My eyes have opened recently to the number of people who have or are Celiac, Gluten Free or Gluten Intolerant and how much better they feel when they change their diets.
After cooking at Spiaggia and learning the “fine dining” business, there was a part of me that wanted to cook soulful food; food that didn’t have to be cut perfectly but tasted unbelievable. That’s why Tuttaposto was born in Chicago, we taught Chicago about “small plates” and family tables before they were hip.
Now, after raising three boys on sports teams it is apparent another switch needs to be taught and secured in families minds. Food is fuel. All bodies and their need for fuel are not created equal. Some bodies function better eating meat, some vegetables, some with out nuts and many many without GLUTEN.
Meet Jen Cafferty, I did, through a mutual acquaintance at a Starbucks a few weeks ago. I was amazed at what this woman knows and what she wants to SHARE with the world. Jen has worked hard over the past few years to build an The Gluten and Allergen free EXPO.
Jen Cafferty from "Gluten Free Life"
This year it will be held this weekend 4/14 & 15/ 2012 in Chicago at the Westin in Yorktown Mall in Lombard. For you out of towners, no worries if you can’t make it she is bringing the EXPO on the road to other cities, check out the site! Along with the EXPO she is hosting Nourished a bloggers conference for Gluten Free Blogging on 4/13/2012 Friday. The line up of speakers and teachers through out the weekend is amazing:
The Keepsake list for Gluten and Allergen Free Cooking:
Jen and I spent some time chatting, I encourage you to read on and get to know her. Pass her blog around to any friends who are Gluten Free, she is a wealth of knowledge!
Q: What is your specialty?
“My blog is about living a gluten-free life and feeling normal. It can really be so simple. It doesn’t have to be as complex as many people make it sound. By having a good recipes, knowing which products taste great and having a few simple tricks in the kitchen to make life easier, gluten-free living doesn’t have to be stressful.”
Q: Why should people visit your blog?
“I provide family-friendly recipes, tips on GF living, connections to various helpful resources and an overall place where you can learn the nuances of gluten-free living. It really is a lifestyle, not a diet.”
Q: What is the most popular recipe on your blog?
“Believe it or not, my most highly viewed recipe is for Green Bean Casserole. This is funny because I thought no one would ever read that recipe and I almost didn’t post it on the site. But is goes to show you that people really miss the traditional food that they ate before going gluten-free. Holidays are about food and when you can’t have something, it just isn’t the same.”
Q: Why are you passionate about cooking?
“I grew up in a house where my Mom was an amazing cook. We ate everything under the sun and never had “kid food”. In college I always bought plates and cooking utensils more than anything else. I have always loved cooking and now it is a necessity since my family is all gluten-free. If you can’t cook, it is very hard to stay on a gluten-free diet.”
Q: What is your favorite food memory?
“Eating lobster, escargot and cherries jubiliee with my grandfather.”
Q: What is your most bizarre food experience?
“It had nothing to do with eating. I was trying to book a space at a hotel for a gluten free event. They truly thought that gluten-free cooking was the same as Kosher cooking. That was when I realized that I had a long way to go in educating people about the gluten-free lifestyle. They truly looked at me like I was crazy when I started to explain what gluten was and why some people can’t eat it.”
Q: What is one tool in the kitchen you couldn’t live without?
” My immersion blender.”
Q: What are three ingredients you have to have in your kitchen at all times?
“Lemon, olive oil, really great aged balsamic vinegar, and frozen minced garlic.”
”My daughter. She is 9 and loves flavors and trying new foods.”
Q:. What is your favorite food moment in a …. Book?
“My favorite book to read over and over again is Under the Tuscan Sun. Something about the life and food makes the book so easy to read. I keep it next to my bed and when I can’t sleep I open up the book to any page and read a chapter. It doesn’t matter where I am in the book, it takes me to a beautiful place of food, relaxed living and a lifestyle that I definitely don’t live every day.”
Here is a clip of the Movie The Tuscan Sun:
Q: What is your biggest flop in the kitchen?
“My first few batches of gluten-free bread. They were like bricks. I hope to never make anything like that again.”
Q: What is your #1 piece of advice for novice cooks?
“Start with some easy recipes that are written very well. There is nothing worse than using a recipe that has errors. If you are new to cooking, you never know if you made a mistake or if it was the recipe.”
Q: What do you think is the biggest mistake people make in the kitchen?
” The biggest mistake is being so afraid of salt that you never use it. Most things need at least a pinch of salt or something salty added to the dish.”
Keep the list of Gluten Free sites, it will make your life easier!
2 slices GF canadian bacon (such as Jones Family Farm), diced into small cubes
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 cups lentils
6 cups chicken stock or water
salt to taste
Put a heavy dutch oven over medium heat.
Heat the oil, garlic and ham for one minute.
Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil
Once boiling, turn down the heat to low and cover the pot.
Allow to continue cooking for 20 minutes. Taste and see if you need more salt.