Monday, September 27, 2010

adopt a gluten free blogger- celiacs in the house!

Wendy does an amazing job with two teenagers and finding healthy things for them to eat! This woman always fascinates me, as I have barely been able to manage myself, let alone help out my sister, but Wendy certainly manages her family's food with aplomb and verve. Our first instinct (ok, maybe just mine) is to hate people like that, the perfect organizers, but I think her love of food and family can teach us all a lesson on how to eat better for ourselves and our families. Sea is hosting adopt a gluten free blogger this month, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity for a beginner like me to learn! She has several recipes that I want to try with adaptations for Leslie. Since our instructions were to post a link to the original recipe, I needed to find one that fit all of Leslie's limitations, not just no gluten. This small caveat taught me that I should, perhaps, read the entire set of instructions before responding with a happy yes. Honestly, though, if I had read through her blog and noticed this, I might not have adopted her-and that would have been my loss. Her photos are beautiful and make me hungry! Her explorations of her local food markets and gluten free avenues are vividly posited for us, in the happenstance that we might visit her neck of the woods. Her education becomes our education, since she posts on learning about canning and how delicious it can be. I persevered and found Turkey cutlets with a mustard pan sauce! Ok, I didn't have any turkey cutlets, but I had chicken breasts in my freezer. Wendy has beautiful photos of her farmer's market haul of asparagus and strawberries from that day; I had zucchini (yes still, I wasn't joking about the glut) in my house that I needed to eat before they started paying rent in my kitchen. While I am happy with just chicken and simply sauteed veggies, I am admittedly weird, so we added some Jasmine rice to soak up that mustard pan sauce goodness. And everyone should be very proud of me- notice 2 pictures! One of the pan sauce, in the pan and one of everything assembled on the plate. Yes I know it is a paper plate; I am moving and for whatever reason, decided that my dishes were getting packed up first(weird- told you so). The paper plates did not one iota deter us from digging in to this amazing lunch and there were no leftovers-and we aren't even teenagers!

Monday, September 20, 2010

the last dance of the summer bbq

Here in the mile high city, we had a record 96 degrees this past weekend; serendipitously, I had decided to host one last bbq before our mercurial weather decided it should snow in September (hey, it's snowed here in JULY-you never know). When I barbecue, I turn to Steven Raichlen's Barbecue Bible (he is THE grill master, I tell you!) and the recipe I did this weekend was his North Carolina Style pulled pork- mainly because I didn't have to change anything for it to be gfree and dairy free. Plus, you get pulled pork with coleslaw, as you make the same sauce for both slaw and pork! Now, he grills this on a gas grill outside; as I wasn't going to be home Friday til late and didn't want to burn down my apartment building, I used his suggestion to do it in my oven. This is another of those recipes that people think they can't do because it requires time, and they could not possibly be more wrong. Yes it cooks for 12 hours- however, put it on before you go to bed, let it roast away and by the time people start to show up for food, it is done! As an added bonus, your house will be redolent of roast pork. And let me tell you, there will be absolutely no leftovers.

This is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

I have also linked this to Gluten Free Wednesday and Real Food Wednesdays- yummy recipes all around!

North Carolina Style Pulled Pork

1 9-12 pound pork shoulder (aka Boston Butt-bone in is better, but honestly I've made with boneless and it still came out amazing)
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ground mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar (i've also done palm sugar, for those of you trying to avoid refined sugar)

Preheat oven to 250 degreesF. Whisk together spices with brown sugar. Cut small slits in the fat along the pork shoulder; now rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder. Place seasoned pork into your roasting pan, 9 x 13 Pyrex, dutch oven, whatever you have that is big enough for 12 pounds of meat. (Now, you can do this and then stick the whole mess in the fridge for up to 24 hours if desired.) Now, cover the pan with foil (or lid if using dutch oven) and slowly roast the pork for at least 12 hours; it can go as long as 18. If you can manage it, take the lid or foil off the pork and crank up heat to 475 degreesF for the last 30-45 minutes or so. You don't have to do this, but I like the crust it gives the pork- however, it still works beautifully if you don't have the inclination/time to do this. Your house will smell divine.
Now, after you take the pork out of the oven, let rest for however long it takes you to get your Vinegar Sauce and coleslaw together- at least 30 minutes. Discard any bones and and most of the fatty au jus, you do want a little in the bottom; I eyeball, so whatever you think looks good.(I store my au jus in the freezer for later cooking-do as you will). Now you shred- or pull- the pork. I do this with tongs and a fork, but two forks work too; the point is that you wanted shredded pork that will sop up all that yummy sauce. Ok, now your pork is shredded so add in the remaining 2 cups of Vinegar Sauce- toss your pork to coat. Now serve with the slaw. You can also serve this on buns that are gfree friendly- but honestly, we eat it in little mountains with corn tortillas. I know, we're weird. Served our marauding band of 20 on Saturday.

2 bags of shredded cabbage (now, you could always want to slice 2-3 heads of cabbage yourself- your CSA box could be overflowing. I was feeling slothlike. Too much volleyball.)
1 cup of Vinegar Sauce (recipe follows)

Put cabbage in large bowl. Toss with one cup of Vinegar Sauce. Whew. Done.

Vinegar Sauce

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup (I tend to make my own-yes I'm that food nerd- but Heinz organic is pretty good too.)
1/2 cup brown sugar (again, palm sugar works here; you could also try honey)
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground mustard
2 tablespoons of chipotle Tabasco (this is my addition-I think it is fabulous! you can omit, if you choose)
2 cups apple cider vinegar (or to taste)
1 cup of water (to taste)

In a large bowl, whisk the spices with the brown sugar. Add ketchup and Tabasco (if using). Add the apple cider vinegar and water, whisk to fully incorporate. Now taste the sauce- it should be tart, vinegary; remember it is going to encase slow roasted pork, so you don't want too sweet, but adjust tartness/sweetness to your taste. Want more sweet? Add ketchup. More tart? Add vinegar.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Farmer's Market God smiled on Zucchini

Zucchini, for me, is the epitome of summer. I have so many different recipes for this lovely vegetable-steamed, sauteed, stuffed, casserole, etc. But even my enthusiam can wane under the absolute glut of zucchini. The farmer's market god did indeed smile on zucchini-mayhap even gave it a kiss as I don't think I have ever seen so much zucchini! Somehow, though, there is always another recipe to renew my joy in this lovely summer veggie. My new favorite is Michael Symon's-a raw zucchini salad! I served it with my braised short ribs and polenta. Now I didn't post a polenta recipe-like rice, polenta is 1 part polenta to 2 parts liquid. There are other fancier ways to do it, but most of them use dairy which many, including Leslie can't have. I will however post the zucchini salad recipe, because it is divine and perfect as is. Plus, you thinly slice the zucchini-I am always excited at any chance to use my mandoline! I love all sorts of kitchen tools- and this one gives me perfect, thin, even slices faster than I ever imagined possible. Although, I have done it with a knife, and it has come out perfectly too.

