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