Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Source for Gluten-Free Oat Matzo

I couldn't have been more thrilled when I got an e-mail from a gentleman from Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery in Lakewood, NJ, telling me his bakery was now producing certified gluten-free oat matzos right here in the United States. He graciously sent me two boxes of matzos to try out.

The only source of gluten-free oat matzo I knew about before this was a company in the UK which makes a good product (and gluten-free matzo meal, too!) but is costly due to being imported. The Lakewood product is half the price of the British matzo ($20 for three matzot, as opposed to as much as $40 for three matzot). So this year I'll get to save my money for other Passover treats.

The matzo from Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery has a hechsher from Rabbis Katz and Klein, both of Lakewood. It is made of certified gluten-free oat flour. The final product was tested by the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program (FARRP) in Nebraska, and the bakery sent me a copy of the report from FARRP, which indicated that there is no detectable gluten in the product (the product was rated "BLD" or "below limit of detection") which means this product is reliably safe for celiacs. Please note, however, that there are some people with celiac disease who find they cannot digest oats at all.

If you're wondering why gluten-free matzo is so expensive, let me explain. First, the oats have to be grown segregated from wheat and other gluten-containing grains. They have to be harvested and milled with separate equipment. Shmura matzo is handmade rather than made with machines. This is especially remarkable given the fact that matzo must be made within 18 minutes to be considered unleavened. In addition, a dough made of only oat flour is difficult to work with as it contains no gluten nor gluten substitutes. Of course, the entire process must be supervised to ensure the product is kosher... and not only kosher, but kosher for Passover - A much higher standard of kashrut. This is why shmura matzo is always expensive, and gluten-free shmura matzo even more so.

The Lakewood matzo is good. The bakery suggests reheating the matzoh "in a very low oven for a few minutes before eating, it takes a lot of the moisture out." I second this recommendation, as the matzo can be a little stale coming right out of the box. It is definitely "the bread of oppression" - Probably not a cracker I'd nosh on just for the fun of it. However it is perfect for fulfilling the mitzvah of eating matzo on Passover and would taste fine heaped with charoset and maror (and you can grind up leftovers in a food processor to make matzo meal!) The matzos are thicker than a normal wheat matzo, which the bakery says is to make them less likely to break during shipping, so they're not as crisp as thinner matzos. There is something about the taste that definitely says "matzo" to me, which made me happy since it reminds me of when I could eat regular matzo. All in all, I can recommend these without reservation. I think they are certainly equal with the matzo from the UK.

The Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery doesn't have a website, but you can order by faxing (732) 364-4250 with shipping and billing information. The product is $20.00 per box of 3 matzos, plus a flat $10.00 for shipping (I believe this cost covers as many boxes as you order). If you have questions call (732) 364-8757.

The matzo is also available in many kosher grocery stores.



Lakewood Shmura Matzo Bakery
Lakewood, NJ
Phone: (732) 364-8757
Fax: (732) 364-4250
Certified gluten-free oat shmura matzo. Available by mail order or in stores.

Gluten-Free Oat Matzos (U.K., distributed worldwide)

Made in the United Kingdon but available at local distributors or from Certified gluten-free oat shmura matzo, machine matzo and matzo meal available. No direct mail order on their website.


Gluten-Free Mock "Matzo"
Gluten-Free "Matzo Balls" Recipe
Potato Kneidlach: A Matzo Ball Alternative

The mock matzo recipe above does not fulfill the mitzvah of eating matzo, as it is not made from one of the five grains specified by Jewish law. But it's still tasty!

Remember, the widely available spelt matzo is NOT gluten-free. Spelt is a form of wheat and contains gluten, thus is not safe for people who are gluten-intolerant or have celiac disease.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Ricotta Creme

This is an easy and delicious creamy dessert that can be whipped up in minutes. Great for the sugar- and carb-conscious, but just as delicious for anyone who loves chocolate and peanut butter. Yum.


