Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gluten Free Valentines

Valentine’s Day is one of the sweetest of the year and thankfully there are plenty of gluten and wheat free goodies and recipes so that those of us stricken by Cupid and Celiac can enjoy the day. Classics like Hershey’s Kisses, Necco’s Conversation Hearts and M&Ms are confirmed gluten free. Check out this list of gluten free candies and be sure to double-check with the manufacturer before indulging your sweet tooth or giving a gift to your valentine. In addition to lots of sweets, there are some cute non-edible gluten free gifts here.

The recipe below is from a Celiac listserve. Look how beautiful the cookies turn out; what a romantic and delicious gift! Visit to find a restaurant where you and your sweetheart can enjoy a stress-free gluten free Valentine’s dinner! From all of us at, Happy Valentine’s Day!

In an electric mixer, beat 1/3 cup unsalted, softened butter, softened and 4-oz. Philadelphia cream cheese together until fluffy.
Whisk together 2 cups Beth’s All-Purpose Flour (Gluten Free Pantry), 1 cup sugar, ½ teaspoon Rumford baking powder, and ½ teaspoon grated lemon peel. Beat 1 cup of flour mixture into butter mixture.
Add 1 egg, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Beat in remaining 1 cup of flour mixture.
Cover and chill dough for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375° degrees.
Divide dough in half. On a well-floured (rice flour) surface, roll half the dough at a time to ¼ inch thick – or thinner (keep remaining dough refrigerated).
Using a 2 ½ inch cookie cutter, cut dough into circles. Using a small heart-shaped cutter, cut out centers from half of the cookies. Place on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Do not overbake. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Sprinkle powdered sugar on cutout cookies. Spread 1 teaspoon raspberry jam on each of the solid cookies; top each one with a cutout cookie.

A Gluten Free Super Bowl

Super Bowl Sunday 2008: New York Giants v New England Patriots, obscenely overpriced commercials, pizza and beer! It’s not a holy day, but it sure is a fun one if gathering with friends on the couch and watching football all afternoon is your thing. If you’re throwing a Super Bowl party, attending one or just watching the game with friends or family, chances are there will be pizza, beer and snacks on the menu. Throwing the party gives you complete control over what is served, but if you’re going to a party, offer to bring along some gluten free options so that you’re not left out of the festivities. Here are some simple ideas and easy recipes for enjoying the day gluten free.

If the party’s at your place, consider making your own pizza instead of ordering it from the local pizzeria. Not only will your pizzas be delicious, healthy and wheat-free, but you’ll also be avoiding pizzerias on their busiest day of the year. No ordering days in advance, no lost or incorrect orders and no late deliveries of cold pizza whose cheese is stuck to the box instead of the pizza.

If you’ve never made pizza before, don’t’s really quite easy! Pick up some frozen gluten free pizza dough from the supermarket. Whole Foods carries several brands, including Amy’s Kitchen (which is delicious) and Ener-G-Foods. Amy’s Kitchen also makes some great gluten free tomato sauces and Simply Natural’s Organic Tomato and Basil Sauce is fantastic and gluten free. You can also make a simple marinara sauce at home:

• Add a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and 1-2 cloves of minced garlic to a saucepan over medium heat
• Once the garlic turns golden brown, add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
• Once heated, add about 10 fresh, torn basil leaves, a couple stems-worth of fresh, chopped oregano leaves and, a handful of fresh, chopped parsley and freshly ground black pepper
• Adjust heat to low and simmer

Stick the rolled out dough in the oven for a few minutes to allow it to crisp and remove it just as it starts to brown. Spoon your sauce onto the rolled out dough, add some gluten free cheese like Sargento’s Mozzarella and Provolone blend, top with your favorite toppings and follow the frozen dough’s instructions for cooking time and temperature.

If you’re attending a party, a more portable option is to make mini pizzas on gluten free pita bread. Cut a slit in the pitas to prevent them from puffing up, toast them lightly, cover with sauce, cheese and toppings and bake at about 200 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Make several with different toppings, cut them up and bring as an appetizer (if you don’t think there will be other food options available to you, bring another pita pizza for yourself as a meal).

Once the pizza’s been enjoyed, bring out some baked, not fried, buffalo wings. Try this delicious recipe:

• Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake 20 chicken wings for 45 minutes, or until fully cooked and crispy.
• Mix 1/3 c melted butter, 1 (12 oz) bottle of Franks Red Hot, 1 (8 oz) can of crushed tomatoes, 1 ½ tablespoons chili powder and 4 dashes of cayenne pepper in a pot and boil over medium temperature for 5 minutes.
• Dip cooked wings in sauce and coat well. Place coated wings on broiler pan and bake 10 minutes, then dip again in sauce and bake another 10 minutes.

After the pizza and wings, set out bowls of gluten free snacks to munch on during the game. I just tried Riceworks’ Gourmet Brown Rice Crisps which are very tasty, come in several flavors including Wasabi and Sweet Chili and are wheat free, gluten free and Celiac friendly. Your go-to gluten free corn chips, salsa and guacamole will be crowd-pleasers as well. Making your own guacamole is a simple and beautiful dish to bring to a party:

• Chop up 4 avocados, 2 plum tomatoes, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 shallot and ½ a jalapeno (increase or decrease according to your guests spice tolerance) in a bowl
• Add salt and pepper to taste and the juice of about half a lime and stir
• Refrigerate for a couple of hours so the flavors blend

Lastly, throw together a trail mix of nuts, raisins, a crunchy gluten free cereal and a little brown sugar. Put out this sweet munchy mix as a healthier dessert after the pizza and chips have been devoured.

As for alcoholic beverages, gluten free beer is pricey so hopefully there are only a few beer drinkers with a gluten intolerance at your party. If you’re attending a party, bring a 6-pack for yourself so you can indulge like a true football fan. Below are some gluten free beers. The links I’ve included list retailers where you can purchase the products. You can order online at some sites, although not in time for the Super Bowl.

Ramapo Valley Brewery: Passover Honey Beer

Lake Front: New Grist

This last one is not yet available in the US, but for you Canadian Super Bowl viewers, I’ve tried Fort Garry Brewing’s Nubru, a new gluten-free beer that is pretty good. It’s available in Winnipeg liquor stores and is slowly widening in distribution. A six-pack costs $17.60 CAD (I told you it was pricey!)

4 Ingredients for an Easy Gluten Free Super Bowl Party

• Homemade pizza
• Baked, not fried, buffalo wings
• GF chips and salsa and homemade guacamole
• Sweet dessert munchy mix
• GF beer hopes these ideas make your Super Bowl Sunday a fun one! And keep them in mind for any future parties you throw or’s really quite easy to entertain gluten free!