Gluten Free Carrot Cake Like You’ve Never Tasted!

November 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Recipes

My master chef of a mother-in-law loves to find and try new recipes. With my gluten-free needs and her flare for cooking, she has treated me to all kinds of delicacies I would not make for myself. Frankly, I am in the kitchen out of necessity to eat healthy tasty food at an affordable price; I’m not in there for fun, like she is.

Eating well is my pleasure.

She made this carrot cake for us that features pine nuts, almond flour, and mascarpone frosting. It is simply heavenly and I must share it with you. It tastes and feels both light and rich at the same time. I can’t think of anything to which to compare it. It is not fluffy like bread, but more soft and juicy.

If you like to experiment in the kitchen and eat amazing desserts, this Gluten Free Venetian Carrot Cake Carrot Cake Recipe is for you.

This GLUTEN FREE VENETIAN CAKE CARROT CAKE RECIPE is from THE FOOD NETWORK.

www.foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup regular olive oil, not extra virgin, plus more for oiling pan
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 2 Medium carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 Cup golden sultanas
  • 1/4 Cup rum
  • 3/4 Cup superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 1/2 Cups almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 lemon, zest finely grated and juiced
  • 1 Cup mascarpone
  • 2 tsp confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tbsp rum
  • 1 springform or other round cake tin (9 inch)

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the base of the springform pan with a nonstick silicone liner or baking parchment. Grease the sides with olive oil. Add the pine nuts to a small dry pan and toast them over low heat.
  • Grate the carrots in a food processor or with a coarse grater, and put them on a double layer of kitchen towels. Wrap the towels around the carrots to soak up the excess liquid.
  • Put the sultanas in a small saucepan with the rum, and bring to the boil over medium heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
  • Whisk the sugar and 1/2 cup of oil in a stand mixer or by hand, until creamily and airily mixed together.
  • Whisk in the vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. Fold in the ground almonds, nutmeg, grated carrots, golden sultanas (and any rum that clings to them) and finally the lemon zest and lemon juice.
  • Scrape the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth the surface with a rubber spatula. The batter will be very shallow in the tin.
  • Sprinkle with the pine nuts and bake until the top is risen and golden and a cake tester comes out sticky but otherwise more or less clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove the cake from the oven and let it sit on a rack for 10 minutes before removing the sides. Let cool until ready to serve. Transfer the cake to a serving platter.
  • Combine the mascarpone, confectioners’ sugar and rum in a small bowl. Slice the cake and serve with the mascarpone cream.

Make Ahead Note:

  • The cake can be baked up to 3 days ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in airtight container in a cool place. Will keep for a total of 5 to 6 days.

Freeze Note:

  • The cake can be frozen (still on base of the tin), carefully wrapped in double layer of plastic wrap and 1 layer of foil, for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight at room temperature.

Enjoy! Let me know how it goes.

~~~

Below is my cheater, using a box, carrot cupcakes…

Chocolate Gluten Free Carrot Cake Cream Cheese Cupcakes

~~~

And WILD GOAT BISTRO in Petaluma has a killer carrot cake!

Eating Gluten Free & Shopping in Historic Petaluma

Eating Gluten Free & Shopping in Historic Petaluma

October 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Restaurants

For a bite of the old wild west with a nip of progress, you must stop in Petaluma on your way out to the Napa wine country, or the Sonoma Raceway, or camping in the Redwood Forests.

Petaluma is my hometown, but seldom am I able to visit. Planning for my high school reunion, I hunted on the Internet for a fun place to eat that would suit my gluten-free dining needs, not expecting to find one. All my favorite childhood restaurants were Italian and serve pasta and pizza. Even though those restaurants are still there, my health and eating requirements have changed.

Luckily, Petaluma evolved with me.

Somewhere along the way, after I had gone to college, I heard a rumor that Petaluma won a city renovation government grant, perhaps due to its cool historic old late-1800s downtown that was featured in George Lucas’s hot rod movie American Graffiti.

With a big influx of money, Petaluma built a nice movie theater, new plaza, river bridges, and several International style restaurants and cafes. When I was a kid, I never heard any foreign languages around town. After the renovations, people from around the world made their way to my little stinky town; it was really cool.

You know when you have arrived in Petaluma because just outside Novato on Highway 101 heading north, it starts to wreak of cow manure, and the smell wafts throughout town. This is a positive, a reminder that you are out in the country where happy cows graze the grasses of the pastures owned by family and friends, not corporations.

