Rickoli Brewery: Brewing DELICIOUS Gluten-Reduced Beer

Brewery Rickoli On TapWhen was the last time you enjoyed a really GREAT beer? In fact, when was the last time you had YOUR CHOICE of several great beers??? Ever? Since before you were diagnosed with Celiac, or gluten-intolerance, or a gluten-allergy? For me it’s been 16 years…. Yes, 16 years of being in a gluten-free beer desert.

Now there have been tiny oases over the years…Harvester Brewing in Portland OR, comes to mind- they are brewing quite possibly the best gluten free (meaning brewed with gluten free grains) beer in the country. (They ship outside of Portland, and if you want a treat- I highly recommend their St. Denny Dubbel) Then there’s New Planet Beer in Boulder- also using gluten free grains and I can buy them at my neighborhood liquor store. They sell a fantastic Raspberry that’s perfect for our hot, humid summers, and a Brown that is out of this world. They rock the Brown..

Brewery Rickoli What's On TapThen there’s Brewery Rickoli, a nano-brewery located in Wheatridge, Colorado, which has been on my radar for about a year. My friend Elke sent me a link to their website exited that they were brewing ALL their beers with the gluten-reducing enzyme Clarex (Clarity Ferm). Originally used to stabilize beers and prevent chill-haze, it turns out the secondary application is denaturing the gluten molecule in a way that the beers are consumable by many celiacs and test- with current testing methods- at less than 20ppm. However, this process is not without controversy. Very heated controversy.

Check out the links above here and read about it yourself if you don’t believe me. In a nutshell the ‘gluten-free grain’ brewers claim their products are better and safer for celiacs than the ‘gluten-reduced’ brewers. The ‘gluten-reduced’ brewers respond that you just don’t get great beer flavor without barley. I think they’re both right. I mean- where’s the ‘gluten-free grain’ Guinness equivalent? Or the whiskey barrel aged stout? The Vanilla Porter? Right now the ‘gluten-free grain brewers’ haven’t figured it out. And thankfully, there are more traditional brewers who are realizing every day that adding an enzyme to bust up a gluten molecule doesn’t hurt the quality of the beer, and gains them entry into a previously closed market.

I do appreciate that for now the FDA and Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) are very clear on differentiating between ‘gluten-free’ and ‘gluten-reduced’. I want to know exactly what’s going in my body. Anecdotally, some folks have had no problems with ‘gluten-reduced’ and others have. If it’s labeled clearly, then you get to decide. Ultimately, I think the market will support good taste- for the same reason craft beer sales have been skyrocketing and Budweiser sales have been slipping. Everyone loves a good story, and everyone loves a good locally produced hand-crafted beer. Which brings me back to Rickoli..

Brewery Rickoli SamplesThese guys make some seriously good beer. And so much of it, that I was informed if I ordered a tasting portion of everything they had on tap that I would be consuming over 93oz of beer!! (That’s well over a 6pack for those of you interested in the math) However, Brewmaster Rick Abitbol was happy to pour me tiny sips so that I could at least taste most of what was on tap when we visited.

In some ways, I was like a kid in a candy shop. When you have that much selection, you don’t know where to start. Like wine tasting, I decided to start at the light end and work my way up. Really it’s all great, and if there’s a specific style of beer you love, Rickoli is sure to either have it on tap or be brewing it soon. Their line-up is constantly changing- all the more reason to make this a regular hang-out if you live in the Denver Metro Area. Plus, Rick is just so darned cool and knowledgeable!

Of special note the day we were there was the Double Cream Ale- a rich, creamy ale with a whopping 8.6%ABV, The Social Lubricant Scotch Ale 8%ABV..it’s so good even the shyest among you will start chatting with your neighbor! The Elke Brown- named after my good friend Elke, and while I loved so many, this was the one I purchased a growler of to take on the road.

A Taste of HeavenAnd now- let’s talk Stout..

To me this is the Holy Grail of Gluten-Free/Reduced beers. For 16 years I have been crying for a stout that wouldn’t wreck my insides. When the time finally came to try the stouts I was actually a little…nervous…  Like going to a High School Reunion (which I have successfully avoided for 20-something years) nervous. Or meeting your college sweetheart years later…Would I still like stout? What if I’d been waiting for this magic experience for 16 years and it turned out I didn’t even like stout anymore? I was worried my tastebuds had changed…

So what was it like? Unexpected. Rich. Different…Delicious.

We were lucky enough to be at the brewery the weekend they were tapping 3 versions of their Monolith- an American Imperial Stout. On tap that day was the traditional Monolith, Monolith aged in locally produced merlot barrels, and Monolith aged in bourbon barrels.

Brewery Rickoli MonolithThe Merlot Monolith was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. One doesn’t usually consider two-fisting dark beer and red wine. First off, you could really taste the merlot in the beer. Second- it rounded out and added a mildly fruity note to the beer. It was creative, definitely unexpected, and really good!

