Category Archives: GF Recipes

Artichoke trauma

Ah, those artichokes…  Who knew they could be such trouble-makers?

My seven-year-old daughter, Audrey, is still recovering.

Actually, it’s not the artichoke’s fault.

Having a wee bit of organic gardening experience under my belt, I can often (not always, but often) discern the difference between beneficial insects and harmful ones.  More squeamish minds may disagree, but it always pleases me when I see a beneficial, crawling in the weekly produce I get from Crooked Sky Farms.  It just makes me think, “The food is alive!  It was just picked!!  These bugs are HAPPY here!  It’s a GOOD bug!!”

I usually scoop up these little garden treasures on a leaf and have one of my kids go deposit it in my own garden.  Lately, I’ve been telling them to put the bug right on one of my dill plants, which are now in bloom and are (hopefully) operating as an aphid trap plant

However, during a recent family dinner, while Audrey was happily peeling back the petals of her ‘choke, dipping each in mayo, she encountered a ladybug.  A dead one.  Dead from me cooking it, encased in its previous home.  Loud wailing ensued, along with accusations of heart-heartedness, “HOW COULD YOU KILL A LADYBUG??  HOW COULD YOU COOK HIM???”

~sigh~

And of course, being seven, she is just not letting this drop.  It has been nearly a week now, and she still isn’t letting me live it down.  “Remember the cooked ladybug I found?  Mommy, why would you cook a ladybug?  Couldn’t you have found him first?  I don’t ever want to eat a ladybug.  I don’t think I want artichokes anymore.  If you make artichokes, will you please make sure that all of the ladybugs are out of their homes?  Open up each artichoke and check it first.  Please don’t cook anymore ladybugs.”  And this patter is still frequently accompanied by tears.

And, yes, this is the same daughter who will no longer eat pork, since we read Charlotte’s Web about a year and a half ago.

—————-

In related news, I think the CSA members are getting tired of artichokes;  quite a few traded in their allotment of five.  As the CSA coordinator and host, I’m the recipient of the cast-offs.  Plus, I think the farm shipped extra yesterday.  The result??  I have FORTY-SIX artichokes.  Forty-six.  Plus, they’re all quite small.  Not quite babies, but still, quite small.  I’ve been looking at my crate of ‘chokes, and decided that I needed a new recipe.

I usually prepare artichokes by the fairly standard method of cutting off the top 1/2″, steaming cut-side-down in salted water to which I’ve added lemon slices and garlic cloves….  Then dipping the leaves (petals, actually) in mayo (homemade is best, of course, but I usually purchase mayo from Trader Joe’s — all natural, in a glass jar).

I decided to Google “cooking small artichokes” and one of the first options that popped up was this:

Drool!

Immediately, it made me reconsider the bounty, and that so many artichokes aren’t a bad thing at all…

The recipe, Sautéed Baby Artichokes, calls for Herbes de Provence — of which I have none.  I will cook these tonight, and use minced fresh basil instead, and subbing pecorino romano for the called-for parmesan cheese.

In the meantime…  I’m trying to give away 20 of the artichokes on Facebook, but the only takers so far are from out of state.  😀

Spicy Orange Chicken Recipe (Crockpot, GFCF)

I’ll admit it:  I crave junk food from time to time.  Lately, what has been haunting my wishful ponderings has been the sickly sweet orange chicken dish, found at “fast casual” Chinese restaurants, like Panda Express.  I last had Panda’s orange chicken more than ten years ago, and I still remember…  If there was a gluten-free version sold somewhere, I’d probably gobble it up.  So, perhaps it’s best for my sugar-intake that I haven’t found it anywhere.

A couple of days ago, a bloggy friend sent me a recipe for Crockpot Honey Sesame Chicken from The Comfort of Cooking.  Perhaps you’ve seen it;  it’s been making the rounds like wildfire, thanks to some fabulous pictures and Pinterest.  I looked at it and thought, “That is a LOT of honey.”  I buy semi-local honey, from The Honeyman in Prescott Valley, Arizona.  It’s raw, thick, and amazingly delicious.  It’s also expensive.  My thought was, “A cup of honey is worth roughly $2.75.”  I’m sorry, but that’s too much invested, honey-wise, into one recipe.

I also thought, “Two pounds of chicken?  That’s not going to feed my family.”  Along those lines, my friend Tina mentioned that she had doubled the chicken and the recipe had still turned out well.

Another thought:  “KETCHUP???  In an already sweet recipe??  Hmmm…  I’m not going to do that.  Tomato paste and apple cider vinegar would be better.”

Then, “Only a half cup of onion?  Crockpotted onions are amazing.  Needs more onion.”

And then, I looked in my freezer and saw a half container of orange juice concentrate that I keep specifically for cooking.  The gears in my brain, especially the ones marked Fiddling with Recipes, started whirring.

And the resulting recipe was so different than the original that, while I freely admit I used it as a launch pad, I thought I could probably safely call it a new recipe.

