A Gluten Free French Omelette

by Jenn on March 12, 2012

in Breakfast,Budget,Diabetic Friendly,Featured Posts,Gluten Free

French Omelette

Ha, I know what you’re thinking – duh, of course an omelette is gluten free! Why are you calling something that never had gluten to begin with a gluten free recipe?  Well, there’s a reason and a story to go with this one, I promise.

It all started with a discussion on the merit of naturally gluten free recipes – by naturally gluten free, I mean recipes that never required any alterations in the first place for a GF person to be able to enjoy them.  Take, for an example, the recipes I link to in my naturally gluten free roundup posts.  But do GF people actually find such recipes valuable? Do you really want someone giving you “yet another freaking salad” recipe (as my husband so lovingly refers to green salads with little else in them….)? What about other dishes that are naturally gluten free?

It may seem like a simple question but it is not – after a bit of a side tangent discussion on Dianne Jacob’s recent post about recipe adaptions, I decided that this topic needed a bit more attention.  Flo made a comment about recipe originality in respect to gluten free recipe development – how she has seen people take something that never had gluten in it to begin with, such as an omelette, and claim it as a grand new GF invention.  And from there people got talking about what exactly is the place of naturally gluten free recipes? Do they belong on blogs? What about in cookbooks? If you are GF do you actually want to see and read such recipes to be shown easy and practical ways to live a GF lifestyle, or do you consider them trivial and a waste of space?

First of all, I am quickly learning to never assume anything is always gluten free.  As it turns out, I was talking about making omelettes with some coworkers, and at a table of four of us, two people said they made theirs with flour.  FLOUR!   They said it wasn’t a proper omelette without flour, and that flour is what made it light and fluffy.  Well, I beg to differ.  Eggs make things light and fluffy all on their own, and omelettes should be made naturally gluten free.  When I got home I consulted (with a skype session with my mother so she could look in some of her books) Julia Child, Gourmet, Joy of Cooking, Better Homes and Gardens, Gordon Ramsay, and Jacques Pépin either in books or online.  Not one, not a single one of those resources included flour in their omelettes.  But the fact that some people do choose to use flour, however untraditional, goes to show that you cannot just assume because you make something a certain way that everyone else does too.  So if you are eating someone else’s food, you always always always need to ask, cause you never know who might just add flour into some dish that normally doesn’t use flour.

As you know, this is a gluten free blog.  My husband is gluten free and generally I am in charge of the cooking between the two of us – though he does make a great sous chef and his cooking skills have improved immensely over the past few years, and it turns out he has an excellent palate as well.  For us, cooking naturally gluten free dishes is usually easier and cheaper.  Flours are expensive even if they are not in a mix, and I’d rather not be baking all the time anyways; despite being a scientist with lots of training for being analytical/precise in the lab, I really enjoy just being able to “throw things together” when it comes to cooking – which is why more often than not, I cook rather than bake.

I know that when I first started out trying to cook to accommodate my husband’s gluten issues, knowing a dish was naturally gluten free was extremely helpful when meal planning.  It meant I could look up recipes and create my own version like I usually did with everything I cooked, rather than having to say a prayer to the gluten free gods that my baked good would work out, let alone trying to figure out the cost of all the GF flours on our then grad student budgets.  And even to this day I find a lot of value in learning new naturally gluten free recipes – I love cookbooks that include them simply because I am not much of a baker – I am always looking for day to day recipes as well as special occasion recipes, and I am still discovering new-to-me dishes that never required gluten in the first place.

Maybe some don’t view naturally GF recipes as enough of a recipe development accomplishment, or maybe it’s simply that others don’t need to learn about naturally GF foods and are only interested in the baking component (especially those who are more experienced).  And I can definitely understand those  perspectives.  And I also understand the frustration of seeing those who are not well versed in gluten free sticking a GF tag on a recipe to capitalize on what they see as a growing fad (note – GF is not a fad for the many like my husband who must be GF the rest of their lives, but I’m not going to get into that today).  But I don’t think it’s fair to write off all naturally GF recipes in gluten free cookbooks as entirely useless.  I do not think they are useless for everyone, and in many cases may be quite helpful and liberating, especially if one is feeling overwhelmed about how to manage a GF lifestyle .

It stunned me a bit that Dianne even stated herself, an editor, that she wouldn’t mind seeing naturally GF serving suggestions in headnotes, but not the actual recipes in a GF book.  Is there really no market for naturally GF recipes within GF cookbooks? Am I seriously the only one in this world who would buy a cookbook for naturally GF dishes, and in fact looks for books that include such (as they end up being the books I turn to most often)?  I hope I am not alone.  Because if someone makes a GF book filled with great tasting food, I don’t really care if it all is a substitute for a conventional dish or if it is the author’s interpretation of an old classic that was always GF, or if it is a new dish altogether made out of naturally GF ingredients.  What I care about in a gluten free cookbook are accessible great tasting meals that fit within the GF lifestyle, and to me that would of course mean the inclusion of naturally GF recipes.   Simple as that.

To me, the way to succeed at the GF lifestyle is not by continually replacing foods that one can no longer have.  That keeps the focus on what can’t be enjoyed in my mind, and constantly comparing a dish to what it “could’ve been” with gluten.  No, to me, the way to succeed at the GF lifestyle and what has worked best for my husband, is to instead find the things that can be enjoyed, whether this means learning new techniques, exploring cuisines from other cultures, or simply experimenting with new flavors.

And that’s why I posted this omelette.  It’s a classic.  It is naturally gluten free.  In all my years of omelette making, I’d never made a traditional French omelette before. My omelettes had always been a bit of a slow cooked egg folded over stuff like a sandwich in a pan.  Now that I know how to do a traditional omelette, I have to say I enjoy this much better.  It’s lighter and fluffier than the way my mother taught me, it still allows for incorporation of any fixings you want for flavor, and I got to learn something new in the kitchen.

So here you go, a naturally gluten free omelette, a French classic. Enjoy :)

Also, thanks very much to Flo of Makanai Bio and Shirley of Gluten Free Easily for some insightful discussion on this topic.

And I’m very interested to hear your thoughts on the subject below!

Resources:
Jacques Pépin on NYTimes
Mastering the Art of French Cooking – Julia Child 
Gordon Ramsay on The F Word

A Gluten Free French Omelette

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 omelette

A Gluten Free French Omelette

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • garnishes - herbs, garlic, sauteed onions or mushrooms, a little cheese, whatever you want
  • olive oil or butter for cooking
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Crack the eggs into a bowl and beat them up a bit with a fork and stir in the garnishes (except for cheese).
  2. Heat a pan on med-high to high heat, and add in a little olive oil or butter (if butter, let it melt) and spread it around to coat the pan.
  3. Add the eggs, whisking them (or stirring vigorously with a heat-proof spatula if using a non-stick) for a few seconds, so that as the "curd" forms the liquid on top will move to the bottom to cook. Add salt/pepper now (Ramsay says in the video above adding salt too early causes the eggs to gray, so I add the salt now) and grated cheese if desired.
  4. Let it set for a bit, and then loosen it from the pan and start to fold it over, and roll it from the pan onto your plate. All in all it probably takes more time to heat up the pan that it does to actually cook the omelette. Watch the videos above, they are quite helpful.
http://jenncuisine.com/2012/03/a-gluten-free-french-omelette/

Also submitted to – Slightly Indulgent Tuesday and Gluten Free Wednesdays

{ 72 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue March 12, 2012 at 12:52 am

Jenn,

I have been thinking of asking Food Network to show someone cooking, without sugar and cream. I think your idea of a naturally gluten free cookbook would be an amazing book. I don’t cook with half the ingredients I could, and I am just starting to incorporate more.

So proud of me, sauteed kale and tomatoes over quinoa for dinner tonight, naturally gluten free.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Oooh great ideas! And your dinner sounds wonderful :)

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Barbara W. March 12, 2012 at 2:21 am

I think it’s a very good idea to have naturally GF recipes included in the cookbooks. I have been cooking since I was about 12 years old (single parent household – I was the oldest), but many single people don’t bother to cook for themselves anymore. If diagnosed with Celiac Disease or something else that requires changing to a GF diet, they would have to almost start from scratch in regards to cooking, and would, out of necessity, have to cook for themselves. By excluding the basics, I think it makes newbies to the GF cooking world feel even more overwhelmed. I didn’t have a problem adjusting to cooking most things. What I generally look for are baking recipes. Since others have already done the trial and error, having those recipes makes it easier for me to even attempt baking certain things (especially considering I also cannot have dairy or eggs), but in honesty, those things are treats, not necessities.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:13 pm

I owe the majority of my cooking skills to figuring out how to cook for my husband. Despite the fact that my family cooked a lot while growing up, it wasn’t until I was older and trying to make food my husband could eat that I really took the time to learn how to cook. And it was definitely naturally GF foods that helped the most.

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Debi March 12, 2012 at 2:28 am

I had to come over and read this post after Shirley shared it along with how the post came about. I would DEFINITELY buy a cookbook of naturally GF recipes. I think people forget the place of naturally GF foods because they simply replace processed GF foods for processed gluten foods. There is no health trade off there. For those who relied on processed foods before going GF, naturally GF recipes opens up the world, if they let it. I started my GF diet as being mostly naturally GF since I had greatly reduced the amount of processed foods and eliminated refined flours and sugars. While I do bake and test recipes for other bloggers, as well as try out things I see come onto the market, processed GF foods are not the center of my meals. While I have adapted some favorites, like meatloaf or kal-bi, they are not something I make weekly or even monthly. Recipes that focus on naturally GF foods not only helps us stay healthier, for those with little knowledge about real foods, it educates them on flavor profiles, what herbs and spices go well with what fruits and vegetables. If someone is inclined to serious experimentation, it will help them push those boundaries to look for different flavor combinations that work.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Thanks for your input! We also cook from scratch a lot, and it’s been fun experimenting with what flavors go together – it’s made cooking not a chore but an adventure to look forward to :)

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Adina | Gluten Free Travelette March 12, 2012 at 2:54 am

I loved this post and I would love to see a cookbook full of naturally gluten free recipes – actually two by Terry Walters come to mind (Clean & Clean Living). I very much like the idea of focusing on what you can eat, rather that what you can’t.

