Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Holiday Recipes

If you are looking for holiday recipes, you have come to the right blog.  Each year I have been blogging I have added several holiday-inspired recipes to my archive.  Here is the tally so far:

See the Recipe Archive for more gluten-free recipes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Holiday Gift Ideas

Do you have a gluten-free person on your Christmas list?  Here are a few ideas on what to give them for the holidays:

The Essential Gluten-free Restaurant Guide by Triumph Dining.  I used this book to help flesh out my list of gluten-free dining options in Portland, and it's been a valuable resource on trips as well.

Gluten-free Girl and the Chef.  If you don't already have it, get it for yourself or a loved one!  It's available here in Portland at Powell's, among other places online.  My mom got this for me for Christmas last year.  It's a useful recipe book to have.

A Pullman Loaf Pan.  This style of bread pan is ideal for making Gluten-free sandwich loaves because it gives you bigger slices.  My dad gave me one for Christmas two years ago and I've gotten a lot of use out of it.  I created my Teff Sandwich Bread recipe in it.

Want to get something memorable and impressive?  Try this Chantal Copper tea kettle.  It's a timeless classic.

For more ideas, see my post What I would Love for the Holidays.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dick's Kitchen Gluten-free Options

Gluten-free burgers with GF buns.  Flourless chocolate tortes.  Gluten-free beer.  Charming NW Portland.  Need I say more?
Photo by Gina Kelley
Well, you probably think it's too good to be true - or too expensive to be prudent.  I'm happy to say that the burger is tasty and the Jensen's GF Better Bun is fantastic.  The prices are reasonable, although they of course charge a little extra for the gluten-free bun.  The "Not-fries" are gluten-free and so is the flourless chocolate torte with salted caramel sauce.  The caramel sauce wasn't the best part of the torte - it was too chewy - but the torte itself was excellent.  The menu is very clearly labeled with the gluten-free and vegan options, and the servers are very knowledgeable and helpful.  It should be noted, however, that they don't have separate cooking facilities for gluten-free.
Photo by Gina Kelley
Dick's Kitchen has two locations - one on Belmont and one that just opened in NW Portland.  The Northwest location features a full bar and a cool modern diner atmosphere.   Combined with the fact that it's near where I work, the Northwest location may end up being my haunt of choice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What I Would Love for the Holidays

I've always envied people who have birthdays in the summertime.  Mine is in November.  While I covet the idea of having a birthday party in the garden,  I also relish the cozy world of birthdays in November.  Here was my best birthday gift:
Yes, my boyfriend got me a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  It was mostly to avoid being asked to mix things like this bread by hand for ten minutes straight, but still.  It was the best present ever.

Some other things I'm thankful for, or that I'd love to see under the Christmas tree, include:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Traditional Bread Stuffing, Gluten-free

This holiday season you may find yourself craving a good old-fashioned stuffing with moist, fluffy bread cubes and lots of sage and thyme.  Well, you can have that.  Even if you're gluten-free.

I had a few failures before I got the hang of making this recipe with gluten-free bread, so let me give you a few clues as to how this recipe is different than a regular one.  The first thing you should know is that the bread cubes may need to be cut smaller than with gluten-containing bread cubes, especially if the bread you are using is the very firm, heavy type of gluten-free bread.  That stuff can expand enormously, and  you end up with huge cubes once they absorb all the liquid, or dry hard-centered cubes if they don't absorb all the liquid.  Weigh the bread rather than trying to measure the cubes.  GF bread just doesn't have a consistent volume per variety so you can't measure by volume.  If your bread is very dry, you can skip the toasting.  The other thing that makes this stuffing different is that it calls for a lot more liquid.  The GF bread just needs that in order for the stuffing to work.

Use your favorite gluten-free bread.  I used a combination of my Teff Sandwich Bread and a white sandwich bread, but I have had success with bread from New Cascadia Traditional Bakery using the above guidelines.  My new Sandwich Bread Recipe works well too.

