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}


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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!! 😀

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Sing A Song Of Frankencake

Ok, I’m way behind on cooking posts, so here goes: the chanson geste of the Frankencake. And when I say chanson geste, I really mean it… this cake was quite a process. It started as such a simple idea, then became something quite else entirely, didn’t quite work out as planned, and then ended up as an excellent oddity that I fully intend to serve in future and pretend I husbanded the whole thing through GENIUS and common sense. Right.

So here we go.

You know that I’m not one to pretend I know what I’m doing, so I’m going to lay it all out. You may benefit from my process, or may be able to add some piece of information I’m missing. Or even just get a laugh. 😀

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This was the original recipe, found on Pinterest:

Budget101 Valentines Cherry Pie Bars – delicious and easy

1 cup of butter softened
2 cups of sugar
4 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cans of cherry pie filling (can use just 1 if you need to)

Preheat Oven to 350F
In a mixing bowl, cream your butter, sugar- add eggs & extract.. beat well to mix. Add flour & Salt, Mixing Well.
Spread half of the batter in a greased 9×13 pan, Spoon the Pie Filling over the batter Randomly drop tablespoons remaining batter over the pie filling
Bake for 35 min or until your toothpick comes out clean

If you wish to add a glaze mix 1 c. Powdered sugar, 1 tsp almond extract, 2 tsp milk and drizzle
bars cool

Recipe from Budget101.com
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The photo that went with it looked gorgeous and the recipe is simple enough.

Except that I’m lactose intolerant right now. OK, I thought, I’ll substitute for the butter. Ugh. And then I thought, this is pastry, basically, from the look of it in the photo (I didn’t save the photo to put with this, but you can go find it)… if I substitute the butter, and use gluten-free flours, this is going to be like a brick with cherry pie filling on it. Horrible!!

Hmmm. I did, however, have a box of the good gluten-free muffin mix in the cupboard, and I thought, there are worse things in life than cherry muffins!! So I figured I’d use the muffin mix instead of making up this dough. Sorted!!

I got out the box of King Arthur Gluten Free Muffin Mix and made it up according to the instructions on the back of the box, except that I needed a substitute for the milk and also one for the butter. I happened to have a can of coconut milk on hand, so I used most of that as a milk replacement. To replace the butter, I used coconut oil — it occurred to me somewhat belatedly that the cake might be very coconutty, but hey, I like coconut, and it’s better than being ill from the lactose — and I also used the coconut oil to grease the cake pan.

Once I’d mixed up the batter, I added some vanilla and almond extract just because they were in the original recipe, then poured 3/4 of the mix into a 9×9 glass cake pan (briefly considered the larger 13×9 but then thought there wasn’t enough batter), opened a can of cherry pie filling and spread it over the batter, then  dobbed the last of the batter in clumps over the cherry pie filling as directed in the original recipe, above. IMG_20140207_163705_670

A distant warning bell began to ring in my head at about this point, tolling the words “it’s going to rise, did you think about that? “… I swore a little bit, because I had not, but then ignored it, on the basis of it already being in the pan.

I put it in the oven to bake, but I did put a cookie sheet underneath it, because I was beginning to worry about the fact that muffins rise. lol

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Frankencake!!

Out it came, brown and gooey and gorgeous… and delicious! The muffin mix worked a treat, although it had almost pushed the cherry pie filling right out of the pan, and it tasted good. It was actually a little too sweet for me, which is rare. However, I sucked it up and managed to have a piece with a little glass of tawny port wine. Because I can take one for the team if I have to.

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It’s not easy being a non-celebrity food blogger.

So, I thought to myself, how can I improve this next time?

1) make it in the 13×9 cake pan.
2) no cherry pie filling
3) cut the coconut milk with water & the coconut oil with corn oil, to lessen the coconut taste

So I made it again, but this time tried to recreate a favorite childhood recipe: the Heath Bar coffee cake made by my mother when we were kids.

Got the King Arthur muffin mix and made it, again with coconut milk (this time cut with water) for the milk and coconut oil (this time mixed with corn oil) for the melted butter.

The add-ons this time:
* Heath Bar Bits-O-Brickle Toffee in the batter
* Kraft caramels cut in half and put between the layers of muffin mix, like the cherry pie filling last time.
* vanilla extract again, and this time added spices cinnamon (cassia) and cardamom

Looking rather dusty, it's Frankencake V2, with its covering of Brickle Bits and dusting of sugar on top. Mmmmm :D

Looking rather untidy, it’s Frankencake V2, with its covering of Brickle Bits and dusting of sugar on top. Mmmmm 😀

Under each lump of batter you see in the photo above is a half a caramel, inserted between layers of dough in hopes they would melt and be delicious gooey centers. They did, but there weren’t nearly enough of them.

IMG_20140212_200528_150You can see where the lumps of extra batter on top have melted down into the cake’s surface, and if you could get right up to the cake, you’d be able to look down through the cracks and see melted caramel. Mmmmmm. 🙂

Delicious. It needed a bit more caramel, and it could have used more toffee bits — I was a bit frugal with all of it, won’t be next time — but it was delicious. I’ll definitely be making this again, and DEFINITELY in the 13×9 pan.