Now I’m a couple of years into being gluten free and I’ve found that I tend to avoid most “gluten free” cookbooks and gravitate towards those that introduce me to new foods that tend to be naturally gluten free. I’ve actually begun to consider being intolerant to a number of foods as a blessing in disguise because it’s made me branch out to enjoy so many new types foods.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I did not realize clean eating was gluten free – will have to check out some new recipes I think, thanks for letting me know!

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Adina | Gluten Free Travelette March 13, 2012 at 7:42 pm

I’m not sure it’s entirely gluten free, but it seems that the majority of the recipes are.

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Linny March 12, 2012 at 3:32 am

My husband and 14 year-old were diagnosed in Dec. with Celiac’s Disease. We were three good cooks in the regular, Gluten-filled world. We made the 180 degree turn overnight, and we were overwhelmed, eliminating most of our pantry, and learning to cook, anew. Its ironic … when vegetarian friends used to come to dinner, my brain blocked out the obvious… pizza, stuffed potatoes, mac n’ cheese. Same thing happened when we went GF….I couldn’t remember simple things like walnuts, apples and chicken as a Waldorf Salad, Stuffed artichokes, poached pears, peanut butter on apple slices. I TOTALLY embrace the naturally GF recipes in cookbooks as well as the more technically advanced recipes. Just as I did in pre-GF life.
We say grace at dinner every night. And now we add, “Thank you, Lord, for the abundance of food that is healthy for us.” It changes the view of the cup from half-empty to half full!

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm

I love your perspective! I agree, a lot of it is all about attitude :)

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Jonathan March 12, 2012 at 6:56 am

You are definitely not alone, Jenn. I remember when I first learned that gluten-free was not a choice for me. The change was daunting at first, making over my diet and approaching food in a different way. But when I realized that so much of what I already ate was naturally gluten-free, and that there really wasn’t a need to replace anything, it was a huge turning point, not only for my diet, but for my piece of mind and optimism regarding finding the food that loves me back. Thank you so much for sharing this. :)

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm

Thanks Jonathan – I think our situation is similar to yours – understanding what we could have that was naturally gluten free just made the entire lifestyle so much easier to handle in the beginning, on an emotional level as well as a practical one.

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Jennifer (Delicieux) March 12, 2012 at 7:08 am

I think a naturally gluten free cookbook is a great idea Jenn. As a vegetarian, I don’t deliberately seek out substitutes for meat, I simply enjoy the things I can have, which is plenty of vegetables, grains, legumes and pulses. I think the same idea applies to a gluten free diet. Enjoy what you can have, and when necessary, seek alternatives. Like vegetarian food, with gluten free food there is a whole world of natural foods and recipes out there that we perhaps should be highlighting that they are there as it can make the whole gluten free diet easier for people when they become gluten free.

I love the look of your omelette too. Beautiful photography and styling as always.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Thanks Jennifer! Yes I see a lot of parallels – we don’t always look for gluten substitutes either, we mainly cook what is already there, and then for special occasions or treats I venture into figuring out how to replace some comfort foods that my husband misses :)

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Foodfreak March 12, 2012 at 8:37 am

The naturally gluten-free thing is one of my pet peeves. When I look though so many GF blogs I get the feeling they focus mainly on recreating the foods they miss instead of enjoying and emphasizing the great foods they can have. (And without using tons of special items – yes, I consider guar gum, xanthan and teff / millet flour etc. special items). The idea of a natural gluten-free book sounds good to me, although I’d be opting for grain-free, and low-sugar as well, and there you go: it’s called paleo eating (and it’s what I aim for).

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

ha yes, that would be essentially the paleo diet! When I do baking projects such as for the gluten free ratio rally I do get out all those more exotic ingredients because I want to produce the right chemistry for a certain item, but that is certainly not our day to day cooking/eating habits, and it is nice once in a while to be able to recreate some things… but replacing gluten is certainly not our every day goal.

