We're priviledged to welcome Guest Blogger Judith Sarchielli, an expert on gluten-free Tuscan cooking. Also known as the "Topanga Chef" (based in that area of California), Judith is a chef, food coach, author, researcher, culinary instructor, and speaker. She spent 20 years living in Tuscany and has been able to take the simple and naturally delicious recipes she cooked daily and make them completely gluten-free -- without sacrificing taste or authentic Tuscan quality. Here she shares a favorite memory -- and a favorite recipe that will please any palate (gluten-free or not!) A TUSCAN WINE HARVEST The aroma of crushed grapes reaches me from the distant past, as I daydream in my Topanga Canyon kitchen. I remember the best part of the vendemia, the Tuscan wine harvest--- the delicious polenta casserole. That day in the Chianti vineyards of a Tuscan friend and vintner, I picked clusters of ripe, juicy grapes with small scissors, and tossed them into my hand-woven twig basket. My hands were blistered and sweaty, and muscles screamed from the 8-hour effort under the blazing sun. But the evening meal would be worth it all---a chance to rest and relax under the dark green Tuscan cypress. Back in... Read more →

If you haven't heard of Carol Fenster, then you're likely a VERY newly-diagnosed Celiac...for Carol is legendary in the gluten-free world. She is an internationally recognized expert on gluten-free cooking who now has a total of 10 cookbooks to her credit, including her latest release: 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes. I've used her Gluten-Free Quick & Easy cookbook (not exclusively vegetarian), and one of our family's favorite dishes is the Orange Beef Stir-Fry, which can be served over rice, or even put in corn tortillas and served as "wraps" as we've done. Although no one in our family is a vegetarian, I was anxious to try many of the recipes in Carol's just-released cookbook, 125 Gluten-Free Vegetarian Recipes. I made the Quinoa Pilaf with PIne Nuts and Dried Fruit this past weekend to take along as a side dish to a picnic. It was a huge hit. At this point, most people have heard of quinoa and are aware of its health benefits (a GREAT vegetarian source of complete protein) but not everyone has tried it. This recipe is hard to beat and a great way to introduce "newbies" into the wonderful world of this ancient grain. The fruit and nuts... Read more →

The Best Gluten Free Bread I've Ever Made or Eaten

OK. let me preface this Blog post with a few disclaimers: First, I don't usually Blog about recipes (there are so many other Blogs that do a wonderful job with that). Second, I confess that I haven't spent years trying and perfecting gluten-free bread recipes. However, last week for St. Patrick's Day, I really felt compelled to try making a traditional Irish Soda Bread -- gluten-free. And here's the third confession -- I'm not even Irish, but my husband (and therefore my sons) are part Irish. So I planned the traditional St. Patty's Day feast of corned beef, potatoes, and Irish Soda Bread. The night before, I'd gone online to search for a good recipe, but I didn't want to search "Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread." I wanted to find a "regular" recipe and just swap out the regular flour for my own personal gluten-free flour substitute made by the Tom Sawyer company. It's a mix of gluten-free flours that can be substituted cup-for-cup for "regular" wheat flour in any recipe. The end result was BY FAR the best g-f bread I’ve had, either purchased or that I’ve made (again, I don't claim to have sampled/made dozens, just enough to... Read more →