Friday, May 1, 2009

Lauren Danziger
Lauren’s Gluten Free Kitchen

A tough as nails New Yorker producing sweet, sweet treats that are good for your mind, body and soul? Only Lauren Danziger could make such juxtaposition possible. A seamless chef and artful food culturist - Danziger has immersed herself in food for the past ten years.
After serving as a corporate drone for many years, Danziger was laid off and decided to turn the frown upside down. Starting her own enterprise was the best decision of her life and makes her life full and fulfilling.
Her current project, Lauren’s Kitchen is a gluten free-baked goods operation inspired by her own diagnosis of Celiac Disease. She still wanted to appreciate and eat good food and decided to do it the right way with incredible ingredients and a labor-intensive recipe practice.
" Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley -- and any derivative of
them. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans suffer from celiac disease, an
Autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten. A growing number of people
are discovering wheat allergies and are eliminating gluten as a treatment
for autoimmune diseases and to improve general health. Lauren's Kitchen
baked goods are 100% gluten free. "

1. What are your favorite flavors? Anise & Licorice (I love licorice, but it’s not gluten free), Garlic (I use it like its going out of style) and Ginger (Obsessed!).

2. How do you stay focused and upbeat? The economy makes it difficult right now, but food is like air for me. I love food so it’s easy to stay focused. I enjoy what I’m dong and that makes it easy to get up in the morning. Loving what you do is so important.

3. Where will you visit for your next inspiration? Charleston, South Carolina for Southern Cuisine. My parents live there now and I’m really excited to start delving into that style of food. Also, I’ve re-connected with some of my Brooklyn family. I am really getting into 1940’s Italian Jewish Brooklyn Food Culture.

4. Past, Present or Future who would you invite over for dinner? Ayan Hirsi Ali, Ayn Rand, Julia Child, Michael J. Fox (Sooo Inspirational) and lets seeee... a man, a music man probably.

5. How many versions of a recipe do you make before you consider it yours? It’s only mine if I’ve spun it around and changed it and made it least 10 times. You’ve got to add your own ingredient changes and really practice it.

6. What is your favorite food & wine pairing? A nice, dry Tuscan (Italian) white wine and pears with pecorino. I love the crunch of pears with the pecorino cheese. Only in summer time. It reminds me of being a girl living in Italy. When I was just a hopeful kid living in Italy.

7. What’s the most frustrating thing about baking? *Laughs* Baking is scientific and specific as an art form. Cooking is liberal. I almost failed my baking section in culinary school. Baking is so detailed and creative. Its’ both. But you have to WATCH IT.

8. Why Gluten Free? I have Celiac Disease. I can’t eat anything with gluten in it. I love food and I missed eating pizza, pasta and sweets. I had to find a way to enjoy food again.

9. How does Syrah marry well with your style of cooking? Did you taste my meat sauce?!?! We’re both hearty, bold and vibrant. My food is deep and soulful. Just like Syrah it’s a gooey, fulfilling experience.

10. What is your favorite scent? Most of my memories are based on scent. My favorites are fresh, clean laundry and Spring Days when the scent of bud break and fresh, cut grass permeate the air.

11. Where do you see gluten free cooking and baking going? Up and Out. It’s one of the largest growing populations in the world. There’s very little you can’t do gluten free. It’s healthier, too.

12. You’re stranded on a desert island with magic growing trees that can grow anything. What are your magic trees growing? Hmmm. Magic Trees, eh? They’d be growing these cookies that my great-great-grandmother used to make in the old country. My mother used to make them. I can never have them again and on my desert island I’d eat the cookies and I’d gluten again. Those cookies were so amazing.

Rose Bud, indeed.

Lauren Danziger can be contacted through her website
and she encourages you to test out gluten free baking at home.

Syrah Sweeties
(Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Syrah Sandwich Cookies with Mascarpone Frosting)

Set oven at 350F

7 Tbsp, dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup, gluten free flour (I use Pamela's)
5 tblsps butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar, white granulated
1/3 cup, light brown sugar
1/2 cup, low fat, plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup, Kinton Syrah
1 1/2, tsp gluten free vanilla

Combine the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda in a bowl and sift
together evenly. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Once melted, remove from heat and add the cocoa powder and sugars to the
butter creating a sand-like mixture. Alternating the yogurt and the wine,
mix into the cocoa/butter mixture; half the yogurt followed by half the
wine. Repeat. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet
and stir until combined - do not over stir or dough will become tough. On a cookie pan sprayed with gluten free cooking spray, bake the cookies off for 8 mins.
Makes 30 cookies.

Place cookies on a cooling rack and make sure they are thoroughly cooled
before filling them with frosting.

For the frosting
Mascarpone cheese, 1 8oz container
1 Cup, confectioners sugar (you can add more if you want it sweeter and
2 tsp gluten free vanilla
1/4 tsp, cinnamon

Using an electric mixer, combine the mascarpone with the sugar, vanilla and
cinnamon, whipping until just combined - DO NOT over whip! Frosting can be
made ahead and kept for several days.

Take one cookie and using a small offset spatula, smear the cookie with the
frosting. Top the filling with another cookie to make a sandwich. Continue until you have iced two cookies together, using all cookies. Refrigerate the sandwiches to set for an hour. Serve chilled.


Joie de vivre said...

I love this series Kinton. You always ask very interesting questions. As for me, life in France is imaginary, but it is always wonderful. I actually live in the States!

Heather said...

going gluten free (even for a day) is probably the thing that scares me most. i'm pretty sure i would taste the difference in breads, pastas, etc.,... and then i would cry!!

btw - NO! i have never tried african spices. although now that you've thrown down the challenge... i will have to investigate :) i'm thinking it's not too much different than moroccan food, which i love. expect a post (failure or success!) soon!!!

Anonymous said...

thank you for this interview! I'm not on a gluten-free diet, but it was very enlightening for me to get a glimpse on how ppl allergic to gluten cope with this.

Le Meems said...

Joie: Would you like to be featured next? Email me at Mimi at Priase Cheeses dot Net

Heather: Let me know what you find out. I'm teaching an African Kids Cooking class...and you are brilliant in the kitchen my friend :)

Burp and Slurp: Thanks! I love your mom's blog by the way !!