Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sweet Potato & Leek Latkes

gluten-free sweet potato latkes

Everyone in my family's been trying to eat a lower-glycemic, more nutritionally sound diet for a plethora of health reasons, so I thought we could do with a little change of pace this Chanukah. Breaking with tradition is always hard, but it can also be a good opportunity to try new recipes and create new relationships with ingredients. Tonight's experiment was one of those times when pushing the boundaries of "Jewish food" was well worth it. You may have noticed I am a big fan of the fried leek. In these latkes, the warm, mellow onion flavor of leeks compliment the sweetness of the sweet potatoes.

In addition to being healthier than traditional potato latkes, these sweet potato pancakes have a few other differences. They are less messy and easier to make. Because they don't have the potato starch that is so plentiful in white potatoes, they need a lot more help binding - Additional eggs and potato starch will do the trick (if you don't have potato starch, try tapioca or sweet rice flour - But stay away from grainier gluten-free flours such as regular white rice flour). Even with extra binder added, they have a looser and less sticky consistency so they need to be formed and placed in the oil and flipped with extra TLC. They take a bit longer to cook than regular white potato pancakes, so make sure to keep the oil turned down just a little below the heat you'd use for white potato latkes which will give them longer for the insides to cook before they become crispy around brown around the outer edges.

I recommend serving these tasty vegetable pancakes with sour cream or non-dairy cashew sour cream, but applesauce also works as a condiment. Chag sameach!

gluten-free sweet potato latkes


[ Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Pareve /
Vegetarian / Soy-Free ]

3 extra large sweet potatoes
3 large leeks
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup potato starch (not potato flour)
1 tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Refined vegetable oil (preferably canola or corn oil)

Preheat oven to 200F (if you will need to keep the latkes warm).

Cut sweet potatoes lengthwise so that they are narrow enough to fit through the shoot of a food processor. Using the grater attachment of a food processor, shred the sweet potatoes. Alternately, use the largest holes on a box grater to grate the potatoes by hand.

Rinse the leeks well. Cut the dark green tops off of the leeks, as well as removing the roots from the very bottom. Cut in half lengthwise, and then slice widthwise in very thin slices. Combine the leeks with the grated potato in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, egg, and a generous amount of black pepper. Gently sprinkle potato starch across the top, then stir to combine thoroughly.

Heat 1/3 inch of olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat, until just below the smoking point.

Use your hands to pat a small handful of batter into a small, thin (no more than 1/3" thick) pancake. Gently lower each pancake into the hot oil. Press each latke with the back of a slotted spatula so that it becomes flatter and thinner. Fry until completely golden-brown on the bottom and crispy around the outside corners. Flip and brown on the second side. If the outside is getting browned and crispy before the inside has a chance to cook sufficiently, turn the burner down just slightly.

Transfer latkes to a plate lined with paper towels or several layers of brown paper (I use grocery bags). Allow paper to absorb excess oil, then transfer latkes to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet in the preheated oven, where they will stay warm until ready to serve. Serve hot.

Extra latkes can be frozen on a baking sheet in the refrigerator, with parchment paper or freezer paper between the layers. When frozen, transfer to ziploc bags. Reheat in oven on 400 degrees F.

Serves 4.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

A Gluten-Free Chanukah

Photo: First night of Chanukah at my parents' house

How did Chanukah creep up on us so fast? It's only the first week of December! Oh that whacky Jewish calendar (or a whacky Gregorian calendar, really). I didn't really have time in between Thanksgiving and now to cook up some new Chanukah recipes, so I'm going to have to regurgitate (metaphorically) some oldies but goodies. To save folks the trouble of digging through the archives, here's a roundup of my Chanukah recipes from last year, as well as a few recipes that aren't Chanukah specific but would be appropriate for this week's festive meals. It is a custom for this holiday to eat foods that are fried in oil, in honor of the miracle of one night's worth of oil lasting for eight nights in the Chanukah story. The oil burned for eight nights, we light eight candles, we gain at least eight pounds and spell the holiday's name at least eight ways.

Happy Chanukah / Hanukkah / Hanukah everyone!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Sample Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Menus

Since I know there are always folks who are looking for recipes or meal ideas at the last minute, here are a few possible gluten-free thanksgiving menus along with links to recipes.


Roast Turkey
Classic Stuffing
Cranberry and Pear Chutney
Gluten-Free Gravy
Kim's Sweet Potato Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Buttermilk Biscuits
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Apple Pie with Crumble Topping
Persimmon-Pecan Cake


Tofu Turkey Roast (Vegan)
Fresh Orange-Cranberry Sauce (Vegan)

Walnut-Sage Potatoes Au Gratin
Easy Vegetarian Collard Greens (Vegan)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan & Pine Nuts
Butternut Squash Timbales with Apple Chestnut Sauce
Scooped Biscuits
Cranberry Crumble (Vegan)
Pumpkin Cheesecake Creme Caramel
Apples Doused in Cardamom Wine


Maple-Cider Turkey

Gluten-Free Stuffing with Dried Fruit
Pumpkin with Cranberries
Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Parsnip & Carrot Pancakes
Cranberry Applesauce
Multigrain Miracle Bread
Apple-Quince Pie
Pumpkin Pie (Also see Part II and Part III)
Ginger & Cardamom Poached Pears

Have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving, everyone!

Looking for Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes?

