Category Archives: Gluten Free

Catastrophes, fantastic friends from out of the blue, plus chocolate.

“You can easily recognize the good parts of your life because they are starkly outlined in crap.” -John DeChancie, from Starrigger.

feet

This was before the yard got really deep; the really neato part was that the flooding was coming out of the storm drain, rather than the drain actually…draining.  Veneta must be Backwards-ville.

This has been one of my favorite quotes for years.

Been a Hell month around here –with some amazingly good stuff snuck in here & there. My much beloved support dog, Kenta the American Eskimo,

regal

was diagnosed with SLO. It’s a very rare auto-immune disorder wherein the immune system attacks the nail beds, causing the claws to die back at the quick, fall off, and,  if they grow back, they’re usually very deformed. Their claws/toes are easily bruised & it’s very painful when they’re having a flare-up. So I’ve been horribly worried about the poor baby and I cannot stand to see him in  pain.

We did find a vet who knows about as much as there is to know about it, he’s on a special diet, meds, & supplements, and mostly is doing well….except when he bruises a toe, then he gets just pitiful.

Last week my yard & house flooded very badly; the insulation under the house was saturated, as were the floor joists, & the water came within about an inch of coming in the heating ducts. Turned out the city of Veneta never bothered to design a stormwater system that can actually deal with water….this is in Oregon, remember. Land of temperate rainforests. The City Manager basically said, “Tough luck, lady.” He also suggested I get a tanker truck, pump water from around my house into it using my sump pump, & dump it somewhere else (I am not making this up!! I really wish I’d taped that bit….I’d put it on YouTube).

side yard

The side yard before it got really deep.

 

So now I’m diving (so to speak) into my first foray into community activism, trying to find & organize everyone in the area with flooding problems, and there are a ton of them. I hope to lead them to the next City Council meeting, preferably carrying pitchforks and torches. I need lawyers, engineers, the Corps of Engineers, hydrologists, and God knows what else…money, mainly. I can’t even afford to fix the insulation & whatever else is currently rotting underneath my feet.

the hatch to access under the house weighs a zillion pounds, but at least it’s wood…when the water gets high enough, it’ll just float open.

Then, the day after the Great Flood, a huge tree limb fell & crushed my car trunk. Thank God & Allstate for Comprehensive coverage (& they told me I was a fool for keeping it on such an old car!).

huey got whammed

Poor Huey…and he just got a brand new paint job a year ago. Now his spare tire gets flooded just like the house, so nobody gets jealous.

But then from outta nowhere snuck in the good stuff; I found a woman that I’d been trying to find since high school. She and I were great friends from middle school thru HS & I’ve always wondered how & where she was, because I thought she was absolutely amazing. Somehow,*poof*  up she popped the other night in a Google search I’ve done dozens of times before w/o success. We’re getting reacquainted via email.

Ditto reconnecting with two other old friends, one I’d thought had vanished into a black hole. So that’s been very cool, getting to know “lost” dear friends again. I decided to celebrate with some chocolate tonight, & found a recipe for Chocolate Chewies that remind me of some that my mom & I were addicted to in the 70s-80s, on Hilton Head. They are GF (no flour at all), DF, incredibly easy to make, & as droolicious as it gets.

aseasyasapplepie.com/flourless-chocolate-cookies

So, something yummy amid the catastrophes…and some good things –good people I mean– slid in amongst the crap. Both of my friends do terrific things; one of ’em does amazing work with raptors; writing, photographing, rehabilitating, educating about, and saving them:

kate's ctr

Kate Phillips Davis’ Raptor Center

My other friend, Felecia Walton, went to Med school at UNC-Chapel Hill & is a Laboratory Research Analyst at Duke University.

To quote Bruce Hornsby, “What the hell happened to me?”

But I’ve been lucky to have known some amazing, amazing people.

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under desserts, friends, Uncategorized, veneta floods!

still more GF recipes; lemon shortbread, GF flour mix…

More GF recipes….

If I keep this up, I’m gonna hafta start taking gorgeous pics of the ingredients & finished products….if I can remember to take pictures of the finished products before I snarf them down. It’s just that I’ve spent so many years (15+) that if I do run across something that’s GF and DF and tasty, it seems only right to try & help some other Gluten Mutant out there who’s struggling to find edible, even yummy food. Considering all the lousy GF crapola I’ve encountered, you’d think I’d be scrawny, but….not quite.*

Anyhoo. Here’s a recipe for wonderfully tangy, lil’ bit gooey lemon bars that will do nothing to assist any weight loss or even weight maintaining attempts, but will set you drooling & sneaking out to the kitchen to hoover them up in the middle of the night.

