Fruity Bruschetta

Most of us that have been gluten free for some length of time will find this familiar. In search of what we remember and love about traditional bread, we set off to find a GF equivalent. To start out we buy what’s ready-made. Either the cost or the disappointing texture steers us toward making our own religiously — weekly. Some experiments are more successful than others. The one or two that are decent get quickly worn out. Then comes a time where we just try to live without it altogether. But this phase too shall pass. A little more confidence and experience in the gluten free kitchen may propel us to try to replicate what is by now a distant, chewy, soul-satisfying memory.

Today was my eureka! moment. I saw a delicious photo of some fruity bruschetta on Pinterest and was disappointed to follow the link to a blog in a language I didn’t recognize in the least. So I rolled up my sleeves and created a treat that was exactly what I had hoped it would be.

I searched for a crusty bread recipe that delivered the goods. I followed it to a T including mixing up a big batch of all purpose GF flour that they list at the end of the recipe. This recipe makes 4 loaves of bread. That’s right, 4. Believe me, you’ll wish you’d have doubled it!

My trouble in the past was that I never got my dough to rise well enough. All of that ended today and after 2 hours of rising in the warm oven, I pulled out this light and fluffy piece of heaven. The recipe that follows is directly from epicurious.com submitted by GlutenFreeLove.

Crusty, Soft and Chewy Gluten Free Bread

6 c Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mix (see recipe below)
1/2 c powdered milk
2 T yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt
2 T Xanthan Gum
2 2/3 cups warm water
4 large eggs, beaten til frothy
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
3 T honey

Preparation

Whisk together the flour, powdered milk, and xanthan gum in a large bowl. Combine the olive oil, honey, water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside.Pour the eggs into the dry ingredients. Slowly pour in about 1/3 of the oil mixture while stirring. Mix well, then add the 2nd 3rd. Mix well again. Add the salt, then add the last 3rd. Continue stirring until smooth.Cover loosely and allow to rise for about 2 hours.

At this point, the dough could be placed in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You may remove some at a time to continue with the next step.

Remove about 1/4 of the dough very gently (1/4 of dough will result in about a 1 lb loaf). Cradle the bread lightly and place on a piece of parchment paper. Dough will be wet, sticky and full of air bubbles you are trying not to condense.

Drizzle a little extra olive oil on top of the wet loaf and us your fingers to lightly spread the olive oil and shape and smooth out the surface of the loaf.

Cover loosely and (only if from out of the refrigerator), let rest for 1 1/2 more hours. 

30 minutes before baking, place a large enameled pot with top or other dutch oven with lid on in the cold oven. Preheat the oven with the pot in it to 500 degrees. 

Just before baking, use a razor to cut three slits across the top of the loaf. 

Carefully remove the hot pot and remove lid. Very gently and carefully pick up the parchment paper so that the dough is cradled in it. Place the paper and loaf, together, into the center of the pot.

Replace lid on the pot. Return pot to oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, remove lid, and turn oven down to 425. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Bread should sound hollow when tapped. 

Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing bread from pot.

Baked bread may be frozen for up to one month.

GLUTEN FREE ALL PURPOSE FLOUR MIX: 6c.(32oz)FINE brown rice flour + 2c.(10.75oz) potato starch + 1c.(4oz) tapioca flour/starch

To make the fruity bruschetta, I spread the slices with chèvre and chives and topped it with raspberries (some still frozen — oops), a drizzle of honey and a few sprigs of lemon thyme. The balance of contrasting flavors was a nice surprise. Not too sweet and not too salty. It really was just right.
I was barely able to snap this pic of Kid Foodie finishing off his piece. Of the 4 loaves I baked today, there are 1.75 loaves left. I am seriously thinking of hiding the last intact loaf somewhere so I can use it for school lunches this week. The boys have come to regard bread the same way that most other kids regard a piece of cake. If it shows up in their lunch, they wonder what the occasion is. Score! What recipes are you ready to give another go?

Kid Foodie’s family had a long day in town this past Sunday and typical them — they didn’t pack lunch. So they tried out the newest sandwich shop in town called Jimmy Johns. The nice thing about this place is that they offer an “un-wich” option which substitutes lettuce for bread. What’s even nicer is that it’s the same price. Most places charge extra for gluten free options and sometimes you even end up getting less food! Crazy!

Kid Foodie and his mom had eaten here once before and both really enjoyed the unwiches. So it was time for everyone to try it. Kid Foodie ordered the “Italian” unwich that comes loaded with meats and cheeses.

Rather surprisingly, Kid Foodie was not able to finish his lunch in one sitting. He almost made it. But not quite. I think it’s incentive for him to come back and give it…

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Sweet Potato Flatbread Pizza

I had a strong urge to incorporate flatbread into dinner tonight. It started off this morning, stayed with me all day and hung on through TWO, count them, TWO rounds of flatbread trials. Last week I roasted 3 or 4 sweet potatoes (like I’ve been getting into the habit of doing. It’s nice to have already-roasted ingredients ready to throw into an impromptu recipe.) So I was feeling like I really needed to use them up today. I did a search for sweet potato flatbread and couldn’t really find anything that incorporated the potatoes into the actual dough. Most just had slices topping the flatbread. My solution was to combine two recipes from my tried and true GF cookbooks and make up something entirely new.

The first round was only a marginal success. I rolled out about 8 smaller discs thinking we’d have personal size flatbread pizzas tonight. The only problem was I let them go a bit too long in an oven that was a bit too hot. They’re edible and they look really cute, but it’s not what I was really going for.

After eating 3 little ones (remember, I DID say they were edible ; ) I still had the energy and enough sweet potato puree to give it another go. This time I kept it simple. I used the recipe from the Sweet Potato Biscuits. That’s it. The only thing I did differently was instead of rolling and cutting out rounds, I smoothed it out onto a pizza pan. Oh, and instead of butter, I used olive oil.

Sweet Potato Flatbread

2 cups all-purpose gf flour (I used my most common mix – 1 cup brown rice flour, 2/3 cup sorghum flour, 1/3 cup tapioca flour)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 Tablespoons olive oil

3/4 cup pureed baked sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)

1/3 cup sour cream 

1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Grease a round pizza pan.

2. In a large bowl, place flour, xanthan, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. 

3. In a separate bowl mix together olive oil, sweet potatoes, sour cream and milk. Add these ingredients to the large bowl and mix with spoon until dough begins to come together. 

4. On the greased pizza pan, smooth out the dough with a wet spatula.

5. Place in the preheated oven for about 15 – 20 minutes.

6. Top with assorted toppings, place back into oven for another 10 minutes or so.

This second time around was a resounding success! So much so, I almost forgot to document it. I managed to get the last few slices though. Topping our flatbread pizza tonight, were spinach, shredded carrots, caramelized onions with finely chopped rosemary and gorgonzola. Quite tasty! Kid Foodie agreed.


I’m just now realizing how many recipes I’ve posted using sweet potatoes! But hey, they are a superfood right? My only regret from this dinner experiment was that I didn’t make enough to have leftovers. That pizza went fast! Now . . . what to have for dinner tomorrow night?

 

Poached Egg Over Roasted Tomato/Red Pepper/Garlic On Steel Cut Oats

The first “C” grade I ever earned was in 6th grade Home Ec. It was embarrassing. But strangely, the one success I remember from that year was learning to make poached eggs. Until a few weeks ago when I wondered if I could still make them, the one and only time I’d ever had them was in that class (circa 1984). Turns out, I can still make them and I do still love them. Tonight, when searching Pinterest for dinner inspirations, I came across a video on how to poach (or sous vide) eggs in little plastic pouches. The eggs come out nice and intact. I had to try it.

I had seen some recipes that combined poached eggs with tomato sauce that looked delicious. So I decided to try that served over the last of my steel cut oats. It was just enough to serve the four of us. I will definitely be making this again. It would make an awesome, hearty breakfast too.

I started by roasting my tomatoes, red peppers and garlic. In a baking dish, cut up 2 – 4 tomatoes into quarters, as well as 4 – 5 smaller red peppers. Peel about 6 – 8 cloves of garlic and place around and between the tomatoes and peppers. Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar (about 2 Tbsp ea) over it all and sprinkle salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes at 400˚F. Once they are roasted, transfer all to a blender and pulse to blend so that there are still nice chunks. Set aside.

For the steel cut oats, bring 2 cups of water to boil, add 1 cup oats. Turn heat down and cook for 30 minutes or so.

To sous vide the eggs, tear off a piece of plastic wrap about 12″ x 12″. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and any other herbs you’d like. I added oregano to mine. Center the coated plastic wrap over a small bowl and make a well. Crack an egg into the bowl. Gather the corners of the wrap and tie with string. Do this to all the eggs you plan to poach. Transfer the egg pouches to boiling water and boil for about 4 – 5 minutes. I don’t particularly like runny yolks. I like mine more gelatinous so I let mine go a bit longer.

I put my red sauce in a large skillet to warm it up again. Then I spooned the oats into a bowl, layered on the tomato/red pepper sauce, added the egg and sprinkled grated parmesan cheese and a few green onion slivers for garnish. I had high hopes for this concoction and it blew me away. This garnered another 4 thumbs up from Kid Foodie, Little Brother, Dad and Mom.

I had to snap this pic quick before it was all gone. Quite a compliment if you ask me. And a great encouragement to continue experimenting in the kitchen. What I like about meals like this is that there’s nothing fancy going on. But the taste makes you think otherwise. This is real, whole, rustic food at its best.

Rustic Tortillas

So the good news is that we’re taking a finance class and getting an accurate look at our budget. The bad news is, it’s pretty sad. Compared to most Americans, we’re doing slightly better in the debt area, but we’ve still got a ways to go. But there is hope and there are techniques to help us. One area that we can trim is our food budget. I took an informal poll of girlfriends the other day and found we’re already spending quite a bit less than they do, so we really don’t have THAT much wiggle room. But I’ve also learned a thing or two about couponing so maybe I can fine tune that a bit this year. This may be one of the reasons I’m so in love with the cookbook we got for Christmas, Gluten Free On A Shoestring.

Another reason I might be so in love with it is because I can make things like this:

Yep. Hand made tortillas. Now, I know they’re a little rough around the edges. It obviously takes practice. So until I can refine my technique, we’ll call them rustic.

And yes, it’s easy to get them THAT thin. You roll them out between two sheets of plastic. Now my naturopath let me know that she doesn’t let plastic touch her food. She uses parchment instead. Arrrgh. It’s just so hard to know everything about everything. Maybe I’ll try the parchment next time.

Kid Foodie requested chicken enchiladas last week. No problem at all. Every time I make these I get faster. So it wasn’t long before a hearty dish of homemade chicken enchiladas was bubbling in the oven (complete with enchilada sauce from scratch!) If you’re so inclined it would be great to make up a double or triple batch of the tortillas. We tend to go through these babies pretty quickly! There are so many snacks you can make with them when hungry boys get home from school.

Ok think you might want to try the tortillas? Here you go:

Gluten Free Flour Tortillas

2 Cups all-purpose gluten free flour (you can use Bob’s Redmill blend or make your own)

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 Cup warm water, about 100˚ F

1. In a large bowl, mix flour, suntan gum, baking powder and salt. Combine well. Add vegetable oil and stir to combine. Add water slowly, stirring as you pour.

2. Once you have added all the water, press dough together with wet hands. Divide into 6 pieces. Roll each piece separately between two sheets of plastic wrap until about 1/8″ thick and about 8″ wide.

3. Heat a skillet. Once the skillet is hot, one at a time, place each raw tortilla flat in the skillet. Allow each to cook for 45 – 60 seconds or until slightly charred. It’s better to undercook than overcook. Flip and cook for another 30 – 45 seconds. Remove from pan and place onto plate.

4. These are best when still warm. If they stiffen, just microwave for 30 seconds wrapped in a moistened paper towel.

source: Gluten Free On A Shoestring, pgs. 120-121

Mmmmm Savory Pies

There’s a restaurant in our town called Man Pies and they sell both savory and sweet pot pies. Since we found out they offer gluten free options, we gave them a try and MAN are they good! I could seriously eat there every day. Or figure out how to make my own at home. So that’s what I’m bringing you today! Homemade gluten free meat pies. And — bonus — they’re pretty easy!

These ones are stuffed with beef, carrots and parsnips — a British spin, I suppose. This is comfort food at its best. They’re made from super basic ingredients, they can be portable for lunch on the run and they feel so indulgent. I had extra filling leftover so as an added bonus I’ll get another dish out of my time spent in the kitchen.

