Thursday, May 24, 2012

Restaurant Review: Gappy's Pizza, Kent, NY

Given all the recent hubbub surrounding Domino's and the issue of gluten-free pizza, we thought it'd only be appropriate to do a pizzeria review today. I can assure you that the timing—though apropos—is purely coincidental. While the gluten-free world was debating the now-infamous Domino's Debacle, we were out for a hike.

This past Saturday we took the girls for a hike at Ninham Mountain, a modest, forested peak (more of a hill) near Carmel, NY, about halfway between where we live in the Hudson Valley and New York City. We were en route to southern Connecticut to visit friends, but couldn't resist getting out of the car for a walk in the woods.

From the trailhead, a dirt road—closed to vehicles—climbed gradually ... past some rocks on which we scrambled, past a stream and lush green forest, and past an old stone-and-earth shelter built into a hillside. The summit featured a fire tower from which we enjoyed 360-degree views of the surrounding hills and lakes.

By the time we returned to our car, it was after noon and everyone was ready for something more substantial to eat than the gluten-free trail snacks we'd brought in our backpack. We're new smart phone users, having enjoyed our first iPhone for just 2 months or so. But of the few apps we've downloaded to date, one of them is Find Me Gluten Free. It's a handy tool for locating restaurants with gluten-free dining options.

When I pressed the "find restaurants around me" button, Gappy's Pizza in nearby Kent, NY came up. We decided to drive over and see what it was all about.

Gappy's is your classic, family-run, Italian-American joint that serves up large pizzas, pasta, and other typical dishes. No frills here. Red-and-white check curtains. Wood tables. Though the restaurant has been open since 2002, the building's clearly been around much longer.

They're working on possibly expanding their gluten-free offerings, but for now, the main thing they offer is gluten-free pizza. Like many (MANY!) pizzerias, Gappy's is an out-sourced, par-baked, thin, rice-flour-based, small, 12-inch-diameter crust. They started offering the gluten-free pizza option about one year ago, and go through about one box of crusts per week. I don't know how many crusts come to a box, but it seems to be an indication that there's regular demand from the local gluten-free community.

Gappy's has a small kitchen, and they work with a lot of flour, so I had my concerns about cross-contamination. I asked them a number of questions about food preparation and minimizing cross-contamination before we took a seat. A few days later, I called back anonymously, asked slightly different questions, and still got the same answers, which gives me a bit greater confidence in their gluten-free procedures.

"Some of our customers are highly allergic," a women from Gappy's assured me over the phone.

(That said, I didn't stand in the kitchen with the pizzaiolo and watch him make our pizzas... There's certainly an element of risk eating at a place like this. I didn't get sick, but I also wouldn't eat here if I was in the two-week window leading up to an important race. The possibility of getting sick is not worth it. Always ask questions and decide for yourself if a restaurant is right for you.)

Here's how they handle gluten-free orders, as per my two conversations with Gappy's staff:

1. Gluten-free crusts are baked on aluminum trays to prevent contact with floured surfaces, and are baked away from regular pizzas in a large shared oven.
2. The pizza maker washes his or her hands before starting to prepare a gluten-free order.
3. Clean pizza cutters and other implements are used to prepare and slice the pie.

We ordered a plain cheese pizza and a pepperoni pizza. And how did they taste?

Overall, they were average. No better or worse than similar gluten-free pizzas we've had from places such as Uno's Chicago Grill.

The crust was pretty bland, as expected. However, unlike the crisp, cracker-like crusts we've had from other pizza places, the one at Gappy's was pretty soggy. The sauce tasted like it was based on tomato paste ... pretty thick, with concentrated flavor. Gappy's is very generous with the cheese. You can probably see from the pictures how cheesy the pizzas were (and our server confirmed that we didn't want the extra cheesy version!). The pepperoni was oily, such that Kelli and I both took to blotting up small puddles of oil with our napkins.

But having just finished a hike, and being hungry on a warm, sunny, summer-like early afternoon, the gluten-free pizzas at Gappy's satisfied. Still, I'd take one of our homemade grilled gluten-free pizzas over Gappy's anytime.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A House Divided ... and Reunited?

In recent weeks you've almost certainly heard about what many have been calling the Domino's Debacle. If you've missed any of the crucial details, here's the need to know: Domino's launched a nationally-available gluten-free pizza crust. There was just one big problem—while the crust was made with gluten-free ingredients, Domino's took no precautions to prevent cross-contamination. The result was that the gluten-free pizza came with an important and prominent disclaimer, including in a video with Domino's CEO: it wasn't safe for those with celiac disease and other sensitive forms of gluten intolerance. Which, for many, then begged the question: then who is the pizza for?

Things got even more complicated when the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness got involved. They had just launched their revised and expanded GREAT Kitchens program, with more extensive training and education modules for restaurant staff and which now included a two-tiered certification. Those restaurants that underwent training, had their ingredients verified as gluten-free, and had their cross-contamination controls approved could earn a green rating. If a restaurant did the training and ingredient verification, but couldn't (or didn't) address cross-contamination, they'd earn an amber rating. Domino's earned the amber rating.

The gluten-free community, by and large, was up in arms. The NFCA had meant for the amber rating to help consumers by drawing distinctions between restaurants that did gluten-free the "right" way and those that perhaps fell short, where more caution was required if opting to dine there. Instead, it seemed to create confusion, frustration, and downright anger. Some effectively accused the NFCA of selling out, or overreaching its capacity, or otherwise failing to advocate on behalf of its core constituency: those with celiac disease.

While many were quick to note that this misstep did not diminish the previous excellent work of the NFCA, nor the excellent work it continues to do in other areas, the gluten-free community mobilized quickly and ferociously to voice their disapproval and call for change. "Ditch Amber" became their battle cry. Cynthia Kupper, executive director of the Gluten Intolerance Group, wrote a pointed open letter to NFCA executive director Alice Bast calling for the abandonment of the amber designation. The folks at 1 in 133 organized a petition that quickly amassed more than 3,000 signatures. For one week, social media and the blogging world were ablaze with commentary and the #DitchAmber hashtag.

