Congratulations to the Tully’s Gluten-Free Bakery Sampler Winner

Nutcracker web

Congratulations to Heidi, winner of the Tully’s Gluten-Free Bakery Sampler.

As always, announcing a winner gives me an excuse to post a picture of my nephew. This is a picture of Cam smashing grandpa’s finger with a nutcracker and laughing with sheer joy. I also have a new nephew, Parker who was born on December 20, 2009. So I’ll have to find more giveaways so I have an excuse to post pictures of him too!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

Winner selected by random.org

Tulu’s Gluten-Free Bakery Hits Manhattan – and a Giveaway!

Tully's Gluten Free Bakery NYC

 UPDATE: Tully’s has been rebranded as Tulu’s Gluten-Free Bakery

I first heard rumors of Tully’s new line of gluten-free baked goods on twitter back in October.  I found their cute web site, with drool-worthy photos, but at the time it didn’t have much info.  Then I got an email – they wanted me to sample their wares.  They didn’t yet have distribution, but it didn’t take long for the buyers at my local health food store and even Zabar’s to get on the Tully’s bandwagon.  Then, just yesterday I got an email from a friend alerting me to the arrival of Tully’s Gluten-Free Bakery in the East Village.  Oh joy!  Finally, Manhattanites avoiding gluten can enjoy a cupcake from a charming little bakery like the rest of the sweets-obsessed New Yorkers.

While Babycakes offers a range of gluten-free treats, they don’t have a dedicated gluten-free facility so there is always a risk for cross-contamination.  Tully’s new shop though? It’s completely gluten-free!   Not since Happy Happy Happy, shuttered have we had a truly gluten-free bakery in Manhattan.

The shop is on 338 East 11th between 1st and 2nd Ave is opening in mid-January 2010. I can personally vouch to the deliciousness of their cookies, brownies and cupcakes. The oatmeal raisin cookies are so tasty, my gluten-glutton co-worker who considers himself an ‘oatmeal cookie connoisseur’ deemed them “spectacular.” The brownies are moist and chocolate-y and the memory of the frosting on the adorable mini-cupcakes is making my mouth water as I type. Those sweets plus an expanded menu of gluten-free goodness (including paninis!) will be available once the retail space opens.

Fear not you, non-NYers, you can order the brownies and cookies online for delivery across the country.

I asked Tully herself to give us all a little background on her and the gluten-free bakery.

Q&A with Chef Tully:

What inspired you to start a gluten-free bakery? When is it opening?

I had been cooking professionally for four years before I was diagnosed as gluten intolerant. I went for a while without any baked goods, which was pretty devastating, until I got back in my kitchen and began experimenting. I started with box mixes and gradually worked up the courage to try gluten-free flours. I came up with some really great recipes and wanted to share them with the rest of the GF community. It is still hard for us to find freshly baked, delicious treats, and I want to change that! I hope to open my retail location in mid-January.

Will you be expanding your menu beyond the items currently offered on your Web site?

Yes, we will be baking six different varieties of cupcakes daily in both mini and regular sizes. There will also be muffins, scones and cookies, along with a few vegan items. We will also have several different gluten-free paninis.

Is your kitchen a dedicated gluten-free facility?

Yes, we will be 100% gluten-free!

How long have you been following a gluten-free diet?

Almost a year and a half, I was diagnosed in July 2008.

What did you miss the most when you were first diagnosed?

Cupcakes and sandwiches. Thank goodness I can eat them now!

What was your first job in food?

My internship at Gramercy Tavern right after culinary school.

Gramercy Tavern is one of the top restaurants in NYC. What was your biggest takeaway?

Working at Gramercy Tavern actually made me become more excited about the idea of working in catering, where the menu changes everyday, and there is more time in advance to prepare each dish.

What was the biggest challenge when you started baking gluten-free? Biggest triumph when you finally figured it out?  

I really wanted every one of my products to taste exactly the same as gluten baked goods. Once I figured out how to make that happen, I was thrilled!

Are there any gluten-free baked goods you are still working on but haven’t been able to adapt to gluten-free yet?

