Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Friday, May 30, 2008

GFCF Graham Crackers

I found this recipe at In the Life of a Child. I only changed a couple of things about it, such as decreasing the amount of sugar, using coconut milk, and cutting the dough into squares with a knife. I also used less liquid than the recipe called for, until the dough was just sticky, and then kneaded the dough a few times before rolling - this eliminated the need to chill the dough and made it easy to work with. I was surprised and very happy to find that the end result tastes exactly like graham crackers! They look like graham crackers too, if you break one open and look at the crumb you'd never really know the difference between these and say, Honey Maid. The dough is a pleasure to work with, too - very forgiving and easy to handle, a lot like my pie crust. They smell great while they are baking. These crackers were fun to make and not as time-intensive as I thought they would be. Now my girls can enjoy s'mores again!

(For chocolate graham crackers, go here.)

1/3 cup palm shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup chickpea flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup cornstarch
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup rice milk or coconut milk

Cream shortening and sugar together. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the shortening mixture one cup at a time, blending well until all three cups have been incorporated and mixture looks like fine meal (I did this in my Kitchen Aid but you could also do this with a pastry blender or a food processor).

Add the rice milk or coconut milk a little at a time (in a small stream if using a Kitchen Aid or food processor and your hands are free). You might not need the whole 1/2 cup of liquid. Add just enough until the dough clumps together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. It should resemble cookie dough. It should not be very sticky.

Divide dough into thirds. Working with 1/3 of the dough at a time, knead a few times on floured wax paper (I used All Purpose Sorghum Blend for flouring). Roll dough into the shape of a rectangle to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Trim the edges to straighten. Cut the dough into squares with a knife. Transfer squares to a greased cookie sheet (you can use a floured spatula, or simply put your hand underneath the wax paper and flip the square onto your other hand and transfer that way - the dough is that easy to handle).

Prick each cracker 4-6 times with the tines of a fork and sprinkle with granulated sugar (cinnamon sugar would work well too). Bake about 30 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

*If you overbake some crackers, don't worry - save them and use them to make a graham cracker pie crust.

**You can subsitute 1/4 cup honey for the brown sugar, just adjust the amount of milk as needed.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Pie Crust, One Last Time!

I had to try one last variation on my pie crust recipe. I really liked the pie crust made with Sorghum Chickpea Blend, because I really like the flavor and texture the chickpea flour adds to the crust. But mindful of others who don't care for that subtle flavor or for those who are allergic to legumes (this one is for you, Samuel!), I decided to make a plain sorghum flour blend without chickpea flour (All Purpose Sorghum Blend, which is also good in pancakes, by the way!) This final pie crust experiment turned out pretty good too, although by itself a bit bland because there's no butter in it. I'm thinking of (while slightly cringing) using bacon fat in the recipe next time for the flavor it will add to the crust. However, pie filling helps mask this slight blandness and it does turn out to be a serviceable crust. It holds up well and is easy to work with. The pie pastry tore more easily than the one made with chickpea flour, but it was easy to mend. All in all, this was a success and turns out to be my second favorite flour blend for pie crust.

Update 11/21/08
My newest, very favorite flour blend for pie crust is High Protein Flour Blend. I know I've ranted about rice flour being gritty in a pie crust, but not this time. Not only is this pastry dough easy to work with, it tastes fabulous and not in the least bit gritty at all. It's flaky! It's unbelievable how good this gluten free pie crust is, and how flaky it is...I'm impressed.

From top to bottom: pie pastry on floured wax paper, pie pastry rolled out, pie pastry flipped into pie plate and wax paper being peeled off, pie crust fluted and ready for action, and pie crust partially baked.

Sorghum Pancakes with Fresh Fruit Sauce

Ground flaxseed gives these pancakes a really nice flavor and texture. I served them with a fresh peach sauce which complimented them well. Anna really enjoyed these for lunch today and scarfed them up quickly...and to be honest, so did I. They are really good.

