Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gluten Free Creamy Tomatillo and Garbanzo Bean Pasta

I have a suggestion to make. If you haven't seen Julie and Julia, go see it... but make sure to pack something tasty to snack on, especially if you're gonna watch it around lunch time! I just snuck in a little cornbread square, but that was not enough to hold me over. Seeing all that delicious food on the big screen made my tummy rumble even more. It was too much, kinda like grocery shopping on an empty stomach! Very cute flick, though. On a random note, I just found out her old home, that once housed the kitchen in the movie, is 800 feet from my apartment! How cool is that!

After watching the movie, we ran home from the theatre in the rain and scarfed down our lunches. I felt an anxious tingle in my fingers the entire time I was eating, though. Not just because they were pruney from the rainwater; I was itching to cook!

I have to confess, every time I see someone cooking, whether it's on the Food Network, Julie & Julia, or in real life... I just wanna jump right in and join 'em!

Do you get that tingle in your fingers too? :)

Ahh... feels so good to cook, especially on a rainy day. Here's a warm, comforting meal. It's affordable and flavorful; healthy but not quite vegetarian. I tried, really. But oh! Leave it to the chicken broth and worcestershire sauce to spoil everything ;).

Make sure the worcestershire sauce is gluten-free!

... on a sidenote, we're cooking up somethin' special this weekend. Or I should say we've been cooking up. Can you guess what it is? One of my favvvvorite meals :). Nope, not roast beef!

Creamy Tomatillo and Garbanzo Bean Pasta

Not quite vegetarian, but pretty close! Very tasty too, says ...

See Creamy Tomatillo and Garbanzo Bean Pasta on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gluten-Free Crackers and Gluten-Free Challah Sandwich Bread

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If there's one thing I've recently regretted buying at the grocery store, it's gluten-free crackers. I can't tell you how many times I've been disappointed by pre-made gluten-free products, especially the overpriced crackers that taste like cardboard :'(. Yes, it even deserves a little tear.

Guess what, though? We don't have to settle for this any more. It's time for us to make our own crackers! (Who knows how long it'll take the little elves from Keebler to whip up a batch of tasty gluten-free crackers?! Betty Crocker's already done it with cookies, she gets brownie points for that! :)

Even if you're new to gluten-free baking, you can make these crackers in a snap. Adapt the recipe to your liking, maybe even add a little cheese, like Carol Fenster suggests. This cracker recipe is based on Carol Fenster's (I changed the flour mix, didn't add corn syrup and made them with some canola oil instead of using all butter. I also didn't add sesame seeds... looking back, it's pretty different, I guess :P.)

One thing I might change next time? I've gotta admit, I think I might add a bit more garlic salt and Italian seasoning. But they're still tasty and buttery flavored; they kinda me of those Club Crackers by Keebler, except they're a little thicker (I didn't roll them out thin enough :P).

What else is on today's menu? More carbs! OH, HOW I'VE MISSED YOU, CHALLAH BREAD!

Now we can have our gluten-free challah bread and sandwich too... here's a gluten-free challah sandwich bread recipe. It's got a bit of a twist with the added orange zest and brown sugar. Though I like that it came out moist and gluteny in texture, I especially like that it only has one edge of crust! :P. (Shhh... sometimes I still cut off the crust, but now I don't have to. ;)

One thing I've learned about making gluten-free sandwich bread dough is that you want it to be a little more moist than traditional gluteny bread dough. Gluten-free sandwich bread tends to be dry; the many eggs in this recipe make it moist but still firm enough to slice (and the eggs also make it challah-tasting :). Give it a try... and guess what? This is easy to make, too! Throw everything together in about 15 minutes, let it rise for an hour and bake for about half an hour... that's it! :)

Gluten-Free Challah Sandwich Bread
(Large) Bowl 1:
1 cup white rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 3/4 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt
3 Tbsp white sugar
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp orange zest
3 whole eggs
3 Tbsp canola oil

(Small) Bowl 2:
1 cup warm milk (microwave for 30 seconds)
2 1/4 tsp yeast
2 tbsp sugar

Fill an oven safe baking dish (like a 9 inch cake pan) with warm water and place it on the last rack in the oven. Now turn the oven on to the warm setting, or to 200 degrees.

Add the sugar to small bowl 2, then add the yeast and the warm milk. Set aside for about 5 minutes or so, while you work on bowl 1.

Combine all the ingredients in bowl 1 (EXCEPT EGGS AND CANOLA OIL). Before adding eggs and canola oil, make sure that it's mixed together well so that everything from the xanthan gum to the salt are evenly distributed throughout the flour mixture.

Make a little well in the middle of the flour mix in bowl 1, this is where you'll add the canola oil and eggs. Start mixing in the eggs and canola oil, working from the inside out. Then slowly pour in the yeast mix while continuing to stir with a fork. Make sure it isn't lumpy but don't over mix.

Now turn off the oven. Spray a medium-sized bread pan with non-stick and pour the bread dough (it will look like bready/cake dough) into the pan, make sure to smooth out the top so that the dough is evenly spread out on top. I use the back of a spoon or small fork. Next, place the bread pan with the dough in the oven, on the middle rack, above the pan with the warm water. Let it rise for an hour.

After the hour, leave the bread in the oven and turn on the oven to 350, bake the bread for about 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, quickly and gently cover the top with foil (make sure it's loose) so that it doesn't over-brown. Cook for about 25 more minutes. (Bake time is about 35 minutes total.)

Cracker recipe is in the recipe card below:

Gluten-Free Crackers

Based on Carol Fenster's cracker recipe from her book ...

See Gluten-Free Crackers on Key Ingredient.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Big Gluten-Free Buttermilk Biscuits

It's taken me forever to come up with a fluffy gluten-free biscuit recipe. Sure, I made a few tasty ones in the past, but they didn't quite puff up the way I wanted 'em to. Thanks to the Barefoot Contessa (I learned this on her show :P), I discovered what I was doing wrong: melting the butter instead of adding it to the dough as cold chopped chunks. Cold chopped chunks doesn't exactly sound appetizing, huh? But I promise these are quite tasty. In fact, I was surprised to discover that you don't actually need a whole stick of butter to make a tasty and fluffy buttery (flavored) biscuit. You can even get away with using only 2 tablespoons of butter and a bit of canola oil. I've tweaked this recipe quite a bit, making a buttery version and a leaner version that calls for canola oil; both versions are included in the recipe card below.

These biscuits are big, just how big?
My hand isn't huge, but I do have some mighty long fingers, thanks to my mom. These biscuits are hefty, so hefty, I can usually get away with eating just half of one. These biscuits are great to have around for breakfast; forget fast food sausage and egg biscuits... you can make 'em yourself now! (Don't worry, I'll post a sausage recipe soon :).

So how exactly should the butter look when it's thrown in the dough? Just take a look at them chunks!:

How do you assemble the biscuits? Well, xanthan gum tends to make things sticky, so I have a little trick I like to use when working with gluten-free dough. Contrary to what I've read, I actually like to wet my hands/fingertips with a little water so that the dough doesn't stick to 'em when I'm shaping the dough; you could also use melted... butter or a little oil! I shape the biscuits into disks, like this (make sure they're adequately spaced apart, because they expand a lot).:
So other than making biscuits (well, I actually made these nearly 3 months ago, believe it or not!), I've been pretty busy! Hope you all are enjoying the summer!

I won't stay away too long, I've got a recipe for gluten-free crackers that I've gotta share, after all :)!

Big Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits

Big and buttery, easy to adapt!

See Big Gluten Free Buttermilk Biscuits on Key Ingredient.