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Stuff My Mother Never Let Me Have –Part 1

Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

I know it’s because she loves me. She loves me so much that when I was a kid,she did not want me to be happy and enjoy the delicious awesomeness that is Cinnamon Toast Crunch. In all its chemically fortified,glutenous,sugary glory. But honestly? Isn’t it kind of the best? I grew up on Cheerios and Rice Krispies (if I was really lucky). And if Mom was feeling especially furtive,she’d put the generic Toasted Oats O’s into the Cheerios box. Needless to say,that did not slip by my radar. My palate did not accept this sort of subterfuge. Don’t get the wrong idea –if there were a GF version of Cheerios that actually tasted like Cheerios,I’d be in cereal heaven. I don’t even really like sugar cereals. And nearly all the GF cereals are jam packed with sugar. One of my favorite non sugary ones is Mesa Sunrise Flakes. But you have to eat them really quickly because they get soggy in the blink of an eye.

Anyway. I had a craving today. For Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Thankfully,when I went to the sketchy Von’s near our place,they had Cinnamon Gluten Free Chex! And you know what? They taste almost the same (as I remember,anyway)! They certainly hit the spot today. Now why are the GF boxes so skinny??? And how is it possible that two bowls was half the box? Yurgh. Back to Von’s for more.

Feed your cravings.
And don’t get gluphed!

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Put these cookies back in the icebox. #gF FAIL

They are really pretty,aren’t they? Unfortunately,they don’t taste as pretty as they look. Maybe the failure is on me,because I followed the recipe to a tee and,admittedly,that is usually when things go wrong.

For my birthday a few months ago,I received Blackbird Bakery Gluten-Free
and I have been waiting for my sweet tooth to come back to crack it open. Last week I wanted cookies –and I mentioned I was trying to make some Hamentashen. I thought the Blackbird Bakery Icebox Cookie would be a cool recipe to try to adapt for this purpose. They were kind of tasty as Hamentashen,but not really. The dough fell apart too easily,and it had a sour milk flavor to it. Which is really weird. So after making just two of the jam centered triangle cookies I was obsessing over,I put the rest of the dough in the fridge to chill,per the directions,and sliced it up and baked it over the next three days.

They come out very very pretty. They do. Now,I don’t even really like plain old sugar cookies,and these don’t presume to be those,either. I do plan to try Blackbird’s Sugar Cookie Recipe,sans Royal Icing (not my thing). The icebox cookies require a lot of butter. And maybe it was all that butter that left an aftertaste. For days. Even Yolanda,who some of you know,told me she’d already tasted them and did not like them at all when I asked her to try one. Her quote:“They smell and taste like old cheese.”And they kind of do. It’s such a shame,because they are sooooo pretty.

At some future date when I feel like gambling and wasting some of my precious GF flours,I’ll totally try this again (maybe halve or quarter the recipe,just in case),but for now…sorry Blackbird. A for Effort and Presentation:gF for GF FAIL.

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Size Matters

Is anyone really going to argue with me on this? It’s true. Size does matter. And,frankly,Udi’s loaves are lacking in that department. At least the loaf of GF MultiGrain I just purchased from the fridge section at our local WholeFoods is. This was one of two options (the other being Udi’s “white”sandwich bread),and they both felt a little stale,to boot. But my bigger complaint is that the loaf is small!!! For $5.99 a loaf,I want something a little less diminutive. And something a little fresher tasting/feeling,please.

As you can probably tell,I’m still on my quest for perfect sandwich bread. Considering I can’t get enough sandwiches lately (kinda scary),I will soldier on and finish this loaf –not that there are that many slices in it anyway –but I am not so secretly looking for something better. So far,I’m still thinking my best bet might be some tweaking of the King Arthur. My chef friend,Phil,says King Arthur is the best flour anyway. And Chef Phil knows.

Sorry,Udi’s…Although I’m willing to try a few more of your loaves,this one is leaving me a little disappointed…

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GF Buzz on the Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal Article:Study Sheds Light on Gluten Sensitivity.

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I ate it. It was me.

Okay…I “might have”eaten it. Which is why there might not be photographic evidence of the. best. grilled. cheese. sandwich. ever.

