Thursday, March 31, 2011

GF Graham Crackers

Graham crackers are one of those classic snacks that I never think of unless I want a s'more. Seriously, there are quite a few things that everyone else seems to eat that are not in my lexicon'o food. In light of this, I'm not quite sure what inspired my hankering for some good old fashioned crackers. Whatever the case, I set out to make them.

And totally failed.

Now, my interpretation of failure is different than yours might be. See, the main ingredient flip was in the flour. I ran out of the last tiny bit of brown rice flour and subbed in buckwheat flour. Don't let the name fool you, it's gluten free. It's also dark brown and sort of makes everything look like dirt. It also has an earthy taste to it that makes some people think it tastes like dirt. Great start. Add to the fact that I'm LAZY and couldn't be fucked to properly roll them out and you have one recipe that has all the makings of graham crackers but is certainly not. 

Now my first bite made me cringe a bit. It wasn't at all what I was expecting. Hilariously, I made a friend try them. At first she was intimidated to try them, then absolutely scared after she took a bite and let out a half-terrified "Ew!" Thanks, Julie. However, these grew on me in ways I couldn't have imagined. For one, I'm not fond of the graham cracker taste, to a point that I refuse to use it as pie crust and scrape it off. But after you get used to the buckwheat, it allows you to enjoy the sweetness of the honey and sugar without being overwhelmingly sweet.

Also, by not making these cracker-thin, they turned out soft with a melt-in-your-mouth crumb feel that is so addicting for me- very similar to a scone. I think this might be a base for an amazing cookie bar or something. Either way, my fail probably turned out for the best, since this is yet another recipe I wanted to make that I figured out later I'm not quite fond of. Such is life.

If you'd like to try your hand at the actual recipe, you can find it here. If you're looking for something a bit different, I originally wanted to make this graham cracker recipe, but didn't have all the ingredients. Or you can do it my way, by not following a recipe and ending up better for it.

Just saying.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

GF Cinnamon Swirl Bread [Now with banana!]

Yes you can have totally tasty quickbreads! Knew it. Few quick notes, I used 3/4 sorghum flour and 1/4 buckwheat flour for this and it turned out well. Also note that the 3/4 and 1/4 don't refer to cups, just proportions. Plus, the usual applesauce for oil deal and a banana that was ripe and waiting. Mixy-mixy, bake, and pack for lunch.

Got to run for the day, but I've still got a few gluten free recipes to cram in, so stay tuned.

Cinnamon Swirl Bread
taken from here


Monday, March 28, 2011

GF Chicken, Lentil, and Corn Enchiladas

Does anyone cook Mexican food on a regular basis? I mean, it sounds like a good idea. Lots of corn and tomatoes and rice and... jazz or whatever. But Mexican food never tastes as good as it should, you know? Why is Taco Bell near the top of my Tex-Mex food list?! When I want a quick meal, especially if I need it cheap, I fall back on Italian, Southern food, Indian. But not our Southern border cuisine.

Fine, I thought. Damn it. I've got a handful of stuff that needs to be used, including chicken and way too much cheese (vegan April, remember?) and I've never made enchiladas. They sound good. They fit the bill. But will they really give me what I want? I vowed to find out.

So, lets bake all the chicken that needs going until it falls off the bone. Check. Rip off crispy skin and eat as a snack. Check.

[Edit: What the flippy-floppy? I was trying to add the pictures I'd taken, but can't find them. I suspect I only took them in my head. Okay, picture a cassarole dish smothered in cheese. Bam.]

[P.S. Edit: Flippy-floppy is my new favorite phrase. Thanks Julie.]

Scrounge up everything in kitchen that's about to die. Check. Add some protein filler with lentils. Check. Grate cheese until I have filled my workout quota for the week and break my cheese grater to holy hell. Double Check. Assemble. Eat.

Let me also note that this is a many person recipe, not a one person for dinner/lunch thing. Do you guys remember the episode of I Love Lucy where Ricki and Fred decided that most people could eat a pound of rice, so multiplied that by the number of people they were serving? Or the time Lucy made BREAD and nearly suffered from BREAD DEATH? I'm that guy. So I used the full amount of filling and toppings to too few tortillas in a too small 8x8" dish. Don't be me.

But what would you know? This was really tasty. Did I overcome my total predjudice against corn tortillas? Nope. Not even with frying. They fell apart and had a funny texture. But enchiladas with flour tortillas... I long for you.

Come to me now.

Bring salsa.

Chicken Enchiladas

3 cups cooked chicken
1 cup corn
1-2 cups cooked lentils
chopped green onions
Many corn tortillas- as many as you need. Or more. Go crazy.
1 1/2 cup enchilada sauce*
1/2 c cream sauce (or something creamy. I used a few dollops of raw cheddar spread and some horseradish dipping sauce because I had it)
3 cups cheese (I used a colby, cheddar, goat cheese cheddar mix. Yep.)

