Sunday, November 25, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggety jig

Ah, it is nice to relax in my own chair, in my own office, at my own computer, in my own house. Well, they aren't technically just mine, but they aren't the hotel's, they aren't the property of a church in Houston, and they aren't at my brother's house, so I will claim them for myself.

There is much to share about this past week and weekend, for anyone who has a desire to read about it, but I will have to catch up bit by bit. This post is mostly about cooking stuff, so if you aren't into cooking, or want to feel sorry for the gluten free people in the world (ha, ha), I'll spare you by telling you to just skip this post! The girls & I spent Wednesday baking. Okay, so I spent most of the day baking & they occasionally popped in to use my cool PC Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer, and to make "cookies" out of leftover gluten free pie crust dough. I splurged & bought myself a Black & Decker food processor early last week (it was on sale!) since my last one died a long time ago. With a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, and all my PC tools, I rarely have a need for a food processor. I decided, though, that it would be much faster to make gluten free pie crusts in the food processor than by hand. Now, shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! Don't tell the kids in my Middle School Cooking Class this because I just taught them how to do it by hand. Living gluten free means a lot of changes and holidays can almost become a burden when it comes to food, but I've tried to make do and make it painless for all involved. Pie crusts are just one sample of this.

I made an apple pie, cherry pie and a pumpkin praline cheesecake pie using my gf pie crusts. I had realized quite a long time ago that bean flour (one of the many gf flours available) just doesn't work well in desserts. Yes, bean flour is ground up beans. Garbanzo/chickpeas are a standard bean used, but often fava beans are added to this. I really am not sure what a fava bean is, but I know some people are deathly allergic to it. Lately, I've also seen a company that makes pinto bean flour and noodles. Gluten free flour isn't like your typical all-purpose flour (which is made of wheat, of course). When you cook gluten free, you have to mix different flours in certain proportions to make them work right. A typical blend includes rice, bean, teff or sorghum flour combined with a variety of starches like potato, corn, and tapioca starches. So, before even beginning to measure out ingredients in a recipe, you have to measure all the ingredients and make a flour blend. NORMALLY I use a simple blend of cornstarch & sweet rice flour for sweets. Without gluten, there is nothing to make the flours really stick together well, so we typically add in some xanthan gum (it's found in things like ice cream, too). For some strange reason, I decided to use a different flour blend to make up a big batch of gf flour. It was fine til I saw bean flour. I had bean flour, but I hesitated to use it. I went ahead & put it in. Pie crust was, well, not the best! But it was edible. I made 2 double crusts with that recipe, then used my standard on the other one for the praline pie. I also made our favorite: Pecan Tassies! The recipe link says butter tarts, but they are the same ones I make. YUM! We very selfishly left those at home! I did make a pecan pie with a normal gluten-filled pie crust for all the others.

I was not feeling 100% yet on Wednesday, or even Thursday, but was able to get the pies made. I ended up making up some GF dressing & green bean casserole. I made my own Cream of Mushroom soup, then used sour cream & onion potato chips rather than the French fried onion rings. It actually tasted good!

By Wednesday night I was quite tired & ready for bed! I'll post about our Big Thanksgiving Day in my next post.

No comments: