High Falootin and Gluten Free

Chefs have been challenged by the idea that anything “gluten free” is just another pass for healthy folk to get special treatment. One more fleeting fad…. One more high falootin way to nag your restaurant server,caterer, or kitchen staff go out of their way and to conjure up a way to keep those with the supposed celiac disease, and /or non celiac gluten sensitivity in step with the newest health craze. Besides, wheat and other gluten bearing grains have been consumed since time began … right? Well… who knows. Gluten sensitivity has been blamed on gluten rich varietal grains(wheat, rye), and/or gluten’s popularity in processed foods. In other words, we’re overdoing it in terms of making gluten an over bearing presence at the party. Wheat gluten is simply a protein that is naturally occurring, and the fact is, more and more people are having issues digesting it, why?… again who knows. What we do know for sure is that as far back as 50 years ago the incidence of celiac disease has quadrupled. And so we’ll assume that occurrence of like symptoms (non celiac gluten sensitivity) has run the same course. Whether or not you believe that gluten sensitivity or celiac disease are a matter of delusion or not, the symptoms, affecting approximately 1% of the population are of a very serious nature. Symptoms appear in the form belly aches, bloating, skin rashes, and foggy thinking to name a few. Complications include diarrhea, anemia, and seizures. More people lack the ability to process gluten than are actually aware of it. It’s very important to see your doc if you are experiencing any of these symptoms; 1.) You have severe or recurrent diarrhea, weight loss, and abdominal distension or bloating  2.) You are deficient in iron, folate or vitamin B12 OR  3.) There has been someone in your family that’s been diagnosed with celiac disease.
For those of you that find that you do have some issues digesting wheat, see your doc… ASAP,  in the meantime, try this super easy, and delicious recipe for Banana Oat Pancakes. They’ll definitely put a smile on your face, and your belly will thank you for such a high falootin gluten free food.


Chef Will Hall

Banana-Oat Blender Pancakes

Gluten Free Banana Oat Pancakes:

2 cups gluten free oats
1 1/4 cups vanilla almond milk
1 large ripe, organic banana
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 heaping tablespoon local honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 large organic egg – egg substitute can be used
coconut oil or butter for cooking

Place all ingredients, except egg and coconut oil in the base of a blender and blend until smooth. Add egg and pulse a few times until egg is fully incorporated.
Heat a griddle or large sauté pan over medium heat and melt a teaspoon or two of coconut oil. When hot, pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides (about 2-3 minutes per side) and serve hot with maple syrup.
*If batter becomes too thick to pour easily, add a tablespoon or two of almond milk to thin.







Banana-Oat Blender Pancakes. (2013, August 12). Retrieved October 21, 2014, from http://www.mountainmamacooks.com/2013/08/banana-oat-blender-pancakes-gluten-free-dairy-free-recipe/
Birch, J. (2014, May 8). 3 Signs You Should Get Tested for Gluten Sensitivity or Celiac Disease. Retrieved October 21, 2014, from http://www.womenshealthmag.com/nutrition/gluten-sensitivity-test
Steinmetz, K. (2011, May 23). Bad-Mouthing Gluten. Retrieved October 21, 2014, from http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2071129,00.html
Velasquez-manoff, M. (2013, February 23). Who Has the Guts for Gluten? Retrieved October 21, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/24/opinion/sunday/what-really-causes-celiac-disease.html?pagewanted=all
Velasquez-manoff, M. (2014, October 11). Can Celiac Disease Affect the Brain? Retrieved October 21, 2014, from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/12/opinion/sunday/can-celiac-disease-affect-the-brain.html

When Eggplants Hatch

“Dad, what Happens when eggplants hatch?” asked the perky and inquisitive little brown boy.   I never did hear his dads answer, all could do is I turn back and flash a big smile, while moving down the produce section in super market sweep style .  When I cleared my shopping list, I stopped, smiled and thought to myself, that question however cute, deserves an answer. Not so much about eggplants hatching (I know now that they don’t, luckily), but how, and more importantly why someone would mislead us with a name like that.  After doing the research, I found a suitable answer. History states that during the English occupation of India, the fruit was named “eggplant” because the variety of eggplant that common was small and white like an egg (simple enough).  No matter whether it’s called an “eggplant” in English, or “aubergine” in French, the world agrees that eggplant are very nourishing. In fact ancient Sanskrit dating back to 300 BCE describes eggplant as a food, and a medicine. In the Hindu (natural healing method) Ayurveda system, white varieties of eggplant are used for diabetics, while the roots of the plants are deemed useful for asthma.    It doesn’t stop there.  In 1544 a renaissance herbalist named Matthioli spoke of eggplants’ aphrodisiac qualities in his writings.


Eggplants carriy “nough” (slang for a whole lot) nutrition. Each one cup of the vegetable carries 20 calories, and contains high levels of vitamin A, vitamin B, folate and vitamin C.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service states that the chlorogenic acid in eggplant is responsible for its antioxidant qualities, which fight off the effects of free radicals while also lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff).  So in the end, eggplants may never hatch, but they will always be worthy of mention. Try this healthy eggplant dish from EatingWell.com and discover the power of eggplant for yourself.


Chef Will Hall





Grilled Chicken Ratatouille

Makes: 4 servings

Active Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes


3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram

1 teaspoon salt

Canola or olive oil cooking spray

1 red bell pepper, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded

1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise

4 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 medium red onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed and tenders removed (see Note)

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar


1.Preheat grill to medium-high.

2.Combine oil, basil, marjoram and salt in a small bowl and reserve 1 tablespoon of the mixture in another small bowl; set aside.

3.Coat both sides of bell pepper, eggplant, zucchini, tomato and onion pieces with cooking spray. Grill the vegetables, turning once, until soft and charred in spots, about 5 minutes per side for the pepper, 4 minutes per side for the eggplant and zucchini and 3 minutes per side for the tomatoes and onion.

4.Rub the tablespoon of reserved herb mixture on both sides of chicken and sprinkle with pepper. Grill the chicken until cooked through and no longer pink in the center, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

5.Meanwhile, transfer the grilled vegetables to a cutting board and chop into 1-inch pieces. Return to the bowl and toss with vinegar and the remaining herb mixture. Serve the grilled chicken with the ratatouille.

Tips & Notes

Note: It’s difficult to find an individual chicken breast small enough for one portion. Removing the thin strip of meat from the underside of a 5-ounce breast—the “tender”—removes about 1 ounce of meat and yields a perfect 4-ounce portion. Wrap and freeze the tenders and when you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry or for oven-baked chicken fingers


Per serving: 324 calories; 13 g fat ( 2 g sat , 9 g mono ); 82 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 36 g protein; 7 g fiber; 687 mg sodium; 1063 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (100% daily value), Vitamin A (35% dv), Potassium (30% dv), Folate & Magnesium (20% dv)


Daunay, M. (2007). History and iconography of eggplant. Retrieved from http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/chronicaeggplant.pdf

eggplant image . (2013). Retrieved from http://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/1eghco/and_thats_why_its_called_an_eggplant/

Grilled chicken ratatouille. (2013, 07). Retrieved from http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/grilled_chicken_ratatouille.html

Joy, T. (2005, 09 05). The nutritional benefits of eggplant. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/19046-nutritional-benefits-eggplant/