I’m working on gluten-free donuts and would love to be able to make a great loaf of homemade bread. I am also testing out more vegan items to add to the menu.

How long have you lived in NYC? What are your favorite gluten-free restaurant finds in New York?

I’ve lived in New York for about four years now. The pizza at Pala in the Lower East Side is incredible. Caracas in the East Village has amazing arepas made entirely of masa (corn), and I love the falafel at Taim in the West Village.

What’s your favorite trick for eating gluten-free on the go?
I always bring a few slices of gluten-free bread when I travel or for sandwich orders at lunchtime. Mary’s Gone Crackers are a staple for cocktail parties.

What’s your favorite type of apple?

Organic Fuji

What’s your favorite cooking show?

The Barefoot Contessa and Top Chef

What’s one ingredient you can’t live without?

Cheese….any kind! And corn tortillas

What would you wish for your last meal?

An H&H onion bagel toasted with cream cheese. Oh how I miss those.

While NYers wait for the opening, you can find Tully’s gluten-free cookies and brownies at S’mac, Royale Bakery, Ground Support and more.

Tully has also generously offered a giveaway to one lucky reader – you will get the choice between a Tully’s sampler pack including brownies and both types of cookies to be shipped direct to you or a dozen mini-cupcakes if you live in the NY area and want to pick them at the bakery once it opens.

To enter, leave a comment telling us what you hope to see on Tully’s new menu by 6pm Eastern on Monday December 28th, you must live in the U.S. to be eligible. Blog or tweet about this giveaway and link to this post and you can comment twice (be sure to put @yumcat in the tweet) which will increase your chance of winning.

Happy Holidays!

Food Crush and Giveaway – Gluten-Free Granola from JK Gourmet

coconut ice cream and gluten free granola

At the Fancy Food Show this year I discovered a plethora of new gluten-free goodies, but one of my favorites was a gluten-free granola from JK Grain Free Gourmet.  I was smitten after trying their Cranberry and Cashew gluten-free granola, but a full-fledged food crush developed later when I received a sample of their Hazelnut and Date concoction made with coconut, dates, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, honey, sunflower seeds, almonds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.  The combination of sweet, savory, crunch and chew is utterly delightful. While I loved it in big handfuls straight from the bag, it was completely decadent on top of ice cream.

ice cream and gluten free granola

I haven’t yet seen JK Gourmet in any stores near me, but I put in a request at my local health food store.  You can see a list of current stores on their web site or place an order directly.  One lucky reader will get a package sent directly to them with 2 flavors of the JK Gourmet gluten-free granola.  Just leave a comment below telling us your favorite way to eat granola (as a topping? like cereal? a dry snack?)  A winner will be selected randomly from all of the comments left by Monday, December 14th at 6:00pm Eastern.  US and Canadian residents only.

Baconalia – an Evening of Indulgence

Bacon Tasting

So we are right in the middle of (gluten-free) Thanksgiving and holiday food overload. It’s a time when I should be preparing for over-indulgence with extra exercise and less prurient food choices. But what did I do last weekend? I had a bacon party. That’s right, a whole evening dedicated to the fatty, tasty, cholesterol-increasing, lip-smacking, heavy, awe-inspiring, salty, favorite foodstuff.

I first read of Shauna’s bacon party almost two years ago and tucked it away in the back of my mind as something that would be fun to try someday. Well that day came and it was a glorious and fun as I imagined. Designed as a pot-luck to maximize the number of bacon-containing dishes, my friends delivered deliciousness in way I didn’t know possible.

There were even bacon prizes for the top culinary creatives. The top prizes went to Joy for her bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with blue cheese and almonds and Rob’s Bacon Old Fashioned made with bacon-infused bourbon. There were bacon-y drinks and rules not to be broken.

There was bacon-nog, candied bacon, bacon and brussels sprouts, a cheesy/potato/slab bacon/slice of heaven, bacon-wrapped asparagus and okra, and gluten-free bacon mac and cheese. That’s right my incredibly thoughtful friends (I was the only one at the party who couldn’t eat gluten) went out and got gluten-free pasta to make homemade gluten-free macaroni and cheese with crispy bits of bacon.

