Tag Archives: chocolate

Like She Said.

13 Mar

I just read a great article on Salon.com about eating gluten-free for fun (don’t you just love those people?).  It is called “Dilemmas of a Gluten-Free Convert” — you should check it out.  The author may be a symbol of everything I hate about, well, everyone who doesn’t have a celiac diagnosis, but I still loved her article.  I especially appreciate her observation about sticking to wine and dodging the appetizers at cocktail parties.

Ruth Reichl, you are my hero.

Daily Treat: A great, grown-up, spicy crispy chocolate thing, with pistachio nuts. Which I baked (even though ever since The Diagnosis I don’t tend to bake very much).  I would show you a photo of the crisps, except my family ate every single crumb and all I had left was the plate, which isn’t picturesque.  So instead I will (1) give you the recipe, and (2) provide you some visuals of the book (since as we know every blog post requires a photo, QED.)

The recipe is called Pistachio-Dark Chocolate Crisps, and it comes from the Gourmet Today cookbook (page 686), which to my surprise contains a luxurious selection of naturally gluten-free cookies and desserts.  I am looking forward to trying the Fruit and Nut Chocolate Chunks and the Crispy Chocolate Marshmallow Squares just as soon as my body stops gaining weight on water and roasted fennel (since that is all I eat).

If you looked, you would find  that the crisp recipe as it appears in the book is not completely, totally gluten-free, but it only calls for six tablespoons of flour, and that is close enough for me.  I just substituted gf flour, and then I doubled the curry powder…  If you read this blog for long, you will discover I fiddle with almost all my recipes.  No apologies; it’s my way.

Pistachio-Dark Chocolate Crisps   –   converted to gluten-free by ME!


1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar (I used dark, because that was all I had)

6 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (I used Terry’s gluten-free flour mix)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon curry powder (I used 1/4 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg white

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used double that, of course)

1/2 cup cup roasted  shelled pistachios, chopped

I wasn't sure if this would work with GF flour, but it did!

1. Put a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Combine butter, brown sugar, flour, salt, curry powder, vanilla, and egg white in food processor and blend until smooth.

3.  Glue parchment to baking sheet with a dab of batter in each corner.

4. Spread remaining batter evenly into a 10 by 14 inch rectangle on parchment paper (yes, I did measure!), then scatter chocolate and nuts on top.

5.  Bake until firm and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.

6.  Transfer crisp, still on parchment, to a rack to cool completely.

7.  Remove crisp from paper, breaking into pieces.  Good for dessert.  Or breakfast.

This Tastes like Crap. And Such Small Portions.

29 Feb

Don’t you just hate it when you have a great idea, but it turns to crap right before your very eyes?

That’s what  happened yesterday with my husband’s oh-so-thoughtful Valentine’s Day present.  You may recall he gave me an entire year’s worth of gluten-free treats from the GFree Pantry.  Once a month, I am scheduled to receive a wonderful, inspiring cornucopia of delicious foods to make me forget I can no longer eat Devil’s Food Cake or drink bourbon.  Here’s what a sample box looks like on the website:

All bursting with g-free potential!

Here’s what arrived in the mail yesterday:

The fluffy green tissue paper obscures how very empty this box is. Just sayin'.

Eight small packets, in a large carton, surrounded by a lot of — presumably gluten-free — air.  For $23.00.  I got Caveman Crunch Mix (oddly fluffy, possibly from the space program, circa 1975); I got Caveman Chicken Jerky (more on that below).  And then, for a change of pace, I also got Paleopeople Cacao Nut Granola Clusters — which look, feel, and taste like a raisin that got stuck on the bottom of your boot during a  sandy (and possibly also muddy) hike in the rain.  At the very bottom of the box, I found a heavy block of something called a Macrobar, which is described as “A Big Picture Food”.

I can draw that picture right now, and it will not be pretty.

You may ask, “What do all these items have in common?” And I will tell you:  They are the kinds of things that, when you offer them to your children, they will say, “Mommy, please don’t make me eat that.”

Followed by, “It looks like a dog treat.”

I tried. Really I did.  I did everything I could to make the Caveman Foods Spicy BBQ Chicken Jerky seem appetizing.  Here are three tempting presentations:

Actually, the food artist for this plate was my hubby, who greeted me with this in the morning

Nothing worked.  The kids will not eat the jerky.  My husband will not eat the jerky.  I (obviously) will not eat the jerky.  Sarah, Sarah, where is our gluten-free spittoon when I need it?

But then I looked at Lulu.  And I looked at that horrible, unappetizing Spicy BBQ gluten-free meat product.

She was not enthusiastic, but she did eat it.  She is a living, breathing gluten-free spittoon.

Once upon a time, in 1987, in Marmaris Turkey, we met an Australian who didn’t like the eggplant appetizer.  He said, “This food is crappy.  And such small portions.”  That pretty much sums up my experience thus far with specialized gluten-free food products.  You want to know why I am a Gluten-Free bitch?  Look in the box.

I just cancelled my GFree Pantry subscription.  Now I’m going to go in the kitchen and eat a bag of chocolate chips.  Got the picture?

The Daily Bitch… I Love a Messy Counter

22 Feb

So, as I’ve mentioned, for Valentine’s Day my husband gave me a year’s worth of gluten-free treats from the GFree Pantry.   And my mother-in-law gave me a two-pound box of See’s Candies.  To be specific, she sent me a box of Bordeaux, half milk chocolate and half dark chocolate.  Bordeaux is my favorite candy in the world.  Absolute favorite.  And no, my mother-in-law is not taking applications for additional daughters.

Why am I telling you this?  Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it?   All See’s Candies are gluten-free.  Every single glorious bite, but especially (and most importantly) Bordeaux.  Yum.

Legally speaking, the See’s candy is officially for the “family”, but everyone knows that whenever chocolate enters the house, no matter what it says on the card, it is really for “me”.  For the past five days, therefore, I have been expending a lot of energy hiding the Bordeaux from the girls.  It has been all over the house — I can’t tell you more because the girls read this blog and it could limit my options later.

But tonight they found the box.  I know that because, when I came downstairs, the kitchen counter was covered with those little rice-shaped chocolate sprinkles that cover a See’s Bordeaux.  They were everywhere.  This was not surprising.  I know — from eating many, many Bordeaux myself — that it is impossible to eat a Bordeaux without sending a little snowstorm of chocolate jimmies down all around you.

My girls will happily tell you that I am a bit obsessive about clean counters, and I will agree — up to a point. I don’t fold laundry, and I don’t really unload the dishwasher, but I do believe in a nice, crumb-free counter top.  (Don’t even get me going on the glutinous crumbs issue.)  But when I came into the kitchen just now and saw all those chocolate sprinkles on the butcher block, all I felt was happy.  Happy for the girls, because I knew what they were eating right then.  And happy for me, because I knew what I was going to be eating in just one second.

My box of Pirate’s Booty and gluten-free graham crackers hasn’t arrived yet, but right now I’m eating a Bordeaux.

Bye bye for now,

Enid

Today’s Treat:  Can you guess?  I had one for breakfast, with my tea.  I had one for lunch, with whatever else I was eating (I don’t remember).  I possibly had a few around 4:00.  And now I’m having more.  If you don’t live in California and therefore don’t have a Sees Candy store nearby, you can order Bordeaux (dark or milk chocolate) by the box, online.  http://www.sees.com.  

The Daily Bitch…It’s Not the Gluten, Dummy

21 Feb

I’m not a real doctor, but I am a real bitch and I feel more than qualified to take on the subject of gluten and weight.

And, I am so tired of gluten-free weight loss stories!

  • Do people who go on a “gluten-free” diet for weight loss check every label, grill every waiter, and try desperately to find a delicious substitution for their favorite chocolate cake? Do they cry in the middle of the supermarket isle? I think not. I think they cut out bread, pasta and cake, for a couple of weeks and call it gluten-free. And guess what-they lose weight. Big surprise! It’s not the gluten, dummy,  it’s the no carbs, it’s the fewer calories.

  • Some people who have celiac disease gain weight once they give up gluten. Yup. That’s right. No, that’s wrong and so unfair.  It’s the dirty little secret about celiac disease. No one wants to talk about it.  Once that digestive system starts working again, those little cilia start standing upright again and doing their job. You start absorbing nutrients again, You start absorbing more fat.  Maybe your cholesterol goes up maybe you gain ten pounds.
  • Am I bitter? Possibly. Yes.
  • Chapter 15 of Elisabeth Hasselbeck’s book, The G Free Diet; A Gluten-Free Survival Guide, is entitled G-Free and Slim as Can Be.  I would like to slap her.  Also, she’s a republican.

  • Am I bitter?  Possibly. Yes.
  • On the up side, I could eat donuts, cookies, bread and pasta and lose those ten pounds in a jiffy. It’s called the gluten diet.
  • On the down side, there’s the whole destroying my small intestine thing.
  • Oh well.

Today’s Treat: Ask Enid.

I’m taking the day off from bitching.

14 Feb

Romance in a box.  Over the past 20 plus years, my husband and I have shared many lovely Valentine’s Days.  There was red wine.  There was chocolate (there was a lot of chocolate).  There was some lingerie.  There have been vases full of red roses. But this year takes the cake (pun intended).  What did he give me to celebrate our love today?  A year full of gluten-free treats.

That’s right.  Over the past few months, he’s been right there at my side, as I snivel and scowl through the supermarket, and our favorite Thai restaurant (“chicken satay with no sauce, please”), and Christmas (no persimmon pudding, no french toast, no Yorkshire pudding, yuck).  He even offered to go gluten-free with me, which I completed rejected.   I mean, really, it’s bad enough that I have to give up hamburgers; should he have to do it, too?

Basically, he has been a champ.  And now, on this day of love and romance, he comes through with the box of Pirate’s Booty, Glutino Pretzels, and Macrobars.  Plus — as he gleefully informed me when he got home from work tonight —this Valentine’s gift is deductible as a business expense!  Ahh… the romance of it.

It’s not too late.  If you are reading this blog as a way to support your Celiac Loved One, you can still go online and join the Gluten Free Tasting Club.  Or…possibly less emotionally complicated, you can buy it for yourself.  Here’s the link:  http://www.gfreepantry.com.  And here’s what they say:

GFreePantry makes gluten free dieting simple. Stop scouring the aisles for certified gluten free snacks. Subscribe to the gluten free tasting club and discover new tasty gluten free snacks each month. Discover your next favorite snack, learn a new recipe, share your own gluten free recipes with the GFree world.

I’ll keep you posted on what comes in the box, and whether  it tastes like… the box.

Bye bye for now,

Enid

Daily Treat:  Dinner out with my thoughtful hubby, where I will eat something gluten-free and (hopefully) good.  I know there will be a gluten-free choice on the prix-fixe menu because I called the restaurant in advance and asked.  Now, is that brutal or what?  Now I have to call ahead before I go on our romantic dinner.

The Daily Bitch…Gluten Invades the Bedroom.

11 Feb

Last night I had a dream about cheese.  And when I say dream, what I really mean is “nightmare.”  There I was in my kitchen (as I often am), rooting around the cheese drawer (as I often do), and I discovered that my go-to cheese, Fromager d’Affinois, had gluten in it.  It said it right there on the label, in teeny tiny letters that I could barely read.  In fact, in my dream I had to go get my glasses because the print was so small that no normal person could ever hope to read it.

Of course, I had a complete breakdown right there in front of the fridge.  For the past three months – as I have been getting used to all the deprivation associated with celiac – I have had to console myself with something, and what has that something been?  Cheese.  Now my consolation was gone.  All my efforts to be gluten-free were for nought.  Three months of no bread, no cake, no bourbon, and now this?  Betrayed by brie?

It was a very bad dream.

Ahh... cheese. So gluten-free and yet so naughty.

