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Sunday, June 26, 2011

hamburg, germany -- gluten free + dairy free

im back from germany!

i'm taking a break from my typical post - as i wasnt home in my kitchen and able to whip together new recipes/take photos. so i'm going to tell you about my trip and food experiences while in germany. this trip marks my third visit to hamburg. my previous 2 visits were a bit difficult food wise, as i wasnt as food savvy as i am nowadays - ie sourcing grocery stores and local venues that accommodate to those with food allergies/intolerances.



first off i arrived pretty early - my flight got in around 7am local time - and it was a bit too early to check into my room - so i walked down the esplanade from the cute hotel i stay in every year to get some coffee. it was perfect - drizzly outside and quite inside the cafe - i sat and enjoyed my soya latte - then was able to check into my room after a couple of hours. fyi - its not uncommon to happen across cafes that stock 'soya' milk :)

life saver.
from that point on the rest of my trip was mostly work and finding foods that i can eat. if you have food allergies, you likely know that travel can be tough - especially outside of the US - especially in germany. think again. i was proven terribly wrong this trip. i visited the local grocery store (located basement level of shopping mall) - picked up lots of fresh fruit and veggies to stock the small minibar fridge in my room - despite the e. coli scare. i figured it would be better for me to die from e. coli than starvation. (fyi - i walked away unscathed).

i found a few markets with antipasti counters - where i picked up olives, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh fruit. also, my colleagues and i were told to visit a great, authentic sushi joint right around the corner from our hotel. amazingly enough, the waitstaff actually knew what tamari was (traditional japanese soy sauce made without wheat - slightly woody and smokey taste - waaaaaay better than soy sauce) AND had it in stock! we enjoyed tons of fresh fish - salmon, tuna, red snapper, squid and the list goes on...


while i'm my room at one point i decided to google vegetarian restaurants in hamburg - to my surprise there was one, not far from my hotel in the city center called season. as you all know, i'm not a veggie - but i figure that restaurants that cater to vegetarians are far more likely to understand the food allergy/intolerance thing.


season's vegetarian buffet

i ventured down to season - a cute little buffet style vegetarian restaurant located below an art gallery. their website boasted dozens of vegetarian choices - with gluten free and dairy free options to boot. as soon as i stepped in, i figured i had died and gone straight to heaven. beautifully decorated, clean, contemporary with bold, beautiful veggies everywhere. twas a feast for the eyes.

the meal deal.

dont ask me what i ate - all i know what i went for the options labelled vegan and gluten free - as i knew they were safe (from my big allergies). there were carrot slaws, cold potato salads, tomato and eggplant caprese (sans mozzarella), mushroom herbed rice, mache salads, cold quinoa salads.

heaven, heaven, heaven.

i ended up visiting this great restaurant 4 times during my stay and made friends with the two gals working at the counter. they were extremely friendly and warm toward me - i told them it was next to impossible for me to eat full meals while traveling because of my dietary restrictions. at one point i inquired if they had any gluten/diary free pastries - unfortunately, they did not. HOWEVER - one of the girls said that she would talk with her colleague and see if she had any at home. the next day i went back for lunch - when i went to checkout yvonne, the gal on the left in the pic below, presented me with homemade vegan/gluten free carob chip cookies. i thought i might cry. i couldnt believe how unbelievably friendly these girls were and that they brought me goodies to eat (that were delicious). before i left, we exchanged email addresses and agreed to find each other on facebook.

new friends

all in all my trip was great. i had a wonderful time - got to see a bit of the city between work and got to eat delicious food despite the big allergy/intolerance hurdle. i saw parts of the city i've never seen before, and met some amazing people during my journey. if you've never checked out germany before - do so - and be sure to spend some time in hamburg. i promise you - you wont regret it.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

asian carrot slaw -- gluten free + dairy free

i'm off! i left for hamburg, germany this past thursday and wont be back to the states until the end of next week. i wrote this blog before i left so that i didnt have to worry about getting it together while traveling. 

hamburg is a breathtaking port city - with lots of great coffee, restaurants, shopping and sightseeing. its also laden with beer, breading, dairy, sausage and other glutenous goodies. argh! the cherry on top? as some of you may have heard - theres a massive e. coli outbreak in hamburg. should make for an interesting trip. traveling with food allergies is a challenge to begin with - internationally, even more so. i typically order salads when i go out to eat overseas - i've gotten a few strange looks in germany from waitstaff when i say laktosefrei und glutenfrei bitte (lactose free + gluten free please). unfortunately, it doesnt sound like many restaurants are currently serving up fresh, uncooked greens to err on the side of caution.

