Monday, November 3, 2008

Gluten-free "Normalcy"...Happiness in a Bowl or Two~

It's not often that a Celiac is able to walk into a lovely Italian restaurant, or restaurant of any kind, and sit down to order gluten-free pasta that's made to order right off of the regular menu! Well, recently it was my lucky night as this delicious "Genoa" shrimp, pesto-cream, and pine nuts with gluten-free fettuccine pasta dish you see above was just what the doctor ordered...and it was fantastico! The pasta was light and held its shape perfectly, and the entire time I was eating this savory dish I kept pinching myself that this was a gluten-free dish being served in a terrific and authentic feeling Italian wine bar, in the U.S...for a minute I thought I was back in Italy - it was that good.

I was able to order this wonderful dish at a Boise restaurant, Asiago's Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar on W. Main Street. It's quite a savvy and hip eating establishment with a cool bar and wine cellar used for dining and wine tastings. Asiago's also has enjoyable window seating and a lovely patio that opens up onto the street...did I mention the enoteca-styled interior with a mural of "the boot"...AKA..Italy carved out nicely on the main-facing brick wall. Delizioso!

If you are a Celiac or not - definitely visit the lovely Asiago's Wine Bar and enjoy feeling like a "normal eater," as you order off the large two-paged menu and for an hour or two, feeling like you're dining abroad.

Last week I created a new gluten-free Taco recipe and thought I would share this tasty and spicy Mexican dish with you...and it is also happiness in a bowl or on a plate.

We decided on chicken tacos with 100% corn tortillas, along with tasty black beans, some fresh-seasoned rice and yes-oh-yes...Sangria - Ole!

I prepared this chicken taco dish with a bit of a kick, though I didn't actually realize how much of a kick...pheeeew! It was a simple meal that can be added to or minimized according to your individual taste buds~ Serves 3-4 people.


- 2-3 (organic) chicken breasts, chopped

- 1 sliced onion (any kind)

- 1 orange and yellow chopped peppers

- 1 small can of chile verde (all I found were gluten-free)

- 2 Tbsp. of good olive oil

- 1 Tbsp. of garlic salt

- 1 can of organic black beans

- 1 small can of organic corn

- 1 package of quality maize/corn (only!) tortillas of your choice

- 1 package of manchego cheese

- 2-4 servings of steamed basmati rice

- 2 sliced avocados

- 2 diced tomatoes

- 1/2 chopped head of butter lettuce

- 1 jar of your favorite salsa (we chose a local favorite)

First, I would prepare the rice in your steamer and get that started - takes about 20minutes...then I simply browned the onion and then chopped up up the chicken breasts and placed them in the skillet with the olive oil and a bit of salt and pepper. Let the chicken start to whiten on the outsides, then add in the chopped peppers and sautee for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to keep from browning too much. After 10 minutes (or when the chicken is well on it's way to being cooked) add in the chile verde sauce - now, I unknowingly used the entire can and though tasty, whoooo, light'em up baby. I would advise using 1/2 the can...or to your preferred taste.

As the chicken is cooking to perfection, combine in a saucepan the black beans and corn after draining both and let simmer on low-med heat. Then chop the tomatoes, avocado and lettuce and place on separate serving plates and shred or crumble the manchego cheese and voila...your toppings are ready to go. I also highly recommend making some guacamole to top off your taco/tostada dish.

Lastly, steam your tortillas or make your own like I did - muy bueno! Then it's the fun part - the creation of your own tacos!

Do you layer with beans first...or cheese and then the rice, or perhaps you start with the delicious chicken verde and then pile on the goods - it's all up to you and rest assured, it most likely tastes equally delicious in the tummy, no matter how you stack it! Just don't forget to add salsa and plenty of guacamole. Your taste buds will thank you.

If you have a favorite GF taco recipe - please share them.

Enjoy and Ole~

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