Sunday, November 17, 2013

Flaky Gluten-free Salvation

Sweet potato and kimchee vegan empandas in a gluten-free crust are a big hit! These are signature snacks I’m creating for Deb Goldstein of Levine’s General Store, a Brooklyn-based GF food purveyor. The filling is made with sweet potatoes, roasted corn and my Hanguk Saffron (dried kimchee seasoning). WOW! The kimchee flavor and aroma bloom with heat with notes of ginger, garlic and Korean chili.

Initially I didn’t give gluten-free recipes much space in my Kimcheelicious cookbook, it will now have a good share. Just last night my friend, Sarah Kelly, told me she was recently diagnosed with celiac disease—an autoimmune reaction to eating gluten, which is found in wheat, barley and rye. The immune system attacks and damages the villi which lines the small intestine, preventing the absorption of nutrition. The result is malnutrition. Currently wisdom dictates to exclude gluten-based foods, which can prove to be difficult. But Sarah has changed her diet and the way she eats... and carries an EpiPen.

According to Austin-based nutritionist, Holly L’Italien (Merritt Wellness Center), epigenetics (external environment influencing our DNA) is a strong possibility for this growing problem. Ms. L'Italien has helped me greatly advising me on nutritious recipes. In 2010 Mayo Clinic research reported that one in a hundred Americans were diagnosed with celiac disease, but many more go undiagnosed. We are what we eat, and the food on our tables has changed so much—over processed, chemically treated to prolong storage. Over the coarse of 50 years our modern wheat has been genetically modified to yield more sugar than nutrition—speculation is that this may be a cause for gluten intolerance and celiac disease in North America.

I am not gluten-intolerant, but I find it disturbing how many people I’ve met are, especially children. These GF vegan hand-pies may not necessarily be the end-all answer, but boy-oh-boy are they good hot or cold!

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