My favorite had to be the bourbon barrel aged Monolith. For years, I have inhaled the tantalizing aroma of Mr. Kitchen Diva’s bourbon barrel stouts from places like Goose Island & Stone Brewing. The idea of getting to drink one made me positively giddy. Did it live up to my expectations? Well, yes. What was interesting to me was that my overall impression was that it was delicious, and far richer than I had remembered. I think my tastebuds have definitely suffered during the 16 year drought. I didn’t have much because I felt like I could easily overwhelm my body. I recommend enjoying it in small amounts if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a thick, rich, beer.

Infinitus PieSince Rickoli is so small, they don’t have much food on hand to accompany their beers. They have hummus & veggie cups for the gluten free, and a few gluten-bombs for those who prefer. However..they do allow you to bring in your own food, and there just happens to be a pizza joint (Infinitus Piewith quite possibly some of the cleverest graphic design I’ve seen for a pizza company)around the corner that makes a really good gluten free pizza crust. And they deliver.. Did I mention they were delicious??

Lastly, Rick mentioned that Rickoli is hoping to get bottling capacity soon… and while I recognize it may still be some time before those bottles make their way to Kansas City, one can always hope!

Grilled Peaches

Grilled Peaches side 2We are at the tail end of peach season here in Kansas City. The late varieties are showing themselves by the bushel at the farmer’s markets. Three years ago I took the plunge, decided we probably weren’t going to be moving anytime soon, and purchased three dwarf peaches for our backyard. I have been in peach heaven ever since. Why I waited so long to plant peach trees I will never know.

But, for those of you who own fruit trees, you know that when the harvest is in, it is IN! We have had peaches covering every available surface for the last 4 weeks. I know- my life is so hard. I will tell you though that the fruit flies are getting a little bit annoying.

So- what do do with all those peaches? Eat-em of course! We’ve enjoyed:

  • peach pancakes
  • peach sangria
  • peaches on salad, yogurt, and granola

But I think the new favorite would have to be grilled peaches. They are so easy, and are a great way to use up the less desireables- you know the ones I’m talking about- they may be bruised and beat-up. Perhaps you had to cut a bit out, or maybe they’re slightly green. Grilling brings out all the sugars and sweetness, and the flavor here was enhanced with a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon. Although I think cumin would be great too.

We enjoyed our grilled peaches plain, and over bitter greens. And the leftovers? They went into a boozy adult shake! Summer in the backyard doesn’t get much better than that!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:10]

Brunehaut Gluten Free Beer

Brunehaut Gluten Free BeerHappy Friday!  Do I have a treat for you today! I was fortunate enough to receive a few samples of an outstanding de-glutenized barley beer from Belgium, called Brunehaut.  For those of you who are beer aficionados, you know that Belgian beer is the standard bearer for high quality, sophisticated, subtle flavor. Of course, this might have something to do with the fact that they have a 1000+ year history of brewing beer! For years I have listened to Mr. Kitchen Diva wax rhapsodic about the finer qualities of the Belgian beers he loves to enjoy, while I sat crying into my weak, sorghum based lager. But, beggars can’t be choosers, and on a 106 degree day in July, any beer after a workout is a good one. But, now I get to be a chooser too! The gluten-free craft beer market is really exploding, and Brunehaut gluten free beer is a great-tasting addition. In fact, if I could get it where I lived, it would be at the top of my list. It should be at the top of yours too-especially if you appreciate Belgian Beer.

Brunehaut is a tiny little village in Belgium, just north of the French border. The history of the region is fascinating. It’s in one of those locations where the border tended to switch with some frequency. It wasn’t uncommon for residents during the middle ages and later to wake up one morning and find themselves living in a new country! In spite of the border changes, the local monastery managed to brew beer pretty continuously from about 1096 AD- plenty of time to get things right. Brunehaut Brewery has been in existence since 1890.

Brunehaut Gluten Free BeerWhat is so amazing about this beer is that it’s made with de-glutenized barley. A process which I am looking forward to learning about this spring when The Adventuresome Kitchen hits the road again- this time to France and Flanders! What’s exciting is that both the Brunehaut Amber and the Blonde are tested at less than 5ppm. To provide a point of reference, EU guidelines for gluten-free labeling have been set at 20ppm. Most companies though, are shooting for much less than that. You can safely drink both Brunehaut beers (Amber & Blonde). Now, here in the US, because the FDA has yet to set a standard for Gluten-Free labeling, Brunehaut is not labeled as gluten-free. But it is, and believe me- there is a big difference between de-glutenized barley based beer and other gluten-free beers. To my tastebuds it is a richer, deeper flavor.

