(Gluten-Free) Blog Day 2006


Whole Foods pizza crust, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

Last year, on the last day of August, I woke up dreading the start of school. Weary and wary, I clicked onto my email after imbibing several cups of coffee. I really didn’t need the caffeine, it turns out, because what I found waiting for me in my email — and the stats counter of my website — woke me up, immediately. On Blog Day, 2005, dear Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini recommended me to her readers. They arrived at my humble little site, just barely two months old, in droves that day. I was honored and floored. In fact, I remember throwing my hand over my mouth in disbelief, then jumping up and down on this blue exercise ball I use for my office chair. “Me?!” I wanted to shout, like Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas. “You chose me?”

A year later, I’m honored to say that readers are still coming by in droves. Maybe some of them are repeat readers from Clotilde’s site. Hundreds of other blogs have since listed me on their links list. There have been awards and recognitions beyond what I could have envisioned then. I have a literary agent now. And there is the Chef, who is far better than the love story in words I have been sharing here. But enough of you have been commenting on those stories here that I know it’s reading well and drawing people back. (So strange to think of my own life as a good story, but there we are.) Somehow, my little blog has become one of the recognized websites in the world. I don’t know how it happened, but I’m grateful.

Now that it is Blog Day, 2006, I would like to recognize some sites that have been catching my eyes. Literally, there are dozens I return to, again and again, many of which were birthed within the last year. Everyone should be reading Tea and Cookies, for example. And how could I not recognize the greatness of Shuna at Eggbeater? But if I start the list of blogs I love, I will be here all day. No one wants to read a post that long. (Believe me, I realize that I have written some longs posts in my time, but this one would top them all.)

And so, for the benefit of the swarms of you who have been coming to this site after seeing my spot on the Food Network, I would like to offer a slightly different view this year. This year, I am honoring Gluten-Free Blog Day.

To my knowledge, when I began this site in May of 2005, mine was the only gluten-free blog in existence. I’m sure I could be wrong, but believe me, I searched for friendly faces after my celiac diagnosis. A friend of mine who is a painter always says, “You must create what you wish you could experience.” And so, I did.

Now, however, I am happy to report that there are plenty of us out here, writing up our recipes and sharing our stories. Celiac disease and gluten intolerance are more and more recognized in this culture. I’m thrilled if my little segment on The Food Network has spawned even more awareness. (And from the letters I have been receiving,I gather that you are all happy it has too.) But I am certainly not the sole expert, or even an expert at all, on how to live gluten-free. We are not alone.

Recipes from a Gluten-Free Goddess

Karina consistently inspires me with her beautiful food and her awareness of the world. She is a painter, a poet, and a sensitive woman, who shares herself in pithy prose and gorgeous photographs. When she began her blog, Karina was living in a small town in New England. Now, she is living in northern New Mexico, and her writing and photography has grown even more expansive under that enormous sky.

She focuses mainly on vegetarian foods, made simply. And I have to sigh and say how much I agree with her tagline on the top of the blog: “Life is short. Make every day delicious.”

I am Gluten-Free!

Ellen has a naturally curious attitude toward life, full of enthusiasms and eagerness to tackle her gluten-free lifestyle. After all, look at the way she declared herself in her blog title! As she takes gluten-free baking classes and makes gluten-free waffles from scratch, she shares herself with us. Clearly, as is true for all of us who are living gluten-free, Ellen is living a process of discovery. She is consistently cheerful and willing to try any food, as long as it doesn’t contain gluten. As well, her website offers a lengthy list of places to obtain celiac information and gluten-free food products.

Wheatless Bay

This is a blog the way they once were: daily; in shorthand; and mostly meant for personal use. The couple from Southern California that runs this blog is clearly keeping this website as a record for themselves, of what they have eaten and how they have grown. However, for anyone who needs to eat gluten-free, this is an invaluable resource for food ideas.

