Friday, January 29, 2010

Perils of Gluten-Free baking

Through my Gluten-Free cooking travels, I have come to realize a few things. I will list these things here:

  1. Bob's Red Mill Xanthan Gum tastes disgusting when inhaled. Yes, I realize how weird that sentance sounds. When you have scooped a teaspoon full of the powder-y stuff and breathed in the cloud that eminates from it, you will get what I am talking about!
  2. How many ridiculous things corn is in. Just last week I discovered that Clabber Girl Baking Powder gets it's powdered goodness from cornstarch. Who knew?? Not me I tell ya! Now I searched and searched and can't find corn-free baking powder anywhere near where I live, so I have to make my own. By-the-way if your in the same corn-free boat, the recipe to make your own baking powder will be provided below:
1/4 c. Baking Soda
1/2 c. Cream of Tartar
1/2 C. Arrowroot Powder

3.     How much I miss (missed ;) ) the texture of Gluten-full baked goods. I don't know if you have a Costco near where your live, but I do and let me tell you, I LOVE that place. My two favorite things to get when I used to go there during my Gluten-full days were the dinner rolls and the blueberry muffins in the bakery. OMG. I once ate 9 of these dinner rolls in 1 day. They are sooooo light and fluffy. The blueberry muffins are rich, buttery tasting, and not too sweet. I personally don't like my muffins too sweet, I like muffins to taste more like cake and less like old-fashioned donuts. Now, I tryed really hard to replicate the rolls, but I can't seem to figure out how to get flaky, chewy, and tasty rolls. Oh well. 15th times the charm. I was however, able to re-create some wonderful Gluten-free, Corn-free, Soy-free blueberry, lemon poppyseed, and orange-cranberry muffins or bread. Oh my goodness!! They taste amazing. The best part is that you can alter them for whatever flavor muffin you want.

Now I don't know about you, but I always have to think about varying the flours I bake with. The people I cook for have to be on a rotation diet, which means they can't eat something that has the same flour in it two days in a row. So I have to bake many things, with many different flours. Some of my favorite flours are:
  • White Rice Flour
  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Amaranth Flour
  • Garbanzo Bean Flour
  •  Potato Starch Flour
  • Tapioca Starch Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Millet Flour
Now if your new to gluten-free baking something you must know is that gluten-free baking is not like regular gluten-full baking. Regular baking you, pretty much, use only one type of flour. With this flour you get fluffy, chewy, soft, and crunchy bread. With gluten-free baking you have to use a combination of the flours I listed, in order to achieve any of those textures. You also must use different flours if you have to be on a 4 day rotation diet.

With this recipe i've found that Sorghum, Brown Rice, White Rice, Amaranth, and Millet flours work really well, but if you use Millet make sure its with Lemon or orange flavorings. The reason you have to do this is because Millet has a bit of an iron-y flavor to it, so with the citrus flavoring you can't even tell.

Basic Muffin or Bread Recipe

1 c. Canola Oil
1 1/2 c. Millet, Sorghum, Brown rice, or White Rice
1 c. Tapioca Starch Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs. Xanthan Gum
1 c. Milk ( I use low fat or fat free)
1 Tbs Corn-free Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 c. Sugar ( I'm still testing the Splenda version of this recipe, I'll adjust the sugar content when I get it perfect)
4 eggs, cage-free organic

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Whisk together flours, salt, baking powder, and xanthan gum until combined well. Stir together milk, oil, vanilla, and if your using it lemon or orange zest.
  3. Beat together sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Add flour and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mix just until combined.
  4. Pour into greased or non-stick sprayed bread pan or mufin tins or mini bundt pans. I typically do a combination bread pan, mini muffins, and mini bundt pan.
  5. Bake mini bundts for about 20 minutes. Bake mini muffins about 12-15 minutes.
  6. Bake bread pans for about 30 or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
1 Tbs Lemon Zest
2 Tbs Poppy seeds

1 Tbs Orange zest
1 c. Frozen or fresh cranberries

1 1/2 Frozen or Fresh Blueberries (I love Wymans frozen organic baby blueberries. They are very small and tender!)
Make sure to keep a little bit of the flour out from the batter. Then toss the blueberries in the flour before adding to the batter, this will keep the berries completely incorporated in your cake.