I have submitted this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Zucchini Salad

2 zucchini (about 3/4 pound, thinly sliced)
2 yellow summer squash (about 1 pound, thinly sliced)
1 tablespoon plus 1/4 teaspoon salt (Michael used kosher, I used sea)
1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 small clove)
1 shallot, finely sliced
Grated zest and juice of 3 lemons, or to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup fresh dill

Combine the zucchini and squash in a colander in the sink and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt over it. Toss to coat, and set aside for 10 to 15 minutes- no longer ! Otherwise, the texture will be mush-you'll lose the crunch as the salt will have removed too much of the water. In a large bowl, combine the garlic and shallot, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and whisk in lemon zest and juice. Whisk in the olive oil in a steady stream, and then the almonds and dill. Taste for seasoning and acidity(it should be nicely acidic).
Add zucchini to dressing, toss, and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

If you need to make ahead, slice zucchini and squash up to an hour before salting; cover with damp towel and leave at room temperature. Make up the vinaigrette up to 3 hours in advance.

fast is not always good

I am up for fast, delicious meals just as much as the next guy. But sometimes in the frantic pace that has become our life, I think we are missing out on things that are amazing and divinely yummy because we talk ourselves out of it-that will take too long, that ingredient list is 2 paragraphs, etc. Pffft! I am here to say that sometimes we need the food that has been prepared in a fashion that has largely passed out of of favor with the majority of people. Why out of favor? Because many people are too used to thinking: "how can I make dinner in 30 minutes or less?" And let me reiterate, that is, in and of itself, not a bad thing! My point is that I think we forgo other recipes and miss out on their brilliance and flavors that only slow and involved cooking can create. Case in point: short ribs. Now I adore pork-pork belly, bacon, pancetta, prosciutto, pork roast, and the list goes on and on. Somehow though, veal short ribs are one of my favorite things to cook. Some people think this process is too complicated, time consuming, etc.- no, no it is not!! Let me tell you-roasted, then braised short ribs are proof God loves us and wants us to be happy. And the best part is that this recipe is inherently allergy friendly! No gluten. No dairy. Fabulous! Now I used to serve short ribs with mashed potatoes, because this is comfort food and short ribs produce a fantastic sauce. However, mashed potatoes sans cream &butter are just not the same. Michael Symon suggests serving his with polenta-genius! It is my new favorite cookbook, especially as he has a salted zucchini salad that is amazing too-also allergy friendly. Now you will notice the recipe below isn't Michael Symons; that is because there are a gazillion short rib recipes, honestly. Some of the tell you to dredge in spiced flour, then pan sear; others have you thicken the sauce with all kinds of non allergy friendly things. Anyone that has written a cookbook that includes meat probably has one, so the recipe I list below is a melange of several people's brilliance that I have taken and probably not done justice to.

I have linked this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

This post is also linked to Gluten Free Wednesdays

Braised Short Ribs

6 pounds beef/veal short ribs on the bone(the bone gives flavor! DO NOT USE BONELESS)
4 medium carrots, roughly chopped
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 leek, outer green leaves removed and roughly chopped.
1 Bay leaf
10-12 sprigs of Italian Parsley
1-2 sprigs of thyme (you could also use rosemary or oregano)
1 bottle of red wine (I prefer Cabernet Sauvingon, but to each his own)
2-4 cups chicken stock, as needed (or veggie-whatever you have that is gfree, etc.)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Now you are going to want to start these the day before you plan on serving them. Honestly, there isn't alot of hands on effort-the oven does most of the work while you are off doing other things.
Preheat your oven to 400 degreesF. Get out your roasting pan, 9x13 pyrex, or whatever you have that you like to roast meat in. In a small bowl, mix a a little bit of pepper and salt- I like freshly ground and about half salt, half pepper, but to each their own. Rub the salt and pepper over the ribs and place them in the pan fairly close together. Scatter the chopped onion and 2 of the chopped carrots over and amongst the short ribs. Roast for an hour to an hour and half- til the ribs are brown and all the drippings are caramelizing.

Meanwhile, while the ribs are roasting, get on with the sauce! Ideally, you want a pot that can go from stove top to oven; however, not everyone has one, so I'll give two methods. So, pour your wine into the pot, over medium/high heat. Add the rest of the carrots, garlic, leek, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then immediately turn heat down to low and let the wine be gently heated with the aromatics until the ribs are done.

Now we'll do the stove top braising method first: add the ribs into the wine. (you can also dump in the roasted carrots and onion-I do, but my sister doesn't) You may have to pack them in tightly and that is fine. Now the braising liquid should barely cover the ribs; if not, then add some chicken stock to cover. Now take a piece of foil and crumple it slightly and put over the whole mess, then cover with the lid. Leave on medium/low heat for about 3 hours, til the ribs are tender and a knife slides cleanly in and out.
Oven method: Reduce oven heat to 225 degreesF. Add the ribs (also roasted carrots& onion if desired) to the wine, pack in tightly. Again liquid should barely cover ribs; add stock as needed. Put on the lid and place in over for about 3 hours, til the ribs are tender and knife slides cleanly.

Remove ribs to a bowl. Strain the liquid into the bowl over the ribs and refrigerate overnight. (you can also put the ribs and strained liquid back into the pot you braised them& leave in fridge-just depends on how much room is in your fridge)
Now, as the ribs cool they will reabsorb some of the liquid and the flavor that comes with it. This is why you make them a day ahead; the flavor is unbeatable. And I really do think that it is the easiest dinner for people ever, since the oven does most of the work. Your guests will think you have channeled some famous chef and toiled all day in the kitchen; but in reality, you spent maybe 30 minutes and then toddled off to bed. Another perk of this spending the night in the fridge is that all the fat will congeal on top of bowl/pan and you can remove that easily.

Now it is the day you are serving them. Heat your oven up to 325 degreesF. Skim fat off the top of the sauce/ribs. Place the defatted ribs/sauce in the oven to warm gently through, about 30 min. Place ribs on a platter and keep warm, while you simmer the sauce til it is reduced by half, 20-30 minutes. Now you can debone the ribs for serving or let your guests do that. I think they look marvelous with the bone, next to the polenta. Serves 6.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the lingering smell of happiness

I adore PBS (unless they are begging for more money) and the cooking shows that they have! Adventures with Ruth is usually good for some exotic deliciousness-this time it is curry! So we decided to do the recipe from the website Prawn Varuval. I have made some adjustments to the recipe-Leslie's diet and the lack of a good Indian food supply store near me (kari/curry leaves?? really? I would love to try fresh curry leaves, so if y'all know a good purveyor, leave me a comment- please! meanwhile, omitted for lack of sources), and I have to say- it is fairly fabulous! Leslie had a gazillion zucchini from the garden so we served it with freshly sauteed zucchini-just seasoned with salt, as curry is spicy enough- and organic brown basmati rice (I heart sunflower market). I thought this would be a fast and easy way to get back into the habit of posting my experiments. This summer has been crazy busy with work, continuing education workshops, and just plain summer fun activities. I will try to do better about posting- but don't expect me to turn into Amy Green overnight. :-) This dish is great for summer, as it is super quick to throw together and as odd as it may seem, the spicy lime scented shrimp seems to cool you off. One caveat- your house will smell, not unpleasantly, of curry for a few days. Lingering smell of happiness, prompting me to cook something else.

I have submitted this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Indian Spiced Shrimp (because I butcher the pronunciation just as much as you)

3 tablespoons oil/ghee (whatever works for you)
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (or 1 teaspoon of ground fenugreek)
1/4 teaspoon of Indian brown or yellow mustard seeds (or 1 teaspoon ground mustard)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Indian Red chile powder (or similar amount of Cayenne)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher)
1 lb jumbo(about 20) shrimp, peeled, leaving tail segment attached and deveined.
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 medium cloves)
1 piece of fresh ginger (1 inch x 2 inch) sliced thinly lengthwise (about 12 slices)
1 lime
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper (recipe prefer Tellicherry)

Ok, so if you have access to the spices whole-take the fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds and grind them together in your spice grinder. Alternately, use the already ground counterparts; as you can see whole freshly ground spices pack more of a punch. You might need to adjust for flavor and your preferences. Put ground spices into a large bowl; add cumin, chile powder, salt and coriander. If you can't find ground coriander, try looking for a spice mix called garam masala- it will have cumin, coriander and black pepper (among other Indian spices) and works nicely here. Add shrimp, tossing to coat well with spices.

