Tag Archives: gluten-free

Gluten-Free Products: Kind Bars, Trader Joe’s Cookies and Leo’s Pasta

I’ve come across some good gluten-free products lately and wanted to share some of them.

– I’ve tried a bunch of different gluten-free snack bars and it’s hard to find the elusive bar that is crunchy, but not hard; sweet but not sugary; soft but not crumbly. KIND has mastered that mix with bars full of nuts, fruit and not too much else. I like the texture — you can taste the various ingredients, instead of them being blended together.

My favorite KIND bar is the Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew bar. I’m a chocoholic, so I love the combination of dark chocolate and moist cherries. It tastes like candy, but it’s healthier than a Snickers bar, so I feel justified in having one for a snack.

The kind folks at KIND sent me some bars to review a couple of months ago, but I haven’t managed to get the post up till now. In their “Nuts and Spices” line, two new bars (well “new” as of a couple months ago – sorry about that) have an intriguing salty, spicy, sweet mix, with nothing artificial and 5g of sugar or less per bar (qualifying them as low-glycemic).

kind-chocolate-chili

kindmaplepecan

In the Dark Chocolate Chili Almond bar, the dark chocolate provides a balance to the nuts, while the cascabel, ancho and habanero chilies provide a slightly spicy kick that lingers but is not too overwhelming. The Maple Glazed Pecan & Sea Salt bar contains almonds, peanuts and pecans. The overall taste is of salted peanuts with a touch of maple syrup. Expect some new bars from KIND in the near future.

joe-joes

Trader Joe’s has some new gluten-free treats. I’ve read some raves about the gluten-free Joe-Joe’s, a gluten-free version of an Oreo cookie. While I do like the Joe-Joe’s (especially their low price and easy availability at Trader Joe’s), my favorite gluten-free Oreo-type cookie is still KinniKinnick’s KinniToos chocolate vanilla sandwich cookies.

tj choc chip cookies

My favorite new product at Trader Joe’s are the Gluten-Free Crispy Crunchy Chocolate Chip Cookies. These crisp cookies have a delicate, buttery homemade taste, like you pulled them out of your oven earlier that day. They are a knock-off of Tate’s Bake Shop Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, which also taste homemade but are much harder to find, at least in my neck of the woods.

lemon cookies

Also, I love Italian lemon knot cookies, so I was excited to see Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Iced Lemon Rounds. These are soft, slightly lemony cookies with a drizzle of icing and no grainy taste.

— Recently, I was walking on Taylor Street in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood and stopped at Conte Di Savoia, an Italian deli/grocery. I was excited to discover Leo’s Gluten-Free frozen ravioli, gnocchi, fettuccine and other gluten-free pasta. I was particularly excited about the gluten-free ravioli, because it’s hard to find. The butternut squash ravioli was fantastic, with a tender pasta pillow and tasty butternut squash filling. The ravioli also comes in four-cheese, spinach and cheese, and Portobello varieties. Their gluten-free stuffed gnocchi is filled with asiago cheese, spinach and cheese, or Portobello mushroom fillings. The folks at Leo’s Gluten Free spent two years perfecting their gluten-free pasta and just started selling it to stores and restaurants in April. The pasta is made in their dedicated gluten-free facility in Franklin Park, Ill.

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Lemon Pound Cake with Strawberry Compote, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

lemon pound cake

Lemon pound cake with strawberry compote, gluten-free and dairy-free

This year, I’ve been fortunate to participate in the Kosher Connection, a group of food bloggers who participate in monthly blog challenges. I’ve enjoyed having inspiration (and a kick in the pants) to come up with new, themed recipes. This month, in honor of the Kosher Connection’s first anniversary, we are having a blog swap. Participants were assigned another blog to cook from, and then we could choose to make any recipe on the assigned blog. There’s also a giveaway contest — info is at the end of this post.

I was excited to be assigned the Couldn’t Be Parve blog. Most of Shoshana’s recipes are for desserts, and I absolutely love to bake (and eat) desserts. Also, many of her recipes are gluten-free or have gluten-free substitutions, and all of her recipes are parve, which means they don’t contain dairy or meat.