Recipe for Gluten-free Traditional Bread Stuffing

Chop into small pieces:

2 Cups Onion
1 Cup celery

In a large pan, sautee the onion and celery with:

1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter

While you are waiting for the celery and onions to cook until they are translucent, cut into small cubes:

1 pound gluten-free bread, dry or toasted

Set aside.  When the onions and celery are traslucent and tender, turn off the burner and add:

1 tsp salt (less if your stock is very salty)
pepper to taste
1 Tbsp fresh sage, minced
1-2 tsp fresh rosemary, minced
1 Tbsp fresh or 1 tsp dry thyme, minced

Add the bread cubes.  Stir to incorporate.  Slowly stir in:

Approximately 2 cups warm chicken stock

Stir until everything is combined, but don't let the bread cubes fall apart.  Add more stock if needed.  The stuffing should be very moist.  Stuff your bird while the dressing is hot, or cook in the oven at 400 for 20-40 minutes, or until the top starts to toast.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Best Teff Sandwich Bread Recipe

After countless batches of teff bread that sagged, deflated, or didn't rise, I finally came up with the perfect recipe for a gluten-free whole grain sandwich bread.  I learned quite a few things about bread making in the process of developing this recipe that I'd like to share with you.  The success of a gluten-free bread depends on these essential baking elements:

  • the correct ratio of salt, yeast, and sugar to flour
  • the correct ratio of xanthan gum to liquid and flours
  • accurate measurements, including temperature
and the most important thing, and the one it took me longest to discover, is:
  • a hefty amount of acid in the mix.

I learned about the ratios of salt and sugar to yeast from reading the Joy of Cooking and other reference books.  What I didn't learn until now is the role of acid in bread making.  It turns out that yeast performs better in an acidic environment.  All the commercially-available bread mixes that I've been trying out have had vinegar and ascorbic acid in them.  Adding a lot more apple cider to my existing recipe made it a whole lot better.  The acid not only gives the bread quite a bit more volume but it also acts as a dough conditioner to give the bread a sturdy yet flexible structure and a better crust.

You can use this as a template to create your own recipe.  Just substitute your flours by weight and keep the ratios the same.  I measure the weights in metric because it's a little more straight-forward.  Weighing the flour is much more accurate, but if you must use dry measures then all the flours together should be about three cups.

If you're looking for a more traditional teff bread recipe, see my Artisan Teff Bread Recipe or the Vegan, gum-free teff bread recipe.  Check out my Bread Page for more recipes and a new GF Bread Flour Blend.

The Best Teff Sandwich Bread

In a small bowl or large measuring cup mix:

345g (1.5 cups) water at 110 degrees F
6g (1 Tbsp) yeast

Set aside in a warm place while you mix the other ingredients.  It should sit for 5-10 minutes until the yeast is dissolved and the water becomes opaque.

Mix in a large bowl:

200g (1 1/4 C) Teff flour
100g (3/4C) Sorghum flour
75g (1/2 C) Tapioca flour
75g (1/2 C) Potato Starch

24g (2Tbsp) sugar
1.5 tsp xanthan gum
6g (1.5) tsp salt

Whisk together:

3 eggs

Add the eggs and the water mixture to the dry ingredients with:

35g (4 Tbsp) oil or melted butter
18g (1 Tbsp + 1 tsp.) apple cider vinegar

Beat the dough until smooth and completely mixed.  Oil or grease a sandwich bread pan.  Pullman loaf pans with really high sides give you bigger slices.

Cover the pan with a cloth and let rise in a warm place for 60 minutes.  In the meantime, heat the oven to 375.  Once the bread has risen, bake in the oven for 50 minutes to an hour.  The internal temperature should reach 200 degrees.  Let cool on a drying rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy your teff bread with butter or use it as a sandwich.  Either way it's delicious!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Read This New Blog

Sad. Inspiring. Hilarious.  It's difficult to sum up my friend's new blog.  It is not for the weak of heart.  It's about her struggle with colon cancer after suffering through years of undiagnosed food allergies and digestive ailments.  It's called My Butt Hurts.  Read this new blog.  Whether it makes you laugh or cry you won't regret it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gluten-free Flour Substitutions

If you've looked online for a gluten-free recipe, you've probably run into this dilemma:  you want to make something now, but you don't have - or can't get - one of the flours your delicious-looking recipe calls for.  This quick guide is a reference for what kind of flour to substitute for what you're missing.

Keep in mind a few things when you substitute flours in a recipe: first, do it by weight if that is possible.  A digital kitchen scale will make your life so much easier!  Different flours measure very differently in measuring cups sometimes.  Second, any substitution will change the texture and density of the dough.  Thirdly, if you don't see the flour here that you want to substitute, try thinking of something with a similar fiber content and texture, and experiment.  Starches can almost always be subbed out for other starches, and whole grain flours can replace each other, but don't sub a starch for a whole grain.  Then let me know what you come up with!

