Eggplant Tower

They other day Jay really wanted me to make some good eggplant parm. But he requested it with little cheese, eggplant be thin and crispy but not fried. I decided to make up an easy gluten free and paleo version. It came out great and we ate the whole thing.

Ingredients:
2 Eggplant sliced into rounds (about 1/2 inch thick)
2/3 Cup Salt
1 TBS Italian Seasoning
2 Tsp Pepper
1/2 TBS Garlic Powder
3 Cups Pasta Sauce
1/2 Cups Coconut flour (or parm cheese)

Start by coating each piece of eggplant with salt. Place salted eggplant in a container and allow it to sit for 2-8 hours. When ready, rinse the eggplant under water to remove salt and allow to dry for a few minutes. Place the dry eggplant on a foiled and sprayed baking pan. Sprinkle the garlic powder, pepper and Italian season on the top of eggplant. Bake at 450 degrees. Then, carefully flip each piece and cook another 5 min. Next, remove the tray and add about 1 TBS of sauce to each piece, sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the coconut flour or parm cheese. Place back in oven for 5 more minutes or broil for 3 minutes. When your ready to eat, stack the eggplant into small stacks and cover with extra sauce. Sprinkle with remaining flour or cheese and serve.

 

 

20140621-062903.jpg

Advertisements

Plantain Tortilla

I figured out this one by accident. I was trying to do something completely different and came up with this it. I live normal corn tortillas but since I try to paleo they are not an option. Plus this version held up better then a corn tortilla, more flexible and easier to work with.

Ingredients:
2 Large Ripe Plantains
1 Egg
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1/3 Cup Tapioca Flour

Place everything in a food processor and blend into a pure. Place one TBS rounds on a foiled cookie sheet far apart because they will spread. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes. Once edges become golden brown your done. Remove from over, allow to cool and serve with any filling.

20140512-071749.jpg

20140512-071756.jpg

Rainbow Salad

With the weather getting nice it is fun to play with everything fresh in the market.

Ingredient:
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
1 Red Bell Pepper
1 Orange Bell Pepper
1 Jalapeño
1 Cucumber
1/2 Cup Cilantro
1/2 Lemon
1 TBS Honey
Salt and Pepper to Taste

Start by cutting all the bell peppers and cucumber in to small pieces and add to bowl. Remove seeds from Jalapeño and dice small, add to bowl. Chop cilantro, add to bowl and toss. Add juice of the lemon, honey, salt and paper. Combine and allow the whole dish to chill in fridge for an hour. Serve cold. Enjoy!

20140612-070440.jpg

Arenas Del Mar Review

As promised, I am ready to give a full review of Arenas Del Mar. As I explained in a past post, this wonderful resort in Costa Rica is making a tremendous effort to offer a wonderful gluten free vacation destination. They will be offering two special weeks this fall geared to cater a very special gluten free menu with celebrity chefs. In general, the resort is very gluten free knowledgeable and can adjust the normal menu at any time. I was asked to go down to the resort and help consult with the staff. I just returned from a week at the resort and I am excited to share my experience.

Costa Rica is a wonderful country with tons of activities, amazing people, rich history, outstanding biodiversity and beautiful beaches. This resort is located on the pacific coast near Manuel Antonio national park. The resort is placed on the side of a cliff offering outrageous ocean views, access to both a private beach and public beach while having the privacy of the rainforest and all the wildlife it has to offer. The staff will go out of the way to make sure you have everything you want and that you are happy. They will bring you lunch to your beach chair, arrange any activity such as taking you on a tour through the rainforest . Everyone will know your name within 24 hours which was helpful and the entire staff was aware of my gluten issues.

The resort itself is a blast with two beaches, two pools, two bars, two restaurants and much more. The spa has a large selection of treatment and only uses gluten free lotions and cosmetics. The staff will gladly shuttle you around with electric golf carts and take your anywhere you want to go. Free wi-fi and free international phone calls. The rooms are very special and with many options to choose. Our room had two rooms, two bathrooms, large porch with jacuzzi, tv and mini bar. Most impressively, the resort is unbelievably green and ecofriendly as evidenced by their use of solar power and extensive water management/conservation system (I had the treat of doing a bootcamp style workout at 6am with the staff on the roof of the water ionization tank).

