Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gluten Free Spiral Pasta With Basil Cream Sauce

This past fourth of July, like all the rest of them for the last 13 years, we spent it on the St. Lawrence River. Families flock to the River, some cottages hosting as many as four generations. The fourth begins with a flag raising at the Main dock and a flotilla of non-motorized craft, it features strawberry shortcake on the green, and always ends with swatting bugs while trying to take in fireworks over Boldt Castle or watching firework displays on distant islands. 

This summer for the first time, our community decided to offer organic garden plots to its residents. Not quite sure what to expect, I signed up for one, and was amazed to witness the creation of a large block of raised beds, surrounded by pea gravel.

Never having gardened before in a raised bed—all 32 square feet of it—I prepared my soil with a compost mixture and planted nine tomato plants, six broccoli plants, three kinds of peppers, purple and green basil, red onions, bib lettuce, and musk melon. If that sounds like a lot for a small raised bed, you’re right. With near perfect weather, and heat retained by the pea gravel, my plants shot up and flourished. The same tomato plants that I started from seed in Vermont are now four times the size of the ones growing in Vermont.  And my first experiment with melons surprised me--those things grow everywhere. Without something to climb, they started preying on the onions. Imagine trying to climb up an onion!

My first harvest was basil, both purple and green, as well as a hot cherry pepper (which was really tongue-searing hot.) I decided to make a cream basil sauce for our gluten free pasta, and everyone declared it a success.

Gluten Free Spiral Pasta With Basil Cream Sauce

1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Fresh hot cherry peppers to taste, minced
1 tsp tapioca
1-1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 C heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 C freshly shredded Parmesan
16 ounces GF pasta

1, Melt butter and olive oil.
2. Sauté garlic and hot peppers for 3 min or until just browned.
3. Stir in tapioca--it will be slightly pasty.
4. Reduce heat very low.
5. Add cream and stir until blended, and it begins to thicken.
6. Add Parmesan and stir until melted and sauce is smooth.
7. Meanwhile, begin boiling pasta (I prefer Tinkyada)
despite what the package says, I find that the spirals are perfect at 8 minutes.
8. Two minutes before the pasta is done, stir in the fresh, chopped basil.
9. Toss sauce and pasta and serve.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

SOURDOUGH PRETZELS!! Help Us Bring Yummy Gluten Free Sourdough Pretzels to the Market

Yes, this is the real deal. The tastiest, gluten-free, grain-free sourdough pretzel you can imagine. The recipe is all ready to go

Did you know that small businesses like ours generated over 60% of net new jobs over the past 15 years? Investments in small businesses are investments in our economic growth. Chase Bank and the social media firm, LivingSocial, realize this and have teamed up to offer grants of $250,000 to 12 small businesses (defined as <100 employees.)

Against The Grain is applying for this grant, and view it as an opportunity to bring a really cool gluten free product to market. As you may know, we have spent the past five years in business working extremely hard to keep up with the demand for our products. No one is happier than us that our products have been met with such enthusiasm and devotion, but it has been at the expense of innovation. This is an opportunity for us to fast-track a new and incredibly delicious product. Given the participation of the social media company, LivingSocial, we are required to amass 250 votes by June 30, in order to qualify. This is where you come in. Want to help us innovate? Want to have REAL sourdough soft pretzels that are naturally gluten- and grain-free? Soon? Here’s what you do:

1) Go to

2) Click on “Log on and Support”

3) Log in with your Facebook account

4) Type in “against the grain gourmet” in the search, then click on the search button

5) Cast us a vote.

6) Cast a vote for all your favorite companies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Pizza Party for the 4th of July: Three Pizzas to Wow The Crowds

Backyard fireworks launched from a small sandpit my dad would create for the occasion, sparklers, black snakes (the kid-friendly firework kind, not the reptiles,) watermelon seed spitting contests with my siblings, and mounds of barbecued chicken. These are my early memories of the fourth of July. The fourth of July comes just at the time in the summer when everyone needs a fun holiday, an excuse to have a picnic with red and white checkered tablecloths and decorate with red, white, and blue. It is fun to decorate with food, too, but as it turns out, there aren’t too many blue ones—lots of red and white, but blue? None-the-less, we came up with three patriotic pizzas that will leave family and guests smiling. The first recipe idea comes from Alex, who didn’t miss a beat when asked what foods were blue. “Blue cheese!” obviously.