Flour Substitutions:

brown rice flour - teff flour
white rice flour - finely-ground corn flour
corn meal - buckwheat
buckwheat - teff flour
sorghum flour - amaranth flour
tapioca starch - potato starch
arrowroot starch - corn starch
potato flour - millet flour
coconut flour - do not sub out!  Coconut flour has much more fiber than anything else.  If you substitute it, your ratio of flour to liquids will be completely thrown off.  (Flours high in fiber call for more liquid.)

Do you have a favorite flour substitution?  Let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 23, 2011

What to Do With All Those Tomatoes

It's been an odd year for my garden.  A cool, wet spring met a cool, cloudy summer here in Portland.  It never even got over 100 degrees!  We finally had a couple of weeks of hot weather, during which my tomatoes really ripened by the dozen.  I'm not sure how much longer this will last with my tomato plants perishing and the weather cooling off again.  Every year it happens: I get tons of tomatoes at once, then I go the rest of the year yearning for them.  Here are some things that I do to prolong my tomato window.

Pick them green

If it's getting to be too late in the season, the vines are starting to rot and a frost is near, just pick them and bring them inside.  The green ones will ripen eventually.  One year I had tomatoes ripening in my kitchen until December.

Dry them

Linda of The Gluten-Free Homemaker has a great post on how to "sun dry" your tomatoes in the oven.  I did that last year with some tomatoes using her recipe.

Freeze them

I've heard that the simplest way to preserve tomatoes is to freeze tomatoes that you've de-stemmed and quartered.  Sometimes I'm too lazy even for that.  I just chuck them in a freezer bag and stick them in the freezer.  When I thaw them out, I dip them in a bowl of warm water for a moment and the skin peels right off.  Voila!

Make tomato sauce

It will take several hours, but making a tomato sauce is a simple way to use several pounds of tomatoes at once. 

Use Them Fresh

Basically, just use them in everything.  If you don't have quite enough for a tomato sauce, try one of these other recipes:

Beer-Braised Chicken in Orange Tomato Sauce
Sungold Tomato Salad

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Beer-Braised Chicken with Orange Tomato Sauce

This is a recipe inspired by my garden.  In the late summer, I often have an excess of tomatoes.  I created this recipe to make use of them, and it turned out better than I imagined.  All the flavors compete with each other to make a beautiful late summer meal with a Spanish influence.

Olive oil
1 whole chicken, cut in 8 pieces
1/2 onion
10 oz. GF beer
1-2 lbs tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp pepper
salt to taste
1/2 Valencia orange, cut in wedges
fresh basil to taste
pitted black olives and juice


In a dutch oven or large non-aluminum pot, brown the chicken pieces on each side in olive oil.  Remove the chicken and set aside.  Brown the onions and remove them.  Add the beer to the pot and scrape up the brownings with a wooden spoon.  Reduce the beer to the desired thickness for the sauce.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Add the tomatoes, orange, salt, pepper, basil, olives with juice and cumin to the beer sauce.  Stir until everything is warm and well combined.

Add the chicken back to the pot and spoon the sauce over.  Bake for 35 minutes or until done.  Serve with rice or other side.  Garnish with a basil sprig and enjoy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Grilled Artichokes: How to Cook Artichokes on the BBQ or Campfire

My cooking partner and I are really into making food over a campfire.  It's so much easier to make the whole meal on one heat source, and what is an open fire but man's first stove?  When we heard about grilling artichokes, we loved the idea, because artichokes are the perfect accompaniment to so many other things that we like to grill.  However, all the recipes we found involved boiling the artichokes first - not an option for the lazy camper.  We wanted to cook them just on the grill.  This recipe is the result of our inspiration.

How to cook artichokes on the BBQ or grill:
Serves two


1 artichoke
1-2 Tbsp butter
1-2 Tbsp water
lemon juice (optional)


Cut the artichokes in half, then scoop out the pale choke in the center.  Oil and salt both sides.  Put a few chunks of butter in the center of the artichokes where they are hollowed out.  In the center and around the leaves, add a bit of water until the artichoke seems like it won't hold much more.  Add a little lemon juice if desired.  Wrap the artichokes in two layers of tin foil and place on the grill or directly in the campfire, flat side up.  Flip the artichokes a few times while they are cooking to grill them evenly.  Cooking time will vary depending on the heat of the BBQ or fire and the size of the artichoke, but typically takes 20-40 minutes.  No need for dipping sauces - the flavor is cooked right in!