The Amber paired beautifully with a block of Comte we had. And the blonde tasted very delicious with pizza and chile. What makes me so happy about discovering Brunehaut gluten free beer is that there are really some wonderful choices for gluten-free beer drinkers now. And while there is still no gluten free porter or stout on the market, I have no doubt that day will come.

If you’re lucky enough to live out West, along the Eastern Seaboard, the Upper Midwest, and the Ohio River Valley- this is your happy weekend- you can probably find Brunehaut right now on the shelves of your local liquor store. Check with your local distributor, as Brunehaut is distributing in 33 states!

May you all have a safe and enjoyable weekend, and consider Brunehaut gluten free beer for your next gluten-free beer run!

Ground Breaker Brewing

** Harvester Brewing Company is now Ground Breaker Brewing! Still the same fabulous beer though! They just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign so look for their beer to appear in cans soon!

Happy Friday fellow Foodies! Thanks to my friend Tana Fryer- proprietor of an awesome new joint in Tuscon called Blu-a Wine & Cheese Stop– for introducing me to what is quite possibly the best gluten free beer anywhere.

Harvester Brewing Company– a dedicated GF craft beer company in Portland Oregon (how come Portland has all the best beer?) is setting the GF Beer-world on fire. I tend to  be pretty skeptical of GF Beers. Before being diagnosed with celiac I was a craft-beer drinker who especially appreciated a good, thick, creamy dark beer. Stouts, Porters- you name it. I am desperately waiting for some brewing genius to come up with a GF Oatmeal Stout that will make my dreams come true. Sadly, that hasn’t happened yet. And in the meantime, I will have to comfort myself with the fabulous beer that is being produced by Harvester Brewing.

Since I don’t live in Portland, the only way I can get this beer is via mail at Let’s Pour. (click on the link and then search for ‘Harvester Brewing’) And so in the spirit of Adventure, I took the plunge and ordered a couple of bottles of each beer they offer.

I have to say- shipping was almost as much as the beer itself- but was it ever worth it.

Here’s a brief rundown of what I got in the mail:

Harvest Brewing Experimental Ale

Harvester Brewing Experimental Ale

This Experimental Ale was a fall seasonal produced with squash and spices. Of all their beers, this was one of my favorites. I don’t know if I got a bottle from the first batch, or the second, stronger batch-but either way, it was great, and it worked beautifully with our family favorite Vegan Chile. I found the flavor to be smooth, and the squash and spices subtle.

Harvester Brewing Pale Ale

Harvester Brewing Pale Ale

This was perhaps the biggest surprise for me. Unless it’s the middle of a God-Awful Sticky Kansas City Summer, I tend not to gravitate towards Pale Ale. Even then, my taste lies more in the Raspberry Ale land- like the one New Planet Beer makes. But this…. This pale ale was a delightful surprise. It’s not sour or overly hoppy. It’s light, balanced, and has a faint hit of citrus. I found myself gravitating to this repeatedly, and really enjoyed it- with or without food accompaniment.

Harvester Brewing Red Ale

Harvester Brewing Red Ale

It’s been ages since I’ve been able to enjoy a good Red Ale. I tend to gravitate to the more malty less hoppy beers, and no one in the GF Beer World has successfully managed to come up with a full-bodied Red Ale. Congrats to Harvesters for pulling this off.

Harvester Brewing Dark Ale

Harvester Brewing Dark Ale

Can I just start out by saying this beer pairs perfectly with a brick of Comté?!? It was so good in fact, that neither cheese nor beer lasted long.

I was initially surprised at how light the beer was in terms of mouth-feel. To me it’s reminiscent of the German Black-Beers. There is a definite toast that comes across in the flavor that I really appreciate.

One of the things I admire and respect most about Harvester Brewing is their dedication to locally sourcing ingredients. In this era of factory farming, I firmly believe that local/regional sourcing helps rebuild, preserve and maintain our local economies.

But what’s a celiac to do when your local economy (like mine) has no immediate plans or desire to hatch a GF Brewery? Well, fling your net far and wide, and support those who support a local economy somewhere.

My hat goes off to the Brewmasters at Harvester Brewing. You are doing incredible, innovative work, and bringing hopes of decent beer to celiacs everywhere. Just please, please, please- consider distributing beyond the boundaries of the Pacific Northwest? Pretty Please? I know some great shops in Kansas City who will happily carry your beer!

For those of you who are lucky enough to live in the Pacific Northwest- run- do not walk- to your nearest vendor and support these folks. For the record- Mr. Kitchen Diva, who can consume gluten at will, enjoyed these beers as much as I did.

In closing, I have one request for you folks at Harvesters- How about a Stout? Porter? Milk Stout, Coffee Stout, Chocolate Stout, Imperial Stout? Bourbon barrel aged Stout? If anyone can create something like this, I have faith it will be you!

Thanks for the great beer and keep brewing!

