Category Archives: food

Introduction to Gluten-Free

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My friend is going to try eating gluten-free for a month to see if her health improves. I did the same thing four years ago after being really sick for a year, and have continued to keep it out of my diet. Here are my favourite gluten-free (dairy-, egg-, yeast-, and corn-free as well) recipes.

Gluten-Free Flour Mix *I make my own because it is cheaper to do so. Check out bulk stores as well as health food stores for the best prices.

1 part rice flour (white or brown)

1 part starch (arrowroot, tapioca)

1 part smooth flour (sorghum, amaranth, millet)

optional: 1/4 part coconut flour or chickpea flour (both have strong flavours though so use your discretion)

Mix it up and use for any of the following recipes. I like to use as many different flours as I can when making a mix as it seems to taste much better.

Baking Powder

2 parts cream of tartar

1 part baking soda

1 part starch (arrowroot, tapioca, corn)

Scones/Biscuits

1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup mashed potatoes

1/2 cup milk (soy, almond, cow…)

1/4 cup oil (canola, sunflower, olive, coconut…)

Add dry to wet and stir. Bake on greased cookie sheet (in blobs) at 450 for 12-15 minutes.

Pizza Crust

2 1/4 cups buckwheat flour

1/2 cup starch (tapioca, arrowroot)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup warm water

1/4 cup oil

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp vinegar (apple cider, white, balsamic)

optional: garlic, herbs de provence, chili flakes

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375, put toppings on and bake for another 10. Play around with cooking times as you can get soft, crisp, or crunchy crust from this recipe. I forgot about it one time and burnt it into chips (they turned out to be really good so I purposefully burn it occasionally now).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/4 cup quick oats

1 1/4 cup milk (soy, almond, cow)

1 egg (or egg replace)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 1/2 tbsp. maple sugar (or 1/3 cup maple syrup, or 3/4 cup white sugar)

3/4 cup chocolate chips

1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

Mix oats with milk and let sit while you mix the other ingredients. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Chocolate Macaroons

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup milk (soy, almond, cow…)

1/4 cup oil (margarine, butter, canola oil, coconut oil…)

1.2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup cocoa (or more)

3 cups oats

1 cup shredded coconut

Combine first batch of things (sugar, milk, oil, vanilla) in a pot, bring to boiling point, and remove from heat. Mix other stuff into hot mixture. Drop onto waxed paper, put in fridge or freezer, and enjoy.

Pumpkin Loaf

1 cup pumpkin

1/2 cup oil (canola, sunflower, olive, coconut…)

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs (or egg replacer)

1/3 cup apple juice

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp cloves

Mix it all together. Pour into loaf pan (or muffin tin) and bake at 350 until a toothpick comes out clean (usually about an hour – gluten-free stuff often takes way longer than you’d expect).

Pie Crust

1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup crisco
Pour flour and salt into pie plate. Boil water and crisco together and pour over flour. Mix with fork until all is wet. Pat out, flute edges, and bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes (or until golden brown).

Nut Milk

1 cup nuts or seeds (almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds)

3-4 cups water

Blend it all together, strain a couple of times (through a “nut milk bag”, cheesecloth, old shirt), put in a jar, and store in fridge for a few days.

Great websites for allergy-free cooking:

Gluten-Free Goddess – http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.ca/

The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen – http://www.nourishingmeals.com/

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Happy Chocolate Cake + Icing

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I love this cake, you will too. Enjoy!

Cake
Combine wet ingredients:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk or soy milk

Combine dry ingredients:
2/3 cup arrowroot starch
1/3 cup rice flour
3/4 cup amaranth flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

Add dry to wet and mix. Stir in 1 cup boiling water. Pour into a greased and floured cake pan* and bake at 350 until knife comes out clean (check it around the 40 minute mark and go from there).

*be sure to grease AND flour the pan… don’t just do one or it will end badly (I learned the hard way)

Icing
1 1/4 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp soy milk
3 tbsp. whipped margarine (the vegan hippie kind)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. cocoa
Beat with egg beaters until it looks like icing – add more icing sugar if you want it to be thicker.

