gluten free

Spelt Stuffing

_DSC1763 (2).jpg

Everyone makes jokes about getting along at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You know, like dealing with the political rants from your crazy Uncle Joe.

But in my family we are all pretty much on the same page politically and otherwise so that's not an issue for us.

Our issues, depending on the year and who's coming, have to do with food.

Like making sure there's at least one entree for the vegetarian(s). At least one nut-free stuffing. Extra turkey wings and necks because so many of us like those best. 

Many families deal with food issues, and those become more important when someone's health is involved rather than if, say, someone prefers pumpkin pie to pecan pie or one particular turkey part or other.

Gluten problems have been front and center for a while now. Fortunately there are ways to handle this particular issue. There are loads of gluten free products on the market these days.

If your menu must consider foods for people who have gluten sensitivities/intolerance, have a look at this recipe for Spelt Stuffing.

Spelt is an ancient grain and it is related to wheat but is vastly different than the wheat varieties used for most breads. People with diagnosed celiac disease should not eat spelt, but apparently, most people with gluten intolerance don't have celiac disease and many find that they can tolerate spelt and spelt products.

In fact, that's how Spelt Right, a company that produces spelt breads, bagels, pizza dough and chips, came into existence. Beth George, its owner, discovered that her son has a wheat sensitivity but was ok with spelt. She then set about to create delicious breads including the artisan rosemary bread that I used to develop this recipe.

If you can't find Spelt Right breads and other items locally, but use spelt products regularly, you might want to alert your local market about them. I've tried several varieties including the cinnamon raisin bread, whole grain, etc., as well as a variety of the chips and bagels. All terrific products. Or go to the website and call to ask where you can find some.

If not, I've given alternate instructions on how to substitute. This recipe also works using classic wheat based bread. 

 

Rosemary-Spelt Bread Stuffing with Hazelnuts, Apples and Dried Cranberries

 

  • 12 slices Spelt Right Rosemary Spelt Bread (or 6 cups toasted spelt bread cubes plus 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary)
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large, tart apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped toasted almonds or hazelnuts
  • 1-1/3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the spelt bread slices lightly and cut them into cubes. Place the cubes in a bowl and set aside. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes. Add the apple and cranberries and cook for another 2 minutes. Spoon the mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes. Add the nuts and toss the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the stock, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Place the ingredients in a lightly oiled casserole. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the top is browned and crispy.

 Makes 6-8 servings

 

Passover Orange Almond Cake

A few weeks ago I was going through my Passover recipes file and came across a recipe for Italian Almond Cake with Poached Fruit from the Jerusalem Post. Unfortunately, it didn't say whose recipe it was. Also I didn't have the second page of instructions.

I made some changes and figured out how to proceed based on similar cakes I've baked.

 First, I converted all the metric measurements. 

I figured out how much, in cups, came from 3/4 cup whole almonds.

I didn't use blanched almonds, figuring that almonds with skin were just as good.

I switched to coconut oil because I don't like margarine. 

I deleted the liquor and used orange juice instead, and added some freshly grated orange peel. 

I separated the eggs and whipped the whites with sugar to provide a lighter texture than I thought the cake would have without fluffed whites.

I didn't serve it with poached fruit (I used fresh oranges and sorbet).

Some would say that with all these changes the recipe is now mine, and I understand that.

Still, the cake was delicious and I would have preferred to give credit!

Btw, it's gluten free!

Here's my version of Passover Orange-Almond Cake.

Passover Orange Almond Cake

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel
  • 1/4 cup potato starch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a small amount of the coconut oil, lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Set aside. Melt the remaining coconut oil and set aside to cool. Place the almonds and 6 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir at low speed for a minute until the ingredients are well distributed. Add the egg yolks, orange juice and orange peel and beat them in at medium speed for about one minute. Stir in the potato starch. Stir in the cooled coconut oil. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites for 1-2 minutes, going from low to high speed, or until the whites stand in soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Fold them into the almond mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

A Vegetarian, Gluten Free Side Dish

_DSC6681.JPG

My freezer broke last week.

Fortunately I still have my original, trusted, reliable old freezer from the stone age in my basement. I transferred the meat and soups, casseroles and other goodies that I had cooked. Anything that could be saved.

Unfortunately quite a lot wasn't worth saving, so I threw away lots of stuff. Half a cake that no one liked and made me wonder why I had saved it anyway. Breads with 2 slices left that were stuck together with ice crystals. A chicken leg, freezer burned because the plastic wrap had fallen off. Like that.

