How to avoid cross contamination in your kitchen

Do you own a restaurant, and find that more and more of your customers are requesting allergy friendly options? Gluten intolerance, as well as celiac disease is one of the fastest growing food allergies in the U.S. Mintel, a market research company, estimates that gluten free products will produce more than $15 billion in annual sales in 2016. Do you want a piece of that profit? 

Keep reading about how to turn you kitchen gluten free in my blog post on  www.RestaurantSoftwareGuy.com !

 

The Best Gluten Free Pastas

Best Gluten Free Pasta
Some are mushy, some fall apart on your fork, and they all fall apart left over the next day. But who is the best? Leave a comment to vote for your favorite, or add another brand into the running.

My favorites:

#1. Le Veneziane (Corn based) – this is my favorite by far. It comes in multiple shapes, including bow ties (fettuccine is my favorite). Not only does it taste like real pasta, but it tastes almost like home-made pasta. Does not get too mushy and holds its shape well.

#2. Bionaturae (Potato based) – Runner up. Also comes in a bunch of shapes (ziti is my favorite). Tastes like real pasta and holds its shape well. Not too mushy or slimy.

#3. Quinoa Ancient Harvest (Quinoa based) – A nice bouncy texture that will hold up well in a baked pasta dish or Mac and Cheese. They have good shapes for baked pasta,like shells. No slime or mushiness.

#4. GoldBaums (Brown Rice based) – A very decent pasta, especially in its elbows and other curly shapes. A little mushier than #1 and #2 but it doesn’t have the layer of slime normally associated with brown rice based pastas. Good for a Pasta e Fagioli.

Some additional options…
Tinkyada
Schar
Ronzoni
Barilla
De Boles

Red Pepper Jelly and Cream Cheese Dip

red pepper jelly dip


This is one of the easiest appetizers to create, and always seems to be the first to go at parties. If you have a nice sweet and spicy jelly, like the one by Stonewall Kitchen pictured above, you don’t need much else to create a delicious gluten free appetizer.

Ingredients:

- 1 8 oz. block (or container) of cream cheese
- 1 jar spicy jelly (I used Stonewall Kitchen Red Pepper Jelly)
- 1 box crackers (I recommend Blue Diamond Nut Thins)

Directions:

- Place your cream cheese in the center of a plate
- Smother in jam
- Surround with crackers
- Eat

So easy, and so yummy.

Enjoy!

Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie

lemon meringue pie
This past thanksgiving my Nana decided to try a gluten free version of her famous lemon meringue pie recipe. This was my absolute favorite dessert growing up, and the gluten free version did not disappoint! It was SO GOOD I literally sat down and ate about 1/4 of the pie straight from the pie dish by myself (evidenced in the photo below). Because it looked so delicious, a lot of folks asked for the recipe….

So I have to be honest here, when I called her up for the recipe, prepared to take copious notes for you all, her response was “I’m not sure off hand – I just follows the directions on the container for Durkee Lemon Meringue Pie Filling”. WHAT!? Lies, my whole life has been lies.  The good news – Durkee has a fairly easy recipe to follow, and you’ll never have to look up the recipe if you’re using their brand.

Ingredients: 

- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 eggs (yolks for filling, whites for meringue)
- 1 package lemon pie filling (I use Durkee)
- 2-1/2 cups water
- 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pie crust

Directions:

Pie Crust: (pictured below)

I recommend either the Whole Foods pre-made gluten free pie crust or Pillsbury Gluten Free Pie and Pastry Filling Dough.
Because this is a pie served cool, bake the empty pie crust at 375 for 10 minutes or so, until the top edges are veryyy slightly browned.

Filling:

- Get out your medium sized sauce pan: Combine filing mix, 3 Tbsp. sugar,  1 egg and 2-1/2 cups water; stirring until smooth.
- Cook over Medium heat, stirring constantly, until pudding comes to a boil: boil 2 minutes. (Pudding will thicken upon cooling)
- Pour into pie crust (which has already been baked) and place in the fridge to chill.

