Archive for February, 2010
With one final, reverent nod to our grain of the month, the oat, we leave you, dear readers, with this traditional British oat recipe.
. . .
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon molasses
2 1/3 cup quick-cooking GF oats
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 8×8-inch metal baking pan. Combine first three ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves, and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat. Add oats and salt; stir until coated. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread out in even layer.
Bake until top is golden (edges will be darker), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 5 minutes. Cut into 4 squares; cut each into 4 triangles (mixture will still be soft). Cool completely in pan before serving.
Ever since the Fancy Food Show in January, The Gluten Free Lab has been taste-testing all sorts of new-to-us gluten-free foods. We like to think of all this tasting not as an experiment in how much weight we can gain in one month, but rather as a way to put our tastebuds to work and try to present our readers with our unbiased opinions of the GF products you can spend your hard-earned money on.
Orgran is a giant brand, both in terms of the regions they serve (think global) and the products they make (think everything). Most everything they make is gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, yeast-free, GMO-free and vegan. The Lab has never noticed Orgran foods on our grocers’ shelves, but we hear it’s readily available at independent health food stores and online through Amazon, so we were especially excited to give their pastas a good ol’ college try.
What was on our pasta menu? Two things:
Orgran Multigrain Pasta with Amaranth, served warm with a whisper of butter for our guest blogger’s – that’s Janine’s – 7 year-old kiddo.
Orgran Multigrain Pasta with Quinoa, with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts & meyer lemon zest
Here’s what Janine had to say: “If you want to branch out from brown rice pasta, here’s a great place to start. Amaranth packs a wallop nutritionally, and has an earthy flavor that goes well with many ingredients. This pasta held up well to cooking and had a nice al dente thing going on. My GF kiddo likes her pasta with a whisper of butter, no sauce, and she found the distinctive flavor of amaranth too intrusive. That’s my interpretation, I’ll admit it. As a mac & cheese dish, though, I’m thinking she might change her mind.”
But as for us grownups, we really enjoyed the al dente quality and the nutty flavors of the pasta, both the quinoa and the amaranth varieties we tried. Where some GF pastas turn to mush in the pot, Orgran’s pasta seemed to hold onto some tooth…in a good way (meaning it didn’t become too tacky or sticky between the teeth). An added bonus? Orgran pasta takes only 6 1/2 minutes to cook, which means you can get dinner on the table that much faster. Our bottom line is this: it’s worth giving Orgran pasta a whirl. And while you’re at it, try our recipe for Penne with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts & lemon zest. Yum!
Penne pasta with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts & lemon zest
1 package (8 oz) Orgran Supergrains Pasta with Quinoa
2 oz pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/8-inch cubes (optional)
2 shallots, cut pole-to-pole, peeled & sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, peeled & sliced
1/3 cup kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
1 12-ounce can whole artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered
1 oz gouda (a hunk about 1-inch by 2-inches), grated with microplane
2 meyer lemons, zested with microplane, zest divided
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped, divided
grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
Extra-virgin olive oil to garnish (we like the Blood Orange Olive Oil from Dry Creek Olive Company)
Boil pasta according to package directions.
Meanwhile, cook pancetta in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until deeply browned. Add sliced shallots and cook 3-5 minutes until beginning to turn golden brown and translucent. Add garlic, and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, grated gouda, half of lemon zest and half of parsley. Reduce heat to medium and stir olive mixture until warmed through.
When pasta is done, transfer directly from pot into olive mixture. Add 1/3 cup pasta water, and stir until pasta and olive mixture are well combined. Dish into 4 separate bowls, garnish with a sprinkle of the remaining lemon zest and parsley, add a little freshly-grated Parmesan cheese & a drizzle of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil, and enjoy!
What we have here is coconut oat pilaf…doesn’t it look delish?! And it’s a savory oat dish to boot.
How many times did your mom chime in with the tired phrase “Eat your oatmeal, it’ll stick to your ribs!” when you were a kid? With the recent development of gluten-free oats, breakfast can stick to our ribs again! Of course, we all love a big bowl of oatmeal with brown sugar, milk and our favorite toppings, but it feels as if poor ol’ oats have been overlooked for savory cooking.
