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

Crockpot Butter Chicken

I’ve been planning to try this for a while, and today was The Day. I picked a slow cooker butter chicken recipe and here we go.

The recipe I’m trying today is this one:
http://www.chefdehome.com/Recipes/597/restaurant-style-butter-chicken-in-slow-cooker

restaurant-style-easy-indian-butter-chicken-slow-cooker-chefdehome-4

This is chefdehome’s image — not mine.

It looks yummy, and — if the smell from my kitchen is anything to go by – will be delicious. I hate to say this, but I basically followed the recipe, so you might as well go over to chefdehome and check her recipe out. It’s already gluten free, because it has no hing (asafoetida), which is almost always cut with wheat.

Happy cooking! I’ll let you know how this is when it comes out of the cooker… can’t wait.


Leave a comment

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!

 

 


1 Comment

Aloo Palak, or spinach and potatoes

I had some spinach that needed to meet its Maker, and a couple of potatoes that were starting to think about becoming manky… so I searched for “spinach potatoes Indian” et voila! Here it is!

This recipe met a simple requirement: I had almost all the ingredients. I followed it pretty closely, except my potatoes refused to boil (the pan was too small and I was afraid of a turmeric boil-over, so I didn’t have them on high enough heat), so they eventually just got fished out of the pan and stuck in the microwave in a bowl on the “potato” setting. Sometimes simple is best, people. lol

A note to Celiacs and others following a strictly gluten-free diet: a lot of Indian recipes call for asafoetida, or hing. Almost all hing, from my research, seems to be cut with wheat flour. There’s one brand – I think it’s Frontier Naturals – that’s cut with rice flour instead of wheat, so that’s a very important consideration for us! Always ask at Indian restaurants if your meal will have hing in it before you order. Also, many hing labels I’ve seen in the past only list the asafoetida – not the wheat flour. So be careful!! I just leave it out of my cooking, because no amount of authenticity is worth the amount of illness that happens when I get glutened. :} One of the things I liked about this recipe is that it didn’t call for hing! 

http://www.food.com/recipe/aloo-palak-indian-potatoes-spinach-108787

INGREDIENTS

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a pan cook the spinach with garlic, ginger, onions and the green chilies for about 5-10 minutes. (I waited and added the chili powder at the end, with the other spices. Also, I cooked these in some ghee, although no oil is specified.)
  2. Remove from the pan and blend to a fine puree and keep aside. (I didn’t do this; I wanted to keep it chunky. I like chunky. lol)
  3. In the meantime boil the potatoes with salt and turmeric until done, apprximately 10 minutes and set aside when done. (Yeah. This totally didn’t happen. See note above)
  4. Heat ghee in a pan, fry cumin seeds along with spinach-onion paste and simmer for a few minutes. (You want the cumin seeds to crackle!)
  5. Add the cooked potatoes, garam masala, coriander and cumin powder and a little water if needed.
  6. Simmer for few minutes till the potatoes absorb the flavor.
  7. Add fresh cream if desired. (I didn’t, but I bet this would be delish.)

I made some jheera rice (recipe to come soon; in the meantime, you can find lots of recipes for this online!) and spooned a little of the aloo palak on top. Heavenly!!

 

In the pot!

 

I’m ready for my closeup


2 Comments

Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk)

I’ve been drinking this mixture for a couple weeks now, and I really enjoy it. It seems to decrease my craving for sweets – somewhat sits in the place in my heart that I had reserved for the forbidden hot cocoa. I’ve also been feeling less achy in the joints, and my sprained ankle has definitely been improving a LOT since I’ve been drinking it. I’m following a recommendation that people with arthritis can try drinking it 2x day to start, as I have arthritis and also an injury. I know eventually I’ll have to cut it down to 1x day so I don’t turn yellow… but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy it.

I’ve tried making this with several different kinds of milk: dairy (cow’s) milk, coconut milk, almond milk, no milk, all of these cut with water (when I’m running out of milk), and today I got a box of “Silk” almond + coconut milk, unsweetened, and am trying it. It’s delicious – all the rich sweetness of coconut milk without being as cloying (I tried full-fat coconut milk with the cream the first time and it was a bit too much). I actually found even this to be a bit rich, so I cut it about 60/40 with water (the 40 being the water).

There are many different “recipes” for golden milk out there. I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing and you can find your own groove, if you want to try it. :}  The consensus seems to be that adding freshly cracked black pepper to the turmeric helps the body use the active compounds in the turmeric more effectively, and same goes for a little oil or fat or some kind. When I was making this with cow’s milk, I figured I had the fat covered. But after I switched to almond milk, I thought: why not add a little oil?

I also wanted to make a turmeric paste to make the process easier, and there are several schools of thought on this as well. I combined a couple for this end result, as follows.

PS: Here’s the video that started me on this journey.

TURMERIC PASTE (my recipe)

Melt 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small saucepan
Add turmeric powder until it’s a loose paste
Crack in some black pepper
Add cinnamon, ginger, etc as you like (I usually add a pinch of ginger near the end)

Simmer this paste for about 9 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the turmeric to “cook” and release its active compounds into the oil. After 9 minutes is up, pour into a glass container (carefully) and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

To make the golden milk: I “chip” off a little bit to put in milk in a saucepan, let it melt and heat with the milk, add a little honey to a cup, and then carefully pour the golden milk into a mug and drink it.

WARNING: turmeric will stain your clothes, counters, cupboards, sink if it’s porous, hands, and whatever you touch with it LIKE NOBODY’S BUSINESS. I’ve ruined a dishtowel. Your sponge will be oompa-loompa colored. Just so you know. Usually a little dab of baking soda and water on the counter will let you rub out the stains… but don’t take it for granted. Treat this like nuclear waste just to be safe.

Ok!! Enjoy drinking your golden milk!


Leave a comment

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!)

IMG_5307

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.

IMG_5309

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


4 Comments

So are you, or aren’t you?

You had me, then you lost me. I was completely ready to buy this almond paste on the strength of its “gluten free” claim, until I took a look at the label. And then, see, no. No, no, no. When you list wheat as an allergen and an ingredient, I don’t freakin’ care how few ppm it is. I’m gonna react, because I am super-sensitive. So, um, nope.

Also, does this label sound a little defensive? lol


2 Comments

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)

IMG_5306

IMG_5305