Lightly fry tortillas seperately in a dab of vegetable oil. Set aside.

Mix chicken, corn, cooked lentils, and any other fixins you can dream of. Or anything that needs to be used before it goes bad in the refrigerator. Put a few tablespoons of the chicken mix in each tortilla, wrap, and place in baking dish. Smother with sauce then top with cheese.

Bake at 350-400 F for 15-25 minutes, until cheese melts and you can't wait any longer.

No-Cook Make-Do Enchilada Sauce
Inspired by this recipe

1 (14.5 oz) can of tomatoes, mine already had onion and garlic
1-2 T of flour (sorghum for me)
Cayenne and cumin to taste.

Toss everything and whiz in a food processor. Um... I'm not sure why you add the flour except to thicken it. Meh. Tasted good anyway, plus I'm sure it's much healthier than store bought.

Done. How can a recipe be better than that?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

GF Mushroom, Olive, and Double Cheese Pizza

Yep yep yep. I tackled gluten-free pizza and I won. Of course, like with mac and cheese, I think any bread with tomato sauce and cheese can't fail, so maybe I'm biased. I flirted with this pizza dough recipe for a while, but didn't want to buy more ingredients. Instead I stole a dough recipe from this blog to start. My only problem with it was my own fault. I should have split it into two dishes instead of one (for double the pizza!) because the crust was very thick and took longer to bake then I would have liked.

Next top with homemade pizza sauce. For mine, I cracked open a small can of tomato sauce and simmered with onion powder, basil, chopped garlic, salt, and a crack-ton of black pepper. It was perfect and spicy, ready to be topped with cheese. In case you missed the double part, I topped the sauce with slabs of colby jack, mushrooms, black olives, and then TOPPED the top with sharp white cheddar. Cheese sandwich on crust, yes sir.

As baked, it was like a deep dish tangy, cheesy, satisfying slice of pizza heaven. Then again, I've never met a pizza I didn't like. Hmmm.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

GF Mac and Cheese of Ultimate Awesomeness

Okay, this post is not meant to show you the definitive mac and cheese recipe, though this one was damn good. This is to clear gluten-free pasta of it's bad name. So far, I've had quinoa and corn, brown rice, and white rice pasta. They all had tiny quirks, but overall I've been hugely impressed. So when it comes to one of America's favorite comfort foods, don't be afraid to cut the cheese. *snort*

For my mac, I decided to try a brown rice twist pasta. The recipe I used called for a bit of parboiling, which I thought would be safer. You know what? My pasta didn't fall apart. If you overcook any pasta it will get too soft, so don't be overzealous. Just treat it like normal pasta and you'll be cool. For the cheesy bits, I used mostly medium cheddar with some colby, feta, and parm. Use whatever you have, though personally I stay away from sharp cheddars. Whatever your preference, use a ton of it.

I've heard a lot lately about the sub-par... ness of gluten free pasta. Maybe I'm not experienced enough with it. Maybe I have no clue about what I'm saying. But why don't you give it a try for yourself. Perhaps you'll look at the starchy stuff in a new light or find a new favorite everyone can live with. Mkay.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Food for Zombies!

Srly. We had a zombie themed potluck since I've been telling my friends about the awesomeness that is Shaun of the Dead and we've yet to watch it. And we still haven't. I brought it, but we ended up just talking instead which is probably better. I did dress up as Shaun's cousin, Bam Bam, the zombie killer. One day...

Anyways, they're good sports so everything was not only zombie-themed, it was also vegan and gluten-free. We are all about the challenge. For my part, I made a blood and gore dessert. Rice pudding with hemp milk for the base. Throw in some banana chunks, blueberries, and cover with a bloody strawberry sauce. Now play with green and blue food coloring, mix, devour.

We also had scabby zombie fingers consisting of green beans, dried cranberries, and black food coloring. For the main course, bloody mushrooms over lemon-garlic pasta. I mean, brains and intestines. Zombie-lickin' good, yo.

And yes, I'm aware that I've passed the two week mark. I considered doing another daily meal thing, but decided that it probably wasn't necessary. Still, I'm really starting to hone in on why I picked up this challenge. Sure, it's be cool to test for a gluten sensitivity, but mostly I was bored. I wanted a new recipe challenge. Of course, I could be saying this to make myself feel better about cheating... Don't judge me.

Anywho, I'm trying to get over my total eclipse of the heart predjuidce of corn tortillas, so I've got a few things coming up. Aside from making them myself, do you guys know anything good to do with them. You know, so they don't taste like cardboard that rips apart with a look? Ugh.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gluten-Free Eats: Mexican Pumpkin Soup and Cornbread

Thank the heavens for awesome bloggers, because they've saved my little gluten-free butt. I was really starting to worry that I might not make it with what I had on hand. Not only did I find delicious recipes, I also got to use up some of my pantry left-overs.

