Monday, November 24, 2014

Gluten Free Pie Crust

It is night and my shadow is cast on the front crust.  

Holidays are coming and I don't have to live without cake and pies any longer! I haven't finished experimenting with the cake yet but I have reached an "I got it!" on the pie crust.

Since I had to become gluten free, I had given up on even trying several techniques that I had learned at ECU in Family and Comsumer Science.  Back then (not saying when), it was referred to as a BS in Home Economics. I could roll out a perfect pie crust but that pie crust was an art of wonderful gluten.  Gluten is the substance that helps made the dough pliable and hold together.

Oh, how I missed making pecan chocolate pie, savory chicken pot pie, quiche with a crust, fresh strawberry pie, chocolate chess pie, and variations of pumpkin pie. All that has changed since I spent a weekend trying out different gluten free pie crust recipes.  I wouldn't ordinally spend that short time developing a recipe, but Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up and I will not be spending another holiday watching other people eat my favorite dishes, which I can't eat.

The Kitchen Laboratory - Experimenting with Pie Crust Recipes

The first recipe I tried was a pie crust using amaranth flour and it was pretty bad. If I had checked the reviews first, I would have not tried it. The crust actually makes a cracking sound when it breaks. The earthy taste is much too strong. My daughter said it tasted like earth worms -- that is pretty earthy, but how would she know the taste of earth worms. Hmmmm.

Next came a gluten free pie crust recipe from Martha Stewart. Some reviewers stated that the butter in the pie crust ran out of the pie pan.  Mine didn't do that but the butter pooled in the middle of the pie pan as the sides of the crust oozed down to the bottom of the pie pan. About half the reviewers had problems with the recipe. I'm not absolutely sure but I believe it has to do with the flour blend used. The recipe doesn't state the flour blend used but most of the gluten free recipes used on Martha's site use Cup4Cup, and that is rice flour based. Since this recipe won't work with my flour blend, I didn't save the recipe. Reviewers ( evidently using rice flour)  have given raving reviews for the recipe. If you use rice flour, you might want to give it a try.

Another pie crust recipe I tried was from the site Simply Gluten Free.  This recipe for pie crust gave me reason to tread on. The sight sells a gluten free flour which is mostly rice flour. I am not a rice flour user. I tried the recipe with with my own flour blend and it worked.  The pie crust was flaky. I would consider using it again. I did use a food processor to make this recipe.  It is a quick, easy and tasty recipe.  If you don't need a sweet dough, leave off the sugar but if using a rice flour, it will help the pie crust brown.

I thought I had finally found a good pie crust dough at Simply Gluten Free. I cleaned up the kitchen and thought I was finished. Then, why I'm not sure, I wouldn't give up with the idea I need the perfect gluten free pie crust.  I found a pie crust recipe at Bob's Red Mill site. It had 78 - that's right - 78 positive reviews for the recipe. The flour blend suggested for use in the recipe had no rice. So I had planned to wait until morning, go to Big Lots and get the Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour, as suggested for the recipe.

Since the blend had no rice and my blend was a little similar to Bob's Red Mill, I went back to the kitchen at 9:00 PM and started the recipe. Oh, my gosh, it worked out perfectly! It was so easy to make and it was tasty and flaky. It tasted very simular to the recipe from Simply Gluten Free but it was easier. I didn't use the processor because I had just cleaned it and I didn't want to clean it again at 9:30 PM. A processor, though, can be used to quicky make the dough. It took no time at all to blend the flour and butter with a pastry cutter and roll it out on floured wax paper.

I had been rolling out the doughs on parchment paper but I found it easier to roll on wax paper.  The wax paper doesn't seem to absorb as much moisture and peels off easier. Still needs to be rolled with lots of gluten free flour. Am I a happy baker? :-D

I have include the flour blend I used in the pie crust. I developed this blend by reading this site of Gluten Free Girl. I used the 70% whole grains and 30% starch rule. I chose not to use the rice flour because of the arsenic and rice flour's high glycemic index. The recipe for the flour blend can be found at the bottom of the post. If you choose not to use my blend, I am not offended.  Get the Bob's Red Mill GF All Purpose Baking Flour. It can be used for most all baking.

I won't copy the recipe on this post because you can go to the site to get Bob's Red Mill pie crust recipe by Nancy Sackman.  In my photos, you notice that the pie crust looks darker than the photo at Bob's Red Mill site. The reason for the color differences is in the flour blend. The Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour from Bob's Red mill is bean flour based and mine is whole grained based, which makes a darker dough.  Both are high in protein.

Making the Pie Crust

I went one step further and made a cheddar cheese crust. I added twice the amount of shredded cheddar cheese as compare to the butter.  I then cut both the cheddar cheese and butter into the flour, salt, and a tad of sugar. Next time I make it I'm going to try using extra sharp cheddar cheese. There is only a hint of cheddar cheese taste with sharp cheese. I think that adding more cheese will only make the dough more oily and the extra sharp will help with the flavor.

