Gluten-Free Cooking For One

Celiac And The Single Girl, Or: How To Make Food That Does Not Suck For One Person {Although I Suppose You Could Feed Other People, Too}


3 Comments

Easy, Chemical-Free Microwave Popcorn

I was making this yesterday when I thought, “I should put this on the blog. Maybe not everyone knows this trick.” It’s easy, cheap, and — unlike commercial microwave popcorn bags, it doesn’t contain tons of chemicals (which usually give me a nasty headache).

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always loved popcorn and I’ve always hated setting up the airpopper. The sound of it drives me nuts… to me, it’s as though a velociraptor and a 747 had a baby, and it was screaming its head off in my kitchen. (shudder)

So when I saw this method, I danced a happy dance and ran right out for brown paper lunch bags.

What you need:

– plain popcorn (when I had $$, I bought Orville Redenbacher brand; now I buy the brand of whatever store I’m in, and it works just as well. Right now, it’s Nice from Walgreen’s)
– a brown paper lunch bag, like Dad used to pack his lunch in
– a measuring spoon

And that’s it. 😀

Put two or three tablespoons of unpopped corn in the brown paper bag. Roll the top of the bag down a few turns, to keep the corn from escaping as it’s popping (and burning to the floor of your microwave). Put the bag in the microwave, and put on the popcorn setting if you have one… if not, “high” should work as well; you just have to keep a close eye on it while it’s popping.

Now on to a depressing subject: scorched corn. I absolutely loathe the smell of burnt popcorn, so I’d rather take the bag out a little too early, when it’s nice and fluffy, and have extra unpopped kernels than wait until it’s brown and scorched. The rule of thumb I follow for popping corn is to listen, once it’s popping nicely, for a one or two second silence between pops. For me, this signals that it’s time to get the corn out.

Once you’ve removed the bag, beware the unpopped kernels that will have sunk to the bottom – they’re scorching hot for a while after coming out. Also, give it a couple of seconds to be sure all the kernels that are going to pop have done so.

One last tip, this time for separating out the unpopped kernels from the popped corn: if you don’t want to break your teeth on unpopped kernels, simply open the mouth of the bag juuuust a little bit, turn upside down, and shake. If you’ve made the opening small enough, the duds will fall out and the popped corn will be too big to make it out the opening. You’ll have a nice collection of duds in your bowl, and you can toss these and then put the popcorn in there. Here’s a video of this technique, in case you’re having trouble visualizing.

For toppings, often I’ll melt butter and go old school. However, if I’ve been glutened, sometimes I’m lactose intolerant and will use olive oil instead. It doesn’t taste like butter, but if you’ve a nice quality oil, it tastes good and will give the salt something to stick to. It’s a taste you can acquire, if you like a little drizzle of something on your corn and butter isn’t an option. :}

If I’m feeling particularly fancy, sometimes I’ll crumble up some fresh-cut parmesan cheese along with the oil and salt, and maybe even some herbs. Trust me, if you like parmesan, it’s delicious on fresh popcorn.

Mmmmmmmm. 😀 Enjoy!!

UPDATE: Just found this video of Alton Brown’s Good Eats, in which he makes “perfect popcorn”. I don’t have such a bowl, but if I did, I’d be very tempted to try it. :}


1 Comment

Avocado Cherry Vanilla Pudding

I love avocados, and they’ve been 5 for $5 around here recently, so I’ve been on a bit of an avocado stampede. Ooh. That would be squishy!! lol SORRY

Back to the food. I know you can make frosting with avocados, but a lot of the recipes called for cocoa (which I shouldn’t have) and lots of powdered sugar (which I’m trying to avoid), so I started looking for other options. I found an article on Shape’s website listing “10 Delicious Avocado Desserts”, and this seemed to combine the felicities of being low in sugar, easy to make, quick, and having only ingredients I already had in the house. DING DING DING, winner!
(Shape article is here)

