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Posts tagged ‘gluten’

Lately, my son has gotten tired of the same-ol’ beans and cereal day in and day out. I don’t blame him. That’s nearly all he has eaten for 2 solid years. Add to that the fact that he seems moderately allergic to beans, as well as the facts that we are a vegetarian family, and that he is allergic to eggs and dairy and nuts, and, well, you have a problem.

That is, a protein problem. Granted, grains like quinoa and amaranth are complete proteins, as is hemp, which he drinks every day (but not a lot, because it’s expensive). But he doesn’t get quinoa and amaranth every day. And I don’t want to give him the same foods every day, because that will just make him more susceptible to sensitivities to them.

So I’ve been working on new ways to fix his food. Of course, cooking a batch of cream of rice or amaranth or millet cereal in the morning and adding several cubes of pre-cooked and frozen beans is very simple and easy, but I always knew I would eventually have to start actually cooking and baking for him. Well, the time has come.

The first grain to get changed into something other than cereal was Teff. I invented a recipe for teff pancakes. I’m sharing that recipe on my eczema blog.

We also decided, after much deliberation, to add a little meat to his diet. Right now, that looks like chicken once a week added to shredded yuca (cassava). I am also sharing that recipe on my eczema blog.

However, there are several recipes that I have found that he likes. I love the simplicity of some of  them!

This Baked Amaranth Cracker/Flatbread is made from the grain, not amaranth flour, and is very simple to make. I mean, very simple. I added a little basil to the mix, since he can’t have the topping (I’ve never tried pumpkin seeds, but I’m really afraid to). I still need to come up with some kind of topping for them. That is hard, since nuts and avocado are all out, and those make the best creamy vegan sauces. But he will eat these, and he likes them. I served it with some slices of cucumber, and he enjoyed the meal very much.

This GF Biscuit recipe was a real hit. Since he can’t have eggs or egg replacer, I used quarter mashed banana, because I only made a half a recipe. You can use 1/2 a banana plus 1/8 tsp of extra baking powder for egg in baking, but I didn’t think 1/16 of baking powder was really necessary! I wanted to use a little less starch, so I replaced 1/4 of the starch with sorghum flour (doubling the sorghum called for). They turned out better than the last batch did (where I put in too much banana and otherwise followed the recipe, and now have more whole grains in them. I also threw in a scant tablespoon each of chia seeds and hemp protein for extra protein, and he didn’t even notice. Chia seeds are a complete protein and really a powerhouse. Research them sometime. I am very excited to discover that my local WinCo carries them! Manny will eat chia seeds by the spoonful (2 or 3 baby spoonfuls), and they have very little flavor. I think they actually improved the texture as well (since they tend to gel, kind of like flax seeds).

When you can’t have wheat or corn, tortillas become almost impossible. Rice tortillas leave much to be desired, as do most GF tortillas you can buy. But these millet tortillas are so easy, especially if you have a tortilla press. I do, but it’s in storage, so I improvised with a flat-bottomed skillet. It worked almost as well. Unfortunately, Manny only liked the first two, and then he didn’t want more. If there was something I could dip them in or roll inside of them… maybe beans? I’ll have to experiment. But he’s not very good at eating stuff with toppings… he just licks off the topping! We might make them once in a while for ourselves, though, and they are perfect for those who can’t have gluten or corn!

And for dessert, well, this Blueberry Crumb Cake was the bomb! My husband said he couldn’t tell it was gluten free! I used the banana/baking powder trick in place of eggs, and it rose beautifully. I made two batches: one as a cake, and one as muffins (which of course cooked in about half the time as the cake). It’s good with and without the topping. This site also has many GF cooking and baking tips (it’s where I learned about the banana-instead-of-egg idea). I highly recommend browsing it if you are on a GF diet. Many of the recipes are vegan (because the author cannot tolerate casein), though some do include meat (usually with vegetarian variations). She makes GF look so easy! Indeed, this cake was my first attempt at GF baking without a boxed recipe (Betty Crocker has about 3 GF mixes that you can buy at most grocery stores, and I made a couple at a friend’s house once), and I really expected it to flop. Instead, it turned out lovely, and my son had a delicious cake for his birthday, and muffins for dessert once a week since!

