday, July 13, 2013

America's Test Kitchen Gluten-Free Bread Rankings

What is America's Test Kitchen? 

The best place to get recipes, bar none.

If I need non-specialty-GF recipes, like for mashed potatoes or roasted asparagus, this is where I get them. They really try every recipe and tweak it 'til it's perfect. Their recipes work, every time, perfectly, and they're better than all the other versions out there.

So which gluten-free bread won? 

Udi's. Did you think it would be anyone else?

Which ones were not recommended? 

Yeah, about like you might've thought.

Hey! Folks at America's Test Kitchen! 

Please, please, for the love of all that is holy, write a gluten-free cookbook, or else I'll have to take matters into my own hands!


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Arsenic in Rice: What does this mean if you’re gluten-free

UPDATE: FDA Sets Arsenic Level for Apple Juice at 10 PPB (7/12/13)

(Source) Even apple juice has an upper limit for the concentration of arsenic allowed. Why not rice? Why doesn't the FDA make their results more clear and include brands of rice that they tested? See below for more details.

The FDA’s Study on Arsenic in Rice

In September of 2012, the US FDA released the results of a comprehensive study detailing the relative concentrations of arsenic in rice.

Say, WHAT?

Arsenic? In rice? Arsenic as in Arsenic and Old Lace like how the old ladies were killing people by putting arsenic in elderberry wine? Arsenic as in IT’S-RAT-POISON-AND-WILL-KILL-YOU-DEAD?

Yeah, arsenic. And it’s in rice. Quite a lot of it.

It seems that a lot of rice paddies are down south and are repurposed cotton fields. Back in the olden days, they used to sprinkle arsenic on the cotton crops to kill the cotton boll weevil because, you know, it’s not like anybody was going to eat the cotton.

Then cotton became less profitable. Rice became more profitable. And those arsenic-laced fields were then used to grow rice.

Now, the FDA says that they aren’t suggesting anyone change their diet, but people should “continue to eat a balanced diet that includes a wide variety of grains – not only for only for good nutrition but also to minimize any potential consequences from consuming any one particular food.” Source

Yeah, great. I heard somewhere that they’re recommending that people eat two servings or fewer of rice per week.

Per week? Heck, quite often I eat more than two servings of rice per day!

Fudge. And not the good kind.

To consider the problems with arsenic, the US EPA says, “Non-cancer effects can include thickening and discoloration of the skin, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting; diarrhea; numbness in hands and feet; partial paralysis; and blindness. Arsenic has been linked to cancer of the bladder, lungs, skin, kidney, nasal passages, liver, and prostate.”

The EPA continues, “EPA has set the arsenic standard for drinking water at .010 parts per million (10 parts per billion) to protect consumers served by public water systems from the effects of long-term, chronic exposure to arsenic.” Parts per billion is about the same as micrograms per liter of water (mcg/L). Since rice is more dense than water, the ppb to mcg/L conversion ratio is different.

10 parts per billion (ppb) is really, really tiny, and that’s what they set the upper limit at for drinking water. New Jersey set the limit lower, at 5 ppb, and that’s New Jersey. (Hello, all my peeps from Exit 8A!)

Generally, anything above 3 mcg is bad, and anything above 5mcg is really, really bad.

The FDA’s Data

Some of the highest concentrations were found in: Source
Product:                               Specific:                               Origin:   Mcg of As:
Rice (non-Basmati)          Wild Rice                              USA                       6.0
Rice (non-Basmati)          Extra Long Grain Rice      USA                       6.9
Rice (non-Basmati)          Extra Long Grain               USA                       6.8
Rice (non-Basmati)          Brown Rice Long Grain   Unknown            9.7
Rice (non-Basmati)          Long Grain Brown            USA                       9.1
Rice (non-Basmati)          Long Grain Brown Rice   Unknown            10.2
Rice (non-Basmati)          Brown Natural                   USA                       11.1
Basmati Rice                       Brown                                   USA                       9.0
Basmati Rice                       Basmati Brown Rice        USA                       9.0
Basmati Rice                       Organic Long Grain Brown USA                  6.6

From a cursory glance down the list, it appears that Long Grain is bad, Brown is bad, and Long Grain Brown is really bad. US-grown Brown Basmati is bad.

