Monday, September 10, 2007

Bone Broth

(Note: If you are limiting excitotoxins in your diet, this is not a safe recipe as cooking meat and bones for long periods of time tends to release/create excitotoxins.)

Bone broth is really easy to make. All you need is some bones, a big pot, and some water. I like to cut the meat off the bones and save up my bones in a bag in the freezer until I have enough to make broth. I usually use about a quart of bones, but the amount doesn't matter.

Put the bones in the pot and add enough water to cover the bones by at least an inch or two. Add a tablespoon or two of any edible acid--I usually use lemon juice, but a lot of people like to use apple cider vinegar. This can be left out if desired, but the acid helps to draw the minerals out of the bones.

Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for a very long time. I usually cook mine for 24 hours or so. Replenish the water as needed to keep the bones covered. I usually leave a lid on for most of the cooking and then take it off at the end to condense the broth. Cook the broth until the bones start to get soft and crumbly--the idea is to get as many minerals as possible out of the bones. You can add spices, vegetables and/or salt during the last part of cooking if desired.

If desired, remove the bones and simmer, uncovered, for several more hours to condense the broth to just a few inches in the bottom of the pan (usually half the original volume or less). This will make it concentrated enough to freeze in ice cube trays to use like bullion in recipes.

You can use bone broth as the base for a soup, add it to casseroles or other dishes, drink it plain, or use it however you wish. It's chock-full of calcium and other important minerals.

Monday, August 27, 2007

So-Simple Oven-Fried Chicken

Here's our standby baked chicken method (I almost hesitate to call it a recipe because it's so simple). This amount of coating mixture will cover 10 to 16 thighs or 5-7 lbs. Just double or halve the amounts as needed for the quantity of chicken you're baking.

This is really easy--just pop it in the oven and ignore it for about an hour. It's pretty forgiving if you leave it in the oven, too, as long as you leave the skins on the chicken.

You can use the same recipe for boneless skinless chicken, but you'll need to reduce the baking time and watch carefully to make sure it's not getting too dry.

  • Raw (thawed) bone-in chicken pieces with the skin on.

  • 1/2 cup flour, any kind (I've used rice, whole wheat, or a combination of various alternative flours)

  • 1 teaspoon RealSalt Organic Season Salt or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of your favorite seasoning mix.

  • One or more large baking dish(es)

Preheat oven to 425° F.

Mix together flour with salt. Put flour mixture in a shallow dish wide enough to roll a piece of chicken. This should be enough for 10-16 pieces of chicken, or 5 to 7 lbs.

Take raw (thawed) chicken pieces (I use thighs) and rinse with cool water if desired. Let any excess water drip off and roll the chicken pieces in the flour mixture to coat.

Lay the pieces into a baking dish. (Use a rack or a broiler pan if you want to minimize fat content, but I usually just use a plain glass baking dish). Bake at 425° F for 40-60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 180° F.

You might want to cut the meat off the bones and save the bones in the freezer to make bone broth later. I'll be posting a recipe for bone broth soon!

Chicken cooked this way is good chilled, or can be frozen and reheated. I usually bake up a huge batch and freeze some for later.

Monday, August 20, 2007

French Onion Steak

Take some cube steak, or any other meat requiring long, slow, moist cooking. Put it into a baking dish. Add enough French onion soup to almost cover the meat, or about a cup of soup plus enough water to cover it. Put a lid on the dish or cover it with aluminum foil. Bake at 350(F) for about one hour or until tender.

Serve over rice, noodles, potatoes, squash or a stir-fry.

Don't be intimidated by the French Onion soup . . . all you need is an onion and some beef broth, and it can be made in about the time it takes to thaw steaks in the microwave. Or just throw onions, beef broth and a bit of salt in the pan with the meat. It won't taste quite as good, but it will work.

I used one package of French Onion soup that I'd made previously and frozen in serving-sized portions. I just laid the two big steaks out in a big glass baking dish, dumped in the thawed soup and some water, covered it and stuck it in the oven. So simple, but delicious!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rye Pancakes

This recipe is low in sugars, which means that it has no added sugars and uses selected ingredients that are very low in fructose, sucrose and lactose. This is helpful if you are sugar-intolerant or on a yeast-restricting diet. Rye is lower in fructose/fructan content than wheat. If you are dairy allergic, just substitute non-dairy options (vegetable oil or lard, rice milk or water) for the dairy ingredients.

Rye Pancakes

Beat in a medium bowl:

1 egg
3/4 cup rice milk or other liquid (I use Rice Dream Original Unenriched)
1/4 cup active live yogurt (I used homemade yogurt made with organic pasture-fed whole milk, cultured for almost 24 hours. Such a long culturing time makes for lower lactose and higher probiotic content.)
2 Tablespoons melted butter, ghee, lard or oil.

Mix together dry ingredients:

1 cup rye flour (I use organic whole-grain flour)
1/4 tsp unrefined sea salt
1 Tablespoon safe baking powder [If you can't use baking powder, try 1 to 1 and 1/2 tsp baking soda]

Preheat the frying pan over medium-low heat (I set mine slightly under 5 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being hottest).

Whisk the dry ingredients into the egg mixture and beat until smooth, but don't overmix. The mixture may look slightly thick and sticky. Try making a test pancake, and then if needed add more liquid to get it to your desired thickness.

I like to use a small ladle to pour pancake batter on the griddle. Quickly spoon approximately 3-4 inch circles of batter into your non-stick or oiled frying pan. Cook on one side until bubbles in the center pop and do not refill. The bottoms should be light to medium brown at this point. Flip over and cook until the pancakes are medium-brown on the other side and solid in the middle.

Eat plain or serve with your favorite topping.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Soaked Oat Sourdough Pancakes

At least 6 hours before serving, or the night before, rinse 2 cups rolled oats and cover generously with water (I filled my measuring cup to a total volume of about 4 cups). Add a splash of lemon juice--a teaspoon to a tablespoon. Let soak. Refresh your sourdough starter by adding equal parts (by weight) of flour and water to make at least 2 cups total. I had about a cup of starter, and added 3/4 cup flour and a little over 1/2 cup of water to mine the night before.

According to Nourishing Traditions, soaking and culturing the grains denatures the antinutrient phytates in the grains and makes them more digestible.

