Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rice Paper Experimentation

Three Ladies Brand
This is my new secret weapon. I buy it at a local Asian food market. The son of the owners has celiac disease, so they have a good handle on what products they get in really are gluten free. This is one of them. 

The first thing I made with these little rice paper wonders was a typical, meat and vegetable stuffed spring roll type of dish. It took a little bit of time to get a feel for how they work, but I have it now. Though I enjoyed the flavors of the vegetables and meat, I didn't care for the frying of those. I may not have had the oil hot enough, because the final rolls were very greasy.

Next I worked on a gluten and dairy-free enchilada. 

Before I cooked them, they reminded me of how poor Frodo looked in the Peter Jackson film after Shelob had wrapped him up.
This would be where Sam Gamgee gives
Mr. Frodo up for dead and takes the ring.
My problem with enchiladas is that I find the sauce to be too strong without the mellowing effect of cheese and sour cream. I have a friend who uses tofu products when she makes them for her husband who can't have dairy, but as I have mentioned before, I prefer not to eat much soy. 

So this time, I added a little bit of Healthy Top* (because it was what I had on hand) and some almond milk. It was too sweet. I need to try some of the unsweetened Mimic Creme instead.

A couple of the tricks to making the rice paper work for you is to work with one sheet at a time, soaking it in hot tap water for several seconds (probably 6-10 seconds). This makes them more pliable and less likely to tear.

This dish is the perfect size,
but the water cools to quickly.
You will want a perfectly flat
plate to work on; this was
emphasized by the lady
at the Asian market.
I like this shallow dish because it is flat and the perfect size, but the water tends to cool off quickly and for some reason it must be hot or it doesn't work.

When I assembled the enchiladas, I carefully placed the refried beans on the paper, to avoid tearing and then piled on the rest of the toppings.


The sauce really was too sweet, but I think if I can tone it down, I may be able to get this recipe to work. We will see though; I don't know if it is worth it. Sometimes I find it is better to just come up with new foods rather than try to develop No  Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Kidding substitutes. I love enchiladas, but I am thinking the cheese is just too integral an ingredient for them to be satisfactory without it. If I could stand Daiya cheese, it might work, but I just don't like that stuff.

The next thing I made with the rice paper was dessert. I made two kinds. For the first I made a cherry pie filling with water-packed, canned cherries, Healthy Top & cornstarch. For the second I used fresh, thinly sliced apples, Healthy Top, vanilla, pure maple syrup and cinnamon. After the fillings were wrapped in the rice paper, I placed them in a glass baking dish that had been lightly sprayed with Olive Oil Pam (yes, I do know there is some soy in there) and then brushed the top with a little more maple syrup. I baked these at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and sprinkled them with powdered sugar before serving them. 

While they are baking, it is important to watch them closely to make sure they don't burn. I had a single, apple fruit roll in a separate casserole dish and the bottom burned. The cherry pie filling broke out of the rice paper and spread evenly across the bottom of the baking dish, and none of the fruit roll thingies** burned at all. This is a pleasant dish. The one thing you should be aware of is that where several layers of the rice paper are sealed together it tends to be tough. Sarah (of the SARAH BAKES AGAIN label) recommended using two sheets of rice paper and sealing the edges instead. This is a possibility, but they would need to be assembled in the baking dish, as it would be difficult to transfer them from the work surface to the baking dish. 

I keep my opened carton of Healthy
Top tucked into a ziplock bag
in the refrigerator.
I made them for the day of our Thanksgiving Dinner at church, so I didn't get a picture of them fresh. The only one I did take a picture had been refrigerated a couple of days and that photo doesn't look too appetizing. It still tasted good though!

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*In both of the recipes I posted here I used the Healthy Top straight from the carton. I haven't even tried to whip it yet.  
**I can't decide what to call them, Spring Fruit Rolls? Maybe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

FUDGE!!! (+ Dairy-Free, Sweetened, Condensed Milk!)

This fudge is yummy enough that you won't need
to eat much to satisfy your sweet tooth. In fact,
I wouldn't recommend it. :)
Happy Thanksgiving! You are probably busy with preparations like I am, but I wanted to stop and post these yummy recipes.

If you go to the blog, The Dorm Mom, you will find a recipe for Dairy Free Fudge.  My friend, Kim, tried it first yesterday and then I took the plunge in the afternoon. I made it gluten free by using Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and this stuff is really, really nice. Rich, but nice. I am going to try a smaller batch, making the dairy free sweetened, condensed milk with maple syrup instead of sugar. We will see how it works. 