The resulting recipe was also AMAZING and TASTY.  When I sampled the first completed spoonful, I about melted.  So perfect.  So, so perfect.  Granted, it’s not as sweet as Panda’s orange chicken;  I think you’d need to throw in two or three cups of sugar to accomplish that.  However, it’s orangey-enough and sweet-enough to satisfy the cravings.  I was a bit afraid that it would be too spicy for my little girls, ages 4 and 6.  They made comment about the spiciness, but each of them simply picked up a cup of water and braved their way through, as the flavor was compelling enough to keep eating.  Everyone — all seven of us — really loved this recipe.  It received thumbs up and requests for me to make it again in the future.

One more recipe note:  You may notice that ½ teaspoon of citric acid is called for.  “Wha…?” may be your response and you may be tempted to omit it.  PLEASE DON’T.  Let’s call it the Secret Ingredient.  Citric acid enables you to taste the tang of the oranges.  It’s a must.  If you have a Sprouts in your area, you can find it in the bulk spice section for less than a dollar per ounce.  It can also be found in the canning section of any well-stocked grocery store.  Or, if you have a cheese-making store nearby, they will certainly stock it, as well.

OK.  One more recipe note:  The only mixed reviews were about the cooked orange peel in the recipe.  Some loved it, some picked them out.

Spicy Orange Chicken

Spicy Orange Chicken (Crockpot, GFCF)  In this pic, instead of green onion, chopped Italian parsley tops the dish.  I went to my veggie drawer which was inexplicably bare of the staple.  I did find some parsley, though, and it tasted fine and was pretty.  However, I do suggest you use green onion.

Click here for a printable PDF of the recipe.

Spicy Orange Chicken (Crockpot, Gluten-Free, Casein/Dairy-Free)
serves eight
Prep time:  About 10 minutes.
Cook time:  Four hours

8-10 fresh or thawed boneless, skinless chicken thighs or 4-6 chicken breasts (3-3½ pounds)
sea salt and cracked pepper
one medium onion, chopped
½ cup honey
½ cup orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, to taste — 1 tsp will make it noticeably spicy but not HOT)
1 small orange, divided use
5 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (about 1 lb.)
1 red bell pepper, cored and diced
5 tsp corn starch
1/3 cup water
½ tsp citric acid
2 tsp sesame seeds
3 green onions (scallions) chopped
2 cups uncooked brown rice
4 cups water

Cut chicken pieces in half, lightly season with salt and pepper, and place in the bottom of a Crockpot.  Turn Crockpot on high.

Chop onion and place on top of the chicken.

In a glass bowl, gently heat honey in a microwave until thin.  (Alternately, you can place the container of honey in a pan of hot water until warmed through.)  Into the warmed honey, whisk the orange juice concentrate, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, soy sauce, and red pepper flakes.  Pour atop the chicken and onions.  Cover and cook on high for two hours.

Slice the orange in half, and slice each half very thinly.  Set aside half of the slices for garnish.  After the chicken has cooked for two hours, add the remaining slices to the simmering chicken, stirring to mix.  Turn Crockpot to LOW.  Cook for one hour.

After the chicken has cooked for an hour (for a total of three hours), the chicken should be very tender.  Break up the pieces, still in the Crockpot, with a wooden spoon.  In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup water, the corn starch, and citric acid, combining well.  Stir into the simmering chicken, mixing well.  Then, stir in the chopped carrots and red bell pepper.

As brown rice needs to cook for about 45 minutes, start it now:  In a medium-sized saucepan, combine the brown rice and four cups of water.  Bring to boil, then cover and turn heat to low, simmering the brown rice for 45 minutes.

Continue to cook the chicken and veggies on low for an additional hour (a total of four hours), stirring occasionally, breaking up more chunks of chicken as you stir until you have a shredded consistency, as in the picture above.

Ladle shredded chicken, veggies, and sauce into a serving dish.  Garnish with the remaining orange slices, sesame seeds, and chopped green onion.  Serve over hot, cooked brown rice.

Enjoy!

Tomato Confit Sauce (GFCF, vegan)

Mmmm….

This is my favorite sauce.  Truly, I could just ladle it into my mouth with rude slurping sounds, but I usually restrain myself and put it ON something.  It works as a pasta sauce or a topping for steamed veggies, baked fish or chicken, or just about any meat.  Or tofu.  It would make tofu taste good, I’d bet, which is an admirable feat for any sauce!

You can serve it straight up, but since it is concentrated and PACKED with flavor, I will sometimes sauté chopped veggies on the side — zucchini or other summer squash, mushrooms, and red bell peppers are good choices — and stir it into the confit, with perhaps some canned (or fresh) diced tomatoes, to extend the sauce.  The result of this recipe is somewhere between a sauce and a condiment.  I think it would make a fabulous topping for bruschetta, and the other night, when I served this, my husband (who is much more keen on presentation than I am) said, “You could just make a schmear of this across a clean plate, and serve the fish on top of it.”  Good idea, especially as this highly-rated flounder recipe didn’t turn out quite as flavorful as I had imagined.

