Showing posts from January, 2009

Recipe for Famous Gluten-free Scones

Among my friends, family, and co-workers I am famous for my scones. I get frequent requests for the recipe.   People are usually surprised to hear that it's wheat-free and gluten-free, it tastes so much like "regular."  Well here it is! The Best Gluten-free Scone Recipe Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix together in a large bowl: 2 cups Gluten-free Pastry Flour 1/3 cup sugar 1 Tbsp baking powder (make sure it's GF) 1/4 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt plus a pinch 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (if it's not included in your GF flour mix) Cut into pieces and drop in: 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter Cut the butter in with a pastry blender or two knives, coating the pieces with flour as you go, until the largest pieces of butter are pea-sized. Keep this mixture cold, chilling it in the refrigerator if the butter starts to soften. Stir in: 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional) and/or 1/2 cup dried fruit (optional) Whisk together in a separate bowl: 3/4 cup

Tips for Finding the Right Bread

I wanted to write a quick note on how I have found a few store-bought breads that I like. I have a method that I employ in selecting a good loaf, and for avoiding the hard, virtually inedible bread that some well-meaning companies try to pass off as nutritious. Some of these tips can even be used for gluten-free and wheat-based breads alike! Here is a step-by step procedure on how to select the best loaf for you. 1) Pick up the bread. Note its weight. If it seems unusually heavy, it is probably a very dense bread. This can sometimes be a bad sign for gluten-free products, as it indicates that the dough hasn't risen much, a problem typical with GF products. In itself, heaviness is not always a deal-breaker. 2) Squeeze the loaf. It should be a little resilient. If the loaf is both very heavy and un-squeezable, you may have a coarse, hard bread on your hands. 3) Look at the ingredients. If there is only one type of grain in the bread, then it is probably fairly tasteless, an

Pastry Delight

Today I would like to write an ode to the New Cascadia Traditional tart. I have gained five pounds since this gluten-free bakery kiosk opened in NW Portland not far from where I work. Am I complaining? No - I am still overwhelmed and delighted to go somewhere and be able to eat anything they sell. Their tart looks like something out of the case of a french patisserie, and the taste does not dissappoint. It has a buttery tart crust that is similar to the pastry shell of their galette. It is filled with a custard cream and topped with fruit, in this case apricot and blueberry. The fruit is in turn topped with a simple clear glaze typical of french-style tarts. The only variation from a tart you'd buy in Paris is the crust, which does not have the light flakiness that a true french pastry has. The New Cascadia crusts are a bit heavier and have a little bit of a whole-grain feel to them, but still have a buttery rich quality I love. While I have experienced this tart when

Mixed-up Flours

The first time I tried to make scones with a GF flour mix the dough smelled like salty beans. I looked at the ingredients on the store-bought package only to find - sure enough - garbanzo bean flour. After trying a few other pre-made mixes with similarly disastrous results, I decided I could do better on my own. Over the last year or two I've been experimenting with making my own gluten-free flour mixes. While I'm not quite ready to share this secret concoction with the world, I do want share what I've learned about the properties of some basic gluten-free flours. Brown rice flour : It gives your product lots of texture and flavor. However, it is not pliable enough to be used by itself in most recipes, and it produces a dense, heavy, whole-grain feel. White rice flour : This gives you a somewhat lighter and more pliable dough than brown rice flour, but without the benefit of the flavor of the whole grain. It is made from raw white rice. Glutinous rice flour (or stick

Vieng Lao Asian Market in NE Portland

I had been debating over whether or not to get internet at my house for months, if not years. Finally last week I did it. One reason I caved in was so that I could start this blog. Another reason was to potentially save myself money by making my life easier. Today I put this idea into action. I have been meaning to go out to Uwajimaya in Beaverton for some time. They have a great selection of gluten-free flours that you can't always find in regular grocery stores - even New Seasons. I wanted to find something a little closer to home, and the internet got me part way there. After some confusion over the address (which was posted wrong) I found Vieng Lao Oriental Market at 1032 N. Killingsworth. It's nothing on the scale of Uwajimaya, but they have some fresh produce, rice noodles, rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch for a reasonable price. I've been driving past this place on my way home from work every day and it took me getting internet installed to find

The Best and the Worst of Gluten-free Pasta

I hold fast to the belief that going gluten-free doesn't mean eating meals that a person with normal digestion would never tolerate. However, in my quest for gluten-free alternatives I have braved many a meal some would qualify as inedible. In all my days I can't think of anything I've eaten that was worse than soy pasta. Not only is soy pasta not a standard grain substitute, but it hardly deserves the label "food." The texture is so far removed from what one expects from a pasta that it is disturbing to eat. The texture is so wrong that it is useless to ruin your favorite sauce by placing it on top of this noodle product. It is experiences like eating soy pasta that might convince a gluten-free novice to give up on experimenting with new brands or substitutes. However, I personally have not considered giving up on food as a practical option. And what I must consume to live I will find a way to enjoy eating. After the soy pasta fiasco I was determined to f