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PRODUCTS: Gluten-Free Mixes From Pamela’s Products


[1] Make gluten-free pancakes with Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (photos #1, #2, #3 and #4 © Pamela’s Products).


[2] Ready for some homemade banana bread?


[3] America’s favorite cookie, gluten-free.


[4] What are your favorite pizza toppings? For a switch, switch the basil with baby arugula—or use both.


[5] Whatever you want to bake, it’s likely that Pamela’s has a gluten-free mix (photo © The Nibble | Katharine Pollak).

 

Editor’s Note: We have long found Pamela’s Products to be a delicious gluten-free alternative for pancakes, cookies, cakes and other baked goods. Here, an endorsement from our gluten-free specialist, Georgi Page-Smith.

Even if you don’t avoid gluten, if you have friends who do, buy a box of mix. Then, when you’re planning a visit, you can present them with a plate of just-baked chocolate chip cookies, or other treat.
 
 
GLUTEN-FREE GLORY

My first experiment in gluten-free flour involved a well-known purveyor of grains, whose flour was overwhelmingly bean-y in taste and texture—due, I believe, to the use of garbanzo and fava flour*.

But I prefer my cookies and my falafel to stay in their own appointed lanes, thank you very much. So when I went looking a second time there was a lot more at stake. I was on a quest.

Of course I went to the Internet. I Googled, I read product reviews, and by far the products that were most recommended were Pamela’s.

  • I started with the All-Purpose Flour, baking a banana bread that was moist and springy and delivered an un-tainted, unmediated flavor.
  • Next I tried the Baking Mix, with my grandmother’s special pancake recipe. It yielded a light, fluffy cake that was the perfect vehicle for butter and maple syrup.
  • I moved on to the Artisanal Bread Flour. Pamela’s. Always. Delivered.
  • The Pizza Dough was amazing with my roasted potato blue cheese toppings. I grew up eating homemade Sicilian-style pies, and these made me feel like home.
  •  
    I also had a chance to try Pamela’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix. Again, Pamela delivered.

  • The cookies were as good as the best chocolate chip cookies I’ve had. They had a crispy edge and a soft center. The flavor was a perfect balance of nutty, buttery, sweet and salty.
  • And the chips were divine; though I sifted some out, so that I can enjoy the cookie with walnuts and not overwhelm the palate.
  •  
    They actually inspired me to challenge my sister—a woman who has a multiple stage, 2-day chocolate chip cookie process—to a bake off! They were that delicious, and that easy.

    I have also used various combinations of the Bread Flour and the Baking Mix for pie crust, with good results.

    Some gluten-free flour brands produce a crust that will not hold together, or is amazingly tough. With Pamela’s, I have achieved mini apple hand pies whose crust had a delightful crumb-y texture, just verging on flaky.

    Pamela’s became my new best friend in the kitchen, enabling me to live the gluten-free lifestyle which I was becoming accustomed to.
     
     
    EASY TO USE

    Substitutions are painless, and they are aided and abetted by the extensive collection of recipes on the Pamela’s site, as well as by the fact that many gluten-free bloggers use Pamela’s in their own experiments.

    The prices are a bit high*, but as competition increases we hope that will change. Pamela’s products are also very available: I have seen them in more stores than almost any other brand. And of course…

    You can buy them online at PamelasProducts.com, with a smaller selection available on Amazon.
     