Pisco Sours, Gluten Free Huancaina Sauce, & Lomo Saltado

Themed nights seem to be turning into a regularity around here. And although our Peruvian night meal was more of a celebration and send-off, we definitely learned a few things.

A good friend and fellow foodie, who lived in Peru the better part of last year, offered to share a few things he’d learned how to cook there before jetting off on his next adventure. These recipes come straight from the horse’s mouth so to speak- right from the kitchen of some delicious and unknown restaurant in Cusco, and straight into your stomach!

I have found that while traveling, food can be the great equalizer and ice-breaker. Ask anyone to show you a favorite recipe and you have an instant rapport- not to mention an insight into their culture and a shared experience of enjoying a meal together. There are days when I think that if our world leaders just duked it out in the kitchen, we’d be a lot better off.

We began our evening with the traditional Peruvian cocktail- Pisco Sours. Pisco is a liquor native to Peru, made from grapes. It is not like Grappa- which is made from pomace- the pulp, seeds, and stems of leftover wine grapes. It’s more like vodka made with grapes.

Pisco Sours- 4-5 servings (about 1/2 pitcher)

3 parts (Shots) pisco

2 tbs sugar or simple syrup

juice from 1 lime (2 parts/shots)

1 egg white

handful of ice-cubes

Directions: throw all ingredients into a blender and mix until the egg-white gets frothy. Serve with a dash of bitters. We used Peychaud’s, but angostura bitters are more traditional.

I think this recipe is delicious-and has the potential for tons of variation. Add a flavored simple syrup, muddle with herbs…make your own version- you can’t really go wrong with good bones like this.

Next up on our list of Peruvian delights was the famous spicy-cheese sauce Huancaina, served traditionally over cold potatoes. This was flipping delicious and the sauce, downright addictive. I think it’s going to have to be my new nacho sauce. The leftovers were great on everything. It had never occurred to me that one could make a cheese sauce without melting the cheese, but that is exactly what we did, thanks to the addition of evaporated milk. My favorite flavor in this dish comes from the traditional Peruvian chile paste, Aji Molido. It ranks right up there with good New Mexican chile, and I will be ordering it in bulk. Of note: Traditional Huancaina is made with Saltines- and therefore, one of the few things in Peru that celiacs must avoid. Keep that in mind should you decide to travel there.  We all liked this dish so much that it may have to make an appearance at our annual 4th of July Picnic!

 

Gluten-Free Huancaina Sauce (or Papas con Huancaina)

8oz queso fresco (any farmer’s cheese will do, or even a pressed ricotta)

1 bag Aji Molido (about 1/2 cup)

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves garlic

1 can evaporated milk

6-10 gluten-free crackers depending on how thick you like the sauce. We used Glutino

splash of olive oil

salt & pepper to taste

Directions: Throw all the ingredients in the food processor and run until thick and smooth- about 1 minute. Add more crackers to get the desired thickness. For a traditional presentation, serve over cold potatoes. Can be used over rice, as a sauce to anything- stirfry, eggs, for nachos- you name it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, we enjoyed the traditional street-fare Lomo Saltado – literally translated as “jumped loin”. This is basically South American beef stir-fry served over rice and with french fries. I was surprised to learn that populations from Southeast Asia began migrating across the Pacific and settling in Peru in the mid-19th century. With them came their food, and an early version of East meets West Food Mash-Up! The beef in this dish is traditionally marinated in soy sauce, so again- be aware should you travel to Peru- this dish is likely not for you. Again- I was surprised and delighted by the flavor in this dish. Spicy warm chiles meets soy sauce, garlic and vinegar. You could even add ginger!

Lomo Saltado- serves 8


1.5 lbs beef (Strip or skirt steak will work nicely here)

1 onion

2 cloves garlic

3 red bell peppers (we used multi-colors)

1 large tomato

1 bag of frozen french-fries

1 bag Aji Molido or 1/2 a bag of its spicier counterpart Rojo Cojido

gluten-free soy sauce (tamari), vinegar, salt & pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook french-fries in the oven according to instructions. While they’re cooking…..

Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper cover with a combination of soy sauce and vinegar. Set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.

Chop onion & garlic, set aside. Chop peppers, set aside. Chop tomato, set aside.

In a large bottomed medium-hot pan (ideally a wok), sear beef to desired doneness, set aside. Drain pan, add a splash of oil, then add the onion. Briefly saute until softened (you can cook these down further if you prefer). Remove from pan, add peppers. Saute until softened (again- you can cook these to whatever level of doneness you prefer). Slice beef on the diagonal, replace all ingredients in the pan, give a quick stir and add the tomatoes. Turn off the heat- the residual heat from the pan and food will cook the tomatoes. Add the Aji Molido or the Rojo Cojido. Serve over rice, add the potatoes to the top, garnish with more spicy goodness if you so choose, and enjoy!!!