Meanwhile, the controversy bubbled up enough that the mainstream media began covering it in stories. The major celiac research centers (Chicago, Maryland, Beth Israel, and eventually, Columbia) weighed in, as did other national and regional celiac and gluten-free organizations. (Click here for a great summary over at Gluten-Free Fun.)

And then, at the end of the last week, NFCA announced that it was suspending the amber GREAT Kitchens certification while it re-evaluated the designation. There was much rejoicing, cries of victory, and at least one instance where a blogger friend of mine was moved to write a song about the whole thing. NFCA had listened to a chorus of voices and made the only move realistically left on the chess board.

For my own part, I've been sitting on the sidelines ... until now. Others have done a great job covering the events. I didn't want to add a redundant voice to an already saturated landscape of blogging. I wanted to wait to see how NFCA would respond, and how things would shake out, before I weighed in. I only wanted to enter the fray if I felt I had something new, meaningful, and constructive to offer, and I hope (and believe) that I do, which is why I'm writing today.

First, a disclaimer: As many of your know, I'm one of the NFCA's Athletes for Awareness. It's a volunteer position, but it's an affiliation none the less. I'm also in the midst of my 3rd Annual Gluten-Free Ultramarathon Challenge, which raises money for the NFCA, because I believe in the good work they do on behalf of the entire gluten-free community. However, I do not write this blog post on behalf of the NFCA. I write this blog post independently, without their consultation, and it expresses my personal opinions. Enough said about that.

What I do want to say more about are several points that I feel either a) haven't been addressed thus far in the dialogue, or b) have been said too quietly or by too few people. Here we go...


I want to believe that GIG, NFCA, and the other major advocacy groups cooperate and play nice together for the greater good of the gluten-free community. And for the most part, they do. But it's also undeniable that to a certain extent they are also direct competitors. They compete for your donations. They compete for sponsors. And when it comes to GIG and NFCA, they also compete directly with their programs.

Both groups offer gluten-free product certifications and gluten-free restaurant certifications. For products, GIG has its highly-respected Gluten-Free Certification Organization, while NFCA has its gluten-free certification in partnership with Quality Assurance International. For restaurants, NFCA has the GREAT Kitchens program (the subject of so much scrutiny recently), while GIG has the Gluten-Free Restaurant Awareness Program. (Notably, GIG's GFRAP also is a tiered certification program with multiple levels, and all approved restaurants get to use the same logo, regardless of level of certification.)

It's unlikely that a product or restaurant would pursue certifications from both organizations. They're going to choose one. And so while GIG executive director Cynthia Kupper's open letter to the NFCA included some important and cogent points, it's also important to keep in mind that her letter also serves as a de facto "defense" of GIG's GFRAP.

Transparency and Disclosure

One thing we, the gluten-free community, have been asking for—especially in the context of the FDA's forthcoming gluten-free labeling standard—is transparency and disclosure. We want companies to tell us what's in our food, and we want them to be open and honest about their manufacturing processes, especially when a product isn't made in a dedicated gluten-free or allergen-free facility and there's a chance for cross-contamination. We expect the same of restaurants.

Domino's has given us just that—it's the openness we've been asking for—and now we're taking them over the coals for it. It pains me to say it, but we should perhaps be giving Domino's a pat on the back. Do I think they should have (and could have) done more to address cross-contamination issues and offer a pizza that more of us in the gluten-free community could enjoy? Absolutely. Do I think Domino's offers its disclaimer partly at the counsel of its lawyers to address issues of liability? Sure.

But let's also give a little credit where a little credit is due.

By the way, if you're looking for some stellar of examples of pizzerias that really seem to get how to do gluten-free well, check out Naked Pizza, Pizza Bistro in NY, and Garlic Jim's in CA, for just three examples. (But don't get me started on Chuck E. Cheese's frozen gluten-free pizza in a bag. There are pros and cons to that one. I'll save that for another blog post...)

Amber Alert

Based on the loud reaction in the gluten-free blogging and social media world, it seems people were pretty united in denouncing NFCA's amber designation. I think I'm one of the only people who didn't consider it a total bust. In my opinion, the amber designation has the potential for real value to the gluten-free community, but it needs to be re-oriented and re-branded ... not as a certification or endorsement, but as an advisory or warning.

As many of us have seen, restaurants are increasingly offering gluten-free menus. Some do so with a genuine interest in serving the needs of the gluten intolerant community, and are diligent in addressing kitchen practices and minimizing the potential for cross-contamination. But others are looking to capitalize on the fad/trend component of the gluten-free diet these days, and may be offering up a superficial gluten-free menu that lacks the kitchen controls to make ordering such food safe for celiacs and others with sensitivities to gluten.

The amber designation could be re-aligned to serve as an Amber Alert, a warning to take caution. This re-positioning achieves a double victory: 1) it educates consumers about potentially unsafe restaurants, and 2) it encourages restaurants to step up their game and earn the NFCA's green certification, because nobody wants to be branded with an amber alert.

There are, of course, challenges to implementation such an approach, but it's one worth considering. There's value in telling diners where they can eat (via the green certification). There's also potential value in warning them where they shouldn't eat (via an amber alert designation).

Sympathy for the NFCA's Circumstance

I must say that I feel for the NFCA and the tough situation the organization has found itself in. I was in a similar situation myself a while back.

In what feels like another life, I once upon a time worked as an ecologist—and later, as a program manager—for an environmental non-profit. We managed a number of tiered environmental certification programs (you could join the program, complete an environmental plan, or get fully certified). Certified properties could use a logo and designation in their marketing. One property type that we worked with—often surprising people—was golf courses, traditionally considered bad actors when it comes to the environment. Some joined the program and earned certification for altruistic reasons; they genuinely wanted to improve their environmental management and they did. But others merely joined the program and did a minimum of effort, arguably to benefit from the PR value. Our idea was to help improve their management practices (a noble cause for which we achieved great results). But some of our peer organizations in the environmental community cried foul, accusing us of working with the enemy. It strikes me that NFCA's recent time in the hot seat is quite similar.