Better choices:
Product:                               Specific:                               Origin:   Mcg of As:
Basmati Rice                       Fully Cooked                      India      Undetectable/Trace
Basmati Rice                       Pure Basmati Rice            India      Undetectable/Trace
Basmati Rice                       Basmati Rice                       India                      1.8
Basmati Rice                       White Basmati                   USA                       1.2
Basmati Rice                       Organic Brown Basmati USA                       3.0
Basmati Rice                       California White Organic USA                      2.3
Basmati Rice                       Organic White Basmati  USA                       2.3

Some specialized GF products:
Product:                               Specific:                                                               Origin:   Mcg of As:
Rice Cereal          Rice Squares, Crispy Toasted GF                                       NR          1.9
Rice Cereal          Cream of Rice                                                                    NR          2.6
Rice Cereal          Whole Grain Puffed Rice, whole grain brown rice               NR       1.5
Rice Cereal          Crispy Rice Gluten Free Whole Grain Brown                      NR          2.9
Rice Cereal          Crispy Rice Gluten Free Whole Grain Brown                     NR          3.2
Rice Cereal          Organic Puffs                                                                     NR          1.5
Rice Cereal          Crispy Rice Gluten-free Whole Grain Brown Rice               NR          3.2
Rice Cereal          Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal (infant)                           NR          3.2
Rice Cereal          Rice Chex Gluten-free                                                       NR          4.3
Rice Cereal          Organic Whole Grain Rice Cereal (infant)                           NR          2.9
Rice Cereal          Honey Rice Gluten Free                                                    NR          4.1
Rice Cereal          Organic Brown Rice Crisps                                              NR          7.1
Rice Cereal          Organic Brown Rice Crisps                                              NR          7.3
Rice Cereal          Gluten Free Cream of Brown Rice                                    NR          9.7
Rice Cakes           Brown Rice Organic Salt-free                                          NR          3.8
Rice Cakes           Caramel Corn Gluten-free                                               NR          3.1
Rice Cakes           Brown Salt Free                                                              NR          4.8
Rice Cakes           Butter Popped Corn                                                       NR          5.6
Rice Cakes           Lightly Salted                                                                  NR          4.6
Rice Cakes           Salt Free                                                                         NR          6.3
Rice Cakes           Salted Plain Gluten Free                                                  NR          7.6
Rice Cakes           Lightly Salted                                                                  NR          7.7
Rice Cakes           Sodium Free Plain Gluten Free                                        NR          8.2
Rice Cakes           Salt Free                                                                        NR          8.2
Rice Cakes           Salt Free                                                                         NR          8.0
Rice Cakes           Salt Free                                                                         NR          8.0

On the “good news” front, most of the “rice milks” tested came in at undetectable levels, though a few spiked up into the 3 mcg range, which still isn’t too bad.

Consumer Reports Study

Consumer Reports did their own study with their own lab tests. (Consumer Reports) Here are some highlights:

“We already know that high concentrations of arsenic in drinking water result in the highest known toxic substance disease risks from any environmental exposure,” says Allan Smith, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley. “So we should not be arguing to wait for years until we have results of epidemiologic studies at lower arsenic intake, such as from rice consumption, to take action.” His studies of arsenic in public water in Chile and Argentina helped show that it causes lung and bladder cancer and other diseases.”
“In brands for which we tested both a white and a brown rice, the average total and inorganic arsenic levels were higher in the brown rice than in the white rice of the same brand in all cases. Among all tested rice, the highest levels of inorganic arsenic per serving were found in some samples of Martin Long Grain Brown rice, followed by Della Basmati Brown, Carolina Whole Grain Brown, Jazzmen Louisiana Aromatic Brown, and Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown. But we also found samples of brown rice from Martin and others with inorganic arsenic levels lower than that in some white rice.”
“In brown rice, only the hull is removed. Arsenic concentrations found in the bran that is removed during the milling process to produce white rice can be 10 to 20 times higher than levels found in bulk rice grain.”

