Roasted Tomato with Parmesan Crostini

Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Crostini

makes 24 bite-sized servings

This recipe is from our “Simple Snacks” episode of Double Take Diets.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
olive oil (to drizzle)
12 roma tomatoes (sliced into thirds lengthwise)
Block of parmesan cheese (thickly shave off about 1 cup)
Kosher salt (for seasoning)
6 piece of a dense gluten free bread (we use Rice For Life- sold in most grocery stores).
1/4 cup olive oil (for brushing)
Kosher salt and pepper (to season)

Preparation:

Topping-

Preheat oven to 450º.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut roma tomatoes into thirds lengthwise and place on baking sheet, evenly spaced.
Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar onto each tomato slice evenly.
Salt and pepper each tomato.
Place baking sheet into the preheated oven for 45 minutes.  Take out and let cool (you can also make this a day ahead, refrigerate and serve cold).

Crostini-

Preheat oven to 300º.
Place the six slices of bread onto a baking sheet.
Lightly brush the top of each slice with olive oil.  Sprinkle each piece with salt and pepper.
Place into the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes to lightly toast the bread.

Assemble-

Cut the toasted bread into fourths on a diagonal.
Place the toasted points onto a serving platter.
Top each crostini with one roasted tomato and a couple pieces of shaved parmesan.  Make sure it will be easy to eat!

Half this recipe and serve in conjunction with the Salmon and Herb Cheese Crostini at your next party!

Roasted Tomato and Parmesan Crostini

Ingredients:

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
olive oil (to drizzle)
12 roma tomatoes (sliced into thirds lengthwise)
Block of parmesan cheese (thickly shave off about 1 cup)
Kosher salt (for seasoning)
6 piece of a dense gluten free bread (we use Rice For Life- sold in most grocery stores).
1/4 cup olive oil (for brushing)
Kosher salt and pepper (to season)

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes | Leave a comment

Smoked Salmon with Herb Cheese Crostini

Smoked Salmon with Herb Cheese Crostini

makes 24 bite-sized servings

This recipe is from our “Simple Snacks” episode of Double Take Diets.

Ingredients:

8 0z package of thinly sliced salmon
5.2 oz soft herb cheese (we like Boursin, brought to room temperature)
6 pieces of a dense gluten free bread (we like Rice For Life- sold in most grocery stores)
1/4 cup olive oil (for brushing)
Kosher salt and pepper (to season)

Preparation:

Crostini-

Preheat oven to 300º.
Place six slices of bread onto a baking sheet.
Lightly brush the top of each slice with olive oil.  Sprinkle each piece with salt and pepper.
Place into the oven for about 5 to 10 minutes to lightly toast the bread.

Assemble-

Cut the toasted bread into fourths on a diagonal.
Spread an even amount of cheese onto each crostini.
Place the toasted points onto a serving platter.
Top each crostini with a bite sized piece of salmon.


Half this recipe and use in conjunction with the halved Roasted Tommato and Parmesan Crostini at your next party!

Halved Recipe for the Smoked Salmon with Herb Cheese Crostini

makes 12 bite-sized servings

Ingredients:

5 0z package of thinly sliced salmon
About 2.5 oz soft herb cheese (we like Boursin, brought to room temperature)
3 pieces of a dense gluten free bread (we like Rice For Life- sold in most grocery stores)
3 Tbsp olive oil (for brushing)
Kosher salt and pepper (to season)


Posted in Gluten Free Recipes | Leave a comment

Allergen Friendly Banana Bread Mini Muffins

Banana Bread Mini Muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups basic gf flour mix
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup dairy and soy free “butter” (if don’t have can sub with 1/2 cup veg oil OR if not worried about dairy can use 1/2 cup butter!)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
3 mashed bananas

Preparation:

Sift dry ingredients together

Mix in butter and applesauce with vanilla

Mix together until chunky dough

Mix in bananas

Batter will be thick and lumpy, pour into lightly greased muffin pan

Bake in oven at 350 for 30 minIf baking it in a loaf pan- 50 min Until firm and golden brown.

*Basic GF Flour Mix

4 cups brown rice flour
1 1/3 cups potato STARCH
2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch


We love these little treats because they are easy to make and taste delicious and we know that little Schnappi can enjoy them also.  They get just a little crisp on the outside and stay very moist on the inside, we swear you won’t be able to eat just one!


Posted in Gluten Free Recipes | Leave a comment

Sweet Freedom in Philly!

