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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Well Hello There, Pork Pie

Sorry it’s been so long; I’m back once again like a renegade master (or something like that). If you’re not part of my soi-disant “real life”, I can both explain the break and catch you up like this: starting in mid-March of last year, I was having rather irritating pain in my abdomen. Then it started spreading and getting more pervasive, and more intense, and altogether just MORE of everything. Staring April 1, I had a period of a couple months of intense pain and not-fun-ness that can best be described by this list: 3 ER visits, 1 hernia, 1 ulcer, and 7 kidney stones. I was on opioids the whole time, so my memories of last Spring are cloudy to say the least. Then in May, I got a job. About the time I started feeling competent there, I got promoted, and had functionally two part-time jobs, both in retail, just in time for Fall and the start of the holiday sales push.

I feel like I’m now coming up for air, a bit…so it’s time to start cooking again! Hopefully I won’t celebrate the Solstice with another season of WTAF IS HAPPENING TO MY BODY.

My eating habits are largely informed by what I’m watching on TV; when I’m obsessed with medieval history (this happens often – for example, Wolf Hall is on pretty much endless repeat over here. Or any of the “Farm” shows from the BBC, and Tudor Farm and Green Valley are two favorites.), I want to eat what’s in the TV shows. I tend to pick up handicrafts that go with the period (blackwork embroidery and weaving). When I’m watching Regency shows, the same applies. Recently, I’ve been binge-watching “Escape To The Country”, a show about people from British cities escaping to the countryside and buying rural homes, all with lovely budgets. The landscapes are to die for, and the shows include a bit of local history and color, so that also hooks my interest. Last week, I watched one where they went to Melton Mowbray and tried the pork pies, which are a historical regional specialty. Pork Pie action here.

If you can’t see where this is going, I’ll be quite surprised.

I could say I made pork pies in honor of Pi Day, but I didn’t. I made them in honor of my utter lack of ability to resist food in TV shows.

The first pie, the tester, was – well, it wasn’t bad, but it lacked flavor. So tonight I made another, and I think this shows a lot of promise.

Here’s a loose recipe. I never really do a very good job of measuring until the third of fourth time I make something, and this is still Tester Town, so expect some inaccuracy.

PORK PIES (gluten free, of course)

1 lb pork (use a cut you like. I found pork roast on sale and used that)
bacon, lots (I used uncured, about 1/2 a package)
sweet onion
shredded cheddar cheese
mashed potatoes
apples, sliced and peeled
salt/pepper
garam masala
whatever other spices rock your boat

METHOD

I start by chopping up the raw bacon and pork (I cube the pork). Also, chop the onion (I like a rough, uneven chop). I sliced and peeled red apples (can’t remember what variety, use one you like; mine are fairly sweet but still crisp and a little tart).

I fried up the bacon and the pork until they were fairly well cooked, while preheating the oven to 425F. Last time, I sauteed the apples and onions until they were soft, but I felt the pie lacked definition and was kind of a mushy soft whatever, so this time I left the apples and onions raw. Will let you know if that was a good idea. 😀 I like to add my spices to the pan, so I threw garam masala (sweet/spicy mix that has cinnamon and lots of other goodies in it), salt, and pepper in while I was cooking the pork.

I didn’t want to use a pie dish a) because I didn’t want a pie crust and b), I had waaaay too much stuff inside for a pie pan. So I started layering the items in my beanpot (normally used for applesauce and baked beans). Pork, apples, bacon, cheese, some onions. Repeat.

On top, I spread the mashed potatoes like a lid (well – last time. This time, I didn’t have enough mashed potatoes and I made them too runny; so I kind of poured them into the pie. Hey, it’s still potatoes. lol) and then put cheddar cheese on top of that.

Put the lid on, then put the whole shabang into the oven for about 20 minutes, and after turning the oven off, removed the pot lid so the top could brown up. When I brought it out, it was bubbling and gorgeous. Be warned, there will be lots of juices in this pie as the inside cooks down. I like it, it firms up into a gorgeous sort of jelly in the pie. You might not be a fan.

IMG_2729

looking FAB despite its lack of lid

It smells amazing. I’ll let you know what it tastes like after it cools and sits for a while.

Snaps!

my assistant is eagerly waiting to try our creation

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GF Crustless Quiche

This is the second time I’ve made this recipe, from Food Network:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchens/crustless-quiche-master-recipe-recipe.html

…and it’s actually quite easy. I didn’t make any major changes to it, other than just using whole eggs rather than separating them — did it the first time, but didn’t have time to fuss this second go-round — and lots of grated Parmesan on the bottom — I like it to be a little crust-like, and I have a big container of grated Parm from GFS that’s going to expire soonish. I also used 5 eggs rather than 4, because I have eggs that may go bad soon as well, and I’d rather eat them than dispose of them. Oh!! I also sprayed the pan with Pam Coconut Oil spray rather than melting butter, because again no time.

