Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

I have been compiling a list of brands and items that I have found helpful in living the GF DFI lifestyle.  In a previous post I listed a few items and here are some more.

Baking Items
Namaste All Purpose Flour - I really like this one as they already have the Xanthum Gum added
Gluten Free Bisquick - who knew!!!
King Arthur GF Chocolate Cake Mix - you don't even know you are eating gluten free.  This is one of the best cake mixes I have ever used.

Bionature - I have used the penne and rigatoni.   I served it to family and I don't think they knew the difference.

Mexican Coke - made with real sugar (why can't they just make it all with real sugar???)
Blue Sky Ginger Ale - made with real sugar and very tasty

These things have made the transition a lot easier.   There will be more to come in the future as I continue this journey.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gluten Free/DFI Jam Thumbprints Cookies

I love all the baking this time of year.   But now that I have DFI, I have been adapting some of my favorite cookie recipes.  This is based on Ina Garten's jam thumbprints.  The original recipe calls for coconut to be egg washed on the cookie but since coconut is high in fructose/sorbitol, this can not be tolerated by DFIers.  

Hope you enjoy this adaptation.

Gluten Free/DFI Jam Thumbprint Cookies

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour (I used Namaste All Purpose Gluten Free)
1/4 teaspoon Xanthum Gum (Note - please check your all purpose flour brand - I did not need to add since Namaste brand already has this included in the mix.  Bob's Mill Brand does not so you will need to add this)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
DFI friendly jam (I used a cranberry jam I found and an apricot one for my other half)

In a mixer, cream the butter, sugar and extract until creamy.   In another bowl mix together the dry ingredients.   Once the butter mixture is creamy add in the dry mix slowly until blended.   Dump the mixture onto some plastic wrap and create a big ball.  Put in the fridge for about 45 minutes to chill and firm up.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Take the dough out of the roll into small balls.  Put the balls on a cookie sheet and press in the center with your thumb.   Spoon the jam into the thumb print.

Bake for 25 minutes.   Once done cool on a cooling rack.   Enjoy.

Finished product

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gluten Free Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Every year my mom and Nana would make lemon ricotta cookies.  Now I make them but this year there is a new twist, they are gluten free.   I used Bob's Mill All Purpose Gluten Flour, this may change in the future as I experiment with the different brands on the market.    I have tasted the cookies and they taste just as they always do.   Here is the recipe for sharing.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies GF

2 1/2 cup(s) Gluten Free all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon Xanthum powder
1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cup(s) sugar
2 large eggs
1 container(s) (15-ounce) whole-milk ricotta cheese
3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
grated zest from one lemon

1 1/2 cup(s) powdered sugar (make sure it is organic for DFI friendliness)
3 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
grated zest from one lemon

heat oven to 375°F. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, xanthum gum and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat mixture until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs,  the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest and beat to combine.  Stir in the dry ingredients.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of dough for each cookie onto prepared baking sheets.  Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Cool on a cooling rack

In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, and zest; stir until smooth.  Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon onto each cookie in a swirling motion.   Taste to see if you need more lemon or sugar depending on your preference.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dinner with Friends - the GF DFI addition

Last night we had two of our favorite people over for dinner.   This was the first time since my diagnosis we have had people other than family over for dinner.   For dinner I made a simple roasted chicken with potatoes and carrots.  As a side I made a roasted cauliflower dish.  Since my DFI is tends to have a more moderate effect, the cauliflower did not cause my symptoms to appear. 

The cauliflower dish was inspired by one of my favorite dishes at a local restaurant.  It is roasted cauliflower in an orange sauce with gnocchi.   I had a head of cauliflower and some oranges so I thought why not.    Here is the recipe.

Orange Roasted Cauliflower

1 head of cauliflower chopped into bite size pieces
The juice and zest of one naval orange
approx a tsp of red pepper flakes (I pinch and eyeball)
drizzling of olive oil (again this is an eyeball technique) approx 4 TBSP
salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven at 375.   In a roasting pan, mix all the ingredients together.   Put in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes until the cauliflower begins to brown.

