Long Summer

October 15, 2011


Filed under: Food,Gluten Free recipes — by dbmamaz @ 12:09 pm

Making excellent pizza has always been a source of pride for me.  Years ago, I tried several dough recipes before I settled on one from the Tassajara Recipe book, which used white, wheat, and rye flours.  After working at Pizza Hut, I learned to use an uncooked sauce made from paste.  And I was always creative with my toppings.  I won a pizza bake-off at college once, and my mom called my pizza ‘gourmet’ – which was a huge compliment from her.

When I went gluten and dairy free, after a few utter failures in bread making, and not finding the cheeses very satisfying, I did not expect to be making pizza again.  But then, the boys went gluten and dairy free, too.  They LOVED pizza!  So I had to try.  At first, I tried the pizza crust recipe from my trusty Gluten Free Baking Classics.  I was not really impressed.  It’s supposed to be a crisp crust, which you bake before topping – but I’ve never liked crisp crust, or pre-baking (they don’t do that at real pizzerias . . . ).  I was feeling pretty  hopeless about pizza again. 

Then Pizza Fusion opened in our town – a restaurant that offers gluten-free, dairy-free pizza!  Of course, I still couldn’t eat it, as I’m allergic to some of the staple ingredients in commercial gf breads. But the boys RAVED about how good the pizza was.  But, er . . . it was so expensive!  The boys shared a gfcf pizza and my husband and daughter shared a regular pizza, the only leftovers were 2 pieces of my youngest’s pizza . . and it was $50!  The boys were asking if we could go back every week . . . $50?  There HAD to be a way to make pizza as good as that.  Maybe even that _I_ could eat?! 

So i went back to the drawing board.  I remember that, as much as I hated the pizza dough recipe in the cookbook, I loved the foccacia recipe – so why not use that as the pizza dough?  I actually called up Pizza Fusion and asked what cheese they used – they used the same cheese I did, Vegan Gourmet!  They said maybe their melted better because their oven was so hot . . . so, my oven can go pretty hot!!  The first time I made my ‘new’ gfcf pizza, one boy liked it better (because of the toppings) and the other said it was as good as Pizza Fusion – success!!  Then I altered the dough so I can eat it – and the whole family is still happy to eat it!

So, this is how I make my gfcf pizza:

First off, you make the sauce, so the flavors have time to merge.  Very simple – take one 6 oz can of tomato paste mixed with enough water to make the texture you like – spreadable but not runny – 1 to 2 cans, depending on the brand.  Add generous amounts of italian seasonings – i use about 1 tsp basil, 1 tsp thyme, 1.5 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp of onion powder, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and a dash of cayenne.  use garlic powder, too, if you can.  Let it sit for at least 10 minutes, then taste and add additional herbs, and some salt, to taste.  It should taste pretty strong, as it will be spread thin, but remember, the cheese is salty.

Next, prepare your toppings.  Mine are numerous:
cooked, crumbled italian sausage
fresh spinach lightly wilted in olive oil (with garlic if you can)
sliced black olives
diced tomatoes
thinly sliced red onion
sliced sweet pepper
pineapple tidbits
sliced mushrooms
halved, sliced zucchini
whatever else you and your family like!

Cheeses:  we use a combination of vegan gourmet and Daiya mozzarella (ok, and ‘real’ mozzarella for my husband and daughter).  Sometimes I also use some vegan parmesan.

When everything else is ready, its time to start the dough.   This recipe should make two 8-10 inch pizzas.  This recipe is changed only slightly from the original, mostly just by subbing in flours I’m not allergic to.  I highly recommend you get buy the book – its only $12 on amazon.

Rustic Flat Bread, which I use as pizza crust:
 * 1.5 cups bread mix
 * 1 tsp gum (xanthan or guar)
 * 1/2 tsp salt
 * 1 TB sugar
 * 2 1/4 tsp yeast
 * 1 tsp olive oil
 * 3/4 c water, 110 degrees
Mix dry ingredients in mixer bowl.  Pour in liquids.  Mix briefly, scrape bowl, and beat at high for 2 minutes.  You may allow the dough to rise and beat it down again – this seems to make the crust rise better, but is not necessary

Dump dough on to greased pans. Using non stick spray and the back of a spoon dipped (repeatedly) in water, spread the dough very thin.  Note, if you are using a pizza pan with holes, you should line it with foil. 

Spread a thin layer of sauce on the crusts, top, and bake at 500.  PIzza is done when cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned on the bottom – or when the crust is threatening to get too dark around the edges.

Note, I have been using 4 times this recipe to feed my family of 5 for 2 meals, and its almost enough . . . we’re big eaters. 

