Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Gluten Free GREAT!!

Pierre's amazingly delicious dinner at our new favorite
restaurant. Look for more information on this new
mystery restaurant right here! Coming Soon!
 Everyone who knows me knows that I am super strict about gluten cross contamination in my kitchen. My passion for "safe" gluten free cuisine follows me everywhere I go, from my home to the restaurants we frequent.

If you are living a gluten free lifestyle, then you know how hard it can be to find a "safe" restaurant, a restaurant where you can trust to dine. Many restaurants are seeing the green and offering gluten free menus (I have even seen a restaurant that offers a "low gluten" menu.) This can be very deceptive to the gluten free consumer, since it only takes less than 20ppm of gluten to contaminate an entire meal. Many of these restaurants have no training or education in gluten free cuisine. In fact most of these restaurants do not even have any gluten cross contamination procedures in place.

The National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA) has created a wonderfully proactive program for restaurants with the appropriate acronym GREAT. The NFCA's Gluten-Free Resource Education and Awareness Training program "empowers the food industry to provide safe gluten-free options for individuals and institutions."

Here is a list of the available GREAT programs currently available:

         GREAT Business Association is a gluten-free business association open to individuals and businesses. In addition to networking, the association helps food manufacturers uphold best practices for gluten-free food production.
  • GREAT Kitchens provides a "Train-the-Trainer" course for chefs and food service managers. Included with the program are tools to educate the entire kitchen staff on safe gluten-free food handling.
  • GREAT Dietitians provides similar programming to GREAT Kitchens, but adds specific lessons for the trained dietitian, including an introduction to clinical practices.
As the Restaurant Liaison for the Glens Falls & Saratoga Springs Regional Celiac Support Group, I see first hand how we can help restaurants serve a delicious and safe gluten free menu. (Yes you can have both!) We are instituting a "Restaurant of the Month" program. For a restaurant to qualify they must enroll and complete the NFCA's GREAT Kitchens course. Upon completion of the NFCA's course the restaurant can contact me and together we can develop a delectable gluten free menu that fits that particular restaurant's vision and set up safe gluten free cross contamination procedures. To know when the Glens Falls & Saratoga Springs Celiac Support Group's schedule of meetings please visit

No matter what part of the country you live in, I encourage you to have your favorite restaurant (or a restaurant you would like to be your new favorite restaurant) complete the NFCA's GREAT Kitchens course. Please visit the National Foundation For Celiac Awareness's website, for more information on all of their fabulous educational programs. Remember that once you have the knowledge you have the power! Take charge of your gluten free lifestyle and love it!

I love the message at the bottom of this menu!

Amy's Recipe of the Day: 
Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Kabobs
Copyright 2010 by Amy Rota-Poulin

Marinade & Savory Sauce:

1 cup plain low fat yogurt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon brown mustard (gluten free)
2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
4 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, about the juice of one large lemon
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground sea salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper

Kabob Fixings

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” chunks
18 cherry tomatoes
1 red onion, cut into 1” slices
Bamboo kabob sticks, soaked in water

Marinade & Savory Sauce
Mix together the yogurt, olive oil, mustard, fresh rosemary, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place half of the mixture in a gallon size bag, and reserve the other half in your refrigerator to enjoy later.

Kabobs Fixings:
Cut the chicken breasts into 1” chunks and place in the plastic bag that has the marinade in it.  Place the bag in the fridge. Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, however you can leave it in your fridge overnight. Meanwhile place your bamboo skewers in water, and set aside. This process helps the skewers not to burn. Get your grill started on medium/low heat.

To assemble your skewers place a slice of red onion, followed by a chunk of marinated chicken, another slice of red onion, a cherry tomato, a slice of red onion, a chunk of marinated chicken…and so on until each skewer has 3 pieces of chicken and 2 tomatoes on it. Of course you may make them however you like, this is way is just what I have found to be the most flavorful.

Grill the kabobs on medium low heat until the chicken is fully cooked. Approximately 4-5 minutes each side. Make sure to turn your kabobs!  Serve your kabobs piping hot with a dollop of sauce.  With this easy and summery dish the Mediterranean comes right to your backyard. Great Recipe for entertaining! Enjoy!
*Always Read the ingredient labels of each individual ingredient you are using to make sure that, that particular brand is completely gluten free. If you are unsure call the manufacturer or visit their web site, they are usually more than happy to answer your questions. *
This recipe was created by Amy Rota-Poulin author of Cooking Gluten Free With Amy.  Enjoy!
These recipes and many more can be found in my cookbook, Cooking Gluten Free With Amy available at the Northshire Bookstore and online!

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