CooK’n at the Wallonenhof on May 21st!

DSC06585Our next CooK’n event is just around the corner!

On May 21st, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm at the Wallonenhof Restaurant we will be CooK’n Breakfast! The most powerful meal of the day!
Plan on spending the morning cooking a savory Saturday Morning Brunch. Mark your calendar, this is one you wont want to miss!

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Pizza Hunting 2

Well our trip is coming to a close. My search for the perfect pizza crust has been more then successful. I am excited to get home and begin experimenting with all my new secrets.

One thing I have learned about eating gluten, dairy and soy free on the road. It is possible and even enjoyable! Here are a few ideas to help you stay faithful to your journey:

  1. Plan before you go. My mother was an avid dieter and repeated one of her favorite mottos daily: “if you don’t plan, you plan to fail.” So make some plans.
  2. Check out the net and search for restaurants and bio grocery stores in the area you will be visiting before you go.
  3. Check what days the farmer markets are open in the area you will be visiting.
  4. Take simple supplies: gluten free bread, small cartons of coconut cream for your coffee, nuts, fruit and my favorite: Thyroid Greens by Susan Cohen.
  5. Ask! I found that most local restaurants will be more than gracious to accommodate you. Staff were always happy to toast my bread at breakfast.
  6. Look for local restaurants that use fresh foods and don’t have a million things on their menu. Most will have 3 or 4 different choices that use seasonal foods and may run out since they don’t cook for the masses. So call early for reservations and menu choices.

IMG_2651Zur Herknerin in Wien was one restaurant we found that fit this protocol (it was also helpful that Lutz’s son Dominik worked there as a part-time waiter). The food was amazing and we were served fresh delicious meals. My creamed spinach was replaced with fresh yummy white asparagus with a kind smile and friendly service, which included a visit from the chef.

IMG_2598One superior meal that was cooked to perfection happened to be in a cozy apartment above the city. Perfect jazz, relaxing ambiance with fine silver and a knowledgable chef. Stuffed red peppers with fresh ground pork/beef mix topped with delicious tomato sauce, all meeting my lifestyle needs. What a meal! And one I will surely repeat. Thanks Chef Dominik!

Blue Orange in Wien was a great find for gluten free bagels. Perfect egg sandwich with bacon and a side of Jalapeño’s.

IMG_2609The highlight of my researching effort paid off. Our first night in Wien we walked a block to Pizzaria Scarabocchio. I had done my homework and found It had super reviews and definitely met my expectations. The crust was light chewy and crisp on the bottom. I did walk away with a few more secrets for my next pizza crust.

To end our stay in Wien we had to hit the Scarabocchio once more just to make sure and compare. My husband ordered a normal crust while I stuck to my gluten free. The test was done and we both voted that there was little ground to debate a difference in texture and flavor. See for yourselves.

Kudos to the owners! In my book Scarabocchio you’re number one…at least for this week!

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Pizza Hunting 1

Well, as many of you know, living the gluten/dairy/soy-free lifestyle has been pretty easy for me. I’ve been able to recreate everything I miss except one thing… Pizza crust! Yes. I am fine with my Basic Bold Tomato Sauce, nut cheese and my Bella Italian Seasoning, but creating the right crust has been my quest and mission.

To date, I have not found a replacement, just a lot of mistakes in the trash. But it is spring break and I am off once again, pursuing the perfect crust!

CooKnCoach_160410-7This past week, we headed to Munich for 3 days where I searched the internet for gluten-free pizza restaurants and discovered Pizzesco. It turned out to be one of the best I have tried so far! Yes, it is a close call between Ferro in Idyllwild California and this fantastic hole in the wall in Munich.

We took the subway and followed the directions to the Pizzesco. The seating area was about 100 people and the room was packed! This did not detour me, though. I was determined to check out this gluten-free pizza and I even told the gentleman that led us to our cramped table, fighting off the walk ins, that I planned to publish my experience on my website. He gave the sign of a long Pinocchio nose and laughed.

