Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Test: Multigrain Bread

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

At the bakery, Wednesdays are generally gluten free testing days.  Due to some schedule switching, this week's testing happened a little later than usual, and ended up being something savory, rather than sweet for a change.  Several of the ladies in the bakery have been talking about decreasing our gluten intake lately.  Only one of us needs to live a gluten free lifestyle, but the rest of us are feeling that we are sometimes overindulging and feeling the effects.  So, we have been trying to incorporate items into our diets that we generally eat often , and that usually contain gluten, like pasta, bread and protein source.  Pasta is really easy - rice or my favorite, a blend of rice and quinoa (it has a taste and texture so similar to wheat pasta that you won't be able to tell the difference.  Bread is a little more challenging.  We sell gluten free breads at our store, but they are all stored in the freezer.  Not the freshest thing ever, but when there aren't any other options, that's what we have to go for.  We tested (and approved) a brown rice based gluten free bread that had a nice texture, but took literally 10-15 minutes to toast in the oven (?!).  And for protein, we can eat tofu, tempeh and beans.

I was talking to one of my coworkers and was telling her that it was my goal to bake my own gluten free bread.  There is a woman that actually teaches a class on making  savory gluten free breads at the school where I teach my gluten free public classes, which I have been dying to take, but it is expensive and I have been really busy lately (especially with excuses!).  So while we were at work and I was telling her all of this, she said, well, "we should have time today, why don't you make one here for us"?  Duh K, why not - we have all of the materials in the bakery to make the bread.  So I went to one of my favorite gluten free blogs - The Gluten Free Goddess, and found that she has a recipe for GF Multigrain Bread.  I printed it, modified it, and baked it.  I was a little nervous with the batter because it was nothing like a "regular" bread dough - it was like a thick pancake or muffin batter.  But, it worked beautifully, and after practically jumping up and down with excitement that I had successfully made a savory gluten free item, I gave a sample to basically the whole store, initially not telling anyone it was GF.  Everyone loved it and was extremely surprised when I let them know that it was in fact, vegan, gluten free, nut free and soy free!  So here is the recipe, whose base I found from The Gluten Free Goddess.

Gluten Free Multigrain Mini Loaves

The Unbaked Bread Sprinkled with Sesame & Sunflower Seeds

All Three Loaves, Unbaked (Forgot to Take a Pic When They
Were Cooked. Check out M's Blog for a Pic of Them Baked:
Koko's Baked GF Multigrain Bread

Yields 3 mini Loaves

2/3 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup cornmeal, plus additional for dusting the pan
1/2 cup millet or quinoa flour
1 cup potato starch
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds, plus additional for garnish
2 tablespoons gluten free oats or toasted quinoa
1 tablespoons sesame seeds, plus additional for garnish
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
1 1/4 cup warm filtered water
pinch raw sugar

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons flax eggs (mix 1/3 cup ground flax seeds with 2/3 cup warm water in a jar, shake until well combined and measure out 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons agave
1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Liberally oil 3 mini loaf pans or one 9x5" loaf pan and sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom to coat.
2.  Place the warm water, yeast and pinch of sugar in a glass, stirring with a fork to combine.  Place in a warm place while preparing the flour mixture and assembling ingredients.  It is ready when the mixture starts to grow and has a strong yeasty smell.
3.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the sorghum flour, cornmeal, millet or quinoa flour, potato starch, sunflower seeds, oats or toasted quinoa, sesame seeds, xanthan gum and sea salt.  On low speed, mix until all ingredients are well combined.
4.  Once the  yeast mixture is ready, lower the bowl and pour into the flour mixture.  Add the olive oil, flax eggs, agave and apple cider vinegar and raise bowl.  On low speed, begin mixing the batter until all ingredients are combined, then continue mixing for an additional 1-2 minutes, or until batter is very thick and sticky. 
5.  Scrape the sides of the bowl and using a portion scoop, evenly portion the dough between the three loaf pans (or pour it all into one standard sized pan).  Brush a small amount of olive oil over top and sprinkle with sesame and sunflower seeds.
6.  Bake for 25-35 minutes for the mini loaves or 50-60 minutes for the large sized loaves, or until a knife comes out clean and when tapped on the sides and bottom, the bread makes a hollow sound. 