As you know, my youngest daughter has celiac and is on a strict gluten-free diet. But my oldest daughter (11) has been having stomach problems on and off for the past year. She’s been tested for celiac and doesn’t have celiac. My hunch is that she has a lactose/dairy intolerance. (One doctor said IBS, which kind of ticks me off because that just means, “I have no idea and don’t want to deal with it.”) Anyway, we’ve been trying a dairy-free diet to see if that makes her feel any better. So I was thrilled to see all the great dairy-free recipes on the Couldn’t Be Parve blog.

Even though many of the recipes on the site are gluten-free, I have a perverse need to make things difficult for myself, so I picked a non-gluten-free recipe to make. Her Lemon Pound Cake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote looked so good that my daughters and my mother unanimously voted for it. We love all things lemon, like my sweet-tart Luscious Lemon Squares.

I subbed gluten-free flours and amped up the lemon. The cake turned out dense, rich and lemony, though my version did fall a little bit in the center. Since I didn’t have rhubarb, I made a strawberry-apple compote, which should be served on the side so it doesn’t soak into the cake too much. Thanks, Couldn’t Be Parve, for the lemony inspiration and great recipe!

Lemon Pound Cake with Strawberry Compote, Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free

By Gluten-Free Nosh
Print this recipe

Ingredients:

Lemon Pound Cake:

  • 1-1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend:
    1/2 cup brown rice flour
    1/2 cup sorghum flour
    1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • finely grated zest of one lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure lemon extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Strawberry compote:

  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/4 cup grated apple
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Method:

  1. Line an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Whisk together the gluten-free flours, baking powder and xanthan gum in medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a stand mixer, beat eggs, sugar and salt until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Decrease speed and beat in canola oil, then mix in lemon zest, lemon juice, lemon extract and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour mixture until combined.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the middle comes out with moist crumbs. Remove cake from oven and let cool completely on a rack before slicing. Serve with strawberry compote on the side.
  5. To make the compote, combine strawberries, grated apple and sugar in small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, as juice begins to form. Cook until strawberries reduce down and sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
  6. Remove sauce from heat, cool and refrigerate. Serve on the side, with lemon pound cake.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Giveaway Details:

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Kosher Connection, we are giving away two prizes from Emile Henry, a Bread Cloche valued at $130 and a 4.2 qt Dutch Oven valued at $170! Two winners will be chosen at random. The contest winners will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond before other winners are chosen. This contest is open to United States residents over the age of 18. Click this link to enter: Rafflecopter giveaway.

Kosher Connection:

KOSHERCONNECTION5
The Kosher Connection, an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, proudly presents our monthly kosher recipe challenge. Each month we will present you with recipes on a different theme from kosher food bloggers.

This month in honor of our one-year anniversary we are celebrating with a blog swap and a giveaway!

Each participant was assigned another person’s blog to make a recipe from, see what everyone chose below. You can also enter to win the giveaway from any of our blog entries. Follow our recipes on Twitter with #KosherRecipes.

Somehow, I can’t get the photos of the participating recipes to show up, but please click the InLinkz link below for the rest of the “Great Blog Swap” recipes. (Please note that not all recipes are gluten-free.)

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Gluten-Free Birthday Parties

cupcakes 9th bday

Liven up homemade gluten-free cakes or cupcakes with cute cake toppers and candles.

gluten-free cupcakes

Pipe frosting with a pastry bag for a professional look.

A version of this post appears as a guest post on the Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery blog. Check it out!

Birthdays are a big deal in our house. Starting weeks beforehand, my kids carefully plan all the food and activities they want to have at their parties. When your child is gluten-free, the planning intensifies. How do you keep the birthday girl safe while entertaining all her friends at a gluten-free birthday party?

My youngest daughter, who has celiac disease, just turned 9. Over the past seven years, we’ve hosted many fun birthday parties for her, filled with games, crafts and amazing gluten-free birthday cakes.

Here are some of our tips for making gluten-free birthday parties a success:

— Make an awesome gluten-free cake. Let’s face it, the cake is usually the centerpiece for the birthday (though I am amazed that my kids have friends who “don’t like cake” — heresy!). Bake a trial cake beforehand to make sure the recipe tastes great. I love King Arthur’s gluten-free chocolate cake mix. The rich, fudgy cake is delicious, and kids always ask for seconds (and sometimes for thirds). For frosting, I use the “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Frosting recipe on the side of the Hershey’s cocoa box.

