Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gluten free "graham cracker" crust

My husband decided he wanted cheesecake. I wasn't sure how to go about this. I cheated, a lot. This recipe is not dairy free but I came up with a nice crust that really worked. This is also not a cheap recipe since I purchased the filling. I bought raspberry filling and Ready Made Cheesecake filling.
The crust recipe I borrowed from a Walnut Chocolate Torte recipe with some alteration.
Take 3 cups walnuts and crush fine (as fine as possible). I tried this in the blender and it didn't work well because the walnuts turn gummy and prevent the blender from really working. I put the walnuts in a ziplock bag (the one they came in but you can easily use a gallon freezer bag) and crushed them with a rolling pin. It only took a few minutes and was less work than fighting with the blender.
To the crushed walnuts, add 6 Tablespoons of melted butter and 2 Tablespoons "syrup". I used agave syrup but you can use corn syrup or a simple syrup. Mix well and press into a pie pan. Freeze for 15 minutes and use as you would any graham cracker crust.
My husband and I were discussing the possibilities and they are endless. We are going to try using pecans and making a pecan pie.

Gluten Free Rolls

I purchased the Culinary Institute of Art's Gluten Free Baking. I highly recommend it. Their soft rolls recipe is very good. I played with it a little and still had success. The big trick with this recipe is that you make the rolls in cupcake pans and it really works. The recipe makes 24 rolls but I found that it filled the pan too full and had problems with dough flowing over as it rose so I would suggest trying for 30-36 rolls.
The recipe is as follows and has a few glitches:
1 3/4 cup white rice flour
1 1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 3/4 cup soy flour
1/2 cup whey powder (I used powdered milk)

This flour blend makes 5 1/4 cups of flour - the roll recipe calls for 5 3/4. The first time I made the rolls I just used the 5 1/4 cups of flour and they came out just fine. The second time I used what was left of my pound of soy flour (about 1/2 cup) and 1 3/4 cups oat flour and it came out pretty much the same. A pound of soy flour is a little over 2 cups so you can use a whole pound if you wish.

Roll recipe:
5 3/4 cups flour #5
1 TB plus 1 teas salt (I always omit the salt)
1/3 cup sugar
3 TBs Guar gum
2 TBs instant yeast
3 1/2 cups water
2 eggs
3/4 cup butter, melted

I used the fermented method which has you put two cups flour, two cups water and one TB yeast in a bowl and let sit for an hour prior to making the dough. At this time I measure all the dry ingredients together since I have everything out.
After the first hour, pour the yeasty water into the dry ingredients and add the remaining wet ingredients. Mix for several minutes (if using a mixer then about 6 minutes on low).
If you want it flavored somehow - this is the time you add to the dough. The second rolls I made I added a little more sugar (1/2 cup vs the 1/3 cup) and cinnamon to the dough (and then sprinkled the top with sugar and cinnamon just before baking).
Scoop the mixture into greased cupcake pans (about 1/2 full or they will overflow during the rising).
Let rise in a warm, humid environment. I always heat my stove on warm while I am mixing the dough and then turn it off and put the pans in the stove. I recommend putting cake pans underneath to catch any overflow.
Let rise about 1 hour and remove from stove (if in stove). Preheat to 350 and bake about 15 minutes. Let rest on counter for 5 minutes or so before removing from pan. Temptation prevents all the rolls from resting and that's okay too.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lime Pickles

I got this recipe from Nigella Lawson's cookbook. It is a great seasoning. Don't let the fear of pickled foods stop you from trying this. The limes are "pickled" in oil infused with tumeric and cumin.

Lime Pickles
10 limes
4 1/2 cups pickling salt
2 1/4 cup cheap olive oil (I use canola for everything)
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
3 dried red chili peppers, crushed (I actually omit this since we don't like it spicy)

Cut limes into eighths. Layer them in a 12x8 glass pan. Cover with salt and freeze overnight (or longer which happens). Thaw, put in colander and rinse thoroughly. I save the salt and put it in a bag in the freezer for future needs. Put into jars. Add spices to oil and pour over limes. Cover limes with oil completely or they will mold. Put in dark place for 3 weeks. The longer you save them the more tender they will be.
I check mine regularly to make sure they have enough oil. If the 2 1/4 cups oil is not enough, divide the seasoned oil amongst the jars and top off with unseasoned oil. When I use the limes and oil I always add more oil to make sure it's covering.

