October 2007


I mentioned recently that my First Aid instructor’s son had a problem with Gluten when we was young. Turns out, that for the most part he is now able to tolerate it and as a result, my instructor offered me the Gluten-Free cookbook that has been inhabiting her shelves for some time now. Never one to pass up on a free cookbook, I jumped at the offer and have been drooling over the recipes for days.

I passed my test yesterday and am officially a First Aid Attendant in my office. Since the test took the majority of the day, I opted not to go into the office and instead decided to treat myself. I should have been making my vitamin-B rich bread to sustain me for another week, but instead I took a chance.

Instead, I made bagels.

YES, you heard me right, I said bagels. I love to bake new things and the book informed me that “non-celiac tasters say this is delicious and very close to a wheat bagel” and with that, I was determined to try them out. Not only do they look like bagels, those testers were right – they taste like bagels – if you crave them like I do, this recipe is worth the effort.

This recipe is from The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy by Bette Hagman

Gluten-Free Bagels
(yield 12)

Mix the following in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer, using the dough hook attachment

  • 2 cups white rice flour
  • 2/3 cup potato flour
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tbsp xantham gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp fast acting yeast

In a small bowl, whisk together

  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 1 cup + 1tbsp warm water

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and beat on High (using a dough hook attachment) for 4 minutes.

After 4 minutes, the dough should form a ball, if it doesn’t add 1 tbsp of (sweet or white) rice flour (up to a max of 1/2 cup) and continue to beat until it does.

Spray two cookie sheets with non-stick spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Divide dough into 12 balls (larger than a golf ball, but smaller than a tennis ball) and flatten with the palm of your hand until they are approximately 1/2″ thick. Spraying your hands with non-stick spray will make this MUCH easier!

Use your finger to make a hole in the middle of each bagel and evenly space them on your prepared cookie sheet.

Loosely cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise, until doubled in size. (The recipe calls for an hour, but my house is cold and it took about 3 hours)

Once the bagels have risen, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Bring 3″ of water plus 1 tsp of sugar to a boil in a large pan and gently drop the bagels in, boiling them for 30 seconds per side. This gives them the characteristic bagel skin that we all know and love.

After draining on a cookie rack (I placed mine over the sink), bake for 20 minutes in a pre-heated oven. I had to tent mine with foil for the last 5 minutes as I was worried about burning, so be sure and keep a close eye on yours if you don’t want them burnt.

Allow to cool and then consume to your hearts content.

DELICIOUS!
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I’ve begun to notice that I want to write more often, and I want to write about food. I want to write about what I’m eating, discovering and learning about a gluten-free life. It’s an interesting shift, but not surprising. I love to cook, I love to eat and I love to share my knowledge, so it seems only fitting that my on-again, off-again blog, should become the space for me to do so.

Like most people, I was overwhelmed at first. I felt sick from the residual gluten in my body, and I wanted to cry because it seemed impossible to feed myself. Four months later, and I’m no longer frustrated, instead I am inspired.

I have made friends with my local Galloways, have acquired some Gluten-Free cookbooks, and been inspired by Gluten-Free Bloggers immensely.

One of the first, GF bloggers I discovered was The Gluten-Free Girl, and inspiring she is. Her blog flows nicely and incorporates both life and food in an optimistic and realistic manner. Her recipes look delicious, I have some crustless quiche‘s in the oven, as we speak (I only hope mine are as delicious as hers look) AND the girl has managed to write a book and have it published.

Check out the sidebar, if your interested in GF blogs, I’ve only found a few I really like so far, but I bet the list will grow. I’m so happy to have found such a wonderful community.

