Archive for February, 2008|Monthly archive page

Review: Bob’s Red Mill GF Cornbread Mix

Growing up with a Southern grandmother, in the Missouri Ozarks, I have had a lot of cornbread in my life.  Fresh, from scratch… Jiffy, from a box…. neighbors’ & aunts’ recipes… I know my cornbread. 😉

Bob’s Cornbread, while not exactly Cornbread in the sense that I am familiar with it, is pretty good.  It’s soft, though, which is weird. 🙂  The taste is great, a lot like the batter on a corndog (subsequently what I will be using the mix for next time) and a little moist like a cake.  I made it per directions, but it did take 40 minutes vs. the 20 minute recommended bake time.

I can’t say there’s much to complain about here.  Good, soft cornbread, perfect to go with your white beans and ham… yum!  I think it might be better served as muffins, though.  That would be my only suggestion for improvement (it would also be easier to freeze like that).  Since I’m more or less Southern, I will also be adding sugar to it next time and handmixing for that authentic lumpy texture (just like grandma used to make). 😉

Good cornbread.  GOOD!

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Review: Orgran Gluten Free Gravy Mix

Being a true Southern girl, the thing I’ve missed most out in this whole GF adventure was gravy.  Williams Brown Gravy for my family, baby.  Not now, of course.

When I saw this gravy mix at the health food store, I was happy.  I was so, so happy!!

We had it today with meatloaf, rice and mashed potatoes.  I know, I know, don’t lecture me on the lack of veggies.  I spent the day helping a friend destroy his bathroom and I was forced to throw dinner together quickly.

Anyway, I used the gravy mix tonight.  It came out brown and looked curiously gravy-looking.  It tasted and smelled like plastic.  Kinda like a sneaker, melted on my stovetop.  OMG IT WAS BAD.

I am tossing the rest of this package, which is something I can barely stand to do with GF foods.  You might recall my review for Bob’s “Wonderful” Bread.  This goes in the same reject bag.  ‘cept I’ve not yet had a good experience with Orgran, so I am unsure as to what kind of relationship I will have with this brand in to the future.

The package has a huge list of things it is free of: 98% fat free, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free, yeast free, GMO free, soy free, nut free, meat free (vegan)… but it forgets to mention how it’s also flavor-free.

Review: Bob’s Red Mill GF Brownie Mix

OMG.  Brownies are so good.  These sweet, wonderful, not too fudgy, not too cakey brownies are to die for (and I’m not just saying that because they were free)!!  I followed the package directions pretty much right on, I added more walnuts, but all in all, this was built as intended.

Oh, yum.  The batter was really odd, kind of really sticky and not too promising, but man, oh, man, what difference some heat made.  I never got them to really level properly, but they seem to be fairly evenly baked (go, Pyrex, go!) and pop right out of the dish.

These are not grainy, nor are they icky.  They taste like real brownies.  They feel like real brownies in your mouth (well, in my mouth), they are soft and sweet and one package makes a BUNCH (13×9 pan)!!

I hope you buy this product.  I sure as heck will be buying more.  There are times in a girl’s life when she just needs some brownies… more so when she’s a Celiac. 😉

News! Bob’s Red Mill Delciousness!

Well, what do you know?  Bob came through for us! 🙂  I recieved, today, via UPS, a lovely care package from our good friends at Bob’s Red Mill.  In the box were four bread mixes. 🙂

So, over the next few weeks, we’ll be trying: Bob’s GF Cinnamon Raisin Bread Mix, Bob’s GF Cornbread Mix, Bob’s GF Brownie Mix, and Bob’s GF Pancake Mix (which we’ve already tried, so I guess that’s not news).

Thanks, Bob’s!  You guys are tops in my book.  Don’t think this means I’m going to go easy on you, but anyone who sends me free brownies is a winner no matter how bad they mess up. 😉  Much love from me!!

Gluten Free Singles Scene?

My Google alerts today told me about the GF singles scene.  I had no idea there was one.  Is someone out there just trolling for GF babes so he can snatch one up and take care of them? 😉

Here’s the link: Clicky

Good luck, I hope you meet the Celiac of your dreams.

Gluten Free Politics and the Gluten Free Future

I have become obsessed with CNN since a week or so before Super Tuesday.  I watch it, every detail, every delegate.  Tell me, if you can, what the heck is going on in our political system?  Am I completely out of my mind or is it finally working kind of like it is supposed to…?

The top three candidate from both parties: Billary, Obama and McCain are all fairly normal people (considering they have the kind of bling to run for President), each one disagrees (to varying degrees, granted) with the way we are headed… and each one is worried about the little guy because they came from little guys.  *boggle*  And, how is it that McCain is almost guaranteed the Republican nomination with so many Republicans openly despising him?

While I am a long time Democrat (generally speaking, I pretty much just vote my mind anyway), I am beginning to feel confident that whichever of those three get elected, things will improve here in the good ole’ USA.  I hope I’m not just being overly optimistic.

I am suprised that Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are running so close.  I can’t remember an election that was like this ever before in my lifetime.  I like Obama, he’s grown on me.  I voted for Hillary, though, because at the time I thought she was the right choice. 

I remember the Clinton years, they were ok.  Gas wasn’t $3.00 a gallon, housing hadn’t exploded, it plodded mildly along… the average American could afford to buy nutritious food for their children and corporations weren’t allowed to cut benefits until employees bled.  It was ok.

