Monday, November 17, 2008

Sweet and Sour Sauce


  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Place the sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, ketchup and cornstarch in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My First Gluten Free Birthday

Real GF Ice cream Brownie Cake with Icing! Brian made it all by himself, disastrous process but tasted soo good! We had it a day late to let it freeze together....another extra day to celebrate :) And thanks to Shannon for letting him use her kitchen and freezer!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Minute to Complain

Now that I have fully immersed myself in the gluten free world, forgoing the gluten is easy most of the time. (It is the hidden stuff that gets me.) Natural foods and gf substitutions leave me satisfied without the tummy issues. But give up yeast too? That seems so unfair. Just when I accepted gf beer, now I find that I shouldn't have that either because of the yeast? Thats just cruel! Of course I feel much better and am (usually) happy to comply....but to give up my favorite balsamic vinegar? And then regular vinegar, which is in everything including all condiments and salad dressings. And wine?? No!! Especially on a hot Chicago summer day, a glass of cold white wine shared on the back deck, or a rich drink of Sangria is always appreciated on a warm evening out. Cubs games, boating and team drinks after my own sports; just feels like something's missing without a cold brewski. Because I seem to be ok with yeast in smaller amounts, my game plan is to cut down, not cut out completely. It is just too unfair to go through life without wine! So this is the issue that really gets me down. The issue that I am still trying to deal with and accept. Especially when everyone else seems to be indulging in all of these treats. Why yeast? I still have not figured out that answer yet. Thank goodness for that anonymous girl who posted her recommendation for buttermilk instead of yeast. She unknowingly improved my life in tenfolds! Now someone needs to figure out how to make gf beer yeast free too! At least I can have my olive oil and lemon. Now I had better start losing some weight with all of these calories that I have stopped consuming!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blueberry Muffins

I used 1/3 cup each: tapioca, quinoa and sorghum flours (more later)......

First Bread Machine Loaf

My Loaf did not look this perfect, but it still worked. It was sweeter than expected, and tasted more like banana bread without the bananas. I will try it again as a cinnamon raisin bread, or maybe banana bread ;) I used the equivalent of 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp lemon juice to replace 1 teaspoon yeast. (more in total but this is the equation). I used Pamela's sandwich bread mix, under the white bread cycle as directed on the package. Next time, try buttermilk instead, and maybe use the gluten free cycle? Also add a little flax seeds to the mix.

Ideally I want to make my own mix using the sorghum, sweet rice flours along with quinoa and tapioca on the gluten free cycle.

My First Pizza

For pizza crust
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup white rice flour*
1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 cup buttermilk minus 1/8
2 teaspoons sugar
2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

For topping
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, coarsely grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano, finely grated (about 1 tablespoon)
4 large fresh basil leaves, roughly torn

*Be sure to use white rice flour; brown will result in gritty pizza dough.

Special equipment: pizza stone or heavy baking sheet, baking peel or heavy baking sheet, parchment paper


Make pizza crust

In bowl of electric mixer, whisk together tapioca flour, white rice flour, chickpea flour, sorghum flour, xanthum gum, and salt.

In small saucepan over moderate heat buttermilk until warm but not hot to the touch, about 1 minute (temp should register between 105°F and 115° F on candy thermometer). Add buttermilk, egg whites, and 2 tablespoons oil to dry ingredients and, using paddle attachment, beat at medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until dough is very smooth and very thick, about 5 minutes.

Remove racks from oven, set pizza stone or heavy upturned baking sheet on bottom of oven, and preheat to 400°F. (Preheat at least 45 minutes if using pizza stone or 20 minutes if using baking sheet.)

Have ready 12-inch square parchment paper (not wax!!). Scrape dough onto square and form into a ball, or half it and make two small balls. Coat ball with 2 teaspoons oil, then use oiled or wet fingertips to pat and stretch each ball into 9-inch-diameter round, 1/4 inch thick, with a 1/2-inch-thick border. (wet hands with water several times for best non-sticky results).

