Mmm, mmm, good….gluten free Maine!

Monica says:

Last Christmas when the family was all gathered for the holidays, we started tossing around places that we would like to vacation in the summer. After a lively discussion, we settled on Maine.

Yes, Maine.

The only state with one syllable…Maine was the winner!

January came and I started to scope out prospective places to stay for what would be our “Junebabies Birthday Celebration!”  Daria, Claudia and I were all born under the sign of Gemini and we always loved celebrating our birthdays together! It’s more fun and honestly, we get to celebrate all month long since we are 10 days apart from the beginning of the month to the end! (How did we manage that??)

Anyway, we chose the coastal town of Ogunquit which means “beautiful place by the sea” and it fully lived up to its name!

With 90% of its coast open to visitors and a gorgeous white beach, who could complain? The weather was a bit rainy in the beginning of the week, but that didn’t dampen our spirits. We were lucky to have some 70+ degree weather in no time and it was just lovely.

And now let’s talk about food…..gluten free food!

The majority of our meals was eaten out and about, but after an unfortunate incident where both Daria and I got “glutened,” Daria’s boyfriend, Andy, (a trained chef), came to our aid and cooked dinner for us a few nights.

We were so lucky to have both his skills and willingness to help us and our gastrointestinal tracts that soon we were ready to take the plunge again into the restaurant scene!

Here we enjoyed some ribs and gluten free mac ‘n cheese from BeachFire Bar & Grille 

Breakfast made by Chef Andy and Chef Daria included her famous gluten free pancakes from Batter (her business) and his specialty of bacon and sausage. They prepared breakfast more than a few times, but I was so busy eating, I forgot to photograph all of the wonderful treats!!

Next we enjoyed a home-cooked meal of grilled pork chops with Andy’s special rub, grilled asparagus, and mashed potatoes that I am still dreaming about!

And barbequed chicken made the menu, too….yum!

Our “Junebabies Birthday Celebration” included our baking Funfetti vanilla cupcakes and we celebrated by eating them with ice cream….we were having so much fun, that we didn’t photograph the food as much as the singing and wish making!

Happy birthday, girls!

And I am so happy to be with my favorite Junebabies for our birthdays!

We ventured up to Portland (about 45 minutes north of Ogunquit) a few times and found some wonderful things to eat there.

The best place, by far, was Bam Bam Bakery!

A gluten free bakery in the heart of Portland, it had just about everything we could ask for. From goodies to savory items, where everything is made from scratch, this little gem had it all!

Take a look!

 

Daria and I were in gluten free heaven!

And right across the street was Browne Trading Market which had fresh fish, caviar, and smoked seafood as well as cheeses, jams, vinegars, etc., and of course, wine!

For lunch, one trip into Portland, Lewie and I stopped in The Lobster Company and I ordered a lobster salad as you can see! The problem was that upon ordering, the girl never said that there would be a 45 minute wait for our food!!

Yikes….for a salad?

Only saving grace was that the lobster-shaped table pager, which we couldn’t wait for to vibrate, was adorable!

Daria and Andy headed to El Rayo Taqueria for some much talked about tacos…they love Mexican and were super excited! Most (notice I said most) Mexican food is gluten free, so it’s good choice!

Al Carbon taco with char grilled chicken with pico de gallo salsa, cotija cheese, shredded lettuce & radish on the left and Carne Asada taco with char grilled steak with rajas, pico de gallo, shredded lettuce & lime on the right. Both delicious and gluten free, of course!

Elevation Burger was another choice for a change of pace and it did not disappoint!

100% organic, grass-fed, free range burgers make all the difference….so fresh and tasty. All that was missing was a gluten free bun, but they had a lettuce wrap, so that’s what I got!

NO fries, of course!

Dessert was a scrumptious cup of gelato from Gorgeous Gelato.  Making a selection was tough but I decided on pistachio….oh dear! So smooth and delightful! The owners are from Milan, Italy, and this gelato is true Italian gelato!

Wish I had a bigger stomach!

