Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Daring Bakers October: Gluten-Free Pizza Crust


I cheated a little and chose to adapt this recipe I found on ABC news :P. I noticed the DB challenge recipe would make enough dough for 4 small pizzas and I just didn't want to eat that much pizza :). Strange as it may sound, I found that this crust I adapted came out tasting like it was made with whole wheat! At first I thought it was the millet flour. After using millet flour to bake cookies last night, and even muffins over the weekend, I'm now convinced it wasn't that (or the rice flour, or potato flour, I've baked with those and know they don't have a 'wheat' flavor).

But...after talking to Alexa from Artsy-Foodie (who's been sweet enough to answer quite a few of my gluten-free baking questions :), I'm convinced it was the yeast. The original recipe called for 1 TBSP and I think that was way too much for a little personal pan pizza :P. I think 1/2 TBSP or even 2 tsps would've been fine. Does anyone else know what it could've been that gave this gluten-free pizza crust a wheaty flavor?

Oops, almost forgot! As for the second version of the pizza, I experimented just with the crust. I figured since it was my first gluten-free pizza crust, I should really spend time on the crust. I made the first crust very thin, adding more flour and even gelatin and the exact amount of xanthan gum that the recipe called for. I found the first crust was too tough, so I decreased the amount of xanthan gum, added less flour, and decided not to use the gelatin. The crust was much softer the second time around (and that's the pizza that's pictured in both photos :).

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust

Not sure what it is, but this crust tastes like ...

See Gluten-Free Pizza Crust on Key Ingredient.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Breakfast and Lunch: Gluten-Free Pancakes and Stew

Pancakes: My favorite food. Wait! I also like french toast...ok. So...

BREAKFAST: My favorite meal!

Oh...but a well-made Thanksgiving meal is heaven on Earth, so it's a close second.

Alright then, I'll sum it up like this: I adore food, all kinds. And so do you, that's why you're reading this!

I'm not the type that'll splurge on anything, really. Nearly everything I buy is on sale; material things just don't mean that much to me (unless it's an antique! My guilty pleasure = antique shopping...but that doesn't count, right!). I guess some would say that food doesn't matter; they'll say food is food, but I really can't say that. At all. Food isn't just food. If you're ingesting it, it should be good for you...and it should taste good too!

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Lots of ingredients but they all contribute to making these ...

See Gluten-Free Pancakes on Key Ingredient.

Some foods are extra special, though. Like buttery gluten-free pancakes with real maple syrup on top (Real maple syrup! The fake stuff doesn't taste half as good! Oh, and by the way, it took me forever to come up with a gluten-free pancake recipe! You'd think it'd be easy but it isn't!). And who doesn't love waking up to the smell of...stew! Yes, I bet you thought I was going to say pancakes! Of course I love waking up to the smell of pancakes, but I also love waking up to the smell of a lamb shank stew magically coming together in my crock-pot with leeks and onions and garlic and muscat wine and...

As soon as the aroma hits my nose, I know it's ready. It's been cooking for 8 hours, so the meat has to be tender. When my appetite's gotten the best of me,I jump out of bed to see if I'm right... yep, the meat is falling off the bone. Now I need to finish it off on the stove and add the final round of ingredients: tomato sauce, veggies, a few spices, and (of course) a little more time. 30 minutes of simmering does the trick.

This is a tasty stew, but you'll have to wait for lunch to try it because you've gotta try the pancakes first. Actually, nevermind! Eat the stew for breakfast and have the pancakes for dinner!

Lamb Shank Stew with Veggies and Muscat Wine

The crock-pot does all the hard work ;)...the rest is ...

See Lamb Shank Stew with Veggies and Muscat Wine on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Apple Picking, Apple Stuffing, and Apple Pie...& I'm still not tired of apples

Last weekend we went apple picking. It was SO MUCH FUN! The weather was perfect; the sun was shining, the air was crisp and sooo clean. The apple farm was packed with families and kiddos, but we still managed to collect enough plump and juicy apples to last us about two weeks. Did I mention how gorgeous it was? I felt like I was walking through a life-sized postcard all day!

