Gluten-Free at Gigi Hudson Valley

Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck.

Providing delicious options is what we do at Gigi Hudson Valley! While we’ve always offered flexibility and numerous vegetarian and vegan options in our menus, in 2007 we developed a gluten-free version of our popular Skizzas™.  Our guests have responded resoundingly! Just recently, Chef Wilson Costa ‘tweaked’ our gluten-free gnochetti, enjoyed by President Bill Clinton during his visit to Gigi Trattoria, so that they are as light and fluffy as any gnocchi anywhere!  Both are available with any of our toppings and/or sauces.

How do we do it? We take great care in training our culinary and service staff so that they not only understand how to present our farm-fresh fare, but also food intolerances and allergies. Part of our training program instructs our staff exactly how to communicate information to our guests and to each other (dining room to kitchen). With every seasonal menu change, our menu manuals, too, are updated – these revisions include phonetics of our menu items, ingredient lists of every offering, and especially important, designations that indicate whether the item is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

National Celiac Awareness MonthNational support: We are now into our 3rd week of participation in “Chef to Plate”, a gluten-free restaurant awareness campaign (part of National Celiac Awareness Month). Our staff at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and Gigi Market in Red Hook have been trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group and our management team to provide safe options for our gluten free community.

Gluten-Free Skizza at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Skizza™, available at Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market. Designated by green checkered underliner. Peroni not GF!

Some offerings on our gluten-free menus:  In addition to our crispy Skizzas™ (available at Gigi Trattoria, Gigi Market and kits for home), and sumptuous gnochetti; other items are available throughout our menus. Sautéed items that are typically flour dusted can be made without, and most of our sauces are natural reductions rather than flour-thickened. Our management team and your server are trained to guide you.

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

If sweets are on your mind, Gigi Pastry Chef Danielle Gill prepares an incredible flourless chocolate cake and cheesecakes without gluten-containing crusts. At Gigi Market some of our gluten-free products include moist and flavorful brownies from Rhinebeck’s own Sweet Girl, biscotti and rugelach from The Gluten-Free Bakery: Chatham, and Food for All kaiser rolls and loaves for our burgers and sandwiches.

Offering delicious Hudson Valley Mediterranean flavors is a joy to me and the whole Gigi Team. Doing it responsibly and safely is sacred. As a registered dietitian, I have long been involved with working with people, so that eating healthfully and safely is a delight, not a chore. Buon Appetito!

Laura

For more information on gluten intolerance, please visit http://gluten.net.

After a recent visit to Rhinebeck earlier this month, Maria wrote us this wonderful “Thank photo-mg2You” letter:

Dear Trattoria Gigi Team,

I was at your restaurant last Saturday. I was traveling with a person with celiac disease. We arrived from New York City to spend the weekend in your beautiful area.

Traveling with my friend is not easy. She has a very high intolerance to gluten. We did lots of research and saw that your restaurant was trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group (https://www.gluten.net/resturants/find-a-restaurant). This reassured her. It is always nerve wracking to trust some strangers when you know that can get badly sick after eating.

Your staff was very welcoming and knowledgeable. They made her feel at ease. It was my birthday, but we did not mentioned it. We had very nice food and great time. We had a salad and a skizza for dinner. The next day we wanted to visit your marketplace in Red Hook, but the hotel messed up with the wake up call. It means that we definitely need to go back to Rhineback.

Thank you so much for the lovely experience. You cannot imagine how something so simple and easy such as eating out can turn into a nightmare for somebody with celiac disease. You helped to make my day even more special. Keep up the good work!

Best,

Maria

 

Staff Spotlight – Brandon Cole

Brandon Cole is the guy who does it all at Gigi Hudson Valley, he’s truly among our MVPs. He bounces between the Trattoria, the Market and catered events, sometimes all within a given day! He began his Gigi ‘career’ 6 years ago at the age of 15 when he started bussing tables at the Trattoria. From that position he moved up to food runner, learning the ins and outs of kitchen timing and etiquette from Chef Wilson Costa. Today, Brandon is skilled in just about every position at every one of our businesses, both front and back of house.

I travel from site to site and inevitably I see Brandon. He is kind of like “Where’s Waldo?”  First I see him at Gigi Market making 600 Skizza shells. Then I head to the Trattoria, and there he is! He is crisp, tailored, and professional,  bringing your favorite dish to the table. Rounding out his skills, as a certified “gear head” he’s one of the few that is entrusted with driving our 40 foot catering/food truck and trailer from location to location. So how does a guy that does all this relax? By biking 75-100 miles a week and hunting and fishing with boyhood friends.