Red, White, and Blue Cheese Pizza


1 Against The Grain Cheese
¼ fresh organic red pepper
2 ounces of blue cheese (we have several great local choices, and I used blue cheese from Boucher Family Farms)


1. Cut the pepper into thin strips and arrange it like fireworks bursts on your pizza. Ours looked like this:
2. Crumble the blue cheese and put little mounds in the middle of the pepper bursts. Sprinkle the rest around the pizza (like random fireworks?)
3. Bake directly on the rack at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Blue Potato Pizza With Red Pepper Confetti

The idea for the blue potatoes in this recipe came from Jeremy, who is way into organic gardening. Thinly sliced, the potatoes bake until just tender. The aroma is pleasing, the polka-dot effect arresting, and fresh potatoes on pizzas are unusually yummy toppings.


1 Against The Grain Cheese Pizza
6 small blue potatoes, very thinly sliced
1/8 fresh organic red pepper
Dash of salt
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2 Tbsp olive oil


1. Place the sliced blue potatoes and crushed garlic in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, and toss with olive oil. Let the mixture marinate for approximately 30 minutes.
2. Chop the pepper into small pieces.
3. Arrange the potatoes on the top of the pizza and sprinkle with the red pepper. Ours looked like this:

4. Bake directly on the rack at 375 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Red, White, and Blue Cheesecake Pizza

Yes, you read that title right, with cheesecake and pizza in the same sentence. This pizza was inspired by our resident dessert pizza creator, Josh. Since our organic strawberries have just started ripening in our garden, it seemed like a great way to share some of them. Besides, we’ve already shared way too many with the pesky voles who seem to have moved in over night and made a pool table’s worth of holes in our strawberry patch. Just wait until you try this one. While we all thought that one never eats a cheesecake hot, we couldn’t resist and were rewarded with the bursts of hot blueberries and strawberries tucked into a divine cheesecake layer. My test pizza, more like a cheese danish, disappeared in nanoseconds. Who says pizzas are for dinner? This pizza is a dessert you won’t forget... now, I’ve already promised to make two more for the staff for tomorrow.


1 Against The Grain Pizza Shell
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cups sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
½ cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh strawberries, cut in half


1. Blend together the cheesecake ingredients with a wisk. Spread the mixture evenly on the pizza shell.
2. Top with a mixture of strawberries (cut-side down) and blueberries.
3. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes, just until the cheesecake starts to brown slightly.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Three Winning Gluten Free Baguette Recipes for Super Bowl Sunday

I have to confess right up front that I have never been a televised football fan, even though I grew up in a family with three football fan brothers. I love the Tour de France and actually got a chance to watch some of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge live in Colorado, but football, well, I don't know.

Like the estimated 111 million viewers, though, I have watched my share of Super Bowls. My greatest association with the Super Bowl is when it was played twice right next door to my dorm in the Tulane Stadium (since torn down) while Tom and I were undergraduates. It was the only event that even comes close to Mardi Gras for which I have seen so many revelers in one place. I particularly remember Super Bowl VI, being awakened EARLY on a Sunday morning with the sounds of hoards of people streaming through Tulane’s campus already in a party state.

The best thing about Super Bowl Sunday is that there is something for everyone. Aside from the sports competition, there is entertainment and entertainingly outrageous commercials. It is a time for people to gather, and food-wise, it is the second largest day for food consumption in the US after Thanksgiving.

