Tag Archives: flour

And Then There was Pizza

20 Jan

One of the things I asked Tre to think about early on was the Top 5 things he couldn’t live without despite dietary restrictions. Although this sounds like a tedious exercise geared at grimly reminding Tre of all the things he can’t have, it has really become a “to do list” for me in terms of finding viable substitutes for classic favorites. As mentioned before, positive thinking is highly encouraged when adapting to new dietary restrictions and I can say with confidence that in the 4 months since Tre’s official diagnosis, the bereavement process has somewhat stabilized. Nonetheless, the reality is that pizza made the Top 5 list a total of three times so it’s a challenge I’ve grappled with since the beginning.

Coming out of the oven, the grape flour pizza looked alright...

Early on, Tre and I were gifted with pizza crusts that were made by a vineyard in the Niagara region from the leftover grape debris of their fermentation process. The remaining grape skins, seeds, leaves, stems were dehydrated and ground into a stone colored flour and then pre-baked into neat little pizza crusts that were entirely gluten free. The concept was novel and I’d hoped beyond hope that these crusts would not have a strange nuance of fruitiness to them. Not to be brutal in my opinion, but the resulting dish may have been the anti-pizza. Although it looked attractive enough, the crust was flat, dense, and chewy and the overall experience had a pungent air of what I would describe as “footiness” (having to do with feet) both in smell and taste.

This was quite a blow to both my and Tre’s esteem, and having failed so miserably at a first attempt at pizza, I shelved the idea indefinitely.

Then one day while entertaining the organics section at my grocery store, I decided to take a closer look at a few of the “gluten free” flour options available. I’d almost entirely dismissed the gluten free section noting that the majority of these products used rice, soy, and corn as typical additives — all of which are on the “no fly” list for Tre — but I decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and recheck a few labels. To my surprise, the gluten free “all purpose flour” I’d grabbed was also free of corn, rice, and soy fillers and instead boasted potato starch, sorghum, bean flours, and tapioca among other things all on the clear list for Tre. I ended up buying a 2lb bag with the intent of finding some purpose for it in my cooking.

What I’d purchased was Bob’s Red Mill “Gluten Free All Purpose Flour” and despite lukewarm feelings towards Bob’s almond flour (it was not fun to work with, there, I said it) I decided to give this all purpose flour a shot. A quick visit to the Bob’s Red Mill site and I was able to uncover a myriad of recipes centered around this WCRS-free flour. What I stumbled upon amazed me, namely a recipe for a pizza crust. I couldn’t believe I’d found a crust recipe that was free of all the things Tre couldn’t have and I almost instantly went to work creating what would be his first pizza in over 3 months. The results were excellent and Tre and I were both happy to have a homemade pizza that stood up to the pizzas we used to enjoy.

This is a closeup of the pizza crust. It actually looks legit!

The whole pizza right out of the oven.

Gluten Free Pizza — Adapted from the recipe at Bob’s Red Mill

Pizza Toppings

  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce or other pizza sauce
  • 2 cups all natural mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Optional: pepperoni, onion, peppers, sausage, whatever you like to top your pizza with!

Directions: Be sure to use NON METAL bowls

Couldn't quite get it to spread all the way out on the pizza sheet but this ended up working well enough.

 

  1. In a small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and water and let stand about 5 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, xanthan gum, and salt. Add egg, oil, and yeast mixture to dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined. Use a hand mixer/blender/food processor or a spoon but be careful not to come into too much contact with the dough as xanthan gum will stick if you mix by hand. Add water by the tsp (no more than 3) to loosen mixture if needed. Allow the dough to sit and rise in a warm room for a half hour.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a pizza sheet. Scoop the dough onto the pizza sheet and using wet hands and a spoon, spread out into a disk shape and smooth. Patch any holes in the dough.
  4. Cover dough with sauce and toppings to your liking. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until cheese begins to look crispy.
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A WCSR-free Thanksgiving

30 Nov

Yes my friends, this is stuffing! Wheat, corn, rice, and soy-free stuffing that looked AND tasted like the real thing!