Obama, though, reminds me largely of JFK (I know he’s kind of trying to plant that idea).  He feels largely inspired by the 1960’s.  I see a lot of both Kennedy’s, of Dr. Martin Luther King, the hope of the many protesters, the freedom of the era all over him.  He is running a campaign that, for what I’ve seen, has critisised his opponents very little, has stated his opinions very clearly, and has already developed some specific goals for the Presidency.  He seems like a real go-getter.  The fact that he was raised by a single, teenage mother speaks to me.  He is the kind of guy that will be able to understand what the Middle and Lower classes are going through right now, despite his success, and I think America is seeing that.  I think if he gets elected, we are in for a wild ride!  Change is often scary and frequently painful, but, if he is the man he appears to be, we will be better for it in the end.

McCain, well, I don’t know much about McCain, except that the Republicans and Fundies hate him, so he’s got to be my kind of guy.  I hear that he’s a centrist, which is what our country needs.  He supports the war, which I do not (though I support the troops, they are just doing their jobs) and never have.  This stinkin’ war has no specific goals, so how do we know when it’s over?  Anyway, he’s not my favorite, but I think he has the force of will to clean up at least some of the mess that King George is going to be leaving.

History will remember whoever comes next and it may not be very favorably.  It may be downright nasty, in fact.  But whoever is next is the force of change.  They all three realize that there is no way to fix the system without some overhauls and I think all three are willing to do it and don’t care to look bad if that’s what it takes.  We are embarking upon a crazy journey and I, for one, am excited to be alive for it.

So, why the politics in this GF blog?  Well, I mean, they affect all of us.  They really do.  Corruption in the White House affects you and I every day when we discover food that’s mislabled, things coming in from other countries that are full of pesticides, manufacturing by-products or lead balls, heck, even the boggling number of jobs being sent overseas affect us.  We don’t live in a bubble.  If the economy can stabilize, we are on our way to pulling out of this mess, my friends.

I have so much hope for the future and I just wanted to share that with you all. 🙂

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies, a blessing from “Good Eats”

So I was watching the Food Network the other day and they were running Good Eats re-runs.  Apparently, they did one about substitutions, which was odd, but clever (in the same way most of the Good Eats episodes are… if you’ve never seen this show, it is a Mr. Wizard eats Julia Child kind of thing). 

Anyway, I’m a huge fan, but I generally don’t use many of the recipies because there’s something I don’t like about this or that ingredient or I simply have been doing it a certain way and so did my grandmother. 🙂  But, I like the science involved and the way that Alton Brown goes about trying to explain how things work rather than just shooting recipies at his audience.  It helps me figure things out. 😉

I was on my way to opening a bakery before I was dx’ed with Celiac Disease.  My house always smelled like bread or cookies or cakes or pies or pastries or something freaking wonderful.  Since my dx in Nov 2007, I’ve adjusted rather well, if I do say so myself.  However, my dreams of owning a bakery have kind of deflated as my fears of baking with GF flour in a significant way have grown.  Though I am an educated person and no stranger to science and math (the scarier things in school), something about that change has been so big for me I was terrified to tackle it.

 Well, after seeing AB’s substitution episode, I decided it was time.  So, I cranked up the DVR and rewatched the part with the cookies… tenatively stepped in to the kitchen, squinted at the many jars and bags that have come to live in my home (foreigners only months ago) and jumped in.  GF cookies are not like non-GF cookies.  GF breads are nothing like non-GF breads… they are so different, in fact, that I think they need a different name… my cookie dough wasn’t doughy and floury like I was used to cookie dough being… it was, as my dear soon-to-be husband described it, like frosting.  But, AB had never steered me wrong before, so I baked the little buggers anyway.

And what do you know?  They worked out.  A little sweet, maybe… but that could be my fault since I didn’t have any semi-sweet chocolate chips, only raspberry M&Ms left over from the granola. 🙂  I am posting the recipe here to share with you, since it is so nice to have a real cookie… now if only I could figure out how to put together a really nice snickerdoodle. 😉  Practice makes perfect, right?

I want to tip my hat to Mr. Brown.  On the Food Network’s website, only ONE baking recipe comes up when you type in “gluten free” in the search box and it is this one. 

As a note to those of you who don’t own a KitchenAid mixer or a stand mixer at all… it will be ok.  My antique West Bend (which needs replaced, but that’s another story) needed some help, but with a little patience and by manually spinning the bowl when the mixer refused to cooperate, we got the job done.  GF baking is a much tricker proposal than non-GF baking… for me the biggest issue is the dough consistancy.  My bread doughs turn out stiff (though they come out ok upon baking) and cookies apparently mush-like (also turn out just fine when baked).  I’ve yet to make a cake, but AB’s coconut cake looks like a good candidate for a GF-conversion (possibly using some coconut flour).  Anyway, enough of me, on with the COOKIES! 🙂

The Chewy Gluten Free

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2007
Show:  Good Eats
Episode:  Sub Standards

8 ounces unsalted butter
11 ounces brown rice flour, approximately 2 cups
1 1/4 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/4 cup
1/2-ounce tapioca flour, approximately 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
10 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.

In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xantham gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Add both of the sugars to the bowl with the butter and using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour. Shape the dough into 2-ounce balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes for even baking. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely. Store cooked cookies in an airtight container.