If you are one of the thousands of people who've found my site this week by doing web searches for gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes, thanks for stopping by! To make things easier for you here are some links to recipes and guides for having a healthy and happy gluten-free Thanksgiving:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ginger & Cardamom Poached Pears

ginger poached pears
My dear vegan and milk-allergic readers, I have not forgotten you.

This has to be one of the most popular desserts I've made, when it comes to the reactions of the people who eat the food I cook. I didn't expect that. I think I'm a pretty good cake baker, but when I tried this recipe for the first time at Rosh Hashanah dinner, I got more mmmmms and wows and ohmyg0ds with this deceptively simple fruit dessert than with the honey cakes I served it with. I made it again for Shabbat dinner on Friday and it was every bit as lovely as before. It would be a wonderful gluten-free vegan dessert option for Thanksgiving.

Easy but sophisticated is what I was going for. Peeling fruit does not equal "easy" in my book, so I didn't bother. If you'd like to try peeling the pears before halving them, go for it! This recipe works best with pears that are just ripe enough to have some softness while being firm enough to be handled without their skin getting easily damaged. How long you cook the pears will depend on how ripe they were to begin with - Five minutes on each side is plenty for a ripe piece of fruit. As for sugar, any kind should work. I have used raw sugar both times I've prepared this.

I sure wish these photos were better. The bits of stuff on top of the pears is ginger pieces, which I like to serve with the pear though they can be removed if you prefer. These pictures were taken before the sauce finished reducing into the dark, thick syrup that is drizzled on top of the pears - So the thin sauce you see on the pears is just the pre-reduction version of it, which I spooned on top of them before taking pictures. Imagine a thicker, darker and more syrupy sauce that can be truly drizzled across each pear. This recipe inevitably makes extra of the reduced ginger-cardamom syrup. The leftover syrup is divine, with its rich and slightly spicy flavor and sweet pieces of nearly candied ginger floating in it. It would be wonderful on pancakes or vanilla ice cream, so I like to save it in a little tupperware container for later enjoyment.

ginger poached pears


[ Vegan / Pareve / Soy-Free / Dairy-Free / Gluten-Free ]

2" piece of ginger root, peeled
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp cloves (powdered)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2" piece of lemon zest
5 semi-ripe Bartlett or Anjou pears, washed and dried

Slice ginger root into very thin slices. Cut slices into narrow matchsticks. Bring water, sugar, spices, lemon zest, lemon juice and fresh ginger to a boil in a wide, heavy saucepan. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes.

While the liquid is simmering, slice pears in half lengthwise and use a teaspoon to scoop the seeds out of each half. Place the pears cut-side down in the sauce pan and simmer for 5 minutes, then flip over and simmer for another 5 minutes. Baste occasionally with a spoon while cooking. Using a slotted spatula, carefully lift each piece of pear out of the liquid and place on a serving platter or individual plates.

Remove the lemon zest and cinnamon sticks from the liquid (you can remove the ginger pieces, too, if you like, but I think they're wonderful left in). Bring the liquid back up to a rolling boil, and boil until it thickens into a syrup. Drizzle 1 Tbsp of the syrup across each half of pear just before serving.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Thanksgiving Kugel: Gluten-Free Noodle Kugel with Cranberries

gluten-free cranberry noodle kugel
gluten-free cranberry noodle kugel
I haven't been inspired by Thanksgiving yet this year, which explains the lack of Thanksgiving mania on this blog. But tonight I think the bug finally bit me, if only mildly.

This past spring I posted my recipe for Savory Gluten-Free Noodle Kugel, a hearty mushroom-flecked kugel made with Manischewitz brand gluten-free Passover egg noodles. I made a point of stocking up last Pesach so I'd have some of these fabulous noodles to last me through the year, and I used up another bag tonight making a sweet lokshen kugel (noodle and egg casserole). I still have two or three left, just enough to get me through to this spring when they are back on the shelves at kosher grocery stores. Though I generally prefer Tinkyada noodles for just about everything, there are a few things that a wide, flat egg noodle is better for - Kugel is one of them. The fact that the Pesach noodles are made from potato starch means that they are all the more absorbent, which is perfect for a kugel.

Our family has two different kugel traditions - My dad's side of the family makes savory noodle kugels. On my mom's side, it's sweet kugel all the way. Since I made savory kugel last time (and boy was it good) this time I tried to sweeten it up without overdoing it on the sugar. What I ended up with was the Thanksgiving Kugel. There are thousands of bubbes rolling over in their graves at the very mention of the words "Thanksgiving" and "kugel" next to each other. I'm usually a little bit of a purist when it comes to ethnic foods. But I think if any of those bubbes would taste this kugel, they would forgive me. The dried cranberries (or "craisins" as marketing gurus seem to have renamed them) really plump up like little sweet-tart gems and make a tasty replacement for the usual raisins.

I lightened the kugel up a little - Trying to make this kind of traditional food low fat is just not something I have the heart to do. But I did trim some fat from where the texture or flavor wouldn't suffer. If you like your sweet kugels really sweet, you'll want to add an additional 1/2 to 3/4 cups of sugar, since I made this to be a side dish more than a dessert. This easy kugel would be a really nice side dish for Thanksgiving, it works well by itself for breakfast, and it should heat up well in a toaster oven or conventional oven.

Eat it in good health!

gluten-free noodle kugel with cranberries


[ Gluten-Free / Soy-Free / Vegetarian / Dairy ]

16 oz wide gluten-free egg noodles*
6 eggs
7 to 8 oz farmers' cheese
2 cups low-fat sour cream
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar or raw sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Butter or margarine for greasing the pan
Optional: Additional pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar for top

Preheat oven to 350 F. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook noodles until tender but not overly soft, remove from heat and drain immediately, rinsing with cold water. Set aside. Grease lasagna pan.

In a blender, combine spices, salt, sugar, milk, eggs, sour cream and farmers' cheese. Pulse until smooth. In a large bowl, pour liquid over the noodles. Add cranberries. Stir until well-combined. Pour entire mixture (including all "extra" liquid) into the greased pan. Dust the top with additional sugar and pumpkin pie spice.

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the top is golden-brown and the egg mixture has become slightly firm (will still be somewhat soft - do not overcook!) Allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving warm.

If you don't have access to gluten-free Passover egg noodles, gluten-free tagliatelle or lasagna noodles (cut in strips after cooking) will work, though the texture won't be quite the same.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Kale & Ricotta Stuffed Giant Shells ... and Absent-Minded Food Bloggers

How do the rest of you food bloggers keep track of the recipes you're creating? I have a terrible habit of writing things down as I cook on the back of an old envelope, a piece of mail, a bill. And then I lose them. I would guess I lose track of half the recipes I write down on those random scraps. This is one of those recipes. It was lost for nearly a month. I have finally found it, only to have forgotten many of the "mental notes" I had made about how to write out the recipe. So here is the reconstructed version, put together from messy incomplete notes, my sad excuse for memory, and my instincts (which I trust more than my notes and my memory put together!)

I'm impressed with the Tinkyada Brown Rice Grand Shells. They hold up pretty darn well and are easy to stuff, though I recommend undercooking them slightly and handling them with a little extra care. They're wholesome and they taste great. You could feed this dish to your friends without anyone guessing it's gluten-free. Casseroles are very much fall and winter foods for me, even if they're not made with squash or sweet potatoes. This one is a winner. This is really a tasty meal, and reheats fabulously well. I like to reheat it with a little extra sauce and/or cheese added to it for extra yums. It's a nice way to get some more vegetables and fiber into your (or your vegetable-hating child's) diet.



[ Gluten-Free / Vegetarian / Dairy / Soy-Free ]

1 package Tinkyada Gluten-Free Brown Rice Grand Shells

1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups of finely shredded or chopped kale, uncooked
1 1/2 cups crimini mushrooms, minced
1/2 onion, diced finely
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces reduced fat mozzarella, shredded
15 ounces low-fat ricotta
1-2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp Italian seasoning
Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup marinara sauce for under shells
2 cups marinara sauce for over shells
8 ounces reduced fat mozzarella, shredded
Optional: Additional parmesan

Boil shells according to package directions in lightly salted water until al dente consistency. Remove, drain, gently rinse with cold water and allow to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a heavy pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Sautee onions until translucent, then add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sautee until they let off a little bit of liquid. Add shredded kale and sautee until tender. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, mash together ricotta, 4 ounces of mozzarella, 1-2 Tbsp of parmesan, spices and egg. When combined, add the sauteed vegetables and mix well.

In the bottom of a baking dish spread one cup of marinara sauce. Stuff each pasta shell gently but generously with the filling (you know it's properly stuffed when some filling should is coming out of the shell) and lay in the baking dish. When you have stuffed all of the shells, pour remaining two cups of sauce evenly over the shells and sprinkle with mozzarella and optional parmesan. Cover with tin foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove tin foil and bake for additional 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The Occasional Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup: 11/5/07

The blogosphere has been truly hopping with wonderful gluten-free recipes the past few months. New gluten-free blogs keep popping up, and more blogs that aren't strictly gluten-free have been publishing GF recipes, which is wonderful to see. Recent trends I've noticed include gluten-free pasta making from scratch and ingredients like quinoa and agave nectar. Health-oriented and vegan recipes abound these days. But fear not, there are plenty of recipes for you sugar addicts and fans of refined grains and saturated fats, too. Thanks for all the inspiration all of you bloggers have been providing me with recently. This list is only the tip of the gluten-free iceberg.

I've tried something new this time, categorizing recipes in order to make it easier to find what you're looking for and to plan a menu. The categories are a bit arbitrary - One woman's side dish is another woman's entree. So let me know if these categories work for you or if there's anything else I can do to make this list more useful. All of these recipes are gluten-free and kosher, or require no more than one substitution to become so. I hope you find this roundup useful, I sure had fun putting it together. Give a shout if you try one of the recipes. Bon appetit!

Disclaimer: As usual, there are recipes on here that call for ingredients that can be found in both gluten-free and gluten-laden versions (soy sauce, breadcrumbs, etc). There are also ingredients that are available in both kosher and non-kosher versions (and of course milchig and fleishig and pareve). I haven't checked over every ingredient list with a fine-toothed comb, so be sure to check labels, and be creative!

Click here for previous editions of the Gluten-Free Recipe Roundup

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New Hudson Valley Gluten-Free Social & Dining Group

Hi everyone -

I want to let folks know that there is a new social and dining group in the Hudson Valley (New York) for people with celiac disease and gluten intolerance as well as anyone on a gluten-free diet for health reasons. Its focus is on social activities rather than being a traditional format support group, so the group will be doing things like eating at different area restaurants that serve gluten-free food, going hiking, having cooking demonstrations, and going on field trips.