You can leave out the honey if desired. I serve pancakes with no topping, so I usually add a bit of sweetener to the batter. I figure that 1/3 cup honey spread out over a few dozen pancakes will be less sugar than if we put maple syrup or honey on each pancake individually. :)

When ready to make the pancakes, drain and rinse the oats and put them into a large mixing bowl. Add and beat well:
1 and 1/2 cups sourdough starter
1/3 cup vegetable oil or melted butter/lard
1/3 cup honey (optional)
4 eggs

In a small dish, mix together:
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

While beating oat mixture, sprinkle baking soda over batter to mix in.

Fry over medium-low heat until bubbles on the surface pop but do not refill. Flip pancake and cook to desired level of brownness. Serve as is or top with yogurt, preserves, or butter and maple syrup.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mild Masoor Dal (Red Lentils)

masoor dal

Dal, or dahl, has any number of variations. This version is made with the lovely, mild and quick-cooking red lentils.

The flavors are mild enough for my family's blandness-loving palate, although I would have liked it a bit more spicy myself. If you like more spicy foods, try doubling the cumin, turmeric and/or mustard. You could also add a clove of garlic and a sauted onion, or your favorite vegetable(s).

If you are allergic to a spice, just leave it out or substitute something you like. Any grain can be used instead of rice, or you could just serve the dahl as a sauce over lettuce, tofu or meat. Serving a legume with a grain, such as rice, makes a complete protein.

Mild Masoor Dal

Makes 4-6 servings.

Soak 1 cup of red lentils (hulled and split), or masoor dal, overnight in about 4 cups of water and the juice of half a lemon (about a tablespoon) or a splash of vinegar. If you will be serving the dal over rice, soak the rice in water as well (I soaked 2 cups of rinsed brown rice in 4 cups of water for almost 24 hours). This step is optional, but disables the antinutrient phytic acid in the grains, making them more digestible.

Drain and rinse the soaked lentils, combine with 3 and 1/2 cups of water (4 cups water if you didn't soak them), and bring to a boil.

Turn the pot down to a simmer over medium-low heat and add:

1/2 tsp ground cumin seed
1 tsp crushed coriander seed
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp powdered mustard
1/2 tsp salt (wait to add salt until the last few minutes of cooking)

Cook for about 30 to 45 minutes or until lentils are tender. Serve on flatbread or over cooked rice. I started the dal cooking and then put my soaked rice into the rice cooker, and they both got done about the same time.

This dal is very good served over cooked rice. I cooked 2 cups of soaked brown rice with 4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt.

To serve as in the photo, start with a bed of leaf lettuce. I used one large leaf with more salad on the side, but a thicker layer of lettuce ripped into bite-sized chunks might work better under the dal. Put a good-sized portion of rice on top. Ladle a spoonful of lentil mixture over the rice and garnish each plate with chopped green onions or chives.

If you can tolerate dairy products, you might want to try making the dal more spicy and adding a spoonful of sour cream or plain yogurt under the green onions.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Chocolate Fudge Cereal Treats (or No-Bake Cookies)

Grease an 8 x 8 pan or a cookie sheet, or lay out waxed paper on paper bags. Get out candy thermometer.

Measure out 4 cups of puffed grain or cereal (I used puffed rice).

Combine in a heavy saucepan:

1/3 cup oil (I used safflower)
2/3 cup honey
4 Tbs (1/8 cup) sifted unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's baking cocoa)
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup rice milk (I use Rice Dream Original Unenriched)
2 teaspoons calcium/magnesium powder (optional)

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until candy thermometer registers 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove pan from heat and stir in cereal until well coated.

Pour into greased pan for bars, or quickly drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or greased cookie sheet for cookies. Allow to cool and enjoy!

If you leave the cereal out, this might make a good hot fudge topping.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cumin-Sausage Lentil Soup

Combine in large pot, dutch oven or slow-cooker (crock pot):

2 cups uncooked dried lentils, rinsed well
1 cup uncooked brown rice, rinsed well
8 cups water
1/2 to 1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, sliced
1/4 teaspoon cumin

Stir ingredients together. (Note: When cooking dried beans, do not add salt, sugar, or an acid at the beginning of cooking, as these can keep them from getting tender.)

If cooking in slow-cooker, put on the lid and turn on the crockpot. I put this soup together in the afternoon and cooked it on low for 2-3 hours and then on high for a couple more hours, and it was getting quite soft and mushy by the time we ate it. If you are making it in the morning, I would think cooking on low all day should be fine.

If cooking on the stovetop, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Simmer about 1 hour.

In the last few minutes of cooking (or during the last 1/2 to 1 hour, if using a crockpot), add:

2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 lb. cooked sausage, optional (I buy a safe uncured sausage made with just meat and fresh herbs at a local butcher shop [Butcher Boys' ground Italian or Breakfast sausage], or there are a few safe brands of chicken sausage available commercially)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp powdered ginger (optional)
1/8 tsp more cumin (optional--leave out for a milder flavor)
2-4 tablespoons snipped fresh chives (optional--you can stir this in just before serving or use it as a garnish on top of soup after dishing into bowls if desired)

When the lentils and rice are tender and all ingredients are heated thoroughly, the soup is done. The lentils and rice make a complete protein, so the sausage is completely optional--it's added more for flavor. You can leave out the meat for a vegan dish.

This soup is wonderful served with a salad of mixed greens (I used red and green leaf lettuce and baby spinach)

Other flavors that might be good in this soup would be a sprinking of black pepper, some basil and coriander or anise seed, or a touch of honey.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Colored Birthday Cake

Oil two 8 x 8 inch cake pans or one larger rectangular pan (I think I used a 9 x 13 pan).

Combine and set aside:
1/4 cup plus 1 and 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
3/4 cup boiling water

Sift together:
3 cups flour (cake flour would be best, but I used King Arthur All-Purpose Unbleached flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder (I used Hain Featherweight, which is made with potato starch)
1 tsp salt (RealSalt)
1 packet Kosher for Passover gelatin dessert mix (such as Ko-Jel or Kedem)--I used raspberry flavor Kedem (Note: gelatin is not an excititoxin-safe ingredient)

Cream together:
3/4 cup soft butter (you could substitute oil--I would probably reduce to 1/2 cup next time if subbing oil)
2 cups sugar (C & H/Domino's is pure cane sugar)

Blend into sugar mixture:
3/4 cup rice milk (Rice Dream Original Unenriched)
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional--I used more like 1 tsp homemade vanilla that was essentially a vanilla bean cut up and simmered in water)
Cooled flaxseed mixture

Stir together wet and dry ingredients and blend well, then pour batter into pan and smooth flat.

Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick comes out clean (about 50 minutes for a 9 x 13 pan).