The ingredients are fairly flexible, depending on how much you have on hand, but here are the non-negotiables:  Tomatoes, onion, garlic cloves, fresh herbs, olive oil, and sea salt.  What transforms these usual suspects of the culinary arts is ROASTING them.

A reader, who is also a Facebook fan, suggested — oh, about a year ago, I think — that I try making “confit” from my tomatoes.  I had not enough to make paste from, but too many to just use in salads and sandwiches.  She said she got the idea from Martha Stewart, who does indeed have a Tomato Confit recipe.  However, I have tinkered and perfected, and now what I do hardly resembles the original, so I think it is transformed into something NEW, and even better.  Although I might hesitate to label this as a true confit — that is, I really do not know how long this would last, as a preserve — it still bears its confit roots.

The best part is:  IT IS SO EASY, and it makes your home smell like a pizzeria, without the actual pizza.  🙂  Speaking of, this sauce doubles as pizza sauce that is to die for!

So, here we go!

Tomato Confit Sauce

click here for printable PDF

makes about 3½ cups

  • 1½ – 2 lbs of fresh, ripe, small tomatoes.  Halve and remove the area around the stem, but no need to seed, peel, or core
  • 3-4 Tbsp fresh, finely-chopped herbs (I like rosemary and basil), divided
  • ½ large onion, cut in slivers (a regular brown or yellow onion would work best — something with some zip to it)
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, halved
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • a generous pinch raw sugar
  1. As you prepare the ingredients, preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Into a 11″ x 7.5″ (or similarly-sized) glass or glazed stoneware baking dish, drizzle about 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the fresh herbs.
  3. Place tomatoes, cut side down, shoulder to shoulder in the baking dish.  They can overlap somewhat, but it’s best if they are all skin-side up, cut-side-down.
  4. Sprinkle the tomatoes with the rest of the herbs, the slivered onion, and garlic.  Drizzle with the rest of the olive oil, then sprinkle on the sea salt and very lightly sprinkle all with a pinch of sugar.
  5. Bake, covered with foil, in a 325°F oven for 45 minutes on a mid-to-low oven rack.  Then, remove the foil and continue to roast, uncovered, until everything is soft, and about half of the liquid has evaporated.
  6. It should look like this:
  7. Cool to room temperature (or until at least not-hot), and transfer all to a food processor or blender.  I use a Cuisinart Mini-Prep, and pulse back and forth on chop and grind (I have to do it in two batches, as the bowl doesn’t hold the whole recipe).  Process until the sauce is mostly-smooth, but not uniformly so.  You want to be able to see the flecks and small bits.
  8. Taste, and decide if it needs more salt or even some pepper (I’m not a big fan of black pepper), then restrain yourself from eating all that concentrated deliciousness, right there.
  9. Enjoy!

(Almost) Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Low-Carb Bran Muffins Recipe (GF)

Yours will be slightly larger, as I made 13 muffins with this recipe, instead of 12.

This morning, I whipped up a batch of these.  It was my hope to make a gluten-free, low-carb muffin that everyone in our family can eat.  Both Fiala and I are on a super-low carb, no-starch, sugar-free diet to combat Candida.  The results were quite successful, both in taste, and in the fact that these are quite bread-like, but super-low carb.  The tops brown nicely, and have a nice crust.  The insides are moist without being soggy or gummy.   The muffins hold together nicely — they aren’t crumbly.

Those who can eat sugars in our family slathered on some raw, local honey.  Those who couldn’t (Fiala and me) still relished our tasty muffins with a pat of butter.

Since I used garbanzo flour, these aren’t quite Paleo-compliant, if you’re on a Paleo diet.  I’m mostly Paleo, but I do use a bit of dairy and I still love my legumes.  🙂  For the curious, quinoa is considered a seed, as is guar gum.

Small disclaimer:  This recipe uses rice bran, which is from a grain.  If you want to be 100%, completely grain-free, you’d have to double the flax seed meal or something like that…  Flax seed meal can mess with the texture and moisture of a recipe, so proceed with caution.

OK, second small disclaimer:  The only thing that I’m really not pleased about is the fact that these stick to the paper liners.  If I had some silicone muffin “tins”, I think these would be a good candidate.

Per muffin:  7.8 grams net carbs, with an additional 4.8g dietary fiber.

Grain-Free, Sugar-Free, Low-Carb Bran Muffins (GF)

Click here for a printable PDF
makes 12 muffins

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 cup garbanzo flour
  • ½ cup almond meal
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • ¼ cup quinoa flour
  • ¼ cup flax seed meal
  • ¼ cup rice bran
  • 1 tsp guar gum
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 4 level scoops dried stevia extract (I use stevia from Trader Joe’s.  Each serving is a tiny, 45mg scoop.  If you’re using stevia drops or another form of stevia, adjust as necessary, and make sure if you use any form of liquid stevia to add it with the wet ingredients, below.)