To see more information about the group please visit the Mid-Hudson Valley Gluten-Free Outings Meetup Group.

The first meeting will be at an Indian restaurant in New Paltz on November 15, 2007. For more information see the above link.

Any help that you can give in spreading the word about this would be much appreciated! if you know people in the vicinity of Poughkeepsie, New Paltz, Albany, Newburgh, Kingston, Beacon, etc... Please let them know about this.

Thanks! Hope to see some of you there.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Gluten-Free Apple-Quince Pie

I got some e-mails asking me about the pie pictured in the post on my Pecan-Quinoa Streusel Crumble Topping. That's an apple-quince pie! I would have posted the recipe sooner if I hadn't been gallavanting around New York City with a bunch of gay Jews this weekend. Have you ever cooked with quince? It's a hard autumn fruit that looks like a hard and somewhat lumpy cross between an apple and a pear. It tastes unpleasantly astringent when raw but is delicious when cooked down with plenty of sweetener (agave nectar, in my case), and has a flavor that is fragrant, mild and apple-y. The texture is firmer and more grainy than an apple, which makes it stand up well to a long cooking time. Apples and quinces are lovely together. Quinces take much longer to cook than apples, so cooking them together results in an apple-quince "sauce" with a wonderful consistency - The apples will nearly dissolve into sauce while the quince retains just enough of its firmness to give the filling a good bite and appearance. I discovered later that I used unripe quinces, so keep an eye out for yellow quinces rather than the green ones I used, and they will take less time to cook.

The pie was fantastic, if not entirely photogenic. I used the Natural Feast Gluten-Free Frozen Pie Shells again. As I mentioned in this post they are gluten-free, vegan, kosher (pareve) and free of refined sweeteners. They are also free of soy and nuts. They're no replacement for a homemade crust, but they work well in a pinch. Since they come in packages of two, I had one left after making that delicious apple-raspberry pie, so I used the remaining one for this pie. This recipe calls for a pre-baked crust - If you use the Natural Feast crust, follow the directions on the package for baking it without a filling, but cut the baking time in half, then remove the crust from the oven and fill it with the fruit filling. Once you fill it, put a piece of tin foil underneath and fold the edges up so it creates a loose partial tent around the pie, with the top open. This will keep the edges from burning.

You will likely have some leftover filling, but that's intentional on my part. I think the filling is just too good to only be inside one little pie. Eat the leftovers cold, like applesauce - Or mix with yogurt. Better yet, put them in ramekins, sprinkle with leftover crumble topping, and bake in the oven or toaster oven until the topping has browned slightly. An easy breakfast or dessert. Who needs a crust, really?


[Gluten-Free / Pareve / Soy-Free / Vegan ]

5 quinces
8 granny smith apples
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice mix*
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup apple cider
1 cup agave nectar, sugar or honey
2 Tbsp sweet rice flour**
1 Tbsp margarine (or butter) cut into small pieces
1 recipe Pecan-Quinoa Streusel Crumble Topping

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Peel apples and quinces, core them and cut them in thin slices - You can use an apple slicer for the apples, but make sure the quince is cut as thin as possible. Add all ingredients to a large pot, and bring to a boil. Cover the pot, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the fruit is tender (about 20-30 minutes), stirring occasionally.

Pour the fruit mixture from the pot into a mixing bowl, and slowly sift in the sweet rice flour, making sure to mix it in evenly so there are no lumps.

Pour fruit mixture into a partially pre-baked pie crust. Use your fingers to crumble the streusel topping across the entire top of the pie. Arrange small pieces of margarine across the top, and bake for 20-20 minutes, or until the topping is golden-brown and the filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.

*You can buy pumpkin pie spice mix from any spice company, or make your own.

**Sweet rice flour is not the same as white rice or brown rice flour, which are not good thickeners. You can find it at most Asian markets as well as some health food stores. It is sometimes called sticky rice flour, glutinous rice flour (yes, it's gluten-free!) or oriental rice flour. You can buy it online here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Flourless Streusel Crumble Topping with No Refined Sugar

It took me a while to find a gluten-free crumble topping that doesn't use oats and has a texture and appearance that I like. I guess I'm picky about my crumbles. When I finally got this recipe right, I was pleased as punch. Now I can actually convince myself that pie is health food! This crumble topping is especially for those of us who choose to avoid refined sugar, which is the backbone of the crumble toppings usually used on top of fruit crisps, pies and some bar cookies. I created this crumble topping as a healthier, whole grain alternative, free of cane sugar and full of crumbly texture and sweet, nutty flavor. I hope it will help somebody out there transform some plain old fruit or a topless pie (ha!) into something truly worthy of oohs and aahs.

Though certified gluten-free oats are now available, they are hard to find in local stores and are very expensive. There are also celiacs who cannot digest even these certified oats. So some of us still have the need for a gluten-free crumble topping that is made with alternative ingredients. This recipe relies on the versatility of pecans and the oat-like texture and outstanding nutritional profile of Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes for its texture. I buy quinoa flakes locally for around $3 per package. I hear there are other companies besides Ancient Harvest that make quinoa flakes, but this is the only brand I've found in stores here and I'm quite happy with it as a baking ingredient and a hot cereal for chilly mornings.