It felt so good to get that freezer empty and clean, ready for the repairman, that I started on the cabinets. I discarded anything out of the sell-by date; open boxes of cereal, crackers that I had placed in plastic bins who knows when, 2/3 eaten jars of peanut butter. Like that.

I also cooked some of the stuff that was still good.

The sorghum for example.

In case you haven't cooked with it or know what it is, sorghum is a cereal grain. Easy to use, tasty and gluten free. I had tried some at the Wondergrain booth at the Fancy Food Show last year and then used some for stuffing. I love the texture and the fact that it is so versatile I can use it for so many different kinds of dishes.

Last night I mixed it with vegetables to use as a side dish with dinner. Not only did it taste good, it was colorful and lovely to look at on the plate, which always makes dinner much nicer. Early in the day I stuffed the sorghum-veggie mix into hollowed out tomatoes and baked them several hours later, so this is a good make-ahead dish.

Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes

  • 8 large tomatoes
  • 1 cup sorghum grain
  • 3 cups vegetable stock and/or water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 small chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cooked vegetables
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Slice a cap off each tomato and scoop out the insides. Chop the insides and set aside. Place the hollowed out tomatoes upside down on paper towels to drain off excess liquid. Place the sorghum in a saucepan, pour in the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the sorghum is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. (If the liquid has not been absorbed and the grains are tender, strain off the liquid.) Set the cooked sorghum aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the chili pepper, garlic and tomato insides and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked vegetables and stir them in. Spoon the vegetables and any cooking fluids into the pan with the sorghum. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Stir in the parsley and salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Spoon the ingredients into the hollowed out tomatoes. Bake for about 20 minutes or until hot.

Makes 8 servings

 

 

Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Today is National Cookie Day. I actually had no idea about this, but I always think of December as a cookie baking month and, on a lark, Googled National Cookie Day. Voila!, there it was! Today!

Years ago I would bake dozens of different kinds of cookies in December to make up holiday gift baskets to give to the various editors I submitted articles to. But of course in recent years all my work goes in electronically. So, no “local” office to bring my work — or my cookies — to.

Still, I bake lots of cookies during December, to give to the mail carrier, the UPS delivery person, the women at the front desk at the hair salon I go to, my brother, and so on. Plus the stuff I need to freeze for when my family members come and feel in need of a treat.

Lately I’ve been working on gluten free cookies because I know so many people can’t eat wheat. These Mexican Chocolate Cookies are the newest in my holiday collection.


Gluten Free Mexican Chocolate Cookies

  • 1 cup gluten free all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips 
  • Sugar for dusting

In a bowl, mix together the gluten free flour, almond flour, oats, salt, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Set aside. Place the butter, coconut oil and brown sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of an electric mixer) and beat the ingredients at medium speed for 2-3 minutes or until well blended. Add the cocoa powder and beat for another minute, until well blended. Add the vanilla extract and blend it in. Add the gluten free flour mixture and blend it in. Add the chocolate chips and gently mix to distribute them throughout the dough. Remove the dough from the bowl and shape it into a long log about 2-inches thick. Wrap the log and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Cut the log into slices about 3/8-inch thick. Place some of the slices on the parchment, leaving some space between each cookie. Sprinkle each cookie with sugar. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until crispy-looking.

Makes about 36 cookies

Sorghum “Filling” for Thanksgiving

My mother never made Thanksgiving stuffing. She called her version “filling,” which had more or less the same ingredients as basic bread stuffing, but substituted barley shaped egg noodle pasta for the bread.

That recipe is still one of my go-tos, except that I have made one important change recently. Instead of using the pasta, I make it with sorghum.

I discovered sorghum grain last summer at the Fancy Food Show. Although I was familiar with sorghum syrup, I hadn’t realized the grain itself was available and so was intrigued when I saw the Wondergrain booth where there were pots of cooked sorghum for tasting.

Of course I tasted.

I loved it and ever since have been working with sorghum grain to make all sorts of comforting cold-weather casseroles (and also some refreshing summer salads).

I will be serving Sorghum Filling for Thanksgiving because the grain has so many benefits. I will never go back to the pasta version.

Wondergrain sorghum is:

gluten free

cholesterol free

Non GMO

kosher

a good source of fiber and iron

It’s also pleasurably chewy and tasty. A fabulous pasta substitute.

Wondergrain — who did NOT pay me to write this post — sells both whole grain and pearled sorghum. Their website offers some good looking recipes plus a video on how to cook the grain. The product does not have wide distribution yet, but I hope it soon will. Meantime, if you don’t live near one of the retail shops listed in their store locator, you can order online at http://www.wondergrain.com/shop/. 

