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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Rice Cooker Kichari

Yummmmm!!! I just finished making this, and it’s delicious. Much creamier than my normal kichari, because my stove-top pot is too small for a proper batch, and it boils all over.

Well. So did this.

But the end result is worth it, and I didn’t have to stand there and *watch* it boil over. I was in the other room, doing something more productive while it boiled over. 😀 I’ll figure out how to fix the boiling over thing, but in the meantime, if you don’t mind a bit of a mess, this is THE STUFF here.

I took half a cup of mung beans (split and shelled) and half a cup of rice — completely forgot to soak either, but it worked out juuuust fine, except for the oft-mentioned boil over — and put them in the rice cooker with my standard 2 cups of water (for cooking rice). After a moment’s pondering, I added another cup or so of water, just for good measure and so I wouldn’t scorch the pooptarts out of my rice cooker. Plugged it in, turned it on. Left it alone. (My rice cooker only has one setting: “on”, so no complexity here).

In the meantime, I’d put some olive oil (I’m out of ghee) in a saucepan and started it heating, and chopped up a large potato and put that in the microwave to cook. Sautéed sliced onions and some garlic with cumin seeds in the oil,then added a dollop (about 1 Tbsp) of bacon grease from the fridge. If you’re veg, then this is not for you. :} Sorry. I wanted a little more richness than I could get with just olive oil. Added turmeric, curry powder, salt, and some other goodies – what I had on the counter – and let the onions get soft. The potatoes dinged, so I threw those in too, to get the benefit of the spices and oniony-ness and good mojo. Let that finish up for a few more minutes, then turned it off and went to weave in the other room.

Shortly thereafter, I heard the ungentle hissing of an epic boilover, but I really couldn’t be bothered to get up and check… what could I do, other than wring my hands and say “oh, dear, it’s boiling over”? After about 20 minutes, the rice cooker clicked into its warm cycle, and I bustled into the kitchen to move it to another bowl before it could crust to the surface of the rice pan. Put in oil, onions, garlic, and potatoes, and stirred. After I combined the mixtures, I tasted it – needed more spices, so I added them to taste.

The texture is smooth and creamy, unlike the slightly crunchy way it turns out on the stove. It’s pretty bodacious and I am gleefully happy with this recipe. HOORAY!!


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Quinoa pudding in the rice cooker!

You may sense a trend here.

I’m having a season of stomach problems, and frankly all I want is to eat things that make me happy. Rice pudding makes me happy. 😉  However, when I posted my last rice pudding post, a friend who can’t eat rice asked me if it could be made with quinoa… so last night I tried it. I tried it in the rice cooker, because a couple of the quinoa pudding recipes I sought out used the words “bain marie”, and nothing makes me run faster than those two words. Shudder. I thought to myself, I bet it would work using the rice cooker, and so it did. Life is good, my friends. I BANNED THE BAIN MARIE!

It tastes good, although quinoa doesn’t soak up as much liquid as rice, so it was a little sloppier. However, I wanted to try the recipe with only one substitution, so I was prepared for that, and frankly, I don’t mind a bit. This morning it’s solidified and is properly “puddingy”.

If you’d like to make your own, follow the directions from the last post (linked above in the text) and just substitute 1 cup of well-rinsed quinoa. (In the interests of full disclosure, I did a typically crummy job of rinsing it, frankly: just swished it around in a colander lined with paper towel for a few rinses, then plopped it in the cooker. Just to be honest.) It doesn’t taste exactly the same as rice pudding, because the quinoa will contribute its own nutty taste (I often think of it as green), but it’s a very nice substitute if you’re looking to get more nutritional value out of your desserts or if you can’t eat rice.

Enjoy!

 

 


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Another variant of rice pudding

Because seriously, who ever gets enough rice pudding? Sometimes, you’re just sitting around in the evening, and you think: “screw it. I need some rice pudding. Stat.” But who wants to stand around in front of the stove for 20 minutes? Sometimes, OK, me. But not this evening. So I made the hinkiest, quickest, and yet still yummy version of rice pudding ever. Ready?

  1. I put 1 cup of rice (all I had was Basmati, although I prefer a short or medium grain) in the rice cooker, with 1 cup of coconut milk, 1 cup of water, and two tablespoons of butter. Put that sucker on to cook, and waited for it to be done.
  2. As soon as it was finished (so while still hot), I moved it over into a large bowl.
  3. I added another cup of liquids, this time almond milk/coconut milk mixed. (It’s what I had)
  4. Stirred in about 1/2 cup of brown sugar, added cinnamon and ground cardamom.
  5. Chopped in 3 dates.

BOOM. Rice pudding.

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Kinda-veg rice pudding. Somewhat healthy. Ish.

😀 So I have a baby shower tomorrow, and I’d like to bring a dessert. But I’d like to make it with just things I have in the house, so it’s going to be mostly dairy-free and stuff. I’m starting with this recipe:

http://greatist.com/eat/recipes/healthier-rice-pudding

And going to add a couple things as I go. Eggnog, for one, because I’m making a double +  batch and I don’t have enough coconut milk. I bet that won’t suck. More after I’m done!!

Original Recipe:

4 Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut milk (about 1/2 can)
  • 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
  • 1 cup cooked brown or white rice
  • Dash cinnamon

Directions

  1. Pour coconut milk into a small pot over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer. Add agave and stir to combine. Add rice and continue to stir until evenly distributed.
  2. Let mixture simmer for about 5 minutes. Liquids should boil off and mixture will become thicker. Serve sprinkled with cinnamon.

More to come when I finish it!

What I really did:

I made a double batch of rice, which means about 8 cups of cooked rice. So obviously, there’s plenty of rice. To get 8 cups of liquid, I combined the following:

4 cups coconut milk (light)

2 cups eggnog

2 cups water

2+ Tbsp cinnamon (cassia, not Ceylon) – I like cinnamon a lot.

Ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom to taste

1/2 cup brown sugar

If you’ve ever wondered what this much rice pudding looks like, this is it.

 
Simmer the cooked rice in this mixture (probably in your largest pan) until it thickens up. Then try to find enough containers for that much delicious, delicious rice pudding. 😀

 

About this many!

 
Oh my gosh, is this good. And not *quite* as naughty as my normal recipe.

yusssss


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Ayurveda, I’m thoroughly enjoying my flirtation with you.

Recently, I sprained my ankle. I had a big dance workshop coming up in two weeks, so I followed the recommendation of a couple different people and started drinking turmeric milk: “Golden Milk” (recipe forthcoming). Then I started craving the taste of it, and realizing that I wasn’t as obsessed with sweets as usual, because something about it was satisfying that urge. And, I could feel a difference for the better in my knees as well as my ankle, which was healing very well.

So I started doing some research into anti-inflammatory foods, like turmeric, and I kept reading more and more about Ayurveda. And I thought, well, what I’ve been doing isn’t working out so well for me, so perhaps I’ll give this a whiz.

Ten days in, I’ve almost stopped eating sugar entirely (something I thought I could never do), and I’m not craving it. At all. I’ve also noticed my pain is less and my energy is higher. So, whether that’s “Ayurvedic cooking” or just that I needed more legumes and vegetables, well – I’m loving it!

The dosha I’m having trouble with, and need to eat to pacify, seems to be Kapha. My brain seems to be Vatta, which diet I have been eating for years, but my body is getting into more and more pain and trouble – and it seems to be Kapha. (I say “seems to be” because I am sooooo not an expert.) This means lots of bitter, pungent, and astringent foods: normally my LEAST favorite thing. But I thought, well, I can try the spices to start without upending my whole diet. Let’s see what we see!!

