Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer breeze drifting away...

BS"D

One of the down sides of travelling on a special diet is that you can't just stop at any local cafe on the way for local specialties. You have to plan, plan, plan. Travel for celiacs, food allergic, or anyone else on a special diet, this usually involves a combination of  trolling the internet for gluten free/allergy free friendly restaurants, phone calls to confirm they can accommodate your needs, and a whopping big bag filled with your favorite travelling food to hold you over in between.

I try not to let this get me down when I travel, and instead focus on the place I'm visiting and enjoy the sites and experiences.  Nevertheless, sometimes you just want to try that pain au chocolat in Paris, or soft pretzel on a New York street cart--but you can't. What you can do is find a GF/allergy friendly alternative, or make one at home.

Some foods evoke a place with one bite. The quintessential lobster roll is a Maine summer in one bite. The classic Maine lobster roll consists of generous chunks of lobster mixed with a lightly seasoned mayonnaise sauce on a hoagie roll. Since I don't eat shellfish, and a glutenny roll is out, I created my own in my home kitchen with Dyna-Sea Lobster Bites (made from pollock) on an amazing Udi's baguette.

So the next time you're sitting on a cliff overlooking a lovely beach in Maine, don't let the smells wafting from the lobster roll stand behind you get you down.  Focus on the breeze and the rolling tide and enjoy the moment--you can make your own when you get home!

If you want to try some of the awesome Udi's products, and many other great gluten free products, head on over to the Gluten Free Expo in Secaucus (that's Seh-Caaaw-kus for those of you who don't live in Joisey) from September 6-7, 2014 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center.  Meet up with other GFers, see gluten free cooking demos, and meet some of the people who make the products that make our lives easier--not to mention yummy samples! Follow this link and enter the discount code EXPONJ20 to receive 20% off your ticket purchase. Read on for giveaway info...



I'm giving away 2 sets of 2 tickets free in a random drawing.  Enter by leaving a comment below. Tell me your favorite food you discovered on your travels that you just can't live without. Contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on 8/26/14.
Notta Lobsta' Roll
serves 4
1-16 ounce package Dyna-Sea Lobster Bites, thawed
1/3 cup chopped scallion
1/4 cup minced celery
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
sea salt and white or black pepper to taste
1/2-3/4 cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise
2- Udi's baguettes, cut in half crosswise and lengthwise
4 lemon wedges
In a medium sized mixing bowl, stir together all ingredients except baguettes and lemon wedges. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
Wrap baguettes in aluminum foil and heat in a 275F degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until warm.
Place baguette halves on individual plates, split side up, and fill with a generous amount of the salad mixture.  Serve garnished with a lemon wedge, and if you want to be really authentic, a bag of potato chips!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

On the road again

BS"D


It seems like in the summer everyone is coming and going, whether it's vacations, camp, or visits to grandma. When you're on a special diet, travel is not as easy as throwing a few things in a suitcase. You have to plan out your meals and anticipate where you can buy provisions, if needed.






Certain standbys have helped me in the past, such as tuna in vacuum sealed packets, cheese sticks, and power bars.  KIND is the only brand I can think of that makes power bars with discernible ingredients. Now they've come out with some great new flavors, as well as a line of granola-- which they call Healthy Grain Clusters--that is gluten free and follows in the tradition of using healthy, real ingredients you can see. It comes in a variety of flavors from the traditional, like Oats and Honey to the temptingly gourmet like Vanilla Blueberry with Flax Seeds.

The Raspberry Clusters with Chia Seed has just the right balance of crunch and chew and is not overly sweet---a mistake many granolas make. One thing I like about the resealable bag the product comes in, is it's very packable, it's much more compact than a regular box of cereal, and it can serve double duty as a breakfast (or any other meal) and a filling snack.
There are new "savory" flavors that KIND is offering in their Strong and KIND bars, which boast a whopping 10 grams of protein, all from whole food sources like nuts and legumes. The bold flavors include Roasted Jalapeno, Honey Smoked BBQ and Honey Mustard. They are a welcome change from the sweet choices of most power bars. When I travel I find sometimes the most portable things are sweet, like power bars and dried fruit---so this is a nice change! The Hickory Smoked flavor tastes a bit like biting into a steak that has a crunchy element, if that makes sense.