Here's the real challenge: it was true of the work I did with the environmental group, and it's true of the NFCA's re-vamped GREAT Kitchens program. The certification is really addressing two different audiences ... the company and the consumer. On the one hand, you want to educate the company and help to improve their practices, and you want to reward progress made. On the other hand, you want to clearly communicate with the consumer via certification logos, designations, and what it all means. It can be difficult to do both simultaneously. There's a fine line to walk, and sometimes you have to pick an allegiance to the greater good. But is that greater good to educate the companies, or advocate on behalf of the consumer?

Moving Forward

As some astute bloggers have pointed out, somewhere in the foreseeable future, much of this discussion will become a moot point. Voluntary programs such as NFCA's and GIG's exist to fill a vacuum. In the absence of a gluten-free standard in the U.S., someone has to step up and help to define it, so that consumers know what they're getting. This applies to restaurants as much as to products you buy in the supermarket.

And once the FDA's gluten-free standard becomes official, it will apply to restaurants as well. When a restaurant makes a health claim about its food—and "gluten-free" qualifies as such a claim—that restaurant becomes beholden to the FDA standards for the claim.

This begs an obvious question: if this whole discussion will eventually become a moot point, what will happen to voluntary certification programs such as NFCA's and GIG's? From where I sit, one of three things will likely happen:

1. The NFCA, GIG, and others will phase out or abandon their programs, since the FDA's gluten-free standard will cover things. I don't believe this will happen.
2. The NFCA, GIG, and others will align their restaurant programs to match the forthcoming FDA standards, and will in essence become third-party verifiers to confirm restaurants' compliance with the regulations. This is a possibility. (And the FDA could certainly use the assistance, since they lack the capacity to routinely monitor compliance at all restaurants offering gluten-free items on the menu.)
3. The NFCA, GIG, and others will bolster their restaurant programs to exceed basic FDA gluten-free regulations, to help restaurants go above and beyond and distinguish themselves as superior actors. I think this is the most likely scenario.

I don't have a crystal ball to foresee what the future actually holds, but I can say this: Remember that, while our tactics and approaches may differ, at the end of the day we're all on the same team, motivated largely by altruism and shared circumstances, values, and needs. We all live under the very big tent that is the gluten-free community. For a brief period, we were a house divided. But we've reunited. Let's try to keep it that way.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Recipe: Kriek Beer

Last week was American Craft Beer Week. This week, meanwhile, kicks off a number of regional beer weeks in cities around the country. In honor of the events, we're sharing the recipe for our latest homebrew, which I'm calling Up a Kriek Without a Plan.

Kriek (pronounced "creek") is a style of beer near and dear to my heart. It's a Belgian style (my maternal grandmother's side of the family is Belgian), and was perhaps my most favorite beer prior to going gluten-free.

Kriek is a lambic beer. Unlike "regular" beers brewed with the Saccharomyces genus of yeasts, lambics are brewed with S. plus the Brettanomyces genus of yeast. Brett—as brewers often refer to it—imparts a very distinctive flavor profile to lambic beers, including a subtle sourness. To counter-balance that sourness, lambics are often made with fruit puree, such as cherries (kriek) to add a subtle sweetness.

As you might guess, kriek is something of a specialty beer. I've known since going gluten-free in early 2007 more than five years ago that if I was ever going to drink a kriek again, I would have to brew it myself. This batch happened quite by accident (hence, Up a Kriek Without a Plan...). I had intended to brew a saison, but then decided to add Brett and make it a lambic. And if I was going to go through the trouble of making a lambic, I may as well go "all in" and make it a kriek. Right?

This was a first attempt. The beer is still quite young. Lambics can age in the bottle for 6 months or more before the flavors fully mature. But I can tell that this one missed the mark. It tastes just fine as a gluten-free beer, but does it have the classic flavor profile of a kriek that I was going for? No.

The alcohol content is way too high (in the ballpark of 9.5%), the Brett flavors are underdeveloped, the cherries are too weak, and the beer has approximately zero head retention. But it was an invaluable learning experience. As we've been enjoying the first bottles of Up a Kriek Without a Plan, I've been formulating just that ... a plan for round number two. Stay tuned.

Up a Kriek Without a Plan
Makes 2 cases (48 bottles)

5 1/2 gallons distilled water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp gypsum
12 lbs gluten-free brewer's sorghum syrup
2 oz US Goldings hops
1/2 oz crushed coriander seeds
Saccharomyces Belgian Saison gluten-free yeast blend
Brettanomyces Belgian Lambic gluten-free yeast blend
3 lbs sterile cherry puree
Dextrose (for carbonation priming during bottling)

1. Pour 2 gallons of water into a 6-gallon carboy.
2. Add 2 1/2 gallons water, plus the salt and gypsum, to your brew pot. Bring to a boil.
3. Add the sorghum syrup to your brew pot. Hold at a boil until well dissolved.
4. Add 1 oz hops and the coriander and boil for 20 minutes. (A fine-mesh hop bag is useful for this.)
5. Add 1/2 oz hops and boil for 5 more minutes.
6. Add the remaining 1/2 oz hops and turn off the flame.
7. Siphon the wort into your carboy.
8. When the wort has cooled to fermentation temperature (~70 deg F), pitch the Saccharomyces yeast. (Prepare a starter culture ahead of time, if necessary, depending on your strain.)
9. Add the remaining 1 gallon of distilled water, using it to wash any yeast and wort remnants from your funnel into the carboy.
10. Add an airlock and let ferment in a quiet location with stable temps away from direct light.
11. After one month and/or when you get stable gravity readings: Add the cherry puree to a second carboy, siphon the beer from primary to secondary, and pitch the Brett yeast.
12. Again add an airlock and let ferment in a quiet location with stable temps away from direct light.
13. After 1 additional month and/or when you get stable gravity readings: siphon the beer into your bottling bucket. Add an appropriate amount of dextrose dissolved in hot water for carbonation priming. (Homebrew books have plenty of info on calculating how much dextrose to use depending on how much wort you have...)
14. Bottle the beer and let bottle-condition for at least 2 weeks before sampling the first bottle. The longer you can wait the better!

This recipe assumes you take all the appropriate homebrewing steps to sanitize your equipment at various stages of the brewing process.

Degrees of Free-dom
This recipe is: gluten-free, dairy/lactose/casein-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, soy-free, vegetarian/vegan.

Nutrition Info
Per bottle: I have no idea. It's beer. Drink it. Or don't... 



