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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Raw Tahini Dip

In my quest for mayonnaise that does not taste like tahini (though good, it does not work with everything), I tried making raw tahini to achieve a milder, less toasty flavor. This experiment failed miserably for how I originally wanted to use it - my food processor left it with too much texture for mayonnaise. Faced with a lot of raw tahini, I decided to make a tahini dip for friends who were coming to dinner. Happily, it turned out great! The texture made the dip interesting and everybody ended up liking the sharp lemon-garlic taste. So I'm going to post the recipe - what was originally a failure for one use turned out to be a success for another use. I love that.

For the tahini
6 ounces hulled sesame seeds
olive oil

Soak the sesame seeds in water for 2 - 3 hours. Pour the seeds into a sieve and let drain for another hour. Place the seeds into a food processor or blender. Add 1/4 cup olive oil and blend. Blend for a few minutes, adding more olive oil or water to reach a consistency that is neither too thick nor too runny (I ended up using 1/3 cup olive oil and 1/3 cup water). Not all the seeds will blend so the texture will not be too smooth. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

For the dip
1 cup raw tahini

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 - 4 minced cloves garlic
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve with crackers and crudites.

Monday, February 22, 2010

GFCF Mayonnaise Crust

So last week I made mayonnaise. It was good, but particularly flavored so I had not used all of it by week's end, and I didn't want to waste it. I happened to flip through The Gluten Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy and ran across a recipe for Mayonnaise Crust. That looked very exciting, so I gave it a try using this recipe as a guide. It's just like an oil crust, but with mayonnaise.

I've learned to embrace a lot of things (such as a little judicious use of bacon fat!) since learning my little family has food allergies and sensitivities to more things than I care to count. I feel like lately I've been channeling my Grandma and my Nanny and DH's Grandma (may their Irish and German souls rest in peace). Now I'm learning to appreciate mayonnaise. And I gotta tell you, this crust is mighty tasty and really easy to make. The slight tahini flavor of my mayonnaise was dynamite in a quiche crust. It was so good, perfect for a savory dish. Megan of course did not get any quiche, but DH and I enjoyed it!

You can roll this crust out like I did, or press it into the pie plate with your hands. Either way is fine. I used an all purpose sorghum mix for the crust - it was a little delicate, but rips were easily fixed. I would make this crust again in a heartbeat.

1 cup GF flour blend (I used this one)
1/2 cup mayonnaise

Mix the flour blend and the mayonnaise well with a fork. Add a teaspoon of water at a time if the mixture seems too dry. Pour the crust onto a piece of wax paper and knead a couple of times to bring the dough together. Place a piece of wax paper over the top and roll the crust out to 1/2 inch bigger than your pie plate.

Remove the top piece of wax paper. Slide your hand underneath the crust and flip into the pie plate. Carefully remove the wax paper. Fit the crust into the plate by pressing gently with your hands and repair any tears by pressing them together with your fingers. Roll the edges and flute with the tines of a fork.

Alternatively, dump the dough into the pie plate and press with your hands over the bottom and up the sides. Flute the edges with the tines of a fork.

Bake the crust according to whatever recipe you are using. I used a quiche recipe. Enjoy!

(I should have topped this spinach quiche with Daiya cheese for this picture, it would have been prettier. I did top a leftover piece of quiche the next day with a bit of shredded Daiya, placing it under the broiler until the cheese melted - it was really good!)

Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise (Soy Free)

(This was my first attempt at vegan soy-free mayo. For an even better version - my favorite -, see this recipe HERE! )

Okay, it's been awhile since I've posted anything. I've already heard the grumbles, sorry about that. I've been busy! Busy in general, but also busy trying to concoct palatable egg-free stuff for Megan. It took awhile to get bread down, and next on the list was mayonnaise. In truth, Megan has not been egg free completely because I could not figure out the mayonnaise thing. I've been working hard on it, and have had a little bit of success. I still need to play with different recipes, but this one works for now.

So, the original recipe for this mayonnaise can be found here at Gluten Free Goddess. I tried it over the summer on vacation, making it for Samuel (my BFF's son who is also allergic to eggs). But Samuel is also allergic to sesame seeds so I left out the tahini part of the recipe. Bad idea. It was terrible. It looked like mayonnaise well enough, but it tasted like...rotten fish. I don't know why, but I couldn't salvage it and it went into the garbage. What a terrible waste of good olive oil. But I gave the recipe another try last week and included the tahini (my own homemade). It came out really good, so the tahini is integral. However, it came out brownish and tasted slightly like tahini. That's not bad, just not terribly versatile. It could be the homemade tahini, I may have toasted the sesame seeds a little long. But the mayonnaise was good in savory recipes...chicken salad and quiche crust.

