Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homemade Flour Mixes ~ Totally Worth It

Since our family went gluten-free on August 1, I have been using pre-packaged GFCF flour mixes: Bob's Red Mill Baking Mix and Bob's Red Mill Biscuit mix instead of homemade GFCF flour mixes. It wasn't until I tried Pamela's Gourmet GF cookies that I realized the unique (metallic ?) taste in BRM Mixes is so unnecessary. I can only surmise that this unique taste comes from the ground beans they use. I looked at the ingredients list on Pamela's GF cookies and noticed there are no bean flours, but rather combinations that include rice flours instead.

I did more research at TACA and was surprised to see that one of the contributors for the flour mix recipes page thinks rice flours (used in Bette Hagman's Feather Light recipe and Pamela's GF cookies) are gritty.

To me, regular flour seems very "light" so I decided to make a combination of Bette Hagman's Feather Light and the recipe the Taca author preferred - GF Flour Mix II. I omit the almond flour simply because it is so expensive.

Today I made my first from scratch recipe using my combo flour mix and it is just leaps and bounds better than Bob's Red Mill mixes, in my opinion. There is no weird taste or aftertaste and I detected no grittiness at all. I remain grateful to Bob's Red Mill mixes for helping me get started on this GFCF journey, and for also giving me that nudge I needed to actually make a flour mix. For, once I tasted Pamela's cookies, there was just no going back.

I must stress the importance of adding xantham gum to your recipes that call for GFCF flour, unless you want a cake that does not rise. I also noticed that cake recipes, instead of calling for 1 teaspoon of baking powder (for example), call for 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder AND 1/2 tsp. of baking soda.

I will edit the recipes I have posted thusfar to include flour mixes.

*** Update: November 20, 2009 ***

I am now using Carol Fenster's Sorghum Blend Flour Mix recipe exclusively for all recipes that call for flour: Carol's Gluten-Free Flour Blends

I use Sorghum Flour Blend (#3) and I omit the 4th ingredient. This blend, minus the 4th ingredient, is featured in the Carol Fenster's 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes cookbook that I purchased in September.

Grandma's Pound Cake

2 1/2 cups pure cane sugar
1 cup Crisco shortening (not melted)
6 eggs
1/2 cup Mimic Creme (a GFCF cream substitute) *
3 cups sifted GFCF flour **
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. xantham gum

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Cream sugar and shortening. Add eggs, one at a time. Add Mimic Creme and beat for 3 minutes. Add remaining dry ingredients in small amounts and mix well, until smooth. Pour into greased and GFCF floured tube or Bundt pan and bake @ 300 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

* Mimic Creme does not whip, but the manufacturers will be releasing a new Product, "HEALTY TOP"™ in the next few months. According to their website, "Healthy Top (tm) will be a whip-able, non-dairy cream based on almonds and cashews, (just like our regular MimicCreme)."

When this product is released, I will test it and modify this recipe accordingly. But basically, the GFCF "whippped cream" will be folded into the batter just prior to pouring the batter into the pan. The amount required will increase to 1 cup (prior to whipping).

** GFCF flour: I use a combination of Bette Hagman's Featherlight and Taca's GF Flour Mix II. I omit the almond flour.

{This is the GFCF version of my Grandma's Pound Cake. I have never seen the original version of this recipe anywhere else. The aroma and flaky crust take me back to her dining room, every time.}

Friday, September 4, 2009

Fabulous Find ~ Tickle Bellies

These are so cute! And there is so much more at Tickle Bellies

"Tickle Bellies is a fast growing stationery company that is becoming a top choice among stationery lovers from all across the United States and beyond. Their whimsical stationery is fun, colorful, affordable and full of happiness."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Snap (green) Beans & New (red) Potatoes

1 28 oz. can cut green beans
1 small smoked ham hock (or large piece of smoked turkey)
3 medium red potatoes, diced but not peeled
2 cups water

Place ham hock (or smoked turkey) in the middle of a large sauce pot. Pour green beans into pot. Add water and a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to almost low (#1 - not "low" on my stove), cover, and cook for 45 minutes. Add diced potatoes and heat to boiling. Reduce heat to almost low, cover and cook 15 minutes longer. Remove lid, and cool for at least 15 minutes. Serves 4-6.

* Save and refrigerate the liquid from this recipe to use in the Southern and GFCF Vegetable Beef Soup recipe. You'll be so glad you did!

{This is THE delicious recipe for those delicious green beans you've seen that have the small red potatoes in them. You can use 5-6 small whole red potatoes if you like, but be sure to add 10 minutes to the final cooking time. The green beans will be even better with the additional cooking time.}

GFCF Pastas

Today I would like to take a minute and share my thoughts about GFCF pastas. I would love it if you would share your thoughts about it, too. I am not sure I have this GFCF "thing" down when it comes to pasta (or bread), to be honest.

First let me say (probably again) that I love, love, love pasta. There is hardly anything better to me than pasta simply cooked in chicken broth, or just cooked pasta tossed with butter and garlic salt. It's like bread - just add butter --> HAPPY.

The first GFCF spaghetti style pasta I tried was made from corn and I used it in a spaghetti carbonara recipe. It did not taste good and it seemed to dissolve in my mouth. Other than the dissolving thing, perhaps this pasta would be better in something like a chili-mac recipe? Corn + Chili = Yummy.

The second pasta I tried was organic brown rice pasta, in elbow macaroni style, with chicken and chicken broth. At first there was a distinct very slight bitter taste but it was gone the next day when we ate more as leftovers.

I tried the organic brown rice in spaghetti style in traditional spaghetti and it was just simply gross. I did forget to toss the spaghetti in (gfcf) margarine and garlic salt before I added it to the sauce. Maybe that is where I went wrong? A nice Italian lady told me organic brown rice pasta is the pasta her family prefers.

Lastly, I tried the rice-potato-soy pasta, spaghetti style, again in traditional spaghetti. I did toss it with gfcf margarine and garlic salt before I added it to the sauce and it was pretty darn good. Not exactly like non-gfcf pasta, but much better than corn or brown rice pasta. I found this pasta at Kroger - the brand is Bionaturae:

I would love to know what you guys think about all the different gfcf pastas and combinations with different foods for different recipes that you have tried.