Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My New Favorite Gluten-free Pastas

Have you noticed any new pastas on the shelf at your grocery store lately?


I got so used to buying my previous favorite pasta, Ancient Harvest, that I didn't try anything new for a really long time.  Read my 2009 review of gluten-free pastas to see how times have changed in 5 years. Recently I found a bunch of new GF pastas at the store by brands that I already know and trust like  Glutino and Ronzoni.  New-to-me pastas by Jovial and DeLallo are actually made in Italy! I had to try them.  

These are not just brown rice flour pastas all over again - some of these are totally new flour

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gluten-free Baguette Recipe from Gluten-free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day


Photo credit: Stephen Scott Gross
I recently reviewed the new book Gluten-free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe François.  They have given me permission to share one of the recipes with you.  It's one that I've tried several times and I've gotten to love making it on a regular basis.

If you don't have the book in hand yet, here's a recipe to get you started.  It's reprinted with permission

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: Gluten Free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

For all of you bread lovers out there, this holiday season has a special treat for you:  Gluten-free Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, a new book in the "Bread in 5" series by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoë François.  Released on October 21st, this book is just for you gluten-free folk, with beautiful, stunning photos of crusty, golden-brown loaves of bread of all shapes and sizes, and a comprehensive list of recipes for everything from baguettes to doughnuts.  I was lucky enough to get an advance copy so I could try some of the recipes and tell my readers what I think.




I was excited to try these recipes because the first gluten-free bread I ever made was from a recipe adapted from one of the original Bread in 5 books and published on Gluten-free Girl.  It wasn't

Monday, September 29, 2014

Easy Gluten-free Bread Flour Blend

I have been working to provide my readers and customers with some flour blend recipes so they can enjoy high-quality, home-cooked, gluten-free baked goods.  I have been trying to come up with some flour blends that are easy to make, take few ingredients, and are delicious as well.


Find recipes in the Bread Tab.  It's easy to multiply the recipe to make a big batch if you measure by weight. This blend has a high concentration of whole grains.  If you would like a whiter flour, you can use these same ingredients to make my Rustic White Bread Flour Blend.  Or, of course, you can make your own bread blend!

I use Bob's Red Mill gluten-free flours for my breads.  They are easy to find here in Portland, Oregon.  However, I chose this group of flours because they should be easy to find and inexpensive in many parts of the world.  If you try this blend with other brands of flour, please let me know how it works for you!

Easy Gluten-free Bread Flour Blend




Makes 450g Bread Flour


Blend together thoroughly:

180g sorghum flour
90g millet flour
90g potato starch
90g tapioca flour

Leave separate to blend with the liquid in the recipe:

30g whole psyllium husk

-OR-

20g Finely Ground Psyllium Husk

For freshness, I grind my own psyllium husk in a coffee grinder for 7 seconds.

What I do with my flour blends is make a large batch of 10x or 20x a single recipe and store it in a food bin, which I label with the flour blend type. I buy my food bins at a local Portland restaurant supply store, Rose's Equipment.  You can also buy these online at Amazon (be sure to also order the lid).


Once the blend is mixed thoroughly, I scoop out how much I need per recipe and measure by weight (135g per cup).  This makes cooking gluten free so much faster when I don't have to weigh each type of flour for every recipe!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Flours No More

After long and considered thought, I have decided to stop producing Gluten-free Gourmand flours commercially.  While I am proud of that branch of the business, I would like to concentrate my efforts in other directions both personally and professionally.

There are still a few bags of product left which can be purchased here: http://glutenfreegourmand.bigcartel.com/

Once this product is gone I will no longer be offering retail sales of my custom flour blends.  In time I may come out with some new flour blends and recipes that you can make at home.  In the meantime there may be some broken links on this blog and some recipes that don't have a flour blend to refer to.  I will try to sort out as many of those as possible.  A newer, sleeker blog may be able to emerge from this transition.

Thank you for your patience and patronage.

Gina Kelley
Founder, Gluten-free Gourmand

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Chicken Parmesan, Gluten-free



I like to eat big.  When I was a kid, just a skinny little thing, family and friends would marvel at the huge piles of pasta I would heap on my plate and top with meatballs.  I mean, I would really pile it on – and at 10 I would pack away more of the dish than most adults.  Italian food was a staple growing up and my mom taught me how to make my grandma’s spaghetti and meatballs, as well as other hearty meals like fresh pasta and home-made bread.  Whatever I loved to eat, I would learn how to make it.

