Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Flours and Flowers

As you may know, all the recipes found on this blog are Gluten Free! Gluten Free baking can be intimidating. The four ratios can be finicky, though once you play around with it for a while, you can start to get a feel for how the consistency of dough and batters should look like, and understand what flours you should use for which recipes.
I feel like any gluten-free baker has their favorite blend of flours that they know they can rely on and expect to work in most recipes. Here is my favorite mix, I have been using it in place of regular flour for most baked goods lately, and it hasn't given me any problems yet. I like it because there aren't any strange 'specialty' ingredients in it like arrowroot, or quinoa flour...though they would both work well too.

1 C Sorghum flour
1 C Oat flour
1 C Potato/Corn starch
1 C Brown Rice flour/Sweet white rice flour*
2 T Gluten free baking powder

*sweet white rice flour will yield a flour that resembles a white, 'all purpose' flour.
If you want a 'whole wheat' flour feel, you can substitute the rice flour for teff flour.

I do agree with the many assertions that gluten free baking works better when the ingredients are weighed out using a food scale. Maybe someday I'll do a post on measured out flours using a scale, but I like this for most recipes. The benefit to weighing flours out is it ensures that the proportions are exactly equal, when you measure flours out using a measuring cup the amounts can vary depending on the weight of the flour and how much it is packed into the measuring cup. If it is weighed out, then the amounts are consistent. BUT, the majority of the time, I'm too impatient to measure out flour and would much rather scoop a cup of flour from a large bin like the majority of people, and that's where this blend comes in. It's quite flexible, and I will add different flours depending on what I have on hand. I will add more oat flour (my favorite part of the blend) if I make a bit too much, for example.

Now Spring is almost upon us, so enough of the white flours, here's some colorful flowers to look at, though I don't suggest you eat them :)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sandwich 'Sushi' Roll

I saw an interesting idea in a magazine several years ago for parents who make their kids lunches, and it has stuck with me since. It was a way to mix up the usual sandwich, you know, and keep things interesting. Instead of giving the kids a roll up, you roll the tortilla and the fillings like you would sushi, and slice and serve them like the traditional Japanese fare. Brilliant!

I found some really good gluten free spinach tortillas that I have been enjoying, they are bendy and flexible, which I was quite impressed with. I used one as the seaweed paper, then filled it with cauliflower mash (instead of rice), a sprinkle of cheese, some squash that I had steamed and cut into strips, and a few spinach and basil leaves. You could really fill these with whatever you wanted, I just used what was in the fridge at the time. The squash really worked well though. I didn't use cauliflower "rice" because I thought that it would fall out when I tried cutting it, but I would still be interested in trying this method out.

1 tortilla
1/4 c cauliflower mash
sprinkle of cheese (I like Veggie cheese, mozzarella style)
vegetables of choice, thinly sliced lengthwise (and preferably steamed)
     such as squash, carrots, onion, bell peppers
Few spinach and/or basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper to taste

Cut the cauliflower into bite size florets  and seam by method of choice. I use the microwave and cover the dish of cauliflower with a second dish, but you could boil it in a saucepan until tender or even roast it in the oven at 400 degrees until golden. Then once the florets are cooled, you can throw them in a food processor and process until smooth, only adding a little bit of water if necessary. I like to add in some dried herbs while it is in the food processor, such as parsley or garlic. Then once it is out of the food processor, I top with salt and pepper, and maybe some paprika.

Place one tortilla on a microwavable plate and spread the cauliflower mash onto it evenly, leaving about a 1/2 inch space on the edges. Thinly sprinkle the cheese over the mash and place the vegetables in a strip closer to one of the ends of the tortilla, being sure to not over-stuff!
Place in the microwave and warm for about 30 seconds, this helps when rolling the sandwich. Top the open-face tortilla with a line of 5-6 spinach and/or basil leaves. and begin rolling like you would sushi, beginning at the end closest to the line of vegetables. The wrap should still be a bit warm while rolling, but it is best to wait a minute and let it cool a bit before you slice into little "sushi" rolls, so it has time to cool down a bit. Slice into 3/4'' pieces, and flip onto their sides to resemble sushi!


This was an all veggie version, but it would be really fun to make a turkey-Swiss version, or even a peanut butter-banana roll. Oh, I think that one will have to be next!

Sometimes my mom would put notes in my lunchbox for school. I loved finding them in there among my juice box and "sandwich", which really wasn't a sandwich at all. I was very picky. I liked bread, lettuce, and cheese, but they had to be separate. So my lunches would consist of bread (with the crusts  cut off), washed lettuce, and string cheese. Clearly, I've become more adventurous ;)

What would/do you find in your lunch box?