 

Gluten-Free Louisville Part 2: Derby Day Mint Julep Recipe

The Kentucky Derby absolutely lives up to all the hype. And speaking of, did you see the Preakness today? It looks like we may have witnessed the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years. We’ll know 3 weeks from now!

So what made Derby Day so amazing? Well of course there was hat-watching, and viewing/speculating/pretend betting on all the other races that day, standing with 165,000 people as the horses leaped out of the gate, but truthfully, the experience of drinking a Julep at the Derby, enjoying a little Kettle Corn and a fancy lunch from The Streetside Lounge (Where the buns were kept in a separate chafing dish from the BBQ and brats thank you very much!) and experiencing a slow, sweet meal from De la Torre’s Spanish restaurant will remain with me long after the multitude of hats, people, and races blur in my memory.

De la Torre’s is located on Bardstown Road, a few (long) blocks down from Avalon. It shares a kitchen and management with its sister tapas bar, La Bodega, located immediately next door. We were really torn between sampling a variety of small plates, and trying the paella offered in the restaurant. The paella won. Although, I have to say, we very nearly threw it over for the roast suckling pig that was the chef’s special that night. If only Louisville was a tiny bit closer!

While we were waiting for the paella to arrive we nibbled on a beautiful plate of Spanish cheeses, and sampled the grilled calamari. I love calamari, but rarely enjoy it outside of my kitchen because most restaurants prepare it with flour. This calamari was not only beautifully presented, it was grilled over a tiny charcoal brazier. It never would have occurred to me to prepare calamari on my backyard grill, but after tasting this appetizer I’m definitely going to try! Calamari has the perfect consistency to stand up to the heat of a charcoal grill, and the smoky flavor it gets from that application made me want to ask for seconds.

The paella was a traditional seafood paella complete with lobster tails, shrimp, scallops and more calamari. The rice was the perfect consistency and deeply flavored with saffron. It was a true pleasure.

A word about paella: Like most traditional dishes, paella varies from region to region, restaurant to restaurant. In España, seafood paella is usually considered Paella Valenciana– or Valencian Paella. Valencia is a beautiful city on the Mediterranean, and their regional dishes are filled with fresh seafood. Traditional paella from Madrid includes chorizo, chicken wings, pork, and shrimp. Clearly a landlubbing dish for a landlocked city. But one that is no less delicious.

If you make paella at home, you don’t need a fancy paella pan- although a good cast iron skillet might come in handy. You don’t even need to spend a fortune on fancy ingredients. Use what you have on hand and spend your money on good saffron and paprika.

As fabulous as our previous courses were, it was dessert that knocked me out.  Normally I would have chosen the chocolate dessert, but I was intrigued by the preparation of the banana…I was delighted and surprised with the flavor, and texture. And even though I was full, I couldn’t put down my fork!

De la Torre’s is a wonderful, low-key restaurant with a wonderful old-world, intimate setting. It the perfect landing spot after the crazy crush of humanity that was the Derby. They even offer gluten-free Spanish beer (yay!) I’m only sorry I couldn’t try more of the menu.

As our trip wound down and I packed the car to head home, I had one last stop to make before hitting the road. A locally owned coffee shop called Quills. I’m grateful for Starbucks and all when I’m on the road- especially because I have fond memories of frequenting the original Starbucks at Pike Market in Seattle, where I attended college. However, I prefer the ambience and coffee of a locally owned establishment.

Quills is right off of I-64 on Market Street in New Albany- if you’re driving cross country and you need a pick-me-up- here’s your chance! Not only do they have free wi-fi, their own brand of coffee, and a case full of goodies, some of those goodies are gluten-free! And the coffee?? Best cup I had in Louisville!

Derby Day Mint Julep

Now for that Julep Recipe I promised- there are several variations of a Julep- below are a few

Recipe A:

One shot of Kentucky Bourbon 

1 tbs mint infused simple syrup

Pour over a cup of crushed ice and serve with several mint sprigs- enjoy!

Recipe B:

One shot of Kentucky Bourbon

1 tsp powdered sugar

6 sprigs mint

Dissolve powdered sugar in a bit of the bourbon, add crushed ice and the rest of the bourbon, add the mint- enjoy.

Recipe C:

Muddle 1 tbs sugar and 1 tbs chopped mint

add a bit of bourbon to dissolve the sugar

add crushed ice

pour 1 shot of Kentucky Bourbon over the top

Add mint sprigs- enjoy!

Gluten Free Louisville part 1: Kentucky Oaks

Yes, you are looking at a shot of Churchill Downs, site of the famed Kentucky Derby. I checked off a major bucket-list wish this past weekend when I met my mother-in-law in Louisville, Kentucky to experience everything Derby Weekend had to offer. It was all hats, horses, and deliciously gluten-free!