I have tried this recipe with both honey and agave nectar, and honey creates a much better crumb and holds the sweetness better when the crumble is baked. However, if you need to make this strictly vegan, agave nectar will certainly do the job.

Feel free to use butter (as if you needed my permission!) I've called for non-hydrogenated margarine only because I often like to make my pies pareve so that I can eat them at both meat and dairy meals. I would definitely choose butter if I didn't need this versatility, because butter makes everything better. My good buddy L of A Question Mark taught me that. Using butter would also make this recipe soy-free.

I have a tupperware of leftover crumble in my refrigerator after using it to top a pie I made the other day. I can't wait to go to the farmer's market to buy whatever's in season to transform into a delicious fruit crisp.


[ Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Pareve / Vegan ]

1 cup pecans
3 Tbsp non-hydrogenated vegetable margarine (such as Earth Balance), softened slightly
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
3 to 4 Tbsp honey or agave nectar
Pinch of salt

In a food processor with blade attachment, process pecans until they are in nearly uniform small chunks (see picture below). If you have a plastic blade or mixer attachment, attach it and add the rest of the ingredients. If you only have a metal blade, pulse ingredients as slowly and minimally as possible. Process only until ingredients are well combined and form a uniform, crumbly mixture. Use your fingers to crumble it into small pieces over the top of a pie, fruit crisp, muffins, or other baked good. Place dish into a preheated oven at 400 F. Bake until the crumble topping is browned but not burnt (watch carefully to make sure the top doesn't char), approximately 20 minutes.

Here's what the pecans should look like before you add the other ingredients:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Pie. Pie. Pie. Pie. Pie. Apple Raspberry Pie.

I love pie. I've never met a pie I didn't love, though sadly some pies just don't love me back.

This is a vegan gluten-free apple-raspberry pie with a crumble topping, made with no refined sugar and all local fruit. It was improvisational, and I didn't write the recipe down - I mixed up apples, cinnamon, nutmeg, fresh raspberries, a little Earth Balance margarine, agave nectar and some lemon juice and a little cornstarch (or was it arrowroot starch or sweet rice flour?) for the filling. I will post the delicious whole-grain crumb topping recipe one of these days, I promise. It turned out deliciously. I have another frozen gluten-free pie crust in my freezer just waiting to be turned into another pie, so a recipe should be forthcoming in the next week or so.

The pie crust is this one, which I bought at my local Hannaford:

Natural Feast Gluten-Free Pie Shells (Frozen - 2 Units)

If you don't have a Hannaford near you, you can buy it from Gluten-Free Mall. They come in packages of two, and are vegan, kosher, gluten-free and free of refined sugar. Though my homemade pie crusts are better, these frozen guys are pretty darn decent and so very, very convenient.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Gluten-Free Challah (Pareve / Dairy-Free): Version 1.0

gluten-free challah

gluten-free challah

gluten-free challah
Oh, my friends, this is the craziest of crazy times, this 4 week period of one Jewish holy day after another! A veritable Jewish spiritual marathon, really, and it's not over yet- Sukkot is nearly upon us and Simchat Torah is right around the corner. The cooking I've been doing has been under time constraints not to mention religious ones - The food has been wonderful and well-appreciated, but there's been little time for photographing and blogging. This fabulous insanity will continue for a while yet.

But you know, it's okay. There is some grace to be found in all this, and some joy in cooking for the sake of cooking rather than for the sake of blogging. And what better way to spend my cooking energy and celebrate the approach of autumn than on preparing a multi-course feast for friends and family on erev Rosh Hashanah? The Rosh Hashanah menu included a terrific beef tzimmes (basically my vegetarian tzimmes with big, tender chunks of beef cooked into it); Roasted Butternut Squash, Marcona Almond and Pomegranate Salad which is a spectacular celebration of fall; the Lacy Potato Kugel I've been making at every holiday since I fell in love with it; steamed green beans tossed with lemon oil; a pareve gluten-free Honey Cake drizzled with local honey and topped with slivers of toasted almonds; and ginger-poached pears (recipe forthcoming) which truly surprised me by stealing the show. Oh, and P.S. I also made gluten-free challah!

I based this recipe roughly upon Sara Nussbaum's gluten-free challah recipe, which Ellen posted her version of a while back. Is this the perfect gluten-free challah, that Jewish celiac equivalent of a holy grail which tastes just like what you remember from your childhood? No, it's not perfect - It's a work in progress. But is it delicious? Oh yes, it most certainly is. It turned out more challah-like than I expected, and it was delicious dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah and made into the loveliest challah French toast in the days that followed.

To get the most challah-like texture without gluten, you need to have a dough with a high liquid content, which would be more like a batter than a dough and thus unable to be handled. This is why most gluten-free challah recipes can't be braided. Most gluten-free recipes that I've seen which create braid-able doughs use dough conditioners that are not easily available / kosher. Making a bread pareve further impacts the moisture. So, in order to make a bread I could shape into something vaguely resembling a traditional shape, I used far less liquid than your usual GF bread recipe would call for. The result is a dough that can be (very carefully) handled, perhaps even braided by a very skilled and well-greased hand - But this also resulted in a bread that was quite a bit less moist than what I'm used to. It was absolutely wonderful when it was still warm out of the oven, but after it cooled completely, I found it needed some light toasting to restore its texture.