Maine, which supplies almost 90% of the nation’s lobsters, is teeming with places sporting the best lobster rolls and lobster tails. Back in Ogunquit, we decided to go to The Lobster Shack in Perkins Cove, the local fishing community, to check out their “full Maine experience.”

What a great little place!

All of the live lobsters are caught by local lobstermen and are held in ocean water tanks before steaming.

This had to be the sweetest lobster we ever ate!

And the “Maine experience” included shelling the whole lobster and even though it took us a while (we are complete novices), it was very enjoyable. Thank goodness for the “lobster bibs”…they proved to be so necessary!

Before our lobster dinners arrived, we decided to try the homemade New England clam chowder. It is a family recipe that doesn’t have any thickening flour which worked with our gluten free diet!

Full of clams, haddock, potatoes, onions, spices, milk and cream….oh what a delicious way to start the meal!

And I can’t forget the steamers!

We were a very happy table with happy bellies!

Even though it wasn’t planned, we seemed to save the best restaurant for last!

With so many gluten free options, we were thrilled to find and experience Roost Café and Bistro in Ogunquit.

Their homemade gluten free products are made on site by their chefs and the proof is in the taste!

We had gone to this wonderful eatery on Friday evening (our last night of vacation) and wish that we had discovered it sooner!

Of course we wanted to try everything but settled on two gluten free appetizers. The first was the Pan Fried Crab Cakes with red pepper aioli and dressed greens. They were amazing!

Next, was the Calamari with roasted garlic, pineapple and sweet chili sauce. This breaded and fried delight was the best ever!

My entrée was the Seared Scallops, pan roasted with creamy sweet pea risotto, and house veggies. Full of flavor and so delicious! All gluten free!

Daria chose the Fish and Chips, baked haddock with lime-cilantro slaw, and fries (made in a dedicated fryer!). She was so happy with this entrée….fried but gluten free! When does this happen in a restaurant? Almost never!

We were so full at dessert time that we declined, even though the gluten free offerings sounded incredible. A few hours later, we realized that I had gotten a piece of Tiramisu from Bam Bam Bakery and we found it in the refrigerator!

Here we are devouring it!

After eating our dessert, Daria and Andy suggested that we go to Roost before leaving for home for their breakfast/brunch. And since it was Daria’s birthday, we couldn’t resist!

As we sat down, we all were feeling the same way….we just didn’t want our vacation to come to an end. But once we ordered our breakfast food, we knew it would end on a high note!

The birthday girl ordered Brioche French Toast stuffed with mascarpone, fresh berries, and whipped cream….just what she wanted!

I chose the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes….which were so amazing! They were the fluffiest gluten free pancakes that I have ever eaten!

OmG! Take a look at these beauties!

I had a little help, but I would say I did good, yes?

And since our puppy daughter, Molly, wasn’t able to come with us to the beautiful state of Maine, she had to have some lobster, too….okay, it’s not edible, but cute, huh?

Some day we hope to return to Maine…..such a gorgeous place with some great gluten free food!

And next time, we hope to see a moose!

But for now, we brought home the next best thing!

© 2017, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

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Happy New Year! Soup for you!

We hope 2017 is off to a great start!

It seems that every time I turn around, a week or two has passed! Yikes!

Do any of you feel the same?

I have been on a mission to make a more concerted effort to eat as organic as possible and have been busy in the kitchen. Since my Daria continues to bring me wonderful organic food from the Lancaster Co-op, I have been creating recipes to satisfy our appetites and souls.

Here is a creation of a butternut squash soup with apples….all organic and all delicious!

And did I say it was easy?

All you need is a saucepan, a bit of time, a blender, and you are set!

Enjoy!

 

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Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

1 whole butternut squash, peeled, cut and cooked

1 apple, cored, cut and cooked

2 T olive oil

1 small onion, cut

1 peeled garlic clove, minced

10.5 oz veggie stock

¼ tsp thyme

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

NOTE: In order to infuse the flavors, you need to cook the ingredients on the stovetop before blending.

