Like most fake meats, veggie burgers are often held together by wheat and even sometimes by wheat gluten. For a while, Gardenburger's Southwest Chipotle Burger was gluten free, but alas, they changed their formula and are no longer celiac safe. It seems the freezer case isn't big enough for a product that is both vegetarian AND gluten free.
Enter Sunshine Veggie Burgers! I'm really not one for product placement, but I was so excited by these guys, I just had to share. I read about Sunshine burgers online over a year ago, but didn't see them at any store I shopped in. So whether they're new to Whole Foods or just to the Cleveland stores, they're still worth mentioning. Being able to eat out at restaurants like a normal person is great yes, but being able to grab something from your grocery's frozen section? It's pretty cool, too.
Since my diagnosis, I've become a fairly good cook. I've found that if you want to eat decently as a celiac - or eat any of the foods you remember pre-diagnosis - you pretty much have to learn to cook. I remember being told by the nutritionist at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia Presbyterian that a lot of celiacs choose a "cooking day" and make meals to freeze and eat the whole week. Now, I don't know who has time to devote a whole day of their week to cooking, but it's certainly not me. Besides, would you really want to eat the same thing every day ?
Well, instead of resigning my Sundays to cooking, I quickly learned to cook and to cook quickly. Ever seen that "Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee" show on the Food Network? Sandra Lee is an amazingly color-coordinated lady that simplifies impressive recipes by using store bought ingredients. I like to think I cook like her...you know, organically and without the Velveta.
And as for the burger? It's great. I bought the Garden Herb variety, so it tasted like a veggie burger, but there is an original flavor and that one might taste more like actual meat, if that's what you're after. I topped the burger off with a sauteed mixture of mushrooms and garlic and a slice of fresh yellow tomato I'd bought from a farmer's market in Middlefield, Ohio earlier in the day. Add that to the ear of locally grown sweet corn (also courtesy of the farmer's market) and a romaine lettuce salad complete with cherry tomatoes from our garden, and I made a pretty great gluten-free dinner in under 15 minutes.
Being on a cooking kick, and having fresh mango on hand, I couldn't resist cooking up a pot of one of my all time favorite gluten free desserts: sticky rice with mango. I've made this for family and friends, none of whom are gluten free, all of whom have loved it. It's the kind of unexpected dessert that is both simple and elegant, mostly because no one thinks they could make it themselves. They're wrong, but don't tell them that.
Sticky Rice with Mango
as taken from the Taste of Thai Coconut Milk can!
1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
2/3rds cup sugar
1 can lite coconut milk (you can use regular coconut milk, but there is no difference in taste)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
chopped mango (or fruit of your desire)
Cook rice according to directions on package. (Generally, let 2 cups of water boil before stirring in rice. Cook, covered, on low for 40 minutes - sometimes 20 depending on your rice - and then remove from heat and let sit for five minutes.)
Combine coconut milk, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and heat to a boil, stirring often. Don't let your sugar clump and burn! Let it boil about three minutes. (Note: depending on your taste, you may want to play around with the sugar amount. Using a little less - and I mean a little, it's still a dessert! would probably work fine.)
Pour the coconut milk mixture over your cooked rice and cover with plastic wrap for 40 minutes.
If you plan on serving it immediately, it will still be quite good, but it won't have the well, sticky, quality the dish is known for. When I serve it that way, I refer to it as "my coconut rice". To aid in the sticky-factor, refrigerate the rice for a few hours or overnight. Add mango or preferred fruit (or fruits! combine mango with strawberry, nectarines, peaches, and so on) and enjoy.