Gluten-free living in Eden Prairie, Chaska and Waconia

Awareness of celiac disease has risen in the past few years.
Elaina Devine, Grace Radeke and Emma Snuggerud at the Gluten-Free Fun Camp, organized by the Twin Cities Chapter of Raising Our Celiac Kids.

Like thousands of kids, Emma Snuggerud, 13, is counting the days until summer camp. Like thousands of camps, there will be swimming, archery, bonfires and night games—but unlike other camps, Snuggerud’s week-long fun fest won’t include gluten. “It’s just like a normal camp, but kids there just have celiac,” Emma, of Chaska, says.

Gluten-Free Fun Camp, held in Annandale, began with a two-night stay for 30 campers with celiac disease. Today, it hosts 70 children ages 8 to 17 for a week. “We saw such a need, and two nights wasn’t enough,” says Katie Radeke, parent coordinator.

Celiac disease, a genetic autoimmune disorder, is triggered by consuming foods made with gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Camp organizers ensure that all food items and kitchen equipment are gluten-free or void of any traces of the protein.

The camp, which runs this year July 19–24 and costs $430, is organized by the Twin Cities chapter of Raising Our Celiac Kids (R.O.C.K.), a non-profit organization that provides information and support for families of children with celiac disease.

“Everybody has the opportunity to feel the same,” Julia Fried-Devine, R.O.C.K. board member, says of the camp. Her daughter, Elaina Devine, 13, has attended the camp for several years and enjoys being around other campers who can relate to living with celiac, Fried-Devine says.

R.O.C.K., run by volunteers, offers other avenues for families living with celiac to find support. Goals include providing its 320 members with education and support to families, increasing public awareness, educating the public and medical community and identifying gluten-free restaurants and at-home food products.

The need to increase awareness about the disease and demystify the cooking process for those with celiac has grown exponentially over the years, and May is designated as Celiac Awareness Month. “An estimated 1 in 133 Americans has celiac disease, yet 83 percent remain either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed,” according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness’ website.

Local grocers have responded by stocking a larger number of gluten-free products, offering customers recipes and hosting product and cooking events.

For the past eight years, Lakewinds Food Co-op has hosted a one-day, gluten-free event in April. “We were really the pioneers in offering gluten-free grocery items,” says Amy Campbell, senior marketing manager.

Lakewinds carries more than 1,500 gluten-free items. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve increased selection over 200 percent due to consumer demand and increase in product availability,” Campbell says. “Some lines are now offering gluten-free and organic, which is a great trend we hope continues, and we proudly offer as much as possible.”

Not only has the variety of products changed, but the flavor of the food has become more palatable. “They don’t taste like they did when the first gluten-free products came out,” Campbell says.

“It’s interesting how it’s grown,” Ed Gardeski, manager of Mackenthun’s Fine Foods, says of the market space. At one time, the Waconia store dedicated a 4-foot section to gluten-free products. Today, the store carries between 3,000 and 4,000 items, according to Lorayne Streeter, organics and specialties buyer and manager.

Twice a year, Mackenthun’s hosts gluten-free events that include a cooking class. “We try to make the food something the whole family will eat and show them you can eat pretty normally with gluten sensitivity,” Streeter says. “During the class, we discuss alternatives for dressings, breading, flours and what condiments to avoid.”

The event is especially helpful for those who are recently diagnosed with celiac. Streeter says she talks with about six newly-diagnosed customers a month. “I try to reassure them that there are so many food options for them,” she says.

Additional information is available at:
Lakewinds Food Co-op
Mackenthun’s Fine Foods
National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
Twin Cities branch of R.O.C.K.

GLUTEN-FREE RECIPES

BANANA BREAD
Courtesy of Lakewinds Food Co-op

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar or honey
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup banana, mashed
  • 1-3/4 cups Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)

Instructions:
Beat together butter, sugar or honey, eggs and banana. Add remaining ingredients and mix together. Pour into a greased loaf pan, 9-inch cake pan or lined muffin pan (makes 12 muffins).
Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 1 hour for loaf pan, 45 minutes for cake pan or 20 minutes for muffins. Toothpick inserted in center of bread should come out clean.

BREAKFAST PIZZA
Courtesy of Lakewinds Food Co-op
Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 ½ cups fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
  • 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • 3 eggs
  • Prepared 10” gluten free pizza crust (we use Pamela’s Pizza Crust Mix), par-baked

Basil Hollandaise Sauce:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6-8 large fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup melted butter

Instructions:
Pizza: In a large skillet, sauté mushrooms in olive oil for 2 minutes, add garlic and cook for additional minute. Remove skillet from heat and toss spinach leaves into mushroom mixture. Spread mixture evenly over par-baked pizza crust, top with scallions, mozzarella, and 3 cracked eggs. Bake in 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until eggs are set and cheese has melted. Serve with Basil Hollandaise sauce.
Basil Hollandaise Sauce: Place first 4 ingredients in blender, pulse a few times to combine. Slowly add butter to egg mixture with blender running on low. Sauce should be smooth and pourable; add warm water to sauce if it is too thick.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH VEGETABLES
Courtesy of Lakewinds Food Co-op
Ingredients:

  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, rosemary, parsley)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half, scoop out seeds, brush cut sides with olive oil and place cut side down on an aluminum foil lined baking sheet lightly coated with olive oil. Bake 30-40 minutes or until squash has softened and fork inserted in middle meets no resistance. Meanwhile, place garlic and 3 tablespoons olive oil in small skillet over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic has turned a deep golden color and becomes sticky (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and cool to room temperature, whisk in herbs, lemon juice and red pepper flakes. Set aside. Steam pepper and broccoli, place in basket steamer in a large saucepan with 1 cup water, bring to a boil over high heat, cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Scoop squash pulp into a large bowl with spoon, separate strands with fork. (Handle squash with an oven mitt as squash will be HOT!) Toss strands with garlic mixture and vegetables, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

STEAK, MUSHROOM AND POBLANO TACOS
Courtesy of Mackenthun’s Fine Foods
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients:
Marinade

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely-ground black pepper

Tacos

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.5 pounds flank steak
  • 2 large poblano peppers, stemmed, cored and cut into thin 2-inch strips
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced or quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For serving: corn tortillas*, chopped fresh cilantro, avocado slices, lime wedges, salsa verde, and crumbled cotija cheese or queso fresco.

*Check package to ensure they are Gluten Free
Instructions

To marinate steak:

Combine all marinade ingredients in a large zip lock bag or in a baking dish. Add the flank steak and toss with the marinade until it is completely coated. Seal (or cover with plastic wrap or foil, if using the dish) and refrigerate for 15 minutes or up to 1 day.
To Make The Tacos:
When you’re ready to make the tacos, remove the steak from the refrigerator and let it rest for at least 20 minutes to come to room temperature.

Heat your sauté pan (or grill pan) over medium-high heat. Remove the flank steak from the marinade (discard the marinade) and add the steak to the pan. Cook on each side for 4-5 minutes, turning once with tongs, until it reaches your desired level of doneness. Transfer the steak to a separate plate and let it rest for at least 10 minutes. Then slice it into thin strips on the diagonal.
While your steak is resting, add the oil to the sauté pan and reduce heat to medium-high. Add the onions and poblano peppers, and sauté for 5 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the mushrooms and continue sautéing until they are cooked, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, cumin and black pepper and sauté 1-2 more minutes until the garlic is fragrant. Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed. Pour the veggie mixture onto a serving platter and set aside.
Return pan to heat and add the corn tortillas, warming for about 10 seconds per side to soften. Remove pan from heat. Assemble tacos by layering the sliced steak, veggies, cilantro on top of the warmed tortillas. Serve with avocado, lime wedges, salsa verde and optional additional toppings.

BLUEBERRY CHICKEN CHOPPED SALAD
Courtesy of Mackenthun’s Fine Foods
Serves: 3-5
Ingredients:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 head Romaine lettuce, finely chopped
  • 1 pint (2 cups) fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup roughly-chopped toasted pecans
  • 2/3 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese (or any soft cheese)

Dijon vinaigrette:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper
  • Instructions

Season chicken breasts on both sides generously with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink inside. Transfer chicken breasts to a separate plate and let rest for at least 5-10 minutes. Then chop into small, bite-sized pieces. Add the chicken to a large bowl with the lettuce, blueberries, pecans, red onion, blue cheese, and vinaigrette. Toss to combine. Serve immediately.
To make the vinaigrette:
Whisk all ingredients together until combined.

APPLE CINNAMON PORK CHOPS
Courtesy of Mackenthun’s Fine Foods
Serves: 4
Ingredients:

  • 4 Ribeye (rib) pork chops, bone-in, about 3/4-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 2 apples, peeled (optional), cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cayenne pepper
  • 2/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream

Instructions:
Generously season the chops with salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Immediately add the pork chops and cook until brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and set aside. Let chops rest for 3 minutes.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Immediately add the apples and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon and cayenne. Stir in the apple cider and cream.
Add the pork chops, nestling them into the liquid, and cook until the internal temperature of the pork reaches between 145 degrees F. (medium rare), with a 3-minute rest, and 160 degrees F. (medium), 3 to 4 minutes per side. Serve the chops with the apple mixture spooned on top.

GINGER BEEF, MUSHROOM AND KALE STIR-FRY
Courtesy of Mackenthun’s Fine Foods
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients:
Marinade

  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (if making gluten-free, be sure to use GF soy sauce)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken/beef broth, or water)
  • 3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. corn starch
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly-ground black pepper

Stir Fry

  • 1 lb. thinly sliced flank steak or sirloin, cut diagonally across the grain into thin strips
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 8 ounces baby Portobello or button mushrooms, halved
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, halved
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced

Instructions:
Add all marinade ingredients to a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour marinade into a large bowl or zip lock bag, then add in the steak and gently toss to combine. Cover/seal and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
Once steak has marinated, heat 1 Tbsp. oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Remove steak from marinade with a slotted spoon, reserving the marinade, and add to sauté pan with garlic. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes until browned, stirring occasionally. Remove steak with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add mushrooms, kale, and reserved marinade to sauté pan, and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the kale is wilted, the sauce has thickened, and the mushrooms have cooked, stirring regularly so that sauce does not burn. Add in the steak, and toss to combine. Serve immediately over rice or quinoa, garnished with chopped green onions.