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Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Gloriously Gluten Free

I first became acutely aware of the gluten-free lifestyle when a customer (who has now become a dear friend) emailed me and asked if we could somehow work out an arrangement so that she, a passionate foodie with severe celiac disease, could take one of our classes.

In her email she described how she felt like she was sitting on the sidelines, unable to participate in something that once made her very, very happy.We met for coffee and talked about starting to offer some GF classes at Mirepoix. Thus was the beginning of a wonderful friendship, and my crash-course in GF living.

What my newfound friend explained to me was that those who love someone who is on a gluten-free diet do not have to panic about what to prepare for dinner – lots of natural foods are naturally gluten free! Goodbye the fear of flour substitutes, and funky-tasting breads and doughs! This, of course, was music to my ears – natural, good-tasting food is something we could definitely do!

Below is an email that Janet sent to me after her first Gluten Free class at Mirepoix. I hope you enjoy it and find a home at Mirepoix as well!.

"Okay, Stacy, I am actually crying. Not boo-hoo, but grateful tears. Sometimes God sends just what you need when you need it (thus the expression Thank God, probably...).

I am just a total foodie. Inside out. Through and through. I think baby potatoes are cute. I think pepper plants are pretty. I swoon over first tastes. I relish watching talent put a dish together (actually, you've seen me do that!). I read recipes like they're short stories. My Zen place is cooking.

I am in love with my Mirepoix experience. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for it.

Before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, it was effortless to follow my foodie heart from one sensuous adventure and partner-in-crime to another. Then I got sick, diagnosed, and introduced to the freakiest diet! No more bread-baking? Christmas cookies? Grama's cavati? Classes? Well, over time, with experience, advances in GF cooking, and availability of GF ingredients, I have learned that I can do everything freewheeling eaters can do, just in my on parallel universe. Good, but sort of alone, really. My local GF friends are fixated on food, but in a deficit mentality, not the passion and love of it, not the shared celebration of it. And it seems like most people don't even want to cook anymore. They just want to eat, mindlessly, without gratitude for the plenty.

Stacy, I knew what I was missing, but I had zero expectation of having a shred of it ever again, that camaraderie, that giddy joy. You and all of the truly good people of Holiday and Mirepoix have reminded me of that togetherness that food is meant to be. I never thought that would really be a shared thing in my life ever again. I thought that having faraway foodie firends was as good as it was going to get. Then, you. I mean, really, Stacy, I can't even tell you the last time someone loaned me a cookbook she loved, much less with post-it notes in it! Song of my heart!

And, then, today Michael just sent me the nicest e-mail reply ever. It made me cry.

Thank you, Stacy. Let us remember when life pulls us here and there, and we have no time to talk or e-mail or even look at each other, and coworkers drive us mad, and we can't even sleep we are so tired, and we forget what it feels like to be well, let us remember what stirs inside of us, what pulls us all together. I meant it when I told you that you are a blessing in my life. I want you to remember that you have already changed a life, and you have barely even begun. And I thank you. Thank you! Thank you!"

- Janet

At Mirepoix, we’re chefs who love food and love people. We’ve taken our experiences and knowledge and put together a class that we feel will suite the tastes of many people who are gluten-free and love someone who is gluten-free. GF Experts, we are not, but we do know good food.

If you’re looking for more information about the GF lifestyle, please consider looking at Carol Fenster’s books & website ( and the hundreds of GF websites online.

Below is a recipe that we are featuring in our Gloriously Gluten Free cooking class at Mirepoix tonight. Enjoy!

Apple Crisp

8 honeycrisp apples, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 vanilla bean, scraped (or vanilla bean paste if the alcohol used in processing is GF)
Pinch of cayenne pepper

2/3 cup GF oat flour
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
½ cup melted butter

Grease a casserole or baking dish heavily with cooking spray and preheat your oven to 375.

Place the apples in a bowl and mix with the cinnamon, salt, vanilla bean paste and maple syrup (taste and adjust seasonings if needed). Add the pinch of cayenne.
Place the apples in the bottom of the baking dish and set aside while you combine the topping.

For the topping, simply mix all of the ingredients together and crumble over the top of the apples. Bake at 375 for approximately 30 minutes.


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