So here is my version of Karina's vegan mayonnaise. I used canola oil, which at the end of the day is just as healthy (and maybe healthier?) than olive oil and which also has a lighter taste. I also added some garlic and some lemon juice. Like I said, this mayo is good for savory dishes but not so much for tuna salad. For that, this one is much better!!

1 tbsp. dijon mustard
1tbsp. tahini
1 tbsp. lemon juice
3 tbsp. rice milk
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
1 clove minced garlic
1/2 cup canola oil

In a blender, combine the mustard through the garlic. With the blender running on low speed, add the canola oil slowly in a thin stream until the mayonnaise is just creamy and thickened (do not over mix). This will keep about a week in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Chocolate Muffins

Don't these muffins look lovely? The recipe by Gluten Free Goddess can be found here. I made these changes:

Used brown rice flour instead of quinoa flour, tapioca starch instead of potato starch, and guar gum instead of xanthan gum. I also decreased the nutmeg to 1/4 tsp., replaced the olive oil with canola oil, used 3/4 cup rice milk, replaced the Ener-G egg replacer and water with 3 tbsp. gelatin egg substitute and added 1 tsp. vanilla extract.

These muffins came out great, and they make the whole house smell good. Hooray for another egg-free wonder!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Homemade Toasted Sesame Tahini

Yesterday I made homemade tahini for the first time. It never occurred to me that I could make it at home, I just assumed it was too difficult. But when I ran out of tahini and saw a bag of lonely sesame seeds hanging out in my cupboard, I decided to give homemade tahini a try. It's cheaper than store bought and it takes no time at all. I used a blender and clean up was a snap. Using this recipe as a guide, I toasted the sesame seeds before blending them, which gave the end result a toasty, nutty flavor reminiscent of peanut butter. It is excellent in hummus. Next time I will soak the sesame seeds per this recipe here to get a milder flavor for tahini sauce.

one 12 oz bag of sesame seeds, or 1 1/2 cups
1/3 - 2/3 cup canola or olive oil
dash salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spread sesame seeds on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 20 minutes or until fragrant, stirring once.

Remove the sesame seeds from the oven and let cool to room temperature. Pour them into a blender. Turn the blender on and slowly add 1/3 cup canola oil and a dash of salt. Depending on how thin you like your tahini, add up to another 1/3 cup canola oil (I like mine thin, so I added the whole 2/3 cup). Blend to a smooth paste. It won't be as smooth as store bought, but it won't be too far off, either. The tahini will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, if it lasts that long.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sweet Potato Fries with Garlic Dip

Sweet potato fries are one of my favorite foods. Usually I toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake them, then drizzle lime juice over them before serving. But recently I ran across a Food Network recipe for Sweet Potato Fries with Basil Salt and Garlic Mayonnaise - it sounded soooo good. I made them today for friends (tweaked a little bit, of course) and between the three of us, the fries were gone in 5 minutes. I can't wait to make them again.

2 large sweet potatoes
2 tbsp. olive oil

about 3/4 cup mayonnaise (I eyeballed this)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp. lemon or lime juice

1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. fresh cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Peel and halve sweet potatoes. Cut into strips about 1/4 inch thick and toss with olive oil to coat thoroughly. Spread the fries on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake about 30 minutes, or until tender and golden brown.

While the fries are baking, stir together the mayo, garlic and lemon or lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste as desired. Set aside.

When fries are done, remove from the oven and place in a bowl. Toss fries with basil, salt and pepper, adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve fries hot with the garlic dip on the side. Serves 4.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

GFCF Lemon Ice Cream

So I made this lemon curd. It was tart, and there was a lot of it. What to do with a lot of tart lemon curd? Turn it into ice cream, of course. I used this recipe at Joy of Baking as my guide. And it was very good. Everybody loved it - it turned out creamy and didn't crystallize in the freezer. I will definitely be making this ice cream again.

1 can lite coconut milk (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup coconut cream*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup lemon curd, plus more as desired

Freeze the barrel of your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions. Combine the coconut milk, coconut cream and sugar in a bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add the lemon curd and stir until combined. Taste and add more lemon curd if desired, up to one cup.

Set up your ice cream machine according to the instructions and pour in the coconut milk mixture. Turn on the machine and run until the mixture is thick and frozen (about 20 minutes in my Cuisinart ice cream maker). Taste and adjust the lemon curd as desired. Freeze and enjoy!

*Take 1 can of good quality coconut milk, such as Thai Kitchen, do not shake. Open the can and skim the coconut cream from the top.

