Spicy Salmon Tacos With Watermelon Salsa

Have you seen hints of its arrival? On Yahoo news? Huffington Post? Twitter? VariousIMG_4352
food-related blog and web sites? That ubiquitous (albeit lovely, warm) flavor that takes over everything, every autumn? Pumpkin spice latte, bread, beer, cookies, cake, dog treats, pumpkin spice everything! Hey, I love pumpkin spice as much as the next girl, but I also love those light, fresh, cool summertime citrus-y, fruity flavors. While we’re still in grip of  August, held fast by bright sun and heat that still sing notes of high summer, we can delay the pumpkin spice extravaganza that accompanies the fall season and still enjoy light, easy, fruity, flavorful dishes such as this this salmon taco recipe, served with watermelon salsa and a light coleslaw with avocado dressing. Continue reading

Miscellany: Coffee Flour and Gluten-Free Pastry Demo

Guess what? That fruit that’s usually discarded when coffee beans are harvested is now

IMG_4413-2

credit: coffee flour.com

available as a gluten-free flour! Dan Belliveau, one the Director of Technical Services at Starbucks, came up with the idea to salvage the wasted fruit his company calls coffee flour (it doesn’t really taste like coffee, though). It’s full of potassium, iron, protein, and fiber, so it’s a healthy addition to gluten-free baked goods. In addition to providing a unique, new healthy ingredient for people interested in healthy diets, harvesting the fruit will provide jobs and new sources of income for people in some of the most poverty-stricken places in the world. The flour is not available in brick and mortar stores, though, so I just ordered some from Nuts.com. It’s also available from Marx’s Pantry for the same price per pound, but Marx’s pantry charges $12 shipping (vs $5.99 for shipping from Nuts.com). I’m not here to sell anything to anyone; I’m just super excited about the find and want to share the info!  Continue reading

Eating Lightly: Savory Gluten-Free Roasted Red Pepper Tart

Today is August 8th, which means that depending upon whether we go by the Anglo-IMG_4347Saxon tradition or the Old Farmer’s Almanac, we are either in the midst of (July 15-September 5th), or the end of (July 3- August 11), the heliacal rising of Sirius, the dog star, in the constellation Canis Major: the dog days of summer. Regardless of whose calendar we adhere to, modern weather pattern knowledge notwithstanding, we’ve entered the hottest, most uncomfortable part of the year. Down here in South Texas, the weather is downright hostile. The heat and humidity assault people as soon as they leave the refuge of their air conditioned homes, causing labored breathing, hair to frizz or fall flat, sweat to gush from every pore, and clothes to stick to skin. Just walking through the parking lot from the car into the grocery store becomes overly laborious in such harsh summer conditions. The August heat saps one’s motivation to do much of anything, including spending much time in over a hot oven cooking a large meal. Fortunately, the heat also discourages one’s appetite for large, heavy meals. A simple meal that requires minimal preparation can, however, be both flavorful and elegant. This deglutenized roasted pepper tart recipe from Chowhound is just such a recipe. Continue reading

Excellent Find: Del Destino Gluten-Free Quinoa Salad

While walking down the rice and bean aisle in HEB recently, I spotted product I had never IMG_4262noticed before: Del Destino Ready to Eat Quinoa Salad. On the off-chance that it might be gluten-free, I picked up a package and read the label: Quinoa, Hearts of Palm, Artichoke, Water, Sunflower Oil, Piquillo Pepper, Onion, Basil, Jalapeño Pepper, Sugar Cane Vinegar, Garlic, Salt, Ginger, Lactic Acid, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid. So far, so good. No gluten. Then I read the allergy warning: Produced in a facility that also uses milk, pine nuts, almonds, chestnuts, nuts, mustard, sulphates, and lysozyme. (I actually had to look up lysozyme, which is an enzyme found in tears, leukocytes, mucus, egg albumin, and certain plants. It destroys bacteria and functions as an antiseptic.) Again, looks good! No wheat! I picked up two flavors, the artichoke and hearts of palm and the piquillo peppers, to try. Continue reading

Super Simple Solution for Your Gluten-Free Flour Tortilla Fix

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Severin states in his grand work The Physiology of Taste (a delightful IMG_4254book which I recently began reading, and that I recommend to everyone whose love for food leans as much toward the philosophical as to the epicurean side) that “good living is an act of intelligence, by which we choose things which have an agreeable taste rather than those which do not.” This aphorism, I believe, probably resonates strongly with people who must eat gluten-free and are always searching for the most agreeable gluten-free version of a gluten-containing food. Individuals may disagree with each other in their judgments concerning which foods taste agreeable and which do not; however, most people do have preference for food they find pleasant in flavor and texture. Usually, one has a standard by which he judges the quality in each category of foods he prefers, and he measures all food in that class by that standard. For this reason, a person who would never refuse a slice of pizza from such places as Mello Mushroom or Via 313 will often forego having pizza if her only choice is a piece of much less quality grocery-store frozen pizza. Continue reading

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Sourdough Blueberry Muffins

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad. (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity)

