Smoked Salmon and Spinach Goat Cheese Strata

Gluten free strata recipe
A secret ingredient makes this gluten-free strata recipe special.

The day was clear and chilly here by the mesa. Perfect for a pinon fire in the kiva. We lit vanilla candles and played my favorite mix of winter music- traditional Jewish and Celtic with a little Tom Waits, Sarah McLachlan and Joni Mitchell- pining about rivers or snow or waltzing Matilda- thrown in.

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Gluten Free Anniversary #5

One year ago today I was living on Cape Cod, blogging about my fourth gluten-free anniversary and contemplating a bowl of peppermint ice cream for breakfast. I was just getting the hang of this whole blogging thing, wondering if anyone would even be interested in the gluten-free recipes I wanted to share.

This morning I sit typing in my tidy New Mexico casita, sipping a mug of hot chamomile tea- a thousand miles away from one year ago. Dry snowflakes fall on the junipers outside my window. The Old Women Mesa is softened in a tender blanket of white.

Five years gluten-free. It's a milestone. And bittersweet.

I still do not eat out (the risk is too great for me; one speck of gluten and I pay for it all week). And I miss eating out- I miss the romance of it. I miss the spontaneity of exploring new restaurants. I miss travel. The social isolation, the stigma of special needs can feel heavy at times. Celiac disease does not exactly dampen one’s tendency toward introversion. The lingering health issues are discouraging. Forty-seven years eating gluten take their toll. My body continues, even after five years gluten-free, to pay a price from malabsorption.

In many ways my health has dramatically improved. I am free from the most acute symptoms I suffered. And cooking gluten-free has become second nature; it is no longer the massive challenge it felt like in the beginning. New gluten-free choices are emerging, daily, in the marketplace. All good news.

But the best part? Reading your comments and receiving your e-mails, Darlings. It nudges me out of my myopia and gives me a clearer sense of the big picture. I am not alone in this disease. And there are more of us diagnosed every single day.

So here’s to all of us.

Happy gluten-free anniversary! Whether it is one week, six months, or five years, I raise my glass to you.


Bread Machine Tips- Old Post

Warm, gluten-free bread with sorghum flour, just baked.

This gluten-free bread machine post has been updated by yours truly and has moved to a new location where it is much, much happier.

I apologize for the inconvenience.

One more click and you're there.

Nava Atlas- A Cookbook Review

Nava Atlas [one of my favorite vegetarian cookbook authors] was kind enough to send me a copy of
The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. Babycakes, where do I start? This hefty tome is chock full of fresh and fabulous recipes - more than 275, in fact - from breakfasts and snacks to comfort foods, main dishes and desserts.

What do I like? I like that her recipes are doable, and not based on hard-to-find ingredients. In fact, most everything she uses is already in my pantry. I like her tips in the Introduction about being a vegetarian, planning meals for a family, and cooking within a busy schedule. I like that there are vegan options throughout the book (perfect for all you non-dairy and egg-free cooks out there).
Nava's style of cooking reminds me of my own, and her approach to recipes is akin to my own philosophy: use fresh, seasonal ingredients whenever possible, and go for simplicity.  

I'll be inspired for months to come.

For those on gluten-free diets there are lots of tasty sounding recipes that are naturally gluten-free and others that are easily tailored- substituting wheat pasta with brown rice pasta, for instance. Obvious ingredients to avoid on a gluten-free diet include bulgur, barley, cous cous, seitan, flour tortillas and various breads, of course, but I'm guessing any savvy celiac can spot these, and either switch out a safe substitute, or move on to another recipe [and there are plenty] focused on vegetables, fruits, cornmeal, rice and quinoa.

If you're brand spanking new to this whole gluten-free diet thing, you might want to become a little more fluent in cooking gluten-free before you tackle a non-gluten-free cookbook like this, but if you're at all like me, Darling, you prefer to experiment and educate yourself rather than looking to be spoon fed. I personally enjoy [and cook from] a wide assortment and range of cookbooks - and none of them are "gluten-free". 

In fact, Dear Reader, I don't even own a gluten-free cookbook. I haven't found any so far that capture and evoke my personal approach to cooking. I'm more inclined to peruse cookbooks like Nava's, and those by Susan Curtis, Barbara Kafka and Jamie Oliver.

Recipes I'm looking forward to trying? How about her Cabbage, Apple and Raisin Slaw, Scalloped Cauliflower, Skillet Black Beans with Potatoes and Tortillas? Sounds yummy. And I might even be brave enough to try tackling Vegetable Sushi. Stay tuned.

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