—If you don’t feel comfortable baking gluten-free cake or cupcakes, try making an ice cream cake or offer a make-your-own ice cream sundae bar and have a multitude of toppings including sprinkles (or “jimmies,” as we say in Philadelphia), chocolate chips, M&Ms, chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

— If you make a gluten-free cake or dessert, whatever you do, don’t advertise the treats as gluten-free. For some reason, if people (especially adults) hear the word “gluten-free,” they tend to avoid it like the plague. Teach your kid to be proud of being GF, but if you want people to eat your treats, don’t advertise them as such. (Or as I like to say, “I spent an hour baking that dessert, they better darn well eat it.”)

— Take a cake decorating class before the big birthday bash. A kid’s birthday cake must look good as well as taste good. If you can’t take a cake decorating class, toss on some colorful sprinkles and buy a couple of cute cake toppers or small plastic figurines to put on top of the cake. For cupcakes, experiment to learn how to pipe frosting using a pastry bag.

— Plan the birthday party at a time that does not involve lunch, like from 10 am to noon, or 3 to 5 pm. Kids do not need pizza at every birthday party. Not only will this save you money, but you won’t have to decide whether to serve gluten-free pizza to everyone (if so, it better taste good), or to have both GF and non-GF pizza and then worry about kids running around with greasy-pizza-gluten hands.

— For gluten-free snacks, think about Pirate’s Booty, Skinny Pop popcorn, Pop Chips and grapes or other fruit. For healthy options, try make-your-own fruit kebabs or a make-your-own smoothie bar.

— Advocate for your school to adopt a policy of no edible birthday treats. Honestly, most kids do not need another cupcake. Instead, kids can bring in a non-edible treat to share with their classmates (pencils, erasers, party favors). Other ideas: Schools can announce the names of the birthday kids over the school’s P.A. system, or schools can invite birthday kids to pick out a special book from a stash purchased by the PTA. This avoids allergens in the classroom and helps to combat excessive sweets and childhood obesity. If your school makes it a rule (not just an optional choice), you’ll be surprised at how quickly it will become an accepted part of school culture.

— If your son or daughter is going to a friend’s birthday party, ask the host in advance what food they will be serving. Send your kid with a cupcake (in a cupcake carrier that will keep it from getting smushed), an individual-sized gluten-free pizza (or the GF equivalent of whatever food they are serving), appropriate safe snacks and hand wipes. Stay at the party to serve your kid her special food, or ask a non-busy adult to make sure your child gets her food on a clean plate, served with clean hands.

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Super-Moist Secret-Ingredient Chocolate Cake

Secret-ingredient Chocolate Cake

You’d never guess the secret ingredient in this moist gluten-free chocolate cake with pink buttercream frosting.

Can you keep a secret? This gluten-free chocolate cake has a top-secret ingredient that keeps it rich and moist. No crumbly, dry cake here.

The only catch is that you can’t reveal the secret ingredient to your guests, at least not until after they’ve devoured a piece of this delectable chocolate cake topped with a delicate pink buttercream frosting.

Ready? Promise you’ll keep reading? The secret ingredient is … borscht. That’s right, pureed beet borscht gives the cake extra moisture and richness, without any noticeable beet taste. (Note: Do not use “Russian style” borscht, which contains garlic. That would be bad.)

Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of beets (too “earthy”), so trust me on this one: You simply cannot taste the beets in this recipe, yet they lend moistness, structure and depth to the cake. Similarly, sometimes I add applesauce to my gluten-free cakes: The applesauce makes the cake tender, and the fruit pectin keeps it from falling apart — especially important for gluten-free baking.

When I was asked to develop two recipes for the Joy of Kosher Gold’s Foods campaign, I decided to make two very different recipes: a chocolate beet cake with Gold’s borscht and wild salmon with dinosaur kale and yogurt-horseradish sauce, using Gold’s white horseradish.

For the Super-Moist Secret-Ingredient Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake, you’ll need to puree the borscht in a blender, to thoroughly incorporate any bits of beet. Borscht — beet soup — is liquidy. Adding 1 1/2 cups of borscht to the batter seems strange, but it makes the cake tender, with a light and airy crumb.

chocolate cake ingredients

The surprising secret ingredient to moist gluten-free chocolate cake is … borscht.

