Saturday, June 26, 2010
A quick plug is in order here. My mother sent me a box of Betty Crocker gluten-free chocolate chip cookie mix to try in Swaziland, and this weekend, I busted it out in honor of a Christmas in June party I attended. The dough ended up very crumbly, and I was a little doubtful as I shaped it into small balls with my hands. I wasn't sure how convincing their cookie act would be as I watched them begin to rise and expand in the oven. But, about 9 minutes later, they came out of the oven looking - and smelling - perfect. Perfect. As in, chocolate chip cookies exactly the way I remember them from my gluten days. Slightly browned on the edges, deliciously buttery, warm and chewy on the inside. This is the only gluten-free mix I've tried from Betty Crocker, and based on how fantastic these were (and how quickly they were gobbled up at the party I took them to),I would highly recommend them!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract OR 1 package vanilla sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
3 cups gluten-free flour (What I used: ¾ cup millet flour, ¾ cup tapioca starch, ¼ cup potato starch, ¼ cup brown rice flour, ½ cup buckwheat flour, ½ cup sorghum flour)
½ cup shredded coconut
¾ cup almond meal
100 grams crushed macadamia nuts
1 chocolate bar, chopped or 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Crush the macadamia nuts into smaller pieces and add them, along with the chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate bar) to the dough.
Monday, June 21, 2010
You can substitute another type of dairy-free milk for the soy milk if you are avoiding soy; I'd recommend a thicker one like hemp milk or almond milk, but rice milk could work as well.
Some suggestions for delicious routes to take with this base of vanilla ice cream:
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I have a surplus of quinoa in my cupboard at the moment, and I have put myself on grocery lock-down, meaning I am not allowed to buy any more food until I have eaten what is in my kitchen already. I am preparing to move out of my house, and - in fact - out of Swaziland in a matter of 2 weeks, and I can't stand the thought of wasting the food I've already spent money on.
So, I surveyed my cabinets. Quinoa. A can of sweet corn. Half a bag of black beans. Done and done.
This tasted even more fantastic with slices of avocado mixed in, but it was also very good on its own. It's a simple salad, thrown together, and it's best chilled overnight after the flavors have had a chance to develop nicely.
Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Roasted Corn and Fresh Avocado
1/2 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cup water (or vegetable or chicken-flavored broth if you have it), divided
1 15-oz can roasted corn
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 medium green pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1/2 large onion, diced
4 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (only if the garlic taste is not enough for you)
1 1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. onion flakes
2 - 3 tsp. salt
1/2 - 1 tsp. pepper (to taste)
2 - 4 tbsp. lime juice (from concentrate) or juice of 2 fresh limes
Fresh avocado slices (optional)
Put the quinoa with one cup of the water or broth into a pot and a pinch of salt and cook according to directions on package. When done, set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with wax paper. Drain the can of corn well and place in a large bowl. Drizzle about 1 - 2 tbsp. of olive oil and 1 - 2 tsp. salt and toss to coat. Spread across the baking sheet and place in the oven. Stir the corn every 10 minutes and cook until it has been roasted and turns dark, about 30 - 40 minutes. When done, set aside.
Meanwhile, place the onions in a small saucepan with the olive oil. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes, and then add the garlic and stir to coat. Cook for another 2 - 3 minutes and then add the chili powder, garlic powder, basil, oregano, onion flakes, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir to coat and cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the black beans and stir to coat. Add the remaining 1/2 cup water or broth, stir, and let simmer for 5 - 10 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
Place the cooked quinoa into a large bowl or pot and add the roasted corn, diced green peppers, and the black bean and onion mixture. Toss to coat and season with salt and pepper according to taste.
Serve with slices of fresh avocado and salsa, if desired. You could also wrap this salad in a crepe or wrap for more of a sandwich experience.
I tried a recipe from The Gluten-free Goddess' website for my first attempt at crackers, and I was very happy with how they turned out. I don't have a rolling pin at the moment, so I just pressed them down with my hands, which made them a bit thicker than regular crackers, and also a bit softer than regular crackers. But they were still delicious. I ate some spread with peanut butter, and some with tuna salad spread over them. And some of them, I just ate plain, appreciating the wonderfully grainy texture and the slightly sweet aftertaste. Store these in an airtight container for several days, and keep them in the fridge to make them last longer.
