Affairs of Living

Gluten-free, allergy-friendly, whole foods recipes

Recent Posts

Subscribe to RSS headline updates from:
Powered by FeedBurner

Site Search
Subscribe

Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

Free Shipping on Vitamix

The Vitamix is my favorite kitchen tool for blending perfectly smooth sauces and smoothies, making my own nut and seed butters, grinding fresh gluten-free flours, and more. Interested in purchasing one? Check out the great deals on reconditioned Vitamix machines, or investigate new Vitamix machine packages. Payment plans are available!

Receive FREE SHIPPING to the US and Canada when you order a Vitamix with my affiliate code 06-004943. 

Save at iherb.com

Save $5 on your first order from iHerb.com with coupon code QAB040.  Visit iHerb.com now to browse natural products and supplements. 

Love it here?

                                

Entries from March 1, 2009 - March 31, 2009

Sunday
Mar292009

AllerEnergy Nutrition Bars: allergy free energy bar (gluten free, vegan, peanut free, tree nut free, corn free, dairy free, egg free, soy free)


Wow, a refined sugar free, corn free, soy free, egg free, dairy free, shellfish free, gluten free, sesame free, peanut free, pumpkin seed free, tree nut free, energy bar actually exists that is relatively low in sugar, doesn't contain a ton of fruit, and is something that I can eat!

Enter AllerEnergy! It is made of puffed crisped rice, puffed millet, puffed amaranth, brown rice syrup, flax seeds, and, depending on the variety, dried fruit or soy-free chocolate bits. I ordered some to have as emergency snacks for my upcoming weekend in Orlando with my family. We'll be on the go a lot, and I decided I wanted something prepackaged and easy. I can't eat most energy/nutrition bars because of my variety of restrictions and allergies. Soy or dairy protein bases don't work, my mild and moderate variety of nut allergies provide some issues, and I'm still avoiding high doses of sugar and fruit, especially dried fruit, while I'm in recovery from the Candida overgrowth. That makes finding a prepackaged, easy quick energy bar pretty much impossible.

While there are some options, like the LaraBar Cashew Cookie, or GoMacro's Cashew Bar, or some of the other raw almond/date bars, I don't feel my body is ready to dive into that kind of sugar concentration yet. Many of those bars pack around 20 or 25 grams of sugar per bar.. Sure, it may be sugar from dates and not cane sugar, but sugar is sugar is sugar. So, I was ELATED to find the AllerEnergy bar online - it is relatively low in sugar - only 7 grams - and still has 3 grams of protein and only about 30 carbs per bar. It contains dried fruit, but not very much, and brown rice syrup is a fairly low glycemic sweetener, so I decided to go for it. Plus, there are absolutely no ingredients that I'm allergic too! Hurrah!

I ordered from Peanut Free Planet, a website that specializes in peanut-free products. I have been peanut free for years, but this was the first time I'd ever been to their site. In addition to being peanut free, many of the items on this website are also free of other common allergens and gluten. I am totally impressed with their service - my order shipped the same day and arrived two days later! I ordered the blueberry and cherry flavors, passing on the chocolate since it contains cane sugar and the apple cinnamon because it contains cinnamon (but both sound delicious!). I also ordered a box of Andean Dream Quinoa-Rice Pasta Fusilli, which I'm excited to try. As a bonus, they sent a cute little single-serving size sample of sunflower seed butter with the order. Nice!

So, how it is? I tried a little bite of the dried cherry flavor and it was chewy, crispy, and had a very good flavor. It looks like bird seed has been pressed into a bar, which made me giggle. My sugar deprived taste buds have become much more sensitive to sweetener than they used to be, so the combination of brown rice syrup and dried cherries tasted very sweet, but very delicious. This bar is a hit!

Yay!

Sunday
Mar292009

Sprouted Chickpea Pesto and Broccoli Pasta Salad (gluten free, dairy free, vegan, nut free)


Every few months or so, my fabulous friend Alison throws a Stitch and Bitch. For those of you that aren't in the know, a Stitch and Bitch is a gathering of women that involves food, drink, handiwork, and lively conversation. My grandmother attends a Stitch and Bitch. My mother attends a Stitch and Bitch. And now I, too, attend a Stitch and Bitch. I love Alison's Stitch and Bitch get togethers. We all eat, talk, and sometimes even get around to working on our projects. Last time, which was just before Christmas, I was an embroidery fanatic and managed to complete an entire design on a dish towel in one evening. It was a pattern of a devil head, for my devilishly handsome and equally fabulous friend Derek.