I also have the opinion of a "guest blogger" on the new KIND products.

    Hi, it's Lillie.Now that it's summer and I have free time I get to write a post on my Mom's blog:-).
YAY! I'm going to write about KIND granola clusters. I had the rasberry chia clusters and they are good.Daisie and Posie even asked for more! I had the granola in milk and Daisie had granola in yogurt.You can also eat the clusters right out of the bag. And the chia adds healthy omega-3.
And if you like chocolate throw in some.Chocolate has healthy antioxidants.These tasty clusters contain 5 whole grains, are GF, and are low in sodium. And by the way KIND makes good bars.
Well enjoy!:-D                
 Here is a simple yogurt parfait, if you're travelling, it's easy enough to
just buy a container of yogurt and sprinkle the KIND granola on top for a simple breakfast or lunch:

The amounts vary depending on the size of your bowl or glass.

KINDly Crunchy Yogurt Parfaits

In a small dessert bowl or clear lowball style glass layer the following:

Yogurt
Fresh Berries
KIND Healthy Grain Clusters

Cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to serve.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Muffin Man

BS"D



I am the muffin man, muffin man, and I live on Drury Lane, da, da....  

Ok, I remember my mom singing that to me as a child and I pictured a person that was made out of muffins--a la the gingerbread man. Now I know they mean the muffin baker. And why shouldn't there be a song about the person who creates those lovely, pillowy treats that range from the healthful to slightly sinful? Now Garden Lites, the people who brought us those flavorful little gluten free veggie souffles, have come out with a line of delicious frozen muffins (4 to a box), that my kids enjoy eating as a treat, and I enjoy eating because they're healthy and taste great.  I have one child who tends to run late, and grabs a gluten free muffin on her way out the door. Since I don't always have time to make them myself, I am grateful for the healthy options Garden Lites is offering, such as Zucchini Chocolate, Veggie Blueberry Oat and Carrot Berry Veggie muffins (just to name a few). My favorite are the vibrant carrot muffins. The veggies in question are well concealed, and the kids just think the muffins taste yummy. 

Like most other food "trends*", such as low fat and low carb, often the packaged offerings are nothing more than junk food with a "health halo". But the new muffins from Garden Lites, like their classic souffles, are products I really have confidence in for my family.  I had to scramble to get the last one from the box before my daughter got to it, but was happy to see it is stocked in my local supermarket!

*I'm sorry to lump gluten free in the category or a "trend" as whether it's in or not, celiacs need to eat gluten free. 


A new trend I've noticed is the  use of muffin pans for more than just, well muffins.   You can make mini quiches, crustless or otherwise, meatloaves (a favorite in our house), kugels, challah rolls and so much more. It is an especially useful tool for the food allergic/sensitive as you can keep batches of these foods in ziplocs in the freezer, and pull them out as needed. So if the individual on a special diet is eating somewhere they need to bring their own food, they can just pull it out or microwave the perfectly portion controlled item.

They also make neat ways to prevent old favorites, which I've found kids respond to especially well. For example the classic, huevos rancheros,  salsa, corn tortillas and eggs looks positively adorable made in a muffin pan, and you have the bonus of being able to make them for a crowd rather effortlessly.



For those dairy allergic sub soy or rice cheese in this recipe, or omit completely. For egg allergic, layer refried beans or a black bean and corn mixture under the salsa. Enjoy!







Huevos Rancheros Muffin Cups

12 cup non-stick muffin pan
cooking spray or favorite oil (about 1 Tbsp.)
8 small corn tortillas

1 1/4 cups chunky style salsa, divided
8 medium or small eggs
1/4 cup shredded cheddar or monterey jack cheese
1 ripe avocado, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sour cream, optional
 Pre-heat oven to 400F degrees.  Spray 8 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray. Place tortillas in muffin pans, they will flute up like a flower. Lightly spray edges with cooking spray, or brush with oil (you may also lay them flat before putting in muffin cups and brush with oil).
Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of salsa into each tortilla. Crack each egg into a custard cup and carefully pour into muffin cups, keeping yolk whole. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until yolk is firm, but still somewhat runny. 5 minutes into baking time, remove from oven and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edges of muffin cups and carefully transfer to serving plate.  Serve warm, garnished with avocado, sour cream, if desired, and additional salsa.

