April 1, 2009

A little piece of heaven...

Last night I had one of the best meals I've ever eaten. I'm hard to please, too. I like my food to be healthy and taste good. And, it must be gluten free, of course. With all of those requirements, I can be a pretty tough critic. But last night, I had a wonderful experience and meal at a restaurant that is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

I met a friend at Cru in Silverlake - www.crusilverlake.com Cru is an organic vegan restaurant with a menu that is 100% gluten free (bonus!) and mostly raw. How can THAT be good, you might ask? Yes, it's true, raw food CAN taste good. There are plenty of raw food restaurants out there that don't do a very good job and unfortunately, they give the other ones a bad rap. However, at Cru, you really wouldn't even know that you are eating raw food. Yes, that is just how good it is! I had the pesto ravioli. The ravioli is made out of thinly sliced jicama and is filled with a "cheese" made form cashews. It was topped with a wonderful pesto and served with an arugula salad. I ate every bite! And, to top it off, I just had to try some dessert. They have a very nice dessert menu and I decided to go with the chocolate brownie a la mode. The brownie and ice cream are both raw, gluten free, non dairy and do not contain refined sugar - perfect! It was amazing... again, I ate every bite!

The funny thing is, though, that while I ate everything served to me, I was not full. I was satisfied and felt great, but not overly full. I tend to feel this way after a good raw vegan meal. The portions are not big and all of the ingredients are organic and natural - the way a proper meal should be.

So, if you are looking for a good meal that is healthy (and gluten free, to boot!), you must give Cru a try. Even if you are not a raw vegan (hey, I'm not!), I would still highly recommend it. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

March 24, 2009

Purely Delicious

I have a new obsession - Purely Delicious magazine. The name says it all... healthy recipes that are SO good! This magazine is dedicated to the raw food lifestyle. But don't let that scare you - or fool you. Even if you are not a raw foodist, you will enjoy this magazine and the recipes it has to offer. And of course, most of the recipes are gluten free, otherwise I wouldn't be so excited about it!

Here's one of my favorite recipes.
With blueberry season coming up, I just had to share this Purely Delicious recipe. Not only does it taste good, but blueberries are full of antioxidants, vitamin C and fiber. And this recipe contains no refined sugar, but trust me, you won't even miss it. So go ahead, have a slice... or two!

Fresh Blueberry Pie

2 cups almonds
1/2 cup dates, seeds removed
pinch of sea salt

5 cups fresh blueberries
2 bananas
1 1/2 Tbsp honey

For the crust, in a food processor, grind the almonds until fine. Add the dates and salt and blend until the mixture binds together between your fingers when pinched. Press into 9" glass pie pan and set to one side.

For the filling, in a food processor, combine four cups of the berries, bananas, and honey. Blend until smooth. Remove from processor bowl and stir in remaining berries. Pour into the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least three hours. Serve and enjoy.

For more info, click here -

Purely Delicious Magazine

January 9, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cake

I don’t eat sweets often, but I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures is flourless chocolate cake. I love going to a restaurant and finding out that they have flourless chocolate cake on the dessert menu. After all, as a Celiac, it is rare to be able to eat dessert out at a restaurant. But if I’m going to splurge on dessert, I want it to be a good one. There are definitely good flourless chocolate cakes and bad ones. I can’t tell you how many I’ve had that are super dry or heavy or way too dense and rich. Since I like to think of myself as a flourless chocolate cake “expert” :-), I’ve compiled a list of my favorites in the Los Angeles area.

But, please keep the following in mind when ordering:

  • Remind the server and chef that you have Celiac or are gluten intolerant and that you CANNOT have any gluten.

  • Just because it is flourless does not mean it is free of gluten. DOUBLE CHECK!

  • So here it is… the best of the best! Enjoy!

  • Le Petit Four
    (8654 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood, http://www.lepetitfour.net/)
    Yummy! This was the first flourless chocolate cake that I fell in love with! It’s not heavy like most of them are and it’s so moist and tasty. They also serve excellent food. I LOVE the salads. They are really good about checking ingredients, talking to the chef and modifying dishes, too.

  • Clafoutis
    (8630 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood)
    I was planning on going to Le Petit Four for lunch with a friend, but we got there before they opened. So, we went a couple doors down to Clafoutis. I was very excited when I saw they had flourless chocolate cake. I ordered it, not thinking it could be as good as Le Petit Four’s. I was pleasantly surprised! It’s lighter, but oh so good! Again, they also have really good food for lunch and dinner.

