Gluten Free Breads?

January 7, 2015

Julian Bakery Gluten Free Bread

Julian Bakery Gluten Free Bread

photo 4

If you’re trying to eat gluten-free, be careful with breads and baked goods because a lot of the time, grains are replaced by starches and they are very carb-heavy and you just end up trading one problem for another.

There are only two gluten-free breads I like.  Canyon Bakehouse Cinnamon Raisin Bread and Julian Bakery Paleo bread (Coconut Paleo Bread pictured above – it also comes in Almond, which is in a brown package).  I also like to substitute bread all together for a delicious Julian Bakery Coconut Wrap (I actually had no idea that my favorite paleo bread and my favorite coconut wrap was made by the same people until I started writing this post and looking for links, because I never use the brand name when talking about them!)

The Canyon Bakehouse bread is a nice, tasty treat, but a bit carby/starchy, as most gluten-free baked goods are, because most use starches to replace the grains that have gluten in them.  So, this isn’t the kind of bread I’d eat every day or anything.

The Paleo Bread is low carb (because it’s not starchy), is moist, has a fairly strong baking soda taste (which is well-tempered if you eat it with something, as opposed to eating it with nothing on it), and really needs to be toasted, IMHO.  The Coconut “flavor” does not taste like coconut at all to me.  It just doesn’t have any nuts (as opposed to the Almond one), and is made with coconut flour.  It is sold as a frozen bread, so I let half a loaf thaw out at a time in the fridge.  If you try to toast a frozen piece, it takes forever, and will likely be unsuccessful.  Even thawed, I don’t usually crisp it up like regular toast in the toaster, it just kind of gets warm.  I like it moist for sandwiches.  My diet-twin and BFF Joe B. (hi, JOE!) says he likes to put the slices in the oven for 15 min at 350.  I don’t know if that’s frozen or thawed, though.  If you’re looking for a grain-free, gluten-free, low carb, fairly low-sodium bread (that is also yeast-free, starch-free, soy free, GMO free, and nut free), Coconut Paleo Bread is the one!


How do you make yogurt?

June 5, 2013

Yogurt and Granola

Homemade yogurt with Healing Home Foods Honey Citrus Granola.

Those of you who didn’t ask me this question are wondering why the hell would I make my own yogurt.  Here is why.

You’ll need

  • whole milk  – preferably: organic, from pastured cows, low-heat pasteurized or raw, not homogenized
  • yogurt starter (I use this one to be compliant with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet) – I believe this starter can also be used for coconut milk yogurt and nut milk yogurt!  Check it out!
  • some jars with lids (I use 5 old 16 oz almond butter jars with lids)
  • a dehydrator (or some way you can keep the yogurt around 100°F for 24 -30 hours)
  • a food thermometer (I use an Oxo Digital Instant Read Thermometer)
  • a ladle (or some way to pour the yogurt into the jars)
  • a pot and stove to heat up the milk (make sure it’s big enough for all the milk, with room left over)
  • a large bowl in which the milk can cool (make sure it’s big enough to fit all the milk you are using!)
  • a slightly larger bowl with ice in it that the bowl above can sit in to cool faster (optional, but really helpful)
  • ice (two ice cube trays full or 40-50 cubes is usually good)
  • 1/4 tsp measuring spoon
  • a whisk to stir in the yogurt starter after the milk is cooled
milk

I always use Grazin’ Angus milk. They’re at the Union Square Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Heat the milk over medium heat until it is 180°F.  Do not let it boil or get hotter than that, because it will very likely boil over the top of the pot and make a huge mess all over your stove.

Heat the Milk

Heat the Milk to 180°F.

While the milk is heating up over medium heat on your stove, sterilize your jars, lids, ladle, milk-cooling bowl, measuring spoon and whisk.  You can do this by dipping them in hot water (= or > 180°F), or steaming them for 3-4 minutes.  [Since the cooling bowl will be big, you might want to just put it in the sink and pour in the sterilizing water and empty it after a few minutes.]

When the milk gets past 175 or so, shut off the stove.  It will go up a few degrees by itself (plus, you don’t want to take the chance it will boil over!).  Get your cooling area ready (preferably in the sink so you can catch spills – as long as nothing will splash in and contaminate your yogurt).  Put the largest bowl in first, with the ice in it, then put the cooling bowl on top of that.  Pour the milk into the cooling bowl.

