Tuesday, November 05, 2013

In bread we trust: Maninis gluten-free mix

Maninis bread using Multiuso mix
You know how, in the movies, when the hero is about to die their life flashes before their eyes in a beautifully-shot montage of tender moments? Well, when I was first diagnosed with my gluten allergy, the montage that flashed through my mind was of all the bread I was going to be missing. Dramatic, I know, but hey--it happened. Bread is one of my fave things ever, and I never tire of it. It is always definitely be on the plate when I play the "last meal" game. Rustic breads, unleavened breads, quickbreads, dinner rolls, croissants, brie and butter sandwiches on rustic baguettes--you get the idea, I love 'em all. So ever since I was diagnosed in 2003, I've been on the hunt for a decent gluten-free bread that didn't taste heavy and fibrous like a doorstop, or the Washington Post.  Most ranged from disappointing to downright criminal so basically I stopped eating anything resembling bread for years.

Although the gluten-free revolution is in now officially "a thing", to quote Rachel Maddow, I still manage to miss out on my bread-love because most of the good commercial loaves out out there (I hear Udi's is great) are based on rice. To which I am also allergic. Which is also why I'm the Queen, of course. I've dipped into the bread recipes of several respected #gf cookbooks, but have not been thrilled. And I've used Bob's Red Mill gluten-free bread mix, based on garbanzo bean flour, which I like for texture, but don't love for the slight beany aftertaste. It was my go-to, until now.

Last summer, I moved to Seattle and discovered Maninis Gluten Free, which bases their gluten-free breads, muffins, cookies, etc. on ancient grains like millet, teff, amaranth and sorghum. Also tapioca flour. Their pre-made baked goods and pastas caused me to gain an *undisclosed* number of pounds that summer, since I finally had bread that both tasted good and had a fantastic texture! (In my defense, they made these insanely good chocolate, chocolate chip and fresh raspberry muffins. The stuff of legends.) Sadly, they no longer sell their pre-made breads at the farmers market in my 'hood, so I'm left with whatever Maninis products I can get at Whole Foods: dinner rolls, fresh pastas and dry mixes. So I tried out the Multiuso (basic baking) mix yesterday using a recipe from their website.

Multiuse flour. They also have bread mixes.
It didn't disappoint! My biggest failure was to not proof test the yeast before I put it into the batter, as a result it took forever to make it rise. Also, I forgot to calculate the temperature difference since it's colder here than my kitchen in California. And, full disclosure, I parked the batter on top of the stove as a warm place to rise, completely forgetting that I have an electric stove, not a gas one. D'oh.

Lovely texture, terrific taste, with no nasty "it's not real bread" aftertaste. I froze half of the loaf for later. Be sure, I will be having some fantastic toast along with my newfound love of vegan butter based on coconut oil that I now make in quantities. I am SO happy, and feel so much more NORMAL knowing and trusting that I have delicious bread (and other baked goods to come) back in my life! You can also order their mixes online. In bread we trust!

*Bonus for those concerned with cross-contamination, the package states that they work from a dedicated facility free of gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and soy.

Here's the recipe from their site:

Bread Recipe for Gluten-Free, Rice-Free Multiuso Multi-Purpose Mix

 
 
 
 
 
 
34 Votes

Multiuso Multi-Purpose Flour Mix can also make a delicious rice-free gluten-free bread loaf! For your first loaf, please also refer to our Baking Tips to make a perfect loaf the first time!
Ingredients:
7/8 cup warm water
2 tsp active dry yeast
3 Tbsp oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 large egg + 1 egg white
2 cups (278 grams) Multiuso™ Multi-Purpose Flour Mix
Instructions:
Stir yeast into the 7/8 cup warm
water. Let stand until creamy (about
10 minutes). Add oil, vinegar, and
eggs.
Place the 2 cups Multiuso™ in a
mixing bowl. Using a paddle
attachment on the stir setting, slowly
add the wet ingredients. Increase
speed to low and mix for 3 minutes.
Spray an 8-1/2” x 4-1/2” loaf pan
with nonstick cooking spray. Place the
dough into the pan. Using a wet
rubber spatula, gently form the dough
into loaf shape.
Cover pan with a dish towel and let
the dough rise in a draft-free,
preferably warm area. It’ll take about
60 minutes but don’t rush
it—humidity, altitude, and room
temperature make a difference. The
dough will fill the pan and rise above
the top. Preheat oven to 375°F.
Place the pan on the middle oven
rack and bake for 45 minutes.
Take bread from oven, remove bread
from pan and place on a cooling rack.
Cover with a towel and cool before
slicing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Still cooking!

