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Wheat-Free Holiday Treats


Homemade bread, pasta, gnocchi, shortbread cookies tied up
in strings—these are a few of my favorite things. Unfortunately these are the
very things that trigger my sinus infections and arthritis-like aches and
pains, and cause my husband digestive unrest and malnutrition. Like about three
million Americans with celiac disease, our bodies don’t digest wheat and its
protein gluten. Instead, the body reacts to gluten as a toxin, resulting in the
body’s inability to absorb nutrients and digestive symptoms including gas,
bloating, constipation or diarrhea, heartburn, acid reflux and nausea. The holidays, with wheat temptations everywhere, are
especially challenging for me. Or were, until a friend clued me into
gluten-free chef Mary Capone’s just-released
The Gluten-Free Italian
Cookbook, Classic Cuisine from the Italian Countryside
(available online at wheatfreegourmet.com, amazon.com and glutenfreemall.com).  

More than 140 wheat-free recipes, most with dairy-free
modifications, offer indulgences for dozens of homemade breads, mushroom,
seafood, even deep-dish pizzas, and, blessedly, pasta! Giant mushroom ravioli,
pumpkin tortellini with butter sage sauce, potato gnocchi, lobster marinara
over linguini, and—lace up your sneakers now— fettuccine alfredo. Lap an extra
few miles and enjoy almond cookies and chocolate hazelnut biscotti. In addition to the easy-to-follow recipes, Capone offers basic
flour substitutions for bread, baked goods, and pasta, so you can easily
transform your kitchen into a gluten-free zone. She also answers the tough
and confusing questions about gluten-free baking, like how to deal with the
sticky dough, a primer on stocking a gluten-free pantry and where to find the
ingredients, and useful substitutions for when you can’t. My
husband, raised on impeccable ethnic food in New York City, said the biscotti I
made with her gluten-free recipe was as good as any he’s had.

For more information on gluten or wheat intolerance
and celiac disease, visit
celiac.com, csaceliacs.org,harvard.edu,
celiaccentral.org, or celiac.nih.gov.