Category: food

G-Free Review: Molly’s Gluten-Free Bakery

Hidden in Pewaukee, WI is the home of the best g-free baked goods I’ve ever had, Molly’s Gluten-Free Bakery. They have an extensive menu from brownies to pita bread to sheet cakes. I’ve only tried a few things so far, but everything I’ve tried hasn’t disappointed.

The most recent purchases were rolls and  a cake for my dad’s 50th birthday. Vanilla cake / vanilla frosting (he’s a boring guy, what can I say?) – but it was AMAZING. You couldn’t tell it was g-free. Usually g-free baked goods leave a weird feeling in my mouth. Not Molly’s cake! And those rolls… wow. Plain, they were delicious. Warmed up, they were delicious x500. It’s not easy to bake soft and moist g-free foods, but Molly’s has mastered it.

Previously I’ve had their raspberry dream cakes, which are small cake sandwiches with raspberry cream filling. The cake part tasted like a Twinkie but felt a bit heavier. It was so delicious. I should learn some more adjectives, but really, there are no words for something this yummy.

Dad holding his beautiful cake. Says, "Buon Compleanno, Maurizio"
Dad holding his beautiful cake. Says, "Buon Compleanno, Maurizio". Please note his "Italian" expression.

I can’t wait to try everything on their menu! Has anyone else been to Molly’s? Was it as fabulous as my experience?

Molly’s G-Free Grade = A+

G-Free Review: Red Robin

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. used to be a favorite place of ours to eat before I knew I was a Celiac. They make huge, specialty burgers and have delicious onion rings. Not that I *can’t* have burgers, but they’re no fun to eat without the bun and onion rings…

We haven’t gone there in a while, but we got a massive gift card from my dad (hi, Dad!) who knew we liked it a lot, so we decided to see what they had besides plain meat patties.

Turns out… a lot!

  • They post a g-free menu online. It looks sadder than it is. I found other things on the regular restaurant menu I could have if some things are just substituted.
  • The staff was accommodating and knowledgeable. I didn’t see the menu before we went in, so I guessed at the safest thing on the menu. I asked the waitress about their nacho platter because they use both flour chips and corn chips. I told her just to use the corn ones. Instead, she asked the cooks about it and informed me that even the corn chips might not be safe. She replaced the chips for their wedge fries and I had those covered in the nacho toppings. It was pretty great. I could have gotten really sick if she didn’t double check like that. Go waitress!
  • AND they also have a lovely allergen alert system:

We will be going there without fear from now on!

Red Robin’s G-Free Grade = A

New Year, New Skill

Here is the journey I made making a gluten-free apple pie.  It wasn’t easy because gluten-free dough is ridiculous to work with. The pie looks a smidge burnt, but tastes amazing!

I started with this crust:

mix

Let’s be real, I wasn’t about to make the crust from scratch the first time I’m making a pie *ever*.  It’s from The Gluten Free Pantry brand and I bought mine at Health Hut, a local hippie store.  I’m sure other places have it, too.  I just followed the directions on the package… it was pretty easy. Not a big deal.  After I made the dough, I placed it in the fridge.  Cold dough is much easier to work with than warm dough (at least for gluten-free).  So I balled up 2 halves and wrapped them separately in plastic wrap.

This is when you’d want to start peeling and slicing 6-7 apples.  I recommend Granny Smith.  I put my slices in a bowl of cold lemon water to prevent browning.

pie-apples

After an hour or so, I took out one ball out and attempted to roll it out.  Not only was the dough tough to work with because it was hard and cold, but it was falling apart because it’s g-free.  Even after it warmed up a bit, the falling apart only got worse.  This is when my crabbies started.  I had to use a lot of rice flour to keep the counter and my rolling pin from even sticking in the slightest.  One small pull would cause the dough to fall apart.

pie-rolling

pie-flour

I used Ener-G brand rice flour because that’s what the hippie store had on sale, but I think any g-free flour will do.  After greasing a pie dish, I gently placed a half circle of rolled-out dough into the bottom.  The whole circle of dough will not lift off the counter without falling into pieces.  I pinched together the seams.  It’s a little messy but not terrible…

pie-bottom

Next, is the apple layering inside.  It’s hard to measure it out since I guesstimated with my mom’s recipe.  I started by cutting up a few Tbsp of Butter and putting it in the bottom followed by a few Tbsp of Sugar and a sprinkling of Cinnamon.

pie-layersapple

pie-layers

On top of that goes a layer of apples, then a sprinkling of 1 Tbsp of Rice Flour.  This gets repeated until the pile of apples is heaping over the pie dish level.  Arrange slices if needed so that mostly rounded edges are facing up, as to not poke through the top layer of dough.

