My husband Ryan is doing a guest post today! He made an awesome brunch a couple weeks ago and wanted to tell y’all about it, along with share a bit of his perspective as the member of this household who actually has to be gluten free.
Hi again! Since I became gluten free, my restaurant experiences have been rather hit or miss. Sometimes, I find myself in a conversation for 15 minutes with the waitress explaining that no, croutons are not OK because they are bread and bread is not ok. In more than one instance, I’ve gotten rolled eyes from wait staff at various restaurants who are “inconvenienced” by my limitations, or they have thought I’m just making it up because I don’t like something and then don’t take it seriously. I find myself weighing if it’s worth being “glutened” because I am the hassle for wanting to eat out, or if I should just go hungry watching my friends around me eat, or stick up for myself to try to be accommodated. And I only have one food issue. So many have multiple dietary restrictions.
Sometimes, following a gluten free diet can feel a little claustrophobic. You feel like you are stuck in a cage and unable to break out and try new foods/places to eat. A constant omnipresent fear is always in your head stopping you from trying that new restaurant or making your own bread or eating anything not made from scratch. I had this fear for a long time (before I met Jenn, of course). Rice, meat and potatoes were the staples in my diet and I dared not stray from this regime or I would react and feel awful for the next week or so (at least this is what I thought in my head). This constant fear plagued me for a very long time, and as a result most of the time when I went out to eat with friends and family, I would only get a grilled steak with a plain baked potato.
Now I love a good steak, don’t get me wrong. But sometimes, it would be nice to feel comfortable eating something else. And that is why I get so excited about enterprises that DO accommodate the gluten free crowd, and have options that are exciting. Not just serving a hamburger without a bun, but a real entrée that I can enjoy to its full capacity. Such places with their dedication to understanding what it is like with dietary restrictions have really helped change my perspective on eating gluten free, and have let me feel like a newly released convict from my food prison.
I had one such great dining experience when we spent Christmas in Venice this year. Maybe it was the €100 bottle of wine we drank (!), or the spectacular service and charismatic friendly staff, or maybe it was just an all around great risotto and rack of lamb (with a sauce!) that I feasted on, but I walked away from that meal very full and satisfied, and I felt as if I wasn’t ever missing out on taste because I was gluten free. I wish everyone who is gluten free can find places to eat where they can dine with such freedom.
Luckily, I know one place where I never have to worry about being accommodated for being gluten free. Home. We both have developed tools to cook over the past few years (just look at all the great recipes Jenn has shared here!), and so when we can’t go to our favorite places to eat (our favorite restaurant in Venice is a bit far away after all, and we aren’t exactly made of money) and don’t feel like being ambitious to try a new restaurant, I know that we are completely capable of making a great tasting dish on our own.
As I mentioned before, I love steak. Beef steak. A few Sundays ago, I treated myself to my ultimate Sunday brunch, my own spin on steak & eggs. The steak was rather simply cooked, just pan-roasted. Jenn poached some quail eggs, and together we made a dressing of sorts of puréed chives, basil, garlic and olive oil. The dish is simpler than it looks, but it was tasty and satisfying, I would dare say healthy even with the green food in there (see the lettuce and avocado, Mom?). And the scotch in the background? That was my Christmas present to myself after we got back from our trip
I know restaurant experiences aren’t always great when you’re gluten free. But pay attention to the places that are. Give them your business, and let them know how much you appreciate the efforts they make to accommodate you.
Prep Time: 10 minutes to slice things
Total Time: 45 minutes to cook everything
250g (1/2 lb.) your favorite cut of beef
For the “dressing”:
1 bunch chives
1 bunch basil
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
For the salad:
1 avocado, sliced
4 quail eggs, poached
1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Heat an oven-safe pan on high heat on the stove and sear the sides of your steak, a few seconds on each side to lock the juices in.
2. Move the pan into the oven and let finish cooking until desired doneness, which will depend on your taste and the thickness of your cut. (During this time Jenn poached the eggs)
3. When done to your satisfaction, take out of the oven and let rest about 15 minutes. While the meat is resting, you can add the “dressing” ingredients to a food processor to mince the garlic and herbs, and then add in the olive oil and salt & pepper to taste. You may want more or less olive oil than I listed, I didn’t really measure it.
4. Assemble your salad – arrange the steak, eggs, lettuce, avocado, and sprouts any way you like. Dip the steak in the “dressing” or mix it all together.