The old families who run the restaurants, saloons, and speakeasys all remain too. See below for more information about them.

After looking at every single new restaurant on Google Maps that was anywhere near the reunion, I finally found Wild Goat Bistro and was totally blown away by them and their special menu  ”Gluten Free”! I made a reservation for me and the gals.

When I was a kid, the Old Mill, where the restaurant is, never really had anything good in it. Today, the Petaluma Old Mill is a woman’s wonderland! It’s a great place for a nice man to treat his lady to a special Pretty Woman day.

I arrived an hour early to check out the Wild Goat Bistro, make sure it was good enough for my best friends. It was beyond ok, the Old Mill location on the river is absolutely charming, as are the friendly staff. A Euro vibe is created by its close quarters and small room made of stone, wood, and copper.  There is seating inside and outside for singles at counters or large groups on long tables. There is something for every type of diet, including organic, local fresh ingredients, and gluten free food options. You can see in my top image a sampling of the food we ate — and the gluten-free carrot cake, delicious!!! They also have gluten-free artisan pizza.

After my long drive, I sought out the Old Mill restroom, which was in the same old spot it always was.

I happened across Sorella, which means Sister in Italian. Sorella is a hair studio and fashion boutique owned by two sisters.

Being a woman, I could not help but be sucked in by all the adorable dresses and sweaters pouting at me from the windows. I had never seen such great fashion in Petaluma. We had Mervyn’s which met our basic needs of underwear and t-shirts, but it wasn’t like this, like shopping in Paris, or London, or New York.

Lexi Radomile, who stocks Sorella’s clothing side and sews herself, has exceptional big city taste. If you want high fashion (MEN! and Women) but don’t want to drive to San Francisco, you must find this hidden little spot inside the Old Mill on Petaluma Boulevard near Washington Boulevard, downtown across from McNear’s Theater and pub. If you can’t make it to Petaluma, you can also shop with her online.

The OLD MILL, Wild Goat Bistro, and Sorella are at 6 Petaluma Blvd North, Petaluma, CA  94952.
Wild Goat Bistro reservations (707) 658-1156
http://www.wildgoatbistro.com/wildgoatbistro/Home.html
Sorella info (707) 769-9983
http://sorellahairandfashion.com/

GLUTENFREE ON THE RUN… If you are on a tight budget or in a hurry, some well known places in Petaluma where you can get gluten-free food are WholeFoods at 621 East Washington Street, Petaluma, CA 94952 or at Aqus Cafe. For a gluten-free snack or breakfast or lunch, Aqus Cafe offers gluten-free bread and other options, good live music, films, and coffee! Everyday Happy Hour 4:30-6:30pm
http://www.aquscafe.com/main/index.php
189 H Street Petaluma CA 707.778.6060

LOCAL DIVES, MUST-DO, & MUST-SEE IN PETALUMA:

Go have a drink in the 1920s speakeasy of Volpi’s Ristorante & Bar. Pass through the front restaurant to the bar hidden in the back. If gluten is not a problem for you, they have good Italian food and a cool old wood floor atmosphere.
124 Washington St Petaluma, CA 94952

To see all the beautiful animals that used to live in the area and the ghosts of hunter enthusiasts past, see the unofficial museum of Andresen’s Bar at  19 Western Avenue, Petaluma, CA 94952. Very small. Very local. Cash only.

If you want to see how the locals GET STUPID since 1938, go to the Buckhorn out at 615 Petaluma Boulevard South Petaluma, CA 94952.
http://www.buckhorntavern.com/

Read the history and see some beautiful photos of Petaluma here: http://www.petalumadowntown.com/welcome.html
There are lots of antiques, restaurants, cafes, and lovely architecture on Petaluma Boulevard. The good ol’ American Butter & Eggs Parade is in April or May. And there is just so much more…

Petaluma is a romantic contradiction of old and new. I love my hometown and hope you do too.

Article & Food Photographs by Jaden Alexander. Jaden modeling Sorella’s clothes, pictures taken by Lexi Radomile

List of Best Gluten Free Organic Foods & Vitamins for Healthy Hair

September 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Celiac Disease Symptoms

My hair is the physical evidence for why I strongly support and encourage eating gluten free, among many other reasons.