Sorghum “Filling”

  • 1 cup sorghum grain, whole grain or pearled
  • vegetable stock and/or water
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 10-12 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Cook the sorghum with stock or water according to the instructions on the package (pearled sorghum will take 35-40 minutes, whole grain sorghum will take 45-55 minutes). Set the cooked sorghum aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Spoon the vegetables and any cooking fluids into the pan with the sorghum. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Stir in the eggs, parsley, remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil and salt and pepper. Spoon the ingredients into a baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown and crispy.

Makes 6-8 servings

Zimtsterne Cookies

When you see the first twinkle of stars in the night sky, the Yom Kippur fast is over.  You take your fist sips of that long awaited coffee, and with it …. Zimtsterne.  German star cookies. To remind you that we celebrate a new year, new beginnings, being with loved ones. Sweet. Lovely. Gluten-free too.  Zimtsterne  3 large egg whites  1-1/4 cups sugar  1/2 teaspoon salt  one pound finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts, approximately  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon  2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel  confectioners sugar**  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Beat the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Continue to beat the whites, gradually increasing the speed and gradually adding all the sugar and salt, for 6-8 minutes or until they whites stand in glossy, stiff peaks. Remove about 3/4 to one cup of this mixture to a small bowl and set it aside.**  In another bowl, combine the nuts, cinnamon and lemon peel. Fold the nut mixture into the egg white mixture in the bowl until it is uniform in color. Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper and flatten the “dough” sightly. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper. One at a time, cut out star shapes from the dough (the dough is sticky and difficult to work with). Place each star on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet.  When all the stars are cut, use the reserved sugar mixture and spread on top of each star.  Let rest for 60 minutes.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  Makes about 42  **you can skip this meringue coat and bake the cookies uncoated (in this case, do not set aside the 3/4 cup meringue. You might need about 1/2 cup more ground nuts to make the dough less sticky). When they are baked and cooled, mix about 1/2 cup confectioners sugar with enough water to make a paste and use a small spoon to cover the cookies with the sugar paste. Let dry and serve.

When you see the first twinkle of stars in the night sky, the Yom Kippur fast is over.

You take your fist sips of that long awaited coffee, and with it …. Zimtsterne.

German star cookies. To remind you that we celebrate a new year, new beginnings, being with loved ones. Sweet. Lovely. Gluten-free too.

Zimtsterne

3 large egg whites

1-1/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

one pound finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts, approximately

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel

confectioners sugar**

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Beat the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Continue to beat the whites, gradually increasing the speed and gradually adding all the sugar and salt, for 6-8 minutes or until they whites stand in glossy, stiff peaks. Remove about 3/4 to one cup of this mixture to a small bowl and set it aside.**

In another bowl, combine the nuts, cinnamon and lemon peel. Fold the nut mixture into the egg white mixture in the bowl until it is uniform in color. Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper and flatten the “dough” sightly. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper. One at a time, cut out star shapes from the dough (the dough is sticky and difficult to work with). Place each star on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet.

When all the stars are cut, use the reserved sugar mixture and spread on top of each star.  Let rest for 60 minutes.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Makes about 42

**you can skip this meringue coat and bake the cookies uncoated (in this case, do not set aside the 3/4 cup meringue. You might need about 1/2 cup more ground nuts to make the dough less sticky). When they are baked and cooled, mix about 1/2 cup confectioners sugar with enough water to make a paste and use a small spoon to cover the cookies with the sugar paste. Let dry and serve.

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

A few days ago I posted a recipe for  gluten free blueberry muffins  made with almond flour and oat bran.  But a gluten free diet is not for everyone, so if you’re like me and can’t resist the tons of blueberries available now and buy them by the six-pack as I do, and you also love blueberry muffins in the summer when the berries are so fat and sweet, here’s a really simple recipe for traditional blueberry muffins.  These are plain, vanilla-y flavored. You can add a teaspoon of grated fresh lemon peel or orange peel for a more citrusy taste. You can also add a half cupful of chopped nuts.   Blueberry Yogurt Muffins   4 tablespoons unsalted butter  1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour  1/4 cup sugar  1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder  3/4 teaspoon salt  1/2 teaspoon baking soda  1 cup plain yogurt  1 large egg  1 teaspoon vanilla extract  1 cup blueberries  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups. Melt the butter and set it aside. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine the yogurt, egg and vanilla extract and blend them thoroughly. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and stir just to bend ingredients. Fold in the blueberries. Drop into the muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.  Makes 10   

A few days ago I posted a recipe for gluten free blueberry muffins made with almond flour and oat bran.