Wanna give it a try? Thought so. I started with the flour mix. I generally have the ingredients to mix up a batch of all-purpose flour and this is the ratio I use: 1 part white rice flour, 2/3 part sorghum flour, 1/3 part tapioca flour. As usual, I almost had everything, but I did make one substitution — I didn’t have sorghum flour like I thought, but used coconut flour instead. It still totally worked but I added a bit more water than it called for. No biggie. If you already have all-purpose flour then you’re one step ahead.

To make the crust I used the Savory Olive Oil Crust recipe on page 42 of my new favorite cookbook Gluten Free On A Shoestring.

SavoryOliveOilCrust This is a link to a pdf of the crust recipe. I’m still learning the ins and outs of WordPress, so bear with me.

Here’s a link to a little video I put together on rolling out the dough. Sorry, I can’t embed videos on this free blog I guess : (

dough video

Once you’re confident with rolling dough, the sky’s the limit on fillings. My second batch of pies had the filling you saw in the video — mushrooms, butternut squash and goat cheese. Technically, these aren’t meat pies are they now? How about we call them savory pies? Ok that settles it. Savory Pies. I like it. I hope you try them and let me know how it goes!

This Biscuit Is A Game Changer

There are exactly 3 biscuits left out of a dozen that have not yet been inhaled. I demanded that 3 remain so that I could take photos of them — I don’t think anyone’s noticed that I’m done taking pics. Shhh. Actually I shouldn’t say the 9 consumed biscuits were inhaled. It was more like they were slowly and wonderously savored. “These are the best gluten-free things I’ve ever eaten.” (This was heard by more than one person) And then, with an almost apologetic or sheepish look my husband slowly offered up this review. “This isn’t the best gluten-free thing I’ve ever had . . . It’s . . . the best . . . anything . . . I’ve ever had.” We stared at each other in stunned silence for awhile. I was studying his manner trying to decide when the punchline would come. But, no, these biscuits were quite amazing. His puzzled expression was part of his processing of what we had just experienced. Kid Foodie sat in between us intently focused on the flaky, buttery thing in his hands trying to make it last as long as it could. Little brother finished up his second and traipsed off to the kitchen to grab a third when he was interrupted with my demand to save the rest. I think we’re all in love!

So what exactly are these? They’re Sweet Potato Biscuits from our new cookbook we got for Christmas, Gluten-Free On A Shoestring. I can’t put this cookbook down. It’s perfectly synced with my taste buds, life stage and organizational preferences. Since I already had roasted sweet potatoes in the fridge and the rest of the ingredients on hand, I gave it a whirl. We’ll never be the same around here again.

While my mom was here visiting this week I realized I had no all purpose flour in the house. So the first thing I did before beginning this recipe was to mix up some with what I had on hand. I used 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour, 1 cup corn starch and 1+ cup tapioca flour. Here’s the recipe:

2 cups all-purpose gf flour

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 stick butter, diced and chilled

3/4 cup pureed baked sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes)

1/3 cup sour cream (I made my own using almond milk, apple cider vinegar & butter)

1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk)

1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.

2. In a large bowl, place flour, xanthan, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt. Whisk to combine. Add cold, diced butter to the large bowl with dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients til the mixture resembles small peas. (I left my butter pretty chunky and clumpy)

3. In a separate bowl, place sweet potatoes, sour cream and milk. Mix to combine. Add these ingredients to the large bowl and mix with spoon until dough begins to come together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge to chill for 15 – 20 minutes (or for as long as overnight).

4. Remove dough from fridge and use a rolling pin to flatten it into a disk that is nearly 1 inch thick. Keep the dough in the plastic wrap.

5. Once it’s ready, with plastic wrap peeled back, cut out rounds with a floured 2 1/2 inch round biscuit cutter.

6. Transfer cut outs to baking sheet spaced about 1 inch apart.

7. Place in preheated oven and bake for 15 – 17 minutes until puffy and golden. Rotate the sheet halfway through baking.

* This recipe says it makes 6 – 8 biscuits but I was able to get a full dozen.