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup plain, whole milk (REAL) yogurt
  • 1½ cup water
  1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
  3. In a large bowl with a whisk, combine all dry ingredients well.
  4. Add the wet ingredients and stir briskly to combine well.
  5. Using a ¼ cup measure as a scoop, and using a silicone spatula as an aid, place a gently rounded ¼ cup measure of batter in each muffin liner.
  6. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until lightly browned, and the tops of the muffins don’t feel spongy.
  7. Enjoy!

Labels, Health, and Caesar Dressing (a recipe)

Cool flowchart done by Cole Bradburn, with the original's language toned down a bit. 🙂

I’m not a real stickler with labels.  PEOPLE-labels, that is.  Ingredient labels I do read, without fail.  But, having a label helps, sometimes, when hunting for diet-compliant resources.  Thanks to this article from medical doctor and true nutrition expert, Dr. Cate, I now can call myself a “Herder-Gatherer Paleo” adherent.  That’s plants, meats, and a bit of dairy.  Most of those who eat Paleo don’t eat any dairy.  I also eat some legumes, which most Paleo folk don’t.  I don’t really care about that, though.  I don’t care about strict adherence, either.  For instance, many people who eat Paleo wouldn’t eat rice vinegar because it’s made from rice (a grain) or white vinegar because it’s made from a grain (corn).  I think any diet can be taken to such extremes that it becomes silly and prohibitive.  I’m not going there.  For me, what matters is, “Is it healthy?” more than, “Does such-and-such website say I should eat it?”*

The net result, though, is that I need to alter pretty much any recipe I find to suit my needs, tastes, and what I will/won’t eat.  And what’s on hand in my fridge and pantry.  And what can be made for reasonable cost, given that we have seven people in our home.  And that said seven people can/will eat what I make, at least a majority of them.

This recipe is wholly inspired by my friend Kim of GF Real Food.  I went over to her house a few weeks ago and was impressed by how quickly she whipped up a caesar salad from scratch.  She also clued me into the 2.5 lb bags of washed romaine lettuce from Costco that are $3.99 per bag.  AND, I made the recipe in a mini food processor that she passed onto me, when she got a shiny new one.  🙂  Thank you, Kim!  I probably could have asked her for her recipe… instead, I went hunting online.  And, while I found several good recipes, no ONE suited my needs, which included using Pecorino Romano (made of 100% sheep’s milk) in lieu of parmesan.  I love me some good, sharp parmesan, but my 10yo son, Wesley, can’t have any cow dairy (unless it’s raw, which is another story).  Also, caesar dressing is traditionally made with balsamic vinegar, which I simply didn’t have in my pantry.  And so on.  By the time I was done, I had so completely altered the original recipe that I think I can call it a new one.

A few notes:

  • The Yuck Factor:  Yes, it has raw egg yolk.  The acid in the recipe essentially “cooks” the yolk, sort of like ceviche.
  • The Carb Count:  Unless the vinegar you use has sweetener of some sort, there are virtually no carbs in this dressing.
  • The Revelation:  I am rather embarrassed that I never realized that real caesar dressing is pretty much just a fancy aioli, or homemade mayonnaise.
  • The Roasted Garlic:  The recipe calls for roasted garlic cloves.  To roast:  Break apart a head of garlic, but do not peel.  Loosely gather a piece of aluminum foil around the cloves, and place in a 325°F oven for about 45 minutes.  Or, like me, roast it for 30 minutes, turn the oven off, and let the garlic sit in there for another hour or so.  To open, just squeeze the top of the clove.  The cloves should be butter-soft and light tan in color.
  • The Lettuce:  Traditionally, caesar dressing is served over romaine lettuce.  If you use four cups of romaine (which is essentially two large servings), that will give you about 2g net carbs and 4g fiber.
  • The “Croutons”:  Traditionally, caesar salads have croutons.  To make it gluten-free, and simply so, I served it with farinata, a grain-free flatbread that I still adore, even though I’ve been making it nearly every day of my life for the last 2½ years or so.  One-eighth of the recipe will give you 10g net carbs and 4g fiber.
  • The Protein:  I also pan-seared some sea-salted chicken breast, chopped it, and added it warm to the salad.  The dressing, the chicken, the farinata… Ah!  It all combined for a gloriously delicious meal that ALL OF US loved, from adults to wee children.  Well, “adult”, rather.  My hubby couldn’t have it, as it’s not Daniel Fast*-compliant.  He had plain lettuce and farinata.  And some garden tomatoes and cucumbers.  And pan-seared extra-firm tofu.
  • The Cost:  (02.02.12 — edited to update costs.  I went to TJ’s last night, and either the price had gone down on anchovies, or I remembered incorrectly.  Corrections made.) Given the amount of olive oil, anchovies, and Pecorino Romano cheese in this recipe, it’s fairly pricey for a homemade concoction.  I buy olive oil at Trader Joe’s, $5.99 for a 1 liter bottle of Spanish olive oil (my fave).  They have even less expensive olive oil at T.J.’s, too.  I also get anchovies there, $1.99 $1.49 for a 2 oz tin in olive oil.  And, I purchase Pecorino Romano there, too!  It’s $6.79 per pound, and one cup shredded is about 1/8 pound, so that’s $0.85.  So, this recipe costs about $4.35 $3.85 for the nearly-two-cups it produces.  Compared to store-bought, especially natural store-bought, that’s a fair price.  Most salad dressings are in 8 or 12 oz bottles, and this makes almost 16 oz.  Still, it’s not cheap.  It’s special occasion.  🙂  Added all together:  half a package of afore-mentioned lettuce ($2), 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast on sale ($3), farinata (cost is negligible, but let’s call it $0.50), plus the dressing at $4.35 $3.85 = Dinner for 6 for $9.85 $9.35.  That’s more than I would typically spend on one night’s dinner, but again, definitely worth it, on occasion.
Pecorino Romano Caesar Dressing
Pecorino Romano Caesar Dressing
makes nearly 2 cups
Time:  About five minutes
 
