Posts Tagged Austin

ATX Austin Gluten-Free Pizza Fest

ATX Austin GF Pizza Fest

ATX Austin GF Pizza Fest

 
    Pizza celebrations have been going on for almost two weeks now. ATX Austin Gluten-Free Pizza Fest is sponsored by Jessica Meyer. She keeps us informed about all of the gluten-free options in this part of Texas. I missed the first part while out of town but Don and I finally had our home grown pizza fest.

    During the last year I have tried numerous recipes trying to come up with the optimum nutritious pizza recipe for gluten-free and otherwise allergic and digestive challenged family and friends.

    We had a crust that Don liked but it did not meet the allergy friendly criteria. In the interim he has gone back to making his own glutinous crust while I experiment with the gluten-free versions. For the sake of consistency Don then adds identical toppings to both pizza crusts.

    I think I finally have the amounts of flours and binders along with seasoning, oil, and leavening. It makes up into dough that handles well and is sturdy enough to support the toppings. But I am still tweaking the taste component of the flour blend. This time the texture was excellent but the coconut flour made it too sweet. So I am posting the amounts until such time as we together bake pizza and Don declares it a winner.

Hers (GF) and His (not GF) Pizzas

Hers (GF) and His (not GF) Pizzas

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
2 cups gluten-free flour blend
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon ground chia seed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon oregano, marjoram, or basil (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/3 cups of water (will vary with the flour blend)

    Oil a 12” pizza pan and set it aside. Set the oven for 425*F.

    Measure the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl. The seasonings are optional but some of the denser, high nutrition flours have stronger flavors that need a little help to bring the crust over to the Italian side.

    Add a cup of the water and then the oil to the flour mixture. Stir well for at least a minute to see how much of the flour does not blend into the dough. Add the remaining water a little at a time until all of the flour is incorporated and you have a lump of dough that is resilient and very hard to stir. Dump it out on your work space and knead it until all traces of flour blend in. Form it into a flattened ball and move it to your prepared pizza pan.

    Continue to flatten the dough while rotating the pan. The two cups of flour makes enough dough that it should generously cover the bottom of the pan and have plenty to build up a nice edge to hold your sauce and toppings. Slide the pan into the oven for a 6-7 minute pre-bake.

    At this point I turn the gluten-free pizza crust over to Don and he adds toppings to both pizzas, puts them in the oven to bake, and calls me when dinner is ready.

Gretchen

Comments (2)

Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Chef Alain Braux

————————————————————————————————————————
Press Release:
    Edible Austin presents author Alain Braux talking about his new book, Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food at  BookPeople on Monday, February 14, from 7–9 pm. Treat yourself (and perhaps a loved one) to an evening of conversation with Chef Braux (recently named in the Top 10 Food Celebrity list as well as a Best Sweet Bites of 2010 by the Austin Chronicle), who will prepare his bliss-inducing Flourless Chocolate Torte for us. Also meet Sarah Bartholow from Hail Merry, who will be sampling a selection of their scrumptious gluten-free and vegan products. We’ll also have a selection of celebratory beverages on hand. Free!
————————————————————————————————————————

    Alain’s comment `gluten-free junk food is still junk food’ is such an astute observation. He believes we should eat thoughtfully, be aware, and indulge joyfully on special occasions. Enjoy dessert on Valentine’s Day at Book People and chat with Alain – he loves to talk about food!

For those of you who live in Georgetown you can find a copy of Alain’s book at the Georgetown Public Library – NBNF 641.563 BRAU.

    Alain is also the author of How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Food. Both books are available at Amazon in paperback or Kindle editions.

Features found in his book aside from the wonderful recipes:
1) Narratives from people about their journey of GFCF discovery – one of these stories might be your `aha!’ trigger
2) Sympathy for the many reasons you may be attempting to self medicate and suggestions on how to find the right doctor
3) Why keeping a food journal is so very important (there may be additional sensitivities)
4) Setting yourself up for gluten-free and casein-free success
5) A comprehensive list of resources for Celiac Disease and Autism including books, magazines, organizations, and online support
6) Those mysterious food additives that could indicate `hidden’ gluten – pages of them
7) `Safe’ and `not safe’; in medication, vitamins, toiletries, household cleaners

    Rita and I visited with Alain recently at People’s RX at the Westlake location where you will find an extensive gluten-free grocery section and gluten-free options in the deli. The North Lamar and South Lamar locations also have gluten-free options in the deli.

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

Leave a Comment

Natural Grocers in Austin and Pamela’s Cheesecake

    Don’t you just love finding new gluten-free products and places to shop that are within modest driving range? Especially a store that has a staff so knowledgeable, helpful, and personable that shopping is an adventure rather than a chore?

