Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gluten Free Chocolate Lava Cakes

We made excellent gluten free chocolate lava cakes last night. These are small chocolate cakes with oozing chocolate insides. We used a Ghiradelli recipe as a starting point. Instead of using the regular flour called for by the recipe, I used a gluten free flour mix (brown rice, potato starch, tapioca starch) and added 1/8 teaspoon of xanthum gum. The recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of flour, so I suspect that pretty much any gluten free flour mix would work. We've made lava cakes before that don't really ooze -- the secret of this recipe is that you make up a mixture of chocolate and cream first, and chill it. You then shape it into balls, and insert it into the batter right before baking. This allows the cakes to bake to the right consistency, while the warm chocolate melts. I sprinkled a little confectioners sugar on top -- the sweetness was a nice complement to the bittersweet chocolate called for by the recipe. I think that next time we might use white chocolate centers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Yom Kippur Break Fast, Gluten Free Style

We hosted a Yom Kippur "break fast" for about 22 people last night. Yom Kippur is a Jewish holiday calling for a 25 hour fast, from sundown one day until one hour after sundown the next. It is traditionally marked by a "break fast" -- a festive meal -- at the close of the holiday. We served the following -- these foods would also work well at a brunch:

1. Jocelyn's Kugel -- this is a somewhat sweet, very rich noodle pudding.
1 pound of noodles (kugels traditionally use egg noodles. I used Tinkyada rotini, which worked well)
1 pint sour cream (save about 1/3 of this amount for the topping)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, beaten
1 pound cream cheese

Boil and drain the pasta. Mix the other ingredients together, then add the drained pasta and mix. Pour into a 9 by 13 inch pan, and spread the remaining sour cream on top. Bake at 325 for 35 minutes.

Add additional topping:
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons gluten free flour
3/4 cup ground walnut (can be omitted)
2 tablespoon buter

Mix these ingredients together, and sprinkle over the kugel. Put back in the oven, and bake for an additional 45 minutes.

2. "Bagel and lox" pizza
This is based on a recipe from Fast and Festive Recipes for the Jewish Holidays, by Marlene Sorusky. It is an alternative to serving bagels and smoked salmon.

1 recipe of gluten free wrap bread, baked in a 14 inch pizza plan
I got this recipe from some terrific cooks at the Delphi Forum. See this link for Cindy's Wraps as adapted from 125 GF Recipes by Washburn. Or, see Gluten Free Gobsmacked experiments with the recipe. I make a few changes when I use it, based on GFG's experiments as well as ideas from others on the Delphi Forum -- I use sorghum instead of rice flour, only 1 tsp of yeast, I substitute one tablespoon of Expandex for 1 tablespoon of regular tapioca flour, and I don't let it rise.

Once the crust is baked, let it cool. Then, spread it all over with cream cheese, and top with thin slices of English cucumber, small pieces of smoked salmon, and capers -- the same way that you would top a pizza. You can also add red onion slices and dill. Slice it as you would a pizza.

3. Gluten free quiche I made one with asparagus, and one with broccoli

4. Cheese and crackers. For crackers, I used Glutano "ritz" like crackers, and Blue Diamond almond nut thins.

5. Egg salad and tuna salad, with Real Food corn thins. (Corn thins are a bit like rice thins, but less crumbly. They are larger than crackers, and a good bread alternative.)

6. A friend brought a platter of hummus, carrots and stuffed grape leaves (Trader Joes says that their grape leaves are gluten free.)

7. Another friend made a spinach salad.

For dessert, we had the following:

1. A friend brought fruit salad.

2. Chocolate chip cookies from Gluten Free Baking Classics, by Annalise Roberts. I made the dough a few days before and froze it in logs. You can slice the dough even when it is frozen, and bake it without needing to defrost it.

3. Lemon squares, again from Gluten Free Baking Classics.

4. Trader Joe's meringue cookies.

5. Foods By George gluten free brownies.

Sadly, we forgot to take photos.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Gluten Free Quiche

We made quiche this past week, using the Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse pie crusts. These crusts were really tasty -- in fact, two times I went back to the freezer to double check the bag to make sure that they were really gluten free and that I hadn't picked up regular crusts by mistake! We used the following recipe, which is modified from the quiche recipe in the original Moosewood Cookbook -- ingredient amounts are somewhat approximate.