1 cup All Purpose Sorghum Blend
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cloves
2 tbsp. ground flaxseed
1 beaten egg
1 cup rice milk
2 tbsp. canola oil

*Additions to consider: 1/4 cup nut meal, 1/2 cup diced fruit (apples, bananas, etc.) or 1/2 cup fresh berries

Sift together the dry ingredients. Whisk together the wet ingredients and add all at once to the dry ingredients. Stir until mixture is just moistened and big lumps disappear (there should be little lumps in the batter, that is okay).

Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto hot greased griddle. Flip when edges look dry and little bubbles form on top of the batter. Cook a minute or two longer until cooked through and remove to a plate. Serve quickly and hot with warm Fresh Fruit Sauce. (Or, serve with chopped fruit and powdered sugar sprinkled over the top.)

Fresh Fruit Sauce
2 cups chopped fresh fruit (such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, etc. )
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Combine peaches, water and juice in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and stir into the hot fruit mixture. Cook until thickened and bubbly. Adjust sugar to taste and add more orange juice if mixture becomes too thick.

All Purpose Sorghum Blend

I use this blend for almost everything. I like it better than the All Purpose Rice Blend.

4 cups sorghum flour

1 1/3 cups potato starch flour
2/3 cup tapioca starch flour

Sift all ingredients together until well blended. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

My Favorite Pie Crust Recipe

I got this recipe from a friend, it was her grandmother's. It is the only pie crust recipe I have made for nearly two decades. Thankfully, it is just as fabulous as I remember, even without the gluten and the casein!

2 1/2 cups GF Flour Blend
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup palm shortening
1 egg, beaten, with cold water added to make 3/4 cup liquid

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles small crumbs. Add egg mixture all at once to crumb mixture. Stir with fork until large clumps form and dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. (If the mixture is too wet, add more flour blend a tablespoon at a time until the right consistency is reached.) Divide dough in half. Save one half for later by wrapping in plastic and storing in the refrigerator or freezer.

If using High Protein Blend for your pie crust, turn half the dough onto a rice floured surface and knead a few times so that it feels very much like "regular" pie crust dough. Proceed with the recipe as follows.

Turn half the dough out onto a sorghum or rice floured piece of waxed paper. Sprinkle sorghum or rice flour on top of the dough and roll into a circle just a bit larger than your pie plate. Center your pie plate on the dough. Carefully run your hand underneath the wax paper and quickly flip the pie plate over so the crust sags into the pie plate. Press the dough gently into the pie plate and carefully remove the waxed paper. Repair any tears in the dough by pressing the edges of the tears together with your finger. Trim the edges of the dough.

(For pictures of this process, see here.)

For a single crust, fold (or roll) edges underneath to make a double thickness of dough along the edges of the pie plate. Flute or crimp edges as desired (with the tines of a fork, or thumb and finger style).

To pre-bake your crust, generously prick the pastry with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack.

For a double crust, roll the top crust the same way as the bottom crust. Carefully slide your hand underneath the wax paper, and quickly flip the crust on top of the filling in the pie plate, doing your best to center the crust on top of the pie. Trim the edges, and either crimp with a fork to seal, or roll the edges underneath and flute with thumb and finger. Bake as directed in your pie recipe.

*This pie crust recipe leaves enough pastry left over for a tart. Roll your dough scraps to be a bit larger than a 9 or 10 inch tart pan. Flip the dough into the tart pan. Trim the edges to overhang slightly, then fold in to make a double thickness of dough along the sides of the tart pan. Freeze for later use.

Gluten Free, Casein Free Double Chocolate Pie

Here I've modified a recipe from Cooking Light. It's supposed to be topped with whipped cream or Cool Whip, but I have yet to find a casein and soy free alternative. So instead, I topped the pie with sliced strawberries, and it came out really pretty. In fact I like this topping a lot better than whipped cream! Strawberries and chocolate are a divine combination.

