Monday, January 12, 2015

Guest Post: Jessica's Zucchini's Latkes

My friend Jessica is a great cook. If you go to a restaurant with her and love something on the menu, Jessica can have one bite and recreate it for you another day. She's also very sensitive to the dietary restrictions of others and does her research to make sure she doesn't accidentally give someone something they are allergic or intolerant to.  Jessica has been making me delicious treats since our college days, and I'm so lucky our friendship has continued for over 10 years. 

The below recipe and blog is all hers! Enjoy!


I love experimenting in the kitchen, cooking has been my creative outlet since college. Adapting recipes to meet specific dietary requirements was something I tackled out of necessity. My husband and I are lactose intolerant and I have spent a great deal of time finding tasty alternatives to dairy filled delights (Chocolate Coconut Mousse and Spicy Cashew Queso –both GF by the way). Creating gluten free alternatives for friends is just as fun. My recent experiments have included gluten free Sticky Toffee Pudding and Southwest Zucchini Latkes with Smoked Salmon.
             My husband and I do not keep a gluten free kitchen. Knowing this I take the following precautions to keep my friends safe from cross contamination.
·         I have a separate collection of GF baking ingredients (i.e. GF flours, sugars, baking powder) that are stored in marked Ziploc bags. I only use these ingredients when preparing gluten free food to avoid inadvertently dipping a spoon used for wheat flour into a bag of sugar or tin of baking soda.
·         I check with friends to make sure that the products I purchase are safe for their consumption and do not assume the absence of gluten in the list of ingredients means that the item will not make them sick.
·         I wash and clean surfaces and utensils thoroughly before cooking/baking to avoid the introduction of any gluten into the food.
·         I store finished products in containers that are GF only.
·         If there are any questions about cross contamination of a product, I start from fresh.
·         If there any concerns about preparing food in a kitchen that contains gluten (my kitchen) I have no problem picking something up from a GF bakery or restaurant. My friends are more important than my cooking.

            The following recipe is a modern take on a seasonal favorite. We cobbled this together with some leftovers in the fridge for a weekend brunch. You can mix and match different vegetables (butternut squash, sweet potato, or beet) for this recipe. If you are not a smoked salmon fan, poached eggs or a homemade spicy chicken chorizo would pair nicely. Enjoy! - Jessica 

Southwest Zucchini Latkes with Smoked Salmon


2 cups shredded zucchini with moisture squeezed or drained out. (See note below)
1 medium shallot minced
2 tablespoons gluten free flour (I use Bob’s Redmill products)
1 egg beaten
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces smoked salmon
1 avocado
½ cup Hatch chile salsa (or any salsa you prefer)
Salt and pepper to taste

1.      Mix shallot and drained zucchini together in a bowl.
2.      Add salt and pepper to beaten egg.
3.      Mix vegetable mixture and eggs together.
4.      Sprinkle the gluten free flour over the vegetable mixture and gently mix until it is incorporated into the mix. Set mixture aside
5.      Preheat olive oil in a frying pan to medium high heat.
6.      Scoop ¼ cup of zucchini mixture into heated frying pan (3 or 4 scoops at a time depending on the size of your frying pan). Mixture should divide into 8 small latkes.
7.      Fry each side until golden brown then remove to drain on paper towel. (If you are not going to use them immediately you may hold them in warm oven at 200F or 250F to keep until you serve).
8.      To serve, top each latke with ½ ounce of salmon, 2 slices of avocado and salsa.
Serves 4 (each serving will include 2 latkes, 1 ounce of salmon, ¼ avocado, 1/8 cup of salsa)


Preparing Zucchini:
It is important to reduce to water content in the zucchini before cooking. Grate your zucchini on a box grater or using a food processor. Using a clean dishtowel, place grated zucchini in the center of the towel. Wrapping the towel around the outside of the zucchini, squeeze the bundle. A substantial amount of water should drain out of the vegetable.

Increasing the Spice:
If you prefer spicy latkes you may add ½ -1 teaspoon of New Mexico or ground chipotle to your vegetable mixture before cooking. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Breakfast for Dinner

My sister-in-law gave me the Gluten Free Bible Cookbook for my birthday and tonight, my husband and I tried out one of the recipes. Sometimes you just feel like having breakfast for dinner!

Raspberry & Cream Stuffed French Toast
(4 servings)
  • 6 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tbs powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 8 slices gluten-free white sandwich bread
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries
  • 2/3 cup milk (we used almond milk)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl; mix well. Spread evenly onto one side of half the bread slices. Sprinkle raspberries over half of bread; top with remaining bread slices, pressing down to flatten them.
3. Whisk milk, eggs, syrup and vanilla in a shallow dish. Dip sandwiches into egg mixture one at a time; let stand 5 minutes or until fully soaked. Shake off all excess. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.
4. Spray large skillet with nonstick cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add sandwiches in batches; cook 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown. Place on baking sheet.
5. Bake sandwiches 10 minutes or until bread is crisp and sandwiches are heated through. Slide sandwiches and sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Garnish with additional raspberries.