A New Kind of Pizza

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I’m honestly allergic (intolerant) to almost everything people consider normal, so I take my kicks where I can get them. This pizza is my “super exciting Friday night supper”. If you can’t have dairy, yeast or gluten, then this recipe is for you!

Pizza Dough
Mix dry:
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/8 cup sorghum or millet flour
1/8 cup coconut flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. rosemary (or whatever other spice you want)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes (or whatever other spice you want)

Mix wet:
1/4 cup mashed potatoes (sweet or regular)
1/4 cup olive or canola oil
1/2 cup soy milk

Combine everything together and mix well. Press onto a greased round cookie sheet. Try to make it as flat as possible (oil your hands a bit if it sticks too much). Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes.

Toppings
tomato sauce
peppers
mushrooms
zucchini
thin sweet potatoes
broccoli
cauliflower
artichoke hearts (soaked in oil – somehow these make up for the lack of cheese)

Throw the sauce and toppings on your pizza crust and bake at 450 for 5-7 minutes, then broil for 2-3. If you like a fairly crispy pizza, bake until the edges are a medium brown.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

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These cookies are great for both gluten-free and regular eaters. They are my favourite Christmas cookies to make because the recipe makes a large batch and they freeze well.

Mix wet ingredients together:

1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 oz. baker’s chocolate (4 melted squares)
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs (add one at a time)

Mix dry ingredients together:
2/3 cup arrowroot or tapioca starch (or a combination)
2/3 cup amaranth flour
1/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup rice flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Mix everything together, cover and chill for 3 hours (or leave in fridge overnight).

Use a teaspoon to scoop dough and roll into balls. Roll the balls in icing sugar (1/2 cup of icing sugar in a bowl is enough). Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Tea Biscuits

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My family ate these without realizing they were gluten-free and loved them. They make me really happy when I am craving something bread-like.

Mix wet ingredients together:
1/4 cup mashed potatoes (sweet or regular)
1/2 cup almond or soy milk (or real milk if you can have it)
1/4 cup oil (canola, olive or grapeseed work best)

Mix dry ingredients together:
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch (or tapioca starch)
1/4 cup coconut flour
4tsp. baking powder
1tsp salt

Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well. Spoon onto a greased cookie sheet (I use a soup spoon to get a decent sized biscuit). Bakefor about 15 minutes at 450 degrees (they are readyonce they start to brown on top ).

*most baking powder has corn starch in it, but I’ve found a gluten-free alternative at a local health store that does not (the one I buy has natural cream of tartar, baking soda, and tapioca starch)

Pizza Night

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After months of pining for pizza, my husband and I have finally found a suitable alternative. Since gluten, yeast, and cheese hurt me so much, we had to improvise. We came up with a G-free, yeast free dough and a topping that is so good you almost don’t notice it is cheese-less. If you have any ideas on how to make this pizza better, please send me your comments. My goal is to make a pizza so good that non-allergy sufferers will opt to eat it over regular pizza (a sizable goal, I know).


Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

Whisk together and let sit for 10 minutes:

1 cup warm water

1 package dry, active yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)

1 tablespoon sugar

Mix together:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon each: basil, oregano, and rosemary

1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1-2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Add the spice mixture to the yeast mixture and stir well.

Add:

2 cups gluten-free flour mix

1/2 cup spelt flour

Knead the dough by hand for 2-3 minutes. Leave the dough to rest as you oil and flour a round pizza pan. Using oiled hands, spread the dough evenly over the pan. Leave the dough to rest again and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the oven is ready, bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and either a) put on all your toppings and put back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or b) let cool, cover well and put in fridge or freezer until later.


Perfect Pesto Pizza

1/4 c. homemade pesto

4 cloves garlic

1 red onion

3/4 c. mushrooms

3/4 c. spinach

1/4 c. kale

1/2 red pepper

1/2 c. tofu (crumbled on top)*

Bake for 10-15 minutes.