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Kulsum at JourneyKitchen March 12, 2012 at 8:54 am

I went on a month long gluten free phase and the only way i survived it was to make naturally gluten free recipes. Infact I am so inclined to go gluten free for a week or so because its so easy to do when you have a list of naturally GF recipes, it doesn’t even feel like an effort. I know GF free is more than just wheat flours but for me personally, I like avoiding wheat from time to time and instead of going for GF substitution, I just go back to more of a South Indian diet which is naturally GF. I would totally buy a book that has natural GF recipes (in fact over the one that is not)

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Thanks Kulsum – and yes, I definitely need to explore more South Indian cuisine for that very reason!

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Flo Makanai March 12, 2012 at 10:04 am

Well, I don’t regret having raised the subject on Dianne’s blog, because you, and Shirley, and then all those who have already commented under this post, have helped me see things differently than I did, and I like that.
My strict approach was way too subjective, personal. I’m French, brought up in France, where I live. I’ve always seen my mom, my dad, my grand-parents cook, and flour was not often, or not much, in their cooking. Basically, we ate fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, farm-raised meats, very little fish, some eggs, and dairy products. Flour was in the bread. Sometimes in pasta, or couscous, or in cakes, but not that often. My mom never bought cans, very little frozen food, absolutely no ready-made food. Everything was made from scratch. We had polenta, rice, pasta, beans, lentils, etc., a very varied diet.
I’ve continued doing so, and I’ve been cooking almost every day from scratch for my own family during the last 15 years.
It could explain that when I had to get rid of gluten in my kitchen, because one of my kids is gluten sensitive, it was easy for me to identify what contained gluten (not that much) and what did not (a lot) in what we were already used to have in our plates.
Add to that that before having to get rid of gluten in my house, I was a passionnate natural sourdough bread baker, and very very attached to that.
It was heart wrenching for me to stop feeding my sourdough starter and bake my bread every week, a real loss.
It still is.
So, what I’m looking for in recipe books that are labeled “GF” is almost only how to SUBSTITUTE a gluteny product by a GF one that would give me great taste and texture. And as I have no easy access to a good bookstore here, I generally buy my books on the internet, without being able to look into them before. And what a disappointment when I receive one that just mentions”use a GF commercial flour mix instead of regular flour in that recipe” and/or contains mostly naturally GF recipes…
Thanks for that post, Jenn, and your gorgeous omelette. Which naturally does not contain flour, you’re completely right!

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LaDora March 12, 2012 at 12:44 pm

The first part of this is for Flo’s dilemma:

1. I understand what she is up against re: the baking, as that was a nightmare for me, as well, for 2 years. Especially since she is basically dependent on ordering from the internet, I strongly recommend that Flo check out JulesGlutenFree.com and try out Jules Gluten Free Flour (as well as her bread mix)! [Jules also posts MANY wonderful GF recipes on her blog.] I call her flour “Miracle Flour.” A long-time friend (whose daughter is a big-time nutritionist at a a big hospital in Houston, and who is an expert on gluten intolerance) sent me a 5-pound bag of the flour because her daughter was so impressed with it. It is a flour mix that can be used in your regular recipes without any other adaptations (for instance, the Xanthan gum is in the mix already).

My friend included a note saying she had tried it out the night before, making a red velvet cake using her regular recipe, and there was NO DIFFERENCE in taste or texture! I just could not believe that. I decided to test it out on my mother-in-law’s wonderful cornbread recipe. It had been two years since I had eaten any proper cornbread. In fact I had just concluded that I would never eat cornbread again, for I would rather have nothing than have another bite of any of the various ones I had tried. When I took the skillet out of the oven, the cornbread looked and smelled EXACTLY as it should. I was so nervous I was trembling as I took my first bite. I almost literally cried with joy and amazement when I realized that it really did taste as good as it looked and smelled! I’m telling you, that flour is miraculous!

I gave some to a friend who has Celiac Disease. She went home that day and made fried chicken. She sent me an email that evening saying that was the best fried chicken she had made in 8-1/2 years!

I ordered Jules Bread Flour Mix, and mixed it in a bowl using a wooden spoon (it was simple and easy). It is a yeast mix that makes one loaf of white sandwich bread. When I sliced into the loaf and dipped a slice into some garlic oil, I could not believe how light and utterly delicious it was! It actually tasted like proper light bread!! I ate about half of the loaf right then and there. That was the first time in two years I had enjoyed bread (other than the cornbread)!

My sister’s berry cobbler recipe was another huge success. That was a biggie because the special texture of the crust is half of what makes the cobbler so good–and the texture was exactly right!

The downside to all of this is that that now I am having to be careful that I don’t gain back all that weight I lost! Good luck to you, Flo!

2. I, too, would LOVE a recipe book filled with nothing but naturally GF recipes. I am always thrilled when I come across a recipe and realize that I can have the “real deal” –the original taste of a tried and true recipe without the psychological downer of feeling like I’m having to “settle for less”–AND not have to pay 4 times as much for any one ingredient!

