Monthly Archives: June 2012

TRADE

If you are looking for lots of flavors, go to Trade! Tradeis located in a really cool space (an old furniture store) on the waterfront, with high ceilings and open floor plan. The dishes served offer guests a variety of flavors from around the world. I would recommend going to a small group, 2-3 people and just ordering the small plates and sides. The entrees were good but the best part of the meal were the apps and sides. The small plates were exceptional and incorporated so many savory flavors and spices; I was blown away. The down side to amazingly delicious appetizers? You expect the entrees to be just as good, if not better, and that was not the case here. Now don’t get me wrong, my meal (Seared Blue Fish) was really good but the flavors failed to pop as much as they did in the small plates.
My boss took my co-workers and I out for lunch last week. We all started with a Cucumber Lemonade. It was very refreshing on the first 98 degree day of the summer. Not only refreshing but good! I have started doing this myself at home. The cocktail menu looks interesting with a honey-bourbon based drink, a tequila grapefruit concoction, and more. As good as some of them sounded, being on a lunch outing and having to go back to work after meant no drinks for me, but definitely next time!
We shared a bunch of appetizers to start. My co-workers ordered some of the non-GF small plates, which they enjoyed – and you could tell this to your boyfriend/husband/friend – but I am not even going to comment on those because …well…we can’t eat them! They have an allergy menu, noting each item that is GF, DF and NF (gluten, dairy and nut free). All you have to do is ask for it when you sit down.
The Pomegranate-glazed Eggplant with capers olives and pine nuts was my favorite appetizer. The sweetness from the pomegranate and a little crunch from the pine nuts were just delicious; such a great combination.

I also really liked the Spicy head-on shrimp with piri piri peppers. The small vibrant red peppers are not as hot as jalapeños but certainly had a nice little chick to them.   
The table also shared the avocado with green mango-tamarind-peanut chutney. Although I did not try this (I don’t eat peanuts either remember?!), it was a favorite among the group. They said the avocados were perfectly ripe.
Vanessa ordered the gingered beets with ricotta salata, sunflower seeds and whole grain mustard and I was able to try a few bites. Ricotta salata(“salted”) is a variation of ricotta that has been pressed, salted and dried. It is hard and white and has a mildly salty, nutty and milky flavor to it. The salad had both golden and red beets, with a very strong and way too overpowering ginger flavor. (For the record, John, my boss, and Vanessa loved it.)
For my entrée I ordered the Seared Bluefish with smoked corn and tomato succotash, green garlic and basil. Bluefish is known for it’s strong and oily taste. This piece was not so oily and the fishiness was toned down considerably. I’m not exactly sure how they did this but it was very good. I wasn’t a fan of the smoked corn, I don’t know what I was excepting because I don’t usually like smoked dishes but I just pushed it off to the side. The garlic and basil were blended very finely into a sauce, just wish there had been more if it!

Vanessa, my gluten free co-worker, ordered the Grilled Farm Skirt Steak with fries. I did not try the steak but Vanessa said it was mediocre, at best. John had said the same thing; it’s what he ordered the first time he ate at Trade. (Aimee really liked it). The fries were too salty for my taste, so overall I’d say stay away from this dish, as there are so many other delicious menu items to choose from.
We ordered to sides to share. Let me make a correction, we ordered two of each because it was that good and we all wanted it! The Sautéed greens with chili flakes and garlic, and the Roasted Cauliflowerwith curry raisins and cilantro and a yogurt sauce were both very tasty.  The side surpassed my entrée. The flavors are so pronounced, just unbelievably good. I absolutely loved the cauliflower and will be trying this at home very very soon.

For dessert there are three gluten free options. Vanessa and I split two. The Taza chocolate budino with sea salt, rosemary, without the hazelnut wafer ($9). Budino is Italian for pudding. The pudding was so thick and just so-so. The rosemary oil on top was too much for me and I did not like it. I’ve realized, I’m not a savory-sweet dessert mixing kind of girl. But we both really enjoyed Christina’s Ginger Ice Cream with pistachio nuts and chili-chocolate sauce, yum! The ginger was prominent but not overpowering and the chocolate had just a slight hint of chili.

As for the service? Not bad. Not overly exceptional, but our waiter was attentive despite being the middle of the lunch rush. As a huge – and very fast – water drinker, this would be my only complaint: More Water, More Frequently. I don’t think anyone else felt this way, but then again no one else drinks half a gallon of water at lunch, besides my boyfriend. 
Location: 540 Atlantic Avenue, Boston MA (closest T stop – South Station)
Advertisements

Nebo Gluten Free Menu & LivingSocial Deal today!

website: neborestaurant.com

Location: 90 North Washington Street  Boston, MA 02114  (North End)

Ob La Da – Cupcakes in Marshfield

My friends Molly and Scott just got married in April. Instead of having a cake they decided on cupcakes from Ob La Da. Scott’s family has known the owner, Kevin, for years and thus decided to use him for their wedding.

