random act of kindness

If you live in Toronto and you don’t know about Pimlico Gallery, you’ll be thanking me for the introduction! This colourful little haven on Dupont at Christie was named after famed London design district Pimlico Road. You may be asking: What does a boutique that sells home design accessories have to do with living la vida GF? The answer is serendipity.

Last week I stopped in to buy a birthday gift for a good friend who loves to cook. Pimlico has some really unique pieces for the kitchen, objets that are both beautiful and functional. It’s a fantastic place to buy a special something for a special someone. Like these blown-glass tumblers by Finnish glass artist Mervi Haapakoski that we bought as a wedding gift for our friends last summer.

Add wine or juice and sip pretty out of these rippled hand-blown glasses that come in a rainbow hue of popsicle shades.

 

Or any of the handmade treasures by Tahir Mahmood, below.

Crush your herbs with Mahmood’s colourful mortar and pestles made from hand-turned Indian rosewood and organic resin. Or just admire these sculptural pieces on your shelf.

 

Roll out the gluten-free dough with Mahmood’s rolling pins made from Indian rosewood with hand-painted tips. Or take a spin with Mahmood’s playful tops.

 

The gallery-like space itself is so welcoming: vibrant, colourful and filled with light. And then there’s owner/curator Tanya Velasevic, an interior designer by trade who is incredibly passionate about what she does. She’s also incredibly generous.

Inside her eclectic boutique, Tanya introduces my daughters to Colette, her adorable and child-friendly Portuguese waterdog.

After Tanya helped me find the perfect present for my friend (a citrus-orange hand-blown glass salt cellar with a walnut lid by a company called a+j from Montreal), we got to talking and I told her about the Gluten Free Garage. And then she told me that her husband was recently diagnosed with celiac disease.

Well, that led into a whole discussion about – what else – food, and Tanya raved about the homemade gluten-free bread that she and her husband bake. For her husband, not enjoying fresh bread was the hardest part about being gluten free, and so he worked hard to perfect a gluten-free loaf. Tanya then kindly offered to bake some bread for us and told me to come back on
Monday to pick it up. As I have not even attempted to make my own gluten-free bread, I was not about to turn down this offer.

Fast-forward to the following week…

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it’s not called Supermarket for nothing

I’ll start by confessing right off the bat that my amazing husband, Rob, is one of the owners of Supermarket restaurant in Kensington Market. How lucky can a girl be? Not only does it boast some of the most flavourful Asian fusion food in town – including to-die-for fish tacos – it also has a gluten-free menu!

We eat there with the kids all the time. If you ask either of them what their favourite restaurant is, they’ll both say Supermarket (even when we’re not
paying them to say it). And although Supermarket is not a gluten-free restaurant, Lily has never once had any issues with cross contamination there.

Lily’s go-to appetizers:

Hold the Japanese chili spice if you’re ordering for little ones!

 

Warning: These sweet potato chips are highly addictive!

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dessert got its Groove back!

We thought we scored when we tasted LPK’s Culinary Groove‘s warm and fluffy gluten-free sweet potato donuts tossed in maple sugar at the Evergreen Brick Works a couple of weeks ago. Mmmm…

They were so freaking good that we had to pay a visit to LPK’s storefront
bakery on Queen East. As of July, this organic bakery’s kitchen is 100% gluten free! (In case you’re wondering, as I was, LPK stands for “little punk kid,” owner Lesia Kohut’s university nickname.)
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first came the crust

 

This is the story of how I learned to make gluten-free pizza crust.

Last fall I had the good fortune to meet gluten-free consultant JoAnne Bennett Mirsky and culinary nutritionist Marni Wasserman at a gluten-free cooking class that they taught together. I diced, I sliced and then I ate like a queen.
Every bite I took was healthy, nutritious and absolutely delicious. It was so good that a couple of months later I brought Rob to Marni’s Amazing Asian cooking class. It lived up to its name.

If you haven’t taken one of Marni’s Fully Nourished cooking classes, I highly recommend it. All of her classes are vegetarian and wheat free, and most are gluten and dairy free. Marni is a wealth of knowledge and clearly loves what she does. Right off the top, she makes her students feel like guests. Some of the recipes I keep coming back to are from her classes and website. I hope to share one of them with you soon!

Marni collaborated with JoAnne Bennett Mirsky on the Gourmet and Gluten Free class. JoAnne and I hit it off right away. She didn’t mind answering my host of gluten-related questions and she had a lot of great tips up her sleeve that she was excited to share. I decided then and there that I wanted to spend more time cooking with her and picking her brain about all things GF.

After we figured out the menu for our afternoon in the kitchen, JoAnne sent me a grocery list and offered to pick up any gluten-free products I couldn’t find. And then we got cooking. From pizza crust and lasagna to fried rice and maple-glazed salmon to chocolate pudding…we made it all happen in my tiny kitchen. My family was well fed for the entire week! And I learned so much from JoAnne—about how to better organize my kitchen, where to find certain products, and why making my own gluten-free pizza crust is worth the time and effort.

Taste for yourself…

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