Saturday, April 26, 2008

Vegan? Who, me? Part 2.

Well, for my second dessert, I opted to try another fantastic recipe from the Gluten-Free Goddess. This time I tried her Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. Yummy.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Lightly oil the bottom of a standard bread loaf pan and dust with rice or corn flour.

Combine in a large bowl:

  • 4 medium bananas, peeled, mashed
  • 1/3 cup light olive oil
  • 1 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together in a separate bowl::

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour (I used Bette Hagman's GF Mix)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (I used a 1/4 teaspoon of xanthan gum & a 1/4 teaspoon of guar gum)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon cinnamon

Add the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and stir until smooth. If the batter looks too thin and wet, add more gluten-free flour, a tablespoon at a time, to thicken the batter.

Add in::

  • 1/2 cup vegan soy-free chocolate chips (we used Enjoy Life)

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the center of a preheated oven for an hour, until the loaf is firm, a bit crusty, and a wooden pick inserted into the center emerges clean.Cool the loaf on a wire rack.Slice and wrap each slice in foil; bag and freeze. Makes about 8 or so slices.This recipe is blissfully gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free, and corn-free (if you check the source of your xanthan gum and baking powder).

Vegan? Who, me? Pt. 1

The son of very good friends of ours has a ton of food allergies. He's allergic to

  • Wheat
  • Soy
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Fish

I feel horrible for him. I know how much it stinks to not be able to have gluten goodies, but he is only 2, so he hasn't had a taste of everything. Well, his older brother is celebrating his first communion soon, so I made it my mission to bake some goodies that he and I can share. Since, I'm getting better with the gluten-free baking, I thought I'll try the whole allergy free baking. And, I had an epiphany. I needed to make gluten-free, nut free & vegan desserts!

I decided to try two recipes...the first I saw on Martha Stewart - Babycakes NYC's Allergen-Free Brownies:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup canola oil, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons garbanzo and fava bean flour
  • 1/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot
  • 10 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/8 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup store-bought unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 cups vegan gluten-free, allergy free chocolate chips - Enjoy Life

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Brush 3 dozen mini-muffin pans with oil; set aside.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, potato starch, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, guar gum, salt, and unsweetened cocoa powder; set aside.

  • In a large bowl, mix together applesauce, agave nectar, 1/2 cup canola oil, and vanilla.

  • Slowly add flour mixture, stirring to combine.

  • Stir in coffee until it forms a batter.

  • Fold in chocolate chips.

  • Place 1 tablespoon batter into each prepared muffin cup.

  • Transfer muffin pans to oven, and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before unmolding.

Makes about 3 doz brownies

Things that are new to me...

I admit it. I live in NYC and I don't use it to my advantage. I loathe going into Manhattan. It takes me over an hour to get to the southern tip of Manhattan by public transportation and well over 1 1/2 hrs (plus two tolls) to get there by car. Plus, my borough doesn't have the amenities of Manhattan or Brooklyn or Queens. We do have an awesome Asian Market & some pretty good health/natural food stores. But still....

Which means that once a month I travel to Wegmans & Whole Foods to stock up on some gluten free goodies. This past week I dragged my parents and the wee one (hubby was painting the house) to Marlton, NJ - home of a Whole Foods, a Trader Joe's, and a Sur la Table. Let's just say, I had a blast shopping!

Some of the goodies I picked up:
  • Brown Rice Tortillas
  • Blue Agave Syrup
  • Various types of Brown Rice Pasta
  • Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips
  • Maseca
  • A Tortilla Press
  • Arrowroot Starch/Flour
  • Xantham Gum
  • Chickpea/Fava Flour
  • Sweet Potato Chips

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

And sometimes things really fail (pt.2)....


I really wanted corn tortillas with my beans. I've been reading so much about mexican food and that once you have homemade tortillas, you'll never go back. I dug out a copy of a Better Homes & Gardens corn tortilla recipe. And I failed. Really bad. You see I failed Spanish. Three times. I bought harina de maize not masa harina. Yeah. It took me until the next day to figure that out.