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Hi Flo – thanks so much for your reply… I think there is room for both types of cookbooks – gluten free lifestyle cookbooks and gluten free baking cookbooks, as well as maybe some all around books that include a bit of both. And I definitely understand the frustration when you order a book excited to learn something new only to find out there isn’t much to learn…I think it also depends on how experienced one is in the kitchen – I was totally inexperienced when I started cooking gluten free meals, and so knowing what options I had was super helpful. But I can definitely see the value in a detailed and well thought-out GF baking book that focuses on the right flour blends to bring about certain textures in baked goods. There is certainly room in the market for both! I just think that naturally gluten free recipes can also be very helpful to folks :)

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Foodfreak March 12, 2012 at 8:49 pm

May I add, Elena’s pantry is a great online resource for gluten-free baking, plus she has a fabulous cookbook relying on almond flour for her yummy baked treats.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Yes, her website is fabulous! And lots of naturally GF recipes :)

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Fiona March 12, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Many great gluten-free blogs (including yours) have introduced me to naturally gluten-free foods that I’d never heard of before and that are now staples in my diet (e.g. quinoa) and for that I am extremely thankful. That said, my husband and I cooked all our meals from scratch before my diagnosis and therefore identifying things that were naturally gluten-free wasn’t really a huge problem for us. I can imagine that it would have been significantly more difficult had our diet consisted mainly of convenience foods and we had no idea what went into making our food. (Omelettes with flour? Really?!!).

Gluten-free cookbooks (of which I have a slew) have generally been quite disappointing, however I do have one on my Amazon wish list right now: La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life. It’s not billed as a gluten-free cookbook, but the book is naturally gluten-free. I’m looking forward to getting it.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Thanks Fiona – I have her book on my wish list right now too… I think the whole premise of her book sounds really fantastic – would love for the chance to buy it and cook from it sometime!

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Charlie March 12, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Jenn:
I am not gluten free …. but why shouldn’t there be gluten free recipes and books?!

Heck, not everyone loves tex mex but there are a lot of those cookbooks out. There are books for diabetes.

Sometimes I wonder about peoples’ logic.

Even though I am not gluten free, I do use a lot of your recipes. … And ENJOY them.

Flour in an omelete????
I have been cooking about 45 years and have never heard of that!
Wouldn’t it make it a pancake of sorts?

Girl, you keep on with your lovely recipes!
Would love to see a book!

Don’t let anyone discourage you!

Charlie

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Hi Charlie – Thanks, I’m so glad you like the recipes too! That is part of my purpose blogging here – to not just cater to those who cannot have gluten, but to show foods that anyone can enjoy, and I’m glad you do enjoy them! As for the floured omelettes, I personally have never tried one, but I would think it would lend a bit heavier cakey texture to them…

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mary fran March 13, 2012 at 10:58 pm

IHOP (the pancake restaurant) puts pancake batter in their omelets – it was the only place I thought did that (and that sounds so gross to me!)

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Danielle March 12, 2012 at 4:10 pm

I absolutely agree that naturally GF foods are important in books and on blogs – as you said, they are often cheaper and sometimes in our zeal to convert recipes, we forget the basics. I try to base most of my recipes around cheap ingredients and naturally gf foods. Incidentally, I ALWAYS check in restaurants if their omlettes are gluten free, because IHOP actually makes theirs with pancake batter to fluff it up! Now when I ask in restaurants if they put flour in their omlettes they often look at me like I’m crazy, but better to be crazy than sick I think.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 7:58 pm

I did not know about IHOP or that restaurants actually did this! From now on we will always be double checking too!

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Theresa March 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I would have a mixed answer to this question. I wouldn’t mind buying a cookbook that was EXPLICITLY naturally gluten free. However, while I appreciate what people are saying about celebrating all we CAN eat, I have MANY cookbooks which I LOVE which I can draw on for naturally gluten free recipes. I reach for my gluten free cook books when I need a recipe I know would normally have gluten in it. I have been very disappointed and annoyed in the past when I have payed for a gluten free cook book to find half the recipes are naturally gluten free. It’s like, “thanks, I already have great quinoa recipes”!! Just my humble opinion.
Love your blog by the way.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I understand where you are coming from, and I think gluten free cookbooks can be marketed to different GF audiences – the gluten free crowd is large enough that there is room for different types of GF books, and so I see a place for both books that do include naturally GF recipes (which I might call a GF lifestyle cookbook for an all around book with a variety of types of GF foods), and books whose purpose would be to focus on the more technical recipes of replacing gluten. As home cooks who are/become more experienced in living GF want to do more than just use an all purpose mix and really wish to delve into what affects the texture and rheology of certain baked goods, I think it would be great also to have cookbooks to market to the more geeky gluten free person that do focus on those types of recipes – I just don’t think all naturally GF recipes should be written off as entirely useless to the GF community.