As soon as I became sensitive to gluten, I discovered something amazing. Most people that I encounter know someone, or know of someone who has a problem with gluten. This whole world, this network of people has suddenly opened to me. I’m not sure exactly what it means, but it’s amazing, there’s always a brother’s girlfriend, or an aunty’s nephew, a sister, a neice, a friend…

When I made treats for the office, two other Gluten-Free individuals were discovered. In the past two months, I’ve discovered another two. That brings us up to 5 – granted we are a large office, but still. Now, if we start adding spouses, my supervisor’s husband is a Celiac…

This week, I’m doing my First Aid. In a classroom with only 12 people total (including the instructor), I’ve had discussed the GF life with two of them. One classmate was diagnosed as Celiac as an infant, only to discover 30 years later, that he had been misdiagnosed. I knew it was true as I watched him eat a delicious looking lunch. The instructor? As a child her son was also diagnosed as allergic to Gluten: he has since grown out of it.

3/12 people have been directly affected by gluten.
And it’s only day 2.

Seriously…Gluten is everywhere!

With increased awareness of my gluten intolerance, eating out has become increasingly difficult. Eating at my friends’ and families’ homes is almost worse – I don’t want to be a pain and would rather not eat than make difficulty for those I love, but of course, they want to feed me.

I was so impressed with my Dad yesterday; he prepared a gluten-free (for me) and a nut-free (for my sister) meal that was absolutley delicious and enjoyed by everyone at the table, regardless of their eating habits, allergies or intolerances. He scoured the cupboards for a delicious tortilla soup, made with 100% corn chips, he prepared Beef Chow Fun (Rice noodles with beef) despite the fact that I forgot to bring him gluten-free soya sauce AND he made a delicious steamed halibut dish, again without the aid of soya sauce.

I have promised to get him his own bottle of Tamari (the gluten-free soya sauce – it is richer, fuller flavour and uses corn alcohol rather than wheat during fermentation) this week, and I’ve already dropped off bags of rice flour (regular and glutinous) so that he can bread meats or thicken sauces to his hearts content, when he knows I’ll be coming over.

I’m so proud of him and appreciate his efforts fully – it was definitley a challenge for him, but he persevered and I left the table well-fed and sans-stomach ache! I guess after watching me suffer through a vacation of unknown foods, he was happy to provide me with some delicious grub. THANKS DAD – your the BEST!

I survived 10 days in Europe, without eating a single pastry. No flaky croissant, no baguette sandwich from the bakery on the corner, no delicious cookies or biscotti with my coffee. I did however, enjoy numerous cappuccinos and gelatos from various street corners. And although they don’t quite equate with pastries, they were delicious and my stomach didn’t suffer, so my diligence didn’t go unrewarded.
I was hard though, to watch my Dad devour chocolate covered croissants, fresh from a bakery window. It was even harder to keep my hunger to myself when I hadn’t packed myself a snack and everyone stopped to grab a sandwich. I refused to pay anywhere from $5-10 (CAD) for a few pieces of deli meat and a piece of cheese, as the sandwiches are definitely what we would consider stingy at home. Although from what I hear, they were delicious.
Our hotel in Barcelona had rice bread, so after the first day, I learned to make a salami sandwich at the buffet and smuggle it out so I could have some sustenance during our excursions (i.e. shopping). Once we started cruising on the Voyager of the Seas however, it took my another 3-4 days to realize that starving and getting cranky during 6+ hour port excursions really should not be considered an option. The next day I smuggled and apple off the boat. The day after that, an apple and a box of corn flakes.
In a small beach town, Viareggio, there was a fast food restaurant attached to the bakery where we were purchasing beer (for everyone else of course) and sandwiches and I was amazed with the girl working there. Somehow we managed to communicate and she made me a 100% beef burger with cheese, on lettuce. Hallelujah a hot lunch!!

Eating Gluten-Free was a struggle. And in truth, I was disappointed with the boat, I had expected a better selection of foods that I could eat and possibly even some sort of labelling – but I was likely being ambitious. There was enough food, meats, cheeses, vegetables, salad, all without gluten. With respect to desserts, I was very disappointed, it was ice cream pretty much all the way for me. I had a few treats, not eating crusts (eg. a panacotta).

And don’t even get my started on the plane food…maybe next post.