Lastly, there are these delicious GF Molasses Cookies. Manny wasn’t terribly fond of them, and I think it was mostly because of the ginger (which he can’t seem to tolerate in the quantity that is in the cookies). They turned out perfectly, though, and I took a dozen to a friend whose son has a lot of allergies. The whole family tried them, and she informed me they are better than store-bought cookies. I totally agree. Granted, they aren’t super healthy. I mean, 3/4 cup of shortening (palm oil, not hydrogenated oils) is quite a bit of fat. Maybe I could cut it down by increasing the applesauce. But I usually like to do a recipe the way it says the first time–especially baked goods. Then experiment later. I think Manny would like them better without the ginger. He loves molasses, after all.

I tried split pea soup on him, but he seemed to react to the peas. I had suspected that he would, being legume and all. But he enjoyed it a lot. I think I could make a veggie soup with quinoa using the same seasonings I used in the pea soup (garlic, sweet basil, marjoram, bay leaf, salt). I’ve been avoiding onions, because touching them and then rubbing his face made him break out. Whether that was an allergic reaction, or simply sensitive skin, I don’t know. But for now, I don’t feed them to him directly. Though he did eat some carrots I had cooked in a stock made of scraps of veggies used to make dinner (I put 3 baby carrots in the stock for variety), and he loved them, as well as the bits of zucchini my husband didn’t eat from his salad. They were cooked with onion, and he seems fine with it. So maybe he is okay. I’m going to play it by ear at this point!

What simple GF recipes do you use? I’d love for you to share them!

This is the best recipe I’ve found yet for gluten steaks. I have tried making gluten several different ways, including the laborious process of washing the starch out of flour until I had gluten. That was too much work, and with small children I don’t like to be tied down for too long. Plus it seems like a waste of water. So I went about searching for a recipe that uses gluten flour, and found this. I especially like it because it has soy flour, which makes the protein more complete. I imagine that if you are allergic to soy or wish to avoid it, you could use garbanzo flour, though I have never tried it.

2 cups gluten flour (also known as do pep and vital wheat gluten)
¾ cup soy flour
1 ¾ cups water

Mix together and kneed for about 3 minutes or until the gluten is formed. You will know when it is, because it will resist your efforts to properly kneed it. Divide it into two pieces. Wet breadboard and hands, and roll out two logs. Slice off sections (I do about 3/8” thick) and drop them in boiling broth (see recipe below). Set at medium heat with lid on for about 10 minutes, then take the lid off and simmer for about an hour or maybe less. I like to make sure they are nice and done, so I usually do at least an hour.

Once done, they can be eaten a number of ways. I sometimes bread and pan fry mine. When a recipe calls for fry chick, I dice up my gluten and toss it in. They are delicious in a casserole dish with cream of mushroom soup over them. I have even chopped it up fairly fine and used it in place of ground beef.

They freeze well, so I always make a full batch and freeze whatever I don’t use. I freeze them on a cookie sheet, then bag them once they are hard—makes it easier to take out a few as needed.


Water (enough to more than cover the steaks)
Lots of soy sauce or Bragg’s Aminos
A whole onion, chopped
Several cloves of fresh garlic, coarsely chopped
Some nutritional Yeast
Chicken or Beef Seasoning (I usually use beef)
2 or 3 stalks of celery, cut in 3-4” long sections
A couple of carrots
Any old or wilted veggies that are still edible
A beet helps give the steaks a darker color
Vegex or miso would also add color or flavor

All of this should be in the pot before adding the steaks. You will cook a lot of the water out, concentrating the broth. It should be tasty but not too salty when you start. When you’re done with the steaks, remove them, strain the chunks of veggies out, and save the broth. I usually freeze it in an ice cube tray, then bag it in a gallon freezer bag. Then when I want to sauté onions without oil, I can grab 2 or 3 cubes of broth, and it won’t spoil that way.

That concludes my veggie meat series for the month of October. Next month I’m going to talk about Tofu and share a few of my favorite recipes for fixing tofu—if you can call them recipes. I never measure anything for my tofu, but maybe I can give you some idea of how I do things!

After I quit buying the Morningstar Chicken Nuggets (to save money), I began keeping my eye open for a homemade alternative. Then one day a friend of mine posted this recipe on Facebook. She had found it on a forum, and when I asked her for the source, she did some digging and found out it was from the Veganomicon cookbook. Though it isn’t even close to the texture and taste of the Morningstar ones, these are so tasty and have a very nice texture, so they make me not miss the more expensive ones! I imagine that if I were to dip them in egg and breading and fry them like the store bought ones, they would be even better—but less healthier!