I frosted the cake with a pink buttercream frosting, tinted pink by a few tablespoons of pureed borscht. Again, trust me — there is so much sugar in the icing, you will never taste the beets. Using the beet juice is actually a great way to color the frosting without using artificial food colorings.

For the full recipe for Super-Moist Secret-Ingredient Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake, please click through to the Joy of Kosher site.

For the salmon, I came up with a more traditional recipe of Salmon with Dinosaur Kale and Yogurt-Horseradish Sauce. I like lacinato (dinosaur) kale, because it is more tender and quicker cooking than curly kale. My youngest daughter eats up the kale (leaving the salmon), asking for more of “the green stuff.”

Salmon with kale and yogurt-horseradish sauce

Salmon with dinosaur kale and yogurt-horseradish sauce

kale

Lacinato kale is also called dinosaur kale and Tuscan kale.

horseradish sauce

For a sauce, try this combination of Greek yogurt, white horseradish and fresh dill.

Start by sautéing the chopped kale with diced shallots in a large skillet, adding a cup of vegetable broth. Then place the salmon on top of the kale, cover the skillet and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. The salmon (feel free to use other types of fish) comes out silky and tender, which is good because I tend to overcook fish. For the yogurt-horseradish sauce, mix together 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons white horseradish and 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, and serve on the side.

With a powerhouse combination of wild salmon, kale and Greek yogurt, this dish is both delicious and nutritious.

For the full recipe for Salmon with Dinosaur Kale and Yogurt-Horseradish Sauce, please click through to the Joy of Kosher site.

This post is sponsored by Gold’s and Joy of Kosher.

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Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken and Gluten-Free Croutons

caesar salad

Caesar salad tossed with grilled chicken, homemade croutons, hardboiled egg and dressing.

gluten-free croutons

Homemade gluten-free croutons are toasted in a skillet with olive oil and garlic.

For a light spring supper, here’s a good choice: grilled chicken Caesar salad with gluten-free croutons. I’ve never been a huge crouton fan. Dried-out cubes of tasteless bread never did a lot for me. But these fresh, homemade croutons — made from gluten-free crusty hot dog rolls toasted in a skillet with olive oil and garlic — are tasty and tender.

Making the chicken Caesar salad took more time (and more pots) than I had anticipated. I needed to toast the croutons, blend the dressing, boil the eggs, grill the chicken and assemble the salad. Thankfully, my hero husband stepped in to help with the prep and to wash the multitude of pots. With some advance planning (not my forte), it would be easy to prepare most of the recipe in advance next time.

Caesar salad dressing usually is made with raw egg yolk. But I get skittish about that, so I made a dressing without raw eggs. I also did not use parmesan cheese to make the Caesar salad dairy-free.

My 11-year-old daughter recently had been asking me to make croutons (I’m totally serious). Oddly enough, the theme for the Kosher Connection linkup this month is croutons. Check out the link below for more recipes with croutons, though please note that most of the recipes in the linkup are not gluten-free.

Caesar Salad with Grilled Chicken
and Gluten-Free Croutons

(gluten-free, dairy-free)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Printable recipe

Gluten-Free Croutons:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 gluten-free hot dog rolls, cut into cubes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes.
  2. Toss in the bread cubes, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir to coat with olive oil and saute croutons until golden, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Caesar Salad Dressing:

Ingredients:

  • 4 anchovy fillets (or 2 teaspoons anchovy paste)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Method:

  1. Place the anchovies, lemon juice, garlic, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce in a blender, and blend well.
  2. While the blender is running, slowly add the olive oil until emulsified.

Caesar Salad:

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads romaine lettuce
  • 2 chicken breasts, grilled and sliced
  • Caesar salad dressing
  • 2 hardboiled eggs, each cut into 4 wedges
  • Gluten-free croutons

Method:

  1. In a large, wide bowl, arrange some whole spears of romaine lettuce, so they fan out of the sides of the bowl. Tear remaining romaine spears into strips and place in the bottom of the bowl.
  2. Add grilled chicken strips and drizzle Caesar dressing over lettuce and chicken. Top with wedges of hardboiled eggs and gluten-free croutons. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Yield: 4 servings

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Fiesta Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas, Gluten-Free

quesadillas

Festive gluten-free quesadillas are stuffed with cheese, corn, black beans and cilantro

This post also appears as a guest blog at Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery.