First off, this works best using my own personal GF flour blend…just what the world needs, right? Yet another GF flour blend. This one has worked really well in everything I’ve tried, & it avoids the problems of many of the commercial GF blends (those based on garbanzo beans taste like…well, beans; rice-flour-based ones are sorta gritty, etc). Somehow I came up with this blend while trying to make a good GF/DF oatmeal cookie. It worked exceptionally well.** It also works excellently for these lemon bars, and it makes kick-ass shortbread if you just use the recipe for the crust & leave off the lemon layer part. I’ve also used it to bread fish; it didn’t seem “dessert-y” at all. I s’pose it’s not totally “mine,” since part of it is a pre-made all-purpose GF blend, but oh well. I let the commercial ones provide some of the gluten-replacement work & I reduce the beany/gritty issues. I like Bob’s Red Mill GF stuff, tho I find that what works best is mixing his GF all-purpose mix & GF pizza crust mix 1:1, if I’m not using my own blend (i.e. if I’m out of almond flour). My blend would probably work with most any of the commercial GF blends, except GF Bisquik: I tried that & it was really bitter.

At last, the recipes:

 

Kelly’s very own GF Flour blend:
2:1:1 Bob’s GF All-Purpose Baking mixŦ : tapioca starch : almond flour

In other words,
2 cups Bob’s or whoever’s GF flour blend (whomever’s?)
1 cup tapioca starch (or tapioca flour, same thing)
1 cup almond flour

 

The goodies (At last!):

LEMON BARS (crust by itself = wonderful shortbread)
Crust
1 c my very own GF Flour mix
1/2 c softened DF butteroid (Earth Balance gold package sticks)
1/4 c white sugar

Filling
3/4 c white sugar
2 Eggs
3 T GF Flour mix
3 T lemon juice (if you don’t like ‘em very lemony, use 2T)
1/4 t baking powder
[1/2 c powdered sugar for topping]

Heat oven to 350°F. Beat butteroid & sugar til smooth. Add flour mix, beat at low speed til mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Press onto bottom of ungreased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. (For shortbread, bake until very lightly browned in center, ~30 min).

Meanwhile, combine all filling ingredients except powdered sugar in small bowl. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Pour filling over hot, partially baked crust. Continue baking 18-20 minutes or until filling is set.

Sprinkle with ½ powdered sugar while still warm, then dust with the rest when cool (looks very snazzy if you have something lacy to lay on before dusting with powdered sugar, or harken back to first grade by cutting out a “snowflake” in a clean sheet of paper & use it). Cut into bars. Try not to eat all at one sitting.

 

Notes:

-I see “GF baking powder” or GF vanilla” in recipes a lot; I don’t know why, because you’d have to go ‘way out of your way to find baking powder or vanilla that did have gluten. There’s still a ton of mis-information about gluten free things floating about. It’s very depressing.

-on tapioca starch/flour; they’re the same thing. Ditto potato starch/potato flour; same deal. However; corn starch and corn flour are not the same things. Ain’t life fun? (or English, or baking terminology, or something).

Happy snacky eating, folks. I’ll try to get purty pitchers next time. I found my camera again so am not dependent on my phone, which will help.

Oh btw; I got a hankering for eggrolls again the other day but it was late & I was lazy, so I tried using the rice wrapper & then putting that between 2 layers of GF rice tortillas (they crack when I try to wrap anything, so I just used ’em to sandwich the spring roll), then briefly frizzled them in hot oil to supply crunch. Bad, bad, bad idea. I shoulda made the batter. My GF flour mix works for that kinda batter, too. (Also the filling was about 90% zucchini, since I’m suffering from a surfeit of that despite only planting 1 plant, which didn’t help. Squash eggroll isn’t the In Thing of the future, methinks).

 

*Latest doc visit informed me my BMI had snuck over the “OVERWEIGHT” level; 25 is the cutoff, mine was 25.3. My brain is telling me that this is not a sign I’m morbidly obese or anything, but my fubared body image is down there screaming “FAT! YOU’RE FAT!!! HIDEOUS REVOLTING ICK FATFATFATFATFATFATFAFAFAFAAAHHHHHH!!! But really, that’s another post entirely, no?

 

**I guess this means I’m gonna hafta post the oatmeal cookie recipe. Soon. Not that there’s such a mob of folks out there waiting impatiently for my next pearls of wisdom…but I will put up the recipe soon, because they’re seriously to-die-for.

 

Ŧ or Bob’s AP + pizza, or any commercial GF flour blend

Leave a comment

Filed under desserts, Food/cooking, Gluten Free

Gluten Free Eggrolls…at last!!

Good GF eggrolls, I mean. That’s one of the things I’ve really missed since being forced to eliminate gluten from my diet about 15 years ago. . .those dense little logs that you dip in a lake of hot mustard and sweet/tangy duck sauce, then cram one end into your mouth and *kee-runch!* and all the hot unidentifiable yummy bits come raining out all over the plate and the table and your shirt, and your eyes cross in ecstasy, and if you haven’t been able to exercise sufficient restraint, you end up with that annoying bubble blister on the roof of your mouth, but it’s worth it because even if they are a zillion calories from the deep frying they’re worth it.

the GF Holy Grail!  Okay, it may not look perfect, but it was mighty good.

the GF Holy Grail! Okay, it may not look perfect, but it was mighty good. And I should’ve put in some decorative greenery and artistically arranged chopsticks. The ER is too parallel, needs to be angled more…this is why I don’t do cooking photos.

