Archive for June, 2010
If you’re a local reader, you may be interested in attending the gluten-free Italian lunch hosted by North Bay Celiacs at Pasta Bella restaurant in Sebastopol, Calif. Mark your calendar for Saturday, July 10th, at 12 noon and enjoy the company of fellow GFers as well as award-winning cookbook author Jacqueline Mallorca, who will discuss her new book Gluten-Free Italian: Over 150 Irresistible Recipes without Wheat — from Crostini to Tiramisu. Copies of this fantastic new book will be available for purchase for just $12, and be sure to mention in your RSVP whether you’re interested in purchasing a copy at the event since there is a limited supply.
The meal is $15 per person, including salads, entrees and dessert (tip and drinks are extra). This delicious family-style meal will allow you to sample many different gluten-free items off the menu. Start with two of the delicious house salads: the Lorelei with organic greens, romaine lettuce, apples and candied walnuts and goat cheese and toss in a citrus vinaigrette AND (new!!) the Turkey Cobb Salad topped with a vegan creamy avocado dressing. For the entrees you will be able to try three different signature pastas all on brown rice pasta, plus the in-house lasagna made on organic polenta layers with artichoke hearts, goat cheese, mozzarella, marinara and pesto. Finish off with a special gluten-free dessert which will debut at this luncheon and be added to the menu. Individuals, family and friends are welcome.
The atmosphere is informal and kids are welcome. Be sure to sign up no later than Tuesday, July 6 by emailing info [at] northbayceliacs [dot] org with the number of people in your party.
Basta. Go eat some pasta.
We don’t know very much about how Glenn, the pastry chef over at ZIX Cookies, is able to achieve the tender and short crumb in his uniquely delicious gluten-free ravioli cookies, but we do know this: he uses millet flour. And what better way to send off millet month than to draw attention to such a unique product. It’s a cookie! It’s a tiny pie! It’s a ravioli cookie!
ZIX Cookies creates unique and richly flavored pint-size cookies. They are located in West Sonoma County, north of California’s Bay Area. Many ingredients are grown and processed within miles of the bakery; such as the fruits, butter, eggs, and cream. Most of the fruit jellies and fruit fillings are hand made in ZIX’s kitchen. Attention to flavors, freshness and ingredient quality, to mixing and baking techniques and sensitive hands create these high quality artisan cookies.
In The Lab’s very official taste-tests, we appreciated the differences among all four flavors. I mean, you might tend to think that a ravioli cookie is a ravioli cookie is a ravioli cookie, but these flavors had distinct properties that we enjoyed for different reasons. Try for yourself! The gluten-free ravioli cookies are available in almond raspberry, fig walnut, apple walnut, and ricotta cheese. Buy online or in select northern California gourmet grocers.
A while back The Gluten Free Lab met a really nice guy who gave us a delicious cookie. Our loyal readers already know that’s the way to our heart, but he didn’t happen to be a loyal reader; he just wanted to show us how good his GF oats taste. The cookie was delicious – we all agreed – and we needed to know more.
Gluten Free Oats® was founded by the Smith family, three generations of which suffer from celiac disease. When the Smiths’ son was diagnosed with celiac at the age of 2 1⁄2, they had no idea he would grow into a high school freshman who would first search for 3 months to find a source of oats that could be called gluten free, then sell those gluten free oats as his FFA business. He found a source that he felt comfortable with and started rolling and marketing the rolled oats to the local celiac support group. Because it was so popular with this group he expanded his business to encompass the state of Wyoming through local CSA support groups. The Smith family is diligent about personally contracting with seedsmen who have not grown any wheat, rye or barley on their land for the last 2 years, and they regularly walk their crop fields looking for any volunteer wheat, rye or barley grains that may have sprouted voluntarily. Now THAT’S dedication.
For more information about the product, the family, or for an extensive list of yummy recipes, log on to the Gluten Free Oats® website. In the meantime, whip up a batch of these super-easy and super-delicious Monster Cookies!
. . .
