Archive for February 2010
I came across several nice surprises at my local grocery store this weekend. I was encouraged by all of the Glutino brand items I discovered. I have been a fan of Glutino products for some time now, but I wasn’t aware of how far reaching their product line really was. And so it was, happily, that I discovered Glutino Gluten Free Organic Bars, most notably the Chocolate and Banana flavor.
These tiny bars come 5 to a package. What they lack in size, they make up for in flavor. Sure, everybody in your office will know you are eating something banana-flavored (though not obnoxiously strong, these bars do have an aroma), but they won’t know the kind of satisfaction you’re receiving while you enjoy these wonderful, little snacks. They are quite filling for their size. I am no small guy and I eat them occasionally for a breakfast substitute when I’m running late. They are a great pick-me-up in the afternoon and are obviously individually-wrapped for maximum portability.
These bars have a nice texture that isn’t too rubbery or too crunchy like many other bars. As small as they may be, I think the serving size is spot on. I highly recommend looking at many of the items Glutino sells, but be sure not to skip these Gluten Free Organic Bars. Do you have a favorite flavor? Tell us about it in the comments area.
“Oh no! I can never eat frozen waffles again!” Yeah, people don’t actually say that, but it doesn’t mean that gluten intolerant folks don’t still pine for the little things in life. In the spirit of getting what we really want, I’m putting Van’s Gluten Free Blueberry Waffles in the WIN column.
I found them at my local Whole Foods and was also surprised to be able to pick them up at True Nature Foods around the corner from my condo. They cost around $3.50 and have 6 waffles per package. Easy, quick breakfast options are few and far between for those of us with this particular dietary restriction and these waffles replace one of the old standbys from what I like to refer to as the “gluten days.”
They take a little longer to heat than the frozen waffles of my memory. I flipped them after about 2 minutes to make sure both sides were properly crisped. This could be due to the fact that I haven’t used my toaster for anything in a really long time.
They are a little flakier than regular frozen waffles. I found myself breaking off waffle pieces with my fork and then scooping, rather than stabbing them. Like many food products produced without gluten, they had a tendency to fall apart, but they had a nice consistency and held up well to my syrup. I use plain, old Aunt Jemima syrup because it is gluten free and relatively cheap. I’m getting off track now, but I also drink Mott’s Natural Apple Juice with this breakfast. Tons of Mott’s products are gluten free and also very affordable.
And that’s that. Van’s has a whole line of gluten free products, many of which are available at Whole Foods. The blueberry waffles are the only ones I have tried so far, but the taste is so familiar, you might forget you were eating gluten free. If you have had any experience with their products, please post your impressions in the comments area.
Well, it’s finally here. The day I’ve been waiting on for more than a month. Boiling, primary fermentation, secondary fermentation and bottle conditioning have all led up to this moment. I pull out a 12 ounce bottle from the fridge,
pick up my bottle opener and…
The cap comes off with a “PSHH!” This is a great sign of what’s to come. I pour my beer sort of quickly into a tulip glass and watch a perfect foam head form at the top of the glass. The color is reddish-brown and the smell is gorgeous. Right away, it reminds me of Abbey Leffe Brun Ale from Belgium. I take one sip and I am transported back to a time when my beer had real flavor and distinction. There is body here. Although the beer is still quite cloudy and could have used another week in secondary fermentation, it is very good. As it matures in the bottle over the next month, I believe the taste will improve even more.
Almost everyone who I’ve talked to from the gluten free community within the last month has asked me what gluten free beer this home brew would be comparable to. Happily, my answer, is none of the above. It had been so long since I enjoyed a real beer, I had almost forgotten what good beer should taste like. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the efforts of gluten free beer producers. If anything, it has given me a real appreciation of the difficulties of brewing a beer this way. The one thing that I have noticed about gluten free beer, is that freshness is key. Perhaps that’s the reason that my first attempt at home brewing has been so successful. This is, perhaps, the freshest beer I’ve ever tasted. I’m beginning to get off track, however, so here’s my attempt to compare it to other gluten free beers.
It is similar in color to Redbridge, but more robust with more complex sugar and hop flavors. It is similar in sweetness to Bard’s, but, again with more flavor and personality. Before my first taste, I compared it to my go-to neighborhood beer, New Grist Ale. This is the most readily available gluten free beer at the establishments near my home. I find that a fresh New Grist Ale has the most complex, yet balanced hop and flavor combination available in a gluten free beer, but even this comparison doesn’t do the home brew justice. My brown ale has more flavor and a better mouth feel than all of them.
I have to call this first brew a huge success. I’m thrilled with the smell, color and flavor. I’ve learned several good lessons that will carry forward into my next batch. Most importantly, I’ve learned that patience is key. I read several articles online throughout the past couple months that encouraged shorter fermentation times or no secondary fermentation at all for gluten free beers. I know now that patience with these steps is critical to producing the best beer possible. Yesterday, a new batch of brew supplies showed up for my next batch. I’m working on my own recipe in order to brew something I’ve never seen or tasted before: a wheat-free wheat beer. I’m convinced I can brew up something similar to a hefe weiss. In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my brown ale and participating in a tasting party or two with my brewmaking friends. Happy home brewing!
I am done searching for he perfect gluten free pancake. I may change non-essential ingredients from time to time. A dash of cinnamon here, a handful of ripe berries there… but I am finished searching for a quality pancake mix. I recently ordered a whole pile of food from Authentic Foods. I was putting it off because the prices there are usually considerably higher than what I can find at local markets. I should have just bitten the bullet from the beginning. Today, we’ll review Authentic Foods Pancake and Baking Mix. I decide to bake my pancakes the exact way that the package recommends. The only difference is that I’ve been hurt before, so I only make half of a batch.
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon Crisco vegetable oil
1 tablespoon Domino brown sugar
1/2 cup Authentic Foods pancake mix
In a bowl, I hand mix my egg, milk, oil and sugar. I preheat my griddle to 375 degrees. I melt a pat of butter on the griddle, coating the entire surface. From this point, I follow the directions as they are written on the package.
I complete my meal by absolutely burning the heck out of some bacon. It wasn’t intentional, but whatever.
These pancakes are awesome. The taste is perfect, although my wife swears she tastes peanut butter in the mix. I have no idea where that sentiment comes from, but she agrees that these are the best gluten free pancakes we’ve ever eaten. The texture is my favorite for pancakes. A little crispy around the very edge (probably from the butter) and completely fluffy in the middle. Do my pancakes look like the ones on the package? No way. But that doesn’t matter. The taste is out of this world. I’m officially hanging up my adventuring spatula. These are my pancakes from here on out.