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Add olive oil to large saucepan and when hot, saute onion and garlic until translucent.

Add the squash and apple and cover with the veggie stock.

Add the thyme, cinnamon and salt.

Cook until fork tender.

Now put the squash mixture into your blender and blend until smooth!

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Y*U*M!

Hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do!

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whisks © 2017, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Pizza from a gluten-free mix!

Monica says:

Sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve posted, but this winter has not been kind to me!

Let’s just say I am so happy to say “Spring has sprung” and I look forward to reconnecting with all of you!

So here’s my story:

I rarely make anything from a gluten-free mix.

But I have to ask myself why I don’t!

If the ingredients in a mix are well balanced and don’t include much salt and/or sugar, I will consider trying it! Hey, I’ll try anything at least once and if it works, it’s a keeper!

Such is the case with Stonewall Kitchen Pizza Crust.

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I had not tried anything by this company yet and wanting something easy for the Lenten season,

I grabbed a box and decided to give it a whirl!

The directions were clear enough so I went to work.

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Of course, you needed to pat in onto the cookie sheet and at first I wasn’t sure if I would have enough dough to go around,

but to my surprise, it filled the pan!

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One problem: the dough didn’t rise as expected when I put it in a “warm” place. So I put it in the oven on warm for a short time and voila!

Now onto my toppings! Yay!

I generally just use a can of crushed organic tomatoes with lots of seasonings.

Since Daria started partnering with Calicutts Spice Co., I have become infatuated with Robert’s “Mediterranean” spice blend.

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It’s fantastic! A must-try!

Anyway, a little sprinkle of Romano cheese, lots of “Mediterrean” spice, some fresh onions, and black olives and it’s ready for the oven!

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I wish you could smell what my kitchen smells like now….oh dear!

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What a perfect Lenten meal when we are going meatless!

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Just glad I bought this mix….you should, too!

© 2016, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

Not your average soup and salad!

Monica says:

Today was the first snowfall of the season where we live!

I must admit, even though I was secretly hoping that we might skip winter weather all together, it did look beautiful while it was falling!

So since we are working on delivering great soup recipes this month, the soup that I chose for this week is a home run!

As I was going through my recipes this Cream of Crab soup popped out and I just knew that I had to make it…crab is a favorite of ours IN anything, ON anything, and WITH anything!

So I had a handwritten piece of paper, torn on one edge, folded and creased….but I was able to track down the original recipe online.

It just so happens that this recipe won the “Grand Prize” in the Soup Division of the Annual National Hard Crab Derby in Crisfield, Maryland, on Labor Day weekend of each year. So since it was the winner in 2000, I just had to replicate it!

Turns out, that the recipe is gluten free!

The only thing that I changed was instead of using cornstarch, I used 1 T of arrowroot starch in ½ cup of  water to thicken the soup.

Yep, that was it!

And let me say, this soup is a full fat dinner or lunch…no skimping here! And surely not for the lactose intolerant, unless Lactaid tabs work for you!

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So here is the recipe, credited to Ms. Char Ann Smith…great job, Ms. Smith!

Award Winning Maryland Cream of Crab Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 pint whole milk

1 quart half-and-half

2 pints heavy whipping cream

1 lb jumbo lump crab meat (only from Maryland will do!)

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

3 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

1⁄4 cup butter

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

1⁄8 teaspoon pepper

cornstarch

water

dry sherry, to taste

 

DIRECTIONS

Bring milk, half and half, and heavy whipping cream to a boil. Add crab meat, fresh parsley, Old Bay Seasoning, butter, salt and pepper. When it starts to boil, make a paste of cornstarch and water and add to thicken soup.

To serve, sprinkle each serving with a bit of Old Bay and chopped parsley. Serve with oyster crackers and a small cream pitcher of sherry on the side for diners to add to taste.

That’s how we do it in Maryland!

© Char Ann Smith of Bishopville, MD

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To go along with the cream of crab soup, I decided to make a salad with some great ingredients that I had in my fridge.

I wanted it to be fresh and have a lot of texture.