The orange color is from the cheddar cheese.

Pour the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, into the flour mixture and toss with a fork until the dough will hold together. Be careful not to add too much water; it will become too sticky. Spoon all the dough into a zippered bag. (Gluten free dough does not come together as easily as gluten dough). Once the dough is in the bag, it is much easier to form the dough into a disk inside the bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least one hour.  (It can stay refrigerated up to three days). It needs refrigerated time for the moisture to distribute throughout the dough. It takes gluten free dough more time to for the moisture to be absorbed than gluten dough. Before rolling the dough let it sit out of the fridge for 10 minutes to come to room temperature.

Sometimes it appears as if the dough won't come together.
Just coax it gently and it will if it has enough liquid.
This dough surprisingly rolls out beautifully. The dough needs a lot of gluten free flour between the layers of wax paper. Place the flour on the first layer of wax paper and lightly move the dough disk over the flour.  Lightly dust the top of the disk and place another piece of wax paper on the disk.  Roll the dough from the center of disk out to edge, turning the paper 1/4 turn after rolling. Repeat rolling and turning until the dough is rolled half the size you want it. Flip the paper and slightly peel the paper away from the dough. If needed, lightly dust the dough with flour by rubbing your hand in the flour and then lightly rubbing the dough. Finish rolling out the dough from center to edge of paper until dough is about 1/8-in thick and the size you want it.

Wax paper is pulled back.  Flour hand and rub on dough and 
cover with the wax paper again.  Continue rolling dough.

After rolling, peel the top paper off the dough. Turn the dough over on top of the pie pan and gently pull the paper (which was the bottom paper) off the dough.  Gently help the dough fall into the pie pan and gently push the dough into the bottom of pie pan.  Press gently into the sides. If using a regular pie tin, cut the dough 1/2-in to 1-in from the side and roll the dough under to make a decorative edge. This site and this site show how to make several different, beautiful decorative edges.

Sometimes the dough may tear. It can be mended by pressing the
dough back together carefully. The dough is very forgiving.
After rolling out the dough for the first two mini pie pans, there was dough left over.  Not wanting to throw out the dough, I pressed the dough into a third pan.  Imagine -- the dough can be pressed into the pie pans.  When pressing the dough in the pan, the dough is not as smooth and uniform as the rolled crust, but it can be done.

The dough in the front mini pan has been pressed into the pan rather than rolled.

I am so glad that I finally got the courage to make pie dough again.  It wasn't as difficult as I imagined it to be.  I thought a gluten free pie crust would be impossible -- but it isn't.  This pie dough is high in protein, whether using the 70% Whole Grain flour blend or Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.

Don't or can't use grains? Then try this recipe at Elana's Pantry paleo piecrust or this site that has 10 paleo pie crust recipes, stated to be remarkable. I'll try those out -- but that is for another day. I'll post here when I give them a try.


Linda's 70% Whole Grain Flour Blend (notice the cup amounts - another
reason for measuring with a scale)

70% Whole Grain Flour Blend GF


200 g oat flour (1 2/3 c)          (Of oat, millet & quinoa, can use 350 g of one)
50 g millet flour (1/2 c)                        
100 g quinoa flour (1c)
100 g sorghum flour (3/4 c + 3tb)
50 g bean (fava & northern) (1/2 c)
50 g corn flour (masa harina) (1/4 c + 2tb)
50 g amaranth flour (1/4c + 2tb)
50 g teff flour (1/4c + 2tb)
50 g buckwheat flour (1/4c + 2tb)


100g tapioca flour (3/4 c)
100 g corn starch (3/4c + 3tb)
100 g potato starch (3/4c + 2tb)
One cup of blend = 108-117 grams


"Easy As Pie Crust (Gluten Free)." Bob's Red Mill. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

"How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports." How Much Arsenic Is in Your Rice - Consumer Reports. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

"How to Make a Gluten-free Whole-grain Flour Mix - Gluten Free Girl and the Chef." Gluten Free Girl and the Chef RSS. N.p., 05 Feb. 2013. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.

"The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough." The Food Lab: The Science of Pie Dough. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Jan. 2015.<>

Disclosure statement:  I have not received compensation for any products mentioned or used in this post.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Make It Sourdough - Gluten Free Pumpkin Quick Bread

Sourdough Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips & Pecans

It's getting near the holidays.  One of the smells of the holidays I like is pumpkin pie seasoning.  I can almost smell it in my mind. On the spice shelf, I found a box of the seasoning.  It came from my mother's house when I cleaned out her house to sell it. The can was a little old and had a price of 49. My mother made quite a few pumpkin pies in her lifetime and I am almost sure that she must have refilled the little can at some point, maybe several times. I was not sure whether the pumpkin pie spice in the can was gluten free and not knowing -- I threw it out. To make sure my spice mix was gluten free, I made my own with 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoon ginger, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground mace and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

I found another pumpkin spice mix recipe that included 1/4 teaspoon cardamon and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest rather than the mace.  No matter how it is made, the smell is wonderful!  Bet you can smell it also.

