Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Roasted Fingerling & Purple Potatoes with Cipollini Onions


Roasted Potatoes & Onions 5, originally uploaded by gfshaolin.

Last year, I became a regular at the Staten Island Greenmarket in St. George. I loved spending a lazy Saturday morning with the wee one walking from stall to stall tasting fresh fruits, veggies, and cheeses. But, it is only open from May to November. Since November, I have had to turn to supermarket produce to get my fresh fix. It's been quite disappointing. Most of the supermarket produce on Staten Island has been sad - so we have been forced to shop in Jersey at Wegman's, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's. (Yes. I realize that I live in New York City and I drive to Jersey to get food. And no, it is not easier to go to Brooklyn or Manhattan to go to Whole Foods/Trader Joe's. It is more cost effective with tolls to go to Jersey than it is to shop in the city that I live and work in. Odd, I know.) Until now.

I'm in love with the new Farmers' Market here on Staten Island. It is open every Sunday from 8am till 12pm in the new shopping center across from Target. It just opened - this Sunday was it's third week. And each week, it has gotten bigger - now there are three vendors. I hope by next week, there will be four! This past Sunday, there was a French bakery, a produce stand, and a weaver. The French bakery is actually a restaurant here on Staten Island, Chez Laurent. As I bought baked goods for my gluten-eating husband and son, the chef/owner offered me some decadent chocolate pound cake to try. I graciously declined explaining that I'm gluten-free. Guess what? He's bringing me some flourless chocolate cake next week! Yum.

But I really scored at the produce stand. I picked up a pound of fingerling potatoes, a pound of purple potatoes, a pound of cipollini onions, a head of Romanesco Broccoli (for my father-in-law) and a bunch of blood oranges. What did I do with the potatoes and onions? I roasted them!

Roasted Fingerling & Purple Potatoes with Cipollini Onions

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 fingerling potatoes
  • 4 to 5 purple potatoes
  • 4 to 5 cipollini onions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning (I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Directions

  1. Cook the onions for 5 minutes in a pan with water. Take them out, dry them, peel them, and cut them into quarters. (this makes them easier to peel)Add the potatoes, onions, garlic, seasoning, salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar to a lined cookie sheet.
  2. Roast on 350 degrees until potatoes and onions are golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Shepherd's Salad


Shepherd's Salad, originally uploaded by gfshaolin.

When I first started teaching, my department used to go out for lunch a few times a year as a group - mainly right before school started and during the two Regents weeks during the school year. One of our favorite places to go was to a Turkish restaurant called Sahara in Gravesend, Brooklyn on Coney Island Avenue. We'd eat like kings there - family style. We'd sit in their garden and order various menu items to share. Hands down our favorite item was their Shepherd's Salad.

Shepherd's Salad should not be confused with Shepherd's Pie. To me, Shepherd's Salad is the promise of summer. While Shepherd's Pie reminds me of Winter. Since the first time I went to Sahara, I have been trying to recreate the salad. I think I've found the winner.

Shepherd's Salad

Ingredients

  • Three large seedless cucumbers;
  • Two pints of cherry tomatoes or equivalent;
  • One bunch of green onions/scallions;
  • 1/2 tablespoon of lemon zest;
  • 1 1/2 lbs of feta cheese;
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Wash and peel the cucumbers. Cut them in half lengthwise, twice and then dice. Add to a large bowl;
  2. Wash the tomatoes. Cut each cherry tomato in half and add to the large bowl. (If using a larger tomato, cut into a fine dice);
  3. Wash the scallions. Cut the tips off and toss. Chop rest of the scallions into a fine dice and add to large bowl.
  4. Add the lemon zest to the bowl (some people prefer more zest);
  5. Mix the cucumbers, tomatoes, lemon zest, and scallions lightly;
  6. Crumble feta cheese into the bowl and toss;
  7. Add a splash of the oil and vinegar - don't over do it since the cucumbers will add moisture;
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss;
  9. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least an hour.
  10. Toss before serving.