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Lisa @ GF Canteen March 12, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I enjoy a variety of GF recipes in a GF book whether they are naturally (or seem so) GF already. And really good point about assumptions, Jenn. For years places like I-Hop and Denny’s used pancake batter in their omelets and other eggs to make the appear fluffy. So if you went there and ordered scrambled eggs, for instance, thinking it was naturally GF, think again. I almost think it is safe to say the some ingredients are naturally GF but beyond that you just can’t be sure unless it states it is GF.

Nice omelet!

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Thanks so much Lisa! Ha yeah, you never can know how people are making something, even if it seems obviously gluten free!

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Dianne Jacob March 12, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Well, I’m getting an education here, Jenn, and it make sense to me. I too have been dismayed by all the “special ingredients” one of your commenters mentioned. It seems so overwhelming to have to buy and bake with all those obscure grains and substances. I also see the point of the commenter who said eating should be about enjoying everything you can eat with no problem, not just GF versions of foods you miss. I shall send this post around. Thanks for starting such a thoughtful conversation.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Thanks so much Dianne – amazing how a side tangent of comments can spark so much discussion! I’m glad the discussion occurred, as there has been a lot of passionate conversation about the topic.

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Barbara | Creative Culinary March 12, 2012 at 7:18 pm

I could have imagined that there would be a variety of responses to your query Jenn. Seasoned cooks with experience in both naturally gluten free and dishes requiring substitutions might find a book of that type to not be necessary but I would still imagine it as a valuable resource for both new cooks and those who have recently been diagnosed and have to change their lifestyle. We have a tendency to bring our own experience to bear when considering a question like yours but I’m thinking of those with less experience who really love and depend on recipes from others to keep their diet satisfying.

I am fortunate that I do not have to eliminate gluten from my diet but a good friend of mine had to 7 or 8 years ago. She is a great cook but even she was thrown for a loop and struggled with what she could and could not have. I believe a book written for someone like Mary would have been perfect…opening up for her a world of possibilities that she had not considered when all she could think of was removing gluten from her diet.

I can not leave without saying this. Flour? Really? For crepes maybe but I can’t imagine how that would help an omelet! Great photo too but then I’ve come to expect nothing less. :)

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Thanks Barbara – and yes, some people do really add flour to omelettes. And according to some of the comments above, so do some restaurants! Crazy.

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Juno March 12, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I would DEFINITELY be interested in naturally gluten free recipes (as well as GF recipes with no xanthan gum). I hunt for them all the time. Being GF has meant reassessing the way I cook as well as doing much more cooking AND changing the way I think about food. Sometimes all the GF sites seem to be piescakescookiessnackbars and honestly, since I stopped eating gluten my sweet tooth is so diminished that I just skip over. I like this site and a few others because they show how to live well while cooking safely.

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Jenn March 12, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Aww thanks so much! Interesting that your sweet tooth went away once you became gluten free – I can see that though if as a result one ends up eating a lot less baked sweets…

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Stephanie, The Recipe Renovator March 12, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Hi Jenn, somehow I missed this discussion on Dianne’s website but so glad you wrote a post about it. My blog is gluten-free (and has been plant-based since last year) and I do try to include a variety of foods. I’m not one to try to replicate gluten-containing foods, as I find it best to just enjoy amazing flavors and let go of things I no longer eat. I think we all know that truly great pizza is not ever going to be gluten-free.

I’ve gotten away from using the specialty ingredients as much as I can. The difficult thing are the baking recipes. Not all my readers are in the U.S., so if I use a particular baking mix, they can’t use that. Do I create my own baking mix, or break down all the specialty ingredients? Because then that is daunting to a reader. Plus, depending on which mix you use, the results can be very different. Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for the thoughtful post and I appreciate all the comments as well.

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Jenn March 13, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Thanks so much for your perspective – as for the baking recipes, I think it all depends on who your audience is – not everyone will shy away from a long list of ingredients, though some will… and yes – which flours/dry ingredients you use, depending on the recipe, can certainly make a huge difference in the result!

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Shirley @ gfe March 12, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Jenn, you did a really outstanding job on this post and I’m so glad that you took the time to address the topic so thoughtfully. Thanks, too, for the shout out! :-) Everyone here has valid perspectives and points; this is a really great discussion. I have to say that if I ever write a cookbook, it will be clear on the cover that I will be sharing mostly naturally gluten-free recipes because that’s pretty much what my approach is all about. I still like to think there might be some surprises and things for “veterans” to learn in that notional cookbook though, even if numerous special ingredients aren’t involved. Additional food for thought … some of the very best meals, including desserts, that you’ll ever get in high-end restaurants are naturally gluten-free ones. ;-)

Thanks again, Jenn! And thanks to all who have added to the discussion! :-)
Shirley

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Jenn March 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Thanks so much Shirley, for helping to spark this discussion! And I definitely think GF cookbooks need to be clear on their intended purpose and audience – if a book markets itself as a baking book unlocking the secrets to making GF versions of one’s favorite baked goods and then most of the recipes are not actually geared toward that end, then it doesn’t do the author any favors and gives the reader the impression that a book is one thing when in fact it is something else entirely. And I think that was part of Flo’s frustration too.