     
    TRIED & RECOMMENDED

  • Pamela’s Baking Mix
  • Pamela’s Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix
  • Pamela’s Gluten-free Bread Mix
  • Pamela’s Pizza Crust Mix
  •  
     
    MORE PAMELA’S PRODUCTS

  • Baking Mixes: Biscuit & Scone Mix, Bread Mix, Chocolate Brownie Mix, Chocolate Cake Mix, Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix, Cornbread & Muffin Mix, Vanilla Cake Mix
  • Meals: Pasta Meals, Ramen
  • Ready To Eat Cookies: Buttery, Chunky Chocolate Chip, Dark Chocolate Chunk, Figgies & Jammies, Lemon Shortbread, Macaroons, Nutty Chocolate Chip, Nutty Ginger Spice, Pecan Shortbread, Pepperminty Chocolate
  •  
     
    Check out our reviews of:

    > Pamela’s Figgies & Jammies Fig Bars

    > Pamela’s Sprouted Grain Pancake Mixes

     
    ________________

    *Note: The finest ingredients typically cost more. Some brands may choose to keep the price down by using other ingredients.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Make Watermelon Juice (& Use It For More Than Drinking)

    July is National Watermelon Month.

    Do you like watermelon? We do, and we have a passion for watermelon juice.

    We “squeeze” our own in a blender or food processor, because bottled brands can’t come near to the vibrant flavor of fresh-squeezed watermelon juice.

    You can feel good about each refreshing glass:

  • Watermelon is low in calories: just 45 calories per cup.
  • antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers (breast, cervical, lung and prostate cancers) and cardiovascular disease. Lycopene may also prevent macular degeneration, the most common form of age-related blindness.
  • Watermelon has 40% more lycopene than an equal amount of raw tomatoes.
  •  
    We use this couldn’t-be-simpler recipe from the Watermelon Promotion Board. The amount of juice you get will vary depending on the size of the watermelon.

  • Anticipate a bit more than 1 cup of juice per pound of watermelon; or 1/2 cup juice per cup of watermelon cubes.
  • If you’re not sure you want a lot of juice, buy a large cut piece (e.g. 1/4 large melon) and start there.
  •  
     
    RECIPE: FRESH WATERMELON JUICE

    Ingredients

  • 1 watermelon or portion, washed and cut into chunks
  • Optional garnishes: cucumber wheel, fresh watermelon cube, lemon or lime wedge or wheel*, mint leaves, strawberry
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BLEND 2-3 cups watermelon at a time until smooth.

    2. STRAIN into glasses or a serving pitcher. Garnish as desired.
     
     
    MORE WAYS TO ENJOY WATERMELON JUICE

    Sweets

  • Make light and healthy watermelon ice pops.
  • Add a scoop of sorbet to a glass of juice for a sorbet float.
  • Pour a mixture of watermelon juice and and lime zest into your ice cream maker to create an invigorating and slushy sorbet.
  •  
    Drinks

  • MIX it with lemonade or make agua fresca (here’s watermelon mint lemonade).
  • ADD some to green or herbal iced tea.
  • FREEZE the juice in an ice cube tray to make frozen cocktails or slushies.
  • MAKE cocktails: Watermelon Margarita or Mojito, Watermelon Martini, Watermelon Cucumber Cooler.
  •  
    Lunch & Dinner

  • STIR a small amount into gazpacho (or make watermelon gazpacho).
  • VINAIGRETTE. Watermelon is related to the cucumber, and it works well in dishes with its equally seedy cousin. A light salad of cucumbers, mangoes and chopped parsley came together gracefully when tossed with a light coating of watermelon juice and rice wine vinegar (you can add olive oil, but it isn’t necessary).
  • SAUCE: Watermelon juice pairs well with fish and seafood. Use it as the base for a sauce in dishes that call for crab, shrimp, lobster or scallops. Contrast the sweetness with a bit of chopped jalapeño (remove the seeds and ribs).
  •  
     
    > Watermelon History
     
    ________________

    *Use a wedge if you want to squeeze the juice into the drink. Wheels are more decorative and get juice on your fingers if you squeeze them.

     


    [1] Fresh-squeezed watermelon juice (photo © National Watermelon Promotion Board).


    [2] To get the clearest juice, strain twice through a fine strainer. Here, the juice is topped off with soda water (photo © Hyhoon | Dreamstime).


    [3] Add watermelon juice to a pitcher of green tea. Here’s the recipe (photo © National Watermelon Promotion Board).