Using baking peel (open ended pizza pan), transfer crust with parchment to preheated pizza stone and bake until top is puffed and firm and underside is crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Using baking peel, remove pizza from oven and discarding parchment paper, transfer baked crust to rack to cool. (Baked crusts can be made ahead and frozen, wrapped in plastic wrap, up to 1 month. Thaw in 350°F oven until hot, 4 to 5 minutes, before topping and broiling.)

Top and broil pizza
Preheat broiler. Transfer baked crust to pizza pan. Brush 1 teaspoon olive oil over crust. Spread with sauce, leaving 1/2-inch border bare, then sprinkle each with mozzarella and Parmigiano-Reggiano (and toppings if desired). Drizzle remaining 2 tsps olive oil over pizzas.

Broil pizzas about 4 inches from heat, rotating as needed for even browning, until cheese is bubbling and browned in places and crust is golden brown, 4 to 8 minutes. Scatter with basil, slice, and serve immediately.

  • I broiled crust first for only 4min b/c it was half-rising, and smoking b/c of wax paper instead of parchment! Then baked pizza w/toppings about 10min at 350-400, the broiled it 4-5min to brown cheese and crisp crust. *Keep turning pizza in broiler to prevent burning.
  • I put cornmeal on bottom of pizza pan, after parchment was discarded
  • I used water on my hands which worked much better than oiled hands when spreading dough into crust.
Pizza Sauce
Prepare this fat-free sauce while the pizza crust bakes. It fills the kitchen with a delicious aroma. And by letting it simmer for 15 minutes, it becomes thick so it won't make the pizza crust soggy.

8 oz gluten-free tomato sauce
(make your own with recipe below)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
1 scoop minced garlic
2 tsp sugar or 1 tsp honey (optional)
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in small sauce pan and bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Top pizza crust with sauce and your favorite toppings. Makes about 1 cup. *I doubled this recipe. I also used 1 tsp fennel seeds in the double recipe and it was too overpowering, so try 1/4tsp per 8oz sauce next time. Also, try sweet rice flour instead of white rice flour? The rice flour seems to have made it a little chewy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I Made Real Pizza!

After two hours of hard work, about 10 mistakes and even more cursing, I created a real pizza!!! I am still shocked. All of the other pizzas I worked hard on in the past 7 months or so came out terrible, and not at all like pizza the way each recipe or blogger claimed. I was trying to be positive, but they all tasted bad, kinda smelled, and still somewhat hurt my stomach. (yeast? seems to be) This one LOOKS like pizza, TASTES like pizza, crunches like Pizza, smells like pizza and, what the heck, even feels like pizza. Good golly, it IS pizza! And my stomach is happy, just really full after eating so much of it. Brian loved it too, said he "could eat that for dinner anytime". Yea! A real success! Ok, enough of the bragging (for now) but seriously, I am shocked that it came out "real" after all of the past experiences, after all of my "trials" today with it, and all of the things that went wrong. For instance, cutting the recipe in half except for the buttermilk on accident, then having to re-add all the halves and almost messing up on all of the counts (who can keep track after adding the 16th half-teaspoon of something?) And having the thin dough that was SUPPOSED to be really thick, stuck all over my hands and everything else, while listening to really bad and loud music blare out of my too-far-to-reach radio. Then smoking out the oven and setting the smoke detector off, scaring the crap out of Lacey and I. Then seeing half of the crust rising and whistling inside the oven like a half of a volcano that is about to explode all over the already disastrous kitchen. (It crossed my mind to wonder where the fire extinguisher was at this point.) I took several recipes and tips and combined them all to invent the one that I came out with today. Amazing to me, after all of the frustration and exhaustion, when I tasted the pizza, I immediately wanted to turn around and go through the whole process again, this time perfecting all of the little mishaps that I could taste. That is what these good notes are for...I will perfect it another time, in a faster interval, I have decided.
On a side note, today was the first time that I used quinoa flour, which also made the perceived outcome unsure. The description on the package of the flour being the most versatile next to wheat was convincing, and very true I just found out. It is also the most nutritious of all the whole grains and brings a tender moist crumb to all baking needs. Yep, I agree. I will be using a whole lot of this new quinoa flour. The answer to my gluten free prayers.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

First Bagels!

