Posted in Restaurant Review

The Public House of Williams Bay

2 W Geneva St, Williams Bay WI 53191    262.245.5100
http://wphdine.com/GlutenFreeMenu.aspx

Lets start by saying that this restaurant has three locations.  I went to the one in Williams Bay, WI.  There is another one in Woodstock, IL and also Crystal Lake, IL.

I am giving them my highest rating of ♦♦♦♦ with 21 out of 25 possible points.

Gluten-free food menu:  The link above is to their gluten-free menu.  Their selection is outstanding.  Their three gluten-free appetizers were selections I’ve not seen in other places. Buffalo wings?  Quesadillas?  Yesss!  We chose the shrimp and mushrooms.  This was served with corn chips.  Before the plate was even set down, the aroma had me salivating.  It was SO good I could have eaten it with a spoon.  Garlicky, but not too much.  Every bite was an explosion of flavor!

Decor: Lots of dark rich wood.  Nicely lit,  not so bright your eyes squinted, but no so dark you needed to pull out a flashlight.   The tables were organized in a way that you did not feel you were eating with the next table.  Everything was clean. Nice music that blended into the background.  Staff all dressed neatly in black.

Service:  Our server Elliot Taylor was awesome.  He was very friendly and had a great sense of humor.  He was very knowledgeable about the gluten-free options.  For a couple of unusual questions I had about gluten-free items, he did not hesitate to check with the chef.  I felt very comfortable, not worrying that I would end up being glutened by the end of the night!  The bartender, Steve, who I believe to be one of the owners, was awesome.  He made the perfect dirty martini.  Twice.

Cost:  Under $40 per person.  Being the Lake Geneva area we expected it to be a little more expensive so we were not too surprised at the prices.  At the bar we had three drinks and one appetizer, it was $35.  I believe the quality of the food was better also – warranting a higher price.

Taste:  Wowsa.  For dinner I had the fish special of Mahi Mahi served with wild rice and steamed vegetables (Mahi Mahi flown in from Hawaii).  It came with a big ole salad of mixed spring greens and romaine with fabulous house dressing (roasted garlic vinaigrette). The wild rice was cooked just right………it was not crunchy like often happens when I order this out.  The fish was excellently flavored, not overpowering in the least so I could taste the fish and the red pepper cream sauce with each bite.  Other items enjoyed at the table – fish fry, “prime” rib eye and a pulled pork sandwich.  Only issue……the “prime” was very fatty, but the flavor was great.  The desserts were excellent.  Sadly they did not have their gluten-free dessert, death by chocolate, so I skipped dessert, but the rest of the table enjoyed deep-fried cheese cake, black tie chocolate cake and turtle  ice cream cake.  Every bit gone.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this restaurant.  I will come back again AND I would bring guests.  If you find yourself in Williams Bay, WI, Woodstock, IL or Crystal Lake, IL – make it a point to stop here and enjoy a meal.  You will NOT be disappointed.

Live and LOVE gluten-free!

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes

Birthday Cake Martini

1.5 oz Vanilla Vodka
1.5 oz Cranberry Juice
1.5 oz Champagne
Icing
Sprinkles
Maraschino Cherries

Rim glasses by dipping them in icing then in sprinkles.

Combine vodka and cranberry juice in an ice shaker, half filled with ice. Shake well and strain into glass. Top with Champagne and drop in a cherry.

NOTES:  As with all of my recipes, MAKE sure your ingredients are gluten-free.  FYI – Funfetti Pink Vanilla Frosting from Pillsbury is gluten-free.  As far as the sprinkles go, most you see in the store should be gluten-free.  The cherries are gluten-free as well and will probably indicate that on the side of the jar.

A big THANK YOU to Pamasaurus at http://omnomalicious.wordpress.com for this great recipe!!

Posted in The Basics

OK, So I know I Can’t Have Regular Flour….What Should I Use?