Don't forget to enter my blog-a-versary contest for an Italian product goody basket! You must enter by Midnight on April 1st, 2009.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Happy Birthday (& a giveaway)

balloons

I am celebrating a year of Gluten-Free in the Shaolin. Yep. My blog is a year old! It was in January 2008, that I went gluten-free. Then, in the end of March 2008, I started this blog to help me cope with being gluten-free and cook. And has time gone by fast!

To celebrate this milestone, I'm giving away an Italian gift basket from Pastosa's (either gf or non-gf):
  • Two different types of dried pasta;
  • Breadsticks;
  • Two different types of sauces; and
  • Assorted pastries & cookies

To enter,

  • Leave a comment ON THIS POST telling me why you want to win and whether you are gluten-free or not (If you are not gluten-free, I will get you the regular, gluteny pasta). Anonymous comments must be signed with your first name and last initial so I can contact you if you win.-You have until MIDNIGHT EST on March 31st to enter this giveaway.
  • One randomly chosen winner will be announced by midnight EST on April 1st .

Extra Entries:

Additional entries can be earned by doing any of the following, giving you up to 5 total entries. Leave a separate comment for each of these items.

  • Follow me on Twitter @gfshaolin. Leave a comment with your twitter name and let me know you're a follower. (only new followers eligible)
  • Tweet about this giveaway. Leave the link to your Twitter post in a comment.
  • Post about this giveaway in your blog. Leave the link to your post in a comment.

Open to US and Canadian residents!

And now, the winner of the my blog-o-versary giveaway, according to Random.Org is.....


Marlow from Gluten Hates Me But I'm Surviving. She stated "Happy Birthday!! I want to win because not only am I gluten free BUT my birthday is April 8th!!" Again, Marlow congrats and please email me at gfshaolin@gmail.com to work out the details.


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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bistecca alla Pizzaiola

Bistecca alla Pizzaiola

Bistecca alla pizzaiola...grilled steak, pizzaiola style. What a way to grill Italian on the first Sunday of the Spring. Add to that, steamed, fresh Romanesco Broccoli from the Farmers Market, you have a winner.

Romanesco Broccoli

Bistecca alla Pizzaiola

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lb sirloin steaks (you can use t-bone, porterhouse, etc)
  • 8 compari tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • juice of one lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Trim excess fat from the steaks;
  2. Clean & pre-heat grill;
  3. Brush steaks with one tablespoon of oil;
  4. Cut tomatoes;
  5. Grill the tomatoes, cut side down until they have good grill marks. Remove from grill and remove skin;
  6. Take the tomatoes, crush them, mix with the rest of the olive oil, oregano, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper over medium low heat. Keep at a simmer.
  7. Grill steaks until desired doneness;
  8. Pour sauce over the steak.


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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Favorite Products Friday: DeRosa Spinach Ravioli


I know this is late, but.....

We went to Pastosa Ravioli - a small pasta maker chain in the NYC area last week (me? at an Italian market? Never would have thought it!) . Ant noticed when he drove by that they now sold gluten-free goodies. So, when we went in and shopped, I picked up two types of ravioli, crostini, bread crumbs, chestnut flour, dried pasta, and STROMBOLI. Yep. Gluten-free stromboli. (I'll blog about it soon)

So, today, we decided to have ravioli. I opted for the DeRosa Spinach Ravioli. It's made with Domata Living Flour.


The wait was sooo worth it. The pasta tasted just like what I remember the gluteny pasta. The filling was rich, creamy, and full of spinach. The pasta was so filling I could only eat six perfect pillows of pasta! *sigh*


To top it off....I had this to drink:



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Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze


Who doesn't like a nice pork tenderloin? Up until the other night, I didn't. Until we made this. I've never been a fan of pork or ham or pork sausage. The only pig product that I partake in - bacon. The other night my husband had a craving pork. So, I went to the web to look for a recipe...

I ended up on About.com's Southern Food Site. I found a recipe for Pork Tenderloin with Maple Glaze. Our only substitution was Old Bay Seasoning for the herb/Cajun seasoning blend. We served it with a side of cranberries. Yummy.