Ugh, I'm behind behind behind in posting and in life. I've been cooking and experimenting behind the scenes for the past few months, but not posting about it! You can smack me, virtually. Meanwhile here are some photos of what's coming up.

BTW, I am TOTALLY in love with the GORGEOUS glutenfree cookbook Cannelle et Vanille by Aran Goyoaga. The slightly flattish quinoa scones below are from her cookbook. I'm loving just reading through all the recipes, and dream of having more time to cook and photograph half as well as Aran does. *sigh*


Quinoa and blueberry scones

Black eyed pea soup in a slow cooker

No tomato mustard-based BBQ sauce!
Cassoulet from the slow cooker

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Top 10 best gluten-free Girl Scout cookie recipes

I posted this on my Facebook page yesterday, but just in case you missed it:



Top 10 best gluten-free Girl Scout cookie recipes, collected by Gluten Free Easily. You're welcome. http://bit.ly/YZM9aV

No need to feel left out during this time of year-- pure cookie gluttony!

The photo is the gluten free Samoa from Real Sustenance, but the paleo Thin Mints look great! Enjoy.

The FAQ

Monday, January 07, 2013

Love is...gluten-free, dairy free chocolate from Amore

Happy New Year everyone! The holidays for me were a little crazier than usual--my family came to visit and stay with me for Christmas in my new home in Seattle for the first time, and let's just say it took quite a bit of time, energy and more than a few trips to IKEA to make it guest-worthy in time.  Luckily, we agreed NOT to stay in and do a big meal for Christmas (so it turned ok in the end that the dining room was the least-finished room in the house). Whew!

One evening after Christmas, my mom and I were taking a nice walk after dinner, and we ran across two chocolate shops on Main Street in Bellevue (which is a neighborhood east of Seattle proper).  One was Fran's--which is local to Seattle and now famous nationwide, especially for their seasalt caramels. However, personally I feel that their product quality is not what is used to be (perhaps due to their global expansion), so was lukewarm about going in. Also, I prefer to support local retailers whenever possible, so was thrilled to pieces to find Amore Chocolates right across the street from Fran's! It is the TEENIEST shop I've ever been in in the US (there were tiny ones in Europe like this), but here was the kicker--they had a sign on the door that said "Vegan truffles--dairy free" and "Gluten-free".  How could I resist?  I practically dragged my mom into the store behind me.



Once inside, I overheard one of the employees ask, then repeated the question, to someone as to whether she had touched some products because he was working with peanuts and he didn't want cross-contamination.  Bingo--I was with my kind of people! I got even more excited, if that's possible.  We started chatting, and it turns out that that young man who was concerned about cross-contamination also had food allergies himself. Of course, we began sharing our food allergy lists, and once again, this Food Allergy Queen reigned supreme.  (Insert crowd cheers here.) He then goodnaturedly assigned himself the title of Food Allergy Court Jester. So cute!

On to the chocolates! So, it turns out that ALL the dark chocolates in the store are dairy-free and made with coconut milk instead. No cream in the chocolate, or the ganache (usually made with chocolate and cream) fillings. No butter either. Anything with a creamy texture was made with coconut milk! (See picture with bite out of it to see the texture--please ignore the bite mark.) And knowing that dipping chocolates by hand is difficult and a tempermental process in the first place, and also considering the extra challenge of the natural humidity in the Pacific Northwest, I was especially impressed by the hand-dipped chocolate texture and the intense European-style flavors of Amore Chocolates.  The owner, Brenda, was on the premises so I was able to ask her directly about how she assembled her products and the ingredients of everything.  She was tickled to help me work my way through the choices.