I conducted a bacon tasting of two of the top bacons in the US – Benton’s Bacon from Tennessee and Dakin Farms Bacon from Vermont. At a time that I am trying to eat local and am limiting the amount of meat in my diet, I abandoned all of those environmentally friendly and healthy choices to just enjoy.

I have one recipe to share from the baconalia, a dessert incorporating the salty treat. Because I was the hostess, I wasn’t eligible for the prizes, but I assure you these truffles were drool-worthy and one of the highlights of Bacon-Fest 2009. Yes, I plan on making this an annual event. What’s in store for next year? I don’t know, but surely with a year to plan, the dishes will just continue to get better and I can’t wait to find out….

chocolate bacon peanut candies

Chocolate Bacon and Peanut Truffles Recipe (adapted from The Bacon Cookbook by James Villas)
Makes 20-25 truffles

Ingredients:
6 slices lean streaky bacon
1/2 cup salted peanuts
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup smooth cashew butter (you can substitute peanut butter or the nut butter of your choice)
4 tablespoons butter
6 ounces semisweet gluten-free chocolate
1/2 cup cocoa

Directions:
In a large skillet, fry the bacon over moderate heat until crips, drain on paper towels and let cool completely. In a food processor or blender, combine the bacon, peanuts and sugar and grind to a fine texture but with little flecks of bacon still visible. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the cashew butter and stir till well blended and smooth. Cover and chill in the fridge for one hour.

Roll the mixture into balls about 3/4-inch in diameter, place on a baking sheet, return to fridge to chill for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the butter and chocolate in a small microwave safe dish. Microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring between until smooth and fully melted. Remove from microwave and let cool until warm. Sift the cocoa into a bowl. Coat the chilled bacon and peanut balls completely in the melted chocolate. Dredge thoroughly in the cocoa and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy bacon?

Gluten-Free Foods – Winter Approaches

Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe web montage

The arrival of cold weather here in NYC has brought with it a surprising revelation.  I LOVE fall and winter produce.  I know that farmers’ markets and grocery stores abound with all kinds of fresh produce during the summer, but my first tastes of delicata squash and persimmons this season made me realize how much I missed them.

My friend Clark once laughed at me when I excitedly discussed the arrival of some fruit or vegetable to my local store.  “Oh you seasonal eaters crack me up!” he said.  Sure I’m not always a ‘good seasonal eater – I do enjoy apples all year round and would have a hard time giving up zucchini when it’s out of peak season.  But eating seasonally gives me a chance to really enjoy and almost overload on the best mother nature has to nourish us with during that time of year.  The foods have the most flavor and vitamins, bringing the most pleasure and nutrition to your body.

I know it’s not realistic to for everyone to eat seasonally all the time, and it can be difficult to keep track of what you should eat when.  But if you shop the items in your produce section that are on sale you are usually doing it by default AND it has the side benefit of being more affordable.

Anyway, I just wanted to share my excitement with you – it’s time for delicata squash and persimmons and apples of all kinds, sweet potatoes and pumpkins and stews.  I’m going to make some hearty bean and chili dishes.  Oh I’m not looking forward to bundling up in heavy jackets and braving the snow, after all I am still a California girl at heart.  But the culinary delights awaiting me the next few months make it a little bit easier to bear.

What are the winter foods that warm your soul?

Food Crush and Recipe: French Almond Macaroons

gluten free almond macaroon cookies

I heart almonds. I heart cookies. I heart Paris. So the fact that I love the French version of macaroons should not be a surprise. I first tasted these delicate cookies when visiting my best friend in Paris more than 10 years ago. Now these are not the coconut confections that may first come to mind when hearing the word ‘macaroon’ but are sweets made with almonds that will almost melt in your mouth.

For my birthday this year, my best friend sent me a package of French macaroon cookies from a cute spot in NYC called Macaron Café. She had double checked with them that their versions of the cookies were gluten-free and had them deliver a special package to my apartment. (Yes I have wonderful friends, and I am constantly grateful for them)

best gluten free almond cookies

This week I discovered another source for gluten-free French Macaroons a few blocks from my office at La Maison Du Chocolat. They have a little coffee shop in addition to their ‘take-home’ offerings. So yes, I can get chocolate, cappuccino and macaroons all in one place less than three minutes from my office. I can already tell this is going to be a dangerous temptation.