I like their philosophy: “We eat well as a gluten-free household. With a few exceptions, our philosophy is that eating excellent foods that just happen to be gluten-free is a more satisfying approach than modifying baked goods to lackluster results. The cuisines of the world are full of more fabulous (and co-incidentally gluten-free) dishes than we could ever eat in a lifetime, anyway.”

Absolutely.

Gluten A Go Go

How could I not love a blog with a name like that?

“Sheltie Girl,” as she calls herself, lives in New York state and has been living gluten-free since she was being treated for breast cancer. As is true for many of us, she was discouraged at first. As is true for a growing number of us, she decided to put that frustration into creation instead.

“I have been so disappointed in the gluten-free bakery items that I have found to purchase, or some of the gluten free cookbooks that I checked out from the library. In frustration, I decided to try out my own recipes and my blog my adventure. As I find new products to purchase, I will include our family’s taste test results here too.”

Check back for more of her eating adventures.

Something in Season

Finally, I could not complete this list without mentioning Brendon. He and his Dear Wife (DW on the blog) clearly eat well. I love Brendon’s emphasis on farmers’ markets, eating local, and eating in season — those are passions dear to my heart as well. He has a voracious appetite for life, and I’m certain that everyone reading will enjoy his discoveries.

That’s five. There are — wonderfully — more than five other gluten-free blogs in the world. I couldn’t include them all. However, if you live in New York, in particular, I would like to recommend David Marc Fisher’s blog, Gluten-Free NYC, as well as the fabulous stylings of the Celiac Chicks. Those girls have been publishing their website for nearly three years now, far longer than me. Their site has never really read as a personal blog, however. It’s far more professional than that. I have been relying on it all along.

And just under the wire, before I posted this, I received an email from a new blogger named Elwood City, who has just begun publishing a blog called Gluten-Free Gastronome. She is on a mission to learn how to bake, using only Jowar flour (or sorghum flour, as it is more commonly known). Now there is something I never tried.

That’s what I love about this gluten-free web world. It is spacious enough for everyone.

A QUICK GLUTEN-FREE PIZZA

I have to admit, I am spoiled rotten around here. The Chef takes care of breakfast every morning, in lavish attention to detail and taste sensations. At night, after we drive home from his restaurant together, he breaks out the most interesting food in the fridge and makes up dinner on the spot. Every time, that meal astounds me.

So, I am not doing nearly as much cooking these days as I did this time last year. Luckily, there are still lunches, and late afternoons to make soups and try out new recipes. Every day, I am still in the kitchen, concocting and playing, listening to music and dancing in front of the stove.

However, it has been unseasonably warm this summer in Seattle. Even I find myself rarely wanting to cook in the hottest part of the day. Mostly, when I am my own, writing, I make elaborate salads, or I nibble from the fridge. Even, sometimes, I throw together food that arrived in packages. (I know. I am aghast as well.)

If I am going to eat packaged, gluten-free food, I still want it to be the best. And so, for the late-summer pizza you see pictured above, I used a pizza crust from Whole Foods. As much as I may disdain chains, I cherish the fact that Whole Foods has created an entire gluten-free bakeshop and supplies the nation’s stores with wholesome gluten-free goods for us to buy. Of course, given that supply is limited and demands enormous, the prices are exorbitant. However, once in awhile, I splurge. These pizza crusts are worth it. They are flaky and chewy, with a good crunch when they are almost burnt.

Amy’s Foods rock. That’s as bluntly as I can put it. After a childhood of eating overly salty tv dinners, I never thought I would recommend frozen foods on a gourmet, gluten-free food blog. However, the frozen foods from Amy’s Kitchen taste much better than the ones I ate in childhood. Even before I realized I had celiac, I ate these when I was in a rush. And in the first few months after I was diagnosed, I relied on them. They have an entire line of foods marked gluten-free, as well as a section on celiac disease on their website. For those of us who have to eat gluten-free, this is packaged food without any guilt.

And so, rather than a recipe, per se, I offer here a gluten-free late lunch, based on the tastes of late summer. It satisfied me.

