Egg-free


As I mentioned in my last post, I have been awaiting an opportunity to try a number of recipes from Living Without Magazine.  I have had fresh pasta exactly twice since going Gluten-Free and both were delicious.  First, I had homemade corn pasta at Cafe DeVille in Edmonton, AB and second I had homemade rice pasta at Pagliacci’s in Victoria, BC ever since then, I have wanted to try and make my own.

I followed the instructions for Gluten-Free Handmade Pasta exactly as they are listed, using the flax seed egg replacement (so that I could share with my little man who doesn’t eat egg whites yet), however I didn’t have the patience to go over to my parents to borrow their pasta maker.  Instead, after reading a bunch of ravioli recipes, I decided to divide the dough and roll it out as thin as possible using a rolling pin between pieces of saran wrap.  This worked reasonably well, but I need a LOT of extra cornstarch to ensure the dough didn’t stick and to be able to transfer it to parchment paper.

I rolled each piece into an elongated rectangle and then placed 3-4 teaspoons of filling (depending how well I rolled the pasta) in a row along the pasta sheet, dabbed watered down egg yolk around each dollop of filling and then folded the dough over, gently pressing the dough together.  I did not use a fork or anything fancy to mark the edges, I just used my fingertips and the dough stayed together well through the cooking process.

The end result was delicious, if a bit chewy, however I’m pretty sure that if I had rolled my pasta thinner using a pasta machine that chewiness may not have been an issue.  I’m also positive that the ravioli was delicious and as good as I could have hoped for considering that it was my first attempt EVER to make pasta.  I did have to cook the pasta for a good 15 minutes, flipping the ravioli a few times, which is considerably longer than I expected based on the recipe citing the noodles would cook within a few minutes.

All in all, a good recipe and a delicious meal…and my little boy liked it too!!  Good luck making pasta, I hope yours also turns out great.

As for filling, I decided to make my own up, here’s what I used:

  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey
  • ~3 oz of frozen chopped spinach (defrosted)
  • ~1/4 onion diced fine
  • 3/4 of a 500g package of feta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp goat cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey over medium heat, until no longer pink.
  2. Add onion and chopped spinach, and ook until the onions have softened and the turkey is fully cooked.
  3. Remove meat mixture from heat and stir in the cheeses (I had goat cheese on hand and it really helped hold everything together, you could also add one egg yolk.)
  4. Use to fill your homemade ravioli and enjoy!!

ps. I also used the leftover filling on a pizza!! Yum yum!

After making that delicious pumpkin cheesecake pie, I found myself with a fair amount of pumpkin puree and no recipe to use it. I HATE throwing away food, so instead I decided I would find a recipe to use my leftover pumpkin, fortunately I didn’t have to look far, Donna Washburn and Heather Butt’s “Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook” had a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. I had my doubts about how tasty they would be, but my practical side convinced me that it was worth a try.

And I need not have worried, the cookies were soft and cake-like with just a hint of pumpkin flavour – absolutely delicious!

GF Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
(Donna Washburn and Heather Butt’s “Complete Gluten-Free Cookbook”)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sorghum
  • 2/3 cup bean flour (I used garbanzo fava, but the recipe called for whole bean)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tsp xantham gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 tbsp grated orange zest (I don’t like citrus so I didn’t include it and they were still delicious)
  • 1 – 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Mix first 9 ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Blend the pumpkin, sugar and shortening together with an electric mixer for 3 minutes until smooth.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, blending well.
  4. Stir in orange zest (if using) and chocolate chips.
  5. Drop batter by rounded spoonfuls, approximately 2 inches apart and flatten slightly with a fork. Let cookies stand for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease cookie sheet(s).
  7. Bake cookies in pre-heated oven for 10-14 minutes, or until set. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.
  8. ENJOY! Mmmm

As you may know, one of my favourite Gluten-Free treats, is pepperoni pizza. I’ve made it time and time again, never tiring of the simple toppings – until recently.

Surprisingly, I found myself in need of vegetables, the rich mingling tastes of artichokes and carmelized onions and I l knew that Pizza would be my base. I had a landlord when I was in University and occasionally she would invite me upstairs to have homemade pizza – this was literally the best pizza I have ever had. Her secret? ALWAYS sautee the vegetables first to lock in the flavour and prevent watering on your pizza.

