Crisps are one of the best summer desserts. They come together in minutes and can then be left alone to bake — no need to be exact about the timing, just bake until fragrant, golden and bubbling. With crisps, you get everything a pie has to offer in much less time and without any risk of a soggy crust.
One year ago, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unveiled a plan to set guidelines for packaged foods claiming to be free of gluten. The FDA regulations, which are voluntary, take effect today and stipulate that any packaged food labeled “gluten-free” must contain no more than 20 parts per million of gluten.
While companies cannot be forced outright to disclose whether a product contains gluten or not, the standard could help establish a uniform definition of “gluten-free” for consumers and also help hold accountable those food manufacturers that promote their products as gluten-free.
Throw a bash these days, and you’ll likely be faced with a barrage of requests from friends who are gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free — you name it. But that doesn’t mean these guests are fun-free! Whatever your pals’ eating styles, they will be primed to party (and think you are the Best Host Ever) when you serve one of these dishes.
For the (Gluten-Free) Quinoa-tarian: Quinoa Salad (above)
Here, the gluten-free king of the grain aisle gets tossed with cubes of cucumber, red onion, and tomato in a simple oil-vinegar-lemon dressing. Fresh mint and parsley add bright flavor, and when the salad is spooned into endive spears with diced avocado, the whole thing becomes a party on a platter.
For the Flexitarian: Creamy Broccoli Salad
A little bit of bacon goes a long way in this tasty side — good news for friends who are trying to cut back on meat, especially the processed variety. Two strips of crisp bacon are finely chopped before being tossed with the broccoli, onions and golden raisins. Buttermilk, reduced-fat sour cream, lemon and bacon drippings form the irresistible dressing.
Zucchini are available year-round, but the summer growing season brings an abundance of all shapes and sizes of summer squash, from crookneck to pattypan to eight-ball. If you have a garden, you will be inundated with the green and golden vegetables right through October. This flavorful bread offers a great way to bring any type of zucchini or summer squash into your breakfast routine.
Will Gluten-Free Go the Way of Fat-Free?
Gluten-free. Paleo. Vegan. According to an opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times this week, someday we’ll likely look back on the current crop of diet trends with the same regret-slash-sheepishness we now view our fat-free binge of the 1980s and ’90s. (“Think of all the money and meals you wasted on fat-free ice cream and bone-dry chicken breasts that didn’t do you a lick of good,” writer David Sax admonishes us.) As the story points out, Jimmy Kimmel’s hit skit on gluten last month — featuring hilariously cringe-worthy responses from dieters who seem to shun gluten strictly for the cool quotient — perfectly capture our collective dietary cluelessness. But there are some winners out there: Fad diets appear to be big cash cows for food manufacturers, especially when they market products capitalizing on the nutrition words of the moment.
We love a wholesome and hearty breakfast to begin our days, and this granola has four different whole grains in it, so it is exactly that! It’s a great breakfast (or snack) for summer, paired with berries and yogurt. We jokingly call this granola “birdseed” because it looks a bit like it, with the millet and quinoa. We use butter, but coconut oil can be substituted for a dairy-free version. It keeps nicely all week in an airtight container.
These mini cakes are a lot like macaroons: Crisp on the outside, thanks to plenty of almond meal, and tender inside, from the combination of maple syrup and coconut oil. Not only are these little cakes dairy- and gluten-free but they’re also packed with nutritious ingredients, including chia seeds, flaxseeds, and flours ground from whole grains and nuts.
Millet is a small, round, gluten-free grain that cooks up light and fluffy in just 20 minutes. When cooked fresh, it has an earthy flavor and almost creamy mouthfeel. With its mild flavor and lovely sunny color, millet is an ideal grain for sweet and savory recipes.
This Jimmy Kimmel video made the rounds this week when his show stumped a few civilians on the street by asking them to explain what gluten is. But Kimmel’s best line just might have been: “People are very anti-gluten, which bothers me because I’m very pro-pizza — and you can’t be pro-pizza and anti-gluten.”
Well, it turns out you actually can be — once you have a great gluten-free pizza dough. At Food Network Kitchen, we ate A LOT of gluten-free pizzas for research purposes before we developed our own gluten-free dough. From frozen to pizzeria-fresh, we tried everything we could get our hands on. Truth be told, most were disappointingly tough and gummy. Where was that chewy pull from the crust? After lots of conversation (and chewing), we realized that we were unfairly comparing gluten-free pizza dough to regular pizza dough. They are like apples and oranges. So we adjusted our expectations and found a few gluten-free pizzas that were good — and even some that were more than good.
Last month I shared here on Healthy Eats that we discovered my daughter is gluten intolerant, and so for nearly a year I have been navigating the new waters of gluten-free living in our house. Since then I have been asked many questions by gluten-free folks wondering everything from whether going gluten-free has made a difference in my daughter’s life (answer is yes, like night and day) to wanting tips on going gluten-free or accommodating gluten-free guests.
I’ll back up and tell you that my initial response to gluten-free cooking was to head straight into my arsenal of recipes (and luckily, I have a lot of them) and start the swapping — corn starch for dredging, gluten-free flour blends for baking flour, tamari instead of soy sauce. While this wasn’t a bad start, it was ignoring an obvious solution, which is my number No. 1 tip for gluten-free neophytes: Start out making foods that are just naturally gluten-free.