Check this recipe out at Gluten Free Homemakers Recipe Carnival - Here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Shock and Awe

I have three, sometimes four baking days a week. On those days, I get up early, dress in my baking clothes, and spend all day in the kitchen. I try new recipes, work out recipe bugs, and stock up the kitchen and the freezers ( yes, I have more than 1).  So, anyhow, last wednesday I was focusing on figuring out a good pumpkin bread recipe and lemon poppyseed bread. The pumpkin bread is close but not quite how I want it to be, it's still too moist. The lemon poppyseed was a complete failure! Flat, not done in spots, and mushy. Yuck! So at the end of the night, I tossed the whole loaf into my half full trash can, finished the dishes, and went to relax, and watch my DVR.  Half-way thru "Make it or Break it", I hear my dog, Zander, rustling around in the kitchen. A little back history on Zander. He is a 4 year old Goldendoodle, which is  a purposeful mix between a golden retriever and a standard poodle. Now Zander is not allowed in the kitchen. Ever! There is a line that he is not to cross.

So, back to my story. I hear him rustling around his "Not-to-Cross" line. So sitting there I think, "hmmm. His Kong must be stuck and he's reaching to get it." I glance over my shoulder to make sure, and what do I find? I find my dog with his face and neck buried in my trash can! I run over shewing and yelling. He jumps back still chewing. When I look in the trash I see he wasn't scarfing down the chicken I had for dinner, he wasn't nibbling the potatoes I threw away, no. Instead he's chomped down half of my nasty Lemon Poppyseed bread!! I started busting up laughing. Zander has a bit of a baked good fetish, especially Gluten-Free baked goods. Normally he is a very good dog, but every now and then he just can't help himself. Haha.

This is actually not the recipe I was going to share with you today.I wanted to talk about the marvelous benefits of Flax. Especially flax wrapped in a deep dark chocolate  brownie. Oh yeah. Flax is an amazing source of Omega-3's, 2000mg per serving to be exact, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and fiber. It's a power food. Now about the brownie. It's a delicious, tender, slightly salty brownie. I love when you can get a brownie that convinces your subconcious that it's healthy. So here it is my own personal "Health" food.

Dark Chocolate Flax Brownies

Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Corn-Free

4 oz Unsweetened Bakers Chocolate, this is just pure chocolate, no sugar
1 oz semi-sweet allergen free chocolate chips
½ c. Spectrum Organic Shortening, cholesterol free
2 eggs, organic cage-free
½ c. rounded organic flax meal
¼ c. Brown rice flour
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp corn-free baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Splenda
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper.

2. Using the microwave, melt the dark chocolate and shortening in a large measuring cup. Stir together to combine. Set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs till frothy. Add the brown sugar and beat until the mixture is smooth. Add the melted chocolate mixture into the egg-sugar mixture a little at a time- incorporate it slowly- and beat well for a good minute.

4. In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients: Flax, rice flour, salt, and baking soda; whisk together. Add the dry flour mix into the chocolate mixture and beat well for a minute, add the vanilla, mix for 30 seconds. Pour into prepared pan.

5.Bake for 33 to 35 minutes.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Best Meal of my LIFE!

Okay, some of you out there may know that I have been trying to lose some weight over the past year. So far I've lost about 40 lbs, which is, like, Hoohaa Tuesday! But I want to lose more. . . . a lot more! So after taking a lil' time off for being sick with the flu (yuck), I'm back on the grind. Counting calories . . . working out . . . drinking water . . . all that jazz. I honestly love how I feel when I'm doing this correctly, it's just difficult to get back into the swing of, ya know?

One of the more difficult situations is figuring out what to eat for dinner. My mom is an amazing cook! I love her food! I love her food too much, if you know what I mean! That's my problem. So the other night she decides to go all out and make this huge meal and a huge dessert. I begged her, "Please! Please! Don't make the dessert!" Thankfully, she didn't. She decides to make the meal healthy especially for me. As Napolean Dynamite would say, "Yes!"