    When Rita first discovered a local Natural Grocers she was so excited. “Mom, the first thing I saw when I walked in was a whole rack of food labeled gluten-free. It was right at the front of the store. I didn’t have to hunt or ask; it was RIGHT THERE.”

Natural Grocers Storefront

Natural Grocers Storefront

 
The Natural Grocers monthly advertising flyer is here . Their business philosophy is explained on page 4. Next time we shop there I need to bring bags and a cooler to bring home some of their beautiful fresh, organic produce.

    As I peered into Rita’s car I saw that she had a couple of cardboard boxes full of grocery items. Was she so excited that she bought cases? No, it seems that Natural Grocers is totally green, ‘bring your own bag(s)’. They have their discarded cardboard boxes available for reuse if you forgot to bring bags but they do not have any plastic or paper bags.

    Rita was so excited about the new products that she found. One of them was a miniature cheesecake made by Pamela’s – yes, Pamela’s of the baking mixes that first eased our transition into the gluten-free world. (Hmmm, now I am thinking about those biscotti that I haven’t made in quite a while from the Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix.)

    An Agave Sweetened New York Cheesecake – this is classic Sara Lee’s gluten-free cousin. OMG, three times we have purchased one of these 3 inch little jewels and they have yet to make it out of the parking lot! Like mother, like daughter, the two of us are “have fork, will travel” food adventurers.

Rita (with cheesecake), Joel, and Nate

Rita (with cheesecake), Joel, and Nate

    There are currently three locations in the Austin and Cedar Park area. The one that Rita first discovered was at Arbor Walk. We don’t know if the one in Cedar Park is open yet but the website says February so we will be checking it out. And there is one more to the South in Austin on Guadalupe.

Austin – Arbor Walk Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
10515 N. Mopac Expressway, Bldg. L
Austin, TX 78759
Hours: M-S 8:56-8:04 Sun 8:56-6:06
Phone: (512) 231 9200
(P.S. It doesn’t hurt our feelings that DSW Shoes is there at Arbor Walk also)

Austin Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
3901 Guadalupe St.
Austin, TX 78751-4522
Hours: M-Sat 8:56-8:04 Sun 8:56-6:06
Phone: (512) 323-5100

Cedar Park – Opening February 2011! Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
1335 Whitestone Blvd Bldg G-17
Cedar Park, TX 80104
(Half Price Books, another of our favorites, is in the same shopping center)

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

Leave a Comment

Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food – Crêpes!

Book Signing Event
    Rita and I have enjoyed our gluten-free French gourmet adventures since meeting Alain Braux. After we had prepared his Brownies a la Farine de Coco for a fund raiser we found out about the book signing event at Book People in Austin. So of course we had to be there. Alain still has a trace of French accent so hearing him speak so knowledgeably about nutrition issues is a double treat.

Gretchen, Alain, & Rita

Gretchen, Alain, & Rita

    Alain’s first book, How to Lower Your Cholesterol With French Gourmet Food, as well as Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food are available at Amazon and both books are downloadable from Kindle.

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free With French Gourmet Food

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free With French Gourmet Food

Available at Georgetown Public Library
    I came home to Georgetown with an autographed copy of Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food plus a copy that Alain generously donated to the Georgetown Public Library.

Peoples RX Drug Store Visit
    Rita and I made arrangements to meet with Alain at the Peoples RX Drug Store location in the Westlake section of Austin where he cooks, consults, and advises people regarding nutrition. The store has an awesome selection of wonderful nutritious food in keeping with the philosophy of food as medicine. The refrigerators contain local sourced fermented foods, name brand staples such as Udi’s, and best of all, Alain prepared treats! I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful is the Flourless Chocolate Cake prepared from perfect organic ingredients. Several of these cakes were baking while we had a tour of Alain’s kitchen domain. I came home with a slice from the deli case to share with Don, who kept repeating, ‘you have the recipe for this’! Yes, it is in the book. I also bought some fresh fermented daikon radish and sauerkraut.

Crêpes!
    While in the midst of preparing for our family Thanksgiving it seems that I was focused entirely on Alain’s exquisite range of baked goods. Now that the holiday is over and going back over the book again to pick out another recipe I find that somehow I skipped completely over the sections on Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Meat and Eggs, Fish and Seafood, Side Dishes, and Desserts!
    A careful reading of the recipes reveal Alain, the Nutritherapist, at work in the kitchen with the respect he has for the healing power of the ingredients and the care with which they are combined. So then the dilemma: which one to prepare first. There are so many enticing recipes calling my name. However, Don and I had just been talking about pancakes as being a good soft food during his dental surgery recovery and Brittany-Style Savory Crêpes filled with finely minced ham, an over-easy egg and grated cheese might be a good start. And we definitely chose the crepes upon finding all required ingredients were in the house (too often the defining criteria).

