Monday, November 27, 2006

Oats update, recipe variation post, and more.

For anyone that is interested in knowing how the gluten-free oats consumption is going, I thought it was a good time to provide an update. I have been eating the certified gluten-free oats for breakfast every few days now. I started with a quarter-cup uncooked, and worked up to 1/2 cup uncooked at a time now. I have consumed them a total of 4 times now. In general, I did not notice any particular issues. But, today, whether coincidentally or not, I have had these stabbing pains in my upper-stomach area (just below my sternum) on and off all day, and the pain is worse when I take a deep breath or lean backwards and stretch my mid-section.

I have not had problems with the Oats thus far, and I really have no idea if the pains are from my body not taking well to the oats today, or if it is from the post-Thanksgiving over-consumption routine :) So, not quite sure what to make of things. I will still have the oats again over the next few weeks I am certain, and I will see if any pattern emerges. I'd say there is a good chance I ate something else that I should not have recently. Time will tell.

Aside from that, I had a reader who tried our Artisan Style Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Bread send me an email message to tell us how wonderful and "awesome" the bread was! Needless to say, we are thrilled whenever someone thoroughly enjoys our recipes. The reader also sent me information about how she adapted the recipe to a dairy-free (and even egg-free) variation. See the comments under the above link -- I posted her variation description there, and I will (sooner or later) post it on the book-site.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving - gluten-free and wheat-free of course! And, I hope to have more time to get back to writing new blog entries over the coming weeks. I have a few recipes I really want to get out for Christmas season, including a Panettone Bread (my daughter's creation), and some other nice recipes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Cornbread Stuffing / Dressing Recipe

Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Cornbread Stuffing / Dressing Recipe

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing / Dressing Recipe

This is a timely (though perhaps a bit last-minute) Gluten-Free, Wheat-Free, Dairy-Free Cornbread Stuffing / Dressing Recipe (with Cranberries) perfect for the Thanksgiving Holiday! Enjoy!

Corn Bread Ingredients:
  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ¾ Cup Cornmeal
  • ¼ Cup Glutinous Rice Flour
  • ½ Cup Sorghum Flour
  • ¼ Cup Flaxseed Meal
  • ½ Cup Water
Additional Stuffing Ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2.5 Cups Diced Onion
  • 1 Cup Chopped Celery (approximately 2 stalks)
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • ½ Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 Teaspoon Sage
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley, Chopped (can used dried)
  • 1 Tablespoon Chives
  • ¼ Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • ½ Teaspoon Pepper
  • ½ Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1½ Cups Vegetable Broth*
  • NOTE: *Vegetable Broth used in recipe: Pacific Natural Foods -- Organic Vegetable Broth (Gluten Free)
Start by creating the cornbread: In mixer, mix egg, sugar and vegetable oil on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Add remaining cornbread ingredients and mix until combined. Pour corn bread into greased Pyrex 11 x 7 x 1.5 inch baking dish and cook in 425° oven for 15 minutes.

While corn bread is cooling, start preparing the additional stuffing ingredients. Place olive oil in large skillet that can be placed in the oven (if not using an oven proof skillet, the stuffing will need to be transferred to an oven safe casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray), cut up the onion and celery and place in the skillet (such as a cast iron skillet), cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly tender. Add minced garlic, cranberries, herbs and salt and pepper, cook for 2 additional minutes. Turn off heat.

Crumble the baked corn bread into the stuffing ingredients and mix gently.

In a bowl, combine vegetable broth and eggs, whisk together. Pour over corn bread/stuffing ingredients and gently mix until combined. Place all the mixed stuffing and additional ingredients into an oven-safe cast-iron frypan/skillet, and bake at 3750 for 45 minutes (again, if not using an oven safe skillet, place corn bread into an oven safe casserole dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray).

Recipes to Enjoy during your Gluten-Free Thanksgiving: Stuffing and Pumpkin Bundt Cake!

These recipe should do the trick! The picture above shows the final product (some stuffing shown in our preferred baking equipment: a cast-iron fry-pan).