Anyway, one of the best things about Stitch and Bitch is eating. Alison always provides some food, and guests always bring more. Unfortunately for me, most of the food at Stitch and Bitch, like most party fare, is primarily wheat or dairy based. Lots of crackers, crusty breads, fancy cheeses, tasty dips and tapenades, or little baked confections. Basically, lots of things on my naughty list. So, it is up to me to bring something I can eat that will also please the other ladies. Last time I brought some crazy Black Bean Carob brownies, a vegan variation of the recipe from 101 Cookbooks. They were pretty good, and went over fairly well, all things considered. Sure, the baguette and brie definitely stole people's hearts before my black bean brownies did, but by the end of the evening, a fair portion of those brownies had vanished off the plate. People liked them.

Or at least, people were curious enough about trying to figure out if they liked them or not to keep eating them.

This time around, I decided I wanted something more substantial. Something that would make a meal. I wanted a pasta salad. A pasta salad that was doused in pesto.

I totally adore pesto, but since most pre-made pesto includes ingredients that are no longer on my "yes" list, I now have to make it myself every time I want it. Thankfully, it is marvelously easy and takes about 5 minutes. So, I stopped at my favorite Asian market and bought a huge bunch of basil to make my sauce. Hot tip - basil is ALWAYS cheap at the Asian market. Way cheaper than buying it your average grocer or natural food store. And generally fresher, becuase basil is very commonly used in SE Asian cooking, and the turnover rate is pretty high.

Since I'm on a break from most nuts and seeds right now, running a little allergy experiment, I decided to make the pesto with sprouted chickpeas instead of pinenuts. Brilliant! I've had a batch of chickpeas sprouting away on my kitchen counter the last few days, and this was the perfect opportunity to use 'em up. Since sprouted chickpeas are still crunchy, they make a great substitute for the pine nuts and grated cheese traditionally used in pesto, providing that grainy texture. If you don't sprout, go ahead and try using regular chickpeas, but be forewarned - it may create a more creamy pesto sauce since cooked chickpeas blend up to be very smooth. Or, if you'd like, use pine nuts, or some other nut or seed. Pumpkin seeds make great pesto, as do macadamia nuts. After my sophomore year of college, I worked in Hawaii for a summer, and basically lived on vegan cheese, macadamia nut pesto, and sprouted grain bagel sandwiches. Macadamias + basil = awesome. In fact, I think vegan cheese is really only acceptable to eat when covered in pesto.

Or, for the most simple variation, just make your pesto with basil and olive oil - it is just as delicious. This recipe makes more than enough pesto for the pasta salad, so you'll have plenty of leftovers. Use over cooked veggies or grains, mix with beans, serve on turkey burgers or chicken breasts, or stir in with yogurt or kefir to make a tasty, creamy dressing. Or, just eat with a spoon and get your olive oil intake for the day. Pesto freezes like a dream - I use ice cube trays and those little bendy oven/freezer/fridge safe plastic candy molds to freeze just about everything - so make a big batch and freeze some for later!

In the end, this pasta salad was a total hit at Stitch and Bitch, and got just as much actions as the creamy spinach dip, crusty bread, and ham and cheese galettes. Brimming with Mediterranean-inspired flavors, this pasta salad combines caramelized onions, blanched broccoli, sprouted chickpeas, oil-cured olives, and fresh pesto into something wonderfully vibrant green, ultra flavorful, and very satisfying. People will never guess it is gluten-free and vegan! And it makes a ton - perfect for potlucks, parties, and leftovers.

I did not include cheese when I made the pesto or salad, but I listed it below as an option for those that tolerate dairy. A freshly grated, hard, salty Italian cheese, like parmiggiano reggiano (cow) or pecorino romano (sheep) would be delicious, and add a traditional twist.