My standard flour mix is 1 cup each:
 millet flour
 corn flour
 bean flour 
 corn starch
 potato starch
 arrowroot starch. 

More recently, instead of the bean flour, I do a combination of buckwheat cereal, hemp protein powder, quinoa flakes and rice bran.  My family prefers this flavor.

Feel free to use whatever flour mix you use for bread – we can’t do rice, tapioca or sorghum, so I get creative!


July 20, 2011

My Gluten Free Artisan Bread

Filed under: Gluten Free recipes — by dbmamaz @ 9:20 am
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I was never a big bread eater, but the bread I liked the best was sourdough, and even better, a multi-grain sourdough.  Of course, when I went gluten free, I assumed those days were over.  It got even worse when I realized I was allergic to tapioca flour, the go-to flour for flavorful and chewy gluten free baking.

Then a few weeks ago, the Gluten Free Goddess posted her Olive bread recipe.  I was curious, and I tried it.  It was . . .ok.  I ate it dunked in oil, and it was a reasonable accompaniment to my dinner salad.  My gf 15 yo son loved it, tho, and ate most of it.  Which was fine by me. 

So then I decided to take another look at a recipe I had found on the web over a year ago.  I can’t find the exact recipe, but this is the closest I’ve found.  I started with that basic recipe, using my sweet bread flour mix.  I let it rise overnight and by 10 am, it was fragrant and bubbly and just lovely!  But by the time I baked it, around 2 pm, it was flat.  It didn’t rise in the oven, either.  The flavor was wonderfully sour (too sour for my son), and the crust was nice, but it wasnt quite right.

I looked around the web some more, taking notes from this recipe and this one.  I played around with my flour mix.  And after a few tries, today I made a most wonderful bread!  The flavor is complex, the crust is hard and chewy, the bread is tender but not crumbly.   The only thing I might want to change is that the bottom crust seems slightly overcooked, but i cant be that picky.  I LOVE this bread – so I have to share!!

Some notes: 

  • Different flour mixes require different amounts of water.  I did best with a dough just too soft to hold in your hand, but stiffer than most muffin batters.  When the dough was too dry, it didn’t rise as well, and when it was too wet, the bread actually seemed soggy.
  • I found that beating the dough in a stand mixer for a minute or two seemed to help the rise. 
  • I don’t have a dutch oven, so I am using a covered casserole.  I rise the bread in a duplicate casserole lined with parchment.   I smooth the parchment out as best I can, but cut it long enough so that some is hanging over the edges.  I preheat the other dish, with the lid, and then gently lift the dough up by the paper edges to transfer to hot pan – but trim carefully before returning to the oven.
  • When I left the bread out overnight during the summer in Virginia, it rose too fast, and fell when baking.  Instead I left it in the fridge overnight, and then let it rise on the counter from about 8 am to 2:30 pm.  This seemed to give me the best rise.  I will try leaving it out overnight in the winter, though. 
  • You know the bread has risen enough when the dough looks puffy and spongy, and smells very yeasty.  (This dough was too wet, so your should look slightly drier)
  • I havent tried, but the original recipe said that the texture would be poor if you sliced it before it was completely cool. 


  • 2 cups GF Flour Mix
  • 1 1⁄4 tsp. Guar (or xanthan) gum
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. yeast
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup water, or slightly more to make soft dough or stiff batter


  • Mix all dry ingredients in a large mixer bowl.
  • Add olive oil and water to the bowl; mix well and add more water if the dough seems too stiff.   Beat a minute or two on high.
  • Line rising bowl with parchment paper, leaving some overhang. Pour/scoop in batter and smooth with the back of a spoon dipped in water.
  • Cover bowl with a light cloth or plastic wrap and let rise 12-18 hours at room temperature, until light and yeasty. Note, in summer in Virginia, I found I needed to let it rise overnight in the fridge, and then about 5 more hours on the counter.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F with a cast iron dutch oven with lid (or a Pyrex casserole with lid) in the oven.
  • After 30 minutes, take out the hot pan. Lift dough gently by the paper, put in hot pan, and trim off edges. Put the lid on the pan, and put the entire thing in the oven.
  • After 20 minutes, remove the lid and then bake 20 minutes more.
  • Cool completely before slicing.

Notes from the original recipe (i havent tried this): For a faster version by using 2 tsps of rapid rise yeast and let it rise 2 hours. For a double recipe, turn the heat down to 400 degrees, and bake it 30 minutes covered, and then continue baking uncovered until it’s a nice light brown color.