GF Broccoli quiche

1. Defrost pie crust (it can continue defrosting while you make the innards) -- we used Whole Foods Gluten Free Bakehouse crusts.
2. Preheat the oven to 375.
3. Saute vegetable of your choice in butter or oil (can saute with onion too if you like it) -- I used broccoli this time, although I also make this with asparagus. I think that I used about half or 3/4 of a cup of vege this time -- you want the total amount to cover the bottom of the pie crust nicely. Add salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you like.
4. For the custard, whisk 4 eggs, 1.5 cups milk, 3 tbls gf flour, and salt together. (Note -- if you are using more vegetables or a smaller pie crust, use one less egg and only a little more than 1 cup of milk or there will be too much custard. This time, I originally started with the 3 eggs mixture, but there wasn't enough custard so I added the extra egg and milk at the end. Also, the particular gf flour blend that you use doesn't matter much in this recipe, because there isn't that much of it -- I use the Annalise Roberts brown rice flour/ tapioca starch/ potato starch, but use whatever you have on hand)
5. I put the pie crust into a round Corning pie dish before filling and baking -- I find that otherwise the filling can spill out during the baking process and make a mess of the oven. You could also put the pie crust on a cookie sheet if you have a strong one that doesn't "bend" during the baking process.
6. Sprinkle about 1.5 cups of grated cheese on the bottom of the defrosted pie crust -- I used cheddar this time. Place the sauteed vegetables on top of the cheese. Pour the filling on top of the vegetables and cheese.
7. Bake at 375 for 40 -45 minutes, until the middle is set.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mini product roundup

Well, it has been a ridiculously long time since we have posted -- here are a few of the ready made products that we have discovered in the meantime.

Gluten free cheese ravioli -- This was a great find for us. Dietary Specialties makes plain, gluten free cheese ravioli -- no spinach or other green stuff involved. Our local health food store stocks it or you can order on line.

Chebe pizza crust -- We are fans of Chebe bread, and have used the mixes to make calzones and pizza. We also like the frozen roll and breadstick dough. Now, you can also get frozen dough rolled out in rectangles for making pizza. We like the chewy consistency of this dough as a base for pizza. The crusts come two to a package, and are rectangular. The package says that it serves 4 (assuming a half crust per person), but we find that one each is more realistic. These crusts do contain cheese, but for some reason I don't find them to taste as "cheesy" as the rolls -- so even if you haven't liked the Chebe rolls, it might be worth trying the pizza crusts.

KIND bars -- If you like dried fruit and nuts, you have to try these KIND bars -- I am addicted to the apricot/ macadamia nut flavor. There is one flavor that isn't gluten free (it has oat bran), but the others do say "gluten free" on the label. Available in health food stores, some Whole Foods and Amazon!

Amazon -- Amazon is a great resource for gluten free shopping. Many items are available for a significant discount and shipping is free once you spend $25. The catch is that many of the items are only available by the case. So, once you know that you like a product -- see if Amazon carries it. Amazon carries products from Gluten Free Pantry, Annies, Glutino, Pamela's, Bobs Red Mill, Bakery on Main Granola just to name a few. Try searching for "gluten free" in the grocery section.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Trip to Arizona and Grand Canyon

I've already posted about the backpacking portion of our trip -- we also spent a couple of days in transit in Arizona, as well as a day in Las Vegas. We're finding that traveling gluten free isn't as difficult as we had anticipated, although it does take some planning.

Before our trips, I've tried to research food options at our destinations. I usually check the website of the celiac support group, and use the invaluable posting resources at Delphi and I look at the sites of fellow bloggers. I also print out the latest gf menu options from chains in the area, including chains that I don't plan to go to like Wendy's, but might need to turn to in a pinch. We have a list of gluten free candy and drinks that we take with us. We also take a list of companies that disclose gluten (e.g., Kraft, ConAgra). When we grocery shop on these trips, we have always been able to find what we need through one of these companies.