These are not gf, the gf cupcakes were kept separately

While not an exclusively gluten-free bakery, almost all of their products can be made gluten-free or vegan! All items are made to order and natural, local, organic ingredients are used when available. The products can be ordered online and at local farmer’s markets (Plymouth Plantation and Marshfield) or by calling. When I called, on a Sunday afternoon, Kevin was on Cape Cod with his wife, but was still super friendly and happy to talk to me about a cake for my graduation party.
At the wedding Molly had gotten 12 gluten free cupcakes, and being the only gluten free guest, I was given all 12 to take home. Lucky me! I was able to try three different flavors:

Chocolate cake topped with vanilla frosting

Vanilla cake topped with vanilla frosting

Salted Caramel: Caramel cake, Caramel buttercream with a swirl of fleur de sel caramel sauce on top.

My favorite was the Salted Caramel. It was delicious!!! I also enjoyed the vanilla and found the chocolate cupcakes to be a bit dry.

For my graduation party last weekend I was having a hard time deciding between a Coconut Cake and the Bananas Foster: banana cake, rum caramel filling and vanilla frosting. I know, my mouth is watering too. As delicious as the Bananas Fosters sounds, I knew coconut would probably be best for a group of 65 people. So I chose a half sheet cake ($80) of the coconut cake with vanilla butter cream frosting instead of the cream cheese frosting.

They will deliver (included in price) to Duxbury, Marshfield and other areas close to their home (not sure the exact radius). He brought the cake over Saturday morning, along with 6 cupcakes he made with the extra batter.

Other delicious sounding cupcake flavors include:

Red Velvet Underground:  Rich red velvet cake with a sweet cream cheese frosting and topped with red velvet cake crumbs, as it should be.
Wavy Gravy:  Rainbow tie dye vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and rainbow jimmies.
Carrot Fever: Spiced carrot cake made with local carrots topped with fresh cream cheese frosting.
Banana Boat:  Dense banana rum cake filled with  sticky caramel and topped with signature caramel buttercream.

Margaritaville: Fresh vanilla and lime cake stuffed with a tequila cream filling and topped off with a light and fluffy lime frosting and, of course, a wedge of lime.

Cake Flavors

Vanilla                                                                                 Chocolate
Red Velvet                                                                                Carrot
Cookies and Cream (not sure if available gf)               Banana
Coconut                                                                               Margarita
Pound Cake                                                                            Lemon

Fillings

Chocolate Ganache                                    White Chocolate Ganache
Raspberry Jam                                                              Strawberry Jam
Blueberry Jam                                                                     Apricot Jam
Grape Jam                                                                             Lemon Curd
Key Lime Filling                                                               Peanut Butter
Nutella                                                                                Caramel Sauce
French Cream                                                    Fresh Fruit (in season)

Frostings

Vanilla Buttercream                                         Chocolate Buttercream
Mocha Buttercream                                                        Whipped Cream
Cream Cheese                                                             Chocolate Ganache
Swiss Meringue Buttercream                                                  Key Lime

Kevin is very friendly; exceptional customer service. The cake was delicious and moist  and a hit at the party. Everyone kept asking “is this gluten free?!”

Many cake and cupcake flavors can be made gluten free. They also offer gluten free cookies, brownies, pies and other desserts.

Location: for now cooking out of their home, hoping to open a store front soon in Marshfield. Also available at local farmers markets.

Website: http://www.oblada.net/home/

Cumin Scented Black Rice and Quinoa

This past weekend I had my graduation party. We spent some time planning out the menu – pasta salad, Ceaser Salad, Goat Cheese and Spinach Salad, Shredded Carrot with Scallions and Peas over Mixed Greens , Italian Sausage with onions and peppers, hamburgers, hot dogs, fruit salad, and a cake. We needed another starchy side dish, and neither of us being big fans of potato salad (too much mayonnaise for my taste), I remembered a dish I had at my friend Lauren’s house at a recent dinner party. It was delicious, I remember loving the side dish she made, quinoa with brown rice cumin and vegetables. I adapted her recipe a bit, as the original one calls for black rice, and I added more garlic and brown rice, in addition to the black rice.

It was a hit at the party and it tasted even better the day after! I’m not sure why but my guess is that the spices and flavors had more time to infuse into the rice and quinoa.

