29 December 2010

Gluten free Gnocchi


Last year this time, we tried (in vain, with a gooey icky mess) to make gluten free gnocchi.

It was bad enough that we didn’t try again until two days ago – oh, we made frozen GF gnocchi, but at $6 – $8 for a bag that serves us four, it can get a bit spendy.

So I went looking, again, for another recipe. I found this recipe, and decided to give the variation of cooking method a shot.

Note: Cup Cake Kitteh’s recipe uses metric weights, not cups or ounces. If you have a scale that can convert, you may want to use it.

We have such a scale, but I decided to wing it and go by the feeling of the dough. When making gnocchi, the resulting dough should not be too sticky – you should add the flour (or flours, if mixing your flours) until the dough is no longer sticking to your hands.

Yes, hands – you do not want to beat the dough, nor should you over-knead it. If you over do it with the mixing, the gnocchi will be tough when cooked.

This recipe also ends by cooking the gnocchi in a fry pan, instead of boiling. We tried boiling some of them, and they were dense and goopy sticky – not yummy. So either we’re doing something wrong when cooking, adding the wrong ingredients to the dough, or gnocchi is just supposed to be goopy sticky (tho I do not remember it that way pre-gluten free days).

Pan-fried gnocchi are YUM.

Gluten Free Gnocchi

  • 2 Lbs russet potatoes
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 2-3 Tbs chickpea flour
  • 2-3 Tbs potato starch
  • 1/2 Tsp xanthan gum
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Puncture each potato with a fork, and bake the potatoes until soft.
  2. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and when cool enough to handle, cut in half, scoop out the flesh, and then use a potato ricer to finely grate the potatoes.
    • This part is very important – the potatoes must be fluffy and lump-free – the ricer does the job perfectly.
  3. Chill the resultant riced potatoes until they are cold (about 40 minutes or so).
  4. Put the riced potatoes in a large mixing bowl, and add the xanthan gum and eggs.
  5. Start the addition of the flours/starches by adding 2 Tbs of each (the chickpea flour and the potato starch). Mix by hand, using your fingers to gently mix the ingredients.
    • If the dough is still sticky, add a bit more starch and flour until it’s just barely not sticky.
  6. Season with salt and pepper to your taste.
  7. Lay out a piece of parchment or wax paper, large enough to hold all the gnocchi.
  8. Using your hands, pull off enough dough to make a ball about 3/4 inch in size (roll the dough in your hands).
    • This is a messy step, and a bit time consuming. Elicit some help – great use for idle children’s hands…. ;)Gnocchi_Pre_cook
  9. Roll the tines of a dinner fork over each ball, slightly flattening it and causing ridges.
  10. In a pan, heat your oil of choice (as you can see in the picture above, we used pancetta fat – YUM).
  11. Cook the gnocchi until golden brown on both sides. Serve with your choice of sauce and enjoy!

24 December 2010

Lace cookies

Remember those lacey cookies with the chocolate bottoms, that were an almost essential part of the holidays?

We tried making some today. With varying degrees of success.

We started with this recipe, which has a beautiful yummy finished product picture – and modified it ever so slightly to remove the ginger, and add some orange zest.

For some reason, we couldn’t quite get the cookies to turn out the way they were in the picture. They kept rising and getting puffy, like you would expect a normal cookie to do.

So -  we had to modify the steps to get to the cookies to turn out – but once they did, yum, yum, yum!

So, our current adaptation of the lace cookie recipe:

  • 5 1/2 Tbs sorghum flour
  • 3 Tbs potato starch
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/2 Cup GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 Cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 Tsp fresh orange zest
  • 1/4 Tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 Tsp xanthan gum
  • 6 Tbs butter, melted
  • 2 Tbs light corn syrup
  • 2 Tbs half n half or cream

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

  1. Using a food processor, blend all ingredients together until evenly distributed.
  2. Line a cookie sheet with either parchment paper or a silpat (we used a silpat).
  3. Drop by at most a tablespoon onto the sheet, and then, using the back of the spoon (or your oiled hands – sticky dough), spread them out to the desired thickness.
    • If you want only a cookie sized portion, use a teaspoon size, but still spread the dough out.
  4. Put no more than 4 on the sheet at a time, as you will need work quickly when they come out of the oven (if you want to shape them).
  5. Bake approx. 8 minutes, or until the bubbling of the cookie stops (you’ll have to watch). They should be golden brown at this point.
  6. Remove from the oven and, if shaping, count to 3 before using a large spatula to remove from the sheet and place over the object that is your form.
    • You should cover your form in parchment or plastic wrap, or the cookie might stick.
  7. Cool cookies on the forms until they feel hardened. Cool the formed cookies and the non formed cookies completely before storing.