That said, I think a book that highlighted that it included naturally gluten free recipes for an easy manageable GF lifestyle would have the potential to do very well in today’s market. If you made a “GFE” cookbook, Shirley, I would certainly be interested in it!

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Sara {Home is Where the Cookies Are} March 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Saw your contribution re: Google+ on Eat the Love! Very nice!
I do not have to cook gluten free. Thankfully, no one in my little family has an allergy of that sort. That said – my sister DOES have a gluten allergy. She also is not a big fan of cooking in general. I think a cookbook full of naturally gluten free dishes would be extremely valuable to anyone who wants to expand their options – because there are so many. I would even buy a gluten free book for myself, just to learn more! So, no – you’re not the only one. :)
AND I don’t use flour in my omelettes – never even heard of it!

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Jenn March 13, 2012 at 7:08 pm

Thanks so much! And glad to see another person agree flour shouldn’t be in omelettes!

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Nicole Hunn March 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Hi, Jenn,

I’m glad you continued Dianne’s discussion on this topic. It’s something I thought about quite a lot when writing my first cookbook (and even more in the next one, since I know more now about the market), and there really hasn’t been much guidance on the subject.

I think there is absolutely a place for writing about naturally gluten-free foods. So many people still have misconceptions about what gluten is — and isn’t. That sort of approach can really be invaluable, especially in the early days of the gluten-free diet.

When I’m personally writing blog and cookbook recipes, I concentrate almost exclusively on recipes that are not naturally gluten-free. Because I think that is why people come to me. Those sort of challenges are what I enjoy. My GF cookbooks do have recipes that are, in fact, naturally gluten-free – in the name of creating a comprehensive resource. But I find myself moving away from that approach more and more.

I do believe that naturally gluten-free resources are absolutely necessary. I just don’t really want to be the one to provide them, to be honest, since it’s not what I enjoy doing most. And I don’t think any one resource can (or should necessarily strive to be) be everything to everyone. So I really appreciate it when others, like you and Shirley from GFE, do publish those recipes. That way, I have another resource to recommend to my readers.

I’m not a naturally gluten-free author, really. Just like I’m not a healthy-living author. So I recommend that readers visit healthy-living GF blogs for that information if that’s what they are seeking. And naturally GF blogs for that sort of info. It’s a big tent, with plenty of room for everyone.

Again, thank you for writing this post. Great, and important, discussion!

Best,
Nicole

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Nicole Hunn March 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Sorry about the crazy italics! *unintentional*

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Jenn March 13, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Thanks Nicole for sharing your thoughts – I think it’s all about knowing one’s audience – if people come to you for baking recipes that have converted conventional baked goods into GF ones, that is great! And honestly that is something that I struggle with a lot when my husband makes a request for a conventional food that is normally gluteny – I am not a baker at all, and so certainly see a need for books that show how to make those conversions. It’s a huge reason why I joined the gluten free ratio rally, to help myself better understand the types of proportions of ingredients that go into successful GF conversions.

But I definitely agree that there is room for everyone – and that means a place for naturally gluten free recipes in some cookbooks too :) I just think it’s a bit unfair when people discount naturally GF recipes entirely, because as you said, a lot of people still do not know what has gluten and what doesn’t, and it can be very overwhelming to be all of a sudden confronted with having to be GF if one doesn’t know their options.

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Sara{OneTribeGourmet} March 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

What a great recipe! Thanks for sharing! Love you blog! :)

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Jenn March 13, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Thanks so much!

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Mary Hudak-Colllins March 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

What my daughter would give to eat eggs again :) Her egg allergy turned up shortly after she was diagnosed with Celiac. In regards to omelets, it’s not necessarily the eggs that you should be concerned with, although there has been discussion regarding the gluten potential in eggs due to the grain fed to chickens and I have seen egg cartons marked ‘gluten-free’, but with what is added. Of course, vegetables are going to be gluten free if they are fresh, but what about meats? You can run into a problem there if not careful.
In regards to your question, I look for any GF recipe. It doesn’t matter to me whether it is naturally GF or not. Having naturally GF just makes it a little easier. It doesn’t matter what recipe I have, modifications still have to be done due to my daughter’s food allergies. Having cookbooks that offer any GF recipes are wonderful, I think, especially for people who are just starting out on a GF diet.

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Jenn March 14, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Interesting! Yeah I was totally shocked to hear that people added flour to omelettes…and then in the comments above that some restaurants add pancake batter also stunned me.