Carmelized Onion, Mushroom and Artichoke Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 Gluten-Free Pizza Base, partially cooked
  • Gluten-Free Pizza sauce
  • ~ 2 cups of Grated Cheese (I like a mix of mozza and cheddar)
  • ~1.5 cups of mushrooms, cut into quarters
  • ~1/2 can of artichokes, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, cut lengthwise into strips
  • ~2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Oil for sauteeing
  • Fresh basil (optional)

Directions:

  • Using a small amount of oil, sautee the onions over medium until they become translucent (~ 5 min)
  • Sprinkle onions in brown sugar, and continue to sautee until they smell-sweet and have a lovely caramel colour (~10-12 minutes) – place in a small bowl and set aside.
  • Sautee mushrooms in a small amount of oil over medium heat, until they have watered and shrunk in size – place in a small bowl and set aside.
  • If using fresh basil, chop finely and mix into the pizza sauce for extra flavour.
  • If you have timed things right, take your pizza base out of the oven, spread with pizza sauce, spread onions evenly over the pizza, top with sauteed mushrooms, artichokes and then cheese.
  • Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  • Allow pizza to cool slightly before cutting, and enjoy!!

It is with great pleasure that I write this post – I just finished installing a brand new hard drive (courtesy of my warranty) in my 8-month old laptop. I hope that for the first time in its short lifespan, it may actually function properly.

I want to start off by adding to my previous post. I awoke the next morning, only to realize that I had forgotten to mention that I had managed to find some P.A.N. (pre-cooked white cornmeal), and as such had a chance to make some Arepa’s. I think I added a “glug” too much oil, as my arepa’s were consistently slightly goopy in the middle despite longer cooking and/or baking time. Regardless, they were delicious – in fact I may just make some more tonight.

I’m home alone tonight, and softball has been canceled due to rain. I’m trying to decide whether to bake or just chill, at this point, I’m leaning towards the “do-nothing” option, but time will tell. I did in fact, once again, bake up a storm this weekend. In celebration of Mother’s day, I baked a double batch of gluten-free Biscotti for my Mom (who can eat gluten, but loves them), I baked a supposed-to-be-fluffy (but mine wasn’t) gluten-free sponge cake that I layered with mangoes soaked in maple syrup and whipped cream and after “stealing” some over-ripe banana’s from my mother-in-laws, I also made another batch of banana bread.

Then, yesterday a co-worker plopped a container of hemp hearts and a recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Hemp Cookies from a magazine, in front of me. Although I can’t find the recipe on the website, the recipe was courtesy of http://www.poweroffood.com . Of course, I made those too and boy were they easy to make and delicious!

But I digress, after promising in my last post, I am finally ready to share my Banana Bread Recipe.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Adapted from Erin McKenna’s Cinnamon Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup Garbanzo-Fava Bean Flour
  • 1/4 cup Potato Starch
  • 2 Tbsp Arrowroot starch
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp milk or non-dairy substitute
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 over-ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the Oven to 350 F and lightly grease a large loaf pan.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
  3. In a large bowl mix together all of the wet ingredients (except the mashed bananas and chocolate chips).
  4. Gently fold the bananas into the wet mixture.
  5. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; just before all of the dry ingredients are moistened, fold in the chocolate chips. Do not over-stir, it’s ok if the batter is lumpy.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake in a preheated oven for approximately 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow the banana bread to cool a minimum of 20 minutes before turning out, allow to cool completely before slicing.

Although I love Chinese tea, and get an occasional craving for a sweet and milky cup of tea – I AM A COFFEE ADDICT.  I don’t deny it, in fact in the midst of all my food eliminations I adamantly told my naturopath that I wouldn’t be giving up my coffee.  Fortunately, for me, the acidity of the coffee may actually be assisting my body and as such she not only agreed, she encouraged me to continue drinking coffee.  That’s what I find so interesting about my sudden desire to make tea cookies.

I’ve been on the look-out for Matcha for quite some time, however every time I see some, my thrifty side comes out and I convince myself that I will be able to find it for cheaper somewhere else – at least while I decide whether its something I want to make a regular addition to my pantry.  Yesterday, my persistence paid off and I am now the proud owner of some Matcha from a Japanese company, Ujinotsuyu (note: I can’t seem to find my product on the website).  I always seem to think I can make it through a week or even a weekend without baking, but then something like a chance encounter with affordable matcha occurs, and I’m back in the kitchen agian.

After some searching I decided to use Elana’s Butter Cookies (namely splitting the dough in half and making both matcha and chai tea cookies) taking into account Lovescool‘s Green Tea Sweets, which is cross-linked all over the web,and create some gluten-free tea cookies.  As I searched for my base recipes, I discovered that tea cookies could be made with any tea; all I had to do was grind the tea to a fine powder and experiment.  The white chai tea I had recently purchased, quickly came to mind and I knew I had to try it.

tea-cookies-small.jpg

I made a few adaptations to Elana’s recipe, but there’s definitely still some more refinements to be made until they taste just right.  I love the blanched, sliced almonds on the green tea cookies, I’d like to top the chai tea cookies with something too – perhaps just cinnamon.  I’m also still awaiting the re-introduction of refined sugar to my diet – I won’t use it like I used to, but I’d love to coat these cookies in castor sugar, or perhaps even dip them in some white chocolate.  Mmmm, just the thought is making me salivate.

