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gluten-free flours

The wild and wacky world of gluten-free flours

If you’re a newly diagnosed celiac, the world can be a dark and scary place. Walk into any mainstream restaurant and the list of can’t-haves is flat-out depressing. Supermarkets that were once joyful smorgasbords of whatever your leetle heart desired suddenly have whole aisles knocked out from your weekly romp. Even your own pantry lets out a dry cackle when you open the door in hopes of a little sustenance. What in the world do celiacs eat?

We eat a lot, actually. Eyebrow-raising, envy-inspiring, attention-grabbing goodies, in fact. Soon enough, you won’t even notice you’re “deprived.” People will apologize as they bite into a pillowing billow of glutenous bagel and you’ll just smile, knowing that when you get home you will make a feast fit for kings.

But hold on a sec – you just got diagnosed and you are confused about cooking without all-purpose flour. Understandable. The gluten-free flour world is vast and largely uncharted in American kitchens. But fear not. The learning curve is steep, yes. But at some point you will emerge at the top of Mount Everest with gluten-free bread in one hand, gluten-free muffins in another, gluten-free cookies and cakes in the crooks of your arms, and a gluten-free chocolate chip bundt cake balanced like a wreath atop your head. And you’ll feel like a million bucks. True story.

Living Without, a magazine dedicated to those with food allergies, has a fantastic article on the different gluten-free flours, their properties and uses. If intimidating at first, bookmark it and come back to it every couple of months. See if anything new piques your interest. Soon you’ll be baking your way to Breadville. And Muffintowne. And Cakeykins. Buttah!

Rough month for the gfveghead! Not so many posts. Truth be told, there hasn’t been much cooking going on of late. Just scrounging for scraps in the back of the fridge. And living off homemade olives, of course.

First night back in the kitchen and I’m confronted with lots of root veggies. I could do the roasted root veggie thang but I am kind of in the mood for something different… exotique… je ne sais… tagine. Yes! That’s it. Veggie tagine. Woohoo.

Root Veggie Tagine with Lemon & Artichokes

  • 3 large potatoes
  • 2 parsnips
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 large yellow beet
  • 1 onion
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup artichoke hearts
  • 1 lemon
  • 4 cups veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • salt & pepper to taste

Deeee-rec-shons: Cube up the first five ingredients into 1 1/2″ squares. (By the way, feel free to use whichever root veggies you have on hand – pick yer potato (red, yukon, purple, Idaho, youdahoe, you name it, whatevs), carrots, turnips, parsnips, beets, yadda blahdda.) In a big ol’ dutch oven, pour two tablespoons of olive oil and heat on medium high. Throw in the beggietables and Stir McStir. Coarsely chop ze gaaaahlic and throw into the pot. Stir McStir. When the outside 1/8th of the veggies begins to turn translucent, add the veg broth and dry spices (cumin, coriander, turmeric, pepper and ginger). Bring to a boil. Layer the artichokes and lemon slices on top of the stewing veggies. Cover loosely so some steam can still escape and turn down the heat to a simmer. Let simmer happily for about 30 minutes until the veggies are cooked through. Serve over rice. Boom.

Ok, so we can’t eat Ramen anymore. But my local NPR station just interviewed David Chang, head chef at New York’s Momofuku Noodle Bar, and posted the most intriguing recipe for ginger scallion sauce. It looks absolutely divine. Amazon.com has reprinted it here. Substitute wheat-free tamari for the light soy sauce and you’re good to go. I can’t wait to try this over rice noodles, or 100% buckwheat soba! Hot dang!