Brandon was born and raised in Red Hook, NY, and his passion for Italian cooking goes deep.  His grandfather Frank Chiarella, who emigrated to NY from northern Italy as a young boy, owned a restaurant named Frank’s in Valatie, NY during the mid-70s. During our conversations Brandon told me that he, “always wanted to be chef.” It’s not really fair to interview Mom, but since I know her…(sorry Brandon 🙂 ) she offered up that baked cookies would be waiting for her at home when Brandon had a snow day from school. When I asked Brandon if he likes to cook at home now he said, “Yes, but I’m around food so much, I don’t cook that much at home anymore.”  Yet, he says when he purchases his first home, the kitchen will be a top priority. He definitely has the passion. But that passion is shared with one for law enforcement. Brandon’s father spent much of his career on the local police force and Brandon plans to follow in his footsteps – becoming a NYS Trooper.

Whatever his future plans are, those of us who have watched him grow, learn, and mature know that he will be a successful and valuable asset to any who are lucky enough to work with him.

Wine Weekly – Côtes du Gascogne

One of the captivating things about Gigi Trattoria’s wine list is that it is forever changing. Last week we introduced a Primitivo from Italy.This week we take a trip to France to feature a Côtes du Gascogne.

Côtes du Gascogne is a wine growing district in Gascony, the South West region of France.  This region is best known as the Armagnac producing region or the Pays Basque.The climate of the Basque Region of France is influenced by not only the Mediterranean but the Atlantic as well. This results in a wet spring but generally a sunny rest of the year making for alluvial soil with some clay and sand. Mostly white wines, like the Côtes du Gascogne are produced here.

This 50% Colombard and 40% Uni Blanc is rounded out by 10% Gros Manseng. Colombard and Uni Blanc were traditionally used to make Cognac.Colombard had become less popular in France during the 1970’s but when Californians started using it, it came back into fashion. It has an off-dry characteristic that pairs nicely with the floral notes of the Gros Manseng and the high acidity of the Ugni Blanc or Trebbiano. This wine has notes of pineapple and a bit of a grassy undertone that pairs well with salads and lighter greens. We recommend trying it with the Mela salad.  The fruit of the wine brings out the sweetness of the Mead Orchard apples while the acidity compliments the fattiness of the bacon and creaminess of Ewe’s Blue Cheese dressing.

We have a limited supply of this treasure of Gascony so you must stop by Gigi Trattoria and try it soon!  For only $8 a glass or $28 this delicious white blend is sure to please.  If you come by on Wednesday, all our bottles of wine are 30% off!  If you happen to miss the Côtes du Gascogne at Gigi Trattoria you can also try it Gigi Market by the ½ Carafe!  Wherever you sip it, it will surely take you on a trip to France.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Blackberry Sour

The end of another long work week. Excellent. As we are wont to do, we wanted to give you a T.G.I.F. cocktail that was delicious and seasonal, but we also wanted to put a twist on it. You might be surprised at one of the ingredients, but trust us, it is delicious!

This is our take on the traditional Amaretto Sour. We’ve partnered up with Rhinebeck’s hottest new store Pure Mountain Olive Oil. Their all natural flavored balsamic vinegars are appearing in our cocktails, salads and sauces. I’ve also introduced them to my colleagues at Just Salad and we hope to be making new dressings with them there soon! Their balsamic vinegars are wood aged in the 900 year old Modena tradition; they are rich, syrupy and balanced in acidity. Since it’s Blackberry season (berries are ripe for the picking at Greig Farm), we asked our Gigi bartending phenom, Lisa Butenhoff,  for her take on a traditional cocktail using this finely crafted artisanal product and local blackberries. We’re serving it “up,” but you could also lighten this up to a “spritzer” by serving over ice and adding a nice splash of seltzer.

1 ½ ounces Amaretto (we use Disarrono)
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of Pure Mountain Blackberry Balsamic Vinegar
Handful of fresh blackberries

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously to combine. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Optional garnish: fresh blackberries and orange slice strung through a long decorative toothpick. Enjoy!

-Laura

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Apricot Julep

The classic julep it a hotly contested beverage, with many preparation variations, though the basic ingredients are generally always the same; bourbon, fresh mint, sugar and crushed ice. We scored some beautifully sweet apricots from Rose Hill Orchards in Red Hook this week and we decided to take a twist on the classic julep and add fresh apricot.

It’s incredibly delicious. Though this isn’t the simplest drink to make, we promise you it’s worth it. The Kentucky Derby may have come and gone, but the Julep is a great sipper all summer long. 

