Gluten Free On-the-Go

Gluten Free On-the-Go

Stepping up to a falafel cart in Jerusalem was thrilling, especially when I asked the owner to make the falafel how he likes it: with everything on it. I could identify only three of the ingredients he added to my falafel, but that is the charm of experiencing local cuisine. Unfortunately, the excitement of enjoying local cuisine while traveling turned to fear when I learned that I needed to eat gluten-free foods due to Celiac Disease. However, you can still enjoy traveling the globe and trying new foods while living gluten free. Here are some suggestions for gluten-free travelers to make vacationing more about experiencing than worrying. Do Your Homework Before leaving on vacation, take time to do some research. Look into the local cuisines of the places you will be visiting. What are the most popular dishes and their ingredients? If you are traveling where there is a language difference, what are some short phrases you can use to ensure you are selecting a safe option? Getting a head start can help you avoid feeling overwhelmed and confused when ordering—especially if there is a language barrier or a vague menu. Have a Backup Plan Sometimes there aren’t safe, gluten-free options where you are—and that’s okay! Taking snacks and on-the-go meal options can be a great backup plan if local cuisine options aren’t gluten-free. This can make going out on all-day excursions less about worrying and more about soaking in adventures. Use Your Resources There are several websites and phone apps that can guide you to gluten-free restaurants and entrée options. Gluten-Free Restaurant Cards from CeliacTravel.com. This app allows...
Corn: Four Corners in the Kitchen

Corn: Four Corners in the Kitchen

When Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 1492, he expected to find the riches and spices of the West Indies. To their dismay, they returned to Spain without the treasures they had anticipated. However, one of their many discoveries impacted the world dramatically—the culinary world, that is. The explorers discovered gold in a form never before seen in the eastern hemisphere. The gold was enveloped by filmy, green leaves and had fine, yellow strands protruding from its tip. This kind of gold affected the world’s palate as it spread out from the Americas and worked its way into cultures around the world. Corn, the American gold, has been incorporated in recipes around the globe as appetizers, entrees, and desserts. The following recipes come from different countries, but all share a common ingredient: corn. American Cornbread 1 cup milk ¼ cup butter, melted 2 large eggs 1¼ cups yellow, white, or blue cornmeal 1 cup flour ⅓ cup sugar 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease inside of a 9-inch round pan or an 8×8-inch square pan. 2. Beat milk, butter, and eggs in large bowl with an electric mixer or wire whisk. Stir in remaining ingredients. Continue stirring until flour is moistened (batter will be lumpy). Pour batter into pan. 3. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Adapted from www.food.com.   Curau: Brazilian Corn Pudding 2 cans corn 2 quarts milk 1½ cups sugar 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 cup coconut milk 2 tablespoons butter Cinnamon to taste 1. Drain corn. Put corn kernels in a blender and blend into a paste. 2. Combine corn paste, milk, sugar, and...
Curious Cuisine: Unique Foods from the South

Curious Cuisine: Unique Foods from the South

When you think of strange food, your first thoughts may gravitate toward foreign foods such as fried scorpions in China or escargot from France. You may think you need to travel halfway around the world to taste peculiar cuisine. But unique foods can be found right here in the United States, specifically in the South. Alligator The idea of eating a scaly creature with many sharp teeth may seem unusual, but alligator is a fairly popular dish in the South. Alligator meat can be cooked a variety of ways, from grilled to stewed, but the most popular way to cook it is to fry it. The taste can be described as mild, similar to chicken, with a slight seafood aspect. Fried/Pickled Okra Okra can be considered an unusual vegetable since it’s not used in the regular diets of most Americans. But it’s a huge part of Southern cuisine. Okra originally came from Africa and possibly came to the US through the slave trade. This unique vegetable can be cooked in many ways, including boiled, steamed, or even added to soups, but in the South, their specialty is fried okra and pickled okra. Pickled okra continues to grow in popularity, and you can find this specialty in many stores in America. Okra’s texture ranges from slimy when boiled to crunchy when fried. As for the taste, most Southerners agree that okra tastes like okra and that you just have to try it yourself! Oxtail Soup Oxtail meat is just as it sounds: meat directly from the tail of an ox. It may seem a little odd, but oxtail meat is...
Healing Soups