My favorites were the truffles, which had intense and complex flavors: Seriously Dark, Espresso and Raspberry. I also loved the Haystacks (coconut) and her new one, Potato Chip Haystacks, made with Ruffles! And the marzipan (made with almonds) ones were lovely and chewy, with just the right balance of sweetness.


A followup email confirmed that Amore uses chocolate from Guittard which is gluten-, dairy-free and peanut-free. However, they share equipment that may use dairy or almonds. They use soy lectithin, so those of you with soy allergies unfortunately need to skip these.  Also, when I asked, Brenda was not able to confirm that her sugar was vegan, and I'm guessing neither can Guittard. So I think we're safe to say they're vegetarian, but may not be 100% vegan for those who avoid all animal products.

Best of all, Amore Chocolates can be shipped across the U.S.! Since it's still winter, there's little chance that your chocolates will melt on route, but call and check if you live in a warm state and are concerned.  These are hand-dipped, and handmade, so they are labor intensive and a bit pricey. Expect to pay about what you would for Godiva chocolates...I think I purchased 12 pieces and they were $28. A special occasion treat. Try them, and let me know what you think. Be sure to tell Brenda that the Food Allergy Queen sent you, she'll love supporting our community. And you get amazing chocolates. What's not to love?

http://www.amorechocolatesonmain.com/vegan/




Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two Recipes: Lentil soup; Corned Beef

Okay, here they are!  As you may know, I'm experimenting with my slow cooker.  I'm tapping into the Slow Cooker Revolution by America's Test Kitchen. The lentil soup recipe was not available online with a subscription, but a version was posted by Emily George on Happy Hollow Farm and I've tweaked it.  As usual, I've noted my changes in parentheses to offer #foodallergy substitution options. Enjoy during the cold months.




Recipe #1!

Ultimate lentil soup (with Swiss chard) from Slow Cooker Revolution

From Cook’s Illustrated: The Best Make-Ahead Recipe.
Why this recipe works:
After some preliminary testing for our slow-cooker lentil and Swiss chard stew recipe, we decided that large brown and green lentils did the best job of retaining their texture, shape, and flavor through the all-day simmer. As the lentil and Swiss chard stew recipe progressed, we realized it needed more flavorful components to boost the lentils and chard, which, admittedly, tasted pretty thin. After testing a variety of additional ingredients, we most liked the earthiness of mushrooms—in particular, meaty portobello mushrooms pumped up with dried porcini.

PREP-AHEAD TIPS: You can store the following ingredients together, with the exception of the chard leaves:
1. Cook the onion-chard stem mixture as described in step 1, then transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate; prep the chard leaves and refrigerate.
2. Prep the carrots and refrigerate.
3. Prep the portobellos and refrigerate.
4. Pick over and rinse the lentils and refrigerate.

Serves 6 to 8
Be sure to choose large green or brown lentils and avoid red lentils or lentils du Puy, both of which will overcook. Carefully sort through the lentils to remove small stones and pebbles and then rinse.
Ingredients

•    2 medium onions , minced
•    4 medium garlic cloves , minced (I used shallots)
•    2 TBS Extra-virgin olive oil (for serving, optional)
•    1TBS tomato paste (omitted this)
•    1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked, rinsed and minced
•    1 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves , or 1 teaspoon dried
•    Salt
•    4 cups vegetable broth (I used half water and half white wine since most premade broth includes carrots)
•    4 cups low sodium chicken broth
•    4 oz. bacon (about 4 slices)
•    1 pound carrots , cut into 1-inch chunks  (omitted the carrots)
•    12 ounces portobello mushroom caps , gills removed, cut into 1/2-inch chunks (I used criminis, which are mini portobellos to go even more low-maintenance)
•    7 ounces brown or green lentils (1 cup), rinsed and picked over
•    2 bay leaves
•    8 oz. Swiss chard , stems and leaves separated (see illustration below); stems cut into 1/4-inch pieces and leaves chopped coarse