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Mary Hudak-Colllins March 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Jen…I really never gave much thought to ingredients until my daughter was diagnosed. Now, I look at everything and never take for granted that ‘this or that’ doesn’t have gluten in it. You just never know who is going to add what to a recipe ☺ Always be cautious when you are not eating from your own kitchen!

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Brian @ A Thought For Food March 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Bravo! You created the perfect omelette… seriously, this looks wonderful. I have some fabulous eggs and I may whip one of these up and make a salad to serve with it.

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Jenn March 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Thanks so much Brian!

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Ally March 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm

Mmmm, this looks perfectly french & perfectly delicious. The perfect start to any day!
xo

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Jenn March 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Thank you!

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Donna March 15, 2012 at 1:01 am

In France I’ve noticed these fantastic silicone whisks….I’ll bet you could use those to “whip” the eggs in non-stick pans! Also…before I always whisked the eggs in a bowl prior to pouring the mixture into the hot pan with melted butter…Are the results superior with the “whisk directly in the pan” technique…and why? I’m intrigued! Your omelette looks perfect by the way!

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Jenn March 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

I whisk the eggs prior to adding to the pan, and then also once they are in the pan – it’s important to move the eggs around in the pan so that the uncooked liquid falls to the bottom and has a chance to cook, but it’s important to whisk the eggs before they get to the pan as well to make sure that the texture is even, and you don’t have places in your omelette that are just yolk or just egg white – so in short, I do both.

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Tina March 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm

I absolutely would buy (and recommend to patients) a naturally gluten-free cookbook. As a health coach at a wellness center, I spend many hours educating patients on how to go GF, and convincing them that the healthiest and most budget-friendly way to do that is to find naturally GF foods and recipes. I’m rather tired of the powers that be swapping gluten for more sugar, dairy, meat and processed foods. We are thankful for the likes of Terry Walters and Heidi Swanson (and you!), but if there were a one-stop book for healthy and whole (naturally) GF foods I would be ecstatic.

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Jenn March 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm

oh thanks!! and yes, I also agree that simply swapping gluten for boxes of processed stuff isn’t the best idea – never mind it’s incredibly expensive…

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EA-The Spicy RD March 16, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Great post and “gluten-free food for thought” Jenn! I, for one, love seeing naturally gluten-free dishes in cookbooks and on blogs. Many of the recipes on my blog are “naturally gluten-free”, I just don’t label them as such. As a dietitian counseling patients on gluten-free diets, one of the first things I tell my patients is that there are SO many healthy and delicious foods they can still eat that are naturally gluten-free. BTW-We love omelettes at our house so much, that my kids have even taught their friends how to make them :-)

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Jenn March 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Thanks so much EA!

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Morri March 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I am always tickled pink with cookbooks (gf or not) that have naturally gf recipes. Maybe they’re using an ingredient in a way I’d never thought of before, or a combination of flavors that inspire me to make it into something else. I think various food lifestyles (GF, paleo, keto, scd, etc) require creativity, and it’s possible that some may consider it less than amazing if it isn’t mind blowing or eccentric.

I think the things that are naturally gf should be in gf cookbooks, especially for those whose budget may not have gluten free flours as an option (unless they grind it themselves). Also, they tend to be less difficult and simpler way to enjoy the gf diet.

Sure, there are plenty of amazing gf blogs out there, and I think their recipes for baked goods are just as amazing as their smoothie or salad recipes. In fact, there SHOULD be a cookbook out there for naturally gf foods. It would be a great gf 101 guide to getting started, and encouraging people to try new things. Plus, I learned from this post what it takes to make a classic French omelet successfully, and I am grateful.

Do you think there will ever be a post on naturally GF Swiss cuisine in the near future? I’d find it a terrific read.

Very best,
Morri

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Jenn March 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Thanks Morri! Glad you enjoyed learning the French omelette! and yes, I can do a post on naturally GF Swiss cuisine, great idea! :)

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Morri March 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm

On another note, having a naturally gf cookbook would help non-gf people make food for their gf loved ones.

Hey! Here’s an idea. We could have something similar to the GFRR, and once a month there is an ingredient (gf of course) that each person makes a recipe out of.

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Jenn March 21, 2012 at 7:29 pm

not a bad idea! could be fun!

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Chloe Boggs March 26, 2012 at 9:40 am

What a lovely presentation with the dish. Very mouthwatering! Thank you for sharing your natural gluten free round ups! Thanks!

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Jenn March 28, 2012 at 9:58 pm

thank you !

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Sally December 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

I came here via your comment at Casual Kitchen.

Earlier this year I was reading a recipe posted at Dorie Greenspan’s site. The recipe was naturally gluten-free. One of the people who commented said that the best gluten-free recipes are those that are naturally gluten-free.

I tend to agree. I don’t cook gluten-free, but when I was vegetarian (or vegan), the best recipes were those that were naturally vegetarian/vegan. Many recipes that had been “vegetarianized” were good, but there was always something missing. Probably meat!

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