My home-made creations weren’t always perfect.  I am still teased for the time I tried to make eggplant ravioli without a recipe when I was 16.  It took 5 hours.  When we finally sat down to eat at 10 pm, everyone was famished, but I had made some miscalculations.  Each person got about three ravioli.  They weren’t even good!  That was when I learned that eggplant, while delicious, can be spongy and bland when not cooked properly.  Eggplant ravioli was one recipe I never tried again.

Fortunately I didn’t mind the disasters.  Maybe my family did, but that didn’t stop me from wanting to eat.  A lot.  When I found out I couldn’t eat pasta anymore, it was a major blow.  Corn pasta was okay, but it didn’t taste the same.  I ate a lot of bad substitutions when I first went gluten-free eight years ago.  That’s why I was amazed at how good the Jovial Foods brown rice pasta is.  It tastes like the real thing! The Jovial Brown Rice Pasta is some of the best gluten-free pasta I’ve had, and I love that you can get lots of shapes.   Capellini, my favorite pasta shape as a kid, is perfect for this meal, and it’s a shape that’s hard to find GF. 

It was finding good products like Jovial pasta that made me realize that gluten-free could be just as good.  I started to experiment and realized that as long as I didn’t mind some trial and error, I could still make anything I wanted to eat.  I started recording my recipes – and sometimes my disasters - on this blog, Gluten-free Gourmand.  I did all my trouble-shooting for this recipe in creating one of my signature dishes: Eggplant Parmesan.  You can see that vegetarian-friendly recipe here.



Thanks to my success making Eggplant Parmesan, my Chicken Parmesan was delicious the first time I tried making it, and it has been a staple meal in my household ever since.  It seems like it would be daunting, but it’s actually very easy to make, and doesn’t take any particular kitchen know-how – just a little time and some good ingredients.  The Jovial jarred tomatoes are fresh and tangy just like tomatoes from my garden.  The sauce is a quick version of my Grandma’s sauce that I learned to make when I was young, so this recipe is like something my mom might have made for me as a kid – and that I would have eaten a lot of!

Gluten-free Chicken Parmesan


Prep time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Sauce Ingredients:

3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 shallots
2 cloves garlic (optional)
2 jars Jovial Diced Tomatoes
¾ tsp. salt (or to taste)
Basil or oregano to taste
 
Chicken Parmesan Ingredients:

4 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or enough to coat the pan
¾ cup white rice flour
1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
2 eggs
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
4 slices mozzarella cheese
12 oz. Jovial Brown Rice Capellini

Sauce Instructions:

 Heat Jovial Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large, shallow skillet (ovenproof if possible) on medium-low.  Slice the shallots and sauté until browned.  Chop the garlic and sauté until fragrant and beginning to turn golden.  Pour one of the cans of diced tomatoes into the pan.  Simmer the sauce to reduce the tomatoes to a paste, stirring often.  Cook the chicken in the meantime.  When the chicken is ready, stir the second jar of diced tomatoes into the sauce and add the salt and herbs.  Stir and heat to a simmer. 

Chicken Parmesan Instructions:

Heat oven to 375.

On the stove, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet on medium heat.  Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl.

Whisk the eggs in a second bowl.

Dip the first piece of chicken in the egg, coating it on all sides. Then coat it in the rice flour mixture.  Dip in the egg again, coat with rice flour again and place in the heated oil to fry.  Repeat the procedure with all four pieces of chicken.  

Turn the chicken over when it is golden brown on the bottom and fry the second side.  When the chicken pieces are well browned on both sides, set them aside on a paper towel. 

When all pieces are cooked, finish preparing the sauce (the last step of the sauce recipe) and then place the chicken pieces on top of the sauce, either in the ovenproof skillet or in a casserole dish.  Top each piece of chicken with a slice of mozzarella.  Bake the dish for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and brown on top.

While the chicken is baking, cook the capellini according to package directions while the chicken is in the oven.

Serve the chicken over the pasta with plenty of the sauce.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Quick Pie Crust Recipe



I've been working on this recipe for my mom, who requested an easier, faster recipe than a traditional all-butter pastry crust without any egg.  This crust is every bit as good, and much easier to handle due to the egg.  Plus, it's just in time for making your first strawberry rhubarb pie of the season.

