Among my bag of goodies from last week’s Gluten Free Expo at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre were finds from the Saskatchewan company, Celiac Choice.
Stuffed pasta has always ranked high on my list of favourites, and since going gluten free, I actually haven’t had any. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten excited after hearing a restaurant can make any of their pasta dishes gluten free. But alas, the gluten free version of their original dish is always a rice pasta penne. While I am grateful for the g-free option, there is always some disappointment when the restaurant’s original dish is a ravioli or tortellini.
The lineup for this booth at the Gluten Free Expo was long, but the samples were worth the wait. I ended up forking money over for two bags of frozen ravioli and one bag of frozen perogies.
Just how well did PC’s new corn macaroni pasta hold up?
I believe I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog that I prefer corn pasta over rice pasta. Rice pasta, I find, is heavy and can become gummy very quickly. I’ve also come across a couple brands that break easily after boiling. Corn pasta, on the other hand, is lighter, doesn’t break, and takes way less time to cook. I’ve only really ever seen one brand of corn pasta in the grocery store I frequent, so you can imagine my delight when I saw President’s Choice had come out with its own version of gluten free pastas. I picked up a couple boxes (spaghetti and macaroni) to see if there was any difference from the brand I normally purchase.
On one particularly chilly evening, I whipped out the box of macaroni and put a mouth-watering gourmet spin on my usual gluten free macaroni and cheese. If interested, check out the dish I made below. And below that you’ll see how I found the pasta itself.
Tim Hortons’ answer to gluten free treats: the chocolate drizzled coconut macaroon
I keep a memo in my phone at all times so I can jot down blog ideas including, but not limited to, recipes, triumphs, and (of course) rants. And it wasn’t too long ago that I wrote, ‘Tim Hortons, make a G-free doughnut, dammit!!!’
I don’t remember when I wrote it, but it was probably after a coffee date with friends, where they happily nibbled on the sugary treat and left me to…drink my coffee. Oh woes me, right? Well hey. It was not every day that I used to have a doughnut, so it’s not like I’m really missing them, but I guarantee you it’s not fun to be the only one in a group not having one. Especially when your friends do the side-head-tilt and sadly ask, ‘if you have one just this one time, will it really hurt your stomach?’
Yes. Yes it will.
It’s already August and looking back I can say with confidence that this was a summer of parties. From the exciting events leading to a couple of best friends’ wedding to toasting a new home, I had an unofficial part-time job as hostess this season.
The truth is, playing hostess is a fun pastime I don’t think I will ever tire from. But wow, can it get expensive. Especially if you’re planning a unique g-free menu. I’ll admit for a couple gatherings I took the easy way out and opted to prepare solely ‘normal dishes’ (aka, gluten-filled) just for convenience sake, but munching on veggies while my guests indulged in mouthwatering appetizers always ended up being a regret.
I think I’ve found my footing now, and it’s fun discovering new ways to satisfy my guests’ taste buds, and mine. So what were some items I served?
The end result of my 5-hour shopping trip: A combination of free samples and items I purchased at Canada’s Gluten Free Market.
A little over a week ago I had the pleasure of attending Canada’s Gluten Free Market in Mississauga, Ont. I was accompanied by my mother and cousin, two family members who decided to give g-free living a go. It was perfect timing. What better time to try a new diet than at an event with a wide assortment of free goodies? The event was the perfect place for gluten free newbies and veterans alike: along with food, there was an abundance of information. The event ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and we arrived bright and early and left around mid-afternoon. I was wondering how big a crowd the show would draw. Of course, gluten free living has become rampant in recent years, but this type of event caters to a niche audience — or so I thought. The venue was rammed! A massive line of people gathered before the doors even opened and the aisles and booths were packed with eager and hungry gluten free enthusiasts the entire time we were there. In fact, one vender was rushing out just as we were, promising she’d ‘be back with more products,’ as her booth was completely emptied of treats.
Gluten free enthusiasts lining up for the big event roughly 15 minutes before it even opened.
