Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sesame Flax Crackers!

A new recipe for wonderful, crunchy, healthy Gluten Free crackers!

I began with a basic (non-GF) cracker recipe using flour, oil and water (for the ratios), and have put together a combo that is really great. You can play with the ingredients (as I always do!) and come up with your own combinations.
I made 3 batches:
1. My first batch was a little too thick, and I scored into squares.
2. My second batch, I sprinkled extra sesame seeds onto the dough once it was rolled to the right thickness, rolled them into the dough, then scored into long rectangles -much prettier!
3. For my third batch, I used one of my very favourite baking toys, but more on that later!

Sesame Flax Crackers

1 cup corn flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup flax meal (ground flax)
1/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup quinoa flour
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (use freshly grated parmesan only- not the cheese "product" you find in the grocery stores).
1 tsp onion salt
1/2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 cup water

Combine the dry ingredients.
Make a well in the dry ingredients and add oil, and most of the water.
Mix together until you have a dough that will roll out. If you need to add more water, add 1 Tb at a time. The dough should not be sticky! If you find it is too sticky, knead in tapioca flour until the consistency is right.
Lay out sheet of parchment paper, the size of your baking sheet.
Divide the dough into 4.
Place 1/4 of dough onto parchment and roll. If needed, dust with more tapioca flour, but use sparingly!
Roll until dough is very thin, and covers most of parchment sheet. At this point I like to trim the edges using a pizza cutter to make a neat rectangle.
Sprinkle the dough with a layer of more sesame seeds, and gently roll them into the dough.
Score the dough width-wise into long rectangles- like the fancy ones you pay a fortune for at specialty food shops.
Leaving the dough on the parchment, place it on to your baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes in a 350* oven.
Watch closely- you don't want them to burn!
When you remove these from the oven, slide the parchment off your cookie sheet and allow to cool. Gently snap the crackers apart along the score lines.

As I said earlier, you can vary this in many ways- add different seeds, nuts, spices etc. I know I will be doing a rosemary-garlic combo next.
Just remember to keep your dry (flour/nut) ingredients to a total of 3 1/4 cups total to keep the ratios correct!

** To make vegan-friendly, substitute ground almonds (or walnuts or pecans) for the parmesan... you get the idea!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Asian markets...?

An interesting take on purchasing rice/tapioca flours etc from Asian markets.  I have not had a problem with them, but everyone should do their own research and do what feels comfortable for them.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Potato Croquettes Anyone?

Ahhh. Potatoes. Love love love.

Have we not all ended up with left over mashed potatoes? I took a page from my restaurant days and today made potato croquettes. Fancy, yes? Well, actually simple.
Mashed potato, shredded cheddar cheese (1 cup or so, depending on how much potato you have), salt and pepper, an egg, a bit of (gluten free) flour, an oven.
Thats it.

Combine above ingredients.
Place in a large plastic ziploc (or piping) bag.
Cut one corner off with sharp scissors.
Pipe onto parchment paper on baking sheet. (can omit parchment paper if you don't have any, but it does ensure easy removal, no sticking).
Bake at 425* in oven for about 15 minutes, then flip to brown on other side another 5-10 minutes.
That is it.
Serve with anything. Or nothing.
If you want these to look really fancy, use a piping bag attachment and do not flip. Spray with olive oil ( I use my re-fillable "Misto"), and remove from oven when golden brown.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Quinoa Salad with Swiss Chard

This is a delicious salad or side dish.
Get your hands on a nice big bunch of Swiss Chard. Cook up some Quinoa. Get out your Wok, and you're in business!

Quinoa Swiss Chard Salad

1 Bunch Swiss Chard
1 Cup cooked Quinoa
3/4 Cup diced Sweet Onion
2 Cloves minced Garlic
2 T Olive Oil
1 Red Pepper, diced
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
2 T freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Clean and separate leaves from stalks of Swiss Chard.
Roll leaves together and slice into 1/2" strips
Blanch leaves for 2 minutes in boiling water. Rinse with cold water and drain.
Dice stalks into 1/2" pieces

Heat Wok to high
Add 2 T olive oil
Add diced onion.
When onion is just starting to show some colour (caramelizing), add garlic, red pepper, and Swiss Chard stalks.
Let cook on med-high until stalks and peppers are tender-crisp.
Add Chard leaves, and continue cooking until leaves are wilted.
Remove from heat.
Add lemon juice and parmesan.  Mix.
Add 1 cup cooked Quinoa, and toss thoroughly.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Oh, this is so good, and the fact that it is so incredibly good for you is a bonus!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Recipe Challenge Entered!

What a great time to be Gluten Free. The generosity and camaraderie in the foodie/blogger world is awesome!
Please check out this site: Gluten-Free Homemaker who hosts a weekly and monthly recipe challenge. The latest is for yeast bread, and I have submitted my Teff bread recipe (on this site)- re-named Amsuka's Teff Bread.
Check out the other recipes and have a go!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Today, Lasagne!!

Ahhh, wonderful lasagne. These noodles -by Rizopia -are great, and I don't cook them ahead of time. Just build the lasagne with the hard noodles, and make sure you use LOTS of sauce... I made two this afternoon (standing by, and just about to go into the oven).
The great thing about lasagne for me is that is never the same way twice. Oh sure, you may start out with intentions and ingredients to match your last batch, or you may intentionally arm yourself with gruyere instead of parmesan. And throw in some peppers. Then add a pesto layer. Or mix in some homemade (pure veggie) soup with your meat sauce.  Anything goes!
This time I used ground chicken instead of beef, to accommodate my 14 year old daughter who no longer eats red meat (delicious!), stirred pesto into my ricotta, and added a sauteed spinach and mushroom layer, and of course, homemade tomato sauce.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baking without Xantham gum?

There seems to be a new development in the gluten-free world, and that is the idea that Xanthan gum and Guar gum are not necessary in Gluten free cooking and baking. I too have been experimenting with this idea, and also trying out Chia seed (and flax) as a replacement.
On a recent trip to the Bulk Barn (one of my favourite place to shop these days!) I spotted the bin of Chia seed, and immediately thought of the sprout-growing terra-cotta heads from the '70's, and I initially bought the chia for that purpose: to sprout it! When I got home and did a bit of reading up on it (thank-you Google), I realized it could be utilized in other ways as well.
Here is a link that explains it well:
Also check out Gluten Free Girl's website and hear about her chia/flax experimentation.
Recipe to follow soon using the Chia, and will also be trying my bread with the chia in lieu of the Xanthan gum.
Stay posted!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Happy February!

A new year, and new recipes!
I have an amazing muffin recipe that I have adapted from several different recipes- the flour blend is my own, which I am so happy to share with you all.
Everyone in my family loves these, and today I made them even healthier by switching in some quinoa flour and teff flour. Mmmm.


Preheat oven to 350*
Makes 18- 24 muffins

1/2 cup sugar
4 T butter or margerine
4 eggs
2/3 cup tapioca starch
2/3 cup rice flour (** sub. 1/3 c teff flour and 1/3 c quinoa flour to make a little healthier!)
2/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
4 tsp baking powder
1 cup milk (or soy milk etc)
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350*
Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs, and add vanilla.
Mix together flours, salt, baking powder and xanthan gum, and add to the egg mixture alternately with the milk.
**OPTIONAL: stir in chocolate chips, blueberries, dried fruit nuts etc
Grease muffin pans with butter.
Pour into muffin pans, bake 18- 20 minutes at 350*
I believe this recipe would work just as well as for a cake- I will post when I try it!