I know it is going to be almost impossible to resist, but try to wait 15-20 minutes before eating for the best texture.  (I ate it right away with some earth balance melted on top and it was out of this world, but then I waited 15 minutes after it came out of the oven, and the texture was even better.  Seriously, this bread is out of this world!  It slices really well, has an amazing flavor and texture and it makes everyone's bellies happy by not filling them with gluten!  You will really love this one!



Saturday, June 25, 2011

Indian Curry in a Hurry

Dinner today was all about being quick.  I'm lucky in that at my last job I had access to lots of samples of all kinds of fun, new and interesting things.  Sometimes that even includes packaged meals.  I know a lot of people in this day and age subsist on packaged meals, meals that take only a few minutes to make, or only a few additional ingredients.  I can understand this, because people seem to just be getting busier and busier in their daily lives.  This is a way to put food on the table quickly, feeding themselves and their families, and getting on with their lives.  However, much of the time this comes with the sacrifice of their health.  This is why I do not buy packaged/ almost ready-to-eat food. 

However, when I was perusing the sample shelf at work one day, I came across some packaged food that looked interesting, checked the ingredients, and was amazed to discover that not only was the package gluten free and vegan, but also had shockingly few ingredients, and seemed pretty health supportive.  So, I took it home, and there it sat in the pantry, for about 2 months.  You can definitely tell that I like to cook at home, even if it takes a while.  So, one day when I came home late from work and the Hubby came home shortly thereafter, we were both hungry!  And since we've made a kind of pact with one another that we will try to save as much money as possible and not eat out, we had to eat in, and quickly.  So, as I was going through the pantry half-heartedly, I came across the package of noodles and sauce and was so happy.  The noodles would literally take 2 minutes to cook, then add the pasta.  So, all I had to do was saute some veggies.  What could be easier?  So, that's what we had for dinner, and it was delicious!  Although quite spicy.  And if I hadn't immediately recycled the box it came in, I would tell you the brand, but alas ... 

Indian Curry in a Hurry:

Brown Rice Noodles, Sauteed Veggies, Pepper Steak

Serves 2

1 package Gluten Free Indian Curry for 2, prepared according to instructions

Vegan Pepper Steak (leftover from dinner the night before)

1/4 head purple cabbage, shredded
1/2 orange bell pepper, medium diced
1/2 green bell pepper, medium diced
1/2 medium onion, sliced thinly
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
6-8 baby bellas, sliced thinly
Vegetable boullion powder, as needed
 Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1.  I prepared the noodles as indicated on the package - they only took a couple minutes because they were rice.
2.  In a large wok over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and allow to become hot.  Once it's hot, add the onion, bell and jalapeno peppers.  Allow to cook for a couple minutes.  Add the cabbage and mushrooms, also allowing them to cook for several minutes, until the veggies are tender-crisp.  Season with vegetable boullion powder, sea salt and black pepper. 
3.  Once the noodles are cooked, drain well and return to the pan they were cooked in.  Into the wok with the cooked vegetables, pour in the prepared sauce packet.  Stir into the veggies, being sure the sauce is evenly coated.
4.  Place half of the pasta onto each plate and top with a generous amount of the veggies.  Top the veggies with the cooked pepper steak and serve. 
5.  The sauce pack was soooo hot, so I think the next time I make something like this, I'll keep out the additional jalapeno peppers.  You know I love spicy foods, and this was delicious, but intense even for me!



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Dominican Beans over Rice with Red Cabbage Salad

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

First of all let me say sorry for not posting over the last couple weeks!  My computer officially freaked out , had a nasty virus that wouldn't go away by anything I attempted, and I had to take it to Geek Squad.  3-5 days later, aka almost 2 weeks later, the computer was Finally! ready to come back home.  After waiting in line at Best Buy Union Square for over 45 minutes (there were only 3 people ahead of me!), I finally had my computer back in my grasp.  Damn how I missed it!  I am sooooo happy it's back and more appreciative than ever that everything is ok, and that all my pictures and everything is still here!  Although there is a very strange picture on the front.  Oh well.  So, without further ado, gluten free Wednesday!