Here is the recipe in pictures:

Visit the Gluten-free Homemaker for more summer recipes!

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Ripe Tomato

I try to always document this day in the year, mostly for my own reference.  Then, there's also that desire to brag a little.  This year, I'm not sure it qualifies as bragging, but I finally have my first ripe tomatoes.

These are Sun Gold tomatoes, and they ripen very early.  If you consider August to be early.  Well, the point is that they ripen earlier than other varieties.  Last year my first ripe one was July 23rd.  The year before, it was July 17th.  I posted a Sun Gold tomato salad recipe on July 20th that year. 

It has been a cold, wet spring in the west of the country this year.  Snow packs are still high, the weather only just turned warm, and tomatoes aren't exactly getting in early.  Here's a photo I took of Mt. Adams last weekend.  Look at all that snow!
Not that I'm complaining.  It's always nice to have water.  Some of my spring crops are still going strong, and I have a ton of beautiful, huge sunflowers - all volunteers.
How is your garden doing?  Are you rolling with the weather or are your plants suffering?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Essential Gluten-free Pantry

When I first started out with gluten-free baking, I did a lot of experimenting with different gluten-free flours to see what worked and what didn't.  Here is a quick guide to what you should buy to try out at the start, and what you should avoid.  To read more about what these flours contribute to your mix read this post.

Brown Rice Flour
White Rice Flour
Sorghum Flour
Teff flour
Potato Flour or Potato Starch
Tapioca Flour
Xanthan Gum

Here are a few things you can pass up on, and the reasons why:

Bean flours - Don't do it!  They taste and smell like beans.  If you need more disincentive, they are often difficult to digest and they spoil quickly.

Amaranth flour - Overrated!  It's very delicate, it goes bad quickly, and sorghum tastes better anyway.  Plus, it's expensive.

Quinoa flour - It has a distinctive flavor and a dry texture like corn flour.  I only use it in a few select recipes, including this pancake recipe.  While I like it, I don't consider it an essential.  I've bought one box of it that I never finished.

What are your essential flours?  Is there anything you wish you hadn't bought?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cilantro Pesto Recipe

Right now, I have plenty of cilantro.  It grows like weeds in my garden.  I love cilantro.  In honor of this  prolific herb,  I created a fresh pesto recipe.  This recipe is dairy-free, and the lime juice keeps it fresh long after other pesto sauces would expire.  See some recommendations for gluten-free pasta here

Cilantro Pesto

2 C fresh cilantro leaves from your garden
1/3 C Brazil nuts or walnuts

1 clove garlic

1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 squirt lime juice
1/4-1/2 tsp salt

ground white pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor until evenly minced, scraping down the sides as you go.  Taste for balance of flavors and adjust.  Serve tossed with hot pasta.  It's that easy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Gluten-free Denver: Papou's Pizza and New Planet Beer

I went to visit some family in Denver this weekend and was pleased to find many more gluten-free options than I had the last time I visited.  I even had a few surprises: some really good gluten-free pizza, and a gluten-free beer I'd never even heard of before!  Here I thought I was up on all the cutting-edge news for gluten-free beer, and I found a new one thanks to my mom's iPhone app, which led us to Papou's Pizza.

From the outside, it just looks like a run-of-the-mill pizza joint in an average Denver strip mall.  However, Papou's serves some really good gluten-free pizza.  It's New England-style Pizza with a Greek influence - meaning lots of good roasted vegetable toppings.  I got the Mediterranean, which was roasted eggplant, fresh tomatoes, and feta.  The normal pizza crust looked good, too, and the place was a real crowd-pleaser.  We didn't all get gluten-free, but everyone from my 5-year-old niece to my grandmother liked the place, which is as it should be for pizza.

The gluten-free beer was something different.  The one that I tried is called Tread Lightly Beer.  It's made with sorghum and corn, which is a combination I'd never seen before in a beer.  It is very light, and it doesn't have as much of the metallic aftertaste that most sorghum beers have.  The beer is brewed in Fort Collins and appears to be available in specialty beer stores and some Whole Foods.  Apparently the beer is only distributed in a few states right now, but according to the New Planet Beer website you can buy it online.  It looks like we can't get it in Portland yet, but hopefully that will change!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gluten-free Restaurant List for Portland

I went to Australia earlier this year and did quite a bit of research before I left.  Local blogs in Melbourne and Sydney proved to be really helpful, along with dining sites that had gluten-free search options.  I thought I'd give back to the community by making a traveler's dining guide for Portland.  I'll only list the restaurants that I have personally eaten at and which have strong adherence to gluten-free safety.  There's a more comprehensive list over at Gluten-free Portland dot org.