The spice mix can be used in pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin bread pudding.  Sprinkle it over root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, acorn squash or butternut squash.  It can be the wonderful spice in a streusel topping.  Did I forget the coffee or latte?  How about in pumpkin pancakes and waffles? I read a brownie recipe that included pumkin pie spice. I'm guessing you can think of other uses for this spice mix.

Before I concoct a gluten free recipe, I usually cut the recipe in half for experimental purposes. Gluten free ingredients are more expensive than regular baking ingredients; therefore, if the recipe doesn't work, I will be throwing out fewer ingredients.  From there, adjustments can be made easier and cheaper, if they are necessary. When experimenting on this gluten free recipe, I made 12 muffins (half the recipe), rather than two loaves.

Are quick bread and muffins the same?  Sometimes -- but the baking temperature and cooking times are a little different. The Pro Baker Group from King Arthur Flour suggests baking the muffins at 400℉ for 15-20 minutes and the quick bread at 375℉ for a longer time, depending on the size of the loaf pan: the 3"x5" for 35-45 minutes, 8"x4" for 45-55 and the 9"x5" for 40-50 minutes. They also suggest that the amount of oil might be different, with more oil for the muffins.  I think more oil is used to keep them from drying out quickly.  A sourdough recipe of quick bread will take a little longer to bake because the batter is a little wetter.

Experimenting with substitution of applesauce for oil will come later.  Usually only a fourth of the butter is substituted; more causes the product to become dry. Suggestions for this substitution can be found at this site.

 I never seem to find the perfect recipe I need to compensate for gluten-free and low sugar.  So I have to experiment.  I found a sourdough quick bread recipe at King Arthur Flour, which wasn't gluten free, low sugar nor sourdough but there were good ideas for ratio of ingredients. If you don't need to eat gluten free, give that recipe a try. You just might find it to be your favorite quick bread recipe.

 I found another recipe at Cultures for Health, also not gluten-free and low sugar but it was sourdough. I found some ideas that will help in formulating a recipe for gluten free and low sugar quick bread. Remember from this post on sourdough that sourdough bread is good for you and better for a diabetic because sourdough "anything" has a lower glycemic index.

A gluten free sour dough starter can be made as instructed in my recipe at Make It Sourdough - Gluten Free Starter.  I have been able to keep that starter alive and working well since I made it almost a year ago.  I even preserved some of it through a drying process.  Using this sourdough starter, I made the following gluten free pumpkin muffins and quick bread.  The recipe turned out great. Even my grandson ate one of the muffins and he is an extremely picky eater.  The recipe is not sugar free but low sugar. I believe that some type of sugar is needed for tenderness of the bread. The sweetness for this bread comes from honey and Stevia in the Raw.  Other sugar substitutes could be used or if sugar is ok in your recipe, use whatever sweetener you like.

My gluten free flour blend* (see below) consists of gluten free oat flour, sorghum flour, tapioca flour and corn flour (masa harina).  Any all-purpose gluten free flour will probably work.  I use Dr. Jean Layton's recipe for seed dust rather than use xanthan gum or any gum because it works and because it is more healthy than the gun. If you like to use xanthan gum, and your gluten free flour blend does not contain it, use 1/4 teaspoon for each cup of the flour.

I make my own gluten flour blends because most commercial gluten free flour blends contain rice flour.  Rice flours, both white and brown, are highly processed and have a high glycemic index.  These are two of the reasons for my not using rice flour.

Now, lets get back to the Sourdough Pumpkin Quick Bread. Making the sourdough sponge is important for this recipe. The sponge needs at least 7 hours to ferment. During this process, there is a
symbiotic relationship between naturally occurring latobacilli and yeast. The bacteria ferment the sugars that the yeast use to produce carbon dioxide and alcohol (the hooch). The bacteria feeds off the alcohol. The process is a little more scientifically complicated and if you want to know more, go to this site. As a science teacher, I really can get into the process, but I won't bore you with the scientific information.

Sourdough before fermentation & before formation of sponge.
The batter was smoothed with a wet hand.

Sourdough sponge, which has formed a slight dome in 8 hours. Note the cracks in dough.  

The Sourdough Sponge at the end of 12 hours.  Notice the air pockets
in the dough on the side of sponge.The sponge is ready!