Find the recipe here. I used a real egg instead of the Egg Replacer and made half with the onion/garlic powder and half plain. Both were great, but for spreading something like peanut butter or jam, make the plain ones.
Monday, June 14, 2010
These could not be easier, really. You toss the ingredients together, stir, and plop dollops of the dough onto a hot pan. Flip. Done! They're essentially pancakes, but somehow, magically, they turn into scones in the pan. They are slightly sweet (made less so depending on how much sugar you want to add) and beautifully grainy, turning golden and crumbly as they cook. I used a combination of buckwheat and millet flour, but I think you could try it with any other grainy gluten-free flours (such as sorghum). They even hold up pretty well; I was able to cut them in half and make an egg sandwich out of one, and it didn't fall apart in my hands as so many gluten-free breads tend to do. I made them a bit sweet, so they turned out tasting like more like a teatime snack than real bread, but they were delicious nonetheless! Perfect drizzled with honey or with strawberry jam spread over a piece hot from the stove.
I've ended up having to give most of these cookies away by now out of fear that I would end up consuming them entirely on my own. That is the occupational hazard of living alone and loving to cook and bake, I suppose. You end up with lots of delicious food that you want to eat, but then comes the inevitable sense of guilt and gluttony as you lose count of the number of freshly baked, soft, and wonderful cookies you have eaten as you stand waiting for the rest of the cookies to bake.
These are delicious little gems, small and light enough that you can eat many without feeling too bad about it. I tried making them with maple extract and vanilla extract, but you could also experiment with any other flavors/essences you might enjoy. You could even try them with ground hazelnuts instead of almonds. Try placing a few chocolate chips onto the cookies straight from the oven for another twist, even though they are just as good plain as they are with icing. They are soft and chewy right from the oven, but they harden a bit when cooled (but remain pleasantly chewy). I baked them for exactly 15 minutes, turning the tray in the oven halfway through, and removed them from the hot pan immediately to cool.
Maple and Vanilla Almond Macaroons
1 - 2 tsp. maple extract (if desired)
For icing toppings: (optional)
10 – 15 ml icing sugar for decoration
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This recipe makes me think of the enormous kettles of popcorn produced at autumn festivals, where a large man stands wrapped in a heavy flannel jacket stirring a cauldron full of steaming, sugary popcorn with a spoon as tall as me. That was the inspiration for this recipe. I have to give credit to my friend Lisa, who suggested adding the sugar at the beginning of the process instead of after the popcorn had already popped. So in this recipe, the brown sugar is cooked right into the popcorn, creating an addictively crunchy coating, and is balanced perfectly by the salt added at the end. It's hard to stop eating this - really hard. Even when the bowl is empty, it's so tempting to make another batch. I have eaten batches (yes, plural....) of this in lieu of dinner before. Not my proudest or healthiest moments, for sure, but I can't say that they were my worst, either. This popcorn is great to make for movie night, or for a snack to have out for company. And it's so simple to make!
Sweet and Salty Kettle Corn
4 - 6 tbsp. sunflower oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
1/3 cup raw brown sugar
salt to taste
Pour enough oil to coat the bottom of a thick-bottomed pot and add 4 popcorn kernels and place over high heat. Wait until one of the kernels pops, then add the rest of the popcorn kernels and the brown sugar. Stir well together, and then place a tight-fitting lid onto the pot. Get ready to shake....
Take a thick towel and grab the pot by its sides, and - being sure to hold the lid down tight - start shaking the pot every 30 - 45 seconds to avoid burning the sugar. Each time, after you've shaken the pot for about 5 - 10 seconds, replace it immediately back onto high heat and continue to cook. Continue doing this even when it starts to pop, until the kernels are no longer popping. Remove immediately from the pot and place into a large bowl. Add salt according to taste and let cool for about 5 minutes to allow the sugar to harden. Break the pieces apart with your hands and serve!
Can be stored in an airtight container for several days.