GLUTEN FREE Mocha Shortbread Cookies

FINEST ITALIAN Mocha Shortbread Cookies

This is Angelica's - and Finest Italian- own recipe and as such is copywrited. Please remember, you can use it but you are not authorized to share it or publish it as your own. The recipe has been tested, I would like, however, your feedback to know the reliability of the process and to make sure results are easily and consistently achieved. You can easily half the recipe. Thank you for your help and please make sure to send me your comments, good or bad :-) Thanks you, Grazie, Angelica


  • ½ cup finely ground almonds or almond meal
  • 1 to 1¼ cup RICE flour, sifted
  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoon Coconut Butter
  • Granulated sugar


  1. In a large bowl, combine almond meal (Trader Joe’s is one of my favorites du to its consistency), rice flour, (start with 1 cup) powdered sugar, cocoa and coffee until blended. Add butter at room temperature and coconut butter that has been warmed in microwave for 10 seconds; beat at medium speed until blended, scraping down side of bowl occasionally.
  2. Shape dough into a ball. If it too wet add extra rice flour. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about ¼ inch thick. Cut dough with a 1 to 1½ to 2 inch floured plain or fluted cookie cutter.
  4. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are just firm. Remove from baking sheets, cool on wire racks.
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RISOTTO workshop coming up- March 25, 2013


3/25/2013 -11:30am-2:30pm in San Carlos $49

Risotto seafoodRisotto making workshop- Gluten Free: learn the basics of making authentic Risotto and explore the possibilities. On the menu: Risotto ai Funghi, Risotto alle Carote, Risotto agli Asparagi, Risotto al Limone,and Risotto ai Frutti di mare (Seafood). Students will receive written recipes at the beginning of class. After all the preparations and cooking are completed, participants will enjoy the fruits of their labors. Wine pairings included.



Italian Language and Culture Classes in Spring 2013

GGREDlogosimple1-1 Small-IEIIEI ( Istituto Educazione Italiana) is ready to provide instruction, information and fun!

Here are some of the Spring Classes. Don’t forget to check the FOOD and ART sections!



GLUTEN FREE Cooking Classes in the Peninsula

ITALIAN gluten free COOKING  classes in the Peninsula

on March 10, 2013

3/10/2013 -2:30pm-6pm in San Carlos $69

Italian Gluten Free Cooking Class. Learn how to make some fabulous Italian dishes that will leave you satisfied and not missing gluten!

Students will receive written recipes at the beginning of class. After all the preparations and cooking are completed, participants will enjoy the fruits of their labors. Wines included.

On the menu: Papa’ ‘s Stracciatella Soup, Curry Lamb, Delicious Green Beans Contorno, Southern Orange Salad, Surprise Dessert. Wines Included.

Food and wine pairings by Domenico Chirichillo. Domenico is an experienced wine maker and his wines have won more than 300 Medals in wines competitions.


Apricot Chicken- GLUTEN FREE recipe

Apricot Chicken- GLUTEN FREE

Serving Size: Yealds 6


  • 3/4 pound dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 Tbsp coconut butter
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth (make sure to use gluten-free stock)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • Black pepper
  • Fresh mint for garnish


  1. In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tablespoons coconut butter over medium-high heat. Working in batches, place chicken pieces in the pan, without crowding the pan, and brown them on each side. As the chicken cooks, sprinkle salt over it. Once the chicken is browned, remove the pieces from the pan to a bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining butter to the pan and sauté the onion until it turns slightly brown. Use a flat edged spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off the browned bits from the chicken from the bottom of the pan.
  3. Once the onions have browned a bit, add the chicken stock and lower the heat to medium.
  4. Now add apricots, along with any juice they have given up, into a blender and blend into a purée. Pour the purée into the pan with the chicken stock and onions.
  5. Now add apricots and apricot jam, along with cinnamon, rosemary and Tabasco and taste. Check for saltiness and add as needed. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and gently simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Garnish with chopped fresh mint and serve hot over rice.
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GLUTEN FREE DIETS: Reality or Fad?

italian-breadWhat Is Gluten?