    [4] A Watermelon Cosmopolitan. Here’s the recipe (photo © National Watermelon Promotion Board).

     

      

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    PRODUCT: Alp Blossom Cheese From Austria & Other Alpine Cheeses


    [1] Alp Blossom, our vote for prettiest cheese in the world (photo © Murray’s Cheese).


    [2] Serve it with crunchy toasts and a dab of honey (photo © Murray’s Cheese).


    [3] You can cut the cheese into cubes and sprinkle the flora on top (photo © DiBruno Bros).


    [4] Dressed to impress: Get the whole wheel! (photo © DiBruno Bros).


    [5] Appenzeller, a hard cow’s-milk cheese produced in the Appenzell region of northeast Switzerland (photo © Artisanal Cheese).


    [6] Emmental is the name of the place, while Emmentaler describes something from there. Here’s more about it (photo © Wisconsin Cheeseman).


    [7] Gruyère dates to the 13th century. At 12 months or older, it delivers aromas of caramelized apples and notes of hazelnutty brown butter. It is popular as a table cheese and for fondue and grilled cheese. Originally made in Switzerland, it is now produced in France, Germany and the U.S. as well (photo © Murray’s Cheese).


    [8] Hoch Ybrig is a raw cow’s milk cheese made in Switzerland, patterned after Switzerland’s famous Gruyère cheese. The recipe was created in the 1980s by cheesemaker Rolf Beeler, and has become a favorite among mountain cheese connoisseurs (photo © Artisanal Cheese).


    [9] Tête de Moine, a cheese produced since 1192 by the monks of the abbey of Bellelay, in Switzerland. The name means monk’s head. In 1982, a device, the girolle, was invented to make rosettes from the cheese (photo © Artisanal Cheese).

     

    This cheese is flavorful and beautiful, but it also qualifies as food fun—and food art, for that matter.

    Alp Blossom is an alpine cheese covered with blossoms and herbs (photos #1 to #4).

    It is perhaps the prettiest cheese in the world.
     
     
    ALP BLOSSOM FLAVOR & AROMA

    This pasteurized, semi-hard cow’s milk cheese is reminiscent of Gruyère: nutty and a bit beefy.

    The flora (flowers and herbs) which coat the rind give the cheese a unique herbaceous aroma and a meadowlike sweetness with savory nuances.

    The blend includes chervil, cornflower, lavender, lovage, marigold, marjoram and rose petals.

    The paste is pale yellow with occasional eyes (holes)*. It delivers flavors of cream and nuts, with a bit of mild washed rind funk on the finish.

    Alp Blossom is made by Sennerei Huban, Austria’s first cheese co-op and school, established in 1901 in Doren, a municipality in the district of Bregenz in the western Austrian state of Vorarlberg.

    The co-op works with 34 local milk herds, each with an average of about 15 Brown Swiss cows.

    Alp Blossom is made from Brown Swiss cow milk, handcrafted into 10-pound wheels that are aged for six months. The flora are applied at four months.

    Brown Swiss cows were bred to have milk with high butterfat content, that yields a rich flavor and a dense, creamy finish in the cheese.

    Alp Blossom starts as Hubaner, the co-op’s signature cheese: a firm wheel with a washed rind.

    After four months of aging, the wheel is covered in the flora. The result: Magic!
     
     
    HOW TO SERVE ALP BLOSSOM CHEESE

    The cheese is so beautiful, it will outshine any other cheese on the plate.

    But there are solutions to serve it with other cheeses:

  • Bloomy-rinded and goat cheeses are a perfect visual counterpart—plain white.
  • They have a soft textural contrast to the semi-hard paste of Alp Blossom.
  • Bloomy-rind cheeses are creamy and mushroomy, fresh goat cheeses are milky and tangy, contrasting with Alp Blossom’s nuttiness.
  •  
    To Drink

    In general, cheeses pair best with their local beers and wines. Local recipes were crafted to pair with other local foods.

