A Change’ll Do Me Good!

Life is so FUNNY!

I recently put a “Hey, I’m moving on!” page up here, as it’s been well over a month since my last post, and even that wasn’t a recipe. Many bloggers I know take pause when they have baby; my baby has been a building writing career, which has shifted from writing about fictional people to writing about real ones.

In the past few years, I’ve written about around 150 chefs internationally for various people (columns on Serious Eats, Tasting Table, and Easy Eats Magazine, stuff on Imagista and in Plate Magazine, and ghostwriting for chefs). I’m now in the beginning stages of two books – one with my photographer Brent Herrig called Portraits and Plates, and the other for some incredible food dudes in the New York scene who already have a gem of a book in the works. I jump between projects and editors and ideas, and I love it, pulling it all together on my reference site, WordsFoodArt.com.

So, yeah, I’m busy. And I wasn’t planning on baking blogging for a while (Lyme stuff is also making balancing work and my body a little tough, and food is back to being limited for a while until some symptoms abate).

But then there’s this dude up there. The chef in a black coat looking up at me with puppy dog eyes at  the first (and last) pastry competition (for a good cause!) I entered a few years ago. My Holiday in a Hand Pie won two of the four awards. As it was gluten and dairy free, I was shocked. I had no idea who chef Johnny Iuzzini was when I met him; not the famous restaurant he worked at, the TV show he hosted, or the James Beard award he’d won.

‘Cause I was cool like that. Continue reading

How Do You Dine Out with Your Allergies or Illness?

My favorite t-shirt... even though I haven't eaten gluten in 20 years.

My favorite t-shirt… even though I haven’t eaten gluten in 20 years.

My favorite t-shirt has “Gluten is not the Devil” blazed on it in Italian. It’s soft, and the curvy cut is quite perfect, and the pig on it looks like there’s nothing that will bring him more happiness than the bowl of gnocchi he’s about to devour. Flavour Gallery sent it to me after a chef-friend saw it on Twitter and alerted them that I had to have one.

I’ve been on a gluten-free diet for twenty years.

Contrary to popular opinion of many gluten-less, I still don’t think it’s the devil.

My story is rooted in Lyme disease, which means that while I don’t have a life-threatening reaction to gluten like someone with Celiac does, any eating of it (and some other things) will make me relapse. Hard. Like, I was in a wheelchair as a kid, in college I blacked out regularly in class and had violent anxiety attacks, and the last flair had me out of work and home bound for a year. Using food as one way to control illness is a serious thing for me and many, many eaters out there. And gluten is one part of my diet.

Yet while more people know what gluten is now (which, trust me, almost no one did ten years ago) and though we can get a multitude of allergy-free, dynamic ingredients much more easily, that doesn’t equate to easy dining for those with food intolerance. Yes, more restaurants understand food allergies and take them seriously. But there are also a lot of people who claim to have allergies and intolerance yet don’t seem to quite understand what they mean, or how ordering habits affect kitchens and others with serious problems. And, yes, there are those who go “gluten free” for a week or five that challenge the patience of many a server or line cook, inspiring others to question the credibility of gluten intolerance in general. Continue reading

Video! Gluten-Free Vanilla Cupcakes

 

A while back, when I had aspirations of combining my theatre training and gluten-free baking, I did a series of videos for E:How’s Cooking Guide; recipes they requested and a video dude came out to shoot in the kitchen of my childhood home.

Since then I’ve decided I prefer staying behind the scenes and writing about other people who make food, hence my work shifting primarily to its home on WordsFoodArt and my lagging behind with new recipes here. Trust me, I’m still baking. I’m just not quite as focused on taking photos and writing things up. But more Madeleines are on their way, as well as some vanilla almond crepes that have been making my weekends just delightful.

Until then, here’s the first of the 10 E:How videos I’ll be putting up here in the weeks to come!

- Jacqueline

{gluten-free} Pistachio Layer Cake – Milk Bar Mondays!

The cake out of the freezer, before it's smoothed and presentable!

The cake out of the freezer, before it’s smoothed and presentable!

Milk Bar Mondays are back, folks!

Well… sort of. A long, long time ago, now, I joined with a group of lady bakers and bloggers to bake our way through Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook, headed up by Audra at The Baker Chick. But then, as often happens, our lives eventually got in the way of the sometimes lengthy, complicated recipes in the book; we changed schools, jobs and cities, some of us had babies (!), and our recipe priorities shifted. I’m sure we all value our blogs still for the many aspects of joy they bring to our lives, but I can’t say I’m surprised at our slow fizzle.

I wish, though, that I could have shared this cake with the other MBM ladies. Because it’s weird. Good weird, but weird. I made it for my dad’s 64th birthday, as the man adores pistachios and for many years bags of them have been stocking stuffers, random tokens of love and birthday gift toppers. So, despite the questionable potential of the cake’s general likeability, the copious amount of not-cheap pistachio nuts and pastes that went into it, and the somewhat lengthy procedure (that doesn’t feel that long, now, if I admit it to myself), this cake would be made.

And, damn, is it good. Weird good, but good.

Continue reading

{gluten-free} Nutty Banana Streusel Muffins

Gluten-Free Banana Nut Muffins

Muffins are the easiest thing, ever, to make.

Pies and galettes are up there, as is a simple quick pudding and all, and pancakes aren’t half bad either. But muffins… yeah. No electric equipment, one or two bowls, and a hot oven. Yum.

This morning we New Yorkers awoke again to the kind of weather that freezes your face off; no matter the layering or quickness of step, by the time I got in from walking Mitra I could have rather easily snapped the frozen nose off of my face. Directly into the kitchen for hot tea and eggs, my eyes set on three blackened bananas I’d left waiting to be pureed into something sweet. My roommate – who took the rare day off – was still sleeping. I already had chicken stock simmering on the stove, and a day’s pitching pieces and transcribing interviews ahead. Yet there were those bananas. Continue reading

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