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon mustard (also from Trader Joe’s!  No preservatives, all natural.)
  • 2 oz tin of anchovies in olive oil
  • 8 cloves roasted garlic
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar (or other vinegar of your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp preservative-free lemon juice 
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 2.5 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp water, if necessary
  • Freshly cracked pepper, to taste.
  1. Into a food processor or blender, measure egg yolks, Dijon mustard, anchovies, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and Pecorino Romano cheese, reserving 2 Tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese.  Pulse to mix thoroughly.
  2. If resulting dressing is thicker than you’d prefer, add optional water, a couple of teaspoons at a time, until you reach the consistency you desire.
  3. Sprinkle remaining Pecorino Romano on top of dressed salad.  Top, also, with cracked pepper to taste.
  4. Enjoy!

——————

*I’ve been having a disagreement with my husband about this.  He’s on a Daniel Fast, which he typically does for 2-4 weeks at a time, twice a year.  In general terms, a Daniel Fast is a whole foods, vegan diet, based upon the example of a few upper-crust Hebrew men, including Daniel, who were taken into captivity by the Babylonians, and challenged their captors to test their health after an all-veggie diet.  In the past, my hubby has allowed himself a few natural sweeteners, like honey, and not been too particular about one tiny ingredient or another.  However, this go-round, he has been following the protocol of a few websites devoted to the Daniel Fast, and they say that one shouldn’t have any vinegar, either, since it’s fermented, as was the wine that Daniel forewent.  I think that’s too nit-picky.  However, my husband feels more comfortable following the rules to the letter, even if — as my point is — who are those folks to make the rules???  But, to each his own.  I do understand how one can really long for guidelines, boundaries, and it become important not to cross them.  I kind of used to be like that.  🙂

Cranberry-Almond Stickybread Recipe (GFCF, refined-sugar free)

Mmmm....

I came up with this recipe for a friend whose husband has been put on a really restrictive diet.  At first, I was disappointed, because my intention was to make a dough for rollable cinnamon rolls, but the dough was too wet so I had to glop it all in the baking dish.  My husband, however, vetoed my plans to rework the recipe.  “It’s perfect,” he proclaimed, stabbing his fork into the air as an exclamation.

Usually I make a recipe a number of times to work out the kinks… but after excellent results on the second time making it, I decided to go ahead and post the recipe.  I’m thinking I’m going to make this for Christmas morning.  I read up on Monkeybread, and I think the recipe would work in that style, too — in a Bundt pan, maybe even starting with frozen dough.  I’ll have to work on that, though.

This recipe uses no refined sugar:  honey and/or agave syrup are the only sweeteners.  I used egg whites, as my friend’s hubby can’t have yolks;  I think it would work without eggs entirely — if you try it without eggs, up the water content and leave a comment to let me know how it worked.  I used sweetened, dried cranberries, but any dried fruit would work (and would be necessary to make it truly sugar-free).  I used almonds, but pecans would work fine, too.

Last caveat:  The flours.  I use my favorite trio of gluten-free flours in this recipe, but you may find others that work just as well or better.  Post a comment if you alter the flours and let me know the result!

  • Garbanzo flour is made by Bob’s Red Mill, or you can find it in any Asian market as besan, chana dal, chickpea flour, or gram flour.  Expect to pay about $5-6 for a 4-pound bag of garbanzo flour at the Asian market.  My favorite brand is Brar, which is a product of Canada (and which used to be labeled as gluten-free and is no longer… though there isn’t any cross-contamination warning on it).
  • Mung bean starch is very common in Korean cooking;  most Asian markets are organized by nationality/region, so you’d find it on the Korean aisle.  Or Chinese.  I’ve purchased it from both.  It’s also known, cryptically, as green bean powder or green bean starch, since mung beans are small and green.  Mung bean starch is a bit pricey, at around $2.50 – 3.50 per pound in the store, and about double that online.
  • You can find gluten-free oat flour in many well-stocked grocery stores, or mill your own in a blender, sifting it through a wire sieve afterward.