I wish my sense memory wasn’t so good, because I can remember things like that vividly, and sometimes knowing that I’ll never have that experience again (at least, not without days or weeks of agony) can get downright maddening. I try to find substitutes, and there certainly are more halfway decent subs now than there were 15 years ago, but I don’t care what kind of bean/rice/whatever flour you use, no matter the gums you add, absolutely nothing will truly replace the texture that wheat gluten can give to things. Some GF things are acceptable; some crackers, a few brands of basic bread will make an edible piece of toast or grilled cheese sandwich, but there is no way on earth that anyone is ever going to make a true replacement for some things.There will never be a good GF bagel or baguette. Nothing will ever come near the nirvana I used to experience with the sourdough boules I pulled from the oven at 6 am when I worked as a baker, then pulled apart the brown, crunchy/chewy crust and inhaled the tangy steam that gouted from the  soft, springy interior that I’d snork down as soon as it was barely cool enough.   There will never be a GF eggroll wrapper.

However, I have come up with a fairly good substitute for that last. I’ve been eating a lot of spring rolls in the last decade & a half, using rice wrappers. If you’ve never tried them, they’re translucent sheets made from “sweet” rice (it’s not actually sweet, just sticky & can be used to make noodles & wrappers). You soak the wrapper briefly in warm water then wrap the warm vegetable/whatever mix in it. I’ve read in several places that you can then fry those, but that has never, ever come even close to working; the rice wrappers are the stickiest things on the planet when you try to do anything to them other than just wrap ‘n’ eat. I’ve tried shallow oil, deep oil, you name it, the things stick to the pan, stick to whatever utensil I try to turn ’em with, they always rip apart & dump the contents and make a horrible mess.

I had some of my usual spring rolls last night, and dragged out the rest of my veg mix this evening to do it again, but I was dreaming of eggrolls the whole time. Then I thought…what if I battered ’em?

So I put together the rolls, heating the oil as I did so, and I made some GF fry batter. Before dipping them in the batter, I rolled them in a 50:50 mix of tapioca starch/Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza Crust mix, tapped off the excess, then dipped ’em in the batter, then slipped the rather drippy roll into the hot oil. No sticking. I could even turn it over to brown both sides evenly, no stick to pan or slotted spoon. Dipped it out when golden brown, forced myself to let it sit on a piece of newspaper to drain a bit and cool off…it actually looked pretty good, so this wasn’t easy.  Then I sloshed it through some hot mustard and duck sauce (both of which I made before I started the rolls), lifted it to my mouth, and…..

*kee-runch!* and hot yummy bits came raining out all over the plate and the counter (I was standing in the kitchen).  It was GOOD!! If I’d paid more attention when I stir fried the veggie mix it would’ve rivaled the better eggrolls I’ve ever had in a restaurant! Can ya say hallelujah!

I wanted to make a small amount of batter since there’s only me (neither dog, cat, nor bird get eggroll).  I scanned some GF frying batter recipes, and sorta took their essence, i.e. made it as short-cuttish as possible. As usual, I didn’t really *quite* measure things, but the batter was approximately:

Batter Mix to Coat Rice Wrappers:
1/3 c Bob’s RM GF All-Purpose Flour Mix
1/3 c corn starch
1/2 tsp baking powder
enough club soda to make sorta thin batter (approx pancake batter consistency)

Mix til smooth.

Dusting Powder
make a 50:50 mix of:
Bob’s RM GF Pizza Crust Mix
Tapioca Starch

I used Bob’s RM GF pizza crust mix to dust the rolls first (with tapioca starch) for two reasons: (A) I had a teeny bit left in a bag and (B) I often mix Bob’s All-Purp GF mix with the pizza mix as a general GF flour substitute because sometimes the garbanzo bean flavor of his AP GF mix can creep out and taste too beany (this is starting to look like a report on something military, with all the letters). But I do like Bob’s GF mixes.

I actually took a pic of the second roll out of the pan…the first one was prettier, but I confess I snarfed it down too fast to even think about taking a picture of it. So,

I whipped up the duck sauce because I prefer to make my own stuff since it’s usually cheaper & I know what goes into it, to an extent –I don’t grow my own apricots & make my own jam, grow & harvest my own mustard seed, etc. Also, I have too many jars of condiments already; I can make just a little bit. (amounts below are very approximate; taste & correct):

Really, really basic ‘N’ quick Duck Sauce:
3 Tablespoons apricot preserves
3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
dash garlic powder

Simmer in small sauce pan about 5 minutes, taste, adjust as necessary (probably needs more vinegar, but check). Cool.

Egads, I’d better be careful, or this’ll turn into a cooking blog. Ha! Not too likely, since I don’t measure anything, but am more of a “seat of the pants” cook.  ….Nooooo, that doesn’t sound quite right. Or appetizing. Call it an “intuitive” cook…that sounds so classy.

Hope I’ve helped a fellow Gluten Mutant out there achieve eating Nirvana. God knows it’s a hard place to find when you’re on a severely restricted diet!

Leave a comment

Filed under Food/cooking, Gluten Free