Flours, flours and more flours

A friend just asked us what we use for flours. Simple question - but the answer is kind of complex.

The flour we use is dependent on the item we're making. And - we honestly don't try to bake sandwich bread any more. Udi's bread has become readily available almost everywhere around here, and to be honest, having time to bake a loaf of bread twice a week when we're busy as heck is impossible.

Bob’s Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour: We always keep this around – it’s the go to flour for us. This flour can be used to substitute for any gluten-containing flour. It’s made from a bunch of different GF flours, so be sure to read the ingredients if you have other food allergies/sensitivities.

Sorghum flour: (Link is to the Bob’s Red Mill page for this). We use this flour in sweet breads/quick breads. It’s a relatively light tasting flour.

Almond Flour: Ground up blanched almonds. That’s all it is. Very very yummy for cookies. Favorite use is for Florentines, a modification of a recipe from 1000 Gluten Free Recipes, and for Brian’s adapted banana bread.

Corn Starch: Yep – the same stuff you use to thicken gravy. Can be found just about anywhere, but you should try to find some that is specifically labeled gluten-free, as there can be cross contamination.

Potato Starch: Another staple, can sometimes be swapped with corn starch. Not to be confused with potato flour, tho.

Xanthan Gum: used to provide a bit of the adhesive/stretchy quality missing from gluten-free foods. More information than you ever wanted to know is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xanthan_gum. Fair warning – if knowing that honey is produced from bee vomit makes ya queasy, do not read that link. Just be happy for the science that figured out its uses…

Guar Gum: also used to provide a bit of the adhesive/stretchy quality for GF foods. More information here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guar_gum.

While these are not the only flours we use or have in the house, they are by far the most frequently used.

Next up: Lace cookies….

Lentil flour crackers



Holiday time - yummy decadent treats like olives with prosciutto, marinated fresh mozzarella, and brie baked with cranberry sauce.

Except - baked brie really needs good crackers. The kind we've not been able to find. Oh, you can get crunchy savory GF crackers, but they tend to be salty, with GF soy as an ingredient. And Schar makes a great snack cracker, but they are spendy, and to obtain, require us to drive about 45 minutes to a GF grocer.

So - we went recipe surfing.

We found this Gluten-Free Chickpea Cracker recipe and it sounded yummy - except we didn't have any chickpea flour, or dried chickpeas. But - we did have dried orange lentils...

Hence - a baking experiment!

I took about a cup of the dried orange lentils and ran them thru the Breville Ikon blender we have, for about 3 minutes, and had ~ 1 cup of lentil 'flour' - ground up lentils to use in recipes.

So the modifications we used:

  1. Substituted lentil flour for the chickpea flour
  2. We didn't have any nutritional yeast, so we just omitted it
  3. Added 1/2 teaspoon of dried sage, and 1/4 teaspoon of dried mustard, to help balance the stronger flavor of the lentils
  4. We also just did a basic square cut on these - no fancy cookie cutter action here.

Some notes:


28 October 2010

Brian’s Pumpkin Cheese Pie

For a couple years now I have been perfecting a version of the classic pumpkin pie recipe (the Libby’s label recipe) mashed up with an Adkin’s diet cheese cake recipe.  With some personal tweaks.

The result has been a really good pumpkin “cheese pie” recipe.  I call it a cheese pie because it is really not even close to a cheesecake.  Cheesecake is best made in Brooklyn at Junior’s.

Since the family has gone gluten free – having a crust-less pumpkin pie recipe has been a very natural thing.  We have been literally making this for a few years now, long before we went gluten free.

Oh, and I like to go heavy on the spices.  Primarily because of the cheese that is added.  I also cut back on the evaporated milk so it does not get too wet.

the ingredients (for 2 - 9inch or 3 - 8inch pies):

  • 1 cup sugar (I use raw or turbano)
  • 2 tsp (heaping) ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp (heaping) ground ginger
  • 1 tsp (heaping) ground cloves
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 29oz can pumpkin (I have always preferred Libby’s)
  • 1 can Evaporated milk
  • 16oz Ricotta cheese

I use a stand mixer, but I am sure anything can be used as long as things are combined thoroughly.