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Product Review: Mom's Spaghetti Sauce

It's an exciting time of year for us. We've prepared our community garden plot, and our tomato plants—which have already been transferred once from seed starter trays into larger containers—are ready to go out into the field. Sadly, though, we've already exhausted the final tomatoes from last year's harvest. So what do you do when you're craving a marinara sauce to toss with your favorite gluten-free pasta?

Answer: go with a quality sauce you can get in a jar, the kind with ingredients you'd use to make the sauce yourself (if you hadn't already run out of your own garden-fresh pasta sauce, as we did...).

Back in September, we blogged about how we'd found just such a sauce in La Famiglia Del Grosso. Today, we're happy to report that we've found another: Mom's Spaghetti Sauce.

Mom's is made by parent company Fischer & Wieser, which offers an extensive line of gluten-free sauces. The company sent us a complimentary jar of the Garlic & Basil Pasta Sauce to try. This is our assessment.

The sauce is made with ingredients we like: tomatoes, fresh garlic, extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, sea salt, lemon juice, black pepper, citric acid, and vitamin E. That's it. They're simple, fresh ingredients, with no added sugar like you find in many tomato/marinara sauces. Our jar contained whole basil leaves and whole garlic cloves. No mistaking the authentic ingredients there.

One observation—and this is neither a positive nor a negative—is that the sauce is chunky. Really chunky. In fact, if it were any chunkier, you might be better off buying the whole vegetables in the produce section at your local supermarket. We took an immersion blender to our jar of sauce to make it into a smooth marinara. Easy enough.

The label includes advisory information noting that the sauce is made in a facility that also handles multiple allergens: wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, milk, fish, soy, and eggs. However, to the company's credit, they sent—in response to my inquiry—a detailed breakdown of their allergen handling procedures to minimize the potential for cross-contamination.

One curiosity: the label also included a declaration that the sauce contains soy. Nothing obvious jumped out at me from reading the ingredients. Follow up with the company revealed that the vitamin E, the final ingredient in the sauce, is derived from soy. If you're gluten-free and soy-free, take note.

As for the flavor, it was excellent. The garlic & basil pasta sauce makes for a great plain marinara on its own, with bright, fresh flavors and bold tomato. We also noted that it would work very well as a base. Add a splash of red wine, a dash of balsamic vinegar, a pinch of red pepper flakes, whatever you like to jazz it up.

At around $8 for a 24-ounce jar, it's toward the pricier end, comparable to Famiglia Del Grosso. But arguably, it's worth it. Wait for Mom's to go on sale, then stock up.


Image courtesy Christie Communications

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Korma v2.0

Today is a big day in the life of the No Gluten, No Problem blog. It's our 500th blog post! We're also two scant months away from our four-year anniversary as gluten-free bloggers.

We're celebrating the best way we know how ... with food. Today we're revisiting our recipe for chicken korma with a new and improved version 2.0. (We posted the original version back on Leap Day on February 29...)

This version is what we were aiming for originally—a smoother texture to the sauce, with a better and more complex depth of flavor. We've made it several times recently, both with chicken breast meat and chicken thighs, and it's always a hit. It's restaurant-quality Indian cuisine. But to quote LeVar Burton in Reading Rainbow, "you don't have to take my word for it."

Chicken Korma v2.0
Makes 4-6 servings 

1 1/2 lbs diced chicken, boneless, skinless (breast or thigh meat)
Olive oil
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 tbsp blanched almonds
1/2 cup hot water
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cayenne (optional)
3/4 cup diced tomato (or one 14.5-oz can no-salt-added tomatoes with juice)
1 head cauliflower, cut into small pieces (about 3 cups)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup GF chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream

1. Lightly season the chicken with salt. Saute the chicken in a tbsp or so of olive oil until cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the size of your cubes. Remove from the pan.
2. In a small bowl, soak the cashews and almonds in the 1/2 cup of hot water for at least 15 minutes and up to 1 hour.
3. Melt the 1 tbsp each butter and olive oil in a pan over medium to medium-high heat. Saute the sliced onions, about 10 minutes, until very soft.
4. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for one minute.
5. Add the spices, and cook for an additional minute.
6. In a blender, add the nuts, water, and diced tomatoes, and puree until smooth.
7. Add the onion-spice mix to the blender and puree again, until very smooth.
8. Meanwhile, in your pan add the last 1 tbsp olive oil and saute the cauliflower, about 4 minutes.
9. Pour the blender contents into the pan with the cauliflower. Add the chicken broth and heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes.
10. Add the cooked chicken back in, simmering for 10 to 15 minutes more, until the cauliflower is tender.
11. Serve with Basmati rice.

Degrees of Free-dom
This recipe is: gluten-free, peanut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, refined-sugar-free, corn-free, soy-free.

To make the recipe dairy/lactose/casein-free: 1) omit the butter and saute in an additional tbsp of olive oil, and 2) substitute coconut for the heavy cream.



Friday, May 11, 2012

A Pale Ale Perspective

Look who's hiding now!
Back in April we posted the results of a blind beer tasting that featured Bard's gluten-free beer "hidden" among a flight of six lagers, the balance of which were all barley-based beers. The results were quite interesting.

Today we're at it again, and this time we're focusing on pale ales. When Kelli and I hosted something of a mini-college reunion with our housemates (and their families) from college recently I saw a golden opportunity ... they were basically a pre-assembled (and willing) panel of beer tasters.

As with the previous lager tasting, I was curious how a quality gluten-free beer would stack up against barley-based beers brewed in a similar style when the tasting was blind and participants had no knowledge of which beer was gluten-free and what beers they were tasting.

The "rules" were identical to last time, with one important exception—this time I told them that 1 of the 5 beers in the tasting was gluten-free, and I asked them to pick which one they thought it was. Then, as usual, I asked them to rate the beers from most to least favorite (on a scale of 1, most favorite, to 5, least favorite).

The beers were:

  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA
  • Ithaca Flower Power IPA
  • New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale (the gluten-free beer in the bunch)
  • Full Sail IPA
  • Dogfish Continuously Hopped IPA
Pick the Gluten-Free Beer

So were people able to tell which of the 5 beers was gluten-free? In a word, yes. 5 out of 6 tasters correctly identified New Planet's Off Grid Pale Ale as the gluten-free brew.

I couldn't taste the other beers, of course, to compare for myself, but I'll admit that this result surprised me. Going in to the tasting, I expected New Planet to blend in more than it did. Given that the pale ales and IPAs are all pretty hoppy, I thought that the hoppiness of the beers would have been a common denominator, one that masked the underlying flavors of the grains with which they were brewed. It seems I was wrong about that one.

Rate the Beers

But how did New Planet rate? Well, despite correctly noting its gluten-free status, conventional beer drinkers still ranked it quite well against the barley-based competition. 2 out of 6 tasters in fact rated it their 2nd most favorite of the bunch.

All of the beers had a wide distribution of rankings. For example, 3 out of the 5 beers received votes for being both the most favorite beer and the least favorite beer. No clear "winner" emerged from the group. (I'm starting to think that beer drinking is so individualized as to make the value of these tastings questionable ... except that it's fun to bring a group of people together for official business that involves drinking beer.)

If you look at the number of votes each beer received for a Top Two ranking (being someone's 1st or 2nd favorite), New Planet was in a four-way tie with three barley beers. Similarly, if you took the average score for each beer, the results were surprisingly tight. All five beers scored within a 1 point range centered squarely on the median (2.5 to 3.5 average ranking), with New Planet "placing" ahead of Ithaca and just behind Dogfish.


Although this time around tasters were able to pick the gluten-free beer out of a blind tasting lineup, once again on the matter of taste a gluten-free brew held its own against a panel of barley beers, traditionally stereotyped as tasting "superior" to GF beers. Perhaps we can put such stereotypes to rest once and for all.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Race Report: The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain, 2012 Edition

4:00am, ready to take the shuttle to the race start.
My second ultramarathon of the 2012 season is complete, and it was one for the (personal) record books. More on that in a bit. First, for those of you not inclined to read the full race report, scroll to the bottom of this post for a) results and b) giveaway winners. But on with the recap:

The race was The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain, a grueling 50-mile trail run with 7,000 vertical feet of ascent. In a way, the race started the day before ... we drove to NYC to pick up my race bib, timing chip, etc. so I wouldn't have to worry about that the morning of the event. Back at our home in the Hudson Valley, we baked fresh gluten-free banana muffins, peeled oranges, and sliced apples. I lined up all my nutrition on the dining room table, laid out changes of clothes on the bed, got several pairs of spare socks, and printed out driving directions to each aid station (for Kelli) and descriptions of each leg of the race (for me).

Then it was time to turn in for bed. My head hit the pillow by 9:30pm, and I couldn't fall asleep soon enough, since the alarm was scheduled to go off at 2:30am. The plan was to be in the car and on the road by 3:00am, so we'd arrive at the race site by 4:00am in preparation for the race start at 5:00am. Such early starts are a hallmark of ultra running. Some sports kick off their events by day, or under the bright lights of a stadium packed full of people. Ultra races start quietly, in the wee, dark, quiet hours of the very early morning, with runners milling about, fiddling with headlamps, and some loyal, dedicated family members ready to cheer you off into the night.

The weather was a little less than ideal. It had rained in the several days leading up to the race, leaving the course pretty muddy, with standing water in some places and treacherous wet rocks in other places. Fog and mist shrouded the mountains and valleys. Plus, the overnight low temp never dipped below the low 60s. For me, that was a touch on the warm side. I'd prefer the high temp to be in the 60s for a race.

Looking around, there were a lot of very fit people. A 50-mile ultra tends to go that way. The distance is such that people self-select for the event. You don't find novices; couch-to-5k participants are in short supply. These are people who've either done this before and are experienced, or they've put in the training to get ready for it. When I used to race Xterra off-road triathlons I would find the same thing. I also found that racers tended to fall into one of three groups: people who looked the part, people who played the part, and people who did both. You don't really know who's who until the chips are down and the results are in. You just have to focus on yourself, run your own race, and have confidence that the training and other prepartion you've done will be enough.
5:00am, with 230+ runners ready to head off into the darkness.
As the 5:00am race start loomed, 230-plus runners migrated to the start line and the giant North Face red arch that would welcome us back many hours later. With a few words from the race director, we were off!

25 yards out, I saw Kelli standing with the girls along the side of the start/finish chute. I veered over to them, kissed each of the girls on the head, and then it was time to focus. The first leg of the race was short—just 3.9 miles—but it was an important one. I needed to focus on settling in to the right pace. For me, the target pace was 12 minute miles, which would have me finish the race in 10 hours.

When your adrenaline is going at the start of a race, and you're surrounded by other runners who are also amped up, it's hard to find your rhythm. It's all too easy to go out too hard. In a 50-mile ultramarathon, that can be a recipe for disaster later in the race; it catches up with you.

There's a fine line in ultra racing between staying conservative, so you race "within yourself" and don't blow up later, and pushing yourself to your limit, so you don't cross the finish line with too much left in the tank. That fine line can be a moving target: it's different from race to race, and it can vary even within the same race. I've gone out too hard in races before, and I was really focused on staying conservative in the first 20 miles or so of this race.

At the same time, I had another thing on my mind: position. Not in terms of being 1st or 3rd or 10th, but in terms of where I was in the grand scheme when we hit the trails. You see, the first 2.7 miles of the race were a double-wide gravel road. It was a chance for the racers to sort themselves out before hitting singletrack trail. Although I wanted to start the race conservatively, I also didn't want to hold back so much that I'd get "stuck" behind slower racers once we hit the tight trails. So I pushed the pace just a little bit. And I could tell that my body was feeling good.

In those first miles, several small packs of runners behind me chatted incessantly. They'd either started the race together, or bumped into someone they knew, and conversations ensued ... until we hit the singletrack, and all of the conversations abruptly stopped. It's as if everyone realized the race just got serious.
And they're off! I'm the white shirt in the foreground.
I arrived at Anthony Wayne—which served as the aid station at mile 3.9 and again at mile 40.3—in good time. Kelli was there waiting. I switched out my hydration bottle, grabbed some nutrition, and then it was back onto the trails.