Note: I have added this recipe and a bonus holiday recipes to our online GF recipes library, here:

Other Cookbook Happenings...

I was a bit distracted this week when I got word from my Shipper that my recipe books, which were supposed to ship last week out of LA, were still sitting in a warehouse there instead! Oh, I had some choice words about that situation. It seems that, as of just a bit ago, the shipment has been "expedited" and released, but this puts the ETA a week later than expected.

I apologize to anyone waiting anxiously for their books, since I am now not supposed to have the new cookbooks in hand until next week (Nov. 30th). Needless to say, I am disappointed, since we, like every other person with a product to sell, wants to get our product out for the all important holiday season. Now, it seems I will miss the entire first week of that holiday rush, and my distributors/retailers are certainly going to miss out a bit. And here I thought I had ample slack time in our plans for anything like this.

Well, here's a happy Gluten-Free Thanksgiving to all my loyal readers! Best wishes and may your gluten-free feast be joyful and memorable!

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gluten-Free Garlic, Pepper, and Herb Quinoa Recipe

Quinoa with Garlic, Pepper, and Herbs : Gluten-Free Dish

Quinoa: the wonderful Gluten-Free Grain

Another day, another recipe. I may have mentioned this dish before, since it is a favorite of mine. Simple to make, and should be "Safe" for not just gluten-free/celiac-disease folks, but also for the casein-free, corn-free crowd too.

Here's a link to the Gluten-Free Garlic, Pepper, and Herb Quinoa Recipe (as pictured above).

I like this quinoa dish both as a main course and as a delicious side dish. I have been wondering, in fact, whether or not this quinoa could be prepared as such and then used to stuff a turkey? I have created gluten-free quinoa-stuffed poblano peppers, so why not? I don't see why it would not work. Though, perhaps it is best to just serve this as a side-dish in place of stuffing and not worry about actually placing it inside a turkey - since there is probably little benefit other than perhaps keeping the turkey more moist and having some turkey flavor permeate the quinoa. Oh, just thinking as I type by gluten free entry of the day in my blog again.

For anyone that cares about the "healthfulness" of quinoa, I did a prior blog entry on quinoa
where I discuss the protein and fiber content and such. It really is an awesome gluten-free grain, and I have seen the grain gain more attention and popularity lately - even our latest issue of Cooking Light has a quinoa dish in it, which thrilled me.

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Laura's Incredible Gluten-Free Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll Recipe : Awesome!

I promised this Gluten Free Pumpkin Roll Recipe a while back, and finally got around to posting it on my cookbook website. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this may be a recipe a few readers would like to try out. My wife adapted a pre-gluten-free-days version of a pumpkin-roll recipe that her grandmother often made around the holidays.

And, much like the original pumpkin roll recipe, this wheat-free and GF version has plenty of pumpkin and spice flavor throughout, all coupled with a creamy sweet cream cheese filling.

I have a few more Thanksgiving and Holiday gluten-free recipes, both here on this blog and over on the cookbook website. These include things like a Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bundt Cake, a Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free Pumpernickel Bread, and many other goodies.  Laura has been so busy baking and being utterly creative in the kitchen lately, and I must say that I am very much enjoying sampling all these treats.

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Baker's Edge pan review - with pictures

I recently purchased a new specialized baking pan called The Baker's Edge in order to try out a some gluten-free recipes baking in a pan that is basically "crust optimized". Now, why would anyone want a pan that produces much more crust (or edge) surface area than a regular baking pan? For a variety of reasons actually!

First of all, I love the crust on breads, brownies, and so forth - in fact, in must be a genetic predisposition to those chewier and crunchier edges, because, I recall how while growing up there was always a battle between my father and I to see who could first lay claim to the edges and crusts. There is just something special about the consistency of those edges where sugars have so perfectly caramelized to form a crispy, crunchy, and/or chewy surface. The innate appeal of a chewy brownie crust extends far beyond my own family, as I have witnessed quite a few others similarly drawn to that prized corner brownie square at parties.