Almost immediately, I stopped craving sugar, and I’ve gone from being someone who eats cookies after every meal, has sugary breakfast, and drinks sugary beverages all day long – to not having had sugar in seven days (other than honey in my ginger tea. Ok, I did fall off the wagon last night when I was out, but they had gluten-free sticky toffee pudding and who can resist such a lure? NOT ME. lol) So I’ll be sharing the recipes I’ve been cooking during this experimental period, along with new ones I try, so if you’re curious or just love Indian food (probably the majority of what I’ll do, at least in the early days), you can come along. So far, I’ve made chickpea curry, aloo gobi, and lots of turmeric milk and ginger tea. I’ve started snacking on pumpkin seeds and almonds instead of chips. I’ve also cut dairy milk, because I’ve noticed it makes me bloaty and swollen and grumpy – although I’m still eating cheese once a day. Hey, I’m not Superwoman. And I’m sure there’s some eggnog in my future, although I may be able to find the dairy-free kind. Mmmmmm. Eggnog.

OK. So, here ends my explanation of why some of my recipes will be getting a more vegetarian, less sugary, less salty work-over in the near future. Hope that’s ok with you. Mwah and xoxo.


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Onion Rings + Honey Sesame Pork, non-Crock-Pot edition

I wanted to make the Honey Sesame Chicken recipe again today with pork, but with one thing and another, I left it too late to make in the slow cooker. So, I made it on the stove instead, and it was actually even better this way!

As a side bonus, I figured I’d fry up some onion rings as an appetizer, since I was going to be frying the pork anyway. (I miss onion rings dreadfully, and these were delicious. Hit the spot!)

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So I thick-cut about 1/4 of a sweet onion, sliced the rest thinner for the stiry-fry, and smashed 5 cloves of garlic for that as well. Mixed rice flour, black pepper, garlic powder, kosher salt, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl, and cracked one egg into another bowl. I’d heated up about an inch deep oil in a frying pan on medium heat while I was doing all this, so it was nice and hot by the time I dredged the onion ring slices in the egg and then coated them in the flour mixture. I slid the onion slices into the hot oil and let them fry while I started the stir-fry.

I heated a thin coating of oil in another pan and began frying the garlic and the rest of the onion (in thinner slices, with no flour mixture on them). Then I added ginger to the flour mixture. Meanwhile, I cubed the pork and tossed that in the flour mixture (without egg) until it was well coated. By this time the onion rings were done, so I moved those onto some towels to cool and drain, and slid the pork into the hot oil to deep fry it.

While the pork was deep frying, I added soy sauce (gluten free, of course) and sesame oil to the small pan with the garlic and onions in, then drizzled about a tablespoon of honey over that mixture, stirred, and then let it reduce for a while as I checked the pork.

As the sauce was reducing, I added about 2 teaspoons of the flour mixture to it, for flavor and to help it thicken up a bit more. Quite soon, the pork was done and so was the sauce. So I poured the sauce off into a bowl, put the fried pork cubes in it, and mixed them together. Plated a bit of that and the onion rings, and voila! It was dinner.

It was very, very good, too. 😀 I wasn’t really sure this would work without the crock-pot, so I’m gratified that it was actually a little better, in some ways.

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Especially because there were onion rings. Oh, onion rings.


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Bon-Bon Cookies! (Mom’s recipe, but not quite)

My mom used to make amazing bon-bon cookies for Christmas, and in my turn I made them as well. They were buttery and almondy and had a chocolate chip in the center, and a delicious hard pink glaze over the top…they were wonderful. I’ve been missing them, and recently I had some gluten-free almond cookies (which I found out, too late, were not actually as gluten-free as they were advertised. Really, people, if you’re going to sell your food as gluten-free, please make sure you know what you’re talking about. My swollen tongue and messed-up insides would thank you.) and they intensified my yen, so — here’s my latest try at making the bon-bons, but gluten free.

