Friday, July 9, 2010

Easy, fancy, oh so very good...

Troy has always loved Eggs Benedict and will get it at nicer restaurants when we are eating out for breakfast but we never make it at home. I wanted to do something nice for him for Father's Day so I decided to make this for him in the morning.

We had perfected Blender Hollandaise years ago when we made Bearnaise sauce for steak but I haven't made it in over 10 years. Now I know why - it is fantastic! To the point of being an invitation to an obsession... That said - I have controlled myself - somewhat. Purists would say the only way to make it is on the stove. I am not a purist. I like simple and good. I used this recipe from I changed the servings from 6 to 4 - it made just enough w/a little extra left over.

In a nutshell you take egg yokes and blend it with a good Dijon mustard and a little Tabasco and lemon juice - then add hot melted butter and blend until it is all combined - easy, easy, easy. It is smooth and silky and won't break up like the traditional sauce.

Now time to put it all together. I poached three eggs, toasted three English Muffin halves and instead of Canadian bacon I used chopped bacon. Muffin on the bottom, bacon next, egg then top with Hollandaise. The picture above is the one I made on the second day. The flecks are from a whole grain Dijon I used - I think it adds a rustic look.


We loved it so much I got up and made it for Troy again the next morning before he went out of town. Then I stopped. I could eat it every day.

Now I know what you are saying - English Muffins are not gluten free - and you are right. That said everything else is! You could serve it on a gluten free English muffin, a slice of toasted Udi's bread or Udi's bagel 1/2, do it ala Martha Steward and serve it on an artichoke base, serve it on chopped, cooked spinach etc. Or simple serve the sauce over poached eggs. It is hard to go wrong.

Once you realize how easy it is to make Hollandaise Sauce the possibilities are endless. Serve it over steamed asparagus, over grilled chicken or fish, over steamed broccoli or cauliflower - oh so many things. Try it, see if you like it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gluten free at The Cracker Barrel

While traveling this weekend we stopped at the Cracker Barrel. We figured we could get some eggs and maybe bacon for Gracie. When we got there we discovered they have a gluten free menu! There were several things on the menu she could have - she picked bacon and eggs :)

I have looked online I could not find an "official" gluten free menu for Cracker Barrel so I called the company. I spoke to a lovely lady named Sandra and she emailed me the following:

"Thank you for taking the time to contact us here at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. We appreciate receiving your inquiry and we do understand your concern.

The following is a list of menu items that do not contain wheat, barley, or rye products as an ingredient(the
modified food starch in the fried apples is from corn). However, we have an open kitchen where biscuits and dumplings are made from scratch several times daily. Many of our grill items do not contain glutens but are prepared on the same equipment as products that do. There is always a chance that cross-transference may occur.

Please inform a manager of your sensitivity when you visit one of our stores to ensure that every effort is made to prevent the accidental transfer of glutens via the handling and preparation of your meal.

Grill Items:
grilled chicken tenders, hamburger steak, ribeye and sirloin steak, grilled catfish, grilled trout, grilled pork chops, country ham, city ham, bacon, eggs, pork sausage, turkey sausage

Side Items: carrots,
cole slaw, corn, fried apples, green beans, mashed potatoes, baked potato, pinto beans, turnip greens

Excluding the
fried chicken tender salad and chunky chicken (homemade chicken salad) salad, salads ordered without croutons would not contain glutens. See the ingredient statements below for our salad dressings choice.

The vinegars used in the salad refined distilled grain vinegars. According to the American
Celiac Disease Alliance, "Distilled alcoholic beverages and vinegars are gluten-free. Distilled products do not contain any harmful gluten peptides. Research indicates that the gluten peptide is too large to carry over in the distillation process. This leaves the resultant liquid gluten-free."

Buttermilk Dressing: cultured buttermilk, soybean oil, water, egg yolk, distilled vinegar, salt, corn syrup, sugar, spices, lactic acid, xanthan gum, guar gum, onion*, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added as preservatives, garlic*, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor. *DEHYDRATED

Peppercorn Dressing: soybean oil, water,
sour cream solids, egg yolk, distilled vinegar, salt, spices, dehydrated garlic, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate added as preservatives, natural flavor, calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor.

Honey French Dressing: high fructrose corn syrup,
soybean oil, corn-cider vinegar, distilled vinegar, tomato paste, salt, paprika, spices, xanthan gum, onion*, honey, invert sugar, beet juice concentrate, garlic*, natural flavor. *DEHYDRATED

Honey Mustard Dressing: soybean oil, water, high fructrose corn syrup, distilled vinegar, honey, egg yolk, mustard seed, sugar, salt, spice, white wine, natural flavor, xanthan gum, citric acid, tartartic acid, artificial color (including yellow #5), calcium disodium EDTA added to protect flavor.

