Category Archives: Health/Nutrition

Baked Better Introduces A Gluten-Free Bread Mix; Plus New Santa Cruz Organic Jams

Fort Green Gluten Free bread mix -- just add water and a sweetener of your choice.

With more and more of my friends going gluten-free, I’m always on the lookout for baked goods that fit their dietary restrictions and taste good.

Believe me, the two don’t always go hand in hand.

But at Brooklyn’s Baked Better, they definitely do. The company, founded by two friends, makes organic bread mixes that make baking your own loaf at home a cinch. All you do is add water and a tad of honey or sugar.

I’d already tried their three initial mixes, when they sent me a sample of their newest creation: Fort Greene Gluten Free.

The mix, named after one of Brooklyn’s most historic neighborhoods, contains brown rice flour, light buckwheat flour, teff flour, rolled oats, ground flaxseed meal, sunflower seeds, flax seeds and yeast.

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Valentine’s Day Treats, Chocolate Dinner & More

Make Valentine's Day especially sweet with these boxed macarons. (Photo courtesy of La Boulange)

La Boulange’s Valentine’s Days Offerings

From now through Feb. 15, your neighborhood La Boulange is offering three sweet treats especially for Valentine’s Day.

Choose from a box of raspberry and vanilla macarons for $12.50; a box of chocolate and raspberry macarons for $12.50; or a gorgeous heart-shaped raspberry fruit tart ($9.95).

Find them at any of the Bay Area La Boulange locations.

Chocolate hearts filled with raspberries and strawberries. (Photo courtesy of La Boulange)

Sent Sovi’s Savory Chocolate Dinner

Who says chocolate is only for dessert?

Not at Sent Sovi in Saratoga, where Chef-Proprietor Josiah Slone will be hosting his third annual “Savory Chocolate Dinner” at 7 p.m. Feb. 28.

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Gluten-Free Baked Goods from Dia Delights and A Food Gal Giveaway

(Front to Back): Dia Delights' chocolate-raspberry cupcakes frosted with vegan cream cheese, raspberry frosting, and coconut frosting.

After moving to the United States a decade ago from Serbia, Sanja Pesich inexplicably found herself doubled over in pain anytime she ate bread.

Turns out she had developed a sensitivity to gluten.

As she educated herself about how to bake her favorite treats without gluten, an idea for a new business also came about.

The result is Dia Delights.

Pesich, a Santa Clara University business school graduate, put her studies to work, creating a business that specializes in vegan and gluten-free baked goods. She sells them at the Vallco farmers market in Cupertino on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and at the Santa Teresa Boulevard (at Camino Verde) farmers market in San Jose on Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Additionally, her treats are sold at Good Karma Deli in San Jose. She also does custom orders for weddings and parties.

After winning a California Entrepreneurship Program scholarship, she teamed up with her business partner, Tanja Vrcelj, who has a son with severe allergies to milk, dairy and peanuts.

Pesich says nothing is more satisfying to her than to bring her treats to a classroom and watch as every child, no matter their food allergies, are able to indulge. “For children with allergies, not being able to participate in celebrations can be very emotional,” she says.

Recently, I had a chance to sample some of her goodies. I’m lucky enough not to suffer from food allergies, but I’m always interested in trying products geared to those with dietary restrictions to see just how closely they can resemble the real deal.

Gluten-free pumpkin bread.

In Pesich’s case, she comes as close as one can. Her cookies and cakes are made with a flour mix that consists of garbanzo bean flour, potato starch, white sorghum flour, tapioca flour, and fava bean flour. Her products also make use of extra virgin coconut oil, cane sugar, soy protein, lactic acid (non-dairy and derived from sugar beets) and flaxseed meal. Her cakes and cookies often incorporate fruit to ensure they stay moist.

There’s a nice homemade quality to the products, as they are all created by hand in small batches. The double-chocolate chip cookie was soft and fudgy tasting, with just a hint of a beany note to it. The chocolate chip cookie was cakey in texture and the oatmeal cranberry cookie was none too sweet and full of heartiness from the gluten-free whole grain oatmeal.

The chocolate-raspberry cupcakes are moist with a muffin-like texture. You wouldn’t know the cream cheese frosting flavored with a touch of vanilla was vegan from just the taste, as it’s as thick, creamy and as satisfying as the familiar Philadelphia brand.

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The New Edible Silicon Valley

Don't miss my profile of Jesse Cool in the new Edible Silicon Valley magazine.

Haven’t you scratched your head over the fact that there was an Edible San Francisco, Edible Marin, Edible Monterey Bay and so many others — yet no Edible Silicon Valley magazine?

Wonder no more.

Now, there is one.

Edible Silicon Valley debuted its first issue this month.

Yours truly is proud to be a regular writer for the new publication. Enjoy my first story for the magazine, a profile of Jesse Cool, the Peninsula chef-restaurateur who’s been a long-time champion of sustainable, organic and local foods.

An experimental crop of organic wheat that Cool grew in her backyard.

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The Verdict on the New Veggie Grill & A Food Gal Giveaway

A taste of Veggie Grill's Papa's Portobella Burger.

With no offense to vegetarians, I admit that I have often had a love-hate relationship with wheat gluten products that try to masquerade as bona fide meat.

I love the idea. But I hate the taste and texture, which have always seemed a true letdown.

I can remember once going to a Chinese Buddhist restaurant with friends. After one of the dishes was set down at the table, my friend’s Dad dived in excitedly, then proclaimed that the molded, pressed wheat gluten slices tasted just like Peking duck.

I almost blurted out, “Are you high?” But I managed to restrain myself and just smile in silence.

Now, Veggie Grill is making me eat that thought.

The first branch of the Southern California fast-casual vegetarian restaurant recently opened in San Jose’s Santana Row. As a local food writer, I received a couple of coupons to try a few of the entrees on the house.

I went in with trepidation. But I came out a fan. Yes, even of the wheat gluten.

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