Preparing a Crêpe

Preparing a Crêpe

    Don, healing very well, has returned to his usual self-prepared breakfast leaving me obsessed with these savory crêpes! After three batches I have finally started to turn out crêpes that are presentable as well as tasty. It is a matter of getting the batter thin enough and cooking them long enough – they may look done but they are much more flexible and fold nicely when they have cooked a bit longer.

Crêpe - Egg and Cheese Filling

Crêpe - Egg and Cheese Filling

Alain has given us permission to share his recipe for Brittany-Style Savory Crêpes.
Ingredients:
8 oz buckwheat flour
2 oz garbanzo bean flour
½ tsp xanthan gum
½ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp black pepper, ground
1 lb (1 pint) soy or almond milk
4 oz eggs (2)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb (1 pint) water

Procedure:
1. Weigh your wet ingredients in a large measuring cup or bowl: soy or almond milk, eggs, oil, and mix well together. Weigh your water separately.
2. Weigh the two flours with salt and pepper in your mixer’s bowl. With the whisk attachment, start mixing at low speed.
3. Add the liquid progressively as the machine runs. Adjust the consistency to fairly liquid with the water. Pour into a large ceramic bowl. Let rest covered for at least 1 hour.
4. When ready, heat some olive oil or coconut oil in your frying pan. Depending on the size of your pan, pour enough batter to cover the whole pan while whirling the batter around the pan. Cook until the sides turn light brown and start to detach from the sides of the pan. Flip over and finish cooking. Reserve on a hot plate kept warm. Cook all the crepes until your batter is used up.
5. To serve, place a crepe back into the pan on medium heat, place the ham slice at the bottom, then the egg, then the cheese or you can do ham and cheese only, or use ratatouille as a filling and so on. Your culinary imagination is the limit.

Notes from Alain:
    All over France, you can order your “galettes” with a multitudes of fillings. “La complete” is usually a slice of baked ham, an egg (sunny side up), grated Swiss cheese over it and folded like an envelope. In my region, we like it filled with ratatouille (see recipe in Side Dishes), folded and sprinkled with grated cheese and gratine under a broiler.
    For Casein-free, replace the cheese with Meat and Egg Dishes (pg 253) Swiss-style cheese alternative (see shopping list) and voila!

Note from Gretchen (Mom):
    Professional kitchen equipment is not a requirment. These came out very well with my usual bowl and whisk.

Note from Gretchen (Mom), Rita, and Don:
Yum!

Comments (3)

Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food!

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food

Living Gluten and Dairy-Free French Gourmet Food

     “Living Gluten and Dairy-Free with French Gourmet Food” is the second cookbook by Austin Chef Alain Braux. Alain has impressive credentials as a traditionally trained French chef but, even more interesting, is a nutritherapist – a term used in Europe for nutritionists who use only food as a healing medium, as opposed to conventional nutritionists, who usually work with supplements, homeopathy and herbal medicine.

    Since writing his first book, “How to Lower your Cholesterol with French Gourmet Food“, Alain recently discovered that he was gluten intolerant and has gone on to compile his knowledge into a new book for those of us who love good food, more especially traditional French food.

    Alain’s comment `gluten-free junk food is still junk food’ is such an astute observation and one that resonates deeply with Rita and me. He believes we should eat thoughtfully, be aware, and indulge carefully on special occasions.

Features found in this book aside from the wonderful recipes:
1) Narratives from people about their journey of GFCF discovery – one of these stories might be your `aha!’ trigger
2) Sympathy for the many reasons you may be attempting to self medicate and suggestions on how to find the right doctor
3) Why keeping a food journal is so very important (there may be additional sensitivities)
4) Setting yourself up for gluten-free and casein-free success
5) A comprehensive list of resources for Celiac Disease and Autism including books, magazines, organizations, and online support
6) Those mysterious food additives that could indicate `hidden’ gluten – pages of them
7) `Safe’ and `not safe’; in medication, vitamins, toiletries, household cleaners

    Now about those recipes: this book contains a carefully chosen distillation of Alain’s gluten-free baking repertoire that focus on breads, breakfast, tea time treats, and cookies. The dairy-free options are carefully noted as not everyone with the gluten issues has problems with the dairy protein.

    The recipe that initially grabbed our attention was Brownies à la Farine de Coco or Coconut Flour Brownies (chocolate, go figure). We baked them for a benefit to raise money for a local Georgetown organization known as The Caring Place where I volunteer working in the food pantry. The benefit event was an evening of music with two tribute artists plus desserts contributed by a local bakery and homemade desserts created by The Caring Place volunteers.

The Caring Place Benefit Event

The Caring Place Benefit Event

    I make good tasting food but my presentation skills are not first rate – just never had that gene. Turning a basic pan of brownies into something that looked appealing next to professionally prepared items was worrisome. There were quite a few crumbs remaining in the baking pan (which were not wasted – Don had them as mix-ins for a scoop of ice cream). So each brownie was placed on a cupcake paper for background and I added about one-half teaspoon of melted raspberry jam as a glaze to anchor any more stray crumbs. The chocolate-raspberry fragrance was nearly intoxicating as Rita and I drove them to the venue.