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp GF vanilla
1 cup peanut butter
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
3 cups Gluten Free rolled Oats®
6 ounces GF chocolate chips or M&Ms
1/2 cup sunflower seeds or chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Beat sugar, brown sugar and butter until creamy. Add eggs, vanilla and baking soda and mix well. Add peanut butter and mix. Stir in oats, chocolate chips and nuts. Place teaspoon full of dough on a lightly greased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly brown around edges.
Goodness I love epicurious. I mean, how else would I have discovered this ancient recipe dated nineteen-ninety-EIGHT featuring a millet crust on a veggie cassoulet?! Just one easy substitution: use Udi’s in place of the French bread crumbs.
. . .
White bean & vegetable cassoulet with millet crust.
1 tablespoon plus 3 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups chopped red bell peppers
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 ounces yellow crookneck squash, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons purchased harissa paste or 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup millet
2 cups water
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from Udi’s whole grain bread
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add bell peppers, onions, carrot and garlic and sauté until tender, about 15 minutes. Add squash, green beans, cumin and harissa paste and stir 1 minute. Add tomatoes with juices and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Mix in cannellini and 1/4 cup basil. Transfer mixture to 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add millet and stir until light golden, about 5 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook until millet is tender and liquid is almost absorbed, about 20 minutes. Drain millet. Transfer to bowl and cool. Mix in breadcrumbs and remaining 2 teaspoons oil.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle millet mixture evenly over vegetables in baking dish. Bake until vegetables are heated through and topping begins to crisp, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup basil around edges and serve.
Photo by Gluten-Free Goddess
I have a weakness for breads. And, boy, did my body pick the wrong food intolerance, because my craving for breads has not abated since going gluten-free in 2006! A few standbys keep me going, among them Udi’s gluten-free Whole Grain Bread. But, oh! To have a bowl of clam chowder in a sourdough bowl again! To eat Indian food with a soft and buttery naan!
But wait! India is a land of many breads, and among their varied grains and flours and the breads that ensue, I’m finding that millet flour is used in the delicious, the smoky Bajra Roti flatbread. A quick search online, and I was hooked on Book of Yum‘s description of the bread.
2 cups millet flour
2 cups water
salt to tasteFor seasoned roti add:
1 shallot, minced
Either way, peel your tortilla from plastic and place on a plate. These tortillas handle well.
Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium and toast your flatbread until its texture changes, and if you like, until it gets light brown spots. Turn it and toast the other side. Sometimes they will puff up with internal air pockets, which I think signifies a lovely, tasty flatbread. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
Photo and recipe via Book of Yum
Do you know Christopher Kimball (pictured above)? Well, not personally, I mean, but do you know who he is? Because I sure like him, and I’d like for you to like him too.
There’s this great cooking magazine called Cooks Illustrated and, yup, you guessed it: Christopher Kimball is the founder, editor and publisher of said magazine. In a nutshell, this magazine features America’s Test Kitchen, a powerhouse of chefs who test, taste, dissect and re-test common recipes in order to find THE. BEST. WAY. to make the recipe in question. It’s worth a peek.
But back to Kimball, I’ve always admired how frank he is, and his writings are deceptively simple. Though he writes about food, I’d file him alongside some of the greatest storytellers and novelists (I’ll refrain from naming names, else this turn into a literary discussion).
In honor of millet month, I thought The Lab should give Kimball an opportunity to share with us the basics of cooking grains. As written by Christopher Kimball:
. . .
The problem with cooking grains is that they often turn out mushy and tasteless.
Cooking grains is also difficult because the type of grind (coarse, medium or fine) can dramatically affect the outcome — coarse-grain bulghur is cooked very differently than the finer grinds.
I set out to find a preparation method that was both universal and which turned out distinct, flavorful grains every time.
I started off cooking grains like rice. One cup of grain was placed in a pot with 2 cups of boiling water and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, reduced to a low simmer, covered and cooked for 10 to 20 minutes.
I found that the grains did not cook up light and separate; I often ended up with a sticky mass. I tried an old Chinese method of cooking rice, which is to boil it. I used 1 cup of grain in 6 cups of boiling water, reduced the water to a steady simmer, and cooked uncovered for 10 to 12 minutes. I poured the grain and water into a fine colander and let it sit for 10 minutes, finishing by fluffing with a fork.