I tagged along to Philly with Jessika, her husband, and the little Schnappi to visit Jessika’s sister-in-law Janine and her boyfriend Jamie.  Janine knows that Jessika and I are obsessed with food so she planned our day trip around places to eat (that’s how we travel… food first, and sights on the way to the restaurant :)).  Janine and Jamie also share a passion for food, whether trying new recipes at home or going to the many wonderful restaurants in their new hometown. They were very accommodating and researched several places that were specifically gluten free that we could visit.

Their apartment is located in the University City District; Janine is getting her PhD in Chemical Engineering at U Penn (yes, she’s a smarty pants McGee :)).  The weather was gorgeous when we arrived and we joined Jamie and Janine on their Sunday morning outing to the Clark Park Farmers Market. The array of fresh fruit, vegetables, and flowers were breathtaking.  We could not resist buying two pints of the blueberries that Schnappi’s little hands were grabbing at.  She had whole blueberries for the first time that day! We also enjoyed fresh blackberry juice and fresh potato chips.

The most exciting purchase of our day was a loaf of gluten free cinnamon raisin bread that was DELICIOUS!  I am not sure about you guys, but Jessika and I have the hardest time finding gluten free baked goods at farmers markets, which seems very strange to us. We still walk up to every stand that sells baked goods and ask them if they sell gluten free products.  Expecting the usual “sorry, no”  The Slow Rise Bakery stand at the Clark Parks Farmers Market displayed a sign advertising Amaranth Bakery’s gluten free products.

After coming home and doing some research I found out the Amaranth Bakery is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania  and they ship to other states (on the east coast) and sell their products in listed stores and other farmers markets.  I have to say that their bread was one of the best gluten free breads we have had; it was fluffy and not too sweet.  We seriously ate ¾ of the loaf while walking around the market. Yes, that’s right we did not have to toast it! GASP.  Check out their website and try some of their other products; we can’t wait to try their flat bread.

After we left the farmer’s market we headed to the Italian market to pick up some assorted meat and cheeses from Di Bruno Brothers and Claudio’s (Philly staples, right?).  Jessika’s husband and I limited her to only buying three cheeses but of course she walked out of there with five cheeses, 8 handmade pepperoni sticks, landjeager, and stuffed olives and peppers! I am not complaining though, I love tasting all the cheeses at Di Bruno’s and the pepperoni means we get to make homemade pizza!  We had to get out of that place before I lost my seat in the car to grocery bags.  Plus, Janine had a special surprise for us and Schnappi.

Since Schnappi was diagnosed with being allergic to nuts, eggs, dairy, and soy, Jessika has been understandably a little down.  Janine found a bakery near her that catered to baking without these ingredients including corn, refined sugars, annnnnnnd gluten! It is called Sweet Freedom Bakery, and we were so excited to check it out.  The bakery case and counter were filled with fresh baked goodies and each were labeled with ALL of their ingredients.  We ordered just about one of everything but we have to say that we oohed and ahhed with every bite of the double mint chocolate chip cookie sandwiches and oatmeal raisin cookie sandwiches.  Schnappi was able to get a zucchini bread treat and she loved every bite.  We can’t wait to go back.

We met one of the owners and baker, Heather Esposito, who was warm and personable, and had a wealth of knowledge.  Heather and her associates at Sweet Freedom Bakery share a passion at Double Take Diets of sharing great tasting food with people who have food allergies or are mindful about healthy eating.  We definitely encourage you to check out their website and their options for delivery. Another trip, another unexpected sweet surprise, and another champion in our gluten free world- thank you Heather and Sweet Freedom Bakery!

This has inspired Jessika to make up a banana bread recipe that is of course gluten free but also vegan, nut free, and with no added sweetener.  Look for this tasty recipe tomorrow!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cybele Pascal’s Allergen- Free Baker’s Handbook

You know when something is so easy that you think you’re doing it wrong? Has this ever happened to you? Well, this is how I feel about Cybele Pascal’s Beer Bread. I’ve been baking it once a week for a little over a month now and I STILL double check everything because it’s just so simple (but oh so delicious) that I think I’m forgetting something!

You’re getting a two for one today in Things We Love – Beer Bread Recipe AND the book I got the recipe from, which is Cybele Pascal’s Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook.