Heat oil (we used avocado, as Leslie is wary of ghee being completely casein free- but authentic tasting would be ghee if you don't have her issues) in a heavy skillet (or wok) over medium high heat until hot, then add garlic and ginger, stirring until garlic is golden-about 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook, stirring until pink and just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and sprinkle with pepper and squeeze lime over. Serves 4 if you have small appetites. Served 2 of us.

Monday, July 12, 2010

oh vanilla, where have you gone?

Any who have been reading my small blog knows my addiction to cookbooks. Especially when they yield fabulous recipes; however, when you follow a recipe exactly and it does a belly flop into the kiddie pool, it is annoying- to say the least. Babycakes cookbook has in the past always produced amazing, delicious stuff! The chocolate cupcakes are to die for! So I am unsure what happened this weekend- the vanilla cupcakes had good texture, but the color and taste was off; they tasted healthy, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but not what I am going for. And there wasn't even any rice flour! So I will be tinkering with this recipe before I post it online; I am posting pictures though, in case any who would peruse here have any thoughts about what I did exactly that cause the two tone color shift in the cupcakes.
Now I have noticed that many of the Amazon reviews for Babycakes absolutely revile Erin for her frosting and that angers me slightly. Yes coconut oil is expensive, however how often are you making cupcakes with frosting? Everything else in the cupcakes is things most gfree bakers have on hand. And I have to say I have never had an issue with the chocolate frosting. And I didn't really have an issue with the vanilla frosting either- with the small exception that I inadvertently turned it green. I can not do soy, so I substitute hemp protein powder for the soy milk powder-easy peasy, lemon cheesy, right-o? Normally yes. However, when I traveled to Whole Food this past weekend there were out of the vanilla flavor of my beloved hemp protein powder. A lovely person who was on staff recommended a new protein powder they just got in, also hemp based and has no soy, whey or sugar! Woohooo! I was so excited about this and the fact that it came in vanilla chai flavor I did not look at the ingredient list as closely as I should have- it also had chlorophyll in it along with the other vitamins. Vitamins are good! And in the chocolate frosting it gives me secret pleasure to know that people are eating healthy vitamins and minerals in their frosting. But while chlorophyll is great for your body, it has one small drawback to achieving a creamy white vanilla frosting- it is green. As in Kermit the frog GREEN, I tell you. (see picture above) The cookbook does tell you that chlorophyll is a great way to naturally color frosting and let me tell you works beautifully. I am just not sure green colored frosting is the way to go. And while it was creamy and fluffy, the one problem with the Babycakes frosting is that when it heat hits it, it melts.(It also doubles as sauce.) So my poor healthy cupcakes sitting on the picnic table yesterday after a wee bit looked covered in drippy moss. Needless to say, I have lots of them leftover and I will try one of the recipes that calls from crumbs! Hopefully, by the time I have added more agave and other ingredients they will have lost their odd healthy flavor and just taste sinfully delicious.

Monday, June 14, 2010

ode to the blogosphere

There is such an amazing resource out there for those in need of speciality diets: the no gluten, no sugar, no dairy, no soy-recipes that match all of these can be found out in the blogosphere. I used to wonder at those who set up blogs; I couldn't fathom who would have so much extra time and energy to put whatever they chose to send out into the electronic world. Now, I consistently visit this world to learn about cooking with specific requirements for Leslie. I sign up to receive their hard work and knowledge via email and rss feeds. I stalk them on twitter. (that sounds scary, but really, isn't that what twitter is?? scads of people stalking each other over the internet?) One such blogger is Amy Green and she recently posted a recipe for strawberry orange cornmeal cake that I had to try! So off I went to the market, only to find blueberries, not strawberries were on sale. I could do blueberries, I said to myself. With lemon! This could work. Then I subbed applesauce for the egg and almond milk (Amy's suggestion)with tablespoon of apple cider vinegar swished in it for the buttermilk. I also used a gfree flour mix, as I didn't have sorghum flour by itself. They didn't rise as high as the original, but I think that is because the batter was spread thinner in the bigger pan; next time I will double the recipe. The mongering hordes polished off an 8x8 pan of this cake, so I think my small changes to Amy's recipe worked too. And, be very proud of me- I got not one, but two pictures!

EDIT: Amy mentioned in her comment below some ways to get more lift to the cake if you are not eating eggs- I am going to try to use the baking soda soon and will post how it goes!

I have posted this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. :)

Blueberry Lemon Cornmeal Cake

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon gluten free flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mills)
1/4 cup stone ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon flax meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 cup safflower oil (Amy used grapeseed-but I didn't have that on hand)
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup almond milk + 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (Amy used buttermilk)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Coat an 8x8 cake pan with oil. Now, Amy used 4 6 ounce ramekins-do as you will.
Measure out the almond milk, then add the tablespoon of apple cider vinegar; stir and set aside.
Combine flour mix, cornmeal, baking powder, flax meal, salt and xanthan gum in a medium/largish mixing bowl. In another bowl, whisk together oil, honey, almond milk with cider, applesauce, zest and vanilla.
Make a well in the cornmeal mixture. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into your 8x8 pan or your ramekins. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick tests clean. If you do the ramekins, Amy says 28 minutes for them and to make sure they are placed on a baking sheet, not just tossed pell mall into your oven. Okay, she didn't say that exactly, she's way nicer than me, but you know what I mean. Let cool on baking rack. Leftovers can be wrapped and frozen if you don't live in my house; I never have that problem. Makes 4 individual cakes or feeds average size pieces of cake for 6.

Monday, June 7, 2010

free at last!

Ok, anybody who is baking with gluten free ingredients hears all about the gum issue-xanthan vs guar, which is better and how they enrich the dough so that it can mimic the properties of gluten which we can no longer have. I have baked with both and I have been amazed at what they can do. I also am a little peeved sometimes at the gumminess of my crumb or an odd after taste. Previously, I reduced the quantity of the gum to see what that would do and then I would be happier with the finished product; after all, isn't that was gfree baking is all about, tinkering with this, fiddling with that in hopes of a kick ass recipe that will delight us and be healthy and taste good-not oh I-am-happy-you-made-this-for-me-fake-smile good, but omg!-I-don't-miss-anything-I-am-not-supposed-to-have good. Last week I had accidental progress, as I spaced putting in xanthan gum into my lemon cupcakes- and they still came out great! Inspired, I wondered what else can I do without xanthan gum? And on sale were blueberries, buy one get one free! Well, it was a sign! Especially since the last couple of batches or so of blueberry muffins I was not happy with. For my normal gluten with dairy muffins I use a hybrid of the recipes by Lisa Yockelson in her fabulous book Baking by Flavor and the recipe in James Peterson's Baking. James Peterson has some awesome food photography and everything is explained precisely in words and in a picture tutorial- the whys & wherefores, the things you need to know to bake, period.(I adore James Peterson for this reason and he does the same in his other books, Sauces & Cooking-both of which I also have). One might be asking, why would someone who is baking gfree and vegan care about regular cookbooks? Because you have to know how everything works with gluten; if you don't, you will find it hard to replicate that gfree. This recipe does have sugar and I know many who are tying to lessen the sugar or do without completely; sorry that I have yet to come up with a blueberry muffin recipe that uses something else. The first few attempts at using agave nectar resulted in blobs that threatened a hostile take over of my oven. I think evaporated cane sugar would work, and I would love to try palm sugar at some point; I was sadly out of both of those last night.