The results were excellent; light, distinct grains with no starchy exterior. (Never stir grains while they are cooking. This will rupture the cells and create a starchy, sticky dish.)
My guess is that the extra water helps to dilute the starch that is leeched out of the grains while cooking, yielding a less sticky end product. This method does not work for kasha nor medium and fine bulghur, which are both prepared by different methods.
I also found that if the grains were dry roasted or sautéed prior to cooking, the flavor was enhanced considerably. To dry roast, simply add the grain to an ungreased pan and place over medium heat. Shake or stir the pan continuously for 3 to 6 minutes. Remove the pan from heat before the grains turn too dark and start to burn.
When cooking grains, you may substitute chicken, beef or vegetable stock for half or all of the water called for in the recipe. As a rule, I suggest replacing no more than half of the water with stock so that the delicate flavor of the grains is allowed to shine through. I also suggest that you use a low-sodium stock if you buy it canned — the full-strength commercial stocks are extremely salty.
For those of you not familiar with the basic grains, here is a quick primer [ed note: we went ahead and removed the glutenous grains from this list; figured the info would be a moot point]:
Millet: Millet is not strong-flavored and is a small, yellow grain which often retains some crunch even after cooking. It cooks up into very small but separate kernels which maintain their texture after cooking. Usually sold whole.
Quinoa (pronounced “keen wha”): The grains are relatively small and look like tiny, light-colored pearls and are crunchy when cooked. Be sure to rinse quinoa before cooking as the kernels contain an outer coating of saponin, a natural insect repellent, which leaves a bitter aftertaste. Usually sold whole.
Cooking time for dry-roasting grains
Grains were dry roasted in a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
Quinoa: 4 minutes
Millet: 3 minutes
Master Recipe for Grains
Makes 3 cups
This recipe works fine for quinoa and millet. You may substitute up to half of the water with chicken or vegetable stock. See chart below for cooking times.
1 cup quinoa or millet
6 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Rinse grain in a colander. Bring the water and salt to a simmer. Add grain and reduce heat to a steady simmer. Cook for the times shown in the chart below. Pour into a sieve or fine colander and let drain for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve.
Cooking times for basic grains
The cooking times below are to be used with the Master Recipe for Grains above.
Quinoa: 10 minutes
Millet: 12 minutes
Christopher Kimball is the founder and editor of Cook’s Illustrated magazine, based in Brookline. He is the author of “The Cook’s Bible,” (Little Brown; New York, NY; 1996).
1-2-3 Gluten Free is a company we learned about during our whirlwind through the halls of the Natural Foods Expo back in March. It’s a feel-good sort of company, one that donates lots of foodstuffs to Camp Celiac at Camp Arroyo and was founded by a mother-daughter team based out of Cleveland, Ohio. Our memory of their products was pleasantly refreshed when a box of goodies arrived at The Lab headquarters. Pulling out four boxes with cute packaging only served to heighten our desire to bake yummy things. Thank goodness 1-2-3 Gluten Free is a company committed to providing foods that are easy as 1-2-3 to prepare and that taste delicious! Here’s what we baked and tasted:
Light & Fluffy Biscuits
These are light and fluffy and “better than gluten biscuits” the company claims! This dough can be used for cinnamon buns, pigs-in-a-blanket, chicken and biscuits, strawberry shortcake or whatever else you might use biscuit dough for. This mix does not call for eggs to be added. Check out the recipe section on the box for dairy-free and lower fat (utilizing buttermilk) alternative recipes. The Lab followed the recipe for traditional biscuits, and while we can’t exactly remember life B.B. (before biscuits), we rather enjoyed entertaining the notion of biscuits & gravy. Yum.
Buckwheat, in the rhubarb family, is a wonderful wheat-free, gluten-free alternative way to increase the fiber and protein in your diet. These light pancakes have a delicious flavor and are named for 1-2-3 Gluten Free’s 8 year-old niece, Allie, who devours them. Kids and adults will have no idea they’re eating something a little healthier. This mix can also be used to make pumpkin pancakes, double chocolate chip pancakes, banana pancakes, and double chocolate chip pancakes. The Lab followed the straight-ahead recipe for pancakes and served up a short stack to a few girls during a casual Sunday brunch. With a scoop of fruit and a dollop of yogurt, they were a perfect foil to our mimosas. We wonder, though…make ‘em real thin & call ‘em crepes? Somebody needs to report back.
