Sunday, October 26, 2008

IBS Diet and Fat Free French Bread

So, I went to see my Gastro last week, and he told me that in addition to having Celiac Disease, he thinks I also have IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I was on the IBS diet a few years ago, before being diagnosed w/ Celiac Disease. In a nutshell, the only changes I have to make are eating a lot more fiber, and a lot less fat. I also have to be aware of the order in which I am eating. I am continuing to avoid dairy, but I am going to try adding (slowly) some soy and potatoes back into my diet. The diet is all about fibers - soluble fiber is key.

My new fiber supplement:

And then the fun part. For the first few days, to calm my system down, I am supposed to detox my system by only eating plain soluble fibers. Which means, since Friday night, I have eaten bread, rice, and potatoes. It has been so boring! But I did find a great new recipe. I was craving bread with a little more "realness" to it. So I scanned my cookbooks, and came across this great recipe by Bette Hagman for Fat Free French Bread. It's awesome! I've gone through half a loaf today alone :)

Yummy French Bread:

Fat-Free French Bread
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour mix**
2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons quick rising yeast
1 teaspoon vineager or dough enhancer
2 egg whites (room temp)
1 1/2 cups warm water

Prepare pan by brushing a cookie sheet very lightly w/ some EVOO (or other oil/spray of your choice).
In the bowl of your mixer, combine the flour mix, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and yeast.
Whisk together to blend well.
Add the vineager, egg whites and water.
Beat at medium speed for 3 minutes.
Spoon the dough onto cookie sheet, keeping it in a loaf in the center of the sheet.
Wet your hands, and smooth the top and sides of the loaf.
Cover with a towel and let rise for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400.
Bake 1/2 hour, then turn the oven down to 375.
The recipe called for baking at 400 for an hour, but I was getting worried b/c it was browning so fast, so I turned it down.
Turn the oven down again to 350 and bake 15 minutes longer.
Let cool. Bread doesn't cut well, so tearing it is the best way to break apart. Can be cut (a little) more easlily when cool.
Reheat in toaster oven.
Tastes great plain (when you have no choice), but I bet dipping it in some oil and vinegar would be divine! Next I'm going to try the sourdough variation of this bread. Yum!

**Here is Bette's GF flour mix

Luna and Larry's Coconut Bliss

New Guilty Pleasure - worth the $4
Gluten/Soy/Dairy Free
Made with Coconut Milk and Agave Syrup

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Mexican Chocolate Cake Fiasco with Cinnamon "Whipped Cream" and Mexican Chocolate Bark

Let's start with the cake:
So, I'm posting this in the hopes that someone else smarter than myself can help me figure out what I did wrong. I think it was the lack of butter, but I'm not sure. I just really have bad luck with flourless cakes.
My first holiday season going GF, I was asked to bring a dessert to my in-laws for Christmas or Thanksgiving or something. Anyway, I had just gotten back from a trip to Portland where I ate the most amazing flourless chocolate truffle cake. So I was very ambitious, and thought I'd try my hand at that.
Needless to say, it was a disaster, and through my tears, I had to throw together a rather expensive batch of rice crispy treats (made with specialty gluten free rice crisp cereal).
This second attempt was disappointing, but still had a bright side to it (quite a delicious one at that!).
I got the original recipe from Carol over at Simply Gluten Free, and it looked to die for! I mean, I had to restrain myself from licking my computer screen! Here's the link:
I then had to search almost every store in Utah Valley looking for ancho chili powder. I found some whole chilies at the local Hispanic market, and was able to grind them up in my coffee grinder.
The batter for the cake was so good! I should have just eaten that :) The flavors were amazing together! I was literally pacing the kitchen as I tried to watch the cake bake! It was a very slow, nerve-wracking hour.
So, here's the cake when the timer went off:

Only the outside ring was solidified. So, back into the oven for 10 more minutes, then after another assessment, 15 additional minutes. This is the bottom of the cake:
Then, after flipping the cake so it was right side up, and cooling about 5 minutes, this is what happened:
I nearly broke down in tears. But thankfully, I had made this while the cake was baking:
Coconut "Whipped Cream" Topping with Cinnamon
And here's that silver lining I mentioned before - the delectable Mexican Chocolate Bark (original recipe here: ):

I tried, really I did. The topping melted the second it left the bowl...but it still tasted great. And the cake was soupy except for about an inch of outside ring, which was crunchy and hard as a rock.
So, anyway, I'm going to post my recipe for the bark and the topping here, but if anyone has any ideas about the cake, please let me know!!! The only variations I made to the cake recipe were that I used dairy free chocolate chips, and I used olive oil instead of butter (<--that's my guess).

Coconut Whipped Cream Topping
1 c cold coconut milk (don't use the light, I hear it doesn't work well)
I didn't really measure, but I used about 2/3-1 c of powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat coconut milk with electric whisk for about 5 minutes. But I don't know if this step is really necessary, because after 5 minutes, I didn't notice a difference in the texture/consistency of the milk. Beat in the sugar and cinnamon. I think this probably just needed another half hour in the fridge before serving. It got soupy fast. But it tasted really good. Next time, I will try it without the cinnamon. It just tasted a little weird.

