Wednesday, March 7, 2007

snow day!

So, a real life update. I have hardly been near a computer in months. I have spent huge amounts of time in the kitchen, however. Every time I develop a recipe that I've adapted on my own from a gluten recipe, using my own mix of flours, I have the biggest sense of satisfaction. And lately, I've been successful. Two days ago I made a carrot cake (aka the ugliest cake I have ever made) with cream cheese frosting, it was delicious, based off a recipe from the Joy. Being able to bake things that are safe for me to eat, and delicious, and that no one can tell the difference between gluten free and not, feels so good. I sent my mom biscotti for Christmas. Her boyfriend, who is anti-gluten free anything because he hasn't tasted much that's good, raved about them. He doesn't even like biscotti. Then the bf and I went to visit last month and I baked a lemon cake with lemon whipped cream, and made a chocolate custard cake. He was impressed. It feels good to be back in the swing of things in the kitchen. I've been focusing a lot more on baking than cooking, as I have a bf who can cook (and is so good at it). He cooks dinner, I cook dessert. I've decided to stay in Philadelphia, I'm moving further south from the city in with a friend of mine from work. I like this boyfriend, I'm not ready to move home to Mass away from a good thing. (Plus, living at home without a car is something I don't really want to think about. Western Mass is not a great place to try to rely on public transportation.) I am preparing to buy tickets to go to Europe to meet bf's family, we're going for a month to Spain, Hungary, and Slovakia. I'm super excited. My (new) roommate is going to watch Puff.
I'm too scattered to write much up here but I am going to flood you with recipes. Ready? Go.

Ugly Ugly Carrot Cake

2/3 c potato starch
2/3 c rice flour
1/2 t xantham gum
1 c sugar
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t each ginger, nutmeg, allspice, salt
MIX all these things together. In another bowl, whisk together then stir into the dry mix:
2/3 c vegetable or canola oil and 3 eggs
STIR in 3 carrots, finely grated. You can also add nuts, but I don't like nuts. Scrape batter into two 8" greased pans, or whatever pans you're using. bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Its ugly and brown but sooo good. Frost with cream cheese icing you make, I added cinnamon to mine and made it extra good.

I make these in the food processor because I hate hate hate cutting cold butter into pea-sized balls. Sift together then put into the food processor:
3/4 c rice flour
1/2 c tapioca starch
1/2 c potato starch
1/2 t baking soda
1 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
Add 4 to 6 T cold butter, and pulse until it looks like bread crumbs with big pieces.
Pour in 3/4 c milk, or a mix of milk and cream for richer biscuits. Pulse just until the dough comes away from the sides a little. To form perfect, little biscuits, drop into a muffin tin, or drop onto a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for 10-15 mins until the tops are browned and puffy.
Sometimes I brush the tops with melted butter, and sometimes I sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top. These are so good eaten right out of the oven. I've used them to sop up juice from meat, gravy, etc.

BBQ sauce
I've been making ribs a lot, slow roasted in the oven with onions and garlic and salt and pepper and bay and whatever else (usually bf does this part), and making BBQ sauce for them. BBQ is the only condiment I can't live without. I don't like ketchup or mayo, I like mustard sometimes, and hot sauce, but I want to dip everything in BBQ sauce. Most BBQ sauce has vinegar, and don't specify white vinegar or safe cider vinegar. My favorite BBQ place (Tommy Guns) closed its south street location, breaking my heart. I went in there with my mom when I first decided to stop eating gluten, and the guy working there went through a whole list of things making sure their food was safe. It is. Now I have nowhere to go to eat BBQ, so I've been making it. I didn't find a satisfactory recipe in either of the newer Joy of Cooking's that I have, so I modified a recipe in the old version I took from my mother.

1 onion, diced in 1 T butter or, if you're lucky enough to have a container of duck or goose fat in your fridge, use that.
When the onion is soft, add
1/2 c stock
2 T cider vinegar
1 T Worcestershire sauce, if you have any that's GF
juice of half a lemon, or a whole lemon, whichever you want
3 or 4 T brown sugar
a big squirt of the Chinese hot sauce that comes in a squeezy bottle, if you look at Chinese groc stores you can find the kind that doesn't have vinegar
big pinch of salt and pepper
about 2 tsp of mustard, French's mustards are gluten free
a dollop of molasses, or honey
a splash of GF soy sauce (again, the Asian grocery stores have soy sauce made without wheat, or san-j wheat free tamari)
then an assortment of spices, I use chili and paprika and smoked Hungarian paprika and sometimes a little ginger
Cook everything together about 20 minutes to 45, tasting as you go. It should thicken up a little and have a good spicy kick.

GF biscotti
1 3/4 c rice flour
1/3 c tapioca flour
1 T potato starch
1/4 tsp xantham gum
2 T ground almonds/almond flour (optional)
1 c brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 t salt
zest of 1 lemon or orange
whisk dry ingredients together.
Beat 3 eggs with 1 tsp vanilla, then add to the dry ingredients. Add nuts or chocolate chips or pieces of crystallized ginger. Lump batter into a loaf shape (or two) on a cookie sheet, or alternately line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper and spread the batter in there. Bake 25 mins at 350 degrees. Cool 5 mins, slice into 1/2" wide slices, then bake again for another 40-50 mins, flipping halfway through. If you want, melt some white or semisweet chocolate and dip the finished cookies, then lay out to cool.
I like to switch this recipe up, adding cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, anise, etc to make them interesting. These are so good dipped in coffee.

That's about all I have the patience for right now. Buy the new Joy and make the cornmeal pancake recipe. That's what I'm going to make now for breakfast. Maybe.

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