Raspberry Glazed Coconut Flour Brownies

Raspberry Glazed Coconut Flour Brownies

    Rita and I enjoyed listening to the two entertainers warming up and checking out the stage facilities while we helped with setting up the service tables. But we had been running all day so once it appeared that all was in order we headed back home to plot out our Thanksgiving meal.

Rita Setting Up Coconut Flour Brownies

Rita Setting Up Coconut Flour Brownies

    Our family Thanksgiving meal is on Friday this year due to travel considerations. It is working out so well that Friday may become our designated family gathering day. Rita and I are baking Alain’s Cookies au Chocolat et Pecans – Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies for one of our desserts at this meal.

    Have a wonderful weekend wherever you are with whatever and however you are celebrating!

Gretchen (Mom) and Rita

Comments (2)

Udi’s Bread Coming to H-E-B Austin and Georgetown!

Update:
    Friday, 01-07-2011, I picked up a few items on the way to my volunteer shift at the local food pantry. I cruised by the frozen bread section just in case and there it was!  Udi’s – white bread, whole grain bread, and bagels all lined up on the top shelf, left hand corner of the frozen bread section.

    At long last! The very popular Udi’s gluten-free breads are coming to H-E-B grocery stores in Austin and Georgetown. The stores selected are the ones that have the larger, 3-door freezer space for gluten-free products. Be sure to stop by one of these stores and check them out.

Udi's Bread

Udi's Bread

The new items will be in the following stores starting November 8th.

 Austin 08 – Congress/Oltorf
2400 S Congress Avenue
Austin, TX 78704

Austin 23 – Brodie/William Cannon
6900 Brodie Lane
Austin, TX 78745

Austin 25 – Parmer/IH 35
500 Canyon Ridge Drive
Austin, TX 78753

Austin 28 – Slaughter
5800 Slaughter Lane W
Austin, TX 78749

Austin 29 – Bee Caves
701 S Capital of Texas Hwy
Westlake Hills, TX 78746

Georgetown 2 – Williams Drive
4500 Williams Drive
Georgetown, TX 78633

    Udi’s bread is the commercially available gluten-free bread chosen by an ever-increasing number of families and restaurants. Jason’s Deli introduced it nationwide earlier this year as a bread option for their sandwiches. Rita and I have eaten at several Jason’s in the Austin area and recently I was in Abilene and ate lunch twice at the Jason’s there.

    Rita and I had it served to us at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop when we were attending a family reunion! And my wonderful Sister, Amanda, brought me a loaf of Udi’s there because she didn’t know if Rita and I would be able to have bread at the resort.

    Those of you with family and friends know how BIG this is for those who must eat gluten-free!! Can you tell I am excited?

Gretchen (Mom)

Comments (3)

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

    Carrabba’s Italian Grill  is a fabulous restaurant that I first experienced in Austin and now their location list shows 31 states! According to their history the first location was in Bryan, Texas and Chicken Bryan is still a menu favorite with customers.
    My sister Amanda and brother-in-law Eric moved to Bryan several years ago. Eric graduated from Texas A&M and he brings the concept of school loyalty to a whole new level. When I took them out to lunch at Carrabba’s in Austin he was delighted to discover that a really great restaurant had originated in Bryan.
    The downtown Austin Carrabba’s location (6406 N. I-H 35) is just a mile away from where I worked as a data analyst for several years. That was during the part of my life when chicken salad, hold the croutons, was my standard for eating out and Insalata Carrabba is an experience, way better than ordinary chicken salad!
    When my brother Chaz was in Austin for a conference I took him to dinner there after we had spent all afternoon at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. I was tired and only wanted soup and a small dinner salad. The Mama Mandola’s Sicilian Chicken Soup came to the table with the pasta as expected. Once the waiter realized that I was picking it out and putting it on my unused bread plate he quietly told me that the soup was cooked without the pasta and could be ordered without. That was when I discovered that there were real gluten-free options available!
    Carrabba’s website has a gluten-free menu that you can download -> GLUTEN FREE MENU and while there is no gluten-free pasta or bread* there are plenty of options to keep me going back. Whenever we travel I check out the web site to see if we will be passing near any of their other locations.
    They have a disclaimer as to the perfection of their gluten-free options and the extent of their expertise in that arena. However, they have consulted with the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG) and I feel confident that it is safe enough for me to eat there and enjoy menu options such as the Chicken Marsala.

Mom (Gretchen)

Note: *I would really appreciate if they could introduce gluten-free bread. Not that I love bread so much but their olive-oil-herb dip is so insanely flavorful.

Leave a Comment

Older Posts »