Well, here is Better Homes & Gardens recipe:
  • 2 cups of masa harina
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  1. In a medium bowl, combine masa harina and water. Stir in mixture together until dough is firm but moist (if necessary, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time). Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions; shape each portion into a ball. Using a tortilla press or rolling pin, flatten each ball between two pieces of waxed paper into a 6" circle.
  3. Carefully peel off top sheet of waxed paper. Place tortilla, paper side up, on a medium-hot ungreased griddle or skillet. After about 20 seconds, carefully peel off remaining sheet of waxed paper. Cook, turning occasionally, for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes or until tortilla is dry and light brown. Wrap torillas in foil if using immediately. Makes 12 6" torillas.

Remember.....Masa Harina is not Harina de Maize

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sometimes things work out....(pt. 1)


Last night, I was hankering some beans & tortillas. I saw that Shauna, our fave Gluten-Free Girl had an incredible recipe for beans that I wanted to try and I found a copy of a Better Homes & Garden's recipe for corn tortillas. Shauna's beans were quite yummy, eventhough hubby and I have never eaten beans as a dish alone. Then next time, though, I think I'll add a meat/chicken dish to accompany it.

Here is Shauna's recipe:

Ingredients:
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (I bought a large onion. I love onion. Next time, more onion)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large red pepper, chopped (I had a green one)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh-ground cumin (I used McCormicks)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-ground ginger (again, McCormicks)
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar
  • 2 cans good-quality black beans (I used Goya - Shauna's suggestion)
  • 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 10 yellow grape tomatoes (I had red ones)
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  1. Sauteeing the vegetables. Bring a deep skillet to heat. Add the canola oil. When it is heated, add in the onion pieces. When they have softened and become translucent, add the red (or green) pepper and garlic. Saute

  2. Playing with spices. Spoon in the cumin and ginger and stir. Splash in the brown rice vinegar. Stir it all up.

  3. Cooking the beans. Add the contents of the two cans of beans into the skillet. Stir it all around. Season with salt and pepper. Let it all bubble around together.

  4. Break it down. If you want the final dish to be thick and somewhat dry, leave the beans to cook as they are. If you'd like a little more of a stew feeling, add some water to the mix at this moment. (I made it stew like)

  5. Stir it all up, occasionally. Let the bean mixture simmer for a couple of hours, for full flavor. When they are done, serve them up in bowls.

  6. Topping with tomatoes and cheese. In a super-hot pan (I use the one in which I grill the tortillas, and it's smoking hot), add a bit of oil. When it is hot, toss in the tomato halves. let them bubble and sear until they have almost melted. Throw them on top of the black beans. Immediately, grate Monterey Jack cheese on top. When it has melted, serve the beans with fresh corn tortillas.

Feeds 4.

In the second part of this post, you'll learn how not to make tortillas

Monday, April 21, 2008

The "What's in my Fridge" Frittata



This morning I had the sudden urge to attempt to make a frittata since I am off for Spring Break. Granted, until today, I really didn't know what a frittata was or have even seen one in person. So, I surfed the blogs to look at some GF recipes - and of course my eyes spied Karina, the Gluten-Free Goddess's Blue Corn Chip Frittata. So, I used her recipe as the basis for mine.
Before we go on, I want to remind everyone that I have never tasted or seen a frittata before today!!!!!
Ingredients:
  • Terra Stripes & Blues Chips - enough for one layer in an omelet pan
  • Tomato Salsa (I happened to have a jug of Tostados Salsa on hand)
  • A bag Four Cheese Mexican shredded cheese (I think it was Sargento or Kraft)
  • 7 large eggs
  • A few grape tomatoes, halved
  • Chopped green pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil an oven proof 10-inch omelet pan.
  3. Layer the Stripes & Blues in the bottom of the prepared pan.
  4. Top each chip liberally with salsa.
  5. Sprinkle with most of the shredded cheese.
  6. Whisk the eggs till fluffy and season to taste
  7. Pour the mixture all over the chips.
  8. Sprinkle with the chopped green pepper (If I had any onion, I would have added it there)
  9. Finish with the rest of the cheese.
  10. Top with the halved tomatoes
  11. Bake in a hot oven for about 20 to 25 minutes or until the eggs are set and the frittata is golden.

Well, Karina's recipe served two. I didn't read it right and never put in cream, so I added more eggs. It was yummy. My husband, son, and I ate the fluffy goodness up. But because I put in sooooooo many eggs, we have leftovers. For the first time in the history of our home, we have leftovers from breakfast! If I have company, I would use this recipe as is....If it was just for the three of us, I'd make it in a 8" pan with less eggs. Eh, to live and learn.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Happiness comes in odd ways....

Today was the first time I've walked into a Sam's Club. And it was awesome. You see, the city I live in, New York City, does not have a Walmart. I have to pay a bridge toll just to have the privilage to shop at a Walmart. When we do go, we are like kids in a candy store! Shiny things and savings galore.

So today, we decide that we need to hit up the warehouse store. We could go to Costco - but the one on Staten Island is extremely crowded and you wait forever on lines. So, that left us BJs - which we would have to pay a toll to Jersey to go to. We have a choice of BJs - one near malls & one near discounters...and we remember a Sam's Club. I hopped on line and found out that it was an open house weekend. We jumped into the edge and off we went.

We filled our basket with goodies galore and a wallet with some weight. Then on top of it, we bought a FoodSaver to freeze all of our goodies!

And now dinner.....

We marinated some London Broil and threw it on the grill....and then we had a side of steamed mixed veggies. Plus, I added some nice grape tomatoes (which I bought at Sam's Club) Yum.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Lookie here @ Triumph Dining!



I was looking at Gluten-Free Katie's blog today and she was talking about Triumph Dining's new blog. Yes, a blog from the people who brought you those kick-ass dining cards. How can I not patronize this blog?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Does it get any better than this?



Last night the family and I headed out to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner. The last time I was at the Outback, it wasn't a pleasant experience - the gf menu was outdated, they messed up my meal and beverage, and completely forgot my son's meal! Of course, I complained. I spoke to the managing partner at length regarding what happened and gluten-free food safety. In the end, he sent me a $45 gift certificate for my troubles.

So, like the good little celiac I am, I explained to the host immediately that I needed the GF menu. As I was perusing the GF menu (mind you it wasn't a photocopied menu, but a real one), my waitress stopped by and said "Oh, I see that you are looking at our GF menu. I will make sure you have a safe and wonderful meal." AWESOME!!!!! I ended up ordering my favorite drink, the Wallaby Darned and the new Slow-Roasted Sirloin Medley (minus the spinach & croutons) w/ a side of grilled shrimp. The food was amazing.

When I paid, the manager came over and discussed the previous incident and explained because of it, they had a huge training on celiac & gluten-free dining for the entire staff!!! Amazing stuff.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Gifts from above....

This week, our household got some awesome additions.....

  • Last Sunday, we went to the Asian Food Market and picked up some Tapioca Flour & White Rice Flour;
  • Then, later in the week, my shipment from Authentic Foods came: Superfine Brown Rice Flour & Garfava Flour;
  • To shine the silver lining even more, our new breadmaker arrived;
  • On Saturday, my inlaws stopped in with some brand new goodies from the Pampered Chef (since we couldn't use most of it when we went GF);
  • Finally, we went on a "shopping spree" at Linens n' Things - new pots/pans, measuring spoons, flour canisters, Snoopy SnoCone Machine, another bowl for the KA mixer.....

Loved this week......

Plus, I made an awesome cake from a recipe from the Gluten Free Gourmet....

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Brazilian Cheese Bread...yummy

I was on celiac.com's gluten free forum and came across this recipe for Brazilian Cheese Bread from the poster Livaad (from the Netherlands).....I made this today - and they were AWESOME. I scarfed down two sandwiches with this!

  • 1-1/3 C Tapioca Flour
  • 1-1/3 C grated cheese
  • 3 Eggs
  • 100 ml. Milk
  • 50 ml. Olive oil
  • 2 tsp.baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • pepper - a few shakes

  1. Mix ingredients together well.
  2. Refrigerate for at least half an hour. (The longer the better)
  3. Divide into 9 equal sized balls
  4. place on cookie sheet
  5. Bake at about 400 for 20-25 minutes.

I added basil, oregano, and garlic for a more "italian" flavor....they were yummy. I plan on making these weekly!!!!!