Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lasagna & steak update

HAHA.... update on my last post. So, yes, indeed I decided on steak instead of lasagna that night. My $50 ribeyes for $20 ended up setting my oven on fire because I gave the broiler to much oxygen and ended up with a grease fire that brought back memories of the last grease fire in my place (we ended up needing the firetuck ppl to help). yikes! We finally got the fire out though and rescued the steak which ended up in the lower end of well done and not burned flavored or tough at all! Lucky me!

The lasagna turned out pretty good. It is of course getting better the more time is spends in the fridge as leftovers, as a whole lasagna casserole is going to take me all week to finish. There are some definite improvements I want to make, but over all is REALLY GOOD! I consider it a success!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I love Ireland


I now have three staple recipes that I can start expanding on and improving. Two are from Ireland: Irish Potato Bread and the other is Irish Soda Bread. The last is a corn bread. One of the deli ladies at Whole Foods found me 10" corn tortillas to make burritos (she got them catered from a local Mexican taco shop but there is a slight gluten contamination problem from that particular restaurant.... but now I know what needs to be done to make them and that it is possible!).

Recipes are as follows:

Irish Potato Bread or "Boxty Bread"
(from The Gluten Free Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein)

This makes several little rounds, not a loaf. Boxty bread is traditionally a pan-fried loaf and involves pureed and chunky mashed potatoes mixed together. This much simpler but there is definite room for improvement. Onion powder can be substituted out depending on what you are going to use the bread for. Baking soda/powder could also be added for extra oohmph. A tad bit heavy, but it does not taste like baked mashed potatoes, it is lighter than that.

1 1/4 lbs peeled Idaho potatoes (or other starchy potatoes)
2 T butter (see butter substitute post... I recommend Earth Balance for this one)
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup potato and/or corn starch

Boil potatoes in salt water until cooked. Transfer to a bowl and add butter, onion powder, salt and pepper (if desired). Mash until blended. Add starch and mix until smooth and well combined.

Divide potato mixture into 4" squares or rounds and place on a lightly oiled (with sprinkled cornmeal if desired!) baking sheet or stone. Make a 1/8"- 1/4 " deep X or slash across to allow it to rise. Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden in a preheated 350F (175C).

Irish Soda Bread
(from 1000 Gluten Free Recipes by Carol Fenster)

I just pulled this out of the oven and made the most heavenly tuna sandwich! Has a distinctive tart flavor from the baking soda (and baking powder.... modern addition!) According to Carol, this recipe is a bit more complex than the traditional recipe. I made mine in an 8" cast-iron pan (I found at Ace Hardware) instead of a loaf pan so I've got wedge shaped slices and a cool looking loaf!

2 cups Carols Blend (3/4 cups sorghum flour, 3/4 cups starch, 1/2 cup tapioca... I keep a big batch of this pre-made in my freezer because Carol has SOOOO many good recipes and its a very stable & versatile all purpose mix)
3 T sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1-1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, at room temperature(!)
1 cup buttermilk (thinned with 1/4 cup water) OR homemade butter milk (see recipe below)
1/4 cup butter (see my butter substitutions post)
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, currents, cranberries, etc)
1 T (opt toasted) caraway seeds (opt... I don't like caraway and it tasted great!)

In a large bowl, mix everything except the egg, buttermilk, butter, dried fruit & opt seasonings/flavorings together with a whisk. Then add everything else and mix with an electric mixer on low until thoroughly blended.

Spread in greased loaf pan or cast iron skillet and smooth out top. Draw a shallow X in the top to allow for rising. Bake 55-60 minutes until top is browned and it sounds hallow when tapped in a preheated 375F oven. Internal temp. should reach 205F with an instant-read thermometer. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes, and then cool completely on wire rack before slicing open.

(also from Carol Fenster's 1000 GF Recipes)

1 T cider vinegar (or FRESH lemon juice)
Milk (cow, rice, soy, potato, nut, coconut, etc)

Put vinegar in a measuring cup. Whisk in enough milk to equal 1 cup. Let stand 10 minutes to thicken slightly. (Note, because rice milk will not thicken you have to reduce the amount of rice-based buttermilk by 25% in the recipe where it is called for)

I also use Carol's cornbread recipe which is a pretty basic cornbread recipe but I use a 50-50 mix of polenta (corn grits) and cornmeal, instead of just cornmeal and bake it in my 8" cast-iron pan as well. Unbelievably good. I got approval from a friend who came from the south and a northerner!

I'm currently trying to work my way through an ad-hock lasagna recipe. I'm making homemade ricotta and Parmesan (of course!) with raw cheezes that I am trying to make for the first time. The meat and tomato filling is in the crock pot and the vegetables and (rice) noodles on standby. Although when it is put together I am seriously considering letting it sit in the fridge for tomorrow because when I went to get tomato paste and ground beef at Vons, I found $50 ribeye steaks for $20!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Pizza Pie!

Apparently it is possible to have TOO much flavor on a pizza. I found this great yeast-free pizza crust recipe from gingerlemongirl. I overloaded the crust with spices. Then topped it with a few too many overly flavorful pestos, dips, and toppings, and sprinkled some "Parmesan cheese" (yeast-free vegan cashew cheeze) all over the top. YUM!

If you want to see the pizza crust recipe, go here....

As for the cheeze:

1/3 cup cashews (raw, and chopped up)
1/4 tsp dry mustard (ground)
1/4 tsp salt

put in coffee grinder (they are on sale at target for $20!) and grind (after you spend 30 minutes trying to figure out why its not working until you realize the cashews are too big to get into the grinding mechanism... hence the "chopped up")

Happy Pizza Pie Birthday to me! (and then awesome gluten free, dairy free, soy free, yeast free red velvet cake with FROSTING! for dessert.)

Friday, June 4, 2010


So.... what do you do for butter if you are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, and yeast free?!?

There are actually several options.

1) A good palm oil shortening, like Spectrum Organic Vegetable Shortening (there are a few brands out there). This is great all purpose spread for baking and cooking when it calls for butter because of the chemistry not necessarily the taste. Light flavor, real butter consistency, holds up great to heat. Not too bad on toast either, in a pinch.

2) Ghee (if you make it at home, you can't guarantee the casein will precipitate out... so get some at the store and make sure it is labeled casein-free.) This actually clarified butter with all the "bad" stuff boiled out. Great for cooking/baking when you just want the flavor of real butter such as when cooking rice or a particular baked good or in a sauce or roux. It is very rich and flavorful. It is too powerful to use in large quantities so it is useful for taste enhancement mostly.

3) A 50-50 mix of ghee and palm oil shortening. This is very creamy, balanced and great for just about anything requiring butter. If it is sitting out, it can get very soupy. In the fridge it becomes rock hard (but would be good it you need to grate butter). Best made fresh when needed.

4) Raw (Organic) Coconut Butter- by Artisana. This is the whole coconut flesh and not just the oil. Great for toast, grits, oatmeal, or anything that you would like a "honey-butter" taste. VERY rich. Since it is RAW, it is usually better in non-cooked items.... although it makes a KILLER almond-strawberry muffin (baked- not raw)!

5) Natural Buttery Spread Soy Free version by Earth Balance. This is essentially a margarine. Use is where ever you would use margarine. Particularity good for frying food that is normally fried in butter like fried eggs or fried mush (polenta).