Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Bit of a Whim

Life changes when you no longer have children to look after. On a bit of a whim, my husband and I decided to take an overnight trip to McCall on our motorcycle. We stopped at the bottom of White Bird Pass where the wilderness must still look similar to the days when the Nez Perce Indians fished for salmon along the rugged shoreline. The water remains swift and is a favorite for white water rafting. Though I've never done it, it is on my bucket list.

On our return trip the following day we ran into rain. We put on our rain gear (mine bright yellow) and I joked with my husband that I looked like a Chiquita banana riding on the back! At least on a very dreary day we were noticed on the road.

We stopped along the way to pick up what must have been the last of the large raspberries. I love the fresh produce this time of year, but it comes and goes much too quickly. Today's recipe is an all-time favorite; GF Blondies with a lemon-raspberry topping. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Blondies with 
Lemon-Raspberry Topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/8 tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
1 1/4 cup GF favorite baking mix
3/4 cup white chocolate chips


4 Tbsp. butter softened
2 oz. cream cheese or Neufchatel (for 1/3 less fat)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. lemon flavored extract
1 pint raspberries

In a medium size bowl add butter, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, and GF baking mix. 
Beat for five minutes with an electric mixer.

Add white chocolate chips and spread into a greased 6x9" or 8x8" baking dish.

Place in 350 degree oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

Completely cool before adding lemon-raspberry topping.

Topping: In a small bowl, combine butter, 
cream cheese, powdered sugar & lemon flavoring.

Whip until well blended.

Spread over baked blondie and place raspberries on top.

Enjoy one of my favorite desserts! My husband has a hard time
staying away from these, even though they're gluten free!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Latte & GF Biscotti

There's nothing quite like the aroma of a good coffee house to lure me in. I love the smell of the beans and the sound of the espresso machine steaming up a large cap of foam. Not all coffee houses are the same; I've had good and bad. When you've had a bad cup it's not even worth drinking. If the pull is too long, the espresso will burn, leaving a very bitter aftertaste. If the milk is foamed too long, it will scald, producing another drink for the drain.

I decided to try my hand at making biscotti today. It turned out quite delicious. The secret to making biscotti is in the double baking. The word biscotti literally means double baked. The first entry in the oven bakes for approximately 25 minutes, then it cools for 10 minutes before it returns for the final baking, which produces a very crunchy bar for dipping into your latte or whatever style of coffee you prefer. This recipe I created is very easy; just like making a batch of cookies.

Orange-Cranberry Almond Biscotti Dipped in White Chocolate

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. almond or vanilla extract
2 cups of my favorite gluten free baking mix (recipe in GF flour blends) or you may use other GF mix
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cups white chocolate chips + 1 extra cup for melting & dipping
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Orange peel from 1 large organic orange

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl cream together butter, sugar, eggs, milk, and extract. 

Add GF flour mix, baking powder, salt and gently blend.

 Add slivered almonds, 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and the orange peel. Blend until just combined. 

Spray an 8x12" glass baking dish and pour mixture into it, spreading evenly. 

Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let stand for ten minutes before slicing.

Slice 1 to 1 1/2" rows lengthwise and cut evenly three ways forming 18 bars.

Place parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and place each bar onto its side. Return to oven and bake on one side for five minutes, flip to other side of bar and cook five minutes longer.

In a double boiler pan, place the remaining 1 cup of white chocolate in the upper pan and melt.

Dip the bottom of each piece of biscotti into the white chocolate and place back on the parchment paper for cooling. Allow white chocolate to completely harden before serving. Store in an air-tight container.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Irony of a Gluten Free Gal

I find it ironic that I am gluten intolerant and am surrounded by wheat fields. This is a picture taken from my deck two days ago.

I love watching the combines maneuver the curves of the ripened fields but often wonder if the chaff in the air has any affect on my health. I have lived in the Palouse region for nearly 30 years and try my best to keep my windows closed tight during this season of harvest. My favorite time on the Palouse is shortly after the grain has emerged from the ground. A beautiful blanket of velvet green rolls softly over the hills. The early morning light casts gentle shadows creating an ocean of green rolling waves.

I tried creating a new recipe today using teff flour. It flopped. Not because of the teff,  but simply because my proportions were incorrect.  Baking gluten free is not for the faint hearted. Understanding some recipes will fail, having a sure-fire determination to not give up, and the willingness to venture into uncharted territory will eventually produce a good recipe. I will post a new bread recipe using teff flour, but it won't be today as I had hoped. Udi's makes a delicious gluten free bread using teff. I found it in my local co-op. I understand some Safeway stores carry it as well and Amazon carries a few of their products. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Eating Out in Gluten Free Style

Tonight my husband took me out to dinner. As we sat perusing the menu, I looked at my options dwindling before my eyes. No to the pastas, no to the chicken over a bead of bread pudding, and the list went on. When the waitress came, I mentioned I had a gluten allergy and could she please inform me of what may be suitable to eat. She quickly mentioned a few dishes, but then added, "Our chef can fix you any of our pasta dishes with gluten free noodles." It was music to my ears! I enjoyed a wonderful gluten free Pasta Carbonara. If you are gluten free, stop in The Black Cypress for great atmosphere and wonderful food.