[ Gluten-Free / Soy Free ]

1/2 cup low-fat part-skim ricotta
3 tsp unsweetened dutch cocoa
1-2 packets splenda, or 1-2 tsp agave nectar, to taste
2 Tbsp smooth, salted peanut butter
Pinch of salt

Blend ingredients on medium speed in a blender until smooth, or use a fork to blend thoroughly until no lumps remain. Serve cold. Can be stored for 24 hours in the refrigerator.

A Gluten-Free Purim - Hamantaschen Recipes and Mishloach Manot Ideas

gluten-free hamantaschen hamentaschen cookies for purim
This post is admittedly a bit late (Purim starts Thursday night) but I've been in the Bay Area with my partner for the past week and a half doing anything but blogging.

Here are some links for your enjoyment:


My own delicious recipe for cakey, no-refined-sugar gluten-free hamantaschen can be found here.

I posted it last year around Purim and it's been a big hit. You can see reviews of the recipe on Recipezaar, too. I've become more strict about only using products with reliable kosher supervision, so I no longer use Pamela's Baking Mixes. However, Pamela's mix works amazingly in this recipe. If you are dairy-free, want the recipe to be pareve, or only use hekshered products, you should feel free to use another gluten-free baking mix of your choice.'s Celiac Disease page just published this recipe for hamantaschen that uses cream cheese in the dough. Looks like a tasty dairy option.

Two other options are this recipe from the Jewish-Food listserve (adapted from a Chabad recipe) and these fascinating hamantaschen from Elana's Pantry, which are both grain-free and dairy-free.


One of the wonderful traditions for Purim is mishloach manot. These are gift baskets of at least two different types of food that Jews are required to deliver to friends and family. What to do if you're making mishloach manot for gluten-free folks? Here are some ideas of things to include in your gift baskets:

  • Homemade gluten-free hamantaschen (see above for recipes)
  • Small bottle of kosher grape juice
  • A bottle of wine
  • Gluten-free candy ( marks clearly which of their candies are kosher and this PDF file has a comprehensive GF candy list)
  • A box of storebought gluten-free cookies
  • Nuts - Stick to the unflavored kinds unless you can verify they're gluten-free.
  • Jar of olives or pickles
  • Fruit
  • Potato or corn chips (check the ingredients)
  • A nice artisanal kosher cheese (anything but blue cheese should be safe).
Have a wonderful and wild Purim!

...And if you're Jewish and have food allergies and/or gluten intolerance or other food restrictions, come join us on the AllergicJews listserve, where we discuss everything from the halacha (laws) of gluten-free challah to recipes for nut-free charoset.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Terribly Overdue Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup: 3/3/08

I thought I ought to give you all another installment of the Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup before I leave later this week for a 10-day vacation in the Bay Area with my sweetheart. I'm looking forward to returning to my old stomping grounds, showing my partner the wonder that is the produce section at Berkeley Bowl, perusing farmers' markets and enjoying 10 days without snow. Here are enough recipes to keep you cookin' for all 10 days that I'm gone... and then some!



The Standard Disclaimer: As usual, there are recipes on here that call for ingredients that can be found in both gluten-free and gluten-laden versions (soy sauce, breadcrumbs, etc). There are also ingredients that are available in both kosher and non-kosher versions (and of course milchig and fleishig and pareve). I haven't checked over every ingredient list with a fine-toothed comb, so be sure to check labels, and be creative!

And remember... one woman's side dish is another woman's entree.

Click here for previous editions of the Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup.

Edited to add: Yes, that's me in the picture - A blurry whir of sweet-potato-grating action. You might wonder why I would post a blurry picture of myself, but I actually love this photo because I'm moving so fast and working so hard that I'm a blur, yet the bowl of sweet potato latke batter is totally in focus!