IMG_3981At midnight last night, June 29, 2016, gave way to June 30th, 2016. In a continuing cycle set forth from time’s beginning, one day gave way to the next. Today, like the the day before, and the day before that, and so on, is a blessing. Each day teems with life and where life exists, hope exists, and in this hope resides blessing. Always. Remembering the blessing every morning is an important way to begin the day, even during times of negative stress (as opposed to the positive stress caused by such things as getting married, having a baby, getting a promotion). I once heard a priest refer to the burden of hope. Hope contains the idea that one’s life can be better, and the improvement may require action on one’s part. Introducing a recipe for gluten-free sourdough blueberry muffins by referencing such transcendent notions as blessings and hope may seem strange; however, these things are tangentially related. Continue reading

Baking Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread, Made Easy

Something about a perfectly bubbly sourdough starter is satisfying. Just two ingredients, IMG_3958water and flour, leads to bubbles, increase of substance, and life. Then when added to a few more ingredients, it aids in the creation of a satisfying loaf of bread. Gluten-free sourdough bread is even more satisfying in that it’s not kneaded and only requires one rising. It doesn’t have to be looked after much, either. One has only to mix the ingredients and set the dough to rise. During the four or more hours the dough is rising, one has time for work, cleaning, running errands, and even a long run. Baking a nice loaf of gluten-free bread is is actually very easy.

As easy as baking gluten-free sourdough may be, just one loaf of gluten-free bread requires much more sourdough starter than a gluten-containing sourdough bread. The need for a large amount of starter means that you need to have at least two jars of active sourdough starter in order to begin baking your bread (see my post on starting and maintaining a gluten-free sourdough starter). Once your starter is lively and rearing to go, you are reading to bake a perfectly beautiful and delicious loaf of gluten-free sourdough bread, with a texture and flavor very close to that of gluten-containing sourdough bread. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Sourdough Flat Bread

In my last blog post, I describe steps to successfully making and keeping a gluten-free IMG_3706sourdough starter. In this post, I’m offering a recipe that transforms  (or repurposes?) a failed sourdough bread dough into a triumph: a bread with such pleasing texture and amazing flavor that people will beg you to make it again and again, never suspecting that your pièce de résistance began as a culinary error. Although I hope that everyone who attempts to make a delicious boule of gluten-free sourdough bread does so successfully the very first time, the truth is that often that first loaf decides not to rise as it should. Hour after hour, you lift the cloth that covers the dough you so carefully nursed from its inception as just a mixture of gluten-free flour and water; hour after hour the dough seems to be the same size as when you last checked. Finally, after six hours or so, you realize that the dough is as tall as it’s going to grow, which is not tall at all. Continue reading

The Care and Feeding of Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter

Bread Series, #2

In the first of my posts on baking gluten-free yeast breads, I noted the importance of IMG_3014bread baking, sharing, and eating to communal participation and bonding. Perhaps the aspect of bread making that best materially exemplifies its role in binding generations, cultures, and individuals to one another is the use of a sourdough starter as leavening in a loaf of bread. The passing down of sourdough starters from parent to child provides a tangible link between generations, just as the practice of leavening bread with a sponge links bread-bakers in the 21st century with bread-bakers in c 300 BC Egypt, the first people believed to have used yeast for bread. In our family, the passing of the sourdough starter worked its way backward; my son passed his gluten-free sourdough starter up to me. I have since shared our family gluten-free starter with the wonderful people who took the gluten-free bread baking class I taught this past March. Share sourdough starter, share the love!

IMG_2807

Baking bread slowly, with the use of a starter or sponge, is making a come-back, even in the gluten-eating world. The popularity of such bread cookbooks as My Bread: The Revolutionary No Knead, No Work Method, by Jim Lahey, and Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, by Joe Hertzberg and Zoë François, attest to the rise in interest in the return to traditional methods of baking yeast breads. The recipes in these cookbooks rely on slow fermentation for leavening. Slow fermented breads are more flavorful, and their nutrients are more bioavailable (easier for the body to absorb). Continue reading

Make Mom Happy: Gluten-Free Chocolate Bread French Toast With Caramelized Honeyed Bananas

I’m writing a really short post, so that I can get this chocolate bread French toast recipe IMG_3441posted in time for Mother’s Day. In the midst of changing my WordPress.com website to WordPress.org, I’m finding out that teaching myself website technology is more difficult and time consuming than I imagined it would be (and I imagined it would be fairly difficult). As a result of my learning curve, I decided a shorter Mother’s Day post would be better than none at all. When you taste this chocolate bread French toast, you will surely agree that the recipe needs to be made available to people everywhere who love their mothers (or the mothers of their children) who eat gluten-free, and who would love to be served a very special breakfast on a day set aside to honor mothers. I have to make two important points, however, about this recipe. The first is that it is not a recipe for those who suffer from fear of cholesterol, fat, sugar, and rich foods in general. Trust me. Unless you have a true allergy to one or more of the ingredients, use full fat milk, real eggs, and true butter. You will be a joyful person if you do, which leads me to the second point; prepared with the suggested ingredients, this delectably rich, chocolatey, dripping with caramelized honey gluten-free French toast is a perfect diet food. Yes, I’m serious. Once you eat this for breakfast or brunch, you will easily pass the rest of the day without wanting to eat again! See? One meal in the morning, and you are set for the day! The best part of preparing this gluten-free French toast for your mom is that she will feel indulged and special, for sure. Continue reading