Yes, Thanksgiving was last week, hence the lack of posts here and general early-winter disarray. Tre and I were off enjoying our first WCRS-free holiday with a surprising amount of success. Thanks to a number of prolific gluten-free bloggers out there as well as some good old fashioned elbow grease and family support, I was able to create a few fun treats for Tre including stuffing, chocolate cake, double chocolate cookies, and gravy for Thanksgiving dinner and dessert.

In an unexpected departure from my normal cooking routine, I packed up my ingredients and trucked across town to my parents’ house (notice in the picture no BLUE counters). I love cooking with my mom and she was super-helpful when it came to turning my almond flour and flax bread into stuffing and was welcome company on my “black Wednesday” trip to the grocery store for forgotten ingredients.

Stay tuned for recipes, but in the meantime, stay warm! Here in NY it’s getting cold!

Beef Stew -or- My First Battle With Garbanzo Bean Flour

21 Oct

The Monday after finding out about Tre’s allergy was the first time I found myself trying to think of a WCRS-free dinner that I could throw together quickly. The scale of the adjustment has been overshadowed by the fact that Tre and I are knee-deep in grad school and the time commitment there further complicates the care required to cook in this new fashion. I took a mental inventory of all the recipes I knew of and tried to think of something easy that we could have for the rest of the week… and I recalled recently cleaning out my crock pot.

Crock pot dishes were meant for this time of year when it starts to get cold and everyone’s schedules begin to get more complex. This type of cooking has been my go-to for simple, filling dishes that can be tupperwared and stored for meals throughout the week.

The first recipe I pulled, of course, required flour for pan searing the meat and thickening the sauce. My first opportunity to ease in the garbanzo bean flour had presented itself. And of course, I would quickly learn that garbanzo bean flour does not respond quite the same as wheat flour.

Beef Stew: Adapted from Wegmans’ Country-Style Beef Stew

Finished product waiting to cook overnight in the crock pot.

  • 2 lbs boneless beef cut for stew
  • Garbazno Bean Flour for Pan Searing
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 slices Turkey Bacon, cut in 1/4-inch strips
  • 2-1/2 cups baby carrots, whole
  • 4 celery sticks, cleaned and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 extra small yellow onions, whole, peeled with root side removed
  • 10-15 extra small red potatoes, cleaned
  • 6 Tbsp Garbanzo Bean Flour
  • 4 cups Beef Culinary Stock
  • 1 28oz can whole peeled tomatoes
You’ll Need: 6-8 qt crock pot

Directions:

  1. Dust beef with Garbanzo Bean flour.
  2. Heat oil on MEDIUM in large pan. Add beef; brown, turning to brown all sides, 8-10 min. Remove beef; place in crock pot. Add bacon to pan and cook until crisp; place in the crock pot. Discard all but 1 Tbsp drippings from pan.
  3. Add carrots, onion, and celery to pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4-5 min. Whisk* the remaining Garbanzo Bean flour in 1 cup beef stock until dissolved. Be sure to break up clumps. Pour mixture into the pan with vegetables, stirring to loosen browned bits on bottom of pan. Cook 3-5 min, until liquid is reduced by one-third, to a syrupy consistency; bring to simmer.
  4. Pour broth mixture over beef in slow cooker. Add potatoes and whole tomatoes; stir slightly.
  5. Cover; cook on HIGH for 1 hour and switch to LOW for 6-9 hours.

As you can see, the Garbanzo Bean flour just kind of sits there.... I'll be mixing it outside the pan next time.

*I made the mistake of just adding the Garbanzo Bean flour right to the cooking vegetables and quickly realized that it didn’t break up and dissolve quite the same way as regular flour. I think it’s best to pull it aside and break it up by whisking in beef broth before adding. That said, it worked very well for pan searing the meat!

You can see this recipe was adapted to suit both Tre and my allergies. I subbed in turkey bacon for normal bacon and obviously gave the Garbanzo Bean flour a shot, although it played only a minor role. This gave me some useful insight into how Garbanzo Bean flour behaves, being protein based and less soluble than wheat flour. I’m glad I sampled it in a less-intensive dish before diving in to a more involved recipe using something I’ve never worked with before.

The stew came out awesome for being such an easy recipe to make and it fed Tre and I for almost a week! As my first deliberate WCRS-free dish, I’m pretty pleased!