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MmmmmmMMMMMMMMmmmmmmm. 😀

So that’s the story of Frankencake, the cake that started out to be one thing and then ended up as something completely different. (Perhaps I should call it Pythoncake instead…)


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White Chocolate Cranberry Muffins

I haven’t cooked anything much because
1) I made a 6-pound ham Thursday night and have been eating almost nothing but ham since then, and
2) I’ve been feeling pretty bleh (keep thinking I’m starting a cold)
– so this is not an overly ambitious recipe. However, I have a muffin mix and suddenly Today Was The Day. 😀 So!! I got out the muffin mix and followed the directions, then added a bunch of cinnamon (seriously. A lot. Probably 1.5 Tbsp or something ridiculous. I love cinnamon. And this was cassia cinnamon, not ceylon cinnamon, for those of you who care), then 1 cup of Craisins and .5 cup of white chocolate chips.

Cooked ’em up and voila!! I post this because they turned out really well, and I thought you might like to know the brand (King Arthur Brand) in case you’re searching for a good gluten-free muffin mix.

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King Arthur Brand Muffin Mix! ❤ I’ve had good luck with the K.A. mixes I’ve tried.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

The children were nestled all snug in their beds

Please welcome my charming assistant, Snaps. He'll later steal part of one of these while I'm getting a delivery from UPS.  Please welcome my charming assistant, Snaps. He’ll later steal part of one of these while I’m getting a delivery from UPS.

The guest of honor. So pretty I could just MmmmmMMMMMfffffmchhhhompfmppfmmmp. Mmmm.

The guest of honor. So pretty I could just MmmmmMMMMMfffffmchhhhompfmppfmmmp. Mmmm. Gone. 😀 This is, actually, THE MUFFIN that Snaps stole the bottom of. Ha! Poor dude. Hope he doesn’t get a stomach-ache.

The Culprit, having utterly failed to learn that Crime Does Not Pay.  Hooray!

The Culprit, having utterly failed to learn that Crime Does Not Pay. Hooray!


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Hammmmmmm :) with Candied Ginger

OK, so I think if you’ve been reading this blog for oh, say, 45 seconds, you’ve figured out that I’m not a member of any belief system (or dietary restriction) that prohibits the eating of pork. I’m not supposed to eat nitrates and nitrites, but… (looking innocent) I can’t eat SOoooOOO many other things that I kind of just look the other way when reading the label. Then, when the headaches get too bad, I stop eating the pork. :\

So I needed food for the next three days, because I’m either going to be on the road a lot, or snowed/iced into my house, and whichever way that goes, I’m going to need food. Stopped in to Sam’s Club for my old faithful, the $4.88 gluten-free rotisserie chicken – but alas!! It was not there. Dangit!! Too late. I knew they had a gluten-free ham, so I cut over to the meats and grabbed it.

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The magic words: “Gluten Free”? Well, yes, those. But also “Honey & Spice Glaze Packet Included”! nomnomnom

Twenty minutes later, the ham was in the oven heating for an hour as I prepped the glaze. So this is where I could try to flimflam and pretend to have made the glaze from scratch, but I am SO Not That Girl. The glaze is miraculously gluten-free, and I’m not one to look a gift glaze in the mouth, so I added 4 Tbsp of hot water to that packet of powder like a pro and voila!! Glaze.

My big addition to this story comes here: I cut up some of the crystallized (candied) ginger I made (this is from a new batch I made in late Dec.) and added it to the glaze, along with about 3 tsp of the ginger syrup.

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It’s like candy!! (Cameo song reference? Anyone?)

Here’s about how much I put in the glaze. It was a lot. I was really hoping for a nice gingery tang to the whole thing. I’d say I put in 10 or 11 pieces of ginger, all told.

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Lots of ginger, but no Mary Ann.

I had to put the glaze over the ham — no problem — but then the directions also said to put the glaze “in between the slices”, which was kind of gross. I’ve never really imagined what it might be like to force-feed a baby hippo, but if I had to guess, this would be it. o.O

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Alex Trebek, I’ll take “Phallic Meats” for $500

I will also state for the record that, while this is not the most phallic *item* I have ever cooked, it is actually the most phallic *meat* I have ever cooked. And yes, that does include members (snort) of the sausage family. Sorry, lads. This upstanding boyo’s got you beat. Look at him!! Just look! Or, you know, don’t. (cough)

So back into the oven went this little piggy for about 10 minutes and then out it came, glistening and just omg gorgeous and asdfghjkl;! It’s not terribly gingery, which surprises me. But it is super delicious, and should do a great job of feeding me long after I’m sick of ham in a few days. :}

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Mmmmmmmm ginger bits!

Would it look less phallic if I took a larger scene photo?

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(coughpeniscough)

Nope. Well, now I’ve sliced it up into containers, so no-one will be subjected to phallic objects in my kitchen. Sigh.