SPROUTED CHICKPEA PESTO AND BROCCOLI PASTA SALAD (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)

yield: 8-10 servings

Salad:
4 c dry brown rice rotini (or other gluten free pasta), cooked and cooled
3-4 c finely chopped broccoli florets (about 1 bunch)
1 1/2 c sprouted chickpeas (or canned, prepared chickpeas)
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/3 c oil cured black olives, sliced
1/2-2/3 c pesto, to taste (see ingredients and recipe below)
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 T olive oil
optional, if dairy tolerant: grated parmigianno reggiano (cow) or pecorino romano (sheep)

Sprouted Chickpea Pesto:
2 c packed fresh basil leaves
3/4 - 1 c good quality extra virgin olive oil
2-3 cloves fresh garlic or 1 bulb roasted garlic
1/4 c sprouted chickpeas or 2-3 T pine nuts or other nut/seed
optional, if dairy tolerant: 2-3 T parmiggiano reggiano (cow) or pecorino romano (sheep)
pinch sea salt

PREPARE PESTO (yields approx 1 - 1 1/2 c):

  1. Remove leaves from basil, wash, and spin dry/pat dry.
  2. Put basil leaves, garlic (fresh, roasted, or mix), and sprouted chickpeas/nuts in food processor.
  3. Add oil slowly while pulsing food processor until sauce has reached desired consistency. It shoudl be grainy and well mixed.
  4. Add pinch of sea salt to taste, as desired.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to one week, or freeze leftovers for later use.

PREPARE SALAD:

  1. In large stockpot, add water, pinch of salt, and 1 T of olive oil to boil. Add dry pasta, bring to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook 8-10 minutes or until pasta is al dente. DO NOT OVER COOK! Remove from heat immediately, pour pasta through strainer, and rinse with cool water. Set aside, and let it drain thoroughly while cooling.
  2. Thinly slice onion, and place in oiled heavy bottom pan that has a tightly fitting cover. Saute at medium heat until coated with oil, then reduce heat to low, cover and let sweat for 4-5 minutes. Remove cover, stir, cover, and let cook another 5-6 minutes. Remove cover, stir, cover and let cook another few minutes. Repeat until onions have become sweet, sticky, and carmelized. Turn off heat, and leave covered for a few minutes. Remove cover, and set aside.
  3. While onions are caramelizing, boil 4-5 cups of water. Wash broccoli, and remove florets from stems. Chop broccoli finely - you want to make it look like lots of very tiny little trees. Place in a large bowl, then dump boiling water over the florets. Cover bowl with a plate, and let sit for about 1-2 minutes, or until broccoli is just lightly cooked. Remove plate, and strain broccoli. This is a fast and easy way to quickly cook very small broccoli pieces!
  4. Slice olives in quarters vertically, and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together cooled pasta, broccoli, caramelized onion, olives, and chickpeas. Spoon pesto sauce over mixture, and gently mix into pasta until well combined. Add salt, pepper, and additional pesto sauce to taste, as desired.
  6. Cover salad, place in refrigerator, and let sit for 3-4 hours to let flavors develop.
  7. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Garnish with freshly grated cheese, as desired/tolerated.

Buon appetito! Per favore, mangia, mangia!

 

Tuesday
Mar242009

Seattle, Washington: gluten free travel adventures

In February I took a rapid-fire, less-than-48-hour trip to the Emerald City to investigate the Oriental Medicine program at Bastyr University.  I love Seattle, and loved checking out the school - they have incredible programs and an excellent reputation.  The trip was a little scary for me, because it was my first trip after making such drastic changes to my diet.  Normally, I relish at the thought of travel.  I like to travel spontaneously, wandering around until I find something I like, going where my heart desires without much planning.  But throwing a really restrictive diet and a somewhat unreliable state of "health" into the mix makes that a little harder; I was freaked.  So, I did investigation, brought snacks and food with me, and prepared myself to be flexible.  In the end, it was a great success; I had fun, felt great, and left with a new sense of confidence and hope.  I was overprepared.  Living with restrictions doesn't mean you have to sit inside - it just means you need to do a little extra work on the front end, and be a little more flexible than the average person.  It was a great primer and learning experience that helped me better prepare for my trip to Portland last weekend!  


This trip definitely different from my trip to Seattle last year, which involved a lot of dive bars, cocktails, and omelette breakfasts.  None of that this time around.  While I was only there briefly, I did have the opportunity to check out a few fun things that were friendly to the allergy afflicted and gluten-intolerant.  Here is my short, but hopefully interesting, list!  I included a couple links at the bottom with more information.