Instructions
1.    Microwave onions, garlic, oil, tomato paste, dried mushrooms and thyme in a bowl, stirring occassionally until onions are soft, about 5 minutes.  (Or you can do this on the stove).
2.    Stir both broths, bacon, carrots, fresh mushrooms, lentils and bay leaves into slow cooker.  Cover and cook on low until the soup is thickened and the lentils are tender, 9 to 11 hours. (Alternatively, cover and cook on high for 5 to 7 hours.)
3.    Remove and discard the bay leaves. Stir in the chard leaves, cover, and continue to cook on high until the leaves are wilted and tender, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add more olive oil to taste and serve.
Technique: Preparing Chard
Hold each leaf at the base of the stem over a bowl filled with water and use a sharp knife to slash the leafy portion from either side of the thick stem or hold the leaves, stacked, on a cutting board and run the knife along the sides of the stem.
Technique: Removing the Gills from Portobello Mushrooms
It is necessary to remove the black gills from the portobello mushrooms because they made the stew muddy in appearance. Using a soup spoon, scrape and discard the dark-colored gills from the underside of each mushroom.

*******
Recipe #2!  Seriously, this could not be easier!

Corned Beef and Cabbage/New England Boiled Dinner from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

1 corned beef, 3-5 lbs
1 bay leaf
1 head of garlic (I subbed with shallots)
3 dried cloves
10 peppercorns
5 allspice berries or 1-2 pinches of ground allspice
1 onion
small head of cabbage, quartered
4-6 small red potatoes
small bunch of baby turnips or 2-3 turnips, quartered
(a reader also suggested adding corn on the cob and green beans, yum!)

1. Put the corned beef in a large, heavy pot and cover with water.  (If the beef is not salted, add some salt here.)
2. Add all the spices, and the onion. Bring to a boil, skimming foam off the surface.
3. Turn to a simmer and cover (or put in a slow cooker and cover, cook on low). After 2 hours (for a small piece or 3 hours for a larger one), start testing with a thin knife if it's easy to pierce through the meat. This should be pretty loose, not like a steak!
4. If the pot is big enough, throw in the remaining vegetables in the last 30 minutes (turn to high if using the slow cooker).  If not, take out the corned beef, then boil the veggies separately.
5. Slice corned beef across the grain, serve with some veggies and broth.  Correct seasonings with salt and pepper to taste.




Monday, September 03, 2012

New town, new life, new love...Maninis!

My goodness, I just realized how long it's been since I've posted. I post frequently on Facebook for my quick thoughts, ideas, links and conversations, and save the longer blog format for recipes and stories--but it's been a while!  Would you believe in the past few months that I've plunged headfirst into a heavy-duty new day job, moved to a new state, bought a condo and traveled twice out of that state on business?  Whew. No wonder I'm tired :)  BUT, I love love love it, it was all worth it....I've left LA for Seattle and have not looked back.  One of the reasons I was so comfortable with moving to the Seattle area (besides the niceness of the people) is that is it a HUGE foodie city.  (So is Portland, for that matter, Pacific Northwesterners are passionate about food, yay.)

So I was not THAT surprised to discover my new love here in Seattle--Maninis gluten free products.  Hands-down, they have delivered the best-tasting, best-textured gluten-free breads, muffins, pastas, and brownies that I've ever had!  They are not rice-based, but are based on ancient grains such as teff, amaranth and sorghum. They also use tapioca and cornstarch, with all non-GMO ingredients.  The texture for the baked goods is just right--crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside.  I've been getting their amazing muffins every week at my local farmers market (fresh peach or the chocolate chip raspberry are my faves). Their fresh pastas have also been outstanding (with flavors such as green onion/basil, and black truffle, needing only a little bit of margarine or olive oil to complement the flavors.  Sadly, they only sell their fresh products in the Pacific Northwest at Whole Foods and at local farmers markets so far, however, they do sell their mixes online for you to make the products at home, and they have recipes on their site.

