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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gluten Free, Vegan Bagels

Bagels. Fabulous, gluten free, vegan bagels. Perfect with margarine, but just as good as a sandwich. It's been a long time since we've had bagels. Well apart from Enjoy Life bagels, which while pretty good, are not the same as big, light and airy homemade bagels. Actually, I've had homemade bagels before going gluten free and I have to say, I was less than impressed. They were, well, lumps of uninspired blah-ness. Maybe my taste buds were trying to tell me something even then ("stay away from gluten, it's eeeevil...and to prove it to you, we'll make this bagel taste like rocks! Bru-ha-haaaa!").

These bagels are good. In fact, I like them better than any bagel from my gluten days. I used my own flour blend and loosely followed the directions cut from the side of a Pamela's Bread Mix bag. When the girls caught sight of these bagels warm from the oven, their eyes nearly bugged out of their heads. They were so excited they could hardly contain themselves. Sometimes I feel that moments like those are what I live for.

2 1/2 cups GF Multi Grain Flour Blend
3 tbsp. flax seed meal
1 1/2 tsp. rapid-rise yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp. So Delicious Coconut Milk or other non-dairy milk
topping of your choice: poppy seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon sugar, sauteed onions, etc.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the xanthan gum. Make a well in the center. Pour the water and the olive oil into the well. Beat until smooth, about 3 minutes. Drop the batter by 1/2 cupfuls onto a piece of waxed paper coated with cooking spray (you should get six 1/2 cupfuls for 6 bagels). With oiled hands, form the batter into a round bagel shape about 1/2 inch high. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and bring a large pot of water to a boil. Lay a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet, making sure there is no overhang. Coat the parchment paper with cooking spray. Set the baking sheet aside.

When the bagels are done rising, remove the plastic wrap. Make a hole in the center of each bagel (with your fingers or with an apple corer). Cut the waxed paper into squares with a bagel in the center of each square. Carefully life the wax paper and lay the bagel onto a a large flat spatula. Remove the wax paper and slide the spatula with the bagel into the boiling water. Remove the spatula . Boil the bagel for 20 seconds on one side. Flip the bagel over and boil another 20 seconds on the other side. With a slotted spoon, remove the bagel to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining bagels.

Brush the coconut milk over the tops of each bagel and sprinkle with the topping of your choice. Bake the bagels for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are a crusty golden brown. Remove the bagels to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Yield: 6 bagels.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dairy-Free, Egg-Free Caesar Dressing

Here is a Caesar salad dressing that has no egg, no casein, and no soy! Without compromising its integrity, it retains all its familiar Caesar tangy-ness. Which is good, because a Caesar dressing without integrity is, well...bad.

This dressing ha a lovely tan color due to anchovies.

3 medium or 2 large cloves garlic
1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. mayonnaise
2oz can anchovies
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil

Mince the garlic in a food processor. Add the mustard, lemon juice, vinegar, mayonnaise, anchovies and pepper. Pulse to combine. With the food processor running, add the canola oil in a thin stream. The dressing will thicken and emulsify. When all of the oil has been incorporated, turn off the food processor. Taste and add a dash of salt if desired. The dressing will keep one week in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gluten Free, Vegan Buckwheat Zucchini Muffins

School started this Monday. It was so hot, like 105 degrees, the kind of hot that sizzles your skin in 10 seconds flat, coupled with the kind of humid that makes it harder to breathe. When it gets that hot and humid, it's like living in an armpit. We've been treated to this sort of heat for over a month, I think (although I stopped counting the days because it's just too depressing). Yesterday it was like, 102 degrees - not school weather. When I went to school as a kid (I can't believe I'm writing that! How old am I!) school started in September when the air had started to change, to smell like dying summer...changing leaves, an evening nip in the air, clear blue daytime skies and bright stars at night. I get none of that down here. We get two seasons - hot and not-so-hot. It's really hard to keep track of the months that way.

Finally, this morning we were treated to rain, which brought a 10 degree respite from the heat, and now it feels like autumn is just around the corner. I actually made a bean and pasta soup today, a stick-to-your-ribs soup usually saved for winter, because I was so delirious with the temperature drop. See? My senses are all skewed. So are Megan's...this morning, dressed in a tank top and shorts, she told me she felt cold! She's going to be just like the locals, dressing up in sweaters and knee-high boots and shivering like a leaf in the wind when it hits 80 degrees! Good grief, I don't stop wearing sandals until November, and that's out of peer pressure. One of these days when the girls complain about being cold, I'm going to tell them they don't know cold until they go swimming where I grew up, in the ocean in June at eight in the morning. They get heated pools down here and goodness knows why - it's as warm as bathwater from May through September!

Anyway, I digress. See? The heat makes me cranky. You know what else makes me cranky? Stepping on the odd lizard while walking outside. I'm not used to that...fuzzy bear caterpillars, yes. Random geckos with a death wish, no.