When we first went gluten-free, I embraced corn tortillas as a bread substitute. Cheap and versatile, corn tortillas are easy to find and easy to make into wraps, tacos and quesadillas. Their many uses always makes me think of this scene from the movie Airplane! (McCroskey: “Johnny, what do make out of this?” Johnny: “This? Why I can make a hat, a brooch, a pterodactyl…”)

But then I realized that many brands of corn tortillas also contain wheat, and they have an annoying habit of falling apart unless you heat them just-so.

That’s why I was delighted to find Rudi’s gluten-free tortillas, because they are flexible and don’t fall apart. They’re made with whole grains — sorghum, brown rice, corn, amaranth, quinoa, millet and teff. I especially like the fun green color of the spinach tortillas. (Just make sure you buy the gluten-free tortillas. Once I bought the regular ones by mistake, but luckily I noticed when unloading the groceries.)

For a Cinco de Mayo Mexican meal, celebrate with these gluten-free quesadillas, stuffed with a festive filling of cheese, corn, black beans and cilantro. Any type of gluten-free shredded cheese is fine here, but for Cinco de Mayo try a Mexican cheese blend.

It’s fiesta time!

(Disclosure: I wrote this post because I like Rudi’s products. I was not compensated for the post, other than receiving some coupons that I will probably forget to use.)

Fiesta Corn and Black Bean Quesadillas, Gluten-Free

(gluten-free, kid-friendly)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Printable recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (defrost, if frozen)
  • 1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 6 Rudi’s gluten-free tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded cheese
  • Salsa

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Toss together corn, black beans and cilantro in a large bowl.
  3. Stack tortillas on a plate, and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds.
  4. Place three tortillas on a large cookie sheet. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheese on each tortilla. Spoon 1/3 cup black bean and corn filling on top of the cheese, distributing evenly on each tortilla. Sprinkle an additional 1/3 cup cheese on top of filling for each tortilla. Top with another tortilla.
  5. Bake for 7 minutes, or until tortillas are slightly crispy and cheese is melted. Cut each quesadilla into six wedges and serve with salsa.

Yield: 3 to 4 servings

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Strawberry-Vanilla Tart in Macaroon Shell

strawberry macaroon tart

Strawberry-vanilla tart in macaroon shell, gluten-free

Here’s a simple dessert that’s gluten-free and kosher for Passover. Use macaroons to make a crisp tart shell, top with a quick vanilla pudding and layer with sliced strawberries. With only a little bit of effort you’ll have an elegant strawberry-vanilla tart in a macaroon shell — perfect for this month’s Kosher Connection challenge to create a Passover dessert.

I strongly recommend making the dessert in a tart pan, not a pie dish. When I first made it in a pie dish, it didn’t cut into pretty slices. With a tart pan, you can remove the sides and keep the tart on the pan’s metal base, or you can slide a knife under the tart and transfer it to a serving plate. One other caveat: After it’s been cut into, this tart does not keep well because the pudding seeps out. So once you start it, it’s best to finish it that day.

The recipe is gluten-free and kosher for Passover. If you want to make a dairy-free strawberry macaroon tart, omit the pudding, pile the macaroon crust full of sliced strawberries and brush the top with melted strawberry jam.

Strawberry-Vanilla Tart in Macaroon Shell

(gluten-free, kosher for Passover)
By Gluten-Free Nosh
Print this recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 (10-ounce) can macaroons
  • 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons potato starch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk or half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 9-inch tart pan with removable sides.
  2. Chop macaroons finely in a food processor. Pour in melted butter and process until crumbs start to come together. Press macaroon crumbs into bottom and sides of the tart pan. Put the tart shell on a baking sheet, slide into the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until firm.
  3. For the vanilla pudding, mix together sugar, potato starch and salt in a medium saucepan. Pour in a small amount of the milk (about 1/4 cup) and whisk to form a smooth paste. Pour in the rest of the milk and stir well.
  4. Cook pudding over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, until it thickens and bubbles around the edges, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Let pudding cool for 5 minutes, then pour it into macaroon tart shell while still warm. Top with sliced strawberries arranged in concentric circles and refrigerate.

