Grab a bottle of wine, gluten-free lasagna, a movie, and your night is set!
New York, NY
Remember when I teased you with the promise of Vanessa Phillips, the main force behind Lilli & Loo’s gluten-free menu, having some gluten-free surprises for us? Well…[trumpet blast]…I’m excited to announce the birth of her fabulous new company aptly named Food Matters. With a lifetime of experience in the restaurant business combined with the diagnosis of celiac disease, she has used her extensive knowledge of gluten-free foods to consult with and design gluten-free menus for several NYC restaurants. This has included training the staff, re-organizing kitchens, enlisting them in GFRAP, and researching ingredients.
But that’s not all…
One thing Vanessa missed after going gluten-free was lasagna. And, being a child of NYC, she was raised thinking it was her unalienable right to breeze into a Citarella’s, Whole Foods, or Balducci’s with the freedom to pick up already prepared gourmet foods- you know, the kind that are not frozen, are made with high quality ingredients that quickly answer the age old question, “ What should we have for dinner tonight?” that is usually followed by, “I don’t feel like cooking.” Thus, the creation of Food Matters first gluten-free, highly addictive, delivered-to-your-doorstep, heat and serve, gluten-free lasagna made in her professional kitchen.
Here is a description in Vanessa’s own words, “The lasagna, as of now, is made with both meat and vegetables. My ingredients are all from top notch purveyors. I am using spicy ground pork to add flavor to the tomato sauce, as I think pork is the most flavorful meat. The vegetables being used are eggplant and zucchini. The eggplant gives the lasagna a sweeter flavor which I am sure will suit most people’s palates. “
“This is just the beginning of what gluten-free foods we hope to offer. We are starting out small but hopefully over the next few months we will develop more dishes and we already have gluten-free meatballs available upon request. If this first launch is successful, then I will develop the line further and have more items to choose from.”
The cost of a tray of lasagna that feeds four people is $24.00. At first I thought this was a bit expensive, but when I figured it out (uh, obviously math was not my best subject) at $6.00 a piece then it seemed more reasonable. Remember, this is not Stouffer’s! Also, Vanessa told me that in order to make this yourself with the cost of high quality mozzarella, ricotta, meat and gluten-free pasta it easily cost her nearly that much shopping at Whole Foods. You also have to figure in the labor behind making lasagna. I know I’m guilty of buying gluten-free lasagna noodles about 2+ years ago, just because I was so excited to find them, and they are still sitting gathering dust in my cupboard. Oh, and before I forget, special dietary needs are welcome! Yes, you can order this vegetarian, dairy-free, corn-free, etc.
Perfect for dinner and a movie on a cold Friday night! For now this is available citywide by delivery, but stay tuned and we’ll let you know where you can pick it up at one of your soon-to-be-favorite new gluten-free restaurants.
It was fun, as usual, to see all of you in person this last Sunday at the gluten-free vendor fair in The Gluten-Free Market. This is the place to go if you are ever in New Jersey and want to shop in a completely gluten-free market. One more big “Thank You” to Ben for his help with organizing this, and of course, to the ladies behind the market for being such gracious hosts!
BTW, the girl at the table next to me was Vanessa Phillips. I tasted her lasagna a couple of weeks ago and invited her to the fair. She sold out and received rave reviews!
Ronnie from Mozzarelli’s called me to let me know that this coming Superbowl Sunday they are turning the entire store into a gluten-free football munchie-fest. They will be open from 12-6pm so you can stop by and pick some grub up on the way to your party. They have some fantastic desserts available now too: carrot cake, cheesecake, and chocolate cake. Be sure to call ahead to order your pies.