I created it in a pull-apart challah style. You can see Bureka Boy's photographs of what a gluten-y pull-apart challah looks like here. It's obvious from my photos that the pull-apart idea didn't really work with this dough, but that forming the challah from balls of dough helped give the top of the bread the bumpy shape that looks similar to how braided round challahs appear. If you don't care how your challah looks, skip that step and just pour the dough into the cake pan at once, smooth the top, glaze it, and bake it.

I considered not sharing this recipe until I improved upon it, but I realized there is no reason to not let you in on my process. The journey that a recipe goes through as it is perfected is often a long one, and I will keep you posted as I improve upon this recipe in the coming months.

It was so nice to get to eat challah along with everyone else on Rosh Hashanah this year. It made me feel downright almost normal. (Yes, even weirdos can occasionally feel normal.)


[ Gluten-Free / Dairy-Free / Soy-Free /
Vegetarian / Pareve ]

1 package active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups cornstarch
3/4 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 cup Vance's Foods DariFree Original Powder (or other powdered non-dairy milk substitute)
1 Tbsp guar gum
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp dry potato flakes
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
4 eggs + 1 extra egg yolk (at room temperature)
1 egg yolk beaten with 1 Tbsp water, for glaze
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)
Baking spray / vegetable oil spray (non-dairy)

Turn oven on 200 F for 10 minutes, then turn oven off. Mix yeast and sugar with warm water in a small bowl. Cover with tin foil, and place in the oven for 10 minutes or until the top becomes bubbly.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine cornstarch, white and brown rice flours, tapioca starch, guar gum, salt, baking powder, powdered non-dairy milk and potato flakes. Add yeast mixture, oil, honey and eggs (except for reserved egg glaze). Blend thoroughly on high speed. If you are adding raisins, fold them in with the mixer set to a low setting until they are evenly dispersed throughout the dough.

Grease an 8- or 9-inch round cake pan (preferably silicone). Spray baking spray all over the palms of your hands, and place a ball of dough of about 3" diameter in the center of the cake pan. Continue to roll dough into balls, placing them in concentric circles around the center ball until they reach the edge of the cake pan. Do not pack them in too tightly, they should touch each other but some spaces should be visible. The dough is very sticky, so you will need to spray oil on your hands frequently in order to be able to handle the dough and roll it into balls (if you get too much dough sticking to your hands, wash them off, dry them, and re-oil them).

Using a pastry brush, brush half of the egg glaze over the top of the dough. Cover with a dish cloth and place in oven, which should still be warm but should not be on. Allow to rise for 1 hour. It should rise to the top of the cake pan or higher.

Remove the pan from the oven, and set oven to 350 F. Remove the towel from the pan, and brush the remaining egg glaze on the dough. Sprinkle with poppy or sesame seeds, if desired. Return pan to oven, uncovered. Bake for 20 minutes, then cover with foil and bake for another 25 minutes.

Allow bread to cool slightly before transferring it to a cooling rack. Eat while warm, or slice and toast it. Will keep for up to a week at room temperature in a ziploc storage bag, or you can slice and freeze it for longer storage.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bad news about Chebe products - They are no longer kosher certified

Though I don't usually post about this type of issue on this blog, I am so disappointed about this news that I want to pass the word on to others who may be affected. I just received a response to an e-mail inquiry from Chebe products. All of their products that were manufactured after April 2007 are no longer kosher certified. This means that several of the recipes on my blog, such as my knishes and Jamaican-style spicy turkey patties, are no longer kosher for people who care about their food products being hechshered. This is a real loss for those of us who are gluten-free and keep kosher. I am working on creating a homemade Chebe replacement that will work in these recipes, and perhaps even be an improvement. In the meantime I urge people to encourage Chebe to re-certify their wonderfully versatile gluten-free products by e-mailing, writing, or calling them. You can find their contact information here.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Gluten-Free Rosh Hashanah Recipe Roundup 2007

In the spirit of my Gluten-Free Passover Roundup 2007, I thought I'd put together a Rosh Hashanah version. Rosh Hashanah doesn't have any of the food restrictions of Passover, so this holiday doesn't leave most of us in the same kind of panic over finding gluten-free foods to eat. Yet menu planning is always a challenge, especially when cooking for guests, as many of us do this time of year. I hope this will help a bit. Here are some ideas, from my blog and other websites, of foods for your holiday table. You'll notice an emphasis on sweet foods, leeks, carrots, honey, round-shaped foods, etc. Here is an article about Rosh Hashanah food customs, if you're curious.