1000 Island Dressing: soybean oil, water, pickles, sugar, tomato paste, distilled vinegar, high fructrose corn syrup, egg yolk, salt, spice, sodium benzoate, and potassium sorbate added as preservatives, natural and artificial flavors, onion*,
bell peppers, garlic*, calcium disodium EDTA to protect flavor, xanthan gum, guar gum, polysorbate 80. *DEHYDRATED

We look forward to having the opportunity to serve you again soon.


Sandra Vance
Guest Relations Representative
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc."

I appreciate that they state specifically that they make biscuits an dumplings daily and there may be an issue with cross contamination. Of course this is true for any restaurant - but it is good to be reminded. When we were there the sweet, young waitress was really helpful and understood gluten and our need to stay away from it.

We all had a great lunch and everyone got what they wanted - everyone was happy. I had the lemon pepper fish and it was perfect!

Happy traveling!

Cinnamon rolls - num, num, num...

I went to get Udi's Sandwich Bread for Gracie from Herb's & More in Decatur and discovered something glorious - Udi's Cinnamon Rolls! Oh - I had such hope...

They were frozen so I thawed one in the microwave, topped it w/the enclosed icing and served. Warm, sticky, gooey, cinnamony goodness! It tasted as Gracie has been know to say "like it is full of gluten!" They are the size of a big muffin - depending on how hungry she is she will either eat a full one or a 1/2 and save the other 1/2 for later.

We went out of town last weekend and took these with us. She had them instead of dessert at night and instead of biscuits for breakfast. They kept well thawed for the 3 days. My only suggestion would be that instead of 2 bigger icing packets there were 4 smaller ones. It was hard to travel w/an open packet.

At $6 a package of 4 they are about $1.50 each - about what you would pay for a cinnamon roll at the donut shop.

I have to give a shout out to Udi's. Not only is their food gluten free it is DELICIOUS! It taste as good as "regular" baked products w/o the horrible dry crumbliness that gluten free products often have. I hear they have bagels - I am on the lookout for those now.

Cinnamon rolls - ummmmmmm

I just "glutened" Gracie

Ugh, ick, ugh. It just makes me sick.

We have LOVED the Ian's Gluten Free Cookie Buttons. Not only did they taste good they also come in individual packages - perfect for lunches, travel etc.

Earlier in the week I made a quick stop at Sprouts to pick up some snacks. I grabbed come crackers and Ian's Cookie buttons (Chocolate Chip.) Came home - put them in her designated "Gluten Free Snack Bucket" and called it good.

This afternoon she went to get a snack, opened a package and ate a cookie. She noticed they tasted a little different (like coconut) and decided to check the ingredients - it said "Contains wheat! She screamed "It has WHEAT!" We jumped up, ran to the bathroom when she spit out what she could, washed her mouth out and brushed her teeth. I pray she doesn't get sick tonight.

I looked up the package online - they are IDENTICAL!! The graphic at least. One says "Organic" and the other says "Gluten Free" but other than that they are pretty much the same. Check for yourself above.

I called the company - left a message and took full responsibility for not reading the ingredients but am hoping they will consider changing their packaging - I left my phone number and will report back if there is anything to report. I also called Sprouts (the cookies were in the "gluten free area.") The man I spoke w/was VERY nice - said that he also had gotten confused and put the organic cookies in the GF spot because they look so much alike and said he would go to check the shelf.

I accept full responsibility for buying it w/o double checking the package. That said - what a horrible marketing job. If I want Coke I look for the familiar red bottle/can. Diet coke has a silver bottle/can. Lays Potato Chips has different colors for different flavors etc.

I will probably continue to buy the cookies - but w/a cautious eye.

I hope she doesn't get sick - and I hope no one else makes the same mistake.

Update - 7/9/10

We made it through the night - thank goodness! She dodged the bullet this time. The crazy thing about Gracie's Celiac is before she was diagnosed she would get sick about 3 days a week - but she ate gluten daily. It was hit or miss - but when it hit it was HORRIBLE! I am so thankful she is fine. She was so upset and worried - I was as well.

I got a call from Ian's this afternoon. The lady said they have had this complaint before. She did say to always look for the red "Gluten Free" banner. I asked if they were going to be having any other items that were in Organic and GF in similar packages and she said she wasn't sure - and again said to check the red banner. Um - no doubt.

She also said they are discontinuing the "Organic" Cookie buttons and are just going to be making the Gluten free ones - that said the organic ones will still be on the shelf for a while.

She also said they were going to be making a 7 oz. version of the cookie buttons that would be out soon.

So - lesson learned - the hard way. I will be double checking next time before putting items in my basket.

Update 7/10/10

Well - apparently it took some time. Yesterday afternoon Gracie had a bad case of sour stomach that lasted all night. About 2 am she woke us up saying she thought she was going to throw up (she didn't.) Thankfully she went back to sleep and was ok in the morning. She was pretty uncomfortable until it passed.

I am glad it wasn't worse than that - we all were.