Saturday, January 31, 2009

MI TIERRA - BEST GF TACOS IN CALGARY







I have read quite a few positive comments about this Mexican place, but until today never made it there. I missed out!

Located right off the west end of Southland Drive in a strip mall it is very much worth the trek south if you live in NW Calgary like me.

A small space, 1980's style decor with orange sponge painted walls and some basic Mexican decor (think Sombreros), but once more that is secondary compared to the food.

After clearing up the basic GF issues (Yes, corn tacos, not wheat), I ordered Pork tacos for Isabella and a shredded beef tostada for me. Our table was right next to the kitchen and from what I could see in there, they brought Mexican authenticity to the kitchen as well. Basic equipment, fresh ingredients everywhere and some interesting imported canned goods.

Isabella's pork Tacos were excellent with a nice limey flavor to the sauce. I have never seen tacos with rice, but Isabella gave it her famous thumb up.
My Tostada had very tasty Barbacoa shredded beef with ample toppings. The only thing not so authentic was that cheap yellow Cheddar cheese from some sub par Canadian producer. They could use some Queso instead.

Inexpensive, not to say cheap. If you ever ventured out of your all inclusive resort during your last holiday in Mazatlan or Puerto Vallarta and you want to experience that great flavor of food again, you have to visit MI TIERRA.

Read this thread for other opinions than mine:











Friday, January 30, 2009

GF SPECIAL ORDERS--STAR WARS CUPCAKES
















Lauren again...I know, I know, I was supposed to come and guest write more often. I started my own blog again and forgot about it. If only I could say I had too much going on all the time (this is sometimes the case, but theceliachusband will tell you I pretty much will come home after work and nap on the couch)

When I'm not napping or out doing something with a friend, I'm usually on my laptop. Facebook, both personal and for the bakery, and browsing the web. Lately I've really been on a special order cakes kick, because I love shows like Ace of Cakes where they get to spend all of their hours making one of a kind cakes for people. The dream job, nothing you make is ever the same...

One of the questions we get asked the most at the bakery is "What do you do for birthdays??" Yep we do cakes, for the most part just sheet cakes. This week one of our customers sent an e-mail to get a special order for her son's birthday. He is getting a Darth Vader cake (lucky kid!), but one of the invites was celiac. The first choice was a light saber cake, but they went with cupcakes instead. I did the fondant pieces on my own time, since I was just so happy to get my hands on some again...they were really easy to make too!

So here they are, featuring Darth Vader (of course), Anakin (you have to have him before he turned villain), and Luke (because he's vital). Of course, I would have loved to do every beloved character, but that would have required me to make a billion different colours for the fondant...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

SESAME SNAPS







While waiting in line to check out at Sobey's, I saw this sign with a price of .44 on it. What can I buy for 44 cents? Not really much I thought. Still, I had to check out that bucket and what's in it.

Sesame snaps. Huh. Made in Poland. And Gluten Free. Did I mention .44 cents?
I know that Victoria always has some of those Bumblebee bars in her car for a quick snack, so I bought a small bag full to see what she says. Original honey and Vanilla. Isabella liked them. I am sure Victoria will too.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

GLUTEN FREE BREAD

















































It is very interesting how every business has something of a signature product that people come back for over and over.
It can be a special dish at a restaurant, the newest cell phone at your local electronics store or anything else really, that makes you go back to the same place.

At GF PATISSERIE it's the bread. In the very short time that Victoria and Lauren have been baking, they have attracted an amazing repeat clientele that no matter how cold it is, or how far the drive is to Cochrane, come back loyally every week for their orders of fresh breads.

If you have never baked or bought gluten free bread it is hard to understand maybe, but I have not only seen how challenging it is to bake a great GF bread, I have seen how challenging it really is to bake ENOUGH gluten free loaves on a busy Saturday.
The dough is so hard to handle, since without gluten it is very tricky to create a somewhat uniform, crusty, fluffy bread. Small batches in small machines guarantee that the quality is the best you can make without loosing too much time compared to a commercial regular bakery.

To their credit I have to say that Lauren and Victoria got a system down that works great. I am not really welcome at the bakery during production time, but it is amazing to watch. Like clockwork, batch after batch gets mixed, prepped and baked.

There are now quite a few different types of breads available now, each one with a different characteristic, great flavor. Many first time clients who visit GF PATISSERIE are hesitant to buy, since so many previous attempts at other GF bakeries resulted in ho hum experiences.

