Archive for December, 2008|Monthly archive page

Personal: Add another one to the pile…

After I was first dxed with CD and began my gluten free adventure, I came across many people who told me that as my CD symptoms improve, I would discover “the rest” of my food allergies.  BAH!  I said… I was certain that CD was my magic bullet.

Tonight we can add another one to the list.  My head hurts so bad that it woke me from sleep, resisted 1 sudafed and three doses of benadryl and is making me want to decapitate myself.  Culprit?  Likely MSG, it’s what’s for dinner.

After looking at the symptoms of MSG reactions on various web sites, some of the strange reactions I have to seemingly random foods now becomes clear.  I have an awful time with flushing after meals, even if it’s not dairy-based… that was what first drove me to the doctor in the way back.  One doctor tried to prescribe anti-anxiety medication because he was convinced that was my problem.

So, I guess MSG may have saved me as much as it’s hurting me right now… because it led me to my new Doc, who helped me discover the CD.

So, if you’re counting, you can now kill me with three things (albeit slowly): gluten, bananas and MSG.  Back to your regularly scheduled program.


Recipe: Not Another Gluten Free Pizza Crust!!!



I’m sorry to say it, but yes… it is another GF pizza crust.  Celiacs, rejoice for I have made something of beauty.  I’ve been fiddling with my soft buns recipe to try and make the rise more complete when I lucked upon something that made the best GF pizza I have yet eaten.  Here it be.

2 oz pineapple juice
1 cup water (120 degrees F)
5 tblsp granulated sugar, separated
2 tblsp active dry yeast
1 cup potato starch
3/4 cup masa harina
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tblsp xanthan gum
1/2 tblsp salt
2 jumbo eggs
waxed paper (not for eating)

1.  For yeast slurry, add pineapple juice and water to a 2+ cup container.  Add 3 tblsp sugar and stir well before adding yeast.  Allow to proof up to 10 minutes, but if your yeast is happy, it should start making bubbles by about 3 minutes.

2.  In the workbowl of your mixer, combine flours, starches, gum, remaining sugar and salt and fluff with paddle attachment.  Add eggs one at a time and fully incorporate before adding the next.  Last, add your yeast slurry.

3.  Mix on med-low until the dough starts to climb the paddle.  Switch to the hook and knead for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough all holds together and is annoyingly sticky.  If your mix is too dry, try adding water a very, very little at a time (1 tsp. at a time is plenty) while you knead with the hook.

4.  Measure out 8 1/2 oz of dough and stick it to some wax paper that’s about twice as long as it is wide.  You’ll want to fold the wax paper over with the dough in the middle to roll out your dough (roll it between 1/8 and 1/4 inch).  Leave your waxed paper packets out at room temperature for at least an hour (90 minutes is better) for the yeast to do its thing.  It’s subtle, but I promise they are working!  Toss your wax paper packets into the freezer for up to an hour or until the dough is easier to handle (it will never be easy to handle, so let that dream go).  When it’s chilled, gently pull the waxed paper loose and deposit onto an appropriately sized cookie sheet or pizza pan.

Bread didn't do so well, but pizza did. Turn it out onto a cookie sheet or something. I like to turn my cookie sheets upside down for this sort of thing because it makes them easier to get off later.

Bread didn't do so well, but pizza did. Turn it out onto a cookie sheet or something. I like to turn my cookie sheets upside down for this sort of thing because it makes baked goods easier to get off later.

5.  I like to crimp the edge of my pizza dough over itself to make it sort of look like a real pizza.  That’s optional, just watch for spills.  Slip your **ROOM TEMPERATURE** shaped pizza dough into a 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes.  Be sure to dock it (poke holes in it with a fork) or you risk explosion.

PS. Don't freak if your pizza looks less like this and more like Austrailia. Austrailia tastes good, too. ;)

PS. Don't freak if your pizza looks less like this and more like Austrailia. Austrailia tastes good, too. 😉

6.  After 20 minutes, pull your crust and allow to cool enough to handle.  Dress with your favorite sauce, toppings, cheese, tofu, gravy or whatever else floats your boat.  Stick it back in that oven for 15 minutes (you didn’t turn it off, did you?).  Allow pizza to cool at least 5 minutes before slicing.


After first baking (20 minutes at 350).


Dress your pizza. You never need as much sauce or cheese as you might think, so go easy!!


Once in the oven and back, this is your finished product. Cut and serve!! Try not to cut your sheet pans like I did. Old habits die hard.

Happy, Happy Holidays

I’ve mastered a few new cookies, and will be posting them after the holidays.  I hope you all enjoy your times with your families and that you eat wonderful, gluten free food. 🙂  I will also share my secret to perfect, sweet, succulent turkey breasts… soon… soon. 🙂

Later, taters!

Personal: The Devil’s Fruit and Christmas Baking

Well, it turns out that I now have one more reason to really, really despise bananas.  Not only are they difficult to spell and pronounce, they contain a horrible sickly-sweet mushy pulp that has a texture so disgusting that it is completely indescribable.  Based on statistics I made up, banana-related deaths claim over 1 million lives each year.