Saturday Night Turkey Sandwich

Because I ate it. I couldn’t help it. I had a craving. I’ve been craving “kid food”lately,and yes…I’ve been indulging. It’s so good! What’s better than grilled cheese on homemade (sorta) bread –yeah,you’re reading that right! –and a big glass of chocolate milk (or two)? Um. Today? NOTHING.

A couple weeks ago I posted I was into bagels. That turned into bread. Which was really feeding the sandwich monster. It took me some time in a deep meditative state (sleep) but I finally got to the bottom of it. I’ve been craving sandwiches. Today it was grilled cheese. Saturday night,it was turkey. Every single day for the last two weeks it’s been PB&J. With strawberry jelly,in case you want to know. And these sandwiches have been heavenly. I’m not going to go out there and say the bread is perfect…it’s not. But it’s so totally on the right track!!! The texture is terrific. The flavor –leaves a little bit to be desired,but that might have something to do with the fact that I categorically hate white breads. Sorry to those of you who are feening for Wonder Bread. I didn’t grow up with it and it kind of grosses me out. I find bread that soft and spongy to be creepy. But for those of you who love it –rock on. So. I am on the quest to find a GF sandwich bread that has that texture of the whole grain bread that I grew up with (let’s overlook the fact that it was destroying my insides and focus on the good stuff). In the meantime,I’ve been experimenting.

King Arthur Flour has cannonballed onto the GF scene with their new GF mixes and so far,is the best option I’ve found for a [relatively] quick bread fix. It’s $7.99 at Whole Foods,so not cheap,by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve only tried the sandwich bread mix (okay,twice in past two weeks) but so far I’ve been quite pleased. The bread rises perfectly,it’s pretty easy to make and,considering it’s bread,doesn’t take as long as other recipes I’ve tried.

Loaf 1

Keep in mind I have a starter going on day 5 for some Injera –what? It was a craving. It’s hard to indulge a craving when it takes 5 to 7 days for the starter. By the way,for any of you who are curious about Injera…the starter smells so unbearably horrible that I had to take it down to my neighbor (who’s much braver,and stronger than I am…and she has a less sensitive nose),who had to lock it in the oven because of the smell. We have a 50/50 shot of actually finishing this starter and making the bread. Fingers crossed. Here’s that recipe.

Back to the King Arthur. There isn’t much to say about it –the flavor needs a boost –I added a little salt to the second loaf I baked and that seemed to make a difference…it’s just a little bland. But it toasts up beautifully (and you only need to toast it once!) and doesn’t fall apart. Nor does it feel like I ate a bag of concrete. We even used it for French Toast the other morning (thank you to another neighbor who was awake at 8am and gave us an egg when we ran out!). The French Toast was awesome. I didn’t get a picture of that either because it got eaten. I’m not going to say by whom,and I’m not pointing any fingers. I ate it. It was me. It was I. Whatever.

I haven’t tried any of the other KA mixes,although they have cake,brownies,cookies,pancakes –I’m sure it’s all fine. What I’d really like to do is come up with the perfect sandwich bread recipe from scratch. Without the ingredients that do not exist on the shelves of the grocery stores I frequent (Whole Foods,Trader Joe’s,even Von’s). I am really in the mood for real food. I mean,seriously –where am I going to find a bottle,box,or bag of Polyglycerol Esters of Fatty Acids??? And what the heck is that anyway? Is it a that or a they???

Loaf 2

I’ve read Michael Pollan’s books! I can barely pronounce it,therefore I probably don’t want to eat it. But I obviously will. At least until I can make my own. We all will. And we all do. Because despite the fact that GF is now what ADD was in 1997 (THE tres chic buzz word),our choices are still limited.

The breads we can get in the freezer section at Whole Foods just aren’t that great. Sorry guys. We know you’re trying,but it’s true. GF Baking is really hard. I get it. But the products available to us still kinda suck. They’re filled with starches and gums and preservatives. That stuff kinda creeps me out,too. That said,I’m totally going to throw in a batch of Betty Crocker’s GF Chocolate Chip Cookies later today because I have to feed the monster. But I will also make some cookies from scratch. Because I have about ten days until Purim starts and I want some Hamentaschen!!! If you’re too lazy to bake your own from scratch (I’m not judging!!!) and you live in LA you can get very good Hamentaschen from The Sensitive Baker. If I figure out the perfect recipe for them,I’ll post on here. No,really. I will.