It turns out that Las Vegas is a mecca for gluten free options. There are lots of grocery store options, including Whole Foods, Wild Oats and Trader Joes. There are also a lot of restaurant options. A number of the national chains wih gluten free menus have sites in Las Vegas. We had dinner one night at PF Changs, which has a gluten free menu. We had a great lunch atMagiannos (Italian) in the Fashion Strip Mall. They don't have a gf menu per se; instead, a chef came ou and spoke with us, and asked us what Emily wanted to eat. They have gluten free pasta, and he made a sauce for her from scratch. He was very aware of cross contamination issues, and was proactive about reassuring us that he would be careful. I had made a list of lots of potential options, but of course there was one night when the timing wasn't going to allow us to get to any of them. We ended up having dinner at the Studio Cafe at the MGM Grand Hotel, where we were staying. Coincidentally, our server had celiac. Emily was able to order a fresh mozzarella/ tomato salad.

Options between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon were somewhat less abundent. We were happy to eat at In and Out burger twice (once in Las Vegas, and once in Kingman Arizona). I wish they had this chain in the East Coast! You can get burgers "protein style" (wrapped in a lettuce leaf) and the fries are fried in a desiganated fryer. They also have gluten free ice cream shakes. In both locations, I let the person taking our order know that the protein burger was for someone with a "wheat allergy" and both times they went to the area where the burger was prepared to alert the person making the burger to take special care. (Although I know that celiac is not an allergy, and that some people frown upon it being described that way, I have found that sometimes this is a good shorthand for getting the point across that the restaurant needs to be really, really careful not to let our food come in contact with forbidden foods.) We also stopped at a Dairy Queen in Kingman Arizona.

I had heard that La Tovar at the Grand Canyon could accomodate gluten free. Unfortunately, when I looked at the menu on line, I realized that the food served was going to be more sophisticated than our kids really wanted. We ended up at the Bright Angel restaurant. I had looked at the menu online, then spoken with the manager by phone a week earlier. There weren't too many options, but it turned out that they could make a chicken ceasar salad, and could broil the chicken separately instead of grilling it. We brought our own dressing in packets -- I have found that dressings in restuarants tend to be one of the more unpredictable items.

Another nice meal was at Rod's Steakhouse in Williams, Arizona. Someone on a message board had posted that they had had a good gluten free meal there. Again, I called this restaurant about a week earlier to see what options were possible. There were many -- just about all of the steaks and prime ribs were fine -- they didn't have sauces and were grilled on their own grill. Emily had a steak with an uncut baked potato.

I also checked out in advance what brands of dairy products were generally available. For example, in Arizona many places rely on Shamrock Farms dairy; here in the East we use Hood. I was able to get a gluten free list from Shamrock, and could confirm that items such as chocolate milk and ice cream were gluten free. Dreyers was another ice cream brand that was readily available, and I printed their gf ice cream list as well.

Several of the motels we stayed in served breakfast. It turns out that they served Yoplait yogurt and fruit, so Emily could have actually eaten from the breakfast. We brought a batch of muffins with us, along with packets of instant breakfast, some hard boiled eggs, and individual serving mayonaise packets (to make egg salad) just to be sure.

We are still at the stage where we bring way too much food with us, especially for plane trips. I'm always a little worried that we will be stuck on a plane or in an airport for an excessive period of time, with little access to other food, so we overpack. I usually bring crackers (in the plastic cracker containers, so they don't get crushed) or corn thins, some cheese sticks, some hard boiled eggs, some fruit leathers, Instant Breakfast packets, energy bars such as Bumble Bars or Zone bars, and muffins in a hard sided container. I don't worry about bringing drinks or candy, as these are readily available at airport shops. I bring some packets of mayonaise, ketchup, salt, and salad dressing (due to carry on restrictions, these packets now have to be checked rather than carried on). We also bring meals for the plane -- either sandwiches or pasta in a disposable container.

What are your travel tips?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


We just returned from a wonderful 3 day, 2 night, backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. This was our first camping trip gluten free. We decided to have all of our food be gluten free for the trip, including snacks for the gluten eaters in the group (e.g, no power bars), because of the extra challenges dishwashing in the wild -- it worked out surprisingly well!

We treated ourselves to a new set of lightweight camping cookware. This set will also be handy when we travel and stay in condos, because one can never predict in advance whether the cookware will be nice, clean stainless steel -- or grotty, scratched frying pans!