But then I woke up and, even though it was only five a.m., I went right downstairs and Googled “cheese gluten free”.  I was pretty sure cheese is okay, but I just had to know.  Oh, I just love the Internet.  By 5:05 I knew I was home free.  With the exception of some blue cheeses, cheese is definitely gluten-free.  There’s a great website called CeliacCentral that answers questions like this.  You can see the post on cheese right here: http://www.celiaccentral.org/ask-the-dietitian/is-brie-cheese-gluten-free/pg–1/.

If you’ve been reading this blog at all, you’ve probably noticed how much Sarah and I think about those two pillars of gluten-free gastronomy: chocolate and liquor But cheese plays a pretty major role, too.   It is salty.  It has great mouth feel — smooth and soft, or hard and crumbly, or even a bit grainy (like a great parmesan).  It is oozing with umami, that great taste best defined as “savoriness”.  It lends a certain, I don’t know, heft to your meal, and when you’ve given up on farro, and whole wheat bread, and basically everything good, you need a bit of umami to get you through the day. (If you’re not in the mood for chocolate, that is.)

Don’t get me wrong. Given the choice, I would love to smear my brie, my camembert, my soft blue cheese on a crusty baguette, but in a pinch I’m perfectly happy to eat it on a slice of apple.  Or a (gasp) gluten-free cracker.  Or my finger.  Anything, really.

It’s nice to know I’m not going to have to give up Humboldt Fog anytime soon.  

Bye Bye for now,

Enid

Daily Treat:  Scrumptious cheese plate with Honeycrisp apple slices and Mary’s Gone Crackers.  If you don’t love your local cheese shop, try Murray’s Cheese online, at www.murrayscheese.com.  You can find Mary’s Gone Crackers gluten-free crackers at your local market or online. I like the original flavor, but they are all (surprisingly) good.  www.marysgonecrackers.com.

The Daily Bitch… Celiac. It’s a Good Thing: The Final Frontier.

3 Feb

Time to wrap up the list.  If blog posts didn’t have to be so short (because we all have the attention spans of fleas), I would have put them all in one piece. But that would require scrolling down, and apparently no one does that.  In fact, I don’t even do that.  If I don’t see something gripping on my screen the instant I arrive at a new site, I just click on something else.  And people used to read multi-volume novels.  Go figure.

Anyway, here are the last, the best, the most glorious reasons why it’s great to be diagnosed with celiac.  Read it and weep.

  1. There’s never been a better time to go gluten-free.  As everyone is quick to remind me, I have entered the gluten-free world just when it has gone mainstream.  Everywhere I go, I see gluten-free products: gluten-free beer, gluten-free corn flakes, gluten-free cheese (although you’ve got to ask yourself, who puts wheat into cheese in the first place, and why?).  Plus, I live in Santa Cruz, where they serve quinoa salad at my kids’ school, and there is actually a store called the Herb Room where they sell nothing but herbs and seeds.  But when you come right down to it, how am I benefiting from the wide availability of gluten-free products, when the fact is most of them taste absolutely awful?  It means that when I go to buy a bag of cookies, there are loads and loads of really horrible gluten-free cookies for me to choose from.  It may be a mitigating factor, but really – does it make me lucky?  I think not.

    I really love cinnamon toast. The yeasty, wheat-y kind.

  1. Eating gluten-free means I’m going to lose a bunch of weight.  Oh, I so wanted this to be true.  It made sense logically (cut out baked goods, and you will get skinnier) and, even more important, it made sense cosmically (give up all the joys of eating, and you will be compensated).   And it might be true for some people, like good old Gwyneth Paltrow and tennis star Novak Djokovic, who go gluten-free for fun.  But guess what, folks?  If you have celiac and go gluten-free you are likely to gain weight, not lose it. I know I have.  That’s right – I gave up chocolate cake, cinnamon toast, and pasta primavera, and I put on the pounds Lucky, lucky me.

The fact is, I’m not happy I have celiac and I’m not enjoying my brand new, incredibly restrictive diet.  That’s why they call me a gluten-free bitch.

Hey look! In addition to the delightful lemon drop, everything else on the table is gluten-free too! Wait... that's water and salt and pepper. Lucky me.

Today’s Treat: Big fat Lemon Drop.  Because lemon juice is gluten-free.  And so is vodka.

Bye-bye for now,

Enid

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