Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Banana Raisin Muffins

I'm linking to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

I said in my last post that I have been following Meghan Telpner's recipes. Aren't you impressed? I actually do mean that I managed to follow directions! It's a new turning point for me.

While I did manage to follow directions, I did have to tweak the muffin recipe. So I'll share my revisions. I really like these ones. Meghan's flours are dark but not gritty or overpowering, they may just become my new muffin flours of choice. Her recipe is Apple Cinnamon Muffins. I am just so much more likely to have brown bananas hanging around rather than applesauce, so I shifted some things and turned them into Banana Raisin Muffins.

I know. You are probably thinking, girl! How many banana muffins recipes do you think a person needs? And you are right. But seriously, flours make a difference. It is a lesson you will learn over and over as you are gluten-free. Flours matter.

More Banana Raisin Muffins
Adapted from Meghan Telpner's Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Dry Ingredients
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour/starch*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xantham gum**
1 teaspoon cinnamon

In a separate mixing bowl beat together:
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup light olive oil
1 tbs agave nectar (or more if you prefer sweeter)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 TBS ground flax with ¼ cup warm water***

Beat the wet ingredients until smooth. Add to the dry ingredients and combine well. Add water a tablespoon at a time, until the batter is smooth and pancake consistency.

Stir in:
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool on a wire rack.
Makes twelve muffins.

*Note: About tapioca flour/starch. I spent an hour searching for it at my natural foods store. I had a recipe that called for tapioca flour, all I could find was tapioca starch. It's the same thing. I've now seen it labeled both ways, just buy it no matter what it's called.

**If you are used to not using a lot of xantham gum, you can cut this amount in half and the muffins will be just fine.

***Just put the water in a small bowl and pour in the ground flax seed. Let it sit for a minute, then add to the other wet ingredients.

And I have to tell you a little story about grinding flax seeds. I bought regular, whole flax seeds. But unfortunately I don't have a spice grinder or a coffee grinder (two methods I am told work well). My regular stand blender isn't good enough to grind those tiny seeds, and neither is my small food processor. But I have a hand-held immersion blender. So I thought to myself, well, that will work. So I poured the little flax seeds in a cup and stuck the blender in.

They flew everywhere! All over the whole kitchen. Fortunately, the immersion blender is pulse only.

So I thought again.

I grabbed a clean towel and wrapped it tight around the top of the cup and the blender. I held on to the towel with one hand and worked the blender with the other. I could hear the little seeds pinging on the side of the cup, but they didn't fly out. After a minute of working the blender, I looked inside the cup. Voila! Perfectly ground little flax seeds.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pictures of Food

From Collages
A few of the delicious things I have been eating this week. Yum.

(Look! I made a collage. I wish it wasn't that tiny...)

Clockwise from top left: Apple Cinnamon Muffins. Quinoa Tabuli. Marinated Bean Salad. Orange Maple Tempeh. Roasted Winter Vegetables. Banana Muffins. Carrot Ginger Soup.
Center: Lemony Lentil Soup.

I've been following one of Meghan Telpner's meal plans. So I'll just link you to her whole site for recipes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Baking Class

This is the scene from Elf, where Buddy comes in to the office and spins around, "I'm in love, I'm in love and I don't care who knows it!"

Yup, that's what I'm saying now.

I took my very first cooking class today. I loved it! It was called "Gluten-free Desserts." It was so fun to be in a room of 24 gluten-free people, who all started talking and sharing ideas on how to modify recipes.

The class was mostly a demonstration, but so much better than watching Food Network, because the teacher explained how to do everything. She talked about techniques, ingredients, and tools.

And then we ate.

I've been gluten-free for almost 4 years now. I just have to say, I haven't put a dessert that good in my mouth in the last 5 years. Wow.

I'm going to spend some time modifying and seeing if I can make these recipes sugar free too. Then I'll post and share. I feel inspired by the teacher because she talked about how baking is just about chemistry, and you just replace things based on what effect you want. So I'm sure I can make changes and come up with something pretty darn good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Apple Crisp

I was reading my vegetarian magazine, and they have an orange crisp in it. Well, of course I thought, that's nice, but let's face it. I'm never going to make that. But then I thought, I like apple crisp though.