We stayed at the charming Admiral Bicknell Inn just outside the mayhem in New Albany, Indiana. New Albany sits on the north side of the Ohio River and is 15 minutes from everything you’d want to experience in Louisville. Like many small towns, it has definitely struggled during the recession. But, its downtown corridor is still bustling and filled with local coffee shops and several locally owned restaurants. None of which I tried this time (well I did try the coffee and you’ll read about that in a later post), as my focus was on Louisville. However, the lovely Valla Ann, who runs Admiral Bicknell was such a delightful host, and was so great about making me delicious gluten-free breakfasts, I’ll definitely be spending more time in New Albany in the future!  

Our first evening in Louisville was spent on Bardstown Road, a bustling, eclectic area of the city known for its art galleries, specialty clothing shops, and multitude of locally owned restaurants. We visited Avalon, a boisterous restaurant that is a strange cross between sports bar and posh dining. However, I’d read they make a mean gluten-free lobster mac ‘n cheese, and that’s what I was there to try. It was pretty fabulous- a generous portion with a super-creamy sauce and tons of lobster. However, I did find myself wishing for some acid to cut through the richness- either in the form of lemon, zest, or even some salad greens with vinaigrette.

My mother-in-law ordered one of the best pieces of salmon I’ve ever tasted. I don’t think I’ve ever had a piece of salmon that was downright juicy- but this one was. It was prepared with a beurre-blanc sauce and served with whipped lima beans,  pea shoots, and fresh asparagus. The flavor combinations made experiencing this dish a true pleasure.

 

The next morning it was all about the horses and the hats. We enjoyed an early morning backstretch tour before returning later in the day dressed for Kentucky Oaks. Oaks day is all about the ladies and the fillies. The grandstands were a sea of pink, and the main race of the day, The Kentucky Oaks, is a race entirely comprised of fillies. The signature drink is nothing less than a pink cocktail named the Oaks Lily. They tasted a bit like vodka and fruit punch, although I learned later that they’re more like cosmos with a twist. I didn’t have the presence of mind to photograph these refreshing beauties, but I will tell you how to make my version at home.

Kentucky Oaks Lily

Place 1 oz vodka in a rocks glass filled with ice. Add 1 tbs simple syrup, 1 tbs cherry syrup (I use the juice from my Morelo Cherries) fill to the top with cranberry juice, add a splash of Grand Marnier, and garnish with a healthy sprig of mint. Best enjoyed while watching a horse race!

My favorite meal of the weekend was at the L & N Wine Bar and Bistro, a lively and friendly restaurant just south of the river and east of downtown Louisville. L & N has a cosy neighborhood atmosphere, super-friendly service, and an incredible kitchen. This meal was the highlight of our weekend. They were very gluten-free aware, and nearly everything on the pre-fixe Derby menu that night was naturally gluten-free.

I also appreciated the very reasonably priced aperitifs, and tasting sized options on the wine list. I love pairing wine with food, and to have the option of a tasting portion of wine with each course was delightful! Our server really knew his wines and suggested the perfect pairings with each of my courses. Below are pictures from two of my courses: A beautifully prepared pair of pan seared scallops accompanied by a wild mushroom ragout and tomato confit, and Gulf Shrimp paired with smoked tomato chutney and served atop locally sourced cheddar cheese grits. Both dishes were outstanding and paired beautifully with an Italian varietal called Falanghina and a phenomenal Sangiovese, respectively.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L&N Wine Bar & Bistro is the kind of place I’d visit regularly if I lived in Louisville. They are committed to sourcing locally grown, seasonal food wherever possible, and the staff seems to be the kind of people that would remember your name after a few visits. I certainly felt welcomed into their fold for the few hours I was at the restaurant and hope to return again.

I’ll leave you with a montage of just some of the lovely hats I saw, and the promise of a Derby wrap-up post that includes another great restaurant I enjoyed on Bardstown Road, as well as a recipe for the ultimate mint julep!

 

 

 

 

Project Food Blog Voting is Now Open!!

Hello everyone! Voting for Project Food Blog Challenge #1 is now open. Whether you’re a regular reader or this is your first visit to my site, I welcome your support and your vote! I’m really excited about this challenge as it presents a golden opportunity to show people that you can eat incredible, beautiful food that just happens to be gluten-free.

To vote for me click on this link: http://www.foodbuzz.com/project_food_blog/challenges/1/view/607 and then, please cut and paste, or forward your subscription email far and wide. With your help I can advance to the second round. Thanks for your support and encouragement, and keep cooking fun things in the kitchen!

A Re-post of my challenge # 1 Ready, Set, Blog  Entry- Enjoy!