Gluten is the plant protein found in several grains – it’s in wheat, rye, and barley, and often in oats –

In the last 10 years lots of people have stopped eating foods containing gluten . They feel much, much  better when they don’t eat gluten.  Let’s look at some of the motivations behind it.

Gluten intolerance

Some people become very ill when eating gluten because they have Celiac Disease.  Celiac disease is a condition that damages the lining of the small intestine and prevents it from absorbing parts of food that are important for staying healthy. The damage is due to a reaction to eating gluten protein.

The disease can develop at any point in life, from infancy to late adulthood and people who have a family member with celiac disease are at greater risk for developing the disease. The disorder is most common in Caucasians and persons of European ancestry. Women are affected more often than men.

This disorder isn’t that common, fortunately — only about 3 million Americans have been diagnosed with  it– but a great number of them may go  undiagnosed with symptoms ranging from bloating, gas, all sort of pain to disabling fatigue and depression.  While self diagnosing test kits are found online, blood tests, and eventually biopsies, are needed for a definitive diagnosis, but only a fraction of sufferers ever get to that diagnostic tool

 Sensitivity to gluten  Let’s just tell it as it is : this is a medical gray area. Many problems (from skin allergies to ADHD to Autism) have been blamed on Gluten sensitivity but there are no tests for  it . Therefore many people resort to elimination diets for self diagnosis, that is going gluten free for a few weeks just to see if symptoms improve and  then slowly re-introducing  gluten back into the daily diet.  If old (or new) symptoms  return, then sensitivity to gluten should be seriously considered and researched.

List of Gluten Free grains ( as published by

• Amaranth

• Arrowroot

• Corn

• Buckwheat

• Bean Flours

• Millet

• Nut Flours

• Potato

• Quinoa

• Brown Rice

• Wild Rice

• Soy

• Sorghum

• Tapioca

• Tef

A Partial List Of Gluten Free Foods:

Fresh meats, poultry and game
Fish and shellfishChicken Cacciatore
Fresh herbs
Dried fruit
Cheese (not cheese spreads)
Dried beans
Vegetable oils
Rice, ground, long or short grain
Rice cakes/crackers
Rice flour
Cream of tartar
Tamari soy sauce
Cider vinegar
Wine vinegar
Flax seed
Corn Tortillas
Corn tacos
Popcorn (check any coating)
Homemade soups
Fruit juice
Gluten free beer

Reality or fad?

According to an article in the WallStreet Journal (March 15, 2011) quoted  and/or paraphrased below, “a new study in the journal BMC Medicine shows gluten can set off a distinct reaction in the intestines and the immune system, even in people who don’t have celiac disease. …”For the first time, we have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease,” says lead author Alessio Fasano, medical director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research….. “Patients have been told if it wasn’t celiac disease, it wasn’t anything. It was all in their heads,” says Cynthia Kupper, executive director of the nonprofit Gluten Intolerance Group of North America.…The growing market for gluten-free foods, with sales estimated at $2.6 billion last year, has made it even harder to distinguish a medical insight from a fad”

In spite of the fact that little is understood about this alarmingly spreading problem, it is clear that gluten—a stable staple of human diets for the last documented 6,000 years of history —triggers an immune response in some individuals

The article continues citing  some perplexing facts ” The incidence of Celiac disease is rising sharply—and not just due to greater awareness. Tests comparing old blood samples to recent ones show the rate has increased four-fold in the last 50 years, to at least 1 in 133 Americans. It’s also being diagnosed in people as old as 70 who have eaten gluten safely all their lives……”People aren’t born with this. Something triggers it and with this dramatic rise in all ages, it must be something pervasive in the environment,” says Joseph A. Murray, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. One possible culprit: agricultural changes to wheat that have boosted its protein content. ”


While it might be tempting to assume that the Gluten Sensitivity/Allergy epidemic is just a fad, spurred on by greedy and unscrupulous advertisers ( which admittedly exist and prosper), there are many reasons to consider the possibilities of a real and sharp increase of  Gluten sensitivities as well as the documented rise in the incidence on Celiac Disease. Common sense and serious allergy self-test  according to experienced dietitians’ directions might provide more clues and solutions for some