Serves: 8

 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Passover Prep

BS"D

So I am in the throes of Passover and Planning and Prep (P3), that puts so many balabustas in a tizzy on  a yearly basis. I came across a very helpful book from my library to simplify my life, The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook. The author, Erin Chase, writes a blog www.5dollardinners.com.  Not all of the recipes are gluten free or kosher, but I happened upon several that are good, not only during Passover, but also in those hectic days beforehand.  Some of the prices aren't in line with kosher items (like I pay $7.99 for skinless, boneless chicken breasts), but nevertheless, they are common ingredients and the dinners are just that--complete dinners--not just one dish.  So, as I'm very busy, less writing and more recipes...here you go.


This appealed to me as a chol hamoed recipe, that is the days in between the first and last days of yomim tovim (celebratory days), when everyone is sick of meat, but no one knows what else to make.  Any non-Passover ingredients have been omitted from the original recipes.  To make egg free, whip together 1 heaping tablespoon potato or tapioca starch with 1/4 cup any type of milk.  If dairy free on passover, there isn't a cheese substitute, but you can top with grilled veggies or sliced mushrooms.

Potato Pizza Pie
The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase, p. 248

6 large white potatoes
2 eggs
1 Tablespoon potato starch or tapioca starch
1 cup tomato sauce, jarred or homemade
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
4 carrots

Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees. Peel the potatoes and slice into quarters. Grate the potatoes in a food processor fitted with the grating blade. Place in a  mixing bowl.

Beat the eggs and add to the grated potatoes in the bowl.  Mix in the flour, salt, and pepper.

Spread the potato mixture in the bottom of an 8x8-inch baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the potatoes turn golden on top.

Remove the "potato crust" from the oven, and spread 1 cup of sauce over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the shredded cheese. Add any additional toppings you like, such as mushrooms, sliced peppers or olives.

Return the pizza to the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Cut the potato pizza into squares for serving. 

Peel and cut the carrots int sticks. Serve alongside pizza.

I thought this was a nice idea to my repertoire for yom tov meals. It's easy, filling and nutritious.  You can substitute cubed chicken from any part of the chicken...it doesn't have to be a skinless breast.

Ginger-Sweet Potato Chicken Bake

The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook by Erin Chase, p. 107

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 sweet potatoes
1 can (8-ounces) pineapple tidbits, in 100 pineapple juice
 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
salt and pepper

Dice the chicken breasts in 1/2 to 1-inch cubes.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes.

Drain the pineapple, reserving juice for another use.

Pre-heat oven to 250F degrees. In a 9x13-inch baking dish, combine the diced chicken breasts,  sweet potatoes and pineapple. Add the extra-virgin olive oil,spices, and salt and pepper to taste.  Gently toss the ingredients in the baking dish.

Bake the chicken and sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove the dish from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and bake another 30 to 40 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through.  (Covering the dish will prevent the sweet potatoes from drying out.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

P-U-R-I-M

BS"D



In the past month and a half I watched chocolate filled velvet hearts give way to chocolate filled, pastel colored eggs in every pharmacy, supermarket and big box store I've walked into. We all know "those" holidays. But in between those two is another one-- Purim. Like the man holding a gallon of vodka behind me in the liquor store today chided at my pizza hat (not a pizza delivery person's hat but a hat that look's like a pizza from above), "is Halloween early (chuckle and snark)?". "No", I answered, "it's Purim...a Jewish holiday...we dress up." "come again" "purim", "P-U-R-I-M", "He mouthed along as I said it slowly, then it clicked in some vague way.  As an aside, why was I in a liquor store in a pizza hat? Well, long story but we needed more wine for our festive meal and the other people in the car were dressed as a clown in full regalia, Lady Liberty, 2 butterflies or a princess with a crown that said, "Birthday Girl", so a pizza head was actually the best choice in this situation.