  • in a small bowl, marinate cubed tofu in 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, 1 tsp. oregano, 1 tsp. basil, 1/2 tsp. rosemary for 10 minutes. Crumble tofu with your hands and sprinkle on top of pizza

Spring Rolls In

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Spring has taken me captive. I’ve spent the past four evenings napping in my hammock. I am completely ready for the warm weather. Is it really only April? The 22 degree weather says otherwise. I am still fearful for the healthy dump of snow that is invariably coming our way before summer arrives. My husband’s birthday is in 3 days and he swears that he has seen 26 birthdays with snow (he is turning 27). I don’t want to believe him, but unfortunately, he is almost always right. We’ll see on Friday.

We have expanded our space for the garden, and will soon till, weed, and compost our way to organic vegetables. We are starting small but are hoping to expand next year to become a member of CSA (community supported agriculture). The basis of CSA is that members of the community purchase a share of the farm’s crop and receive baskets of fresh fruits and veggies weekly throughout the harvest season (June- October).*website?* I will keep you updated on our progress as we slowly turn our farm from hobby to business. Advice is always welcome!

In light of this wonderful time of year here is a recipe for spring rolls. They are a little time intensive, but are completely worth it. After months of shriveled, tasteless vegetables (I’m exaggerating a bit), these rolls will awaken your taste-buds back to life.


Spring Rolls

medium-large rice paper sheets (available at Asian food stores and most grocery stores)

1/2 package of rice vermicelli noodles (available at Asian food stores and most grocery stores)

1/2 c. cilantro

1/4 c. rice vinegar

4 tsp. fish sauce

2 shredded carrots

1 julienned cucumber

2 avocados (sliced into strips)

1 mango (sliced into strips)

1-3 shredded beets (depending on size)

Place vermicelli noodles in a bowl with boiling water and cover with a tea towel for 10 minutes. Add cilantro, rice vinegar, fish sauce and toss.

In a pie plate, or shallow bowl full of boiling water, place rice sheet for 30 second to 1 minute. Spread out on a dampened towel and fill with rice noodles, carrots, cucumber, avocado, mango and beets (place everything in the middle and don’t put too much, you want to be able to roll it up). Fold up the bottom of the rice paper, then fold in both sides, and roll up. Place spring rolls on a place until ready to eat.


Dipping Sauce

1/2 c. water

1/2 c. apple cider vinegar

1 c. sugar

4 cloves minced garlic

pinch of salt

Bring everything to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 15 minutes (until reduced to 1 cup). You can make this ahead of time and keep it in the fridge for a week or two.

Warm Up

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As I type this, I am sitting under a giant duvet, in my winter jacket, shivering. On paper, spring has arrived… nature hasn’t been informed yet. In light of this awkward in-between-seasons season, I am posting recipes that warm you up but don’t make you think of winter. The Curried Butternut Squash Soup is excellent and very easy to make. The Carrot Muffins actually taste like real carrot muffins. You won’t notice that they are gluten, dairy, and egg free. It has been a good week of kitchen experiments, so I will post more recipes soon.


RECIPE: Curried Butternut Coconut Soup

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil

1 medium onion

2 stalks celery

3 teaspoons curry paste (I use Binyani)

1 medium butternut squash diced

5-6 cups chicken/turkey/vegetable broth

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. fresh ground pepper

1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

3/4 cup coconut milk

Saute onion, celery, and curry paste in the grapeseed oil until onion is soft. Add squash and broth. Bring to a simmer and cover for about 30 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, coconut milk, salt and pepper. With a hand blender, blend until smooth (1-2 minutes).


RECIPE: Carrot Muffins

Whisk together:

1.5 c. g-free flour *

1.5 c. spelt flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1.5 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. ginger

1/2 nutmeg

1/2 salt

Cream together:

1 c. brown sugar

1/4 c. oil

2 egg replacers

1 mashed banana

1/2 c. apple sauce (optional)
1- 2 c. grated carrots

1/2 golden raisins
Add the dry ingredients to the wet, mix well. Add the carrots and raisins and stir well.
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.