Meringue: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

- Beat 2 large egg whites and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar with electric mixer until soft peaks form.
- Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, beating at high speed until sugar is dissolved and stiff, glossy peaks form.
- Immediately spread meringue over hot pie filling, carefully sealing meringue to edge of pie.
- Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until meringue is golden. Cook on a wire rack if you can – and then cover and store in refrigerator to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Pie with Pillsbury Gluten Free Pastry Crust

gluten free pie

Yum, this is one of my favorite holiday pie’s. A tart and sweet cranberry pie that is very easy to make (no mixer needed!), but still looks  very impressive  on the table. I tried Pillbury’s gluten free pastry dough, and it is my favorite gluten free dough so far. It comes in a 15.8 oz tub which is enough for two 9″ pies. I have gotten a lot of questions about the “healthyness” of this dough – let me warn you by saying this is a Pillsbury product and is in no way intended to be a “healthy” option.  Although eating gluten free can lead to a very healthy diet, Gluten-free is not synonymous with fat-free…

Ingredients:

CRUST:
- Gluten Free Pillsbury Pastry Dough (Half of the 15.8 oz tub will make one 9″  pie)

FILLING:
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 cups cranberry (raw, cut in half)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 heaping tbs tapioca

Directions:

- Preheat oven to 375

CRUST:
- Roll out parchment paper and sprinkle with GF flour
- Knead dough (1/2 of the 15.8 oz pillsubry tub) in your hands until it becomes  a bit less crumbly
- Place ball down on parchment paper and push down into a circle
- Cover with parchment paper and roll out into a wide circle (enough to cover your 9″ pie pan)
- Remove your top piece of parchment and place pie dish face down on dough. Shimmy your hand under the bottom piece of parchment and flip the dough and dish right side up.
- Now comes the annoying part – peel of the parchment paper – some of it will stick and break , that’s okay.
- Use your fingers to reshape the dough into place, and fill in any holes
- Save some dough for lattice – roll out and slice into strips with a sharp knife.

FILLING:
- Mix all ingredients in mixing bowl (the order doesn’t matter, and you can use a spoon or egg beater  to mix it all)
- Pour into shell
- Top with criss-crossed dough lattice (if your pieces break, just lay them on the top of the pie so they touch, when the pie bakes they will all stiffen together and look like on piece)
- Bake at 375 for 45 minutes (up to an hour) – until lattice and edges turn light brown
- Let pie cool before serving (serve room temperature)

pisslbury gluten free pie dough

New Gluten Free Labeling Standards

gluten free label regulation
Some exciting news in the gluten free world! The Food and Drug Administration has passed new mandates for the voluntary labeling of “gluten free” products. Some additional details are below (in an email I received from We The People) , but the gist is that food manufacturers have 1 year to comply with the new regulations for adding the words “gluten free” to their food labels. Although most products with gluten free labels are in fact gluten free, this new regulation will guarantee that any unavoidable presence of gluten in the food must be less than 20 ppm.

The petition for this began on October 20th, 2012…and the final ruling was passed on August 5th, 2013.

THANK YOU to the 40, 639 people who signed this petition!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Gluten-Free Should Mean Gluten-Free

By Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration

Thanks for your petition. The Food and Drug Administration is a science-based, regulatory public health agency, and as we make determinations on food labeling, we take time to ensure the final standard is the right one.

We’re pleased to share that on August 5th, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration published the final rule defining the term “gluten-free” for voluntary food labeling, setting an enforceable standard that will benefit people with celiac disease, as well as those with gluten sensitivity.

Manufacturers that use “gluten-free” on their food labels must ensure their foods are either inherently gluten free, or do not contain an ingredient that is:

  • a gluten-containing grain (e.g., spelt wheat);
  • derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat flour); or
  • derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food.

Also, any unavoidable presence of gluten in the food must be less than 20 ppm.

Manufacturers have one year to implement this rule, meaning all manufacturers using a “gluten-free” claim must ensure their labeling is in compliance with the final rule by August 5th, 2014.

It’s important to note that many foods currently labeled as “gluten-free” may already meet the new federal definition, but this rule will ensure greater consistency in labeling – and that’s good news for consumers.

Learn more about the new standards here.

Tell us what you think about this response and We the People.

Stay Connected

Stay connected to the White House by signing up for periodic email updates from President Obama and other senior administration officials.

Buffalo Chicken Dip


NOM nom Nom.. I love anything buffalo flavored. I also love cheese. And my crockpot. So when I have an excuse to make a party dish like this, I pretty much eat the entire thing…which is not good, because *warning* this is not a healthy recipe.

There are two easy ways to make buffalo chicken dip: crock pot or oven.

