10 Questions with KC: Alison Needham – A Girl Defloured

I love my friends. Of course, I have a crew I’ve been riding dirty with forever (that’s what happens when you grow up in a farming town, 5 generations deep) but my Celiac Disease came with an unexpected side effect – Gluten Free friends. Bonus!

I met Alison via my G-Free homies, and within minutes, her info was saved in my cell under “Alison GF Margaritas.” Our relationship has progressed, sewn together by a love of wine (pass the Prosecco), sriracha, laughter, and a shared desire to get nuts in Osteria Mozza without glutenous backlash. I offered up a favorite cocktail for her blog, she’s become a contributor on G-Free Foodie.

So here’s my 10 Questions with Alison, a girl Defloured. The coolest chick to come out of Oakdale since – well, ever.  KC

1.  How long ago did you get your Celiac diagnosis?  And what was your first reaction?

I was diagnosed in September of 2010, after being ill with various symptoms (gastric, fatigue, chronic anemia, brain fog etc.) for the better part of 10 years. I cried off and on for a few weeks. I knew it would be a big challenge for me, being that I’m a total foodie and professional recipe developer. But I think the biggest blow was being diagnosed with osteoporosis (at 36). That said, I was also tremendously relieved that I was going to be better…and quite frankly, that it wasn’t something worse.

2.  When did you start your blog, ‘A Girl Defloured’?

I started my blog the same month of my diagnoses. I already had a recipe blog called A Girl, A Market, A Meal, but instead of transferring all my old material over, I decided to start from scratch, build a new audience, and focus totally on gluten-free recipe development. (I had no idea how challenging that would be).

3.  Your recipes seem pretty healthy and full of flavor.  What aspects of healthy eating are most important to you?

I am definitely in the whole foods camp. We get a weekly CSA box of organic produce and I’m a farmers’ market shopper as well, so I guess you could also say I’m a locavore. I like my foods to be naturally gluten-free and flourless as much as possible (but I’m certainly NOT grain free…I still need some cake every once and awhile).

4.  Is there anything you’re particularly excited about right now?

I’m loving Crave Bake Shop’s new cake mixes and also Blackbird Bakery’s new bread mixes. And I have a pizza crust recipe I’ve been working on and will hopefully be able to share soon. I miss real, good textured pizza crust very much.

5.  If you had to eat the same thing everyday, what would you choose?

That’s a hard one…but I’d have to go with tacos. I LOVE Mexican food. Honestly, when I was first diagnosed, I checked first to see if I could still drink alcohol, and second, to see if I could still have corn tortillas.

6.  What’s your favorite thing about life in Santa Clarita?

The SCV (as we locals call it) is a very clean, beautiful, well-planned place to live with good schools and nice people. It’s very much suburbia (think Stepford), and I struggle with that sometimes. The best part would have to be my friends. I have an incredible support network here…so many people I can count on. The worst part (I know you didn’t ask me about that…) is the lack of independent restaurants. We have TONS of chains, but few places that I would actually want to eat.

7.  Do you have a favorite wine?

Duh! How about favorites? I know that rich, buttery chardonnay is totally having a Merlot moment, but I still do love it so. My favorites are Newton Unfiltered & Morgan’s Double L (if I’m feeling fancy) or J Lohr Chardonnay for everyday. I’m also completely enchanted with Zaca Mesa’s Roussane, which is a bit like a buttery chardonnay in it’s soft mouth-feel, but it has this amazing fig/spice thing going on–and it’s served at room temperature. In summer I love Prosecco, a nice grassy Sauvignon Blanc, and a good rose, as long as it’s not overly sweet. And I also dig red blends, like Justin’s Isosceles.

8.  If we opened your refrigerator, what would we find?

Good Lord! I think I must have every dairy product known to man in there (whole milk, skim milk, buttermilk, half and half, pastured butter, creme fraiche, sour cream, plain yogurt, cottage cheese, soft and hard cheeses, goat cheese). I also have two mason jars as vases, one with cilantro, one with sorrel (both half used, wilted and need to be tossed). I have a bottle of chardonnay chilling, and a leftover bottle of Toasted Head Untamed Red (best name for a wine ever), some leftover mashed potatoes that need to be tossed and some leftover mashed potatoes from last night that I will eat for lunch today (hopefully I won’t get them confused). There is some leftover corn pasta from Trader Joes that needs to go (it never tastes as good the 2nd day, does it?).  The doors are filled with lots of different sauces, mostly hot (sriracha, chili paste, habanero, jalapeno), and a variety of nut butters and condiments (I love fancy mustard). I have chard, beets, leeks, cabbage, some pears and apples, and a basket of kumquats from my CSA box. I also have the last harvest of peas from my vegetable garden. Oh and eggs. Whew. Sad thing is…I have to go to the market today. Ugh.

9.  What question are you most often asked on your blog?

Q: Do you have a good recipe for bread? A: I’m working on it.

10.  If you could be granted one food wish, what would it be?

Does it count if I wish for my Celiac Disease to be cured? If not, I’d take a day of gluttony at Pizzeria Mozza & Osteria Mozza (with no gluten side-effects), please.

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