The flour mix the recipe came with was equal parts sorghum, cornstarch, potato starch, and tapioca starch/flour.  I’m allergic to tapioca AND sorghum.)  The original author said she had used several mixes with success.

the flour mix I use is: 

  • 1/3 cup millet flour
  • 1/3 cup corn flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch 
  • 1/3 c quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup combined rice bran, hemp protein powder, and uncooked buckwheat hot cereal

(edited to add:  really, I don’t do 1/3 cup of those last 3 items combined . . . i do 1 TB of each of those, and fill in the remainder of the 1/3 cup in more quinoa flakes .. . otherwise it’s slightly bitter)

April 26, 2010

GFCF tasty pie crust!

Filed under: Allergy safe recipes,Food,Gluten Free recipes — by dbmamaz @ 7:39 pm
Tags: ,

Early in my gluten-free cooking adventures, I read a website where someone said she got tired of scraping perfectly good filling off of inedible gluten-free pie crusts.   However, I had to try.  I tried a recipe, and tried another recipe.  I tried a mix which other people said was just fine.  ICK! 

Well, then I had an allergy test in which I reacted to rice . . . rice?  So for a while, I gave up on baking at all.  Until my sweet tooth got the best of me.  After a bit of work, I came  up with a pie crust recipe which I really love!   My 6 yo eats the crust first when I make savory pies for dinner.  I roll out leftover crust and cover w brown sugar and eat it like cookies! 

A few notes:  I have been using half crisco shortening, and half fleishman’s unsalted margarine, which is dairy-free.   I found that Earth Balance did not make as flaky a crust.  However, I can no longer find this margarine!  I have been using half regular and half butter-flavored crisco, and that seems to do ok, too. 

Also, I have not actually used this on a sweet pie yet.  I’m not sure why!  I THINK it would be fine with a sweet pie, as well.  If you try it, please tell me how it worked out!

Rolled Single Pie Crust (double the recipe to make a top and a bottom)

  • ¼ c corn starch
  • ¼ c arrowroot starch
  • 1/8 c soy flour
  • scant 1/8 c coconut flour
  • 3/8 cup potato starch
  • ½ tsp guar
  • ¼ scant tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp sugar (more or less depending on pie)
  • ¼ cup margarine
  • ¼ cup Crisco
  • sprinkling of lemon juice
  • 1-3 Tbsp ice water, as needed
  • corn starch for rolling
  1. In medium mixing bowl combine  flours and starches, guar gum, salt, and sugar.  
  2. With pastry blender, cut in margarine and Crisco until pieces are pea-size.  Do not blend too long, there should still be some visible bits of shortening.
  3. Sprinkle lemon juice over the mixture, and toss with a fork.  Add water, a tablespoon at a time, until most of the crumbs are sticking to larger bits. 
  4. Form in to a ball with hands, pressing firmly if needed.  If it will not hold together, sprinkle in a bit more water.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour for easier handling.  
  5. Roll out pastry between 2 pieces of wax paper, dusted w corn starch to reduce sticking. Transfer very carefully as the dough is very fragile.    
  6. For a baked crust, prick bottom crust with a fork about 5 times.  Bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes or until slightly browned.  Cool before filling.

And for a special bonus, I’m including a family favorite.  My French-Canadian husband loved his aunt’s salmon and potato pie growing up, and this is my version:

Salmon and Potato Pie


  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 small onion (I sub celery), diced
  • 1 clove garlic, optional
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 1 12-oz can RED salmon, undrained
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • liquid from salmon plus (soy) milk to make 2/3 cup
  • salt/pepper to taste (note, fish is already salted)
  • 2 unbaked pie crusts 
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Cook potatoes – I prefer in the microwave, but you may boil if preferred.
  3. In a medium saucepan, sauté onion/celery/garlic in oil until softened.  Add the milk liquid and the thyme and warm slightly.  Add the potatoes and mash well
  4. Remove salmon from can and pick out any larger bones or skin pieces.  Gently fold salmon in to the potatoes.  My son likes big chunks of salmon in his pie, but my husband prefers it more evenly mixed
  5. Fill pie crust and top with second crust.  Crimp crusts (I use a fork and cut it off that way), and cut slits or poke fork holes in the top. 
  6. Bake about 30 minutes, until nicely browned

March 3, 2010

Gluten Free Baked Corn Dogs

Filed under: Food,Gluten Free recipes,Uncategorized — by dbmamaz @ 10:22 am
Tags: ,

I decided to try to document my dinner plans for the night.  Of course, my corn dogs are not only gluten free, but free of dairy, eggs, rice, tapioca . . . who knows what else. 

And I decided to take pictures.  This could be long!

When I bake, there are always a lot of different flours.  My corn muffin recipe uses fewer than my banana muffin recipe, at least!

