Monthly Archives: April 2014

Gluten Free on Chicago Tonight

Monday, April 21, “Chicago Tonight” had a guest appearance by Jack Bishop from “America’s Test Kitchen” (ATK).  In the interview with Phil Ponce, he talked about the months that ATK had spent developing recipes for their book, “The How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook”.  Bishop did a great job of explaining the problems of cooking with gluten free flour – it doesn’t hold together well – and went on to share the recipe for ATK’s all purpose gluten free flour.

Bishop also talked about the size of sandwich bread loaves, and why they are so small. (They rise above the top of the bread pan, and then they spill over the sides.  ATK was able to make bigger loaves by putting a collar around the top of the bread pan to contain the dough as it rises.)  One would hope that some manufacturers will come out with deeper bread pans to accommodate the baking of GF breads.

In testing the recipes for the book, he explained that they would prepare food the conventional way and the gluten-free way, and then do a blind taste test, with the objective of achieving at least a 50% favorable response for the gluten free item.  The whole segment lasted 9:16 minutes, and you can watch it at

Bishop also talked about a few of the recipes that have still stumped the ATK staff, and that they anticipate publishing another cookbook at some point in the future.

For those not familiar with America’s Test Kitchen – either the television cooking show or their books – their recipes explain the way various ingredients work in the recipe.  Their show also evaluates kitchen utensils and packaged foods by comparing them against similar items.


Family Get-together

It’s often difficult to find a time when my husband and I can get together with our daughters.  They both have very busy lives, so when there was an opportunity to have breakfast with them at the local Walker Bros., we jumped at the chance without even checking to see what gluten free options they offered.  Happy surprise!  There is a good GF menu at the restaurant.  Besides the egg dishes, they offer a number of GF pancakes and waffle delights.

Walker Bros has several locations in the greater Chicago area.   I had long been familiar with their original restaurant in Wilmette.  Besides their fine reputation for pancakes and similar food, the restaurants are well-known for their incredibleWalker Bros window stained glass windows and lighting fixtures.
There is always something wonderful to look at while you are at Walker Bros.  You could say it is a feast for the eyes, as well as the stomach.  We ate at the Lake Zurich location.

Most of the GF pancake and waffle items included fruit – blueberry, strawberry, etc.  It had been a long time since I’d had a pecan waffle, photo 1so that was my choice, with a side of turkey sausage.





A whipped butter is provided, along with little jugs of syrup.  The table for our party of six (daughters, granddaughters, husband and I) had a number of these little pitchers, along with cream jugs.  It’s such a nice touch to be served fresh cream in a jug, rather than in a packaged plastic container!

My pecan waffles were wonderful.  They didn’t lose anything in the translation to gluten free.  Texture and taste were excellent.   My husband had French toast on challah, and he said it was also excellent.  For  your dining companions who are not gluten free, Walker Bros menu has many very tempting dishes.

Now that I’ve become aware of the great GF choices offered at Walker Bros, I’ll definitely be making a point of going there more often.

Walker Bros.
767 Rand Road
Lake Zurich, IL
Daily hours are 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Fridge on the Fritz

Our refrigerator went on the fritz last Thursday.  We couldn’t get the repairman to come until Monday.  It’s amazing how much this impacted us for those few days and how we take the convenience of the refrigerator for granted.  Some of the food in the freezer had to be discarded.  Ice cream had melted, for instance, and some of the frozen meals were beyond saving.  We took advantage of the situation to clear our freezer of some of the older items.  Fortunately, my stock of gluten free bread and pita was salvaged, and put in the spare refrigerator/freezer we keep in the garage.

The major inconvenience was just in the day-to-day access to refrigerated food.  Our garage is not attached to the house.  The weather had changed over the week-end and became cold, windy and rainy, so the trips to get food out of the refrigerator were somewhat unpleasant.   The weather insult came on Monday, when we got a fresh layer of snow.

The pita bread mentioned above is a very versatile product, and my favorite item from Rose’s Cafe & Bakery in Evanston.  You can use it instead of bread for a sandwich or wrap, tear it to use with dips (hummus, etc.) or warm it and spread it with butter and jam.  Rose’s has many baked items and prepared foods that you can eat in their cafe or take home.  They have recently opened another location in Highland Park.

Rose’s Cafe & Bakery
2901 Central Avenue
Evanston, IL 60201