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.