“Among the four infant cereals tested, we found varying levels of arsenic, even in the same brand. Gerber SmartNourish Organic Brown Rice cereal had one sample with the highest level of total arsenic in the category at 329 ppb, and another sample had the lowest total level in this category at 97.7 ppb. It had 0.8 to 1.3 micrograms of inorganic arsenic per serving.”


Consumer Reports Data

In general, Consumer Reports found much higher concentrations of arsenic in rice than did the FDA. Yikes. They also divulged the brand names that they tested. 

Here’s some selected data: (Source). Remember, anything more than 10 is bad. Note that these data are presented in ppb, while the above data are in micrograms, so they are not directly comparable. 

Product:                                                                                                               Total Arsenic in ppb
365 Everyday Value Long Grain Brown (Whole Foods)                                     282
365 everyday Value Organic Indian Basmati White (Whole Foods)                     100
Archer Farms Organic Basmati (Target)                                                                62
Canilla Extra Long Grain Enriched                                                                       431
Carolina Whole Grain Brown                                                                              307
Goya Enriched Medium Grain                                                                             297
Great Value Brown (Walmart)                                                                            360
Lundberg California White Basmati California                                                      62
Lundberg Short Grain Brown California                                                               204
Mahatma Extra Long Grain Enriched                                                                   284
Rice Select Organic Texmati White                                                                      917
Trader Joe's White Basmati From India                                                                85
Arrowhead Mills Organic Sweetened Rice Flakes                                                 963
DeBoles Rice Spirals                                                                                            300
Trader Joe's Organic Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli                                                       347
Arrowhead Mills Organic Brown Rice Flour                                                           565
Arrowhead Mills Organic White Rice Flour                                                            373

Some Conclusions

So, I have laid it out for y’all: we need to limit our rice consumption. We celiacs and other gluten-free folks have a special problem in that we also need to avoid wheat, rye, and barley, too. Gar.

Here’s what I’m doing: I’m trying to eat rice in any form no more than once per day, and when I do, it’s white Basmati from India. I usually get the Tilda brand from an Indian Grocery store.

As an additional headache, the FDA recently stopped all imports of Basmati rice from India because they found some rat poop and a couple bugs in some. (Source.) Personally, I’ve never found any suspect “filth” in any bag of Tilda or any other brands, and I wash my rice at least three times and then I cook it in boiling water. That will kill anything biological that came along for the ride, but you can’t get rid of an element that’s been intercalated into the cells of the rice grain, such as arsenic.

I’m also eating a lot more quinoa, corn, and potatoes. I will post my recipe for Gluten-Free Hearty Quinoa Blender Bread soon.

In the meantime, nosh on my GF Company Corn Bread, which is rice-free. Company Cornbread (Much like Marie Calendar's)

Additionally, check out these blogs and blog posts, all of which have rice-free (and GF) recipes or info.



Friday, August 31, 2012

Easy Way to Separate Egg Whites and Yolk

I could not believe this and had to share it with you.

Yes, she's speaking Mandarin (I think), but you can just mute the sound. Her technique is impeccable and amazing.


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Thanks for the Great Review, M.A.G.!

My Asperger's Girl, a wonderful GF, CF, other-F, and autism-resource blog, gave What To Eat When You Eat Out GLUTEN-FREE a great review!

"What to Eat Out When You Eat Out Gluten Free is jam-packed with information - including the author's own dining experiences, impressions and recommendations. There are over 60 restaurants reviewed in this book.  Restaurants with good GF selections are listed in the index first, then all restaurants reviewed are listed in alphabetical order, and then a few restaurants are listed by region.  Each restaurant name in the index links to its respective page in the book where you can read details such as whether or not a GF menu is available, how responsive and knowledgeable staff/management (and the company as a whole) are to GF requests and issues like cross contamination, a list of gluten free offerings at that particular restaurant (at the time of publishing), and menu items that might seem innocuous but that are unsafe (such as hidden gluten in beverages, condiments, etc.).  Each restaurant description also includes a link to its website if available and also a link back to the index.  The book is easy to navigate and easy to read.  As a gluten-phobe, I would recommend this book as a handy resource to help take some of the guesswork out of dining out gluten free." 


http://myaspergersgirl.blogspot.com/2012/06/what-to-eat-when-you-eat-out-gluten.html

Thank you!