I whipped it up, and it was glorious. Hit the spot, and it also satisfies the part of my brain that misses chocolate SO much… it’s creamy and rich, not too sweet, and cherry-licious. I’ve made it twice now, and the second time I was able to do it without a recipe: it’s that easy. (However, I didn’t put in the vanilla the second time, because I honestly don’t have that great a memory; and I can report that it tastes just fine without the vanilla. :}

I made it with frozen dark sweet cherries (truly; I think that’s what they’re called on the bag) from my freezer, I believe I picked up the bag at Costco and OMG am I glad I did. Also, I used maple syrup instead of the stevia, because of migraines.

The recipe calls for a nut or seed milk, but I can and do drink milk, so I used that instead. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and just made the pudding. I didn’t need any of the toppings, I was very happy with just the pudding.

From Kibby’s blog (link below), there was this tip, which seems a winner to me:

“I was having all kinds of variations fly through my head and had to whip this one up and share: Blueberry Vanilla Pudding. Basically, use all the same ingredients but substitute frozen or fresh blueberries for the cherries. I am going to make raspberry/chocolate, mango, banana, acai. I made a strawberry version several weeks ago and it is YUMMY! WOW! So many options to play with.”

So obviously I’m going to need to try lots of possibilities. 😀

Have fun and good eating!

IMG_3217

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients:
1 large avocado
1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other dairy-free milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder)
13 to 15 organic cherries, pitted, plus one for garnish
14 drops vanilla-flavored liquid stevia (or 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup)
1 pinch sea salt
Goji berries, for garnish (optional)
Hemp seeds, for garnish (optional)
Cacaco nibs, for garnish (optional)

Directions:
Put all ingredients into a blender (pudding will be smoother if you use a high-end blender) and blend until smooth and creamy. Top with goji berries, hemp seeds, or cacao nibs and an extra cherry, as desired.

IMG_3218

Recipe provided by Kibby’s Blended Life


2 Comments

Today’s adventure: hard boiled eggs in the oven!

This is as easy as it sounds: put eggs in a muffin tin (so they don’t roll around and are easy to get in and out), then cook in an oven pre-heated to 325F for 30 minutes. Afterwards, put in cold water to stop the cooking, as usual; peel, eat. Did it this evening, and it worked like a charm. Would be much easier for cooking large batches than finding a large pan and boiling – I don’t have a large enough pan. 😀 However, two of the four eggs’ shells cracked in the oven, so this might not be ideal for Easter eggs… try it first and see. :}

The idea to try it came from here: http://www.familyfreshmeals.com/2012/11/how-to-make-perfect-hard-boiled-eggs-in-the-oven.html


1 Comment

Mmmf mfmmmphgluten-free candychewchewmmmpf*mmmmmmmmm

So here’s just a quick note: I recently saw, on Celiac.com’s excellent list of gluten-free and gluten safe Hallowe’en candy for 2014, that Haribo’s Gold Gummy Bears are gluten-free.

Well.

Let me tell you that since I made this discovery, there’s been (to paraphrase “Hedwig And The Angry Inch”) a trail of rainbow-colored carnage” at my house. Oh my lord. I’m sure I’ve eaten more artificial coloring in the last two weeks than in the previous two years. But it’s been GLORIOUS.

In other, not-as-awesome news, I think I got glutened by a bottle of Strawberry Nesquik that I picked up last night. 😦 By the time I finished it, I had symptoms, including sores in my mouth and a slightly swollen tongue. The manufacturer won’t say it’s gluten free, or if they do, they word it very very carefully… apparently they don’t test, and won’t guarantee gluten status. Unfortunately, I found an old list that had it as “gluten-free”, and only started doing more comprehensive research after my tongue swelled. DOH!

Well.

You know what this means? Time to quell my vexation with Gummy Bears!! NOMNOMNOM


Leave a comment

Light Ranch Dressingish Kind Of Thing

How’s that for a moderately descriptive title? But this thing I’ve made is (as in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) a substance almost, but not quite, entirely unlike ranch dressing. I’m sure if you make it properly to the recipe, it’s much more convincing.

