Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Boo! MetroCeliacs Trick-or-Treat October Meeting

Welcome Back MetroCeliacs!

Ok, this is our official Welcome Back from Summer Halloween meeting.
the October Trick-or-Treat Meeting to kick off our Fall season.

We wanted to get together a casual group to share some treats and just chit-chat and get to hang out with those we have not seen in a while. Amy - one of our members - graciously offered to host our meeting. Thanks Amy!

We are excited to get back together after our summer hiatus. The gathering went well and Tanya and Amy hosted a nice evening with some tasty treats. The “trick” in this trick-or-treat meeting is that there are no pictures from the event. I was unable to attend due to illness, and home with me was the group camera. The “treats” were amazing and the recipes are to follow. Since Tanya was feeling well and also bake-y, she baked an amazing pie and is the guest blogger for this event,

Take it away Tanya!

Hello MetroCeliacs!

We were excited to get back together after few months off this summer. We met on Tuesday, October 24. One of our members -Amy- hosted the meeting at her house in Wrigleyville.

Thanks Amy!

We all brought food to share for our Trick or Treat Halloween Meeting. We indulged in Gluten Free pizzas fresh out of the oven! Then we had several choices for dessert. What to choose... Caramel Pecan Apple Crisp, warmed... Or a slice of homemade French Silk Pie, complete with whipped cream topping... Or a Chocolate Mint cupcake from Swirlz Cupcakes? It was a tough decision, but most of us went for all three!! YUM!

As the meeting continued, we talked about upcoming events, including the Supper Club on the following Monday and the November Cooking Class. We also discussed some of our favorite products and places to eat in Chicago. Swirlz was a topic- Have you been there to try their daily Gluten Free cupcakes? Have you shopped at Maple Street Market for your Gluten Free goodies? Did you hear that Sherwyn's is closed? Have you tried the new health food market on Clybourn?

The conversation flowed with current events, our jobs, what we would like to be doing. It was a great meeting and we all look forward to getting together again soon.

Tanya Davidson - MetroCeliacs

Here are the two recipes, we don’t need pictures, the recipes jump off the page:

Submitted by: Tanya Davidson

Servings: 8

Crust ingredients:
1 cup Cookies Crumbs (I used 6 - 8 Pamela's Shortbread Swirl Cookies)
1/4 cup melted butter (I used Land-O-Lakes)
1/4 cup sugar
9 inch pie plate

Pie Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter (Land-O-Lakes)
3 squares unsweetened chocolate (Hershey's Unsweetened)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract)
3 eggs (Davidson's Pasteurized Eggs)

Directions: Preheat 350*Crush cookies (I used a ziplock freezer bag and a rolling pin),
put in bowl and add sugar and melted butter.
Mash together, I use fork.
After all mixed together, put in 9 inch pie pan and cook for 20 minutes or until done.

Pie Filling: Beat sugar and butter until fluffy.
Stir in melted chocolate; add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed.
Put into baked pie shell and cool in fridge for several hours or overnight.

Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls.


Submitted by Lucy Morrison

6 Medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored 1/4" thick,
about 7 cups sliced1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons GF flour mix
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 large egg, separated
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen, cut into 8 pieces
3/4 cup GF flour mix
Pinch salt
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans (I double this)
Vanilla or butter pecan ice cream for serving

Directions: Put rack in center of oven, heat oven to 375 degrees Have ready a 9-inch round, shallow ovenproof glass pie plate or baking dish

For filling, put apples into large bowl, toss with sugar, GF flour mix and cinnamon to coat well. Mound apples high in pie plate

For topping, you will use only 1/2 egg yolk (or 2 teaspoons) for recipe, put egg white into small dish, froth with fork and set aside.
Using food processor with metal blade, pulse 1/2 yolk with remaining ingredients (except pecans) until finely crumbed and just beginning to clump together. Do not over process.
Gently pat topping evenly over apples or cover, pressing down so that it adheres to apples.
Brush topping with egg white.
Scatter pecans over, gently pressing into topping.

Place pie plate on baking sheet to catch any juice.4.

Bake until dark brown, 45- 50 minutes.

Cool on wire rack.

Serve warm (reheat at 350 degrees for 10 minutes) with a scoop of vanilla or butter pecan ice cream.


Thanks to all who were able to attend and we so look forward to seeing you soon. If you have any ideas, suggestion, comments, please comment on the blog or email us at MetroCeliacs@yahoo.com
Keep up with our calendar of events at http://calendar.yahoo.com/metroceliacs

We look forward to hearing from you!

July MetroCeliac Meeting with Lara Field, Registered Dietician

Happy Summer, MetroCeliacs!!!

Summer is a more difficult planning time for restaurants and speakers as it is a busy time for members, making it difficult to get a good turnout, and for restaurants, making it almost impossible to get them to plan anything for us. We decided to suspend summer activities and resume everything in the Fall. Although this post is a bit behind the times, here is the wrap up of all the questions posed on the evite to this event.

We were very excited to welcome Lara Field, a registered dietician, to answer questions we had in lieu of our July MetroCeliacs meeting. She was gracious enough to answer them for us and the evite and her presentation follow.