Heat the oven to 425

Cream the sugar and eggs together.

I then add the spices to make sure the are combined thoroughly through the mix.

Add the pumpkin.  Mix it in.

Add the ricotta

Add the evaporated milk

make sure everything is well combined

spray the pans with non-stick spray.

pour the mix into the pans.

Place the pies in the oven and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes

reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 60 minutes (you will have to watch here, it might be a bit less or more)

Allow the pies to cool and enjoy!

You can always tune the spices to your personal preferences.

23 August 2010

gluten free banana bread

This is a recipe that I cannot take direct credit for.  It is my adaptation of a banana bread recipe by Alton Brown that another was so gracious as to transcribe with the proper weights.

Why is weight important?  I have slowly caught on to the tip that you can tweak and play with conventional recipes and gluten free flours as long as you have weight (not volume (aka cups)) measurements for the dry ingredients.  This has been a great discovery for us.  Unfortunately, finding recipes that have weights is very difficult.

Personally, I have tweaked the flours to our likings.  I also add extra banana (I always have done this to banana bread) and I am currently leaving out the nuts (that is why I have the almond flour).



Overripe bananas - 340 g (3 - 4)

Sugar - 210 g  (~1 cup)


Sorghum Flour - 200 g

Almond Flour - 55 g

Baking Soda - 6 g (1 tsp)

Salt - 6 g (1 tsp)


Unsalted Butter - 113 g (1 stick) melted but not warm

Eggs - 2 large

Almond Extract - 6 g (1 tsp)


Nuts (walnuts,pecans, or almonds)1 cup chopped

Preheat oven to 350FGrease a loaf pan.

Combine the bananas and sugar and mix until smooth.

Combine the WET WORKS 1 and the WET WORKS 2 in separate bowls, then combine them together. Combine the DRY GOODS with the WET WORKS

If using THE OPTIONS then fold them into the batter now.

Pour batter into the pan. Bake for 50 minutes - 1 hour or until center registers 210F and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean (I find it generally takes an additional 10 - 15 minutes).

Allow to cool on stove top for 15 minutes then remove from pan and transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before slicing.

16 May 2010

REAL pizza. Yep – YUM!

Ok – so one of the big things lamented in our household (outside pasta) was a good pizza. Yes, you can get GF pizza a number of locations (our local one is Garlic Jim’s), and there are a number of frozen pizzas and pizza crusts available.

However, they all lack that yummy chewy yet crunchy thing that a good pizza has. Pizza crust should hold it’s own, and not be second fiddle to the toppings. It needs to have good flavor, and not wimp out under sauce and toppings. It should not need a fork to eat.

We’ve found pizzas that taste starchy. We’ve found crusts that are just crunchy, but with no chewy. We found savory nut-based crusts that are almost impossible to come by – they taste fantastic, but don’t have the chewy thing. And we’ve found some pretty funky tasting pizzas.

Making a pizza at home is a great family affair. Each kid has a favorite (mushroom and bacon seems to be the theme). It’s been a bit of a bummer to not be able to engage in this activity.

Until last night.

An acquaintance shared his GF pizza dough recipe and we gave it a try this weekend. WOW. Chewy, yet crispy, with a nice doughy flavor. Held up to our (hubby and mine) gourmet pepperoni/green olive/shallot/mushroom/mozzarella/goat cheese concoction.

The kids demolished their pizza. Then they went about eating the leftovers today for lunch. Yep – it reheats great!

This is someone else’s recipe, so I cannot post it in it’s entirety here. However, it’s based on the pizza crust recipe on side of a box of Schar white bread mix:


The additions are a bottle of GF beer, and enough corn starch to make it not-sticky. It was fairly easy, outside finding a local source for the above.

If you cannot find Schar locally, you can obtain online at the Schar online store, or at GlutenFreeMall.com.

Truly yummy – give it a try.


11 May 2010


So among the things we’ve missed from our now GF (Gluten Free) diet is yummy warm flour tortillas.

My husband works with a culturally rich set of coworkers, some of whom introduced him to the dish called Dosa. See – we don’t normally eat Indian food – it’s not a cultural cuisine that I’ve learned to cook. But he brought home this idea, and set of instructions garnered from much discussion, and I said ‘Sure. Let’s try it.”

First, you need the ingredients. Here in our house, we use one part any variety of rice to one part any variety of lentil. Lately, we’ve been using the long grain rices (Jasmine) and the red lentils.