P = Parve (no dairy, no meat)
M = Meat (fleischig)
D = Dairy (milchig)
V = Vegan (no meat, fish, eggs or dairy)
VG = Vegetarian dishes containing dairy or eggs

Sugar & Spice Pecans (P, VG)
Vegetarian Chopped Liver (P, V)
Fig & Pomegranate Tapenade (P, V)

Isaiah's Victorious Vegetable Stock (P/D, V/VG)
Sephardic Leek Soup (M)
Hot Beet Borscht (P, V)
Butternut Squash Soup (P, V)
Potato Kneidlach (P, VG)
Gluten-Free Mock Matzo Balls (P, VG)
Beat, Bean and Apple Salad (P, V)
Roasted Butternut Squash, Marcona Almond & Pomegranate Salad (P/D, V/VG)

Beef Tzimmes with Butternut Squash (M)
Apple-Glazed BBQ Chicken (M)
Whole Fish Emeril-Style (P)
Gluten-Free Blintzes (D/P, VG)
Chicken with Pomegranate Glaze & Fresh Mint (M)
Prassokoftedes (Potato-Leek Fritters) (P, VG)
Gluten-Free Knishes (D, VG)
Southwestern Tsimmes Stuffed in Chiles (P, V with Honey)
Leg of Lamb with Pomegranate (M)
Tzimmes (P, V with honey)
Herb-Stuffed Trout with Vegetable Kabobs (P)
Rolled Cabbage (M)
Poached Fish with Pomegranate Sauce (P)
Chicken with Fresh Figs (M)
Sweet Brisket (M)
Parsnip & Carrot Confetti Latkes (P, VG)
Roasted Squash with Potatoes (D, VG)
Pomegranate Tofu (P, V)
Jewish Grandma's Best Beef Brisket (M)

Noodle Kugel (P, V with honey, dairy option)
Winter Squash with Caramelized Onions (P, V)
Fried Leeks with Tarragon Vinegar (P, VG)
Carrot Leek and Apple Bake (D, VG)
Honeyed Nahit (Chickpeas) (M)
Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans & Portobellos
Sephardic Black Eyed Peas (P, V)
Sweet Potato and Spiced Apple Casserole (D, VG)
Holy Carrots (D, VG)
Algerian Green Beans with Almonds (P, V)
Gluten-Free Kasha Varnishkes (M)
Carrot Souffle (P, VG)
Caramelized Butternut Squash (D, VG)
Lacy Potato Kugel (P, VG)
Zucchini with Currants and Almonds (P, V)

Gluten-Free Challah I (D, VG)
Gluten-Free Challah II (D, VG)
Rosemary and Olive Sweet Potato Bread (P, VG)

Gluten-Free Honey Cake (Version 2.0)(P)
Gluten-Free Honey Cake (Version 1.0)
Honey & Ginger Cake (D, VG)
Baked Apples (D, VG)
Fig-Bar Cookies (D, VG)
Fruit Compote (P, V)
Bosc Pears with Pomegranate Glaze (P, V)
Pomegranate Tapioca (P, V)
Spiced Dates with Mascarpone Cheese (D, VG)
Pumpkin Creme Brulee (D, VG),
Candy Apples (P, V)
Apple Crisp (D, VG)

Mulled Fall Fruit Cider (P, V)
Pomegranate Martini (P, V)
Tej (Ethiopian Honey Wine) (P, V with honey)

L'Shanah Tovah Tikatevu!

[Apples & honey image is from imgmag]

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Gluten-Free Honey Cake for Rosh Hashanah: Version 2.0

My first recipe for Gluten-Free Honey Cake (Version 1.0) was the second recipe I ever posted to this blog. In honor of how far my own culinary journey has evolved since starting this blog nearly a year ago, and to celebrate my boundless love for Rosh Hashanah fare, I have revamped my gluten-free, wheat-free honey cake recipe. Though quite delicious, my last recipe used Pamela's Ultimate Baking & Pancake Mix, which doesn't have a reliable hechsher, and was dairy and therefore useless for most festive Jewish New Year meals, which feature meat. This new and improved Honey Cake 2.0 is pareve (non-dairy) and doesn't use a mix. It is every bit as delightful in its orange-tinted honey flavor and moist texture, but it lends itself better to the traditional Rosh Hashanah dinner table.

The mini-cakes pictured were baked in adorable little individual silicone fluted cake pans that I found at the dollar store in New Paltz. However, I have made this recipe in a 9" round cake pan and a standard-sized bread loaf pan, and had terrific success both times. I have posted the approximate baking times for several sizes, so you can use whatever baking gear you have on hand. I really do recommend the miniature individual cake pans, the resulting cakelets are so cute and so easily embellished with fruit or nuts placed in the hollow center. You can try a miniature silicone bundt pan like this or miniature fluted cake pans like this. I don't normally use silicone for baking, however the high amount of honey in this recipe leads to edges getting burnt extremely quickly, so I've found that to keep the outside of the cake golden and tender, avoiding burning and crispyness, silicone is best. Nonstick metal cake pans or bread tins are the second best choice, or use parchment paper to line a regular metal pan.

I recommend using a rich, flavorful honey for this recipe, especially for the "glaze". Honey alone is a flavorful and moist enough topping for my taste, but you can also try sifting powdered sugar over the cake/s, or try any recipe for a bundt cake glaze. Boiling down some honey mixed with orange juice and orange zest would make a glaze perfectly complementary to the flavors in this cake.

I hope this cake recipe brings some sweetness to your new year. L'shanah tovah!


[ Gluten-Free / Soy-Free / Nut-Free Option /
Dairy-Free / Pareve ]

3 cups
Carol's Flour Blend
3/4 cup turbinado sugar or white sugar
2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
1 /4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tsp finely grated orange zest
1 cup honey
1 cup orange juice

Optional: Honey, toasted almond slivers, pecan pieces and/or powdered sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C). Cover the bottom of a 9" circular baking pan with parchment paper, then spray the inside of the pan lightly with dairy-free baking spray. If making miniature cakes using silicone mini-bundt or mini-fluted cake pans, place pans on a baking sheet and spray lightly with baking spray. Well-greased loaf pans may also be used.