The recipe below serves 8 but I personally think it is enough for at least 10 or 12 people as a side dish. It can be served either cold or warm. I think it would taste great with tomatoes, avocados or cucumbers added to it, or maybe even sweet potato or butternut squash in the winter time, served warm.

Recipe Adapted from Bon Apetit

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup short-grain black rice
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 2 cups water or vegetable/chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 small onions, finely chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cumin seeds
  • 3-4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (or chives)
  • 2 teaspoons basil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook brown rice and black rice separately. Black rice turns the water purple, and if cooked with the brown rice will also turn it purple.
1. Bring brown rice and 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until water is absorbed and rice is tender, 25-30 minutes.  Do the same with the black rice.
2. Meanwhile, combine quinoa, bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups chicken broth (gives it more flavor) in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain; return quinoa to hot saucepan. Cover and let sit for 15 minutes. 
3.Discard bay leaf, fluff quinoa with a fork, and transfer to a large bowl.
4. While the quinoa and rice are  cooking, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 
5. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 8 minutes. 
6. Add garlic and cumin and cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. 
7. Add to quinoa. 
8. Then add rice and mix well. 
9. Stir in remaining 2 tablespoons oil (optional, I started with one and didn’t add the second tablespoon), fresh lemon juice, cilantro, parsley, and basil. 
10. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut avocado into wedges. 
11. Serve salad cold or warm. Serve with lemon on the side, optional.

Katz Gluten Free Sample Pack

Katz Gluten Free Sample Pack
Use Coupon Code SAMPLE + shipping price

I just received my free sample pack from Katz! Normally it costs $4.99 + shipping ($7.99 on all orders under $40, free on orders $40 or more) but they are having a promotion and if you use the coupon code SAMPLE at check out you get it for free!
All the products are kosher, gluten free, dairy free and nut free. Many are also soy free, so it’s great for all types of allergies!
The Sample contains:
1 slice of challah bread, white bread, whole grain bread slightly toasted, wholesome bread slightly toasted and
1 slice of marble cake
1 Chocolate Chip cupcake
1 honey muffin
1 chocolate chip cookie
1 dinner roll
1 chocolate and 1 cinnamon rugelach
This sample pack is prefect for trying different things I and I know I will be placing an order very soon 🙂
The first thing I tried was the rugelach, of course I did, it’s chocolate! Rugelach is a traditional Jewish pastry and means ‘’little twists’’ in Yiddish. The dough is not as soft as a cookie but it’s not hard either. The dough is rolled around sweet fillings such as chocolate, raisins, nuts or preserves. I was never a fan of the fruit or nut rugelach growing up so I was a little skeptical about how this one would be. The cinnamon rugelach is one of my favorite gluten free desserts. I’ve actually had this before and I absolutely love it! It’s delicious, with a mild cinnamon flavor, not overly sweet and had a great texture; light and flaky, yet firm at the same time. It almost reminded me of a freshly baked cinnamon roll, but less sugary and without the frosting.
Next I tried the chocolate, which was not my favorite, surprisingly. I could taste the richness of the chocolate and it tastes just like the ‘real’ thing, but without gluten!!
Honey Muffin – It has a very distinct honey flavor. The inside is very crumbly, and a bit dry. The top is nice and moist with lots of what looks like crystalized honey and sugar, a little too much for me, and very sweet.
 Chocolate chip cookies – not my favorite, but they have a nice texture and are loaded with chocolate chip.
Marble Cake –  Talk about yummy! Not too sweet, but just right to satisfy my chocolate/cake craving!! It has the prefect blend of vanilla and chocolate swirls. It stayed together nicely, no crumbs, which means no mess! I hate cutting into gluten free cakes or breads and it just falls apart and crumbs go everywhere.
Chocolate Cupcake– Rich dark chocolate, but a bit dry. They come unfrosted so if I ever do get this again I will add my own frosting.
All the slices of bread, which is true of all gluten free bread, were on the small side. The wholesome bread & whole grain were dry and dense. I didn’t like the texture or the taste, it was very grainy and left a bad taste in my mouth.
The Challah & White bread were my favorite, soft and more moist than the others.
I also really liked the dinner roll. It’s one of the best dinner rolls I’ve ever had! Great texture and not too dry
Katz is constantly offering deals (25 % off loafs of bread, free rugelach with orders over $40, etc.) and I recommend signing up for their newsletter so you can stay informed of these deals.

