Tag Archives: Gluten-free diet

Gluten-Free French Lemon Madeleines (and a boost of blogging confidence)

Lemon Madeleines - TheDustyBakerI am a mess of many things.

I bake. I write about famous people who make food. I research articles. I develop recipes. I review events. I take photos in professional people’s kitchens. I blog. I manage my family business’ books. I walk hundreds of miles for breast cancer awareness. I don’t eat gluten. I used to write plays. I grew up with Lyme Disease. Sometimes now that stays hidden. Sometimes it doesn’t.

I’ve been having a hard time figuring out how that all comes together here.

I used to feel like I had a “voice” on this blog, one that was quirky and fun and so focused around the joy that is throwing flour in the air and making a mess and being all scrappy in NYC and not letting the whole gluten-free thing be the thing that stops someone from baking and being all dusty in the kitchen. And then two things happened; I started getting a lot more writing/cooking work and my Lyme Disease-related symptoms started making me not feel well again.

Bare honesty here: I don’t feel well a lot, nowadays. I do a lot of things through an incredible doc who does intensely focused plant-forward immune supporting regimens. I also take a combo of pain killers regulated through a pain management doctor I’ve trusted for over ten years. I also meditate, and work with a life coach, and keep a positive attitude, and sometimes let myself cry in the bathtub because in certain moments none of that seems to make a difference.

Sometimes I don’t know how to express this person I am in this body, at this point in my life.  I have a good life. I love my work, value my relationships and have a home that I adore. But I have a history, and even as I’ve tried to start sharing the reason why I’ve been on a gluten-free diet for twenty years, I’ve worried about how it will translate on here.

But then I had a conversation I really needed yesterday. Continue reading

Millet Mug Chocolate Cake (gluten and dairy free)

Gluten-Free Millet Mug Chocolate Cake - The Dusty Baker-2

I’ve been so good with the sugar lately.

As my little tackle with Lyme symptoms flaring has made digesting sugar a bit hard (even small portions induce a bit of shaking), I’ve cut back dramatically on my intake and, therefore, the amount that I’ve been baking. But the other night as I whipped up my little Ramp and Maitake Tartelettes, I was craving something sweet. I don’t really keep sweets on hand, and didn’t want to go full force into a new recipe.

I had a bit of Divine cocoa powder left over from my Divine Gluten-Free Cocoa Brownies and wanted to showcase them in something incredibly quick and easy. A mug cake it would be. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Goat Cheese, Chive and Walnut Scones for a great cause!

Goat Cheese, Chive and Walnut Scone - TheDustyBaker-1

I have a stupid love for scones. Ever since I started dating Ruark and spending holidays at his parent’s house, they’ve intrigued me. I’d sit drinking tea in the kitchen while his dad, Kevin, worked butter and flour together, and as the house slept the air would fill with sweetness. By the time the fluffy pastries were cooling on the counter, we’d be on our third cup and all gathered at the table. And since I could not personally eat the scones, I inherited Kevin’s base recipe, which I’ve adapted in numerous ways over the years.

For the next three Mondays, I’ll be bringing you three new versions of scones I’ll be bringing in miniature form to a benefit for C-CAP, an organization that works with public schools across the country to prepare at-risk high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. I’m teaming up with seven other bloggers to provide loads of sweet treats that guests will sample while my darling pastry chef friend Stephen Collucci and master chocolatier Mehdi Chellaoui give demos. There will be door prizes, wonderful company and lots of heart abounding for a good cause. Continue reading

Why are Women the Gluten-Free Gladiators?

Screen shot 2013-03-24 at 2.18.49 PM

Why are Women the Gluten-Free Gladiators?

This is a question I’ve asked myself many times while researching or calling in products, or scanning a list of ingredients at my grocer’s.

I interview high-profile chefs weekly for my Serious Eats column, and there I have to conscientiously focus on bringing more women into the mix; there are plenty of incredible female chefs out there, but the majority of the chefs owning and running high-end kitchens in New York are still men.

Yet when I scan my mental list of bloggers, writers, editors, developers, PR representatives and producers in the gluten-free field, the steep majority of them are women: editors Silvana Nardone and Alice Woodward at Easy Eats and Living Without; writers/bloggers/developers Amy Green, Nicole Hunn, Shauna James Ahern, and Karina Allrich; producers Pamela’s Products, Jules Gluten-Free, Better Batter… I could show you my address book and guarantee that at least 85% of those in the gluten-free world are women.

Alex Thomopoulos has an incredible blog and a web show on Hungry - Gluten-Free With Alex T - that I'm addicted to

Alex Thomopoulos has a beautiful blog and an insanely amusing web show on Hungry – Gluten-Free With Alex T – that I’m addicted to.

As someone who hasn’t eaten gluten-containing products in almost 20 years (minus an incredibly unhealthy and disastrous period in college), I’m mesmerized by how grandly the food world has changed, and the gluten-free food world has developed from a few ingredients and progressive health food stores to the insane trend – yes, trend – that it is now. This community basically made me a food writer, as other ambitions melted away when people around me wanted to know more about how to eat on an adapted diet.