Victoria always makes sure they get to taste a piece first, which then usually creates a massive "light bulb" moment and everybody is a converted, happy, loyal repeat customer.
And they are already working on more, exciting flavors for the spring










Saturday, January 17, 2009

GIFT CERTIFICATES FROM GF PATISSERIE


Before Christmas Victoria had numerous requests for gift certificates from her clients to give to friends and family as a gift. Well, who would have thought? Chapters, Starbucks, Future Shop are logic choices, but GF Patisserie's cakes and pastries? I guess so.

So. Victoria has joined the ranks of stores selling certificates. Now you can tell your boss, neighbor, room mate, friends, and family what to get you for your next birthday/holiday/"I am sorry" day, or quite frankly ANY day you feel like eating fresh baked gluten free cakes!

No minimum, no expiry, it's perfect.

Friday, January 16, 2009

GLUTEN FREE PIZZA







Yes, I have posted about gluten free Pizza before, but I know that a good GF Pizza is one of the most missed comfort foods by Celiacs every where. So let me inspire you. Again.

An important trick I found about home baked Pizza, regular or GF, is heat. The higher the better. In a good commercial oven the heat can reach 1000 degrees and it only takes 2 minutes to bake a good Pizza.
Well, no household oven will reach that but mine goes to 500. It was enough.

Parchment paper helps to make the bottom crispier. Why? I have no idea, it just does. Please let me know if you know why. If you have Pizza stones, even better.
I used Victoria's gluten free Pizza shells, at the Calgary Italian store I found a new sauce imported from Italy with whole cherry tomatoes. They are sweeter than regular ones and burst with flavor when you bite into them.
Add fresh Mozzarella, Salami and Ham. Spicy peppers for me, more plain for Isabella and the girls.
Unless you enjoy charred herbs, add the fresh basil after baking the Pizza.
Finish off with some olive oil and it's all ready to eat. Go make some gluten free Pizza this weekend.
MORE GF PIZZA POSTS:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

GLUTEN FREE NANAIMO BAR







OK. It's the Prototype. Not yet ready for sale. Victoria is a perfectionist and since she has never tasted the real thing, she wants to compare first and then make it again.

I agree that the custard needs to be firmer, but the rest? Unreal. Nice coconut flavored base made of cookie crumbs, the custard had enough sweetness and of course Callebaut chocolate.
Isabella gave it one thumb up, she would have given it two thumbs, but was too busy eating a second piece. She was on a sugar buzz last night....

For all the readers outside Canada, a Nanaimo bar is truly a regional Canadian treat. It is a no bake chocolatey treat that was first created in the town of Nanaimo, BC.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

THE REAL ANTON EGO?




For those of you who have not yet seen Ratatouille, an animated Disney movie, Anton Ego is the much feared food critic in this movie.

I just found this article in the Herald Tribune about a real, savage, mean spirited food critic.


A great read:



Saturday, January 10, 2009

NEW ITEMS AT GF PATISSERIE







A new year brings new ideas. Victoria and Lauren are no exceptions. They will roll out new gluten free items all the time in 2009 and they started off with a bang.

Lauren made a swiss roll for this weekend, with a nice buttery cream filling. I like it.

Victoria created a gluten free cheese bread, I tasted it yesterday and it turned out very well. Soft on the inside with a nice cheese flavored crust. As with all other breads that Victoria and Lauren made so far, this is another hit. You will enjoy it.

They also added some new images to their website, including an order form that you can email or fax to GF Patisserie. Check it out:








Monday, January 05, 2009

FRANKFURTER - GLUTEN FREE







I don't care how everybody reading this post will call these sausages Wieners or Hot Dogs. They are Frankfurter. Plain and simple. Even if the label says "European Wieners", they are what they are. To me. Frankfurter with mustard.
Here is the proof:

Anyway. A classic Austrian snack, you can get these on every other corner in the cities at a "Wuerstelstand", or sausage stand. Best enjoyed with some mustard and a piece of bread. In our case with Victoria's gluten free buns.



Sunday, January 04, 2009

GLUTEN FREE FRENCH TOAST







Sunday. A day in our family where everyone is at home, relaxed and not rushed for anything. Very enjoyable.

Today Victoria made French Toast for the whole family. She used GF Patisserie's Raisin Bread, which already is flavored with Cinnamon and slightly sweet. But she added another surprising twist to her toast today, the ultimate recycling idea. We always have egg nogg at Christmas, but honestly, it is more a tradition to have it than to drink it. I am sure some of you can relate.

So Victoria used the left over egg nogg today as a dipping mixture instead of the usual version. Wow. It turned out FANTASTIC!
All the flavors are there, nicely fried into the batter with a chewy centre of the best gluten free raisin bread. I love Sundays.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

WHAT'S MISSING IN MY GOULASH?











In Hungary, where this paprika flavored beef stew originated, every family seems to have a recipe to offer. Some add chopped peppers, others put a spoon of cumin in the boiling pot, some mix the meat 50/50 with pork and so on. But they ALL use onions.

However, as of late Victoria developed an allergic reaction to onions , so I had to cut that ingredient out of my Gulasch today. But I simply doubled up on garlic to compensate for the flavoring effect of onions.

Really as simple as any other stew, this one I prepared with a mixture of sweet and spicy Hungarian Paprika. I use it generous while browning the beef, to not only soak the flavor into the cubes of beef, but Paprika due to it's consistency functions somewhat of a thickener as well during the cooking process.
So I am able to make a gluten free (now also ONION FREE) Gulasch without any binders such as corn starch. This version has a pretty smooth, flavorful texture and even Isabella and her friend like to eat some without complaining how hot it is.

Friday, January 02, 2009

GLUTEN FREE CALGARY
















I guess there comes a point with most Blogs where one just starts to think what to write about next. And how. And why.

Over my little Christmas break I had some good discussions with others about blogging, read a lot of different themed Blogs, looked at my own past scribbles and it gave me a much needed boost to continue. So there. Not much else to say, other than thanks for visiting my Blog. It's great to know you are reading it.

One thing of course in conjunction with Victoria's GF Patisserie, I will continue writing about my experiences on the Gluten Free Front in Calgary. But I will try to fit in other stories as well this year. What, I do not know yet.

So let me start with a new restaurant that opened only a few weeks ago, up in the Northwest quadrant of this city. Green Chili, at the Crowfoot Centre offers a great variety from the cuisines of India.
Many dishes from that subcontinent are gluten free to begin with, but just to be safe we advised management about Victoria's Gluten intolerance. Well informed about allergies and very helpful in guiding us through the menu makes this spot a no brainer for Celiacs.


Both Victoria and myself enjoy a good curry once in a while so we went and checked it out before Christmas. A la carte for dinner and buffet style lunch.
If you do like Indian cooking and know a bit about it, let me recommend dinner, as their menu is huge.
The lunch buffet however offers a good variety of basic Indian cooking as well, at the very good price of 15.50. Which to me seems a good deal. And you can taste many different flavours and spices without ordering the wrong dish off the menu...

For dinner we enjoyed some great vegetarian dishes, Palak Paneer (pureed Spinach & Cottage Cheese), Dal Massor (Lentils), as well as some meat varieties. My lamb Korma was incredibly flavourful and mild in contrast to Victoria's choice of Vindaloo Chicken. Their Coconut rice is one of the best versions I have had. An excellent side dish.
I was not too pleased to be charged for the Mango Chutney, but economics rule I guess.

Curios enough, it's free at the lunch buffet. How does that work?
The lunch buffet usually offers three meat choices, I counted five vegetarian dishes and plenty of condiments to make your meal almost authentic. If it were not for those sub zero temperatures otuside, you could almost imagine being in Mumbai or New Delhi...

Desserts from India are not really world famous (like Austrian or French choices), but their rice pudding was actually very good. Spiced with Kardamon and Saffron, definitely different from the rice puddings we make here.
Overall, I highly recommend this place (they have a few locations around town) as a nice alternative to our boring suburban franchise food choices.




Thursday, January 01, 2009

2009







Happy New Year to all of you. Back from a restive holiday season and ready for 2009.
No real New Year's resolutions, but I am going to do whatever it takes to make this year better than last year for all the people I meet. Private and business.

I had a good start with this goal today, January 1st is Victoria's birthday and my goal was to make it a memorable one.
Birthdays so close to Christmas usually are being overshadowed by the holidays and in the past, we were no exceptions. But today, from morning coffee to a great home made Roast Beef dinner and a gluten free Angel food cake that Lauren created, I made it all special for Victoria. And Victoria deserves it. All.



GF Patisserie is back at it tomorrow, Lauren is alreay out there today, ramping up production and getting ready for a fantastic gluten free year.