See, not so bad!  Guar gum, in case you are curious, is a substitute for what gluten does for breads – hold it together.  Most people use xanthan gum, but I can’t tolerate that.

Next, wet ingredients:

The soy sour cream and soy milk together make my buttermilk substitute.  The OJ is mostly for flavor.  The gooey stuff in the cup is my egg substitute – flax meal nuked with water.  Ooy gooey.

Ok, my basic allergy-free corn muffin recipe is way at the end here.  The fun part, of course, is the corn dog part!  We start with a nice-sized piece of aluminum foil, folded in half (and kinda tuck the end over)

 We then fold it down the middle.  It’s handy to have your hot dogs on the table before you go much further.  You have to fold the ends  so they close like little canoes, and make sure they are only slightly longer, and maybe 50% taller, than your dogs. Dont make it too long or too wide – your batter will fill the mold, and you don’t want TOO much corn around  your dog.

Here you can see my completed hot dog canoes, and some of my hot dogs, which were there for measuring purposes.  You also see my PAM.  Spray your corn dog molds very very well!  (remember, these things are usually fried, right!)

Next step is to coat your hot dogs lightly with corn starch.  This helps the batter stick to the dogs.  I do this with my hands, so each dog is completely coated, but not thick at all. 

This picture is supposed to show how much batter to put in your corn dog canoe, but instead it is proof positive that I need to learn how to use my camera.  I probably threw away half the pics due to flash.

So, fill your molds about 1/3 full .. . then you will lightly place your dog on the batter, and lift and rotate the dog to start coating it.  I don’t pull the batter all the way around, because that seems to leave the bottom empty.  I mostly cover the dog, set it down in the batter, and spoon enough on top (and esp at the ends) so that the dog is completely sealed in. 

I place the dogs in an oven preheated to 350.  I put the remaining batter in to muffin tins and add those to the oven, and set the timer for 20 minutes.  When the muffins are done (about 20 minutes, toothpick test or starting to brown), i remove them and turn on my convection fan to hurry up the dogs.  They take a lot longer!  If you dont have convection, you might want to try baking at a higher temp to start with, and waiting 10 minutes before putting in the muffins.  Or, if you aren’t making muffins, bake about 30 minutes!

And there they are, 3/4 a dozen muffins and 5 lumpy-looking baked gfcfef corn dogs!  Peel the foil carefully off of the dogs.  The bottoms should be nicely browned.  I tried to take a picture but . . . urg.  Flash.  Bad Cara.

Below is my quirky corn meal muffin.  You could probably just use a mix, or your own favorite recipe, if mine looks too strange!

Totally free corn meal muffins:

1 scant cup cornmeal
1 scant cup mixed potato starch, quinoa flour, corn starch
½ tsp Guar gum
¼ c white sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ c soy sour cream & ½ c soy milk
½ c water mixed w ¼ c flax meal, nuked
3 TB oil (or more)
liberal dash of orange juice or water as needed for soft batter

Spray muffin tin w non-stick spray and preheat w oven
mix dry ingredients, add liquids, stir just to mix – lumps are ok. 
Fill ¾ and bake about 20 minutes at 350

January 15, 2010

My allergy safe banana muffins

Filed under: Allergy safe recipes,Gluten Free recipes — by dbmamaz @ 3:49 pm

Although I expect this blog to be mostly about home schooling, i knew I might throw in a bit about our food allergy adventures and my cooking.  So since I saw an invite to an allergy blog carnival, i thought i could sneak this in here  . . .

These banana muffins are not only free of gluten and dairy, they are free of rice, egg, tapioca and xanthan – all things I can’t have yet.  And just look, they look like real muffins!  I actually prefer them with a darker buckwheat flour, they come out TOO sweet with the lighter flour.

Totally safe (for me) banana muffins:

  • 1 (generous) cup mashed banana
  • ½ c sugar
  • ½ c oil
  • 1 package vanilla soy yoghurt
  • ¼ c golden flax meal
  • 1 tsp guar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon (optional) 
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • flour mix:
    • ½ c corn flour
    • ½ c buckwheat flour
    • ½ c quinoa flour
    • ¼ c potato starch
    • 1/8 c corn starch
    • 1/8 c quinoa flakes

 Blend wet ingredients in large bowl.  Add dry ingredients and mix well.  Bake at 325 in non-stick sprayed muffin tin for 20 minutes or until tooth pick comes out clean (ok, that really means no batter – crumbs are ok!).

note:  i like to take old bananas and peel them and keep them in the freezer.  Take them out and thaw in the microwave, and they become extremely liquidy and easy to cook with.