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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Maple Yogurt Scones

After finding myself with an abundance of yogurt recently, I decided to make scones. Yogurt scones have always sounded very appealing, especially slathered with jam. These scones turned out nice and dry and not too sweet (the way I like them), but if you like scones that resemble muffins a little more and are a little sweeter, then add more yogurt and a little more maple syrup for a softer, slightly sticky dough. Dried blueberries would be a nice addition to these scones, as would a dusting of cinnamon-sugar!

2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
dash nutmeg
1/4 cup dairy-free, soy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance)
1/2 cup dairy-free, soy-free yogurt (such as So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt)
1/4 cup maple syrup
coconut milk and cinnamon sugar for topping, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the nutmeg. Cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles small meal. In a liquid measuring cup, combine the yogurt and maple syrup. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour mixture and stir well with a fork until fully incorporated. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl and be neither too wet nor too dry. If it's too dry, add a tablespoon of coconut milk or other liquid and stir until there are no dry bits in the bottom of the bowl.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board. Knead two or three times, then pat into a circle 1/2 inch high. The dough should not be sticky - ideally, you will not need to dust it with flour to keep your hands from getting sticky. Cut the circle into eight equal parts. With a spatula, transfer the wedges to the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with a little coconut milk and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar if desired. Bake about 15 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Transfer the wedges to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 scones.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Homemade Coconut Milk Yogurt

I recently tried my hand at homemade yogurt. I've been very into DIY lately and I chose to follow the recipe found in Wild Fermenation (making yogurt using an insulated cooler instead of a yogurt maker), substituting canned full-fat coconut milk for the cow's milk. I also read with interest the process for making coconut milk yogurt here at The GFCF Lady.

Making my own yogurt turned out to be very easy and the result was very creamy. I really like it a lot. The longer it sits in the fridge, the more sour and yogurt-y it tastes. It's very rich and tastes quite decadent. The only problem I had with the process described in Wild Fermentation is that it was hard to maintain the ideal 110 degree temperature in an insulated cooler, and I did need to add pectin to thicken a fairly runny end product. But I would do it again, now that I know how. Next time, I'm going to try making yogurt in a crock pot following these guidelines here, and then I might also try using the oven method (leaving the light on in the oven and wrapping towels around the crock).

So what I did this first time around was this:

Heat 3 cans of coconut milk to 180 degrees. Let the coconut milk cool to 110 degrees. Add 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1 tsp. vanilla extract.

For each can of coconut milk, add 1 capsule of your favorite probiotic (we use dairy-free Bluebonnet ). Take out 1 cup of coconut milk, whisk in the probiotics and add back to the rest of the coconut milk, whisking to combine. Pour into two quart-sized glass jars with lids.

Wrap the jars with warm towels and place in an insulated cooler. Place jars of hot water inside the cooler and cover with a lid. Let the yogurt sit overnight. I found it hard to maintain the temperature to an ideal 110 degrees even in an insulated cooler (maybe I should get a different cooler) so I had to replace the jars of hot water with more hot water and re-wrap the yogurt jars with warm towels.

I let the yogurt sit for another 12 hours (24 hours total). Then I poured the yogurt into a blender, whisked in 1 tsp. Pomona's Universal Pectin and the 1 tsp. calcium water that comes with the package, and blended until smooth. I poured the yogurt back into the quart jars and placed them in the refrigerator. The next day, I had creamy, mild-tasting yogurt. We enjoyed this yogurt over the course of 3 weeks and the longer it sat in the fridge, the more it tasted like yogurt. Our favorite way to enjoy this ultra-creamy yogurt is for dessert, drizzled with a little bit of maple syrup. I'm hooked, and I can't wait to make it again!

(Next time I make yogurt - probably this week - I will use the crock pot method.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Shortcut Sweet Chili Sauce

Recently a friend came over for lunch. I had promised her vegetable spring rolls (next time I'll make these) and at the last minute I forgot that I had run out of purchased Sweet Chili Sauce! So I threw some together from scratch (with the help of some purchased Chili Garlic Sauce). It came out really good, better than store-bought! Next time I'll make it from scratch for real, with fresh chilies, taking cues from this recipe here and this one here, but my shortcut version is super fast, easy and really hit the spot.

1 tbsp. prepared garlic-chili sauce
2 tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup water
2 tbsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 tsp. potato starch

Combine the garlic-chili sauce through the fish sauce in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Whisk in the potato starch and simmer until slightly thickened, about a minute. Remove from heat. Cool before serving. The sauce will thicken a little bit more after cooking.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

No Bake Cookies, Take Two

(These cookies look like truffles. Now that I think about it, they'd be cute rolled in dutch cocoa.
Now that I really think about it, they'd be great dipped in chocolate, on a stick!)