Now for the redemption of this whole project:

Mexican Chocolate Bark
1/2 c shelled pistachios (next time I think I will chop these a bit)
1/3 c shelled pumpkin seeds
1 12-oz bag chocolate chips (enjoy life chips worked wonderfully!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground coffee crystals
3/4 tsp cinnamon plus a few pinches for garnish
3/4 tsp ancho chili powder plus a few pinches for garnish
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (I didn't have any of this, so I used regular ol' chili powder ground red pepper)
pinch salt

Prepare a flat baking sheet with foil.
Toast pistachios for 1 minute in a dry skillet preheated to med-high heat. Set aside. In the same skillet, toast the pumpkin seeds for 1 minute. Add to pistachios.
Melt chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted.
Add all but a handful of the nuts to the chocolate. Add vanilla, coffee, spices (except garnish pinches), and salt. Stir to combine.
Spread over foil-covered pan, and smooth until even. Sprinkle reserved nuts on top, and press in slightly. I had to press each one individually - trying to use my whole hand just resulted in a chocolate covered hand (which was quite tasty). Sprinkle the pinches of spices over the top of the chocolate. Allow to cool in refrigerator for about half an hour. Break into pieces and dig in!

*One thing - I noticed the heat from the chilies a lot more when the chocolate was still in, when I was licking the bowl. I think I might add more to the recipe next time. Or maybe if I actually had cayenne pepper, I wouldn't need to...
Most of the people at work said they couldn't taste the chili powder. I suppose that's good. But I really wanted it to be identical to the most amazing candy bar I have ever eaten!
Hm, maybe I need to find me some chipotle chilies!
But don't get me wrong! I absolutely LOVED this recipe! I am so excited to make it again. And I plan on making it for all my friends and family for Christmas gifts (with regular ol' chocolate chips of course). So, if you are one of those lucky few, start counting down the days to Christmas goodies on your doorstep! If not, make this recipe! Now!

**And while it's cooling in the fridge, read these wonderful instructions: "How to Eat Chocolate"

Wow, I wrote an awful lot. Sorry about that :P Hope it all makes sense! It's kinda late here. But I was so excited! I couldn't stop!

Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes

These were absolutely scrumptious!
So, last week was Valerie's b-day, and of course the privilege of providing the office with a refreshment was bestowed upon me (since no one else really wants to touch that with a ten-foot pole). So, the night before, I came home from work, frantic about finding an amazing recipe...and worrying because I didn't have any fave recipes coming to mind that I could recreate and share. So I was stuck starting from scratch.
Can I just say how much I love Collette! Seriously! You rock! And saved my butt! We at the office had been talking a few days prior to this event, and Valerie had mentioned how she loved pumpkin cookies.
So I did a search of the gluten free forum recipes for pumpkin, and found quite a few recipes. Except then I got to thinking about the fact that most cookies call for butter, no exceptions, and I wasn't really in the mood to be creative, and hope that butterless cookies would turn out perfect.
Enter Collette! I stumbled across her recipe for a pumpkin cake with a rum/maple glaze. Perfect, right? Except for the fact that I had no rum or maple...nor did I think the rum part would go down with the folks at work.
So I improvised a little. Omit the glaze, and add a bunch of delectable Enjoy Life chocolate chips! Definitely perfect! They all asked for seconds!
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
adapted from recipe here.

2 c gluten free flour (I used 1 c white rice, 1/2 c tapioca, and 1/2 c sorghum)
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 c sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c pumpkin pie puree (I used the kind with spices already in it)
3 eggs
2/3 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Line cupcake tins.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, xanthan gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, oil, vanilla, pumpkin, and eggs. Add dry ingredients to wet ones, mix well. Add chocolate chips.
Pour batter into cupcake tins (I filled them about 2/3 full), and bake for about 20 minutes. In my oven, this was perfect timing. Cupcakes do have a little spring in them when pushed on.
Let cool, then serve.
These totally rock when fresh from the oven as well! If you don't want to wait to enjoy them!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Gluten/Dairy/Soy Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Here is a great recipe I made last Sunday. A spin-off of my favorite weekend breakfast - pancakes! I was looking for something a little more...decadent, if you will. So I threw in some peanut butter and some allergy-free chocolate chips, and voilĂ ! The perfect lazy Sunday breakfast to be savored while lounging around watching one of my favorite movies: Marie Antionette. The ultimate in indulgence :)

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Pancakes
2 c. featherlight mix
1 tsp. xanthan gum
5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 Tbs. sugar
2 c. hazelnut milk
5 Tbs. EVOO
2 eggs
about 2/3 c. creamy peanut butter (I didn't measure)
1/2 c. chocolate chips (to add later)

Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Use an electric mixer to help blend the peanut butter. Mix dry and wet ingredients together. I use an electric mixer to combine them, because otherwise I get baking powder pockets in my pancakes. Pour batter onto a preheated griddle over medium heat. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top, and push into batter. I use my finger to push the chips in, and smooth a little batter over the top of the hole, otherwise the chips will burn. It's a lot of work, and you can totally add the chips to the batter, I just don't like mine burned.