GOING GLUTEN-FREE

April 1, 2015

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Aren’t we cooking and eating in an amazing part of human history? I may be speaking from my San Francisco bubble (within an even greater California bubble) but I feel like we have so much more info at our fingertips about how to eat and what to eat than even just a few years ago. I don’t remember exactly when I became aware of the organic movement, or of eating around the seasons — these concepts just seemed to slowly permeate the zeitgeist sometime in the mid 2000’s — but before we learned about these options my family and I were using an embarrassing amount of processed, frozen and canned ingredients in our meals — even though we cooked the majority of them at home from ‘scratch.’ We just didn’t know better. The thought of choosing whole grains over processed grains wasn’t even a glimmer in anyone’s eye yet — let alone the concept of living a wheat-free life altogether.

IMG_5835I’ll never forget when I learned about choosing ‘whole’ foods over processed (coincidentally, this happened at the same time I learned how important keeping one’s blood sugar at an even level is). On a one-stop flight from Los Angeles to Geneva I started reading Michael Pollan’s Food Rules, which subsequently terrified me into eating anything the airlines had to offer me (talk about processed!). In JFK during my layover I ordered the most real-seeming meal option I could find — a mushroom salad. 10 hours later or so I arrived in Europe, but sometimes travel throws you a few curve balls, and the result was that nearly 30 hours passed with nothing in my system but one mushroom salad. That’s when things got ugly. I stopped whatever I was doing and began laughing and crying hysterically at the same time, until my frantic travel partner was able to exchange some currency and order us a pizza. After years of many more brushes with ‘hangriness’ and the loss of one’s mental facilities, I’ve finally learned to roll with trail mix everywhere I go — but it was a long dark road to enlightenment. 
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While I’ve made a conscious effort since to follow Pollan’s very simple food rules (eat food; not a lot; mostly plants) there’s sp much info out there to process about nutrition and health. During a food cleanse a couple years ago I first dabbled with going gluten-free. After about 2-3 weeks my permanently stuffy nose magically cleared up for the first time in living memory. I could catch subtle scents in dishes I had never been able to before, but once I cheated with any gluten at all my sinuses reacted immediately. I toyed with the idea of staying off gluten permanently… but then I moved to Paris. And that, as they say, was the end of that.

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If you’re looking for an adorable apron like Sarah is wearing here, it’s from Anthropolige (of course)

Having been back from France for some time, I’ve renewed my interest in exploring gluten-free options. Bay area food bloggers and chefs Sarah and Phi let me come shadow them the other week as they prepared for a dinner featuring only alternative flours. Sarah’s blog regularly features gluten-free recipes, and Phi can do things with miso I had no idea were possible. Together they created a delectable menu blending mediterranean and japanese flavors. The items you saw rolled out in the first photo are wild rice crackers, served with a mizuna, pomelo and quail egg salad tossed with a sesame-miso vinaigrette that I would personally put on everything I ate. The recipes are going to be up on their respective blogs tomorrow —  so be sure to check back in! (UPDATE: Here is the rice cracker recipe) Sarah’s over at Snixy Kitchen, and Phi is the indisputable Princess Tofu.

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Home made pickles in rice wine vinegar and miso. From left to right: brussel sprouts/beets/black beets/young ginger/daikon/more daikon/romanesco (personally my favorite was the daikon, although the beets were a close second)

Other gluten-free options that night included chestnut pasta with braised shitake, deep fried celery root, and a sous-vide egg, red bean tofu, and finally a creamy pine nut pudding. Now that I think about it the entire menu was also vegetarian — so many creative and delicious options around the typical Western diet! As for that chestnut pasta — it was creamy, nutty and delicious — Sarah has the recipe for pasta up on her blog right here. While the alternative ‘flours’ dinner is over, Phi is regularly cooking up exciting and unique meals on Feastly — you can follow her profile by clicking here.

glutenfreeDo you remember when you first learned about organic food, eating seasonally, or alternative options — or did you grow up eating chestnut flour? Let me know what you think about glutten, home pickling, and/or your most embarrassing ‘hangry’ story in the comments below. I’ve got so many stories to share about exploring SF, eating delicious foods, and getting ready for spring — until I have a chance to share more here on this blog be sure to connect with me on instagram where I’m by far the most active — send me a note on there so I can follow you back! Or find me over at pinteresttwitter, or facebook.