The second leg of the race featured the first major climb, up onto a ridgeline, where the route followed the Appalachian Trail, and then a steep, semi-technical descent to the Silvermine aid station at mile 8.6.

Like the first leg of the race, I ran this one just a little fast. My body was feeling really good. I knew from having pre-run the next sections of the course weeks earlier that I'd dial back the pace through an upcoming section with several major climbs, so it was good to put a few fast miles in the bank.

Although I was still near many other runners, slowly but surely, the field was starting to spread out.

I stocked up extra on hydration and nutrition at the Silvermine aid station. I wouldn't see Kelli next until mile 20.7 (the next aid station at Arden Valley was for race staff only), and I had two hard legs of the race immediately ahead of me. Plus, as a gluten-free athlete, I don't like relying on aid station nutrition ... I like to be self-reliant. No need to worry about the GF status of the foods they offer.

Staying hydrated and keeping the nutrition going in was quickly becoming a focus of my race. With the warm temps I sweat plenty, and with the near-100% humidity I felt like I was a competitor in a wet T-shirt contest. I was drinking about 20 fluid ounces of First Endurance Electrolyte Fuel System every 6 miles. (By the end of the race, I'd be drinking 20 fl oz every 3 miles, and I'd consume a total of some 200 fluid ounces of liquids!)

The third leg of the race included a major climb up onto another ridge line, where the route then followed the Long Path. This was one of the best-marked courses I've ever run, but an experience on my way up to the Long Path was a good reminder of how challenging the race was and how much focus it demanded of racers.

At one point, I was running a few paces behind another guy. We were coming up on a hard turn, where the race course made a left off one trail and onto another at a more-than-90-degree angle. Three bright orange pieces of flagging hung from tree branches leading up to the turn, and then a large white sign with big black arrow indicated the turn. Yet, the guy ahead of me somehow missed it all and kept on running past the turn. I hollered to him, and he turned and fell in behind me.
Coming into the Silvermine aid station shortly after first light, mile 8.6.
Up on the ridge tops following the Long Path, it should have been one of the more scenic sections of the course, with beautiful views of the mountains around us from bald, rocky summits. As it were, everything was hidden in gray clouds. That was just as well, since with the wet rocks I needed to focus more than usual on my footing.

A few short sections of this leg of the race were steep enough and rocky enough that I had to use my hands to scramble up them.

Beyond the Arden Valley aid station, the course entered the Bald Rocks section of the Hudson Highlands. Here the route wound its way up and over and around a series of bald rocky dome summits. I want to say it was granite, though I wasn't paying close enough attention.

By now the runners had spread out enough that I was able to run stretches all by myself. This was a nice change from the previous leg, when I almost always saw someone in front of or behind me. With the frequent ascents and descents along the ridgelines and summits, we tended to compress and decompress like an accordion. On uphills, everyone's pace slowed and we'd come together. Then, on the downhills, each runner successfully took off while others behind were still finishing an ascent, and we'd all spread out. Now I could just enjoy the forest and the rocks and the streams.

And the mud and water. There was plenty of it. My feet were soaked, straight through to the bone. Eventually you stop trying to avoid it. Whereas earlier in the race you might rock-hop to avoid a puddle or a patch of deep mud, at some point you just run straight through it ... a) you stop caring, b) it's easier than trying to avoid it, which takes too much extra energy and thought, and c) the cold flush of water into your trail running sneakers actually feels pretty good on your feet.

Exiting the Bald Rocks section of the course, there was a steep descent down to the next aid station in the trailhead parking lot at Lake Skannatati. The girls—who'd been asleep in the car back at Silvermine—were wide awake and cheering me on with big smiles as I came into view. They greeted me with big hugs, which was a great boost to the morale. Again I swapped out my empty bottle for a fresh full one, and picked up more nutrition. I'd been eating about every 30 minutes on the trail, as well as coming through aid stations, and so far, that diligence was paying off. My energy levels were staying pretty high.
Arriving at the Camp Lanowa aid station, mile 27.7.
The next leg of the race—to Camp Lanowa—was one of only two legs I didn't have a chance to preview during my training in the month leading up to the race. It turned out to be a reprieve, surprisingly mellow, especially in contrast to the last two difficult legs. The respite was very much welcome. The more mellow terrain offered a chance to pick up the pace and make some decent time.

At the Lanowa aid station at mile 27.7, I took a longer break than usual. All of my aid station transitions had been under 1 minute 30 seconds. This one lasted three times as long, because I took the time to tape both of my pinky toes—which uncharacteristically had developed hot spots and were threatening to blister—and switch into a dry pair of socks.

Then it was on to the trails again. The next miles—up to the Tiorati aid station at mile 34.2—were the toughest mentally for me in the race. With the exception of a climb over Irish Mountain, it wasn't an especially difficult leg. But my body and mind were starting to feel tired. I hadn't yet crossed over to my second wind that always buoys me into the latter miles of an ultra of this distance.

But I kept to one of my mantras—relentless forward progress—borrowed from the title of an ultrarunning book by Bryon Powell, and kept on movin' on. By the time I arrived at Tiorati at mile 34.2, I was already starting to feel better. Plus, I was back to familiar territory. I knew what was coming next, and I knew that it wasn't too difficult: 6.1 miles with just a few mellow climbs.

Also along this next leg of the race, two other races converged with our route. 50K and marathon-distance trail races had started later in the morning, and for the first time I started seeing some of the 50k runners on the trail. Seeing my orange bib—which indicated that I was a 50-miler—they offered some welcome words of encouragement.

And then I was once again at Anthony Wayne, at mile 40.3. With just under 10 miles to go, I could start to taste the finish line approaching. Much to my delight, my body was starting to feel better and better, too. My second wind was in full effect.
Anthony Wayne aid station, mile 40.3.
Leaving Anthony Wayne, the race headed south, following a route originally taken by the British Army during the American Revolution. I made good time through this section, leap-frogging a number of times with several other 50-mile runners I'd been seeing off and on for the last 10 miles.

The crux of this leg was a surprisingly steep climb over The Pines Mountain. What surprised me even more was that the descent off the backside seemed even steeper. It was slow going. There was no moving fast on that descent. Mud, wet down-sloping rocks, leaves. It was no place to take a bad fall. As I made my way down, you could see the smooth, wet, polished trunks of trees—all at about shoulder height—where other runners had braced their sweaty hand against the tree to steady their descent. I did the same.