TK

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Great Review for "What To Eat When You Eat Out Gluten-Free" (60 Chain Restaurants)

Hello fellow GF-ers.

"What To Eat When You Eat Out Gluten-Free" has just gotten another great review from Erin at My Asperger's Girl blog.

Read the Review here. 

Thanks to Erin and her great blog!

Which, by the way, has great GF/CF and other-F recipes.

TK Kenyon

Thursday, June 7, 2012

New Screening Test for Celiac Disease Coming ... well ... not very soon.


But it's really cool.

It's a test on a chip that will be performed via a blood test in a doctor's office and simultaneously checks for genetic predisposition and presence of antibodies.

That'll make diagnosis a heck of a lot easier.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606092619.htm

Monday, May 7, 2012

Domino's Now Has Gluten-Free Pizza! (Sort Of.)

Here's the link to the ABC News story. 
“Offering Domino’s Gluten Free Crust is a big step for us, and we wanted to make sure we were doing it right,” Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle said in a statement.
“The prevalence of gluten sensitivity has become a real issue with significant impact on consumer choice, and we want to be a part of the solution,” he said.
Although the crust is gluten-free, the company only recommends that those with a mild gluten allergy enjoy the pizza.  It doesn’t recommend the crust for those with Celiac disease because it can’t fully guarantee the product hasn’t come in contact with gluten.

WT(G)F?

So, it's just for people who are pretending to have gluten sensitivities? Or people who "prefer" to eat gluten-free because it's a fad?

You know, I thought that when Gluten-Freeness became a fad, that we'd get more and better choices, not worse choices. If, indeed, this pizza is "sort of gluten free," then some people who really have a huge reaction, like me, might try it and get sick.

This is baloney, and not gluten-free baloney.

I admit, I'm tempted. The GF crust only comes in a small 10" size, according to the website. Because I live in BFE, I can't even get delivery. (ARGH!)

See? I'M TEMPTED! I'M TEMPTED TO EAT THE SORT-OF GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA!

Argh.

Now, instead of knowing that Domino's if off-limits, I'm tempted to try it and see if I get the squirts.

Bah.

I think I'm going to have to try it before I update my ebook: What To Eat When You Eat Out GLUTEN-FREE (60 Chain Restaurants.) 


Tempted. Argh.

TK


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

NEW Ebook: Just in Time for the Summuh People: What To Eat When You Eat Out Gluten-Free in Mystic CT / Westerly, Rhode Island Beaches

Yes! Just in time for you Summuh People to hit Mystic Connecticut and the Rhode Island Beaches, looking for gluten-free food, here's my new ebook:






If you travel to the Mystic CT / Westerly RI Beaches area and eat gluten-free, this indispensable ebook lists local restaurants and local chains that serve gluten-free food.

Eating out at restaurants with celiac disease or other gluten reaction is playing gluten roulette. You might be fine. You might get really sick. Traveling makes it worse. You can find yourself in an unfamiliar city with no time to research a safe little GF bistro, if there is one.

This indispensable reference ebook lists local restaurant chains, hyperlinked from an index, with details like:

- Whether they have a gluten-free menu and where (In the menu? Separate menu? In a binder?)
- All the items on the menu that are GF
- Whether they carry GF specialty products like GF hamburger buns or pasta
- Links to more allergen information and locations on the web
- Personal notes and an analysis of web information about that restaurant

This ebook is optimized for smartphones, ereaders, and tablets.

TK Kenyon writes the blog The Celiac Maniac, a blog devoted to eating gluten-free safely. Kenyon, who holds a PhD in microbiology and has done postdoctoral research in neuroscience, is a regulatory consultant for the pharmaceutical industry and frequently travels for work. She was diagnosed with celiac disease 10 years ago and is really good at not getting glutenized.

This ebook is 99c at Amazon (above icon) or is FREE for all ereaders, tablets, and phones at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/157008 . Coming soon to Barnes & Noble and iTunes/iBooks. 

GF-ly yours, 
TK the Celiac Maniac 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

FREE -- It's FREE! Get "What to Eat When You Eat Out Gluten-Free Phoenix / Scottsdale Arizona Edition FREE!

Yes, it's free.