My first loaf turned out great. I got a bunch of delicious peanut butter &jelly sandwiches out of that loaf (toasted pb&j really takes the cake!). It was before the turkey obsession. And everything looks better with the Hipstamatic iPhone App,right? From now on I’ll try to remember to only use that.

The second loaf was even fluffier (accept it) and had a better rise to it –I think that’s because I actually followed the directions better (egads) and really mixed it on medium-high for a full two minutes. Watching bread rise is significantly more satisfying than watching paint dry,that’s for sure.

Look at those holes!!!

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Hiatus and a Schmear.

It’s been two months and this has been an unexpected hiatus. But we’re back. And today…we’re making bagels.

Yeah. You read that right. Anyone who has an amazing GF bagel recipe,send it on over! Gluphed is making bagels until the perfect one gets its schmear.

It’s a craving. Gotta feed the monster.

Stay tuned for Bagel updates. And don’t get gluphed.

xoxo.

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Fry Me Up a Little Chanukah Love

It’s so late and my stomach hurts.

Probably because I ate my weight in Yam (Commonly misunderstood as Sweet Potato) Latkes! Oh my stars were they delicious. I love Chanukah. What’s not to love? Even the cat loves it. He chased the dreidel around for an hour. I have no idea why I’ve wasted money on cat toys all these years. Clearly,he just wanted to try his hand at Maccabean gambling/battle planning (depending on who you ask). So proud.

The house smells like fried awesomeness. I should be asleep right now. I haven’t had something fried –I mean really fried in so long! The Chicken Parm we made the other night doesn’t count. Especially since I haven’t published that post yet. Oops. Besides. The chicken was only lightly pan fried. These latkes…they were deep fried. By my standards,anyway.

Without further ado (or babble),recipes for the first night of Chanukah,2010:
Rack of Lamb with a Chocolate Mint Sauce
Rutabaga and Cauliflower Mash
Yam,Leek,and Scallion Latkes

Yam,Leek,and Scallion Latkes
3 large Yams,shredded
2 Leeks,chopped and thoroughly washed
2 Scallions,chopped and thoroughly washed
5 Eggs (yes,five),beaten
1/3 cup Tapioca Starch –starch,not flour –although I plan on trying them with sorghum flour before the week is out just to see what happens.
Salt (lots,but add it a little at a time and taste the first one before adding more)
Pepper –to taste
Canola Oil

Shred the Yams (Sweet Potatoes,if you insist –it does have a better ring to it) in a food processor (great for releasing tension!) or a box grater on the largest shred. Move shreddings to a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs. Add salt. Add tapioca starch. Mix. With your hands. The oil should be heating in a large pan,at least an inch and a half deep (of oil). I know. That’s greasy. Get over it. It’s Chanukah. It’s all about the oil! When the oil is hot,and a shred of the mixture in the pan sizzles satisfyingly,drop small spoonfuls in for crispier latkes,larger spoonfuls for softer in the middle latkes. Repeat. It’s that easy. Seriously. Remove them from the oil when they’re golden and crispy –they’ll keep cooking for a few minutes –and place them on a plate with paper towels on it. Then move them to a baking sheet (I line with aluminum because I hate scrubbing and I hate when my baking sheets turn brown),and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve. I like them best with sour cream,since I’m off the apples,but they go great with both,I’m told.

Rack of Lamb with a Chocolate Mint Sauce
(adapted from the Mount Gay Rum Cookbook –not on our shelf,but a friend’s,I swear)
2 Tbsp Oil
Lamb rack –cleaned
2 tbsp ground allspice
Chocolate Mint Sauce:
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp grated bittersweet chocolate
3 tbsp Spiced Rum (recipe calls for Mount Gay but we used Captain Morgan’s)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves chopped

Drizzle oil over lamb and season with salt,pepper and allspice. In a hot cast iron skillet,sear the entire rack until just browned on both sides. Roast in pan in a 350 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes,checking frequently –don’t overcook it! Remove from oven and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing.