Gluten Free Sourdough Pumpkin Quick Bread

1 1/3 cup active sourdough starter (mine weighs about 205 g/cup)
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2/3 cup milk of choice or whey (discarded from yogurt) or kefir
2 2/3 cup gluten free flour blend 
2 tablespoons seed dust
1/2 cup butter, melted (or 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup applesauce)
1/4 cup honey
2-4 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
1 large egg (or egg substitute)
3/4 - 1 teaspoon salt of choice
2 teaspoons pumpkin spice mix
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/5 teaspoon baking powder

1.  Combine, in a medium glass or ceramic bowl, the sourdough starter, pumpkin puree, milk and gluten free flour blend. Lightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap, even punching holes in the plastic wrap. Let the wild yeast ferment the starter with the other ingredients.  It will take 7-12 hours.  Many times, I heat water in a small glass batter pitcher in the microwave.  I place the bowl of batter on top of the glass batter pitcher and close the microwave door.  Be careful not to turn on the microwave unless you remove the beginning sponge to reheat the water. The sponge will form and air holes will appear in the sponge. Cracks in the top of the sponge will probably form (note the photos of the process).

2.  At the end of the fermentation of the sponge, preheat the oven to 350℉. Prepare one or two loaf pans with butter or cooking spray.  If only one loaf pan is used, prepare a 12-cup regular sized muffin tin with butter or cooking spray or with paper cupcake cups.  

3.  Sprinkle the seed dust over the top of the sponge. All the remaining ingredients should be at room temperature.

4.  Combine the  melted butter, egg, sugar substitute (or sugar) and honey.

5.  In another small bowl, combine salt, pumpkin spice mix, baking soda and the baking powder.  

6.  Thoroughly combine the butter mixture and the sourdough sponge. Then beat in the mixture of dry ingredients. (The batter may bubble a little. That is fine.) Fold in any of the following or combination ingredients: nuts, chocolate chips, raisins currents, or dried fruit.

7.  Fill the loaf pans with the batter or fill one loaf pan and one muffin tin.  If desired at this point, sprinkle with sparkle or coarse crystal sugar on top.  Regular sugar will probably melt and not give a sparkle appearance. (Be careful with the coarse sugars. Even though their ingredients are gluten free, they are sometimes produced on equipment that process wheat and and other common allergens). The only place that I have found gluten-free sprinkles and coarse sugar is this site.

8.  Bake the muffins for 20 minutes and check for doness with a toothpick.  It should not be sticky or wet; a few crumbs may cling to the toothpick but it should be mostly clean.  Check the bread at 40-45 minutes.  If testing with an instant read thermometer, the temperature of the center of the muffin or bread should be at least 190℉ but less than 205℉.

9.  Cool 5 minutes and remove to a rack.  

If a frosting or icing is wanted, let the loaf or muffins completely cool before frosting.  Cream cheese frosting is fantastic on these pumpkin muffins or pumpkin loaf.

Sugar Free Gluten Free Cream Cheese Frosting

    1 1/2 cup cream cheese or 12 oz (1 1/2 cups) (room temp)
    1 1/2 teaspoons butter (room temp)
    1/2  - 3/4 cup sugar or equivalent in xylitol, erythritol, coconut sugar, Splenda, Stevia, Truvia
2 tablespoons milk
1-2 tsp vanilla or other flavoring you like

Great Substitutions in the Cream Cheese Frosting:
The vanilla, milk and sugar can be substituted with 1/2 cup maple syrup. This flavor is good with pumpkin. Lemon zest or orange zest can be added to any flavor. Other additions to the frosting could be coconut, nuts, eggnog, cinnamon-sugar mixture or Nutella.

Cinnamon-"Sugar" Topping:
Melt 1/4 cup butter in a small bowl.  In another small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sweetener (such as granulated sugar, xylitol, erythritol, coconut sugar, Splenda, Stevia in the Raw, Stevia, Truvia) with 1 tablespoon cinnamon.  Dip the top of muffin in the butter and then dip in the cinnamon-"sugar" mixture.

This mixture can be also used for any muffin, cupcake, toast, oatmeal, coffee, sweet potatoes, winter squash and any ingredient which you think would be great. Nutmeg can also be added to the cinnamon mix, if desired

* All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour Blend

1 1/2 (180 g)  cups oat flour
1 cup (123 g) sorghum flour
1 1/2 cups (188 g) cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup (58 g) corn flour (masa harina)

549 / 4.5 =  122 grams/cup

Printable Recipe for Gluten Free Sourdough Pumpkin Quick Bread


"How to Use Applesauce Instead of Oil When Baking." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 25 Jan. 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.<>

Layton, Jean McFadden., and Linda Johnson. Larsen. Gluten-free Baking for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2012. Print.

