Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gluten Free Product Round Up

Generally, this is a recipe blog, and not an all gluten free blog either. However, an old childhood friend of mine just wrote to say she had been diagnosed with Celiac last month, and it got me thinking about a gluten free product round-up. Generally, my Celiac philosophy has been to not eat with a lot of bread or pasta, but since moving in with P that has changed a bit and I know that's not for everyone. So, for those struggling with Celiac, here's a product round up, because it is always disappointing to spend money on things that taste bad. For those who are lucky enough to live life with gluten, please excuse us for this one post!

Bob's Red Mill's gluten free cornbread mix is great if you are seeking a fluffy cornbread. It goes rancid quickly though, so I always freeze half of the batch after baking. This recipe also makes great cornbread muffins. If you are looking for homemade cornbread recipes, go visit Karina is a wonderful chef and writer and has amazing variations on cornbread.

Store-bought bread
The only brand of store bought bread that I can eat without toasting is Udi's. It is not as dense as other brands and the texture mimics bread with gluten. It is available at Whole Foods, and is actually much more affordable than other brands. Find it in the freezer section.

I also like millet bread and brown rice bread for toasting, which is frozen even at a lot of mainstream grocery stores. Typically the brand is Food for Life. Safeway normally carries it, and so do some Walmarts, Smiths, Albertsons, and Targets. Trader Joes has brown rice bread that is cheap and unfrozen, but I personally don't enjoy it.

Finally, if you really love bread, I recommend getting a bread machine with a gluten free setting and investing in some Bob's Red Mill mixes. If you have time and don't want to pay for mixes, Karina at has good recipes, as does Elena at and the Gluten Free Girl and her Chef at Even though I make most of my baked goods from scratch, I prefer to make bread with mixes just because it is easier and less likely to fail.

The best and cheapest pasta out there is Trader Joe's brown rice pasta. If you don't have a TJ's, look for any brown rice pasta. Corn based pasta's tend to be mushy. The key with any brand though is to watch it carefully and only cook to al dente. It is very easy to overcook and end up with a pot of mush. I also love soybean spaghetti noodles, but can only find them at Whole Foods, which is out of my budget typically. Other spaghetti noodles, even the brown rice variety, aren't as good as shells, macaronis, elbows, and so on.

Baked Goods

My number one recommendation on this front is to learn what flours you like and stick with them. I find baking with brown rice flour, coconut flour, and almond flour is easiest for me. I also like to bake without using a lot of xanthan gum and other expensive gluten mimickers. The bloggers I've already mentioned each have their own special flours. Elena uses blanched almond meal and coconut flour, but I have followed her recipes using unblanched Bob Red Mill varieties with success. Shauna at Gluten Free Girl uses a whole variety of specialty flours, and Karina uses a lot of sorghum and quinoa. Experiment a bit, then find what works for you and stick with it. It may take a year or so, but your kitchen will eventually be stocked and it will become less expensive.

My other recommendation is to buy mixes, but add your own touch to it. For instance, I almost always add 1/2 cup coconut flour and more liquid (almond milk or applesauce for me) to the Bob's Red Mill cookie and cake mixes. Same for Betty Crocker mixes. Bob's Red Mill brownies are awesome as prepared on the package, though! And generally speaking, I recommend Bob over Betty, but she is cheaper. Finally, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS! Bob's chocolate chip cookies are terrible if you follow the package, but you should know that from the moment you are done mixing because the batter is crumbly and dry. That's not what cookie batter is like! So follow your gut and adjust as necessary. Don't, however, be worried if the batter doesn't taste good. Lots of gluten free flours are a bit bitter when raw, but that taste bakes out.

That's a start. If people enjoy this, I'll do another product post in the future, and would also love to do a gluten free lifestyle post that generally covers what I eat.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Sweet Corn with Roasted Radishes

As simple as it sounds and as beautiful as it looks, especially when paired with sweet cream butter and grated radishes on toast. Roast your radishes at 450 with olive oil and sea salt, some herbs of your choice, and don't look back.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Creamy Cracked Pepper Pasta

After a long hiatus, P and I are back in the food cookin' game. Actually, we've been back for awhile, but since I've never been in the technology knowin' game, it's taken me weeks to figure out how to get all the pictures of new and good food off of my new and good camera.

When you see this picture, you are likely to scoff and wonder if in fact I lost my recipe mojo while finishing up year one of the Ph.D. I can assure you I didn't (and actually this is P's recipe). But I can also assure you I didn't acquire a photography mojo during spring semester either. Talk to the little sis about that.

The light was bad, ok? But the cream. Ohhhh the cream was good. Every dollop of the 1/2 cup. Especially paired with the pepper, and the parsley, and the grape tomatoes, and the cheese.