I made mine with poppy seeds and sesame seeds on top using egg wash, and also with Sorghum flour in addition to sweet rice flour. I replaced the yeast and water with 2 cups buttermilk. They came out great! The original recipe is in italics and in a different font just to keep the first one for now. My best concoction so far has bullets in front of it and is beneath it in regular font again.

The dough itself will not be as smooth as gluten based dough so these bagels will have a slightly lumpy appearance. The key really is learning how to form the bagels…which I am afraid only practice will perfect. I wish you luck and hope that your path to gluten free bagels is paved with golden lox and cream cheese.
Real Honest Gluten Free Bagels

Wendy Wark’s Gluten Free Flour Mix

According to the girl who originally posted this recipe "This wonderful flour blend is from Karen Robertson’s book “Cooking Gluten Free!”. Not only are all the recipes in the book outstanding but it also contained this miraculous flour mixture. I make this flour mixture in large batches and use it for everything. It can be used cup for cup in place of traditional flour."
Wendy Wark’s Gluten Free Flour Mix
2 ¼ cups Brown Rice Flour
¾ cup Sweet Rice Flour
2/3 cup Tapioca Flour
1/3 cup Corn Starch
¼ cup Potato Starch Flour
2 teaspoons Xanthan Gum

*This recipe with yield 7 bagels
Bagel Ingredients
3 ¼ cups
WW gluten free flour mix
2 tablespoons yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 ½ teaspoons xanthan gum

My Recipe:
  • 2 c buttermilk
  • 1/2 c quinoa flour
  • 3/4 c sorghum flour
  • 1 c brown rice flour
  • 3/4 c sweet rice flour
  • 2/3 c tapioca flour
  • 1/3 c corn starch
  • 1/4 c potato starch
  • 2 t. and 2 1/2 t. xanthan gum separately
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. sea salt
Cooking Items
1 gallon water
4 tablespoons sugar
Tea Kettle of water
Vegetable oil for greasing a bowl
Kitchen towels
Cookie Sheet (I recommend aluminum)
Large stock pot
Slotted spoon
Dissolve the 3 tablespoons of sugar in the 1 ½ cups of warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the water and stir to combine. Allow this to sit for about 10 minutes to proof the yeast (the mixture should get foamy in appearance).

Lightly oil a mixing bowl with vegetable oil and set aside
Set the tea kettle on the stove to get it boiling
To the warm buttermilk add the salt, 2 1/2 t. xanathan gum and 1 ½ cups of the flour mix. Use your hand to mix the ingredients together. The mixture will be lumpy so do not fret. Continue to add the remaining flour a ½ cup at a time. When you have about a ½ cup remaining of the flour it is time to turn the dough mixture out onto a work surface. You will really need to knead the dough well to get all the flour to combine. The texture of the dough will be slightly sticky (remember this is not wheat we are dealing with). If you feel the dough is too dry keep kneading it and it should become tacky around the same time that your arms get tired. Form the dough into a nice neat ball and place into the lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp kitchen towel.
Place dough into the oven on the middle rack. DO NOT TURN THE OVEN ON. Place a baking pan on the lowest rack in the oven and fill it with the boiling water. Close the oven door and let the dough rise for about an hour. Adding the water into the oven really helps this dough rise. (won't rise much w/o yeast, but I let it sit just in case). I have tried other methods but this seems to work best.
After 1 hour remove all items from the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.
Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gently punch it down. Divide the dough into 7 equal sections and begin forming the bagels. I like to roll the dough into a ball using a good amount of pressure (for smoothing purposes) and then I gently flatten it and use my index finger to punch the whole in the middle. Let the bagels sit and rise again for about 15 minutes.
In the meantime set a large stock pot with the gallon of water on the stove and bring the water to a boil. When the water boils add the 4 tablespoons of sugar and bring the water down to a simmer. Sprinkle the cookie sheet with a thin layer of cornmeal.
After the bagels have sat for 15 minutes drop 3-4 bagels into the simmering water and allow them to cook for about 4 minutes. After 4 minutes turn them over in the water and let them cook for about 4 minutes more. Using a slotted spoon remove the bagels from the water and place on a kitchen towel. After all bagels have taken a dip in the water arrange them on the cookie sheet.
You can also put a topping on the bagels such as poppy or sesame seeds. To do this you will want to whisk together 3 tablespoons of water with 1 egg white. Before you put the bagels in the oven brush a thin layer of the egg wash on the top of the bagels and sprinkle them with your topping of choice.
Cook the bagels in the oven for 25 minutes and then turn them over and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Let them cool for about a half hour before you try and cut them. If you try cutting them when they are still hot you run the risk of turning them into a glob of dough. Freeze bagels once cooled. Enjoy!