However!! I was instructed to eat more broccoli by my doctor a few years ago, I truly dislike plain broccoli, and this concoction made it possible for me to eat half a head at one go. Hooray!

The recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/872927/steamed-broccoli-lighter-ranch-dip

What I actually made:

(I haven’t taken a photo yet – can’t find my phone at the moment – and I didn’t measure anything because I’m having a migraine and I’m lucky just to be preparing food. 😀 So you’ll only get vague descriptions, I’m afraid. Migraine days are like this: everything’s missing or not working, and you might as well just relax and do what you can with what you’ve got.)

about 1/2 c yoghurt (all I had was vanilla, but plain would have been *much* better)
1 Tbsp or so of mayonnaise (maybe a little more, to offset the sweetness of the vanilla yoghurt)
Italian spice mix
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Mixed ’em up and ate it. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever made; I wanted to add more tangy and hide some sweet, but that is beyond my mental capacities (and my caring) this afternoon.

If you’re in a pinch for chip dip, it may be closer to hand than you think!! 😀


6 Comments

Paneer and Onion Pakoras

Not my image; courtesy of indobase.net

Made these for the first time, went according to the recipe, and they were yummy – despite some of my spices being (I think) a little out of date. The recipe is only for paneer pakoras, but I love onion pakoras and haven’t had them in an age, so I chopped some long onion slices, dipped those as well, and — yum!!

My big tip would be to make sure the batter isn’t too thick. Mine was quit thick at first, and my first paneer cubes looked like marshmallows and the batter didn’t cook all the way through, because it was too gooey… they wanted to burn on the outside and not cook on the sides. Still yummy, once I got them cooked enough to eat, but much more difficult than necessary and not crispy!! I added more water (and salt for my taste) and the next batch were better.

I’m thinking for the next time out, I might slice the paneer thinly instead of cubing it, because melted paneer is super-yummy as well… although this may make a horrific mess… well, I’ll let you know. I’ll probably be making this again soon!!

They were also delicious the second day, which is not always something I can say about fried food. :}  If you’re tentative about cooking Indian food, or about frying, these were pretty easy for me, and they turned out pretty well!

No photos, I’m sorry — I forgot in the excitement of battering and frying! And, of course, eating. NOM.

Oh!! One last note. I don’t know why, but the paneer didn’t seem to bother my lactose intolerance as much as other (richer?) cheeses do. Part of that might be that my system might finally be mending after my December glutening, but it might be something with the cheese. Who knows? I’m just recording what I see.

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianappetizers/r/Fried-Paneer-Pakora.htm

In case this site’s down, here’s the recipe:

Paneer pakoras are Indian paneer cheese cubes or slices fried in a gram flour batter. Ah fried cheese, is there anything more indulgent? Fried Indian paneer cheese, battered and fried like a traditional Indian pakora is absolutely delicious. Enjoy these little vegetarian fried paneer pakoras as is, with a chutney or barbecue sauce.Paneer pakoras are made with chickpea flour, which is “stickier” than regular flour when making pakoras. Check in a large health food store or Asian grocer if your regular grocer doesn’t stock it. It’s a common ingredient in vegetarian Indian cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Indian paneer cheese (250-300 grams), sliced about 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (also called gram flour or besan)
  • 2 tsp oil or ghee (Indian butter) – I used oil
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (optional) – aw yayuh, this is the stuff
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup water
  • oil for frying

Preparation:

Whisk together the chickpea flour, oil or ghee, garam masala, salt and chili powder. Slowly incorporate water, adding just enough to form a thick batter.Dip each paneer slice in batter, turning to coat well.

Fry in hot oil just until lightly golden brown. These fried paneer slices are best when they’re fresh, so enjoy your paneer pakoras hot.