Yield: 8 servings

For more Passover desserts, check out this month’s Kosher Connection link-up. Please be aware that not all desserts listed are gluten-free. Click on the frog icon for links to other great blogs:

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Filed under desserts, Jewish holidays, Passover, Recipes

Gluten-Free Passover Foods 2013

Because wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats aren’t allowed on Passover (unless they’re in matzo or matzo meal), Passover can be a great gluten-free holiday. You can find gluten-free versions of foods that you can’t find the rest of the year, like gluten-free matzo ball mix, blintzes, cookies and cakes. But be careful to avoid my eternal mistake (when will I ever learn?), and don’t overbuy Passover products. Passover foods are almost always expensive, but they don’t always taste great.

Many foods are labeled “gluten-free” and some are labeled “non-gebrokts” (which is basically the equivalent of gluten-free). Non-gebrokts foods are increasing in popularity because of the growing Hassidic population and gluten-free population.

passover-2

– My top recommendation is Lieber’s Knaidel Mix. This gluten-free matzo ball mix makes light and fluffy matzo balls (called knaidlach in Yiddish). My guests have asked for seconds, unaware that the matzo balls were gluten-free. Another gluten-free matzo ball option is Frankel’s Matzo-Free Balls. These premade frozen gluten-free matzo balls (six to a package) are convenient when you want to take individual gluten-free matzo balls to a relative’s house to drop in their chicken soup.

passover-3

– Don’t let the “breaded” fool you, Spring Valley Breaded Chicken Pattie Nuggets (sorry, I can’t find an online link) are coated with potato starch – a great find, since it’s hard to find gluten-free kosher chicken nuggets. Make sure the bag is labeled kosher for Passover and non-gebrokts. I also bought Spring Valley Frozen Stuffed Chicken Rolls — a good gluten-free kosher quick lunch. Also, it’s hard to find gluten-free blintzes during the year, so I stock up on gluten-free Spring Valley Blintzes, which come in cheese, apple and blueberry flavors. Make sure the box is labeled kosher for Passover and non-gebrokts, as only the Passover blintzes are gluten-free, not the ones they produce the rest of the year.

– Frankel’s makes a frozen gluten-free Passover cheesecake that’s great, as well as gluten-free potato knishes and gluten-free blintzes.

– Gefilte fish often is part of Passover meals, but most gefilte fish contains matzo meal. For the past few years, I’ve bought Kedem Gourmet Gefilte Fish, which is made without matzo meal, is gluten-free and does not contain MSG. This year, I also spotted Rokeach “Gourmet Sweet” and Rokeach “Heimeshe Sweet” gluten-free gefilte fish. Also, some of the frozen gefilte fish loaves are gluten-free.

– Most macaroons are gluten-free, including Manischewitz and Streit’s macaroons, which also use sulfite-free coconut. This year, Manischewitz introduced a frozen gluten-free macaroon dough.

– There has been a debate the past few years about whether quinoa is kosher for Passover. Quinoa is not a grain, but some want to count it as kitniyot and not permit it. Other rabbis say it’s fine for Passover. For a discussion of quinoa, see this article, “Quinoa, ‘mother of all grains,’ may (or may not) be kosher for Passover” published by the JTA news service, which has a quote at the end from me. (To save you the suspense, here’s the quote: “It’s a tiny powerhouse packed with protein, vitamins and minerals, and it’s an important grain alternative, especially on Passover,” Becker said. “It’s great to have it on Passover instead of the usual potatoes, potatoes, potatoes. Most of the Passover foods just end up tasting like Passover, so we rely on quinoa to be that side staple.”)

– I’ve already discussed gluten-free matzo-style squares and gluten-free oat matzos in other posts, so I’ll be brief here. Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares are tasty, gluten-free matzos that taste like crispy flatbread crackers. Yehuda also offers a toasted onion flavor and a fiber-enriched version, as well as gluten-free matzo crackers. I still haven’t tried to cook with Yehuda gluten-free cake meal, but some readers have told me that they haven’t been successful with it. This year, Manischewitz came out with its own Gluten-Free Matzo Squares along with gluten-free Passover crackers.