Here’s what I came up with!

Roasted Squash with Beets, Spinach, and Feta

INGREDIENTS

2 acorn squashes, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces (you can use any squash you choose)

4 organic beets, roasted and cut into bite-size pieces

Bed of organic baby spinach (or greens of your choice)

1 (15 oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

Pomegranate seeds

Salt and pepper to taste

Feta cheese crumbles for garnish

Dressing:

¼ cup orange juice (from the carton or freshly squeezed)

⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400˚ and when ready, roast acorn squash with olive oil, a sprinkle of Autumn Harvest spice blend from Calicutts (or pumpkin pie spice), salt and pepper for approximately 40 minutes or until tender. Turn halfway during roasting.

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Whisk the dressing for the salad and set aside.

When the squash is done, cool slightly and then begin assembling the salad.

Place a bed of organic baby spinach in the bottom of a bowl, top with roasted squash (it smells amazing), organic beets, pomegranate seeds, salt (not too much, since the feta cheese is salty), and pepper.

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Drizzle with orange/oil dressing.

Garnish with feta cheese.

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© 2016, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk whisks

Oh, so delightful!

So soup and salad definitely warmed up our night!

 

How about you? Soup and salad?

Enjoy!

© 2016, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “Souper” days of January!

Monica and Daria say:

Happy New Year, everyone!

2016 is here and we are excited about the possibilities to come in the next 12 months!

Since our weather here has been so mild, we haven’t been thinking about one of our favorite foods….soup!

However, these past few nights have reminded us that we are, in fact, in the season of winter and are now feeling its frigid temperatures. When we took Molly for her daily walk today, it was an amazing 16 degrees….did we say 16 degrees at 2:30 in the afternoon?

Yikes!

Anyway, this is now soup weather and every week in January we will be sharing a great homemade soup recipe with you!

Our first recipe is for a lentil soup that is not only super easy but is super good!

Lentils, which grow in pods and are part of the legume family, are a super food. They not only help lower cholesterol but pack some serious fiber. If you love your heart, lentils are the way to go because these little powerhouses contain not only fiber, but magnesium and folate, which help prevent heart disease.

So, how about a great recipe for lentil soup?

You got it!

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Lentil Soup

Ingredients:

2 T coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 medium sized carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds

1 T minced garlic

½ tsp dried thyme

½ tsp kosher salt

½ cup chunky tomato sauce

1 ½ cups lentils (we used orange hulled lentils)

32 oz unsalted chicken or veggie stock (we used chicken)

Dash of pepper

1 T red wine vinegar

Directions:

Chop onion, peel and chop carrots, and mince garlic. Set aside.

Heat the olive or coconut oil over medium heat.

Add onion and carrot rounds and sauté until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the minced garlic, dried thyme, and salt. Stir into mixture for about 30 seconds.

Now stir in chunky tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute.

Add lentils and cook for an additional 1 minute.

Now add the 32 oz of stock and make sure that the mixture is covered with the liquid. If not, add some additional stock or even water.

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Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and then lower the heat to simmer. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to one hour, or until the lentils are tender.

Season with additional scant amount of salt and pepper as taste requires.

Stir in the vinegar just before serving.

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The flavors in this soup blended so well; each spoonful was delicious!

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It really hit the spot on a blustery day!

Hope you get a chance to try this recipe….it won’t disappoint and you will gain some nutritious benefits, too!

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Enjoy!

© 2016, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk  whisks

 

 

Stuffed peppers….gluten-free stlye!

Monica says:

One of my favorite veggies is the pepper!

Or is it a fruit?

Technically, it is a fruit since it has seeds, but in a culinary sense, it is a vegetable since it is used for its savory taste.

Either way you look at it, peppers are a favorite!

When I am preparing a veggie tray I make sure that I represent all colors of peppers, but when I select peppers to stuff, I inevitably pick the red variety. Of course, red peppers are just green peppers at their ripest, and I guess that’s what I am drawn to…the sweet, yummy flavor!