To this mix, add enough warm tap water to cover completely. And now for one of the parts that seem a bit on the strange side, at least to me.

Let sit on your counter in a covered container overnight. Do not mix, but do add more water if the lentils/rice soak it up totally.

In the morning, or afternoon (better) of the next day, add your spices to the mix. Traditionally (according to Wikipedia), fenugreek is added. We don’t add that, but do add cumin, coriander, and red chili flakes. Each of these to your personal taste, but remember that you are seasoning essentially flavorless (well, low flavor) items (rice and beans).

Now for the second strange bit. Place the whole mixture, without draining, into a food processor or blender (food processor is more resilient – we’ve already killed one blender with this process), and process until smooth. You’re shooting for a consistency of loose, runny pancake batter. Add water (or if daring, broth) until you get to that consistency.

After processing, let sit on your counter, covered, for a bit longer, to let the spices blend.

When you are ready to cook, heat your pan over medium high heat and add a bit (1 tsp) of olive oil. When the oil is hot, not smoking, add a 2Tbs ladle full of the mixture. Cook til the top seems dry, and then flip and cook a minute or two on the other side. remove from pan, and keep cooking til you have enough.

You will have mix left over. This can be refrigerated until you can cook it up. It keeps for about 5 days or so.

Serve warm. They are the perfect accompaniment to a tortilla-type meal – beans, rice, or meat. Or – just load with cheese and eat as a snack.

We’ve also done the soak part of this process with coconut milk. Very yum.

28 April 2010

I’m a believer

Ok – so a soon as you write something, you’re taking the chance of having to ‘eat your words’ so to speak.

I was seriously craving a plate of spaghetti bolognaise last week. Not a shred of spaghetti in the house (‘course not – we don’t have gluten stuff in the house).

Well - ‘cept for the cave-in to the kids, the rice-based spaghetti. Craving, meet wall.

So – I crafted a truly nummy red sauce, added some browned Italian sausage, cooked up that rice-based spaghetti.

I was wrong. I admit it. I had said “I have to be honest – rice-based pastas are just NOT the same as regular pasta.” (Tortillas)

I’m gonna blame the fact that when we first started trying to get good gluten free stuff, we inevitably tried some really crappy stuff. Yea – that has to be it. Because, frankly, the spaghetti was fantastic, just the right mouth feel, just the right flavor.

The brand, you ask? Lundberg. Lundberg Brown Rice Spaghetti, to be exact!


Very yummy, very satisfying. I highly recommend. The kids did too – the sucked it up. Amazingly, this stuff even reheats well too – a trait we’ve found hard to to come by in gluten free pastas (they tend to get tough).

And we even did a traditional baked pasta dish by parboiling a bit of the Lundberg Brown Rice Penne, and then mixing with ricotta, left over sauce, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and some milk. YUM – cooked up perfectly (it was a pasta heavy week last week).

What? You want that sauce recipe? Well, it’s not really a recipe, but here ya go:

Kim’s red sauce

  • 2 Tbs good olive oil
  • 1 Tbs garlic (fresh preferred, but can use the pre-minced stuff)
  • 1 Can (15 oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Can (15 oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 Can (15 oz) fire-roasted diced tomatoes (can substitute another can of crushed tomatoes, but I highly recommend using the fire roasted varieties)
  • 1 Cup good red wine (never cook with what you won’t drink)
  • 1 Tsp basil (or more to taste)
  • 1 Tsp oregano (more or less to taste)
  • 1 Tsp thyme (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 Tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tsp salt

In a heavy bottom pot, simmer the garlic in the olive oil until just translucent. Do not burn the garlic. Add the tomatoes, carefully (or you’ll end up with oil burns), and then add the rest of the ingredients, including the wine, and stir to blend. Cook over low heat partially covered for at least 1 hour. The sauce should just simmer, not boil. Stir frequently, and taste periodically. Adjust seasonings as needed to your taste.

Enjoy over your favorite pasta, or any other red-sauce friendly dish.


19 April 2010

Rice. Just Rice.

Yep. Let’s talk about something boring – rice. And NOT that part-cooked stuff they call ‘rice’. Real rice.

Rice very quickly became a mainstay in our household after the gluten issue was uncovered. We needed a side dish that was both easy to make and that the kids liked.

Our primary learning when making a big shift to more rice in the diet was that a good rice cooker is your friend. Yes, you can make great rice in a normal pot, but can you set it and forget it in a normal pot? Can you go to work and come home to a fragrantly rice-scented house?


