Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coconut Milk Ice Cream ROCKS!

If you are milk-free and you haven't tried coconut milk ice cream yet, you are truly missing out. This stuff is delicious! I remember the first time I tried Rice Dream ice cream. I grimaced, felt sorry for everyone allergic to milk, and tossed the carton. Soy milk ice cream isn't terrible, but it's really not that great. My son can't eat soy anyway, so it's a moot point for us.

Coconut milk to the rescue. This ice cream, and the chocolate-covered ice cream pops made by the same company, is really good. Giving only the slightest twinge of coconut, this product is closer to milk-based ice cream than any other product I've tried. It is sweet, rich, creamy, and does not have a weird aftertaste. It genuinely tastes good. Most important: our kids can finally eat ice cream like their friends do.

All of the coconut milk ice creams from Turtle Mountain are GF/CF! Even the Cookie Dough flavor is gluten free! Hurray!

One day I hope to make this into an ice cream cake with my bundt pan. It might make a fun birthday cake.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Rolls Rise Better on a Cookie Sheet or Pizza Stone

I used my finger to show the roll height.
A few months ago I made a large batch of rolls for a holiday event with my husband's family. Normally I bake in large glass lasagna pans. On that day I didn't have enough room in the lasagna pan so I had to bake some of the rolls in a pie dish. The pie dish has lower sides than the lasagna pan. The rolls that came from the pie dish rose higher than those from the lasagna pan.

Today I wanted to see if the rolls would rise even higher on a flat surface. I skipped the lasagna pans and pie dish and baked half my rolls on a cookie sheet and the other half on a pizza stone. I used the Sesame Bean Bread recipe from the Gluten Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. This was my first time using garfava flour from Authentic Foods.

The rolls rose quickly and nicely. I let them rise in a warm oven for 30 minutes, then I sprayed some foil with cooking spray, opened the oven, and laid the foil on top of the rolls. I turned the oven up to 400 degrees. Betty Hagman's book advises to preheat the oven before baking, but I find that bread does most of its rising during the preheating process.

The rolls on the cookie sheet baked faster but the bottoms mostly burned (a little) and turned hard and bitter. The rolls on the pizza stone took longer and the bottoms caved in somewhat, but they didn't burn or turn bitter.

I'm currently on the Atkins diet, so I cannot eat bread. However I really wanted to try the rolls to see if the new flour really tasted better. I decided to take a bite and spit it out. They tasted so good that I actually wasted a whole bun tasting and spitting! The rolls were soft like Wonder Bread and tasted slightly sweet, much like Challah bread (a bread traditionally served at Jewish Sabbath dinners). I could not taste beans at all! The rolls were a brown color, like wheat bread, because of the two teaspoons of molasses in them. Next time I'd like to try them with maple syrup or honey instead of molasses to get them to look like Italian bread.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Quest for Real Bread continues

The rolls didn't rise. They actually tasted pretty good, but since they didn't rise, my son wouldn't eat them. I'm not sure what I did wrong.

I just ordered garfava flour from Authentic Foods. They claim that their flour tastes less "beany" because they process it. I will try it and let you know. I plan on trying the Sesame Rolls recipe next.

The Quest for Real Bread

I am a mother on a mission. I need to feed my four-year-old picky eater. Creating kid-friendly healthy meals is a task in itself, but some of us have an additional challenge: food allergies. My son, Jack, is allergic to wheat, milk, soy, and nuts.

The hardest part about raising a child without wheat or milk is designing cold portable lunches for school that won't come back home completely untouched by my overly-choosy, and likely hungry and irritable, preschooler. My son starts school next week and he will need to bring his lunch. Most mothers can get by just slapping some peanut butter on store-bought bread. If only it were that easy for the rest of us. Most of the grocery store is off-limits to food allergic kids.

Jack and I have sampled all of the gluten-free breads at the health food store. We have yet to find one that is enjoyable. The bread we've tried takes the joy out of eating. When consuming said bread, I feel like I'm counting down the bites until I finally finish the sandwich. Just 10 more bites, just nine more bites, gag, eight more to go. Jack usually takes four bites and then removes the cold cuts from the sandwich center and eats them plain, leaving the rejected bead remnants looking lonely on his plate.

I have baked gluten-free bread with marginal success. Bob's Red Mill mix makes an atrociously inedible loaf. Bette Hagman's Four Flour Bread recipe, taken from her book, The Gluten Free Groumet Bakes Bread, is better. I've baked it into kaiser rolls and it has a beautiful texture. Unfortunately the garbanzo and fava bean flour taste dominates, leaving the rolls tasting woefully of beans. I've tried adding some garlic, more salt, more sugar. Nothing can hide the bitter taste of beans. The last time I used the recipe, I added so much salt that the resulting bread was inedible.

Today I am attempting a new recipe from the same book: the Casserole Rice Bread. This recipe does not use bean flour. I am optimistic. I followed the recipe as closely as possible, while making some necessary substitutions: organic palm oil-based shortening in place of margarine, So Delicious coconut milk kefir in place of buttermilk, and sesame seed meal (ground in my coffee bean grinder) in place of almond meal.

The rolls are rising now and I am ripe with anxiety. I hate when I waste an entire afternoon and have nothing good to show for it. First I had to go to the grocery store to buy potato flakes. Once I actually started the recipes, it took me an hour to measure out all of the ingredients and get the kefir and margarine at the right temperature (120 degrees F) on my stove. Then once I finally got ready to use the kefir mixture, the temperature had fallen back down to 80 degrees. My overzealous reheating brought the mixture up to a too high 160 degrees, and, having used up all of my kefir, I had to add cold rice milk to get the temperature back down.

Jack has been begging us to take him to Subway, the sandwich shop that markets itself as the healthy fast food choice. It's not healthy for Jack, however, since they do not offer a gluten-free sandwich. The wheat-based rolls are soft, chewy, downright dreamy. My goal is make a gluten-free alternative that is every bit as tender and tasty. If today's recipe doesn't work, I'll have to start over with yet another recipe. I don't want this to be a lifelong quest.