(By the way, even though I am not at my old job where I cooked in the kitchen, I found this post from a couple months ago, the last post I did from the era of Lifethyme!)  I knew in advance that today was going to be crazy, so I got a little help from home - I brought in a package of seasoned pinto beans that I had made a couple weeks ago, and froze, for a time like today, when I knew I wouldn't have time to make anything nice otherwise because of the time constraints.  Because of that, lunch was a breeze.  The only thing I actually had to make at work was a veggie - something to even out the meal.  So, I decided to make something nice and crunchy to go along with it: a cabbage salad! And it was definitely tasty!  We were missing a couple ingredients I wanted to put in it, like fresh jalapeno pepper and lime juice.  We only had lemon juice, but I would have definitely preferred lime.  If you have those ingredients and would like to add them, then by all means, do.  If not, no worries because this salad was super tasty as is.  Take a hint from me - next time you make beans, make a giant pot then freeze the leftovers in either individual or two serving containers and you'll have a super easy, healthy meal quickly.  And you won't have to rely upon and form of packaged food. 

Dominican Beans Over Rice with Red Cabbage Salad:

Crunchy Cabbage Salad with Dominican Beans over Rice


Serves: 4-6 as a side dish
Dominican Beans, or other seasoned beans (recipe to come later)

Cooked white rice

Red Cabbage Salad:
1 small head red cabbage, shredded by hand
1/2 large red pepper, small diced, about 3/4 cup
1/4 large red onion, small diced, about 1/3 cup
1 large avocado, seeded and medium diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon, about 2-4 tablespoons, depending on size (or lime, as desired)

1. Prepare the beans.
2. Prepare the rice.
3. Prepare the cabbage salad: shred the cabbage as finely as you can by hand.  Place in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Add the chopped red pepper and onion and toss to coat.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice (beginning with the smaller of the two amounts), sea salt and black pepper.  Mix everything together, using your hands to massage the oil and lemon juice into the cabbage leaves.  Taste. Add more lemon juice or salt as needed.  Add the avocado and stir gently to combine.  Allow the flavors to marinate for about 10 minutes before serving.
4.  Prepare the plate: Spoon a helping of rice onto the plate and top with the cooked beans, adding more of the cooking liquid as desired (it is super flavorful!). Assemble the salad on the same plate. Place a serving of the lettuce on the plate and top with the sliced tomatoes and any other vegetables you have on hand. Sprinkle the tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper if desired. Drizzle with dressing of choice and top with croutons.

Close Up of the Tasty Salad.



Friday, June 3, 2011

Leftover Pasta Saute

This is something I made quite a while ago, discovered the picture and decided I needed to write about it and publish it.  This was a dinner I made with the pasta leftover from when I made the Ricotta Spinach Stuffed Shells.  When I was making the stuffed shells, I didn't even think twwice about cooking the entire package of pasta, which amounted to a ton, because I was just cooking for myself then (the hubby was in DR).  There was so much leftover pasta and I was really concerned because I definitely do not like throwing food away if I can help it, especially when it's my fault for making so much.  It sat in the refrigerator for several days until I decided I really needed to use it up.  So I just decided to toss it with some sauteed veggies and call it a meal.  Which is exactly what I did, and it was delicious, if not a little strange, but hey, I used up a lot of random ingredients from the refrigerator and didn't waste at all!

Refrigerator Pasta:

Veggie Deliciousness!
 Serves 4

1/2 box jumbo shells, cooked and using a pair kitchen scissors, cut into 4 pieces, each
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 green pepper, small diced
1/2 red or orange pepper, small diced
1 jalapeno, minced
1/2 red onion, small diced
1 stalk broccoli
1/2 cup pea pods, tough ends removed and julienned
1/2 large zucchini, small diced
1/2 bunch kale (this was also leftovers, which I had seasoned with shoyu and sesame seeds)
2 mini vegetable boullion cubes
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes, or as desired

1.  Heat a large wok over medium-high heat.  Once the wok is hot, add the oil and wait for about 30 seconds for the oil to heat up. 
2.  Once the oil is hot, add the onions, jalapeno peppers, pea pods and the broccoli.  Saute for about 2 minutes.  Add the rest of the veggies except the kale.  Saute, stirring frequently, until the veggies are just tender.  Add the kale and the cooked pasta and stir until the kale wilts and the pasta becomes hot. 
3.  Smash the boullion cubes between your fingers and add to the mixture in the wok.  Add the remaining spices, stirring well to coat.  Season to taste, adding tamari or shoyu, if desired. 



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Gluten Free Wednesday: Vegan Enchiladas

Happy Gluten Free Wednesday!