I think that’s all I did to it. lol

So I sprayed the pan, shook in lots of grated Parmesan, poured in the first half of the custard. Then I added half the cup of grated cheese (Sharp Cheddar in this case, last time I made it with more Parmesan); there had been a sale on cheese at the grocery store, so I had the Cheddar already in the freezer and thawed it for this recipe, which imo makes it a tad easier to grate.

 

After that, I tore up (roughly, in a fairly Flintstone-ian manner) and added some spinach and fresh herbs from my garden (oregano, basil, and lemon thyme), then carefully poured the rest of the custard over that so there weren’t any leaves sticking up.

I finished the top off with the other half of the grated cheddar, a shake of black pepper, and some more grated Parmesan. Now it’s in the oven! 😀 The last one was delicious, can’t wait to see how this one turns out.

  


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Thin-Crust Quinoa Pizza Verdict: Delicious!!

Today I started soaking quinoa about 8 hours ago so I could try a quinoa pizza crust, and let me tell you: it’s been well worth the wait!

Original recipe came from Oatmeal With A Fork, here:
http://www.oatmealwithafork.com/2014/05/19/thin-and-rustic-quinoa-pizza-crust-video/

And I ended up making the crust thus:

Thin and Rustic Quinoa Pizza Crust — Video is available at the link above!

Author: Lauren Goslin

Ingredients
1 c. quinoa, rinsed, soaked 8-24 hours, drained, rinsed again
1¼ t. baking powder
½ t. sea salt
pinch basil, oregano, thyme, and granulated garlic
¼ c. + 2 T. water
cooking spray

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Process the soaked quinoa with the baking powder, salt, and water for 2-3 minutes until the batter is smooth (no lumps). (I used the blender, as the food processor is too much trouble for me tonight. It wasn’t as smooth, I’m sure; but it worked just fine!)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the parchment paper with oil.
Pour and spread the batter out to your desired thickness (1/4-1/3 inch thick).
Bake the crust for 20 minutes.
Top your crust with your desired topping choices.
Bake for another 5-10 minutes until toppings are cooked through.

Notes

  • You’re supposed to try to avoid holes in the crust, but I ended up with a couple. They didn’t hurt at all!
  • I also added basil, oregano, thyme, and granulated garlic (just a smidge) to the batter, because I like flavored crusts. It was a good idea, I think.
  • I topped mine with garlic slices / lots of mixed cheeses / olive oil / a little bit of the best food sauce ever (more to follow on that)
  • Yes, the uncovered crust edges will still taste reminiscent of quinoa; but where the toppings are, it tastes like pizza, and not even like a weird pizza. Just YUM.

I didn’t make the pizza sauce from the same website, or the white sauce, because by the time I was ready to make the crust I was *starving*! So I just plopped cheese and garlic down and hoped for the best. And it’s good. 😀 By the same token, I didn’t take many photos; but the original website has lots, as well as video, so I highly recommend strolling over there to see her site.

The quinoa crust  after baking. As you can see, it holds together well and yes, there is a hole. lol Oops!

The quinoa crust after baking. As you can see, it holds together well and yes, there is a hole. lol Oops!

Pretty much the best food spread in the world.  I'm going to see if I can make something like it - coming soon.

Pretty much the best food spread in the world. I’m going to see if I can make something like it – coming soon.


If you’d like to pick up some of this amazing spread, you can order it at https://www.loredanasproducts.com/phpsupercart/index.php?categoryid=2
(*I don’t receive any endorsement money or other considerations for saying this is awesome spread. I am a completely unpaid fan. Unfortunately.*)

The finished pizza, looking pretty homely. I'm too hungry to take really pretty glamor shots, and I was also too hungry to spread the cheese out nicely and make it pretty. It needs to be in my belly now. lol

The finished pizza, looking pretty homely. I’m too hungry to take really pretty glamor shots, and I was also too hungry to spread the cheese out nicely and make it pretty. It needs to be in my belly now. lol

Slices of the pizza... this is my second serving, so I can take a photo before I eat. (snicker)

Slices of the pizza… this is my second serving, so I can take a photo before I eat. :}


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Cloud Bread, plus paneer/cottage cheese – it’s a twofer!!

So one of my friends is sugar-free, gluten-free, paleo and heaven only knows what else, and she posted this recipe. I thought, “bread replacement without all the trouble and expense? FABulous!!”

Then I went to make the recipe and was missing two of the three ingredients. Cue sad game-show-failure noise.

