February 2013 Archives
Pretty, indulgent, relatively healthy, and easy to craft, I made a tin full of these gluten-free confections for us to enjoy during valentines’ week. But, we realized our stash was dwindling yesterday, so we rushed to take the photo here before they were all gobbled up.
I subscribe to the recent wisdom that dark chocolate is beneficial to health, and never miss my 1-ounce daily dose. To transform the routine prescription into something distinctive for Valentines Day, I added nuts, dried fruit, and crystallized ginger to a base of intense, full-bodied bittersweet chocolate. Large walnuts halves, deep red dried tart cherries, and the sugar on the ginger make these delicacies festive and glittery. For a little more polish, I sometimes drizzle melted white chocolate over the top.
I spent last weekend learning lots about the nutritional requirements for a gluten-free diet, and eating very, very well. I was attending a retreat in Santa Barbara, led by Melinda Dennis, a celiac expert and dietician specializing in the gluten-free regime. She is one of the founders of the Celiac Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boson, and taught us more about eating healthfully without wheat than I imagined there was to know.
The retreat took place at the gorgeous and serene Immaculate Heart Center for Spiritual Renewal
. Part of the magic of the weekend was being cloistered with about 20 people who cannot eat gluten or who counsel clients on a wheat-free diet. We learned from Melinda and each other, as we shared our stories, asked questions, and enjoyed the lively presentations. Our days were broken up by lovely meals, designed to introduce healthful approaches to eating.
One exercise was to analyze each other’s food patterns. We had been asked to bring a log of everything we ate over 3 days. I was lucky to have Chef Janet Koppelman
scrutinizing my meals. She immediately identified that I don’t eat enough protein at breakfast, and rely too much on corn- hot cereal, tortillas, and polenta.