 

Cranberry-Almond Stickybread (click for printable PDF)
About an hour and ten minutes from start to finish
Makes 15 servings

  • Grease a large baking dish (I use a 9″ x 13″ Pyrex, though size is flexible.  I also use Spectrum Organic non-hydrogenated Shortening to grease my pans.)
  • Turn on your oven to 350°F for only 2 minutes.  Turn off.  This provides a warm location for dough to rise.

1¾ cup warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp honey

  • Gently combine water, yeast, and honey, and let sit (proof) for ten minutes

1½ cups garbanzo flour
1½ cups oat flour
1½ cups mung bean starch
¼ tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp xanthan gum

  • Whisk together these dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Set aside.

4 egg whites

  • When the yeast mixture is done proofing, whisk in 4 egg whites, stirring briskly to combine.
  • Add the yeast and egg mixture to the flour mixture, whisking quickly and thoroughly to combine.  Set aside to rest about five minutes.

½ – ¾ cup honey OR agave syrup OR a combination of the two
2 tsp cinnamon

  • Warm the honey to liquefy using a microwave for 10-15 seconds, or setting the container in a pan of very warm water.
  • Stir briskly to combine the cinnamon with honey.

½ cup almond meal
½ cup blanched, slivered almonds (or other chopped nut)
½ cup sweetened, dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)

  • Stir the dough, then with two spoons, drop spoonfuls of dough into the baking dish, using half to two-thirds of the dough.
  • Drizzle about half of the honey-cinnamon mixture over the lumps of dough, then top with about 1/3 cup of the almond meal and all of the slivered almonds and dried cranberries.
  • Drop the remaining dough in small lumps over the first layer.  Drizzle with remaining honey mixture and sprinkle with remaining almond meal.
  • Place into slightly warm oven or other warm place and let rise for 20 minutes.
  • Remove baking dish, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and preheat oven to 375°F for about ten minutes, for a total rising time of 30 minutes.  Dough will have doubled in size (or just a little less-than-doubled).
  • Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until top no longer feels spongy when touched lightly, and top is a nice, golden brown, and honey is sizzling along the sides of the dish.
  • Cut into 15 servings.  Serve warm, with a side of dairy-free ice cream, or topped with whipped cream if you can have dairy.  (Tastes good cold, too, on the off-chance that there are leftovers.)

 

GFCF Turkey Stuffing (a sort-of recipe)

A friend just asked me for a recipe for stuffing. I don’t have one written down, but here’s what I do, and it is SO tasty.  I always get compliments on this stuffing, even from those who don’t have to be gluten-free:

  1. Cook up some quinoa.  Use 2 c. quinoa and about… three cups water, I believe. I always use less water than the package suggests. Set aside.
  2. Sautee lots of veggies: onions, garlic, mushrooms, celery, and sometimes other veggies, too, using a lot of olive oil (about 1/4 cup) and a fair bit of salt (1-2 tsp).  This is just a suggestion, but I would use a whole, chopped onion; 6-8 cloves minced garlic; 5-8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms; and 1-2 cups chopped celery.  Light-colored root veggies like rutabaga or carrots work well, too, as do cubed firm winter squash, like butternut.  Steam those veggies — 2 cups or so — on the stove or in the micro until half-cooked, and stir into the sauteed veggies.
  3. When the veggies are almost done, add minced fresh herbs (often, around Thanksgiving, you can find combo packages that have several herbs inside) like sage and thyme….  Use at least 3 Tbsp minced herbs.  Remove from heat.
  4. Then, combine quinoa with the veggies & herbs, and stuff that inside the turkey. You’ll probably have to lace up the turkey, because the quinoa stuffing falls out more easily than “normal” stuffing.
  5. For vegan stuffing, or for any stuffing that won’t fit into your turkey, bake in a well-greased bowl, covered, in a slow oven (325°).  Bake at least 90 minutes.
  6. Keeps well for a long time in a warm oven, until you’re ready to serve!

Super-Simple GFCF Wholegrain Sandwich Bread (vegan, rice-free, potato-free)

In nearly nine years of almost daily gluten-free baking — both my recipes and countless others’ — this is the closest to bread perfection I’ve ever achieved.

  • This recipe consistently produces a slicing bread that is fabulous right out of the oven.  Go ahead and slather butter (or your spread of choice) onto a fresh, steaming slice;  the bread does not gum up when trying to slice it when it’s still hot.  (For honest disclosure, if you want VERY THIN slices, like ¼” thick, it is best to wait until the bread cools.)
  • No more collapsed loaves!!  The bread rises great and only falls/shrinks a VERY SMALL bit during baking.
  • No more brick-like loaves:  The top is actually ROUNDED!
  • This recipe produces a nicely-browned, crusty, chewy crust.
  • The taste is excellent — no overwhelming, odd taste.  It’s subtle enough to use for both sweet and savory.  Yet, it’s complex enough to not taste bland or dull.
  • The texture is both sturdy and elastic:  It stands up to spreading, but does not readily fall apart whilst eating the sandwich.
  • The interior of the bread is moist (but never gummy), and not crumbly.
  • The bread is also great for toasting (though unlike many other g.f. loaves, does not require toasting).
  • It is 2/3 wholegrain, high in fiber, but is light in color.
  • This recipe also produces a bread that is higher in protein than most gluten-free breads, more equivalent to wheat-based bread.  The only starch used in this bread is mung bean starch (see the simple flour mixture recipe here), which is remarkably low-glycemic, due to its very high amylose content (32% amylose in mung bean starch, compared to 0.5% in corn starch).

