Archive for May, 2009

Buy Cookbooks for Charity!

May 15, 2009

I wanted to let you all know about a wonderful opportunity to simultaneously buy a great cookbook and donate to charity.

If you’re anything like me, you probably own several (thousand) cookbooks already. When I found out that making most of my gluten-free food from scratch was going to be tastier and cheaper than buying it, I went on a lengthy hunt for books that had recipes that I would want to make over and over again. Blogs certainly helped, and that is actually how I ran across Mike and his site that includes a listing of gluten-free blogs as they are updated, Gluten Free News. It’s like a giant RSS feed of GF blogs…so awesome. Anyway, Mike and his wife wrote a book called Gluten Free & Wheat Free Gourmet Desserts, self published it, and are selling it on their website.

Here’s the great part: Mike is donating all the money for the WHOLE of 2009 from the sale of the book to charity, either regional or local food banks or homeless shelters. There is a great entry explaining why he’s doing this on his blog here.

I really admire Mike’s generosity and his heartfelt desire to help others in these turbulent economic times. I just ordered a copy of the book, which you can do here. If you are looking for a gift for a gluten-free friend, yourself, or just want to help Mike and get a beautifully photographed cookbook in the process, please go order your copy soon!

Lavendar Blueberry Chocolate…oh my.

May 14, 2009

It turns out that my boyfriend is a chocolate addict.

I should have seen it coming: M&M runs in the middle of the night. Mint chip ice cream cravings. Gluten free chocolate mousse cake purchases at Whole Foods. The guy is bat shit crazy for chocolate, and he’s a bad influence 🙂

I’m decidedly addicted myself, but I usually crave dark chocolate, usually 70% cacao. YUM. After randomly trying it once in college, trying to impress an ex with my knowledge of culinary delicacies (nerd foreplay?), I was hooked.

One of my favorite finds in the past two years is a bar by Dagoba Organic Chocolate, which I find at Whole Foods locally. This bar is Lavendar Blueberry flavored, which at first was strange, but now I love it. I can’t believe how much you can taste the lavendar and what a great contrast it is with the sharp sweetness of the dark chocolate. My favorite way to eat this is late at night after it has been chilled for several hours in the fridge!

All the chocolate bars that Dagoba makes are gluten free. In a statement on their website, they say:

Are Dagoba’s products gluten free?
Yes and our facility does not handle any products made with gluten.

Woohoo! 🙂
I will be honest and tell you that Keith refuses to try this. Honestly…I get it. I’m pretty adventurous with my food, but even I was like “isn’t this going to taste like chocolate potpurri?” It doesn’t, but there’s a lot going on there for such a small bar of chocolate.
Not only are Dagoba’s chocolates divine, they have a fantastic policy of “Full Circle Sustainability” and are all organic. Go here to read more about them and their wonderful products!

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

May 1, 2009


This week has been crazy. Work, stress, travel arrangements….arg. I have no time. Please accept this amazing banana bread as a peace offering for not updating in…forever.

I started to notice this week that when I am reduced to eating convenience food or takeout because of my busy life, I get very unhappy. I really do. This is when I start sitting around with my many MANY cookbooks, taking notes and watching Food Network simultaneously, heaving heavy sighs. I want to be in the kitchen, spontaneously throwing things into a pot and seeing what happens. Cooking releases something in me, something free and confident. Throwing a box of Amy’s Rice Mac and Cheese in the microwave just isn’t the same.

Food is a comfort to me. Not in an eating-my-feelings kind of way, but in a I-know-what’s-in-this-because-I-made-it way. The process of putting something together and being self sufficient, feeding myself delicious, healthy food that will in no way make me sick…it’s a process that is almost holy to me. Being able to produce what I need is something I want to continue for the rest of my life.


I pulled out one of my new favorite cookbooks last week, “Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America” by Richard J. Coppedge Jr. I knew exactly what I wanted to bake first because during one of those staring-at-Food-Network-moodily moments, I remembered that I had a ton of frozen bananas waiting to be made into banana bread. YUM. The CIA book has a basic recipe, and since it’s one of the best cooking schools in the country, I felt I could trust them. The recipe also looked easy because it only used one flour blend, which was great.

Several things to love about this cookbook:
-It has recipes for basic basic baked goods that I ate growing up, like banana bread.
-It also has recipes for exciting treats that I’d never tried even when I could eat gluten, like cream puffs and choux pastry!
-Chef Coppedge breaks down why each of the 5 (yes 5!) flour blends he has included are the best for the recipes that he has suggested them for.

So basically, buy this book and be amazed at the wonderful baked goods that come out of your kitchen.


I modified this only slightly to include some ingredients that my mom put in her banana bread, as well as chocolate chips. Mostly the chips were an attempt to lure Keith into eating banana bread, which he CLAIMS not to like. I’ll let you know what he thinks when he finally tastes this *grin*.


Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
Adapted from a recipe in “Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America”

Ingredients

3/4 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla paste or extract
1 1/3 c. Flour blend*
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 c. bananas, mashed
2 tbsp. sour cream (I used plain yogurt instead, it was good!)
3/4 c. bittersweet baking chips

1) Preheat oven to 350 F.

2) Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

3) Add egg, incorporate and then scrape down bowl.

4) In a seperate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Add all dry ingredients to wet ingredients; mix until just combined.

5) Add mashed bananas and sour cream or yogurt to batter and mix until just combined.

6) Fold in chocolate by hand.

7) Pour batter into a greased and lined loaf pan (Side note: I didn’t line my glass loaf pan, just greased it. Came out just fine.)

8) Bake for 55-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the center of the loaf comes out clean.

I found that you really can’t eat this bread warm without it falling apart. I let mine rest in the fridge for an hour and let it completely cool before eating any more of it. It’s really a nice dense loaf and has a nice sort of creamy texture.

Flour Mix

This is one of the 5 flour mixes in Coppedge’s book. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I want you to go buy it, but he really does a nice job of explaining what each ingredient actually does and why it’s in the mix. This will be a total of 5 1/2 cups of flour mix, which, if you bake out of this book a lot, is a great amount to just have around.

3/4 c. white rice flour
4 c. potato starch
5 tbsp. guar gum
1/2 c. albumen (powdered egg whites)