Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Wicked Spoon - Las Vegas, NV

The Wicked Spoon Buffet 

(inside the Cosmopolitan on The Strip)

The small plate style of many of the food options made the buffet less trough-like, and although we caught the tail end of brunch, everything was still fresh and hot. I avoided the token asian dishes (lo mein, fried rice, kung pao chicken), and focused on the real food - boiled egg with avocado and bacon vinaigrette, sashimi, lamb chops, steamed clams.....i could go on, but basically this was the classiest buffet I'd seen. Like most buffets, plenty of items had lactose and/or gluten, but there were a surprising number of lactose and gluten free options as well. Goat cheese was readily available at the omelet bar, and the eggs were milk-free (always ask!). There were actually so many things I could eat, I didn't miss out on what I couldn't.

The desserts were my favorite - there were actually lactose/gluten free options!  I had a choice of several sorbets, house-made marshmallows served in a dark chocolate cone, and dark chocolate dipped strawberries with nuts or toffee topping. In comparison, my dessert selection at the Wynn buffet was confined to one thing: candied apples.

Great service (we never felt rushed out), and nice spacious table set ups in addition to the non-buffet like food really made this a great dining experience.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Blue Cheese and Broccoli

Due to recently finding goat (lactose free) blue cheese at my local supermarket, I've been riding this incredible wave of satiation. My go-to veggie has been a crown of sauteed broccoli with blue cheese crumbles. You don't need to use a lot of blue cheese, and it packs a lot of flavor, which means it requires minimum addition of fat for maximum flavor. No need to add additional salt to the broccoli either, since blue cheese is plenty salty!

Scallion Oil

Chinese Scallion Oil

2 bunches of scallions, finely chopped
fresh garlic, minced
chicken bouillon powder
pinch of sugar

vegetable or corn oil

  1. Wash and dry the scallions before chopping. Place in a large heat-tolerant bowl.
  2. To the bowl, add all the other ingredients except for the oil. Use approximately 1:1 ratio salt and bouillon powder, and only a minimal pinch of sugar. Adjust everything to taste
  3. In a small pot, heat enough oil to cover the scallions in a drizzle. Heat until an onion piece sizzles and floats immediately when dropped in.
  4. Before the oil smokes, carefully pour just enough oil over the onions so the heat of the oil immediately "cooks" the scallions in the bowl. Mix to incorporate. 
After cooling, the scallion oil will keep for at least a week in an uncontaminated container. I love having this topping over steamed chicken, noodles of any type (noodle soup or stir-fried), rice, and fresh shrimp.

Blue cheese stuffed olives

A recent discovery of goat blue cheese at my local supermarket inspired me to stuff my own olives in preparation for an upcoming martini party. This was always one of my favorite martini garnishes back in the lush days when I could eat them, and now I can again!

To make:

I prefer medium to large sized green olives for stuffing; choose firm, fresh ones preferably from an olive bar, not a jar.  The blue cheese crumbles naturally, but if you let it sit at room temp until the chill goes out, it softens up nicely and will conform well for stuffing.  To stuff, just use a butter knife and shove those crumbs in! Make sure to put enough cheese in for a satiating olive pop. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sun in Bloom

Vegan and gluten-free pancakes

And if you're feeling the sass, this eatery near the Atlantic-Pacific Ave station in Brooklyn, NY also serves raw foods. Given the convenient location, 52 and counting business photos on Yelp, and only 2 $$s, this place will be a must-stop on my next trip to nyc. 

In the meantime, please someone go there and eat for me!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gluten and Lactose Free Protein Powders

So in my current get-fit regimen, I realized I needed some type of recovery formula post workout. I always thought protein powders were for gym rats and serious fitness buffs, but realized that having a protein drink afterwards really helps keep my energy up, and takes the stress out of having to cook something or find food soon after.

Then came the eternal question - are there good, edible gluten and lactose free protein shakes out there??  Without the intolerances, it's hard enough to find a formula that tastes good.  Syntha-6 came highly recommended, but after contacting the company, I learned that none of their formulas are gluten free.

After much searching, I finally found what I was looking for: the ULTIMATE listing of gluten and (some) lactose free powders!  This site is a great resource in general, but I'm especially thankful that the author took the time to put this list together.  There are no reviews for the products, but at least it's a starting point in even knowing what to look up:

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vic's Chaat & Market

This beloved nook in West Berkeley has some great gluten-free offerings, including:
  • Dosa - a crepe-like concoction made from rice and lentil flour, either with filling or plain. It's also a great vehicle for getting yummy condiments into your mouth!
  • Idli - savory steamed rice cakes made of fermented lentils and rice. Also great for dipping. 
  • Pakora - golden fritters fried with a chickpea batter, and usually consisting of vegetables or potato. 
It's still on my list to try, but I've been salivating over the reviews and photos in the meantime:

Friday, August 17, 2012

Annie's gluten free mac & cheese

So I received a case of a dozen boxes of Annie's brand (rice pasta) gluten free mac & cheese from my dear cousin W for my birthday, and thought it was worth trying out, just to see if the lactose would bother. It did, so after a few weeks when my system recovered, I decided to try it again with a Lactaid pill.

same results.......so horrifically shocking, it spurned me to submit my first Amazon review:

Addie's Gluten-Free Blog

i just found out that one of my acquaintances also started a gluten free blog - great to have another resource -

Thanks, Addya!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Gluten free Soba noodles

FINALLY! A gluten-free soba noodle!  Most soba noodles, while made out of buckwheat (gluten-free), are mixed with wheat. Boo.