I also experimented with dessert.  In the past I have made my Lemon Mascarpone tart with shortbread crust and fruit, but this would be the first time making is GF & DFI friendly.   Since the original used a lot of wheat and fruits that may not agree with the DFI diet, it was a bit of a challenge for me.   Luckily it was a success and nobody seemed to realize it was GF or DFI friendly.   I did use raspberries to top the tart.  If you are a low tolerance DFI you may wish to omit and find another fruit which will work for you.

Lemon Mascarpone Tart - GF DFI Addition

Tart Shell
7.25 oz box of Lemon Short Bread (I used Pamela's Products not an overpowering taste)
1/2 stick of soften butter
2 oz Filberts

Preheat the oven to 350.  Combine all the ingredients in a food processor until it blends.  Spread the mixture into a lightly greased tart pan (I used a 9 inch) and blind bake for 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove and cool.

Tart Filling
8 oz mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP Powder Sugar (for DFI - use an organic blend since it is the right glucose to fructose ratio)
2 tsp lemon zest
2 TBSP Lemoncello
1 TBSP lemon juice

Raspberries & Slivered Almonds

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until blended. (you can use a hand mixer for this)  Once mixed, pour into the cooled (very important) tart shell.   Top with fresh raspberries and slivered almonds.  Place in the fridge for a about 2 hours or until time to serve.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Snowy Day Mushroom Enchiladas

I was watching the Cooking Channel during the Minneapolis blizzard and was inspired by a person making enchiladas.  The person was using a red sauce and wheat tortillas.   All of a sudden I was craving these so I decided to see how I could
make them GF and DFI friendly.  

Now before I continue I must clarify after weeks of experimenting with the DFI changes I came to find I have a medium to high tolerance to fructose foods.  This means I can eat a little wheat and foods that may effect others don't effect me for example tomatoes.   I just have to make sure I balance the glucose levels with the fructose.  

This recipe is more for those who are like me in the medium to high tolerance range.  If you are low tolerance than I would suggest omitting the salsa.

Here is the recipe:

Snowy Day Mushroom Enchiladas
2 cups sliced mushrooms  ( I may have used more)
8oz of sour cream (I used Breakstone)
1 cup fresh salsa ( I used Salsa Lisa's Hot salsa)
8 corn tortillas ( Sonoma Organic)
1 bag of shredded Mexican cheese (reserve about a 1/4 of the bag to top the enchiladas)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Saute the mushrooms (season with salt and pepper) in olive oil.  In a bowl combine the sour cream, cheese and salsa.  When the mushrooms are cooked added them to the mixture.

Lightly grease a baking dish (I used my lasagna dish).  Take a tortilla and add a tablespoon of the mixture in the middle.   Roll the tortilla and place in the dish.  Continue until all the tortillas are used.   The left over mixture should be poured over the tortillas.  Spread evenly and then top with the left over reserved cheese.

Bake in the oven for 35 to 45 minutes until it is bubbling and the top in melted and slightly brown.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sweet Dreams

You would think being diagnosed with DFI you would have to give up a lot of great things like ice cream.  Well as long as it is made with real sugar (a friend to DFIers) than you can have it and many other sweets.  

We have family coming over this weekend and for dessert I am making chocolate cupcakes (King Arthur Gluten Free Cake Mix which is new on the market) and ricotta ice cream.  The ice cream I am making from scratch with my handy ice cream maker.    I was watching the Cooking Channel and saw this recipe on one of the many Giada shows.   It is made with simple syrup, just table sugar and water.   I opted to not include the chocolate chips as many varieties are still made with HFCS and other sugar solutions which could make any DFIer ill.

Here is link to the recipe.   I am going to try different variations later.  I am thinking this will make an amazing lemon ice cream similar to the lemon ricotta cookies my Nana use to make and that I am going to be making in the next few weeks but gluten free.

Friday, December 3, 2010

GF HFCS Freedom

When I was first diagnosed with DFI, I wasn't sure how shopping and eating were going to be.   I have learned grocery shopping does take what feels like 5 times longer, since I need to read every ingredients and figure out the fructose to glucose ratio.  Luckily the gluten free aspect is easier.   Though I still need to read the ingredients to make HFCS, Agave or any type sugar alcohol doesn't appear.  If it weren't for places like the Linden Hills Co-op, Whole Foods and Lunds Byerlys, I think this would be more difficult.  