1 prebaked GFCF pie shell
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups dairy alternative (I used 1 can lite coconut milk plus rice milk to equal 2 cups)
1 large beaten egg
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pound fresh ripe strawberries, thinly sliced OR 2 pints fresh raspberries, washed and gently dried
powdered sugar to serve, optional

Combine the sugar through the salt in a medium saucepan. Add the milk and stir well over medium heat with a whisk. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute or until the mixture comes to a full boil. Gradually add 1/3 cup of hot milk mixture to the beaten egg, stirring well to prevent the egg from cooking. Return egg mixture to the pot. Cook 2 minutes or until the mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate chips and stir until melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spoon into baked pie crust. Cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. Chill until set, about 2 hours. Remove plastic wrap and arrange chosen fruit on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving if desired.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread

Here I've modified a recipe Land O Lakes has for gluten free multi-grain bread. I modified their recipe for a multi-grain flour blend too, in order to use the flours I had on hand in my kitchen. I am very pleased with the results. The ground flaxseed in the bread (which adds protein, fiber, lignans and omega-3 fatty acids) gives the bread a hearty texture without making it heavy. It also gives the baked bread a texture very similar to whole grain wheat bread. This bread turned out very pretty - it rose nicely, it has a nice color, the crumb is not too dense or too moist, and it didn't cave in anywhere. It tastes good, too!

2 1/2 cups Multi-Grain Flour Blend
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 tsp. quick rise yeast
2 large eggs
2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. cider or rice vinegar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup warm rice milk or other dairy alternative, plus 1 tbsp. water

Sift together the flour blend, ground flaxseed, xanthan gum and salt, set aside.

Whisk together the rice milk, water, eggs, canola oil, honey and vinegar.

*For the bread machine, add the wet ingredients to the bottom of the pan. Add dry ingredients, covering the wet ingredients completely. Make a small well in the center and add the yeast. Set the bread machine to the gluten free setting and press start. I always help the bread mix with a spatula. After the bread has finished baking, remove immediately from the pan to a wire rack.

**To bake in the oven, mix the yeast in with the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients slowly while mixing and beat until blended. Scrape batter into a greased non-stick loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap, let rise 35-45 minutes or until it rises about 1/2" below the top of the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes. Cover with tin foil if needed and bake another 15-20 minutes. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn bread out of loaf pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Multi-Grain Flour Blend

I like this blend for sandwich bread, sandwich rolls and wraps.

1 cup brown rice flour

1 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1 cup arrowroot starch
1 cup potato starch
1 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup amaranth flour or quinoa flour
1/2 cup teff flour or millet flour

Sift all ingredients together and store in the refrigerator or freezer. If you don't have arrowroot on hand, substitute 1/2 cup potato starch and 1/2 cup tapioca starch instead.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Swiss Chard Pesto

This version of pesto is really yummy and very good for you. High in vitamins K, A and C, Swiss Chard also is full of magnesium, potassium, iron and copper. This pesto is good served as a dip for chips and vegetables, but it's also good in soup, in sandwich bread as a sneaky food, with chicken or fish, on pasta, on pizza, with vegetables, on a wrap, tossed with rice or on top of a baked potato.

1/4 cup olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic
16 ounces Swiss Chard, washed and dried and stems removed
1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 tsp. dried basil
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. lemon juice

Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in dutch oven. Add Swiss Chard and cook over medium-low heat about 5 minutes, or until wilted.

Chop garlic in a food processor. Add the chard, nuts, basil, salt remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil and lemon juice. Process until mixture looks like pesto.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

GFCF Egg-Free Chocolate Pudding

This (modified) Penzey's recipe for homemade pudding is super easy to make!*

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup natural cocoa powder
2 tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot starch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups non-dairy milk alternative (I like using 1 can of lite coconut milk plus enough rice milk to equal 2 cups of liquid)
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine all of the dry ingredients. Over medium heat, gradually add the milk, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Leave at a full boil, stirring constantly for 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a serving bowl. Chill, uncovered, until serving time - at least 2 hours. The pudding will thicken a bit more as it cools.

*Looking for vanilla pudding? Go here.