A gluten, soy, dairy, corn free cooking journey

My gluten, soy, dairy, corn free journey

Monday, May 30, 2011

I'm a Survivor

When the going gets tough, the tough go out and play on the swing.
~Rodney Rathbone

So >sniffle< I tried to make cinnamon rolls.


I did everything the recipe said to...........sorta. I added some sweet rice flour in because all it called for was potato starch and arrowroot powder (sub for cornstarch) which makes baked products way too starchy for me. I also had to substitute guar gum for the xanthan gum (derived from corn). 

Sadly, guar gum has a very distinctive flavor, and it's yucky. My rolls looked just like the pictures until I tried to cut them and put them in the pan. I was able to sorta manhandle them into the pan, but they looked like blobs instead of luscious cinnamon rolls. I baked them, hoping that they would be good anyway. The first bite confirmed that the guar gum was too powerful for the delicate bread (that turned out to be the consistency of a very soft biscuit). The parts that were really cinnamony and sugary were ok, but nothing to do a happy dance for. :(

So later on in the day I suddenly had a hankering for chocolate chip cookies. I just bought some chocolate chips I could eat and it has been months and months since I had a good cookie. :) That, and I hate leaving the field of battle in defeat. ;) >sigh< Unfortunately, this battle turned out to be a truce.

I based my recipe on this recipe with a few additions.

1 1/4 C almond flour
1/3 C oatmeal 
5 T oatmeal flour
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 C grapeseed oil
1 egg
1/3 C mini chips

Stir dry ingredients together, stir wet ingredients together. Mix. Form into balls, place on a baking pan and bake in a 350 oven for 7-10 minutes.

They turned out fairly good, and I enjoyed them after going a long time without. I forgot that when you use oil instead of butter in cookies that you need a wetter dough so I added too much oatmeal flour. Next time I'd reduce it to 1-3 T. The cookies still turned out good, just more of a thick cake texture instead of a more moist gooey cookie.

Finally, at the end of the day things worked perfectly for me. :)

I bought a box of spring mix at Winco on Saturday, and it inspired me to try going a more sweet direction with my salad. I topped the mix with some grape halves and chopped pecans and finished it off with an orange vinagrette.

1/4 cup orange juice
2 T balsamic vinegar (make sure it's without caramel color if you can't have corn!)
1 T of dijon mustard (I used a horseradish one - Yum!)
honey to taste
dash of salt and pepper

Mix and drizzle over salad!


Gluten Free Fried Fish - morning, noon and night

Yep, you saw right. I've eaten this fish at all hours of the day and night.

It's that good.

The first bite I took I actually felt grateful that I had to be gluten free so that I was able to discover such a delicious recipe. :) Yeah, I'm a leetle psycho, that's what makes this so fun.

A friend and co worker shared this recipe with me. I took the basic recipe and added salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and a pinch of curry to jazz things up a little. Paired with some homestyle fries and coleslaw with a glass of sweet tea and you've got a dynamite meal.

I foresee many happy fish frys in my future. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Jalapeno Poppers of Freedom

Jalapeno poppers. >swoon< I loves them. And now, they loves me back because they're everything freeeeeeee!

My dear little sister, Pooka (aka Serenity), made these jalapeno poppers last year and they were finger lickin' good. I mean, summer is already hot, right? So adding a little incineration to your stomach, mouth, hands and nose (I scratched an itch with jalapeno fingers) really doesn't matter. Besides, it's a great excuse to drink copious amounts of sweet tea, which has become my fun drink of choice (never ever say something like, "they can pry coke from my cold dead fingers," the powers that be have an ironic sense of humor).

The original recipe called for cheese in the center of the jalapenos, wrapped in bacon and then topped with barbeque sauce. Since the American food industry seems so in love with stashing corn in every product known to man, and some that aren't known ( O_o) I went on a search for the most luscious barbeque sauce recipe available that began with fresh tomatoes. While I was in the store it occurred to me that mango usually appears in fresh sauce recipes. So I made sure to grab one. Oh happy day!

For the filling I boiled a potato and mashed it, mixing in some fresh herbs and garlic that I had diced and sauteed in a tiny bit of bacon grease (oh hush! I eat healthy.....mostly). You really want to wear gloves while de seeding your jalapenos. My thumbs are still burning from yesterday. :P

I filled the jalapenos with mashed potato, wrapped them in a (very expensive) organic, uncured, unadulterated bacon strip and topped it with the most luscious sauce ever. Baked in a 300/325ish oven until the bacon was crispy. Yuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuummmm. If you're quiet you can almost hear your stomach whisper, "thank you!"

Gluten Free Pancakes - My Saturday Morning in Heaven :)

Changing years of cooking habits over night can be a mite difficult, but I think I'm finally getting the hang of some of this stuff. I've tracked down the majority of the places that corn likes to hide, and am the happy owner of 13 different flours. :) Some flours, like coconut, can be very expensive. Guys take note: bringing a girl "flours" could be most romantic. Just ask Harold.

