September 7, 2016
August was a bit of a tough one for me. Early in the month, I took a chance eating out - and lo and behold, I was glutened. It's bound to happen (hell, I've been glutened at a place that claimed to be 100% gluten-free!), but it always crushes my confidence with eating out, along with the resulting weeks of health struggles. So this month has been mostly eating in, as well as experimenting with vegan baking for all my new derby friends. It's been a challenging month, but as you can see, I don't have too much to complain about.
1. Iguana Bonita's Tamales and Homemade Chips
Ever since Ta'Cabrón stopped making its tamales - my very favorite thing - the state of Berlin's Mexican food scene has left me cold. We make tacos and even our own tortillas at home regularly, but homemade tamales just feel a little out of reach. Enter my savior: New to the Berlin food scene Iguana Bonita! Good texture, tasty meat fillings, this place was what I had been searching for! Rather ravenous after skating practice one day, I ordered their corn chips as well and was blown away. Notoriously bad in Germany, these crispy triangles of perfection with spot-on guacamole warmed this California girl's heart. They are by far the best I've had (save the not-gluten-free ones at Dolores) and if I were rich, I'm pretty sure I would pay to keep myself in a steady supply of these every week.
2. Vegan Peanut Butter Oat Chocolate Chip Cookies
For those of you who follow me on IG and Twitter, perhaps you've seen my lamenting over the steep learning curve of baking gluten-free and vegan for my plethora of vegan friends. It's not an easy task and I feel like I have yet to bake a vegan cake that even comes close in texture to what I can usually achieve. When I finally reached my breaking point, desperate for something that I could be happy to present to others for their birthdays, I made a pivotal discovery: Cookies are where it's at. Not having to work as hard to rise or match that very specific cake crumb, cookies are much easier to satisfy vegans and non-vegans alike - and this recipe is definitely a winner for everyone.
3. The Sausage Man Never Sleeps Streaky Bacon
My husband and I visit Simon the Sausage Man regularly, indulging in his pork products that are so unlike any of their German counterparts more often than we should. Being too singularly-focused, we had neglected to pick up his thick-cut, real deal breakfast bacon until just a few weeks ago. Now we're hooked. This is by far some of the best bacon I've had, perhaps ever. If you don't want to develop a serious bacon habit, stay away, I warn you. There is no going back after this.
4. My Special Chocolate Birthday Cake Recipe
This recipe is one of my pride and joys, one that is truly my creation. I adapted a childhood favorite, which called for boxed cake mix, into a gluten-free, from-scratch cake that I think might be even better than the original. The cake that I often requested for my birthday - then called 'Almost Better Than Sex Cake', because it is - has joined my celiac lifestyle with relative ease, save lots of recipe testing, which let's face it, means lot of cake eating (darn). So when one of my first non-vegan derby friends had a birthday last month, I jumped at the chance to make this for her. Rich and moist, with a bit of alcohol to add some depth, this simple-looking chocolate bundt is outshines its modest appearance.
5. Jones' Cucumber & Tonic and Blood Orange-Strawberry Sorbets
Gabrielle just can't stop coming up with fantastic ice cream flavors. These ones are technically sorbets (and I technically enjoyed them in the first days of September, shhh), but no less satisfying, especially on a warm summer day. While the blood-orange strawberry was her special, limited edition flavor, it was the cucumber and tonic, reminiscent of one of my favorite cocktails, that really got my attention. Cucumber, so often a rather light and lackluster flavor came through powerfully and perfectly in this dreamy sorbet. The only thing that could possibly make it better? The addition of gin, of course!
Don't forget to share your gluten-free eating wins with the hashtag #celiacdoesntsuck on Twitter and Instagram! Whether you're celiac, intolerant or just eating GF because it makes you feel better, let's spread the positivity of how good gluten-free eating can be.