Healing Soups

Chilly weather often brings colds, sniffles, shivers, and coughs, making winter miserable. While you might turn to Grandma’s chicken soup first, consider some of these soups from around the world with special healing benefits. Gingko Nut Porridge, China The gingko nut is the star of this simple dish and is also said to provide asthma relief. Ingredients Several ginkgo nuts, shelled and skins removed 3 or 4 beancurd sheets, rinsed and torn into smaller pieces ½ cup rice 7 cups water 1 teaspoon chicken granules Salt to taste Instructions Wash rice, put into the rice pot and add in 7 cups water. Switch onto “Porridge” mode of the rice cooker. Once the rice grains have started to soften, add in the gingko nuts and cover. Once the porridge is soft, check for desired consistency, add in the limp beancurd sheets, salt, and the chicken granules, and stir. Adapted from nofrillsrecipes.com   Fennel Fish Soup, Scandinavia If you can’t get rid of that pesky cough and you’re not feeling too seasick, this fennel fish soup will warm you right up. Ingredients 1 finely chopped yellow onion 3 sliced garlic cloves ¼ of a finely chopped fennel root 1 teaspoon fennel seeds 20 ounces vegetable bullion 10 ounces white wine 3 peeled and diced tomatoes 7 ounces heavy cream 30 mussels 1 pound shrimp 1 filet of white fish milk flour salt and pepper Instructions Sauté the onion, garlic, and fennel root until tender. Add fennel seeds, vegetable bouillon, and white wine. Let boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, cream, shellfish, and fish until cooked through. Salt and...

Mamma Mia: Exploring the World of Pizza

Not all pizzas are created equal. Delivered or picked up, gourmet or mass-produced, frozen or fresh—pizza is for everyone. Pizza has become a classic and quintessential American food. We eat pizza at birthday parties as kids, for late night snacks as students, and for quick dinners as adults. The greasy, cheesy pizzas in flat, square boxes that stack so nicely are a comfortable and familiar sight to most people. But what about pizza outside of America? What about pizza in Asia, the Middle East, South America? We know that even across America, styles of pizza can vary dramatically, but that is nothing compared to the different styles of pizza across the globe. Many pizzas around the world are fairly traditional and similar. In Italy, the Neopolitan pizza consists of a thin crust with mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. This lends itself to the American pizza and serves as a basis for most other pizzas. Like the Neopolitan, most pizzas start with a bread base. With France’s Tarte Flambé pizza, the crust is thin and crepe-like. Georgia’s Khachapuri pizza has a thicker, cheese-stuffed dough. In Lebanon, the Manakish pizza is basically a form of flatbread. The bread base is the most consistent ingredient of a pizza; almost every form of pizza around the world begins with some sort of bread. The bread base, though certainly important, is often overlooked because of the toppings, which vary widely. Many countries use cheese as a topping (namely France, America, Italy, and India). However, some countries use toppings unique to their culture. In Japan, the Okonomiyaki pizza has a variety of seafood toppings, including squid...

Four Corners of the Kitchen: Coconut

Coconut, fruit of the “tree of life,” is a super food. Although coconut trees grow only in tropical and subtropical regions, this tasty treat has reached every corner of the globe. Coconut is sold in many forms, from fresh coconuts to pressed coconut oil to shredded coconut, and it tastes delicious in both sweet and savory dishes. Coconut was introduced to North America in the early 1800s and was very popular in baking and cooking products until the 1950s, when doctors blamed coconuts as a cause of high cholesterol. Thankfully, coconut products have experienced a resurgence in the new millennium, populating vending machines, health-food stores, and baking aisles. New studies show what common coconut consumers have long known intuitively: Consuming coconuts can help lower heart disease and cholesterol, reduce the effects of stress, and improve heart, brain, and gastrointestinal health. Overall, coconut has a host of health-boosting capabilities. The recipes on the following page demonstrate the treatment and variations of coconuts. From North America, we have featured Coconut Ice Cream, an easy-to-assemble homemade ice cream that does not require an ice-cream maker or raw eggs. Beijinhos de Coco are small Brazilian candies that are easy to make and perfect for gatherings. Chicken Bhuna is a curry dish from Bengali that comes together quickly and smells divine. And finally, our variation of Coconut Mango Pudding comes from China—making it a simple and elegant dessert to celebrate the Chinese New Year. coconutresearchcenter.org —Kiersten Cowan   Chicken Bhuna (Bengali Chicken Curry) Ingredients 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken, diced in 1/2-inch pieces 2 yellow onions, finely diced 2 tbsp. fresh minced ginger 6...