Thursday, April 23, 2009

Water's Edge Restaurant, Long Island City

Water’s Edge Restaurant

44th Drive and The East River

Long Island City, NY

Water’s Edge is an elegant Landmark New York restaurant with a magnificent view of the Manhattan skyline. Recently I had a wonderful birthday dinner at Water’s Edge, and after my guests' exclamations of how wonderful the food was I happily informed them that the whole party menu (made especially for the occasion) was gluten-free!  The Chef and restaurant easily accommodated me, and the party menu only stated the occasion without bringing attention to the fact that everything had been prepared GF. I was delighted with the success of the meal and my friends' (not Celiacs) overwhelming enjoyment of their dining experience. Besides the great food, there is a piano player that fills the room with music that adds to the whole event.

Of course, who wouldn’t enjoy a menu of salad or rigatoni, filet, mignon or Chilean sea bass with wonderful side dishes, and as always the most important desserts of molton chocolate cake with coffee ice cream or crème brûlée. The menu appealed to all tastes and everyone had a wonderful meal. The party was a success!

I highly recommend Water’s Edge Restaurant for any party, wedding or corporate event. And there is outside dining where you can sit on a balcony over the water which is just wonderful now that spring is here. Try this restaurant for a special dinner – gluten-free!  

Geri B., Founder, GF Delights

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

GF Greek!

Greek cuisine is wonderfully versatile for the gluten-free diner. The prominence of vegetables, rice, legumes, fresh herbs, meats, as well as simply prepared marinates, sauces, and stock makes for many naturally gluten-free options. True, you’ll have to pass on the phyllo dough and the pita bread, but you’ll still get to enjoy a world of rich flavors and textures.

For gluten-free Greek food when dining out, be sure to speak to your server up front about your dietary needs. If you want to take extra precautions, print out this restaurant card, written in Greek, and show it to your server: (Courtesy

Remember that most dishes are prepared simply with ingredients like lemon juice, herbs, and olive oil, but be sure your food doesn’t come into contact with foods like pita bread and phyllo, which sometimes can be served near or alongside otherwise gluten-free entrees. Try dishes like souvlaki, dolmades, skewers, and vegetable moussaka (traditional moussaka almost always includes breadcrumbs, but vegetable moussaka does not always use breadcrumbs—check with your server!). Pick appetizers like hummus and tzatziki, and consider bringing your own rice crackers and chips to dip in!

Making GF Greek food at home is another option and will ensure your dinner is made just for you! Try our recipes below

Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Serves Four

12 fresh (or preserved—don’t rinse them) vine leaves
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 tbsp pine nuts
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup cooked rice (long grain is best)
2 tomatoes, skinned, seeding, and finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint (not essential, but adds a nice flavor)
1 lemon, sliced
2/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock (make sure no gluten has been added!)
salt and pepper

1. Blanch the wine leaves in boiling water for about 2 minutes, or until they turn dark and soften. Rinse the leaves under cold water and drain.
2. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and stir until softened. Add the pine nuts and garlic and cook with the onion, stirring continuously until the onions and pine nuts are golden.
3. Stir the mixture into the rice, then add the tomatoes and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Place a spoonful of the rice mixture at the stalk end of each vine leaf. Fold the sides over the filling and roll up tightly.
5. Place the stuffed leaves close together, seam side down, into a casserole dish. Place the lemon slices on top and in between the stuffed leaves. Pour the white wine and sufficient stock just to cover the stuffed leaves and lemon slices. Cover the dish with lid and place into an unheated oven. Set oven to 400˚F and cook for 30 min. Reduce heat to 325˚F and cook for another 30 min.
6. Enjoy! Dolmades can be served either hot or cold, drizzled with a little extra olive oil!

Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers
Serves 4

2 large ripe tomatoes
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
4 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, chooped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup long grain rice, boiled and drained
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
2 tbsp golden raisins
3 tbsp ground almonds
salt and pepper

1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon
2. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Halve the peppers, leaving the stalks intact. Scoop out the seeds. Brush the peppers with 1 tbsp of the oil and bake on a baking tray for 15 minutes. Place the peppers and tomatoes in a shallow ovenproof dish and season with salt and pepper.
3. Sauté the onions in the remaining oil until they are transparent. Add the garlic and chopped almonds and sauté for a minute or two longer.
4. Remove the pan from heat and stir in rice, chopped tomatoes, mint, parsley, and golden raisins. Season well with salt and pepper and spoon the mixture into tomatoes and peppers.
5. Pour 2/3 cup boiling water around the tomatoes and peppers and bake, uncovered, for 20 min. Sprinkle with the ground almonds and sprinkle with a little extra olive oil. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20 minutes, or until turning golden. Enjoy!