Top with berries or whatever you like to put on cake. This time I made a Kosher For Passover vanilla pudding mix with half the amount of rice milk called for, added some K for P marshmallows while stirring over low heat, and then added pureed strawberries. It made a thin mixture that we spooned over each piece of cake and topped with a K for P marshmallow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Crispy Waffles

waffle cinderella waffle

These waffles are a variation on a recipe that came with the Disney Princess waffle iron we just bought (yes, it imprints Cinderella's carriage on every waffle, much to the delight of my children). The added starch supposedly makes the waffles more crisp. They are nice and sturdy if you like to put lots of toppings on your waffles.

Mix together and set aside:
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup flaxseed meal

Preheat waffle iron.

Sift together:
1 and 1/3 cup flour (I have tested this recipe with King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour and brown rice flour)
1/3 cup potato starch (I used Manischewitz)
1 Tablespoon teff flour (optional, or you can substitute another type of flour for crunch and flavor--the original recipe called for cornmeal)
2 teaspoons baking powder (I used Hain Featherweight, which is corn-free)
3/4 teaspoon salt

To flax seed mixture, add:
1/3 cup oil
3 tablespoons honey or agave nectar (optional)
3/4 cup rice milk or other dairy substitute (Rice Dream Original unenriched is corn-free)

Stir liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Lightly grease waffle iron with oil or cooking spray. Eggless waffles tend to stick more easily than those containing eggs, so you may or may not need to grease the griddle before every waffle. You will most likely need to grease for every waffle if you use gluten-free flour.

Spoon in enough batter to cover the pattern on the bottom of the iron, close iron, and bake until the indicator on your iron says it's done. Remove waffle and cool on a rack for greater crispiness.
We eat the whole-wheat version of these waffles plain, with nothing on them. If you wish to put something sugary on top, like syrup, you may want to leave out the honey or decrease to 1 tablespoon. The gluten-free version is less moist and more crispy.

You can turn waffles into a main dish by leaving out the honey and serving a meat sauce (think biscuits and gravy) or stew over them. Or they make a great dessert with fruit on top.

Makes about 3-4 large waffles. Whole-grain flour makes these quite substantial and filling.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

This started out as a brownie recipe, but I think it has more of a cake consistency. It's moist and chocolatey--yum! Nuts could be stirred in before baking if desired.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and oil a rectangular pan.

Mix together and set aside:
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
3/4 cup boiling water

Sift together until blended:
2 cups whole grain flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat, but any flour should work. I think even a gluten-free flour should work with this recipe, although it may require longer baking. If you test the recipe that way, please let me know how it turns out.)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Hershey's)

In blender, combine and blend until smooth:
1/2 cup sourdough starter, applesauce, or yogurt (chocolate, vanilla or plain) [optional--cake will be denser if left out]
1/3 cup oil
1 cup honey
2 medium peeled/sliced zucchini (about 2 cups worth after processing)

To dry ingredients, add zucchini mixture and flaxseed mixture. Stir just until blended and pour into oiled pan.

If desired, sprinkle batter with 3/4 cup chocolate chips. I used Enjoy Life chocolate chips and pressed them in to the batter a bit.

Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. I used a pan smaller than a traditional cake pan, so ended up baking it for about an hour because it made the batter deeper.

(Note: I recently made this cake and forgot to put in any sourdough starter, fruit or yogurt. It was fine without the acid--a little denser, more brownie-like. I mixed about a cup of Enjoy Life choc. chips before pouring the batter into the pan, and it was good.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gingered Chicken Fruit Salad

My mom makes a fabulous chicken fruit salad that I have fond childhood memories of eating. Unfortunately, it contains apples, grapes, mandarin oranges, celery, almond slivers, cool whip and mayonnaise. Most of which, of course, are ingredients we can't have.

So this week I tried to develop my own version. I thought it turned out well, but DH and the kids weren't crazy about it. Since they generally don't like fruit salad anyway, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. I enjoyed it.

This recipe would be easy to change for various dietary restrictions. Freely substitute any fruit you can have. To make it gluten-free, use rice or seaweed noodles. To make it vegan, you could use cooked beans or tofu instead of the meat. Use your imagination!

Anyway, here's what I put in:

8 to 12 oz. package of pasta, cooked al dente (slightly firm)--I used kamut spirals
2+ cups each of red and green grapes, halved (for a total of between 4 and 5 cups)
1/2 cup diced celery
1 raw zucchini, peeled and diced
2 firm pears (a tad green is fine)
About 5 cups cooked cubed chicken
Other fruit to your taste--I really would have liked to add mandarin oranges or a couple of sliced tangerines or oranges. Since I didn't have any oranges or pineapple, I added a peach and a kiwi fruit.

For the sauce/glaze, mix together:

3 tablespoons Ginger Spread (Trader Joe's makes one that's just ginger and cane sugar)
4-6 tablespoons lemon juice (equivalent to the juice of 2-3 lemons)
2 tablespoons agave nectar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt (you may want to omit or reduce the salt if your chicken was presalted)

Warm the glaze mixture slightly until it stirs together well. Then stir in:

1 can of cranberry sauce (I used whole-berry Kosher for Passover cranberry sauce; Trader Joe's cranberry sauce also seems to be corn-free)

The lemon-ginger mixture would probably make a great glaze all by itself. I got a bit carried away and added cranberry sauce too.

Drizzle the sauce over the salad and stir to coat. Taste and add more salt, lemon juice or sweetener if needed. Chill salad before serving if desired.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Basic Sourdough Baking

Making bread from sourdough starter is so easy. I just take a cup or so of the (room temperature) starter and mix it with a cup each of flour and warm water. (Don't forget to feed your starter also--100 grams each of flour and water makes about a cup of starter.)

I let that double; it's called the sponge. Then I mix a teaspoon or two of salt into another cup of flour (the general rule is about 2 teaspoons of salt to a regular-sized loaf of bread), mix that into the sponge, and add more flour until it's a bread dough consistency. Add oil, herbs or sugar if desired--I like to add about 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup each of oil and honey.

You don't want the dough to be too stiff, but you can knead quite a lot of flour into it . . . I probably usually end up working a total of about 3 cups of flour into the sponge, including the cup I mixed with salt. The dough should still be just slightly sticky after kneading, but firm enough to hold its shape. If you get it too stiff, just add a little warm water or oil.

Next, flour and/or grease your bread pan (I use a baking stone, which I just flour) and put the dough on it. If you're using a stone, shape the loaf taller than it is wide because it spreads out to the sides as it rises. Sometimes I lightly slash the top of the loaf to allow it to rise without "exploding" unevenly.