This is a gluten-free crisp, so I took it and made it sugar-free. I made it once and it had too much crisp. The second time the proportions were much better. Of course, I must caution you that this is not traditional apple crisp. It's never going to taste like the apple crisp that you used to eat when you could eat gluten. My gluten-eating sister wasn't that impressed, but I liked it.

Apple Crisp
about 5 Apples, peeled, cored, and sliced. It took 5 for me to fill an 8x8 pan. You may need more or less.
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup succanat (this is a natural sweetner that can be used as a sugar substitute. It's dry, so it's good for a crisp where honey wouldn't work).
2 tsp apple pie spice --OR-- 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp allspice
8 Tbs butter

Lay the apple slices in an 8x8 pan. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Either using a mixer or a pastry tool, cut in the butter. The flour mixture will be dry, but look for it to clump together with the butter.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Menu Plan

Lesson from the menu plan two weeks ago.
1. Enchiladas don't freeze well.

Busy weeks, so I didn't post a menu plan last week. I did pretty well for having no plan though. Mostly because the plan just keeps getting rolled over.

I made my vegetable soup. I made black beans and rice. I ate leftovers. I had people over on Friday and made Chili -- I'll post the recipe for that soon. Yes, yet another chili recipe. I thought it was good. I made pancakes -- quick review the Maple Grove Farms pancake mix is good. My sister came again so we ate at our fav Thai restaurant.

Menu plan for the week
Finish veggie soup leftovers
Finish chili leftovers
Finish black beans and rice leftovers

I need to think of a portable, non-reheatable lunch for Wednesday. I have an all-day meeting. Other than that it is mostly a clean out the fridge week.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chicken Enchiladas

Sunday night I was supposed to have a group of people over for dinner. They failed and dinner didn't happen.

Let me rephrase. The eating of dinner didn't happen. I spent all morning making it, so dinner did happen. Actually I ate some this week, but tossed the bulk of it in the freezer. Now I am thinking it will be perfect on Sunday when my sister is in town. Yay!

I wanted to make enchiladas because they are a quick fix before hand and easy to heat up when we are finally ready to eat. But I was very concerned that my friends would not like the sweet potatoes in my sweet potato and black bean enchiladas.

So I modified that recipe and here is what I got:
Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Enchiladas with Green Chile Sauce (but for short, let's call them chicken enchiladas)
(Go back to Karina's Kitchen for the original recipe. She really is fabulous).

Green Chile Sauce
1 cup chicken broth (I always use Rachel Ray's stock in a box, or Pacifica Foods brand)
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in a little cold water
1 7 oz. can chopped roasted green chiles (I get mine for $0.98 at Walmart)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin

Monday, February 1, 2010

Menu Plan

Whew, a whole lot going on. And that means a whole lot of eating.

Menu Plan
Chicken Enchiladas (for my failure of a dinner for people on Sunday. The food didn't fail, so I'll post the recipe this week. The people failed. Another story for another day. And maybe for another blog. I'll be eating leftover chicken enchiladas for a long time).
The last jar of Chickpea and Potato Soup
The last jar of Butternut Squash Chili
Black beans and Rice
Spaghetti (I have some sauce in the fridge I need to use up).

Friday should be a night out. And otherwise I don't have big feeding people plans. Happy day.

Reporting on Last Week's Food

If I don't jot it down, I won't remember next time. So here is the report on last week's food.

The plan was:
Lentil Dahl -- leftover from last week
Veggie Soup -- new batches of the same tummy goodness
Moroccan Chickpea and Potato Soup -- This sounds really good, but I am going to replace the yukon gold potatoes with sweet potatoes (because that's what I've got. Hopefully I don't turn orange again).

The Dahl was delightful. None the worse for having sat in the fridge for a week. The veggie soup was, of course, fabulous. The chickpea and potato soup left some serious stuff to be desired.

First problem: The chickpeas got really hard, so then I wound up choking on them. This is a particularly bad scenario when you live alone. (Don't worry. I'm clearly fine).
Second problem: It was really orange, and not very flavorful. Yeah, you'd think with all the curry and stuff that flavor wouldn't be a problem.

Ok, now I am just thinking of one of the contestants from "Top Chef" last season. After judge's table, he walked back to the other contestants and said, "Oh, I forgot the flavor!"

I'm glad that the person who posted the soup likes it so much, but it's not for me, and I won't be making it again.