Does this sound too good to be true??  Fair reader, it is not.  I have churned out dozens of these loaves in the last couple of weeks, and have yet to be disappointed (unless I veered from the recipe in order to tinker with it, unsuccessfully).

Rising dough. This is actually a large loaf; it rises even BETTER in a small loaf pan.

Finished loaf.

Sliced bread. I like the top a bit more rustic, like this. If you smooth your loaf out more thoroughly, prior to rising, the top of your loaf won't be quite as irregular.

I have not tried to freeze it;  we eat it too fast.  I’ve only eaten it when the bread is up to two days old, so I really don’t know how long it lasts, long-term.  If you make the bread and have any comments about preserving it, do let me know.

Another note:  This bread works best in a smaller loaf size.

Super-Simple GFCF Wholegrain Sandwich Bread

(click here for a simplified comment-free PDF of the recipe;  the following recipe is notated with suggestions)
Requires about 90 minutes’ time from start to finish.

  • 3¼ cups Simple Sandwich Bread Flour Mix
  • 1 tsp sea salt — not any less
  • 1¾ cup water, heated to 95° – 110° F
  • 1½ Tbsp granulated sugar (that is, 1 Tbsp + 1½ tsp)
  • scant Tbsp active dry yeast (that is, about 2¾ tsp)
  • 1½ Tbsp olive oil (that is, 1 Tbsp + 1½ tsp)
  • Spray olive oil, or about an additional ½ tsp
  1. In a glass or glazed pottery container, add sugar and yeast to the warm water.  Stir gently to moisten the yeast.  Set aside to proof for ten minutes.  At the end of 10 minutes, the mixture should have a fairly thick layer of small bubbles on top.
  2. Put the oven rack in the bottom third of the oven.  Turn the oven on to preheat to 350°F for ONLY TWO MINUTES.  Turn off oven.
  3. Line a small loaf pan (4½” x 8½”) with nonstick foil.
  4. With a whisk, combine flour mix with salt.
  5. To the proofed yeast mixture, gently mix in 1½ Tbsp olive oil.  Add to flour and salt mixture.
  6. With a whisk, very quickly mix liquid mixture with flour mixture.  Whisk briskly until well-combined and mixture thickens.  You may still see some very small clumps.
  7. Set the bowl aside to rest for five minutes.  After five minutes, whisk again until smooth.  (Without the resting period and additional whisking, you will likely end up with small clumps of garbanzo flour in your finished loaf.)
  8. With a silicone spatula, turn batter into the lined loaf pan.  Tap the pan on countertop to help it settle.  Spray top of loaf with olive oil (alternately, lightly drizzle the loaf with oil).  Using a clean silicone spatula, pat and form the loaf until the batter is evenly distributed and slightly rounded.
  9. Set the pan in the (pre-warmed) oven, uncovered, and close the door.
  10. Let rise for 20 minutes, remove loaf.  Set aside, uncovered.  (If your home is really cold, place the rising loaf in a protected area, like inside the microwave.)  Turn oven up to 400°F and preheat for ten minutes.  Place loaf into heated oven, on a rack in the bottom third of the oven, bake at 400°F for 30 minutes until nicely browned.  (For an extra-brown, crusty crust, bake an additional 5 minutes.)
  11. After baking, immediately remove the loaf from the baking pan — place it on a cooling rack or a wooden cutting board.
  12. Enjoy!
  13. Store lightly covered on the countertop for up to two days.  Beyond 48 hours, refrigeration or freezing is recommended.

NOTES:

  • Using the prescribed Flour Mixture, which includes mung bean starch, is an absolute MUST for the bread’s success.  I have tried nearly countless variations of potato, tapioca, and/or corn starch, in addition to numerous other flours — two kinds of millet, sorghum, three kinds of rice flours, potato flour — and NOTHING works like the combination of mung bean starch, oat flour, and garbanzo flour to allow the loaf to rise, and to produce the finished texture of both the crust and the interior of the loaf.
  • Due to variances in humidity in both the air and in your flours, you may find that you need to increase or decrease the water used in the recipe.  If the loaf does not rise well, increase water by 1 Tbsp.  If it rises so much that it spills out of the pan and doesn’t hold a rounded shape well and/or if it caves in or flattens out a little either during or after baking, decrease water by 1 Tbsp.
  • I have tried this recipe using raw milk (both cow and goat) in lieu of water, and it just works best with water.  If you want to try milk, decrease the liquid by at least 1 Tbsp.  The milk will make the loaf brown even more;  keep a closer eye on the time.  It also lends to a more yellowish color in the interior of the loaf, the color of potato bread.)
  • If you want to use a large loaf pan, the bread simply won’t keep its loft as well while baking.  However, it still is a serviceable, tasty loaf.  Use 4¼ cups flour mix, 1½ tsp sea salt, 2¼ cups water, 2 Tbsp sugar, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 T yeast.  Let rise and bake for an additional five minutes each.  All other instructions are identical.