Cover the dough with plastic wrap or something and let it rise till double, then bake it. I usually put the breadstone with the loaf in the cold oven, then turn the oven on to 350 degrees F and let it bake for 40-60 minutes or until it looks done.

I've been surprised at how un-sour it tastes; it's not nearly as sour as commercial sourdough. The longer it proofs the more sour it will be, and being refrigerated will give it a sharper flavor. If you find it too sour, you can always add a little sweetener or a teaspoon of baking soda to cut the acidity.

Depending on what you add to it, you can make many different types of bread, rolls, even cinnamon rolls. You can also use the sponge or fresh sourdough starter as the acid in quick breads, with no extra rising time. Mixed with baking soda it works just like baking powder. The general rule is no more than a teaspoon of leavening per cup of flour, but I usually use 1 to 2 teaspoons per batch of bread or muffins. I'll be posting a sourdough muffin recipe on Restricted Gourmet soon.

Sourdough Starter

I've found sourdough very easy to use, and it's completely free of most allergens other than grain and wild yeasts. I just found instructions online somewhere, probably here. This site has some photos of what starter looks like as it grows.

It's supposedly a myth that you are catching yeasts from the air. The organisms are actually in the flour itself, so the fresher and better quality your flour is the better it will work. Stoneground whole rye flour is supposed to be the best; you can always convert it to whole wheat or whatever you like once you get the starter established, just by feeding it with a different grain.

You'll want to cover it loosely to keep dust and bugs out, but it does need to be able to breathe a bit. I use a crockery with a loose-fitting lid or just cover a glass bowl or measuring cup loosely with plastic wrap. Make sure you have it in a large enough container that it can double (or, at the beginning, maybe even quadruple) without overflowing.

Basically I mixed equal parts (by weight, not by volume) whole stoneground rye flour with filtered water and kept that at warm room temp (75-85 F or 24-29 C) for several days. I fed it every 12 hours or so until it was well-established.

It's easiest to measure by weight if you have a scale, but if not use about 1/4 cup of water and 3/8 cup of flour to start out with. Water weighs more than flour does, so you'll have about 1 and 1/2 parts flour to 1 part water by volume.

You can start out with a small amount and double the volume each time, but eventually you want to start taking out half each time you feed it, or it will take over the house. I just added another 1/4 cup water and 3/8 cup flour the first time I fed it, and then I'd take out half and add 1/4 cup water and 3/8 cup flour each time I fed it.

Now I try to keep about 2 cups of starter at any given time. Most recipes start out with a cup of starter, so you're taking out half each time you use it if you have two cups.

Mine started out with lots of bubbles but a very bad smell. That's from the wrong kind of bacteria growing in it, but don't give up on it. As the correct yeasts proliferate, they create an acid that kills the other bacteria. It may seem to have died for a day or two when this change in dominant bacteria is taking place, but it probably hasn't.

You just keep feeding it (but don't use it yet) until it smells more yeasty. That should happen in about 3 days . . . if it hasn't happened by a week or so I'd probably throw it out and start over. If it grows mold, you'll need to start over also.

It's ready to use when it smells right and it doubles in size within 12 hours. Mine usually doubles in 4-6 hours and then collapses by 12 hours, so you need to kind of watch it to see what yours does.

Now I just feed it once a day, or you can feed it and put it in the refrigerator and then it keeps about a week between feedings.

Each time you feed the starter, allow it to get to room temperature. It will probably start to bubble. I keep about two cups of starter going at a time. When I feed it, I usually take out one cup of starter and add about a cup or 200 grams each of water and whole wheat flour to that cup to make the sponge for my loaf of bread.

To the remaining cup of starter, I add 100 grams each of flour and water (about 1/2 cup of water and 3/4 cup of flour, or a little less), which will bring the amount back up to about 2 cups. Let it sit at room temperature until it starts to bubble. You can then put it back in the refrigerator if desired.

If you keep the starter at room temperature it should be fed at least once a day. If you continue feeding it every 12 hours it will have a milder flavor, but it generates a lot of starter to use up. Most people probably aren't baking twice a day every day. :)

I've let my starter go 2 days or more at room temperature without killing it, but it seems to stay healthiest if fed every day. If at any time it grows mold, it should be thrown away.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sourdough Brown Sugar Drop Cookies

These cookies taste very "normal." The recipe uses sourdough starter as the acid, but nobody would ever guess they're sourdough. You can leave the dough to ferment at room temperature for a couple of hours without hurting it. Fermentation supposedly enhances the digestibility of gluten-containing grains. Use "fresh" sourdough starter that has been fed within the last 12 hours or so, or part of your sponge.

These cookies aren't particularly healthy, so they are for special occasions, but they are whole-grain and the sugar is not highly refined. I add a tablespoon of calcium powder so I can pretend they're healthy. :) They are also free of corn, soy, eggs, milk/dairy, oats and nuts. If you use vegetable gelatin they can be vegan.

The dough tastes just like cookie dough should. We like to eat it raw since it contains no eggs. You could add a teaspoon of corn-free vanilla with the wet ingredients if desired.

Sourdough Brown Sugar Drop Cookies

Mix 1 tablespoon plain unflavored gelatin with 3 tablespoons cold water. Leave it for a couple of minutes to soften, then stir in 1/4 cup boiling water to dissolve. I use beef gelatin, but other types should work as well. If you use a vegetable gelatin, you may have to adjust amount/temperature of the water.

Mix or sift together:
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) (if you like denser, less cakelike cookies, try reducing to 1 teaspoon and adding a pinch more salt)
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1 tablespoon calcium/magnesium powder (optional)

In a separate container, blend until smooth:
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use safflower oil)
2 cups brown sugar (C&H/Domino's is a pure cane sugar that's corn-free and naturally brown)
Gelatin mixture

Stir into sugar mixture:
1 cup sourdough starter

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until blended.

If desired, stir in:
1 cup baking chips, raisins, or other mix-in of your choice. (An entire package of Enjoy Life Chocolate chips is perfect in this recipe--since they are mini chips, they seem to need more to taste right
You can also add rolled or puffed grains (quinoa, rolled oats, etc) if you like. I add a cup or two depending on the grain and the consistency of the dough.

(Depending on the type of flour you use and the consistency of your sourdough starter, you may need to add an extra 1/4 cup or so of flour or a few tablespoons of water to get the dough to good drop-cookie texture. If the texture is wrong, try letting the dough rest for 5 minutes before you make adjustments.)