You can assume from the word “latest” that I’ve tried to make gluten free versions of these before, without success. My first attempt, on Tuesday, was ok… but lacked cohesiveness – the dough was crumbly and not sufficiently dough-like – too dry – the cookies were mildly bitter – the glaze wasn’t right – oh, a host of things. I’ve made a good start at fixing the problems with the latest batch, and I look forward to getting better yet at this. 😀

I used “Krusteaz” gluten-free flour, which touts itself as being a “1 for 1” substitution for wheat flour, which is kind of the holy grail of gluten-free baking – something I can use in my old recipes without other substitution? Sign me up! Unfortunately, I find that these rarely work as straight 1 for 1 replacements; the way the different flours deal with liquids, and the way they taste, often leaves the final result too runny, too dry, too gritty, tasting bitter or beany or just off somehow. I mean, the baked goods are still usually ok… but most flours are not the panacea they claim to be.

The first batch I used only Krusteaz, and the texture was a bit too dry and the flavor a tad bitter for me. This second batch, I used a combination of Krusteaz and rice flour, and it worked much better. I also increased the butter (because why would one not?) and doubled the milk. These were the scientific substitutions; unfortunately, I also got all the way into the process before I discovered that I had no powdered sugar. Did I let that stop me? Did I whip out the food processor and make my own blinking powdered sugar? NO to both questions (I’ve tried to make my own before, and the results were spotty at best). I just used regular sugar in the same amount, and all was well.

I regret to say that I also lacked three ingredients for the heavenly glaze, so I made a plain old donut glaze and put it on. It’s ok, but I’m going to give you the real glaze recipe instead, that you may enjoy its shiny sticky glazey beauty.

INGREDIENTS FOR MOM’S BON-BON COOKIES

(sans chocolate chips; if you’d like chocolate chips in the center, and oh my god are they good, then simply form the dough balls around a chocolate chip or two, then bake as per the recipe. It’s also been suggested – by Betty Crocker, that minx – that almond paste in the center would be good, and I’m going to try that next; because the world simply can never contain enough ways for me to eat almond paste. But I digress.)

1 3/4 c flour (I used 1 cup Krusteaz and 3/4 cup white rice flour)
1/2 c confectioner’s sugar (I used regular sugar because I am a renegade)
1/2 c butter (I used 3/4 because butter is the essence of life)
2 T milk (I used 4)
1 t almond extract (I used 2 because I always want more almond flavor)
1/2 t salt (all I had was kosher, so hey… it adds zing)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350F. Make sure your butter’s really nice and soft, or you’ll be fighting to combine your ingredients. Plop ’em all in the bowl and use a beater (if you’ve got it) to combine. When your dough is making a ball (or at least sticking together like a semi-functional sitcom family), form into small (1-inch) balls and put on a cookie sheet about 1 inch apart. I hate cleaning, so I use parchment paper. Am I supposed to? No. Does that stop me? Also no.

Once you’re all balled up, put the sheets in the oven for about 15 minutes. Don’t wait for these to brown up, or you may wait too long. I like to make sure the bottoms are nice and brown, and when I left these in for a minute or two too long, they got beautifully crunchy, so for whatever that’s worth. :}

Take the cookies out and let them cool while you make the glaze – if you have a wire rack, you can transfer them to it for glazing. I like to put some more paper under the racks so I’m not scraping hardened glaze off the counter for an age after I make these. It always makes me feel a little too much like Sisyphus, except, you know, with pink frosting.

GLAZE

1 c confectioner’s sugar
1 T H20
a little less than a T lite corn syrup
1/2 t salad (vegetable) oil
1/4 t almond extract (I always use more because I am in love with the almond)
(optional) 1 drop red food coloring

This makes a nice, stiff glaze that, once dribbled over the cookies, will become a hard, candylike shell. It’s pretty much the best part. Make sure you give it enough time to set before you pack your cookies away, though, or you’ll have a sticky pink mess. Not that I know this, because I’ve totally never done it. No, wait, I almost always do it. So yeah, I know whereof I speak. (shame)

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