Friday, March 09, 2007


Catherine of Gluten Free Guide has done a great job covering the March 2, 2007 Gluten-Free Cooking Spree--here are Part 1 and Part 2. [And here's Part 3!] Jennifer Romolini of jennifer ate offers this item at the foodsite Epicurious, and Erin of Gluten-Free Fun offers this.

So I can add just a little bit, such as my own picture of the meatballs in squid-ink sauce, which really freaked people out but turned out to be top-notch--and it wasn't even in the competition!

Catherine credits Rice on Lexington with this special dish, which one of the terrific volunteer servers dubbed "food noir" because it was so starkly black-and-white. (This particular server would be perfect for a noir film herself--and I mean that in the most flattering sense.)

I can't comment on all the yummy competing dishes because--unlike the diligent Catherine--I didn't get to sample them all. However, I share her enthusiasm for the entry by Patricia Williams of District: tempura of tilapia with a salad of cucumbers, mango, rice wine vinaigrette, and sesame oil foam. One aromatic whiff of it took me back to the olden days when I traveled through Asia; one crunch of the perfectly delicate batter brought me back to the somewhat more recent time in the past century when I last had tempura.

Right by Patricia's station was Carrie Levin of Good Enough to Eat. Back in the last century I used to eat at her homey restaurant, but nothing I ate back then made more feel more at home than what she made at the sprue spree: a yummy tilapia chowder made with okra! You can spot a picture at Catherine's blog.

Near the chowder was yet another delish dish: Jehangir Mehta's coriander spiced tilapia with salty chive biscuits and cucumber cumin raita. In case you haven't heard, many tilapia gave their lives to the cause Friday night. Here they are early in Mehta's preparation...

...and here they are, plated!

Recipes for these (and other) contest entries--including Brett Reichler's winning "Tortilla" Crusted Free Range Chicken--are here.

What more can I say? It was fun to chat with so many nice people--including "volunteer photographer" Ellen, long-lost Leslie, George of Foods by George, and honoree Dr. Peter Green. And, as far as I could tell, there was only one noteworthy mishap. No, I'm not referring to any of the pans that crashed to the floor, reminding me that chefs are people, too. I'm referring to the containers of GlutenEase that somehow infiltrated our swag bags. This GlutenEase--a product marketed as something that helps one digest gluten and casein--was roundly rejected by the celiacs and top doctors in the gluten-free crowd. Moral of the story: Beware of celiacsploitation!

Oh yes...of course it would be great if all of the participating chefs and restaurants would join GFRAP. You hear that, participating chefs and restaurants? Sign up now!

Find more GFNYC sprue spree coverage here.

Photos: David Marc Fischer

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