One gluten-free pizza crust from Whole Foods
One-quarter cup of Amy’s puttanesca pasta sauce
A handful of heirloom tomatoes, picked at the peak of season and sliced
Fresh mozzarella cheese, enough to cover the pizza crust
Fresh chevre
A drizzle of good olive oil
Fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. After fifteen minutes, throw in the pizza crust for a few moments, bare and baking. Pull it out when it starts to brown.

Spoon the pasta sauce on top, letting it soak in a bit to the browned crust. Try a few more spoonfuls. Layer the thick slices of fresh mozzarella on top, in concentric circles, or any pattern you want. Dollop on the fresh chevre. Drizzle on the olive oil, liberally. Perhaps you might want some salt and pepper. At the last moment, layer on sprigs of whole thyme.

Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and you just can’t stand it any longer. (That will probably be between eight and ten minutes. Stand by the oven to watch it.)

Eat, contentedly. Savor it. Slowly.

29 comments on “(Gluten-Free) Blog Day 2006

  1. natalie

    Hi Shauna,
    Your blog deserves all the accolades it receives, and more.
    It has been a mainstay of my blog reading since last summer — I was one of Clothilde’s devotees sent your way. I was so excited — A food blog! Where I could shamelessly test out recipes without modifying? Really? No, REALLY??? I was diagnosed with celiac in 2004 (and life is good). Lucky I have always loved to cook.
    In addition to the recipes, and endless drooling, I cannot tell you how much support I have taken away from here. Virtual support, but it feels real enough!
    Thankyou for everything.
    (And I’m THRILLED for you and The Chef!)

  2. UnGourmetGal

    Your website is so beautiful and well written, my only complaint is that you don’t write enough! I understand that time is limited once school starts, I substitute teach while also being a college student. Truly, I could read about The Chef and your food experiences every day. Even though I am able to eat gluten I find your recipes enticing and not lacking in anything. I’m hoping with practice my writing will one day be as eloquent as yours.

  3. Gluten Free in DC

    Great links; I’ll have to check those sites out. And delicious sounding recipe too! I LOVE pizza.

  4. Elwood City

    Thanks for including me Shauna. I am looking forward to looking at the other blogs you mentioned. I am doing a science Ph.D. so I don’t have as much time for searching out blogs as I might want. I like your quote “You must create what you wish you could experience.” That’s the reason I got started; no one could explain WHY the recipes had the ingredients they did.

    One last note, I am the Baker in the family, my WIFE does most of the rest of the cooking.

  5. Mike Eberhart

    I have always enjoyed reading your site. It is one of my inspirations for my own writings on the subject. Keep up the good work.

  6. Angela

    Hi Shauna!

    You are able to speak what is in your heart so eloquently and passionately that it intrigues me and makes me want to read more (I would read anything you wrote, even if it wasn’t about food). I have such a hard time translating what is in my head, with my hands. It is a true talent that I am very grateful you share. And while the Food Network segment STILL alludes me, I stop by everyday to see if you have something new to share with me…and have since not long after you began this blog (on my search to figure out what was wrong with me … still haven’t found my answer… but sure am glad I found you!)

    Angela

  7. Lynn Barry

    Hi,
    I am new to blogging. I too am gluten-free as well as casein, soy, corn, and yeast free. I will be visiting your bogspot often.
    Take care,
    Lynn Barry
    freetoeat

  8. Tea

    Thank you for the mention, my dear. I am a happy member of your drove and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    That’s a gorgeous pizza. Can I come over for lunch?

  9. Kate Burkhardt

    I just wanted to say thank you. Your site has been extremely helpful to me both in a technical sense– recipes– and inspirationally. I was just diagnosed a couple months ago and my doctors didn’t even know that much about the disease to make good reccomendations or even diagnose all of my symptoms. It’s been so reassuring to hear your daily compromises in dealing with your gluten-freeness and to know you lead a 100% normal life. Your quick and simple recipes are an absolute favorite b/c I’m a junior in college this year and let’s just say finding things to eat has been a bit…challenging. Anyway, thanks again from one gluten-free girl to another!

