Thursday, January 6, 2011

5@5 Chef Daniel Bortnick on 5 Gluten Free Ingredients

Thanks to Abby A for sharing this article with me!

5@5 - Chef Daniel Bortnick

You know the mantra by now: "A New Year, a new you." It's that time of year where people toss around these so-called "resolutions" vowing to eat healthier, detach themselves from the caffeine drip, or in our case, eat more of the good stuff.

For those traveling down the healthier route, many are opting to cut back on or even eliminate gluten - the group of natural proteins found in all forms of wheat and wheat flour - from their diet.

Whether you're one of the 1 in 133 Americans that is affected by a gluten intolerance, or just deciding to have a go at gluten-free, Chef Daniel Bortnick of Firefly restaurant has got the goods - and they're flourless.

Gluten-Free Ingredients to Cook With in the New Year: Daniel Bortnick

1. Vegetables

"You can’t beat the range of flavors and textures that you can get simply from using a variety of vegetables and cooking techniques. For optimal flavor, I only use what’s in season and love nutrient-rich options like arugula and spinach for salads, squash and pumpkin for soups and pastas, and carrots and beans for healthier sides."

2. Quinoa

"One of the healthiest 'grains,' quinoa is delicious and can be used in many different ways. Quinoa cooks up as simple as rice and has a texture similar to couscous. At the moment, we serve green onion and fennel quinoa with pan-roasted fish at the restaurant. It can be added to salads for more texture and flavor, and quinoa flour is a great gluten-free substitute for baked goods."

3. Beans

"A great way to replace the starchy component of a meal with a healthy alternative. Not only are they gluten-free, but they are a great vegetarian source for protein. I love them in salads and soups (read: chili) and enjoy using your non-garden variety types like scarlet runner beans, French beans and pole varieties."

4. Eggs

"Eggs can be used to give stability, thicken and also set up baked goods like flourless chocolate cake. They are a really versatile ingredient: great for breakfast, lunch and dinner, starters, mains and desserts. The deviled eggs at Firefly are one of our most popular dishes - we spice them up with smoked paprika, caper powder and garlic chips. Who said gluten-free dishes can’t have great flavor?"

5. Nuts and seeds

"A healthy and crunchy substitution in place of croutons and breadcrumbs. Also great in salads, soups, and baked goods (with quinoa flour of course). A few of my go-to favorites include smoked almonds, pistachios, and sesame and pumpkin seeds, which are also great for making brittles for gluten-free desserts."

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