For chocolate sauce,bring vegetable stock,sugar,and lime juice to a boil. Reduce significantly. Remove from heat stirring in chocolate,rum,and mint leaves just before serving.

**The sauce takes about 15 minutes to really reduce –possibly more. I recommend starting the sauce before searing the lamb. Sear and roast the lamb while the sauce is reducing. Stir in the chocolate,rum,and mint when the lamb is resting and then drizzle over.

Rutabaga and Cauliflower Mash

Overall a great success. Thank you,D and W for coming over for the first night of Chanukah!

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Pasta Ratatouille (Not the Rat)

There are some animated movies I absolutely love. Like Ratatouille. I loved it. I absolutely loved it. And Up and Despicable Me…“It’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!!!”Yeah…there are several that rank way up there on my list. But this is not a post about movies. This is a post about “Pasta Ratatouille”or Ratatouille Pasta –whichever you prefer. This is what we had for dinner last night. And lunch today (don’t tell my allergist I “backed-to-backed”a meal!). It’s too good. I couldn’t resist.

If you’ve read a few of my posts,you’ll know that I like cooking with my hands. And tasting as I go. And I love things that I can throw in a pot together. And I hate measuring. It’s true. I hate,hate,hate measuring.

If my darling husband had listened to me at all when I told him to go relax on the couch in front of our dark,cable-less,channel-less tv,our dinner would have been mediocre. Because I would have thrown all the veggies in a pan together. Oh,the horror! Thank you,B,for keeping me from sliding down the treacherous slope that is careless cooking.

The key,apparently,is to sautee the veggies separately.




Ratatouille:
sans garlic,but only because I’m allergic
2 small onions
1 medium eggplant
3 medium zucchini
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1 green pepper (if you have one in the fridge…we did not)
1 can (28 oz) GF tomatoes –preferably diced –we didn’t dice them this time
or fresh tomatoes –several,seeded,peeled,and diced
1 bunch of fresh basil –chopped –more if you like more,less if you like less.
dried basil
dried oregano
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan over medium heat,heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the onions when hot. Cook until they turn golden and take them out and set aside.

Add another 2-ish tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and when it’s hot,add the zucchini. Cook until soft and take them out and set aside. We put all the veggies in one bowl once they were cooked.

Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan,and when it’s hot,add the eggplant. The eggplant will soak up the oil,which is why you need a little more. But it’s olive oil,so it doesn’t count (in my book,anyway). Cook until they start to soften. I like my eggplant to still have substance,so unless you like it squishy,keep an eye on it and stir it regularly. Season it with salt and pepper to taste. When they’re soft,take them out and add them to the bowl of cooked veggies.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and when it’s hot,add the peppers,stirring frequently until they are soft (but not too soft!). Take them out and add them to the other veggies.

Add to the pan the tomatoes. Stir frequently and cook over a medium heat. Add the chopped fresh basil,dried basil,oregano,salt,and pepper to taste.

While this is cooking,put a pot of water on to boil and cook your pasta. Since I’m still off the rice,and because quinoa pasta really is my favorite,we went with Ancient Harvest GF Veggie Curls Pasta. I love it. And if you can’t find it at your local grocery store,it’s Amazonable in Boxes of 12. Always a treat if it can come directly to the door.

You’ll just know when it’s time to add the veggies to the tomatoes –your nose will twitch and your stomach will growl and before you know what happened,you’ll be adding the veggies. It’s okay. It happens. When the pasta is ready (follow the instructions on the box and start tasting for your preferred texture after about 7 minutes),I like to mix it in with the ratatouille. Just to make sure each and every noodle has some ratatouille goodness on it.

Garnish with fresh basil (unless you used it all in the ratatouille –oops) and my favorite –shaved romano cheese. Thanks to D&W next door who had a wedge! I’ll replace it tomorrow. I like to shave it with a vegetable peeler instead of the shredder. But that’s just me.

This was the perfect comfort food on a cold,cold night in LA. And it went great with a bottle of red.

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The. Best. (GF) Cornbread. Ever. Evvv. Errr.