From the Queensboro aid station at mile 44.7, it was time to tackle the Big Daddy—the very steep, very sustained climb up and over Timp Pass. To have one of the race's toughest climbs come so close to the finish was a cruel twist. On the way up to Timp Pass, I first passed through an area that had burned in a 600-acre wildfire less than a month before. The mature trees and canopy were spared, but the understory, brush, and dead leaves on the ground were all turned into an expanse of black, charred earth. It smelled distinctly of ash in places.

Once at the height of Timp Pass, all the major climbs were behind me, but one last major difficulty remained: the descent of the Timp Pass Road. To call it a road is a bit of a misnomer, and a big one. Though at one point in the distant pass it may have provided passage for early pioneers or miners or whomever, today it provided some of the most miserable footing of the day for trail runners. Imagine baseball- to watermelon-size rocks. Make them irregularly shaped with sharp edges. Then douse them in water. There you have it. I passed a number of runners during this descent, and more than a few of them were spewing profanities at the rocks. I couldn't blame them.

No sooner had I reached the bottom of the Timp Pass Road that I reached the last aid station, 1777, at mile 47.2. Just 2.8 easier miles to the finish.
Team Bronski at the finish, mile 50!
With all the difficulties behind me, and with my body feeling surprisingly good, I pushed the pace in these last miles. Earlier in the day, I had felt myself slipping off my target pace of 12 minute miles. My hopes of running a sub-10-hour mountain 50-miler had turned into the more realistic likelihood of running a sub-11-hour 50-miler. Amazingly, though, I slowly clawed my way back, and though finishing inside of 10 hours still seemed hopelessly unrealistic, things were shaping up for me to have a pretty good race.

Inside the last mile, I found myself running hard in a pack of four 50-milers cruising down a mellow descent. I could tell the other three guys were laboring a bit. I knew there was a short but rocky uphill coming up, and that they'd most likely slow down to power-hike it. I decided to kick things into another gear (don't ask me where that gear came from). I sped up, left them behind, ran the uphill, and broke onto the grassy field of the finish line all by myself. I was running hard—probably my fastest pace of the day; fast enough that Kelli didn't think it was me coming in initially, because I was running so much faster than she expected.

As I neared the finish chute, I glanced over my shoulder to confirm that I was alone. Then I motioned to Marin and Charlotte to come join me. We'd cross the finish line together. I scooped up Charlotte, but Marin didn't immediately understand what was going on, so Kelli scooped her up and the whole Team Bronski crossed the finish line together. Then someone placed a finisher's medal around my neck.


My time was 10 hours 17 minutes 23 seconds, with a 12:21 per mile pace. I came mighty close to my 10-hour time and 12-min-per-mile goals. Plus, I set a new 50-mile mountain PR (personal record) by a whopping 1 hour 26 minutes! The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain was a resounding success.

My experience with ultra-distance trail running races is that they've gotten more competitive every year, and this North Face race was no different. In 2011, to finish in the Top 20 you had to run sub-10 hours. To finish in the Top 20 in 2012, you had to run sub-9:20. Talk about some competition!

In the final analysis, I finished 41st out of 232 starters (top 18%), and 38th out of 157 men. I'm very pleased with my performance.


And finally, let's announce the winners of the April giveaway for the 3rd Annual Gluten-Free Ultramarathon Challenge! For April we're giving away 2 books ... one for the monthly giveaway leading up to the race at the end of September, and another in honor of the North Face race.

Without further ado, those winners are:
  • Laura B. Russell
  • Leta Hall
Please email me and let me know your choice of book: Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking (1st or 2nd edition), Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes, or The Gluten-Free Edge.

I'm delighted to report that we're at 35% of my goal of raising $5,000 for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. Please consider making a donation today! For the month of May, we'll do a double giveaway again - one as usual for the GF Ultramarathon Challenge, and another in honor of May as Celiac Disease Awareness Month.

Thank you everyone for your support! My next ultra is a 50K on June 30 in Finger Lakes National Forest. I'm resting my body for another week or two, then it's back to training to prep for that race!


Friday, May 4, 2012

Race Preview: The North Face Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain, 2012 Edition

It's Friday, May 4. National Celiac Disease Awareness Month has been in full swing for four days, and tomorrow—Saturday—is Cinco de Mayo. The number 5 is significant tomorrow for another reason: I'm racing in my second major ultramarathon of the season, and the distance happens to be a multiple of 5 ... it's a 50-mile trail running race.

The race is the Bear Mountain edition of The North Face Endurance Challenge Series. Bear Mountain is the first of six major races taking place across the country this season, and it's known as the most challenging of the group. In the course of the last month, I've had occasion to pre-run about 2/3 of the route during training sessions. It covers some beautiful country in Bear Mountain and Harriman State Parks in the Hudson Highlands, a surprisingly rugged mountain range halfway between New York City and where we live in the Hudson Valley.

The 50-mile race is the marquee distance of a weekend that also includes 50k, marathon, half marathon, 10k, and 5k races. The route ascends a burly 7,000 vertical feet of elevation gain over the course of the 50-mile length, including at least one brief stretch so steep and rocky that I had to use my hands to scramble up it a few short weeks ago.

The race starts at 5:00am, which means we'll wake at 2:30am and be in the car and on the road at 3:00am. My goal is to finish in under 10 hours. Based on last year's race—for which I was registered but spent hooked up to an IV in the hospital with tick-borne ehrlichiosis—my target of a sub-10-hour time would be good for a top 20 finish out of 200+ racers.

If you want to follow my progress in the race, there are several options:

1. If you're personal friends with me on Facebook, my status will update in real time as I pass through race checkpoints.

2. If not (and this will be most of you, I suspect), follow me on Twitter. Kelli will tweet race status updates throughout the day as I pass through each support-crew-accessible aid station. (A handful of aid stations are for race staff only...)

3. Otherwise, check back here on No Gluten, No Problem next week, when I'll post a full race report!

This race is also part of the 2012 prelude to the 3rd Annual Gluten-Free Ultramarathon Challenge, which raises money for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness. The main event is the Virgil Crest Ultramarathon at the end of September—it covers 50 trail miles with 10,000 vertical feet of elevation gain.