However, I am stubborn (and there was a snowstorm on, so I wasn’t going out. Nohow. No way.) so I decided to try to substitute. Here follows my sad but ultimately mostly kinda triumphant tale.

First, the original cloud bread recipe:
http://www.food.com/recipe/carb-free-cloud-bread-411501

I found I could substitute lemon juice for the cream of tartar in the egg whites, and I didn’t have any cottage cheese, but I had a lot of milk and thought, “I can make it!!”

Homemade paneer — I kind of combined the advice from two recipes.
Alton Brown’s cottage cheese/ paneer recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/quick-cottage-cheese-recipe.html
Dassana’s paneer recipe: http://www.vegrecipesofindia.com/how-to-make-paneer-homemade-paneer/
Here, there were a lot of changes from the recipe… I only had about 4 cups of 1/2% milk instead of the gallon of whole milk the recipe called for, so I crossed my fingers and just cut the amounts in the recipe to match. Also, I used lemon juice to curdle the milk after it boiled, rather than vinegar — I hate the taste and smell of vinegar. It took much more than the suggested amount in the recipe, probably because I was using bottled lemon juice. I know, bad me; but did I mention the snowstorm? Other than that, it went really well and I’m looking to make the recipe with the correct amount of whole milk, and see how the process goes. Whew!! :}

So here’s the final cloud bread recipe I used… I haven’t tried it with the store-bought options, so I don’t know if this is actually good cloud bread or just kind of sad. lololol However, it was really nice (if not exactly breadlike) and worked well for soft spreadables. I haven’t made any sandwiches yet, but it seems like it would be a winner for that as well.

Cloud Bread

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons whole milk cottage cheese or 3 tablespoons cream cheese (I used homemade cottage cheese)
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (I used lemon juice)
1 (1 g) packet artificial sweetener (I used sugar, as artificial sweeteners give me pretty much instant headaches)

Directions:

1
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
2
Separate the eggs very carefully, there must be no yolk in the white. (I used the water bottle trick, as seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_AirVOuTN_M)
3
In one bowl, mix together the egg yolks, the 3 T. of Cottage Cheese OR Cream Cheese and the one packet of sweetener (or sugar) until smooth.
4
In the other bowl add 1/4 teaspoon of Cream of Tartar (or lemon juice) to the whites and beat the whites on high speed until they are fluffy and form nice peaks.
5
Very carefully fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites until mixed, but try and not break down the fluffiness of the egg whites too much.
6
Spray two cookie sheets with Pam or other fat-free cooking spray. (I use Pam Coconut Oil)
7
With a large spoon, “scoop” the mixture into 10 even rounds on the sheets (about the size of the top-half of the McDonalds hamburger bun; roughly 3/4 inch thick and 4 to 5 inches across).
8
Bake on the middle rack. Here is when you have to watch them, because the cooking time the same on any two batches. It is somewhere around 1/2 hour, but it could be less or more. You just need to watch them until them become nice and golden brown (again, the color of a McDonalds bun). (It took mine slightly more than 1/2 hour)
9
Remove from the pans and cool on a rack or cutting board. (Don’t necessarily expect to do this right after they come out of the oven — mine were really like meringues and one crunched into sad death when I tried to spatula it up right away!!)
10
While warm they are crumbly and similar to cooked meringue – but don’t let this fool you! Once completely cool, seal them in a ziplock storage baggie or a tupperware over night. They will totally change their consistency, to something much more like bread – a softer texture that is nice and chewy. If you do not like softer chewy bread, then eat them as they are, nice and crisp.
11
Since the sides that were facing the pan are perfectly flat, you use these to spread things on, or make sandwiches, or even as a burger bun! The choice is up to you, and you will be quite amazed at how much like a bun these really are!

Paneer: milk, boiling in the pan

Paneer: milk, boiling in the pan

Paneer: the collander, lined with a cotton dishtowel, as I had no cheesecloth.

Paneer: the collander, lined with a cotton dishtowel, as I had no cheesecloth.

Paneer: I had so little milk that the resulting cheese was very small. Here it is, sitting under my marble mortar to finish setting. Wee cheese!

Paneer: I had so little milk that the resulting cheese was very small. Here it is, sitting under my marble mortar to finish setting. Wee cheese!

Cloud bread: the small bottle I used (clean) for separating the yolks. Worked like a charm!

Cloud bread: the small bottle I used (clean) for separating the yolks. Worked like a charm!

My finished cloud bread, just after coming out of the oven.

My finished cloud bread, just after coming out of the oven.


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More Dog Cookies :D

So I remade the dog cookies again (original recipe is here), this time with cheddar cheese as well as parmesan. 1.5 c oat flour (I grind my own, because then I know it’s less gluteny), 1.5 c rice flour, 1.5 c cheddar, .5 c parmesan, 1 egg, 1 cup of water (plus some more because the dough was SO dry. Then I added too much, so it was gooey. Oh well!!). Mix, bake at 350F for 20 – 25 minutes, done!