At Against The Grain, we’ve been developing and tasting scrumptious gluten free Super Bowl foods. This year, we decided to focus on baguettes. Yesterday, Ruth prepared “Fiesta Panzanella,” a Southwestern take on the traditionally Italian salad of bread and tomatoes, and we sampled it throughout the day. We’re in Vermont, after all, where spicy sounds really good on a freeze-dried day. Besides, real tomatoes are scarce, and after reading Barry Estabrook’s Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit (a must read,) I’m pretty suspicious of grocery store winter tomatoes.


2 Against The Grain Original Baguettes (cut in cubes)*
1 cucumber (peeled)
1 head of lettuce
fresh cilantro
½ red onion
1 fresh avocado
1 15-oz can black beans
1 cup corn (or substitute sunflower kernels if avoiding corn)
1 package Mexi-blend cheese
16 oz tub fresh salsa
Additional oil and vinegar (apple cider suggested) to taste (or bottled vinaigrette dressing)

Toss all ingredients, except avocados, together. Slice avocados and arrange on top. Optional add-ins are limited only by your imagination, but how about: chicken, olives, peppers (bell or jalapeno? This salad can be prepared a few hours ahead of time. Unlike other salads, this one improves with time as the yummy baguette soaks up the seasonings.

* Note: To make this a gluten free and dairy free dish, you can substitute Vermont Country Rolls for the bread and omit the Mexican cheese blend.


This is a recipe for all of you out there, like me, who need to avoid corn but have been missing nachos. With all the ingredients of nachos, held together with a “U” of crusty baguette, this is a messy but very satisfying gluten free appetizer that everyone will enjoy.

2 Against The Grain Original Baguettes (sliced horizontally)
15 oz can refried beans with green chilies
1 jar salsa
1 package prepared guacamole
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 medium contained sour cream
sliced and pitted black olives

Slice two baguettes horizontally. Divide the refried beans into quarters, and spread a layer of refried beans into the sliced baguette's holes and grooves. Top the refried beans with a layer of salsa, and then top the salsa with a layer of guacamole.

Bake the baguettes directly on the rack at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. The crust of the baguettes will crisp up and the dip layers will warm up.

Remove the baguettes, top with the shredded cheddar cheese, and return to the oven until the cheese is bubbly. To serve, spread sour cream on the top and dot with sliced black olives (Optionally, you could used chopped scallions, chives, or cilantro.) Using a serrated knife, slice each baguette into 1 to 1-1/2 slices, creating a dip-filled “U” and serve with plenty of napkins. Expect to get sour cream on your nose!


Nash is particularly fond of Anglo-Indian cuisine, which he brings from his native country, the south of India. Here at Against The Grain, he has treated us to some delicious Anglo-Indian Gluten Free Fusion dishes. This recipe, when served on baguettes, will leave your family a guests, full and smiling.
Pork Balls:
1 pound ground pork
½ medium red onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, pressed
½ bunch fresh cilantro, minced
½ bunch fresh mint, minced
2 to 3 small green chilies, minced
¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 tsp sea salt

3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 whole cloves
3 cardamom pods
1 large red onion, chopped
1-1/2 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste (or ¾ Tbsp each minced ginger and garlic)
1 Tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cayenne
¼ tsp ground turmeric
15 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 C unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
½ bunch fresh mint, chopped

Make the pork balls: In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix very well. Using your hands, form the mixture into 16 equal-size balls measuring about 1-1/2 inches each. Place on a plate and set aside.

Make the curry: In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon and cook until sizzling and aromatic—about 1 minute. Add the garlic paste and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the coriander, cayenne, and turmeric and cook, stirring for about 1 minute until the bottom of the pan becomes coated with the spices and very well browned, but not burnt (this is an important flavoring step.)

Add the tomatoes and stir to deglaze the pan. Add the coconut milk and ½ cup water and bring to a simmer. Carefully add the pork balls, one at a time, and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 25 minutes. Add the salt and lemon juice; taste and add more salt and lemon juice if needed. Remove from heat and add the cilantro and mint. Serve as pork ball sandwiches on horizontally sliced baguettes.