I, personally, am probably not the best advocate for this way of eating.

When someone mentions to me that they’re cutting out out gluten and expects me to be excited and supportive, my response is always, “why?” I have a very specific illness that makes gluten dangerous to my health when eaten with any sort of regularity. It doesn’t stop with gluten, and two-thirds of my life I’ve spent having the same conversation with waiters, relatives and new friends about what I can’t and why I can’t eat certain things. Those with Celiac Disease have it even worse than I, and in support of them (and for many other reasons) I think those who can digest gluten should digest gluten. Yes, eating less simple carbohydrates and more healthy vegetables and proteins in general is better for everyone, and even more so for those with health conditions. But if I could enjoy the crackle of a crusty piece of bread or a slice of pizza, you can be damned sure I would.

Continue reading

Saved by Pamela’s Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookie Mix

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies: Cranberry Walnut, Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Walnut

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookies: Cranberry Walnut, Chocolate Chunk and Chocolate Walnut

Some days I can counter major crankiness with a bit of hippie love: playing fetch with Mitra (check out this little Vimeo from yesterday), reminding myself of my “just enough” theory, going to a yoga class, hugging a tree (I warned you this is hippie love) or simply remembering that there is only one life we get and so we should just enjoy the silly crap of it all.

Other days I just need a cookie. Yesterday was such a day.

Now I’ve been a poo-pooher of gluten-free baking mixes because I do not believe that an all-purpose gluten-free baking flour exists. Take four of these so called “cup-for-cup” blends and make the same recipe with them and you’ll get four very different outcomes. But I’m often sent mixes for Easy Eats and in my ever-evolving study of them have grown an appreciation for what they offer: something sweet and warm from your oven, very quickly. This is obviously huge if you’re not inherently a baker or if you’re new to gluten-free baking. And for those of us who have our own go-to blends and bins of flours, starches and gums, they offer a quick fix. when you need a cookie!!

Still, that doesn’t mean I’m a fan of just any baking mixes. But the list of ones I admire is growing. And soon I’ll start reporting on them more regularly, hopefully one day culminating in my feature in Easy Eats on battling… well, you’ll have to wait for that.

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Look at that stellar cookie texture!

One line that I truly love and respect is Pamela’s Products. I’d used Pamela’s flour in my Taste Test spread and then featured her in an interview on the Easy Eats blog. They then sent me a sampler of her new baking mixes before the holidays and I was honestly shocked when the biscuit mix turned out really great biscuits. I used some of her flour blend in a cake I made, and again was surprised that it was exactly as I’d expected it to be for that recipe, meaning indiscernible from wheat flour.

I’m in Connecticut today, working in my family office, which in itself is a buggery; I’m not a fan of numbers and taxes and credit statements and all, and so when a really frustrating phone call with a credit card company made me miss my yoga class, it sent me into a downward spiral. I’d had a rough night sleep. My knees and back were really cranky. I’m still catching up after a really hard couple of weeks (months) and some days keeping it together takes more energy than others. So when my calculator just stopped working I walked away. Just walked away.

Ok, just from my desk.

I needed that darned cookie.

My twitter feed with said "I NEED A COOKIE!". And James Taylor. I often need James Taylor.

My twitter feed with said “I NEED A COOKIE!”. And James Taylor. I often need James Taylor. And this proves that the craving and the cookies were only 57 minutes apart. Around. My calculator’s broken so I can’t quite do the math.

Luckily I’ve been toting Pamela’s Oatmeal Cookie mix around so that when I’m here I have a quick solution for something sweet or when an unexpected visitor drops by. And after a quick trip to the market for butter (what house does not have real butter, I ask ya?!?!) and some dairy-free chocolate chunks (Enjoy Life is often on sale here, and that makes me happy) I had these babies in the oven in, like, ten minutes. Seriously.

I was, again, skeptical that they would work; the batter seemed a tad dry and it took a lot of beating to soften the butter up enough. I divided the batter into thirds and added chocolate chunks, then chocolate chunks and toasted walnuts, then cranberries and walnuts. 14 minutes in the oven and…

TADA!

TADA!

They’re delicious. I added tons of cranberries, chocolate chunks and walnuts that I toasted up fast. I wanted to see if they could hold up. And I purposely sprayed the sheets instead of using parchment, because I didn’t want to buy a whole roll of parchment for 12 cookies and the bag gave both options. They held up. Totally.

I highly recommend this cookie mix. I literally eye-balled ingredients and they were darned tasty.

Head to Pamela’s Products for this and her entire line of mixes. And to banter back with me on days such as this head over to Twitter, where I’m often venting / retracting / reventing.

Ooh, and these images are obviously not prettily altered and watermarked and all that… but just writing a blog post feels awesome today, too. So, thank you, bloggerreaders.

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