Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Manicotti update - gf/df/vegan

Just a quick update on my quest to make Manicotti for Christmas. I made them again last night and this time added a little Xantam gum and baked them uncovered. The tops came out perfect but the bottom was a touch gummy. They did hold together better than the last batch. I think the shells are still a little too thick. I'm pretty sure I'll get this on the next go around (which may be Christmas itself!) I'll post the recipe once I'm done.

The original post is here:

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Lasagna attempt

Last week I made another attempt at making a gluten-free/dairy-free/vegan lasagna. It wasn't as bad as the first time but not as good as last time either. I used Debole's No Boil noodles and boiled them first. For those who don't already know, the first time I used Debole's No Boil noodles I didn't boil them and my lasagna was crunchy! More on that and the recipe I use are in this old blog post:

So anyhow, after boiling for 10 minutes the noodles were still pretty al dente. I made two improvements to my process. First, I boiled the noodles in a large saute pan in which they could lie flat while they cooked. After I drained and rinsed them I returned them to this pan with some cold water. This made building the lasagna much easier.

I also subbed out the soft tofu for silken tofu. To be honest there isn't too much of a difference here other than it takes less effort to get a Ricotta like consistency (you can get it by stirring with a spoon for the Silken, but need to use a whisk for the soft.)

After baking for 30 minutes I cut the lasagna up into 3 large pieces and proceeded to eat one. That one was still a little hard (noodle-wise) so I returned the other two pieces to the oven for another 30 minutes while microwaving the piece I was eating (it was late and I was too hungry to wait another 30 minutes!) When they were done, I froze both of the other two pieces for future lunches.

Today at lunch I had one of the frozen pieces and to be honest the noodles didn't hold up too well. I think this means (as much as I don't really like them) that I'll have to go back to trying Tinkyada lasagna noodles next time. I'll just have to boil them even less than the previous time (after 10 minutes the wavey edges were falling off). I also think I'll try to buy a 10" square pan to bake this in. That will save me having to cut the noodles to fit my 8" pan.

Ah, someday I'll get this 100% right!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Beef Rouladen and Spaetzle - gluten free/dairy free

I had a friend of mine and her husband over for dinner Sunday night. She's very supportive of my diet (as a matter of fact she was the first to convince me that Celiacs may be the cause of my digestive problems) so I was fairly comfortable asking them to taste my first attempt at GF/DF Spaetzle. Growing up Spaetzle was always the side dish accompanying Mom's Beef Rouladen so I made both (along with asparagus). What a mess!

Mom made making spaetzle look pretty easy but to be honest it isn't. I think I added a little too much water to the dough (which was pretty thick) so it dripped off the spoon in between me cutting the spaetzle off. I ended up with some pretty oddly shaped spaetzle (so odd, I didn't photograph them) and lots of angle hair thin short noodle pieces. They tasted great so I'm not deterred. I do want to perfect the recipe (and maybe even try them vegan) before posting it.

The rouladen wasn't as big a mess, although I did forget to add mustard until I was rolling the last one. Oh, how fun to have to unroll all of them and start over! Also, even if it does end up costing more, I will never again by a bottom roast and cut my own, I'll buy the meat sliced already.

Anyhow, dessert was delicious. I made Key Lime Squares (listed under Lemon Squares) from Gluten-Free Baking Classics. Next time I try these I think I'll add a little green food coloring (note to self: I need to buy green food coloring) as the Key Lime juice has a yellowish/brown color and so did the finished squares. They did taste great so being the wrong color wasn't too big of a set back!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Manicotti - gluten free/dairy free/vegan(?)

Every year at Christmas there are always Manicotti on the menu. I haven't had these since I was in high school (18 years ago, ouch!) I decided this year I would try making GF/DF manicotti (if I had time, I would try Vegan as well, but at least at first I planned on including some egg.)

Anyhow, my first attempt was on Friday night and they didn't turn out half bad. The recipe was fairly simple and a quick conversion from Mom's gluten and dairy inclusive recipe. I even made one before I added the egg to the filling and to be honest it wasn't that different from those with egg in them. I think next time I'll keep them all vegan.

So, why isn't this posted as a success and where is the recipe? Ah, the joys of trying to make thin crepes without them sticking, or folding over on themselves! I had a couple of 'disaster' and oddly shaped manicottis! I also included all the spices from my tofu lasagna filling and I'd like to try it without the basil next time. The real mistake however was that I baked them covered and the dough ended up gooey. I'm going to try the recipe again uncovered to see how it turns out. If everything sets fully then I'll be posting the results (complete with photos) so stay tuned!

Ener-G Hot Dog Buns - new shape

Last week I bought a package of Ener-G Tapioca Hot Dog Buns. I've had these before but I wouldn't have called them a hot dog bun in the past. Previously, they were more of a small hero (hoggie/grinder/sub) roll. I didn't mind, I would just put two hot dogs on them (or use them to make a meatball parm hero or a roast beef sub for lunch). Now however, they are more cylindrical in shape and much more like a hot dog bun (they still taste exactly the same). Check out the photo I took and you can see what I mean. Not sure which shape you'll get if you order them online somewhere but if you know of a local store that sells them you may want to stop in and check them out.

While I'll miss the old small hero rolls, I certainly like the idea of being able to take a couple of these to a bar-b-cue and have hot dogs on a bun just like everyone else!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Best Laid Plans for a Gluten Free Weekend

I had planned on trying a lot of new gluten/dairy free foods this weekend. While, obviously I always eat GF/DF, often I do it by just removing certain foods (hamburger buns, pasta, skipping dessert, etc.). Of course, the best laid plans often go awry. I did manage a couple of new items however . . .

I started Friday night with Steak, rice and green beans (see, the usual gluten/dairy avoidance). Since I broiled the steak (and the oven was warm) I made a batch of Gluten Free Pantry Chocolate Chip Cookies. I used whipped silken tofu in place of eggs so these were vegan as well. [Just a quick note, I eat some vegan foods, not to avoid meat but rather to avoid dairy and eggs, I can tolerate some egg, but not much.]

Saturday night I had been invited to a friend's for a dinner party. I offered to bring dessert (dinner was already gluten/dairy friendly as nothing on the menu contained either). I made an Apple Crisp from Annalise Roberts' Gluten-Free Baking Classics. It turned out great, and everyone was asking for the recipe! (This recipe is in the original edition of the book, but the revised edition adds over 40 new ones!)

Sunday morning I got up early and made Apple Carrot muffins from Gluten Free Gobsmacked one of the blogs I read. They were a great start to the weekend. They were also vegan as I replaced the butter with olive oil (should have used Earth Balance in hindsight as I can taste the olive oil in the muffins) and I replaced the eggs with whipped tofu. Other than taking longer to bake, they were quite moist and delicious.

I had invited my cousin and his fiance over for dinner Sunday but she was sick so unfortunately they couldn't make it. I had planned on making Turkey cutlets and Fettuccine Alfreado. This was one of Mom's staple dinners growing up and one that I've been able to duplicate perfectly both gluten and dairy free. Dessert was going to be Key Lime Squares also from Gluten-Free Baking Classics. I ended up getting busy with errands and chores, so these will have to wait for next weekend.

In the mean time I have left over muffins, cookies and crisp to finish off!

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