matzoI haven’t tried to make matzoh balls since going GF, but as I walked past the Passover display in Wegmans, it occurred to me to just take a peek and see if such a thing existed. And it does! Yehuda Gluten Free Matzoh Meal Mix was right there, waiting for me. I bought two containers. Note that if you make this you have to mix it up the day before and let it stay in the fridge overnight. You’ll need potato starch and xantham gum to make these, in case you don’t normally have those ingredients on hand.

I was very pleased with how these turned out. I think they needed to cook longer than the 45 indicated on the package, but they were still good. I made a double batch so I could freeze some. The matzoh balls turn out fluffy and delicious. I didn’t notice that they were gluten-free at all. They were perfect in the chicken soup I made. If you make extra like I did, place them on a baking sheet and freeze them, then store them in a ziptop bag until you’re ready to use them.

mint slimsAlthough the Girl Scouts have come up with a gluten-free cookie (not so great in my opinion), they aren’t making Mint Thins for us GF people. It’s been many years since I’ve had a Mint Thin. I stumbled across a mention of Mint Slims in a magazine which claimed they were just as good as the Girl Scout version. It wasn’t a lie. These cookies are just like the Girl Scout version, except of course, there’s no gluten in them. They’re awesome stashed in the freezer and perfect for when you’re feeling completely deprived of every food you’ve ever loved. I order mine from Amazon, but I’ve heard other people have come across them in Walmart.

schar croissThere are only a handful of gluten foods I truly miss and have been unable replicate and croissants are one. When I heard Schar was selling gluten-free croissants and that they were available locally, I pounced. I could only find the plain, schar croiss2not the Nutella version. Unfortunately, my excitement was not well-deserved. I paid $5.99 for a bag of 4. They are small, but they are hefty. We had them for breakfast one morning and two apiece were plenty.  They were nothing like croissants. They were heavy and tasted like a roll. There was nothing flaky and buttery and light about these. Unfortunately, the only thing that makes them croissants are their shape. I would skip these.

IMG_1378I don’t normally buy pre-made packaged foods. I have never in my life bought frozen regular mac and cheese. Yes, my kids ate Kraft in a box, but if we were going to have mac and cheese for a dinner, I made it myself. Being gluten-free though makes me feel deprived in weird ways. It hits me sometimes that I can’t go out and buy a prepared or frozen meal — even though I never would have in my previous gluteny life. When I spied Udi’s Gluten Free Mac and Cheese at Target, something came over me. A gluten free prepared food! It was like a magnet. I bought it. I don’t know why. I can’t explain it. So I cooked it in the oven and we had it for dinner. I didn’t really care for it. It doesn’t even compare to what I make myself and I would never buy it again. It was kind of mushy and tasteless and more creamy than cheesy really.  I guess I just wanted to buy it simply because I COULD for once. My advice – skip it and make your own. Or buy the gluten IMG_1381free Kraft equivalent (I buy Wegmans to have around for the husband to have for lunch).

girl scout cookies1I don’t know about you, but I was totally excited about this. I miss my Girl Scout cookies! In my area, one kind of cookie is available GF and they are called Trios. They’re peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chip. They are tiny. Smaller than a thin mint. The bag holds maybe 12. But we all know Girl Scout cookies are no bargain. They taste pretty good, but they are nothing exciting. I want Thin Mints GF! I probably wouldn’t buy these again just for the cookies (but I will if a cute little girl comes to my door and I am guilted into giving her money). There’s nothing earth shattering hear, but at least the Scouts are trying to keep up with the times.

I’ve been cooking with the How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen. Hop over to my other blog and read the review here. 

how can it be gluten free

Pizza_GF3I rely on Cup4Cup flour for all of my gluten-free baking.  They now have a pizza dough mix which I recently ordered. The first batch arrived from Chefs.com (via Amazon) but it had exploded in the packaging bag. Back it went and I reordered. The second package arrived safely(this time inside a box) and we tried it on a recent night. The bag says it will make two 9 inch pizza crusts. I made mine into two rectangles since our round pan was taken with the pizza for the gluten eaters in the house. Each one was roughly 7×7 in size – I tend to like my pizza crust thicker (you’re only seeing part of the pizzas in the photo).

cup4cup pizzaIt was easy to mix and requires only water and egg. Yeast is included in the package.  After you mix the dough you are supposed to let it rest about 20 minutes.

We were very happy with the outcome. It tasted like real pizza and it did rise which is a feat in and of itself. I was happy with the texture, which was a bit doughy (how we like it!), but it you like yours crisper, just make it thinner. I think it was just as good as the GF pizza mix I’ve picked up at a local store (can’t recall the brand!), so I will probably stick with that since there is no shipping required! If you’re unsure about a brand, you can trust this one and if it was available locally I would buy it.

Kaniwa

Posted by Brette in GF At Home

kaniwaJust when you got used to quinoa, there’s another new gluten-free grain out there to try, kaniwa. This South American grain was cultivated by the Aztec. It’s high in protein and minerals. It cooks very quickly like quinoa and has a very fine texture to it. It’s a dark brown color when cooked. I liked it more than quinoa – it’s nuttier and tastes a bit like wild rice to me. I served  it with a saucy chicken dish (chicken breasts cooked with apples and Dijon mustard and a little cream and chicken broth). It worked well as a base for the dish. I’ll definitely be making more of this.

Croissants2Croissants are on my “I would kill for a….” list. It’s one of the few things I haven’t been able to buy.  I’m on a mission to find a recipe that works. Rather than re-invent the wheel, I thought I would try some of the recipes that exist out there already. My first attempt is using a recipe from Baking with Collette.

I found the instructions to be a bit confusing. She refers to “body water” when she means to use warm water that is about at body temperature. I used Cup4Cup flour in my batch.

I do not have a “proofing bag” so I used the proof setting on my oven and put a big glass measuring cup of water on the bottom shelf to provide the moisture.

The recipe says to cut the dough into rectangles, but gives no size. So I basically sliced the dough into rows, the short way, then cut each row in half. One I set them on the baking sheet, I curved them into a crescent shape so they would look a bit like croissants. I did not use a filling in mine (Collette uses chocolate – I want to find a decent croissant first then I will work on fillings!).

When they came out of the oven, they were swimming in grease and the bottoms were very, very brown.

The verdict? These were good rolls, but did not equal croissants. There’s no flakiness, but they are moist and flavorful. They are like an egg bread. Everyone enjoyed it and I froze the leftovers which we will enjoy again sometime. I’m still searching for the perfect recipe though!

Pizza_Homemade2We’ve chronicled our quest for a decent GF pizza at many area restaurants. Every single one was a complete bust. I’ve since made two different GF pizzas at home and both were excellent. Both were with GF pizza crust mixes I purchased (I’ll be posting my own recipe soon).

My favorite is Bob’s Red Mill. This was in the GF aisle at my grocery store. It comes with a packet of years. You add water, eggs and oil. There is a 20 minute rise then 7-9 minutes baking the crust alone. Then you add toppings and bake another 20 minutes.

The trick to boxed mixes is to double them. The Bob’s mix says it makes 2 12 inch or 1 16 inch pizza. bob red mill pizzaI made one 12 inch deep dish pizza with the mix and it was perfect! The dough was just thick enough. There was NOTHING that tasted like cardboard. It was a thing of beauty. I used one jar of organic store brand tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, spinach, and broccoli. No one would have guessed this was a GF pizza.