We have this device (links to Amazon, but this can be had for less if you comparison shop):


You can view more on rice cookers on Wikipedia – research the various features and see how they fit into your lifestyle. You’ll find one that fits for your situation.

We love our rice cooker, and use it at least twice a week.

Types of rice:

There are two big categories of rice – white and brown. I could go into all the gory details of what makes them different, but other greater bloggers/journalists/media stars have done that explanation plenty of justice. Let’s just suffice it to say that the different types need different cooking lengths. Brown takes longer to cook than white (which is where a rice cooker with a timer comes in handy).

Each brand of rice cooker comes with its own set of instructions, calibrated for that particular rice cooker. Follow those instructions, but feel free to vary in some ways.


When cooking brown rice, we always cook the rice in broth of some variety – usually either vegetable or chicken (beef is a bit strong of a flavor for kids). Just substitute the amount of broth for the amount of water called for in the rice cooker instructions. The broth adds a very nice flavor to the finished rice, and often you can go with just the broth.

When we want to get creative with brown rice, we add the required amount of broth, and then add garlic, cumin and parsley, plus salt and pepper. Our kids love Mexican-style food, and this rice has a nice cumin-y flavor reminiscent of Mexican flavorings.

White rice is also great with broth – but our all time favorite way to cook white rice is to substitute coconut milk for the water called for in the rice cooker instructions. You would think the rice would be coconut-y, but it’s a delicate flavor (but your kitchen will smell magnificent). The rice takes on a bit of a creamy texture, and the taste is fantastic.

We also do white rice with saffron – but only occasionally, as saffron is expensive.

Lengthy blog post this time around – and I’ve not even gotten to risotto, and rice-based pastas.

More next time – til then, Enjoy!

11 April 2010


When you realize you have to go GF, stop eating things that contain wheat, you inevitably realize that certain of your favorite cooking style’s dishes are no longer available to you.

Then comes the ‘how do I adapt my favorite cooking style’ question.

I have to be honest – rice-based pastas are just NOT the same as regular pasta. And the corn-based ones are close, but not close enough.

Rice-based tortillas – well, they’re ok.

Especially with a male pre-teen in the house, we were hard pressed to get good substitutes/replacements for the favorite foods. There was a lot of angst going on.

Easiest GF cooking style for our family? Mexican.

You have to be careful and read each and every label, even if you’ve purchased the item before. But Mexican style cooking works quite well with a GF diet.

The best tortillas we’ve found are from Trader Joe’s. Handmade Corn Tortillas:


A warning: the ingredients list ends with “Made on equipment shared with Wheat, Milk, Eggs and Soy.”

Full ingredients:

corn, water, baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, monocalcium phosphate), lime.

These are best done warmed in a pan – they taste like corn from the grill in summertime, and scent the whole kitchen with that aroma. Truly nummy, and so far no cross contamination problems (that we’ve detected).

Yum! Enjoy!

04 April 2010

Easter morn…

Happy Easter out there to those that celebrate it.

About 3 years ago, we started a holiday tradition of having a special breakfast. It’s a wonderful dish, but takes some planning ahead, and takes a bit to cook. That special breakfast item is something we call French Toast casserole.

The tradition pre-dates the gluten issues we’ve been dealing with for the past ~10 months.

So the first holiday post-diagnosis/discovery, (Thanksgiving), we went without (still very much learning the ropes). The result was much sadness in the household, as Thanksgiving and Christmas are eggnog holidays, allowing the production of the much desired Eggnog French Toast casserole.

So we set out to find a gluten free cinnamon or cinnamon-raisin bread with which to make the Eggnog French Toast casserole for Christmas. We tried numerous breads and bread recipes.

We found a great GF cinnamon-raisin mix from Bob’s Red Mill – and it did a great job playing the part in the casserole.

But – there are days you really don’t want to have to bake a loaf of bread just to make a breakfast item.

Whole Foods to the rescue – they have a Whole Food Bakery GF Cinnamon Raisin bread in the freezer section (or in the GF freezer section, if your local Whole Foods has a separate GF section). Tastes wonderful, and did a fantastic job this morning in the recipe.

