Hawk Hollow Gluten Free Dining

    Today is one of the best day's of the year if you have celiac disease and live in the greater Lansing area. Today was the annual gluten free luncheon at Hawk Hollow Golf Course. This meal is always worth every penny.

    The great thing about Todd Smith at Hawk Hollow is that not only does he understand gluten free dining, but he also understands how to prepare for almost every food allergy. Not only was this whole luncheon gluten free, but also egg and dairy free. Everything was soy, nut, potato and preservative free as well. And one of the most important things for our family is that is was PORK free, as my husband is allergic to pork. Do you know how hard it is to find pork free meatballs?

Appetizers- Sweet and Sour meatballs, BBQ meatballs, chicken quesadillas,
 black bean veggie sliders, and veggie burger sliders

      The other appetizers were good- the filling inside the quesadillas was very creamy and full of chicken, and the sliders were good too. The black bean burger was on a Mediterranean roll. I'm not totally sure what was the spices were in it, but it was good.
        Next up, our entree menu- Vegetable soup, homemade french bread chips- regular, rye, and tomato basil, green beans, Gouda mac and cheese, Chicken Marsala, and Philly beef pockets. Here are few pictures of our dinner plates....

      To be traditional, I started off with the soup. I love homemade soup, especially in January here in Michigan where it's so cold. And the best thing about it- chickpeas. Chickpeas are so tasty and such a great source of nutrition, especially vegetarian protein. You could tell tasting this that this soup is made from scratch with love. The three flavors of French bread chips were amazing with it. Todd says that they're so good, he serves these at his non-gluten events and no one is any wiser, and they all love them.

     The Gouda mac and cheese. To be honest, that is what sold me on coming to this luncheon. I LOVE Gouda cheese, and to have someone decide to use it to make macaroni and cheese is just AWESOME. It was so creamy and tasty. All it needed was a little dash of pepper.

     My husband and I, in an attempt to behave ourselves nutritionally, split the chicken and the Philly beef pocket. The Chicken Marsala was warm and saucy. The Philly beef pocket had a really good crust, and was great complented with the vegetable soup. I talked to Todd after the luncheon about the fact that I had never had a Philly cheese steak before, so it was exciting to see one done this way. He said he thought about putting cheese in it, but he is very aware of the fact that there are so many celiacs struggling with dairy allergies, so he wanted to make the luncheon as dairy free as possible. He is so thoughtful. 

Dessert menu- In all there were 13 desserts. Some were just gluten free, some were gluten and dairy free, while others were gluten, dairy and egg free. Here is a list of the desserts that we enjoyed-

Blondie Bars, Apple Custard Bars, Chocolate Cake, Lemon Zest Shortbread, White Cupcake with a cherry sauce, Applesauce Mini-Bundt cake with a glaze, Chocolate torte with a chocolate sauce, chocolate cupcakes, pumpkin bars, peach cobbler, apple pie tartlets, blueberry pie, and cherry tartlets.

And yes, I tried them ALL. Well, at least a little bite of them all. This luncheon was attended by at least 30 people, sitting at 4 large tables. There was a lot of passing of plates, and small bites taken from friends. I love my celiac support group members. 

    With so many good desserts, it's hard to pick a favorite. I'm not usually a big fan of cobbler, but the peach cobbler was especially tasty. He kept them in a warming tray to make sure that the filling was still warm. Yum. The apple pie tartlet, which was basically a small cupcake filled with apple pie filling, was incredibly moist and tasty. Many people raved over the pumpkin bars  and the apple custard bars. I could have easily eaten the whole apple pie par by myself, but I split my piece with my husband and my stepmother.
    The shortbread was buttery and flaky with a slight hint of lemon. The blondies were good with the mini chocolate chips, and the chocolate torte was light with a mild chocolate flavor. The raspberry sauce added moisture to an otherwise ordinary cupcake.
     Apple is definitely my favorite fruit, and I don't usually eat blueberry pie or cherry pie. That being said, the blueberry pie had a deep blueberry flavor and a wonderful crust. It had just a hint of sugar on top. The cherry tartlet was good as well. My husband said it had a good sharp cherry flavor and flaky crust, with a good ratio of filling to crust. But going back to apple, the applesauce cakes were so beautiful and I almost missed having a sample, but luckily my friend Pat had some left on her plate and allowed me a small bite. Incredibly moist, not overly sweet, and so delicious. If I had a bigger stomach, I would have snagged a whole one for myself.

     Chocolate......mmmm chocolate. The chocolate cake and the chocolate cupcake were unique in their own ways. I told Todd that he needed to have smaller portions for this type of thing, and he said that he tried. After my husband and I both took a small bit of the chocolate cake, which was rich and wonderful, I stepped over to the next table to ask a few friends if they had a chance to try it yet. Lucky for me, they had just talked about sharing a piece, so they took my extras off of my hands The chocolate cupcake had a rich ganache type frosting that reminded my husband of the homemade Wacky Cake that his mother makes for every one of his birthdays. [Which is also today, so I'm sure we'll be eating a lot lighter tomorrow.] I split that with my dad, as he's always willing to share. :)

        As if that's not enough, he also had his baked goods for sale. My favorite thing that Todd makes are his waffles, which he shared with us for breakfast at our Lansing Gluten Free Fair. But since I've had them before, I bought a package of his Asiago Cheese bagels. I think I might have a sample of them with dinner tonight while my husband's family has onion rolls.

     For a little background, about Todd Smith, you should really check out his website for Simply Free Hawk Hollow. Once discovering in 2001 that he was gluten-intolerant, he changed his diet and managed to heal himself. By being the chef and kitchen manager at Hawk Hollow, he can cook in a certified kitchen and takes every precaution to prevent cross contamination. He even mentioned to me that all of his cream soups, traditionally made from a rue, are started with non-gluten free flours and all of his regular soups are gluten free. He caters thousands of events, and often serves gluten free items without guests knowing any difference. If you are interested in booking a gluten free banquet with Todd, you can contact him at 517-641-4295, ext. 21  /  or simplyfree@hawkhollow.com 


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