Dancing like Ginger, Drinking like Dr. Seuss

My Story:

I learned how to cook because I was a chicken. I don’t come from a family of cooks. By the time I was 19 I had a history of cooking disasters under my belt ranging from setting grilled cheese sandwiches on fire to putting the last batch of Christmas cookies in the oven and then driving my little brother to McDonald’s for ice-cream, returning home to a smoke-filled house and a cookie sheet so hot I dropped it and then kicked it outside to the snow, worried I’d melt the linoleum and the carpet.

Then I moved to Madrid, Spain, for a family exchange, and on my first day wandering around the city, my bohemian dreams of a European life were dashed by a man my grandfather’s age who propositioned me. Horrified and unsure of myself, I took to hiding out in the apartment. The housekeeper, Marisol, a frizzy-haired battle-axe, dressed in a blue-striped housecoat with tobacco stained teeth and coke-bottle glasses, took pity on me. She brought me into the kitchen, sat me on a stool, and forced me to practice my Spanish by memorizing, and then preparing with her, the family recipes.  I returned home passionate about food and confident not only in my cooking abilities, but in life.

Twelve years ago, my foodie world was rocked when I was diagnosed with celiac. At that time, it was a foodie death-sentence. Even at the best restaurants, I was resigned to vegetable terrine and ice-cream. Tasty, mind you, but boring. It became my mission to create food so delicious that no one would care that it was gluten-free.

What defines me as a food blogger:

My blog works to dispel the myth that gluten-free food is tasteless and boring; that cooking gluten-free is difficult and confusing. I do this in a way that is entertaining and encourages people to take risks and have fun in the kitchen.  For me, cooking is an act of love. And chances are, you or someone you know, perhaps even someone you love, is gluten-free. Cooking or living gluten-free doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. It is simply another food adventure, filled with heavenly flavors and textures, sure to delight your senses.

Why I should be the next food blog star:

To create incredible food that is also gluten-free is a little like Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high-heels. So bring on the blogging challenge. You’ll be drooling over food that looks and tastes amazing, and you won’t care that it’s gluten-free because your taste buds and your heart will be doing the happy dance! I’m here to help you share the cooking love with all the people you love- gluten-full and gluten-free. Share the laughter and passion, and dive fearlessly into the kitchen with me for a new and wonderful food adventure.

Watermelon Fennel Breeze  

My blog would not be complete without a recipe. To kick this challenge off in a way that is fun and glamorous, to celebrate a new adventure, and because I had a watermelon to use up at a party I hosted last night, here’s a fun cocktail to try. The fresh squeezed watermelon is vibrant and flavorful, while the fennel stalk adds a little whimsy (think truffula tree) and a hint of anise flavor to the drink. The bigger stalks are hollow and make great straws! So put on your dancing shoes and go have some fun in your kitchen!

 

Ingredients:

1 tbs agave nectar (Simple syrup will also work)

1/3 cup fresh squeezed watermelon juice (you can use a juicer, or just take a sieve and mush the watermelon through into a 2 cup measuring cup)

1/2 of a lime wedge

2 oz vodka-  infused vodka is also nice, we used raspberry in some of ours- I prefer plain

For a family friendly cocktail, use 4 oz of sparkling lime-flavored mineral water

1 fennel stalk

Directions:

In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine agave nectar, watermelon juice, lime and vodka. Stir vigorously until agave nectar has dissolved. Pour into your favorite glass over ice, and add a fennel stalk.

 

Be warned- while these beauties are delicious- they are also potent. Do not consume more than one or two….Unless you want to find your face implanted on the keyboard a bit later. Cheers!



Watermelon Cocktail

In the spirit of Adventure I have  joined a foodblogging competition!  Project Food Blog is hosted by the great people at Foodbuzz.com. For me, this is an opportunity to show the world that great tasting, beautiful food can be fun to make and gluten-free. The post below is my entry into the first round of the competition. I ask you to join me on this adventure by casting your vote for my blog beginning tomorrow (I’ll send another post with the voting link!). And, by all means, if you like what I’m doing here in The Adventuresome Kitchen, please forward to your friends and family. Let the Adventure Begin! Oh yes, and enjoy the delicious cocktail at the end of this post!

Challenge # 1: Ready, Set, Blog!

My Story:

I learned how to cook because I was a chicken. I don’t come from a family of cooks. By the time I was 19 I had a history of cooking disasters under my belt ranging from setting grilled cheese sandwiches on fire to putting the last batch of Christmas cookies in the oven and then driving my little brother to McDonald’s for ice-cream, returning home to a smoke-filled house and a cookie sheet so hot I dropped it and then kicked it outside to the snow, worried I’d melt the linoleum and the carpet.