Yesterday, I used some of the oil and limes to make lunch.
I poured some of the oil in a deep skillet and heated it while I cut up raw steak into strips. I fried the steak in the oil while I prepped the remaining ingredients. I chopped an onion and about 5 of the lime pickles. I removed the steak and added some nucoa to regrease the pan. I fried the onions and limes until the onions were tender. I then added some leftover rice to the pan (enough to serve 3). I served the rice with a little soy sauce to balance the tartness of the limes and it was so good.

Teriyaki Sauce

Most commercial teriyaki products have gluten because soy sauce is often made with wheat. We use La Choy which does not use wheat. The only problem I have with La Choy is that it's not as natural as other soy sauces - it has corn syrup and caramel color to make up for the wheat but it is cheap where other gluten free varieties are not. We use a lot of soy sauce so I hate to pay $4 for a little bottle when La Choy is about $2 and is a decent sized bottle (we used to buy it by the half gallon but have yet to find a gluten free bottle that size).
I wanted teriyaki chicken and came up with a fairly simple recipe. I used this as a marinade for my chicken so it does not have a thickener. After marinating the chicken I boiled it down and it was a fine sauce. If you want it as a sauce exclusively you will need to add cornstarch to it before cooking.
*note - I made this up as I went along and did not measure so use your own judgment but this is pretty close.

Teriyaki Sauce
1 20oz can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
Puree pineapple in blender until it's the consistency of a smoothie. Pour into sauce pan and add remaining ingredients. Heat over med heat to melt sugar and to give all the flavors a chance to blend. I cooked it over low heat for about 30 minutes while prepared the chicken. Pour over raw chicken and marinate 2-4 hours. Bake chicken at 350 until cooked fully. Heat remaining marinade in saucepan until boiling, boil a few minutes or reduce to low and let cook while chicken is cooking.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cornbread as a side dish

The hardest part of a gluten free diet is having enough interesting carbs in your meal. A GF diet pretty much ruins pasta (GF pasta is expensive and not very tasty) and reduces bread carbs - stuffings and the like. A lot of our meals center around rice or potatoes and even though we love them they get tiresome. I discovered a cornbread recipe in a Civil War cookbook that doesn't have flour in it. It's a great cornbread - cold or hot.
The recipe as written:
1 TB butter for greasing pan
2 cups corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 cup oil

Grease 9x9" pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine flour and baking powder. Add eggs and mix together. Add milk and oil and mix until combined. Pour into pan. Bake 20-25 minutes.

This is easy to make dairy free by using Nucoa and soy milk. What I do is use Nucoa for the oil - I put a little more than half a stick in the pan and melt it in the oven as it preheats. When it is melted I pour most of it into the batter in place of the oil. I am sure that I leave more than a tablespoon in the pan which creates a buttery salty crust on the cornbread.

Last night we used the cornbread as a base for our meal. I fried ground pork and onions in a deep skillet. Added canned tomatoes (I used ones I canned but you can use any kind that you like). I seasoned it with mexican pepper and we served it over the cornbread. The tomatoes were very wet so the sauce soaked into the cornbread. I also ate some bread with Nucoa and jam. The bread is very firm so it would make a great stuffing and it's a quick recipe so you can use it any time.
It did take a little longer than 25 minutes to cook. I am not sure why but remember that the times are estimates so always start with the least amount of time and check it on a regular basis after.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Zucchini with Almond Sauce

It's late summer and my kitchen is filled with zucchini. I love zucchini - it's abundant in the garden and a great vegetable to cook with. I have been fortunate to have a variety of sizes that have allowed me to experiment.
My best tip is that zucchini makes a great pasta replacement. We sliced zucchini into strips and used them like lasagna noodles. I am going to experiment with dehydrating zucchini strips so we can really use them like noodles.
Another things we love is strips of zucchini fried in Nucoa so that it's buttery and crisp. Once finished you can glaze it with cinnamon and sugar or top it with a savory sauce.
I cut a large zucchini into disks and dipped them in egg and then corn meal and fried them in an inch of hot oil. We served them with Almond Sauce which is easy and gluten free so I didn't have to make any adjustments there. It cooked up easy with soy milk and tastes great. I suppose that can be this weeks recipe with the zucchini ideas.