  10. Kelly

    Thanks for the mention and compliments. Wish we had more time to cook! As for a little celiac blogging history– When we started http://www.CeliacChicks.com three years ago I was aware of Gluten Free Empowerment
    http://www.2bhifi.com/celiac/ which is now CeliacSisters.

    Keep up the good stories! BTW-You should totally send in a video for the contest The Next Food Network Star!! ;) Then it would be fun to have food bloggers as guests on it. That would be so different and interesting from what is on there most of the time now. Just an idea. I’m surprised someone hasn’t done it already.

  11. Shauna

    Natalie,

    I’m so happy that you came over from Clotilde, and you have stayed. It thrills me to my toes if I can offer support for you, for anyone. That makes everything worth it. (And thanks — I’m thrilled witht the Chef as well.)

    Suzanne,

    Good god, that beautiful bento is beautiful. That’s beyond me, however. My food never looks that precise or gorgeous! I’m glad I didn’t choose that blog title.

    Ungourmetgal,

    My goodness, thank you. I’m so glad to know you come back, even though you can eat gluten, even though I have been slack in my frequent blogging duties the past couple of months. Sorry about that — blame the Chef. However, circumstances in life have changed, and I’m going to be able to blog much more frequently now.

    Beastmomma,

    I am always so glad to see you here. And when are we going to have that coffee?

    Gluten-Free in DC,

    You see? I didn’t even know about you! I’ll gladly add you to the gluten-free links list I am building. And soon.

    Elwood City,

    I understand your impetus. There’s just enough of the mad scientist in me that I want to understand all these flours, all the technical reasons why some baked goods work and some don’t. I’ll be watching your site for more discoveries.

    Mike,

    Thank you. I’m glad I could help.

    Angela,

    I’m so happy that my writing speaks to you. Believe me, I fully intend to keep writing. There will be plenty more. And the Food Network thingy seems to be airing several times a day, but always at different times. If I ever find out a schedule, I’ll be sure to post it! Good luck in figuring out what ails you, my dear.

    Lynn,

    Good luck with your foray into blogging. Watch out — it could take over your life!

    Tea,

    Come over for lunch whenever you can. Show up on my doorstep. I’ll make you pizza or salmon or gluten-free bread with plum jam. Why don’t you just move to Seattle?

    Kate,

    I am SO happy to hear that this site has helped you. That’s why I keep it. And believe me, you will feel better and better over this next year. Keep cooking!

    Kelly,

    Gosh, thanks! I don’t know about the Next Food Network Star show — all that reality tv stuff. But believe me, I have thought about the need for a show. I would gladly host, as long as my fellow food bloggers and celiac sisters could appear as well!

  12. wheatlessbay

    Wow, some days my blog gets zero hits because my Mom was too busy. On the twelfth it got 150. I feel so…self-conscious, but in a positive way. Thanks for the affirmation.

    Our favourite pizza crust is chickpea based, from Carol Fenster’s “Wheat-free Recipes and Menus” (Avery, 1995, 2004). It is very thin and thus Neapolitan. In smaller rounds it makes excellent gyros.

  13. Karina

    Hola, Shauna, from northern New Mexico! How fantastic to see my blog listed in your Blog Day 2006 post. I am honored.

    And heartfelt congratulations to you — on all your *news*. Much happiness!

    Blessings & namaste,
    Karina

  14. cookiecrumb

    This is a very nice tribute to your fellow GF bloggers.
    I blush to remember that I was one of your five picks in 2005! Thanks SO MUCH.

  15. stephanie e. in ohio

    As always, thank you for doing what you do! I heart Whole Foods pizza crust, too, and it makes my kids and husband happy, too.

