Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer Fresh Berry Steak Sauce

They say a good steak doesn't need any steak sauce. For the most part, that's true. There aren't a lot of options out there for a great steak sauce. The sauces are usually based on a brown-sauce style and include malt vinegar as one of the main ingredients. I usually only use salt and pepper lately and follow the Serious Eats philosophy for salting steaks at least 50 minutes before grilling. In addition, I love their Importance of Resting Meat  article as well.

Last week, I was out for dinner and I normally don't use steak sauce but the steak didn't have much flavour. So I had some HP sauce which is a British brown sauce-style steak sauce and it really didn't add much to the steak. So I'm sharing one of my favourite recipes. It's been modified from this recipe.  It's so simple yet so good.

Summer Fresh Berry Steak Sauce

  • 1 pint raspberries, washed and dried
  • 1 pint blackberries, washed and dried
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup GF Worcestershire sauce ( US- Lea and Perrins or Canada-Heinz London Style)*
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 20 drops hot pepper sauce ( or more to taste. the longer it sits, the hotter it gets, I use Frank's Red Hot)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1.  In a saucepan over medium heat, combine raspberries and blackberries and cook down for approx 10-15 minutes until berries have liquified and lost their shape. 
  2. Strain berries through a fine mesh wire strainer until you have all of the berry juices that you possibly can. You will have a lump of thick berry residue in your strainer after this.                   
  3. In a saucepan over high heat, blend berries,  brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, cider vinegar, hot pepper sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low, and simmer 10 minutes, or until thickened.               

I pour this into a few old sauce jars and it makes about 3-4 cups.
*Ensure you are using a Gluten Free Worcestershire Sauce. Look under SAUCES for Lea and Perrins and Heinz which will be the London Recipe version.  Both are gluten free depending on where you are.

Slowly cooking berries down

Pour into strainer/sieve and press berries through. Scrape underside of mesh occasionally.

The remains

Nearly a cup of puree

Made over 1 3/4 bottles of sauce

Usually I buy a nice large tenderloin and cut it into smaller pieces to freeze or buy thick 16 oz steaks at the butcher and this sauce just compliments the beef so well. Sometimes, the heat of the sauce increases over time as you store it. It's perfect since berries are in season and it's the best time of year for grilling a nice juicy steak.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gluten Free Niagara

Where to eat gluten free in Niagara?

It's a bit of a tough one. Sure, there are restaurants who do rice pasta. It seems to be the most frequent offering on menus.

I don't eat out a lot here and there are restaurants that I eat that probably don't have a clue what gluten is and yet, I feel comfortable eating certain items. I have a restaurant to eat chicken wings, nachos and french fries at although they are a pub with probably no concept of gluten free. I just know that the wings are fried separately and they aren't breaded.

Breakfasts are often easy... Bacon, eggs and possibly the homefries depending on the spices. Some places will substitute a fruit cup for you instead of toast.

I work in a place that has a very nice restaurant and they make gluten free bread on site. I get a lot of phone calls from people who almost sound stressed when talking about it. " Well, we'd like to stay but I'm celiac"  or "My daughter is celiac and we need to bring food for her"  It's nice to reassure people that we can take care of them.  On a recent weekend, I went to this restaurant for breakfast and enjoyed eggs, bacon and toast. The toast was grilled over an open flame as they don't have a separate toaster and this is how they do their GF toast for breakfasts. I've also heard that they will substitute the same bread for lunch sandwiches.

For dinner, I've always liked The Keg Steakhouse. There is one in St Catharines as well as two in the Fallsview area of Niagara Falls, Ontario which are a little more expensive than the St Catharines restaurant. I've enjoyed the prime rib ( no au jus), baked potato and on a more casual evening, nachos, bacon wrapped scallops and garlic and cheese shrimp. They do bring sourdough bread to the table and the shrimp does come with more bread on the side but I forego that.  Margaritas or red wine may accompany these meals as well. For a short while, they did have a gluten free menu but they have since removed it.

There are a few restaurants that do rice pasta as I mentioned. Johnny RoccosCafe Amore - where the local Celiac group has dined and they have desserts and rolls available, and for a small intimate venue, La Scala Ristorante  which is a 30 seat restaurant. I don't usually go out for pasta since I prefer La Veneziane Corn Pasta

 There is a fantastic website called Gluten Free Ontario which lists all areas of Ontario as well as  different chain restaurants as well. It is frequently updated to reflect new establishments.  A few of the stores on the Niagara Falls and St Catharines sections do receive products from a local bakery which unfortunately I find extremely overpriced and the quality dismal.

The Celiac Scene has another list of restaurants that offer GF however I've looked up some of them and haven't really seen any information online regarding their offerings.

