Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Summer Squash Bread (gluten-free)

Summer squash seems to be able to grow 6 inches overnight. I went out to my garden this morning to find an abundance of good-sized yellow squash. I was holding off on picking them the other day because they were just a tad too small.

This year I somehow ended up with all yellow summer squash and no green zucchini at all. I think someone mixed up the seeds at the plant store. I didn't get my own squash seeds started in time, so I was happy to have any at all. I do have two different varieties of the yellow this year and both are doing well. One is straighneck and a very vibrant yellow. The other is a pale yellow crookneck.

I used the largest straightneck one to make this bread and used two others in a casserole. At first I thought the batter was going to be too runny and never firm up, but it actually turned out very well. It is moist and somewhat spongey--not dry or crumbly and does not fall apart when you slice it.

Next time I will add nuts and/or chocolate chips or maybe some different spices. I made this earlier this evening, let it cool, and wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap. I am hoping it will be wonderful in the morning lightly toasted with a pat of butter and cup of coffee.

2 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 cups grated summer squash
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together flour, salt, cloves, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, beat together eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar until well combined. Stir in grated summer squash. Stir in dry ingredients.
Turn into greased loaf pan (1.5 quarts) and bake in a preheated 350° oven for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove carefully and cool on a wire rack.

Pizza Sauce

The hardest part about being gluten-free for me is giving up Pizza. I have gotten excited going out to a pizza place and discovering they offer gluten-free pizza, only to be extremely disappointed in the cardboard crusted, previously frozen tasting, overpriced excuse for a pizza that was served to me. I have concluded that the only way I am ever going to get to enjoy pizza is to make it myself. Bob's Red Mill makes a great pizza crust mix. I am still working on perfecting my own crust recipe. But I think what really makes my pizza amazing is this sauce. It's very easy to make and really enhances the flavors of whatever you decide to top your pizza with. This recipe usually makes one very large pizza or two medium to large pizzas.

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp sugar (or to taste)
Salt to taste (how much depends on the salt content of your canned tomatoes and paste)

Heat olive oil in small saucepan.
Add spices and garlic.
Add tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
Add sugar.
Let simmer for 5-10 minutes until slightly thickened.

About Eggs...

I am starting to feel guilty about eating eggs. After the recent news story about the animal activist who posted a YouTube video taken in a hatchery of male chicks being pulverized, I am feeling uneasy. I have been vegan before but I sensed I needed protein, so I began eating meat, dairy and eggs again. This later made sense after my celiac diagnosis because the damage to my digestive track was so severe I was barely absorbing protein. My body was craving it. Now that I've been gluten-free for over a year, is it too soon to cut out protein again? Yes it is probably too soon. But maybe I will start cutting back on eggs and meat gradually and see what happens. Some of my best muffin recipes have no eggs or dairy, so it doesn't always have to be a sacrifice in taste. Just another challenge in the cooking and baking arena for me to tackle!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gluten-Free Coconut Cupcakes (Spiderman frosting is optional!)

I love coconut! I didn't like it so much as a kid but maybe that was because my first taste of it came in an overly sweet, corn syrup laden Almond Joy candybar. Or maybe it was one of those pink snowball things. Eeew!

Anyway, these cupcakes are pretty yummy. I frosted mine with a Spiderman theme for my little guy. He was pretty psyched. But you could eat these without frosting (goes well with a cup of joe) or how about serving them with coconut ice cream...yum!

1 cup rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place 12 paper liners in your muffin pan.
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Add milk, eggs, melted coconut oil, and vanilla, beating until you have a smooth batter.
Stir in shredded coconut.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack, then frost.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins (gluten-free)

Truthfully, muffins are not that hard to make--even gluten-free muffins. But this recipe has turned out amazingly well every time I've made it. I think oat flour makes a very good muffin. It's very healthy and filling. Gluten-free oats can be somehwhat expensive in comparison to regular oats, but they are definitely worth it! Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour is fairly healthy for a gluten-free flour since it contains a high percentage of bean flour which makes it higher in protein and fiber. Many of the pre-made breads you can buy in the grocery store are made with mostly white rice flour and tapioca flour. These flours may mimic white flour in gluten-free bread, bagels, and english muffins but offer virtually no fiber and are extremely high in carbohydrates.

I like to add semi-sweet chocolate chips to these muffins. This is optional but chocolate is supposed to be good for you so that's my excuse. Plus my little munchkin Camden is thrilled to have chocolate chips in his breakfast and I am pretty sure that even with a few chocolate chips these muffins are far healthier than the sugary cereals and pop tarts I grew up on!

Please let me know how they turn out for you. So far they have been pretty foolproof for me. Remember I am at 5300 feet altitude so cooking times might be slightly different.

Oatmeal Applesauce Muffins (gluten-free, egg-free(optional), dairy-free, nut-free)

(makes 12 large or 18 small)

1.5 cups old fashioned gluten-free oats (ground to a flour in food processor or blender)
1.25 cups Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar (or brown sugar)
1 egg OR egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg
1 cup cinnamon apple sauce
1/2 cup rice milk
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)


mix wet ingredients in small bowl
mix dry ingredients in large bowl
add the wet ingredients to the dry
stir in chocolate chips
line muffin tin with paper muffin cups
bake at 350 degrees approx 20-25 minutes or longer if making large muffins

Banana Variation:
Just use 1 cup mashed banana in place of the applesauce