I saw this recipe on one of my favorite GF blogs,Art of Gluten Free Baking. A beautiful and delightful blog,btw,so if you haven’t stopped by there –get on it! There are a bunch of recipes over there that I can’t wait to try and now that we’ve dumped cable tv (yes,you read that right),I think I’ll have a lot more baking and experimenting time. Since I’m still off the rice and potato (flours and starches included),I will be attempting many of Jeanne’s recipes with alternative flours. Thank goodness this cornbread is exactly,and only,that…Corn. Bread.

This was the easiest cornbread I’ve ever made. And I have to put it out there. I’m secretly (not so secretly) a Southern girl at heart. Born and bred a Yankee raised in North Carolina,I often crave the foods I had to go to a friend’s house to get. Cornbread is one of those delectable treats. This one is perfectly moist yet crumbly in a good way. Nothing the perfect pat of honey butter won’t hold together long enough to get it from your hand to your mouth (fork what?)…Or salty butter and a drop of molasses. Ooh…molasses. Thank you,Jeanne,for sharing this recipe on your blog!

Skillet Cornbread,Gluten-Free

Special equipment needed
-9″,10″,or 11″ cast iron skillet or an 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ baking pan –I used a 9″cast iron skillet and it worked beautifully

Ingredients
1 C (130g) gluten-free corn flour (like masa harina) –I used Maseca
1 C (115) gluten-free corn meal (I like medium grind) –I used Arrowhead Mills
2 tsp-3 TBL granulated sugar –I tossed in a small fistful
2 tsp baking powder –I use Rumford Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
1/2 tsp baking soda –I use Trader Joe’s Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt –I didn’t really measure
2 large or extra large eggs – for a vegan cornbread,try Ener-G Gluten Free Egg Replacer –although I used eggs and dairy. :)
3/4 C yogurt or sour cream (170g) (dairy or dairy substitute) –I used sour cream and it was AMAZING!
3/4 C milk (180ml) milk substitute) - I used milk
2 TBL butter (or butter substitute) - I used butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. When oven is heated to temperature,place butter in skillet and place skillet in oven to preheat and to melt the butter.

As skillet is preheating,in a large bowl,mix together corn flour,corn meal,baking powder,baking soda,sugar and salt.

In a medium bowl,whisk together eggs,yogurt,and milk until fairly smooth. Add egg mixture to corn mixture and mix with a large spoon until combined.

Carefully remove hot skillet from oven. Butter should be melted. Carefully swirl butter around the skillet to make sure it covers bottom of pan fully. Pour batter into skillet. Place skillet back into oven and bake for about 20 minutes–until top is golden brown and bread is firm. The top will have cracked a bit–that’s fine. Remove from oven and cool in skillet on top of stove.

Cut into wedges and serve. Makes a great accompaniment to soup or chili! Can also be cut into cubes (when cool) and used for Thanksgiving dressing or stuffing.

————————

Here’s what ours looked like –in the oven pic there’s a tray of carrots and polenta roasting underneath:

This literally took 25 minutes from start to finish and kept us happy for the almost two days it lasted in our house before it was gone. The night we made it we served it with Turkey Bolognese (Revised) over Spaghetti Squash.

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Life is Good for Gluten Free Girl –from the LA Times

I’m a huge fan of Gluten Free Girl and the Chef and was so excited for her to see this article in the LA Times. And many thanks to JK for sending me the link in the first place!

By Rene Lynch,Los Angeles Times
November 11,2010

The long narrow plate arrived at her table,and,like any good food blogger,Shauna James Ahern paused to take it all in:roasted red piquillo peppers — plump with a lentil stuffing — alongside graceful strands of quick-pickled green beans and red onions,and emerald pools of cilantro-ginger sauce.

“When people hear ‘gluten-free,’the reaction can be ‘poor thing,’and I just want to say,‘Look at what’s on my plate — does this look like deprivation to you?’”

In the blogosphere,Ahern,44,is best known as Gluten-Free Girl. She’s a Pacific Northwest blogger who was diagnosed in 2005 with celiac disease,ending decades of mysterious ailments and endless medical exams and tests. At one point,she was largely subsisting on jarred baby food because she was too sick to cook for herself. She says the crippling symptoms vanished,overnight,when she stopped eating wheat,barley and rye and anything else that contained gluten.

Article continues here.

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