Drop by rounded teaspoons onto non-stick baking dish. Bake at 375 F for 12 minutes or until solid and lightly browned. Remove from pan immediately for slightly chewy, moist cookies.

(I have in a pinch used an oiled glass baking dish and longer cooking time with some success.)

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Flourless Potato Cookies

These cookies are grain-free and vegan. They are made almost completely with potatoes and some sweetener. They're quite sweet and rich-tasting, especially with chocolate or white chocolate baking chips in them. My husband thinks the texture is like French Fries, although the taste is different.

The brands in parenthesis are what I used when developing this recipe. Since different varieties of potato flour perform differently in baking, you may need to experiment with leaving out the water or adding more liquid if you use other brands of ingredients.

To make these cookies Kosher for Passover, use all K for P ingredients. If you are sulfite-sensitive, this would not be a good recipe to try since potato chips, starch and flour are all likely to contain sulfites.

2/3 cup potato flour (Bob's Red Mill)
1/3 cup potato starch (Manischewitz Kosher for Passover)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (Featherweight corn-free gluten-free, or see this post for baking powder substitutes)

1/2 cup honey (Fred Meyer pure clover honey)
1/2 cup brown sugar (C & H pure cane sugar)
1/3 cup oil (Trader Joe's grapeseed oil)
2 tablespoons water

1 cup coarsely crushed potato chips (Manischewitz Kosher for Passover Potato Stix)
(optional) 1/2 cup of your favorite mix-in (I used a mixture of Lieber's decorating chips [white chocolate] and Oppenheimer chocolate chips, both Kosher for Passover)
(optional) 1 teaspoon of your favorite flavoring (safe vanilla, ground cinnamon, etc.)

Sift together potato flour, starch, and baking powder. If adding a dry spice, add it with the potato flour.

In a separate container, blend oil, sugar, water and honey. If you're using a liquid flavoring, add it with the liquid ingredients. The oil may not blend into the other ingredients well, and that's okay.

Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and blend as well as you can with a spoon. If you have trouble stirring, knead the misture with your hands until smooth.

Stir or knead in the potato chips and the mix-in. Drop by tablespoons onto a cookie sheet. Do not flatten the tops of these cookies; the rounder they are the better the texture will be.

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 8 minutes. They will be golden-brown around the edges and will still be a bit soft and gooey when you remove them from the pan, but stiffen up as they cool.

Best served warm.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Creamless Cream of Cauliflower Soup

This recipe is adapted from Feast Without Yeast by Bruce Semon.

I usually make it with just cauliflower and potatoes, but sometimes I'll add an onion or some red bell pepper. The original recipe called for adding an optional mild poblano pepper. If you can't tolerate nightshades, try substituting one or two large yucca (cassava) roots for the potatoes.

1 large head of cauliflower
About 5 medium red potatoes
1 tablespoon additive-free salt (kosher salt or unrefined sea salt)
Enough water to cover
Optional add-ins of your choice (onions, leeks, peppers, herbs and spices, ham or other meat, dill, etc.)

Wash cauliflower and cut it into about 1" or smaller pieces. If you want to add something like an onion, cut it up and cook it with or just before the cauliflower.

In a large soup pot, saute the cauliflower over medium-low heat with a tablespoon or two of oil. Cook the cauliflower, stirring frequently, until tender.

Meanwhile, wash and peel potatoes and cut into small cubes. When the cauliflower is tender, add the potatoes and enough water to cover the vegetables by an inch or two. I used 10 cups of water last time I made the soup. Stir in the tablespoon of salt, bring to a boil and then simmer until the potatoes are tender.

Allow the soup to cool enough to safely work with, then use a blender or immersable handheld blender to puree the soup until there are no lumps in it. Add more water if desired to make it as thick or as thin as you like. It will thicken a bit as it cools.

Add black pepper, dill, or whatever seasonings you like and reheat to serve. If you want to put cooked meat (or tofu for a vegan version) in your soup, add it at this point too. I haven't tried it, but I imagine a splash of cream or a topping of cheese would be delicious if you can tolerate dairy.

This soup refrigerates well and is even better the next day.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

French Onion Soup

This recipe is really easy, and so very delicious. It's a great way to use the leftover broth from making Crock Pot Roast.

You need:

2-4 onions
4-8 cups beef broth or soup stock
Salt and pepper to taste

I use about 1 part onions to 2 parts beef broth, but the proportions are flexible. You want enough onions to make a soup with some body, and enough broth to cover the onions by an inch or more.

Slice or coarsely chop the onions. Cook them over medium-low heat with the oil in the bottom of a soup pot, stirring frequently until tender. Add beef broth or soup stock, bring to a boil, and then simmer until the flavors are blended and the onions are soft and translucent. Add salt and pepper to taste if desired. Serve and enjoy!

I usually add about 1 tsp salt and 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper, but if the broth was salty you may not need to add more salt.

Crock Pot Roast

This recipe is so quick and easy to put together in the crock pot, and then you can let it cook all day until the meat is tender and falling apart.

You can cook other types of meat the same way, but I usually use beef. The crock pot is a particularly good way to cook grassfed beef, as it stays more juicy and tender when cooked longer at a lower temperature.

It's great to eat as a roast, or you can shred it for other recipes or use it as lunchmeat in sandwiches. Sometimes I'll even put the roast in the crock pot the night before and then it's ready for sandwiches by lunch time.

When cooking a roast this way, the water becomes a rich broth in the slow cooker with the meat. You can use the broth as au jus for French Dip sandwiches, thicken it for gravy, or use it as soup stock. It's great to boil down for bullion cubes, too--just simmer it in an open pot until it's about half to a quarter of the original volume, then freeze in ice cube trays. You may wish to strain the broth to get out the rosemary leaves, and be sure to remove the tough bay leaf.

I vary the seasonings and sometimes add vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and celery. Some people like to add a tablespoon or two of an acid such as apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or red wine. Many cookbooks recommend that you brown the roast before slow-cooking it to lock in the juices and give a nice color and flavor, but I never do. I just plop the raw roast in the crock pot, throw in some spices and water (I rarely measure), and turn it on.

Easy Crock Pot Roast

Place in the crock pot:

1 beef roast (any size that will fill your crock pot at least halfway will do, but I usually use about a 4 lb. roast)

Sprinkle over and around the roast:

2 or 3 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp. rosemary
1 tsp. thyme
1 bay leaf (optional)
Salt to taste (I usually put in somewhere between a teaspoon and a tablespoon, I would guess)
1/2 to 1 medium onion (optional)

Add enough water or beef broth to just cover the roast. If you're using a small roast, use enough water to fill your crock pot at least 2/3 full, as it won't cook evenly otherwise.

