Monday, December 28, 2009

Ringing in the New Year, gluten-free and happy....

I can't tell you how nice it is to be gluten-free, to have someplace to go for New Years, and to be healthy. I do want to talk a little about appetizers, buffets, and going gluten-free... most appetizers are, unfortunately, not g-f. Its something that usually makes me hesitant about going to most events, since I'm not going to find a lot of stuff I can eat, but also, eating isn't the primary focus of most events. Its the people. So I'll plan to have a snack when I get home...

but I'm amazed at how many celiacs try to eat the topping, or the filling of something.

Cheese is gluten-free, unless served on the same tray as crackers. Devilled eggs are usually gluten-free, since most people don't add soy sauce. veg and fruit are gluten-free, and hummus is (until someone dips that piece of pita into it). Shrimp are g-f (yum!) Be careful of chips though, the flavoring usually has wheat in it....plain are usually ok though.

I'm going to play around with rice paper on Thursday, and see if I can't make a g-f spinach roll thing, like spanakopita. (or however you pronounce it)

For desserts, macaroons and marshmallows and fudge are gluten-free, as are meringues. Puddings are g-f, but people have a tendency to try to make trifle, which is not. And beware banana pudding from Paula Deen, as she puts cookies in it....

If I were doing a party, I'd have devilled eggs, shrimp, various cheeses. I'd do baked cheese baskets and add a neat little filling of some kind. I'd do the roasted potatoes, with a dab of creme fraiche and caviar (or smoked salmon). If it was a big party, I'd do a slab of smoked salmon with the walnut bread I've made on here. I'd do hummus (of course!) and veggies. I might even do a salad with artisan lettuce and roasted sweet potatoes....

For desserts, gluten-free brownies, a cake, crustless cheesecake, chocolate fondue with lots of fruit and marshmallows to dip into it...maybe something in marzipan.....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Gluten-free-range fruitcake.

(No, this is not based on Alton Brown's recipe. But I loved the pun so much...I had to borrow it)

8 oz chestnuts cooked and mashed (minus one that fled behind the cabinet in terror)
1/2 cup masa harina (or finely ground cornmeal)
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup OJ (Juice, not Simpson)
1/4 cup potato flour
2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
Vanilla to taste (1 capful)
1/4 cup candied, chopped citron
1/2 cup dried cranberries, plumped in 1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup candied, chopped orange peel

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Put in a springform pan and place in the oven. Bake until done.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me....

And I suspect, even Cookie Monster would like these cookies! I started playing around with this idea after eating rice where I'd made a successful tahdig (crust) on the bottom.

2 1/2 cups fresh cooked rice (white, salted, with a little olive oil)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup walnut meal
1 egg yolk
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil (approx, could be more)
capful vanilla
5 dashes cinnamon
2 dashes mace

Preheat oven to 350. In bowl of stand mixer, beat rice with paddle attachment. Add butter, brown sugar, white rice flour. Add egg yolk and walnut meal (basically finely chopped walnuts). Add raisins (as many as you like), and olive oil enough to make the mixture scoopable. Add baking powder, and spices last.

Prepare a sheet pan with either silpat or baking parchment. place about 2 tsp worth for each cookie, but spread it out a little, so its flat... bake the cookies until they are brown around the edges.... let cool, and eat.


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Filo, Phyllo...pastry by any other name....

So, I've been looking for a gluten-free alternative to phyllo...and I think I've found it! I started experimenting today with rice paper... treating it almost as I would phyllo, wrapping it around walnuts, chocolate chips, with a little bit of brown sugar and cinnamon mixed in.

Its not perfect, its a little more crunchy than phyllo, but wrapped into logs around the filling gave enough of a feel of pastry...

Here's what I did.

Wetted down the round (I dunked it a few times, until it was starting to soften). Put it down, brushed melted butter over it, and then rolled it up, with the filling placed near the end. Finished off with another dab of butter, and baked in the oven at 350.

You can do them with no butter on the inside, but I do suggest at least having a dab of butter on top... and they do turn out better if they can absorb the butter a little... I do wonder if it would be better to let them sit for 5 minutes before baking...

but it was so nice to have a crisp mouthful of something! And I will be trying this with a savory filling as food!

I then, since I had the ingredients out, decided to experiment with making baklava... The first attempt, shown here, looks well, but the wrappers disintegrated somewhat in the syrup.... I hadn't prebaked the rice wrappers. The top crust was fairly light and crunchy though. I had layered the nut mixture with the fauxfilo, but I made the mistake of pouring on some syrup beforehand, and letting it sit, to try and keep it moister. I think that if I had just done a layering of buttered fauxfilo with the filling, adding a splash of syrup and putting it in the oven instantly, it would have worked better.....

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gluten-free mixes.... some fixes.

Ok, so we all sometimes resort to using mixes. More so than before we went gluten-free. Because sometimes we need to have last-minute brownies, or don't have a lot of pantry space, or are sharing a kitchen with someone, so don't have space for the umpteen kajillion little bags...

