Monday, August 31, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Polenta is simply corn grits. I have always loved hominy grits. I think as a kid my body was saying, "This is gluten-free! Eat it all the time! You will grow and be happy if you eat this stuff!" I love the texture. It's like porridge. You can totally pretend you are Oliver Twist while eating these. The great thing about polenta is that it is a base for you to add whatever flavors you want to it. You can go sweet or savory, Italian or Mexican, cheesy or spicy, whatever you are in the mood for, polenta can pull it off. And, it falls into the category of foods that are NATURALLY GLUTEN FREE, which really is our focus as gluten free eaters. So I thought I would try polenta three ways and see which one I liked best.
Friday, August 28, 2009
I tried the Don't Squat With Your Spurs On (a buttermilk-ranch concoction) with plain potato chips, plain tortilla chips, and Boulder Canyon's Rice and Adzuki Bean chips. My favorite companion to this dip was the tortilla chip, but I'm a traditionalist. If anyone out there has tried these with something different that they absolutely love, leave a comment and let me know. I'm always open to new combinations.
Where, you may ask, did I get these fabulous packets of true love? From a little place called the Dippy Chick. Chris is a food allergy/gluten-free girl who has children and a husband with food issues as well. She fully understands the frustration of wanting to eat something simple and tasty without having to worry about wheat contaminating it. Check out her site, she has a ton of flavors like Atomic Wedgie Veggie, Parmesan Pesto Manifesto, Crabby Ol' Beach Seafood Mix, and my personal favorite, May the Horse Be With You. These dips are perfect to take to a party when you don't know what is being served and you don't know the hostess well enough to ask. Voila! Bring chips and dip! Also, football season is coming up, and you know you're going to be camping out on the couch for a while this winter. They also have great suggestions on how to use the mixes, like as bagel spreads, mixed into soft butter, pasta salad, french fry dip, and as coatings for meat or roasted vegetables. Try it, I know you'll like it. Happy Eating!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
Being a professional baker did not prepare me for the struggle of baking without gluten. Everything I knew about food science flew out the window when I was diagnosed with celiac. How could I possible bake anything? First thing I tried was a chocolate chip cookie mix. I lovingly mixed the ingredients together, and popped a big ball of cookie dough in my mouth. Big mistake! This dough had bean flour in it, which is bitter! I admit that I began to cry. What a horrible first experience! The devestation tempered a bit when I tried the cookies after they were baked. They still weren't great, but at least the bitterness cooked out. That was my first lesson in baking gluten free. Bean flour is bitter when raw, but the bitterness bakes out in the oven.
I am here to explain what I know about baking flours, ratios, flour combinations, etc. I don't claim to be an expert, but I have learned a couple things in the past 2 years.
2.Take ideas from recipes you already have. Don't try to reinvent the wheel. If you have a pie crust you really like, try it with a gluten free flour mix. See how it turns out. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't...find out!
3. Take recipes from the internet. Try something that someone else made up! Change it a bit, take out what you don't like, add what you do like. It's all up to you! I based my favorite pizza dough recipe off of Emeril's recipe!
You are welcome to try out gluten free flour mixes from the store. I have had success with Sylvan Border Farms flour mix, as well as Pamela's mixes. They are quite expensive, however, and I enjoy trying my own. I also try to make my mixes a litle healthier than mostly just starch mixes. I usually will try to add in some ground flax seed into a bread to get some fiber in there. Just add a little so as to not change the texture of your finished product too much. One thing to remember is that celiacs generally don't get enough fiber, so it is super important to replace it in other ways.
Each flour you come across has different properties to it. One will strengthen, another will act as a tenderizer, another will add moisture. This is where things get hairy. Wheat has all of these properties, so it is difficult to wrap your head around needing multiple flours to substitute for just one. I have spent a while trying to develop the perfect flour, and for me, I have found one I really like. To get a good idea of what flours do what, I would suggest taking a look at a book called You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free by Roben Ryberg. The information inside is invaluable to creating your own mix. Starting on page 14, you can find an analysis of gluten free flours, and their properties. I don't necessarily agree with her opinion on whether to use a certain flour or not. For example, she says not to use quinoa flour, because it's flavor doesn't merit use. I happen to like quinoa flour, so I take those opinions lightly. Her book also uses one or two starches or flours to create multiple recipes, so it is nice for a beginner, or someone who would rather just have a few flours, instead of multiple. In the past couple of years, I have decided that I prefer to have a selection of flours available, because I tend to get better results that way. Again, it is all about what you do, and do not like.
My pizza dough recipe, like I previously said, is based off of Emeril's. Give it a try, and see what you think!! So far, it is the best we have tried, and my gluten eating husband says it is just like regular pizza! Score!