This is the point of more crabbies.  By now, my 2nd ball of dough was too warm to work nice.  When I rolled out the pieces, it fell apart a lot more than before.

pie-ready

The top of my pie looks like a patchwork quilt…

The picture  is a little dark, but you can clearly see this is not pretty.  After sealing the edges and trying to press together the top, I brushed an egg white over the top.  Then sprinkled sugar all over it.  This seals the dough, makes the top shiny and also allows the sugar to stick.

The pie gets baked at 400* for about 20 min, then 350* for 10-20 more.  I baked mine a bit too long…

nastypie

That’s my beautiful sister gnawing on the edges.  She & my New Year’s Eve guests didn’t seem to mind the minor burns.  Overall reviews said it was tart, but in a good way.  I personally prefer sweet apple pie with lots of goo in the middle.  I had a medium amount of goo, so I will probably add more flour to the center layers next time.  I highly recommend this brand of pie crust – couldn’t even tell it was g-free!

NaNoWriMo & gluten

How have I not heard of this??

NaNoWriMo is what some people in the world consider November. It’s National Novel Writing Month and I just signed up for it.

I like to write and I know I can write… so let’s see what I can grind out in 30 days and nights.

Starting November 1, I will write and upload my word count to the website… I guess you just need 50,000 words of anything.  They expect it to be crap.

There’s a winner, too. I will feel like a winner if I actually finish a project.

In between being fired from a job I hated and discovering NaNoWriMo, I went to the doctor and found out I’m gluten-sensitive.  This requires many many posts to talk about because it’s interesting and complicated.

Other than changing everything I eat, I have been extremely bored and boring.

Il Cucchiaio d’argento::fagiolini gratinati

In my quest to be Italian-American housewife of the year, I decided to crack open my Italian cooking guide, Il Cucchiaio d’argento, for dinner tonight.  For those English-only folks, this “bible” of recipes is The Silver Spoon, now available in English!

The main course was my magical beef pot roast. I LOVE the slow cooker.  I love that we eat pot roast for a week after I make it. And I love that you throw some stuff in there and it cooks in a few hours!

My favorite recipe I use is a random Google find from about.com.

Pot roast doesn’t photograph well, but it looked and smelled delicious.

The important experimental dish in tonight’s meal was a green bean dish.  I chose fagiolini gratinati (or green beans au gratin). The recipe serves 4, so I cut it in half as we are 2 – and if it turned out horribly, I didn’t want leftovers!

mm pretty green beans

First, I washed and snapped the beans (2 cups worth) in halves.  Then I boiled the beans in salt water for about 10 minutes.  The beans were drained and cooled a bit while I heated 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan.  In the oil, I cooked the already roasted garlic (1 clove) with some chopped onions covered on low for 5 minutes.  The recipe says to discard the garlic but I’m Italian so I left most of it in! It’s delicious! I’m not about to throw that away… But after I removed SOME of the garlic, I added 1 Tbsp of flour.

Then I gradually poured in ¼ cup milk and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I added the cooled beans, ½ cup of white wine and that simmered for 10 minutes, covered.

simmering looks ugly but tastes yummy!
simmering looks ugly but tastes yummy!

While that’s simmering, I preheated the oven to 350° and buttered  baking dish.  When the beans are done simmering, I poured all of the mixture into the dish.  Before sticking it in the oven, sprinkle Parmesan on top (recipe says 2 Tbsp but I love cheese so I used a lot) and dot it with 1 Tbsp of melted butter.

Bake it for 15 minutes or until it’s golden and bubbling as seen below.

cooked
finished cooking and missing a serving :)

Something interesting I learned was that you should boil green beans with the pot cover off to keep them brightly colored.  Also, you should use 4 cups of water to every 1 ½ cups of beans.  I followed both of those new rules and I think it definitely helped the beans turn out perfect.

Beans were fresh, courtesy of Nonna’s garden. And thanks to my almost-sister-in-law for supplying the wonderfully roasted garlic that she made and packaged up!

B u o n   A p p e t i t o !