If you have Celiac Disease and are still eating gluten, you will be malnourished because your digestive tract is tore up from the floor up my friend.

If you can’t get the food properly into your body and blood stream, it sure isn’t going to your hair.

As a result of this malnourishment due to your damaged digestive tract, you will have several major health problems, from low blood sugar to migraines to mood issues to thin brittle early greying hair.

When I was born, my mom said I had a weird layer of dead skin cells on my head for two years and my hair wouldn’t grow. No doctors were able to help her. Around two years old, I guess, she peeled off the skin from my head and it finally started to grow.

Still, my hair was always thin and brittle and didn’t grow as long as I would have liked.

In my thirties, when I learned I was intolerant to gluten and stopped eating gluten, my hair started to grow in thicker, darker, shinier, and faster! I even had hairs that were grey and kinky  start growing in dark straight and lovely.

When I started eating gluten free, I had a complete reversal of my hair from so-so normal to fabulous.

Now that I am trudging along in my thirties, everyone assumes I color my hair and they make somewhat rude comments to me in reference to when I had lighter less lovely hair. I have even had people think I was wearing a wig!

“Is that your real hair?”

I am happy to point out the few strands of silver hair I have to prove the rest is actually natural dark hair.

List of Best Gluten Free Organic Foods & Vitamins for Healthy Hair

In addition to eating gluten-free, vitamins and gluten-free organic foods that will help your hair grow healthier are…

DAIRY:  Milk without rBST
DARK GREEN VEGETABLES: Spinach, Broccoli
FISH: Salmon, Halibut
GRAINS: Brown Rice, Flaxseed
NUTS: Brazil Nuts, Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews
ORANGE FOODS: Oranges, Carrots, Cantaloupe
PROTEINS: Kidney Beans, Lentils, Eggs, Grass-fed Beef, Free-Range Poultry
VITAMINS: A, B-6, B-12, Biotin, Calcium, E, Folic Acid, Iron, Omega-3, Zinc

FINAL HAIR NOTES

Avoiding sun and hats is important to healthy hair, as both damage the hair and scalp. A loose straw or cotton hat is best if you are going to be in the sun, so your head and hair can breath.

When you are away from the sun, take off the hat, massage your head, lighten up your hair, and give a good water rinse that night.

Likewise, if you ride a motorcycle or are a fireman and often wear a helmet, make sure to give your head some extra love and cleansing to remove the grime. If your hair is blocked, it can’t grow.

Intaking toxins like smoke, drugs, and alcohol are also going to infringe on your overall health and of course affect the outcome of your hair.

When my brother was being pumped with the strongest drugs on the planet to keep him alive for over a month in the hospital, shortly after he recovered, he lost a lot of his beautiful hair and the new hair grew in redder, kinky, and thinner. His hair was permanently damaged by the illness and drugs. As he has just switched to a gluten free diet, we’ll see if that helps his hair any.

What grows out of your head is partly due to genetics, but it is also how healthy you are, what you do, and how you eat.

WARNINGS: Other than Celiac Disease, you may have a different major health issue causing your hair to be brittle or fall out, like Anemia, Diabetes, liver failure, and Cancer, to name a few. If eating healthy isn’t enough to help your hair, you want to make sure you do not have a life threatening illness.

As with poop, hair (particularly for women) is an indicator of how healthy you are — you can see what is going on inside your body by what comes out!

Quest for the Perfect Gluten Free English Muffin

September 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Products

As you quest for the perfect gluten free English Muffin, I will help you by comparing the two gluten free English Muffin brands, Glutino and Food for Life, to Thomas’ English Muffins (the holy grail of English Muffins for Americans).

Glutino’s English Muffins have  a yellow-orange color and when cut open, look like a fluffy light bread. But if you close your eyes, the light taste and texture in the mouth is more similar to Thomas’ English Muffin than the Food for Life brand.

The Food for Life brand of gluten free English Muffin, I enjoy, but I know it is not for everyone. It is a heavier bread and a more pasty taste and texture. The Food for Life brand looks just like a Thomas’ English Muffin, but does not taste like one. As I said, I like it, but it is not for everyone.

The Glutino brand is more of a crowd pleaser, but the ingredients are less healthy.

Click here to see Glutino’s English Muffin ingredients made in Canada.

Click here to see Food for Life’s English Muffin organic ingredients made in the USA.

When it comes to gluten free organic flours, as Food for Life uses, the flavor result can be unique and an acquired taste.