If you're going to the Valley of the Sun for spring break or to get out of your winter climate, consider downloading this ebook to your Kindle or the Kindle app on your smartphone, iPad, or other tablet.




For each of the listings, it includes everything on the menu that you can eat, the website, address, and other information about the restaurant that you should know.

AND IT'S FREE!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Red Robin's New Gluten-Free Buns: Amazing!

Have eaten Red Robin's GF buns now a couple times.

Yum, yum, McYummity yum.

They're so good, they're scary.

I thought I'd been glutenized because I thought there was no way that bun could be gluten free, except for the complete lack of symptoms. Those buns don't crumble. They don't even get stale in the fridge. They're fantastic.

Get thee to a Red Robin and try that GF bun. Awesome.

Note: they make GF fries in a dedicated fryer, too. Holey moley!

(Note: Picture is of a regular bun. GF bun does not have sesame seeds.)

TK the Celiac Maniac

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ebook: 60 Chain Restaurants and What To Eat Gluten Free

Howdy fellow GF-ers,

I've written an ebook with information about being GF and eating in US chain restaurants called "What To Eat When You Eat Out, Gluten Free." There's an Amazon button over there at the left.

It's also available for all ereaders on Smashwords: All Ereaders Link .

It is now also available at iBooks, Kobo, BN.com, Sony store, etc.

Eating out at restaurants with celiac disease or other gluten reaction is playing gluten roulette. You might be fine. You might get really sick.

Traveling makes it worse. You can find yourself in an unfamiliar city with no time to research a safe little GF bistro, if there is one.

This indispensable reference ebook lists 60 restaurant chains, hyperlinked from an index, from Applebee’s to Z Pizza, with details like:

  • Whether they have a gluten-free menu and where (On the menu? Separate menu? In a binder?)
  • All the items on the menu that are GF
  • Whether they carry GF specialty products like GF hamburger buns or pasta
  • Links to more allergen information and locations on the web
  • Personal notes and an analysis of web information about that chain


Thirty-three restaurant chains are rated as Good for Gluten Free. A separate hyperlinked index directs you to just the good ones.

Seven are rated as Not Recommended due to serious concerns, several of which advertise that they have special gluten-free menus and selections. Have you eaten at one of them? Did you get sick?

As a bonus, excellent individual restaurants are listed by state.

This ebook is optimized for smartphones, ereaders, and tablets.


At the front, there are 3 hyperlinked indices:

  • Index of Good GF Restaurants
  • Index of All Restaurants
  • Index of Local GF Restaurants by Location/State


If you like it, please review it!

Thank you!
TK, the Celiac Maniac

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where to Connect with TK Kenyon -- Google+ and Goodreads and Twitter, oh my!

Google+ is the hottest new site, right? https://plus.google.com/114092439743576593278/posts 
If you’re into science, connect with me here: http://www.linkedin.com/in/tkkenyon
Great blog for creative writing tips. http://tkkenyon.blogspot.com/
I even MySpace, occasionally. http://www.myspace.com/tkkenyon
Tweet with me! I tweet links to free e-fiction on the web and happy thoughts! https://twitter.com/#!/TKKenyon
A great place to see what I’m up to, writing-wise. http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/malachitepublishing
Shelfari is another great book site: http://www.shelfari.com/tkkenyon
Connect with me on Goodreads: A great site for readers: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/202809.T_K_Kenyon
All my blogs: Gluten-Free, creative writing, other stuff. http://www.blogger.com/profile/13756031460622964015
Like to blow things up? Here’s a guy who did it for a living. Now that’s job satisfaction! http://www.chemheritage.org/discover/magazine/articles/26-4-science-and-celebrity.aspx
Having trouble with your overprotective parents? Try being Indian, in the theater, and lesbian. http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/66664 http://www.amazon.com/Nag-Hindi-Cobra-ebook/dp/B0055WXKDW

Friday, January 14, 2011

Subway is testing GF buns in Texas!

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is pleased to tell you that Subway, the sub sandwich store, is testing GF buns in Texas!

<-- Actual picture of the buns!

If you live in Texas, by all means, hie thee to a Subway and support this wonderful initiative.

I'm going to write to the corporation right now (here's where you can, too) and ask them to take this nationwide.