Lunches -- I baked a loaf of Pamela's Amazing Wheat Free Bread at home the Sat morning before our plane left. I sliced it, stored it in a plastic zip lock, then put the bag and bread in a half-gallon plastic container (the kind used to store ice cream). I was able to transport the bread in our hand luggage and it stayed relatively uncrushed and fresh. [I also brought a batch of muffins with us, for motel breakfasts, which again held up surprisingly well.] We used it for sandwiches on the trail on both Monday and Tuesday. We also brought corn thins to use for the last lunch -- they are thinner than rice cakes, seem to crumble less, and are bigger than crackers. (Corn tortillas was another option, but we aren't a big fan of those.) We brought peanut butter and jelly (stored in light plastic containers) and cheese for the innards of the sandwhiches.

Snacks -- a huge batch of gorp (peanuts, raisins, M & Ms), Stretch Island fruit leathers, dried apricots, dried strawberries, chocolate bars, Zone perfect bars (several of their flavors do not have ingredients containing gluten), Bumble bars, some fresh fruit.

Dinners -- Individual packets of Thai kitchen rice noodle soups were an excellent replacement for the Ramen we used to bring, along with tuna from a packet and beef jerky. We also brought fresh string beans for the first night. We never use the entire flavor packet from the noodles -- we should have saved it to spice the second night's meal which was rice (actually boil in bag rice, very easy clean up for camping) along with tuna and beef jerky.

Breakfast -- Chocolate chip pancakes -- I premeasured the ingredients -- Pamela's brand mix, chocolate chips and Simply Egg Whites (instead of fresh eggs) -- and transported it in a zip lock. We also brought a small container of oil for frying. The second morning we had Bobs Red Mill hot cereal -- we brought a small amount of brown sugar, and some dried milk powder, to add to the hot cereal.

Drinks -- Capri Sun has small packets of electrolyte powder that you can add to water -- this was very refreshing on the trail. And, of course, hot chocolate.

So, as you can see, we weren't gourmets, but we ate well and we certainly weren't hungry. We brought some of the food from home, and purchased most of the rest in Las Vegas because we weren't sure how extensive the grocery store in the Grand Canyon would be. Las Vegas (especially suburban LV where we spent the first night), however, seems to have every store imaginable!

The Canyon was awesome, although I am amazed that anyone hikes there in the dead of summer. And I am certainly glad that we took a pass on the mule trip. Happy trails!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Delicious bread

We've had a few successes with bread recently. This weekend, we made a loaf of sandwich bread using Pamela's Amazing Wheat-Free Bread mix in our breadmaker. The bread really lived up to its name -- it bakes up as a golden colored, pliable loaf, that is reminiscent in taste of packaged wheat sandwich bread. It was less crumbly than other breads we have tried. As with many breads (with and without gluten) it was at its peak the first day and the day after. On the first day, we were able to fold over a slice to make a peanut butter sandwich -- this doesn't sound like an accomplishment unless you have spent time with gluten-free bread. It remained fresh sitting out on our counter in a zip lock bag from at least Saturday until Monday -- as of Monday, it was gone because the gluten eaters in our home were using it too. Right now, you can order the mix from Amazon at a great price, 6 for about $20.

Tonight we tried "artisanal style" gluten-free bread. Some time ago, there was an article in the NY Times food section about a new way of baking bread which requires a long rise time. Home bakers in the gluten-free community started experimenting with this as well -- check out the posts on the Delphi forum, for different variations. What most recipes have in common is that you let the bread rise for a long time, 12 hours or more, and you bake it in the oven at a high temperature, using a pre-heated Dutch oven or covered pyrex dish. The result if a nice, crusty loaf -- usually. My first effort (which was not based on a Delphi forum recipe) was an unmitigated disaster -- dry and acrid. My family made polite noises of appreciation, but when I tasted it myself I let everyone off the hook and chucked it all out. Tonight's effort was much better. I modified Misha's recipe from the Delphi forum,, with some additional modifications.

"Artisanal Style GLuten-Free Bread"

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups Annalise Roberts brown rice flour mix (1 cup finely ground brown rice flour, 1/3 cup potato starch, 1/6 cup tapioca flour)
1 1/4 tsp. xanthum gum
1 tsp. salt
4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water

Mix flours and dry ingredients in a mixer (or by hand). Combine water (I had microwaved it for about 30 seconds) and olive oil, and add to the dry ingredients. Mix for about 3 minutes. Dough should look like thick cake batter. Smooth dough together with a spatula to form a loose shaped ball. Spray top with oil, cover with plastic wrap and a towel, and let rise. I let it rise for about 9 hours (it can be longer than that too).

Approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes before you want to serve the bread, put a covered pyrex dish (I used 2.5 quart) or cast iron dutch oven in the oven, and set the oven to 450 degrees. Allow the pan to heat for about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven very carefully -- it's really hot. Transfer the dough to the pan (I didn't grease the pan tonight, although I will probably try that next time because it stuck.) Bake covered for 20 minutes, and uncovered for about 20 minutes, although start checking earlier to prevent the bread from browning too much.

This makes a fairly small, crusty loaf but it can be doubled. Feel free to experiment with different combinations of flours. Also, the rising time isn't precise -- you can bake it earlier or later. I mixed up the dough before leaving for work, so we could bake it for dinner; some people mix it up that night before they want to bake it, and allow the bread to rise for close to 16 hours.

(Note -- we just made the artisanal style bread again tonight, Thurs., and it was delicious once again. I used a somewhat different flour mixture, based on Annalise Roberts bread mix suggestion -- 1/2 cup millet flour, 1/2 cup sorghum flour, 1/3 cup cornstarch, 1/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour. The batter seemed a bit gloppier, but it still rose. I sprayed the pan with olive oil before putting the bread in, and it didn't stick. Yeah!)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


A good gluten-free pizza is hard to find. It is especially hard for me to find because I don't like tomato sauce very much. When traveling and I need something portable, I will eat the Pizza by George (with tomato sauce) which is premade and individually wrapped, but when I am making a pizza, I much prefer having no sauce. Recently, I found two pizzas that I liked. One was a homemade pizza crust using Chebe mix, and one was a brown rice pizza crust by Natures' Hilights. I had them both without sauce which worked well. I also really like olives, so I put olives on top along with cheese. My mom found the Chebe recipe from the Delphi forum. (Note from my mom -- the recipe was posted by Bobbie, who has also posted some other great recipes, including the tortilla recipe we like -- thanks Bobbie!) The recipe is also at the recipe tab at this link The good thing about this crust is that you can hold it like a regular piece of pizza ( folded in you hands) without crumbling. One problem about the pizza was that it took a lot of rolling of the dough. The Nature Hilights pizza crust was premade and you just had to heat it up and put toppings on it. This crust was crunchy with a good flavor. One tip when making bot of these pizzas is to heat the crust then brush oil on the crust before adding toppings.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Traveling gluten-free

Our family has always loved to travel. Our kids each got their first passports when they were younger than a year old, and we've used them, culminating with a 5 month trip around the world a couple of years ago. So we are bound and determined not to let being gluten-free stop us from having adventures.
Our first trip post diagnosis was a week in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, skiing. We had booked this trip before we knew about Emily's diagnosis -- fortunately, it was a condo with a full kitchen. Thanks to the internet, I found out that there was a well stocked health food store right in the town that carried a wide range of gluten-free food, so we were able to buy bread and some frozen meals there. Even so, we packed almost a suitcase full of supplies and provisions as well - just in case - including gf crackers, a couple of bags of Tinkyada bags pasta, muffin and brownie mix, peanut butter, some packets of Carnation instant breakfast, Break bars and Bumble bars, a colander and a frying pan. (We packed the pans because we didn't know whether the frying pan in the condo would be teflon, and possibly scratched -- as it turns out, all the pots were teflon so we ended up buying a saucepan as well.) We also brought lists of companies such as Kraft, which label for gluten, to make food shopping in the supermarkets easier. We knew that it wasn't going to be a time to experiment with new products, and we were able to buy all of the mainstream products that we usually use at the regular grocery store. We brought lunch to the mountain in a cooler, which we would have done anyway even without dietary restrictions -- we ate better, and certainly more economically that way. We cooked simple meals at the condo just about every other night -- again, we would have done this most nights anyway even if we weren't concerned about gluten.
The other challenge was the plane ride itself -- we knew that we couldn't count on getting food at the airport. We were traveling around Christmas time, right after people had gotten stuck for days in the Denver airport due to storms, so we wanted to have enough with us to tide us over if necessary. We packed a pasta dish for dinner, and took hard boiled eggs, wrapped cheese sticks, crackers, Bumble bars, fruit leather and fruit in hand luggage. Actually, these days a lot of people are packing their own meals for airplane travel, so we didn't stand out at all.
We spent the first and last evenings in Denver, at an Embassy suite which had a microwave and small fridge in each room. The hotel also provided breakfast, and although there were some gf options such as yogurt, in the end she opted to eat what we had brought. Still, it was useful to have access to some basics such as milk and little packets of condiments such as butter.
We ate at restaurants twice, once at a steak house in Steamboat (Ore House at the Pine Grove), and once at Abruscis in Denver. The steak house was our first restaurant meal since learning that Emily had celiac, so we were all a little nervous. I had been told that steak houses could often accomodate a gf patron, and this turned out to be the case. Emily had a plain steak, with no sauce, and a plain baked potato. I had called in advance to make sure that the restaurant could make a gluten free meal, and we reminded the person seating us when we came in. It turned out that her mother had celiac and ate at the restaurant, so that was a good sign. She talked to the chef for us, but at our request he also came out and spoke with us personally and put our minds at ease about how the steak and potato would be prepared. The restaurant also served Hagaan Daaz ice cream, which would have been fine, but we were too full for dessert.
Abuscis is a gluten free dining mecca in Denver. It is a family run Italian restaurant with an EXTENSIVE gluten free menu, including pasta, pizza and bread. It was really a pleasure to be able to order off the menu -- and many people around us seemed to be doing the same -- and all of the food (gf and non gf) was really good as well. It is definitely worth going out of your way to eat here if you are ever in Denver.
All in all, this was a good first vacation for us -- it wasn't the type of trip where food or exotic dining was ever going to be the focus, so we didn't feel that it was limiting not to eat out frequently. I do feel that our research before hand paid off -- I had checked the listings of the celiac support groups in Denver to get some restaurant suggestions, which is how we found Abruscis, and knowing that we could purchase gluten free staples in Steamboat itself was reassuring.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Break Bars

