Thursday, September 24, 2009

Gluten-Free Fair at Draeger's Market

The Gluten-Free Fair at Draeger's Market in San Mateo last Sunday was a great success. There were just enough people to fill the classes and demo spaces but not such a crowd as to render things impassible.

Draeger's Mary Claire had lined up nearly 20 vendors that were scattered throughout the large 2-story building, dispensing bites of amazingly tasty fare. Some were disqualified for James by their buttery and chocolaty goodness; happily many items were dairy-free or vegan.

I'll add more complete details on the products later. Right now I want to be sure anyone who is interested in future meetups can sign up for themselves. So far events have been held at Blackhawk and San Mateo. Draeger's is not cheap but they give good value for your money.

Gluten-Free Club at Draeger's

Other great news is that Jacqueline Mallorca's new cookbook, Gluten-Free Italian is out! It was at Draeger's on Sunday and Amazon still thinks it's not released yet. Case in point. I've got my autographed copy in my hot little hand now. Some things are worth paying list price.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Photographic Evidence: These Cakes Are Good Eats

Since I honestly did not expect to win anything when I entered the cooking competition at the San Mateo County Fair, it was quite a pleasant shock to find a blue and a white ribbon gracing my cakes in the display case!

The carob-walnut torte, left, did not turn out as lofty as usual, but it tasted just fine, even after resting overnight. It's based on Jacqueline Mallorca's nifty four-ingredient chocolate-walnut cake in The Wheat-Free Cook, which is probably even better when using unsweetened natural cocoa powder as she specifies. I substitute the unsweetened natural carob powder from Bob's Red Mill, since James is highly allergic to chocolate. This is my go-to recipe when taking a dessert to share with others. It can be made ahead of time, it transports well, and can be cut into small pieces by people who want to sample everything on the buffet.

My adaptation of another recipe from The Wheat Free Cook took third place (left center). As you can see, these gluten-free cakes are not cake mix cover girls. They are low, plain cakes but they have a pleasing texture and good flavor. This is the cholesterol-free walnut-olive oil sponge cake. Jacqueline Mallorca specifies the zest of an orange as the accent flavor, but since James is allergic to citrus, I added chopped ginger instead.

The ribbons are objective testimony that you can eat well despite multiple food allergies, my reason for writing this blog. These recipes are real food that you can serve without qualms to your family and guests. You don't have to make separate food for the person with allergies. My aim in entering the fair was to get some recognition for special diet cooking as a category on its own. Instead, I would up proving my point that you can take these goodies anywhere, and they will be consumed with pleasure.

My other evidence is that James has to watch that the "normals" don't consume his dessert treat before he gets to it, as happened when I took the sherry-walnut cake to a tiki party a few weeks ago. That carob-walnut torte is going to The 25th Annual Gatsby Summer Afternoon this Sunday, along with its blue ribbon. What's a little bragging among friends? County fairs were quite the rage in the 1920s and '30s!