When going savory, we recommend using oats of the steel-cut variety, which are whole grain groats (the inner portion of the oat kernel) that have been cut into only two or three pieces and bear a loose resemblance to a grain of rice. Oh, and steel-cut oats are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, so if that isn’t reason enough…
When working with steel-cut oats, think of them as an alternative to a hearty grain like rice or quinoa and consider subbing out steel-cut oats for either of those grains to mix things up. Below are a couple of recipes we’ve culled from our favorite online sources, and they should help get you started down the savory oat dish path. Just remember to make sure your oats are certified gluten-free. We like Bob’s Red Mill or Montana Monster Munchies.
Coconut oat pilaf
from The New York Times, February 17, 2009
2 tablespoons peanut oil or butter
1 1/2 cups of gf steel-cut oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill, rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon of minced or grated ginger
1 tablespoon of mustard seeds (brown or black are fine)
3 cardomom pods
1 or 2 dried chilis, like thai (optional)
1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, scallions, mint or parsley, or a combo
1/2 cup of grated dried unsweetened coconut
salt and freshly ground pepper
Put oil or butter in a pot with a tight-fitting lid over medium-high heat. When oil is hot or butter melts, add oats and ginger and stir until coated. Add spices and a pinch each of salt and pepper; stir until fragrant, just a minute or two.
Stir in 2 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce heat so mixture gently bubbles. Cook undisturbed, until most of the water has been absorbed and holes begin to appear on surface, 5 to 7 minutes. Cover, remove from heat, and let sit for at least 10 (or up to 20) minutes.
Meanwhile, toast coconut in a skillet over medium-low heat, shaking pan and stirring until it is toasted and fragrant, several minutes (watch carefully that it does not burn). Toss coconut and cilantro into oats, fluffing mixture with a fork. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary and serve hot or at room temperature.
Makes 4 servings
. . .
Oat risotto with peas and pecorino
from Food & Wine, July 2008
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 leek, white and tender green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 cup GF steel-cut oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill
5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
1 cup frozen baby peas (5 ounces), thawed
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup pecorino shavings
In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the leek and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the oats and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of the stock and simmer over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until nearly absorbed. Continue cooking the oats, adding 1 cup of stock at a time and cooking until the liquid is nearly absorbed between additions. The risotto is done when the oats are chewy-tender and suspended in a thick sauce, about 25 minutes total.
Season with salt and white pepper. Stir in the peas, scallion and 3/4 cup of the cheese and cook until the peas are heated through, about 1 minute. Transfer the risotto to bowls, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and serve.
Makes about 6 servings
Twenty years ago, when I was in grade school, the cupcake was a novelty, reserved for fellow classmates’ birthdays. The class’ primary criteria for Official Cupcake Deliciousness was based primarily on frosting quantity. And height (the higher the better!). Today, the cupcake is a delightful indulgence – regardless of frosting height – and it’s surprising to encounter a bakery that hasn’t yet hopped on board the cupcake wagon. A rarer breed, though, is the gluten-free cupcake. And with Miglet’s, we feel you need look no further.
Not JUST a cupcakery, Miglet’s Gluten-Free Bakery is a one-woman bake shop dedicated to providing yummy alternatives for gluten-free folks. Owner and founder Katie Alin makes all kinds of delicious goodies including cupcakes – of course! –but also cookies, bread, galettes, muffins, pies and tarts. And in addition to whipping up gluten-free baked goods, she’ll also take on any requests you have for dairy-free, egg-free, casein-free, nut-free, corn-free and soy-free treats. So. How did they pass muster at the very official Gluten Free Lab taste-test?
Most of all, these little ‘cakes are legit little sweets. They’re light, they’re fluffy, they’re spongy, they bear an incredible likeness to the real deal, the cake you would buy from the neighborhood bakery that’s been just around the corner since the ’40s. And that picky GF kid you have? She won’t have nothin’ to hold against these cupcakes! We tasted an eye-poppingly huge assortment of flavors including rich red velvet, luscious lemon, creamy coconut, chocoholic chocolate, very very vanilla, black bottom, classic carrot, funfetti…and by the end of it we were stuffed, satisfied, and thoroughly sugared up. Our tasting notes consisted mostly of the following phrase:
“yuummmumph” (that’s us taking a bite while saying “yum”)
And by the end of the tasting we all looked just an eensy-bit guilty, like a binge-eater discovered in a dark closet with a flurry of candy wrappers at her feet. But instead of candy wrappers, we were staring at a littering of one dozen cupcake wrappers, cello bags from these delicious sugar-type cookies we haven’t even mentioned yet but were the surprise stealer-of-the-show, frosting gooing up our fingers and our pencils, and a few tasty crumbs clinging to our lips. Yah. It was like that.