A few months back we were in Las Vegas for a convention and decided to have dinner at an Italian restaurant. Any of you who have been gluten free very long know that an Italian restaurant is about the worst type to try and find anything gluten free on the menu, but my husband loves Italian, and has had to pass by one too many a restaurant on my behalf. Once again I looked over the menu a little downcast, when my hubby suddenly pointed to the middle of the menu. In quotes it read: "All pasta dishes can be prepared with gluten free noodles." My eyes brightened and I was a much happier wife to have at the dinner table. When my dish arrived, I took a bite. It was so delicious, I did not believe it was gluten free. I asked my husband to try it. He wasn't even sure it was gluten free! The waiter must have overheard my concern because the head chef was at our table in no time. He informed me that they take all food allergies very serious. The table surface and all utensils are cleaned and sanitized before any preparation begins. He told me the type of gluten free pasta noodles used and assured me that indeed my dish was 100% gluten free. I was in gluten free heaven! If you ever visit Las Vegas, stop in at Maggiano's Little Italy for a fabulous gluten free dinner. Check out their website. They have a few other locations around the country.

My first taste of a gluten free blueberry muffin was in the hospital when I gave birth to our youngest son nineteen years ago. I remember how delicious it tasted. This recipe uses both raspberries and blueberries and is quite yummy warmed up in the morning with a dab of butter. Enjoy!

Picking raspberries in my garden

Berry Berry Good Muffins GF

1 cup sorghum flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/3 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs
3/4 cup white cane sugar
1 cup Greek vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup milk, almond milk, or soy milk
6 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 cup fresh raspberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl add first five dry ingredients.

In a medium bowl add sugar, eggs, yogurt, milk, butter & vanilla.
Beat by hand or with a mixer for 3 minutes.


Pour mixture into flour bowl and mix to incorporate.


Batter should appear like heavy cake batter.


Add blueberries & raspberries.


Gently fold in.


Pour into greased muffin tins.


Bake in a 400 degree oven 17-20 minutes. 



Saturday, August 7, 2010

Morning at the Market

Our farmer's market must rank as one of the best in our region. I had my husband drag the camera along this morning so I could share it with you. Everything at the market is personally grown or crafted as I've mentioned in past blogs. But it is more than just the food and crafts that keeps me going back for more. 

Living in a relatively small town, you run into people you know on every corner, so a trip to the market is never quick. It's a time to catch up with old friends, make new acquaintances, enjoy the eclectic group of people from our community, and pick up a few fruits and veggies along the way.

I am always drawn to the flowers first. There are several vendors who pick fresh bouquets from their gardens. I have to peruse every stand before choosing.

Our next stop along the way is the Boothman's stand. 
Roger and Kristine are dear friends that go back to our 
college days. They travel 3 1/2 hours every weekend to 
bring their wares to the market. I've been told that Kristine
is a fabulous bread maker, but I have to take my husband's 
word on that, because she doesn't bake gluten free.

They also bring over delicious fruits and vegetables. 
Tonight we'll enjoy freshly cut sweet corn.

Another stop along the way we find
fresh carrots, potatoes, and garlic.

Music fills the air every Saturday morning with a different band. 
This morning we enjoyed the Hog Heaven Big Band.

At the end of our day I chose my prize bouquet!

And now I'll enjoy them for the week.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Can't Make Up My Mind

Ever have one of those days when you just can't make up your mind? Today was one of those. Maybe my fickleness is due to the fact it is Friday and the majority of my usable cognitive brain cells have already been expended, or perhaps I can blame it on menopause.

I changed my blog layout five times today! I'm still not certain this is what I will stay with. So if you have visited a few times and now the page looks different...again, more than likely it's still my blog.

My husband gets mildly frustrated with me when we go to a fast food restaurant where the menu seldom changes and it takes me fifteen minutes to decide what to eat. First off, a gluten allergy limits the menu drastically, which is precisely his point. He says, "The menu hasn't changed and there are only about three things you can eat, so why is it taking so long?" But then the decision focuses on whether or not I feel like a salad (again) or a cheeseburger without the bun. At any rate, he graciously waits while I make up my mind.

Tonight we ate at a restaurant where I enjoyed a nice salmon with creamy mushroom risotto. It didn't take me long to choose and I enjoyed every bite. We also ran into some dear friends; one of the benefits of living in a small town.

I opened up the freezer last night and found some frozen black bananas. I decided to make some mini loaves of banana bread. Here's a tip for you that I found through many years of gluten free baking. I bake with mini loaves, and my quick breads bake up well, with no doughiness in the center. Enjoy!

Gluten Free Banana-Banana Bread

1 cup Pamala's Gluten Free Baking Mix
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg, beaten
3  Bananas-overly ripe mashed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease 2 small mini loaf pans.

In a medium size bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. 

In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. 

Stir in egg and mashed bananas until well blended.

Stir banana mixture into flour mixture until just blended. 

Add 1/2 cup chopped nuts.

Pour batter into prepared loaf pans.

Bake for 30 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Let bread cool in pan for ten minutes , then turn out onto a wire rack.

Place a dab of butter on each slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oriental Chicken Pasta Salad

This is a delicious cold salad to enjoy on a warm summer evening. Enjoy!

Oriental Chicken Pasta Salad

1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 16 oz package of gluten free penne pasta
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup gluten free soy sauce
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1 tsp. sesame oil
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast meat
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 cup chopped green onions


Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and cook, 
stirring frequently until lightly toasted. Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. 
Add pasta and cook per directions on package. 

Drain pasta and rinse under cold water. 
Place in a large bowl.

In a bowl, add olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, 
sesame oil, and brown sugar.

Add the grated ginger and black pepper. 
Whisk until well blended.

Add chicken, cilantro, and green onions. 

Pour over pasta and stir until evenly coated. 

Add toasted sesame seeds and gently stir. 
Serve cold. Enjoy!