It turns out that I am violently allergic to them.  Yesterday, I made a trip to the Asian store (which I love) and was rooting around in the dried spice section when I found dried banana flowers.  Thinking that the flowers were likely flavored differently from the fruit and that they would make a cool addition to my tropical fruitcake cookies I was preparing to bake, I bought a small bag.  When I got them home, I stuck one in my mouth so I could figure out what they tasted like.

It was a horrible, bitter thing… so bad that I spit it out (which is the greatest insult you can give to food).  A few hours later, I noticed that the back of my tongue was sore, but wrote it off thinking that maybe I had bitten it on accident (I’m accident-prone, what can I say?).  By 10pm CST, my tongue had swollen so much it was affecting my speech.  Jim suggested I down several doses of liquid Benadryl and within about a half hour the swelling started to go down.

Oh, but it gets better.

Around 5 am CST, I was woken to a very upset stomach.  Blaming the bag of chips I had for dinner, I went into the bathroom and did my duty for America.  As I was washing my hands, I was gripped by a sudden urge to throw up my guts (fortunately it’s a small bathroom!).  I quickly turned around and started spewing Exorcist-style.  It was both frightening and strangely curious.  I had never experienced such velocity when clearing the contents of my stomach… so I took a half dose of liquid Benadryl to help with the nausea (a trick I got from a nurse that is suprisingly effective).

Now, it’s 11 am CST and I’m still feeling weird.  Stomach is a mess and so is the rest of me.  However, after googling the ingredients in the banana blossoms (banana blossoms and sulphite), I have decided that it’s most likely that I have a banana allergy.  I had no idea you could have an allergy to bananas.  I always just thought my distaste for them stemmed from their inherent evilness and their ties to the Christian Devil.  The fact that they grow in some of the most unpleasant regions of the world (weather wise)  just lends more creedence to the idea that they are Lucifer’s Own.

So, in short and long, that’s how I learned that I had developed a banana allergy.  I always wondered how people figured those things out and now I know.  Hooray, I’m so lucky!

Recipe: Gluten Free Soft Buns

Such nice buns...

Such nice buns...

Boys and girls, I have been working hard trying to figure out how to make soft buns that are pretty much perfect.  In my strive for perfectionism, I had a breakthrough last night when the combination came to me in a dream (yes, I dream about baked goods… it’s a real problem).  So, first thing this AM, I started working on this dough and here it is for you, for me, and for all of Gluten Free Kind.

4 ounces pineapple juice
1 cup water (120 degrees F)
5 tablespoons brown sugar, separated
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup potato starch
3/4 cup masa harina
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tablespoon xanthan gum
5 tablespoons butter, separated and melted
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 egg
flour, for dusting

1. Combine pineapple juice and water. Add 2 tblsp brown sugar and all of the yeast. Stir to combine. If you put the yeast in too soon, the mixture will be too acidic and it will kill them, so be careful. Be sure your yeast is proofing before moving forward.

2. Combine flours, starches and gums in the work bowl of your favorite mixer. Add salt, remaining brown sugar and 2 tblsp butter. Combine. Add egg and combine. Last, add yeast slurry and combine until dough starts to climb the paddle. Switch to your hook and knead for 8-10 minutes on medium.

3. Using approximately 5 ounce portions, portion out your dough a piece at a time onto a floured work surface. Work just enough flour into each piece to be able to work it without it sticking to you and work each into a ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet or in a baking dish and squish them until the are about 1/2 the height of the “ball.”.

4. Cover with a moist towel and allow your buns to rise for at least 90 minutes. Set your oven to 350°F.

5. Brush on remaining butter and sprinkle on any toppings you like. I like sesame seeds. Bake uncovered for about 50 minutes or until they are showing really nice color and both the tops and bottoms look done. Allow them to rest for 15 minutes to set their insides.

Bakery buns raw!!!Bakery buns raw!!!

6. Slice down the middle and have a sandwich. After all, you deserve one. 🙂 These are also nice toasted.


I think I’ve figured out why my buns have fallen so utterly flat. More on this as it develops.

Recipe: Gluten Free Cherry Chip Cookies


Cherry Chip Cookies! 🙂

For my friend on the Zaar. You know who you are. 🙂 This is based on the Tollhouse Cookie recipe.

1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup sorghum flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teasponn baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/8 cup granulated sugar
3/8 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cherry flavoring
1 tsp. almond extract
10 drops red food coloring
1 egg
1/2 cup cherry chips
1/2 cup pecans

1. Preheat your oven to 375 F.

2. Combine butter, sugars, cherry, almond and food coloring in the workbowl of a heavy duty mixer. Add egg and mix until uniform.

3. Add flours, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum. Mix on low to integrate flour (tapioca is light and will fly out of the bowl if you don’t do this gently).

4. Add cherry chips and nuts (optional), stir to combine.

5. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Let rest for about 10 minutes and then move to a cooling rack.