And since I know most of you don’t live in NYC, I also want to share a few recipes to make your own French Macaroon Cookies at home. They may not be as pretty as the ones you see here, but they are absolutely delicious with the crunchy exterior and chewy center you’ll find in the cookies at the bakeries.

french almond macaroon cookie nyc

Gluten-Free Macaroon Cookies Recipe FIVE ways (adapted from recipe on Delphi Forums Celiac Listerv)

Almond Macaroons

Each recipe makes about 2 dozen 2-inch cookies

Ingredients:
3 cups (12 ounces) blanched slivered almonds (measure without packing or shaking the cup)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 Tablespoon (3 large) egg whites
1 teaspoon gluten-free almond extract

Directions:

Set racks in upper-middle and lower-middle levels of oven and heat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade, add the almonds and process 1 minute. Add sugar and process for 15 seconds. Add egg whites and almond extract and process until the paste wads around the blade. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the processor bowl. Process again until stiff but cohesive, about 5 seconds longer. It should be similar in consistency to marzipan or pasta dough. If the mixture is crumbly or dry, turn machine back on and add water by drops through feeder tube until proper consistency is reached.

On the cookie sheets lined with parchment paper, spoon just under 2 tablespoons of paste for each macaroon, spacing the cookies 1 1/2 inches apart.

Bake macaroons, switching cookie sheet positions midway through baking, until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. (If overbaked, macaroons will dry out rather quickly when stored.) Remove from oven and leave on parchment paper until completely cooled or they may tear.

Can be stored in an airtight container for at least 4 days or frozen up to 1 month.

Fudge Almond Macaroons
Follow recipe for Almond Macaroons, decreasing almonds to 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) and adding 1 cup dutch-processed cocoa and 1/4 teaspoon salt along with the sugar. The macaroons will be done when they have cracked lightly across the top.

Pine Nut-Crusted Almond Macaroons
You will need 2 to 3 extra egg whites and 2 1/2 to 3 cups pine nuts. Follow recipe for Almond Macaroons, rolling paste into balls between your palms. Dip each ball into a beaten egg whites, then roll in pine nuts, lightly pressing with your fingertips. Transfer cookies to baking sheet and flatten slightly with fingers, making inch-wide buttons.

Lemon Almond Macaroons
Follow recipe for Almond Macaroons, making the paste without water. Add 2 Tablespoons grated lemon zest (approx 2 large lemons) and process 10 seconds longer.

Pistachio Macaroon Button Gluten-Free Cookies Recipe

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

The skinning of pistachios is a nuisance, but there is no point in bother with this recipe unless it is done. Make sure to get pistachios that are raw or only lightly toasted. The flavor of these macaroons becomes more intense the day after baking

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups (about 6 ounces) shelled pistachios
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
pinch of salt
2 Tablespoons (1 large) egg white

Directions:

Boil pistachios hard in several quarts of water until skins begin to loosen, about 3 minutes. Drain nuts, then plunge into bowl of cold water. Let stand in water for a few minutes. Remove skins, tossing skinned nuts onto paper towel-lined tray.

Thoroughly dry skinned pistachios on baking sheet set in center position in 200 degree oven, approximately 45 minutes. Remove tray from oven before nuts begin to give off roasted aroma or take on any color. Increase heat to 325 degrees to preheat oven as you continue to prepare the cookies.

Set aside 48 pistachios. Turn remainder into bowl of food processor, fitted with the metal chopping blade, and grind fine. Add sugar, lemon zest, salt and process 1 minute longer. Add egg white and process until dough wads into moist clumps.

Roll dough into 1-teaspoon balls and arrange 1 inch apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make dimple in center of each ball with moistened finger tip and press a reserved pistachio into each crater.

Bake cookies until they look try and have just begun to color, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and set baking sheet on cooling rack. Let macaroons cool completely before peeling them off parchment paper.