(Now that I am officially no longer working at Lifethyme, Gluten Free Wednesday's are going to be like any other day blogging - me blabbing about whatnot, and this time taking my gluten free explorations home.  Just can't tell Hubby, because then he'll be suspicious!  Even though I make gf food for him all the time - I have just learned that there are some things I need to censor for him.)

I love Spanish food.  I'm beginning to think it is my favorite cuisine.  For the longest time I was convinced that it was Italian, but after meeting and marrying my hubby, I am obsessed with Spanish food.  (Even though he is Dominican, I feel like he has opened up my eyes to so many different countries' specialties and cuisines.)  I feel like I have never really had a lot of experience cooking or even eating true Spanish food, but now I cook it every chance I get.  I am getting a lot better at it now.  Especially beans.

Growing up, my mom never cooked with beans.  The only thing she ever made with beans was chili, and even then it was using canned beans.  (I did just remember that she used to make this like 12 bean soup with some kind of ham/bacon, where she had to cook the beans, but I think that's about it.)  Don't get me wrong, my mom is seriously the best cook ever.  She cooks everything from scratch, and I mean everything, even noodles.  We raised chickens for many years, collected their eggs and consumed their meat.  My mum gardens, cans and freezes everything - she is seriously a goddess.  Anyway, moving on!

We never cooked beans at my house and the first time I cooked them for the hubby, they were admittedly very strange and Americanized.  He ate them, but later admitted that they were pretty terrible.  I asked him several times to tell me how to make Dominican style beans, but he is not great at teaching/explaining cooking.  He is always telling me that out of everyone in his family, he is the worst cook.  (I don't think that's true!)  Finally, many many months ago one of his cousins moved from the Dominican Republic to New York, not speaking a word of English and stayed with us for a couple weeks while he organized everything.  Hubby set up a session with his cousin and I to make beans.  His cousin was able to explain to me, with few Spanish words spoken (I do not really speak it - only the basics), lots of gesturing and exaggeration, how to prepare beans.  And they were so delicious.  I owe him for teaching my my bean cooking skills.  Now I can cook them with the best of 'em.

Creamy Bean Filled Center, Smooth Sauce & Melty Cheese

Yields 6 Enchiladas

6 Gluten Free Tortillas, homemade or store bought
Daiya or other vegan cheese, shredded
Sliced Black Olives
Diced Red Onions

Enchilada Sauce:
3 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons brown rice flour or sorghum flour
1 cup tomato sauce/crushed tomatoes
1 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Refried Beans:
2 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
1 cup filtered water
1 small onion, small diced, about 1 cup
1 jalapeno, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 mini vegetable boullion cubes
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon chipotle pepper powder, or to taste

1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
2.  Prepare the enchilada sauce first.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the oil and allow it to become hot.  Once it is hot, add the flour and whisk to create a roux.  Whisk periodically until flour is golden in color and smells toasty.  Once it is at this point, add the tomato sauce and water, stirring immediately.  Add all the spices and whisk to combine. Continue to cook, whisking periodically until the sauce is thick and well flavored.  Season to taste.  Set the pot aside to cool. 
3.  Now prepare the refried beans.  You can either use beans that you have cooked yourself or beans from a can.  I definitely prefer cooking the beans myself and I am sure the hubby would not appreciate having cooked canned beans in the house. 
4.  In a separate medium pot, add the oil and allow to heat.  Once hot, add the chopped onion, jalapeno and garlic.  Saute for several minutes until the mixture is fragrant and golden.  Add the beans and mash with a potato masher, adding the water as you do so.  The beans should be mostly mashed.  Crush the boullion cubes with your fingers and add to the bean mixture.  Add the remaining spices and stir well.  Season to taste - these should be slightly spicy, nicely salted and seasoned. 
5.  Set aside to cool a little as you prepare the rest of the ingredients. 
6.  Assemble your enchiladas.  On a cutting board, place your tortilla (it is a good idea to heat up your tortillas for a couple seconds over an open flame to allow them to become more flexible), scoop about 1/3-1/2 cup of the refried beans in the center, followed by about 2 tablespoons of the enchilada sauce and a few tablespoons of daiya.  Roll up into a cigar shape.  These do not have to look pretty.  Place the rolled enchilada into a lightly oiled baking pan.  Continue with the remaining ingredients.
7.  Once all the enchiladas have been rolled and placed in the baking pan, spoon a generous amount of the enchilada sauce over the top of the tortillas, followed by the daiya, diced red onions, and olives. 
8.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the enchiladas are heated all the way through.