Ingredients:

-3 chicken breasts
-1 package (8oz) cream cheese
-1/2 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
-1/3 cup blue cheese or Ranch dressing(Wishbone and Kens are definitely gluten free)
-1/2 bag of cheddar cheese
-3 tbs butter (optional)

(Corn chips or celery for dipping)

Directions for crock pot:

-Place chicken breasts, butter and hot sauce into the crock pot. Set on High.
-Once the chicken starts to soften, pull it apart with two forks, creating pulled chicken.
-Let chicken continue to soften, and once it begins to look stringy and pulled, add in cream cheese, cheddar cheese and dressing.
-Mix together until totally blended. You should see the chicken start to really break apart
- Once it starts to bubble around the edges it is ready to serve

Directions for stove: (I don’t use butter in this version)

-Boil chicken breasts in water on the stove.
-Once chicken is cooked  (10- 15 minutes depending on thickness), remove from water and set aside to cool.
-Preheat oven to 375.
-Once cool, pull it apart with two forks, creating pulled stringy chicken.
-In a large mixing bowl add cream cheese, cheddar cheese and dressing.
-Mix together until totally blended, then pour into glass/ceramic dish.
-Bake dish on 375 for about 15 minutes until dip is heated through
-Switch to broil for 1 -2 minutes to make the top crispy. Watch it while the broiler is on! It can burn quickly.

Serve it straight from your crock pot/baked dish with corn chips ….or celery if you’re being “healthy”.

Can’t get enough buffalo? Try this buffalo chicken stuffed avocado or these traditional buffalo chicken wings.

Halloween – Gluten Free Macaroons


Oh man, I am so excited for Halloween!  Can’t wait to start making these spooky treats. These are not your typical puffy pastel macaroon, but this is a family macaroon recipe that has always been gluten-free… and it is also super simple, fun to make, and most importantly… it’s delicious!

Ingredients:

-1 package shredded coconut (5 1/3rd cups)
-2/3rds cup sugar
-¼ tsp. salt
-1 tsp. almond extract
-4 egg whites

Toppings:
Chocolate Chips
Sliced Almonds


Directions:

- Mix all your ingredients together
- Once your ingredients are all mixed, start making ghosts!
- The batter doesn’t spread too much when it’s baked, so shape them just slightly smaller than you want in the end. I use roughly a golf ball of batter for each, about as much as you can pick up with an overfilled melon baller. Shape them into cone like ghosts, with a flat bottom, and rounded top
- Cook on 325° for 20 minutes, or until edges begin to brown
- They will be gooey when you take them out, so quickly put in (gluten free) chocolate chips upside down as eyes, and gently push in a sliced almond as a screaming ghost mouth
- Refrigerate before eating – they will turn chewy and delicious!

Gluten Free Pear Custard Pie

apple picking
I went apple picking with my family last weekend, which was great! One minor issue though –  I don’t really care for apples…but, lucky me, they had a few pear trees sprinkled throughout the orchard. So I stocked up on pears and now I have more than I know what to do with. 1st recipe on this list… Pear custard pie.

This is a Martha Stewart recipe, with one little conversion switching to gluten free flour.

pear custard pie

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

-3 Comice or Bartlett pears, peeled, halved, cored, and sliced
-1/4 cup melted unsalted butter
-1/3 cup granulated sugar
-1/3 cup  all purpose gluten free flour
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract-3 large eggs
-3/4 cup milk
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-Confectioners’ sugar (dust on top

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees; butter a 9-inch pie dish. Peel, halve, and core 3 Comice or Bartlett pears; slice 1/4 inch thick lengthwise. Arrange slices, overlapping slightly, in dish.
  2. In a blender, process 1/4 cup melted unsalted butter, 1/3 cup each granulated sugar and all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs, 3/4 cup milk, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth.
  3. Pour batter over pears; bake until golden and firm to touch, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve  warm or  cool or at room temperature, dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

This recipe was found here on Martha Stewart

Gluten Free Game Day Snacks


It’s football season! This year I have tried to embrace more than just the game-day cooking, and joined a fantasy league with my friends from college. I am very proud to say I am currently number one in my league,  5-0-0 woot woot! But the food is still my favorite part ;) 

 Here are some of my favorite gluten free game day foods:

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Pizza

Potato Skins

Buffalo Chicken Wings 

Sweet Soy Chicken Wings