For those of you not cooking:

Macaron Café
Address: 161 West 36th Street (btw 7th Ave & Broadway)
New York, NY 10018
Phone: 646-573-5048

La Maison Du Chocolat
Address: 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 49th Street between 5th and 6th Ave
New York, NY 10020
Phone: 212-265-9404

Gluten-Free Restaurants NYC: Porchetta

Porchetta Gluten Free Restaurants NYC

Whenever my college roommate Alexis comes to town, she puts all culinary decisions in my hands. I love that she trusts me, but it also becomes a great responsibility. I feel personally culpable if the experience is less than stellar. But more than that, I like to surprise and delight with choices she might not have found as a tourist navigating the city on her own.

Porchetta is a restaurant that is known for its pork sandwich served on a crusty (gluten-filled) baguette. So it may come as some surprise that this little nook in the East Village has delicious fare for the gluten-free and even vegetarians. The menu is simple, only 10 items including drinks and dessert. But I picked this restaurant for a recent Sunday dinner outing for a group of carnivores, vegetarians and gluten-free diners.

The omnivores by definition have access to the entire menu, but for the vegetarians, there was a fresh mozzarella sandwich, gazpacho, chicory salad, cooking greens and white beans. Both have one dessert option – Italian biscotti.

Porchetta Gluten Free Restaurants NYC 4

While the crusty baguette was tempting, I certainly didn’t leave hungry or feeling deprived. The gluten-free main is the porchetta plate – a large serving of the eponymous dish with a side of the white beans and cooking greens. My omnivorous friend Alexis and I also shared the chicory salad and the crispy potatoes with burnt ends.

Potatoes with cripsy bits at Porchetta Restaurant NYC

While the porchetta plate is yummy, the crispy potatoes with burnt ends provide a culinary experience so delightful, it could tempt a vegetarian to cross over to ‘the dark side.’ Burnt ends are the charred pieces of porchetta deemed unfit for the porchetta plate or sandwich. But the crispy, salty pieces of meat combined with the little pieces of potatoes take a side dish to a level that surpasses the main. My mouth waters as I remember that Sunday dinner.

Because the biscotti were the only sweets (and because I love a ‘progressive dinner), we elected to change locations for dessert. We went to Lula’s Sweet Apothecary, a vegan sweets shop with gluten-free ice cream cones! We smuggled in some bacon chocolate contraband (don’t think the vegans would approve) and the evening was almost complete. Despite my efforts to keep Alexis on her toes with new choices every visit, we also went to Terroir, which is now ‘our spot.’ A balance of new and familiar is the perfect way to pass an evening with an old friend.

Porchetta Gluten Free Restaurants NYC 5

Porchetta Restaurant
Address: 110 East 7th Street, between 1st Ave and Ave A, NY, NY 10013
Phone: 212-777-2151

Friendship and Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb sans Strawberries

It’s been difficult to figure out how to get my “blogging mojo” back after writing about David’s passing. I think the best way is to write about friendship (and food). Since being diagnosed with Celiac and adopting a gluten-free diet, I have been truly struck by the kindness and support of my friends and family. This weekend my friend Matt had a housewarming party. As he was getting menu together he mentioned that he was making a Rhubarb Crumble. I asked all about it.  I knew I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the fruits of his baking adventures, but I still like to hear about food creations, even if I can’t actually partake.  He went through the ingredients with me to see if there was any chance it would be gluten-free. After looking over the recipe, I explained that there are gluten-free oats but that a cup of flour put the recipe in the off-limits category. I told him not to worry, but jokingly asked him to remind me not to kiss anyone at the party.

I was sad not to be able to eat rhubarb one more time before the season was over, but I was used to not being able to eat desserts at parties. I try to view it as a helpful way to keep from over-indulging. After all, I would be able to eat all of the fruit and cheese he would include in his party menu spread.

But as a big foodie, Matt never wants me to miss out on the delicious adventures. He offered to make the crumble gluten-free if I gave him the necessary supplies. The next morning he came to my office to pick up the gluten-free oats and gluten-free flour mix. He made two versions of the crumble, one was gluten-free and one was gluten-ful. He even made the gluten-free version first to help prevent any cross contamination with the regular flour.