"Pixie Dust Xanthan Gum Replacer." GlutenFree Doctor. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

"Rice Flour & Blood Sugar." LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 10 Sept. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.<>

"Sourdough Pumpkin Quick Bread." Sourdough Pumpkin Quick Bread. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.<>

"The Baking Circle Community | King Arthur Flour." The Baking Circle Community | King Arthur Flour. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.<>

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Quinoa Spinach Patties

Egg Topped Quinoa Patty

I found another easy gluten-free dish I really like making and eating.  I didn't have to go to the grocerty store to get any of the ingredients.  They were sitting in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer.

It all started by finding a recipe for Kale Quinoa Patties -- hmmm, sounds good. (There are quite a few recipes for Kale Quinoa Patties on the web). I tucked the recipe I liked the best away in a folder on my computer.  I kept thinking about that recipe but was waiting to go to the grocery store to get the ingredients --- kale, Parmesan cheese, chives, and garlic.  I kept putting off going to the grocery store and then I thought about substitutions that I might have on hand.

I found a box of frozen spinach in the freezer that was close to its expiration date.  I knew there were vacuumed sealed chopped frozen onions in the freezer. I had some dried chives on a spice shelf.  There was a package of Italian 5 cheese and a few tablespoons of Romano cheese in the refrigerator. I had no fresh garlic but there was a jar of minced garlic in the fridge. There were plenty of eggs in the fridge.  What else was in the recipe?  Oh, bread crumbs, which can sometimes be a problem but I found a few slices of gluten-free sourdough bread in the freezer. Took no time to get them into bread crumbs, using the food processor.

Sourdough Breadcrumbs

I started the recipe by cooking the quinoa.  I always have it on-hand because I use it to make gluten-free flour.  I cooked the quinoa in chicken broth following the direction on the Bob's Red Mill package.  It is a little more expensive to buy it from "Bob" but it is prewashed, which is absolutely necessary for quinoa.  Harvested quinoa seeds are covered with bitter-tasting saponins.  Rinsing and rubbing action will remove the soap-like covering. When I have to rinse quinoa, I use a stainless steel mesh strainer.  They can be found for good prices elsewhere, especially using a store coupon.  The metal mesh of the strainer aids in scrubbing the saponins off the quinoa.

Mixing Quinoa Mixture with the Spinach Mixture

While the quinoa is cooking, the onions, spinach and garlic can be cooked. Use as much of the box of spinach as you like.  I used the whole box becaue I like spinach. Kale, turnip greens, chard, and even, broccoli can be substituted for the spinach.  I'm going to try collards when they can be harvested late fall/early winter from the garden. I processed the sourdough bread to crumbs while the spinach (or other greens) mix is cooling.

When cooking the patties, it is important to not move the patties for the first five minutes of cooking.  The patties may fall apart if moved before the fives minutes are up.

The spinach in the quinoa is soooooo good!

Spinach Quinoa Patties


1  cups cooked quinoa, cooled
2 cups chicken broth or water
1 10oz box frozen spinach*
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp sea salt
½ yellow onion, diced small
½ cup any cheese you like
2 tablespoons Romano or Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup finely ground GF bread crumbs
2 Tbsp olive oil plus more for frying

*Can substitute  4 cups of fresh spinach or 4 cups kale, chopped, with large vein removed

Cook the quinoa by bringing 2 cups of chicken broth or water to a boil.  Add the rinsed and drained quinoa and bring the broth to a boil again. Lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook 10-12 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.  Turn the heat off and set aside for 5 minutes.  After five minutes, fluff the quinoa with a fork and let cool.

When the quinoa is cool, combine it with eggs, Parmesan, chives and salt in medium mixing bowl.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until soft, approximately 3 minutes. Add spinach to skillet without squeezing dry and cook until the spinach is reduced and slightly tender. Let cool.

Add kale mixture to quinoa mixture, then add breadcrumbs and stir to combine.

Wipe the skillet clean and heat to medium heat. Add enough oil to coat bottom of pan.

Form patties using 1/3 cup of quinoa mixture and place patties in skillet.  Do not overcrowd.   Fry 3-4 patties at a time until golden brown on each side, approximately 5 minutes per side.  Do not move or disturb the patties before the first 5 minutes are finished. (It will help the patties from falling apart.)
Remove patties, drain on paper towel and serve.

These quinoa patties are good with ketchup or with a Roasted Pepper Sauce or Creamy Cucumber  Sauce. A creamy Avocado Relish, made with avocado, sour cream, salsa and cilantro, would be great with the patty, also, as well as a chunky vegetable marinara sauce.  I found that they are perfect served with an egg, sunny side up or over easy.  They are even a good snack, cold from the fridge. Bet you can find another great way to serve them!


"Easy Basic Quinoa Recipe." How To Cook Quinoa, Easy Quinoa Recipes, Quinoa Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2014.