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Well by the end of the evening we were laughing. It was amazing! The crust crunchy. I had the standard salami and Lutz had the most delicious one: truffles with thinly sliced potatoes covered in buffalo mozzarella.

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When the gentleman realized I was serious about my review, he treated us to their homemade tiramisu with gluten-free lady fingers. I will have to recreate this one using coconut milk to really indulge, but the bite was worth it.

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I didn’t leave empty-handed, I was able to pick his brain and left Pizzesco with some new material at hand. Yes, a secret ingredient I have not tried yet… My mind is ticking as I type. I see the perfect crust on the horizon. Stay tuned!

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It was a close call between Ferro in California and Pizzesco in Munich. Tomorrow we are off to Vienna and the hunt to find the perfect crust continues!

Excursion To Gluten, Soy & Dairy Free India

What an exciting cooking event this weekend. We had eleven hungry, talented, eager travelers ready to experience the smells and tastes of India. Yes, I hear your first thoughts: “How in the world can they make these choice dishes without cream, or naan without gluten?” Well, we did it! And what an amazing meal!!!

We had to leave Cleo behind due to illness, but we were all excited to see Angelika, a local from the village, join us for the first time. Thanks to Bev, she was able to intrepret and the rest of us helped her along during the culinary trip.

We started off with several dips and appetizers: Roasted Red Peppers & Garlic Dip creamed with homemade coconut yogurt; Spicy Eggplant Dip; Pickled Ginger and Tangerine Beets; and a tradition Cucumbers & Yogurt Cream Dip and homemade Lime Chutney. These appitizers were accompanied with fresh sliced carrots, cucumbers and zucchini. Chili Pepper Crackers helped to scoop up the yummy Lovely Lintel dhal.

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DSC06601This was also a special occasion for Dave and Suzie. They celebrated their 39th aniversary with us! Cooking classes can be very romantic you know. Glad to hear that the Cook’n Coach Class was your first choice for your anniversary event, right Dave?

To begin our cooking adventure, two cooks were assigned at each station with several switches of stations through out the morning, ensuring that everyone had a chance to participate in at least three of the six cooking areas. Since all foods basically needed the same amount of prep and cooking time, transitions were critical. We managed to synchronize all the cooking stations served lunch right on time!

DSC06585Julie kept checking back in at her initial station to make sure that her succors followed through with as much passion she had, the sign of natural cook. And sure enough, the proof was in the taste of the cookie!

As all good chefs must do, taste BEFORE you serve! Mike took his role seriously and became the official taster. Terri’s persistance with washing four pounds of fresh spinach paid off and the Taj Chicken was worth every bite.

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Ok, to say everything went off without a hiccup would be a cook’s paradise. Yes, we did have our challenges. The Cardamom Custard was rescued by none other than Synda for a second creation, and Shonna was able to reinvent the non-naan thanks to Lutz’s speedy rush to the local grocery store for some additional yeast.

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We had it all: from Taj Chicken to Nut’n Butter Than Butter Chicken over Seasoned Indian Cauliflower Rice to Nut’n Butter Than Butter Cookies along side Caramelized Bananas and Mangos smothered in Cardamom Custard.

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DSC06595IMG_4931Thanks to Carla’s Gluten Free Recipe Box for letting me use her Naan recipe and special thanks to the authors Caitlin Weeks, Chef Nail Boumarar and Diane Sanfilippo for donating their book Mediterranean Paleo Cooking. The winner of the book was Keith Custer. Apparently, he is the chef at home; so Dawn, you are doubled blessed: a man that cooks and now he has some new ideas for future cooking escapades.

A special thanks to Sedun and Stefanie, the managers and chef at the Wallonenhof Restaurant for allowing us to use their facilities. You’re the best and we look forward to holding our next cooking event before summer…any ideas folks? How about an evening of grilled Tapas on their lovely patio over looking the swimming pool? May feels warm enough for this kind of event, right Team?

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