We found out that my daughter had severe food allergies when she was around 4 months old. At the time I didn’t know what I was going to do. Being a baker, my first thought was “I won’t be able to make her first birthday cake!” along with all the other fears about her health. After doing TONS of reading and research I found this book online. Then, literally the next day, I saw Pascal on Martha Stewart discussing her book and educating Martha on food allergies! I felt that it was a sign, and I immediately bought the book.

If you, or anyone you know, have food allergies (not just gluten ) and miss  foods from the everyday bread to decadent  treats like  cinnamon buns or an Orange Chiffon Cake with Orange Rum Sauce then you have to get this book. Pascal is very thorough in explaining all the ingredients and baking steps. Even if you are a beginner, Pascal gives you a thorough education in baking, guaranteeing your success.. Her book helped me feel that my daughter can still grow up and have all the “normal” treats I had as a child.

When I was pregnant, my husband and I made the decision that my daughter was going to be raised gluten free since it is a genetically linked disease. Being gluten free myself for over 7 years I wasn’t intimidated by the thought of gluten free baking – I had learned to create wonderful wheat free treats and found that I had a talent for making them..But to then find out that she is also allergic to dairy, eggs, and nuts? Well I felt as if I was falling into a black hole. Where would I find teething biscuits? Again, what about her 1st birthday? What’s going to happen when she goes to school? A million questions and concerns swirled through my brain.

Well, we’re still learning things (it has only been about 5 months since her diagnosis) and we’ll keep on learning things. But I do know one thing: I am so grateful that Cybele Pascal is as talented as she is! She has made my life just a little bit easier and a lot less scary. Knowing that when my Schnappi is older we can still have Sunday morning cinnamon buns, and that she can help me make cupcakes for her class, brings a smile to my face.
So I hope you check out Cybele Pascal’s book and try the recipe below! Even if you don’t have food allergies it’s a great baking cookbook, especially for vegans.  .

I’m off to toast up some bread for my breakfast with Schnappi! Enjoy!

Cybele Pascal’s Gluten-Free Beer Bread

makes 1 9 by 5- inch loaf

3 cups Gluten Free Bread Flour Mix (her recipe below)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 (12- ounce) bottle of gluten-free beer * (see DTD note)
2 tablespoons light agave nectar ** (see DTD note)
1 tablespoon double-acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dairy-free, soy-free vegetable shortening

1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan liberally with vegetable shortening.

2. Combine the flour mix and xanthan gum in a large bowl. Whisk well. Add the beer and agave nectar and mix well to combine, about 1 minute. Let rest until the over is heated.

3. Just prior to baking, add the baking powder and salt. Mix vigorously, scraping the bottom of the bowl.

4. Transfer the dough to the loaf pan. Smooth down the top with a frosting spatula. Melt 2 tablespoons of the shortening, about 1 minute in the microwave. Brush over the top of the loaf using a pastry brush.

5. Bake the bread in the center of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, brush the top liberally with the remaining 1 tablespoon shortening, rotate the pan, and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until deeply golden and the bread sounds hollow when rapped on top. Transfer to a cooling rack. Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out of the pan and let cool for about 15 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.

DTD note- * I use red bridge because it’s the cheapest.  We are only using it for the yeast so there will be no beer flavor.
** Substitute honey for the agave nectar

Posted in We Love... | Leave a comment

Gluten Free Spaetzle, Wienerschnitzel, Green Bean Salad Recipes!

We were inspired by our visit to Herwig’s Austrian Bistro in State College, PA. Jessika decided to make a delicious German/Austrian meal. It was the first time we have had Spaetzle since we’ve been diagnosed with celiac!  Spaetzle literally translated means “little sparrow” and is a doughy egg noodle.  The noodle shape is created by using a potato ricer or a colander where the dough is pressed through into boiling water.

Gluten Free Spaetzle

1 Cup and 2 Tbl GF basic flour mix* (see below for recipe)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1-2 Tbl butter
1 Tbl thyme

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients together.  Beat the eggs, add the beaten eggs into the dry ingredients, mixing well.

Add the  milk, and mix again.

You want a  thick batter consistency,that will sit in a colander but will slowly drip out with gravity.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Working  in small batches. Take a spoon and push the batter through holes of colander so that it drips into boiling water.

Boil spaetzle for 5-8 minutes until tender. Scoop the Spaetzle out with a slotted spoon and drain in a separate collander.

Saute the Spaetzle in a pan with 1-2 Tblsp butter and thyme until the noodles are lightly browned. Serve and enjoy!