*RECIPE: Gluten-Free Flour Mix

1 part buckwheat flour

1 part millet flour

1 part brown rice flour

1 part sorghum flour

1 part arrowroot or tapioca starch

1 part oat flour

1 part amaranth

I’ve made my own mix of gluten free flour. It seems to work very well in any recipe that calls for flour. Make a batch and store it in a air-tight container, so that you always have some on hand.

If you don’t have any of these flours, you can buy them at bulk or health food stores. I recommend checking out the bulk stores first, as you can often find them for much cheaper. Feel free to change the flours and quantities. I often invent new blends and they usually turn out very well. A good rule of thumb is to have equal parts fine flour (white and brown rice, quinoa), thick flour (oat, millet, sorghum buckwheat), and starch (tapioca, arrowroot, potato).

Good Morning Omelette

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RECIPE: Swiss Mushroom Omelette

3 cloves garlic

1 small yellow onion

2-3 tbsp. grapeseed oil

1-2 mushrooms

3 eggs

salt

pepper

herbs-de-provence

Swiss cheese (I used one pre-cut slice)

  • saute the garlic and onion in grapeseed oil until soft
  • add the mushrooms and continue sauteing for a minute
  • whip the eggs a bit with a fork while adding salt, pepper and herbs de provence (a couple pinches of each)
  • pour the eggs over the sauted veggies and cook on medium-low heat for a minute
  • place slices of Swiss cheese on top and cook until the egg is firm and cheese is melted (about 6-7 minutes)

Boots or flip-flops?

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Spring feels like it is peeking around the corner. Despite our many years of experience, most of us seem to forget that the beginning of March does NOT mark the beginning of spring. Warm weather in March tempts us into putting away our toques and winter boots and taking out our skirts and flip-flops. Of course, as soon as all the winter garb is safely tucked away, a blizzard hits. I will not be sucked in this year.

We started pruning the apple trees today. We are hoping to get them finished in the next couple of weeks so they will have a better yield come harvest. (As I type this I’m laughing a little to myself, because I almost sound like I know what I’m doing. Do not be fooled. I have absolutely no idea how to be a farmer.)

After an hour of perusing a seed catalogue, I have highlighted all of the herbs, fruits and vegetables I would like to grow this summer. Now that I know what I want to grow, I just have to learn how to grow it all. I already have some recipes in mind, so I’m excited to get started. This brings me back to my qualms with March. I am falsely being led to believe that winter is over which is getting me excited for my vegetable garden. Let’s be reasonable though, it is March 9th… I have a good two months of waiting ahead of me… so in the meantime… I am going to work on recipes. I will post regular recipes as well as allergy friendly recipes (which are vegan and free of the most common allergens such as milk, wheat and corn).

RECIPE: Homemade Potato Wedges (allergy friendly)

4-5 medium potatoes (cut into wedges)
5 tbsp. sunflower oil
9 cloves garlic (finely minced) *if you have trouble digesting garlic, see note at the bottom

3 tbsp. tapioca starch (you can use any starch, including corn starch if you would like)
1/4 tsp. red chili pepper powder 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
1 tsp. freshly ground pepper

  • pre-heat oven to 350
  • cut potatoes into wedges
  • boil potato wedges for 2-3 minutes
  • coat potatoes with oil and garlic
  • in a small bowl combine starch, salt, and peppers
  • sprinkle starch mix over the potatoes and stir it all up
  • lay wedges in a single layer on cookie sheet
  • bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, flipping halfway through

* for those who have trouble digesting garlic: my sister-in-law (a chef who can’t digest garlic) told me to  remove the green centre to make it easier on the stomach – cut the garlic in half, pull out the green bit, and use the rest of the clove

*click images to enlarge