Persimmon Pear Muffins

I was a kitchen machine yesterday! My fruit bowl was staring me down as if to say “You’d better think of something to use us in. We’re not getting any younger.” While I still have beaucoup pears to use up, I had 3 persimmons that came in last week’s produce bin. Persimmons?!?!? I don’t even know where to start. I won’t bore you with how I arrived at my decision, but in the end I decided muffins were the way to go.

Again I adapted this recipe from an existing one. My every day, go-to gluten free cookbook is called The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook. I used the Peachy Millet Flour Muffins as my base recipe (pg. 137 of the cookbook). Here’s my adaptation:

Persimmon Pear Muffins

2 1/2 Cups brown rice flour

1/2 Cup tapioca flour

1/2 whole cane sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 Cups pureed persimmons (about 4 persimmons, peeled. if you only have 3 toss in a pear and puree that too)

1/4 melted organic virgin coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line muffin tins with paper or silicone cups (or lightly oil tins)

2. In a large bowl combine the flours, sugar, xanthan gum, soda, powder and salt. Mix well.

3. Peel and puree persimmons (and pear, if using) in a blender or food processor until smooth. Measure out 2 cups. Put puree in a small bowl and whisk it together with the melted coconut oil and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix together.

4. Spoon batter into muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Kid Foodie wasn’t in the mood to critique these muffins yesterday. I had some fudge that trumped these healthy bites. But little brother surprisingly gobbled these up! He downed two in about as many minutes! I was pleasantly surprised by how these turned out. The trouble with most gluten free baking is texture. Either it’s gritty or doesn’t hold together well or just off somehow. There are some great GF flour mixes available to order nowadays, but they’re pretty spendy. And for us, I just buy whatever is on sale at the store. So I often use what I have even if it’s not what the recipe calls for. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. This time it TOTALLY worked. These are moist and dense with just enough of a sweet/tart combination. These are easy, healthy and yummy.

 

* First image found on Pinterest.

Easy Gluten-Free Biscuit Bites

We adapted this recipe from The Whole Life Nutrition (my daily reference material). Even though you may be trying to avoid anything with flour in it completely, these are easy and satisfying when you can’t deny a carb craving.

To start you’ll need to stock your pantry with 3 essential ingredients that will make all subsequent GF recipes that much easier. Buy a 22 oz. bag of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, Tapioca Flour and Xanthan Gum.

  

The easiest, non-overwhelming place to get these bags is at Fred Meyer in the natural foods section. (It’s amongst the bulk items). The all purpose flour is pretty self explanatory. The tapioca adds a silkiness to the flour mixture to alleviate that harsh, gritty texture that plagued earlier versions of gluten free pastries. And the xanthan gum adds a chewiness and allows everything to stick together and not crumble. The xanthan gum is quite pricey but will last a long time. I just used up my bag that I bought a year ago.

Makes about 1 1/2 dozen biscuit bites.

2 Cups all purpose baking flour

1/2 Cup tapioca flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

3/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 Cup cold organic butter, shortening or coconut oil

3/4 Cup milk (I use soy milk)

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F.

2. Combine all purpose flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and sea salt in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add the fat. Mix together with your fingers until well combined and crumbly.

4. Slowly add the milk, stirring with a wooden spoon as you pour. Gently knead the dough with your hands until just combined, being careful not to over mix.

5. Pick globs of dough and roll between the palms of your hands to create balls that are about 1.5″ – 2″ in diameter. Place them on a cookie sheet or in a mini muffin tin. Sprinkle the tops with garlic salt.

6. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes, or until done. Cool slightly on a wire rack and enjoy warm! These are especially great for dipping in a hearty soup.

If you happen to have fresh herbs like rosemary or lemon thyme, they would be good chopped up small and mixed in with the dough. Try these and let me know how it turns out.

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  • About This Blog’s Authors

    Even before his diagnosis of Celiac Disease in 2010, Kid Foodie was passionate about food. Although the diagnosis brought some restrictions, his appreciation and appetite for good, healthy food has only skyrocketed.

    For me, his diagnosis of Celiac opened up a world of food possibilities and a new way of thinking about what we eat. It has absolutely been a joy to overhaul our family's food choices and we all continue to benefit from it. We write this blog to help our family and friends understand how to cook gluten free and to provide them recipes to try out themselves.

    Kid Foodie now has his own blog:
    heykidfoodie.com

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