– New this year is a seasoned version of Jeff Nathan Creations Gluten-Free Panko Flakes. I used the plain panko flakes last year as a gluten-free crumb coating for chicken and fish and liked their texture. But they didn’t have much taste, so I’m happy to see a seasoned version.

– I hate it when I open a bag of tapioca starch and get coated in a puff of white powder. So I like the fact that Gefen Tapioca Starch comes in an easily reclosable canister. I also like the reclosable canisters of potato starch from a few Passover brands.

Dr Praeger’s offers some nice gluten-free options year-round and even more during Passover. I bought “Potato Crusted Fishies,” though now my kids have informed me that they will not eat fish sticks. Go figure.

passover food-1

– You can now buy so many gluten-free cookies, crackers and cakes throughout the year, it doesn’t make sense to buy the Passover versions, which are generally less nutritious and less tasty. Sometimes I’m tempted to buy the boxed bakery-style cookies, though most tend to be expensive and sugary. Still, it is sometimes nice to keep a box or two in the freezer. Shabtai Gourmet, a kosher bakery, is dedicated to baking gluten-free Passover goodies year-round. Oberlander’s , Schick’s and Hagadda also have a selection of gluten-free, bakery-style Passover cakes and cookies. I skip the Passover cake mixes; they’re generally not great. There are some frozen cake loaves that can be worthwhile, such as Osem marble cake and pound cake, which are small and easy to keep in the freezer.

– Generally, I skip the Passover noodles, pizza, pancakes and waffles. They usually end up mushy and gummy. Although this year I did buy frozen Heaven and Health gluten-free potato gnocchi.

– I’m always tempted by snack foods. I love all the boxes of chocolate available at Passover, though check the ingredients — not all are gluten-free. For snacks this year, I bought Guiltless Gourmet Crunchies nut squares and Paskesz Soft Crunch granola-style bars.

Click here for my shortened, printable gluten-free Passover shopping list.

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Filed under Jewish holidays, Passover

Fudgy Cream Cheese Brownies and Three-Cheese Eggplant Roll-Ups

fudgy cream cheese brownies

Fudgy, flourless cream cheese brownies, gluten-free

eggplant rollatini

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups, gluten-free

While the rest of the community whines about giving up wheat on Passover, we gluten-free cooks have it pretty easy. We’re used to cooking without wheat and looking for creative alternatives to grains. While others try to make food with matzo meal, we stay away from the tasteless stuff. This frees us to be more creative with grain-free recipes that taste great during Passover and year-round, like these gluten-free flourless, fudgy cream-cheese brownies and three-cheese eggplant roll-ups.

On Passover, one of my favorite products is Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese — it’s airy, fluffy and spreads easily on matzo, especially on fragile gluten-free matzo that crumbles easily. I usually buy several containers (so does my neighbor Dani, who buys 10 Temp Tee tubs to last well after Passover). So when Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher asked bloggers to create recipes with Temp Tee cream cheese, I jumped at the chance. (Check out all the recipes at Joy of Kosher’s “matzah fatigue” page.)

I recently created fudgy, flourless brownies that not only are gluten-free but also are kosher for Passover. I ramped up the “wow” factor by adding a rich cream cheese swirl, using fluffy Temp Tee Whipped Cream Cheese.

To counter the sweets, I came up with gluten-free eggplant rollups (or eggplant rollatini, if you want to sound fancy) with a three-cheese filling of cream cheese, cottage cheese and mozzarella cheese.

But let’s start with the sweets, since that’s the best part.

choc chips and butter

First some prep: Place 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips and 6 tablespoons butter in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on half-power for 1 minute, or until melted. Stir until well-combined and set aside to cool a bit.

Then line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, extending up the sides of the pan. This will come in handy later, when you lift the brownies out of the pan to cut them. (One of my favorite baking tips.)

brownie ingredients

With your mixer (or by hand), beat 2 eggs and 3/4 cup sugar until combined. Slowly mix in melted chocolate. Then add 1/4 cup potato starch, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix well. Stir in 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, because don’t you think we need more chocolate? And then spread the batter into the baking pan.