This recipe entails a minimal amount of prep and you will be delighted with the results…I hope!

The most important part of the prep is choosing beautiful, flat-bottomed, red peppers.

They need to be able to stand in the baking dish without too much wobbling!

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So that’s your first assignment….the rest is easy!

Stuffed Red Peppers

4 red peppers; top cut off only, seeds removed, washed, and drained

Turkey Filling

1 lb ground turkey

½ cup of gluten-free oatmeal

1 egg

1 scallion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 heaping T grated Romano cheese

½ cup of canned crushed tomatoes

Dash of salt and pepper

Topping for peppers

1 ½ to 2 cups of canned crushed tomatoes

Seasoned with a dash of dried basil, salt and pepper, and garlic powder

 

First, wash the red peppers. Remove the tops only with a knife, and remove seeds.

Turn upside down on cutting board or paper toweling to drain.

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Meanwhile, make your turkey filling by combining all ingredients listed above.

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Fill each pepper cavity with the turkey filling and place in a baking dish that will hold them tightly.

This helps them stay upright against each other.

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In a small bowl, combine the crushed tomatoes with the seasonings, mix, and pour over the peppers.

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Bake at 350 for approximately 40-50 minutes.

If you can insert a knife into the pepper with little resistance, they are good to go!

If you like the peppers softer, add a few minutes…you just don’t want to dry out the turkey filling!

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Serve with a sprinkle of Romano cheese on top and a side salad!

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Easy and delicious!

Enjoy!

© 2015, Monica of glutenfreedoubletalk  whisks

 

 

 

Acorn squash with a gluten-free twist!

Monica and Daria say:

If any of you are regulars on Facebook, you may have seen a post for a delicious way to make acorn squash.

The stuffing looked amazing and had sausage and lots of gooey cheese in it.

While we are sure that it tasted as good as it looked, we decided to make a vegetarian and

gluten-free (of course) stuffing for our acorn squash.

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After washing and removing the seeds from our squashes, we roasted them with a little olive oil and pumpkin pie spices.

What an aroma! The whole kitchen was happy!

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While the squash was roasting, we chose our ingredients for the stuffing.

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What would be a better base for a stuffing than some yummy quinoa?

Yes, quinoa it would be!

And what delectable food ingredients can we add to the base?

How about our favorite Honeycrisp apples for crunch…

some scallions for savory flavor…

fresh parsley to make it vibrant…

chopped walnuts for extra protein…

dried cranberries for a wee bit of sweetness…

and lemon zest to pump it up!

 

Here is the step-by-step recipe for you!

Acorn Squash with Quinoa Stuffing

Ingredients:

2 acorn squashes

Olive oil

Pumpkin pie spice

1 cup quinoa

1 Honeycrisp apple, chopped

2-3 scallions, diced

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Handful of chopped walnuts

Handful of dried cranberries

1 whole lemon, plus zest

2 T sunflower oil

Salt and pepper

 

Directions:

Cut 2 acorn squashes in half; remove seeds.

Drizzle each piece with olive oil.

Sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions. Place one cup dry quinoa into 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.

While quinoa is cooking, chop the Honeycrisp apple into bite-size pieces. Dice scallions and chop fresh parsley. Chop a handful of walnuts. Set aside in a bowl.

Now add a handful of dried cranberries to the bowl.

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When quinoa is done, remove from the pot and spread on a cookie sheet to cool slightly.

Make the dressing with the juice of one whole lemon, add some zest from the lemon and combine with sunflower oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Now assemble the dish by placing squash onto each plate and fill the cavity of each squash half with the quinoa stuffing.

whisks     © 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk

 

Note:   We started out with three acorn squashes and when we cut into them, we ended up with only two! Make sure you look at them carefully when purchasing them!

 

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You will have more stuffing than you need but guess what?

It’s a great lunch for tomorrow, without the squash!

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This dinner was not very labor intensive and it was delightful!

Enjoy as much squash as you can while it’s at its best!

Happy roasting!

© 2015, Monica & Daria of glutenfreedoubletalk