My Upcoming Endeavors

I am so excited to make this pizza recipe that I found on epicurious. The picture looks amazing, and although the reviews are great on the crust's consistency, no one comments on the actual flavor in that recipe, so I will have to see for myself. Pizza is one of the dishes that I miss the most. If it comes out well tomorrow, I will post the picture and the recipe soon after.

I also want to make MORE bagels (they came out great!) This alone gave me hope that all substitutions are possible, and tasty. Maybe some cinnamon raisin for cream cheese, and some onion for egg sandwiches.

I will retry the pita recipe from the Living Without magazine. This time replacing the yeast with the buttermilk since that may be one of the culprits in my unhappy system. Can't wait to have that with a greek salad, and then also as a large sandwich wrap.

Chilequiles will be a breakfast dish that I will try soon. Already naturally gluten free! I saw the recipe somewhere today on yahoo, but cannot remember exactly, which is why I am creating this blog for my memory-challenged mind! I think the chips get baked about 20min with the toppings combined in the same dish. Not sure yet how to get the eggs right though...

And once my Breadman machine comes that my sweet, sweet supportive husband ordered for me, I am going to try using the sandwich mix by Pamela in that machine. This was recommended by Karina and many others, so I am excited to be able to make real sandwiches again! I also want to make a french bread again, but this time not fat-free, and w/o the yeast. Pamela's brownie mix wasn't bad either, but not quite as good as the 365 brand.

Graham crackers from Living Without is also on the list for summer smores on the soon-coming camping trips.

I want to try the breaded chicken from for chicken tenders with ranch, chicken parmigiana, and the sweet and sour chicken recipe that I found and saved in my own bookmarks and am dying to try. Hopefully I can find this at whole foods. If not, it can be ordered.

Then, a yellow cake from either Living Without, or from Bette Hagman's recipebook. Followed by frosting.

Oh, and the buffalo chicken dip recipe (with wing sauce) that I have had at two separate occasions and could NOT stop eating. I need to get the recipe first, and then will share. This is a great recipe for any get together that people will rave about.

My beloved spinach dip with a homemade mix by Bette Hagman, maybe with some artichokes added, and then served with her salem crumpets recipe.

GF bread crumbs, and croutons, so that I can make my own ceasar salad, and mom can make me some of her awesome signature pasta sauce :)

Stovetop lasagna, so good!

Nicole's chocolate chip recipe that she swears by.

Cream cheese sugar cookie recipe in my old computer's bookmarks. Perfect for xmas cookies, when the time comes again.

I had better get to sleep so that I have time and energy to create new tasty pleasures tomorrow!

