Category Archives: salad

My GF Pizza Obsession Continues at Detours Tavern

(NOTE: Detour Tavern is now closed…)

White pizza with kale, broccoli and mushrooms…YUM!

OK, once again we are back on pizza. I know, I know, you’re sick of me harping on the GF pizza quest. It’s my obsession to find something that comes close to real pizza, as you know. But trust me on this, it’s working. Last night, I got closer than I’ve gotten in a long time.

A dear friend invited me to dinner and said, “I saw gluten free on the menu, so let’s go.” Of course, that made me nervous, who knows what’s there and how they make it, right? But I always figure I can have a salad, and I’m touched that she thought of me and I love that she wanted to go with me.

Cut to a few nights later as we sit in Detours Tavern in Scottsdale. Not too much ambiance, more of a sports bar feel,  but not bad and it is clean. It used to be a Chinese restaurant that was anything but clean. So nice to see that gone at least. I checked the menu and noticed a few things I could order, but then noticed they had pizzas and a little note saying they had gluten-free pizza. Hmmm, after checking with the server, who assured me that they put the gf pizzas on a separate pan to bake and use separate utensils, I ordered a white pizza with kale, mushrooms and broccoli. One word-Wow! Thin, crispy, light, chewy, amazing. And it’s huge, not the usual tiny GF pizza that costs a fortune and isn’t worth the money. This did cost about $12, but it was totally worth it.

Of course, that meant I had to grill the poor guy for all the particulars. He said they get it from Sysco and he thought it was made in AZ somewhere. The owner wasn’t there and he said he’d call me with the information. Of course, I couldn’t wait for that so I checked on my phone and found out that Sysco has three GF pizza crusts available- Schar, Ener-G, and Pane Riso/Kingsmill. It didn’t look like the Schar crusts, which I’ve seen before. But all the options have no eggs or gluten, which makes them work for EF/GF Daughter. Yay.

Quinoa salad over raw kale

My friend chose the quinoa salad over kale. It’s filled with black beans, corn and more. Yummy! There was a light vinaigrette over the salad and mixed in with the kale, which was raw on the bottom. The quinoa flavor wasn’t masked by the dressing, which is sometimes the case with most restaurants. I’m getting this next time, if I can resist not eating another pizza.

And one thing this restaurant does is serve big entrees. We shared both and were stuffed when we were done. You could easily have shared with another person, but I’m sure glad nobody else was there.

I highly recommend this place for a relaxed, casual dining experience. There aren’t a ton of GF items on the menu, but what they have looks and tastes wonderful. They have a full bar and flat screens all over, so I’m guessing on game night it’s The Place To Be. My friend said their sweet potato fries were wonderful, but unfortunately they are fried in contaminated oil with breaded food. Only bummer of the night.

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Filed under allergies, black beans, broccoli, cheese, gluten free, kale, pizza, Pizza Crust, quinoa, restaurants, salad, Takeout Gluten-free Pizza, vegetarian

Scottsdale’s 5th and Wine warms my GF heart

One of my favorite places in the heart of downtown Scottsdale has to be 5th and Wine, a restaurant/wine bar with a comfortable atmosphere and a GF/vegetarian salad I keep coming back for again and again. Not only do they have an extensive wine list, there is a lovely patio in the heart of the arts district with live music and comfy seats that create the perfect conversation areas. Inside there are soft, leather cushy chairs just meant for chatting and relaxing over a glass of wine and house-marinated olives.

5th and Wine’s Yummy Veggie Salad

First on the menu is the Veggie salad filled with avocado, white and green beans, grape tomatoes, jicama, and mozzarella tossed with a light herb vinaigrette. The dressing doesn’t overpower the salad, which is light, fresh and filling. You can even order half a salad if you’re not that hungry, but trust me, you’ll want more.

The Strawberry and Gorgonzola salad is also beautiful. I tend to order it with goat cheese instead of Gorgonzola, but that’s just my preference. It’s still wonderful and sweet.

Roasted marinated olives

If you’re just having a glass of wine (happy hour is just $5 a glass til 6 and watch for occasional $2 days), order the house marinated roasted olives with orange peel, fennel and red pepper flakes. Oh, yum. I’ve been known to just eat the olives while everyone else around ate burgers. I didn’t feel deprived at all, they are that good.

The menu also has burgers, salads, fries and even fried pickles for the non-GF eaters in your group, which makes my husband very happy. I’ve been brave enough to eat the salad and olives only. Since I’m not a meat eater, that leaves few options in these trendy downtown eateries most of the time, luckily I’m a salad lover and finding a great salad I can go back to again and again is a great thing. Thank goodness 5th and Wine has created a salad and olives I’m in love with.

The wine list is superb and if you’re not sure about what you want, just ask. They are knowledgeable and I haven’t been steered wrong yet. I prefer a nice white wine blend with this salad and each time I get something a little different.

Of course, if it’s an intimate conversation, take it outside if weather permits (which it does most of the year here in Phoenix). It can get quite noisy inside when it gets crowded. Walk the shops in the area and stop in for a glass of wine and a salad, you won’t be disappointed.

(By the way, I’m not affiliated with the restaurant and receive nothing for this review. Just sayin’)

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Filed under cheese, dinner, gluten free, green beans, mozzarella, olives, restaurants, salad, vegan, wine

A Supernatural Gluten-free Party!

With an elegant twist in honor of Breaking Dawn, a party was created and I was lucky enough to be invited. I spent the evening last night in a beautiful place, eating beautiful food (all gluten free) all while talking with lovely people. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend an evening. And since you were not there, let me tell you all about the fun and more importantly, the food.

Thanks to Angela Saban of Angel Cakes for hosting this fabulous party. Check out her blog, here, for updates on the amazing cakes she creates (see below for more details on the ooh- and aaah-worthy food).

Welcome!

When you’re welcomed at the party by an old truck (Bella’s with a better paint job?) and a sign, this sets the stage for what’s to come inside. With this attention to detail, I had a feeling nothing would be missed from this point on.

Yay, Swag!

I followed the red carpet into the entry hall with it’s TWILIGHT centerpiece surrounded by swag bags for all guests. Sweet! The centerpiece fascinated me with its simplicity yet creativity. I found out that Angela’s wonderful daughter-in-law, Trista Williams, had fashioned it using pages right out of the series. (Although she did say she felt bad tearing up a perfectly good book, it was worth it!) Here’s a close-up for you crafters.

Pages of the book, close up

Can you choose between Team Edward or Team Jacob? Even if you’re not a fan of the movies or books, the theme is fun and whimsical, yet mysterious with werewolves and vampires. I chose Team Jacob, there I said it. Let the debate begin. Fangs for Edward’s team, wolf ears for the better team, er I mean the other team.

Choose a team

With Full Moon cocktail in hand (Maker’s Mark, apple cider and a splash of ginger ale), I made my way around the pool, which was surrounded by candles and spinning lights. Looking up on the wall I saw projected images of Bella, Edward, and Jacob, as well as scenes from previous movies lighting up the patio. DJ Gabriel kept the vibe going with music from the series, keeping the mood romantic and fun.

Photos and movie scenes on the wall

Moving on to the buffet table (you know that’s what you were interested in!) was a real treat. First off, the tables were topped off with spectacular floral arrangements that fit the mood perfectly. A rose here, a red carnation there, moss and greenery everywhere. All arrangements were created by Elba Brown of Designs by E in Phoenix with an eerie, supernatural touch. Floating red roses among moss and soft white flowers gave the buffet table just the right touch of beauty, elegance and mystery.

Notice the enormous pile of potato chips near the flowers? Oh yeah, my friend. Freshly made chips that were crispy, not too salty and oh so yummy. An avocado cream dipping sauce was provided for the chips, but seriously, with a good chip who needs dip (although it was amazing and I just needed a spoon for it and I could eat it like pudding).

The food was provided by Jennifer’s Catering in Phoenix. Check out the website and see how they serve the chips in little cones, Oh my. Maggie Wark, who works at Jennifer’s, is the gluten-free guru there who made the slider rolls and is spear-heading the gluten-free division of the company. Also on the menu was a tomato salad with Cojita cheese. So refreshing and served in little cups with cute tiny forks. Pork belly and salmon rounded out the food, but you know of course that was not my cup of tea, although I hear it was quite good from those who tried it.

 
Tomato/Cojita salad (yes, I had about 7!)

On to the crowning glory of the party, the pastry table. Oh man, if I could have married it, I would have. It was that good. I stood there wishing I hadn’t opted for the cute little purse that matched the outfit rather than the huge, pastry/cupcake smuggling purse. I would have to be content with eating it all there. (Next time, Angela, don’t question the large duffle purse at the party.)

Edward and Bella should have had this at their wedding

First off, the cake. A beautiful centerpiece with edible flowers. Definitely would not fit in the purse (damn!) I did not eat any, but I’ve had Angela’s cake before at a lovely tea party (check it out here).

Next the cupcakes. Both sides were represented with a special cupcake. Jacob’s side (werewolves) had a fabulously chocolatey caramely cupcake with salted caramel and a fondant paw on top. I could have eaten four, I admit it, but I didn’t. But I so wanted to, but I didn’t.

Edward’s side was represented appropriately by a vanilla-bean cupcake with raspberry filling and even bite marks. The filling was gooey and lovely, the cupcake was light and fluffy and the frosting was a dream.

True to my original team choice, I preferred the chocolate, but it was a tough choice, trust me. Both were light and airy like a cupcake should be, but it didn’t fall apart at all. I felt like Florian from Cupcake Wars as I tried both. Of course, I gave them both good marks, but I’m a chocolate lover at heart, you know.

What about Bella, you ask? Bella-berry Cobblers with a berry filling and flaky, buttery crust gave Bella her chance to shine. And that she did. Two bites of a perfect cherry pie. My table mates all claimed that this was their favorite. The crust was something I have been trying to perfect without success. Once again, Angela shines with a gluten-free pie crust that is equal parts flaky and chewy, just the way it should be.

And yes, there were cookies! What, you say? No really, on top of all this, there were little white hearts of vanilla cookies with white icing. They reminded me of the glorious black and white cookie of my New York City days that I feared I would never eat again. Never fear, they are right here. I’ll bet Angela could even make them black and white if you ask her.

Swag bags, you ask? Oh yeah! I was fortunate enough to meet the actual Tom Sawyer of Tom Sawyer Gluten Free Flour-fame, no kidding. And not only that, there was a bag of flour for everyone to take home and start baking. Sweet! A chocolate wolf lollipop, Werewolf “kibble” and “blood-spattered” popcorn, all by Angela Saban started the bags off. Add to that Udi‘s chocolate chip cookie, Julia’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Roll and more. I can’t imagine a better time with better food or company, and I even had swag to take home. Now that’s how you throw a party!

I was lucky enough to meet Kim Pebley, president of the Southern Arizona Celiac Support group and Chandice Probst of Gluten Free Frenzy here in town. Check out her website for giveaways and fun restaurant reviews. I also had the chance to spend a little time with Nina Spitzer, the GF guru who started the Phoenix Celiac group and Gluten Free Absolutely, a wonderful restaurant menu consultation service. What a great group of people who are supporting and advancing the GF community.

Trista Williams, me, and the lovely Elba Brown

Proof positive by Angela that you can have a lovely, successful cocktail party with elegant food and not a speck of gluten to be found. Thanks!

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Filed under Breaking Dawn, cake, cookies, crafts, cupcake, dinner parties, gluten free, party, salad, Team Edward, Team Jacob, Twilight, vegetarian

Quick and easy beet salad with truffle oil

Beautiful beet salad with greens and truffle oil

Beets are unappreciated, in my opinion. Mention them and either get a big smile, or a big grimace from most folks. That’s because they right away think of those pickled beets at the salad bar. Yuck! Now think of a nice, sweet roasted beet fresh from the garden. There, now I’ve got you thinking in the right direction.

I started this morning with a roasted a pile of fresh beets from the Phoenix Farmers Market that I bought this weekend. Half of them are for my Mom, who prefers it if I roast them for her. “You do it better,” she says. I think she’s just trying to keep her oven off in this heat.

Italian Truffle Oil, a special treat

So, like the good daughter that I am, I roasted them all. I saved hers to the side and wondered what to do with mine. Then it him me, why not use the greens and make a salad? Simple…

Then I remembered that my lovely sister bought a bottle of truffle oil for me when she visited Italy recently. I don’t use it that often, I just don’t want to use it all. But I adore the earthy aroma and flavor when it’s drizzled over salads or bread. I know it can be quite expensive and not many people have it sitting in their cupboards, I never did till she gave it to me. But if you can find some, try. If not, olive oil is just as nice and gives a lighter flavor. Make sure you have some good, extra virgin olive oil.

Roasted Beet Salad with Truffle Oil
2 fresh beets, roasted and refrigerated
1 bunch of fresh beet greens, washed and dry
3-4 yellow baby tomatoes
1/2 tsp truffle oil (or olive oil)
salt/pepper

1. Roast the beets the night before, or at least put them in the fridge for about an hour so they can cool off. I roast mine at 400 degrees for about 50 minutes.
2. Wash, drain, and pat dry the beet greens, then chop them.
3. Chop beets into bite-sized pieces.
4. Mix greens and beets in the bowl with the tomatoes, salt/pepper.
5. Drizzle just a touch of truffle oil over the salad and mix.

The truffle oil is the best part. It gives the salad a warm, earthy flavor. The greens are slightly bitter and crunchy while the beets are sugary and carmelized, making this a wonderful contrast. The truffle oil just brings this up a notch higher. Don’t overuse the oil, or salt and pepper. Lightness is the key here, you want a summer, refreshing salad.

What do you do with your beets? I’m still looking for more ideas. Let me know.

Enjoy!

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Filed under beets, gluten free, greens, salad, truffle oil, vegetarian

Summer means cherries & grilled corn and asparagus salad

Rainier cherries…get ’em while you can!

I love summer for one reason…the food. Living in Phoenix means we hibernate right about now and stay within AC at all times. And with the recent haboobs we’ve had (technical term for big damn dust storms), it’s getting to be a real pain to leave the house. Saturday morning outings to the farmers market is the only think I look forward to takes place outside. Asparagus, fresh corn, summer squash, oh my… Then the Ranier cherries hit the shelves and I’m in heaven.

Taking inspiration from the fresh veggies available right now, I searched for ideas on what to do with the veggies I had in the fridge. I had a large bunch of asparagus and 8 ears of fresh corn. I gave mom a few of the ears of corn and a handful of the asparagus, then set out to make a salad from the rest.

Grilled asparagus and corn salad

I decided to grill inside instead of standing outside in the 110-degree heat. If you’re someplace else in the country, you may be OK with standing outside. It still went pretty quickly. First, I grilled the corn a few at a time for just about 10 minutes…enough to grill and cook, but not overcook. Keep turning them and put a little olive oil and salt on it to keep it from burning.

Grilling brings out a fabulous smokey flavor!

Next, wash and trim the asparagus. These take a little less time and you just have to flip them once after about five minutes. Then another few minutes and they’re done. I did mine in two batches since I had so much. I love watching them get brown and lovely. It’s all I can do not to eat them right out of the pan.

Cut the corn off the cob, chop the asparagus into bite-sized pieces and mix. I added about a Tbs of olive oil, the juice and zest of one medium lemon, pinch of parsley, oregano and basil. A little more salt and pepper to taste and you’re done. Dear chef, don’t fret over it, just keep tasting till you get the right mixture. This is a light summer dish, so go easy on the lemon and keep adding a little more till you get it right. This was wonderful a little bit warm, and even better the next day after it cooled in the fridge. The lemon had a chance to settle into the asparagus, which was smoky and grilled and still crispy to the bite.

Enjoy your summer.

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Filed under asparagus, corn, fruit, gluten free, salad, vegetarian

Quick Grilled Veggie Salad

What if you could whip up a fabulous salad in just a few minutes? Not that hard, you say. But what if that salad had grilled veggies, baby beets and homemade honey/mustard salad dressing? Ah, now I’ve got your attention!

Trader Joe’s Marinated Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini

I found these grilled veggies in the frozen section of Trader Joe’s. I bought them on a whim, thinking I could do so many things with them. Same with the beets. I love beets in salads and there are enough in this small package for a few salads. When I realized I was going to a friend’s and needed to bring a salad, I realized how it would all come together.

Quick Grilled Veggie Salad

2 cups butter lettuce, chopped
2 cups spring greens, chopped
2-3 baby beets, cooked and chopped (I used Trader Joe’s baby beets)
7-8 slices of grilled veggies, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s marinated eggplant and zucchini, but you can grill your own)
1/2 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
Honey/mustard salad dressing (see below)
1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1. Pulled the veggies out of the freezer and place them on some foil covering a cookie sheet. Since they are already grilled in olive oil and spices, nothing else is needed. Just turn on the broiler and prepare the rest of the salad while they cook, turning them once for even cooking. This takes only about 5-7 minutes.

Trader Joe’s Baby Beets

2. Make the dressing in a small food processor. Add the juice of one lemon and 1/2 an orange. Add 1 Tsp Dijon mustard, 2 Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs honey, and a pinch of salt/garlic powder/pepper/dried parsley. Whiz in the processor and taste. Add more of anything to make it to your liking. I like a little more mustard and honey in mine, but just keep messing with it till it’s just right.

3. Add lettuce, tomatoes, beets and parsley and toss the salad.

4. Remove veggies from the oven and chop.

5. Just before serving, mix in the veggies and the dressing to the salad and toss. Don’t add all the dressing, just add a few tablespoons and toss, then add more as needed.

This is fabulous with a few crackers. I also did not have any Parmesan but I think that would be lovely also.

Enjoy!

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Yummy GF pizza in Tucson… Eclectic Pizza for the win!

 

I spent a lovely day in Tucson with friends this weekend. We traveled down (a 2-hour drive) to see Wicked, the Musical. Wow, what a performance and what fun. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. But…on to the pizza, which was the real star of the day.

We stopped at Eclectic Pizza before the show for their GF pizza. The owner, Renee Kraeger, had mentioned on my Facebook page, Gluten Free in AZ, that we should come down and try it out. No need to tell me twice. The restaurant has a dedicated GF menu with salads, pizza, appetizers and desserts.

We found the restaurant, a lovely, clean storefront, in a typical strip mall. The bright colors on the wall and beautiful mosaics and lighting inside make it a peaceful and comfortable place to park yourself for a bit. We started out with salads that were enough to share but not enough to fill, just what a salad should be before the meal. Although there are two sizes to the salads, we chose the smaller. I ordered the roasted red pepper salad with organic baby spinach and was pleasantly surprised to find ribbons of fresh basil, along with a lovely balsamic dressing that was perfect for the light salad. My companion had a Caesar salad, and apart from her aversion to tomatoes in a Caesar salad, said it was quite lovely, that it had just the right amount of pepper and cheese, and finished it off. The salads came with a wonderful, crunchy cheese cracker made of Parmesan. Daughter grabbed that quickly, but not before I got a quick bite of it’s salty, crunchy goodness.

The Old Town Classic

We ordered two GF pizzas, which only come in one size, 10 inch. Although at first we thought that would be much too small for the four of us, we shared the two pizzas between us and still had leftovers. My companions chose pepperoni (thereby ensuring these vegetarians would not share) and we chose the Old Town Classic, a simple pizza with tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil.

Wow, what a pleasant surprise. It was light with a great flavor. The pizza crust was even good on its own, without sauce or cheese, which is unusual in most GF pizza crusts. There was plenty of cheese (we love lots of cheese) fresh basil and lots of fresh tomatoes. I especially loved the crispy, chewy texture of the crust. Of course, we decided that the final test would be eating the leftovers cold later that night when we got home from the long drive after the show. The verdict? Awesome! I had one and Daughter had the other piece, right out of the box and cold. The crust was still chewy and crisp, the cheese was wonderful. Not many GF pizzas can hold up to that test.

The pizza crust was from Dad’s Gluten Free, a place I had never heard of. I can’t see anywhere on the site where it can be bought in the state, but it is available to order online. I’m still addicted to my GF Creations crust, but this is a great alternative to a crust that is the closest to real as I’ve found. Runs a close second to Picazzo’s. Check the Web site for a great deal. New customers get free shipping on One Crust! ($7.99) so you can give it a try without breaking the bank. Orders of 10 crusts get free shipping also, according to the site. That’s a little steep for me, but you might want to give them a try if you’ve got the cash.

Although the restaurant has GF desserts, including chocolate cake and brownies, we were so full we just couldn’t do it. This only means we’ll have to head down again.

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Filed under gluten free, pizza, restaurants, salad