PCC Markets - the local Seattle chain of natural food markets.  Great selection of specialty items, good produce, nice stores.  

Flying Apron Bakery - Lovely gluten-free vegan bakery located in the fantastic Fremont neighborhood.  For the first time in a year, I walked into a bakery and ordered a pastry.  Actually, I ordered, like 5.  Two chocolate muffins, one berry muffin, one macaroon, one maple bar, and about $20 later, I left the bakery with a box of beautiful, gluten-free baked goods for me and my gluten-intolerant friends back home.  Flying Apron Bakery uses a lot of alternative sweeteners; I was able to get a maple sweetened chocolate muffin that was fudgy and totally delicious.  They use a mix of rice and garbanzo bean flours as the base in many of their baked goods, but do have some bean-free options as well.  In addition to cookies, muffins, scones, and bars, they make beautiful looking loaves of bread, and have a big list of specialty cakes they can make to fit your desires and needs (chocolate mint!)!  They also have savory lunch items like calzones, salads, and soups, and make teas and coffees.  This place is a gem, and totally worth the stop.  Check out the great review (with photos!) of the Flying Apron Bakery on Book of Yum.  So, how did it measure up?  The maple bar was a little too oily and way to sweet for my tastes; I would not recommend it.  The chocolate muffin was dense and moist, and while it definitely had a "beany" flavor, I really enjoyed it.  I bought two; part of one is still in my freezer, cut into quarters.  It is really good frozen, actually...weird, but true.  My friend told me the macaroon was awesome, and my landlady said the berry muffin was incredibly delicious.  My friend Peter, who lives in Seattle and hosted me while I was there, had the Russian Tea Cake.  It exploded in his hands, the fragile little thing.  he said the flavor was really good, but that it was a bit dry and way too crumbly.  Bottom line: If you  are used to the slightly unusual nature of gluten free, vegan baked goods, you'll probably dig this place, and find it as charming and fun and delicious as I did.  If you are used to eggs, lots of butter, and gluten-containing flours, you will probably be disappointed.  When it gets right down to it, you need to appreciate many gluten-free, vegan baked items for what they are, not for what they aren't.  It is like eating  a veggie burger when you are used to beef - accept and enjoy the veggie burger for what it is.  Don't try to fool yourself into thinking it is going to be just like beef,  because it just won't be, and you'll just be disappointed! 

Fremont Farmer's Market - Just around the corner from the Flying Apron Bakery (and down the street from a PCC Market) is the site of the Fremont Farmer's Market, an all-year-round, European style outdoor market with everything and anything you could imagine.  Vegetables!  Antiques!  Arts and crafts! Soaps! Wholesome street food!  Coffee and tea! Hand blown pipes for smoking "tobacco"!  Hey, I said everything.  This market was lovely.  The climate of the NW allows for all year growing, and a very cute farm boy was selling beautiful bunches of collards and kale, huge turnips and rutabagas, and other delicious cool weather veggies.  If I hadn't been leaving Seattle in a few hours, I would not have been able to resist.  As I wandered between vendor tents on that cool Sunday morning, savoring a gluten-free chocolate muffin, I thought I was in heaven.

Cafe Flora - vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free friendly menu.  My particular set of restrictions at the moment made this place a bad choice for me, but for many people their menu would be a great option.  It looks killer; my heart was breaking that I couldn't eat there with confidence.  Hopefully, next time  : )  I hear it is really delicious.

Cinnamon Works, Pike's Market - this little bakery serves up wheat free, gluten free, sugar free, and vegan baked goods.  I didn't have the chance to stop there this time around, but my trip to Seattle last year definitely had me indulging in their delightfully decadent gluten free vegan pumpkin cookie.  To die for.  Located right on the main strip of Pike's Market, this place is a great stop for a mid-morning snack on a drizzly, market-bound Sunday.  

Portage Bay Cafe - Organic restaurant in two Seattle locations.  We went for brunch.  They have a number of egg dishes, really delicious looking hashbrowns, and also have two varieties (rice and buckwheat) of gluten-free pancakes on their menu (both contain dairy and eggs).  They also have a vegan pancake, but it contains gluten.  With all of my restrictions, the only  thing I could get was a side order of their smoked salmon (AMAZING) atop an extra large order of sauteed onions.  They were very accommodating to my special order and answered all my ingredient inquiries.  Their menu is great and could be very versatile to many people - I just have a whole lot of restrictions, and breakfast/brunch menus are by far the hardest to navigate for me.  Regardless, I would suggest this place.  My gluten-free friend ordered a beautiful omelette egg scramble thing and she enjoyed it greatly!

