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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every few months a Penzey's Spices catalog appears in the mail.  I love flipping through them to see what regular folk are cooking and baking in their homes - Penzey's features family recipes with family stories to go along with them.  It's interesting to see how people all over the country cook.  I'll rip out recipes that look good and save them in a haphazard pile in a closet for later.  But when I saw a recipe for Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Cookies, I ripped it out and sat it on the counter so it stared at me until I made it - it looked too delicious to get lost in my pile.  

I modified the original recipe to be gluten free and vegan.  Quite honestly, I don't know why the eggs are in there in the first place, as sweet potato can easily be a substitute for eggs.  But then, I realize I can be annoying like that  - why is it done this way, when it can be done another way just as well or better I'll do it my way!  Use this!  Substitute that!  Mix it up!  See what happens!  These cookies?  Well, they are mouthwatering.  Super yummy.  Irreverently egg-freely delicious.  I love that.  I love these cookies.  So does my family.  And this is my new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Sweet Potato Chocolate  Chip Cookies  
Gluten Free & Vegan

 2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 tbsp. flax meal
1 1/8 tsp. baking soda*
1 1/8 tsp. baking powder*
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup canola or grapeseed oil
1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup mashed sweet potato
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

 3/4 cup Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the cinnamon.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the canola or grapeseed oil, brown sugar and white sugar until the mixture resembles caramel.  Add the sweet potato, applesauce and vanilla and mix well.  

Pour the sweet potato mixture into the flour mixture and stir well to combine.  If the mixture seems too wet, add another tablespoon of flax meal.  Fold in the chocolate chips.

Drop by teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for a minute before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

*I always eyeball this as a generous teaspoon, and if you are comfortable doing that, then go ahead and add a generous tsp. without worrying about measuring the 1/8 tsp.  But if you are like DH and hate flying by the seat of your pants like that, then use the exact measurements.  It's all good.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mung Bean Dosa


Well, I can't believe it's been two weeks since I've posted anything.  There's been a pile of recipes sitting beside the computer for weeks, waiting.  Every time I walk by them I imagine them calling "Post me!  Quick, before you forget!".  And then I quickly forget.  DH has taken to calling me "hamster brain" lately (think of several hamsters running in wheels at once), in addition to "space cadet" and "train wreck".  I am not offended by this because he teases out of love, and because I think he finally understands that when I walk around looking unfocused, I am in fact thinking very hard about several different things at once.  It's a gift, I tell him, the ability to juggle and multitask these whizzing thoughts.  The biggest thought that has been whirring is the fact that our house needs foundation work.  It's been eating up a lot of my energy, thinking about it, how to work around it, how to get it done.  In the meantime, I've been making a lot of dosas.  They are healthy and cheap and fun, and they don't take a lot of thought, which is essential since my thoughts have been elsewhere.

So I've been mixing up dosas lately, playing with grain and bean ratios.  I finally went to an Indian market and bought different beans, so instead of relying on red lentils and yellow split peas, I'm using a mix of urad dal, split pigeon peas, split chick peas, and split mung beans.  Actually I think when you use several different legumes and a grain, you are making adai, and I've been using this recipe for adai as a guideline (omit the Asafoetida, which contains wheat, unless you buy a gluten-free version).  I liked that the ratio of grain is low compared to the legumes. And then I thought, do I have to use grain at all?  Can I just use legumes?

You might ask, what do I have against grains in my dosa (or adai, or lentil crepes, or whatever you want to call them)?  Nothing, in principle.  But over winter break, Megan's hands broke out in that eczema rash of hers that only happens when she eats something that is disagreeing with her.  They became inflamed, swollen, dry like alligator skin, cracked and painful after a week of indulging in rice tortillas.  One of Megan's favorite foods is quesadillas, and after months of avoiding rice, I thought it'd be fine to add rice back to her diet.  I think we overdid the quesadillas.  I've been slowly removing the rice from her diet again, and her hands have responded accordingly.  Now they are just a little dry.  I expect when we've gone through the remainder of her animal crackers that have rice flour in them, her hands will be back to normal.  So I've been making dosas to replace her rice tortillas. Thankfully she loves them.  I've been alternating millet and quinoa in my batches.  But wouldn't it be nice to not use grain at all?

Well, it can be done!  I found a recipe for mung bean (moong dal) dosa that is seriously delicious.  I've also tried a chick pea dosa, but the mung bean one is my favorite.  It's perfectly flexible and rolls up like a dream, where the chick pea one tends to break apart.  Many recipes for dosa and adai say you can make them without fermenting, but I recommend fermenting to reduce gas (see here, 3/4 down the page for an excellent guide on how to reduce gas from peas, beans and legumes).  Otherwise, these yummy dosa are simply fabulous and tasty.  We'll have two mung bean dosa stuffed with unconventional fillings (using them like sandwich wraps) for lunch or dinner, but my favorite way to eat one is warm, spread with a little margarine and rolled up simply by itself.  Take that, eczema.

Mung Bean Dosa

1 cup dried split mung beans (moong dal)
1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded
1/2 tsp. minced ginger (The Ginger People make this so easy!)
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. plain yogurt or 1/2 capsule probiotic powder

Place the mung beans in a medium bowl.  Rinse with water until the water runs clear.   Cover the mung beans with water by at least two inches and let soak overnight.  Drain the water from the mung beans, reserving a cup of the water.  Place the soaked beans, jalapeno, ginger, cumin, salt and yogurt or probiotic powder into a blender.  Process until smooth, adding reserved water if needed.  


Pour the batter back into the bowl, cover with a thin towel and let sit for several hours to ferment.  You can let it sit on your counter, or put it in your oven with the oven light on (if you do this, I recommend placing a sign on your oven saying "Oven In Use" to avoid forgetting about the fermenting batter and turning on the oven...which I have done and nearly set the house on fire).

To make the dosa, stir the batter and thin with a little water if needed.  You want to make thin crepes, not thick pancakes.  Heat a cast iron skillet or two over medium-low heat.  Swirl in a little oil to keep the dosa from sticking.  Ladle a little batter into the hot skillet and spread out thinly with the back of a spoon.  Cook until the edges are golden and the top is dry.  

Flip and cook another minute or two more.  

Remove to a plate and serve warm however you please (I like mine with simply margarine).

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Squash and Tomato "Lasagna"

Squash and Tomato Lasagna.   Crisp-tender squash, fragrant tomato, Daiya mozzarella melting into a creamy sauce in the middle and gooey strands on top.  No grains to be found.  This dish is very simple, and simply delicious.

2 medium summer squash
2 medium zucchini squash
2 medium ripe tomatoes
salt and pepper
dried thyme
basil leaves, if desired
parsley, if desired
1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella, plus more if desired
olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease one 8x8 inch baking dish with olive oil, set aside.

Wash the squashes and cut off the ends.  With a large knife, thinly slice the squashes lengthwise.  Wash the tomatoes and cut off the ends.  With a serrated knife, slice the tomatoes thinly, laying the slices on paper towels to soak up excess liquid.  Roll up several basil leaves and slice thinly, if desired.

Place zucchini slices in one layer first in the prepared baking dish, overlapping slices slightly.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and a little thyme.  Place yellow squash slices in one layer on top of the zucchini slices, sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme.  Place tomato slices in one layer on top of the yellow squash.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and sliced basil, if desired.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella over all, or more if desired.    Repeat all these layers one more time.  Sprinkle a bit of parsley over all.  Place in the oven and bake about 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the squash is crisp-tender.  Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before slicing into squares.  Serve warm.