This is where things get a little tricky and people are still determining what works best. As I mentioned in another post, the gluten in wheat flour is what gives the bread that soft and fluffy texture. Many are working on ways to get decent gluten-free bread where the texture is at least similar to its wheat counterpart.

I am not a big fan of the texture I’ve found in a lot of gluten-free breads – so I have eaten less bread. This works out great as I am on a mission to lose weight anyway!

But, in the mean time here is some good info:

When just starting gluten-free, go ahead and buy the gluten-free all purpose flour blends you find in the store closest to you. I use them all the time and have great results.

Some brands I’ve tried (in order of my preference) and will be reviewing in later posts:

Pamela’s Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix
Bob’s Red Mill
Gluten Free Pantry
Bisquick

Will be trying soon:
Chebe
Namaste Foods
King Arthur Flour

When making my own recipes, say for example banana bread, I use an even substitution – if my recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, I use 2 cups of the gluten-free all purpose flour.

If I am baking something that needs a little “fluff” like a muffin or a cake, I have recently started to add a 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum, per cup of gluten-free flour. Xanthan gum gives the dough or batter a “stickiness” that gluten usually gives. In theory, this combined with the fat you use should make the final product “lighter” but be careful of adding too much…….you could have a sticky mess on your hands!

You will probably need to experiment with this. Some mixes might contain xanthan gum or guar gum, so you might not need additional umpf. Some say you need as much as 1 teaspoon per cup of gluten-free flour. This is what I suggest: try it without adding any extras at first. See if you like the texture……then make adjustments the next time you make it.  Be sure to write down what you did though so you don’t forget!!

Using my banana bread as an example, if I am making actual loafs of banana bread I do not add any xanthan gum. I like for the loaf to be a bit heavier to hold up to butter or jelly. BUT if I am making banana bread muffins (same recipe, just in muffin form) I add it!

More good news: If you don’t have your own recipes for pizza crust, muffin, bread, pancake, scone etc. most of these companies have their own specific mixes!

If you have the time and the energy, you have MANY gluten-free substitution options for wheat flour and can make your own mixes. Successful mixes usually are made from several different flours for best results as some of them are better for thickening, some don’t mix well with dairy, some have better minerals and fiber etc.

But here is an idea of other gluten-free flours available: Arrowroot, almond, amaranth, buckwheat, chestnut, chickpea, coconut, corn, fava bean, filbert, flaxseed, millet, peanut, potato, quinoa, rice, sorghum, soy, sweet potato, tapioca, teff, walnut and more.

For me……….I work a full time job that requires a little travel, so I do not have a lot of time to make up these mixes myself. For now, I am happy with buying the gluten-free all purpose flour mixes. When I start to make mixes myself I will happily share the results. 🙂

Now………get to baking!

Posted in Gluten Free Recipes

Microwave Potato Chips

Since potatoes are gluten-free, this is a easy snack when in need.  In general, plain store-bought potato chips are usually gluten-free, but when you get into the flavors like BBQ or Ranch, there is gluten in the seasoning.  Here is your chance to make your own gourmet chips!

Ingredients:

  • medium russet potato
  • parchment paper
  • salt
  • optional seasonings: chili powder, garlic, Italian seasonings, etc. (Check labels to make sure they are gluten free)

Instructions

  1. Using a mandolin or v-slicer, slice one medium russet potato (peeled, if you like) as thinly as possible, taking care that all slices are the same thickness. Line the turntable tray of your microwave with parchment paper and place the potato slices on it without overlapping. Salt lightly and sprinkle with your choice of seasonings.
  2. Microwave at full power–watching closely–until spots of brown begin to appear, about 4-6 minutes. Turn off the microwave for 1 minute. Microwave again at full power until the slices are golden brown. (Be very careful not to over-brown or they will taste burned.) Remove from the microwave and allow to cool. Repeat until all potato slices are cooked.

Salt and Vinegar Chips: Dip each potato slice into cider vinegar before putting it on the parchment paper. Sprinkle with salt before microwaving.