But a gluten free diet is not for everyone, so if you’re like me and can’t resist the tons of blueberries available now and buy them by the six-pack as I do, and you also love blueberry muffins in the summer when the berries are so fat and sweet, here’s a really simple recipe for traditional blueberry muffins.

These are plain, vanilla-y flavored. You can add a teaspoon of grated fresh lemon peel or orange peel for a more citrusy taste. You can also add a half cupful of chopped nuts.

Blueberry Yogurt Muffins

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup plain yogurt

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup blueberries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups. Melt the butter and set it aside. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together in a bowl. In a second bowl, combine the yogurt, egg and vanilla extract and blend them thoroughly. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and stir just to bend ingredients. Fold in the blueberries. Drop into the muffin cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 10

 

Gluten Free Cranberry-Orange Noodle Kugel

I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free pasta recently, with mixed results. Some of these pasta products get gummy, some never become tender. If you go gluten-free, I suppose, it’s like anything else — you get used to it NOT being exactly like the product that isn’t gluten-free. Wheat-based pasta doesn’t taste or cook like corn or rice pasta, that’s all there is to it. 
 But if you’re on a gluten-free diet or you’re cooking for someone who is, you go with the flow, as they say.  
 And so, here’s a recipe for gluten-free corn noodle kugel for Hanukkah, a holiday when kugels are on the menu (actually is there ever a time when a kugel would not be welcome?). 
 I used  Sam Mills Pasta D’Oro Gluten Free Lasagne Corte *, which, by the way,  is on the relatively inexpensive side   for a gluten-free product.  
 *I did not get paid by this manufacturer nor did I receive a free sample. It’s just a great product, so I am recommending it to you. 

  Gluten Free Cranberry-Orange Noodle Kugel  
     
  1 cup dried cranberries  
  1/4 cup orange juice  
  8 ounces cream cheese  
  4 ounces butter  
  1/3 cup sugar  
  1-1/2 cups sour cream  
  4 large eggs  
  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
  2 teaspoons grated orange rind  
  1/8 teaspoon salt  
  1 pound Sam Mills Pasta D’Oro Gluten Free Lasagne Corte  
     
  Place cranberries in a bowl, pour the orange juice on top and let soak for at least 30 minutes. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish.   In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly blended and softened. Beat in the sugar until well blended. Add the sour cream and blend thoroughly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the cinnamon, orange rind and salt. Set the mixture aside.   Cook the pasta, drain the noodles and place them in a large bowl. Spoon the cheese mixture over the noodles. Add the cranberries and any remaining juice. Gently mix the ingredients. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Makes 12 servings  

  

I’ve been experimenting with gluten-free pasta recently, with mixed results. Some of these pasta products get gummy, some never become tender. If you go gluten-free, I suppose, it’s like anything else — you get used to it NOT being exactly like the product that isn’t gluten-free. Wheat-based pasta doesn’t taste or cook like corn or rice pasta, that’s all there is to it.

But if you’re on a gluten-free diet or you’re cooking for someone who is, you go with the flow, as they say. 

And so, here’s a recipe for gluten-free corn noodle kugel for Hanukkah, a holiday when kugels are on the menu (actually is there ever a time when a kugel would not be welcome?).

I used Sam Mills Pasta D’Oro Gluten Free Lasagne Corte*, which, by the way, is on the relatively inexpensive side for a gluten-free product.

*I did not get paid by this manufacturer nor did I receive a free sample. It’s just a great product, so I am recommending it to you.

Gluten Free Cranberry-Orange Noodle Kugel

 

1 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup orange juice

8 ounces cream cheese

4 ounces butter

1/3 cup sugar

1-1/2 cups sour cream

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons grated orange rind

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 pound Sam Mills Pasta D’Oro Gluten Free Lasagne Corte

 

Place cranberries in a bowl, pour the orange juice on top and let soak for at least 30 minutes. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9”x13” baking dish. In an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter until thoroughly blended and softened. Beat in the sugar until well blended. Add the sour cream and blend thoroughly. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Stir in the cinnamon, orange rind and salt. Set the mixture aside. Cook the pasta, drain the noodles and place them in a large bowl. Spoon the cheese mixture over the noodles. Add the cranberries and any remaining juice. Gently mix the ingredients. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. Makes 12 servings