Around this time, more news came to our group. Sherwyn's Health Food Store and proud sponsor of many many of our MetroCeliac meetings, has closed. We are sorry to see it go as Gail was always an enthusiastic provider and supporter of Celiacs around Chicago, especially of our MetroCeliacs. We would like to thank her and Sherwyn's for their enthusiasm, their efforts, their sponsorship and their openness to learning about celiac, trying new products and always being behind everything we did as a group. THANK YOU GAIL! WE MISS YOU!

Do you have any questions about celiac disease or how to accurately follow the gluten free diet? Are there any myths that you would like to prove or dispel? Now that it is grilling season, do you want info regarding cooking on the grill and enjoying bbq sauce? What ingredients are in some of our favorite grilling items (brats? marinades?) that we need to be wary of, if any?

Now would be a great time to come and have your questions answered. Lara is looking forward to answering any questions on ingredients, foods, preparations, living GF...anything you can think of that you have always wondered and not had a forum to discuss.

Lara, answering our group's questions on the evite, responded:

Metroceliacs Lara Field, MS, RD, LDN
Nutrition Questions – 8/2/06 Clinical Dietitian
Specializing in Celiac Disease

What vitamin/mineral deficiencies are celiacs at risk of developing?
Depending on when celiac disease was diagnosed, and the extent of the damage to the villi, vitamin deficiencies can vary. Celiac disease is commonly found in the duodenum, which is the first portion of the small intestine, where we absorb nutrients such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc; therefore if this part is affected, these are the nutrients that may become deficient over time.However, as the damaged bowel is healed, vitamin absorption, which was once impaired, becomes corrected.

After healing is complete, long-term consumption of a gluten-free diet could put someone at risk for vitamin deficiencies if they consume too much of the wrong foods. Many gluten free products are made with flours including white rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, and corn flour; these commonly are not enriched with vitamins as compared to gluten containing products (IE: Total ™Cereal provides 100% daily value of vitamins and minerals). Vitamins included in enrichment of gluten containing grains are mostly B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate) as well as iron. In my opinion, lately gluten-free food manufacturers are experimenting more with alternative grains including quinoa, amaranth, Montina (Indian rice grass), and many bean flours which have superior nutrition to that of white rice, and potato, and many products are being enriched with vitamins as well.

I am unaware of any over the counter (OTC) test that celiacs can use to measure vitamin levels in their blood, and personally I am not sure if I would trust something like this if it were available. Frequently, blood tests are subject to misinterpretation because they need special equipment to analyze the result, or someone specially trained in how to interpret the outcome. Also a blood test may only capture a “snapshot” of your body’s current state, but miss the big picture of something that may be going on for sometime. You may want to assess if you are showing signs of nutrient deficiencies before inquiring with your doctor about what blood tests are available, because these blood tests performed by your physician may be quite costly. Some signs of common vitamin and mineral deficiencies are scaling of skin, easy pluckable hair, poor wound healing, slick tongue, and weakness. Most importantly, with a balanced diet, one that incorporates a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy, and whole gluten-free grains and a multivitamin/mineral supplement, vitamin deficiencies are less likely to occur.


Breads, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta
6-11 servings per day
(depending on age, and weight status)
1 slice brown rice bread
½ cup cooked quinoa, buckwheat
½ cup cooked rice, cereal
¾ cup ready-to eat gluten-free cereal
Look at the Nutrition Facts Food Labeling on foods to determine the fiber content of the product. A healthy choice would contain >3 grams fiber per serving.
Choose grains such as white rice or rice pasta less often than foods made with quinoa or buckwheat; these products contain more fiber and protein than products made with white rice
2-3 servings per day
½ cup fresh, frozen, or caned fruit
1 medium sized apple, orange, pear
¼ cup dried fruit
½ cup juice (4 ounces)
Choose fresh fruit for snacks
If eating canned fruit, choose fruit in its own juice, instead of in heavy syrup
After a trip to the grocery store, wash and cut up produce so it is ready to eat, and can be grabbed quickly from the refrigerator
Drink fruit juice in moderation – children not consume more than 6 ounces per day
3-5 servings per day
1 cup raw leafy vegetables
1 cup cooked or chopped raw vegetables
¾ cup vegetable juice
Choose dark green leafy vegetables instead of lighter varieties (iceberg)
Cook vegetables for a short amount of time in shallow water (1 inch) in a covered pot to retain nutrients – vegetables should still have a bite to them
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Beans, Eggs, and Nuts
2-3 servings per day
2-3 ounces cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
½ cup cooked legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
1/3 cup tofu
2 Tbsp peanut butter
1 egg = 1 ounce lean meat
(limit to approximately 2-3/wk)
Choose lean meats more frequently
Trim all visible fat from meats, take the skin off poultry
Limit high fat processed meats such as bacon, sausages, salami, bologna, and cold cuts
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese, and other Dairy Products
2-3 servings
1 cup milk (8 ounces)
6 ounces yogurt
1 ½ ounce cheese (Swiss)
½ cup cottage cheese
Choose low fat dairy products
Try white cheese instead of yellow varieties (Swiss is a better choice than cheddar)
If dairy products are not tolerated well, try lactose free milk, or Lactaid tablets when eating dairy
If unable to consume milk or alternative dairy products, calcium should be replaced in the form of supplement such as calcium citrate
Fats, Sweets, and Oils
Use sparingly
1 tsp margarine, butter
1 Tbsp oil
Choose oils such as canola (rapeseed), olive, or safflower instead of palm, and coconut oil
Try light margarines with no trans fat – trans fats tend to increase blood cholesterol, these foods are high in hydrogenated oils
Consume baked products, sweets, candy in moderation

How much can celiacs rely on vitamin supplements to meet their daily vitamin intake needs?
When discussing supplements with any individual, including people with celiac disease, it is always recommended to get adequate nutrition from foods first, and supplement the diet with a multivitamin/mineral supplement. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, that also includes low fat dairy products and lean protein is what is recommended for all healthy individuals, including people following the gluten-free diet. Please see following for tips on a healthy diet.

Are oats okay?
There has been a lot of ongoing investigative work researching the appropriateness of oats on a gluten-free diet. However, in my opinion, and the opinion of Dr. Stefano Guandalini and the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program, oats are not recommended at this time. There are no safe oats that are mass produced currently.

Cross Contamination
Thompson, Journal American Dietetic Association, 2003
Three brands of oats studied: McCann’s, Country Choice, Quaker
Found varying levels of gluten contamination
Størsrud, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003
Tested commercially available oat products - Sweden
Found gluten contamination at various levels
Europe and North American Companies
In the process of offering pure, uncontaminated oat products under strict government regulations
Cream Hill Estates from Canada - http://www.creamhillestates.com/
Developed in collaboration with the Canadian Celiac Association, Health Canada and Agriculture Canada
Will be available in Canada and the US

Despite the fact that you may not be experiencing symptoms by eating oats, you may not be maintaining the health of your villi. If you choose to consume oats, or other foods that may have the potential for cross contamination, I would recommend repeating anti-tissue transglutaminase antibodies (tTG) every year, if you are not doing so already.

So many gluten-free foods are made with white rice and sugar...many of the vitamins and minerals we miss out on by not eating wheat…what foods can we eat to make up for that?

The following are excellent nutrient-rich grains/seeds that would be beneficial to include in a gluten-free diet:
Bean flours (garbanzo, fava, pinto, navy, white or black bean)
Brown rice
Buckwheat (make sure it is pure – no wheat flour added)
Flax seed
Montina (Indian rice grass): http://www.montina.com/
Rice bran

An important point about “missing out on by not eating wheat” is to put wheat products in perspective. A healthy diet includes whole wheat products for their fiber content in addition to the benefits of enrichment (niacin, riboflavin, thiamin, folate). However, many gluten-free grains actually contain more fiber per serving than gluten containing varieties. Making good choices in your grain servings is important; choosing products that include ingredients from the above list will achieve this. Goal fiber intake is approximately 25-35 grams per day. It is important to look at the fiber content per serving of a product and as I stated previously, aim for at least 3 grams per serving. Fiber is also found in fruits and vegetables, which are naturally gluten free, affordable, and easy to find anywhere!

What is gluten rice and is it okay to eat?

Gluten rice or glutinous rice is short grain rice that has fat, round grains with higher starch content than other long or medium grain varieties. When cooked, it tends to be very moist, causing the grains to stick together, hence the term gluten or glutinous which means “sticky”. This does not indicate the presence of wheat, rye, or barley, and is safe to consume.


I would recommend a complete multivitamin and mineral supplement for all persons following the gluten-free diet due to the potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies that may exist with healing villi, and from the potential loss due to the change in the diet (restricting wheat). These are the following that I would recommend at this time. However, please note that these supplements were verified at the time of this publication, and I would check to ensure the gluten-free status on your own prior to consumption. When choosing a supplement, it is important to choose one that meets, but does not exceed 100% Daily Value of most vitamins and minerals. We gain a lot of vitamins and minerals from our food supply, even a gluten-free diet, especially if it is rich in fruits and vegetables.

Freeda Vitamins – http://www.freedavitamins.com/
Wyeth Consumer Healthcare –
Centrum Advanced, Centrum Performance, Centrum Silver, Centrum Liquid, Centrum Chewables: http://www.centrum.com/
Caltrate 600, Caltrate 600+D, Caltrate 600+Soy, Caltrate 600 Plus Chewables, Caltrate 600 Plus, Caltrate Colon Health: http://www.caltrate.com/
Nature Made - http://www.naturemade.com/
Mead Johnson Nutritionals – http://www.meadjohnson.com/
Poly-Vi-Flor, Poly-Vi-Sol, Tri-Vi-Sol, Tri-Vi-Flor, Fer-In-Sol
Mission Pharmacal – http://www.missionpharmacal.com/
Citrical, Citracal Caplet+D, Citracal 250+D, Citracal Plus with Magnesium
McNeil Nutritionals
Viactiv Soft Calcium Chews (w/vitamin D and K)

Does wheatgrass juice have gluten?

Wheatgrass, is the grain from which wheatgrass juice is made, which comes from sprouted wheat berries. Therefore, I would avoid wheatgrass, and wheatgrass juice, because it is gluten containing.

Gluten Free Restaurant Suggestions in Chicago:

At the time of this publication, these restaurants were noted to have gluten free options. Please confirm the status prior to your arrival.
Adobo Grill, Chicago, 312-266-7999, GF Menu
Bistro 110, Chicago, 312-266-3118
Da Luciano, River Grove, IL , 708-453-1000, GF Menu
Everest , Chicago, 312-663-8920
Frontera Grill, Chicago, 312-661-1434
The Golden Chef, Wheeling, 847-537-7100
Thyme, Chicago, 312-266-4300
Vinci, Chicago, 312-266-1199
Chain Restaurant’s
Ben Pao, http://www.benpao.com/, GF Menu
Buca Di Beppo, http://www.bucadibeppo.com/
Legal Sea Foods, Inc, http://www.legalseafoods.com/, GF Menu
California Pizza Kitchen, http://www.cpk.com/
Carabbas Italian Grill, http://www.carabbas.com/, GF Menu
Flat Top Grill, http://www.flattopgrill.com/
Fogo De Chao, http://www.fogodechao.com/
Outback Steakhouse, http://www.outback.com/, GF Menu
PF Chang’s China Bistro, http://www.pfchangs.com/, GF Menu
Stir Crazy, http://www.stircrazy.com/
Wildfire, http://www.wildfirerestaurant.com/, GF Menu


Iron is a mineral found in food that is essential to hemoglobin, which carries oxygen throughout our body. If iron levels are low, symptoms can include fatigue, irritability, or decreased appetite.

Foods rich in iron include:

Amaranth (1 cup) = 14.8 mg Buckwheat flour (1 cup) = 4.9 mg
Pumpkin seeds (1/2 cup) = 10.4 mg Soybeans (1 cup, cooked) = 8.8 mg
Oysters (3.5 oz, canned) = 6.7 mg Spinach (1 cup, cooked) = 6.4 mg
DRI for Iron: 19-50 yr old female = 18mg/d; 19-50yr old male = 8mg/d; 50+ yr =8mg/d; pregnant = 27 mg/
Consuming a vitamin C source (red peppers, citrus fruits) with iron assists in absorption of the mineral


Protein requirements vary with body size. Adults need approximately 0.8-1.0 g/kg body weight (Kg = weight in lbs/2.2). Protein powders and shakes are a good choice if you find it difficult to get protein from food sources in your diet; however, many times these powders contain too much protein for a healthy adult to receive in one day. Protein in excess can cause kidney damage due to over production and excretion of nitrogen, which is the breakdown product of protein.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in oil from oily fish and vegetable sources such as the seeds of flax, walnuts, lingonberry, among others. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in the fruit of the acai palm (hearts of palm). Omega-3 fatty acids are classified as essential because they cannot be synthesized in the body; they must be obtained from food.
Research has not indicated a specific quantity of Omega 3 fatty acids to consume per day, however it is recommended to consume fish in your diet at least 2 x/week. Specific fish high in omega 3 fatty acids are: salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines.

Marathon Training!

For any of you who are training for the marathon, good luck! I am also training for this year’s Chicago Marathon and am looking forward to the big day, October 22!
Training diets are important to provide adequate fuel for training, to optimize recovery of glycogen stores, and to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance. In terms of celiac disease, there are no specific recommendations in particular to the disease state, as long as you are in remission. If not, your body is not only trying to repair your damaged villi, but also working overdrive to recover from muscle glycogen depletion from exercise.

Carbohydrates, protein, fat, and fluids are all important for the athlete. Basic recovery nutrition for endurance athletes and team sports:
Replenish carbohydrates within 30 minutes of exercise
General goal is 1.5 g CHO/kg
Can add up to 10 g protein
Rehydrate with fluid and sodium (sports drinks)

Please consult your medical provider prior to competition to ensure you do not have any outstanding medical issues.

Lara Field, MS, RD, LDN – Pediatric Dietitian
Children's Memorial Hospital - Department of Clinical Nutrition
2300 Children's Plaza, Box 23
Chicago, Illinois 60614
Phone: 773-975-8841


Email Lara or call her with additional questions or for more information on the answers she provided.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

MetroCeliacs May Supper Club with Flavah at Coobah

Hello MetroCeliacs and Friends, We are Back!

Well, it is about time for me to update the blog, especially since we have just kicked off our Fall season of meetings and Supper Clubs and I have not even posted the last few events yet, grr. I have some trouble with uploading pictures onto this site at times and it can be tedious. I am back now and plan to be completely caught up by the end of the month!

We had an interesting event at Coobah in May. I was referred to this restaurant by some members and the chef and manager were initially excited to discuss it with me, everything from creating the menu to the seating arrangements. I am all about introducing some serious flavah to our repertoire. Then, just as I was feeling all spicy about how things were going, the serape was pulled out from under me (give me some latitude here, I know no Spanish, so I am working with limited resources). I was unable to reach anyone for a while and, while I was assured that our Supper Club was still planned, we did not have an exact date or anything close to a menu. Just when I was writing the cancellation email for the event, Dios Mio!, Jimmy turned up with a whole menu and a date and some decent enthusiasm. The chef had surgery, but the ever-helpful Jimmy (muchas gracias, Jimmy!) said we could get something in anyway. Bueno. Ok, finito with the pseudo-Spanish.

We had a really nice crowd, we had some wonderful newcomers and some regulars brought friends. There was even a new family with very well mannered and delightful kids. We normally do not accommodate children but we were excited to have them at this event. How cute are they? Awwww…The service was very slow, so I believe they were out past their bedtimes, which was unfortunate but could not be helped as they overbooked the restaurant and did not staff it accordingly, which I describe below.

Here is the description of the restaurant online: This upscale Latin restaurant and bar offers late-night dining and DJs. The menu features inventive dishes from Spain, Cuba, the Philippines, Colombia and Brazil, plus Coobah's signature tamales and sauces. Cuisine is Cuban, Spanish, Nuevo Latino.

The Scene (provided by citysearch.com, with a saucy mix of my own commentary!)
It's a pretty tight squeeze into Coobah (especially in the back room they put us in, which was beautiful but almost required some lap sharing), a dark Latin spot where sexy bartenders mix mojitos and caipirinhas for a crowd of Southport hipsters (yeah, gaggles of drunk girls partying up front, which posed a distraction for our servers). The decor provides plenty of eye candy too, with rust-colored terra cotta walls, metal clamshell light fixtures (it was definitely beautiful décor, but the clams must have been closed because I could barely see my hand in front of my face) and fans waving breezily back and forth above the bar (which was not helpful to us, as we were nowhere near the bar but kind of left roasting near the kitchen). Friendly, on-the-ball service makes up for long waits. (No, it really didn’t. Friendly, absolutely, on-the-ball…um, well, unless the ball was actually on top of them holding them down and keeping them from serving us in a timely manner, there was not a ball in sight. To be fair, there was another large party in the front of the restaurant, the gaggle, but our menu, our event, was planned in advance and if the small kitchen could not handle such a crowd, they should not have taken both parties.)

The food was difficult to judge, as they had too many orders from both parties as well as random walk-ins so the dishes varied in flavor and texture and temperature. They even forgot to serve me altogether. As you can likely tell, I am chatty, so it took me a while to notice. Settling the check took even longer. I would love to have more to say about the actual food, but I will have to rely on those who attended to add comments to the blog please. My food was cold and then had little taste, but was beautifully presented. The event was successful in that we had a great turnout, big crowd, stimulating conversation at a lovely place with an interesting assortment of offerings on an unusual menu. I am not, as I stated, sure about the food reviews, so I look forward to hearing feedback on the blog comments.

I would like to take a minute to say a fond, albeit sad, farewell to one of our regulars, Carol Breckbill, who moved after this event. Carol was always positive, involved, fun and an amazing addition to any event. Carol, if you are ever in town, come visit. We will save you a margarita and clear a table for your infamous dance moves! We miss you already, but I am sure you are active in your new community and we wish you the best. Sniffle.

The Menu for our fiesta:




Soda, tea and coffee included.

As you know, all roads lead to the dessert for me, so this is the dish I really remember and I have to say that, as far as chocolate cake goes, fantastico! Ok, I could not let the Spanish go. Wait til you see what I can do with a Greek restaurant. Wait, hmmm, actually nothing but Spanakopita! I will have to work on that.

Muchas Gracias to all who attended and we hope to see you at future events. Please check out our calendar at http://calendar.yahoo.com/metroceliacs and email us about suggestions for meeting themes and supper club restaurants or anything you would like to share at MetroCeliacs@yahoo.com

Jenny and Tanya

Thursday, June 15, 2006

MetroCeliacs May Meeting- Vicki Gainsberg Cooking Class at Whole Foods

Guest Writer for this blog is our very own Tanya Davidson, the other leader of the MetroCeliacs. I was unable to attend this meeting and, from the sound of it, I missed a good one!
Take it away Tanya:

It was great to have our very own Vicki Gainsberg lead a cooking class for our May meeting! She is a Registered Dietician, who specializes in Celiac Disease and Food Allergies. The meeting/cooking class was held on May 10th at Whole Foods Lincoln Park on North Avenue (see link above). Whole Foods is very supportive of the Celiac community!

It was a treat to have Vicki show us how to make such easy and delicious recipes. She also answered questions that we had about cooking and talked about various flours.

Asian stores have great fine rice flours, which are great for baking sweet treats.

Vicki introduced us to a new grain called Quinoa. Besides myself and my roommate, no one else had ever tried it. It is an easy grain to incorporate into your meals and it has great nutritional value. Its cooks up a lot like rice. Vicki showed us how to prepare a Southwestern Quinoa Salad. Chop up some peppers and other veggies, mix up a sauce, and add it all to the cooked quinoa and you have a real winner!

Zesty Southwestern Quinoa Salad

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups Water
2 cups Frozen Corn
1-2 Jalapeno’s, chopped
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 can Black Beans, drained
1 Red Pepper, chopped
1 Orange or Yellow Pepper, chopped
¼ cup Cilantro, chopped
3 Limes, divided
4 tsp Cumin, ground (divided)
¼ cup Olive Oil
2 tsp honey, divided
4 oz Pepper Jack Cheese, cubed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Cook quinoa according to package directions, using 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water. Quinoa will cook for about 15 minutes. Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.

Saute chopped jalapeno’s in 1 tsp olive oil. Add frozen corn and sauté until cooked through. Add 1 tsp cumin, juice of 1 lime and 1 tsp honey. Add salt and pepper. Saute a few more minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Add to quinoa, along with beans, peppers, and cheese.

Combine juice of 2 limes, olive oil, 2 tsp cumin and 1 tsp honey, whisk well. Add to quinoa mixture. Add in cilantro and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

She also demonstrated how to make Meatballs with turkey and chicken meat. I don't know if it could be much easier than what she showed us. Mix up a few ingredients for the sauce and then mix the meat together and simmer in the sauce for about 45 minutes and you have tender, tasty and relatively healthy meatballs!

Not Too Sweet and Sour Turkey Meatballs

1 can Tomato Sauce (10-12oz)
1/3 cup Ketchup
¼ cup Brown Sugar
¼ cup Lemon Juice (about 2 lemons)
1 Bay Leaf
4-5 Whole Cloves

Combine above ingredients and place in saucepan on medium heat. Reduce heat to simmer.

Mix together:
1 lb Ground Turkey ( ½ lb breast meat and ½ lb dark meat)
1 egg
¼-1/3 cup GF Bread Crumbs
¼ cup water

Shape into balls and gently place in warm sauce. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Shake pot or stir meatballs around occasionally to prevent from sticking.
Remove bay leaf and cloves.
Serve with sauce.

We sampled both of the creations. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed these easy recipes.

In addition to these two things, we also sampled New Grist Beer. Beer people seemed to really like it, and non-beer people seemed to enjoy a little as well. It is better than your standard beers and the best part is that celiacs can drink it! Nice to know it exists.

After that, we sampled Chocolate Chip Biscotti dipped in dark and white chocolate. Vicki had prepared ahead of time, because our hour meetings go by a little too fast to fit everything in. She gave us the recipe and talked about making them. She claimed that they are very easy to make.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Biscotti

1 ½ stick Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
3 Eggs
1 cup Rice Flour
1 cup Cornstarch
1 cup Tapioca Flour
1 Tbsp Potato Flour (not potato starch)
¾ tsp Xanthan Gum
Pinch Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 ½ cup chocolate chips
Nuts, optional

In a medium-size bowl mix rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca, potato flour, xanthan gum, salt, and baking powder.
Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar, add in eggs slowly. Add vanilla.
Slowly add in flour mixture. Mix well. Add in chocolate chips.

Onto ungreased parchment lined cookie sheet, spoon into 2 equal oval-shaped loaves.
Use full length of cookie sheet and leave about 2-3 inches between loaves for spreading while baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. When cool slice into 1 inch slices. Turn slices on their side and rebake for about 10 minutes. Let cool.

We may have to have another cooking class. Everyone enjoyed. It is nice to have a few taste-tested recipes on hand. Thanks for everyone for coming!!!

Our special thanks to Vickie for a wonderful and informative, not to mention very tasty, class. We hope to have her come again!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

MetroCeliacs April Supper Club at Roy's

MetroCeliac Supper Club is nothing if not an adventure, culinary and otherwise. We started the evening with a bunch of new members and visitors of the celiac and non-celiac variety. Some regulars and some completely new to celiac and the MetroCeliac experience. I was excited to break them in at Roy's, somewhere I was totally looking forward to going, as their reputation for a wonderful dining experience preceded them.

I did my usual spiel about how the supper club came to fruition out of a desire for celiacs to be able dine out, as well as to encourage Chicago restaurants to become familiar with how to make their establishments gluten-friendly. I also stressed how much work I put into finding a place and working with the manager, the event coordinator and the chef to come up with a safe and delicious, sometimes offbeat (Scylla) menu. I encourage everyone to enjoy themselves, relax, talk about non-celiac topics and just feel comfortable that I have done everything in my power to ensure their security and health. To that end, I always refer the restaurant staff to celiac websites, conduct a dialogue with my contact regarding all of our needs from the actual menu to the preparation of the food to the safest drinks and I even try to get us separate checks to make thing easier (that one is always the most difficult part). But...I try to cover all the bases.

Roy's (Lauren) worked with me and the process was easy and fun and they were very invested in providing us with options they already had on their regular menu to show us that an every-day dining experience would work for walk-in visitors with celiac. It would still be flavorful, beautifully executed and varied. I was excited they had so many options that were naturally gluten-free and that the ones they could adapt would still have the same flavors and consistencies. YAY!

Following is the evite I sent out for the event. I cannot even express how hard it was to write it so far in advance. Every time I read it I was starving. If that was not bad enough, they had pictures on their website. I am not good at delaying gratification. At all. Nope, not at all. Even posting it now makes me want to go back and order one of everything. I have that gift cert burning a hole in my purse (I will get to the gift cert in a minute...) Enjoy the evite and pictures, but seriously, do not read it on an empty stomach.

Aloha MetroCeliac Supper Club Members!

This month, Spring is in our tropical city air. Break out the Hawaiian shirts and flip flops, we are taking a tropical adventure to Roy's.

Roy's is described as...Fresh ingredients, assertive flavors, deliciously wrapped in a Hawaiian state of mind, and who does not love being in a Hawaiian state of mind?Roy Yamaguchi's Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine blends fresh local ingredients with European sauces and bold Asian spices. Ask the server about the award-winning wine list. Noted for it's diverse and intriguing selection, Roy's offers a vast range of wines from well-known and newly discovered wineries alike. In addition, Roy's offers signature cuves, created in partnership with some of the world's most respected winemakers, specifically with our food in mind.

Hawaiian Fusion Menu $33/person (brace yourselves)

Asian Poached Pear Salad with Mixed Greens, Poached Pears, Candied Walnuts Goat Cheese and a Lemongrass Vinaigrette (note the bold, it comes into play later)

Entree Selections:
Tender Braised Honey Mustard Beef Short Ribs with Lomi Lomi Tomatoes, Veal Reduction and Roy's signature Mashed Potatoes

Macadamia Nut Dusted Mahi Mahi with Bacon Chive Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus and Lobster Brandy Cream Sauce
(Dema and I chose a shared dish, the best way to go!!!)
Fish of the day - Chef's Specialty, TBA on day of event (ended up being an amazing shrimp dish)

Roy's Melting Hot Chocolate Souffle Flourless Chocolate Cake with a Molten Hot Center (picture does NOT do it justice. It was so amazing and when your fork glided thru it, yes it glided, the molten center oozed out all hot and gooey and inviting....sigh. I miss it like I would miss an old delicious friend.)

Fruit Sorbet with fresh berries for those crazy enough to not like chocolate, it can happen that people prefer fruity things over chocolate I am told.

Notice there is not a picture of the salad. The adventure starts there. I had discussed the salad ingredients situation at the last MetroCeliac meeting to see if blue cheese is gluten free and it is one ingredient that we basically avoid unless we can find the GF options. Most places do not serve GF blue cheese. I asked if we could substitute another cheese or leave it completely off the menu and was told it is not a problem. They decided on crumbly goat cheese.

Since I had done such a wonderful job with making the menu (self pat on the back) and since that fact was further reinforced when we arrived and saw the printed menus with goat cheese on them and then the waitress also fully stated goat cheese was on the salad when we went over the full menu, well, I assumed all was well and I relaxed. Oops.

Now, truth be told, I am not salad-y, so I just basically eat the salad to get to the entree, which itself is just a gateway to dessert (if you ask me). When the salad came out, I was yammering on about something (most likely that lame lawsuit against McDonald's, which was a lively discussion at the table) and did not even really look at it. Everyone dove in all enthusiastically (I thought they just shared my hurry-thru-the-salad-to-get-closer-to-dessert philosophy, but people said it was really delicious). I tried mine and it tasted kind of foul. I thought I must not like goat cheese. I know I don't like blue cheese, and, although it looked like blue cheese, certainly smelled like it and for sure tasted like it, I still asked Dema (in picture with me) if it was blue cheese. We both decided that since the menu and the waitress said it was goat cheese it had to be goat cheese. I took another bite and decided there was no way something that tasted like that came out of a sweet little old goat. I pulled the waitress away from some other non-celiac table where she was taking orders (my apologies to those random not-in-any-danger people) and asked her to take a look. Much to our chagrin, it was, indeed, the dreaded blue cheese (insert dramatic duhn-duhn-DUHN). Sigh. Of course, I freaked out, got the manager, the waitress, the cooks and the very nice event planner all involved. I was very upset and explained the situation and the chef said that blue cheese is always GF. EEP! Well, I explained that, regardless of what they thought, we still ordered goat cheese, they printed goat cheese, we were told goat cheese and I don't want any of my members to worry about anything when they come to an event. There are a lot of varying views on what is actually gluten-free and we do not want controversy at a nice dinner. I explained that this was not the regular crowd, it had newly diagnosed celiacs, new members and a visiting member from another group. It was very important that the supper club maintains its stellar reputation for safe and fun dining, safe being the key word!!! They said they understood and would explain to everyone what happened and their responsibility in this "salad incident".

Everyone was done with their salads by this point, so there was the decision of what to do. I decided to press on and finish the meal anyway hoping that the members would still trust me and I would not have to fear a revolt or be overthrown or anything. Lauren apologized, told the table that it is in no way my fault, though that was not nearly as on my mind as everyone cursing me when they were sick later, no matter whose fault. She also came out with $25 gift certificates for all. I still lost it and had to go regroup in the ladies' room for a minute.

Everyone at the table was understanding and wonderful and I had the waitress give me a lovely glass of wine to calm my frazzled nerves. WHEW! I was about at my limit, but then the food came and I forgot about it (sort of, poor Dema, who sat next to me, had to hear me freak out for about 1/2 an hour). I think (hope) everyone still had a lovely time and enjoyed dinner.