I added orange extract (McCormick's says Gluten Free right on the box! Caution: it is really strong stuff, don't take a big whiff up close like I did.) to half of the recipe and topped the other half with pecans. I wrote out the directions on facebook for a fellow No Gluten, No Dairy, No Kidding friend of mine and I am including those here, including a suggestion on how to change the pecan addition so they actually are a part of the fudge instead of falling off. Between Kim and I, we were able to clarify questions that may arise from the simple directions The Dorm Mom posted.

Fudge
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
2 cups of sweetened, condensed coconut milk (recipe below)
4 cups Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (two 10 ounce packages)
McCormick Pure Orange Extract
Chopped pecans (use the amount you want)

Melt your chocolate in a double broiler - it goes fast; I put mine in when the condensed milk was down to four cups. I brought the water to a boil, put the boiler on, added the chocolate chips and just let it sit there without covering it. It was ready for me when I was ready for it.
Just as your condensed milk is ready, mix the pecans evenly into the melted chocolate chips and then add the condensed milk (or add the chocolate to the condensed milk, which is what I did, as my milk pan was larger than my chocolate pan). Stir well and pour into an 8x8 pan that has been lined with a piece of waxed paper sprayed with cooking oil. Then chill for a few hours in the fridge or freeze. I put mine on my back porch. It is cold enough out there!

Sweetened, Condensed Coconut Milk
No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding
Six cups of So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk
2 cups sugar

Pour the coconut milk and sugar into a good-sized sauce pan, stir to blend. Bring to a boil and turn down heat a little. I started mine at 5 1/2 of 10 and when it came to a good boil, turned it down to 4 to let it settle down a bit, then back up to 5. This worked until it condensed down to about three cups, then I had to back off the heat a little so it would boil over. A bigger pan might eliminate that.

Once you have it at a steady, decent boil, stir it every ten minutes. Kim set her timer each time, that worked well. She and I both stayed in the kitchen until it was stable, but after that, I was able to do other things and come back to it. We both had our big glass measuring cups at the ready so we could pour the milk in to keep an eye on how it was doing. This works really well and is delicious.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Sleuthing for the Freebies*

As has become a tradition, I am posting things I am thankful to God for on my other blog for the month of November. This takes up a lot of blog time, so I usually don't do much over here. I wanted to post a few things for you before you start cooking for Thursday's feast though.

Last year I made a pumpkin torte thing that was rubbery and bland. This year, I am trying Elizabeth Gordon's recipe from My Allergy Free Life

This lady really knows how to create safe and yummy desserts!

Elizabeth added a link to the Coconut Creamer she uses in the recipe and I want to give you some other Turtle Mountain links, as well as some others.

Here are two links, one to Turtle Mountain's complete list of products and the other to their allergen information, including a  chart at the bottom of the page.

I am happy to announce that my Fred Meyer store (should I call it Fred MYer?) carries a nice selection of the So Delicious products!

Alisa over at Go Dairy Free has posted her annual Thanksgiving recipe roundup. Check it out, there are gluten free recipes available. That was no small feat!

Hormel's gluten free list includes Jennie-O turkey products that are safe for us, as does Purdue's. Make sure you pay attention to any other allergies you are dealing with as well.

I just did a search for a comprehensive, gluten-free turkey list and found one at Harris Whole Health, a new-to-me website I am going to have to explore!

I also found information on safely handling turkeys. I am buying fresh and needed to know how long it keeps before it must be cooked.

There you go. I have researched the turkey and dessert. You will have to fill in from there. Worry not, there are a ton of great recipes out there. Hopefully this weekend I am going to try a new dessert idea that I have been working on in my brain. If it works, I will get that up here as well.

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*And by "freebies," I mean allergen free foods, of course.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

FYI

I posted a new item under Snack Attack.
I think a little more cocoa than I used might be better
and perhaps a little bit of maple syrup...
I have been busy lately and haven't been as creative in my cooking. I have been using recipes I already have or going with simple foods. I should get back into a make-it-up-as-I-go-along mode soon. The holidays are coming right up!

In the meantime, I found this recipe for No Gluten, No Dairy, No Eggs, No Soy, No Kidding Pizza Crust (with toppings suggestions) at the Allergy Free Desserts blog and I can't wait to try it! Gotta find some of that fine rice flour I keep reading about, but in the meantime, I will probably try it with brown rice flour from Bob's Red Mill.