Archive for ‘gluten-free’

February 23, 2012

Pizza Perfected!

Okay! I know you’re sick of gluten-free pizza by now. This is the last one, I promise. I’ll attempt muffins or cookies or something else delicious next week. This week, I wanted to finally perfect the elusive gluten-free pizza.

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Success feel so good – and makes me feel like singing Iggy Pop when it’s been well earned. What made the difference this time? Several lessons:

1) Oil the pizza stone. Otherwise the dough sticks to it, and it is awful to get off.
2) Build the pizza on the stone. Don’t preheat (we keep ours in the compartment under the oven, so I suppose it gets a little warm).
3) Don’t hold your breath on the dough doubling in size. It will rise, yes, but it won’t fully double. I mark the bowl with a highlighter, and so long as I get a measurable rise, all is well.
4) Push the dough, don’t roll it. And work it out gently and gradually.
5) learn to love thin crust. GF dough doesn’t lend itself to thick crust. It just gets dry.

I am very excited to have figured this out. The dough has a really good flavor too, which I think is because it uses ground flax seeds. Only improvement is I think I’ll brush some oil on the edges to see if I can get them to brown more. Next time we have pizza night, I’m attempting the calorie-laden potato pizza from PieR Squared at UBC. Baked potato chunks, sour cream/Greek yogurt sauce, cheddar cheese, banana peppers, and bacon. Oh my yes!
-W-

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February 16, 2012

Gluten Free Banana Bread

After last week’s frustration with rising bread, I decided to go back to an old staple, the quickbread. I have made many a batch of banana bread in my time. My Hubby and my old roommates can bear witness to the fact that I could have a loaf of banana bread up and cooking in the oven in 20 minutes, PRE-Kitchenaid! Now that I’m eating gluten-free, the old Betty Crocker recipe I grew up with doesn’t stand. So I looked, as usual, to the queen of gluten-free, the Gluten-Free Girl.

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December 29, 2011

Christmas!

20111229-123008.jpgWell, Christmas is in every way finished, and New Years is upon us. The Hubby and I decided to go to Ottawa for New Years Eve, since the crew we hung out with when we were living with Jm in October is having a big party. We need a break from small talk and want to be around people we already know.
Christmas was really nice. We had a couple Skype dates with family and friends and opened a small amount of presents. Jm got whiskey stones and beer, the Hubby got a flask with an Iain M Banks quote about whiskey, and I got a book of Tom Waits sheet music! A good haul!
After present-opening, I took to the kitchen to test it’s limits with our epic Christmas dinner. You can refer to my previous post to see what we had, but what follows is my. Review of each dish.

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December 21, 2011

Jambon

I was once a strict vegetarian. I was a bad vegan for a year, but missed cheese way too much. But for about 7 years, I was a total vegetarian. When the Hubby and I started dating, I slowly opened meals up to fish, and gradually other meats followed. He had a dairy allergy, and I didn’t want to cook essentially vegan again. Too difficult at that stage in life. But while living in Vancouver, we maintained a largely vegetarian diet. We ate veg at home, occasionally springing on fish, rarely chicken, and even more rarely “fancy” meat if we were eating out.
Since moving to Montreal, all my previous “mostly vegetarian” claims have flown out the window. And there is one reason for that.
Ham.

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Ham here is delicious, and mighty mighty cheap. It is also easily got at the market for reasonable prices, and is so well-cured. Bad ham leaves you guzzling water with a perpetual rubber taste in your mouth. Good ham, like the last 2 cuts we’ve gotten from Atwater, melt in your mouth and taste a mixture of sweet and salty.
We made Mulled-Wine Ham tonight, with ginger green beans and baked potatoes. By we I mean largely the Hubby under my instruction. I got distracted working today and when I started to feel moody and sick, realized I had only eaten a banana and Spritz cookies all day. So I took it easy, and let the Hubby take over. He did good – the meal was a good balance of protein, veggie, and carb. I’ve noticed if I have too much protein I get sluggish, too much carb and I get cranky, too much veggie and I get crampy. I very much need a balance. Here’s my 3 boys in the kitchen, mesmerized by ham:

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It was freezing rain today, and tomorrow looks to drop under freezing again. Which means the world could be covered in ice. And I’m out of tea. Thank goodness for snowboots, but also, worst case scenario, the cramp ons I bought to give them super traction! Adventures in East Coast winter begin!
-W-

December 21, 2011

Spritz!

I think because it is my first Christmas without my family, I am suddenly remembering all the delicious treats my family would have Christmas. My mother, as phenomenal of a baker as she is, would have had to run an industrially outfitted and staffed kitchen to make all the things I remember having “every” Christmas. Realistically, it comes down to two realities: first, my extended family is huge and full of good cooks, and thus those goodies could have come from any number of recipe books; second, it is entirely possible they alternated years, or there were a few one-off treats.
One treat I know we made on a regular basis were spritz. They made such an impression on me that it was very important to register for a cookie gun when we got married. This was my first chance to test it out. So I busted off the cellophane, dusted the drywall off my KitchenAid (oh, yeah, we returned to Ottawa to find part of our ceiling had flaked off. Life in a “character” apartment!), and set to work on this Canadian Living recipe

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November 25, 2011

GF Pizza

I got a bit cocky with how well the gluten-free crepes turned out.  The Hubby decided the other night that he really wanted pizza for dinner.  I could have just called Pizza Pizza, who apparently has a GF Pizza Crust, but I decided to tackle another experiment in getting yeast to rise without gluten.

This time, it was a fail.  I know it doesn’t look like it, and taste-wise it was a win.  But I have terrible skill at getting dough to rise.  I am not sure if my room wasn’t warm enough, or if I didn’t let the yeast activate long enough, or if I simply didn’t have enough flour (the dough was really sticky, but I thought pizza dough was supposed to be stickier than regular dough).  I used this Epicurious recipe, except I subbed a flour mix that had the same types of flour.  Perhaps the ratio there was off.  Regardless of the problem, the dough didn’t properly rise, and then it didn’t pull off the plates it was rising on, leaving me to re-roll it on the pizza stone.  Then getting the cooked pizza off the pizza stone was a huge challenge!  Next time several changes:

  1. Parchment paper.
  2. More flour
  3. Leaving the yeast to properly activate before mixing it in the flour
  4. Setting rising dough on top of the oven (perhaps letting dough rise before rolling it out).

Luckily, the pizza tasted pretty good.  The dough was really dense, but the toppings more than made up for its short comings.  It was definitely Hubby-approved, as he is anxious for us to try pizza dough again 🙂

November 15, 2011

Gluten-Free Experiments

Over the last few days, I’ve finally gotten the chance to do some serious baking! It feels SOOO GOOD!  I have really missed cooking lately, as evidenced by the fact that between 3 regular meals, 2 baking experiments, and not having dishes, I’ve probably spent at least 6 hours holed up in the kitchen so far this week.  Yesterday, I made bread from a Pamela’s bread mix.  Today I experimented with homemade gluten-free pasta. I also knocked off another photography prompt today, part of documenting my experiment today. The prompt was:

So I introduce you to my buckwheat-chana flour spaghetti:

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October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Navy Chili

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Last fall, a group of us started the tradition if the autumn Chili Cook-Off. Prizes were awarded for Most Innovative and Best Overall (trophies were glass pepper statues). I won Most Innovative for a totally impromptu cocoa chili. This weekend my friends are having the 2nd Annual Chili Cook-Off, so I was inspired to make one of my own over here.

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