Avgolemono Soup
Serves 4

This classic Greek soup works equally well as a first course or the main course!

3 3/4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/3 cup long grain rice
3 egg yolks
1-4 tbsp lmon juice
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper
lemon slices and parsley sprigs for garnish

1. Pour stock into pan, bring to a simmer, then add the drained rice. Half cover and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the rice is just tender. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then add about 2 tbsp of the lemon juice, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add a ladleful of soup and whisk again.
3. Remove the soup from the heat and slowly add the egg mixture, whisking all the time. Stir in the parsley. Serve immediately, without reheating, and garnish with lemon slices and parsley sprigs.

Chicken with Figs and Mint
Serves Four

3 1/4 cups dried figs
1/2 bottle fruity white wine
4 chicken breast fillets, about 6-8oz each (skinner or unskinned)
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp dark orange marmalade
10 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper

1. Place figs in a pan with wine and bring to a boil, then simmer gently for an hour. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.
2. Fry the chicken breast fillets in butter over a medium heat until they are cooked through and golden. Remove to keep warm.
3. Drain any fat from pan and pour in the juice from the figs. Boil and reduce to about 2/3 cup.
4. Add the marmalade, mint, and lemon juice, and simmer for a few minutes. When the sauce is thick and shiny, pour it over the chicken, garnish with figs and mint leaves, then serve immediately.

Tzatziki (Yogurt Dip) *Easy!*
Serve as an appetizer with GF crackers/chips for dipping, or use as a sauce over meats!

1 8oz. container of plain Greek-style Yogurt (try brands like Fage, or pick another full-fatted yogurt. For a lower-calorie version, use lowfat yogurt—the texture may change, but not the taste!)
1 cucumber, peeled, scraped of its seeds, and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
mint (optional, to taste)
salt and pepper (to taste)

Mix all ingredients well in a large bowl. The flavors will mix and develop best if stored in the fridge for a day or so before serving, although tzatziki can be served immediately.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Review: Miller's Gluten Free Bread Co.

Miller’s Gluten Free Bread Co.
162 Rochelle Avenue
Rochelle Park, NJ 07662

Forget the economy – life is sweet now that we have Miller’s Gluten Free breads and cookies. Developed with heart and soul by the owner baker Thomas Miller the products aim to have the texture of gluten without the gluten. When Tom Miller was diagnosed with Celiac he started baking with the hope of developing a product that would hold up without the gluten. After his trail, error, and success word of mouth spread the news of his success. My non-Celiac husband really enjoyed the Cinnamon Raisin loaf, which I think is a great testament to the product.

Tom’s advice to his customers is “There is life after gluten.” He also advises that you do the research before you purchase a product to make sure you get what want. Check out for the full line of breads, rolls, and cakes to order.

Geri B., Founder, GF Delights

Gluten Free Easter!

With Easter only a few short days away, be sure your holiday dining is about family time, not food worries! Easter brunch can easily be elegant without hours of preparation. If you’re concerned about entertaining, remember that a good approach is to stick to what you like and what you know best. Do you make a mean scrambled egg? Try dressing it up with some avocado and chives, or making a tasty frittata. Don’t forget brunch options like bacon and sausage (check the label to make sure they are gluten-free), hash browns/potatoes, and fresh fruit--right now you’ll find lots of variety in stores as more fruits come into season. Know of a Kosher bakery nearby? Now’s the time to find gluten-free goodies as Passover begins (wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn, and soy are forbidden during the holiday).

Think “ABCD” when preparing or each gluten free food around the holidays:

AWARNESS: Whether you’re the chef or a guest, be aware of cross-contamination. Never share utensils or silverware if gluten-free food is being prepared!

BRING FOOD: If you’re a guest and unsure how many GF options you’ll have, bring the food you just can’t live without.

CHECK INGREDIENTS: Sometimes meats and other products that are naturally gluten-free contain added ingredients (for preservation, etc.) that may contain gluten. Double-check everything!

DIVE IN!: If you’ve been invited over for Easter brunch or dinner, explain your gluten sensitivity to your host and offer to help plan the meal. Chances our your host will appreciate your assistance as well the chance to learn something new.

Here’s a few tasty recipes to get you started...