The good news is that the rare corner brownie, or end-crust piece, is no longer rare when using The Baker's Edge. In fact, that is the whole point of the pan -- to maximize the proportion of edges & crusts throughout a dish. This works great for brownies, cakes, breads, and even dishes like lasagna.

My second attraction to the pan has to do specifically with gluten-free baking. For anyone that has any experience baking without gluten (i.e., without "normal" flour - meaning: no wheat, rye, or barley products allowed), as most anyone with a wheat-intolerance or Celiac Disease would have, there is a challenge to getting some recipes to come out as nice as their gluten-containing/wheat-containing counterparts. Since gluten is the protein that adds elasticity and binding capacity to standard wheat flour, baking without gluten means getting recipes to hold together without that all important intrinsic stickiness that gluten contributes to the chemistry of a recipe.

The typical option gluten-free recipes rely on is added vegetable/plant gums (like Guar, Xanthan, etc) to mimic the elasticity that gluten would otherwise add. If you do not wish to use added gums, one of the best things you can do is maximize the ratio of crust in your dish, since the caramelization of sugars and such that occurs at the edges of your baked goods also adds much-needed binding capacity and outside-edge rigidity to help your foods hold together well.

This is where The Baker's Edge pan can be quite advantageous to glutenfree baking: by maximizing the amount of crust area throughout your entire dish. The pan is shaped a bit like a maze, or a giant "M" shape, with its back and forth trenches. My wife tried the pan out with chocolate brownies and biscuits; each worked quite well in the pan. As you can see here, the brownie has all sorts of edge-area, with each brownie that you cut having at least two edges that are nice and crunchy/chewy.

In addition to having the promised extra edges, the brownie (if left whole) is bound to garner some attention for its rather unusual shape. In this case, I have the luxury of telling everyone the giant "M" stands for "Mike" of course :) I liked the resulting brownies quite a bit, as there was no shortage of that coveted prize: the corner brownie!

Likewise with the biscuits - no shortage of crust here!

Here are my overall observations of The Baker's Edge in general and in regards to glutenfree baking:
  • It is a well built pan. Sturdy construction of heavy gauge aluminum that is coated with a wonderfully effective non-stick surface.
  • Price: it currently costs $37.00 (that includes shipping), which is certainly more than the price of a standard bread pan, but it compares favorably with other high-quality specialty pans.
  • It is simple to clean! Even though it has a maze-like layout, the interior corners are all smoothly rounded and clean easily. Although you can get "maximum crust" by simply baking your recipes in muffin pans or mini-loaf pans, there is no comparison when it comes to cleanup time: The Baker's Edge pan wins easily when compared to cleaning all those individual muffin cups and such. No contest.
  • Bake times have to be adjusted a bit, since all those interior surface areas also decrease the bake time a bit. When we use the pan for a recipe, we will note the new bake times on our recipes for anyone else using a Baker's Edge.
  • The pan's internal volume is optimized for standard cake-pan recipes - so, you don't have to adjust your brownie or cake batter up/down to fit the pan.
  • As mentioned earlier, the final food product sure has a unique look that is bound to get attention at a party or event.
  • Although the pan comes with a cute little serving spatula that fits perfectly within the "maze" sections to remove your foods, if you have a thicker dough/batter to distribute throughout the pan, it is a bit of a challenge getting your product to be evenly dispersed throughout all the channels. This is not a huge bother, but it will help if you have a spatula about the width of the grooves. In all, it still takes less time to distribute your batter/dough throughout the channels than it would to fill a dozen or more mini pans.
  • Gluten-free foods do certainly benefit from the additional surface area and tend to come out with more texture and substance. Yes, you could use a bunch of little pans to accomplish similar results, but this is much simpler.
The bottom line: The Baker's Edge works as promised, holds equal promise for gluten-free baking, and is bound to be a crust-aficionado's delight! I certainly enjoy the results we achieved.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We finally bought an ice-cream maker.