1) Fill a small ziploc baggy with peppercorns. Pound away-er, gently crack-with a hammer. Unless you have a mortar and pestle like real grownups. In which case, ditch the hammer and ziploc scenario. P would like for me to admonish you here that however you do it, "you have to crack the peppercorns yourself."

2) Rinse a bunch of grape tomatoes and parsley.

3) Cook a bag of gluten free brown rice pasta (or pasta of choice) until al dente.

4) Combine parsely, pepper, and tomatoes with 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1/2 cup of pecorino romano.

5) Hurriedly take a bad picture and let the moaning commence.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tomato Kabocha Coconut Curry

This roasted-tomato goodness was loosely inspired by a soup from Watercourse restaurant here in Denver, though I took it in a richer and creamier direction (partly with the addition of squash.... I love squash):

1 Thai kabocha squash
10 Roma tomatoes
1 medium onion
1/2 can lite coconut milk
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 tsp tamarind paste
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp turmeric
pinch asefoetida
Veggie bullion

Halve and seed both the squash and the Romas. Brush them with a little olive oil and bake at 250 for about an hour until thoroughly roasted and getting a little black on the edges.

Peel the squash, and puree it with the tomatoes and coconut milk in the food processor.

In the meantime, thinly slice the onion and sautee it over medium-low heat with the cumin in a tiny bit of oil.

Once the onion is cooked, add 4 cups water and whatever quantity of your bullion goes with 4 cups (4 tsp for the brand I had on hand).

Once this is boiling add the (gorgeously deep orange) squash/tomato puree. Then add the shredded coconut, tamarind, turmeric, and asefoetida. Taste, adjust, etc.

Monday, May 10, 2010

French Onion Cream of Mushroom Soup from Mom

A typical phone call in our family goes like this:

Daughter: HiMomHowareIstheweathercrappythereIt'sreallyhothereandPeterissogrumpybecauseofitandsoamIbecauseIhavetoparkatA'sapapartmentandthenwalkandIneednewsandalsbutIamtoobusytogetthosebutohImadethisgreatdinnerIwantedtotellyouaboutbutIdon'thavetimetoputitontheblogbutanywayshoware?

Mom: hihunnyjustatwalmartitisCOLDherehowareyouIsentyouthatpackagewiththesocksandtreatsIsurehopeitgetsherebecausethepostofficewasaMADHOUSEfullofnutwingsyouknowandIhadthedoginthebackofthecarsoIhadtohurrybutIjustreallywantedyoutohaveyourgoodiesifIhadwaitedyouknowthemailtakesthreedaysitissoslowfromhereespeciallywithallthissnowsoIhadtodoittodaybeforeIwenttofaceathousandpreschoolersandthententhousandteenagersatRockBandthelibraryisjustnutsgoshIhopeyouaregoodyousoundsickareyousickbettertakesomeZicamhoneyusethatstashupohbythewaywhenyouaretravelingthissummermaybeyoucouldseeifsomeofthoseothercountrieshavetheZicam.

More on that in a minute. The blog has been a bit neglected since our spring-fever-induced frenetic production of recipes in March. (Although biggest sis S has prevented us from failing to post altogether.) In a turn on Mother's Day, we thought our mom, who's a wonderful cook, could help us out with a guest post. Somehow, between wrangling hoses and overweight cats and shoveling snow back home, she managed to create this magnificent soup. After the telephone call preview, it shouldn't surprise you that our coveted guest post came in the form of a rushed but sweet email from our eternally busy mom.

caramelized one small onion in butter, added about 12 oz. of FREE sliced mushrooms - sauteed them in the butter and onion with black pepper, a bit of nutmeg and a bit more paprika, splashed some sherry in the pan which caused quite the sizzle. In soup pot I warmed 2 cups (or less) of milk and about a cup & a half of chicken broth, added onion/mushroom mixture and more sherry to taste then thickened the soup with cornstarch in milk. The end result tasted like French onion cream of mushroom soup which I served with crusty bread toasted and fruit as a side. LOVE, MUM xoxoxo

Note that if you can make this soup with FREE mushrooms it will taste even better!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Costa Rican Lemony Rice

It's "old staples" time again! This was the rice that powered my college career (well, that and a much-more-embarrassing dish involving: Make white rice. Grate cheddar. Mix so cheddar melts. Eat.). It's simple, brightly flavored, and filling - great for work lunch, a side dish, etc.

Power up the rice cooker and make about 6 cups (cooked) long-grain white rice. Then mix in 2 TB butter, 1/3 cup lemon juice or more if you like, 4-6 diced Roma tomatoes, and lots of freshly ground black pepper (plus salt to taste).

(PS - I claim that it's "Costa Rican" because some little cookbook I had back in those college days claimed the same - no idea of the veracity of that claim!).