  16. littlebird

    hi shauna,
    i just saw your spot on the food network during a commercial break from “paula’s european vacation“
    i was sitting on my sofa feeling sorry for myself as she ate buttered bread and these amazing looking desserts and the like and i thought to myself, “i wonder if the food network would ever do a show for people with allergies…?” and there you were. i havent done any more research except to check out your site but i hope someone out there gets a food allergy/ intolerence cooking show!
    i really need help. i recently found out that i cant have gluten or soy OR dairy, which means that most of the gluten free products on the marker [the whole foods products especially[including the pizza crust in your pizza recipe] ]i cant do… and i just noticed a label change on the ONE fake cheese that doesnt have soy or ANY milk product in it now has OAT something or other as the second ingredient!!! are you kidding me?!?!?! now i cant even have fake cheese!
    i need major food network help.
    maye i should buy the mostfoodfreegirl.com domain…
    xmel

  17. Rob

    Hi Shauna,

    Great blog, I can’t wait for your book. Have you tried Everybody Eats gluten-free breads? They are amazing. I’ve reviewed a few of them with my wife on our website.

    rob

  18. Anonymous

    Hi , Jus was searcing on gluten free blogs as I recently last 2 years went gluten free myself. I used to have chronic sinus infections/antibiotics twice a year. Well Ive been gluten free for 2 years and I havent touched antibiotics or had a sinus problem in 2 years. Life change but worth it . I’m in progress of puttign up website but it still has alot work to go, as its been life changing
    http://www.glutenfreehealth.com

  19. Melony

    Hey Shauna–
    Love the blog, love the recipes, love the pics. Fan-tastic! You’re an inspiration to us over at killthegluten. Thanks for all you do!

  20. bobg

    Hi, I just scanned your blog and struck on “Gluten Free” and Seattle and pizza. I am co-owner of Pizza Works in Bothell (actually more properly between Kenmore and Juanita) and we just recently started stocking Gluten Free pizza crusts (from Kinnikinnick Foods). Come check us out — http://www.pizzawrks.com

  21. Ellen

    Shauna,

    Thank you so much for the mention. I didn’t see it until today or I would’ve thanked you then! Almost one year later! Today, I was googling gluten-free pizza and came across your lovely recipe. I’m going to try grilling the pizza on the bbq. I’ll keep you posted.

  22. Anonymous

    if u are in the baltimore dc area try the Glutenfree pizza @ lilit cafe 7921 old georgetown rd bethesda.. cannot tell the difference…the owner serves glutenfree pizzas to regular patrons and celiacs„, also has sandwiches and glutenfree desserts delicious …

  23. Anonymous

    I was “wow-ed” by the Better Than Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies the other day. In fact, I so enjoyed them that I overcame my resolve to never eat pizza again if it had to be gluten free … If Shauna has those kinds of recipes to offer, than maybe she has the answer to my pizza blues. I was excited to find this recipes in the archives and decided that even if supper was late, I would eat pizza along with my family.

    Oh … what did I do wrong!? My crust was so gummy I could hardly chew it. And, it sat in my stomach so long … I could hardly digest it. The only thing I could think of is that the sweet rice flour I use is ground more finely than what you have (it would be the same as what you would find at an Asian store) so I ended using more when I measured it out. The rice flour I use has the consistency of corn starch … is that the right flour?

    Any suggestions?
    Thanks
    Carol

  24. Anonymous

    Hi,

    I’m writing from Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza headquartered near Seattle.

    We’re rolling out our gluten-free pizza tomorrow, Tuesday, May 27 at all of our Portland/Vancouver, WA stores.

    There’ll be a special tasting at our Cedar Hills store tomorrow from 2:30 — 4:00 pm. The store is located at 12480 SW Walker Road Beaverton OR 97005. The phone number is 503–645-3400.

    Please come by and try our new gluten-free pizza!

    Ross Marzolf
    Director of Local Marketing
    Garlic Jim’s Famous Gourmet Pizza
    206.399.1785 — cell
    ross@garlicjims.com