Turn the crock pot on low and cook for about 8 to 12 hours.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Matzo Cookies

Here's a Kosher Pareve cookie recipe I worked up using some of the corn/soy/dairy-free Kosher for Passover products available this time of year. I modified my mom's famous chewy oatmeal cookie recipe, using crushed matzo (also spelled matza, matzoh, or matzah, or in Hebrew מַצָּה maṣṣā) crackers instead of oats.

If you need a Kosher for Passover recipe, substitute matzo meal for the flour and K for P sugar or honey for the brown sugar. You may need to add a tablespoon or more extra flour if using a liquid sweetener, and the texture won't be the same.

I also tried the recipe with 2 tablespoons less margarine (6 tablespoons total) and 1/2 cup brown sugar with 1/4 cup honey. That worked fine although the texture and flavor weren't quite as good.

Matzo Cookies

1/2 cup Kosher for Passover Pareve margarine (I used Mother's brand regular salted margarine)
3/4 cup brown sugar (C & H is corn-free, pure cane sugar)
1 egg

1 cup flour (I used King Arthur White Whole Wheat)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. additive-free salt (kosher salt or unrefined sea salt)

2 large matzo crackers, coarsely crushed (makes almost 1 cup of crumbs)

1/2 to 1 cup of your favorite cookie mix-in (optional)
1/2 tsp. flavoring of your choice (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Crush the Matzos. I broke mine in quarters and put them in a sandwich bag, then pounded the bag with a blunt object (the bottom of my sea salt canister) to crush them.

Cream together margarine and sugar. Add egg and mix well. If you wish to add a safe vanilla or another liquid flavoring, stir this into the wet ingredients with the egg.

In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. If you are adding cinnamon or another dry flavoring, add it to the dry mixture.

Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture and stir just until blended. Mix in the matzo crumbs. If desired, stir in your favorite cookie mix-in (i.e. raisins, baking chips, candy, dried fruit or nuts).

Drop in small spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven while they still look soft and shiny in the center for cookies with a chewy texture; they will continue to cook a bit after you take them out of the oven. I baked mine for just 8 minutes and immediately removed them from the pan to a cooling rack.

Makes about 30 cookies.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Easy homemade shortening substitute

I've found a great solution for a shortening/butter substitute.

Take your favorite vegetable oil and FREEZE it!

It will get thicker and thicker, and eventually solidifies into something about the texture of refrigerated butter. If you work quickly with cold ingredients and utensils, you can cut it in with two knives (a pastry cutter probably wouldn't be strong enough) before it melts. (Note: Liz suggests grating it with a cheese grater, which sounds like an even better idea.)

If you just put it in the freezer for 30 minutes or a few hours, it will just be thicker colder oil, but it still works pretty well if you just quickly and lightly mix it in with a utensil or your fingertips, and avoid overmixing.

I haven't tried a pie crust yet, but it makes lovely flaky biscuits and crackers.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Electrolyte Replacement Drink

Since the electrolyte-replacing formulas commercially available contain corn, having a stomach virus is made even more difficult for those allergic to corn.

When dehydrated, you need to drink something with a good balance of minerals, sugar and salts. Drink in small, frequent sips--not more than a teaspoon or so every few minutes until vomiting subsides.

This is what I made recently when I had a stomach virus with diarrhea and vomiting. It was much easier on the stomach and made me feel better than plain water or diluted fruit juice.

1 cup warm water (boiled and cooled)
1 tablespoon molasses
1 tablespoon orange juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
Small pinch of baking soda (1/16 teaspoon or less)

I used Grandma's molasses, which is corn-free. You can also use sugar if you don't have molasses, but do not use an artificial sugar substitute as this will make matters worse instead of helping. Molasses is high in many minerals and should be better than sugar to replace electrolytes.

Florida's Natural unenriched orange juice is corn-free. The enriched can contain corn derivatives in the added vitamins.

Here are a couple more recipes to choose from:

World Health Organization recipe:

1. Table Salt - 3/4 teaspoon
2. Baking Powder - 1 teaspoon
3. Sugar -4 tablespoons
4. Orange juice - 1 cup
5. Water - 1 quart/liter (4 cups)

Homemade Pedialyte (shared by a member of the Avoiding Corn Delphi forum--thank you!)
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 pint (2 cups) water

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Marinara With a Twist

This recipe is adapted from the "Unstuffed Cabbage" recipe in The Complete Food Allergy Cookbook. It's a bit spicy, but my preschool and kindergarten-aged kids loved it.

For a vegan version, you could add more Italian spices and some cooked (or canned) beans. If you can't tolerate or don't like tomatoes, just leave them out or add a cup of vegetable broth instead.

In a large skillet or wok, cook and stir until browned and broken into pieces:
1 lb. Italian sausage (I buy a safe uncured sausage made with just meat and fresh herbs at a local butcher shop [Butcher Boys' ground Italian or Breakfast sausage], or there are a few safe brands of chicken sausage available commercially)

Add and cook until tender:
1 medium to large onion, diced (I used a yellow onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

If desired, spoon out the extra grease and discard it.

Stir in:
6 cups cabbage in bite-sized chunks (about 1/2 to 3/4 of a cabbage head--the normal round-headed green cabbage works well in this recipe)
4 medium carrots, shredded (2 cups loose or 1 cup packed)
1/2 teaspoon sage (I used about 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh snipped sage)

When the cabbage has shrunk enough to add something else to the pan, add:
1 can of Cento crushed tomatoes (28 oz.)
Salt and pepper to taste (I didn't add either salt or pepper, but the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper)

Cover (I used aluminum foil) and cook for 10 to 20 minutes or until cabbage is just tender, stirring occasionally.

Serve over noodles or cooked grain. We had it with rice noodles, and it was quite tasty.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Honey-Cereal Candy

This is the vegan, corn-free, gluten-free, soy-free version of rice krispies treats. No marshmallows or refined sugars involved.

If you cook the syrup a little longer, it will be more reminiscent of the honey-sesame hard candies with a texture like nut brittle.

You can substitute other kinds of cereal, such as puffed rice, crispy rice cereal, the round O's type of cereal, or a mixture of several kinds. Different cereals will absorb varying amounts of liquid, so start with 3 cups of cereal and add enough so that the caramel is evenly coating all the cereal without collecting pools of liquid.

The cooking time and temperature given gets the caramel to a soft- or medium-ball stage. This yields a soft, slightly chewy texture at room temperature.

