25 March 2010

Beyond Brown Rice Pasta

1/2 can tuna, drained
2 tsp. mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. dijon mustard
asparagus, chopped and steamed
1/4 red bell pepper, diced and steamed
freshly ground pepper

Are you tired of plain rice pasta? Do you long for something more like the whole wheat pasta you used to eat before abandoning gluten? I did. So when I spotted this multi grain penne I jumped at the chance to try it. It is made from Rice, Quinoa and Amaranth and cooks in 8-9 minutes. Its texture seems to me to be in between that of brown rice and whole wheat pasta, a little more firm than the former. The taste is more complex than just rice pasta. I really like it. I did notice that some other GF blogs have given it a definite “thumbs down” but I suspect they overcooked it. The box says to boil for 12-15 minutes! One thing I have learned in life is to cook rice pastas for 6-8 minutes and check them and only then let them cook on if they need it. Hate mushy pasta big-time. The pasta in my photo took a bit over 8 minutes and was perfect.

According to the nutritional label on the box, 2 oz. of this pasta contains 200 calories, 1.5 g fat, and 3 g fiber and 5 g protein. It also contains Xanthan Gum, for those of you who are interested.

So try it and see how you like it. I found it at PCC Market in Issaquah, WA. I have heard some people got it at Whole Foods and it is available on line as well. It would be interesting to see who else likes this product. If you’ve tried it, leave a comment.

Karen, herself

19 March 2010

Black Bean Feta Chopped Salad

1 cup shredded mixed greens
mushrooms and zucchini sauteed in olive oil
1/2 small avocado, chopped
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 stalk celery, diced
1 oz. sheep's milk feta, crumbled
1 tsp. olive oil/3/4 tsp. red wine vinegar

My gluten free self has become cranky. I am three years into this life and suddenly I am peeved (or worse) when I go to a high end restaurant in the Puget Sound area, where I have notified the staff ahead of time of my gluten intolerance, and upon arrival they are clueless, offer virtually no help and are even somewhat smug about my inability to eat some of the things on their menu. Last week I went to a place that has many wonderful cheese selections on their menu and I would have loved to have tried one of them, but didn’t because in my rush to leave the house, I neglected to bring my own GF crackers with me. I never used to feel put out when places answered “no” to my request for rice crackers, but now I feel definitely deprived and, yes, miffed. Why can't more places just have a box of rice crackers on hand?

It seems the more I notice how main stream gluten free food is the more annoyed I get with those who still don't get it. I know how this will sound to some, but I think it’s rude to invite people who cannot eat gluten to your home and serve things that are loaded with it and then say (maybe even with a laugh) ...oh, you can’t have this...or...just don't eat it (and watch everyone else groan with pleasure over it. Yeah, that’s fun).

I have started to shun parties and events where gluten is the main ingredient, even though I really wanted to go for the social aspect. Aside from my gluten issues, I also cannot skip meals because of my headaches, so going to a pizza parlor to watch my friends eat if I haven't eaten in seven hours is not an option. I even left a cranky message on the Starbucks free pastry day ad on Facebook today.

I think the reason I’ve gotten this way is that I know it can be better. I have been to places where the chef came out to meet me and made sure I not only was safe, but had an enjoyable meal. In Italy, the restaurant in the hotel we stayed at got out their GF pasta and made wonderful sauces for me. It’s not that hard.

Karen, her cranky self