Like all holidays, which are a battleground for those with food allergies and sensitivities, Purim is one of those holidays with a big food component. Besides the festive meal, we go door to door with baskets of sweets and treats (yes, it looks like Halloween, sounds like Halloween, but it's not at all like Halloween...except for the costumes and candy).  We actually knock on the door and "give" food door to door instead of "getting" food like on Halloween. But when you bring to others they tend to bring to you. There's always a sense of excitement when the kids peer into the multicolored bags and creatively designed baskets for the sweets they like. And what a twinge in my heart I feel when my allergic and Celiac children look and see nothing they can have. Not to mention that children are kind of let loose to forage in the candy from the crack of dawn till they pass out in a sugary stupor at night with a lollipop held loosely in their hand and a princess crown askew on their head like a prom queen past midnight.  As such there are children in their paths at parties and meals with allergens galore on their hands and faces, to be dodged by those allergic to the mere wisp of peanut breath.

Some considerate friends will pack special bags for those that are allergic, and some will not. The tempting booty will be passed on to a non-allergic sibling to be greedily added to their ever growing piles.  That is why it is so important to have things your allergic/sensitive child can have available which will make them feel included and able to take part in this special aspect of the day.  All the bags we packed to give out included items my kids could eat, so the packing included liberal snacking. Also a tempting dessert like those in Fran Costigan's new book, Vegan Chocolate hit the "sweet spot". These items are not only vegan, but use seriously healthy ingredients like maple syrup and coconut oil.  The author graciously included a number of gluten free baked goods, such as Gluten Free Chocolate Torte to Live For, Intensely Chocolate Trifle and Chocolate Chunk Cookies. As well as those that are naturally gluten free like Raw Chocolate Fudge and Mandarin Orange Tart, Chocolate Horchanta and Mocha Creme Brulee. And all of the recipes are free of dairy, eggs and animal products!
Costigan's book has very detailed recipes, so that even the novice can follow along to baking perfection. In addition, she goes into detail about vegan ingredients (which may be unfamiliar to some), types of chocolate and equipment needed to achieve culinary success. Desserts are divided into chapters by type, such as Truffles, Pies and Tarts, and Frozen Desserts--just to name a few. The gluten free and allergic amongst us will not be disappointed with this book.

So even if you aren't giving to people on special diets, you can make your baskets special. by allowing as broad a range of people to eat your treats, and maybe an allergic child can look in the basket you hand over and the smile will not fade from their face.


These little gems (literally did you know that muffin pans used to be called "gem pans'?) are real stunners and the perfect sweet bite. My neighbor stopped in while I was making them and commented that they look very impressive. So you don't always have to "go big or go home", for some reason miniature desserts look elegant and are sure to wow.

Gluten-Free Brownie Bites

1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. gluten-free all purpose flour blend
1/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 cup organic granulated sugar
3 1/2 Tbsp. organic whole cane sugar (ground in blender until powdered)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/4 tsp xanthan or guar gum (unless it's already in your flour blend)
1/4 cup mild tasting extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup any nondairy milk
1/4 cup prune puree (can be found in baking aisle, or use baby food prunes, or make your own)
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. chocolate extract (optional)
1/4 cup mini gluten-free vegan chocolate chips.

(I've condensed the instructions somewhat from the original)

1. Pre-heat oven to 325F degrees. Spray a 24 cup mini-muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

2. Sift together baking mix, cocoa powder, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum into a large mixing bowl. Whisk to aerate.  Set aside. (A "cheat" on sifting is to just whisk all very well in a large bowl).

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, nondairy milk, prune puree, and extracts until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid in the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until all dry ingredients are incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.

4. Fill baking cups 2/3 full and bake for 12 to 13 minutes, until brownies have risen and fell set when lightly tapped. A wooden toothpick inserted into the center should look sticky but not wet.

7. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, then gently transfer to a rack to cool completely. For the best flavor, refrigerate brownies for one hour before serving.  Serve plain, dusted with confectioner's sugar or frost as desired.

Yield: 24 mini brownies

                

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Super snackin'...



 

 

Pre-Game Fun in the Sun Snow

BS"D


Are you ready for some football?!!!  I'm not. The last time I watched the Super Bowl (I hope I don't have to pay the NFL a fee for using those two words together), I remember there was pizza involved, and the males of the family took over the family room-- so I kind of had no choice. As I explained to my daughter the other day when she queried how you play football, I explained it like this, "They throw the ball 20 feet, then stop for 20 minutes, repeat."  Tell me if that's not an accurate summation?  But living 10 minutes up the road from the site of Super Bowl 48 (why do they insist on using Roman numerals? No one can remember what they mean!), everyone is in a tizzy around here about the Big Game (a phrase you legally can use without paying the NFL an exorbitant fee).

Although I dislike football, I do like feeding people, and especially enjoy the whimsy of finger food. The Big Game is an opportunity to entertain in a casual fashion.  That brings a sigh of relief from not only the hostess but the guests as well. No need for pretense, formalities or polite conversation. Most people will be focused on the event on the screen.  Hearty, casual fare is the name of the game for this time of year. Given this isn't a sit down dinner party, but more of a balance you plate on your lap while sitting on the couch sort of thing, the food needs to be easy to eat as well.

Dips and chips are ubiquitous at these gatherings, but providing meal type of food that will nourish your guests is a good idea.  A buffet table allows your guests to graze at breaks in the game, as well as allowing for easy serving. A crock pot of chili will stay warm for hours, allowing your guests to replenish as needed, and for you to kick back on the BarcaLounger.  Scatter a variety of dips including healthy hummuses (see below), salsas and guacamole with a variety of gluten free chips around the room for easy access. Dips no longer have to be the sour cream and mayonnaise laden affairs of yesteryear. You can incorporate healthier options using veggies and legumes, pureeing all for a creamier texture without the fat. A large pitcher or beverage serving container filled with non-alcoholic punch, tea or lemonade, or an alcoholic version for the adults of a "signature drink", make a nice addition to your beverage service.  Trays of bite sized desserts are great for grabbing and returning to ones seat.  Don't forgot to use paper goods, in team colors,  so you can enjoy the kick off and the clean up equally well!


 This variation of a "frank-in-blanket", or corn dog, however you want to look at it, is healthier using a corn tortilla instead of fat laden puff pastry, and is baked instead of a traditional fried corn dog. Since I don't eat meat and milk together (and for allergy reasons), I used soy hot dogs and soy cheese. These can be served whole and picked up in hand, an especially popular option for kids, halved and stuck on lollipop or popsicle sticks, or cut in 1/4s and served as hors d'ouevres with toothpicks.  Serve with dippers such as mustard, ketchup and salsa.

Game Day Cheezy Doggy Dippers

8 small corn tortillas
1 pkg. Lightlife Smart Dogs
4 slices Tofutti American Cheese, halved,  (or dairy cheese if you can have it), or 4 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese
vegetable oil spray
16 popsicle or lollipop sticks (purchase at craft store)
Ketchup and mustard

Pre-heat oven to 400F degrees. Spray a baking non-stick 9x13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.

Place tortillas on a flat surface. For each tortilla, place hot dog about a half-inch from the edge and a slice of cheese (or 1/2 Tbsp. shredded) next to it.  Roll up and place seam side down in the baking pan.

 Lightly spray with cooking spray (you may use a Misto sprayer with your oil of choice if you prepare to avoid the store-bought spray).

Bake for 20-25 minutes in pre-heated oven, until cheese melts and tortillas are lightly browned around edges and crispy.

Let cool 5 minutes. Slice diagonally and insert a lollipop stick.  Serve with ketchup and mustard, or any dip you like!

Yield: 16 servings


This dip is a healthy,and spicy version of hummus from celebrity personal chef Olivia Dupin in her new book, Gluten-Free Entertaining. For a sesame free version omit the tahini. Serve with cut up veggies and tortilla chips.