So I was with family over the Fourth, and we made gluten-free blueberry pancakes. mmmmmm pancakes. We used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flour blend, but only sort of followed the recipe on the back. We used less flour, added extra leavening, and added orange zest and vanilla to the batter.

When I use mixes for brownies, I add extra cocoa. I add extra baking powder, and sometimes add coffee instead of the liquid specified (usually water). I'll add lots of extra vanilla too.

Do you notice a theme here? Most mixes are ok, but need a punch-up. (The same is true, apparently, of regular cake mixes, which is why The Cake Doctor exists). Usually, though, gluten-free mixes and recipes tend to go a little flat... so you add extra oomph! They also tend, depending on the mix, to taste a little beany or ricey, meaning you have to add a little more of a complementary, lemon, almond, coffee... but nothing that will weigh the mix down....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Gluten-free, dairy-free, tasty!

I made a birthday cake yesterday. The person whose birthday it was can't eat dairy, and, of course, anything coming out of my kitchen won't have wheat....

So I came up with this cake (which could also be called a 1/2 cup cake, lots of half-cups)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cornmeal-I used Arrowhead Mills
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups almond meal
capful vanilla
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 360.

Blend the brown sugar and cornmeal in the bowl of a stand mixer, add orange juice, and mix thoroughly (the orange juice helps to rehydrate the cornmeal so its not as gritty). Add the olive oil and then the millet flour. Add the rest of the ingredients, scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Put in a cake pan and bake in the oven.

I used a heart stencil and powdered sugar on top. I was not able to come up with a good dairy-free frosting with the stuff I had at home, although that is what the cake really needs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Yes, I know. I have been terribly, terribly lax in updating this site. Tsk, tsk, tsk on me. I've been cooking, just not posting the results. For instance, I had a lovely little dinner the other night of fresh garden peas tossed with gnocchi and a smatter of pecorino romano.... but on to why you are really here, the cheesecake.

There are umpteen kajillion recipes for cheesecake out there. Most seem to have an abundance of eggs and sour cream added in, and what one cookbook tells you to do, the others tell you the opposite. Lots add heavy cream, some cheesecake recipes use cottage cheese (Why? tell me why!)... Some recipes use an incredible amount of sugar, some use flour in the filling (another reason for not eating the filling out of things in restaurants!) My favorite cheesecake recipe ever is from the Nancy Drew Cookbook, just cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, and sugar...Unfortunately, although I had a huge log of cream cheese, thanks to the joy that is a Costco membership, I didn't have enough eggs. So here's where I got inventive:

1 lb cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg (this was a pastured egg, so about the equivalent of an extra-large)
3 tbsp lemon curd
2 tbsp sour cream
1 capful vanilla

The cream cheese should be pretty much at room temp, as should the rest of the ingredients. (The sugar, of course, will be). Preheat the oven to 350. (there were a whole host of different oven temps too, I decided to just go basic).

Start the cream cheese beating until its smooth, add the sugars, and then the lemon curd, the egg and the sour cream. Keep scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla last.

Put into a pan (I just use a cake pan) and toss into the oven.

If you wanted to, yes you could make a crust. You could use gluten-free gingersnaps, whizz them up in a food processor, add a little butter and press them into the pan.

You could also add chopped candied ginger to the batter...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Product review: Trader Joe's English Muffins.

So I ran into Trader Joe's last night because I needed TP. And I found a new GLUTEN-FREE product! It was the last one on the shelf, too, so hopefully it won't be a one-time thing. English muffins. And quite tasty too. A good, elastic texture, absorbing lots of butter.... a little high on the calorie count, but still highly recommended!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Product review: TomYam Rice Snacks, sweet Rice Snacks.

This is one of those Trader Joe's products I discovered while wandering the aisles in a PMS mood. (MUNCHIES! Sweet and spicy?! Yay!)


I opened the bag this morning. They are individually packaged, with each little snack nestled in its own little pouch. They are then placed in a plastic tray and finally sealed in the bag.

Broke one out. Open the wrapper. Scent of lemon wafted up at me. Wafted? Too light a word. Blasted is more like it. No wonder these are hermetically sealed. I decided to try one.

Who put lemon scented dish detergent on this snack? All I can taste is overpowering lemon. Dried lemongrass isn't usually this pungent (nor is the fresh I've used). It takes a lot to get this whammo of lemon. Ten minutes later, writing this, I still taste mostly lemon. It would have been good had they not overdosed on the lemon. And it wasn't even a lemon party in my mouth, it was LEMON lemon lemon lemon, more lemon, with a hint of chili and a few cashews.

I may reverse-engineer this, and come up with something similar, but better-tasting, on my own.

The sweet Rice Snacks I only saw once, bought them, and then they went poof. I wasn't thrilled though. I was expecting something a little more interesting than what tasted like a plain, ordinary rice cake with a drizzle of caramel. These too are individually packaged within the package.

