Saturday, December 29, 2007

Birthday Cake

So I made a Birthday Cake for the esteemed choir director's birthday.

I don't have a pic yet, his SO is supposed to send me one. I'll edit to add the pic.

I adapted a recipe from The Baker's Dozen Cookbook. For Rich Chocolate Cake.

3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 cup potato flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
(or 2 1/4 cups of your favorite blend)
1 tsp Xanthan Gum
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/3 cups light brown sugar
1 stick butter, room temp
1 cup sour cream, room temp
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp cocoa
1 cup boiling water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottoms of two round cake pans with parchment or wax paper.

Dissolve cocoa in boiling water and let cool to room temp. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.

Blend flours, baking soda and salt in a bowl (preferably using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment) Add the brown sugar and blend it in.

Add butter and sour cream. Blend for about two minutes, add the eggs, chocolate and vanilla. Beat at medium high for two minutes, add the cocoa water. Put in pans and put in oven. It will take about 45 minutes to an hour to bake.

Let the cakes cool, turn them out, peel off the paper. and frost with cream cheese icing.

(cream cheese and butter with confectioners sugar- 1 pkg cream cheese, two sticks butter, one bag sugar and glug of vanilla) You could add orange zest or some such thing if you wanted to vary the flavor.

If you want to tweak the flavor of the cake, you can replace the boiling water with coffee. Make more of a mocha cake.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Biscuits, biscuits for breakfast!

So I decided, with the icky weather, that I wanted something tasty for breakfast. I came up with some biscuits. They need a little tweaking, too much baking powder, but they contain no rice flour.

Preheat oven to 350

1/8 cup potato flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp baking powder (note, I would reduce this to 3/4 or 1/2 tsp in retrospect)
1/8 tsp salt (maybe up the salt to 1/4 tsp?)
1 tsp sugar

1 large egg, beaten
heavy cream, until it is a sticky dough

roll into balls, it should make six to eight biscuits. Place on a cookie sheet and into the oven.
When done, glaze the tops with melted butter.

Enjoy! I'd love to hear any thoughts!

Thursday, December 13, 2007


This time of year always has me thinking about the past. Its supposed to be a time of holiday traditions and cheer. So, while sipping a lovely cup of gluten-free eggnog, with a splash of booze, I'm musing over my past.

I look at pictures of myself as a child, and I think that I really had the hallmarks of being a celiac. I had a belly at one point (my mother and sister nicknamed it, there's family harmony for you!), but otherwise I was thin. I was small for my age... I had anemia for a while, I remember having to take this awful-tasting iron syrup.

The only time I felt well was when I was virtually anorexic. I ate apples and sliced deli turkey during my senior year of boarding school. And drank lots and lots of coffee for the energy.
Even growing up in Egypt, I still ate a fair amount of bread. Now maybe because it was the 'baladi' bread, the coarse peasant whole wheat, with grit and such in it, the gluten was absorbed less, I don't know. But bread is so omnipresent in my past, its no wonder I never figured it out.

But in retrospect, any time I've eaten high-wheat-density, I've been tired and fat. Any time I've lived with someone, its been high-wheat. Boarding School and college? Definitely. Bulk cafeteria food! Our emergency rations? White flour tortilla with cheese, with a cinnamon sugar one for dessert. Even living alone, what's for dinner? Boil up some whole-wheat pasta with some parmesan cheese. Snacked on Triscuits or Wheat Thins.

Now my emergency rations are tamales from Trader Joes, an apple with peanut butter, or corn tortilla with a grating of cheese... (some things don't change much).

Christmas, we always made some Christmas cookies. Not in the amounts my aunt did, but there were always white-flour treats around. It was Christmas! Now I make caramels and panforte. I have lots of fruit, nuts, chocolate. Macaroons, meringues, marshmallows all melt in my mouth. (I had to have that alliteration there, thank you).

While I do miss some of the food traditions of my childhood...I'll never have Koushary again (a mix of rice, vermicelli, lentils, tomato sauce, and fried onions) at least I'll never have kibbe again (a lamb dish made with couscous, which I never liked). I have a good reason to avoid the doughnuts and the store-bought cake. And I'm healthy! Wheee!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

About Me.

Hi! My name is Catherine, and I'm living wheat-free. I learned that I had a problem a few years ago, when I went on an elimination diet. I'm now healthy and happy living without wheat.

Celiac disease and wheat sensitivity have been linked to a lot of things, including the reason I went on the diet, endometriosis. My endo is actually controllable through diet. Amazing. I'm less tired, achy. I can actually function when I have my period, although I'd still like to curl up and die.

Its a challenge at times... I'm an active member of my Roman Catholic church, and it sometimes seems like the church carries the bread motif a little too far! There's bread and flour at every event. Father bakes. The church ladies bake. There is coffee and doughnuts on the first Sunday of the month. But I have lost weight on the celiac diet. I used to be huge, and I firmly beleive it was because my body was looking for nutrition that it couldn't get. And now it is getting the carbs, the protein, all of that. (I also think that its probably why the nation as a whole is fatter, because our foods have less nutrition in them, being produced and picked for prime shippability).

Although I miss bread, French, rosemary, croissants, bagels...and I miss, God how I miss, pasta. Ravioli, fresh pasta....mmmmm I now eat almost anything else I want. Cheese, good chocolate, ice cream..... and I've made cakes that people love. Tall, fluffy, yet dense chocolate cake. Homemade caramels.....

Living without gluten is a wonderful adventure, and I love it!