Lentil Jalapeno Hummus
from Gluten-Free Entertaining by Oliva Dupin, p. 104

3 cups water
1 cup green lentils
3 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons minced seeded jalapeno
1 tablespoon tahini
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan.  Add the lentils and cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until tender. Reserve about  1/2 cup of the cooking water, then drain the lentils in a colander.                            

Place the garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse to chop.  Add the lentils, jalapeno, tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper along with 2 Tablespoons of the reserved cooking water.  Process until the mixture is smooth and creamy, adding more water, if needed, to get a smooth dip that isn't too thick. Season with more salt and pepper indeed, and serve.

Yield:  6 servings



Note: Not all recipes below are gluten or allergy free. They are part of a "link-up" of various bloggers.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Making and Baking

BS"D



This time of year the end of aisle displays include packages of flour and sugar stacked up like a brick wall, vanilla, scary looking red and green petrified fruit, and all manner of baking supplies. For those of us who bake for special diets, such as gluten free or vegan, our supplies are off the beaten path. Sometimes they can only be procured at health food stores or online. However, lately I have seen more and more options in the "regular" stores, such as millet flour, coconut sugar and agave nectar.  These new found conveniences can be put to good use with two great new "from scratch" cookbooks for special diets. The first in her continuing series, Laurie Sadowski presents gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and soy-free goodies in The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies.  If you're hankering for the comforting smell and taste of home baked bread, try Gluten-Free Bread:  More than 100 Artisan Loaves for a Healthier Life by Ellen Brown .





The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies by Laurie Sadowski takes no shortcuts, but yields wonderfully fresh tasting and flavorful baked goods without gluten, dairy, egg or soy---no easy feat. Baking both vegan and gluten free is a balancing act akin to the feats of Chinese acrobats. It takes skill and artistry, and if done right, the results are awesome. Laurie Sadowski has achieved this using fresh, real ingredients like millet and sorghum flours, coconut oil, avocados, tahini and flaxseed to create an array of cookies, cakes, bars and cupcakes. The recipes range from the familiar like Boston Cream Pie and New Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake to Mini Triple-Coconut Cupcakes and Shortbread with Dried Cherries and Cacao Nibs. Being a Canadian, maple syrup figures prominently in Sadowski's book with the likes of Maple-Cinnamon Biscotti and Cream-Filled Maple Leaf Cookies.

The recipes are clear, but the ingredient list can seem daunting. Don't be discouraged. Just gather your ingredients incrementally, and like any recipe, read through it first.  The other downside is I would have preferred more pictures of the actual desserts. The pages are jam packed with black and white pictures of bakeries from around the world, which is charming, but there are only a few of the actual desserts and several of the author in retro-50's housewife gear.  The bakery pictures, I suppose, are a nod to the international variety of recipes in the book, but I believe most people want an idea of what the finished dish will look like.

Lastly, the author provides a comprehensive explanation of ingredients, nutritional information for gluten-free flours, as well as tips to help you in this specialty area of baking. Overall it is a winner for the home baker who enjoys using quality ingredients for fantastic results.



In Ellen Brown's new book, Gluten-Free Bread, the seasoned cookbook author has brought us a volume with an extensive array of breads, focaccias, bagels and almost all the savory, gluten-free baked goods one could want. From Muesli bread to French Baguette to Traditional English Dried Currant Scones, even Cornbread Stuffing-- this book has got it all.

Brown provides a thorough explanation of flours, yeast and the overall processes necessary to achieve great bread without the essential ingredient that makes bread so deliciously "bready"--gluten. 

The photography in Gluten-Free Bread is worth mentioning as well. Steve Legato's artistic photos give a clear rendering of what to expect from the finished product.

The recipes are clear and easy to follow. As the subtitle states, these are "artisan" recipes, implying they are crafted by those who care to take the time for a superior product.  I made the challah recipe in individual Bundts; each one really is enough for 2 servings. They looked adorable and tasted yummy straight out of the oven. Like most gluten-free breads, they are best freshly baked or warmed up in the oven.