I’m finally beginning to realize, that this process; working with a recipe, slowly changing it, evolving it to my own tastebuds – I’m only just realizing, that I love it.  I learned to cook from my Dad; Asian cooking is about feel, colour, texture.  There’s often no written recipe, just the video in my mind and the familiarity in my senses that tells me how to cook: won tons, beef and broccoli, fried rice, sweet and sour pork, steamed pork – all of my Asian favourites. 

But I always shied away from changing a recipe when I baked.  Yet, I’ve never been a precision baker, my measurements are always “close enough”, often measured using the wrong tools, yet despite the lectures in food class promising utter failure for such actions, my goodies nearly always turned out delicious.   Learning to live the gluten-free life, I’ve finally been stepping up to the challenge of adapting my old recipes to suit my new gluten-free needs.  Now I realize, not only am I not intimidated, I’m excited.   Times are changing, meals are changing and most importantly, attitudes are changing.

 All that being said, I know the that’s not the case for everyone.  I mentioned a friend a while back, who by a stroke of luck, ate my food for a few days, only to discover that gluten may be one of her hidden enemies.  She’s been reading and commenting around here however, although she loves to eat my food, I know that she likes things a lot simpler in her kitchen.  She was so excited at her purchase of a pre-mixed gluten-free flour – finally something she could just substitute into her normal cooking.  Knowing that she too loves words, I have invited her to guest blog and share her perspectives.  Hopefully this will encourage her and you will all have a chance to hear from her soon.

Since I have been eating anti-candida, I have been challenged to find foods, particularly bread products, that are both gluten and yeast free. I have since cut back on deli-meat and cheese, but this was a staple of my diet for at least a month, perhaps longer. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious -YOU can certainly make it. And as a gluten-eating friend of mine said, “it just tastes like pizza”. That being said, my husband (who also eats gluten) has expressed his opinion that he only likes it fresh. Personally, so long as its not cold, (the texture gets a little funny, its better if it has been microwaved when eating leftovers) I’m happy.

This recipe has been adapted from Bette Hagman’s
The Gluten-Free Gourmet Cooks Fast and Healthy

The crust can be made with a dairy-free milk substitute, however as it is pizza you will also then need a dairy-free cheese, which I know can be a bit difficult, however if you don’t have a dairy problem, use cows milk and cheese.

I like to eat Pepperoni Pizza, so that is what I am listing here, but of course you can put whatever toppings you would like on your pizza – but remember not to put too many “wet” ingredients (vegetables/fruit) or you will have a soggy crust.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup bean flour*
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 heaping tbsp brown rice flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup milk (or non-dairy liquid)
1/4 cup vegetable oil

~175 grams of GF Pepperoni, sliced thick**
Grated cheese***

*I like to use garbanzo bean flour here – you can use whatever you have on hand or whatever you prefer. I have used a 50:50 mixture of garbanzo and whole bean flour in the past, but found the end result a little too heavy.

** I like the Grimm’s Pepperoni the best (I get it at the IGA Marketplace Deli), but Overlander (from Safeway Deli’s) is also good, just a little spicier.

***I have gotten the best flavour from an approximately 70:30 mix of mozzarella and cheddar, again adapt to your own taste, or use lactose-free cheese if necessary.

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400F.

In a medium bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients.

In a second bowl, or using your mixer, mix the milk and oil.

Mix the liquid and dry ingredients. (If using a mixer add the dry to the wet, if mixing by hand add the wet to the dry)

You will have a goopy mixture.
Pour mixture onto a greased pizza pan (or a cookie sheet) and use a spatula to carefully spread the batter as evenly as possible on the pan. If you are using a cookie sheet, you don’t need to fill the pan, just spread out a 10″ circle.

Bake for 12-13 minutes, until slightly browned and puffed. The top may have some small cracks – this is OK.

Working quickly, spread your sauce and toppings on the pizza. Remember for pepperoni pizza, the pepperoni goes on top of the cheese. 175g is enough to put a scant layer under the cheese and then still do a full layer on top. If you like less, use less.

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes.

Allow to cool slightly before cutting and enjoy!!

Take extra enjoyment in the fact that this indulgence is made with beans and thus provides a little bit of extra protein to your meal – but also remember if beans make you prone to gas, you may not want to eat the entire pizza in one sitting!!