Saturday, March 5, 2011

Back in Seattle and Ready to Report

Hi there! I'm recently diagnosed with a wheat allergy and just moved back to my "hometown" of Seattle - well, I lived there for ten years before two years of living in California, so I consider it my hometown.
I risk anaphylaxis every time I eat anything contaminated with wheat - a condition that's new to me, only been around for a year or two - so I've had to change my diet in a hurry, and my poor husband has to contend with trying to create gluten-free recipes on the fly. I'm also allergic to buckwheat, teff, and tapioca, which makes most ready-made gluten-free baked goods a problem too. Fun!
So I'm hoping to talk here about places in Seattle and surroundings (Portland, La Conner, Bainbridge Island, etc) about places where you can buy gluten-free products and restaurants that offer gluten-free options.
The Northwest is pretty friendly to gluten-free needs but I have been "surprised" by reactions in restaurants that accidentally put on a beurre blanc with flour in it, for instance and cross-contamination type of stuff, so I'll keep track and let you know!
If you have suggestions, please let me know!
For my first gluten-free recipe, here's my husband's custard that has a regular rotation in our dessert menu. It's a slightly healthier version of creme brulee, with whole eggs instead of just the yolks, and lactose-free milk instead of cream. I promise you, it's still delicious, and if you have a little brulee torch (or know how to use the broiler) you can put that crisp sugar crust on it, and no one will know it's not the full-fat version.

Jeannine's faux creme-brulee custard
(contains milk and eggs)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup 2 percent lactose-free milk (scalded: involves heating it to 190 and then letting it cool.)
1/2 of a vanilla bean's scraping
4 eggs, lightly beaten
a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, or other flavorings as desired

Lightly beat eggs and add sugar, salt and scalded milk to egg mixture. Mix. Pour into individual ramekins (if you own them - we make four from this recipe) and sprinkle with desired spices. Set ramekins in a shallow pan filled half-way up with water (make sure the water level is not higher than your ramekin dishes - you don't want water inside your custard dishes!) Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean - overbaking makes the custard too loose, so check your oven the first time you do it for times. Cool in the fridge to set for an hour or so. For a brulee crust, sprinkle with a thin layer of sugar and hit it briefly with your brulee torch. Extra fancy! Put some berries or mint on top for color.