Gluten Free Easter Recipes

Gluten Free Egg Bake
1 large package of Gluten Free shredded hash brown potatoes (or 2 packages of Simply Potatoes)
1/2 cup of butter
18 large eggs (properly whisked)
1 1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheese
1 package sausage links (Pre-cooked and cut up into pieces. Make sure your sausage is gluten free! Most common brands are, but always double check.)
1-2 teaspoons GF Italian seasoning/your favorite GF seasoning

1. Heat oven to 350˚F
2. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Precook the hash browns (thaw them first if frozen) with a light coating of melted butter (with a few dollops on top) in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. While that’s baking, combine eggs, milk, cheese, and seasoning in large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Remove pan from oven and push warm hash browns into the pan, forming a “crust.” Pour egg mixture on top, and then place sausage into the mixture.
4. Bake at 350˚F for 50 minutes to one hour—until a knife comes out clean. Let bake sit for 10 minutes and serve immediately.

For even more variety, try adding green peppers, mushrooms, and (cooked) ham to the bake!

Gluten Free Spiral-Sliced Ham with Maple and Orange Marmalade Glaze
Serves 18 to 20
1 8-to-9lb. gluten free, boneless, pre-cooked spiral-sliced ham
1 cup maple syrup (but sure to check the label; by itself, maple syrup is naturally GF)
1/2 cup orange marmalade
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 oranges, sliced (optional)
6 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Using a sharp paring knife, make shallow crosshatch cuts all over the outside of the ham. Arrange ham in a large roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine syrup, marmalade, juice, ground cinnamon, pepper and cloves in a small bowl to make a glaze. After ham has baked for 30 minutes, remove from oven; increase oven temperature to 425°F. 

Arrange oranges and cinnamon sticks (if using) around ham in roasting pan, then brush ham and oranges liberally all over with glaze, pouring remaining glaze over the ham. Return to oven and bake, basting about every 10 minutes, until ham is hot throughout and caramelized on the outside, about 45 minute more. 

Transfer ham to a cutting board or platter and set aside to let rest for 15 minutes. Arrange oranges and cinnamon sticks around ham and serve.

GF Hot Cross Buns
3/4 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup all-purpose gluten free flour mix (try Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Mix, found in many supermarkets)
1/3 cup potato starch
1 tablespoon instant dry yeast
2 teaspoons guar or Xantham gum
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup olive oil
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 cup yellow raisins
2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar in warm water. Add yeast and let proof.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the eggs, olive oil, and vinegar separately and then add to dry ingredients.
3. Add proofed yeast and beat on high speed for three minutes. Stir in the raisins.
4. Grease two round pie pans. Using lightly-floured hands, cut the dough in half and roll eight buns out of each section. Place eight buns in each pan.
5. With a knife dipped in rice flour, cut an X on top of each bun. Brush with melted butter.
6. Let rise in a warm place for 35-40 minutes. Bake each bun at 375˚F for 30 to 35 minutes.

GF Hot Cross Buns Icing
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/8 teaspoon orange extract

Blend all the ingredients above, adding more sugar to get desired consistency. While the buns are still warm, ice a cross on top of each roll.

GF Lemon Ricotta-Almond Cake
3 eggs
1/2 cup almond meal or almond flour (finely ground)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup GF Pancake/Baking Mix (try Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s, both found in most supermarkets)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk eggs and sugar. Add almond meal and butter, and stir well. Pulse ricotta in blender or mash by hand, and then add to batter. Stir thoroughly to combine before folding in Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix. Lastly, add the lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon extract and mix the batter to blend. Grease 8" round cake pan. Pour batter into the cake pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving warm. Dust with powdered sugar and/or garnish with fruit.

Gluten Free Easter: The Kids
With all the candy involved, keeping GF kids safe during Easter is a primary concern.
Be sure to check out our GF Halloween entry for more info on gluten free candy and companies. Here’s a small list to get you started. If you’re unsure about a particular candy, remember to check the label! Hershey’s, Just Born, Nestle, and Mars identify even trace amounts of gluten on product labels. All Tootsie Roll products are gluten free.

Wonka Gobstopper Eggbreakers
Wonka Runts Freckled Eggs
Wonka Large Golden Egg (Milk Chocolate hollow egg with SweeTARTS candy inside)
Wonka SweeTARTS Candy Canes
Nestlé Baby Ruth Crème Eggs
Nestlé Butterfinger Nesteggs and Crème Eggs
Nestlé Caramel Nesteggs
Nestlé Milk Chocolate Nesteggs
Nestlé Turtle Crème Eggs

Just Born
Marshmallow Peeps Chicks and Bunnies
Marshmallow Peeps Eggs (Strawberry, Vanilla, and Orange Crème flavors)
Mashmallow Peeps Inside Milk Chocolate Egg
Mike and Ike Easter Treats
Just Born Jelly Beans

Baskets/Egg Hunts

Check out “50 Ways to Fill an Easter Egg,” a great list for ideas on filling Easter eggs and baskets with fun GF treats!