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

Sweet on Sugarcane



The first time I came in contact with raw sugarcane was in Mississippi… many moons ago.  At first glance my brother and I thought it was bamboo.  So, we ripped what I now know as old sugarcane, from the ground and proceeded to act out our dreams of being the kung-fu masters that we saw on TV every Saturday morning. We snatched them out of the ground and got into fighting stances, ready for battle. Just as soon we sounded our battle cries, I happened to notice a hoard of ants flowing out of both ends of the sugar cane that we both held.  Immediately, panic and hysteria took over, and we both ran in different directions trying to get out of the path of the ant invasion.  Two things fascinated me that day (and never left my mind); number 1: Sugar cane grew naturally- and my mother grew up eating it,  and number 2: Ants are no joke-especially in Mississippi.  I had lived my childhood without ever consciously coming in contact with raw sugarcane again .  In fact it wasn’t until I had reached adulthood that I found sugarcane being sold whole in the Bronx.  So, without hesitation, I pulled over and bought some.  When I got it home, I rinsed it and sucked on it the way I had seen my mother do. The result was pure joy.  It was the most fun I had ever had eating a stick.  Somehow I got to be pretty sweet on sugarcane, kind of like the feeling you have when you fall in love for the first time.  Complete with sideward glances, and the extra spring in your step.   And I knew I had to share this feeling with everyone.

Sugar cane when juiced has the same nutritional potency of wheatgrass , the big difference lies in its higher sugar content. But all in all the sugar in raw cane is unrefined and  has a low glycemic index.  Besides that raw cane contains high levels of calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium and zinc.  The juice of the sugar cane is used to make all sorts of beverages, (alcoholic and non-alcoholic).  And because of its seasonal nature, availability is limited. So whenever you cant find the raw cane, take advantage of its health benefits, and flavor by using canned or bottled cane juice found in your local Asian market.  Try this tasty sugar cane skewered shrimp recipe from the Food Network, and discover the flavor and health benefits of sugarcane for yourself.




Chef Will Hall




       Picture of Sugarcane-Skewered Shrimp with Chile-Cilantro Rub Recipe                


Sugarcane-Skewered Shrimp with Chile-Cilantro Rub








1 bunch cilantro, chopped coarsely

1 habanero chile, chopped

4 shallots, chopped

2 lemons, zested

2 limes, zested and juiced to 1/4 cup (juice more limes if necessary)

1 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 vegetable oil

16 jumbo shrimp, cleaned, deveined

8 sugarcane skewers


1/4 bunch cilantro leaves, as garnish





 Puree all marinade ingredients in a blender. Reserve 2 tablespoons of marinade.


Skewer two shrimp per sugarcane and place in marinade and refrigerate. After shrimp has marinated 2 to 3 hours, grill for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, making sure they are fully cooked.


Serve with a drizzle of the reserved marinade and cilantro, as garnish.





Bernstein, M. (2013). Sugarcane-skewered chrimp with chile-cilantro rub. Retrieved from http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/michelle-bernstein/sugarcane-skewered-shrimp-with-chile-cilantro-rub-recipe/index.html

Harvesting sugarcane. (2010, 11 10). Retrieved from http://sipsnapsavor.net/2010/11/10/harvesting-sugarcane/

McCaffrey CDC , D. (2011, 10 03). Raw sugarcane juice nature’s perfect wonder food . Retrieved from http://www.processedfreeamerica.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=535:raw-sugar