Finally, the food!!!! This was officially the first week-long vacation I have been on without getting sick. They are very aware of cross contamination and gluten free foods. Breakfast is included in your nightly rate and is very special. Every morning breakfast included an exotic fruit tray, various fresh squeezed juice, Costa Rican coffee which we loved over ice and finally an entrée of your choice. From gluten free pancakes, gluten free oatmeal, traditional Costa Rican items or common items like omelets and yogurt with fruit. Lunch is served beach side with a fun menu. Appetizers range from ceviche, chips and guacamole to tropical salads. Then they have great wraps and sandwiches that they can prepare gluten free on corn tortillas. The best was the gluten free fish sticks and calamari. Yes, fried calamari!!! They have gluten free bread crumbs on hand and fry every thing separate in a pan with fresh oil. Dinner is very special. Everything is elegant, plated like your at a five star restaurant and filled with local fresh ingredients. The dinner menu is a wonderful combination of Costa Rican dishes along with American items all with flare. Appetizers included grilled octopus, tuna, ceviche and wonderful vegetarian options that all blew me away like watermelon gazpacho and grilled zucchini rolls stuffed with white sweet potato. Entrees are equally as fabulous including tuna steak over lentils, mahi mahi on top of a plantain and papaya salads, creole style seafood, other Costa Rican dishes like “Casado” and “Arroz Con Pollo” and “Chicharonnes” with other more traditional Continental vegetarian alternatives risotto or potato gratin. Many items are naturally gluten free. Fresh made gluten free bread served at the start of every meal. Dessert was different every night and all amazing. My favorite dessert was the gluten free cheese cake but I also enjoyed the flourless lava cake, coffee creme brûlée and gluten free crepes. Finally the drinks. As a wino, I was very happy with the extensive bottle list but the cocktail menu is something unique. I love my liquor but I don’t favor sugary cocktails. Every drink on the cocktail menu is extremely creative and made with real fruit and fresh ingredients. My piña colada made with fresh chunks of pineapple or margaritas with cilantro, ginger, mango, blackberry and thyme. My favorite drink on the resort is the ginger lemonaid made with fresh grated ginger, lime and local rum.

Traveling gluten free continues to be a challenge but finding resorts like Arenas del Mar that go out of the way to make a safe and enjoyable experience are worth it all. A resort great for everyone from families to lovers looking for a getaway, the adventure or someone looking to just relax in paradise. They have it all and more. If you interested in booking a vacation for one of the celiac weeks, please act fast as they are filling up quickly. Mention that you found the resort in my blog and they will give you the best available rate.

20140609-072103.jpg

20140609-072121.jpg

20140609-072136.jpg

20140609-072150.jpg

20140609-072206.jpg

20140609-072222.jpg

20140609-072235.jpg

20140609-072300.jpg

Giant Grocery Store

Over the past few months I have watched the gluten free world explode. Working in the industry its clear that the demand is growing daily. The public is starting to understand that gluten issues are not a trend but a growing need. As the demand grows the product selection and quality of gluten free items is growing.
For a long time we had been forced to buy our gluten free goods from heath food stores or online but that is changing quickly. Most common stores have at least a few options. I was recently ask by Giant grocery chain to come in and review the changes they have made in terms of the gluten free selection.
Giant is normally my grocery store of choice and I have seen a wonderful increase over the past 12 months. I went to visit a store in Flourtown PA that I have never been in. I was greeted by a wonderful nutritionist. She explained that she see’s the need for good gluten free products and education growing everyday. Her job is to partly fill that gap. Helping customers get the correct information and advise them about products offered. She explained that she holds regular classes and even offers product sampling.
Most grocery stores have a small section with gf snacks, cracker, cereal and mixes. Giant goes well beyond that. They had a huge aisle with a bit of everything and tons I have never seen. Followed by a large freezer section with everything from breads to complete meals. I must admit I felt like a kid in a candy store. I could not wait to start shopping.
A common grocery store with a huge selection, well educated staff and support groups is a tremendous find. I was truly impressed. I just hope other large chain grocery stores will follow suite.
Thank you Giant for outstanding effort.

Check out a few upcoming classes and more info below:
Gluten-Free Tasting – Wednesday, May 28 from 1 – 2 p.m. & 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at Montgomeryville GIANT, 1201 Knapp Road in North Wales

Gluten-Free Summertime Picnics – Thursday, June 19 from 1 – 2 p.m. & 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at Willow Grove GIANT, 315 York Road

For more information or to register for any of these classes, please visit giantfoodstores.com/healthyideas ormartinsfoods.com/healthyideas or call your local GIANT/MARTIN’S store.

20140602-071510.jpg

20140602-071545.jpg