Stir together flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt and sugar in a medium bowl.

Separate the eggs. In one large mixing bowl, combine egg yolks, honey, oil, applesauce, orange juice and orange zest. In a separate medium bowl, beat egg whites with an electric beater until they form stiff peaks.

Using a whisk or hand beater, slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. When thoroughly combined, fold the egg whites carefully into the batter, stirring very gently just until the ingredients are fully combined.

Immediately pour batter into pan/s and bake for approximately 20 minutes (for miniature cakes), 40 minutes (for round cakes) or 45-50 minutes (for loaves), or until a toothpick inserted into the cake's center comes out with just a few crumbs on it. Watch cakes carefully to make sure that the edges do not burn. Remove cakes from oven and allow to cool before carefully removing from pan/s and placing onto a cooling rack. For bundt and fluted pans, once the cakes are cool you can use a sharp serrated bread knife to gently remove the domed "bottoms" of the cakes (the side facing up when you baked them) so that they pretty cake "tops" can sit flat on a plate, if you wish.

Immediately before serving, fill bundt/fluted cake centers with nuts or fruit (if applicable) and sift powdered sugar over them or drizzle cake/s with additional honey.

Carol's Flour Blend

I was sent a copy of Gluten-Free Quick and Easy by Carol Fenster a few months ago. I will post a review of the book one of these days. In the meantime, I wanted to post my very slight modifications to Carol's Flour Blend, to use as a future reference. It's not so different from my own mixes. This is a basic multi-purpose gluten-free flour blend, though it can't be used cup-for-cup in most baking recipes without adding guar gum or xanthan gum. Carol Fenster uses it as the base for many of her recipes. I used it with great success in a recipe I'm about to post in a few minutes, so I'm creating a separate post for it so I can link back to it whenever I post recipes based on this mix. Carol recommends cornstarch as a substitute for potato starch, but I personally try to avoid using refined corn products as much as possible. She recommends sorghum flour, which I love, but brown rice flour would work just fine, in my experience. So far I have had luck using this mix as a base for a yeast pizza dough, and for a cake.


1 1/2 cups sorghum flour or brown rice flour
1 1/2 cups potato starch
1 cup tapioca flour

Mix ingredients in ziploc storage bag, and store in refrigerator.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Quinoa-Cannellini Burgers: A Gluten-Free Veggie Burger for Grown-Ups

I feel slightly guilty calling these "burgers" - Not because they're vegetarian, but because they just seem too sophisticated for that moniker. The flavors are too dynamic. These firm, protein-packed, slightly spicy patties can stand alone as the "meat" of a meal, and taste as good topped with chutney or salsa as they do with ketchup (I've tried them with all three!) Chipotle aioli seems like it would be a good match, too. These burgers are delicious on a bun, but they beg for a hearty whole-grain bread or a kaiser roll rather than a plain ol' mass-produced hamburger bun. They're not all-American BBQ fare, after all. These are gourmet veggie burgers for grown-ups.

The patties are easy to make, and are a great way to use up leftover quinoa. They are packed with nutrition, and are a great way to get some whole grains into your diet. Got leftovers? Try cutting them into pieces and using them as a filling in a bean and cheese burrito made with a brown rice tortilla (believe me, it's fabulous). They heat up quite well in the toaster oven (though I'd pass on the microwave, for fear of losing their crispy outer crust). I always make an extra batch just so that I have plenty of leftovers to keep in the fridge.

I prefer to use very well-cooked quinoa for this recipe. Though I usually toast my quinoa before cooking it, I didn't find it necessary for this recipe. If you cook it in tomato soup (my preference) or in vegetable broth, the flavor of the burgers will be enhanced - But reduce the salt in the recipe by half. To prepare the quinoa, cook 1/2 cup of quinoa in 1 cup of liquid. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from heat but keep covered, and allow to continue steaming until very soft and fluffy.

When I was making these, my mother asked what I was cooking. When I told her, she gave me a funny look. Turned out she thought I'd said "quinoa-kundalini burgers". So from now on, cannellini beans shall be known as "kundalini beans"!


a/k/a Quinoa-Kundalini Burgers

[ Gluten-Free / Soy-Free / Nut-Free / Vegetarian / Pareve ]

1 cup canned cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup cooked quinoa, firmly packed
3 cloves garlic, minced finely
1 jalapeno, minced, including seeds
1 tsp fresh thyme
1 cup grated carrot
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
Generous amount of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup light olive oil or canola oil, for frying
Additional sorghum flour for dredging

Using the back of a fork, mash the beans slightly (they should not be completely smooth). Add all other ingredients except olive oil and flour. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Slowly sprinkle in 3/4 cup of sorghum flour, combining until a loose "dough" is formed that is dense enough to be handled (use additional flour if necessary).

In a 12" pan, heat up oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of additional sorghum flour on a plate or in a pie tin. Compress "dough" between your hands to form 1/2" thick patties of about 4" diameter. One by one, carefully dredge them in sorghum flour, making sure the flour is distributed on both sides and along the edges of each patty. Use a slotted spatula to transfer carefully into hot oil. Cook for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown and slightly crisp. In between batches you may want to replace the oil. Remove burgers from oil and place on a plate lined with paper towel or pieces of brown paper bag to absorb excess oil. Serve hot.