2 ripe fresh apricots (available locally at Rose Hill Orchards)
Approximately 20 mint leaves
3 ounces Bourbon (we used Maker’s Mark)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 ounce simple syrup (may be adjusted to preferred sweetness desired)
 

Throughly muddle 20 mint leaves (stems removed) with 1 teaspoon sugar. The granular quality of the sugar will work to break down the mint as you muddle, eventually turning it into a fragrant mash. Add quartered apricots, pits removed. Continue to muddle until apricots are broken down and integrated into the mint mash. Don’t worry about the skins, they will be strained out. Add the bourbon and simple syrup and fill the shaker with enough ice to reach the top of the liquid. Shake until the outside of your shaker is frosty and all components are integrated. Pack an Old Fashioned glass or Julep cup with crushed ice (almost to overflowing.) Strain drink into glass, garnish with a mint sprig. Serve with a short straw so that the fabulous fragrance can be enjoyed while sipping. A multi-sensory explosion of goodness to kick off your weekend!

Kale Two Ways

Tuscan kale, also known as Lacinato kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, and black kale, thrives during all three growing seasons of the Hudson Valley. It’s especially available during these steamy summer months, and we’re taking full advantage….  We present it to you direct from Migliorelli Farms in our retail cases at Gigi Market and throughout our menus in both locations.  I thought I’d give you two different approaches to enjoying it; cooked and raw.

Cooked Kale

Gigi ‘LACINATO’: Sautéed Kale with Towne & Country Sausage

This is a new lunch and dinner side at the Trattoria in Rhinebeck, and part of our new summer menu.  Enjoy this sautéed Italian black kale with Towne and Country spicy sausage or simply with garlic and Gigi extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 2-3 servings

1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 ounces (about 2 links) Towne and Country spicy sausage, sliced or crumbled
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ pounds Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, then rinsed and spun
Salt
2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup water

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the shallots, sausage, and red pepper flakes, and cook until the shallots and sausage just begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and toss to combine. Stir in the kale and season with salt. Cook the kale, tossing or stirring to evenly wilt, then add the white wine and cook until fully evaporated. Add the water and cook until the kale is tender and the pan is almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy hot or at room temperature.

Click here to watch a brief video of this dish being made.

Raw Kale

Massaged Kale Salad

My friends (and Gigi devotees :)) Peter Amendola and Jerry Paglieri, shared this “massaged” raw kale salad with me, saying they often make it when entertaining and receive consistent raves from their guests. The acidity in the lemon juice “cooks” the thinly sliced kale making it tender and flavorful. Jerry became a fan when first trying Aati Sequeira’s recipe; as a confident cook he fined tuned it to his tastes and made it his own.

Makes 4 servings

1 large bunch Tuscan kale stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
fresh juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the maple syrup and a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper. Stream the olive oil into the bowl while whisking.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the peaches and pumpkin seeds. Toss and serve.

Enjoy!

-Laura

The Beauty of Tradition

We launched our new “Agriturismo” dinner series last weekend at Gigi Market at Greig Farm in Red Hook.

Now, I want to be up front here. This concept isn’t our idea, in fact, it is an Italian tradition that has been around for a long time, about sixty years.

“Agriturismo” (pronounced ah-gree-tour-eez-mo) combines the Italian words for “agriculture” and tourism”. A style of vacationing in Italian farmhouses and resorts, it began in the 1950’s and was codified into Italian law in 1985. It gives visitors the opportunity to experience traditional Italian county living first hand, including eating and sometimes even helping to prepare food grown right on the premises.

Image courtesy of Agriturismo.net

While we can’t put you up, we will strive to provide you with simple yet sublime rustic fare based upon local ingredients harvested at their prime.

Having spent a lot of time in Italy, I have enjoyed this pure, simple, and delicious concept first hand. I realized that we actually had some great elements that reflected the “Agriturismo” ideal right here.  We have a beautiful, rustic location at Gigi Market; an old-refurbished barn on 500 acres of beautiful farmland.

Plus we have a great relationship with all of the local farms, giving us access to the freshest of ingredients.

I’m almost looking at these dinners as a variation on the standard dining experience you find when you go out to eat. Let’s call it an “unrestaurant”. We’re not giving you a five page menu to choose from. Instead, we’re going to decide that morning what  the freshest ingredients are from all the farms within five miles of Gigi Market.  That and that alone, will dictate that night’s menu. We’ll serve it to you in three courses, family style, in an old rustic barn. It’s more like going to a friend’s house for dinner who cooks really well. Who doesn’t love that? 🙂

Here was the menu for our first “Agriturismo” dinner last Saturday:

 

We’ll have to wait and see what the menu will be this Saturday…

BTW, what a great way to celebrate Father’s Day with a family style meal!

Mangia Bene!

-Laura

P.S. – In case you’re finding the “Agriturismo” concept appealing, here is a website of all different places throughout Italy where you can experience simple country living first hand!

http://www.agriturismo.net/

 

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Strawberry Mojito

There is only a little bit of time left to get in your strawberry picking for the season. Our bartender extraordinaire, Lisa Butenhoff, decided to take advantage of the great strawberries we picked at Greig Farm in Red Hook to whip up this end of the week delight. All hail the Strawberry Mojito!