We have considered purchasing an ice cream maker for nearly 15 years now it seems, and each time we contemplated it, we decide that we would not get enough use out of one to make it worth the bother. Well, yesterday that changed.

We finally gave in and purchased one - a simple $50 Cuisinart model where you freeze the bowl part of the machine for a few hours (6 or so is recommended), and then put the frozen bowl into the electric-powered machine once you have your ingredients ready to pour into the bowl and turn the thing on for 20-25 minutes. Our first experiment was Italian Lemon Ice (pictured above), and oh my god is it so good. Much better than any I have purchased pre-made.

Note: I placed some gluten-free frozen dessert recipes on my website now, including:

Recipe and method to make your own delicious Lemon Ice

The formula is so simple:
You dissolve 2 cups of sugar into 2 cups of water on the stovetop (only heat as much as needed to dissolve sugar easily). While that is cooling, zest and juice a pile of fresh Lemons until you have 1.5 Cups of fresh-squeezed juice, and a couple tablespoons of lemon zest. Mix that into the sugar/water.

Now place that (room temperature) mixture into the machine, and run it for 20-25 minutes. Then, place the (rather soft) lemon ice in the freezer to firm up the rest of the way.

Ahhh... how refreshingly tangy and sweet and satisfying the end result is! Glutenfree, wheat-free, dairy-free... but, not sugar free of course :)

The inspiration for this purchase is twofold. First, we have seen a lot of The Food Channel personalities making ice-cream and/or frozen desserts lately (nearly as many as are pushing alcoholic beverages of recent), and second, I ran across this vegan ice cream blog yesterday that had so many wonderful ice cream (well, vegan - so iced soymilk or such) & flavored ice recipes... that pushed me over the top. Check that site out... nearly everything is GF from what I could tell.

Since the original lemon ice creation, my wife has created a chocolate-blackberry ice-cream in the mixer. Still gluten-free, but not dairy-free needless to say (the recipe called for heavy cream). And, it too is just oh so good! Perhaps not good for you, but who is making icecream for the health benefits anyhow? (though, that vegan ice cream surely should not be TOO bad for you aside from the sugar)

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

GlutenFree Oats for Breakfast (certified gluten free)

Yes, you read correctly! I have eaten gluten-free oats for breakfast today!

It has been so long since I had any oats, and I must say, they tasted darn good! There has been a lot of controversy about whether or not oats are gluten-free, and whether oats are safe in a Celiac diet. This was one of the topics discussed at the Columbus Celiac Conference this prior weekend, and the bottom line from the latest in scientific and medical research is simple: oats themselves are gluten-free by nature; it is only any cross-contamination (with gluten-containing grains) that would render oats anything other than gluten free (GF).

I have been following the back-and-forth arguments about whether oats are "safe" for a long time now - years in fact. And, with this latest information, coupled with the availability of certified gluten-free oats, I finally have given in and tried oats again. At the conference, one of the vendors this year was a certified gluten free oats grower called Gifts of Nature, Inc. They had a supply of oats on hand and were selling 2.75lb (44 ounce) bags for about $10/bag (i.e., $3.63/lb!). A bit steep for oats! But, they are independently certified free of cross-contamination and all. Even at this price, they easily sold out their entire stock before day's end at the conference. I guess I am not the only one that so badly wants the taste (and health benefits) of oats back in my diet.

I did try earlier in the year to order some GF Oats from another place online, but when I did, the vendor was out of stock for a couple months or more (due to super-high demand). What I expect to see happen is this: 1) short-term prices will remain high, or perhaps even spike higher with increased demand; 2) other suppliers will start popping up all over the place as they see how they can turn a piece of fallow land into a serious cash-maker by producing certified gluten-free oats (compared to very low prices for standard oats - which I can get for 40-cents/lb or less at retail in some places yet)... $3.63/lb is nearly 10 times the price for essentially the same commodity; 3) at this gold-rush kicks in over time, the supply will finally exceed demand, lowering prices. This will likely take 10 years or more to play out, but one way or the other, it will happen given enough time.

So, I just consumed my oats about 1/2 hour ago. I took it light -- 1/4 Cup uncooked this time. I want to see how my system takes to these things before I start ramping up. Other conference attendees that had tried the GF oats before all said to start out with small amounts and work up. Most had good experiences and were able to tolerate them if they started small and worked up. So, that is where I am at too. I'll report in on the outcome over time.

Now, one thing I have been waiting a long time to make again are a couple recipes I really love: Oatmeal Cookies (I have a nearly-perfect gluten free oatmeal cookie recipe we left out of our book due to the potential "controversy" about oats) and another thing I called the Triple-Oat-Energy-Bar (I use Rolled-Oats, Oat-Flour, and Steel-Cut Oats) that is sort of a really hearty granola bar. I have not had either one for at least a couple years. When I first went gluten-free, I was tolerating oats yet, but that ability slowly went away until I could not eat them. That was in the days of non-certified-GF oats, so I really hope these certified gluten-free oats make the difference and bring back some of my favorite Oat recipes (oh, and my mother has this rather tasty oat-flour chocolate cake recipe too). If all goes well, I will bring all these recipes back out of the archives and put them online for others.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Snow accumulating in Cleveland

Is it just me, or is it just too darn early for snow to actually be heavy enough to accumulate?! It is November 3rd, and the forecasted low temperature is around 22 degrees F, and lake-effect snow is in the forecast as well. We actually have about an inch on the ground here now, and some areas around us have 4 or more from what we have heard. This is not what I want the beginning of November to look like. Reminds me of last year -- cold November, then warm (very warm) December, though December this year will have to prove itself equally warm for me to consider it a valid reprieve from this (premature) cold spell.

We have a gluten-free / Celiac Disease conference to attend in Columbus tomorrow, and I surely better not be snowed in when I am ready to leave for the event! I doubt I have to worry, but it is just strange to even need to think about the possibility of such a thing this early in the year.

As always, the only good thing about bad weather is how I tend to get much more work on the computer-based activities done. I have made significant strides in getting my online TOC (Table of Contents) for my book up and running. All the recipe preview pictures are there, and I am working on PDFs to go with them (not that the PDFs show much extra). I figured since I made some PDFs for the GoogleBooks effort, I would upload and link to them while at it.

Here's hoping tomorrow is snow-free so I make it to the Gluten-Free event on time! :)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Extended life - for mice only?

Have you heard the latest research news on attempts to extend lifespan in mice? Researchers have succeeded in doing so by giving the mice large amounts of a molecule called resveratrol (a compound derived from plants put under stress; and, which occurs in red wines). The findings were remarkable in that not only did mice on the resveratrol supplement live longer, the effects of aging, in nearly all categories, were diminished even when the mice were put on high calorie diets!

Oh, if only they could get this available for humans.

First of all, I, like most people, certainly find the prospects of living 30% longer rather interesting, especially if that extra lifespan is a healthy one. And, that "high calorie" diet thing, with no ill effects... oh, the possibilities! :)

Here is a link to the reveratrol molecule and mice life-extension findings. It is worth a read. Fascinating to say the least! I thought I heard elsewhere that the concentration of resveratrol the scientists were giving mice would be the equivalent of us drinking 100 bottles of red wine a day... so, I guess drinking wine to get such effects is just a bit out of the question.

I know this doesn't have much to do with gluten-free diets or anything, but I thought it interesting enough to share.

Now, back to work. Just finished uploading my book PDF to GoogleBooks for inclusion in their online book-search, and hoping that gets setup properly without any more involvement. I'll probably make the same file(s) available on my website within the next few days. Needless to say, I stripped out the actual recipe/directions text from the book, and included only sample-images, but it should give people a decent feel for what recipes are in the new gluten free desserts book. So much to do, so little time... oh, if only I could get some of that mouse-potion, I could get 30% more time!