Yield: 2 16 to 18-inch pizza crusts
Ingredients:1 cup water (105 – 115 degrees F) 1 tablespoon sugar 2 tablespoons active dry yeast 1 1/2cups white rice flour 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour 1/2 cup flour mix 2 cups tapioca starch 2/3 cup instant non-fat dry milk powder 3 teaspoons xanthan gum 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 cup hot water 3 tablespoons olive oil 4 egg whites at room temperature Vegetable oil spray Corn meal
Method:Preheat the oven to 400º F. Combine 1 cup of water (105 – 115 degrees F), 2 tablespoons active dry yeast and sugar. Let the yeast "bloom" in the water. Combine the white rice flour, garbanzo flour, flour mix, milk powder, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and salt in a bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle and set on low. Mix the flour well and then add the olive oil with the remaining 1/2 cup of water, slowly pouring into the bowl. Add the egg whites slowly until the mixture is well incorporated. Add the yeast mixture and increase the speed to high and continue to mix for 4 minutes.
Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and evenly divide into two balls. Dust 2 half sheet pans (jelly roll pans) with corn meal to prevent sticking, and to add crunch to the bottom. You can spray it with cooking spray if you would rather do without the crunch. Place one of the dough balls onto each pan. Place a plastic glove or a plastic sandwich bag onto one of your hands and spray some vegetable oil onto the gloved hand. Using that hand, gently press each dough ball into a 13-inch circle about 1/4 inch thick, leaving the edges a bit thicker to prevent sauce from dripping onto the pan. You can also just use a wet hand to 'smear' the dough out into shape. Set aside for 10 minutes to rise.
Place the dough into the oven and let cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with your favorite sauce and ingredients. Place back into the oven and continue to cook until the crust is golden brown and crispy, 10 to 12 minutes longer. (Note: if the baking pan is not liberally greased or corn meal-ed, the dough will stick. If this happens, use a flat metal spatula to separate the dough from the baking pan.)
Hopefully this gives you some ideas to create your perfect pastry, loaf, bun, whatever! Please, ask questions, get dirty, make mistakes and try again! That's what makes this an adventure, and it makes the success more of a reason to celebrate!
Saturday, August 22, 2009
1 T potato starch
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
2 sticks soft butter
Sunday, August 16, 2009
So living with celiac's disease is hard. Shopping for celiac food may be just as hard. Has anyone else out there found an extremely valuable ingredient, only to find it sold out the week of Thanksgiving when you are in charge of the green bean casserole? Have you made separate trips to other stores just to track down that ingredient? Have you resorted to buying cases of Jo-sef Gluten Free Graham Crackers just so you wouldn't have to pay shipping three times a year? Have you hoarded all of the cans of Progresso Creamy Mushroom soup and weighed each recipe on whether or not it was soup-worthy? Sadly, I have participated in all of these activities. I love being healthy, but sometimes eating healthy is not time-efficient.
One of the things this article touched on was the idea of finding things to eat that naturally don't have gluten in them, and tailoring your menus around them. I know there are some experts out there, and I want to know: what are your favorite naturally gluten-free food combinations? It's the ultimate menu challenge. Thinking outside the box of traditional favorites and coming up with new menu stars is what we celiacs folks are known for. It's a talent I want to work on. Here are some of the meals that I like to eat when I'm out of gluten free packages:
Hamburgers in lettuce wraps with all the fixings
Chicken and Red Rice (recipe coming this week)
Eggs cooked with canadian bacon, spinach, tomato, avocado, onion, whatever I have that I can throw in (frittata, but not)
Lunchmeat spread with mayo, mustard, and wrapped with a green onion with potato chips and tapioca pudding
Steak and Mashed Potatoes!
Tuna on mixed greens with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Tacos with my own seasoned meat (not a packet) on corn tortillas
These are just ones I thought of off the top of my head. (And don't think I'm not cringing that I don't have photos to go with them.) I would love to hear from you. What ways have you circumvented your gluten intolerance? What do you love to eat that isn't made by anyone else but Mother Nature?
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Yum. I used Mary's Gone Crackers Original Recipe crackers, one of my favorites.They are so crunchy and the texture is heavenly when paired with cheese. I added a little square of Meunster cheese, a piece of my yummy tomato, and sprinkled it with some garlic salt and black pepper. Heavenly. When I finished the seven crackers I had made up and photographed, I looked at the box of crackers. Only 140 calories for 13 crackers? I still had half a tomato and seventy calories left over. Hmmm....so I went back to the fridge and pantry and came up with these:
More Mary's Gone Crackers Original Recipe with a square of colby jack cheese, some black beans I just strained with a spoon right out of the can, sprinkled with a little cumin and a tomato on top. They are also great without tomato. (And no, I'm not one bit embarrassed about my photo quality here. Not.) I went to bed full, happy, and so glad I had a late night science experiment with my gluten-free crackers. Thanks again Mary! Happy eating!