There's a brownie, too!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2 Gluten-Free Mentions on Rules of Engagement, CBS Show

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is amused to tell you that one of the writers on Rules of Engagement, an excellent CBS show, must be a celiac or gluten-free.

A season or two ago in Episode 2.9, when Adam's hippie mother visited and drove Jennifer to distraction, Jennifer said that Adam's mother only ate gluten-free food, and she wasn't sure what gluten was, but she was pretty sure that she liked it.

Yes, Jennifer, you do like it.

Then this week, Timmy and Russell fly somewhere, and Timmy brings a brown bag lunch. He says that he has dietary restrictions and isn't sure the airline will be able to provide him with gluten-free food.

No, Timmy, the won't.

Then Russell vomits on his GF lunch.

That's GF-funny!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Will a Gluten-Free Diet Help Me Lose Weight?

Gluten-free diets are not for weight control. They are a medical diet for people whose immune systems have become reactive to the wheat/rye/barley protein gluten. Celiac disease is the common term for this condition.

If you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more.

Strike that.

Eat a lot less and exercise a lot more.

Don't eat things that are fried or otherwise loaded with fat. Eat whole grains, lean protein (in the forms of legumes, egg whites, or very lean meat,) fruit, and a lot of vegetables.

Exercise a lot, mainly resistance training. Cardio is good for your heart and will give you more energy, but strength training burns fat.

If you go GF, you might lose weight at first, just because you don't know what to eat. Any time that you cut a major food group out of your everyday life, you'll lose a couple pounds.

After that first trip to the health food store, however, you'll load up on all that fake GF food: GF bread, GF donuts, GF waffles, GF cookies, etc. Then, you'll be right back where you started.

Indeed, I'm a celiac, and when I went GF, I gained a few pounds, because my body started absorbing nutrients from food. I lost two dress sizes because my abdomen wasn't horrendously bloated.

NO: don't go GF to lose weight.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Chelsea Clinton's Gluten-Free Wedding Cake

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is excited to tell you that reports are that Chelsea Clinton's spectacular wedding cake was gluten-free because Chelsea was diagnosed with gluten intolerance as a teenager, which would be while she was living in the White House.

While much of the meal was also vegan, the cake itself was GF but contained eggs. Hey, it's hard enough to make a GF cake.

Good job, Chelsea, for having your gluten-free cake and eating it, too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

GF Dark Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake

A deep dark chocolate naturally GF dessert worthy of company but easy enough for every day? Wow!

I don't usually post links to recipes on other blogs, esp when I haven't actually made the recipe in question, but this looks scrumptious.

The flourless dark chocolate cake swirled with cream cheese looks wonderful. I think I'll make this soon.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Glutino Gluten-Free Multigrain Bagels -- Review

I have a hankering for a bagel, so I tried Glutino's Multigrain Bagels.

When I took it out of the bag, it felt heavy for its size. That's good in a cantaloupe, but bad in bagel. It kind of looked like it had been poured into a mold and flash frozen.

Then I defrosted it in the microwave. When it was done defrosting, it was warm, yet just as hard as when it was frozen solid.

Bad sign.

I tasted it. Given the aforementioned data, you might think this was unwarranted, but I gave the bagel the benefit of the doubt and took a nibble.

EEEEE-yuck.

This is one of the worst GF products I've had. The texture was sawdust and talcum powder. No sponginess. No softness. No bagelness.

Looks like it's back to the cookbooks for me. This bagel isn't worth your money. Eat Van's GF Waffles or Mesa Sunrise's GF Waffles instead.

Glutino makes wonderful pretzels, but these bagels aren't any good at all.

NOW Xanthan Gum is Fluffy -- Use 1 - 1/2 times GF recipe amount


So, my GF bread recipe suddenly stopped working. 


I had this wonderful, scrumptious, moist-but-not-soggy, fluffy-but-not-foamy, rich, wonderful sandwich bread recipe. It is so great that sometimes, it pushed up the top of the bread machine. It's high and mighty.

And then, about three months ago, it stopped working.

EEEEEEEEK! 

The loaves came out half the height that they used to be. They were dense and soggy. They were awful.

What the hell had happened?