Then I moved to Madrid, Spain, for a family exchange, and on my first day wandering around the city, my bohemian dreams of a European life were dashed by a man my grandfather’s age who propositioned me. Horrified and unsure of myself, I took to hiding out in the apartment. The housekeeper, Marisol, a frizzy-haired battle-axe, dressed in a blue-striped housecoat with tobacco stained teeth and coke-bottle glasses, took pity on me. She brought me into the kitchen, sat me on a stool, and forced me to practice my Spanish by memorizing, and then preparing with her, the family recipes.  I returned home passionate about food and confident not only in my cooking abilities, but in life.

Twelve years ago, my foodie world was rocked when I was diagnosed with celiac. At that time, it was a foodie death-sentence. Even at the best restaurants, I was resigned to vegetable terrine and ice-cream. Tasty, mind you, but boring. It became my mission to create food so delicious that no one would care that it was gluten-free.

What defines me as a food blogger:

My blog works to dispel the myth that gluten-free food is tasteless and boring; that cooking gluten-free is difficult and confusing. I do this in a way that is entertaining and encourages people to take risks and have fun in the kitchen.  For me, cooking is an act of love. And chances are, you or someone you know, perhaps even someone you love, is gluten-free. Cooking or living gluten-free doesn’t have to be a big scary thing. It is simply another food adventure, filled with heavenly flavors and textures, sure to delight your senses.

Why I should be the next food blog star:

To create incredible food that is also gluten-free is a little like Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did, but backwards and in high-heels. So bring on the blogging challenge. You’ll be drooling over food that looks and tastes amazing, and you won’t care that it’s gluten-free because your taste buds and your heart will be doing the happy dance! I’m here to help you share the cooking love with all the people you love- gluten-full and gluten-free. Share the laughter and passion, and dive fearlessly into the kitchen with me for a new and wonderful food adventure.

Watermelon Fennel Breeze  

My blog would not be complete without a recipe. To kick this challenge off in a way that is fun and glamorous, to celebrate a new adventure, and because I had a watermelon to use up at a party I hosted last night, here’s a fun cocktail to try. The fresh squeezed watermelon is vibrant and flavorful, while the fennel stalk adds a little whimsy (think truffula tree) and a hint of anise flavor to the drink. The bigger stalks are hollow and make great straws! So put on your dancing shoes and go have some fun in your kitchen!

 

Ingredients:

1 tbs agave nectar (Simple syrup will also work)

1/3 cup fresh squeezed watermelon juice (you can use a juicer, or just take a sieve and mush the watermelon through into a 2 cup measuring cup)

1/2 of a lime wedge

2 oz vodka-  infused vodka is also nice, we used raspberry in some of ours- I prefer plain

For a family friendly cocktail, use 4 oz of sparkling lime-flavored mineral water

1 fennel stalk

Directions:

In a 2 cup measuring cup, combine agave nectar, watermelon juice, lime and vodka. Stir vigorously until agave nectar has dissolved. Pour into your favorite glass over ice, and add a fennel stalk.

 

Be warned- while these beauties are delicious- they are also potent. Do not consume more than one or two….Unless you want to find your face implanted on the keyboard a bit later. Cheers!

Two Fruit Smoothie Recipes

Life can sometimes take us to very unexpected places. And, if we’re willing, we can respond with a spirit of adventure and resilience. For those of us with food allergies, we know this territory well. In my mother-in-law’s case, emergency surgery, the removal of 90% of her stomach, and near death has forced her to make permanent changes to her diet, for the rest of her life. Instead of giving up and despairing, she has embraced this new chance at life whole-heartedly and with a spirit of true adventure. I am so proud of her! So, today- in honor of the spirit of adventure that birthed this country, and in honor of my mother-in-law I present to you two fruit smoothie recipes. I designed the first fruit smoothie recipe specifically for my mother-in-law who can now only eat in tiny amounts. The second fruit smoothie recipe was created by the youngest Kitchen Diva in Training.

Many people look to fruit smoothies as a quick way to get protein and fruit on the go. Many people also promote them for gut healing or for cleansing. I’m not really on the cleanse band wagon, but I do enjoy creative ways to get more fruit and protein into my diet. Keep in mind, smoothies can also be made with a combination of fruits and veggies- check out some of Boulder Locavore’s creative green smoothies for additional inspiration

These 2 smoothies were designed to be small. If  you need to make a bigger serving, just multiply the portions by 2 or 3. Whatever the size, you will find this to be cool and refreshing!

Smoothie 1:

 

Ingredients

2 tbs plain yogurt

2 tbs fruit of your choice- banana, peach, strawberry, blueberry, etc.

2 tbs of unsweetened almond milk, or nondairy milk of your choice

1/2 tsp lemon or orange juice

3-4 ice-cubes

Directions: Blend and enjoy

Smoothie 2: (invented by my youngest)

 

Ingredients

1/4 cup (4tbs) unsweetened almond milk or other non-dairy milk

1/4 cup frozen fruit- strawberry, banana, blueberry etc., slightly softened

1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions: Blend and enjoy