When I arrived at the party, he had saved the gluten-free version to make sure I was able to sample his gluten-free handiwork. It was fantastic. I topped mine with loads of Cool Whip. What can I say, I love me some frozen topping.

The rest of the party-goers indulged with as much relish as I did, never realizing there was a difference between this crumble and the gluten-ful one they ate earlier in the evening.  I am so grateful to have friends willing to go to such lengths for me.

Gluten-Free Rhubarb Crumble Recipe (adapted from Matt’s Mom’s recipe)

Ingredients:
For crust and topping:
1 cup gluten-free oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup gluten-free flour mix

Filling:
4 cups diced rhubarb
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 – 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon gluten-free almond extract
1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 can cherry pie filling

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix oats, brown sugar, flour, salt and butter in a medium bowl. Press half of mixture in bottom of a lightly greased 9X13 casserole dish.

Boil sugar, water and cornstarch together until thick, add almond flavor and pie filling. Put rhubarb on top of crust and spoon the warm mixture over rhubarb. Sprinkle rest of crust mixture over this.

Bake 350 for 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with a big dollop of whipped cream.

Matthew would also like me to point out that rhubarb pies are vastly superior to strawberry-rhubarb pies. His position is that the flavor of rhubarb is so distinct and interesting, that “cutting” it with strawberries is a “wuss move” and they don’t really synergize, but turn into bland “berriness.” So for those of you who have been wary of trying rhubarb without its frequent partner, this recipe will convince you.

A Gluten-Free Guide to Breakfast Cereal

Gluten Free Cereal
When I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2004, I mourned the loss of many different gluten-ful foods.  Cereal wasn’t part of my daily routine, but suddenly the idea of not being able to scoop out a handful of Cinnamon Life cereal and nibble on the sweet squares while reading a novel seemed like a tragic loss.  I heard rumors that Fruity Pebbles were gluten-free, and while the ingredients seemed that way, there was also persistent internet chatter about contamination on the line where they are made. 

I found a few gluten-free options along the way but I knew the tide was changing when General Mills reformulated almost the entire Chex line to be gluten-free.  Now, in the latest issue of Real Simple magazine, they did a review of a slew of cereals and 4 of their top picks just happened to be gluten-free.  With our options expanding, it becomes a question of what cereal do we WANT to eat rather than what cereal CAN we eat. 

peanut butter and chocolate gluten free cereal

I received a few samples of note in the last few weeks.  EnviroKidz has added to its gluten-free product list.  This is the team behind one of my favorite gluten-free cereals that I discovered right after I was diagnosed, Gorilla Munch (similar to Kix if you haven’t tried them).  Their new Leapin’ Lemurs cereal has a mix of peanut butter and chocolate. It’s not too rich though for a morning meal – if anything, they could have souped up the choco-peanuty goodness so I could have it for dessert.

yumcat gluten free cereal mix

Me & Goji is a customized cereal with loads of gluten-free options.  They have one gluten-free base and so many gluten-free ingredients, the options are almost endless. They are going to great lengths to clean all of the lines between gluten and gluten-free runs, so I felt comfortable with their process.  I must say, it may be the best cereal I have ever tasted.  Here’s the catch – it’s a bit pricey by the time you pick all of your ingredients plus $5 shipping.  According to their Web site, the average price of a mix is $12, the least expensive is $4.90 (plus shipping) and the most expensive is $56.  One canister does give you a lot more cereal than a typical box from the grocery store, but it could still be a fun ‘special occasion’ buy. 

Last, I sampled the latest from Erewhon Foods – they make gluten-free Brown Rice Cereals similar to Rice Krispies and some gluten-free corn and amaranth cereals.  Their new Cocoa Crispy Brown Rice Cereal and the Crispy Brown Rice with Mixed Berries are my favorites.  For the recent dessert party I hosted (the occasion that called for my Strawberry Ricotta Poppyseed Tart) my friend Matt volunteered to make some gluten-free Rice “Crispy” Treats swirled with chocolate.  Even with all of the ‘fancy’ desserts being served, the marshmallow, chocolatey treats were the first thing to go. 