PIzza Works - I didn't go here, but found them researching - they have a gluten free, yeast free crust, as well as other gluten free crusts, and lots of topping options.  It isn't in SEattle, it is in a suburb.  There are lots of other pizza options in the city, but this one looked good too.

Because I was there for such a short time, Here is a link to a big list of other restaurants and options, perhaps you could find what you are looking for!

NEXT UP ON THE TRAVEL LIST: Orlando, Florida.  

Oh, Orlando.  While you are sunny and have beautiful, warm weather, and lovely natural springs, beaches, and flora nearby, I do not really like you.  Your drivers are terrible, your city planning involves only strip malls and creepy housing developments, and you are probably the least pedestrian city in the U.S.  But I deeply love my brother and his fiancée, and they have chosen you, Orlando, as their home.  And next week Saturday, they will be married! Hooray!  So, Orlando, to you I go.  

That corner of the country is a whole different ball game from the Northwest.  The opposite corner of the country also has a totally opposite culture, mentality, and vibe.  Wowzers.  Last April I went to Orlando and felt TERRIBLE.  It was just after my health really took the major nose dive.  All I ate for 4 days were spelt pretzels, sweet potatoes, avocados, applesauce, rice cakes, eggs, Kashi GoLean Crunch bars, and some canned tuna.  Each day I had the worst stomach pain I'd ever felt in my life, which is saying a lot because I had experienced some nasty tummy troubles.  I was so scared, and had NO idea what the hell was going on with my body.  Upon returning home from that trip, I  cut out gluten, sugar, eggs, dairy, fruit, mushrooms, vinegar, etc etc etc and officially put myself on a gluten-free, yeast-free, allergy-free candida cleanse.  I started researching, reading, experimenting, and tried to find answers with Western doctors.  I found none, decided I had to take matters in to my own hands, and headed for the world of Oriental and Naturopathic medicine.  The rest is history, and here I am today, nearly one year later, still plodding along, but feeling worlds better.  Improvement is slow, but consistent.

This year will be a much better trip, and I'm excited to feel the warmth and be more energetic.  We will be dining on their wedding day in a restaurant at Disney, and I will be calling to make special meal arrangements; I'm curious to see what they will do for me!  I will be in Florida for 6 days, and will be traveling to the coast and St Augustine with my family.  I've done a bit of research, and will be doing more this weekend.  I'll be sure to share my Orlando experience!

Monday
Mar232009

Portland, Oregon: gluten-free travel adventures

Portland Chinese Gardens

So, I just got back from a long weekend in Portland investigating Oriental Medicine schools. I've decided on the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine - hooray! And Portland was AMAZING; I felt like I walked into a dreamland. The co-ops! The friendly people! The vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free restaurant options! The bike-centric culture! I felt like I was at home. And in a way, that makes sense - it reminds me a lot of Minneapolis. Portland has all the great niche things about Minneapolis, but instead of them being niche, they are commonplace and way more accessible. In a little over a year, I will pack my bags and head westward, and become an Oregonian. I can't wait!

Anyway, I wanted to share a few of new things I found/discovered/ate while there. In preparation for the trip, I did a lot of research on restaurants, co-ops, etc so I would know where to find what I needed and wanted when I got there. I brought along my own safe snacks to make travel on the plane and my all day school student-for-a-day events easier, and bought food to cook while I was there staying with friends. The great thing about Portland is that I could actually eat at restaurants EASILY instead of having it be crazy complicated, even with all my allergies. Amazing! The culture there is very aware of alternative dietary choices, and instead of feeling like the weird allergy girl, I felt completely comfortable. What a sigh of relief.
Research in advance totally makes traveling with restrictions easier - it is worth the work, and made me feel totally at ease and prepared once I arrived. Instead of being stressed out about finding a restaurant for lunch or trying to figure out where I could find some tasty treats, I could just relax and have fun. I hope this information is helpful for any of you traveling to Portland, or at least fun to read about! I can't wait to live there and be able to take advantage of all this stuff. So, here goes - photos to come as soon as I get them off my camera!