Now it’s time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. While it’s heating, wash out your mixing bowl and make the cream cheese topping. Beat 8 ounces whipped cream cheese with a mixer. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract and mix until it’s all smooth and creamy, with nary a lump.

cream cheese swirl

Pour the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Drag a knife through the batter several times to create a marbled design. (You may need to dredge up some thick brownie batter from the bottom to get a good marbled effect.)

Bake for 35 minutes until the brownies feel firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool completely in the pan (or refrigerate) so they’ll be easier to cut. When cool, lift the brownies out of the pan by the edges of the parchment paper. Place the parchment paper on a cutting board and cut the brownies into 25 squares.

Now on to the three-cheese eggplant roll-ups. Wasn’t it fun to have dessert before dinner?

eggplant

For the eggplant roll-ups, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cut 2 medium eggplants into thin slices. Trim the top and lop off the bottom of the eggplant, so it can stand up on the cutting board without wobbling. Cut the eggplant lengthwise into slices that are 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick. Now we’ll need to soften the eggplant, so put the eggplant on baking sheets lined with aluminum foil. Brush the eggplant with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until the eggplant is soft and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix 1 egg, 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese, 1/2 cup small-curd cottage cheese (low-fat is fine), 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1 teaspoon dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until well-blended.

rollups

Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce to cover the bottom of a 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Place a spoonful of the cheese filling at the bottom edge of each eggplant slice and roll up. Lay rolls seam side down in the baking dish, placing the rolls close to each other. Pour 1 cup marinara sauce over top of the rolls and sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella. (If you like a little spice, you can sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes over the top.) Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake at 375 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbling.

For the complete printable recipes see the Joy of Kosher website:

Fudgy cream-cheese brownies

Three-cheese eggplant roll-ups

This post is sponsored by Temp Tee and Joy of Kosher.

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Filed under desserts, Recipes

Gluten-Free Matzo for Passover-Part 2

gf matzos

Recently, I wrote a post about gluten-free oat matzo for Passover. Fortunately, there’s also a different kind of gluten-free matzo on the block. These gluten-free “matzo-style squares” are matzo alternatives that taste better than regular wheat matzo or gluten-free oat matzo. With a crisp, cracker consistency, these gluten-free matzos are good enough to be eaten year-round (really!).

Made primarily from potato starch and tapioca starch, and lightly salted, the matzos have a delicate taste, unlike regular dry matzo that leaves you parched and scrambling for water. Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares have been on the market for the past two years. Not to be left out, Manischewitz came out with its own “Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares” this year. (How odd that they have the same name.)

Now, these matzos don’t technically meet the seder requirements of matzo — that’s why you’ll notice a disclaimer on the box that says “not a replacement for seder matzo” or “not for sacramental purposes.” At the seder the Hamotzi blessing is supposed to be said over matzo made from one of five grains: wheat, rye, barley, spelt and oats. That’s why some people turn to gluten-free oat matzo, though the oat matzo tastes like cardboard and is much more expensive, because of the supervision involved in ensuring that it’s both gluten-free and kosher for Passover.

The Manischewitz and Yehuda gluten-free matzo-style squares are very similar — with a crisp, flatbread consistency. Manischewitz is cheaper, which is always a plus, though I like Yehuda’s flavor slightly better. Both are certified gluten-free, and both do not contain oats (doctors now say that most celiacs can tolerate pure, uncontaminated gluten-free oats, but some celiacs still have reactions from oats). Yehuda and Manischewitz also make smaller gluten-free matzo crackers, too.

Last year, Yehuda added a toasted onion flavor, and this year adds a fiber-enriched version. The fiber-enriched version has 3 grams of dietary fiber, compared to 1.2 grams in the regular matzo squares. The additional fiber comes in the form of “apple fiber” and “plant fiber.” The fiber-enriched version is dry, though. If you want fiber, you’d probably be better off eating a fresh apple, which has 4 grams of fiber, instead of eating apple fiber in your matzo.

Depending on where you live, these matzos can be hard to find. I’ve found them at a local Jewel that has a good kosher selection. Some Whole Foods stores (at least in Chicago) carry the Yehuda Gluten-Free Matzo-Style Squares, too. You can also order them online, or ask if your local grocery store can order them for you.

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Filed under celiac, Jewish holidays