So it's the end of summer (relatively speaking) and I've finally worked the kinks out of My Mom's Zucchini Bread to make it egg-free. I made zucchini muffins all summer, batch after batch, until they came out right. Now I can post the recipe, hooray! Here's to cooler days and zucchini muffins for breakfast!

1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup millet flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tbsp. flax seed meal
2 tsp. guar gum (or 1 tsp. xanthan gum)
generous 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
dash nutmeg

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup*
1/4 cup rice milk
1 cup grated zucchini
cinnamon sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with baking cups, set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together the buckwheat flour through the nutmeg, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the canola oil, maple syrup and rice milk. Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until smooth. Fold in the grated zucchini. Add a touch more rice milk if the mixture is too thick.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the muffins. Bake 20 - 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Carefully remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. Makes about 10 muffins.

*These muffins are not very sweet, according to my taste. I just don't like overly sweet muffins. You can taste the batter before baking and if you'd like sweeter muffins, add another 1/4 cup maple syrup and increase the flax meal by 1 tablespoon if the batter is too thin.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gluten Free and Corn Free - Fried Green Tomatoes!

It's been obnoxiously hot and humid here for three weeks and counting. My tomato plants are looking very sad. No matter how much I water them, they are frying in the sun. They are still producing small to medium tomatoes, but as soon as they ripen they get rotten spots where the sun hits them all day long. I've thrown out many ripe tomatoes, which is starting to make me very cranky. Then I thought of fried green tomatoes. I've never had fried green tomatoes and never wanted to make them. But when push comes to shove, I am a practical person and I just can't keep throwing food away. So I caved. I fried up some unripe tomatoes.

I can honestly say that fried green tomatoes are delicious, especially on a BLT. I'm surprised by how much I like them. I went here for ideas on how to make them and apparently, there's no "right" way, you can pretty much do what you want. So I dredged mine in rice flour,fried them up in a little bit of bacon drippings and slapped them into a sandwich. Yummy. Now that I'm thinking about it, a little bit of Tabasco Green Jalepeno Pepper Sauce on these would be excellent too.

Now that I've cleared the fried green tomato hurdle, the one thing that's left that I swore I'd never eat and never cook is...okra. And guess what? My friend has okra plants with huge okra waiting to be picked. Mel, you keep that okra to yourself. I'm not ready to go native completely just yet!

Fried Green Tomatoes
2 medium green tomatoes, washed and thickly sliced
1/3 cup rice flour
generous pinches of salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil (or if making a BLT, save the bacon drippings and use a bit to fry the tomatoes)

Heat a little olive oil, about a tablespoon, in a skillet over medium-low heat (I like using cast iron). In a medium bowl, combine the rice flour, salt and pepper. Dredge the tomato slices through the rice flour, coating completely. Place the tomato slices in the skillet and cook about 3 minutes, or until the bottoms are crispy and golden brown. Flip and cook until golden on the other side, adding a little more oil if necessary to keep them from sticking to the pan. Serve hot.

Grilled Fried Green Tomato Sandwich - simply divine!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gluten Free, Vegan Snickerdoodles

Finally! I've finally made egg-free Snickerdoodles that work! The first time I tried replacing the egg in my old recipe with applesauce (which works for many things but apparently not those cookies), they tasted truly terrible. Since then I've realized that there is more to baking without eggs than simply replacing egg in a recipe. So I scrapped the shortening for canola oil and I used maple syrup instead of sugar and ta-da! I ended up with nice soft cookies, just the way I like them. They are not crumbly, not gummy, not dense, not too sweet - just right. My kids are very happy. DH will be happy too, once he gets home.

Dry Ingredients
2 cups GF flour blend (I like this one)
2 tbsp. flax meal
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp. rice milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray, set aside.

Sift together the topping ingredients in a small bowl, set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center, set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the canola oil through the vanilla extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and beat until smooth.

Scoop walnut sized balls of dough and drop them into the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the dough to coat with sugar, then place onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Place cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until puffy and crackled. Remove from oven and let rest one minute on the baking sheet before removing them to a wire rack to cool.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shae's Hot Wings

Full disclosure: I'm not a wing person. I could live without chicken wings basically forever. I don't know what it is about the chicken wing craze where we are (lots of wing restaurants everywhere), but I'm not part of the insanity. I was happy to live a wing-free life indefinitely until a friend (Shae, you did it again) made dinner for us one night. He said "I'm going to make hot wings!". I said "Hmmm. Yay!" with my fingers crossed behind my back. But seriously? I could be a slave to Shae's Hot Wings. They are SO GOOD. And I'm not a wing person, remember. But I can't get enough of these wings. Just spicy enough to be addicting, the hot sauce these wings are drenched in makes my lips tingle. If I could slurp the sauce with a spoon, I might. But my manners are too good for that...while anyone's looking, anyway.

Shae makes these wings with butter. Clearly that is not an option for us, so the last time he made them he used chicken fat instead. Hello, delicious. Tonight I made them with bacon drippings. Equally delicious. Granted, this is not a food to make every week, or every month for that matter. But every once in awhile, these are great.