7/4/10 EDIT: I wanted to succeed in making these sugar free as well, so I have been quietly experimenting with these (praise be, we've had a glut of blueberries) and I think we have a winner! I used 1/2 cup of raw wildflower honey instead of the sugar and they taste great :) One caveat though-the first time I made these with honey, they fell apart as soon as they were peeled out of the paper liner. The next time, I added 1 tablespoon more of my g-free flour mix and a scant 1/8 teaspoon of xanthan gum-SUCCESS! At least we think so :)They honey makes them a really pretty deeper brown, but still gives a crunch to the top crust. And I will add the picture I took before they were devoured-as soon as I figure out how to label it :) thanks for being patient with me as I learn :)

I have also submitted this for June's Go Ahead Honey, It's Gluten Free

This is also linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday :)

Gfree, Vegan Blueberry Muffins

1/2 coconut oil (or butter for you who can have dairy)
1 cup gfree flour mix (I am partial to Bob's Red Mills)
scant 1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons brown rice flour (I am partial to Authentic foods)
2 tablespoons potato starch
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
scant 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup yogurt (I used coconut milk, but do as you will. the orginal recipe called for sour cream)
1/4 cup milk ( I used almond, as it was in the fridge and open)
1 pint blueberries
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon of cardamom
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375 degreesF. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Now, you could do that grease&flour farrago, but gfree crumbs tend not to bind too tight- I think the cupcake liners help hold everything in, but do as you will.
Whisk in a medium sized bowl the flours, starches, spices, baking powder &soda. Set aside. Put the sugar in a large bowl and add coconut oil; mix together. I do this on medium speed in my Kitchen Aid. Add the flour mix, a little at a time to the sugar mix, reserving 2 tablespoons for the blueberries. Add the applesauce, yogurt and milk and mix well. Take your pint of blueberries and toss them with the 2 tablespoons of the flour mix, making sure they are coated. Now add the lemon juice to the batter and mix just til incorporated. Add the coated blueberries and fold them in by hand with a spatula. Try and do this all quickly, as the lemon juice is activating the baking soda for some lift. Drop 1/4cup mounds of dough into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until they are golden brown and a toothpick comes clean. Your kitchen will also smell divine. Makes 12 standard size muffins.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

a happy accident

Have you ever forgotten to add something to your recipe and then liked they way it turned out better? It was just such a rare and encouraging happenstance that occurred at my house this past weekend. We had a dinner party, everybody bringing such good g-free foods- taquitos with corn tortillas, a homemade spicy chili oil with garlic, a vinegary tangy coleslaw and my spicy mango chicken salad. Again, I got absolutely no pictures of any of those; I am such a bad food blogger! But I did get pictures of my new and improved lemon baby cakes! The previous recipe I had posted was good, but I thought I could make it better with a little different mix of flours- and I was right. It appears in small quantities, brown rice flour can give you that fine, tender crumb but not impart a super healthy taste. And I also wanted to try reducing the xanthan gum, as sometimes it can impart a gummy mouth feel I am not impressed with. That was the grand plan; however I completely forgot to add the xanthan gum! But they rose beautifully in the oven and they tasted fantastic!! So I have edited the previously posted recipe to reflect the new quantities; I still have 1/2 a teaspoon of xanthan gum listed, as that is what I was going to try and thought I should leave up because you always hear horror stories about g-free baking without xanthan gum. (Maybe this no xanthan gum thing was a one time only happy moment. You never know.) I also tried the coconut cream whipped cream again- progress in this as well. It really does need a super COLD bowl, so my bowl was in for three hours and it did whip up a bit stiffer, but still not whipped dairy cream consistency so will continue to jigger with this a bit too. I also tried to make these wonderful puffs that Shirley came up with without eggs this weekend, substituting flax seed meal, but there was no puff! Saddened, I had to postpone fiddling with this recipe again so that I wouldn't be that hostess who never leaves the kitchen during her dinner parties; however, fear not, as I will try again at the earliest opportunity. And really, there will be more pictures. I promise. You know, eventually.

I also linked this post to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Monday, May 24, 2010

Yes, yes I do need that!

There are, admittedly, many kitchen gadgets that just take up space awkwardly and serve no useful purpose. However, none of those are in my kitchen, despite what the naysayers yammer on about. What prompted this post? My beloved mango slicer from Oxo! Yes, it does look odd, however it is perfectly designed to cut a swath around the seed of the mango, leaving me with only the luscious fruit inside. I love summer when mangoes appear with such abundance; I have smoothies, I make Indian-esque curries and soups and, let's be honest- I eat it plain, right off the skin. It is just sooo yummy. And when I made chicken salad with mangoes, it was just the perfect summer lunch; it was also gfree & dairy free! So even though I didn't beat the mongering hordes to grab any pictures (apologies, I really do need to practice that) I thought I would post the recipe for the blog to balance out all my sweet recipes. It is adapted from Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer cookbook (yes, yes I do really like her) and is perfect for leftover chicken; in fact, that is how she presents the recipe and called it Golden Jubilee chicken salad (for the year of creation, not because the Queen ate it. Although, she should, it is that good). I, however, feel it is totally and completely worthy of roasting chicken for! So that is what I did, and I am fairly sure you will agree once you have eaten this.

I also posted this on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

Spicy Mango Chicken Salad

7-8 chicken breasts (I did boneless skinless, as that was what was on sale.)
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons safflower oil (or oil of your choice)
3-4 mangoes (or more if you are a mango lover)
1-2 serrano chiles (or more if you like really spicy)
1 teaspoon coconut sap sugar (this could be omitted, but I like the bit of flavor it adds, plus it helps macerate the fruit; do as you will)
7-8 limes (yes, I know this is LOTS of lime juice, but you will be drizzling oil over)
3/4 cup cilantro, chopped (cilantro seems to be divisive, so adjust quantities as you will. but the flavor is marvelous, so please just don't edit it out. unless you are allergic/intolerant)
Small head of butter lettuce (or your leafy green of choice)
Additional Oil for drizzling.

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF.

In a skillet over medium/high heat, add spices and stir til everything is smelling aromatic, maybe 1 minute or so. Now add the 2 tablespoons of oil & whisk together. Have your chicken breasts in a roasting pan, 9 x 13 Pyrex, whatever you are roasting them in. Brush the chicken with the spice/oil mixture, evenly coating all the breasts. Bake them for 35-40 minutes, til the are done, registering 170 degrees on your thermometer (which is my favorite kitchen gadget evah! I <3 thermo pen).
At this point, I cover the chicken and stick in the refrigerator overnight. Then when I am ready to serve salad I combine the fruit and chicken; however, feel free to cool the chicken down and do this all in one setting.
Now I use my much adored Oxo mango slicer and pit my mangoes, then chop them into rough squares, putting them in a large bowl. Chop the Serrano chile(s); if you like heat, leave the seeds, if not then seed the chiles as well and add to mangoes. Add the coconut sap sugar. Squeeze all the lime juice over the mangoes & chiles. Stir to combine. Now, at this point I usually put a cover my bowl and put in the refrigerator overnight as I like to let the flavor combination develop; again, feel free to carry on with out this.
Now, that the chicken is cold, chop it into rough cubes. Add to the mango mixture and toss/stir well to combine. Add the cilantro and stir again. Now, divide your butter lettuce (which I use since I agree with Nigella in that it pairs beautifully with the aggressive flavors of chicken & mangoes, but do as you will) onto however many plates you are using. Scoop out the chicken salad onto the bed of lettuce and drizzle just a bit of oil over the top (Nigella used peanut or sesame, but for those with allergies choose wisely). This serves 8-10 (I am really not joking about the mongering hordes) but also keep well for a day or two, so is good for leftovers.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