 Anyway, yes.....pancakes. DELICIOUS ones. :)

I have come to the painful (literally!) realization that I cannot cook with any type of milk product. Both the lactose and the casein affect me in separate and joyous ways. So that leaves me pausing over most recipes, imagination whirring, trying to devise multiple substitutions for common ingredients.

Cashews make cream, almonds make milk, and coconut oil substitutes for butter nicely in cookies.Almond milk, plus some apple cider vinegar to activate the baking soda, really make these pancakes light and they had a buttermilk flavor. Wahoo!

1/2 C rice flour
4 1/2 t tapioca flour
2 1/2 T potato starch
1 T flaxseed meal (yummy and nutritious!!)
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/4 t salt
1/4 t guar gum
1 egg
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 C almond milk (blend 1/4 C almonds and 1 C water in blender until smooth)

Mix dry ingredients in bowl, whisk wet ingredients in measuring cup. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir just until combined. Grease pan or griddle with grapeseed oil and cook over medium heat until brown and bubbly. Flip. Serve with organic maple syrup and/or fresh fruit.

It was a great way to start the morning. :)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Quinoa and Flaxseed ~ Naturally gluten free delicacies

Gluten and corn free living has really opened up new avenues of cooking delight for me. One that I've been thoroughly enjoying is the tiny quinoa grain-like seed. Interestingly enough, the Incas called it the mother of all grains and considered it sacred.

I first purchased a bag of white quinoa at my local store after enjoying the flavor of quinoa in some gluten free crackers. A couple of days later, I discovered black quinoa in the bulk section of the Boise Co-op.Since food rarely comes in black, I thought it would add some color interest to my plate. Besides, it just looked so cool in the plastic bag. :) I thought using a mix of white and black quinoa in a pilaf would be tasty, and unique looking.

To start the quinoa pilaf off I sauteed crimini mushrooms, onion, garlic, grated carrot, fresh thyme and lemon zest in some olive oil until the vegetables were tender. I stirred in the quinoa until it was coated with the oil and then poured in boiling water.

I was intending on serving the quinoa with a simple sauteed pollock fillet, but I got so involved in making the quinoa that I left the pan on high and pulverized the poor little guy when I tried to turn him. Luckily, the fish flaked beautifully and gave me the idea to make fish cakes!

I had some slices left from the almond meal and flaxseed bread I made earlier in the week. I mixed crumbles of the bread, diced onion, fresh thyme and some cashew cream with the flaked pollock and formed them into little cakes. I cooked them in a heated pan with grapeseed oil, making sure to pay attention to the heat this time!

To finish off the dish I took freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh basil and deglazed the pan I cooked the fish in, reducing the juice. I then drizzled it over the fish cakes, serving it with a side of peas.


I recently discovered a food blog that I absolutely love. Most of the recipes are dairy and corn free, as well as being gluten and soy free. Everything I have cooked has come out perfect!

The first recipe I tried was Gluten Free Bread 2.0. Made out of almond meal and flaxseed, it is a delicious replacement for the gluten filled kind. I actually enjoy it more because it lacks the fluffy, smashy quality of wheat bread.

I was so excited to taste the bread that I was only able to wait about 3 minutes after taking it out of the oven before taking it out of the pan and attacking it with my bread knife. Some homemade mayonnaise, gluten free dijon mustard, lettuce, tomato, avocado and baked chicken topped off this delicious bread in a delicious open faced sandwich. Paired with grapes and a glass of iced tea, it was a perfect Sunday dinner.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oatmeal is a Girl's Best Friend

Move over diamonds! Marilyn, you can cease your crooning. Oatmeal is the new best friend of gluten free girls everywhere. Grinding it for cookie flour, or topping fresh berries for a crisp. The options seem almost endless! :)

Google (runner up for girl's best friend) on a lazy Sunday afternoon can bring many facets of delight. This particular Sunday afternoon brought ideas for new vistas in gluten free baking, particularly flourless cookies.

As with most everything I cook, I glanced at a couple different recipes and then proceeded to make the cookies the way I wanted to. :) This way I can name them whatever I want. In this case >drum roll<
Autumn's Most Excellent Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookies

1 1/2 C gluten free oatmeal
1/2 C unsalted butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
fistful of raisins
half a fistful of nuts
cinnamon to taste (1/2 t ish)

Use your blender to blend 1 C of the oatmeal into a flour. Combine ground oatmeal, whole oatmeal, soda, cinnamon and salt in one bowl. Cream butter, then add brown sugar and cream. Add flour and stir. Add raisins and nuts, stir just until combined. If the mixture is too wet stir in more ground oat flour. Roll into balls and bake in a 325 oven for 10-15 min or until golden brown around the edges. Let cool and enjoy! :)


A couple of weeks ago I had some fresh berries in the fridge and I wanted to make some type of a berry crisp. This was before I dared try any butter so I used olive oil and I was surprised at how good it was! I normally don't enjoy baking with olive oil.