I bought new yeast, thinking maybe my yeast had died. I bought new flours, thinking they might've gone stale or something. I varied everything in the recipe, trying to bring back my wonderful bread.

What I had done was this: I bought a different brand of xanthan gum. Son of a gun.

NOW brand Xanthan Gum is fluffier -- less dense -- than its counterparts. I put 1.5x the recipe amount in, and voila! My bread is back.

Can I get a hallelujah?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gluten Free Creations Bakery -- Phoenix, AZ -- Review





Recently, I had the occasion to sample the many foods at Gluten Free Creations Bakery in Phoenix, Arizona.


It was a quick trip to the Valley, so I hadn't had time to bake and pack an appropriate variety of traveling food. Thus, I needed GF food, fast.


I drove into the heart of Phoenix ( 2940-b E. Thomas Rd. · Phoenix, AZ 85016  ) to sample the wares.


The bakery's front room is small and crammed with glass-fronted freezers, which are in turn stacked with varieties of GF breads and baked goods. In addition, shelves are stocked with their own fresh dry mixes. 


 I picked up what seemed like "one of everything" from the weight of my bag but was actually a small sampling. As with everything, some are better than others. 


Buckwheat Bread -- Great for sandwiches. I ate the whole loaf in a couple of days.


Whole Grain Bread -- Dry and heavy like many GF baked goods. Crumbly for sandwiches. Fantastic for toast. The whole grains roast in the toaster and smell delicious.


Hamburger buns -- Dry and crumbly. Very white. Little taste. It's hard to do good white buns.


Cinnamon Bun -- Expensive for one bun. The outside ring was very bready and bland. Inside rings were nicely soaked with butter and cinnamon.


Chocolate Donuts with Icing -- Ah, donuts. I haven't had a donut for 8 years. These donuts more like a cake in texture than a donut, but it was the texture of a really good cake. I ate the whole 6-pack in a couple days.


To summarize, I can bake better fresh bread and some other baked goods, but this is a great bakery if you don't have the time. The baked goods and breads are substantially better, indeed orders of magnitude better, than any national brand you could find in the frozen case at the health food store.


They are also sensitive to other food allergies and label their goods if they are CF or egg-free, and a lot of them are.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Schar Fusilli Pasta is great!

TK Kenyon, the Celiac Maniac, is here to tell you that recently, Schar pasta began appearing in my health food stores and grocery stores. It was expensive, so I put off trying it.

Well, I tried it, and it's flipping awesome.

This is as close to "real" pasta as I've tasted in years. Other corn and rice pastas were gritty and/or slimy, but Schar came out absolutely wonderful: firm, toothsome, and actually tasted good!

It's made in Italy. Go figure: the Italians know how to make really good pasta.

While I still enjoy the soy-based Nutrition Kitchen's Green Soybean pasta that I posted about here, but Schar's Fusilli is a closer approximation of the real pasta thing. It was great with marinara, alfredo, and cold in pasta salad.

In addition, my local Walmart now has a Gluten-Free section, where I found the box of Schar Fusilli for $5 instead of the $8.50 that my local over-priced grocery store wanted. My local health food store wanted $7 for it.

I plan to try every Schar product out there.

Schar has a nicely informative website as well. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The End of the Danal Story

Read the Beginning of the Danal Story, about how to approach a restaurant to ask for GF food HERE.

So, I emailed the folks back, telling them what I could eat, including a long laundry list of eggs, nuts, dairy, butter, wine, potatoes, etc., and they emailed back a short note saying we could discuss the menu when we got there.

Flubber.

I almost didn't go, but I stuck a couple protein bars in my purse and figured that I could just drink a soda with my friends if the food was going to suck. So, I went.

When I got there, the hostess showed me the menu and said, "Pick out whatever you want, and we'll have the chef make it without wheat or flour."

Whoopee!

I got the Salmon and vegetables with lemon/white wine sauce en papillote, which means that they prepare and bake everything in a parchment paper bag. This greatly reduces the chance of cross-contamination, so it's a really good idea for celiacs to consider this method of preparation whenever they're dining out.

It was yummy. I ate a whole lot. The potatoes and veggies underneath were scrumptious. The sauce was delectable.