Happy April 1st my friends! I’m so excited for a new month and particularly for TAX season to be behind us (we’re so close!). Until I see you next time — thank you for reading!

 

15 Comments
  1. Having studied the Mediterranean Diet during my time in Greece, I think Pollan totally nailed it from my perspective- to give you an idea my great-grandfather, who lived to be 106, would “always leave the table a little hungry,” gardened regularly until his final years, and followed a fast that eliminated meat and dairy from his diet more than half of the year. He also had a shot of “raki” every day (he called it his poison.) While I’m not on the gluten-free train myself, I love this new trend of making conscious choices to eat whole, unprocessed foods and add more greens and less meat to our diets. I think it’s something we as Americans desperately need.

    Anyways, those recipes sounded divine! I’ll have to try them out at some point.

    • jm

      I love your grandpa! Thank you for sharing his story it’s incredibly inspiring! So for half of the year he would eat meat/dairy? How interesting! Goes to show how important nutrition is for overall health and wellness — we really are what we eat. I’ve been working on the ‘stop when you’re 80% full’ as well. Instead of making 2 meals I’ve been practicing with 1.5 and sharing it with another person to eat less.
      Thanks so much for sharing your tips! The mediterreanean diet is really where it’s at =)

  2. Ooooh. Good stuff. I did not grow up eating chestnut flour, but my mom became pretty health conscious by the time I was 10 (you know, California). We ate only organic stuff, never ate processed foods and also avoided eating out at “cheap” places. I haven’t been to McDonalds in over a decade. Yup… I don’t share that with just anyone. ;)

    • jm

      That’s something to be proud of Daisy and good for your mom being ahead of the trend! Hi five!

  3. Amazing, I must say I’m jealous you’ve been back to Feastly HQ again, our last brunch was so much fun! I’ve never had problems with Gluten but I still find it interesting and important to learn about. I really started choosing organic after doing personal research online about pesticides, chemicals and all the nonsense. That research and clean eating is what led me to natural and organic skincare and beauty. For me, the more I learn the more I want to know. I’m happy you’ve gotten the chance to publish a new blog post!

    Xx, Tiffany | http://www.sunshinedaydreamphotography.com

    • jm

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tiffany! I always look forward to your blog posts about natural and organic skin products — you’re definitely much more knowledgeable in that area than I am! And thanks a bunch – I am SO happy I finally had time to post ^_^

  4. I’m seriously in love with all of these photos! You captured that meal so beautifully. So glad we got to hang that evening over such divine food. <3

    • jm

      Me too Alanna!!! So glad you like the pics — I take that as high praise from a photographer as talented as yourself ^_^

  5. Jessica! Thank you so much for coming and shooting our process. Your photos turned out so beautiful and this tribute to the dinner makes me giddy. Thank you! While a ton of work, it was so fun to spend a day in the kitchen and then get to share the fruits of that labor with my friends – including you! I hope to make it to YOUR next Feastly as well! xx!

    • jm

      I hope you make it as well Sarah!!! It was such a pleasure watching you making your magic! Let’s do it again some time =)

  6. Your photos! GAH! As always, they’re amazing and beautiful.

    I like the idea of gluten free-ish. My boyfriend is mostly gluten free because it makes him feel better, so I end up not eating too much gluten. Especially at home! I’m on the as-little-processed-as-possible diet. :)

    • jm

      That’s awesome Carla, I’m trying to get on that diet myself! I always loving reading your recipe posts — so tasty and encouraging =)

      So glad you enjoyed the post ^_^

    • jm

      But of course my dear! You should definitely come to the next one its in one week! We’ll talk more ;)
      XO

  7. h

    Hi, love your site! I am a former SF local. I was looking at your SF Neighborhood guide and noticed that Berma Super Star should be Burma and Bermese should be Burmese. Their website also uses a “u”. Wouldn’t want to offend any Burmese people by spelling their country name wrong! :)

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