Both English Muffins require some skills to defrost and toast to just the right taste. If the Food For Life English Muffin is not heated long enough, it tastes really bad. So don’t give up on it, maybe you need to warm it longer. Both brands I defrost in the oven on Bake 375. The Glutino brand, after defrosted, I cut open and toast with butter on Broil. The Food for Life brand, being heavier and thicker, tastes better closed with butter inserted, otherwise, it just gets too hard.

I have tried a variation of delicious organic toppings. Butter. Butter and cream cheese. Butter and a fried egg. Butter, cream cheese, avocado, and smoked salmon.

SUMMARY: If all you want is gluten free and good taste, go with the Glutino English Muffin brand. If you are nostalgic for the English Muffin look, want to be as healthy as you can be, and don’t mind trying new flavors, go with the organic FoodforLife brand.

 

Eating Gluten Free at Cuban Restaurant Café Paladar in San Francisco

September 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Restaurants

If you work downtown in San Francisco’s Financial district and haven’t eaten at Paladar Café Cubano, you simply aren’t enjoying life enough.

Paladar was my treat to myself on a rough work day. During the business lunch rush, it may be difficult to get a seat. I usually went on a sunny day so I could sit outside and pretend I was in a foreign country. There is a small front room and a larger seating area downstairs.

I ate at Paladar so often that, years later, when I come for a visit, they still remember me and my order. I always order the same gluten free meal: the Picadillo Cubano Estilo Elena, which is Niman ground beef seasoned with sofrito (onions, olives, tomatoes, bell peppers, wine), white rice, and plantains.

I love the staff and owners. They are so sweet, they even tried to find me a spouse, but I managed to get that sorted out on my own. It’s the kind of place you have to share: I have brought my co-workers, friends, and family here.

This Latin Soul Food cuisine is Cuban and Colombian inspired (Spanish, African, and Caribbean fusion) with lots of gluten free options. Paladar Café Cubano uses organic products, supports local agriculture, and has vegetarian meal options.

They serve yuca, plantains, salads, rice, beans, bocadillos hot pressed sandwiches, chicken, steak, pork, shrimp, Mexican Coke, Organic Mango Juice, Sandia Cooler (watermelon, cucumber, mint, lime), Batidos tropical fruit shakes, Sangria, and Cuban style coffee!

Price for a meal ranges from $9 to $13.

Shopping downtown at Union Square or working your fingers to the bone in the San Franciscan towers of power, Paladar Café Cubano is the perfect place to take a break and get a gluten free recharge.

HOURS: Monday — Friday 10am-3pm . Saturday 11am-3pm

LOCATION: 329 Kearny Street, San Francisco, California 94108, between Bush and Pine

ORDERS TO GO: 415.398.4899

WEBSITEhttp://paladarcafecubano.com/

You Have a Right To Know What Goes in Your Body & What You Eat — IMPORTANT

August 28, 2012 by  
Filed under News

I would like to share this important message from my Organic farmer, since I couldn’t word this any better.

 We believe you have a right to know what’s in your food.

Our parents started farming organically in 1976 on the farm that we (Thaddeus, Freeman and Noah) run today. They distrusted new agriculture “tools” like pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and had a pretty good idea that those technologies did not bode well for a healthy food supply.  At Farm Fresh To You, we provide you with fresh, seasonal, quality produce that continues our parents’ legacy with what we call “beyond organic” growing practices that go much farther than required by our organic certification.

We believe in connecting you to the farm that grows your food because

this gives you, as a consumer, the information you need to make an

educated choice about what food you eat and feed your family.

This transparency is the core belief of what we do.

For this reason, Farm Fresh To You is supporting Prop 37

on the November 6th ballot.

 

Prop 37, also known as the Right to Know ballot initiative, simply requires that genetically engineered food (GEs or GMOs) be labeled. Accurate labels allow consumers to make informed choices about what they buy and eat.

 

Did you know that most developed nations already require labeling of GMO foods – all of  the European Union, Japan, China, South Korea and Russia, to name just of few of the more than 50 countries that have this requirement.

We’re very excited to see strong support among Californians for Prop 37 despite big agriculture and business conglomerates contributing millions of dollars to oppose the proposition.  This is the first time in our company history that we’ve publicly declared our support on a ballot initiative.