Now how about that pie. I recently met a gluten-free blogger who asked me if I'd ever made a gluten-free pie. Though I have made a gluten-free pie, I hadn't made one completely from scratch (as far as the crust goes), so I promised to post a 100% from-scratch pie recipe. I have to say, this pie was delicious; I have a feeling it has to do with using freshly picked Mass. apples (last time I made a blueberry pie with the berries we picked, it made a huge difference in the pie's taste). They are delicious and crunchy; there's nothing worse than a mushy apple. I used Macintosh apples and sprinkled them with the juice of half a lemon to add a bit more tartness, it counteracted the sweetness of the pie quite nicely. I think this recipe's a keeper, tell me what you think!

MINI :) Gluten-free Apple Spice Pie

Soooo good!

See MINI :) Gluten-free Apple Spice Pie on Key Ingredient.

All this talk about the Fall is making me crave Thanksgiving food! I mentioned before that I wanted to make a stuffing, so this weekend I made a gluten-free apple stuffing (using the apples we picked, of course, we have so many!). It was tasty but for some reason it came out tasting like...tamales! Tamales? Yep. I think it's the funky cornmeal I used... Anyhow, next time I plan on using better cornmeal and I also plan on only roughly chopping the veggies. It's hard to tell (because my food processor works so well and I'm still trying to figure out how to use it) but there are quite a bit of veggies in the stuffing.

Gluten-free Cornbread Apple and Veggie Stuffing

Yummy and tamale-flavored stuffing. Strange but true.

See Gluten-free Cornbread Apple and Veggie Stuffing on Key Ingredient.

I'll leave (no pun intended :P) you all with these photos of the verrrrry Falllish Massachusetts countryside. I almost forgot to mention, some of the photos are from Walden Pond (think Thoreau, if that doesn't ring a bell). GORGEOUS! Can I build a cabin here, too? I won't write about ant piles, I promise. Oh wait, it isn't winter yet...I'll probably change my mind when it's 7 degrees outside ;)...or maybe not! Have any of you ever danced in the snow before? I'm a weirdo from California who was fried by the sweltering Texas sun, so that's what I'll be doing during the first snowfall ;).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Barbecued Boston Baked Chili Beans and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins

No Thingies Thursday this week! Instead, I'm posting 2 recipes :)!

What happens when a Californian moves to Texas where she marries her Southern-food-loving lover right before they trek off to Boston? No, not a culture-shock induced lobotomy...a really fantastic chili bean recipe! (Or is it chili beans recipe?)

I'm sure you're familiar with most Texan's love of barbecue, and you've probably heard of Boston baked beans, but how does California fit into this beany equation? Well, California is where I was born and raised until mid high school. It's where my mom used to crave chili beans when she was pregnant with me and where my parents used to sneak veggies into my chili so that I would eat them. Yes, it's odd. Chili was one of my favorite foods as a kiddo, but I hated veggies (sometimes I'd even cover them in ketchup, ewww!), so my parents would sneak them into my chili and hope that (after covering said chili with tons of cheese and sour cream) I wouldn't notice the little specks of green here and there...I did. The good news is, I now love veggies and I still love chili!

Barbecued Boston Baked Chili Beans

A Californian's take on a Southern recipe with a ...

See Barbecued Boston Baked Chili Beans on Key Ingredient.

Chili doesn't always love me, though. My digestive system has geriatric mannerisms these days. Oh, I know all about hearburn and bile reflux, thanks to the absence of my gallbladder. So I try not to make it too spicy. Still, it's yummy comfort food, and it's also a food that reminds my hubby of back home, aka Texas. So, it's become a sort of comfort food to him too. But I wanted to make these beens extra special for my little Southerner, so I added liquid smoke, it's the answer to every Texan-transplanted-to-Boston's prayer. (Now, does the apostrophe go after Texan or Boston? I think it's Boston's, but that looks really awkward. Gosh, there goes that handy English degree!)

Ok...because a meal just isn't complete without dessert, I also made Sweet Potato Muffins. Boy, they are tasty! Honestly, I was impressed with their non-gluten-free texture, but they are very much gluten-free and butter/milk free. I actually feel bad about posting them after the chili, but I didn't have a fun story to go with the muffin recipe... You know, I don't even want to talk about how good they are because I want you to make them yourself, give 'em a try! Seriously, a great Thanksgiving/Fall treat. Oh, but if you do make 'em, make sure you have them right after the chili; now that's what comfort food's all about!

Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins

A dairy and gluten free muffin that doesn't taste ...

See Sweet Potato Cinnamon Muffins on Key Ingredient.