Here are the wings before getting tossed in hot sauce. I made them for friends for dinner tonight. Sorry I don't have a picture of them all drenched in sauce, but as soon as I tossed them I whisked them to the table for dinner and they were scarfed immediately. No time for a picture!

2 pounds chicken wings
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine, chicken fat or bacon fat
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a sheet of tin foil on a baking sheet and coat with cooking spray, set aside. Combine the olive oil through the chili powder in a large bowl. Add the wings and toss to coat. Place the wings in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until the skin is crispy and the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the wings to a large bowl. In a small bowl combine the hot sauce and margarine or fat of choice. Pour the sauce over the chicken and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Crock Pot Baked Beans

My BFF makes great baked beans from scratch. She bakes them in the oven using her grandmother's beanpot. Truthfully, I'm slightly green over her beanpot. I want one in the worst way. Actually I want two, one to pass down to each of my daughters. But until then I will have to make do with baking beans in my crock pot. Actually that's not so bad right now, as it's we've had triple digit heat for days on end and I'm loathe to have the oven on for hours at a time. This is Julie's recipe for Old Fashioned Baked Beans, modified for the crock pot and tinkered with to be a bit tangy, which is how my mom used to make them. I guess you can call these Julie's Baked Beans with Mom's Twist, though I suppose Crock Pot Baked Beans rolls off the tongue easier!

1 pound dried white beans (Julie likes Navy Beans, I prefer Great Northern)
8 cups water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1 whole medium onion, skin and outer ring removed
4 pieces bacon chopped into 2 inch pieces
2 tbsp. arrowroot starch
1/4 cup mustard (German coarse ground is nice)
1/4 cup chipotle hot sauce or to taste (I used Frontera)

Start the beans the night before you want to serve them - place the beans in a crock pot and cover them with 8 cups of water. Let them soak overnight. In the morning, add the brown sugar, molasses, whole onion and chopped bacon. Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until the beans are tender. Turn the crock pot to high. Remove the onion. Take out 1/2 cup of the bean liquid, whisk the arrowroot into this liquid and return to the crock pot. Stir the arrowroot liquid into the beans and cook on high until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes. Turn off the crock pot. Taste the beans and add up to another 1/4 cup brown sugar if needed. Stir in the mustard and chipotle hot sauce, adjusting as needed to your taste. Serve warm.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dairy Free, Soy Free "Sour Cream" (or Avocado Creme, How I Love Thee)

Recently I stumbled across Ellie Krieger's recipe for these Broccoli Stuffed Potato Skins with Avocado Creme. They look pretty, no? And they are YUMMY, a true crowd-pleaser. Daiya Cheddar stands in for regular sharp cheddar just fine, and the potato skins can be filled with something other than broccoli, such as chili. What is particularly exciting about the recipe is the Avocado Creme , which is a really fabulous substitute for sour cream.

I'm going to post the Avocado Creme part of the recipe here with a couple of minor changes to make it completely dairy free. I think that from now on, any time I want sour cream for something I'll whip up some Avocado Creme. It's really nice to have a dairy free, soy free sour cream substitute option and as far as I'm concerned, it will work for just about any savory dish that calls for regular sour cream!

2 medium ripe Haas avocados, skin and pit removed
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 scallions, white and pale green parts only, sliced
3 tbsp. packed fresh cilantro
3 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
dash white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Can be used as a topping for black bean soup, fish tacos, potato skins, breakfast burritos - the possibilities are almost endless!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sauteed Lentil Sprouts

Sprouted lentils - what's not to love? They are super healthy and delicious!

Recently a friend came over with a gift of lentil and mung bean sprouts, a full dry pint of each. He said the CSA he's part of is having a hard time producing vegetables, so the farmer sprouted lentils and mung beans. I said thank you, raised an eyebrow, and asked him what to do with them. He told me to saute them in a little coconut oil and call it a side dish. So that's what I did.

Let me tell you, lentil sprouts sauteed with chopped swiss chard, coconut oil, salt, and pepper are surprisingly delicious. Almost addicting, actually. Even my mom and DH were surprised by how much they liked them. The mung bean sprouts were a different matter - they have a strong taste I don't care for. DH made a mung bean dahl once and I just couldn't eat it, he got the whole pot to himself. That's a taste preference, I'm sure other people would go ga-ga for mung bean sprouts and by all means, they should. As for me, I'll stick with the lentil sprouts.

Actually I think there are many beans and grains that can be sprouted successfully. I'm going to have to sprout my own lentils if I want any more (and I do). I may try other beans and seeds, too, following the guidelines found here at Primal Seeds and here at One Hot Stove (I'll probably use the cheesecloth method instead of the jar method). After the lentils have sprouted, what will I do with them? First I'll try this recipe at The Nourishing Gourmet and then this recipe at The Vegan Chef. There are also many other ideas for using sprouted beans here at the International Sprouts Growers Association (

So wish me luck, I'll be embarking on a sprouting adventure soon!