    For Alp Blossom, beer and wine from Austria and Germany are excellent choices, but you can go beyond boundaries.

  • Beer & Ale: Amber Ale, Bavarian Beer, Belgian-style Ale, Brown Ale, Bock or Doppelbock Beer, Stouts.
  • White Wine: Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Riesling; Alsatian Crémant d’Alsace (sparkling), Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Reisling.
  • Red Wine: Beaujolais, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel.
  •  
    When we have Alpine cheeses at the end of a meal, we may also serve a dessert wine.

    Alp Blossom is available from Murray’s Cheese and DiBruno Bros.
     
     
    WHAT ARE ALPINE CHEESES OR MOUNTAIN CHEESES?

    Alpine cheeses, also called mountain cheeses, are a range of cheeses originally produced in the Swiss and French Alps.

    The area now includes the Italian and Spanish Alps, and the style of cheese is also made in non-mountainous cheeses.

    Mountain cheeses are only produced in the summer months, using milk from cows that spend the summer on mountain pasture. They feed upon the grass plus the flowers and herbs that are unique to each region.

    The milk creates strong, aromatic cheeses, often made in large wheels.

    According to Caseus Montanus, an international association of mountain cheese producers, a mountain cheese is one produced and aged above 800 meters (approximately 2,500 feet).

    According to Artisanal Cheese, scientific studies on the flavor profile of mountain cheeses have found as many as 100,000 micro-organisms in the flora of the high altitude mountains, as compared to less than 10,000 microorganisms in lower prairie altitudes.

    This intensity of microorganisms is responsible for the deep and complex flavors of mountain cheeses.

    The best-known mountain cheeses available in the U.S. (made from cow’s milk, except as noted) include, among others:

  • Appenzeller (Swiss – photo #5)
  • Beaufort (French)
  • Bleu des Basques Brebis (French, sheep’s milk blue cheese)
  • Cantalet (French)
  • Comté (French)
  • Emmental (Swiss – photo #6)
  • Fontina Val d’Aosta (Italian)
  • Fourme d’Ambert (French, blue cheese)
  • Gruyère (French and Swiss – photo #7)
  • Hoch Ybrig (Swiss – photo #8)
  • Raclette (Swiss)
  • Sbrinz (Swiss)
  • Tête de Moine (Swiss – photo #9)
  • Vacherin Mont-d’Or (French)
  • Valdeón (Spain, blue goat’s milk cheese)
  •  
    The categories of Swiss cheese include:

  • Extra-hard: Sbrinz
  • Hard: Emmental, Gruyère/Greyerzer, Sapsago, Vacherin Fribourgeois
  • Semi-hard: Appenzeller, Bündner Bergkäse, Mutschli, Raclette, Tête de Moine
  • Semi-Soft: Vacherin Mont d’Or
  • Soft: Gala
  •  
    If you’re a lover of these cheeses, consider a tasting with representation from each category.
     
     
    WHAT IS SWISS CHEESE?

    If you don’t see “Swiss cheese” on the preceding list, it’s because it’s not a term used in Switzerland or any other part of Europe.

    Swiss cheese is the generic term used in the U.S. for several related varieties of domestic cheese, modeled after those originally made in Switzerland.

    Emmental or Emmentaler (the first spelling is the name of the place, the second describes something from that place) is the cheese Americans think of as the generic Swiss cheese.

    While Americans believe that Swiss cheese has holes*, properly known as eyes, Emmental has them but not all kinds of Swiss cheese do.

    There are some 450 known Alpine cheeses, classified into five categories: extra-hard, hard, semi-hard, semi-soft and soft. Cow’s milk is used in 99% of the cheeses produced.
     
     
    AMERICAN MOUNTAIN CHEESES

    Mountain-style cheeses are made in other countries, too; and no mountain cheeses are required.

    A Vermont-made mountain cheese, Tarentaise, was named “Best Farmstead Cow’s Milk Cheese” at the 25th American Cheese Society Conference, a competition for for American-made cheeses.