Little Tips

  • Focus on the many, many foods that you CAN have, and remember that fruits and vegetables grew naturally for a reason
  • Still have a hinkering for something glutenated? Almost everything can be transformed into a healthier, gluten free version
  • Feeling a little down at first? It is only natural on the journey of discovering a whole new way of life. Our worlds are unfortunately centered around eating, and when every aspect of that is "altered", it takes some time to adjust. Dana Korn and Bette Hagman were my first inspirations, followed by Shauna's and Karina's blogs. Their constant positive outlook and delicious-looking pictures help me get through a discouraging day in the gluten world.
  • A wise quote that appealed to me in reference to comparing baking with gluten vs. without gluten..."you cannot make an apple pie out of a different fruit, and then be surprised that it does not come out tasting like apple pie"
  • Give your tastebuds a good few weeks before trying any gf bread, bake good, etc. The transition will be so much easier than you think when you're not comparing. Karina couldn't have said it better, and I found out the hard way that she was right (especially with pizza)...and on this same note, maybe postpone sharing these new food samples with friends and families until you have mastered a recipe. Hearing negative feedback on something you created after hunting down the ingredients, spilling the ingredients and then have those ingredients come together and stick to you, only to come out s0-s0, does not help matters. Plus, if they are picky, the same taste testers may not be so eager to try something next time that is actually really good. Any hesitancy could only create some frustration on your part without them meaning to.
  • If not for the Trader Joe's Cheetos, I would be starving somewhere. These are a great junk food option to take to work, travel with, or just munch as a small snack.
  • I use buttermilk in place of the yeast and warm water combo, usually 2 cups buttermilk per 1 and 1/4 c warm water and yeast
  • add seltzer water to moisten and lighten a baked good
  • replace a teaspoon of flour with that amount of flax seeds for added fiber
  • replace another spoonful or two of flour with new quinoa, millet or teff flour for more protein and fiber
  • use honey, agave or maple syrup in place of sugar, not in exact measurements though (specifics will be added later...)
  • replace half of fat with avocado
  • garbanzo beans = bad flavor!
  • so far, yogurt butter works just fine
  • use cornmeal under the raw pizza dough to prevent sticking (plus, the bottom looks just like the bottom of delivery pizzas. hey, whatever works right?)
  • handle raw dough with wet or oiled hands to make life MUCH easier and so much less frustrating
  • use an egg wash (egg whites mixed together w/water) and then that topping added into them) to paint on toppings such as seeds onto a bagel
  • invest in quality pans!
  • Bob's Red Mill has come through in the cornbread mix! I did not like their all purpose flour, possibly because of the garbanzo beans in it
  • 365 Brand has a great pancake/waffle mix, perfect brownie mix but not-so-good white sandwich mix and just ok cornbread mix
  • Using the 365 pancake/waffle mix with a waffle maker will satisfy any craving for restaurant style belgian waffles! Add fresh fruit, maple syrup and maybe even a sprinkle of powdered sugar for complete breakfast bliss. (Be sure to apply enough oil or Pam to waffle maker beforehand)
  • Homemade smoothies cure my stomach ailments after an accidental ingestion of a gluten meal. The coolness and sweetness of this treat also satisfies both the dessert and the drink longing, especially on a warm day. Always use a scoop of protein powder to sustain fulfillment and add extra protein, fiber and nutrients.
  • So far, all restaurant bbq sauces (and fries) have gluten in them. It is much safer to purchase the store bought gf ones, or make them yourself, and inconspicuously, bring them into the restaurant if you want. This keeps my cravings at bay for those foods when everyone else (or so it seems) are happily munching away. (Another reminder: we do not see the negative after-effects that some of our unsuspecting fellow restaurant goers may feel after a glutenated meal).
  • Use Sorghum flour, and try Sweet rice flour

First Discovery

I have learned that everything tastes better when I make it myself. Now I know this can sound snotty, so I should defend that statement by saying that, naturally, anything fresh out of the oven tastes better. Plus, I can pronounce each ingredient that I am adding in, and there are no "partially hydrogenated" anythings in a recipe that I make from start to finish. And no allergens for that matter. Being able to substitute the high fat additions for the healthier versions also makes me happy. And by making something myself, from scratch with fresh ingredients that I had to go to three stores to find, I can honestly say that I have never taken so much pride in what I have cooked or baked as I do now. Cooking and baking is something that I actually like now, something that I honestly crave. Experimenting with this whole new world of ideas is so stimulating and fascinating to me, and when something finally comes out of the oven that I do not throw in the garbage after one bite, the satisfaction is so addicting that I just want to make more. Cooking used to be an obligation, but now everything else that gets in the way of my baking and steals my time away from it is the obligation. I am happy that I have discovered this new world of taking such an active role in designing the healthy (or sometimes unhealthy-but-so-yummy) concoctions of what I put into my new body. Now this is my kind of Chemistry!