 

As you consider your position on Prop 37, we thank you for allowing us to share ours and encourage you to vote yes on November 6th.

 

PROP 37 - It’s not a ban.  It’s a label.Prop 37 requires labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways. It’s about a right to know.  

- How You Can Learn More -

 

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

We’ll be sharing Prop 37 news, interesting facts and open discussions.

 

VISIT www.carighttoknow.org

Learn about events, grassroots ways you can help, list of businesses supporting Prop 37,badges for Facebook and Twitter, news, press releases and more.

 

1.800.796.6009

contactus@farmfreshtoyou.com

 www.farmfreshtoyou.com

Gluten Free Yogurt Pretzels by Glutino

August 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Products

Manifesting thoughts into the physical world is a wonderful thing, especially when it comes to gluten free yogurt-covered pretzels.

I was walking through the grocery story, eyeing some yummy looking yogurt pretzels in the bulk bins area, but I knew I couldn’t have them.

Lo and behold, when I came to the snacks and cookies isle, there it was, my very own gluten free yogurt pretzels put out by Glutino!

Glutino makes lots of tasty sweets. I’d say their sweet stuff rocks this world. They have all kinds of crazy good cookies. That is what Glutino does best.

The yogurt pretzels hit the spot.

Pretzels are junk food, my dear friends, and eating them in excess will cause weight gain, so don’t make a habit out of eating these. The yogurt gluten free pretzels are perfect for a party or special treat.

If it is you alone purchasing these bad boys, I recommend putting them in a jar to keep fresh so you don’t feel the need to eat them all at once.

Yogurt Gluten Free Pretzels INGREDIENTS are: cane juice, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, yogurt poweder, soy lecithin, corn starch, potato starch, palm oil, sugar, sea salt, cellulose gum, sodium bicarbonate, yeast extract, sodium acid pyrophosphate, citric acide, sodium hydroxide. ALLERGIES, CONTAINS: soy and milk, possibly nuts.

How to Make a Homemade Ice Tea Float

August 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Recipes

Summer is coming to an end, but it is still hot in some places, and anyway, ice tea is always good.

I love a scoop of vanilla ice cream in my coffee and I also love root beer floats.

If you want something with way less sugar and caffeine, how about an Ice Tea Float? It is a fun treat to spice up your day.

Lacking milk and sugar to sweeten my tea, one day, I used a scoop of Breyer’s Vanilla Ice Cream and now I must highly recommend it to you!

Making ice tea is easy and it is a pleasant drink to have around the house. It has less caffeine than coffee and is less hard on the stomach.

To make a nice big batch of ice tea… choose your favorite tea. Mine currently is Earl Grey with Bergamot.

Boil a pot of water measured to the amount of the recycled glass jar you will be using.

After the water comes to a boil, shut off the fire or heat. Put in 5 tea bags without the strings or tags. Stir.

Without regard to the ice cream part, if you like sweetened ice tea, I put one spoon of sugar per tea bag, so in this case, 5 spoons of sugar. I use organic brown sugar and sometimes organic white sugar.

[If your ice tea is already cold and you want to sweeten per individual glass, Agave is a good liquid sweetener to use, or if you are diabetic, use a tiny bit of Stevia, which is natural (they say) and has no sugar content.]

Covered, let the hot water and tea bags steep for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until water is dark.

Pour tea into the glass jar. Let cool an hour on the counter. Then put into the refrigerator to chill. This may take several hours.

When glass jar is cold to the touch, you may drink it. Or you can add ice cubes if it is still warm and you really want to get at that tea.

I usually add a touch of milk, but it is also really tasty without it.

If you are going for the Ice Tea Float, add a vanilla ice cream scoop, which tastes great with black and green teas, but maybe not so good with fruit teas.

 

 

Gluten Free Flours

August 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Products

What Gluten Free Flours Can I Use to Replace White Enriched Wheat Flour in my Recipes? What’s in Gluten Free Flour? What are the Ingredients?

Other than in bread, pizza crusts, and buns, I don’t miss white wheat flour at all.

When prepared well, I prefer the taste of gluten free flours much better in pancakes, cookies, and pastas.

