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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!

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Quick ‘N’ EZ Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Green Enchilada sauce

Never planned on making a cooking blog (I’m way too lazy to imitate the cooking bloggers I’ve seen, which is take a picture of every single ingredient and at every step of a recipe, so they end up with 47 lovingly arranged pictures even when it’s a recipe for toast). But I’ve always loved to cook and write. And fifteen years or so ago I got so tired of feeling awfully tired, bloated ‘n’ brain-fogged now & then that I looked to dietary triggers. A friend gave me a huge bag of apples off his tree, and one of the things I made was an apple cake (carrot cake recipe with grated apples instead O’ the carrots). It was magnifique, and I ended up totally pigging out on it…ate the whole frigging sheet cake that night.  Awoke the next morning feeling like the Michelin Man who’d gotten stuffed full of lard, only dumber. Realized that often happened after I went nuts with starchy things.

So I cut out starches. All starches. Rice. Potatoes. Wheat. Corn (not totally a starch, I know, but figured tortilla chips are sorta like a starch).  Every starch: No noodles, chips, bread, crackers, gravy, fried foods, etc etc, any of that stuff. For SIX MONTHS. Six long months. Lost weight, darn near went insane for the lack of chips & salsa –celery with salsa just ain’t the same, even if it does have a lotta crunch.

So corn was the first to come back —had to have those chips.  Waited a month before introducing the next starch; during the month I had almost no Lardo Michelin Man days. Rice came next, no probs. Another month; wheat. Wham! It took 2-14 days after ingesting, but wheat or anything with ANY gluten did it. What a pain it was in the days before anyone had ever heard of “gluten free” other than the very few who’d been diagnosed as celiac, & they usually figured it out themselves & it took an average of 14 years. This was even before the Atkins Diet really got going (remember it?). There were no pre-made GF products, no flours, zip, nada, zilch.  And of course I had to walk 5 miles in the snow to the grocery, uphill both ways.

Really though, it has gotten a lot easier for those of us I call “gluten mutants.” But I’ve never found a pre-made GF green enchilada sauce that didn’t have gluten & tasted good, & all the recipes I’ve tried were sort of a pain in the neck to one degree or another. This stuff can also easily be made without dairy of any kind (had to ditch cow milk 5 years ago, tho I did find I can tolerate goat or sheep milk ok…thank heavens it’s possible to get good goat cheddar, goat yogurt (if you can find it), and there’s even one dairy that makes great goat mozzarella…but only one; the others range from blah to toxic waste (I can’t decide whether or not to name the good go-mozz maker; I just found some after it being almost completely unavailable for about 2 years, even online…don’t wanna create a stampede & not be able to get any more for me).

Anyhow.  The sauce. I tend to approach cooking as a creative enterprise & throw things together without measuring, unless I’m baking. Baking is chemistry; cooking is art. I’ll just tell how to make it, but don’t have precise amounts…I can probably figure it out if (A) anyone actually reads this & (B) wants amounts. I’m describing it as I made it; if dairy isn’t an issue, just use regular butter or whatever cow/cowlike product you prefer.

Ingredients

DF butter-like substance*
Potato starch/potato flour (same thing)**
Beef bouillon
good Salsa Verde (I love Herdez)
dash each garlic powder, cumin, turmeric, salt

Make a roux with the butteroid & potato starch. Add bouillon & green salsa, toss in seasonings as it thickens. Slosh onto & enchiladas, bake, snarf. I’d include a pic of the chicken enchiladas I just made, but would have to lower the camera into my belly, & that plays hell with digital cameras. Not to mention that the photo wouldn’t be too appetizing.

Bon appetit, folks!

Coming soon: my reaction to my doc informing me, just this morning, that [somebody] is going to convince “them” to ban all opioid pain medicines because [according to somebody else] 80% of opioid prescriptions are being diverted for illegal use (he wasn’t real clear on the who/what/where/how of this). (A) I seriously doubt the 80% figure. (B) I am not able to completely discount this…concept… that doesn’t even qualify as a rumor, because I know there are a lot of people out there who’re devoutly against opioids for anyone, whether they’re using them to get high or simply to try & live a relatively functional life amid constant, excruciating pain. I use the term “devoutly” intentionally, because many of them approach the topic in a truly messianic, religious fashion, and persevere in their quest because it literally is a crusade. Some believe it’s good for the soul of the sufferers to suffer. Like the folks† who fought mightily against allowing women to use any type of anesthesia (when ether & such came about) or pain relief when giving birth on the grounds that God decreed that Woman should suffer because of that original evil witch Eve & the whole snake/apple thing. I mean, what if poor Eve was just trying to help Adam to get his Five-A-Day, keep him healthy & regular? Talk about a bad rap.

But that’s later. Now it’s bed time, after I walk the Eskimo (that’s American Eskimo dog, lest anyone think I’m not only politically incorrect but have imprisoned an Inuit).

 

*I find Earth Balance brand Vegan (gold package) the best; use stick form for cooking.

**or tapioca starch or a GF flour mix, like Bob’s Red Mill all-purp or his pizza crust mix

†how much ya wanna bet they were all men?

 

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