Charley’s

Gluten free bread, pizza and pasta! Heaven! Not the most gourmet, but great bar food and perfect for lunch! I have not been for dinner but I would love to try the pizza! Charley’s is owned by the Back Bay Restaurant Association, which also owns Joe’s American Bar & Grill, Papa Razzi (Boston location does not have bread; Chestnut Hill does) Atlantic Fish (they do not always carry gf pasta so call ahead so they know to have it for you), Abe & Louie’s, and Coach Grill, all of which have gluten free menu options! I have eaten at 3 of the 5 locations, Abe & Louie’s will be next..some day…
As this was the afternoon after my 25th birthday we first ordered Bloody Mary’s, you know why. The bartender made them with Absolut (* see bottom for information on Absolut and other gluten free vodkas). I am not sure if he did this on purpose (knowing that absolute has no gluten) or by chance. BUT either way, it worked out, and the drinks were good, spicy but not too spicy. If you do want a spicier drink make sure to ask for the Absolute Pepper.
For lunch I ordered the Chicken Club Sandwich with French fries. The Sandwich was HUGE! It was good. Not gourmet by any means but definitely satisfied my cravings for a sandwich and fries. I had wanted one for weeks! The french fries are pan fried separately to make sure they weren’t contaminated with gluten (this is why they look a little different from the ”regular” french fries).
The bread was crumbly and fell apart easily, I had to eat half the sandwich with a fork. But it tasted decent; not the best, but I would eat this bread again. It was so nice to be able to enjoy a sandwich and fries at the bar watching the red sox game. I can’t remember the last time I did that and was not envious of my boyfriend eating a sandwich or French fries in front of my while I had to order an omelette or salad or plain grilled chicken.
We sat at the downstairs bar because we didn’t want to wait 20 minutes for a table. If it had been a nice day I would have liked to have sit outside. The upstairs has more character and a better ambiance than downstairs. But for two people who were hungry and a bit tired we were satisfied being downstairs. 
I also know that they will substitute the gluten free bread for the English Muffins on their Brunch Menu. The management and wait staff here are one of the best I have encountered when it comes to accommodating and pleasing people with gluten allergies and it is very much appreciated 🙂
Location: 284 Newbury St. Boston, MA 02115
Gluten Free Vodka– Smirnoff (non flavored – need to verify flavored Smirnoff), Absolut Vodka, Zodiac, Cold River. Most vodka is made from potato or corn. Grain vodkas are also ok since they are distilled and the gluten is removed. BUT some people still react, so you need to be careful if you are highly sensitive or allergic!!
Statement from Absolut:
Absolut
The ingredients for ABSOLUT VODKA are grain (wheat), enzymes, yeast (S. cerevisiae) and water from our own well. For the flavoured versions, only natural ingredients from berries, fruits and spices are used.
The gluten is removed in the production process since the spirit is first fermented and then distilled hundreds of times. We call this continuous distillation, a process so efficient that it eliminates the need for filtration. The crude spirit passes continually through a total of six columns. This gives full control of distillation at every stage and removes all impurities. This strict distillation process separates the gluten in the grain from the alcohol, why it is highly unlikely that any gluten remains in ABSOLUT VODKA.
The question of possible residues of allergens in distilled spirits has been reviewed by the European Food Safety Agency. On the basis of this and other information, the EU Commission concludes that grain used before distillation does not need an allergen warning (Commission Directive 2007/68/EC).
We know allergic reactions can be caused by very small amounts (or even traces) of ingredients. We are not in a position to guarantee that the flavour ingredients have not come into contact with gluten during the suppliers’ production processes. Since any medical advice should be given on a personal basis by a medical expert, we can not recommend persons suffering from allergies to consume our flavoured products.

Roasted Beet Salad

So as many of you know, one of my new favorite foods is beets. I never used to be a huge fan, but lately I’m loving them. Twice, in the past month, I ordered Beet Salads while dining out, once at Marco and once at Petit Robert Bistro, and both times I absolutely loved it!
Tonight I made a Roasted Beet Salad. Roasting beets intensifies their flavors, something I learned tonight after cooking beets for the first time. Beets are earthy and sweet at the same time. Something else I learned tonight is that beets come in a variety of colors – deep crimson, golden yellow and even candy-striped red and white roots – and all have a slightly different taste. I will have to try the golden yellow ones sometime.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ orange juice
I teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can of Sliced Beets, no salt added OR fresh beets if you have them available
4 cups baby spinach
½ cup goat cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
2. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, orange juice, zest and brown sugar. 
3. Toss beets with half the dressing and save the other half to toss again after cooking.
4. Place the beets on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until tops begin to brown.
5. When the beets are done cooking you have two options: 1. toss the beets in the remaining dressing then add to salad OR 2. use the remaining dressing as salad dressing for the entire salad. (I chose option 2)
6. Top salad with beets and goat cheese, add remaining dress and enjoy 🙂