Like all kids, I like candy and chocolate. There are lots of regular candies that are gluten free, but one thing that I didn't think I would be able to have again was a Kit Kat bar. But then I discovered (well, really my mom discovered) Break Bars!!!! These are gluten-free "chocolate covered four finger wafer bars" that look and taste just like Kit Kat bars. They are made by a company called Glutano which also makes a lot of other gluten-free products. We buy them in our local health food store, A New Leaf; some supermarkets also sell them. You can also find them on-line (google Glutano Break Bar to find some on-line stores). So, if you are missing Kit Kats, I suggest that you try Break Bars.

Friday, January 19, 2007

gluten-free at school

In seventh grade this year, there have been many food projects. So far this year, there has already been one in Science, English, Social Studies, and Spanish. Most of the time my teachers tell me in advance when we will be having food. For English, Science, and Spanish, each person brought in a food and shared it with everyone. A few times there has been wrapped candy which I recognize that I can have. For example there has been tootsie rolls and starburst that I have had from other people. In Spanish we had a week long project where everyone brought in a different food and shared it. It was a little annoying for me because I could only eat something on one of those days(the day that I brought in my food, meringues). There was one other person in the class who kept kosher, so she couldn't eat anything either. Although I wish that we both could have eaten the food, I was glad that someone was in a similar situation as me.

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Tonight we tried something new -- making calzones using Chebe pizza mix. Chebe is a company from Vermont, with the tag line "Slightly unusual. Unusually good." They have a line of frozen dough products, including little rolls and breadsticks, that were among the first gluten-free products that we tried, and we still bake them regularly. We like the flavor and texture -- the rolls and breadsticks are slightly chewy.

Chebe also make dry mixes, including a "pizza" mix -- the basic manioc (tapioca) flour mix, with Italian spices incorporated into the mix. Tonight, we made calzones using the basic recipe from the back of the packet. It was quite straightforward -- combine the mix with eggs, cheese, water, and mix/ knead until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into four portions, roll each out into a thin circle, and spoon some filling on one half of each round (we used a combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, olives, and tomato sauce for the filling). Fold the other half of the dough over the filling, seal the edges, brush with oil and bake. It was a pretty easy recipe, except for the tedium of rolling the dough out.