No photos this time, as they looked quite similar to last time. So far, I’ve got 58 cookies, and one last sheet just went into the oven. They’ve been tested by Snaps, and he approves. 😀

Hooray!!


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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.


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“Cheese, Please” Dog Treats!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, sorry – my mom has had serious health issues and that’s had all my attention for some time – but things seem to be turning around for her, fingers crossed, so here I am!! Am hoping I can catch you up on some of the cooking I did during my hiatus, although a lot of it was depressing / Depression cooking. I was broke and sad and the weather was terrible (I didn’t want to go out and buy groceries), so I was eating an awful lot of microwaved baked potatoes and baked potato soup (exactly what it sounds like) and slow cooker oatmeal (for several meals in a row).

So it is with great relief that I can report that I made beef stew in the crockpot today, opened a bottle of really good Port that I’ve been saving for a couple of years (in celebration of my mom’s surgery going well), and baked myself what I have lovingly dubbed “Frankencake”. Frankencake will be a later entry, possibly tomorrow. 😀

Tonight I want to tell you about the dog treats I also baked today, since I’m running out of my commercially produced, expensive dog treats and I’m (did I mention this?) skint. A kind friend who is also my dogsitter loaned me a super-cool book named “The Organic Dog Biscuit CookBook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company”, in which all the recipes are, yes, organic; but more importantly for the purposes of this blog, they are gluten-free.

Why? I don’t know. They described it somewhere in the book, and I read it, but then blah blah blah yadda yadda oooooh recipes!! So that’s how well that stuck. :}

I chose, for my first trick, to make the recipe on p 54, entitled “cheese, please”. Mostly because I had all the ingredients, but also because I’ve recently discovered I’m also lactose- and soy-intolerant. Hooray? So I have a lot of cheese to use up. Unfortunately, as I discovered when I went to grate the cheddar cheese, all my cheddar cheese was still in the freezer. Bad mama. Also, all my grated Parmesan was moldy (because I haven’t been able to eat it in so long). Bad mama. Sigh.

So my big modification on these was that they’re made completely using Swiss cheese… fortunately, my dog loves Swiss. I also didn’t have brown rice flour, so I used white rice flour. (shrug) There ya go. They’re a bit on the Casper the Friendly Ghost side, but they apparently taste great. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So instead of using my Bob’s Red Mill expensive Celiac-approved gluten-free flour for these, I bought the Meijer brand cheap oats, which aren’t gluten-free, and ground those up into oat flour in the food processor. So my outlay on these dog biscuits was $2.19 for a big tub of oats, of which I used about 1/6. Waaaaay cheaper than treats at the store! And more fun!! So here we go.

Cheese, Please!
p 54 of “The Organic Dog Biscuit CookBook from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company”, Jessica Disbrow Talley and Eric Talley

1.5 c oat flour
1.5 c brown rice flour (I used white)
1 c shredded low-fat cheddar cheese (I used Swiss, still waiting for Cheddar to defrost, lol)
.5 c grated Parmesan cheese (I used Swiss, alien life had grown in the Parm)
1 egg
1 c water (I added extra, the dough was too dry)
**I added a pinch of rosemary to apologize for the lack of cheddar, and some salt because Swiss cheese isn’t as salty as cheddar and Parmesan.

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly until a dough forms. Roll the dough out onto a floured surface etc etc — or, because I *hate* rolling dough and using cookie cutters, you can do what I did and roll the dough into small balls and then press the small balls out into “coins” and then bake them that way. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet (they can be close together as they don’t spread much while cooking).

Dough on the right, cookies on the left. I put tin foil down on the cookie sheet to help keep cleanup easy.

Dough on the right, cookies on the left. I put tin foil down on the cookie sheet to help keep cleanup easy.

By the way, I really hate rolling dough. If I ever give you anything I baked that required me to roll it with a rolling pin, then honey: that’s love. But I digress.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown (this probably won’t happen if you use white rice flour and white cheese, snort). Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Here are the cookies, waiting to go in the oven – they were ready for their closeup, so I obliged. BEFORE cooking:

You can just see the rosemary I added. Oh!! I forgot to put the rosemary in the list of ingredients...

You can just see the rosemary I added. Oh!! I forgot to put the rosemary in the list of ingredients…

And here they are, out of the oven and not really looking “golden brown” AT ALL. However, the dog seems entranced with them and is spending a lot of time hanging around the canister hopefully, so I’m satisfied. Hooray!! AFTER cooking:

IMG_20140207_203910_444