It’s bound to happen. Even in a city as large and diverse as Toronto, you’ll find Italian restaurants that don’t offer gluten free pasta options. And if they don’t have g-free pasta, then chances are they won’t have g-free pizza or g-free breadcrumbs for veal parmigiana. So what to do? Well, you pray they have a wide assortment of tantalizing salads…or a mozzarella bar. Lucky for me, they did.
My review of Obika
Who the hell needs bread when you have this mouth-watering appetizer spread?! (Photo courtesy of Angela Casullo)
A few weeks ago, I attended a duo-birthday celebration for my cousin (and lifelong best friend and maid of honour) and her boyfriend. Dinner reservations were made at Obika, an Italian ‘Mozzarella bar’ located in downtown Toronto. I walked past this place a number of times and had actually wanted to check it out for quite some time, so I was excited about the plans.
I called ahead of time to see if an ‘official’ gluten free menu existed and unfortunately it did not. Right after hanging up the phone, I scanned the online menu and was happy to discover I had a wide range of salads to choose from. Thankfully this would not be a case of ‘Mixed greens or Caesar’ — the latter of which I usually can’t have anyway because the Caesar dressing contains gluten!
But Obika’s menu displayed salads with smoked wild salmon, oven cooked ham, artichokes, cape berries, and, of course, mozzarella di bufala campana (or buffalo mozzarella, which I love).
Some gluten free alcoholic beverages I like. Some.
Today kicks off the beginning of another summer’s worth of long weekends. Some call it Victoria Day Long Weekend while others call it May Two-Four; gardeners gear up for a season of crops, flowers, and plants, families barbecue and wait for fireworks, and almost everyone indulges in a bevy of beverages of the alcoholic variety. Last time I posted about gluten free alcohol, I dyed it all green in the spirit of St. Patty’s Day. This time there will be no food colour, but there will be more options. You can be rest assured, my gluten free friends, that I have taken one for the team, so to speak, and done some research in the days weeks leading up to this long weekend.
Congratulate me, salad eaters, for I have found a salad I can get on board with. I recreated a gluten free dish I’ve had at one of my favourite Toronto pubs, The 3 Brewers. I was practically crushed when I realized I couldn’t have gluten anymore because this particular pub is a microbrewery-restaurant and always had delicious beers. While their menu doesn’t really cater to those with a gluten intolerance, I found one particular dish that not only sits well in my stomach, but also satisfies my hunger. This dish is a salad, and yes, I give it a highly enthusiastic thumbs up for serving as an honest-to-god filling meal.
My delicious, filling, and colourful-to-boot scrumptious salad
The 3 Brewers gets to the point and simply calls this salad ‘Smoked Salmon and Shrimp.’ I put my own spin on it, left a couple ingredients out, and decided to call it ‘Zesty Smoked Salmon.’
Ok, fine. That’s not any more creative.
My review of Mary’s Organic Crackers
First let me start by saying, I’ve been a bit delinquent on my blog. And no, it’s not because I ran away screaming from my last post (a solemn vow to eat more salads). Life got really busy all of a sudden, and it looks like the past three weeks may have just set the tone for the rest of the summer. I often thought about my blog and all the other glorious blogs I was not reading, and finally decided enough is enough — I’m just going to sit myself down and write dammit. In the *shamefully admits* roughly-just-under-three weeks I was MIA, I did regularly update a list in my phone of things to blog about. So, a lot’s coming and I’m looking forward to it.
And, after roughly three weeks of not posting, I decided my big comeback post would be about…CRACKERS. But wait, folks, these gluten free crackers are so good they are in a class all on their own.
My review of Rizopia Brown Rice Lasagna
Rizopia Brown Rice Lasagne. I bought two boxes of this.
Let me start by saying I’m exaggerating a tad. The entire lasagna was not a fail, but the whole top layer was.
Now I’ll give some back-story.
I happily stumbled upon gluten free lasagna noodles the other day at the store. I had been searching for them for months actually and eventually gave up the hunt. Apparently they were always there, and I just had to look up a few shelves. But at 5”1, I am 100 per cent going to blame my height, or lack thereof, for the oversight.