Pizza can be ordered from a couple different locations. Pizza Pizza has a gluten free crust and although it's a thin mostly rice flour based crust, it's great if you and your friends all want pizza. You do need to ensure you order the proper kind of pepperoni if you do order as the classic pepperoni contains gluten. Gluten free Ingredients at Pizza Pizza

You can also visit Boston Pizza. They feature gluten free pizza with crusts from Kinnikinnick . All the toppings that are GF are marked with a little star. At my restaurant I had pepperoni and bacon which is my favourite. Ask for it extra crispy so the crust is nicely cooked through.

You can also check out Roberto's Pizza  in St Catharines for a gluten free crust.

One of the local restaurants I often go to  is M.T Bellies  in Welland and they have just put out their new menu which does have some items listed as GF on it. One thing to stress is that you need to ask questions since this is new for them. I've enjoyed the pizza with chicken and bacon and I usually have the Centre Cut steak with garlic smashed potatoes and broccoli. To be perfectly honest, I often have the nachos and the potato skins which are fried and I haven't had any problems. One of their servers has a child with celiac and she helped me when I ordered my pizza.

Another local place I used to go to quite a bit is Jack Astor's. They've just come out with a gluten free menu as well. They have a few options that I would like as well. Definitely somewhere to go back to although I can't have any of their delicious Garlic Pan Bread any longer.
On the American side, you have a lot more options with all the national chains creating gluten free options and/or gluten free menus.

You can also look at the Gluten Free in Western New York website and the Buffalo Gluten Free website for even more places.

Back on the Canadian side of the border, one classic chain is Swiss Chalet. A 1/4 rotisserie chicken with chalet dipping sauce and salad is a great choice. The salad are never packaged with croutons so there is no worry there. Although they hand cut their french fries every day, they do occasionally deepfry breaded items in the same fryer so it is not a safe option. They also serve their meals with a bun and I ask not to have it added to my meal.

Overall, there still aren't a lot of places because there are a lot of chain restaurants and they are the type of restaurant that only has sauces and condiments listed as gluten free. Not much help there. But with a little research, you'll find something. Otherwise come on over. I'll BBQ!.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Katz Gluten Free Bakery

I have a confession. I was supposed to review the products Katz Gluten Free Bakery very generously sent to me.

I also have 2 large dogs. Piper and Buster. Both can reach the counter and enjoying snacking  on counter items when we aren't looking. I know what you are thinking but that's not what happened.

We've taken to storing things in the oven or microwave instead of on the counter. At any given time, you may find different items in either of these. Before I make dinner, there is usually salad, bread, marinating meats etc hidden away.

In the oven, I had a cake pan with a delicious gluten free sheet cake that was nearly gone along with the Katz products and well, ooops.... The oven was turned on.

I did get a chance when the box arrived to pop a few Sugared Snack Poppers but that's about it. They were quite tasty little crunchy cookies.

No apple pie for me.

No Bundt Cake for me.

But they looked delicious. Before the oven was turned on, that is.

About Katz Gluten Free for Gluten Free Products, Foods & Recipes

Katz Gluten Free Bake Shoppe was established in early 2006 by F. Katz, with not much more than a home model kitchen mixer, some thoroughly tested recipes, and an unyielding quest for perfection. As word of our famously delicious confections rapidly spread, so did our base of operations.

Today, Katz Gluten Free operates out of a state-of-the-art facility, which has been Certified Gluten-Free by the Gluten Intolerance Group® ( , for our unmatched reliability in complying with strict gluten-free standards. Our facility is completely nut-free and dairy-free. All of our products are certified Kosher, and are under the stringent supervision of the OU and Rabbi Y. Gruber.

As the mother of two children who are gluten intolerant, Mrs. Katz knows firsthand the hardships and daily struggles parents endure in their attempts to maintain a thoroughly gluten-free diet for their kids. She knows - as only a parent could - that the only way to minimize and avoid temptation, is by offering a variety of products that are rich in flavor, texture, and taste. That is why she constantly strives to concoct recipes that are as luscious as they are healthy.

We feature an extensive, ever-expanding selection of products, to meet the culinary demands of every gluten-intolerant individual. Our products consist only of pure, all natural high-quality and fresh ingredients, with no preservatives added, and are thoroughly taste-tested to ensure absolute goodness in every bite.

Katz Gluten Free invites you to enter their Summer Bloggin Spectacular. We have partnered with blogs across the gluten free spectrum, with Katz GF giveaways on each blog. Additionally, you can enter below to win a box filled with all 40 delights Katz Gluten Free has to offer! Rugelach, Pies, Cakes, Breads, Cookies and more! The contest will run from July 4th throughtAugust 15th! 

Everything is available for sale online .Connect with them on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Right now they are offering free shipping on all orders of $30 or more. Also they have 2 great coupon codes which offer discounts to you.   SummerPie1 is for $4 off one Apple Pie and SummerPie2 is for $4 off one Cherry pie.