biscuit love, baby

Any person from the South will tell you that any kitchen that does not produce biscuits is not a kitchen. Biscuits are the staple- you have them for breakfast, you have them with roast, and you even use them for dessert. Now, traditional Southern biscuits are usually made with low protein white flour; I have a bag of White Lily flour for just such a purpose, or you could also use cake flour because that low protein is what gives them that ethereal fluffiness, that lightness of crumb that tastes divine right out of the oven and even better with butter. But how do you make fluffy biscuits gluten, dairy & soy free? Fortunately, I did not have to much figuring out myself! Once again Cybele Pascal's Baker's Handbook had a fabulous recipe for baking powder biscuits! I changed it up a little, as tinkering is just a part of my nature, and I liked the texture of a little more cornstarch, the coconut flour & believe it or not just a bit of brown rice flour. The solid dairy free, soy free vegetable shortening stood in for butter. Anyone who has ever put Crisco in the freezer to bake knows that it never quite gets solid in the freezer, so it works perfectly; however, Spectrum makes their shortening with palm oil. Which gets SOLID. I had to grate it on a box grater into the flour mix! However, that is actually a technique(I found out later)that the Cook's Illustrated people use to get precisely even amounts of fat into their biscuit recipe. I also did not use a biscuit cutter; in my family we made biscuits round by pulling off part of the dough, gently patting it into a vaguely round shape, and then dropping them onto the hot cookie sheet. The other traditional thing I did was oven temperature; I cranked the oven to 500 degrees to preheat. Then when I put in the biscuits in, I immediately turn the oven down to 400 degrees; the initial boost of heat helps boost the volume of the biscuit, helping to achieve that coveted fluffiness. I will say these are not the same as grand mama's biscuits-but they are flat out amazing for being gluten free vegan biscuits. You can see in the picture we used some of the leftover biscuits for strawberry shortcake (notice the whipped rice cream from a can!) Love the biscuit, baby!
I also linked this post to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

G-free, Vegan Biscuits

3 1/2 cups gluten free flour mix (I like Bob's Red Mills)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons corn starch (if you can't do corn, sub as needed)
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
2 tablespoons brown rice flour (I like Authentic foods)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 tablespoons double acting baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon evaporated cane juice
1 cup dairy free, soy free vegetable shortening, chilled (I like Spectrum-if you want to grate it into your flour, measure this cup at room temp, then put in the freezer. otherwise, measure the cup and put in fridge)
2 cups plain yogurt (I used coconut)

Preheat oven to 500 degreesF. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, starches, xanthan gum, salt, cane juice, & baking powder.
Now, grate your frozen shortening into your four mix. Cut in the shortening with a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingers until you have a pea sized crumb, and when compressed the flour mix holds together. Add the yogurt and stir until just combined, making sure you incorporate the crumbs at the bottom of the bowl. Okay, if you just can't make biscuits without a biscuit cutter, dust a work area with gfree flour mix. GENTLY pat dough into a 1 inch thick disc, pressing in any loose bits. Use a 2 1/2 inch floured round biscuit cutter to cut out biscuits. Cut them as close together as possible and DO NOT rotate the biscuit cutter- straight up and down, in and out of the dough. Transfer biscuits to baking sheet. (you can also brush the tops with milk of your choice, for shiny topped biscuits) Now, I just pull off a racquetball sized piece of dough, GENTLY pat it into a 1 inch disc (maybe 2-3 pats, max- the less you handle to dough, the better your biscuits will be) and transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat until all biscuit dough is gone. The biscuit cutter will garner you 12 biscuits. You get 14 with my grand mama's method. Now as soon as you put the biscuits in the oven, TURN DOWN the temperature to 400 degreesF. Bake in center of oven for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden. Transfer to rack to cool or eat warm.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

celebration of 100 days not eating food

Because Leslie is intolerant of so many things, it has become our joke that she is allergic to food. Following her diet is hard, especially when you have a crazy work schedule and tempting food is always there. So when Leslie told me she had been strictly following her diet for hundred days, I felt there should be celebration! There was pork roast, salad, and roasted mashed sweet potatoes, all gfree and veganish(I say veganish, because I doubt pork is technically vegan, but no dairy products). And for dessert I made baby lemon cakes, adapted from Nigella Lawson's How to Be a Domestic Goddess because they are some of our favorite lemon cakes to be had. And the recipe lent itself, I think, quite easily to adapting to gfree, but also no dairy products. I replaced the dairy yogurt with coconut, eggs with applesauce, butter with coconut oil and the flour with my gfree mix. Nigella makes it with a powdered sugar &lemon juice icing, but I had been reading on several good people's blogs about the joy that is whipped coconut cream! I must try it!! As you can see from my picture, for whatever reason it did not whip to the same heights as traditional whipped cream, but it was delicious! I will have to experiment with this all again; most blogs told you to leave the cans in overnight and to put the bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer a good 3 hours before whipping. Uh huh. My bowl and whisk attachment were in the freezer maybe an hour, although my coconut milk in the can was in refrigerator overnight. Next time I will see if freezing the bowl for longer makes that much of a difference. I will also try to practice my food photography; on everybody else's blog all the food is soo pretty! Examples: I've linked this post to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. :)

Baby Lemon Cakes

1/2 cup plain yogurt (I used coconut)
6 tablespoons coconut oil (Nigella used melted butter, and you measure coconut oil after you've melted it! how perfect was that?)
1/2 cup of applesauce
zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup of gfree flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mills)
1 tablespoon finely ground brown rice flour (Authentic foods)
1 tablespoon of potato starch
1 tablespoon of tapioca starch
2 tablespoons of coconut flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum
7 tablespoons of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF. Nigella calls for a baby bundt pan; I used a baby loaf pan. You could also do cupcakes! Whatever pan you use, prepare with liners or grease& flour.

Mix together in large bowl the yogurt, applesauce, zest of 1 lemon and then the juice of that lemon. Nigella uses this juice for her icing, but since i am planning on coconut cream, I just dumped it in the batter. (I am strangely impulsive that way, plus I figured the juice would react with the baking soda and help with lift since there are no eggs)

Whisk together the flours, starches, sugar, baking soda, & xanthan gum in a medium bowl. Melt the coconut oil; measure out 6 tablespoons and add to the yogurt mixture. Add the dry ingredients to the yogurt mixture and mix til just incorporated.

Portion out into your prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. It took 25 for my little baby loaf pan, but the cupcakes only took 20. Basically, when they are lightly brown and your kitchen is redolent of lemon, they are done. They also spring back when touched. Makes 6 baby bundts/loaves or 9 cupcakes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

the contradiction of gluten free, vegan meatloaf.