"Healthy Kale Quinoa Patties Recipe." CherylStyle. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2014.<>

"Learn to Cook: Quinoa." Whole Foods Market. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2014.<>

"Roasted Red Pepper Sauce." BBC Good Food. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2014. <>

"Saponin: Natural Steroids." Mother Earth Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2014.

"The Chic Chef: Creamy Cucumber Sauce and Basic Quinoa." College Fashion. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2014.<>

"Saponin: Natural Steroids." Mother Earth Living. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2014.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Tomato Sauce from the Garden Tomatoes

Just look at those beautiful tomatoes!  They are actually darker in real life than in the photo.  The stripes and speckles on the longer tomatoes are divine!

I didn't help a lot with planting these tomatoes.  Ginny, my daughter did most of the labor and work --- good job!  Did I give credit to my son-in-law, Aaron, for making the raised boxes in the garden?  Thanks, Aaron.  I did help with germinating some of the seeds.

There are many techniques for getting the tomato seeds started. I wanted to use my PotMaker® but couldn't find it. I had used the pot maker in the classroom to make newspaper pots to plant Brassica rapa seeds. The brassica rapa seeds had been used in the space program to study the effects of gravity on growing plants. Some of the experiments we did with the Brassica rapa in the classroom can be found here.  The students also used the pot maker for germinating  flower seeds for the school gardens.  I recently was cleaning out a closet rented to hold my school "stuff".  Imagine that! I found that pot maker.

The pot maker will be ready for the fall garden and next year. I got those hybrid seeds started in egg cartons.  Angela Blackerby in Mother Earth News shows how to make the newspaper pots with a can.

The tomatoes in the picture above came from the garden.  The names of the tomatoes sometimes seem to vary according to each seed company.  The roma tomato with the "tail" are heirloom tomatoes.  Ginny thinks they are Jersey Devils but I think they are Speckled Roman.  (Whatever the name, they were bought as plants and they make wonderful tomato sauce or salsa.They are somewhat darker than shown in the picture.) The yellow tomatoes in the front are heirloom yellow pear shaped cherry tomatoes.  The red tomatoes in the center are Better Boy Hybrids, started from seeds. A prolific tomato, finally,  in the garden, not shown in the picture, is the Ferry Morse Gardener's Delight cherry tomato.  It is a beautiful tomato.

I believe the one dark red-purple in the back to be a Black Krim but Ginny says not.  That tomato is so very good and added so much flavor to an eggplant casserole I made. I tried saving the seeds from one of the dark tomatoes; I did it wrong.  Tomato seeds should be fermented.  So I am trying to save the seeds from that tomato in the back, hopefully,  using the correct fermenting method this time. These are good directions for fermenting, also. The fermenting method helps the seeds to germinate better and lessen tomato disease.  

Why do I want the seeds? I really like that particular tomato and saving the seeds might asure eating that same tomato again next year.  There are so many opinions about why and how to save vegetable seeds.  There are several "RIGHT" methods of fermenting.  Experimenting can't hurt.  There is always the packaged seeds when saving goes wrong.  I have nothing to lose.  A couple websites stated to dry the tomato seeds on paper towels.  Lesson learned!  That is not a good move because the tomato seeds glued themselves to the paper towel and the paper towel would not release the seed.  Wax paper, parchment paper or a paper plate is a better choice.  Another journey -- saving seeds!

Ok, back to the tomato sauce.

I used the tomatoes to make tomato sauce.  As usual I studied 5-10 recipes before beginning.  I liked the recipe from all but changed some of the ingredients and methods of cooking.  The sauce is delicious.  I like thick tomato sauce, especially with chunks of zucchini and carrot.  With this tomato sauce, I can add meat and vegetables and/or gluten free pasta at a later date.  It is also great with spiralized vegetables such as zucchini, butternut squash, or sweet potato.

Try this recipe or the original recipe.  I think you will like either one.

Tomato Sauce from Fresh Garden Tomatoes


  • 10 ripe tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 chopped celery stalk
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh (or to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tablesspoon Italian seasoning or (1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp oregano, 
  •           1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp  margoram, 1/2 teaspoon sage (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Burgundy wine (can substitution any red wine,  broth 
  •           or grape juice)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (if needed or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (if needed or to taste)


    1.  Fill a medium pot with water and heat to boiling. Working with 2-3 tomatoes at a time, lower the tomatoes into boiling water. Let the tomatoes boil in the water for 15-45 seconds, depending on size.  The skins of the tomatoes should begin to split.  With a slotted spoon, take the tomatoes out of the boiling water and place in a bowl of ice water. The peeling will slip off the tomato.  Place the tomatoes on a cutting board.  Cut as desired into small pieces, removing the core.  If seeds are to be removed, slice the tomatoes horizontally between the core and end.  The seeds can be removed with a spoon.  If needed, these are pictures with directions for removing the skins.  (Note:  I did not peel the smaller tomatoes because they eventually will be pureed)

    2.  In a soup pot or Dutch oven saute the onion, celery, carrot, and peppers together in the olive oil and butter until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute.  Add the tomatoes with the basil, Italian seasoning, wine and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding a little water, if necessary.