Stirs the Soul Organic Raw Chocolate
: holy yum! These chocolate bars are organic, soy free, corn free, vegan, raw, and sweetened with agave instead of sugar. And they taste great. You can find them in natural food markets all over the city. They aren't cheap (like, $2.50 for a 1 oz bar), but for a special happy treat, it was totally worth it. I tried the Goji Berries in Dark Chocolate and the Maca Mesquite. Both were great, but the goji bar was amazing - it was creamy and delicious, studded with tart, chewy goji berries. The maca mesquite had an earthy, smoky flavor that I really enjoyed. I brought home a Lavendar and an 88% cocoa single-origin Ecuadorian variety for later. The single-origin bar is bigger, and also more expensive, but it should be divine! The best thing about these chocolates is that they aren't too sweet and they don't leave you feeling like you just ate some kind of crazy sugar crack bar.
Coconut milk yogurt: I tried a brand of vegan, agave-sweetened coconut milk yogurt that I have never seen
before - it wasn't SoDelicious by Turtle Mountain. It was some other brand that I can't find online anywhere, but it was GOOD. I got it at the Alberta Co-op, and I'd recommend it. I tried the plain flavor, it was relatively low in sugar and carbs, and they claimed to be low on the glycemic index. It tasted really good and had a nice texture. Way better than SoDelicious, which I think is way too sweet, weirdly flavored, and weirdly textured. SoDelicious is still better than Ricera, though, which is terrible.

Eden Organics Brown Rice Flakes
: I have been looking at these online because I can't find them in stores anywhere in Minneapolis. Lo and behold, I found them at New Season's Market - see entry for that below. I have already used some in recipe experiments for brown rice "granola" clusters - check back soon soon soon for that recipe!

Enjoy Life Very Berry Crunch "Granola"
: If you aren't familiar with Enjoy Life, they make food products that are free of pretty much all possible major allergens, which is great. I don't buy their products much, if ever, but I had been curious about this gluten-free brown rice-based granola product. I see it in the stores all the time, but didn't want to fork over the $5 for a bag of cane juice sweetened stuff that I shouldn't really be eating anyway. At my visit day event at the National College of Natural Medicine, they had a bag out on the breakfast buffet table (don't we love natural medicine colleges and their gluten-free offerings?). I tried a handful; it really was too sugary for my taste (ack, cane juice!) and the berry flavor tasted a little too fake, even though it is made with real berries. But, as a special treat granola substitute, it was tasty, crunchy and not all bad. I wouldn't buy it though. Not surprisingly, it has inspired me to make my own brown rice granola, which is looking promising...

Alberta Co-op
:
located in the quirky Alberta neighborhood, this co-op was really nice. Nice bulk, lots of specialty items, smaller produce section but good selection. Tons of seaweed in bulk, lots of bulk teas, and a good selection of local sauerkrauts.

People's Co-op:
located in SE Portland, this co-op won my heart in an instant. Great bulk selection, beautiful produce, nice selection of raw and vegan items, as well as locally produced sauerkrauts, misos, and grab-and-go options. It is so charming, the staff were really friendly, and they have a little trailer parked out in front that serves up fresh fruit and veggie juices, freshly brewed teas, and fair trade coffee. Awesome. I had a cup of yerba mate and ate a chocolate bar while sitting outside watching cute boys and girls ride up on bikes with homemade trailers to buy avocados and fresh salsas. Plus, they offer a year-round farmer's market at their store, and have a bunch of community classes and workshops, from yoga to Spanish. And if I lived in Portland, you can be damn sure that I would be attending the upcoming square dance on Wednesday night from 7-9 pm.

New Season's Market
:
Imagine a locally owned hybrid of a more affordable Whole Foods, a normal grocery store, and the best deli/salad bar you've ever seen. This is New SEason's Market, located in multiple locations around Portland. In addition to the impressive grocery area of their store, they have an AMAZING salad bar/deli/grab-and-go with tons of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. You can make big salads, or throw everything in a bowl and they stir-fry it up in a wok for you. For the bread eaters, they make sandwiches too, and they have a variety of other hot bar entrees. They even have a seating area! I ran through one afternoon between appointments and made a rice noodle-lettuce-bean sprout-black bean-bamboo shoot salad to eat on the run. It was $3.50 and I was in and out in under 10 minutes. Amazing. As for the grocery area, they have everything you could ever want and more, from fancy raw stuff to Australian rice cakes to specialty ethnic items (flavored ghee!) and more Bob's Red Mill and Eden Organics products than I have ever seen in one place. The produce section was beautiful, it had a nice health and beauty department, and they even carry a bunch of really cute home and kitchen stuff.