1/2 - 2/3 C oatmeal
1/3 C gluten free flour
1/3 C sugar
2-3 T olive oil
5 C berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries etc)
sugar and cinnamon to taste

Mix oatmeal, flour and sugar together. Pour in olive oil and mix with your hands until the mixture is crumbly. Mix berries with sugar and cinnamon. Put berries in bottom of a 9 inch pan and top with the oatmeal mixture. Bake at 350 until bubbly and golden brown. If you can have dairy this is good served with ice cream.


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cooking Frenzy

After being in Maryland for 2 weeks for business, a return to my kitchen was enough to send me into a kitchen destroying, cooking frenzy! I had the chance to watch several cooking shows in the evenings that had given me some great ideas that I was excited to try.

I was also DYING for some type of a treat. Watching people eat dessert at lunch and dinner for 2 straight weeks had really started my hankering for some good, non lethal to me, treats.

Saturday morning found me in my kitchen, recipes in hand. Hours later, kitchen a disaster area, I was a happy girl. :) 

As anyone with food allergies/ intolerance can attest to, finding a GOOD recipe for something is cause for celebration in the streets! I for one favor a parade, with full band, down Main Street.

"Marilla is a famous cook. She is trying to teach me to cook but I assure you, Diana, it is uphill work. There's so little scope for imagination in cookery. You have to go by rules. The last time I made a cake I forgot to put the flour in and the cake was a dismal failure. Flour is so essential to cakes, you know.” (Anne of Green Gables)

Aha! But there IS scope for the imagination in cooking. :) And flour is not always essential to cakes, thank goodness!

The first recipe I tried was a flourless chocolate cake with chocolate ganache frosting. Unlike poor Anne's, this cake was a smashing success!

6 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/2 C unsalted butter
1 C sugar
1/4 t salt
3 eggs
1/2 C dutch cocoa

3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted
1/4 C canned coconut milk (not the lite)
honey to taste

Melt the butter and chocolate, mix in the sugar and salt, stir in the eggs, mix the cocoa in just until combined. Pour into a greased, parchment paper lined 8 inch pan and smooth the top. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes and then turn out onto a plate or serving dish and let cool.

For the ganache, stir together the melted chocolate, coconut milk and honey until smooth. Smooth over the cake and allow the ganache to cover the sides of the cake. Allow to cool and serve with fresh fruit!
Warning! this cake is VERY rich and you only need a very small slice. It is delicious with a cup of coffee.

I wish I were rich, and I could spend the whole summer at a hotel, eating ice cream and chicken salad.
(Diana Barry - Anne of Green Gables)

Being as how I just got done with 2 weeks in a hotel room I can't say I long for a whole summer there. But I do long for ice cream and chicken salad. And with my mayonnaise and ice cream recipes, my longing has become a reality!

1 egg 
1/2 t salt
dash of chili powder (or cayenne if you have it)
1/2 t + 2 T lemon juice
1/2 t honey
1/2 C olive oil
1/2 C canola oil
1 1/2 T apple cider vinegar

First you want to make sure that all your ingredients are room temperature. Put the egg, salt, chili power, 1/2 t lemon juice and honey into your blender and blend on high until combined. With blender running, pour the olive oil in a slow stream into the blender. Turn off when completed. Mix the remaining 2 T lemon juice and the 1 1/2 T vinegar together in a cup with a spout. Turn the blender on high and alternate slow streams of the canola oil and the lemon/cider mixture until both are added in. The mixture should be very thick with a pretty yellow color about it.

Chicken salad always tastes like summer to me. Served with cantaloupe, tomato, and boiled egg it is the lightest of meals for those hot July days!

Last, but definitely not least, ICE CREAM! :) I loved Roe Ann chocolate soft serve and was very sad to lose that summer delight. Luckily, I found a recipe that matches it for flavor....and doesn't make me sick. Bonus round!

Chocolate Ice Cream
3 C unsweetened coconut milk (in the can, not lite)
2/3 C dutch cocoa
1/3 C honey

Stir mixture together and freeze according to your ice cream maker directions. I just stirred it together and put it in my freezer and gave it a stir every 15-20 minutes. Be warned, once it is totally frozen it is solid. Next time I will try using a real maker and eating it when it's finished for a more soft serve consistency.

I had a wonderful time cooking and recovering from two weeks of a kitchen-less nightmare. Though.....the dishes just aren't as much fun as the cooking. ;)

 (this is the first time I've cooked with any butter in the last 3 months. I thought I would give it a try...and so far so good!)