New Cascadia Traditional Bakery - This dedicated gluten-free bakery serves bread, pastries, coffee, pizzas, and sandwiches.

Tula Bakery - An excellent dedicated gluten-free bakery in Northeast Portland.

Hawthorne Fish House - Almost all the food served at this establishment is gluten-free.  See the full review here.

Deschutes Brewery - They bake their own gluten-free buns and bread sticks in a separate kitchen, and they brew their own gluten-free beer!

Iorio Restaurant - This Italian restaurant serves GF pasta as well as a whole host of other Italian dishes you've been craving!  Their fryer is dedicated gluten-free, so feel free to indulge in the calamari.  See a full restaurant review here.

Andina - Peruvian food with a full gluten-free menu.  See full review here.

Fratelli Cucina - I found Fratelli Cucina through Triumph Dining's The Essential Gluten-free Restaurant Guide.  Our server was gluten intolerant himself, so he really took care of us.  They are not a dedicated gluten-free establishment, but they have both risotto and polenta on the menu that are typically made gluten-free.

Clyde Common - This is a trendy upscale establishment downtown.  See the full review here.

Mississippi Pizza - Gluten-free pizza baked in a dedicated oven and GF beer.

Dick's Kitchen - They can serve any of their burgers or sandwiches on a gluten-free bun.  See the full review here.

There are many more out there, and I'll be sure to update this list as I try new places.  For a list of additional restaurants with gluten-free options, click here.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Clyde Common Restaurant Review

What a difference a server makes.

I like Clyde Common.  The food has always been amazing, and their mixed drinks are equally amazing.  I still remember the first time I went there.  It was New Year's Eve, and for some reason the mood struck me to get a Bloody Mary.  I almost never order that drink - it's usually too sweet or salty for me.  Well, this one was made from a chili sauce.  It was spicy and perfect.
 Another reason to like Clyde Common is that many of their dishes are gluten-free without having to make substitutions.  They aren't trying for it; they are just really high-end.  The food is cheffy, which typically means they don't rely on a lot of wheat products.  Wheat is boring and mundane, after all.  Gluten is passé. 

So I took a gluten-free friend to Clyde Common this winter.  We got our fancy cocktails and we checked out the dinner menu.  There were several things that looked doable as a gluten-free dish.  I told our server about our dietary restraints and then said we had picked out a few things that we thought would work gluten-free, and he should let us know if any of it wouldn't work.  (Caveat: this is not my typical strategy, nor is it the best one for informing the server of a food allergy.)

The place was crowded, so we waited a while for the food to arrive.  Once it did we were pretty hungry.  However, I looked at my plate and suddenly doubted my choice.  Everything seemed saucier than I imagined from the description.  As you can imagine, sauce is something that strikes my heart with fear.  I caught my server's eye and asked him if he was sure that everything we had been served was gluten-free?  He got this blasé expression on his face and told me, "Well, I think everything should be gluten-free."

Then I gave him this look.  Internally, I was formulating my response.  However, a verbal response proved unnecessary.  My look said it all.  My look said, "Do you really expect me to eat something at your restaurant that could make me sick?"  Suddenly, before I could verbalize my thought, the server got a stricken expression on his face.  He was suddenly scared of me.  He quickly pulled himself together and blurted out that he would go talk to the chef and double-check!

He was right back.  He assured us that he had consulted with the chef and that everything was 100% gluten-free.  He seemed really relieved that he hadn't given me reason to cause him bodily harm.  We indulged heartily in our winter repasts.

I wasn't very impressed by that customer/server interaction, so I didn't go back for several months.  Then, the other day I happened by there and remembered that they usually had several things I could eat.  My plan A had fallen through, so I decided to go for it.  They had a beautiful chilled celery soup that they served without croutons to make it gluten-free.

 They also have some snacks like almonds and olives I could eat.
And the server was very, very helpful.  I will be going there again.  It was delicious.

Have you been to Clyde Common?  What was your experience?