It turned out that Lauren took the container of blue cheese, looked it up on the internet and it IS gluten free. She printed out the information and brought it to us at the end of the meal. She again expressed her regret and also her relief and we kind of joked about it a little. Thanks to the wine! They also separated the checks for us, which they usually do not do, and we got to keep the gift certs. I was a bit disappointed that they were not more alarmed, but since we do not go into shock and they do not see the effects, I guess it is not as worrysome as a nut allergy or something more severe. It did end up being a perfectly lovely evening and a wonderful dinner that I have made plans to enjoy again with family very soon. There was some lively chatter and all of the feedback regarding the atmosphere, the food and how the management handled the "salad incident" was positive. Whew!

I think everyone had fun and I hope that everyone returns for the next MetroCeliac Supper Club meeting!

We have a cooking class coming up for our May meeting and the supper club date and locale is still TBA. I prepared a new packet of information to share with the restaurants, one that better outlines our needs and our goals longer-term. I hope that the additional information will make it even easier and more fun and persuade the places we visit to offer celiac-designated options on their menus. Til next month, Bon Apetit!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

MetroCeliacs March Meeting - U of C Michelle Melin-Rogovin

The MetroCeliacs were proud to have Michelle Melin-Rogovin from the U of C celiac disease program (www.celiacdisease.net) come speak to our group for our March meeting. The meeting was a wonderful success. The following information about the program is taken directly from their website and then the notes from the meeting were taken by Amy Rousseau (thanks SO much, Amy!)

The University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program (http://www.uchospitals.edu/specialties/celiac/) is dedicated to raising diagnosis rates and meeting the critical needs of people affected by celiac disease through education, research and advocacy.

Their celiac disease information line provides expert help with questions regarding symptoms, testing, diagnosis and procedures.

Call Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. central time (773) 702-7593. Most calls will be answered immediately, by a live person. Messages will be returned within 48 hours.

Michelle Melin-Rogovin is the Executive Director for the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program. She received her Master’s Degree in health policy and administration from the University of Chicago in 1992. Ms. Melin-Rogovin feels that her mission is to serve as a bridge between patients and doctors, helping empower patients so they can actively participate in health care decision making.

Michelle has 15 years of experience working with children and families facing chronic and life-threatening illnesses. Ms. Melin-Rogovin worked in health care public relations and as a consultant for the Abbott Laboratories Fund before joining the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program in 2001.

As Executive Director, Michelle works with Dr. Stefano Guandalini, the Program’s Board of Directors and volunteers to advance initiatives in research, medical education, patient services and public awareness. Ms. Melin-Rogovin also fundraises for every aspect of the program’s work and coordinates media outreach activities.

In 2003, Ms. Melin-Rogovin created an education program called Celiac Disease: Myths and Facts in order to educate the celiac community about the gold standard for diagnosing and treating celiac disease and encourage family members to be screened. She presented this lecture to audiences in 19 cities (14 states) and, as a result, the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program reached over 1,500 people in the communities where they live.

In 2004, she developed Taming Temptation: Practical Strategies for Maintaining a Gluten-Free Diet. The program addressed the fact that many celiacs would like to eat food containing gluten and some do. It also reinforced the need for regular follow-up testing, which is offered infrequently by physicians. Michelle traveled to 22 cities in 11 states, reaching 2,000 people with this presentation.

U of C has one of two research teams in the world that is working to understand the nature of the immune system in the gut and the earliest response of the intestine to the presence of gluten. The principal investigators on this research project include Dr. Stefano Guandalini, founder of the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Program. Research is currently underway in their dedicated celiac disease laboratory, under the direction of Dr. Bana Jabri, a pathologist and world-renown celiac researcher. Patients who have biopsies for celiac disease at the University of Chicago may be eligible to participate in the research.

For more information about these programs, please call: (773) 702-7593. MIchelle is always willing to help answer questions and while we cannot summarize the meeting notes online, the hotline number is always an option. Please call her with any questions or wait for our meeting with the nutritionist coming up soon!

The meeting went really well. Michelle discussed some of the questions submitted in advance by our members. Many of the questions had to do with labeling and with specific ingredients and foods. Michelle mentioned that we will need to address the nutritionist (we are bringing someone in this summer) about some of those questions, but she still answered a lot of them using information about the labeling laws. Michelle also provided some really great handouts about these new laws, the work U of C is involved in currently and other helpful information. If you would like copies of the handouts, call the hotline and ask for them. We are also grateful to Whole Foods for sponsoring us again and to everyone who brought treats. Those are always welcome and ever so appreciated!

Quarterly gf magazine- Gluten Free Living is a great resource magazine that offers great info on living gf. Web site, http://www.glutenfreeliving.com/

We had multiple questions about everything from liquor to our old favorite, modified food starch. Many of these can be answered by the new food labeling laws and the rest will be answered specifically in our meeting with the nutritionist this summer. Michelle really stressed how we all make our own choices and can believe what we choose to believe and are responsible for how we choose to live.

Thanks so much to Michelle and U of C for all they do and to Michelle for coming to speak to the MetroCeliacs. U of C has a really important event coming up soon, so please visit their website or click on the link to our calendar on yahoo to see all upcoming events. Thanks everyone for coming!