Cool milk in an ice bath.

Place ice and water in the bottom bowl and sit the “cooling bowl” in that. Pour your hot milk in this cooling bowl. Cover is optional.

When the milk gets down to around 100°F, get out your yogurt starter (it is supposed to be kept in the fridge) and put in the required amount and whisk it through.  For the type of starter I use, and the amount of milk I work with (half gallon), it’s only an 1/8th of a teaspoon!

Tiny amount of starter

Seriously, you don’t need a lot of starter. Read directions carefully!  And make sure that milk is not more than 105°F or you will kill your starter!

Fill your jars with the milk/starter and put the lids on.  Put them in the dehydrator or whatever appliance you have that will maintain the 100°F heat, and let them sit, undisturbed for 24-30 hours.  You want the yogurt to ferment for that length of time so the bacteria eats almost all of the lactose in the milk.

Yogurt

Covered yogurt jars in the dehydrator. 24-30 hours. 100°F.

At the end of the 24-30 hours, take out your yogurt gently (bacteria don’t like to be disturbed), and place it in the fridge.  The delicious fat layer will be on the top.  Mix it in if you want it more homogenous.  The yogurt will be fresh for about 10 – 14 days.  Enjoy!

yogurt

Here’s a spoonful of freshly made yogurt. The rich layer of fat on the top can be mixed in or removed, based on your preference. The fat should be nice and yellow if the milk comes from a pasture-raised cow.


How do you make dumplings?

March 20, 2013

Pan fried and steamed dumplings

Pan fried and steamed dumplings

Dumplings can be filled with pretty  much anything.  My recipe for 50 pork dumplings is below.  I make 50 at a time because that’s how many wrappers are in a package, and they freeze and reheat well.  I don’t eat dumplings anymore because I don’t eat grains and am on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), but my family still loves them, so I make them.  At the end of this post, I have notes that include how to make burgers out of dumpling filling for my Paleo, SCD, gluten-free, and grain-free followers out there.

For 50 dumplings (plus extra filling to make 8 paleo /SCD Legal “dumpling filling burgers” – see end of post).

  • 1 package of Nasoya all natural Wonton Wraps (see notes at end as to why I recommend these specifically)
  • 1 lb ground pork (preferably pastured and/or organic)
  • 3/4 of a pound of green cabbage, shredded
  • 2 peeled carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 12-15 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, chopped (they’re even better if sautéd in butter or ghee first)
  • 2″ piece of ginger, peeled, grated (a microplane does a great job)
  • 5 scallions (mostly green parts), chopped
  • 2 large or jumbo eggs, beaten (plus one extra egg for dumpling filling patties at the end, if you want to make them)
  • 2 TBS coconut flour
  • 1 Tbs of fish sauce (preferably Red Boat fish sauce, due to no sugar, preservatives or extraneous ingredients)
  • 1 Tbs coconut aminos
  • Optional: 4 sunchokes, peeled and chopped (this is to replace the traditional bamboo shoots, which I think are gross when canned – if you could find fresh bamboo shoots, I would use them)
  • few Tbs of butter, ghee, or coconut oil for sautéing (bacon fat is also wonderful… I’m just saying… don’t judge me!)
  • a cup or so of rice flour to generously put on each layer of dumplings so they don’t stick together if you are going to freeze them.

It takes me just over an hour just to fill 50 dumpling wrappers, so set aside around 2 hours for initial prep, filling, and clean up.  It will be worth it when you have a freezer full of quick-to-cook dumplings!

You’ll also need a food processor of at least 8 cup capacity (or you can process in batches), large mixing bowl, smaller bowl, 10-12″ diameter frying pan with lid, flipper, and a little bit of water (both important for steaming and for wetting down the wrapper), a finger bowl, and if you’re freezing most of them, a freezer container with lid (the Pyrex 3 cup container is a perfect fit for approximately 12 of them, and the 6 cup is great for 20-24, depending on how full you fill them).