I'm proud to report that we're already 35% of the way toward my goal of raising $5,000. Thank you to everyone who has donated and shown your support! On behalf of the NFCA, I sincerely appreciate it!

I'll announce the winners of the April book giveaway on Monday. Remember: each month I'm giving away one signed copy of one of my books (your choice!) to a donor to the GF Ultra Challenge. This time around, I'm giving away a second book in honor of the Bear Mountain race. And if I succeed in cracking the top 10% in the race results, I'll give away a third book!

Finally, I thought I'd share my gluten-free race nutrition plan for tomorrow's event. Here's how my food and hydration will break down:

Dinner Tonight
Whole grain brown rice pasta, with turkey bolgnese, and lots of water to drink

Breakfast Tomorrow Morning
A banana, blueberry, chia smoothie, plus a bowl of Crunchy Vanilla Sunrise gluten-free cereal with homemade almond milk

During the Race
First Endurance Electrolyte Fuel System for hydration (and some nutrition)
GU energy gels
Homemade GF banana muffins
GF chocolate chip cookies
Fresh oranges
Apple slices with peanut butter
Bacon (yes, bacon ... for salt and fat ... seriously)

For Recovery Immediately Following the Race
First Endurance Ultragen
Fanta soda (one of the only times you'll see me with a drink like this...)
Gluten-free beer!!!

See you on the flip side of the race. Wish me luck!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gluten-Free Ratio Rally: Bagels

Yesterday may have been May Day, but today is Gluten-Free Ratio Rally Day! It's that time of the month when we join with other bloggers to share the results of a themed challenge we've been tackling for the last month. As you can see, this month's theme was bagels, a subject near and dear to yours truly.

Creating an authentic boiled-then-baked Long Island bagel was something of a personal mission. It was one year ago—almost to the day—that we first posted our recipe here on the blog. Since then, we've taught how to make those bagels at the Gluten- and Allergen-Free Expo in Dallas and Chicago. And a similar recipe for Long Island bagels is included in the forthcoming second edition of our first cookbook, Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking.

When it came to this month's ratio rally, we once again—as we've done before—used the opportunity to challenge ourselves and push the recipe into new territory (at least for us). What does that mean in practice? For bagels, it means we've come up with a delectable faux pumpernickel.

Pumpernickel breads are often dark, and true pumpernickel is made using rye flour (one of the forbidden flours if you're gluten-free). North American-style pumpernickel breads often use a combination of wheat flour and rye flour, and also frequently incorporate cocoa powder, coffee, molasses, and/or caraway seeds.

For our version, we bet the farm and used cocoa powder, coffee, molasses, dark brown sugar, and caraway seeds. And the result? A moist, soft, chewy, tender bagel with a rich, balanced flavor that closely mirrors the pumpernickel of our memory. But you can decide for yourself.

And if you're looking for some extra bagel love this month, be sure to head over and visit Meals with Morri, this month's Ratio Rally host. There you'll find links to recipes for blueberry oat, sundried tomato parmesan, cinnamon raisin, and other delightful bagel recipes.

Pumpernickel Bagels
Makes 4 bagels

3/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast
2 large egg whites (~60g)
2 tbsp molasses
4g instant coffee (~1 heaping tbsp)
350g Artisan Gluten-Free Flour Blend (~2 3/4 cups plus a touch extra)
7g salt
1g xanthan gum (~1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp)
2 tbsp cocoa powder (~10g)
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tsp caraway seeds
Olive oil

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the sugar in the warm water, then add the yeast and let sit at least 5 minutes, until the yeast is well active.
2. Meanwhile, place a 9x9 baking pan (or similar) on the bottom rack of your oven, and bring a teakettle of water to a boil, then turn off the heat.
3. Add the egg whites, molasses, and instant coffee to the stand mixer, and using the paddle attachment, mix at medium-high speed until the coffee crystals are dissolved.
4. In a separate bowl, combine 125g (1 cup) flour, salt, xanthan gum, cocoa powder, and dark brown sugar, and whisk to mix well.
5. Add to the stand mixer and mix at medium speed until well-incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula if needed.
6. Add another 125g (1 cup) flour to the stand mixer, and again mix until well-incorporated.
7. Switch to the dough hook for your stand mixer. Add the caraway seeds, plus the remaining 100g (3/4 cup plus) flour, and mix until well-incorporated.
8. Drizzle the dough liberally with olive oil, toss to coat fully, and turn the dough out onto a smooth work surface. The dough will be very wet, on the verge of sticky.
9. Cut the dough into quarters. Coat your hands with a bit of olive oil, then roll each dough quarter into a smooth ball, like you're making a meatball.
10. Place the dough balls on a greased baking sheet, and pat them down to make thick hockey pucks.
11. Dip your index finger in olive oil, then punch down through the center of each hockey puck. Keeping your finger in contact with the baking sheet beneath, swirl it in a circular motion to enlarge the hole in the center of each bagel.
12. Place the bagels on the center rack of your oven, pour the teakettle of hot water into the baking pan, and shut the oven door. Let rise (no peeking!) for 45 minutes.
13. Remove the bagels from the oven, preheat the oven to 400 deg F, and bring a deep skillet of water to a boil on your stovetop. Season the water with 4 to 6 tbsp of sugar.
14. When your oven is to temperature, flash bake the bagels for 5 minutes. Then boil them for 2 minutes per side.
15. Return the bagels to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

If you find the dough too difficult to work with, add additional flour 1 tbsp at a time, until you're comfortable. As written in this recipe, the dough is on the verge of too wet to hold the rise—our bagels spread a bit, in addition to puffing up, during the rise. To combat this, we may add a smidgen more flour next time, though we were very happy with the final texture on this version.

Degrees of Free-dom
This recipe is: gluten-free, dairy/lactose/casein-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, soy-free, vegetarian.

Nutrition Info
Per bagel: 375 calories, 2g fat, 80g carbs, 15g protein, 12g dietary fiber, 8g sugars.



Recipe nutrition info approximate, calculated using SparkRecipes.