If you're in downtown Manhattan, try Danal.

More importantly, here's the lesson I learned from this experience: don't just hit the restaurant with a huge list (like the one at celiac.com) of "Thou Shalt Not's." It's counterproductive and sends them into lockdown mode.

After telling them that you can't eat flour, whole wheat flour, bread, bread crumbs, panko, or soy sauce, tell them what you can eat.

I think I freaked them out with the huge list of all the variations of things I can't eat.

Tell them what's okay, including: eggs, dairy, butter, wine, spices (except asofoetida, also called hing, an Indian spice that is nearly always cut with wheat flour because it smells like cat pee or window cleaner,) herbs, garlic, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, most salad dressings especially vinaigrettes but no croutons or blue cheese, and all fresh oil in a clean pan including peanut, olive, and canola.

When they ask what you want, just avoid deep fried stuff and things with buns. Don't make it hard for them.

This one turned out fine. I ate a delicious meal with no glutenization symptoms afterward.

Fantastic.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Approaching a restaurant to ask for GF food

I'm shy about having celiac disease. Asking for gluten-free food is restaurants is rough for me.

I don't like making a fuss. I detest being whiney or asking for special treatment.

Case in point: I'm attending a function this weekend at Danal, a country French restaurant in NYC. Ethnic food is usually more amenable to GF options, and Continental food is the hardest. I knew it was going to be tough. So, about 5 days in advance, I sent the following email through Danal's website:

Hello,

I will be dining at Dinal on Saturday, Sept 19. I have a serious allergic reaction to wheat, gluten, white or whole wheat flour, bread, bread crumbs, pasta, panko, rye, most soy sauce, and barley. What may I eat at your fine establishment?



I admit, I stuck that blog address in there in an attempt to get special treatment.

Danal was very nice and emailed back the next morning:

Hi TK,

I have discussed your allergies with our chef and just wanted to verify, are you able to have oil?
we can prepare something along the lines of steamed fish or chicken with boiled vegetables.

Are you participating in our Rosh Hashanah dinner on the 19th, or a regular dinner?

Sincerely,

Limor
So, they're being very nice, but I still feel petulant. It's tough, but we have to do it.

This is why I tend to either 1) cook at home, and why I've gotten pretty darn good at it, or 2) occasionally go to chain restaurants that have a standardized menu with GF options, like Outback or P.F. Chang's. When I can, I find small restaurants with GF sensitivities, like Risotteria in NYC, but those're hard to find. It takes research and time to search those out.

Here's where I'm really petulant: When I go to a restaurant, I want something good, not just steamed chicken and boiled vegetables. It's safe, and I have to go out this weekend to this particular restaurant, so I'll grin and bear it, but geez. I can make that at home in 20 minutes, even though I wouldn't make that at home because I'm a vegetarian. (At a restaurant, I eat whatever is safe, but at home I eat low on the environmental food chain, cruelty-free, and what won't cause a heart attack at age 50. Vegetarian food provides all these benefits.)

When I go out, I want to eat something that I can't make better at home. When I'm going to be paying $40-$60 for one meal, like I will this weekend, I want it to taste good. I'm glad I probably won't be getting glutenized, but I'm disheartened about their response to the point where I'm thinking of not going. I'd rather eat Chang's Spicy GF Chicken at P.F. Changs, or the Huge Vegetarian Market Bar Stir Fry with GF Teriyaki Sauce at Stir Crazy, or a whole pan of Betty Crocker's GF Brownies at home.

Anyway, that's my latest dilemma. I emailed them back, and when they email back, I'll post those. It's just mortifying.

TK

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Olive Garden's Gluten-Free Choices


Contrary to what you might expect, The Olive Garden has some GF options.

Most of the options are Zone-diet meat-and-vegetables type fare, though they claim that they have GF penne now, too.

I am somewhat dubious about this new leaf that Olive Garden has turned over. First of all, comments about Olive Garden at the Gluten-Free Registry have been less than stellar.

If you go, impress upon the server, manager, chef, and anyone else who will listen that everything must be cooked in fresh water. Usually, they just toss vegetables in the pasta water to cook. That's more than enough cross-contamination to cause a major glutenization.

Caveat emptor.