Gluten-free Pie Crust Recipe


Makes one crust.  Double for pies that need a top crust.
mix time: 5 min
rest time: 30 min (optional)
cook time: 
30-50 minutes filled (like apple pie) or 
20 minutes pre-cooked for a custard filling or as a gallette

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Fluffiest Waffles with Blueberry Sauce


When a person first goes gluten-free, she often immediately thinks of all the delicious foods she won’t be able to eat again.  Croissants?  Beer?  Baguettes?  WAFFLES?  What a catastrophe!  Well, catastrophe averted.  I haven’t figured out how to make my own beer yet, but waffles are one thing that no one should ever have to miss with easy gluten-free recipes like this one.  In fact, these waffles are even lighter, fluffier, and more delicious than the wheat version.  Why?  No pesky gluten, of course!  Gluten can toughen waffles if you aren’t extremely careful in mixing.  With this recipe, there’s no gluten worry.  The texture is extremely pillowy, the flavor is full and buttery, and they are easy on the belly. They are even soft and springy the next day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gluten-free Pad Woon Sen

Here's a post from my sister publication, Just Another Shallot and Asparagus Blog.  I collaborated with "Shallot" blogger Christopher on this recipe.  Just make sure your fish sauce is gluten-free, or substitute with gluten-free soy sauce, and you're good to go with this healthy asian meal.


Monday, March 17, 2014

GF 24-hour Sourdough Bread Recipe

This is a very traditional sourdough bread recipe, using artisan methods to create a nice, tangy, San Francisco-style sourdough bread.  If you like a really sour-but-smooth sourdough bread, this is the recipe for you.


There are just a few differences between this recipe and a standard wheat-based recipe.  The most notable difference, of course, is the psyllium husk, which is a gluten substitute.  Read more about psyllium and other binders here.  Then of course there's the flour.  I use my own Bread Flour Blend for bread baking, but if you live outside the U.S. read my post Make Your Own Gluten-free Bread Flour.  If you use your own flour blend, you may have to adjust the amount of water and psyllium you use.

Why sourdough?  It's incredibly delicious, for one thing.  The natural process of fermenting the bread through the sourdough process makes it really good for you, too.  Then there's the fact that sourdough bread stays fresh much longer than regular bread.  It will stay soft and flexible for about four days, and it can stay good for a week or two on the counter without molding - even in damp climates like Portland, Oregon where I live.

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Brief History of Bread

Breads are considered the stuff of life in many cultures.  Those of us who are gluten-free in a gluten-loving country can fee left out of the main event of our culinary heritage.  Knowing something about the history of bread has helped me keep gluten in perspective.


When did people start making bread?  The most ancient and the simplest method of making bread does not use fermentation.  This is the method that's still used to make tortillas: a simple mixture of flour and water, patted into a flat circle and grilled on both sides until done.  People have been using this process for making flatbreads since time immemorial.

People figured out how to ferment the water-and-flour mixture as long as 20,000 years ago in Africa.  The invention of cultured doughs made injera and other types of sourdough pancakes possible.  The grains used for these yeasted flatbreads are mainly teff and sorghum.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Sourdough Starter in 3 Days

When I was a kid, my dad loved to make the family sourdough bread on the weekends.  I loved watching him feed the starter, knead the dough, and put a raw lump into the oven to see a golden half-globe of bread emerge later.  We could get really good fresh San Francisco sourdough bread in the store, but that had nothing on my dad's bread.  It was one of my favorite foods.

I like my sourdough really sour in the San Francisco and pioneer traditions.  My dad's sourdough was from an old country recipe that was handed down from a farmer neighbors, the Lists.

Old List Family Sourdough  Bread Recipe

I decided to track down the recipe and re-create it, gluten-free.  When I get an idea in my head to re-create a recipe I loved as a gluten eater, I'm like a dog with a bone.  I just work on it tenaciously until the job is done.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What is Sourdough Bread?


Definition


Sourdough is not a description of a type or a flavor of bread - it's a process.  Sourdough is an ancient method for making bread that uses a starter of natural yeasts and bacterias found on the grain itself.  These microorganisms are cultured by the bread maker to have a healthy balance of flavor and the power to let the loaf rise.

Bread History in a Glimpse


It used to be that sourdough bread was just called bread.   Commercial yeast has only been available for the last 100 years.  Before that, leavened bread was made using either the sourdough method or in a similar process that used the yeast left over from fermenting alcoholic beverages.