Notes for the below recipe:

  • You can substitute the milk for either 1/2 and 1/2 (rich) or eggnog (in season, yummy but very rich).
  • This must sit overnight in the fridge – the original, gluten-containing recipe (if I remember correctly) had a shortcut to make and go same day, but GF bread absorbs a bit more slowly – so the overnight soak is a must here.
  • This takes a bit to cook – between 40 min and 1 hour. Great for when you have something to do before you eat breakfast, or for a brunch dish.
  • The leftovers freeze and reheat great – use a vacuum saver, or wrap with plastic wrap and then wrap again in foil and label. To reheat, use a microwave on medium for ~2 min, checking every min.

GF French Toast Casserole (~ 12 servings)

  • 1 Loaf GF cinnamon or cinnamon-raisin bread
  • 10 Eggs, beaten with the next ingredient
  • 1 Cup milk (or 1/2 and 1/2, or eggnog)
  • Optional: 1 Tsp cinnamon
  • Optional: Insides of 1 vanilla bean
  • Non-stick spray
  1. Cut the loaf into ~ 1 inch squares. Spray a 7x11 inch baking dish with the non-stick spray, and put the cubes into the dish.
  2. Combine the beaten eggs with the milk, and either of the optional ingredients.
  3. Pour over the bread cubes.
  4. Push the bread cubes down into the egg/milk mixture.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Just before going to bed, push the cubes again into the egg/milk mixture.
  7. In the morning, heat oven to 350 degrees.
  8. Bake casserole for 40 minutes to 1 hour, until the eggs are set (the casserole will puff a bit like a soufflé).
  9. Slice into smallish servings – this is a filling dish!


03 April 2010

Oddball ingredients?

Well – strange title, I know.

I dare you to walk up to a grocery store clerk and ask for Expandex. Go ahead, I’ll wait whist they finish either looking at you like you’ve lost your mind, laughing their asses off, or refer you to the local undergarments outlet store.

And some of the other ingredients will provoke strange mental images: Mesquite flour? Charcoal flavored, right? 

You need to realize – and come to accept – that GF cooking, or to be much more specific, GF baking, will require the use of ingredients that you may never have heard of, let alone considered using (or considered using in the quantities you will now).

For illustration purposes, let’s take a look back at the second post of this blog (School lunches and sandwiches). If you’ve gotten a chance to look at the ingredients on that box of bread mix, look again. And if you’ve not had a chance to look, go do it now. I’ll wait.

Yep, that’s right – the first ingredient is ‘maize starch’ – another way to say corn starch. You’ll be surprised just how much ‘starch’ you’ll use to get the baked good you want.

It’s ok – the starches do an excellent job subbing for the structure normally served by wheat flour.

And that Expandex thing? It’s modified tapioca starch, and useful to getting the nice snap you expect out of things like crackers. Mesquite flour is made from the dried seeds of the mesquite tree. Cinnamon-smelling and tastes a bit like it as well. Here’s the source I used to obtain it.

Both ingredients were introduced into our family baking repertoire by the 1000 Gluten Free Recipes book.

The whole point of this article is to say – it looks overwhelming, all the new ingredients and terms and measurements and quantities. But – remember when you first learned to cook. Yea – it seemed kind of the same then, didn’t it? So it’s not insurmountable.

So – in thanks for reading so far, another recipe!

This is a recipe for hush puppies (YUM) that I obtained from a magazine somewhere. A non-GF magazine. The original recipe called for a 1/2 cup of regular flour, for which I substituted a 1/2 cup off Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour (I should add here that you can find a lot of the ingredients you may be looking for at Bob’s Red Mill store).

I also substituted the onion for shallots.

The kids DEVOURED them.

Hush Puppies (makes ~ 20)

  • 1 1/2 Cups yellow cornmeal (GF, of course)
  • 1/2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tbs Sugar
  • 2 Tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 Tsp salt
  • 3/4 Cup creamed corn
  • 1/3 Cup milk
  • 1 Large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 Small shallot, finely diced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • A deep-fat or candy thermometer
  1. Mix all ingredients, except the oil (and except for the thermometer, duh), in a large bowl until combined.
  2. Fill a large pot with enough oil to be 2 inches deep. Heat the oil carefully over medium high heat until the thermometer reads 350 degrees.
  3. Work in 3 or 4 batches (depending on size of your pan) – drop soup spoons full of the batter carefully into the hot oil. Fry, turning occasionally, until yummy golden brown.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove from oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to cool/drain.

Enjoy warm, and make sure you don’t leave them unattended – they may disappear!


30 March 2010

Goin’ GF, part deux

So when last I wrote, I started describing the experience of figuring out the GF lay of the land, so to speak. And our first ever GF shopping trip.

