Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Most Amazing Dinner (and it was all Gluten Free) Imperial PDX

Last night I had the pleasure of being invited to a five course Gluten Free Dinner with Next Iron Chef finalist Chef Jehangir Mehta, of Graffiti fame and Portland’s Chef Vitaly Paley of Paley’s Place and his new restaurant Imperial.   It was part of the GREAT Kitchens Gluten-Free Chef’s Table Tour, a 10-city national educational tour sponsored by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA). I attended this event with a few other PDX Food Bloggers.

GREAT Kitchens has partnered with NFCA regarding gluten free awareness and safe food handling practices. Their focus is to educate restaurants, universities and foodservice providers with the necessary tools to provide safe and delicious options for those with gluten free dietary needs.

This is something I am very passionate about.  I used to love trying new restaurants, but since being diagnosed with a gluten allergy my fear of getting “glutenized” makes me really nervous to dine out.  I think this is a great program because not only does it educate on what food items contain gluten but it also addresses cross contamination, for those living with Celiac disease, cross contamination is just as problematic as having a piece of bread.

So now the food… let me tell you it was amazing!

We started off with a cocktail called a Rickshaw, made from Paley’s Sorghum Whiskey (specially crafted at Clear Creek Distillery) and three fantastic appetizers: Sorghum Spiced Popcorn, Marinated Shrimp on Chickpea Pancakes and Squash and Goat Cheese fritters.   I have to admit the fritters were my favorite of the appetizers.
We then had Oregon Albacore Sashimi with orange yogurt and tapioca scales, the tapioca was served both as you would imagine traditional tapioca pearls as well as a crunchy version. This was served with a really yummy white wine.
The EntrĂ©e – Slow Roasted Veal with beef fat roasted sweet potatoes, bordelaise, smoked marrow butter and grilled frisee came next. It was utterly delicious. Each course was more and more impressive. Also served with an amazing red wine.
Finally for dessert we had a Milk Chocolate Icebox Cake with a roasted banana filling, walnuts and toasted meringue. We also had macaroons and a date and almond cake. The icebox cake was my fav and totally to die for, I would love the recipe.  After all the courses we were all quite full but that dessert too good to not eat all of it!  

For more delish pics check out #gfchefstable #imperialpdx on Instagram

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Macaron Fever


I feel like Macarons have been all over the place lately. Which is great because they are delicious. My in laws are visiting from France in a few weeks and I wanted to make some as a surprise for their arrival....the only problem, I don't think I have made them since culinary school and I don't even know if I made them then.

They can be pretty tricky. I was reading that even the best bakeshops throw away something around 25% of their macarons. If they don't look perfect they still taste delicious but once you get that perfect macaron there is a sense of satisfaction.
This is the recipe that I used. 

I opted to make a lemon cream cheese filling - I used David Lebovitz's recipe for lemon curd and then once it was cooled blended it with 2/3rds of a bar of softened cream cheese  (5oz-6oz roughly).  I wanted to lighten it up further to make it a bit more delicate, just like the shells are, so  I whipped up a small carton of heavy whipping cream and folded it in to the cream cheese lemon curd mix.
I then pipped it into the macaron shells.

I am still honing my technique since they can be temperamental, fortunately I have a week wks until they arrive.
Next batch I am going to try out hazelnut flour.