Thanks to Michael B. for sharing this amazing product:

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gluten Free Domino's Pizza?!

Yup, Domino's is officially savvy with the hottest dietary "trend" and has come out with their own gluten-free crust. It only comes in a small, for $9.99, but it's just as well because a larger size probably wouldn't allow it to cook through enough. There are fewer instances in life that I'm willing to pop a Lactaid pill for these days, but I just had to try this:

Verdict: It's GOOD!  One of the best gluten-free pizza crusts I've ever had. Not gummy, not heavy, and tastes just like a regular Domino's pizza. Don't judge - beggers can't be too choosy!

Gluten and Dairy Free Pops

Feelin' the summer heat and lusting after everyone else's ice-cream cones? Well if you've got the time and ambition, here are 2 make-at-home recipes (thanks for passing them along, Mrs. L!). Keep in mind that losing the gluten and lactose doesn't necessary make it lighter on calories, carbs and fat.... Rats.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Fudge Pops


Celebrate summer with this revamped version of classic fudgsicles. They're easy to make and fun to eat. If you don’t have plastic popsicle molds, use small paper cups and wooden sticks (sold in craft stores and online).
3 cups unsweetened lite coconut milk
½ cup honey* or agavĂ© nectar, extra to taste
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons arrowroot
    starch/powder or cornstarch
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate,
    chopped into ½-inch pieces
2 tablespoons coconut butter or nut butter or 1 tablespoon coconut oil
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Combine coconut milk, honey or agave nectar, arrowroot, cocoa powder and salt in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Continue to cook and whisk as mixture bubbles and thickens, about 6 minutes.
2. Remove from heat. Add chocolate, coconut butter or nut butter and vanilla and stir until completely melted and smooth. Taste and add additional honey or agave nectar, as desired.
3. Pour into 8 popsicle molds or small paper cups. Allow to cool slightly and insert popsicle lids. Or freeze briefly and insert wooden sticks. If using paper cups, cover with foil, poking the stick through the foil.
4. Freeze until solid. To unmold, hold the stick and warm the outside of the cup with warm water until pop loosens. Serve immediately.
Each serving contains 310 calories, 24g total fat, 20g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 51mg sodium, 29g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g protein.
*TIP For lower sugar content, reduce honey to ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons and add 1 teaspoon clear stevia liquid.
For Mocha Fudge Pops, replace 1 cup milk with 1 cup strong brewed coffee.
Recipe by Rachel Albert-Matesz, author of  The Ice Dream Cookbook (Planetary Press). 

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Orange Sherbert Pops


It's easy and delicious to stay cool with this allergy-friendly, sugar-free dessert. Remember sherbert push-ups? Now you can make them at home without artificial colors, flavors and fillers. For easy preparation, pour the creamy orange mixture into popsicle molds and freeze. For a fluffier texture, churn the mixture in an ice cream maker, as instructed.
⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin or ¾ teaspoon
     agar agar powder (not flakes)
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons honey* or agavĂ© nectar,
    more to taste
⅛ teaspoon salt
¾ cup frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk (not lite)
Zest of 1 medium orange, finely grated
1 teaspoon natural orange flavoring or orange extract, optional
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons orange liqueur, optional
1. Place ⅓ cup juice in a small saucepan. Slowly sprinkle with gelatin or agar agar powder. Let stand for 2 minutes until gelatin softens and dry spots disappear. Warm over medium-low heat without stirring until dissolved. Scrape the mixture into a food processor and blend until smooth.
2. Add honey or agave and salt. Blend. Add orange juice concentrate and coconut milk. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape sides with a spatula. Add orange zest and orange flavoring, if desired. For a sweeter taste, add additional honey, 1 tablespoon at a time, to taste.
3. Pour mixture into wide-mouth jars. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours before churning or cool more quickly using an ice bath.
4. Scrape the chilled custard into the canister of an ice cream maker. Add optional orange liqueur. Churn according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately or spoon into several freezer-safe containers. Cover and freeze for 3 hours or more. Soften solidly frozen dessert by placing it in the refrigerator for 30 to 45 minutes or on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes before serving.
Each serving contains 140 calories, 18g total fat, 16g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 49mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 3g protein.
*TIP For lower sugar content, use ¼ cup honey or agave nectar with ¼ to ½ teaspoon pure stevia extract powder or ½ to 1 teaspoon clear stevia liquid.
Recipe adapted with permission from The Ice Dream Cookbook (Planetary Press), by Rachel Albert-Matesz.


My lovely cousin reminded me about the gluten-free fantastic-ness of Chex, and I couldn't believe I forgot about this stuff!

Check out the site for some great gluten free recipes. Just substitute a vegan butter such as Earth Balance to make the ultimate gluten and lactose free Chex snack.