If you try this loaf and have questions or comments — positive or negative — PLEASE comment below or e-mail me at karenjoy@onlysometimesclever.com.  I truly love feedback.

Cool! Lots of handy info on g.f. flour blends

Look closely at the “all purpose” one.  🙂  I actually make the same AP flour, but now add one part garbanzo flour… and I only use half of the xanthan gum as described in the original post.

Simple Sandwich Bread Flour Mix (gluten-free, rice-free, potato-free)

Mung beans.

I know, you’ve always wanted to try them.  You have a deep-seated curiosity about them.

No?

Well, let me pique your interest.

Have you ever made gluten-free bread that looked like a brownish brick?  If you’ve done any g.f. baking and you answer, “No” to that, I’ll know you’re lying.  😀

I accidentally discovered the secret to lofty, round-topped, well-rising gluten-free bread, and it arose (ha!) from me trying to make a bread for my nearly three-year-old daughter, Fiala, who is still highly allergic to just about everything on the planet.  The only grain she can tolerate is oats.  I’ve known for a couple of years that she can handle most legumes, and I’ve long been making farinata and other quick breads from garbanzo bean flour.

Recently, though, on one of my frequent forays into a local large Asian market, I noticed a package of mung bean starch.  I’d seen mung beans elsewhere in the store.  You can buy them in their tiny, green-skinned natural state:

Mung bean, Vigna radiata

Or shelled and split:

They look like smaller, oval, split yellow peas.

Have you ever bought bean sprouts?  They were probably from a mung bean.  Have you ever eaten cellophane noodles (also known as bean threads or saifun)?  Those are made from mung bean starch.

Mung beans are used a LOT in Asian cooking.  The Wikipedia article is quite interesting, noting the many cultures who use mung beans, and the wide variety of foods made from mung bean — whole, husked and split, flour, starch — from savory to sweet.

So, anyway.  I picked some up, and with fairly low expectations, crafted a Fiala-safe bread using little more than oat flour, garbanzo bean flour, and mung bean starch.

Surprise!

It rose very well, browned amazingly, sliced PERFECTLY — even right out of the oven, and tasted great.

I haven’t quite abandoned the idea of making bread from my other all-purpose flour mix, but for now, I’m very satisfied with the tasty bread made with this simple mix.  And the bonus is that EVERYONE in my family — all seven of us — can eat this bread.

Since this is already so long, I’ll have to post the actual bread recipe sometime in the near future.  In preparation for the recipe, though, whydontchya make the flour mix?

Mung bean starch (also known as green bean starch) can be a bit hard to find online…  I buy it for about $2.10 at a local Asian market for a 1 lb package.  Here it is on a site called Grocery Thai for $5.95 for a 500 gram (17.64 oz) package, almost triple the price of my local store.  If you find a better supplier at a better price, PLEASE leave the URL in a comment.

So, the only bummer about this mix is that, as one of the ingredients is a bit obscure, if you don’t live somewhere close to an Asian grocery, it may prove to be cost-prohibitive.  😦

Without further ado, here is the flour mix recipe:

Simple Sandwich Bread Flour Mix
makes approximately 12 cups

4 cups mung bean starch
4 cups garbanzo flour
4 cups oat flour
2 Tbsp xanthan gum

Whisk to combine all ingredients thoroughly.  Store in an airtight container in the pantry (no need to refrigerate).

One more note about ingredients:  I can find ALL of my flours at the Asian market:  Garbanzo flour is also known as besan or chana dal and is widely used in Indian cooking.  Oat flour can be found in the African foods section, called oat fufu (don’t laugh!).  Both area also produced by Bob’s Red Mill, which probably has better standards regarding cross-contamination for gluten concerns, and are produced in the States.  Inexplicably, the mung bean starch (made in China) is found in the Middle East aisle in my local store, but you may find it in the Korean section.  If your local Asian grocery has English-language-challenged employees, you may want to print out what you’re looking for in several different languages, so you can ask for help.  🙂  Bob’s Red Mill also makes xanthan gum, though I buy mine in bulk at a natural foods grocery for about half the price of Bob’s.

OK.  A second “one more note”:  This flour would be considered corn-free, if it wasn’t for xanthan gum, which is usually made from a specific bacteria that is cultured on corn sugar.  So, if you’re corn-allergic, depending on your sensitivity, you may be able to use this flour mix and the bread.  I haven’t tried the mix with guar gum (made from a legume/seed).  If you do, let me know!

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