At WholeFoods or online, you can buy these gluten free flours:

GLUTEN FREE PANTRY ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

is the best and easiest all around to slip into and replace wheat flour in any recipe.
INGREDIENTS: White rice flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, guar gum, salt.
http://www.glutino.com/our-products/gluten-free-pantry/beths-all-purpose-gf-baking-flour-us/

BOB’S RED MILL CORNBREAD MIX

I also use this a lot in pancakes. I use 1/2 of Bob’s Cornbread Mix and 1/2 Gluten Free All Purpose flour to replace the white flour in the recipe. The cornbread mix makes things a little thicker and fluffier than regular gluten free mix. The cornbread is also great on its own. And Bob has a Gluten Free All Purpose Flour too.
INGREDIENTS: whole grain cornmeal, potato starch, whole grain
sorghum flour, evaporated cane juice, whole grain corn flour, tapioca
flour, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate,
cornstarch, monocalcium phosphate), sea salt, xanthan gum.
http://www.bobsredmill.com/gf-cornbread-mix.html

ARROWHEAD MILLS GLUTEN FREE ALL PURPOSE BAKING MIX

I use the Arrowhead Mills Brown Rice Flour, but I haven’t tried this All Purpose Flour yet. They also have a Pancake Mix and other mixes. Sounds good. Organic ingredients!
INGREDIENTS: organic whole grain brown rice flour, organic potato starch, rice starch, organic potato starch, rice starch, organic whole grain sorghum flour, baking powder (monocalcium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch), sea salt.
http://www.arrowheadmills.com/product/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-mix

GLUTEN FREE BISQUICK

is so yummy, I worry about how healthy it is. You may find Gluten Free Bisquick in main stream grocery stores. The biscuits from this mix are the best!
INGREDIENTS: Rice Flour, Sugar, Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Modified Potato Starch, Salt, Xanthan Gum
http://glutenfreeordie.com/products/gluten-free-products/coronary-over-the-new-gluten-free-bisquick-pancake-mix

** TIP: Recycled tomato sauce glass jars are excellent for getting your flours out of the plastic bags and into glass for safer storage and easier usage. Makes it more attractive to look at as well. **

HERE ARE MY PANCAKE RECIPES

the easy one
http://glutenfreeordie.com/recipes/gluten-free-breakfast/the-fastest-easiest-gluten-free-pancake-recipe

the fancy one
http://glutenfreeordie.com/recipes/gluten-free-breakfast/gluten-free-blueberry-chocolate-chip-banana-pancakes

Insalata Caprese The Simple Italian Salad of Tomatoes and Cheese

July 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Gluten Free Recipes Fast Easy

On a really hot summer day, one of the easiest, fastest, lightest gluten free meals to prepare is the delicious Italian tomato and cheese salad: Insalata Caprese.

American restaurants like to make the Caprese Salad very big with a lot of small tomatoes (cherry or Roma), fresh basil, and small scoops or cubes of Mozzarella cheese.

When you order this salad in Italy or France, the only way I have ever seen it prepared (and I have ordered it countless times in many places) is with large tomatoes sliced with equally large slices of mozarrella, olive oil, salt, and sometimes basil. Other ingredients may be balsamic vinegar and pepper. That’s it. Very easy, light, and satisfying.

Rarely do I shop for specific ingredients: I almost always prepare meals based on what I have in my refrigerator and cabinets that needs to be eaten before it goes bad.

Pictured here is my version of the gluten free Insalata Caprese, which is similar in presentation to the Italian style Caprese salad.

Slice large and lay out evenly on a plate these ingredients: Organic tomatoes, Ireland Dubliner cheese (because that is what I happened to have in the fridge, which has a cheddar-parmesean taste), and avocado.

Squeeze fresh organic lemon, add a drizzle of olive oil, and some dashes salt and pepper. I also usually include dried basil from my herbs and spices, but of course fresh basil is better if you have it!

INGREDIENTS ADDITIONAL NOTES:

Mozzarella tastes best with this salad, but other white cheeses make a nice substitute. I usually don’t have mozzarella on hand because it goes bad quicker than other cheeses, costs more, and has to be kept wet.

GMO (genetically modified) tomatoes tested to give rats ulcers, still they give them to humans. GMO tomatoes are made to endure beatings and look red longer. I strongly encourage you to seek and eat fresh organic tomatoes with their funny shapes and strange colors; they are much healthier and taste better. You can find organic tomatoes at local farmers markets and natural food stores. Me: I have a tomato plant that came with the house, which is very easy to maintain, you just water it; and I also receive Farm Fresh deliveries that sometimes include organic tomatoes.

Enjoy!

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