Ok, everybody loves meatloaf. It is such a comfort food, bringing back warm and fuzzy memories of mom's meatloaf and her home cooking-even if she never made meatloaf in her life. Meatloaf and mashed potatoes are proof God loves us. However, while Leslie eats meat, she can not have eggs or gluten, which are traditionally a part of the meatloaf mixture. We experimented with some rice crumbs and some hemp milk, trying for a gluten free panade. Again, what is it with rice that it makes everything taste weirdly healthy? It also gave that meatloaf the consistency of a curing adobe brick. In my search for alternatives, our friend Becky (who also cooks gfree for a friend) suggested trying oatmeal. Oatmeal? Really? She swore you didn't taste the oatmeal, and during the baking they just meld with the meat. She didn't have any suggestions for the eggs and I while I thought about egg replacer, I didn't think its properties would mesh well with meat. Then I was reading over Cybele Pascal's fabulous book and her suggested substitutions for eggs and had an eureka moment. She lists prune baby food; basically prune puree with a bit of water. Hey, I have a recipe for roasted pork loin with apple and prune compote- this could work! So we experimented; the result? We were wowed. And learned that I need to work on my food photography-no matter what we did, meatloaf just didn't look tasty in my amateurish pictures. It looked like a lump of brown that was just looming evilly over the green beans. Maybe pictures of meatloaf always look good because they photograph fake meatloaf; isn't a sad thought that we've always been drooling over painted Styrofoam?

I also posted this on Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

G-free &Egg free Meatloaf

2 lbs of ground meat (we used a meatloaf mix of beef, veal&pork. we heart our butcher. you may choose as you prefer)
1 onion, chopped.
1/2 c plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats (certified g-free, of course)
2 2.5 oz containers of prune baby food. (we used Gerber-you want just prunes&water)
2 tablespoons of Italian Spice Mix (feel free to adjust and use individual spices)
Salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat oven to 350 degreesF

Saute the onions in a tablespoon of veg oil (we used grapeseed) until they are translucent. Meanwhile, while they are cooking, add your ground meat to a medium bowl. Add in seasonings and stir. Add in the oats and prune puree and stir. Now that the onions are done, add them in too. Stir well and make meat into a loaf shape and place on broiler pan; I like free form meatloaf. Or you can dump it into a Pyrex pan, of course. Now I like a little ketchup spread across the top of the loaf; Leslie is of the anti-ketchup group, so do as you will. Bake for 30-45 minutes or so, until it smells divine and is looking brown and crispy on the outside(if you use ketchup, it will look brown and crispy too). Obviously, serves 6 with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

unraveling the mystery of why rice flour always tastes healthy

Most of the gfree cookbooks out there rely heavily on rice flour. It is good for you and usually works well in flour blends designed for gfree baking. One such cookbook that I recently discovered, Flying Apron's baking book uses it in the majority of recipes. It is a wicked awesome cookbook, and everything I've made to date comes out perfect! However, it does beg the question of why does rice flour always taste healthy? Probably because it is. And baking with oils that have neutral tastes or shortening(which has no taste) instead of butter lets the taste of rice shine through. But other gfree flours are good for us (in varying degrees), but they don't taste healthy like rice four tastes healthy. Huh. Maybe my mouth is just weird. So far my favorite recipe from Flying Apron's book is Peach &Walnut Tart using her almond pie crust. The almonds almost distract you from the healthy rice taste and make this crust super easy to work with, albeit almost instantaneously crumbling sandiness upon being baked. But you will scoop up the crust with your fingers, I promise. It is that tasty. This time I made it was more just peach tart, as it was snowing and I ran out of walnuts and wasn't going to the store. So the only tinkering with this recipe was due to what I had on hand in my pantry. This recipe is just sooo amazing. Although, the crust does brown super fast....there might be updates later. Also, I submitted this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Peach &Walnut Tart

Single crust:
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons palm oil (I was out and used coconut and it worked fine)
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon of cold water

Combine rice flour, almond meal, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together and set aside. In bowl of standing mixer, mix the palm oil til softened, about one minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the honey, almond extract and water and mix til soft dough has formed, about 5 minutes. If dough is dry, add 1 additional tablespoon of cold water til dough is smooth.

Take a moment to preheat your oven to 375 degreesF. If you have a pizza stone, throw it on the bottom rack.

Slice off a 13 inch sheet of parchement paper. Dust with rice flour. Place dough onto parchment and sprinkle with more brown rice flour. Roll dough into an 11 inch disc, or there abouts. If you are planning on making this in a pie plate, then be more exact about it. I used a 10 inch tart pan, which is easier to cheat with, since there is no fiddling about with a decorative edge. Now, when you have your circle of dough, place your tart pan/pie plate, inverted, over the middle of the dough. Now slide your hand under the parchment, and flip the dough into the pan. Remove parchment,and press dough into place. Any tears that ocur can be fixed by gently pressing the dough back together. It is miracle dough, I swear.

Now we are going to par bake the crust for 15 minutes. You don't need pie weights or any other farrago that we are used to in dealing with gluten crusts. It will be perfect, especially on the stone.

Now the filling:
4 peaches, pitted and sliced into thin wedges. (or 1 bag of frozen. It was snowing here in Colorado when I made this, so I cheated. Cascade Farm has yummy organic frozen stuffs.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brandy or freshly squeezed lemon juice (frozen peaches, so used the brandy)
1/2 cup ground walnuts. (didn't have any, and it was snowing, so made w/o, but thought you would like the actual option)

In large bowl combine peaches, cinnamon, arrowroot and a pinch of salt. Mix gently til peaches are coated. Add maple syrup and brandy and toss gently; you want the arrowroot and syrup distributed evenly, no globs, but you don't want the peaches to start breaking down. (which isn't a problem if you cheat with frozen-not reccomending, mind you, just stating facts)
Arrange coated peaches in concentric circles on the par baked crust, filling the tart pan snugly. Pour any remaining liquid over the top of the peaches.
Bake on the bottom rack of the oven until filling is set and peaches cooked through, about 45 minutes. Check tart halfway through; if it is browning too quickly cover with foil. (or if, like me, you were watching a particularly intense movie and didn't check, you will just have brown crust.) Cool slightly before serving. We served with a mango sorbet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

blasphemous mac & cheese

Until Leslie had received her diagnosis, I had never thought I would say anything good about anything vegan. Who voluntarily decides not to eat meat? Cheese? Butter?? Nobody with promising cognitive processes, that's who. However, in the past 6 months or so that we have been dealing with her dietary limits, I now have a whole new appreciation for vegan baking. Where else would I find ways to substitute eggs, cheese, butter and everything else Leslie can't have? Granted some rely heavily on soy(poor deluded souls), but those are easily ignored in favor of those who ingeniously have new ingredients for old methods. I recently found the glutenfreegoddess! Some of her recipes are not vegan, but all are gluten free and she explains everything very clearly. Sometimes annoyingly so for those of us that can follow and cook from recipes more intricate than she writes; but as Thomas Keller has yet to come out with a gluten free cookbook I find myself dependant on the kindness of stranger's blogs. I was perusing her lovely recipes when I found The Best Vegan Mac&Cheese Recipe. My first thought was, Blasphemer! There can be no such thing. But then I read her recipe and found myself intrigued despite myself- frozen gluten free, yeast free waffles for bread crumbs? That is genius! Using tahini or almond butter to get that creamy depth that usually only comes from actual butter and cream? Holy cow indeed! I simply had to try this.
I automatically altered the recipe a bit for Leslie, since she can not have yeast. I also altered it for me; or rather the sneering, but charmingly French accented voice in my head that holds no truck with powdered anything when actual onions and garlic are available. Next time I swear, a picture; I will be faster than the mongering hordes.
I also submitted this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday

EDIT/UPDATE: Ok, so the gluten free, yeast free waffles I tried with this the first time worked, but Leslie pointed out that they have soy! D'oh! Lesson for me to read the ingredients list as well as the shiny Gluten Free banner on the front. So if you can have soy, Van's is the way to go. Sadly, we are not supposed to have soy (thanks be that it was a small quantity!) Hence, the next time we made this we made our own waffles with Authentic foods baking mix which is an extra step for us, but our waffles worked well too. Instead of eggs we used Enger-G egg replacer for 2 eggs and a 2 Tablespoons applesauce. And you can freeze the leftover waffles for the next time. Or to have actual waffles.

