Saturday, June 30, 2012

Recipe Makeover: Grain Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

So, as part of my gluten-free journey, I regularly rework recipes (or at least try to!) to fit not only my dietary needs, but my tastes as well. I ran across this recipe when a friend of mine started pinning grain-free recipes on Pinterest. Since I had recently gone completely gluten-free again, I was excited to see a cookie that I could actually eat.

I tried them for the first time a few weeks ago and they turned out well, but I wasn't convinced. Especially as mine were significantly uglier than the lovely pictures posted on the Texanerin Baking blog.

What I did with this recipe. I love me some chocolate and I found the original 'dough' to have a chickpea flavor that I was having a tough time getting used to. So, I added cocoa powder to the batter, threw in some butterscotch chips and called it a day. Oh, and after rolling the cookies, I pressed them down with a fork a la peanut butter cookies.

My final recipe:

2 cans of chickpeas (drained, rinsed, and dried)
3/4 c. peanut butter
3/4 c. honey
2 t. baking powder
2 T. cocoa powder
3 t. vanilla extract
1 c. butterscotch chips

Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all ingredients except the chips in the food process. Then, fold in the butterscotch chips. (My dough was a little runny, so I ended up chilling it in the freezer for about a half hour.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and roll the dough into bolls. If you find the dough sticking to your hands, wet them and then roll. Bake for about 10 minutes. Afterwards, I like to let them cool on the rack and then froze them before bagging and popping them back in the freezer.

The final result. It's almost an I-can't-believe-it's-not-gluten moment!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Eating Out

OK, so this isn’t exactly about cooking, but learning to eat out gluten-free is just as tough (or worse!) as learning to cook gluten-free.

Singapore Mei Fun -- This is a dish that most American Chinese joints will feature in their noodle dishes. Singapore Mei Fun is a dish usually made of rice noodles, a mixture of proteins (pork, shrimp, beef, etc.), vegetables, and curry powder. The curry adds a lovely spicy sweetness that makes this dish unique.

Salads -- In general, I do not like salads. I find most of them bland and boring. However, if you can find a really good salad (particularly an entree salad), it’s a great option to order as most of them are gluten-free.
One of my favorites to order is a wedge salad. These are generally crisp, wedges of lettuce served with bacon and bleu cheese dressing, sometimes with avocados and/or sprouts. Just make sure to ask them to leave off any croutons that may be included.
Indian Food --  the majority of Indian cuisine is made without flour and when it’s included a lot of the time it’s almond or chickpea flour.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

"Gluten-Free" Wolves in Sheep's Clothing!

These are the wolves in sheep’s clothing! It’s tough to get used to reading all the labels of everything you eat, but it’s worth it as there are many things that we think are gluten-free that really aren’t.

Soy Sauce -- Soy sauce is actually made with wheat as well as soy. Stick to Tamari, soy sauce’s gluten-free cousin.

Morning Star brand freezer goods -- Most of their products actually include gluten, even though you would never think it.

Buffet items that appear gluten-free -- Just last week, I started to pick up some barbecue ribs from the buffet at Whole Foods, but there it was plain as day: “wheat” written under the ingredients section. There was also wheat in the chicken, the potatoes, and the fish.

French Fries -- Depending on the fast food chain you visit, some of their fries are coated in flour and those that aren't coated in flour are usually cross-contaminated because of being fried in the same oil as other gluten-filled items. Be careful!

Wings - Often, just like french fries, these are dredged or even battered before frying.

Spelt Bread -- This is advertised as a great option for people with wheat allergies, but it still contains gluten, so steer clear of spelt.

Soups -- Many soups (particularly cream-based) are thickened with flour

Vegan/Vegetarian options -- I can’t begin to tell you how many well-intentioned people have tried to introduce me to vegan or vegetarian options that are not gluten-free.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Wonders of Chickpea Flour

Okay, so it isn't so much "wonders" as it is just good. I picked up some chickpea (a.k.a. ceci, gram, or garbanzo) flour at my local Italian imports store this weekend to see what I could do with it. I'd used regular canned chickpeas before in cookies (yes, cookies!), but never tried the actual flour. It was time to remedy that situation.

The chickpea flour was incredibly cheap. $2.50/pound is nothing to sneeze at, especially when you're used to seeing alternative flours for up to $11/pound (almond flour, anyone?)!

I brought it home and immediately started searching for recipes. The first one I found was for a chickpea pancake. On further investigation, it was a thin crepe-style pancake made of just chickpea flour, water, and a pinch of salt. Sounded easy enough. So, I went to work.

I decided to use my 'pancake' as more of a tortilla and set about thinking of fillings. As I live alone, keeping fresh produce from going bad is quite a chore in my house. Because of this, I tend to rely on a lot of frozen veggies. I sauteed some frozen broccoli with garlic for the filling, but was then hit with inspiration.

I had been craving fried chicken for months now. What better to try with my new flour? I ended up mixing equal parts of chickpea flour and Parmesan cheese in with some herbs and a little salt and pepper and then pan-frying the chicken. And it worked! It actually tasted good. Color me surprised.

So, my 'tortilla' was filled with garlic broccoli and fried chicken. It was delicious. But way too filling. One pancake was huge and so dense, it probably could've served for two meals.

Yay, fried chicken!

It tasted a lot better than it looks, trust me!