Lemon & Pear Bread with Pecans

Lemon & Pear Bread with Pecans 

1 egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup pear sauce (or use applesauce)
1 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
1.5 tsp grated lemon zest
1tbs fresh lemon juice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Pre-heat oven to 350° F. Using a standing mixer beat egg slightly, then add sugar and melted butter. Beat until well combined. Add pear sauce, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla and continue to beat on slow-medium speed for about 1 minute. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg and then add  into wet mixture. Beat until smooth. Fold in pecans.  Pour into a greased (with butter) and floured (using GF flour) bread loaf pan. Bake for 55 min to 1 hour at 350° F. 

                                                                       the batter...
and the finished product.
I couldn't resist having a taste before it cooled.


Bolognese Sauce with Pasta

This sauce is adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution cookbook. It's hearty, flavorful and could be topped on gluten free pasta, rice, or even a bed of sauteed greens. 
2 slices of smoked bacon, preferably free-range or organic
2 medium onions
2 cloves of garlic
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
olive oil
2 heaping tsp dried oregano
1 lb good-quality ground beef, pork or a mixture of the two
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2, 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 small can tomato paste
small bunch of fresh basil
4 ounces fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb gluten free pasta

Finely dice the bacon. Peel and finely chop the onions, garlic, carrots and celery. Place a large pan on medium to high heat.  Add 2 lugs of olive oil, sliced bacon and oregano to your pan. Cook and stir until bacon is lightly golden. Add the chopped veggies to the pan and saute for about 7 minutes until softened. Stir in the ground beef/pork breaking it up with a fork. Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste.
Fill one of the empty cans with water and add to the pan. Stir in a good pinch of salt and pepper. 

Pick the basil leaves off the stalk and store leaves in the fridge for later. Finely dice the basil stalks and stir into the pan. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer with a lid on and slightly askew for 1 hour, stirring every now and again. Take the lid off and cook for another 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the sauce as it cooks, and if you think it's starting to dry out, add a splash of water. 

Remove the Bolognese sauce from heat. Stir in half of the grated parmesan cheese (save remaining for garnish). Tear and stir half of the basil into the sauce (save remaining for garnish). Season with additional salt and pepper. You can now allow it to cool, bag it and freeze or keep it warm while you cook your gluten free pasta!  Enjoy!!!


Gluten Free in Switzerland and Italy

Traveling used to be so incredibly simple for me. I would find food at ease and go to whatever restaurant I wanted to, when I was hungry. Of course I didn't feel well afterwards, but it sure seemed simpler! Today, I google, I call, I feel nervous, I google some more, then it all seems to work out. I had the most awesome vacation a few weeks ago where I spent time on the Italian Riviera (Rapallo, Portofino, Santa Margherita, Camogli and the Cinque Terre) and in Switzerland (Zurich, Bern, Lucern, and Baden).  

Italy is hip to gluten intolerance and celiac disease. It's not hard to find food in most grocery stores and pharmacy's that cater to the gluten free traveler. Switzerland was a bit harder, but in the end totally do-able. I have to admit, when I see a food market, a pharmacy or other food vendor, I always have to check to see what they offer. I am sure my travel companions get tired of me always stopping in to check out the markets! I have found that is is absolutely necessary to have a hotel or apartment with a kitchenette when traveling abroad. Going out to eat should be a treat, not a chore. I cooked everyday while on the trip, but I was never deprived. Everyday I made myself a Nutella rice-cake sandwich to enjoy while others were having chocolate croissants. I packed a lunch with gluten-free Shar bread. I devoured the cheese and yoghurt in Switzerland and I had my fair share of chocolate bars, fresh olives and cappuccinos in Italy. I didn't get sick and I didn't feel hungry...not once.

Here are some tips and a list of awesome places to get some good food in Italy and Switzerland. 

Plan your stays in various cities based on the open air food markets. These are delectable and honestly, you wont find better produce. Sweet cherries, peaches, nectarines, strawberries and apples were in abundance and all grown in Italy. It was heaven. We stayed in the Ligurian region. Markets are held daily. http://www.initaly.com/regions/liguria/markets.htm  

Billa Supermarket- Rapallo, Italy
I stocked up on fresh pesto, gluten free penne pasta, fresh mozzarella cheese, veggies and chocolate from this market. Salami and other cured meats are labeled gluten-free (senza glutine)

Ristorante Da Paolo, Camogli, Italy
I've been to this restaurant three times and they always know what to do. I believe the chef has Celiac disease. The meal is pricy, but worth it. I recommend going at lunch, but make a reservation! Fresh grilled calamari with olive oil, herbs and garlic, with a insalata mista was fantastic!
Ristorante Da Paolo, Via S. Fortunato 14, Camogli
Tel: 0185.773595

Restaurant Il Cancello, Portofino, Italy. This restaurant is at the Palace hotel offers gluten free meals.

Kerala Indian Restaurant, Zurich, Switzerland. This restaurant treated me like a queen. They have an incredible amount of gluten free items on the menu and were very proud and sure of providing me a safe meal. On top of all the good service, the food is excellent. Our meal included vegetable pakora (made with chickpea flour), tandoori chicken, malabari chicken curry, aloo gobi vegetables and a indian pudding with cardamom and coconut milk for dessert. Yum. Yum. Yum. 

Muller Vital Shop, Zurich, Switzerland- I was able to buy a selection of breads, rice-cakes, musili, and snacks from here. This is great place to supplement your fruits, veggies and yogurt which are abundant in Zurich. 

The  Drogerie +Reformhaus +Naturheilpraxis in Stein-am-Rhein, Switzerland sells a selection of GF products, including a few gluten free baked goods. 

The Marinello market in Rail City (main Zurich train station) carries a selection of gluten free bratwurst and sausages. They are all delicious! Just read the fine print on the allergen statement. Marinello is even open on Sunday, as everything else seems to be closed! 
Other grocery stores in Switzerland were my lifesaver. I went to either the Coop and Migros daily. They are found in almost every town and you can stock up on the best yogurt you will ever eat plus meats, cheeses, fruits, veggies and nuts. 

GF pasta with pesto, spicy sausage, 
wilted spinach and fresh mozzarella

Homemade Granola with Pineapple and Cranberries

Gluten free granola is extremely expensive to buy and I am often disappointed in what comes out of the teeny tiny bag. I'm on a mission to make a delicious (and more affordable) breakfast granola that the professor and I will both enjoy. Here goes attempt #1!

3 cups certified gluten free oats
1 cup of chopped nuts (black walnuts, sliced raw almonds and toasted sunflower seeds)
1/3 cup safflower oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup light agave syrup
1.5 tsp bourbon vanilla extract
dash of salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried pineapple, chopped finely
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped finely

Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, combine oats, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds and cinnamon. Stir and set aside. In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, combine oil, agave, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Pour warm agave mixture into oat mixture and stir until well combined.

Spread mixture evenly onto a large rimmed baking sheet. For for about 20 minutes, stirring several times throughout, until the granola is deep golden color. Cool completely before adding dried fruit. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Enjoy this granola with my new favorite yogurt, Noosa!