Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rice Paper Wrappers

One of my favorite things these days is Thai-inspired spring rolls. I am lucky enough to live close to Chinatown (east) in Toronto, and am contantly finding inspiration among these exotic ingredients. Rice paper wrappers, filled with wonderful fresh ingredients (or even leftovers re-invented)- limited only by your tastebuds and imagination!
Here is a basic recipe to start with:

2 ounces rice vermicelli
8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
Filling ideas:
-avocado, cucumber, crab, cilantro
-roast pork, lime, mango, red onion, cilantro
-shrimp, thai basil, bean sprouts, shredded carrot
(you get the idea)

4 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic chili sauce

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 minutes, or until al dente, and drain. Dress with some of dipping sauce.
Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the water for a few seconds to soften. Lay wrapper flat, on a wooden cutting board. In a row across the center, place ingredients ie: 2 slices of avocado, 2 strips of cucumber, cilantro, crab, leaving about 1 inch uncovered on each side. If wrapper is to slippery to fold, simply wait a few seconds til it gets sticky. Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper (away from you), beginning at the end closest to you. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix the fish sauce, water, lime juice, garlic, sugar and chili sauce.

Serve spring rolls, cut in half, with the fish sauce. If serving a large platter for a party, lay the cut spring rolls on a bed of shredded Napa Cabbage, sprinkled with cilantro.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Gluten Free Bread Recipe!

I must tell y'all that though I have only been baking bread a short time, I have tried lots of the gluten free breads out there- this loaf is not like those! With the inclusion of flax meal( which is wonderful) this bread is akin to an artesian whole wheat loaf. I baked a loaf 2 days ago and INTENDED to take a picture, but alas the natives were hungry and I ended up cutting into it (even before it was properly cooled-mmm ) and so kiboshed my own photo-op!! I will post one soon.

Gluten Free Bread Recipe for Bread Machine
-Adapted from a recipe on

3 large eggs
1 2/3 cup water
3 tablespoons corn oil
1 teaspoon vinegar (apple cider vinegar is best- more about that another time)

¼ cup brown or white rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1 cup corn flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
½ cup flaxseed meal
½ cup skim milk powder
3 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 ½ teaspoons xanthum gum

Every bread machine is different, so adjust to your own machine directions as I did!
For my Cuisinart bread machine, I mix the wet ingredients, ensuring that they are approx 110 degrees (I don't actually take the temp, but I do put the wet into the microwave to "heat" up for 20 sec at a time or so, until it is *just* warmer than room temp). Layer the dry contents over the wet in the bread machine pan. With your finger make a small depression and add 2 ¼ teaspoons GF yeast. Set bread maker for gluten free, select medium, 2 lb loaf, and press go.
A couple of notes:
-When it is humid, I remove 2 Tablespoons of water, which allows it to rise properly.
-Remove the loaf to a rack when the baking time is complete, and allow to cool completely (if you can, I know it is hard!)

Finally, if you have had those brick-like GF loaves from health food stores, this is not anything like those. You will be sweetly surprised by the taste and texture of this loaf.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Gluten Free and loving it!

At first it was intimidating and scary- can we ever eat out again? No bread? Pizza? Pasta?? Ulp.
I love to cook. I love food. I love bread. When I gave up gluten I thought I was giving up bread. Horrors.
For the first month I did, then I couldn’t take it anymore!
I sent my dear Husband to the store, and we are now the proud owners of a Cuisinart Bread Machine!
I love it.
I can bake bread- me! And bread that tastes like BREAD, even though it’s gluten free!
Crusty. Good crumb. Wonderful right away, and still wonderful days later- if it lasts that long.
My favorite recipe comes courtesy of thanks guys!
Will post it soon!
I have decided to join the blogging world- why? Are there not an abundance of bloggers out there? Good ones? Great ones? Of course- and that is why, I guess, that I figure hey, the more the merrier!
It is also quite selfish.
I have a desire to keep track of great sites, and to catalogue the wealth of info I am gathering regarding Gluten Free living.
My dear Husband explored the possibility of having Celiac after his lovely Mum was diagnosed. A week after cutting out gluten, he knew. That’s how much better he felt. Eventually I mustered the courage to join him, and there is no looking back!