DTD note: you may also use a potato ricer to push the dough through into the boiling water.

*GF Basic Flour Mix

4 cups brown rice flour
1 1/3 cups potato STARCH
2/3 cup tapioca flour/starch

Wienerschnitzel

(serves 4 with potential left overs)

3 Pork Chop filets, cut in half
1 cup gf corn flake crumbs (or your favorite gf breadcrumbs)
1/2 cup seasoned gf flour*
2 eggs

1 Tbl milk

vegetable oil for frying
*add 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp chili powder, pinch of red and black pepper to gf flour

Place flour and GF corn flake crumbs on separate plates. Beat eggs and milk together with salt and pepper in soup bowl.

Cut pork chops in half then pound each with a mallet until it is 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Dredge the meat in flour, shake off excess. Dip into the egg mixture and allow excess to drip off. Next, coat with the breadcrumbs by lightly pressing meat into crumbs.

Heat a large skillet, filled a quarter way up with vegetable oil, over medium-high heat. Carefully, transfer cutlets into the hot oil to fry. Work in batches of two.  Since they are so thin, the pork will cook very quickly, about 2 minutes per side. Place Schnitzel on a cooling rack that is on top of a baking pan. Can keep in a warm oven. Serve with lemon wedges.

DTD note- can use water instead of milk in egg mixture

Green Bean Salad

6 cups green beans
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 of a red onion, finely diced
2 Tbl sugar

salt and pepper to taste

Whisk together cider vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in the serving bowl.

Finely dice onions. Trim and cut green beans into 1 inch pieces.

Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes.

Transfer to a serving bowl.  Mix together onions, beans and sauce. Can be served cold, room temperature, or warm.

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes | Leave a comment

A nice GF friendly surprise in State College, PA

Last weekend I went to State College PA (a small town where Penn State University is located) with Jessika, her husband, and baby daughter, nickname Schnappi .  One of their good friends was getting married and he was in the wedding.  I tagged along to watch my beautiful 8 month old niece.  While Jessika and her husband were enjoying a weekend of wedding festivities my niece and I had a lot of fun exploring the quaint college town.  On our first day there we stumbled upon a quirky Austrian restaurant called Herwig’s Austrian Bistro (I really did stumble, it was extremely hot and my stroller pushing skills aren’t that great).  I was starving and looking for a place to cool down and eat so we went on in.

 

It was a little early in the evening so Schnappi and I were the only customers in there at first.  The entire restaurant’s layout is very open: there are many tables including a couple family style dining tables. The main kitchen is exposed so you are able to see the cooks preparing your food.  The atmosphere is relaxed: you order your food at the main counter and the menu is written on a giant chalkboard which they change almost daily depending on what fresh ingredients they are working with that day.

 

For example, I was taking my time looking at the menu and getting Schnappi  out of her stroller and the chef (who turned out to be the owner also) gave me a small cup of a fresh chilled beet soup to taste.  All of the ingredients were from his organic garden, it was delicious and very refreshing.  He asked if I had any questions, and of course I did — I needed to know what was gluten free!  When I started asking if such and such had flour as an ingredient, he immediately asked if I had a gluten allergy and then told me one of his cooks, John,  was just recently diagnosed with a gluten intolerance.  John came over and we started talking about being gluten free and how we felt significantly better when we cut gluten out of our diet. He was saying at first he thought it was going to be hard but in reality it has made him eat even healthier.  Although being in a small town John didn’t have a great selection of gluten free beers and he is getting a little tired of drinking cider : ).

 

He helped me choose a dish that would be gluten free.  I did have to ask for some substitutions with the side dishes but they did not get annoyed or charge me extra.  I ordered chicken sausages with a cold potato salad and a green salad with a traditional creamy dill dressing.  It was delicious!  I told them I would be coming back the next day with my sister and the chef said he would make one of his Viennese specialties – a flourless chocolate almond torte which he says he makes gluten free, but as some of you may know just because cakes say flourless it doesn’t the chefs do not use flour (most bakers still put flour in the pan so these kind of cakes don’t stick.  When I arrived the next evening I was very happy to see he kept his word.  The torte was delicious!  It was velvety, not too heavy, and the nut pieces really made the cake more dynamic in its flavor.