Almond Sauce
2 Tbs. Nucoa or butter
1 cup milk or milk substitute
1 Tbs. Cornstarch
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tbs. soy sauce (look for a gluten free variety)
1 tsp. onion powder
Almonds, chopped (I put them in the blender and make them almost powdery)
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Add the cornstarch to cold milk. Add to sauce pan with other ingredients except almonds. Heat until thick over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with almonds.

Monday, July 13, 2009


My son is a huge Garfield fan and the worst part of going gluten and dairy free was the idea that lasagna (well pasta) was going to be a thing of the past. Gluten free pasta is pricey and barely edible but a little experimenting and imagination can make a great dish. Out of my brain came this lasagna recipe.

1 box gluten free lasagna noodles (this is more than regular lasagna noodles but so user friendly that they are worth it) - you may need a little extra depending on your pan size
2 boxes of soft tofu (I always use tofu in the "juice box" because they last longer in the cupboard)
1-2 pounds of sausage and/or hamburger
2 jars gluten/dairy free spaghetti sauce - preferrably one not chunky
1 can diced tomatoes

Pour a little of your non-chunky sauce in the bottom of a 9x13 "cake" pan (or about that size). You need just enough to lubricate the bottom of the pan. Cover with a layer of dry noodles. Drain tofu and crumble over the dry noodles until you have a complete layer. Cover with sauce. Add another layer of dry noodles. Brown meat and drain. Add to pan over noodles. Cover with sauce. Add another layer of noodles. Pour remaining sauce over noodles and add can of tomatoes (and juice). Cover with foil and place in oven at 400-450 degrees. Bake 30-45 minutes.
Sometimes we have a problem with the top layer of noodles not getting soft enough. The real solution is to bake a day ahead of time and reheat but we never have that much patience. You can add cheese if you desire. We found that this does not work with non-dairy cheese because it turns into a rubbery mess. We have served with with soy parmesan and nutritional yeast and found that they were not necessary. The lasagna has good flavor and the tofu helps keep the noodles moist and gives extra bulk to the lasagna without adding any extra flavor. My tofu hating son loves this and has often commented that he doesn't mind the tofu in the lasagna.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Granola Bars

I found a recipe that I love for granola bars. It's simple and just a little bit junky to make it taste good. The original recipe called for rice krispies and oatmeal - along with some other gluten foods. I have omitted everything but the oatmeal and made a new yummy easy to manipulate recipe. If you are oatmeal free - any small cereal will work, experiment on your own.

Granola Bars
20 oz marshmallows (you can use flavored marshmallows but I didn't notice a difference)
3/4 cup Nucoa
1/4 cup honey (if using raw, cook it a little before adding marshmallows)
1/4 cup peanut butter (any nut butter works nicely - we did use sun butter but haven't tried tahini yet)
9 cups oatmeal
1 cup coconut, unsweetened (omit if you can't use coconut)
1-2 cups dried fruit or nuts
2 cups chocolate chips

In large saucepan (heavy bottom preferred) melt butter, honey, peanut butter and marshmallows. Stir often to prevent burning. Remove from heat and add oatmeal and nuts and fruit. Stir until everything is mixed together. Add chocolate chips. (Wait 10 minutes or so if you don't want the chips to melt). Scrape everything out into a jellyroll pan or cookie sheet with sides. Press to make top smooth (may need to oil hands or tools). Let cool. Cut into bars.
I love to play with this recipe and add all sorts of things.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Living Between a Rock and a Hard Plate

Last fall, my mother was diagnosed with celiac. In January, my son was diagnosed with a dairy allergy. Knowing that both run in the family, we made the hard choice to go gluten and dairy free. As if that was not enough, we found that the alternatives just about killed our food budget. This summer, my goal is to learn how to live gluten and dairy free and not let it break the bank. I welcome you to come along and feel free to share your tips for living between a rock and a hard plate.