    3.  Stir in tomato paste, optional sugar, and optional salt. Simmer another hour.  At the end of the hour, discard the bay leaf.  Let the sauce cool until safe to puree.  Puree the sauce in a food processor, a blender or with a submersible food processor.

    4.  The tomato sauce can be frozen or canned.  I like to freeze the sauce flat in zipper freezer plastic bags.  Directions for doing that are here. It can also be refrigerated to use within a 3-5 days.


"Coring, Peeling, and Seeding Tomatoes." About. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <>

"Easy Newspaper Pots." Mother Earth News. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <>

"Out of Red Wine? Don't Worry, There Are Easy Substitutes to Make Alcohol-free Dishes." Lubbock Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <>

"Plant Growth." - Time Machine. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014.

"Simple Storage Tips – How to Freeze Soup, Sauce, and Puree." One Hundred Dollars a Month. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <>

"Substitutes for Wine." / Nutrition / Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Aug. 2014. <>

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Make It Sourdough - Gluten Free Seasoned Coating Mix

Remember this commercial?  I always enjoyed hearing that little girl's southern voice say "... and I helped."  Kraft's Shake 'N Bake still gets decent reviews on Amazon. My son-in-law likes it, especially on the night he has to cook.  There are so many flavors now.  Some of the flavors are orginal, Parmesan Crusted,  Buffalo, BBQ Glaze, Classic Herb and Ranch Crusted. The older directions say to rinse or wet the chicken but the newer directions state to brush with oil or salad dressing.  In the last year or two, the rules for handling raw chicken in the kitchen have changed.

One complaint, though -- a plastic bag is no longer included in the box. That might be a good ecological step in Kraft's planning.  Some alternate uses for the plastic bags could be to coat the chicken, fish, pork, etc. in a bowl.  Another idea seen on the network is to recyle cereal bags as shaking bags and that would bring the shake component back. My daughter uses a paper bag. Other suggestions can be seen here.

Now the next issue with Shake 'N Bake is the gluten problem.  What ingredients are in the Shake 'N Bake?  Well, all the flavors have wheat flour in it -- you know, gluten.  Sad --- that limits the use of this coating for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.  Glad to say that I have an alternative! The alternative will be more healthy, especially when made with wild yeast sourdough.

Remember the failures of the wild yeast sourdough bread that I cut up and put in the freezer.  The bread was good but ugly. There is still more.  It's going to be used to make a sourdough seasoned coating mix.

Try this good alternative to Shake 'N Bake on chicken or pork chops.

Sourdough Seasoned Coating Mix

3-4 rounded cups gluten-free sourdough bread cubes (about 325 grams before drying)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional or amount to your taste)
2  teaspoon dry parsley
3/4  teaspoon dry basil
3/4 teaspoon thyme
3/4 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon celery salt

Feel free to make any changes in any ingredient amount.

1.  Dry the bread cubes using these directions except remember that sourdough bread takes longer to dry.  (The bread crumbs weighed about 325 grams before drying and 170grams after drying).

2.  Put the dried sourdough bread cubes and the remaining ingredients in a processor and process until the bread crumbs have an even, fine texture.

3.  Store your bread crumbs in an airtight container in the freezer. The coating mix can be used without thawing.

Adaptions to the recipe:

1.  Vegetable oil, or your choice of oil can be added to the coating mix.  Use 1 tablespoon for every cup of seasoned mix.  Mix until the oil is absorbed and store as in directions.  The oil can also be added to the seasoned coating mix just before using. (The mix without oil would increase the shelf life.)
2.  Substitute the same amount of crushed gluten free corn cereal or crushed gluten free rice cereal  for the sourdough bread.
3.  Parmesan coating mix can be made by adding 1/4-1/3 cup Parmesan cheese to one cup of the seasoned coating mix.

For chicken or pork:
Line a baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

Beat 1 egg in a flat bottomed dish.  Place one cup of coating in another flat bottomed dish.  The coating can also be placed in a zip bag, a recycled cereal bag or paper bag.

Dip the chicken or pork in the egg until coated.  Then roll or shake in the sourdough seasoned coating mix until the chicken is covered with coating mix. Add more coating mix if needed.

Place in the prepared baking pan.  Cook at 350 for 45 minutes, turning the chicken half through baking.