The Chebe web site ( lists a lot of other ways to use the dough, including a recipe for "pigs in the blanket" (little hot dogs wrapped in dough) -- this one is near the top of Emily's "we should try that" list. I've even heard of people using Chebe dough to make ravioli -- an easy to prepare gluten-free substitute for frozen ravioli or tortellini is still something that we are on the lookout for! If anyone finds one, please let us know.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Gluten-free Baking Classics

The Chocolate Ricotta Muffin recipe is from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise Roberts. This was one of the first gluten-free cookbooks that we bought, and we love it. We needed to host a brunch for 50 shortly after Emily was diagnosed. We didn't want gluten crumbs scattered all over the house, so we decided to make it all gluten-free, including the baked goods. All of the recipes came from this cookbook and were an unqualified success -- cranberry walnut loaves, orange bread (with and without chocolate chips), chocolate ricotta muffins. All of these recipes freeze well, so we were able to bake them in advance and defrost them for the brunch. We have also tried the chocolate chip cookies, lemon squares, and apple pie. We like to make up a batch of the chocolate chip cookie dough, shape it into logs, then freeze the dough. When you want to make cookies, defrost the dough, slice and bake. If you want to sample some of Annalise's other recipes, check her website The Food Philosopher. (We don't have a financial interest in her book -- honest -- we just love her recipes!)


I was very surprised that gluten-free muffins, cakes, and cookies taste just as good as gluten baked goods. The other day, a friend who isn't gluten-free and I baked a batch of gluten-free chocolate ricotta muffins. When my friend tried one, she thought that they tasted just as good as any muffin, and I do too. This is a recipe that I use a lot, for dessert or for breakfast. On school days, I have barely any time to eat so I either have a muffin or a carnation instant breakfast to take with me to the bus stop.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
(from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts)
(posted with permission from Annalise Roberts)

Makes 10 muffins.

1 1/4 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix
(To make 3 cups of this mixture, combine 2 cups brown rice flour (extra finely ground, she suggests Authentic Foods brand), 2/3 cup potato starch, and 1/3 cup tapioca flour)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (part skim)
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position rack in center of oven. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking cup liners.
2. Whisk flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. In another medium mixing bowl whisk egg, ricotta, milk, oil, and vanilla together until well blended.
4. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and combine until well blended. Do not over beat.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups and place in center of oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from pan and serve immediately or cool on a rack.

Muffins can be stored in a tightly sealed plastic container in refrigerator or covered with plastic wrap and then with foil and stored in freezer for up to three weeks. Best when eaten within four days of baking. Rewarm briefly in microwave.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Gluten-free tortillas

One of the foods that I missed most was tortillas. I tried the corn tortillas that we bought in the store, but I didn't like them very much. My mom found this recipe on the Delphi Forums Celiac site. The person who posted it on Delphi found the recipe from a support group in Texas. Thanks for the great recipe! I always look forward to having the tortillas!

Tastes just like wheat tortillas! ( They are very flexible)

1/4 cup each cornstarch, tapioca flour, potato starch, white rice flour and brown rice flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 generous tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup water, more if needed

Mix dry ingredients and add water. Let rest 10 minutes. Divide into balls, roll into tortillas, and cook on a hot oiled skillet until it starts to bubble. Flip and cook on the other side. Makes 4 - 6 largish tortillas.

Some tips we learned from the people on Delphi and from making this recipe a lot:

-- You can roll the tortillas out using a rolling pin. It helps a lot to put the dough between parchment paper because it is very sticky. We bought a tortilla press, so we now put a ball of dough in the press between two pieces of parchment paper, then roll it out some more to get the tortillas really thin.

-- If the dough is a little sticky when you roll it out, dust it with white rice flour.

-- As each tortilla is finished, put it into a zip lock plastic bag while you are cooking the rest. It keeps them moist and flexible.

-- I like to have a wrap for lunch in school, but it takes too much time to make the dough in the morning. We've made the dough and rolled it out the day before and stored it in the refrigerator in between damp paper towels in a plastic bag. It only takes a couple of minutes in the morning to fry the tortilla and make a wrap. (I wrap the whole wrap in aluminum foil so it doesn't fall apart.)

-- If you like the recipe, you can mix up several batches of the dry ingredients and store in plastic bags. Then, when you want to make the tortillas, just add the oil and water and you are ready to go.

Our New Blog

My mom Rochelle and I decided to start this blog to share some of our great gluten-free discoveries. I am 12 years old and just got diagnosed with celiac in September 2006. We've learned a lot in the past few months, found some great recipes and products, and we want to share them with you! We're especially interested in hearing from other teens living the gluten-free life. Emily

A teen and her family's experiences living gluten-free.