This is what she made: Macaroni Grill Parmesan crusted Chicken, Fettucini, Carrots, and Garlic Bread. Oh yeah. It was scrumptious. it was probably one of the best meals of my life. Strike that. It was definitely one of the best meals of my life. The chicken was practically buttery. The bread was crunchy, which, if you know gluten free bread, doesn't happen all the time. And BONUS it was totally in my calorie budget!! It was one of those meals, that when you bite into it and you hear "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
And here is the Holy Grail of chicken recipes just for vou!

Cheesecake Factory Parmesan Crusted Chicken
We call it this because we got the idea from our gluten-full days when we used to eat there. BTW, if you want to serve this, like we did, with fettucini noodles, I would recommend Tinkyada pasta. It has the best texture. Also, I'll post the French Bread recipe soon.

4 chicken breast, thawed
2 c. Gluten free bread crumbs or 4 slices GF bread processed into crumbs
1/2 c. finely shredded parmigiano reggiano
3 eggs
salt and pepper
Cooking Spray
  1. Place the chicken in a large baggie, then pound out to about 3/4 inch thickness. A medium sized frying pan works the best for this. Just whack it and whack it till its thin.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl big enough for the chicken to fit in one at a time. In another similiar sized bowl mix the bread crumbs and cheese.
  3. Dry the chicken with some paper towels.
  4. Dip each breast in the egg then in the crumbs. You are probably going to have to press the crumbs onto the chicken.
  5. Place chicken on a rack on a cookie sheet. The rack is very important because it allows the chicken to get crunchy on both sides.
  6. Spray the tops of the chicken with cooking spray.
  7. Sprinkle with salt, and freshly ground pepper.
  8. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is done.
I promise you, you won't be sorry if you make this!! Plus, the chicken is beautiful on a plate. I ate it so fast that I couldn't get a picture of it, so on wednesday when my mom makes it again I promise to take a picture and post it. Promise.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Makes Me Sad

You know what makes me sad?
Knowing the fact that there are millions of children across the USA who have no idea what the original "Yours, Mine, and Ours" looks like.

Has anybody else seen this movie? It stars Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball. Circa 1968.

It is one of my most FAVORITE movies of all time. It's so classic. The dresses being passed down at the beginning of the school year, the large vats of oatmeal, and of course the rain boots that never fit. Everytime I watch it, I begin craving an oatmeal sandwhich.

Just kidding.

I just can't believe that there are so many children who have never seen this movie. It really makes you appreciate the simple aspects of a family. I always wanted more brothers or sisters, especially brothers. I have two sisters, but always missed the protectiveness of an older brother.

Watching old movies makes me think of Apple pie, even movies that don't necassarily refrence Apple Pie. Maybe because its so classic 50's-60's to have pie after dinner.
I love to make small individual Apple Pie's in small ramekins. They are delicious, and soooo easy!

Here's the recipe:

Mini Apple Pies
For Pie Crust:
1 c. Brown rice flour
½ c. Tapioca Starch flour
¼ tsp salt
2 tsp xanthan gum
½ c. Spectrum Organic Shortening, cholesterol free
1 Large egg, beaten (preferably cage-free, organic)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs. ice cold water

For Pie Filling:
3 Granny Smith Apples
3 Red Delicious Apples
1 c. Water
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 c. Brown Sugar
1/2 c. Brown sugar
1/2 c. Splenda

1. Mix flours, salt, and xanthan gum in a bowl. Rub in the shortening, but not too much. The mixture should resemble baked beans.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, vinegar and ice water.

3. Slowly stir the egg mix into the flour mix, until a ball is formed.

4. Knead the pastry, with a little rice flour, for 2-3 minutes.

5. Wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

6. Dice apples, add water. Bring to a boil, then cook for 15 minutes or until tender.

7. Add in brown sugar and cinnamon, bring back to a boil, then shut off.

8. Let cool. Fill ramekins with filling.

9. Divide dough into 6. Roll out each piece of dough between two pieces of parchment paper, trim to size of ramekin. Place on to fillled ramekin, and crimp edges. Poke vent holes in top of pie. Brush with milk or egg white.

10. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes.

Check this recipe out at Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

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