I'm sharing a few pictures here to show you just how beautifully they turn out--great texture, a fine crumb, and no aftertaste that you get with some of the garbanzo bean mixes. Planning to buy some mixes to try them myself. It's hard to want to bake though when I have a stash of their fantastic muffins in my freezer, ready to go.  It's ironic that my personal muffin top is getting muffin-ier because of them, but after years of baked goods deprivation, it's heaven. I love Maninis!





Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Recipe: How to make fruit leather from Simply Recipes

fruit-leather-2.jpg A reader was wondering how to make fruit leather for her child who was allergic to the citrus in the commercial products. I came across a recipe this morning, so here is the link to the original post.  To replace the citrus, use either a light vinegar (like champagne, or white balsamic), verjus (sour grape juice), or perhaps a little powdered ascorbic acid (Vitamin C, which you can find at Whole Foods and other health food stores).  Perhaps tamarind -- which you can find at Latino or Indian stores.

The best tip seems to be to have a neighbor with a full-to-bursting fruit tree of some sort for a constant supply.  :)

http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/how_to_make_fruit_leather/


How to Make Fruit Leather

INGREDIENTS

  • Fresh fruit (apricots, peaches, plums, berries, apples, pears, grapes)
  • Water
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar (if needed)
  • Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)

METHOD

1 Rinse the fruit. If you working with stone fruit, take out the pits, chop the fruit. If working with apples or pears, peel and core them, then chop. If working with grapes, de-stem them.
Taste the fruit before proceeding. Note how sweet the fruit is. If very sweet (ripe Concord grapes for example) you will not need to add any sugar. If still a little tart, you may need to add some sugar in the next step.
2 Place fruit in a large saucepan. Add a half cup of water for every 4 cups of chopped fruit. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the fruit is cooked through. Uncover and stir. Use a potato masher to mash up the fruit in the pan. Taste the fruit and determine what and how much sugar, lemon juice, or spices to add. Add sugar in small amounts (1 Tbsp at a time if working with 4 cups of fruit), to desired level of sweetness. Add lemon juice one teaspoon at a time to help brighten the flavor of the fruit. Add a pinch or two of cinnamon, nutmeg, or other spices to augment the flavor.
Continue to simmer and stir until any added sugar is completely dissolved and the fruit purée has thickened, another 5 or 10 minutes (or more).
Note if you are working with grapes - strain the juice out of the mashed grapes to make grape juice. Force what is left behind, after straining, through a food mill, to make the purée for the next step.
3 Put the purée through a food mill or chinoise. Alternatively purée it thoroughly in a blender or food processor. Taste again and adjust sugar/lemon/spices if necessary. The purée should be very smooth.
fruit-leather-3.jpg
4 Line a rimmed baking sheet with sturdy plastic wrap (the kind that is microwave safe). Pour out the purée into the lined baking sheet to about an 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness.
fruit-leather-4.jpg
5 Place the baking sheet in the oven, try to keep any plastic wrap from touch the sides of the oven or the oven racks. Also try to make sure that the plastic wrap hasn't folded back over on top of the purée. If this happens, the purée won't dry out. Heat the oven to a low 140°F. If you have a convection setting, use it, it will speed up the process and help dry out the purée. Let dry in the oven like this for as long as it takes for the purée to dry out and form fruit leather. We usually keep it in the oven overnight, so about 8-12 hours. The fruit leather is ready when it is no longer sticky, but has a smooth surface.
Alternatives to the oven. If you have a food dehydrator, this would be a great use of it. My mother suggested putting the tray in the weber grill, and leaving covered, in the sun all day. Sounds like a good trick, but I haven't tried it yet. My parents remember the traditional way of making fruit leather was just to tent the tray with some cheesecloth and leave it outside in the sun on a hot day.

6 When the fruit leather is ready, you can easily peel it up from the plastic wrap. To store it, roll it in its plastic wrap, put it in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
4 cups of fruit yield about one baking sheet of fruit leather.Advertisement