GFCF Lemon Curd (Egg Free)

I don't know what came over me the other week, but suddenly I had a burning desire to make egg-free lemon curd. Megan just had to have some - I envisioned making thumbprint cookies for her and filling them with lemon curd. Mind you, she never mentioned craving lemon curd. But in my head she had to have some, and fast. It probably has to do with me - having conquered gfcf egg free bread to my satisfaction, I had to try converting something else that relies heavily on eggs. Somebody needs to save me from myself. I'm going to go berserk someday.

So anyway, I tried making a vegan lemon curd. I took cues from this recipe
here, more or less. In the end it did not firm up the way I wanted it to, so I added some gelatin, and then it behaved a little better (but it was not vegan). For the record, lemon curd does not work well in thumbprint cookies. But it does work well in ice cream, and both girls really enjoyed that.

This curd is fairly tart. I like it that way, but if you like it sweeter just add a little more sugar. I'm going to post it the way I ended up making it, but it can probably use some tweaking. I know I'll tweak it next time I make it.

3/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

pinch salt

2 tsp. lemon zest

3 tbsp. arrowroot starch

3 tbsp. cold water

1/4 cup hazelnut milk or other non-dairy milk

1 tbsp. Earth Balance margarine or other non-dairy margarine

1 1/2 tsp. gelatin

In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the lemon juice, water, sugar and lemon zest. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir together the arrowroot starch and cold water. Add the arrowroot mixture and the hazelnut milk to the saucepan. Heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is bubbly and thickened. Remove from heat and add the margarine. Pour into a glass container and cool to room temperature before storing in the refrigerator. The curd should thicken as it cools.

Here is where I didn't like the way the curd looked - even after a day in the fridge, it was not quite thick enough. So I threw it back into a saucepan, heated it and added the gelatin. After cooling again in the fridge for a few hours, the curd had the right consistency - like real lemon curd - not like jello, and not like lemon slurp. Although lemon slurp is what you'll get if you try to fill thumbprint cookies with it. Don't do that. Try it in ice cream instead!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Risotto with Butternut Squash

I've had a Bon Appetit recipe for Risotto and Butternut Squash with Leeks that has been kicking around in my recipe box for years. I brought it out year after year and set it aside on the counter in my little basket of "short list" recipes but I never ended up making it. So I can't compare before and after results. But I can tell you that I made this modified version on Friday night and it was a big hit. The butternut squash lends a velvety, buttery taste to the risotto all by itself and the dish didn't miss the heavy cream or parmesan cheese called for in the original recipe. This dish has now properly entered my "short list" and I will be making it often in the years to come!

1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound
2 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, quartered and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine*
3 cups chicken broth*
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut off the ends of the squash and halve lengthwise. Peel the squash and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into 1/4 inch cubes and toss with 2 tbsp. olive oil. Spread on a small baking sheet and roast 10 minutes. Stir, then roast another 10 minutes or until the squash is tender. Remove from oven and set aside.

In a small pot, heat the chicken broth until hot but do not simmer.

In a medium pot or dutch oven heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft. Add the rice and stir for one minute. Add the wine and simmer until it has been absorbed, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of hot chicken broth and simmer until absorbed, about 3 minutes. Repeat with remaining stock, 1/2 cup at a time, until the rice is tender and creamy, about 20 minutes. Turn off the heat. Stir in the roasted butternut and sage. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.

*You may need to add a bit more liquid at the end. I ended up adding another 1/4 cup wine and another 1/4 cup chicken broth to get the rice al dente and very creamy.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More GFCF Egg-Free Sandwich Bread

Well, I've been busy. Life just sort of exploded after the new year and I don't know when it will slow down again, maybe not until summer break. But I have been busy baking egg-free bread for Megan and testing different flour blends to see how they work. So far I've tried Sorghum and Millet, High Protein and Multigrain blends. I like each of them - here are my notes.

Sorghum and Millet - this produces a bread that looks just like any regular white bread. The taste is mild, there are no strong flavors so it goes well with just about anything. The loaf rises beautifully. Once out of the pan, it compresses slightly.

High Protein - this produces a pretty bread with a buttery color. I love the way it tastes - the chickpea flour does not taste strong to me (though others might not care for the taste of chickpea flour - to each her own). The texture is very light. The loaf looks perfect coming out of the oven, but it shrinks as it cools.

Multigrain - so far this produces as perfect-looking a loaf as possible. It does not compress much at all as it cools. I added a little buckwheat flour, which gives the bread a hearty flavor and texture. This is my favorite blend to use so far.