For a chewier, stiffer or even crunchy candy, just increase the cooking time until the caramel reaches a higher temperature and the desired stiffness. Drop a small amount of the syrup into cold water to test what it will be like when cooled.


1 cup honey
1/3 cup oil (I used safflower oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 and 1/2 cups puffed millet


Oil an 8 x 8 or 9 x 13 pan.

Cook the honey, salt and oil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Make sure that you use a saucepan large enough to handle the honey mixture boiling up to several times its height--probably at least a 1 to 2 quart pan.

Bring to a boil and cook for approximately 10 minutes, until a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees F. The mixture will thicken and darken in color, and a drop of the syrup will have the texture of chewy caramel when cooled.

Remove caramel from heat and stir in the cereal. Smooth the mixture into the oiled dish and allow to cool slowly to room temperature.

While it's still slightly soft, cut the candy into small squares (2" or so is good, but you'll want to make them bite-sized if you cooked the caramel to a hard ball or hard-crack stage). The recipe as written will stay soft enough to cut at room temperature, but don't try to refrigerate it first and then cut it. :)

If you have leftovers, wrap each piece individually in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze the pieces in a larger bag. The colder the candy gets, the harder it is.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Parsnip Cake

Tender, moist, sweet and delicious!

You've heard of carrot cake, but have you ever thought of trying parsnip cake? It has a sweeter, milder flavor than carrot cake. The parsnip, spices and brown sugar give it a special, almost caramel-like taste. If you don't tell your kids, they'll never guess they're eating their vegetables.

My family dislikes parsnips, so I'm always trying to find ways to disguise them. I baked this cake for company tomorrow. What started out as "just a taste" tonight turned out to be the family devouring half the cake before we enforced a limit.

This cake creates a bit of a crispy crust on top and is good without frosting. If you can tolerate dairy products, some lightly sweetened whipped cream would probably complement the flavors nicely.

If desired it can be eaten warm, straight from the oven.

Parsnip Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix together and set aside, stirring occasionally:
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup boiling water

Oil a 9 x 13-ish cake pan and lightly dust with flour.

Blend together:
2 and 1/2 cups whole grain flour
2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder (I used Featherweight, or see baking powder substitutes here)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon fresh ginger (I put mine through a garlic press instead of dicing it. If you don't have fresh ginger, try 1/4 teaspoon of powdered ginger.)

In a separate container, cream together
1 cup oil (I used rice bran oil)
1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (C & H is pure cane sugar, free of corn)

Add to sugar mixture and blend well:
1/2 cup water
Flax seed mixture

To dry ingredients, add liquid ingredients and
3 cups grated parsnip

Mix it all together, pour into the pan and smooth batter flat. Bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean, approximately 45 minutes.

For the flour, I used 1 and 1/2 cups King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat and 1 cup White Whole Wheat flour; if using gluten-free flour with low binding properties, try 2 cups of a flour such as brown rice or amaranth flour, and 1/2 cup tapioca or sweet rice flour.

If you use a liquid sweetener, you may need to leave out the 1/2 cup of water.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Meaty Spaghetti Squash

This is one of my family's favorite meals--quite a feat since few of us really like (and several truly detest) squash of any kind.

You can cut up the veggies and cook the meat while the squash is baking, or you can do all the cutting, cook the meat and bake the squash ahead of time for a quick combine-and-heat dish that goes in minutes from refrigerator to stove. I like to use my food processor for the grating and dicing. It makes this dish surprisingly simple to put together.

I scrub and peel the carrots and zucchini, but if you use organic unwaxed produce you can leave them unpeeled for more nutrition.

I came up with this recipe by modifying the Savory Spaghetti Squash recipe from Casseroles (from the Eating Better cookbook series) by Sue Gregg. The original recipe calls for tofu marinated in a ginger/lemon juice/soy sauce mixture, along with a few other twists.


1 spaghetti squash
1 lb. italian sausage (I buy a safe uncured sausage made with just meat and fresh herbs at a local butcher shop [Butcher Boys' ground Italian or Breakfast sausage], or there are a few safe brands of chicken sausage available commercially.)
2 medium carrots, grated
1 medium zucchini (use 2 if they're small), grated
2 stalks celery, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wash the outside of the spaghetti squash. Bake the whole uncut squash at 375 degrees until tender--about 1 hour. Turn it occasionally during baking (at least once) to get it to cook evenly. (Alternatively, you can cut it in half, scrape out the seeds, and cook it cut side up with 1/4 cup water in the microwave, loosely covered, for about 7-8 minutes per half (you'll have to do one half at a time). Spaghetti squash can also be boiled whole.)

Allow the squash to cool a bit, then cut it in half and scrape out the seeds. If the squash doesn't seem quite done when you cut it open, just add the strands to the rest of the recipe a little early and cook it a bit more on the stovetop.

Brown the meat in a large frying pan or pot over medium heat, crumbling it as you cook. When the sausage is just barely done, drain all but about 3 or 4 tablespoons of the fat (I never drain the fat, but I should for a less watery dish).

Add all ingredients except the spaghetti squash and saute briefly, until the vegetables start to get tender. Use a fork to scrape the spaghetti squash strands from the shells and add them to the meat mixture.

Stir until everything is blended and heated through, then transfer to a casserole or serving dish and serve hot.

This can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen, then reheated for serving. If you have the meat cooked in advance, reserve 3-4 tablespoons of the fat and saute the vegetables in it briefly first, then add the meat with the squash. Or you can use vegetable oil, but it won't be quite as flavorful.

Some sausages are spicier than others. If the recipe is too spicy for your family, try mixing the sausage with an equal part of unseasoned meat (I use ground beef if I get a particularly spicy-smelling batch of sausage) and using 1 lb. of the milder mixture in the recipe.

Serves 4 very hungry people as a one-dish casserole, or 6-8 moderate eaters with side dishes (a green salad would be a nice compliment to this meal).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Black Raspberry Muffins

The raspberries and black cherry juice make these muffins so flavorful that you don't need any other sweetener, but you can add a tablespoon or two of sweetener if desired. My kids prefer them with 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup of honey added.

I made both whole wheat and gluten-free versions tonight. The gluten-free ones would work best in a mini-muffin tin, but either kind works with no modifications to the recipe other than adjustments to the cooking time.

Mix together and set aside, stirring occasionally:
3 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
1/2 cup very hot water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil the cups of a muffin tin.