in anticipation of limited food options i packed up a ration of safe food; larabars, homemade quinoa crisps (i'll be sharing my recipe for them in the near future), justins nut butter packets and gluten free udi's bread.  i also mapped out a grocery close to my hotel, and know of a few decent sushi restaurants within walking distance. i was fortunate last week and met a gal from mark's lab who grew up in hamburg. she suggested checking out a renowned sushi restaurant in hamburg called henssler + henssler i absolutely intend on checking it out while i'm there. 

wish me luck - i'd prefer to come home alive, versus inside a body bag. i can think of many other ways i'd rather have my life end rather than getting sick from eating contaminated beansprouts.


back to business - check out this SUPER quick + simple asian carrot slaw recipe. mark and i have made this a few times this past week since it only takes minutes to put together. raw carrots are ultra healthy and the asian flavors are wonderful. we enjoyed this with lentil walnut burgers this past week (i'm still tweaking this recipe and will share soon as well!). 

asian carrot slaw
  • 4-5 large carrots grated
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 1-2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1-2 green onions sliced on bias - use bottom portion only
  • salt + pepper to taste
combine grated carrots, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, sesame seeds, salt + pepper. top with sliced green onions. 


for more food/DIY inspiration stop by each of these great blogs -

Saturday, June 11, 2011

grilled peaches + orange sabayon -- gluten free + dairy free

i've got to admit, i'm officially in summer mode and with that - i'm on a grill everything in sight kick. one of my particular favorite things to grill is seasonal fruit. grilling fruit caramelizes the fruits sugars and creates a depth of flavor that can only be achieved over an open flame on a warm sunny day.


local organic fruit is finally making an appearance this season and i'm taking full advantage of it. first up this - peaches! i some up at the store a few days ago and decided immediately that i would introduce them to my grill. enter orange sabayon. sure, go ahead and tell yourself - fancy schmancy. ERRRR! wrong! sabayon is super easy and super quick and super impressive to serve to your guests. even saying sab-eye-on is fun.

i've been experimenting creating different sabayons with miscellaneous flavors vanilla, elderberry, etc and found myself rummaging thru my liquor cabinet - and came across a bottle of cointreau. and so orange sabayon was born. born indeed. in my honest opinion, this orange sabayon is the pi├Ęce de resistance of the dish.


grilled peaches
  • 2 ripe peaches - halved with pits removed
start your engines! first, get the grill going (unless its already warm from grilling up some artichokes). next - rinse off and pat 2 ripe peaches dry. cut each peach in 1/2 and remove the pits. place peaches cut side down on grill, cover and cook around 5 minutes, or until preferred char level is achieved.

orange sabayon
  • 2 large organic egg yolks
  • 1.5 tbsp orange liquor - such as grand marnier or cointreau
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar
to begin prepare a double boiler and bring water to a simmer (not a rolling boil). separate two large organic eggs - you'll only use the egg yolks - so find another use for the whites - i microwaved mine and fed them to the dog. combine egg yolks, orange liquor and raw sugar in the double boiler and continuously whisk around 8 minutes until the mixture has about doubled to tripled in volume.


serve warm sabayon on top of peaches hot off the grill and chow down IMMEDIATELY! hope that you all have a lovely weekend!


for more food/DIY inspiration stop by each of these great blogs - 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

homemade raw energy bars/balls-- gluten free + dairy free

energy foods - all the rave. whole foods practically has an entire aisle dedicated to expensive, sweet energy bars. i for one, have admitted addiction to larabars - i typically have one everyday. in an effort to save some $$$ i've decided to begin making my own and eating only those. by buying the ingredients in the bulk aisle i'm gaining complete control over ingredients and saving myself a decent chunk of change.



homemade raw energy balls (or bars)
  • 1/2 c organic deglet noor or medjool dates (pitted)
  • 3/4 c organic walnuts
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
place dates, walnuts, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and salt into a food processor and pulse until well combined. create bars by smoothing mixture into the bottom of a glass pyrex baking dish or create 'energy balls' by grabbing a hunk of the mixture and rolling around your hand until you have the desired size you want - roll in coconut flakes. if mixture is too dry/crumbly try adding a tad of either agave nectar or honey. 

for more inspiration stop by each of these great blogs -
allergy friendly wednesday's - tessa the domestic diva