I must also give you fair warning that these never last very long on the table. My daughter always wants more long after the last one has disappeared! So if you have more than 4 in your family, you might want to double the recipe. And you can make them soy free by using a little salt instead of soy sauce.

Blend in blender:

1 cup garbanzos (cooked)
2 Tbsp olive oil

Mix in bowl:

½ cup gluten flour
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup veggie broth or water (I make a broth with chicken seasoning and water)
2 cloves finely chopped/pressed/grated garlic
2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ tsp lemon zest (when I don’t have fresh lemon, a dash of lemon flavoring works fine)
½ tsp thyme
½ tsp paprika
¼ tsp sage

Add garbanzo mixture to bowl and stir together. Kneed until strings of gluten form. Shape into nuggets (or patties if you wish). Pan fry (I spray in some Pam to keep the oil to a minimum, but you could put as much or little oil as you want) 6-7 minutes on each side on medium low, covered. You will know when they are done when they lose the doughy texture inside. If you cook them too high, they will burn before the inside is done; using a lid helps.

Be sure your breadcrumbs are truly dry, or it won’t turn out as well. You could use blended oats instead of breadcrumbs if you are out of breadcrumbs.

Next week I’m going to share my recipe for gluten steaks. It’s the best one I have found so far, though I suppose if I asked the lady at the Estacada church who made gluten steaks last week for her recipe I would have a better one. But I like this one for a number of reasons, so I’m going to share that next week. In the mean time, watch for my post about breadcrumbs coming up in the next day or two.

This recipe makes a very tasty roast or loaf that is high in protein and very cheap to make—especially in contrast to the veggie roasts you can buy. It’s one of the ways I can get my husband to eat garbanzos—because it doesn’t taste anything like them. It would be very easy to make soy-free as well—just add more salt in place of the soy sauce and use a soy-free beef seasoning.

2 cups soaked garbanzos (about 1 cup dried)
1 ½ cup bran water (or water or broth or whatever)
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp oil
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2-3 tsp beef seasoning (I use Bill’s Best Beaf Seasoning)
½ cup gluten flour
1 cup chopped onion (may be sauted first, but I never bother)
1 cup chopped celery
2/3 cup chopped Brazil nuts or cashews
2 Tbsp wheat germ

Soak garbanzos until fully soaked (at least 4 hours, overnight best). Drain and blend with oil, 1 cup of the water, soy sauce, and all seasonings on high until fine. Pour into bowl, and rinse blender with remaining ½ cup of water, adding to mixture. Add onion, celery, nuts, and wheat germ and mix.

Stir in gluten flour and beat until gluten develops. This will take several minutes. You will notice the mixture becoming stringy—that is when the gluten is ready. It won’t get stiff until it bakes. The garbanzos thicken as they cook.

Put into greased glass loaf pan or medium sized baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for 1 hour at 350°. Remove foil for last 15 minutes to allow roast to brown on top. Serve hot. Reheats well.

Doesn't that look good?

How about a close-up?

This is a great potluck dish. Or if we’re eating it at home, I will serve it with rice—wild rice is my favorite—and a vegetable. It is very satisfying. It could be sliced and served with gravy, though it has plenty of flavor on its own. The pieces of nuts add interest, though they could be ground with the garbanzos for a smoother texture. The original recipe didn’t call for beef seasoning, but I found the recipe needed a little more seasoning than it called for—at least, for our family.

Before trying this recipe, I had never tried making anything with raw soaked garbanzos. I was surprised how wet the mixture was—nearly pourable, nothing like any roast I had ever made before. But then I saw in the book that you can use raw soaked garbanzos blended up to thicken things. I actually thickened pumpkin pie with them once! They can be blended and frozen ahead of time as well. Just a tip that you might find handy some day.

Next week I’m going to share the recipe I love for chicken nuggets. A friend of mine posted the recipe on Facebook, and it was the end of my quest for a good chicken nugget recipe! Watch for it!

This recipe is my slightly modified version of the recipe found in the Oats, Peas, Beans, and Barley cookbook.