If you’re looking for a fix – or for a sweet treat for your kid’s birthday party – you can purchase Miglet’s goodies online (bonus: they’ll deliver around the Bay for a $10-$20 delivery fee, and they’ll even stick a select few of their baked goods in the mail – look online for restrictions), or look for them in these retail shops: Mariposa Baking Company, Oakland; Van’s Health Foods, Livermore; Draeger’s Markets, Danville, San Mateo, Menlo Park & Los Altos; Gluten-Free Specialty Store, Sacramento.
Per my valentines day tradition with friends: I am required to make up a Valentine-themed cocktail. This year I zeroed in on beets at the store and used them as my inspiration for The Heartbeet.
Make beet simple syrup
Peel 2 beets and cut into rounds. Add 1 cup of water and beets and bring to a boil, then add 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Reduce heat to a simmer, and stir until sugar is completely dissolved and the liquid starts to thicken into a syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and separate beets from syrup. Set syrup aside. Once the beets have cooled, cut heart shapes out of each slice and score the middle so that it will slip onto the rim of the glass.
Make the cocktail
2 oz. GF vodka (we like chopin, ciroc or monopolova)
4 oz. fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice
2 oz. ginger beer (we like Reeds ginger brew)
1 tablespoon beet syrup
Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, then pour over ice into a highball glass. Drizzle a tablespoon of beet syrup around the inner rim of the glass. Garnish with a heart beet.
The Gluten Free Lab is a’moving and a’shaking. We have a photo shoot this week – and two more scheduled for the two weeks following – for our Sweets Digest (think mini cookbook), which we will be releasing early this summer. And, holy mother of all mothers, we just perfected our cinnamon roll recipe! It’s flaky, it’s doughy, it’s just like any other cinnamon roll you’ve had in your gluten-eating past, and IT. IS. GOOD.
Wanna learn how to make it? We’ll teach you in person! Sign up for our Baking with Alternative Flours class at Relish Culinary Center in Healdsburg on Sunday, March 7. It’s going to be an afternoon of good, clean baking fun. Plan to get your hands dirty and indulge in some pretty delicious baked goods, including our sugar cookie, banana chocolate swirl bread with rich chocolate ganache, and, of course, those ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls with cream cheese glaze. Hurry! There are just a couple of spaces left!
Sunday, March 7
1:00 PM (class will last approximately 3 hours)
Relish Culinary Center, Healdsburg
Comfortable yet stylish walking shoes…check.
A dizzying list of GF vendors…check.
Stretching out our stomachs…check.
Did you guess what’s next on our agenda? The Gluten Free Lab will be attending the thirtieth annual Natural Products Expo West food show in Anaheim next month, hooray! This show is attended by more than 53,000 industry professionals from across the globe, and it’s the premier trade show for the healthy products industry (read: lots and lots and lots of gluten-free products for us to ogle, taste and just generally get excited about). Co-located with SupplyExpo, the Nutracon conference, the Healthy Baking Seminar and the Fresh Ideas Organic Marketplace, these combined events showcase the entire value chain of healthy products from start to finish, identifying the bestsellers of today and the trends of tomorrow.
So expect results and delicious reports of all of the amazing foods making their way to the marketplace. It’s a tough job, we know…but somebody’s gotta do it.
By now, readers, we have faith that you know a thing or two about The Gluten Free Lab. And by now, you ought to know that we’re all about having a good time, choosing to eschew self-pity in favor of a thick slice of GF pizza with a bottle of ice-cold GF beer to wash it down. We like to make the most of our limitations, and, boy, you should’ve seen the cupcake feast we had over the weekend (more about that later).
So if you’re of the same mind and you’d like to celebrate your gluten-free lifestyle, we suggest you head to Draeger’s Gluten-Free Club, an all-day event at the San Mateo Draeger’s Market, which takes place next Sunday, February 21, from 9 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. You’ll spy lots of vendors, delish opportunities, great speakers and opportunities for GFers to meet and find new friends, ideas, support and fun!
oats are good for your heart. so are cookies. in different ways though.
one of our readers requested an oatmeal cookie recipe. so here it is, lovelies. these have gotten rave reviews, even from our gluten eating friends.
Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 3.4-ounce package GF vanilla instant pudding mix
1 1/2 tablespoon GF vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup tapioca flour (a.k.a. tapioca starch)
1/2 cup potato flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/4 cup GF oats (like Bob’s Red Mill or Montana Monster Munchies)
1 12-ounce package semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Preheat oven to 375°F. Beat butter in large bowl until light. Gradually add white and brown sugars and beat mixture until fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well each time. Add vanilla pudding mix, vanilla extract, baking soda, water, ground cinnamon, and salt and mix until well blended. Mix in flours and starches. Mix in oats , chocolate chips and coconut by hand.
Drop rounded spoonfuls of cookie dough onto a cookie sheets. Bake until cookies appear dry but tops are soft when pressed, about 10 minutes. Cool cookies 5 minutes on cookie sheets then transfer to racks and cool.
and here are some other ways to sneak more gf oats into your life:
- replace crackers or breadcrumbs in meatballs and meatloaf recipes with oats.
- use ground oats as a breading for fish or chicken.
- substitute oats for up to one-third of the flour in breads, cakes, cookies, or muffins.
- use oats instead of flour as a thickener in soups and stews.
- replace nuts in cookie mixes with toasted oats. if you are using refrigerated cookie dough, gently kneed oats into the softened dough before baking.
- make oatmeal pancakes.
- make your own oat-based granola.
- top yogurt with toasted oats and fresh fruit.
Woe is the poor, ugly groat. So often its tender deliciousness is overlooked in favor of its more common cousin, the rolled oat, but preparing a groat for breakfast is about the same amount of work as cooking up a pot of oatmeal on the stove…it just takes a little more forethought (check the recipe below for oat groat cereal). But you want to know what the heck a groat is, anyway, right? Oat groats are the parent grain of the rolled oat; it’s what comes out of the stalk, and when that grain is processed by hulling or rolling or grinding it becomes a rolled oat, oat bran or oat flour.
Oat groat cereal
this is a simple and delicious treatment for oat groats, although you have to plan to let the groats soak overnight.
2 cups oat groats (you can get them online through Montana Monster Munchies)
3/4 cup pitted dates
yummy condiments like butter, fruit, flaked coconut, milk or cream, cinnamon, maple syrup, brown sugar & more!
Place groats in a large bowl. Cover with plenty of water, enough to cover groats by an inch or more. Place dates in a medium bowl. Cover with plenty of water. Cover both bowls with a kitchen towel and allow to soak overnight.
In the morning, place soaked groats and dates into the blender and slowly add enough water to make the mixture a thick porridge consistency (think oatmeal). Add toppings you like. Us? We’re partial to chopped dried apricots, coconut flakes and brown sugar.
Oat groat sprouts
the sprouts from oat groats are a delicious addition to sandwiches & salads, but my husband’s favorite way to eat them is straight from the jar while standing over the kitchen sink. Sprouted groats make for a good, healthy sprout with a mild flavor, although the thick hull can sometimes make for a tough chew. Sprouts will be ready to eat within two or three days.
1 cup oat groats (you can get them online through Montana Monster Munchies)
2-3 cups cold water
Place oat groats in a large, wide-mouth canning jar. Add water and mix with a spoon. Cut a piece of cheesecloth (or a paper coffee filter with a few pin-holes punched in it works well, too) to fit over the mouth of the jar then secure with a rubber band. Set aside and allow the groats to soak overnight, or for 8 to 14 hours.
Drain the groats and add more cool water to the jar. Put the cheesecloth secured with a rubber band back over the opening of the jar, and swish the groats around in the jar several times. Pour off all of the water, using the cheesecloth as a strainer. Place the jar in a cupboard or other location out of direct sunlight. Lean the jar against the side of the cupboard to position it at a 45-degree angle.
At this point, your procedure will become rinsing the groats three times each day following the procedure above, being sure to keep the jar in a cupboard and at a 45-degree angle.
After two days, you’ll notice the groats beginning to sprout (yay!). They’ll grow quickly and will be ready to eat once the roots are about 1/4-inch long. Give them a last rinse, place them in an airtight container, and keep them in the fridge until ready to eat.