Monday, March 03, 2008

Gluten-Free Kosher Product Reviews

It's been a while since I did any product reviews and since I now have more of a readership of people who are both kosher and gluten-free I thought I'd start doing product reviews more regularly of products that have a hechsher (a kosher certification) and are also gluten-free. Everyone accepts different hechshers, so use your own judgment or consult your local halachic authority if you have questions. In addition, I'm hoping these product reviews will be just as useful for readers who are halal or vegetarian/vegan, or who are just plain ol' gluten-free and looking for some new GF products to try!


nana's no-gluten chocolate cookieNana's Gluten-Free Vanilla Berry Cookie Bars

Kosher Certification: Kof K Pas Yisroel - Pareve

Info for Special Diets
: All gluten-free products are vegan and contain no dairy, no refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, cane or beet sugars, cholesterol or trans fats.

Review: I wanted so much to like these cookies or at least find them edible. After all, there aren't that many products on the market that are reliably gluten-free, vegan, have no refined sugar and are reliably kosher. So I was terribly disappointed the second I bit into the No Gluten Cookie Bars - Berry Vanilla. They were incredibly grainy, had weird crunchy unidentifiable hard bits in them, and had a weird berry flavor but no actual pieces of berry. They were impossibly dry and I couldn't really taste any vanilla - But ultimately, I don't think there's any flavoring that could have countered the horrible, inedible grainy, crumbly texture. I couldn't bring myself to take more than two small bites, and when I had a friend take a bite they spit it out.

The Nana's No Gluten Chocolate Cookie was more edible. It was very, very mealy - It tastes like they use a coarse grain rice flour instead of a finely ground one. But it at least tasted pretty chocolatey. I can definitely a child enjoying this cookie. I didn't enjoy it and could only bring my chocoholic self to eat half of it, but it is a healthier option for parents with food-allergic kids they prefer not to feed sugar to.

I hate giving bad reviews, but my conclusion about Nana's products is this: If these taste good to someone, I would guess it's because they have gotten use to substandard gluten-free products. Folks, you don't have to settle for low-quality products that don't taste like real cookies! If can make good gluten-free vegan cookies at home, why can't a professional baking company make an edible product?

You can purchase Nana's No-Gluten Cookies here or at your local health food store or Whole Foods.


Kosher Certification: Badatz Ateret Shalom, Badatz Yoreh De'ah, CRC of the US and Canada, and the Orthodox Union (OU) - Pareve

Info for Special Diets: All products marked gluten-free. Vegan, pareve, no sugar. No visible nut or soy ingredients but I haven't been able to verify that their spice mixture is free of these allergens.

Review: Who needs boring old rice pilaf when you can have all the flavor and texture of a pilaf combined with the unbeatable nutritional profile of quinoa, that legendary "supergrain" that's not really a grain at all? I took this photo at Kosherfest back in the fall. I discovered and tasted and photographed so many new kosher gluten-free foods, and then promptly neglected to ever do a comprehensive post about my discoveries. Oops. Then a few months ago I went to Rockland Kosher, a huge kosher grocery store in Monsey, NY. Among a bunch of gluten-free goodies I found there, they carried Pereg Quinoa Mixes, which I'd tasted at Kosherfest and loved but didn't think I'd find in any stores near me. I bought two different flavors - Quinoa Mix with Vegetables and Italian Style Quinoa Mix. They also make one with mushrooms.

These quinoa mixes come in convenient plastic jars so they can be easily poured for measuring. They contain all natural ingredients, and of course are gluten-free. The ingredients include spices, raisins and dried vegetables - No MSG or preservatives. No rinsing is necessary, unlike with quinoa bought in bulk. Just follow the simple directions on the package and you end up with a fluffy and attractive quinoa pilaf that has a good amount of flavor to it. I love these mixes - Though I make my own quinoa pilafs from scratch, sometimes I just do not have the time to cook. I'm not a fan of plain steamed quinoa, so having a mix like this means I can have a flavorful side dish in a short amount of time without resorting to nutritionally-empty packaged white rice pilaf.

I really enjoy these pilafs and am excited to see them on the American market. My only suggestion for improvement is that instead of following the directions on the package I recommend using vegetable or chicken stock in place of water, to add more flavor to the quinoa. I also recommend sauteing the quinoa in the oil for more than 20 seconds before adding the water.

You can purchase Pereg Quinoa Mixes here or at your local kosher grocery.