After that slightly depressing and disturbing shopping trip, we went home and regrouped. There had to be a way to do this GF thing without:

  • Breaking the bank
  • Forcing a 10 year old to eat gross things
  • Ending up with a 10 year old in constant pain

Not to mention the rest of the family – the whole house went GF, so that we didn’t have to worry about contamination, or weak moments.

Low and behold, hubby found the GF bible – 1000 Gluten Free Recipes. We literally POURED over this cookbook. In one sitting, I read the entire preface section that described various essentials of GF eating:

  • What is Celiac, how it’s diagnosed
  • What is gluten
  • What foods typically contain gluten
  • Hidden gluten
  • Ingredients for GF cooking
  • How to measure those ingredients

You see – as a mom, you want to provide for your kids. You want to give them good food, stuff that doesn’t make them sick. And I needed to figure this out.

It became an obsession, almost.

I made a shopping list of every single ingredient we needed. There were a lot.

So off we went, looking for these exotic ingredients. Rice flour, brown rice flour, corn meal, corn flour, sorghum flour, fava flour, etc… there were quite the variety of flours, with an enormous variety of starches – corn starch, potato starch, tapioca starch, Expandex (which, I discovered, is modified tapioca starch).

And there we stood, back at Whole Foods, in the middle of the baking aisle, loading the easy-to-find items into our carts.

Then the more difficult stuff needed to get checked off – Expandex? Couldn’t find it. We also needed to find things like gravy, GF soups, etc…

We flagged someone down, and they helped us find almost the rest of the items on our lists. (more about Expandex and other exotic flours in another post)

Some great finds in our wanderings: GF elbow macaroni in the bulk aisle, along with a GF fruit and cereal bar.

Both were a major convenience food score – I make a mean homemade mac’n’cheese. We also found the Annie’s instant GF mac’n’cheese. YAY!

At that time, we were still experimenting with breads, tho, for daily sandwich lunches. Finding all the flours greatly increased our abilities, because we had the GF bible (mentioned above). We also have tried package mixes – Pamela’s, Bob’s Red Mill – but the best tasting we’ve found is that Orgran mix (mentioned in my first post).

(Well, then there’s Udi’s – but not a mix, a frozen item, and hard to find and small of loaf. But more on that in another post).

Shortly after our Great Flour Expedition (henceforth to be called the GFE), we went back to the Whole Foods store to find something else, and were stunned to see all the GF items coalesced into a single, easy to locate area at the front of the store. They even had special coolers and freezers in the same area for the GF items. I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful to a grocer before. No more searching for hours for items we needed.

So by now, you’re probably thinking: Wait a sec. Isn’t this a food blog?

Yea – three posts in and not a single recipe.

Ok – so I don’t really make my own recipes up (well, I do, but never document them. Sometime that is gonna cause me pain).

So – the below recipe is a new family favorite. Found in an issue of Delight GF Magazine (delightgfmagazine.com), you’ll probably want a few tweaks to make it fabulous.

Sweet Potato Latkes

  • 2 Russet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 Sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 1 Yellow onion, peeled and grated
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 Cup potato starch
  • 2 Tbs ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs sugar
  • 1 Tbs garlic powder
  • 2 Tbs salt
  • Oil for frying
  • Sour cream or applesauce for garnish
  1. Grate the potatoes, sweet potatoes and onion, and strain for 10 minutes, then place into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then pour them and the other ingredients (except the oil) on the potato onion mix.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Form patties with the potato mixture, and fry on each side for 4 minutes, or until a crust forms.

This recipe is good – but a couple of gotchas.

  • Make sure to drain – make it 15 min, if you can.
  • Don’t mix and then leave the mixture for a while. You’ll end up with sweet potato onion soup.
  • If the oil isn’t hot enough, the latke’s will absorb oil whilst cooking. This is not yummy.

Enjoy eating!

26 March 2010

Goin’ GF

So we’re really pretty much new to this GF (Gluten Free) thing. It’s only been about 9 months, and when we realized we need to make a serious effort at this, it was a bit overwhelming.

For example – as I mentioned in my first post, have you looked at a school menu lately (late elementary)?