It’s exciting to have so many more options, I can’t wait to see what new products are in store for us. 

You guys are getting spoiled with all of these giveaways, but I have another one for you.  This time FIVE lucky readers will win.  Leave a comment below with your favorite way to enjoy cereal (mixed in a dessert? as a dry snack? or the more typical way, in a bowl with milk?).  Blog or tweet about this giveaway and link to this post and you can comment twice (be sure to put @yumcat in the tweet) which will increase your chance of winning. The five winners, selected randomly, will receive 3 boxes of the gluten-free Erewhon Cereals of their choice plus one Patagonia T-Shirt and a Erewhon Coupon Keeper with $1 off coupons.  To enter, leave a comment by 6pm Eastern on Monday September 7th, you must live in the U.S. to be eligible. 

This giveaway is over – stay tuned for the next one!

Gluten-Free Restaurants NYC – L’asso Pizza in SoHo

Opus Pizza web

I first heard news of L’asso Pizza adding a gluten-free option to their menu via the NYC Celiac Meetup Group.  I hadn’t looked at their menu, when my friend Andy also trumpeted the news last week.  Apparently the gluten-gluttons in his family had been constantly raving about the incredible pizza at L’asso.  His wife’s description of their portabello tartufo pizza was all that I needed to hear.

So this week when I was thwarted in my attempt to go to The Moth Story Slam, I made the most of it by suggesting L’asso as our alternate plans.  I was so excited to indulge in some cheesy-mushroom-truffle-pizza goodness my previous plans were quickly a distant memory.  As we were seated I saw “gluten-free pizza” and “gluten-free beer” touted on their specials.  Happy that the rumors were true (I somehow always worry that new gluten-free offerings are a myth until I see them with my own eyes), I started debating which toppings to get.  When I asked the server about the gluten-free pizza, he explained that I could only order the “Margherita” or “Bufalina” style pizzas with gluten-free crust.  What?? My heart sank. While I am glad to have more places serving gluten-free pizza, most of the fun with L’asso is the wide variety of toppings and flavor combinations available. Margherita is the classic Italian-style pizza with tomato sauce, cooked buffalo mozzarella, oregano, basil and extra virgin olive oil.  The Bufalina replaces cooked buffalo mozzarella with raw buffalo mozzarella. Both are simple and delicious but not at all what I was craving.

He explained that they had to keep the toppings, dough, etc. for the gluten-free pizzas separate from the rest of their pizza-making operations.  It’s good to hear that they are taking care to prevent cross-contamination, but it didn’t lessen my disappointment.  Hopefully the gluten-free demand will be so high that they will expand their gluten-free options soon.  But really I can’t complain too much – when you can get gluten-free pizza and beer in SoHo, life isn’t so bad for the gluten-challenged.

You can check out L’asso for yourself this week with the NY Celiac Meetup Group.  They are hosting a Meetup at L’asso this Thursday, August 27th from 12-7pm. L’asso is offering as special for the event – the gluten-free pizza Margherita and house salad for $15.  While I didn’t have their house salad, I really enjoyed their arugula salad – served with pear, pancetta, ricotta salata, candied walnuts and a white wine vinegar and honey drizzle.  It was so good, it almost made up for the truffles I missed on my pizza….

L’asso is using gluten-free crust from Still Riding gluten-free bakery.  I enjoyed that crust most recently at Pizza Fusion in Atlanta.  I had more fun options for toppings, but the crust is great either way.

web Gluten Free Restaurants ATL Pizza Fusion (12)

Restaurant Address:

L’asso Pizza

192 Mott Street at Kenmare

NY, NY 10012

Phone: 212-219-2353

For more gluten-free pizza options in NYC, you can visit Sambuca, Bistango, Opus, Risotteria, Pala, PizzaBolla, Slice and Mozzarelli’s.  For those outside of NYC, there are Uno’s locations nation-wide and Pizza Fusion is expanding their number of locations as well.  I wonder when Pizza Hut and Dominoes will get on the gluten-free bandwagon…

Where is your favorite place for gluten-free pizza?  Or do you make your own?