February 27, 2012 Shout Out goes to:
Address: (No really, I cooked at my house) But featuring the incredible creations of: Cappello’s Gluten-Free Pastas (http://cappellosglutenfree.com) Mini Moo Goat Cheese (http://minimoosandkidstoo.com), Difranco’s Sauces (http://www.difrancos.com), and AikoPops (http://aikopops.com).
For the last two years, my sad, little, gluten-free, Italian heart has been searching and searching for a gluten and dairy free option to pasta, so I could eat the food of my roots, once more. I had run into poor substitutions made of soy, rice or quinoa. All had their downfalls, some would be to tough, others to grainy, but in general they all kinda tasted like ass. I was like Goldie-Marie Locksinni looking for my perfect bowl of porridge…. Or Creamy Alfredo. But then, low and be hold, I started teaching yoga, on Saturday mornings, at the Denver Urban Homesteading. The DUH is Denver’s indoor farmer’s market and this Italian, allergy-prone princess’ new found paradise. A whole, local, organic, market full of goodies that fit all my allergy needs. It didn’t take long for me to scout out all the yummiest foods and best looking vendors.
Let’s make a long story short and get to the good part. I have been determined to find a way to cook my own, delicious, allergy-friendly lasagna, since I was diagnosed, two years ago. When I met my homies at the DUH, I finally felt brave enough to host an Italian dinner at my own home. So without further adieu, introducing the four fabulous vendors that provided the amazing ingredients that fed myself and my friends at the best Italian dinner party I have hosted in two years:
In the first corner, using his grandmother’s recipes, this tall, beautiful Sicilian
stole my heart with his red sauce and his amazing eyes, Ryan Difranco! Coming from a picky Italian eater, Ryan’s sauces are incredible. I used the red sauce as the base for my lasagna challenge. It was perfect! The taste was fresh and there wasn’t that sweet “sugar-added” taste that you usually get from restaurant or jarred sauces. Oh and he will deliver to your house, too! Ryan’s sauces get an “A+”! Ryan (himself) gets an “AAA+”
Next, our dairy selection, brought to us by Mini Moos Goat Dairy. I thought the cheese section of this meal would be the hardest, because nondairy cheeses are disgusting and non-cow cheeses sometimes leave a strong hair and stable taste in you dishes. But the Cheese Man at Mini Moos suggested I try substituting the creamy chèvre for ricotta. Normally, I used ground pepper, egg, and cottage
cheese as a ricotta substitute, because I don’t care for ricotta. I absolutely love Mini Moos’ chèvre and had used it as a cream cheese substitute, since I first went off cow-dairy. Mini Moos’ products, including their milk, never taste earthy or like a mouth full of goat hair. They are always creamy and light, so I decided to take Cheese Man’s advice and go for the substitution. I also went with a semi-soft garlic basil goat cheese, to substitute for mozzarella. In the end, the semi-soft cheese created a crispy shell on top of the dish, that was like a piece of crunchy, garlic heaven. Mini Moos gets an “A+”
Now for the most important part of any lasagna, the pasta. Made special for me by Stacy, who runs and owns Cappello’s Gluten-free Pastas. She is amazing! Honestly, no one could tell the difference, and I hangout with some food-snobby people. The noodles kept their structural integrity and at the same time were not grainy or bitter-tasting. Also, she did not cut the shells into the normal lasagna strips, they were in sheets for me to cut myself. This made it so easy to bake in the only baking dish, I own, which is oddly shaped. Stacy and her biz partner Ben are absolute geniuses and shamelessly, I worship the gluten-free path of pasta they walk along. Cappello’s gets an “A++”
To finish off this unbelievable meal, I brought out the big guns… Or pops, I
suppose. Aiko Pops! Holy Mother of Popsicle-loving God, these things are incredible! Not to mention Aiko Pop’s owner has hypnotizing eyes, which he probably could use to sell me my own car, if he looked at me long enough. These pops are gluten-free, mostly vegan, and out-of-control yummy! They have favors like Apple-Wasabi, Vanilla-orange, and my favorite Choclate-bacon-sea-salt. The first time I bit into the CBSS flavored pop, I said (and I quote) “Holy shit! I never have to date again!”. My guests were equally as thrilled and I am stoked to say that I will be ordering Aiko Pops mini pops (which are adorable and genius) for this pop-star, princess’ , upcoming 30th birthday! Aiko Pops gets an “A++”!
Though, I’m not having lasagna-parties every night this week, you can come visit me and the other four fab vendors and sample all the yummy treats, every Saturday at the DUH. The DUH is at 2nd and Santa Fe!
And remember, whether you can eat anything or everything, are gluten-free, meat-free, or whatever else; Life is to short to not live and eat deliciously!