Archive for July, 2010

Gluten-Free on American Airlines

    Call us crazy but in an effort to alleviate my allergies Don and I decided to rip out every scrap of carpet from our house and install ceramic tile. We wanted to be there while it was happening but we didn’t want to be there. We had almost scratched the project when the perfect compromise was made. Leave the country for three weeks, hand the house keys over, and have the tile done while you are gone. Aside from really trusting these folks the big kicker was that everything in the house had to be packed just like we were moving. We packed the house in six weeks and stuff-for-vacation in one week.
   Thanks to the generosity of Rita’s brother Jorge (whom we refer to as #1 Son) we were flying American Airlines First Class. We were able to pre-order gluten-free meals for each leg of our travel. They do need advance notice so as to have appropriate food items on board and Don took care of that detail.
   By the time we met up with Jorge and Rick at Dallas/Fort Worth airport we were all tired and approaching the end of a long day. The guys had traveled from California and the four of us boarded our flight to Paris. I don’t have much in the way of notes for the flight over except that there was tasty gluten-free food and I was tired, hungry and very grateful.
   Our return flight departed Paris at 10:00 am their local time. Once on board we were offered a choice of beverage and settled in for our nine hour flight which included a 7-hour time differential. There were cheese or nut nibbles after we took off and I chose the nuts. Menus were passed out for the other passengers but when you order a special meal it is the only one on board that is tailored to your needs.
   During the dinner service I recognized the clear sweet voice from the pre-flight announcements delivered in three languages. Isabelle Gomes, Purser, with twenty years of experience was serving my gluten-free meal! As we chatted I learned that she was gaining knowledge of the many gluten issues from her friend, our cook for the flight, Denise Roberts. Denise’s daughter has just started her journey into the gluten-free challenge and Isabelle had a number of questions while she served up my delicious meal.
   One of the issues that Isabelle mentioned was the lack of sandwiches. Voila! In the Gluten-Free Edge mailbox this very morning was a post from Gluten-Free Steve -> here  regarding Jason’s Deli and their offering of Udi’s gluten free bread on their sandwiches. I just had to leave Steve a comment since Rita and I indulged in sandwiches for lunch there yesterday – yum! It is slowly getting better out there as people share information and reach out to help those new to this journey.
   I arrived home jet-lagged but very well fed. Thank you Isabelle, Denise, and American Airlines!

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

I Love These New Floors!

I Love These New Floors!

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Tastier Than That Canned Pasta

   It was a novelty when first introduced and kids loved it – they still do. Something about canned pasta and tomato sauce appeals to kids and many grown-ups still choose it. It is one of the categories that we keep stocked at the local food pantry.
   One day I was thinking about how many children are affected by gluten issues and how easy it is now to prepare gluten-free pasta and that led to ‘how could you make this at home?’ Mentally scanning the pantry I realized all of the makings were right there.
   Thinking in the vegan mode I was going to use lentils (which I have loved ever since Mom’s lentil soup). But it became a meat based version once Don realized that I was preparing pasta. His culinary base is pasta, or as he refers to it, ‘the world’s major vegetable’ so it was prepared to be appealing to his taste as well as mine. Tinkyada pasta is so good that he always wants some of it.
   Isn’t this the gold-standard for gluten-free options? Something that is so good that nobody asks “where’s the gluten?”

Pasta About to Happen

Pasta About to Happen

Easy Gluten-Free Pasta and Sauce
Sauce:
1 medium onion, about 1/2 – 3/4 inch dice
1 Tblsp. olive oil for sautéing
Sprinkle of sea salt
12-oz can of tomato sauce (Hunt’s)
1/2 tsp. each of dry ground oregano and thyme
1 tsp. garlic powder
2-3 Tbsp. gluten-free barbeque sauce (Kansas City Classic™)

Protein Option:
3/4 – 1 lb. ground meat
Or:
1 cup dry lentils, cooked until tender

Pasta:
1/2 lb. dry whole grain gluten-free pasta (Tinkyada)

    Prepare the sauce by first sautéing the onion (and ground meat if preparing that option) in the olive oil. Add the seasonings and sauces. Cattleman’s Kansas City Classic™ sauce is gluten-free  and it is an optional, although wonderful, sweet-smoky addition. It does contain corn syrup, high fructose and regular, so some folks may reject it for that reason. I can easily rationalize its use by thinking of it as a flavor element – it’s not like we are slugging down shots of sauce.
    While the sauce is simmering gently prepare the pasta. One of the things I love about Tinkyada pasta, aside from the excellent taste and texture, is the absolute ease of preparation  . When ready just drain (no rinsing), add the sauce containing your choice of protein, combine and serve. Make a double batch if there are more than two of you because leftovers are just as good if not better than freshly prepared!

Gretchen (Mom)

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