So far, not thrilled. Either with the packaging of the snacks, or the flavors. Because we all need more snacks that contribute plastic, plastic and more packaging to the environment. And its either flavorless or painful.

Excuse me...I have to go rinse my mouth out with my lavender dish soap. It would taste better than this stuff. I feel like I ate an artificial lemon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Losing weight wheat-free...

I'm trying to lose weight. I love food. I love to eat. And it makes it more difficult to lose when gluten-free products are all high-fat, high-sugar, low-fiber. And they all feel like they need something on top to make them palatable. And combined with the fact that you can't get anything in a reasonable serving size... I would love to be able to get ONE cookie, or a slice of cake. Because I do have a sweet tooth, but having to bake mass quantities? Or buy a whole box for one cookie? (I do that, and the rest of the box goes stale or develops moths).

So I'm trying to go low-gluten, high fiber. I've cut out cheese for Lent, since cheese had become my to-go grab and eat snack. I'm trying to have fruit and yogurt for breakfast. I'm trying to eat more whole grains and beans for lunches, and sensible dinners. I'm trying to make foods that create leftovers. Mousaka was my latest. In honor of St Patty's Day, I should probably have picked up cabbage and made a stuffed one. Eating more like I did growing up, lots of rice, fruit, veggies with meat flavor... I'm going to try to experiment with salads this summer...

I really want to come up with some kind of bread that has fiber, but is not a sugary brick. So that's the next attempt!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recipe-in-progress: oat bread

(Apologies in advance, my A is having ISSUES)

I just modified a recipe which I used to love, for oat bread. I wanted something hearty, a winter bread... and now that you can get gluten-free oats... (just store them in the freezer or fridge)

1 pkg yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp molasses
3 tbsp molasses
4 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cups oats
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
2 cups brown rice flour (this was freshly ground from medium-grain brown rice, you could probably approximate it with 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour and 1/2 cup of sweet rice flour)
2 cups hot water

Dissolve the yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water with the 1 tbsp molasses.

Mix the rest of the molasses with the sugar, salt, and oats and butter. Add the hot water and mix, mix, ,mix. Add flaxseed meal. Mix tapioca flour with brown rice flour, and then add. Add yeast mixture last. Add more water if necessary.

Preheat oven to 350. Put bread mixture in pan (I used a cake pan for this) and let rise for an hour in a warm place. (its doing this now)

Put in oven and bake until done. I'll post pics when it is, and tell you if I like it.

(Also, I made a happy discovery today! I have one precious bag of Trader Joe's sweet rice flour left!!!! yay!!!! Now is the time for them to bring it back, before I run out and am sad...)

Addendum-dah-dum-dum-dum.... Its really good. Very dense, I could have baked it longer, and it does have a crust... I do wish I could figure out how to tenderize the crust... It does need to cool completely before slicing, but it is very good!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Golden Gluten-free Gorgeousness

This gorgeous bready delight is, of course, gluten-free. It is a millet-potato bread.

I think the one thing I'd change about the recipe would be to cut down the salt. I think I'd originally formulated the recipe with kosher salt, which I'm out of. It seemed very salty when I tried it, but still a great texture, and fabulous crumb.

1/2 cup warm water
1 pkg yeast
1 tbsp sugar
(mix all these together, to make sure mr yeast is happy and alive)

1/2 cup peeled, baked potato
1 cup buttermilk (can use yogurt)
1 cup millet flour
1.5 cups rice flour
1/2 cup potato flour
1 egg yolk
2 tsp salt (cut to 1 tsp)
olive oil

In stand mixer, with paddle attachment, mix together the potato and buttermilk. Add the millet flour, mix, add egg yolk, mix.

Mix rice flour, salt and potato flour in bowl, add half to potato mix, switch to the dough hook. Add the other half, then the yeast. Add more water to rinse out the yeast bowl (only about 1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Beat for about 3 minutes with the dough hook.

Add batter to loaf pan, oil the top liberally.

Preheat oven to 400, leave bread to rise in warm place for at least 40 minutes.

Bake in oven until done. Rub the top with butter immediately after removing from oven. Let cool, slice, enjoy.

In its original incarnation, this was the first homemade bread I'd made after going gluten-free, and I was overjoyed...there are exclamation points all over the original recipe.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Mochi success in the New Year!

Thanks to a wonderful cookbook, Seductions of Rice, I now know how to cook mochi. In a previous post, from about a year ago, I had lamented my inability to cook mochi without it looking vaguely pornographic in its leakage. This cookbook suggested that you broil it, not bake it. So I did a combo. I heated up the oven to 400, then put the pan under the broiler....

And voila! Perfect squares of puffed-up mochi! (and incidentally, its supposed to bring you luck for the New Year).

So Happy New Year, and may you have many successes with your gluten-free baking!

(and please, let me know about them)