The sourdough process has been used for 10,000-20,000 years.  When you think of that length of human history, and then compare it to the last 100 years of bread making, that puts the tradition of sourdough bread in perspective.


Process

Making sourdough bread is more like growing a garden than executing a formula.  First, you have to grow a culture.  Traditional methods of growing a sourdough culture take a few weeks to establish the right balance of microorganisms.  Basically, flour and water are combined in a jar.  The fungus and bacteria on the grains duke it out until a balance is achieved in which they can coexist.  There are infinite ways of starting and feeding the mixture to optimize the culture for different organisms, most of them derived from trial and error.

Modern techniques can allow you to make a sourdough starter in as little as three days.  It's like starting your seeds in a hothouse instead of waiting for the soil to warm in the spring.  I will have a recipe for this quick sourdough starter process in my next post.

Why Sourdough?


Sourdough bread can be many flavors - from yeasty and mildly sweet to ultra-tangy.  The benefit of the process isn't just the flavor you get from it, but the depth of flavor, which is more complex in sourdough than in commercial loaves.  The slow rise, which helps to process the grains for easier digestion and the increased shelf-life of the bread due to acidity and other natural anti-microbial properties are other great benefits of the sourdough process.

Making sourdough bread can sound very complex.  However, I will give you some very basic, easy to follow instructions for making your own sourdough starter and a few great gluten-free sourdough bread recipes. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Traditional Baguette Recipe


I know that I've got a good bread recipe if, after first tasting a loaf, my boyfriend immediately plans on making a sandwich out of it.  If the bread is just okay, I get an unconvincingly encouraging "That's good!"  If it's great, I get, "We could cook some bacon and make a BLT with melted cheese!"  Then, even if it's 11:00 at night after a heavy meal, he will make that sandwich.


I got all kinds of compliments on my baguettes for Christmas dinner, from people who ate gluten and from those who were gluten-free.  It was an amazing and filling meal, and yet my boyfriend made little turkey sandwiches afterward with baguette slices and turkey bits.  That says it all.

I made a quick version of this recipe which works great for a tight schedule.  This recipe is more traditional, with two rises of the dough.  That slow process improves the flavor and the browning of the crust for a more traditional artisan look and taste to your bread.


Traditional Baguette Recipe

Makes 2 baguettes
Prep time: 2 hours
Cook time: 20 minutes

For this recipe you will need:

- 225g GF Bread Flour
- psyllium husk
- sugar
- salt
- yeast
- warm water
- a baguette pan (not 100% necessary, but it helps to shape the loaf)
- extra flour - white rice flour or any starch is great for dusting

In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together:

245g warm water (100-115 degrees F)


Add:
15g whole psyllium husk (or 10g ground psyllium husk)

Whisk the psyllium husk into the wet ingredients just until all the psyllium is wet.  Set aside about 25 grams or 2 Tbsp of the bread flour.  Add to the wet ingredients:

200g Gluten-free Flour Blend
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp yeast

Mix the dough with the dough hook until the dough is uniform.  Let the dough rise in a warm spot, covered, for 1 hour.

After the first rise, punch the dough down, then add the 25 grams of flour set aside and knead it into the dough with your hands or with the dough hook of your stand mixer.

Form the baguettes by dividing the dough into two equal portions.  Flour your work surface and scoop the dough onto the work surface.  Wet your hands and press the dough into a rectangle.  Take one long side of the dough and fold it over onto the middle of the rectangle.  Pinch the edge down.  



Repeat this step to close the dough into a tube. Re-flour the surface if necessary.  Roll out the dough with your hands by gently but firmly rolling it against the counter as though making a play-dough snake.  Get the snake as even as you can, but don't roll it out longer than your baguette pan.  Taper the ends by rolling them out more firmly.  You don't need to get too fussy.  

Place them diagonally on a large piece of parchment paper on the baguette pan seam-side down.  (If you don't want them as floury as pictured, brush the flour off with a clean, dry pastry brush.) Cover the baguettes and let the dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.  Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees F.  Score the top of the loaves deeply, holding the knife at a 45 degree angle and overlapping the cuts somewhat.  See a good scoring demo video here.

Wrap the loaves by stapling the parchment paper together in a tent shape as pictured.  This traps the steam so that the crust browns nicely.




Cook the bread for 25 minutes, or until it is done.  When the bread is cooked through it will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.


Enjoy your baguettes after they have cooled for at least 10 minutes.