Sugar & Spice Pan Bars
Moist and delicious, the recipe for these snack cake squares is made by adding eggs, oil, and either canned pumpkin, unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas, canned sweet potatoes or shredded zucchini. Serve plain, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or frosted with cream cheese icing. The Lab gussied up these pan bars with some freshly mashed butternut squash from our garden (pumpkin would produce similar results, natch), and we ummed and yummed over these until there were none.
Silky & Rich Brownies
These are a true chocolate lover’s dream and are winning taste tests, according to 1-2-3 Gluten Free. The Lab was impressed by the quantity this box-mix made (a full 9×13-inch pan!) as well as the true brownie quality. Not too cakey, not too dense. It was juuuuust right for our brownie sundae with ice cream, a little drizzle of chocolate syrup and peach preserves sprinkled with almonds on top. We heart dessert.
Trader Joe’s organic powdered sugar is corn free. Thassright, all you corn intolerants can once again enjoy a slice of french toast with a light dusting of powdered sugar; a freshly fried donut rolled in powdery goodness; icing on your cake.
But of course you can always make your own powdered sugar. Mix 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon starch (corn, tapioca, potato, arrowroot) in the bowl of your food processor or blender. Combine until fine and use in your favorite delicious confection.
Ah, summer. Lazy days on the river, backyard barbeques, campouts…doesn’t it just make you think “millet”?
What? IT DOESN’T?! What’s wrong with you.
Millet is a tiny round seed used for food and fodder around the globe. The grain grows as part of a small-seeded grass, which is oftentimes grown in challenging environments (the kind that are prone to drought, for example). Millet has been in cultivation in East Asia for the last 10,000 years.
In modern times, you’re probably most familiar with millet as the filler seed in commercial birdseed mixes (it’s that tiny round yellow one that generally gets flung to the ground as the birds look for something tastier…like oiled sunflower seeds). But millet has plenty of uses for the human, too. In fact, a certain baker we know favors millet in his pastry crust because of its tender crumb and mild flavor. And to kick off millet month, we’d like to introduce a pita-style chip we recently found up at Shelton’s Natural Foods Market in Healdsburg…turns out this bakery, Sami’s, produces a whole line of millet & flax products including hamburger & hotdog buns, sweet & savory chips, lavash, croutons, pizza crust, brownies & lots more. Most of Sami’s Bakery products aren’t labeled as gluten-free because they share equipment with wheat products, so know your limits on this one. But also know that the Millet & Flax Plain Chips are the absolute perfect accompaniment to tuna salad.
Put your creative cooking to work to win and put the gluten-free category on the map!
Creative consumer cooks can stir up their culinary creativity in the 2010 Chex® Party Mix Recipe Contest. Chex cereals and Katie Lee, best-selling cookbook author and entertaining expert, kicked off this year’s recipe contest at www.ChexPartyMix.com. Creative cooks are encouraged to submit their original, homemade 15-minute recipes now through July 7.
Choose one of five recipe categories for your superstar snack mix:
Gluten-Free: Five Chex cereals–Rice Chex, Corn Chex, Honey Nut Chex, Chocolate Chex and Cinnamon Chex–are gluten-free. Mix your favorite flavor with other gluten-free ingredients for a winning combination.
Chocolate: Whether you prefer milk, white or dark chocolate, the combination of Chex cereal with this favorite sweet is a decadent delight.
Savory: With Chex cereal as a base, the ingredient options for a savory mix are endless. Sharp cheddar crackers, hot sauce, Italian seasoning or curry powder are just a few flavor inspirations.
Sweet: Incorporate your favorite candies, dried fruit or honey with crunchy Chex cereal for the ideal on-the-go mix.
Salty: Ever since Original Chex Party Mix was created, “salty” has been a classic way to prepare snacks from Chex cereals. Stir up a new variation on the classic homemade recipe by adding your own favorite ingredients.
Incorporate your favorite candies, dried fruit or honey with crunchy Chex cereal for the ideal on-the-go mix.
Visit the contest website for rules, prizes and details.