  • Soleil
    (1386 Westwood Blvd in Westwood, http://www.soleilwestwood.com/)
    Someone had told me about how good the flourless chocolate cake is here and they were right! My husband and I went here for dinner before a movie (the food is excellent, by the way!) We were running short on time since we had to get to the movie but, I was determined to try that flourless chocolate cake! The server packed it up in a little box and we took it with us. What a treat at the movie theater to sink my fork into a very delectable dessert. It’s light, but not too rich – one of my new favorites!

  • A flourless chocolate cake lover? Add your favorite in the comments section!

    December 14, 2008

    Sweet Potatoes

    I love going to the farmer's market and my local grocery store this time of year and finding an abundance of sweet potatoes. This root vegetable is naturally sweet, antioxidant-rich, very high in vitamin A and in season in November and December. So now is the time to take advantage of sweet potatoes! Sweet potatoes are also so versatile. Mash them, puree them, make a soup, roast them... the list goes on. One of my favorite things is to make baked chips out of them. They are very easy to prepare and so tasty, too! After you make them, put them in an airtight container and enjoy them as a snack for the next few days.

    Baked Sweet Potato Chips

    2 medium sweet potatoes
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    sea salt

  • Preheat oven to 400

  • Slice the sweet potatoes to approximately 1/8 inch thick. Using a mandoline is the fastest and easiest way to do this. If you do not have a mandoline, use a sharp chef's knife.

  • Place on a baking sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Toss them and then spread them out in a single layer.

  • Bake for approximately 20 - 25 minutes, until the edges are crispy.

  • Sprinkle with sea salt.

  • December 12, 2008

    Coconut Almond Torte

    With the holidays in full swing, there is an abundance of sugar going around! Of course you want to enjoy the holidays and all the yummy goodness that goes along with this time of year. But, it is easy to over do it at times. What to do?!
    When it comes to food, the holidays can be tough for those who are gluten-free. First, it can be hard to find sweet treats that do not contain gluten. Second, once you do find yummy gluten-free treats, what about all that sugar?! When I came across this recipe about 6 months ago, I fell in love. Not only is it naturally gluten free, it does not contain refined sugar. Maple syrup is used to sweeten it and agave can actually be used to replace the maple syrup, if desired. It is light and just perfect for winter. This recipe is adapted from Rebecca Katz's cookbook "One Bite at a Time".

    Coconut Almond Torte

    1 1/2 cups raw almonds
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    3 large eggs
    1 tsp. almond exract
    1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
    1/4 tsp. sea salt
    1 Tbsp. orange zest
    1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • Preheat oven to 375.

  • In a food processor, grind the almonds until fine and flour-like, about 3 minutes

  • Mix the maple syrup, eggs extracts and salt in a small bowl. Mix well to break up the eggs.

  • While the food processor is running, pour the maple syrup mixture through the feed tube and process until smooth.

  • Add the orange zest and coconut, mix well.

  • Pour the batter into mini muffin tins and bake for approximately 8 - 10 minutes. They are ready when the top is lightly golden brown and the center is firm.

  • Let cool, remove from muffin tins and serve. Top with fresh fruit, if desired.

  • December 3, 2008

    Sautéed Wild Rice

    With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to dust off the old recipes and learn some new ones. The following recipe is an excellent side dish. I made this at Thanksgiving and it got rave reviews from the family! It’s healthy and easy, too! If you want to make it into a meal, rather than just a side dish, throw in some grilled chicken, tofu or salmon and add some extra veggies of your choice.

    Sautéed Wild Rice

    ¼ cup olive oil
    1 onion, chopped
    1 red bell pepper, chopped
    1 cup of corn kernels (if using frozen, be sure to thaw it)
    6 cups of wild rice, cooked
    3 green onions, chopped
    1 cup of pecans, toasted and chopped
    sea salt and pepper, to taste

  • Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until the onion is translucent

  • Add the corn, cooked rice and green onions.

  • Season with sea salt and pepper, remove from heat

  • Top with toasted pecans and serve

  • November 21, 2008

    Hidden Gluten

    Gluten is, of course, in wheat, barley, rye, breads, pastas, cakes, crackers, etc. However, there are unsuspecting foods and ingredients out there that contain gluten. Below is a list of foods that contain “hidden” gluten. Become familiar with the names of ingredients that contain gluten. Just because a label doesn’t say “gluten” in the ingredient list, does not mean it is gluten-free. So, please, be careful!

  • soy sauce (buy gluten free tamari instead)

  • malt vinegar

  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

  • malt or malt flavoring

  • Modified Food Starch

  • pre-packaged chicken, beef and vegetable stocks – unless it clearly says “gluten free”

  • the following words in an ingredient list usually means there is gluten: stabilizer, starch, flavoring, emulsifier, hydrolyzed plant protein

  • This is only a partial list. Please become familiar with these ingredients and always read labels!

    Gluten Free LA

    Living gluten free... naturally