So – we embarked on a investigation/stock mission. See, we’re from the Midwest of the US (tho we currently live in the Puget Sound region of the Pacific North West). What does this mean? Having a pantry full of food from which we can pull to create a meal at any given point and time is a genetic trait. So is the deep freeze, in which we stocked such goodness as frozen loaves of bread, frozen pie crusts, etc…

So – first up was to eliminate the now poisonous food stuff. Even tho only the eldest is affected, we decided to make the house GF. So – many paper sacks of banned dry goods went to the food banks – pasta (Italian heritage, remember?), mac’n’cheese, boxes of those ‘instant’ side dishes (scalloped potatoes, rice-a-roni), soy sauce (did you know it contains wheat? yea, that was a surprise for us too), etc…

We also had to get rid of those convenience breads (refrigerator rolls, pizza crusts, etc…)

Oh – and then the condiments. Some of the normal stuff you find in your fridge may contain wheat, or wheat derivatives (thank whatever deity you like that there is now a regulation for identifying Wheat in foods  - right under the ingredients list, if a food contains Wheat, it must be noted). Read ingredients lists – carefully. You’ll become quite adept at this eventually, but for now, be slow and deliberate.

Actually, it’s probably a good idea to go through your whole fridge. Really. Pudding, for crying out loud. Gravy! Marinades that may contain soy sauce!

After we did this, we went to our local grocer. Um, yea. At the time,there was virtually nothing available at a standard grocer (yes, this is only 9 months ago).

So, we went to our local natural food mega-mart (ok, ok – Whole Foods). We knew that our best chance of finding stuff was likely there. We spent 2 overwhelming hours there trying to find things that a 10 year old would eat:

  • Bread that was edible (for a 10 year old)
  • Cupcakes (birthday parties, anyone?)
  • Stuffing! (the holiday were impending…)
  • Gravy (see above)
  • Mac’n’cheese

All over the store. Been into a Whole Foods? It’s a WONDERFUL store. But – at that time (9 months ago) – if you were looking for the few items that were not going to cause you pain, you’d be looking for a while.

We left with $100 grocery bill, and a bunch of frustration. We were trying to replace everything we had eliminated. BIG mistake.

See – going GF is a big change in eating habits. Yes, for a 10 year old, it’s traumatic. But eating GF is, in my opinion, healthier. You’re not depending on those convenience food crutches. What you buy and eat is, out of necessity, something that you know fully what is in it.

To be continued……………………..

22 March 2010

School lunches and sandwiches

My eldest (who must eat gluten free – GF) attends a public school.

Have you looked at public school menus lately. I challenge you to find ONE GF meal that would satisfy an almost 11 year old boy.


So – we make his lunch every day. Yep – I know, there are some families out there that do this with no prob. We’re a two earner household – both I and my husband work full time, so making lunch every day put a definite … change… into our schedule.

Finding an acceptable substitute to sandwich bread was a darn right challenge. It took us at least 2 months to settle on a brand/recipe. We tried at least 10 recipes.

We finally, with the approval of eldest son, settled on Orgran Gluten Free Easy bake Bread Mix (not to be confused with an easy bake oven cake mix).



We purchase from our local Whole Foods, which has created a whole GF section (more about our first GF shopping outing later).

This loaf bakes up full loaf size, unlike a lot of the frozen GF loaves (but there are frozen GF loaves that fantastic in and of their own right – that’s fodder for, you guessed it, another day).

This stuff, fresh from the oven, tastes sooooooo good. It’s a formulation that can be made without dairy and eggs, thus making it safer for those with multiple allergies. It has no yeast – it uses a combination of ‘raising agents’ to get loft. And – because it’s a GF bread, no need to knead.

Some tips for this bread:

  • If your allergies can withstand it, add the milk and/or eggs. The final product will be better for it.
  • If you are allergic to corn, this is not the box for you.
  • Get a digital scale – this, and many other GF recipes you will find, depend on weights. Your favorite domestic store will have a selection from which to chose…

Anyway- dinner time.


15 March 2010


Well, this is a new adventure.

I'm the mom of a 10 year old boy. He experienced consistent and persistent stomach pain for months, before we found out the true cause - he developed (or started expressing) a wheat sensitivity that may or may not be Celiac.

May or may not be - diagnostic tests to determine the presence of Celiac require an active response, and we're not going to put our son through pain again just to see if it's Celiac. We're working on the belief that it is Celiac (as his pain ceases when wheat is removed from his diet).

So - we're a family of four adjusting to the new world of GF (gluten free) cooking. Oh - and I'm from Italian heritage.

Yea, pasta.

Needless to say, the transition has been, um... difficult.

So I decided to start this blog as a way to share our experiences, difficulties, and successes - hopefully helping others.

Happy eating!