Oh, while I am here, I should also add the last time we made this we used cashew butter, omitted the nutmeg & oregano, replaced the tumeric with cayenne pepper, added 1 tsp of ground mustard (we like mustard&cayenne with our tuna. feel free to comment about our weirdness and/or substitute your own spices) and added tuna and frozen peas for a pretty kickass gluten free, dairy free tuna noodle casserole.
this post is linked on May’s Gluten-Free Lifestyle Carnival
Blasphemous Mac&Cheese

10-12 oz dry pasta, partially pre-cooked. (I like Tinkyada too & used penne, but to each their own.)

6 tablespoons avocado oil (or vegetable oil of your choosing; this was what I had)
4 tablespoons sweet rice flour (aka Mochi- I like Mochinko)
2 1/2 cups plain hemp, rice or nut milk of your choice. (I used hemp)
2 tablespoons tahini (you could also use nut butter of your choice)
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon juice (you could also use a vast array of gfree vinegars)
1 teaspoon of sea salt (or to taste)
1 onion, chopped medium
6 garlic cloves, minced (I adore garlic. You, of course, may add your garlic to taste)
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons white wine
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (Originally, added for color, but I liked the taste of it as well; it went well with the tahini, I thought)

2-3 gluten free frozen waffles, plain obviously. (unless you have a mad craving for strawberry or something fruity. I have heard of stranger things)
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (or, again, whatever is in your cabinet)
spices to taste. I used a bit of dried oregano, what with the tahini and lemon juice.

Ok, so toast the frozen waffles. Yes, really. When done, break them up and put into your food processor; give a few whizzes until they are looking crumbesque. Add in spice(s) and give a quick whizz. Now drizzle in that bit of olive oil,& pulse just til the crumbs are moist and start sticking together a bit. Briefly toast these in a skillet, to get that lovely crunch. Set Aside.

So, pre-cook pasta as follows: bring large pot of salted water (yes it makes a difference) to a roiling boil and cook pasta til just slightly tender, but still firm to bite (al dente for those in ignorance). Drain IMMEDIATELY in colander and rise under COLD water. Set aside. Rice pasta has differing cooking times I have found, so please check the package for their instructions, but it should read very much like the above. Only with minutes.

Pre heat the oven to 350 degreesF

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over med/high heat & add in the onions. Saute for about 10 min, til they are smelling good and starting to soften. Add the garlic, and continue to cook til the onions are nice & golden and the garlic is smelling divine, another 5 min or so. After you added the garlic to the skillet you can start the roux in a medium saucepan. You want the saucepan over medium heat; add in the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil. When oil is hot, whisk in the sweet rice flour. You want a fairly blonde roux for this, so only cook the flour paste for about 10 seconds, then slowly add the in hemp milk, whisking like a dervish to blend the roux into the milk for your silky sauce. When all lumps are gone, up the heat to med/high bringing mixture to a boil(do I really need to say it will thicken as it heats? I so say). Don't let it boil over! As soon as your sauce is bubbling, turn the heat back down to low.
Add in the sauteed onions&garlic, tahini, mustard, lemon juice, & sea salt. Whisk well. I also added a bit of white pepper; do what you will with the pepper situation. Now add in the white wine and the nutmeg. Mix well with whisk. Remove from heat and set aside.

Pour the cooked pasta into a 6 cup baking dish. (I used my small 6c corningware oval, but do as you will. You could also do 6 individual stingy ramekins, but combine the sauce and pasta in a bowl first, then divide.) Pour the sauce over the pasta and gently combine. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with your newly spiced waffle bread crumbs. You could also sprinkle a bit more dried oregano (or spice of choice) along the top for color. (I did)

Bake for about 25 minutes, until all is bubbling and smelling more divine than anything vegan should. Serves four at the goddess's house; 3 at mine. The mongering hordes, you know.

Monday, March 8, 2010

practicing for my gfree domestic goddess test

First, I must say I had no idea that so many of my friends are blog nazis. You don't capitalize words at the beginning of the sentence! You don't consistently capitalize actual famous places/things! You have run on sentences! You don't blog everyday! Huh. So, in the future I will endeavor to write in the proper English style, and update more often, but don't hold your collective breath for everyday. Personally, I thought I did well to figure out how to insert links into my blog. At any rate, onto the food! Nigella Lawson has this amazing blackberry galette with a cornmeal crust in her How to Be a Domestic Goddess cookbook. I had tried a few times to redo this recipe for Leslie, but I wasn't entirely happy with the results. I then stumbled across Cybele Pascal's The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook, which is marvelous! She has a raspberry galette recipe with cornmeal pate brisee! And she ingeniously uses a 'soured' rice milk, even though there is no baking soda in the recipe. Of course, I fiddled with her recipe as well; I prefer more crunch in my crust, so I added 1/4c of coarse ground cornmeal and upped the amount of fine cornmeal, at the same time reducing the amount of gfree flour mix. The result? The picture is of the last piece, because as soon as it was cool enough to eat, it was devoured. You will notice it has blueberries and strawberries- I buy fruit on sale, and raspberries were 5$ for half a pint?!? Yeah, no. Buy one get one free fruit rules the recipe. Leslie says thumbs up!
This is also featured on Go Ahead, Honey! It's gluten free!
Berry Galette

Cornmeal Pate Brisee
1/3c Rice Milk (or milk of your choice)
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1c gluten free flour mix (I used Bob's Red Mills)
3/4c finely ground cornmeal
1/4c coarsely ground cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3c granulated sugar
1/2c dairy free, soy free vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum)
1 tablespoon ice water, if necessary

Berry Filling
4c fresh or frozen berries (raspberries, blueberries, etc)
4 tablespoons evaporated cane juice
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons gluten free flour mix, or arrowroot
1 tablespoon rice milk, for brushing the crust.

Combine rice milk with lemon juice and set aside for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degreesF.
Meanwhile, in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour mix, cornmeals, xanthan gum, and salt. Add the sugar, mixing for a few seconds until combined. Add the shortening, mixing on medium speed until you have a coarse meal that holds together when squeezed, about 1 minute.
Slowly add 'soured' rice milk and mix on low speed until the dough begins to ball in the center, about 1 minute. If seems too dry and not coming together, add the tablespoon of ice water.
Turn dough out onto parchment paper. Mold into a circular, vaguely flat disc, pinching together the edges. Top with another sheet of parchment paper. Now roll out dough into a 13 inch circle. (you don't have to top with 2nd piece of parchment, but be forewarned, it is a sticky, delicate dough) Use your fingers to even out edges if they are too jagged for your taste. This is a free form tart, so it doesn't have to be a perfect circle, with perfect edges. Transfer dough, parchment paper and all to a rimmed baking sheet. Easy to transfer to oven and if berry juice leaks, it won't leak onto your oven floor.
Now, the filling! Combine berries, 4 tablespoons of evaporated cane juice, lemon juice, and flour mix. Toss gently to distribute the flour evenly.
Arrange berries in the center of the dough, leaving a 2 inch border. Fold the edges of the dough toward the center, pressing gently to seal. The dough will only partially cover the fruit; the center should be a circle of glistening berries. Seal any cracks by pinching crust with fingers.
Using a pastry brush, brush the rice milk over the dough. You can also sprinkle a tablespoon or so of sugar over the whole business, if you want. I just brush the rice milk over; it helps seal the dough and gives it a nice sheen when done.
Bake for 30 minutes in the center of oven. Then rotate the baking sheet, decrease the heat to 350 degreesF and bake for 25 minutes longer, or until crust is golden, and all is smelling delicious. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack and let come to room temperature before serving, 15-20 minutes. We had this with coconut bliss ice cream on top. YUM! Serves 8. Or 6 dessert hogs.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

nobody knows precisely where spelt orginated, but it was popular in the dark ages, so i am guessing nowhere good.