Laughing Planet Cafe
: vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and allergyt friendly fast food, in multiple locations all over the city. Whoa. They were really accommodating and had a big binder with ALL of their ingredients that they were willing to pull out for me in an instant. I got a beautiful bowl of steamed vegetables with happy chicken and brown rice for $8, and had enough to take home leftovers. And it was served up in, like, 5 minutes. Amazing. Gluten-eating, meat-eating, dairy-eating, egg-eating people will like this place too; they have some really good looking burritos, sandwiches, and soups. All in all, a great variety of options, and totally affordable. And for you beer and soda drinkers, they have lots of beers and BlueSky sodas on tap. Cool.

Hawthorne and Corbett Fish House
: Wisconsin-style, gluten-free fish fry in Portland; they have two locations. This place rocks; it was a total dream come true. Let me explain: I'm a total Wisconsin girl. And while you can take the girl out of Wisconsin, you can't ever take the Wisconsin out of the girl. Sure, I like clean, fresh food full of vegetables and wholesome ingredients. But sometimes I want to return to my roots and eat some fried fish. A perch and walleye fish fry is as Wisconsin as you can get; and where better to get it than Portland?
gluten-free fried walleye - amazing!
The only restaurant to serve walleye and perch on the West coast, the Hawthorne and Corbett Fish Houses use rice flour and rice bran oil to create a light, crunchy batter around perfectly moist fish. Amazing. I substituted fries for a salad, and had the most satisfying fish meal in ages! Get the walleye, it is tops. The best thing about this place is that it actually FELT and LOOKED like we had just been teleported to Wisconsin, from the tacky fish and Green Bay Packer paraphanaglia hanging from the walls, to the crop of oddly Midwest-looking clientele that seemed to be pouring in the door. If you've ever been to a fish fry at a Wisconsin supper club, you know what I mean. Go here!

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery
:
their gluten-free breads and confections looked beautiful. But sadly, most of the breads contained yeast, everything except the vegan chocolate cupcake contained eggs, and the vegan chocolate cupcake contained soy, so I didn't try anything. But definitely try it out if you can! It is a little tricky to find - it is located in the entryway to Trader Joe's. They also had a large ingredient book that they were willing to pull out when I asked about ingredients.
I didn't get the chance to eat or stop at the following places, but came across them in my research or while driving around - so I thought I'd share! These all have gluten free options as well as vegan and vegetarian friendly menus.

Blossoming Lotus
: located in the Pearl disctrict, inside Pearl Yoga studio. They have a lot of raw stuff, and some really tasty looking grain-bean-veggie bowls.
Chaos Cafe: vegan/vegetarian place in SE, cheap, good looking menu, and looks cool from the outside. I want to try their cashew sour cream!
Proper Eats: looks good, vegetarian and vegan, some gluten-free options on their menu
Papa G's Vegan Organic Deli: this place looks fantastic and quirky, and although I drove by it twice, I didn't have the chance to stop. Next time! They have hot entrees and grab-and-go, by the looks of it, some is gluten free. They make gluten-free gravy that sounds tasty.
Food Fight Grocery: all vegan grocery store - for real
Bellagios Pizza: if you can eat eggs, they have a gluten free crust, so check it out
The MIssissippi Pizza Pub: not sure what is in their crust, but they also have gluten free pizza options
Picazzo's Pizza: more gluten free pizza options
Grolla Restaurant: Looks fancy, higher priced, tasty looking menu
Old Wives Tales Restaurant: lots of different gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, and meat options. Looks great, especially if you can eat eggs or soy - their brunch looks good
Francis Restaurant: they have a separate gluten free, vegan menu that looks pretty fantastic.
And here are two great resources with even more info, written by people that actually live in Portland and know the place. Hooray!

