Gluten Free and Easy

In preparation for this week’s blog on gluten-free, I went back to see when I first wrote about this, as I didn’t want to bore my few readers by repeating a topic. However I somehow doubt many of the readers from March 2013 are still in town and if they are then perhaps they  have forgotten that brilliant post. Clearly the gluten-free diet is not a passing trend. In fact I would say that this “trend” is spreading. More people are considering the possibility they may have undiagnosed celiac or are gluten-sensitive and some are hoping to resolve longstanding digestive issues. It is definitely worth investigating a diet change if your belly aches.

                                                                                                                                                              Gluten: protein that is found in wheat, rye and barley. Gluten gives baked goods their texture, strength and structure.                                                                                                                                                                                    Celiac disease: ” a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye, and possibly oats”. Per the PubMed Health. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.                                                                                                                                                                               Wheat allergy: This is different from celiac disease because the allergic reaction does not involve the intestinal tract but people still need to avoid wheat products, so they must follow a wheat-free diet.

The best way to find out if the diet can improve your well being is to have a blood test. If the test is positive then change your diet. If you have ever wondered if gluten or celiac may be an issue for you , Gluten Free China offers the BiocardTM Coeliac Test. This simple ten minute test may give you an answer. It is very accurate for those people with celiac disease. The test can not pick up people who are gluten-sensitive but not celiac.                                                                                    For the test please contact laura @ gluten-freechina.com

Changing to a gluten-free diet is much easier said than done. Gluten-free means eliminating all wheat products from your diet and that will be more than just giving up your morning bowl of Wheaties. Eliminating gluten means avoiding pasta and pancakes as well as muffins and naan .  You will discover that gluten, in many forms, is added to much more than baked goods, you will need to read labels and avoid soy sauce. Fortunately more and more gluten-free products are showing up in  Shanghai. You can find gluten-free noodles, cereal and bakery fresh bread in the western supermarkets and online shops. As gluten-free living becomes more widespread, new options are popping up all the time, making living here easier for those who must avoid gluten.

Most recently Sandi’s Shop, www.gfchopstix.com, has turned up in Shanghai. Sandi specializes in gluten-free and allergy free products. Looking for GF cupcakes, bread or granola? I can vouch for the granola which was delightful with cashew milk. Sandi’s products are made with hand milled grains and delivered fresh to you. She also stocks some GF products including grains and ready to eat cereal. Any questions contact sandi@gfchopstix.com or  call 13524057692.

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun!

 

 

Books & Recipes

This seems to be Eat Well Shanghai’s month for books. As of today you have another reason to order from the fine grocers at Kate& Kimi.  Kate & Kimi will now be carrying the Eat Well Shanghai  book, Eat Well Shanghai Your Guide to Eating Well at Home and on the Go!  Kate & Kimi also carries Ni Hao Bao Bao, the fabulous bilingual cookbook for families living in Shanghai ( see blog from last week). Many thanks to the folks at Kate & Kimi for their support of us little local guys.

Now the recipe part of today’s blog. Lately I have taken the time to prepare some delicious dishes.  I don’t know exactly where the inspiration comes from but I do know that I was tired of eating the same old thing. With the hectic pace of life in Shanghai it is quite easy to get in to an eating rut. It’s faster and easier but after awhile it is boring and not healthy. Remember variety is one key to good nutrition!

There was the Saturday morning of whole grain waffles topped with bananas, a dollop of plain yogurt and a drizzle or real maple syrup  and then a few days later for lunch the open face sandwich; toasted bagel spread with hummus a slice of tomato and melted cheddar cheese. Hmmm… Finally one rainy night I remembered my homemade mushroom soup recipe that always hits the spot.

Trust me these dishes were not hard to make. What helps and what I can’t emphasize enough is having a well stocked pantry. All the ingredients for these dishes I had on hand in my kitchen. It makes it so much easier to get motivated when you don’t have to run out to the store for one ingredient ( or all of them!).

To get you started I will leave you with my easy mushroom soup recipe.

Eat Well Live Well, Have Fun!

Homemade Mushroom Soup (from epicurious.com)

  • 6 tbsp/75 g butter
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces/340 g button mushrooms ( I use a mix of different mushrooms)
  • 4 cups/900 ml light chicken stock or broth (vegetable stock is fine too)
  • 1 sprig of flat parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ounces/56 ml high-quality sherry (don’t use the cheap grocery-store variety; it’s salty and unappetizing and will ruin your soup)

Method
In the medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons/28 g of the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms and the remaining butter. Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn’t take on any brown color. Stir in the chicken stock and the parsley and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.

After an hour, remove the parsley and discard. Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender’s lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom purée to erupt all over your kitchen?

When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again. Add the sherry, mix well, and serve immediately.
Enjoy!

Eating Outside the Box

bagels

The last time I went grocery shopping I had a bit of an epiphany ( if you can have just a bit of one…). I glanced down at the cart and was taken aback to see all the boxes. Now that little moment of revelation got me thinking about what I was really buying and why I needed all this food in  boxes.  Much of what we are in the habit of buying from cereal to crackers to soup and pasta sauce can be made at a lower cost and in a healthier way at home. Making it yourself or buying  homemade ( more on that later) limits your intake of the  artificial preservatives and food additives that must come with processed/package foods.  Truly you don’t want something that travels over the seas to come without a bit of additive protection. But more importantly,  home made  adds a delicious variety to meal and snack  time.

I grant you, packaged foods do offer a convenience that we all could use more of when it comes to feeding ourselves. Fortunately we live in Shanghai where innovation and convenience often go hand in hand. Maybe you would like to cook at home more often but truly don’t have the time, then ordering wholesome , homemade foods just might do the trick.

Want the whole meal delivered? Fields offers a variety of lovely meals that can be delivered right to your door in time for dinner. Check www.fieldschina.com for the weekly offerings.

I recently discovered a new web service offering neighbor to neighbor-like home cooked dishes. Mamazuofan, just two months old, is an interesting concept in meal service.  The www.mamazuofan.com web site offers a place for cooks to offer up their wares and for the hungry to find home made options in their neighborhood. www.mamazuofan.com

For great outside the box snacks try:

Spread the Bagel:For an authentic bagel that taste like  home ( that is NY for me).

www.spreadthebagel.com

Strictly Cookies: Yummy, wholesome cookies in several varieties, just like Granny used to make.

www.strictlycookies.com

Eat Well, Live Well, Have fun