Sourdough Seasoned Coating Mix on Chicken Thighs

"Don't Wash Your Chicken." Prevention. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2014.<>

"HowStuffWorks "Coating and Breading Chicken"" HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2014.<>

"How to Make Bread Crumbs." Restaurant Recipes Popular Restaurant Recipes You Can Make at Home Copykatcom. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2014.<>

"Top 10 Reasons To Eat Real Sourdough Bread -- Even If You're Gluten Intolerant - CHEESESLAVE." CHEESESLAVE RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Aug. 2014.<>

Monday, July 28, 2014

Make It Sourdough - Gluten Free Sourdough Brownies

These brownies are rich, fudgy and moist. They have probiotics (which are beneficial even though heated),  dark chocolate (which is good for you) and the added zucchini provides other nutrients to the brownies.  (The zucchini has no taste in the brownies.) The sourdough starter is made from gluten free whole grains. The wild yeast sourdough starter and low sugar of these brownies won't spike blood sugar as much as other brownies.

I have tried several times to make sourdough brownies and all so far ended in the trash can.  This time I referenced the brownies from Wild Yeast.  Though my instincts led me to believe that this recipe might work, the recipe made too many brownies for one person. The brownies looked nice and were sourdough. A problem with the recipe was that it contained 200 g of sugar. A Messy Kitchen used this same recipe from Wild Yeast but added malted milk powder.  The malt is usually made from barley and wheat and cannot be used by a gluten intolerant person.  Plain powdered milk can be substituted for the malted milk powder.

Being diabetic, I adapted the brownies for less sugar by using 50 grams of sugar and 3 tablespoons of Stevia in the Raw. Some sugar is needed not only for sweetness but moisture and tenderness. I also reduced the recipe by half because I didn't need that many brownies and would be wasting less ingredients if the adapted recipe didn't work and the brownies had to be thrown out. The amount of ingredients in the reduced recipe has worked out perfect.

Mine didn't have the shiny crust on top.  The editor of The Kitchn suggests that the shiny top comes from beating the eggs into the creamed butter and sugar longer. Chaire from Out of the Ordinary Food agrees.  Both agree that only granulated sugar will give the shiny crust and using extra sugar will give a great shiny crust.  Guess I'll have to live without the shiny, crusty tops on brownies.

I think I will always miss those crusty gluten fudgy brownies that you don't have to worry about falling apart when they are just out of the oven.  There is nothing like a warm fudge brownie with ice cream.  But I'll settle for these sourdough brownies -- they can be eaten warm even though they fall apart.  They don't gluten me and that is a good thing!  If you want these brownies to look beautiful, they have to be completely cool before moving them or slicing them. Once cool, they will stay together.

I haven't finished with the design of these brownies.  I think I can still improve them with nuts, or cream cheese or peanut butter.  Being diabetic limits what I can add -- which would be no candies, though adding miniature gluten free marshmallows might be OK.  I will update any changes I make.  I have thrown out so many sourdough brownies because they weren't sweet enough or didn't taste very good. So far, these are a keeper.

Gluten Free Sourdough Brownies

150g (1 cup) GF dark chocolate chips or dark GF chocolate bars or GF semisweet chocolate chips
113g (1/2 cup) butter (your choice)
100 g (1/2 cup) sugar (or 50 g of sugar and 3 tablespoons sugar substitute or to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2  teaspoons honey (optional)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup shredded zucchini with water squeezed out
1/2 teaspoon salt
15 grams regular or dark cocoa powder (not sweetened)
10 grams mik powder
pinch of cinnamon
110 g mature gluten free sourdough starter 100% hydration
1/2 cup to 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

1.  Prepare the sourdough starter by feeding it 7-12 hours before using it. (The bacteria and wild yeast need time to complete their symbiotic relationship).
2.  Preheat oven to 325℉
3.  Prepare a 8x8-inch baking dish by lining with parchment. (Leave parchment "handles" to lift the brownies from the pan to cool).
4.  In a saucepan, over low heat, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring constantly, just enough to melt. The butter and chocolate can also be melted in microwave for 15 seconds in a microwavable dish.  Stir the melted butter and chips together.  If the chips are not fully melted, place in microwave for 10-15 seconds and stir again. When melting in the microwave, watch the melting very carefully!
5. Beat the sugar, salt, vanilla and eggs together until well mixed.  Stir in the honey if using.
6.  Mix together the cocoa powder, milk powder and cinnamon.  Sift over the chocolate mixture and mix together.
7.  Gently stir in the sourdough starter until completely combined.  Stir in the extra chocolate chips and/or 1/2 cup nuts if desired.
8.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean from near the middle.  Cool for about 20-30 minutes before removing from pan.
9.  Carefully lift the whole brownie out with the parchment paper.  Finish cooling completely on a wire rack. The cooler the brownie, the easier to handle.

Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free Sourdough Starter
Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free Sourdough English Muffins
Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free Sourdough Bread #1
Make It Sourdough - Gluten-Free Soft Wraps, Waffles and Pancakes


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