Whichever book you choose, these make great gifts and are sure to keep the recipient occupied in the kitchen for a long time.





My kid's really liked this one. The real orange zest and juice give this bundt cake a really great fresh, vibrant taste.  I subbed all-purpose gluten free blend for the other flours in the cake, and it came out fine.

Chocolate Chunk-Orange Bundt Cake
The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes and Cookies by Laurie Sadowski, p.p. 30-31 (note: I have condensed the text of the recipe).

Cake:


1 1/4 cups sorghum flour, plus more for sprinkling the pan
1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon tapioca flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups unrefined cane sugar
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup finely grated orange zest (about 4 large oranges)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseeds
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups vegan buttermilk (for each cup, mix 1 Tbsp. vinegar into non-dairy milk (i.e. soy or rice milk))
1 1/2 cups nondairy semisweet chocolate chunks or chips
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Orange Drizzle:
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache:
2 Tablespoons nondairy milk
1  1/2 teaspoons coconut oil or vegan buttery spread
1/4 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips

To make cake:  Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Lightly oil a 10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. Sprinkle with sorghum flour, tapping out excess.

In a large bowl, whisk together first 8 ingredients.

Put the sugar, coconut oil, orange zest, orange juice, flaxseeds, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer or large bowl. Mix on medium-low speed; beat until well combined.

Turn the mixer to low. Alternately add the flour mixer (3 additions) and buttermilk (2 additions), beginning and ending with the flour mixer, beating well after each addition. Turn off the mixer.

In a small bowl, toss together the chocolate chunks and 1 tablespoon tapioca flour, until well coated.  Add the chunks to the batter, stirring with a spatula until evenly distributed. Immediately stir int he cider vinegar until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan using the rubber spatula. Smooth the top with the spatula.  Bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until the toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  The cake will be golden brown, begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, and will spring back when lightly touched.

Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then invert the cake directly onto a serving dish. Let cool to room temperature before you prepare the drizzle and ganache. 

To make the drizzle:
In a small bowl, stir together the drizzle ingredients until smooth. Stir in up to 1 tablespoon additional orange juice, 1 teaspoon at a time, as needed to achieve  a runny consistency.

To make the ganache:
In a small pan, heat the nondairy milk and coconut oil over medium heat until the oil is just melted.  Immediately remove from the heat and stir in chocolate chips until they are melted and the mixture is smooth.

To assemble:
Spoon the drizzle and ganache over the cake, letting them run down the sides. The drizzle and ganache can be applied alternately or the drizzle can be applied firs,t then the ganache.  Serve at room temperature.

Store in a sealed container. The cake keeps for 3 days at room temperature, and 2 months in the freezer.

Yield:  12 servings


Popovers are a perennial favorite at holiday dinners. If you are dairy allergic, you can substitute soy, rice or help milk and non-hydrogenated margarine for the butter. However, they do require real eggs for their signature airy texture.


Popovers
from Gluten-Free Bread by Ellen Brown, p.p. 217-19

1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1  1/4 cups whole milk, heated to 90F  or 38C) degrees
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Pre-heat the oven to 400F (200C) degrees and grease a 12-cup popover pan or muffin pan.

Combine the rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, salt, and xanthan gum in a deep mixing bowl. Whisk well.

Combine the milk, eggs, and melted butter in a blender or food processor fitted with the steel blade. Blend until smooth. Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.

Ladle the batter into the prepared cups, filling each two-thirds full.

Bake for 25 minutes, without opening the oven door. Lower the oven temperature to 350F (175C) degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the tops are browned. Remove the pan form the oven and allow popovers to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then serve immediately.

Note:  The batter can be made up to 4 hours in advance and kept at room temperature. Blend it again to distribute the ingredients before filling the cups. The popovers must be baked just prior to serving.

Variations:

Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley) to the batter.
Add 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the batter.

Yield: 12 popovers

Note:  The recipes below are not necessarily gluten free, but are part of a blogger link-up.