The worst thing about the meal? That we ate it on Thursday night. I couldn't have leftovers till today!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

A Thank You!


This weekend, Michelle from Taste As You Go, bestowed on me the Kreativ Blogger Award. This is amazing and I can't thank Michelle enough. I started Gluten-Free in the Shaolin a year ago to help me get through my radical diet change, and now I get honored by a fellow blogger. Thank you so much Michelle!

In turn, I would like to bestow the Kreativ Blogger Award on to:

These three amazing ladies have awesome blogs that you must check out! Put them in your blogreader today!

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Favorite Products Friday: Dr. Schar's Italian Breadsticks

As many readers of my blog know, my family eats Italian - a lot. Part of the reason is that my son loves Italian food. He's been eating pasta in tomato sauce (which he calls ronis) since he could eat solid food. I don't think pasta with butter or mac-n-cheese has passed his lips. The other reason is that my husband is second generation Italian-American. He grew up eating traditional peasant foods from his family's home in Sorrento. So, when I went gluten-free, we had to change the way we cook our Italian favorites.
One of our new gluten-free Italian favorites has been Dr. Schar's Italian Breadsticks. We use these to replace crusty loaves of Italian bread (I still haven't found any up to my standards). So, when we had my in-laws for Sunday dinner this past week, we had Dr. Schar's on the table. I was even yelled at for eating breadsticks - they thought they were the gluten kind!


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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays



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Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Gluten-Free Florida Review...pt. 3 - Dining at Disney


Like every time I travel outside my home, I got freaked out about what I was going to eat at Disney. I had heard great things about dining at Disney, but I was still nervous. Not only am I gluten-free, I'm picky. I'm a super picky eater. But, Disney laid all my fears to rest.

Casey's Corner
Magic Kingdom
Main Street U.S.A.


Casey's Corner is a quick service restaurant that serves hot dogs, corn dogs, fries, etc. Since we left the Villages at 6 AM, I was starved by 11AM. I needed to eat. Ant thought we'd try here. We placed Ant's and the wee one's orders and then I asked "I'm gluten-free. What can I eat?" The counter service person said, "Let me get the Chef." The chef came out and asked me what I would like on the menu. I responded a hot dog and fries. Not a problem. Fries are made in a dedicated fryer and he had En-R-G Tapioca Rolls. I haven't had a hot dog on a roll since I went gluten-free. This hot dog tasted magical.

Main Street Bakery
Magic Kingdom
Main Street U.S.A.

Before the afternoon Celebrate A Dream Come True parade, Ant and I left my parents and the wee one on the curb to get a good seat while we ducked in here to get a treat. We picked up some drinks and cookies for the gluten eaters (and the baked goods behind the counter looked AMAZING). They had an allergen table full of cookies, cakes, brownies, and other snacks. I picked up a gf brownie and chocolate chip cookies. At the parade, we ended up sitting with a family who's son was egg and peanut-free. They were also able to get baked goodies for him from the bakery to enjoy at the parade!

The Crystal Place
Magic Kingdom

The Crystal Place is a buffet with character dining. Curious who you get to dine with? Look here:

Yep. Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, and Eeyore. When we walked in, they asked who was gluten-free since it was noted on our reservation. After we were seated, one of the chefs walked out to take me around to point out what was safe for me to eat. Outside of the obvious dishes - pasta, cake, etc., I could eat everything. The chef also offered to make me some rice pasta if I wanted pasta primavera. Instead, I had a little bit of everything else! Also, I ended up sitting next to someone else who was gluten-free. They were seated as we were eating. When the hostess asked them if they needed anything before the waitress came, the woman stated she was gluten-free. The hostess said, not a problem and pointed out that I was eating gluten-free (mind you, I was eating a roll at this point). The chef came out to see her and asked me how my meal was!
Plus, the chef had some tapioca rolls brought out to me!