It was the motor. Our A/C motor up and kicked the bucket the other day. Even with the fans running it was so hot in the house, and it was even hotter outside. I like to joke with the girls that Sugar, since she spends a lot of her time in the garage standing guard against unwanted creepy-crawlies that find their way in from the outside, has baked her brains because it's so hot in there. Well now I know how it feels. I can't complain, though. It only took a day for someone to come out and replace the motor. I'm pretty sure the home warranty has paid for itself in just that one visit!

So what's a gal to do when it's too hot to bake (or do anything, really) and there are no cookies for the children? (Other than going out to buy mighty over-priced ones at Whole Foods?) Conjure up some no-bake cookies that for the kids are both novel (what, raw cookies?) and fun to make, of course! These cookies get their sweetness from maple syrup, applesauce and shredded coconut. You could make them a little sweeter by including chocolate chips and rolling them in powdered sugar as desired. My girls liked making these almost as much as eating them and it made our hot afternoon a little more bearable.

No Bake Cookies, Take Two (see Take One)

1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup applesauce
6 tbsp. maple syrup
2 tbsp. coconut milk (I used So Delicious Vanilla Flavored)
1/4 cup almond butter or other nut butter as desired
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup quinoa flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup uncooked buckwheat hot cereal
1/2 cup shredded dried coconut
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, if desired
powdered sugar for rolling, if desired

First, toast the uncooked buckwheat hot cereal in a dry skillet over low heat for several minutes until fragrant, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Remove from the heat and set aside until cool.

In a large bowl whisk together the coconut oil through the vanilla until smooth. In a medium bowl combine the quinoa flour through the shredded coconut (make sure the buckwheat is cool). Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir to combine. Add the chocolate chips if desired. Refrigerate the mixture until firm enough to form into balls, about an hour.

Take heaping teaspoons of dough and form them into balls with the palms of your hands. Roll them in powdered sugar if desired. Place one layer on a plate or small glass dish and cover with wax paper. Repeat to make a second layer. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Roasted Garlic and Black Eyed Pea Dip

(The black eyed peas and roasted garlic give this dip a lovely subtle smoky flavor.)

It is over 100 degrees today. It's been like that for over a month. This summer has been just Too. Darn. Hot. And guess what we woke up to at 3am last night? A horrible squealing sound coming from the closet where our A/C until lives. It sounded like a cross between a fire alarm and a car's fan belt going out. Poor Anna screamed and jumped out of bed like her pants were on fire. We turned the A/C off, waited, then turned it back on. No more squealing, which was replaced with a high-pitched whine when the unit is on. Not so fabulous, but better than the squealing.

So I called our home warranty company this morning. Their A/C fixers will come out tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile, 12 hours after the last squealing incident, our unit starts to scream like a stuck pig again. And it's 104 degrees outside. I'm just a little bit stressed. Off goes the unit...wait a few minutes...turn it back on...nothing. Maybe it's a belt, the motor, the compressor...who knows. The fixer can't get here fast enough. I hope the A/C does not die. As I'm fretting, I need to be moving. So I'm in the kitchen, making things that don't need an oven. We are having hippie chow for dinner (this time salmon over rice), no-bake cookies for dessert, and yummy hummus-y dip for a snack. Thank goodness for rice cookers, crock pots and toaster ovens!

Roasted Garlic and Black Eyed Pea Dip
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas (or 2 cans drained)
1 large head garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tbsp. water
1 tsp. salt (more if using cooked beans, less if using canned beans)
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. parsley, if desired

Preheat oven (or toaster oven!) to 375 degrees. Place the head of garlic on a piece of tin foil. Cut the tops off each garlic clove, leaving the bulb intact. Drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil. bring up the sides of the tin foil and fold over to make a pouch with the garlic inside. Roast the garlic about 20 minutes or until bulb is soft. Remove the pouch from the oven, unwrap the tin foil and let the garlic cool to room temperature. The roasted garlic can be stored for a day or two in the refrigerator.

Place the black-eyed peas, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, water, salt, pepper, cayenne and parsley into a food processor and process until smooth and thick. Adjust seasonings to your taste. This is good served warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Gluten Free & Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Because you can never have too many chocolate chip cookie recipes, here is another. They are crispy and reminiscent of Chips Ahoy, and they are good candidates for ice cream sandwiches!

2 cups GF flour blend

1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 cup palm shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
generous 1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dairy free, soy free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Sift together the sorghum flour through the salt, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the applesauce and vanilla, beat well. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop by generous teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake about 10 minutes, or until the bottoms and edges of the cookies are very lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for a minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes just over 2 dozen cookies.