Heading to a new city?
Well, if you’re like me you google every restaurant within a 5 mile radius the area prior to traveling.
Let’s talk about people who are rolling up their sleeves and remixing culinary favorites. These folks simply “get it” and emphasize making favorites fit your lifestyle.
Here at ditchthegluten.com, we feature great companies and restaurants for your pleasure. Think of it as a heads up for when you’re visiting your next city! Your local favorites, in one spot.
August’s Feature: Olivia’s Croutons, Vermont
So, this version of city eats is not in a city, but on a beautiful 50 acre farm in New Haven, Vermont! Olivia’s Croutons is a company dishing out homemade croutons and stuffings. This company takes pride in making every batch perfect and have a saying – “the way you would make your own croutons if you had the time.”
I had the pleasure meeting owners Francie and Dave and getting a tour of this majestic place with marketing director Jesse Atkins. All I can say is, this is the way you want your food to be made. Everything is produced with love right in the heartland of Vermont. PS – If you’ve never been to Vermont, do yourself a favor and go. Like, right now. I promise you will come back feeling so relaxed….
Once I got over my beautiful surroundings, I was here to learn about production and ingredients. Now, I must admit I try various products that are gluten free
and not all of them are my cup of tea! Olivia’s croutons are absolutely delicious and taste nothing like dry, gluten free croutons. In fact, these are the best croutons I have ever had – and my favorite way to snack.
It all starts with baking their own GF bread. The bread is cubed, air dried, and dipped in an irresistibly seasoned mixture consisting of olive oils and herbs. The way that they dip the croutons, combined with the garlic mixture makes these irresistible. Don’t believe me? Well you should because upon trying them I (accidentally) ate the whole damn box.
Warning: Once each package is opened, you will be addicted…
Could you use Olivia’s croutons on salad? Yes. But, my favorite way to use their croutons is in place of bread crumbs. Each cube is dipped in garlic and herbs, it is a robust, intense flavor perfect for cooking. Enjoy!
Olivia’s Croutons Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
- 25 baby bella mushrooms, cores removed
- 1 cup lump crab meat
- 1/2 bag of Olivia’s croutons, beat into crumbs
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons pecorino romano cheese
- Chopped parsley, chive
- salt, pepper, paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Combine ingredients and stuff mushrooms.
- Lay each stuffed mushrooms on a butter greased cookie sheet
- Bake until golden brown, approximately 20 minutes.
Drone footage by: Nate O’Neill
Tortilleria Mi Niña, Needham, MA
I had the pleasure of visiting tortilla chip heaven this week. The struggle to find the best tortilla chip has been real – especially one that is locally made, non-GMO and gluten free.
Everywhere I looked seemed to have the same old chip that would break into a million pieces into a bowl of guac. They were also mass produced. I started to realize I couldn’t find anything that was local or gluten free! Grrrr.
This week – that all changed. I was introduced to not only an amazing company but a kick ass factory in Needham, MA called Tortilleria Mi Niña.
Chef Jamie Mammano (of Mistral, Ostra, Teatro, Sorellina) created the company after becoming inspired by his father-in-law’s recipe for tortilla’s.
His motto is: “Perfect will be just fine”.
I have to be honest, I never realized how many steps went into sourcing, preparing and distributing the PERFECT chip. Every bag had love and care poured into it, something I realized almost immediately after watching their staff.
What I witnessed was truly the art of perfecting an ancient Aztec process.
Making the Masa:
Corn is one of the most GMO ridden foods on the market. To source it as as non-GMO is a step that not many chip and tortilla manufacturers take. My reaction when I found out it was non-GMO was “wow”.
It is a focal point for Tortilleria Mi Niña and is sourced from Illinois.
Next is the Masa. Masa is made from corn via a process called nixtamilazation – cooking whole grain corn with water and ground lime then grinding the mixture through ancient volcanic stones.
The ancient stone method is used in the production of their chips and is sharpened every 2-3 days.
This process is a nod to centuries of making tortilla’s by hand.
Frying: Originally when the company began perfecting their tortillas, there were a lot of leftovers. These leftovers were fried into chips – now their biggest seller. Fried in non-GMO sunflower oil and dusted with Baleine Sea Salt from France, these chips can handle a serious scoop of guac!
Chips have a shelf life of 4-5 months and tortillas 2 weeks. Stay tuned for new flavors rolling out this fall! Congrats to this local and sustainable brand!
Goat cheese, truffle oil, local honey quesadilla with balsamic
A sweet, salty, crunchy recipe inspired by my recent trip to Puerto Rico.
- 4 Tortilleria Mi Niña tortillas
- 1 small herbed goat cheese log
- Truffle oil
- 2 teaspoons organic honey
- Aged balsamic
- Set skillet/grill to high heat. Brush both sides of tortilla with Truffle oil.
- Spread one tortilla with goat cheese, scallion, honey. Place second tortilla on top.
- Grill tortilla 2 minutes on each side until crisp. Drizzle with balsamic & top with lightly dressed arugula.
Fresh Fish Tacos
- 6 Tortilleria Mi Niña tortillas
- 1/2 lb of cod filet
- 1 cup Flour (gluten free via Bob’s Mill)
- 3 eggs beaten
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs (gluten free available via Wholefoods)
- 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder, salt, pepper. Pinch of cayenne pepper
- Shredded red cabbage
- Queso Fresco cheese
- Mango salsa
- Wash and dry fish. Cut into portions. Season fish with salt, pepper, garlic powder.
- Dredge fish in flour, egg and breadcrumbs in that order.
- Heat frying pan with canola oil on high heat. Fry until golden brown and set aside on paper towel.
- Add toppings
A twist on Mexican Migas: Brunch
- 1 cup crushed Tortilleria Mi Niña tortilla chips
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and diced
- asparagus tips
- fresh thyme, minced
- 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
- 1 chicken sausage, removed from casing
- 10 heirloom cherry tomatoes cut in half
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- On high, melt butter in cast iron skillet. Add onion, salt, pepper. Cook onion until translucent. Crumble in chicken sausage, thyme, bell peppers and jalapeño. Add tomatoes and roasted red peppers last.
- Cook 5-6 minutes until chicken is cooked through.
- Stir eggs in gently until they settle into place among vegetables. Sprinkle in tortilla chips. Remove pan from heat.
- Make a well with your fork and crack 1 egg into the well. Place pan in oven for 10-15 minutes until egg is white.
- Serve warm with avocado slices or salsa verde. Optional: monterey jack cheese.
April’s Feature: Wienstein & Gavino’s, Montreal Canada
Located in the heart of Downtown Montreal, Wienstein & Gavino’s is bursting with great energy, great food and wonderful people seven days a week.
W&G is constantly exploring new and creative dishes as trends evolve, all while respecting the classics.
Influenced by the flavors and traditions of Italy, the cuisine here is always innovative and fresh! Ville-Marie Collection, an established restaurant group in Montreal have decided to take it to the next level by offering gluten free options.
Some of those classics? Well, pasta of course! When someone takes the time to roll their own pasta, you know it’s special. Just like my favorite cities in Italy, this is a luxury to be adored. W&G’s pastas are homemade from scratch every day and pizzas are cooked to perfection in their very own brick oven. Just like Italy!
Check out some of my favorites. They are gluten free!