Chef Mickey's
Disney's Contemporary Resort

This was another character restaurant which we went to for breakfast. We ate with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. Just like at Crystal Palace, the Chef came out and walked me around the buffet to show me what I was able to eat. He even came out with these for me:


I dined on pancakes and fresh fruit. I was still full from the day before!!!

ABC Commissary
Disney's Hollywood Studios


We went for a quick bite at the ABC Commissary while at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The chef made me a cheeseburger on a En-R-G tapioca roll. Just like at Casey's in the Magic Kingdom, this was the first time I've had a burger on a roll in a very long time!


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Friday, March 6, 2009

Favorite Products Friday: The Glutino Cracker Edition


Since going gluten-free over a year ago, one of the foods that I missed was Ritz Crackers. As a kid, I'd sit with my dad and have peanut butter and Ritz. As a struggling single teacher, I had many a night eating cheese on faux-Ritz. As a married mom, I enjoyed making those random recipes off the box of Ritz, while the wee one had Ritz crumbs all over his face. Then, I went gluten-free.

After I went gluten-free, I started shopping differently - went to new stores and walked my old stores differently. In the traditional markets that I have always shopped in, I started paying more attention to the outer aisles than the inner aisles. I started shopping at my local health food store, Family Health Foods. We would take the drive to Jersey and shop in Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe's. My new shopping habits introduced me to gluten-free flatbread crackers and brown rice crisps. Not bad, but not what I wanted.

Then, I found Glutino Crackers.

I'm not sure where I came upon them first - probably Family Foods or Whole Foods. I picked up the Multigrain and brought them home. It was love at first bite. I tore through the box in a weekend. I ate everything with a cracker. Then, I bought the Vegetable. A taste almost too good to put cheese or tuna on.

Yesterday, while shopping at Family Health Foods, I picked up:

These crackers are mocking me from the pantry as I type. If they are half as good as the Vegetable and Multigrain, I'll be in heaven. My only wish? More crackers in a box.



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Thursday, March 5, 2009

My Gluten-Free Florida Review...pt. 2 - Eating in The Villages

One of the best things about going on vacation is finding new places to eat. And this vacation was no exception! As you can see by the picture above, my father and the wee one also had fun finding new restaurants.

Being gluten-free can pose some issues when it comes to eating out. There are some restaurants that either can't or won't accommodate our food requests. Then on the opposite side of the spectrum, restaurants that are so careful that they'll only serve us plain chicken with plain rice. In my experience, I've had amazing luck with the middle - those that will work with you on your food needs and serve an amazing meal.

Here is my restaurant rundown for The Villages, Florida:
Lake Sumter Landing
1129 Canal Street

TooJays is a Kosher-style sit down deli. The entire family went there for lunch. I was a bit nervous since they bake gluteny goods on site, but my parents contacted them before my visit and said that they can do gluten-free.

When we arrived there, the line to sit was out the door. Yep. There was a line out the door for a deli. Amazing. When we were seated, I gave my Columbia University Celiac Center Food Card to the waitress to find out what I can eat. She came back after visiting the kitchen and gave me my options: plain salads, bunless burger, and chili. I chose chili.

Chili has been my go-to meal since going gluten-free. I've always been a fan of chili, now, I am a HUGE fan of chili. TooJays chili? Not so good. I prefer Wendy's Chili. A little too bland and not enough beans. Normally, I would have added some hot sauce, but they had a brand I never saw before (ends up to be a generic restaurant brand) and didn't know its gluten-free status.

Not too long after we ate, I knew I was glutened. That's when we ran to Sweetbay for some relief.


R.J.Gators
Lake Sumter Landing
1015 Lake Shore Drive

RJ Gators is/was a Florida-themed chain. From what I understand, the economy has closed many, if not most of the restaurants. Again, the entire family came to dinner. When the waitress came to our table, I handed her my Columbia Celiac card. A little while later she came back with a huge smile on her face. She said she didn't want to get my sick, so she called one of her co-workers whose husband is gluten-free and eats at the restaurant all the time. Our waitress had the co-worker and the chef on the phone together to plan menu choices for me. In the end, I had cedar-planked salmon with seasoned veggies. It was fantastic and I didn't get sick!