Though you could close up the dumplings by hand or fork, it is much easier and looks better when you use one of these dumpling presses. I got this one for $3 at Bowery Kitchen at Chelsea Market. If you’re not near Chelsea Market, here are some cheap ones at Amazon: $4.99 one, and a set of 3 for $4.99.

Dumpling Maker

This dumpling maker will save you a ton of time and energy. It’s the best $3 I ever spent!

First, process the cabbage, carrots, mushrooms, grated ginger, scallions (and sunchokes, if you added them), just until the mixture is fairly homogenous.

Then, place the processed mixture in a large mixing bowl.  Add the ground pork, flour, eggs, fish sauce and coconut aminos.  Mix it all together with your hands, like you are making meatballs (you’ve made meatballs, right?).  This way, you don’t overwork the pork, as you would if you put the pork in the food processor (plus, you’d need a bigger food processor).

Dumpling filling workspace

Setting up your workspace properly will make the arduous task of making 50 dumplings go just a bit faster and easier.  Ignore the juicer and the Kitchen Aid.  They just happen to live there.

Next, set up your dumpling-making station.  It will take a while to make 50 dumplings, so only have a little bit of your filling out at a time.  Take about two cups of the mixture out into a small bowl, and put your large bowl with the rest of the filling in the fridge with a cover on it (either a plate or pan lid over the bowl or some plastic wrap or foil).

Place about a tablespoon of the filling in the wrapper and with a wet finger, moisten two consecutive edges with water, fold it over and put it in the dumpling press.  If you don’t have a press, you can squeeze with your fingers, or press down on the edges of the folded dumpling with a fork.

Put the filling in the dumpling wrapper

Put the filling in the dumpling wrapper and moisten the edges, so when you fold it over, it will stick together.

Folded dumpling in dumpling press

Put the folded dumpling in the press and squeeze down, sealing and crimping the edges.

Finished dumpling

This is how the dumpling looks after it is pressed.

Dumplings fit perfectly in the 3 cup Pyrex rectangular storage dish with blue lid.  Don't forget to generously dust with rice flour between layers to prevent sticking.

Dumplings fit perfectly in the 3 cup Pyrex rectangular storage dish with blue lid. Don’t forget to generously dust with rice flour between layers to prevent sticking.

You can boil, steam or pan fry dumplings.  I like them best when they are pan fried with a bit of steaming at the end.  To cook your dumplings my way, heat up a frying pan over medium heat and melt a little less than a tablespoon of butter, ghee, coconut oil, bacon fat or whatever fat you’d like in the pan making sure you coat the whole bottom surface.  Place the dumplings in the pan, ensuring no overlap and turn the heat down to low.  Flip the dumplings, turn the heat back to medium, and let the other side brown (see first picture of this post).  Once both sides are browned, put a tablespoon or so of water in the pan and quickly put the lid on the pan to trap the steam.  This finishes cooking the dumplings as well as softens the consistency of the cooked wrapper a little.  Your dumplings should have an interior temperature of at least 160 degrees F or more.

NOTES:

  • On the wrappers:  I specify Nasoya wrappers instead of most other varieties because they do NOT have sodium benzoate, which I try to avoid when possible.  Tang’s natural dumpling wrappers would be my preferred choice, but they are hard to find.  If you’re looking to make your own gluten-free wrappers, these recipes look great and well-researched.
  • Making “dumpling filling burgers” to maintain your Paleo, SCD, gluten-free, grain-free lifestyle.  Obviously, don’t use the wrappers.  Also, don’t add the sunchokes if you are doing the SCDiet.  Take the leftover filling (around 3 cups, give or take), add another tablespoon of coconut flour and one egg to the mixture and hand-mix.  Form fairly thin burgers (you want them to be able to cook through completely).  In a separate pan from the burgers, with a separate flipper (so you don’t contaminate them with the rice flour/wrappers), sauté in butter, ghee, coconut oil, bacon fat, or your fat of choice  until browned on each side and to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F .
Cooking SCD for myself and regular for the family

I’m cooking the dumpling filling burgers on the left and the regular dumplings on the right.

Browned dumpling filling burgers

Browned dumpling filling burgers

If you want to see how I ate these, my plate will be posted in a few days on Yummy Fixins!


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