It all started with the goodness that is spicy pumpkin soup. How can you not want that? It's savory and surprisingly healthy. Plus, this is something you can feed to carnivores and vegans alike. I love food that is so tasty and versatile that no one can refuse. Instead of the jalapeno, I simmered the soup with one chipotle in adobo sauce. It turned out smokey, creamy, flavorful, and so satisfying. I highly recommend it no matter what your dietary preferences.

Mexican Pumpkin Soup
from Gluten Free Goddess

What goes better with a spicy soup than cornbread? Well, if you're gluten-free, worry not. I found this cornbread recipe that tastes EXACTLY like my normal cornbread. Sweet, light texture, goes with anything, and super simple. Of course, if you're weird and not into sweet cornbread (for shame!), simply omit the sugar and add your own favorite spices. Don't tell me and I won't hold it against you. And if you're wondering, I substituted brown rice flour and it turned out great, so don't be afraid to experiment.
Gluten-Free Cornbread
from Gluten Free Mommy

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Week 1: Gluten Free

Well, here's how we did. This is especially targeted towards anyone starting new to this diet and needing ideas on what a weekly menu might look like. For a single person with little previous experience, this is what I came up with broken down roughly by meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. As you will see, there's not always a whole meal going on- just lots of snacks.

Day 1

Breakfast:  GF chocolate zucchini muffins, coffee
Lunch: GF chicken teriyaki, orange
Dinner: GF pasta with my new favorite tomato sauce
Snacks: Swiss Miss hot chocolate, hot tea, homemade trail mix, Honey Nut Chex (HNC)
Verdict: Pasta saved the day. Plus, craving carbs like crazy.

Day 2

B: muffins, coffee
L: pasta with sauce
D: lemon-butter snow peas
S: trail mix, hot chocolate, tea, HNC, grapes, olives, GF crackers with horseradish cheese dip, flourless chocolate cake

Day 3

B: muffins, HNC, coffee
L: pasta with sauce
D: rice and soy sauce
S: hot chocolate, tortilla chips and salsa, lemonade, trail mix, GF crackers with toasted marshmallow fluff and chocolate chips (smores)

Day 4:

B: hot chocolate, muffins
L: pasta with sauce
D: spinach salad
S: trail mix, HNC, lime popsicle, grapes, stovetop popcorn, smores
Day 5:

B: tea
L: a handful of chex
D: Tobias frog- tomato and roasted red pepper soup, salad, and scallops (cheated with half a garlic bread stick and roll)
S: trail mix, tea, HNC with chocolate chips
Verdict: I was out most of the earlier part of the day. Eating out is hard.

Day 6:

B: cheese omelette, tea
L: muffins
D: cornbread, pumpkin soup, lemonade
S: trail mix, homemade popcorn, smores

Day 7:

B: Peanut butter cookie, coffee
L: spinach salad with GF dressing, pumpkin soup with cornbread
D: lemon-garlic tilapia with zucchini and rice, lemonade
S: hot chocolate, tea, banana, smores, lime popsicle
Verdict: probably the best day so far.

Overall I think my first week went well. I cheated a total of three times: once to try a bite of guava-cheese pastry, once at Tobias frog for a dinner roll and half a garlic breadstick, and once for a peanut butter cookie. I don't think that's half bad.

Other than that, I'm realizing how hard it can be to eat out like this. On Saturday, it took me forever to decide on a place because nearly everything has bread. Even ordering a soup and entree without either, they still bring you bread as a side. There's no noticable difference in how I feel, or so I think. Too early to tell. Plus, it's really weird to look back on my week and see what I've eaten.

Let's try another week out and see where this goes. There are some recipes I made this past week that are coming up soon as well. Any gluten-free recipes out there you think I should know about?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Gluten-Free Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Starting out this month's gluten free challenge, I hopped on the muffin train. Since becoming obsessed with bran muffins, it's pretty much my everyday breakfast. However, bran is from wheat is from can't eat it. So, I got to pick up some new and exciting flours to play with. Plus, there's chocolate. How bad can it be?

Not at all bad as it turns out. These muffins were ridiculously moist and light and so flavorful. My one caveat was that they were sort of gritty. I thought maybe it was just the batter, but they baked up with the same texture. Could it be the zucchini skin or is that just how gluten-free baking goes? Still, this made a lovely double batch and will supply a little over a week of breakfast and snacks.

Update: Since writing this earlier in the week, I've discovered that these muffins are so moist, so chocolatey, so awesome, they've started to remind me of fudgey brownies. Really. Also, I don't notice the grittiness anymore. Either it went away with the moisture or I'm too busy shoveling them down that I'm not paying attention. I would make these again once I'm back on the gluten train.

For you baking pleasure: Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
I substituted 1/4 cup of vegetable oil and 3/4 cup of applesauce to the mix.