This link is especially awesome - it has TONS of links and information, check out the link for Grandma Leeth's restaurant, it looks great :http://www.glutenfreeportland.org/restaurant-list/

Also good:

So, if you travel to Portland, I hope this information helps! It is a great town, and I can't wait to make it my home. 2010 will be here in no time!
chrysanthemum tea with goji berries at the tea house in the Chinese Gardens
The fine city of Portland, with Mt. Hood in the distance
Monday
Mar092009

Creamy Cashew Wild Rice Soup (vegan, gluten free, dairy free)

Light, airy vegan food is great and everything, but let's be real: sometimes you want something rich. Something that sticks to your bones. Something that is reminiscent of something loaded with dairy and eggs and stuff like that but without all the stuff like that.  This soup TOTALLY fits the bill. Wild rice and vegetables in a creamy, thick cashew broth? Heck yes this soup sticks to your bones.

I waxed philosophical about how awesome wild rice is in this post, and while I enjoy eating wild rice in any number of ways, I adore wild rice in soup most of all. Wild rice soup is a classic here in the upper Midwest - it appears on restaurant menus all over the place. There are two main variations, one with a brothy base, and one with a creamy, milky thick base. Both include any combination of wild rice, onions, water chestnuts, almonds, carrots, celery, chicken. The cream based broth is the most common, which is unfortunate, because as delicious and rich as it is, it does not sit quite right with me. Finding broth-based wild rice soups out at restaurants is a little hard - the Loon Cafe in Minneapolis has a great one. For those of you that can handle heavy cream and might be coming through the Minneapolis area, Hell's Kitchen makes a breakfast porridge out of wild rice, cream, maple syrup, blueberries and cranberries, and hazelnuts. It is supposed to be completely and totally epic, my friend Peter swears by this porridge. I think the porridge is actually gluten-free (the restaurant is not), and the rest of their menu is also really nice.

Anyway, I decided I wanted a creamy wild rice soup. Something thick. Something rich. Something bone adhering. Rice milk wouldn't cut it, coconut milk was not the right flavor. So, I decided on cashews. Raw cashews, once soaked and blended, take on the most amazingly rich, creamy consistency. And once heated, the cashew cream actually thickens - amazing - just like dairy milk or cream. I've been wanting to try using cashews as a soup thickener for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity.

I'm totally impressed with this spontaneous soup adventure. I made it yesterday afternoon and ate it for dinner tonight; the flavors had time to meld and it was awesome. I used cooked wild rice that I cooked in advance in my rice cooker, rather than trying to cook it in the pot with the vegetables and all that. I think it just makes it easier than trying to time everything just right. So, make sure to leave time to soak and cook your rice, and soak your cashews, if you are going to try this recipe out. It is worth the pre-planning! I think that even your non-vegan friends and family will think it is awesome. Serve with a big salad and dig in. I ate my inaugural bowl with a salad of braised celery and water chestnuts over watercress, and it was awfully good. 


 

CREAMY CASHEW WILD RICE SOUP 

yield: 6 servings

  • 3 c cooked wild rice
  • 2 c celery, sliced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • 1 c celeriac, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 T dry tarragon
  • optional: itty bitty dash of nutmeg
  • sea salt or Herbamare to taste
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste.
  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 c stock or water, plus additional if needed
  • 1/2 c raw unsalted cashews
  • 1/2 c water + water for soaking
  • optional: diced mushrooms (I didn't add them, but they would be delicious!!!)
  • optional: minced green onion and chopped cashews for garnish

In advance: Soak cashews in fresh water for 4-6 hours. Cashews will soften and start to sprout! You must soak them in order to get the right texture once blended.

In large stockpot, warm olive oil, Saute onion and celery until soft, add carrot and celeriac, and saute another few minutes until soft.  Add 6 cups stock, and bring to boil, then reduce to a simmer.

Drain soaked cashews, then place in blender (narrow bowl if using immersion blender) with 1/2 c fresh water. Blend until completely smooth and thick.

Add 3 c cooked wild rice, tarragon, and cashew cream to the stock and vegetables. Simmer on low until vegetables are soft, approximately 45 minutes, stirring occassionally to prevent sticking, and adding more stock or water as necessary.  Add fresh parsely, and salt and pepper to taste, and simmer another couple of minutes to flavor through. Soup will continue to thicken as it cools; thin with more water or broth as necessary.