 

Some things I think are important to note:

They revere the pig (see above).  The place is decorated with funny pig-themed chotchkies and they do pride themselves on making chocolate covered bacon but vegetarians don’t be afraid!  Herwig’s has several vegetarian dishes that I am sure would not disappoint.  The only negative review I can give is that the saurkraut is NOT gluten free, he uses a roux in his recipe.  When we told our German mother this she was appalled, but the chef was unapologetic and swears it makes it delicious.

 

Also some of their fresh sausages are made with a little bit of beer so just make sure you are clear about your allergies.  After reading some reviews online I feel that the restaurant gets a bad reputation because of its service.  Now I have to say that when I first got there I sensed some major sarcasm from the owner but I noticed some funny signs on the walls and on the menu saying things like- “If you do not pronounce the dishes on the menu correctly while ordering you will not get to eat!”.  So I inferred that the attitude was just a spiel, and I was correct.

 

Everybody there was nice, helpful, and you can tell they were very proud of the food they make and rightfully so.  All in all the food was absolutely delicious.  This has to be because they make all of their sausages in house from local meat and their menu is dictated by what is fresh and ready in the garden.  Everything was cooked to perfection and seasoned wonderfully and the fact that they made sure to have one of their a gluten free desserts available for the next day (since I said we were coming back) made the return trip even more enjoyable.

 

This is the sort of service that makes small-town, locally-owned restaurants such a joy. They listen to their customers, they take pride in their food, and they treated us like we were their friends, not just another potential tip. Although there are many things on their menu that we can’t (or won’t) eat, they were very helpful, accommodating, and willing to cater to our specific needs. Considering that they do not advertise themselves as a “gluten free” venue, we were able to enjoy several delicious dishes, and the staff made us feel comfortable asking them to make a few modifications to their standard fare.  We didn’t feel like we were putting them out and that’s the sort of service we want.   If you have the pleasure of visiting this restaurant, we hope you will and tell them hello for us.  In the meantime, never be afraid to try out different places and ask for gluten free meals; if restaurants cannot accommodate you, then at least you can encourage them to expand their menu. Thanks, Herwig’s!

-J & V

P.S. This experience has inspired Jessika to take a traditional Austrian/German meal- weinerschnitzel, spaetzle, and a green bean salad and make  gluten free for you and me!  Stay tuned for the recipes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Episode One (Part 1)

Double Take Diets Episode One (Part 1)
“All About Breakfast”: Crustless Quiche

Watch all of the Double Take Diets episodes on youtube in HD.

Posted in Cooking Show | Leave a comment

Crustless Quiche

Gruyere and Spinach Crustless Quiche

serving size: 6 – 8


This recipe is from our “All About Breakfast” episode of Double Take Diets

Ingredients:

1 cup white onion (diced)
2 cups fresh baby spinach (roughly chopped)
2 cups gruyere cheese (shredded)
6 pieces cooked bacon (chopped)
5 large eggs
1 3/4 cups 1/2 & 1/2
salt and pepper (to taste)
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preparation:

Pre-cook six slices of bacon- cover a baking pan with aluminum foil and lay bacon across the pan. Put in the oven at 450º F for 15- 20 minutes. Once the bacon is cooked to your liking put the slices on a plate with a paper towel and let it cool.

Preheat oven to 450º F.

Grease a 9′ round pyrex with olive oil

Dice a medium white onion (about 1 cup). Roughly chop 2 cups of raw baby spinach. Pour about 1 Tbsp of olive oil into pan over medium heat. Add diced onion and spinach into the pan and cook until onions are translucent. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

Grate 2 cups of gruyere cheese. Crack 5 large eggs into a separate bowl and whisk together while slowly adding 1 and 3/4 cups of 1/2 & 1/2 and salt to taste.

Sprinkle cheese along the bottom of the oiled pyrex, this will create a sort of “crust”. Pour the cooled spinach and onion mixture on top of the cheese layer. For the next layer, sprinkle the bacon evenly across the spinach and onion layer. Evenly pour the whisked egg and cream mixture over all of the layers and sprinkle the top with pepper. Place the quiche into the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Be careful not to slosh the mixture while placing it in the oven!

*DTD note- Get creative! Experiment with different fillings. If you are going to use frozen spinach make sure it is completely thawed and strained.

These gluten free recipes are from our “All About Breakfast” Episode of Double Take Diets.

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes | Leave a comment

Episode One (Part 2)

Double Take Diets Episode One (Part 2)
“All About Breakfast”: Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

Watch all of the Double Take Diets episodes on youtube in HD.

Posted in Cooking Show | Leave a comment