In a large bowl, mix together:
1 and 1/2 cups whole grain flour (I used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour for one batch, and 1/2 cup each brown rice, amaranth and buckwheat for the other)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder (I used Hain Featherweight, or see baking powder substitutes here)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Combine in blender:
3/4 cup black cherry juice (Knudsen's Just Juice)
2 Tablespoons oil (I used rice bran oil)
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
Flaxseed mixture

Blend berry mixture until smooth.

Add berry mixture to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. You should have just enough liquid to moisten all of the flour mixture. Add a tablespoon or two more juice if you are still seeing dry flour after it all seems to be mixed up.

Divide batter evenly between the cups of the muffin pan.

Bake until a toothpick comes out almost clean (gluten-free batters will be more gooey in the middle, so if the muffin seems solid and has a nice firm crust it is probably done).

I baked the whole wheat mini-muffins for 18-25 minutes and the gluten-free regular-sized muffins for 30-35 minutes. I think the gluten-free muffins might cook slightly more evenly in the mini tin.

My mini-muffin tin has 24 cups and takes the same amount of batter as a regular-sized 12-cup pan.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Carrot-Orange Mini Muffins

Kai requested a vegetarian recipe using vegetables, so I decided to try making carrot muffins for breakfast this morning. The kids love them.

These muffins are a great way to get children (and adults!) to eat their vegetables. Feel free to substitute other types of flour or sweeteners.

Mix together and set aside, stirring occasionally:
4 Tbsp. flaxseed meal
1/2 cup very hot water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Oil the cups of a mini-muffin pan.

Wash, peel and slice enough carrots to make 1 cup.

Combine in blender:
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons orange juice (I used Florida's Natural)
2 Tablespoons oil (I used rice bran oil)
2 Tablespoons agave nectar or other sweetener (optional: increase orange juice by a tablespoon or two if you decide to leave this out)
1 cup sliced carrots
Flaxseed mixture

Blend until smooth.

In a large bowl, mix together:
1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat Flour)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder (I used Hain Featherweight, or see baking powder substitutes here)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional: You could probably substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ginger if allergic to cinnamon, or just leave the spice out, but I have not tested this)

Add carrot mixture to dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. You should have just enough liquid to moisten all of the flour mixture. Add a tablespoon or two more orange juice if you are still seeing dry flour after it all seems to be mixed up.

Divide batter evenly between the cups of the mini-muffin tin.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

My mini-muffin tin has 24 cups and takes the same amount of batter as a regular-sized 12-cup pan. You could probably bake these muffins in a regular tin and just cook them a little longer.

If you like a stronger orange flavor, try adding a little bit (1/2 to 1 tsp) of grated orange peel (not recommended if allergic to corn, as the outsides of fruits are often treated with corn derivatives).

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cold & Flu Honey Lemon Tea

This tea is soothing for sore throats and helps to break up mucus. Lemon and salt are good detoxifiers, and honey coats and soothes the throat. Raw honey supposedly has antibacterial properties.

The resulting beverage tastes a little like hot gatorade.

Into a 6-ounce cup (standard size coffee mug), add:

1 tablespoon lemon juice or the juice from half a medium lemon.
1/8 teaspoon additive-free sea salt (I like RealSalt)
1 tablespoon raw honey
Enough hot water to fill the mug.

Stir and sip slowly, inhaling the steam.

If desired, you can leave the sweetener out or increase the lemon juice to 2 tablespoons, using a slightly larger mug if desired. This will give it a more tart taste.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Using Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a gluten-free grain with especially high vitamin and protein content, but many people don't use it because they aren't familiar with it. Quinoa grain has a bitter coating called saponin that must be washed off before it is eaten.

The secret to cooking whole quinoa is to wash the quinoa really, really well (rinse until it stops foaming, then a little more). You can also accomplish this by soaking the grain for several hours, changing the water several times during the process.

Toasting the rinsed quinoa is a good way to bring out the nutty flavor before adding the water and cooking it. Heat it over medium-low heat in a frying pan until the kernels are dry and starting to turn golden-brown.

To cook whole quinoa, use 2 parts water or broth to 1 part quinoa and prepare just like rice. Bring it to a boil and then simmer it until the liquid is absorbed.

Quinoa flour does tend to have a bit of a bitter flavor, so I always use something with a strong flavor to offset the bitterness--white sugar won't do it. You need something like brown sugar, molasses or maple syrup. Those types of flavors work well with the quinoa flavor.

If it is excessively bitter, it is probably rancid. Smell it. If the smell is really sour/bitter, like fumes rising up off it, it is rancid.

These alternate flours like quinoa and amaranth get rancid easily, so you need to store them in a tightly-closed container in the refrigerator or freezer. If it is rancid and you bought it recently, you should be able to return/exchange it where you bought it.

Vegan Waffles or Pancakes

Note: I have significantly revised this recipe, and the flavor and texture is much improved. It no longer sticks to my waffle iron, while at the same time being less greasy. I am still working on refining the gluten-free version, but the whole wheat version should give more consistent results now.

Here is a waffle or pancake recipe free of sugars, eggs and dairy products.

Other types of flour will work, too. Try fruit juice instead of the milk for a fun flavor that requires no extra topping. You can substitute any liquid for the rice milk--water, juice, milk or your favorite non-dairy milk substitute. If you prefer a sweeter flavor, add a tablespoon of honey, brown sugar or your favorite sweetener.

Mix together and heat until gelled:
1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
1 cup very hot water

Set aside flax mixture, stirring occasionally.

Preheat waffle iron.

Mix together in a large bowl:
2 cups whole-grain flour (so far I have used spelt and brown rice flour)
4 teaspoons safe baking powder (I used Featherlight [contains potato starch], or see here for baking powder substitutes)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon psyllium seed powder (increase to 1 teaspoon if using a gluten-free flour low in binding properties)

Beat together:
1 and 1/2 cups rice milk
1/4 cup oil (I used expeller-pressed apricot kernel oil)
Flax seed mixture

Quickly stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients just until blended. Let the batter rest for a couple of minutes while the flour absorbs the liquid. If it seems too thick, add more liquid. I find I need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup extra liquid with gluten-free waffles.

Bake in a waffle iron as you would any other waffles. Cook until you are not seeing large quantities of steam rising from the iron, which may be a bit longer than the automatic setting would indicate. Sometimes I need to lightly oil my waffle iron to keep waffles from sticking.

These can be topped with sweet (fruit, applesauce, syrup, etc) or savory (meat or vegetables in gravy or white sauce--a sausage/rice milk gravy would be delicious) flavors, or eaten plain.

To make pancakes, increase liquid to make the batter the desired texture.