The Cattle Baron Club
Second Floor of Katie Belle's
Spanish Springs Town Square

The Cattle Baron Club is a private restaurant on the second floor of a supper club. It's only open to residents of The Villages and their guests. Ant and I went there with our Guest IDs for a "date night." The place was packed and we had a 40 minute wait. During the 40 minute wait, we were able to enjoy happy hour...I was enjoying my pinot grigio.

When we were seated, I gave my Coumbia Celiac card. The waitress came back and explained that I could have all the salads (minus croutons) and all of the fish/beef/poultry dishes. Going against my husband's better judgement, I ordered mahi-mahi with mango salsa over risotto. Yes, I ordered fish in a steak house. I've learned my lesson.
The mahi-mahi was dry and the risotto was just mixed rice with peas (as you can see by the picture above.) The mango salsa was pretty good, though. Ant's surf and turf looked fantastic. For dessert, I ended up having a crustless, Italian cheesecake:

The cheesecake had a light citrus taste to it. Very refreshing and much better than the meal. Actually, the best part of the meal was the entertainment. Entertaining us throughout the dinner was a team of impersonators. Actually, it was just a man and a woman with a lot of costume changes. My favorite was the Kenny/Dolly "Islands in the Wind"


1018 Canal Street

Yeah. I went to a restaurant that is known for bread. Risky choice. This restaurant happens to be popular in the Villages and from what I understand, the flatbreads are pretty good. Like all the other restaurants, I gave over my Columbia Celiac card. When the waiter came back, he recommended a seasonal chicken dish in a mustard sauce. He said it was both seasonal and inspired by German cuisine. I'm a sucker for German food.
The food wasn't bad. The veggies were fantastic and the mustard sauce was nice, but chicken wasn't the right choice for this dish. I think it should have been pork. I'd like this restaurant more if they had better service. We had to have been there for 1/2 hour before a server came to our table. And let's not talk about the wait time between taking our order, getting our food, and receiving our check.

GarVino's
Lake Sumter Landing

We went to GarVino's one evening for a few post-happy hour drinks. We sat at the bar - Ant had port and I had Riesling. We did peruse their menu - light appetizers that highlight the wine. I was tempted to get the cheese and fruit platter - but we just had dinner. At GarVino's we ended up meeting a nice resident named Bear. Bear and my husband hit it off. They are both fans of the Second Amendment and hate my Twittering. By the time we closed the bar, we made plans to meet up with Bear at the US Open in Long Island. That's how good the wine was.


Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q
1396 West North Blvd.
Leesburg, Florida
My husband (and father) love barbecue. I'm a fan, too, but since going gluten-free I've been nervous. Many barbecue joints can't do gluten-free and I haven't gotten a chance to get to Blue Smoke in Manhattan to test out their gluten-free menu. When I looked at Sonny's website, I noticed that they had an allergen menu. Unlike other restaurants, the allergen menu was a list of what I couldn't have. Everything on it was obvious that it had gluten (chicken tenders, croutons, etc) except for Pulled Pork. I love Pulled Pork. To be exact, outside of bacon, that is the only pig dish I'll eat.
Sonny's is coming this Spring to Lake Sumter Landing, so Ant, my dad, and I went to the closest one (in Leesburg) to try it out after a round of golf. Ant had the Super Combo - BBQ Sliced Pork, slow-smoked beef, BBQ Chicken, and their Sweet-n-Smokey Ribs. My dad had the BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich with fries and BBQ Beans on the side. And, I had the Pulled Chicken platter with BBQ Beans and sweet potato sides. All of us LOVED our meals. Ample portions at a phenomenal price. My dad can't wait for it to come to Lake Sumter Landing. Plus, you can get your soda to go.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wordless Wednesdays


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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gluten Free Twitter Party

Gluten Free Twitter Party

Bonnie over at Autism Family Adventures is hosting a Gluten-Free Twitter Party on Friday, April 3, 2008 @ 9AM, 1PM, at 7:30PM PST. Will you be there? I will.

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