    Other noteworthy mountain-style cheeses:

  • Briar Rose Creamery “Callisto” (Oregon)
  • Fiscalini “Lionza” (California)
  • Jasper Hill Creamery “Alpha Tolman” (Vermont)
  • Roth Cheese “Surchoix Grand Cru” (Wisconsin)
  • Sprout Creek Farm “Toussaint” (New York)
  • Upland Cheese “Pleasant Ridge Reserve” (Wisconsin)
  •  
    Great cheese awaits!
     
     
    > Discover Many More Cheeses in Our Cheese Glossary.
     
     
    ________________

    *Some cheeses, like Emmental, are made with three types of bacteria: Streptococcus thermophilis, Lactobacillus and Propionibacter shermani. In a late stage of cheese production, P. shermani consumes the lactic acid excreted by the other bacteria, and releases carbon dioxide gas. This gas forms the bubbles that appear to be “holes” when the cheese is sliced. The cheese industry calls these holes or tunnels, “eyes.” Mountain cheeses without eyes are known as “blind.”

     

      

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    RECIPES: Summer Tortellini Salads & Skewers

    This salad works perfectly as a side dish or an appetizer—but it’s so good you might be tempted to make an entire meal out of it!

    These pasta salads can be served as a light lunch (with soup or a salad of greens on the side), as a first course at dinner, or as a vegetarian dinner.

    Both are very easy to make. The longest part is boiling the water and cooking the tortellini.

    Both recipes were adapted from ones by DeLallo, a specialist in fine Italian imported food.
     
     
    RECIPE #1: TORTELLINI SALAD OR SKEWERS

    This recipe was designed as appetizer or skewers, but we have enjoyed it as much (and with less work) served in a bowl as a composed salad (photo #1).

    The pesto is combined with olive oil to make a thinner sauce.

    We had a jar of pepperoncini and another of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, which we drained and added to the mix.

    You can also add olives.

    And you don’t have to use cheese tortellini. You can find herb, pumpkin, spinach, seafood and meat fillings, including chicken and pork. But the vegetarian versions work better in pasta salad recipes.

    Ingredients For 10 Small Servings

  • 1 bag (8.8-ounces) cheese tortellini
  • 2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 6 ounces Genoa salami, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella balls (ciliegine size—photo #3)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves plus more for garnish
  • Skewers
  •  
    Preparation

    To serve as a salad instead of skewers, don’t combine the ingredients but place them artfully in a bowl or on a platter. Serve the dressing in a pitcher for drizzling.

    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the tortellini according to package instruction. Drain. As it cools…

    2. COMBINE the pesto and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the tortellini to the bowl and carefully stir to coat the pasta. Allow the tortellini to cool prior to skewering.

    3. GENTLY thread the ingredients onto skewers. Save a few basil leaves to chop and sprinkle over skewers as a garnish.
     
     
    RECIPE #2: GREEK TORTELLINI SALAD

    Here’s a fusion pasta salad: Italian tortellini with Greek salad ingredients (photo #4).

    The dressing is also Greek: olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and oregano.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings

  • 1 bag (8.8-ounces) cheese tortellini
  • 1 (13.75-ounce) can or jar quartered artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 jar small or large* roasted red peppers (pimento), drained, or 1/3 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup pitted kalamata olives or olives of choice, halved
  • ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 English cucumber*, diced
  • ½ cup Italian vinaigrette, to taste
  • Optional: pepperoncini
  • Basil, roughly chopped
  • Freshly crumbled feta
  •  
    For The Greek Vinaigrette (1/2 Cup)

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1-2 cloves peeled garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • Freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • Plus
  • Pita bread, quartered
  •  
    Preparation

    1. BRING a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the tortellini according to package directions. Drain, rinse and let cool.

    2. ADD the tortellini to a large bowl. Mix in the artichokes, pimento/cherry tomatoes, olives, onion, bell pepper and cucumber, plus optional ingredients.