apparently, some people who are wheat sensitive/allergic/etc can have spelt. Leslie isn't one of them, praise Elvis! however, in my new babycakes cookbook she has spelt recipes for these people for whatever reason. as for me, let the replace spelt trials begin!

as i adore cobbler, i decided to start with the blackberry, peach& oat cobbler on page 126. how to replace 1 cup of spelt flour? well, for the first try, i thought i would use a pre made mix, bob's red mills baking mix has sorghum flour, fava bean flour, garbanzo bean flour and tapioca starch. i also used apples instead of peaches because fresh peaches in Colorado in February? i have more faith in santa. and apples, like stone fruit, hold their shape when baked. and since i used apples i replaced the cinnamon with nutmeg and added a wee bit of cardamom. result? not bad, but the cobbler topping didn't brown as well as i like and wasn't too crispy, more doughy. & i wasn't crazy about having it be spiced and no spices in the fruit. trial #2 had me using 3/4 c of bob's mix, then adding 2 tablespoons of coconut flour and a tablespoon of potato starch, and an extra tablespoon of tapioca starch. i upped to rolled oats to 1/2 cup (i am an oat fan). i also altered the recipe so that the spices got mixed in with the fruit. result? WOOHOO! the coconut flour lent it a more nutty taste, it was crispier and more evenly browned. more oats helped too, especially with crunch. so am going to post this recipe,(i also submitted it to slightly indulgent Tuesday) with my alterations:

Blackberry, Peach&Oat Cobbler

3 cups sliced fresh peaches, with skin
1 cup fresh blackberries
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup bob's red mills gfree baking mix (or your own)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon potato starch
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
1/2 cup rolled oats (gfree certified, duh)
3 tablespoons evaporated cane juice, plus more for sprinkling
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or spice to your liking)
1/4 cup coconut oil, plus more for brushing
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 c hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. (i live about 5k, so i do 350) line bottom of 8 x 3 inch round cake pan with circle of parchment and brush with oil. or just brush with oil, if you have no parchment.
In small bowl, whisk arrowroot, cinnamon (or whatever spice you are using),and 1/4 teaspoon salt together. Add fruit and stir. Add 1/4c of the agave nectar, stir and set aside.

In medium bowl, whisk together the flours and starches, oats, 3 tablespoons of the evaporated cane juice, baking powder, and remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt. Add the oil, remaining 1/4cup of agave nectar, the vanilla and the hot water to the dry ingredients. Stir until a moist dough is formed, like 4 min.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the fruit mixture evenly in prepared pan. Drop spoonfuls of batter over the top of the fruit, but DON'T SPREAD. Sprinkle the top with evaporated cane juice.

Bake the cobbler on center rack for 20-25 minutes, or until it is smelling divine and the fruit is bubbling through gaps in the crust and said crust is the shade of golden that you desire.

Let cobbler stand for 15 minutes before serving warm. I like mine with either a berry sorbet or coconut bliss coconut ice cream.

In the unlikely event that there is any leftover, it keeps for up to 3 days at room temperature, covered in plastic.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

we are not men- we read directions

in my quest to make gluten free, vegan baked goods i found a cookbook called Babycakes written by a bakery owner in New York City! fabulous, i thought to myself, as i ordered it toot suite off of amazon. upon its arrival, i was promptly drooling, looking at all the amazing pictures. however, as the title of this post reiterates, i am not a man, i read the entire cookbook cover to cover before i even went shopping. so, i set a date for friends to come over to eat, drink and not damage my new TV. i made everything according to Leslie's diet, so we were all eating gluten free, mostly vegan dinner; i say mostly vegan as we had pork roast, but no butter, cheese or other dairy products. does that count? what do you call people who eat in accordance with a vegan lifestyle in everything but meat? just dairyless diet? but i digress. for dessert i had made the chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting-mainly because i adore anything chocolate and the reviews on amazon were strangely vehement in their frosting angst. how hard could it be, really? (yes i am frequently smug)i followed the directions for the frosting; substituting hemp protein powder and hemp milk for the soy protein powder and soy milk-which she says to do if you are allergic to soy, which we are. i made sure the coconut oil was at room temp. i assembled it all in my trusty blender and whirled the ingredients into chocolate sauce goodness. i poured it into tupperware and set into the refrigerator to set up, believing the book that promised it would.
onto the cupcakes themselves. since the recipe called for cocoa, i automatically bloomed(whisked with hot liquid to bring out flavor)it in the hot coffee, then added to the remaining ingredients. oops. recipe didn't call for that. hoping i hadn't screwed it up irreparably, i baked them in muffin tins. they came out smelling like heaven. i knew they were gluten free, sweetened with agave nectar of all things and had no eggs, but when i tasted them i had no idea-it was plain chocolate goodness in my mouth. i did notice they crumbled easier than college girls at mardi gras- super delicate crumb. note to self-ALWAYS use cupcake liners. i made sure i put them away in zip loc for the next day. 12 hours later, the frosting DID set up. and still tasted like chocolate! maybe not the chocolate frosting with butter i am used to, but tasty. so, as my friends are walking in, i am frosting cupcakes, hopeful that people won't gag en mass when eating them. as i am making the coffee, people start in on the cupcakes. i am asked multiple times for the recipe, by people who have no idea these are gluten free and vegan. when i gave it to them their reaction was complete shock. so two recipes in, a successful baking event. sorry no picture though, they were gone before i could find my camera-yes they were that good. i decided to post a review on amazon, so that i can rebut those negative ones, the gist of which was: if you can't be bothered to read the directions, we can't be bothered to listen to your whiny assed complaints.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

1st post

the title of my blog refers to my fabulous friend/sister-Leslie. she was recently diagnosed gluten intolerant, soy intolerant, egg intolerant and casein intolerant. no wheat. no soy (not that i think that is a loss, personally. i think most soy products taste like newspaper your let your dog poo on, then ground and mashed for food. fortuantely for me, i am soy intolerant as well), no eggs, no butter, no milk, no cheese, no yogurt, no...well, you can, literally write pages of what she CAN NOT have. so, this means that in addition to gluten free challenges, she also eats like a vegan. unless she is eating meat, which she does, because she is not cutting anything else out of her diet. i looked at this like a food challenge, one i am determined to be victorious in so that she can have cookies, and cake and frosting and fried chicken everything she once had eaten. but, you know, within her dietery constrants. yes, i am amazingly OCD, however did you guess? so this blog will detail my experiements, the good, bad and the ugly. there might even be pictures. and as the title of my blog spot details, i am petite, have red hair, and frequently cranky. or just downright bitchy, it all depends on the day and my caffiene consumption throughout. small warning to the world at large.