Just a fun bit of trivia about the mojito (pronounced mo-HEE-toe): A mojito, one of Cuba’s oldest cocktails, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell. Magical…Get muddling, people!

Strawberry Mojito

1 serving

4 medium-large strawberries, hulled and quartered
6 mint leaves

1 teaspoon fine sugar
2 ounces Bacardi rum
½ ounce fresh lime juice

  In the bottom of a small cocktail shaker muddle the strawberries with the sugar and mint leaves. When blended, add the rum and the lime. Add just enough ice to cover top of liquid. Shake vigorously and pour into cocktail glass. Add a couple more cubes of ice if desired. Garnish with mint and strawberry.

“Agriturismo”

Beginning  June 9, Gigi Hudson Valley will introduce “Agriturismo Dinners” to the Hudson Valley. The dinners will be held at Gigi Market in Red Hook. We thought we would share the history of Agriturismo to help you understand the appeal for us, and why we thought it would be a great fit.

The Agriturismo concept arose in Italy beginning in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s and was finally codified into Italian law in 1985. Combining the words “agriculture” and “tourism”, it is a style of vacationing in Italian farm houses and resorts.

Fattoria Voltrona in Tuscany

This allows farmers to reacquaint visitors with traditional Italian country living, including food grown and prepared right on the premises. Here is a travel piece to give you some more background.

While we’re not going to put you up, 🙂 we thought it would be great  to provide a similar enjoyable eating experience.  Our food typically uses lots of locally grown products, and we also wanted to challenge ourselves and make good use of our rustic-elegant space at Greig Farm. So, we decided to source ingredients grown right in our back yard; in Upper Red Hook, and nearby Columbia County. We’ll find the best ingredients within five miles of our café, Gigi Market, on Greig Farm.

We’ll source our ingredients from nearly Migliorelli Farms, Mead Orchards, Northwind Farms, Montgomery Place Orchards, Hearty Roots Farm, Paisley Farm and of course, right outside its back door on Grieg Farm.

Keeping the Agriturismo ‘spirit’ alive, all meals will be family style and rustic. There will be homemade crusty breads to enjoy, an antipasti course with farm fresh vegetables, and the option for local cured meats and cheeses. This will be followed by a main course of either a delicious pasta/risotto or local beef, pork or chicken along with salads and side dishes. For dessert, you can bite into ripe local fruit or rustic tarts, pies, cobblers, even homemade gelato. Menus are posted the day of the dinner and will rely solely on what local farmers have ready to harvest.

Beginning June 9, we’re going to run the Agriturismo dinners every Friday, Saturday and Sunday until early October. No two will every be the same! We hope you’ll join us! We would suggest reserving your seat at the table! Oh, by the way, kids under 10 eat for only $10.

For reservations you can call 845.758.1999 or email anne@gigihudsonvalley.com.

Mangia!

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Berry Rosado

Ahhh,  the coming of the weekend!  Two whole days away from the stress of flourescent lights, cubicles, and deadlines. This is certainly cause for the celebratory Friday cocktail (or two.) We asked the head bartender at Gigi HV, Lisa Butenhoff, for a festive and delicious drink we could make using fresh strawberries (that are so great right now), to help kick off the weekend. She suggested the Berry Rosado.  To say that people like this one is an understatement. When Gigi HV participated in the ‘Taste of Rhinebeck’, an annual fundraiser for Northern Dutchess Hospital,  she gave away about ten pitchers of this deliciousness. That’s a lot, when you consider each drink was only a few ounces! Luckily for you, you won’t be limited to just a few ounces, although some restraint will be in order!

 

   1 Serving  Berry Rosado

   1  1/2 oz Tito’s vodka
   1/2 oz  crisp, dry  rose wine
   Approx 3 to 5 strawberries (depending on size)
   1 tsp agave nectar (or refined sugar)
   Splash club soda
   1/2 oz lemon juice

 

 

 In  cocktail shaker, muddle strawberries with agave nectar (or sugar) and lemon juice. Mash thoroughly to ensure full strawberry flavor. Add rose wine and vodka. Shake vigorously. Pour over ice and top with club soda. 

You can intensify the strawberry flavor by infusing the vodka with strawberries (as we do at the Trattoria). Combine one liter of vodka with ½ pint of hulled, halved strawberries. Cap and let stand for 24 to 48 hours.

Lisa’s “virgin” version? Muddle the strawberries with a smidge of simple syrup or plain sugar and add to iced club soda or ginger ale.

BTW, if you’re too lazy or tired after your long week to ‘muddle’ through the recipe, you can always come in to Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and we’ll do the work for you! Or, if you’re in need of the strawberries, you can always pick up a pint or two at Gigi Market  in Red Hook. Happy Weekend!