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

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Navajo Fry Bread - Gluten Free & Vegan

Finally! Here is the promised post for Indian Fry Bread/Navajo Tacos. I followed a Penzey's recipe and made changes to make it gluten free and vegan. I've tried it with different flour blends and found that my Biscuit Blend (or another blend with a high starch content such as Smart Flour Baking Blend) works best to keep the fry bread chewy and bendable. I really cannot emphasize how fabulous this fry bread is. You can fill it with just about anything your heart desires, though I'm partial to refried beans, quacamole and salsa! You can also slather it with margarine, ghee or coconut oil and sprinkle it with cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat.

2 cups GF flour blend (Biscuit Blend)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup dairy-free, soy-free milk alternative
1/2 cup warm water, plus more as needed

Whisk together the flour through the salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Combine the milk and 1/2 cup water, then pour it into the dry ingredients. Mix well with a fork until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. You may have to work the dry flour into the dough hard with your fork a little bit - you don't want the dough to be too sticky by adding more liquid too soon. If the dough is too dry, add more water a tablespoon at a time until you get a nice pliable dough. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times into a round ball. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and form those into balls. Cover the dough balls with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out while you heat the oil for frying.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or on the stove top in a dutch oven. For the dutch oven, the oil should be 3 inches deep and it should be heated to 375 degrees. When the oil is hot, go back to your dough. Working with one piece of dough at a time, pat with your fingers or roll the dough out thin, about 1/8 of an inch thick, making sure not to tear holes in the dough. You will need to keep flouring your work surface and your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Pick up the dough and place it gently into the hot oil (watch your fingers!). Fry on one side for two minutes.

Then flip over and fry on the other side for another 1 - 2 minutes, until both sides are puffy and light brown. Remove from the hot oil (I do this with a fork) to a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the oil.

Repeat for the remaining dough. Serve warm immediately - filled or topped as desired.

(Navajo Taco filled with refried black beans, avocado, tomato and mock sour cream - yum!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Cooking Dried Beans in a Crock Pot

It occurred to me today, as I was running around like a crazy person trying to get stuff done over Spring Break, that it should be possible to cook dried beans in a crock pot. That would free me from hovering near the stove watching a pot of beans cook for an hour and a half. So I hopped onto Google and what did I find? Many, many recipes for cooking dried beans in a crock pot! Eureka! If I loved my crock pot before, I love it even more now.

Tonight I relaxed while my crock pot took care of a pound of Great Northern Beans. Tomorrow I will turn those beans into White Bean Dip with Sage for snacking and Quinoa Veggie Burgers for dinner. Why, it almost feels like I'm on vacation.

Cooking beans in a crock pot
There are two ways you can do this (soaking tips gleaned from The Bean Institute, cooking tips gleaned from Iowa State University). First, sift through your beans and discard the nasties (stones, twigs, ugly beans that don't look right, etc.).

1) Soak a pound of dried beans overnight. Drain and rinse, then place in at least a 4 quart crock pot. (If you are using kidney beans, first boil them for 10 minutes to release their toxins and then place them in the crock pot.) Cover the beans with water by 2 inches. Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and a sprig of fresh herb such as rosemary or thyme if desired. Cover and cook on high for three hours. Drain and cool.

2) If your GI tract is sensitive to beans* (as is DH's), do a "hot soak" overnight, which helps reduce the hard-to-digest sugars in the beans. Place the beans in a pot, bring to a boil and boil rapidly for 3 minutes (boil kidney beans for 10 minutes). Remove from heat, cover, and let stand overnight. Drain and rinse, then place in at least a 4 quart crock pot. Cover the beans with water by 2 inches. Add 2 tbsp. of olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and a spring of fresh herb such as rosemary or thyme if desired. Cover and cook on high for three hours. Drain and cool.

*I love making bean soups and noticed if I followed the directions for cooking beans found in Essential Pasta and Pizza, DH complained less about the bean's side effects. If you want to cook your dried beans on the stove, do this: soak the beans overnight. Drain and rinse. Cover the beans with water and bring to a boil. Boil for 10 minutes, skimming off the foam as needed. Drain and rinse again. Cover the beans with water by two inches. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer gently until the beans are tender, about 1 1/2 hours.

**I recommend cooking beans in a slow cooker on high to prevent Phytohaemagglutinin poisoning. Better safe than sorry!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Quinoa and Amaranth Fermented Flat Breads

(This particular flat bread is made with amaranth grain!)

The other day DH goofed and gave Megan some rice cheese. She'd been rice-free for a few weeks and her hands have gotten a lot better - still dry, but no eczema. Well, the day after the rice cheese goof, Megan complained to me about her hands being itchy. Hmmm. Time to mix it up and rotate some grains. I've been making Lentil and Millet Flat Bread (based on my friend's dosa recipe) instead of Lentil and Rice Flat Bread and decided that quinoa and amaranth would make fine flat breads too. Why not?

So, my friends, I have been making "dosa" with quinoa and amaranth. Although they probably cannot be called dosa anymore. Or flat bread. Maybe I should call them skillet bread. Or alternative tortillas. I don't know anymore. What I do know is that they are yummy and we are all addicted to them no matter what grain they contain. We usually make them on weekends for breakfast and the girls can't get enough of them. To increase their protein content, I am making them with equal amounts of lentils and grain and this has been completely fine - they are still bendy and fabulous. The quinoa flat breads turn out a little spongier and the amaranth flat breads turn out a little crispier. We love them both!

1 cup urad dal OR red lentils
1 cup whole grain quinoa or whole grain amaranth
1 tbsp. plain yogurt (or 1/2 capsule probiotic supplement, such as Bluebonnet)
1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the lentils and quinoa or amaranth in a large bowl. Rinse and drain, then cover with water and let soak at least 12 hours. Drain the soaking water, reserving a little bit for grinding. Scoop the soaked grains into a blender with the salt.  Puree the mixture with enough saoking liquid to the consistency of thick pancake batter (it will be a little grainy).

Place the batter in a large bowl. Stir in the yogurt or 1/2 capsule probiotics. Place a thin towel over the bowl. Place in a warm dark spot (in the summer on the counter, in the winter in the oven with the oven itself off and the oven light on).

Let the batter sit for a day - about another 12 hours. It will get puffy and rise like bread dough - that is natural fermentation. The longer it sits, the tangier it will taste. Stir the batter before covering and storing in the fridge. It will keep for at least a week.

(This batter is pink because I used red lentils!)

When you are ready to make flat bread, transfer some of the batter to a separate bowl. Add enough water to make a thinnish batter. Heat a non-stick skillet (I use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium-low heat and swirl a little oil into it. When the oil is hot, ladle some batter into the skillet and swirl it into a thin pancake with the back of a spoon.

Cook until bubbly and dry on top and golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until golden on the other side. Remove from the pan and repeat. Serve warm and enjoy! We stuff these with a myriad of unconventional fillings - to each their own!

*TK - I promise to make your adai soon! I have been so swamped. But they sound delicious and I can't wait to try them!