We added a few pieces of bacon and some extra scrambled eggs for a big full dinner.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Celiac Ignorance

A seemingly innocuous Facebook post, on a friend's page, somehow turned ugly last night. I'm pasting the relevant comments below. 

The Facebook post was about a party I had at my house.  My friend's post, not included herein, was that she was looking forward to game night and tasty treats. Michael wrote the hashtag above without any relevant prompting, which unleashed my comments, and his bullying comments thereafter. 

I've been known to post on Facebook a lot. This isn't the first time it's come up.  I feel that if you are bothered by what I have to say, or the frequency with which I say it, you can easily scroll past me, or unfriend me.   Lately, I've had a lot to share about my experience going gluten-free, since being diagnosed Celiac earlier this year. I even created a Facebook page devoted strictly to gluten-free issues, where I do the majority of my gluten-free related postings.  Not all, but most. 

For those reading this who are not familiar with this condition, Celiac Disease is an auto-immune disease where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage of the small intestine.  It's not a fad diet, and it's not a choice. It's estimated to effect 1 in 100 people. According to reports, there are 2.5 million undiagnosed Americans who are at risk for serious complications. Left untreated, it can include the development of other auto-immune disorders like Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, anemia, osteoporosis, infertility, epilepsy, migraines, and intestinal cancers. 

I got diagnosed after a 10 year long battle with mysterious ailments. I thank god every day that I was diagnosed and that I can now treat my health issue. The treatment is to avoid gluten consumption entirely. This means no gluten-containing bread, pastries, soy sauce, crackers, pancakes, beer, battered food and many, many, more products.  I have to be careful about cross contamination because the slightest crumb can not only cause gastrointestinal distress by way of a stomach ache, diarrhea, or gas, but vitamin deficiency, weakness, dizziness, or more depending on the amount consumed and the frequency of such accidental "glutenings".  I also have to get tested twice a year for vitamin deficiencies so I can treat those.  

I know this has caused hardships on my friends and family, who no longer know how to cook for me. I can no longer easily eat out at restaurants or at their homes without a serious line of questioning.  I'm not doing these things to be difficult - I do them for medical reasons. I've decided to make my home gluten free. I was told this week that it was a very restrictive rule, that it was unwelcoming to guests, and why should they have to suffer because of my dietary restrictions?    My close friends and family never questioned this request. When I talked to a friend about it, she said "I would never bring something in your house that could hurt you."  It seems like that should be the natural response, but I'm learning that maybe I need to educate on the seriousness of the disease before I get mad at their lack of understanding.  

That's why I post. That's why I flood my Facebook page with articles, anecdotes, and accomplishments. If you see my plight, maybe you'll have a little bit of compassion and empathy.   I don't do it for attention.  If I could remove Celiac Disease from my life with the caveat that I could never post on social media again in my life, I would gladly do so. 

The conversation stream above unleashed in me a tearful and anxiety-ridden breakdown. I was convulsing in tears, entirely shaken up from head to toe. I didn't sleep last night.  It wasn't because of who it was coming from. The man who made these comments is a boyfriend of an old coworker of mine who I've kept in touch with over the years. I've met the guy twice in my life, and both interactions were superficially friendly. He was a seemingly nice guy - we traveled in similar social circles so it was natural to run into him a few times. That's it. We've never had a conversation about my disease. I understand he had a rough week, with what appears to be a death in the family as well as his own health issues, but neither of those things excuse a public bashing, in my opinion.  My best wishes go out to him in his time of loss, but at the same time, I am pained and saddened that I was the outlet for his grief.   

It wasn't that he wrote it, but it was the ignorance with which he said it, which leads me to believe no one really understands what I'm going through, and this is an ongoing battle that I need to confront. 

So, Michael, to answer your questions:  

I, in my right mind, post as much as I do.  I'm glad that you "get it" that I have Celiac disease but I'm not going to apologize for what I have to say in regards to it.  You've since unfriended me, for which I am glad. I urge anyone else who feels so strongly opposed to reading my posts to do the same.  I'm not here to filter my comments to what anyone else feels like reading. If you don't like it, don't read it.  But don't bottle up that annoyance to unleash on me whenever you feel like it. 

Secondly, you're right. I won't die from Celiac Disease in two week's time. It would be a longer, more gradual death.  I'm more likely to suffer a lot in the interim, as I have for the last ten years, with sweat-inducing cramps, dizziness, weakness, lightheadedness, and fatigue. Are these serious in an isolated incident? Not seemingly so, but a weakened immune system over time can lead to a host of other medical conditions that I would rather not acquire.  

Finally, you tell me to "look in the mirror and figure myself out".  

I have.  I look in the mirror and see a strong woman who fights this battle every day of her life.  I see someone who has taken charge of her medical condition, sometimes with anger, but also with determination and focus. 

I see a woman who is willing to educate to raise awareness. I talk to coworkers, or old friends via Facebook, and realize that I am making a difference one person at a time. I'm helping diagnose "strange" symptoms and bringing Celiac Disease into the conversation.  

I am proud of myself when I look in the mirror.  Are you? 

By the way, if you're ever going to criticize me and expect me to take you seriously, don't confuse there and their. 

Please look for me on Facebook at 

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