    3. POUR the dressing over pasta salad and toss well to coat. Crumble the feta on top, and garnish with the basil. Add salt and and pepper to taste (note that feta cheese is salty).

    4. TOAST the pita bread if desired.
     
     
    > Here’s An Authentic Greek Salad Recipe
     
     
    ________________

    *We like lots of roasted red pepper, so we use a large jar. We additionally add the cherry tomatoes

    *English cucumbers were bred in the U.K. to create a cucumber more desirable for cucumber sandwiches. It has tender flesh, with a thin, edible peel and tiny or no seeds. Some stores sell it as a burpless cucumber, European cucumber, hothouse cucumber or seedless cucumber.

     


    [1] Recipe #1: two ways to serve a summer tortellini salad: in a composed bowl or on skewers (both photos © DeLallo).


    [2] You can use both sun-dried tomatoes and fresh tomatoes in the same salad or on the same skewer. Keep a jar of sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil in the cupboard; or buy them dry, add your own oil, and keep them in the fridge (photo © Bella Sun Luci).


    [3] Ciliegine (chee-lee-ay-JEE-nay), meaning cherries, refers to the cherry-sized fresh mozzarella balls above. There are eight sizes of mozzarella balls. The smallest size, perlini, is pearl-size—and Italian for pearls (photo ©. Neil Langan | Panther Media).


    [4] Recipe #2: a fusion tortellini salad with Greek accents (photo © DeLallo).


    [5] Most people enjoy tortellini as a hot dish with red sauce, but it is delightful as a pasta salad with pesto or a vinaigrette (photo © The Nibble).

     

      

    Comments

    FOOD FUN: Sweet Churro Potato Chips


    [1] Churro potato chips are flavored with cinnamon and sugar (photo © Nibbles & Feasts | Idaho Potato Commission).

    Yukon Gold Potatoes
    [2] Yukon Gold potatoes (photo © Bonnie Plants).

     

    This weekend we had a picnic dinner with our social distancing pod.

    Everyone contributed something. For the apéritif, we brought bottles of prosecco and homemade churro potato chips.

    Churro potato chips?

    Yes! Like the fried-dough pastry available in Mexican restaurants, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, these potato chips are seasoned with the same. (Churros originated in Spain.)

    The recipe bakes potato chips; there’s no deep fat frying.

    The recipe was created by Ericka Sanchez of Nibbles & Feasts.

    For dessert, serve them with this recipe for Potato Ice Cream.

    That’s double food fun!
     
     
    RECIPE: CHURRO POTATO CHIPS WITH CINNAMON & SUGAR

    Ingredients

  • 4 Idaho® Yukon Gold potatoes or 3 Idaho® Russet potatoes
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT oven to 500°F. Grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray or butter.

    2. STIR the sugar and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

    3. WASH, peel and pat dry the potatoes. Slice them 1/8 inch thick, using mandolin. Places the slices between paper towels and pat dry.

    4. ARRANGE the slices in one layer on the baking sheets. Brush each potato slice with butter on both sides. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.

    5. IMMEDIATELY DIP the potato chips into the cinnamon-sugar to coat, a few at a time. Repeat until all chips have been coated. You’re ready to enjoy them!

     

    ABOUT YUKON GOLD POTATOES

    Yukon Gold is a cultivar of potato characterized by its thin, smooth, eye-free skin and yellow-tinged flesh (photo #2).

    Yukon Gold was developed in the 1960s by Garnet (“Gary”) Johnston in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The cross was made in 1966 and Yukon Gold (named after its yellow-gold flesh) was finally released into the market in 1980.

    Yukon Gold quickly became a favorite with fine-cuisine chefs. It can stand up to both dry-heat and wet-heat cooking methods.

    Its waxy, moist flesh and sweet flavor make it an ideal potato for boiling, baking and frying. You can also use them for grilling, pan frying, and roasting.

    Here’s more about the Yukon Gold potato.

     
      

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