Favorite products so far are (please note these are products that fit the DFI lifestyle first)
Namaste Brownie Mix. 
Simply Organic Pumpkin Cake
Whole Foods Prairie Bread.   (Most GF breads are very dry but this one is really flavorful)
Quinoa Elbow Macaroni
Liberte Yogurts (even the ones that are on the DFI no list seem to be fine for me ... knock on wood)
Mexican Coca Cola - believe it or not this is made with sugar and not HFCS.

More will be coming but I am glad this is turning out to be easier than one might think.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gluten Free Roux

I love to cook and one of the things I love to cook is the Barefoot Contessa's Truffle Mac & Cheese.  If you haven't tried it is a must.   (And a secret if you can't find truffle butter, truffle oil works just as well).   In the recipe you need to start the sauce with a roux.   Normally this is flour and butter, but I was thinking how on earth am I going to make a gluten free roux.  At first I thought maybe just cornstarch and butter, but that would be too chalky.   I searched on line and came across a roux recipe that is gluten free.   Still has butter but instead of wheat flour, it combines cornstarch and rice flour.   So tonight I am going to test it out with regular mac & cheese (Quinoa mac is being used).   Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten Free and DFI friendly

Since I found out about having DFI, I have been wondering how will this work with baking.   I love to bake and my husband loves it when I bake.   I have a favorite baking cookbook, The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.  Seeing as their recipes are not gluten free or totally DFI friendly, I decided to experiment and see what I can do.   I started with something simple and well known in flavor to all .... Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I made a batch and have to say they taste pretty good.    A few things I learned, they take a little longer to cook and they don't look as brown as the nestle version.

So here is the recipe with my adaptations.

Magnolia Chocolate Chip Cookies - made Gluten Free and DFI Friendly

1 1/2 cup Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Mixed (I used Bob's)
1/4 tsp Xanthum Gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 sticks of unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Raw sugar (replaces the light brown sugar since this is not a DFI friendly sugar)
1 large egg room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips (I plan to be a little more generous)

Preheat the oven at 350
In a bowl combine the flour, xanthum gum, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.
In a mixture cream the butter and sugar together.  Takes about 5 minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla and mix well on a higher speed (adds more air into liquid).  Add the dry mixture and mix well.  Add the chocolate chips.    Drop the batter on a parchment paper lined pan.  Bake for 10 to 15 minutes depending on your over.

Enjoy with milk.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

DFI - Dietary Fructose Malabsorption

Recently I found out that I have DFI Dietary Fructose Malabsorption.   Basically this means my body cannot break down fructose thus causing me to have a lot of stomach issues.  I have been being tested all year for a number of things and this has been the conclusion.   Unfortunately there is not a lot known about DFI and how foods can effect a person with it.   I did go to a dietician and was able to get the low down on what sugars I can have and what to stay away from ... mainly High Fructose Corn Syrup and sugar alcohols.   She also suggested wheat.  

So now I am learning how to cook differently and read labels even more carefully.   This means my blog is going to take a new turn.   I am going to begin working on recipes that fit into the DFI lifestyle and don't make me feel like I am missing out.  

Right now I am in the testing stage of my tolerance so it is possible I can have wheat based products if paired properly.  This is going to be tricky.   But I am also going to be experimenting with Gluten and Fructose free foods.

One thing to understand this is very different than diabetes because I can still have sugar.   It just needs to be real.

It is interesting that I am diagnosed with this since I have always suspected HFCS was not good for us anyway and have been watching my intake when I can.  But until now I didn't realize how it is in nearly everything!  Even things you wouldn't think it would be in.   Maybe more people will be diagnosed with this and maybe the food industry will have to realize they need to use real ingredients.  

Here is hoping .....

Monday, October 11, 2010

New Favorite Pot Luck Recipe

Every year P's office has a potluck.  It has to be something P can make and take plus share the recipe.   I was trying to find a fun recipe and found one for Hot Wing Dip.  The ones I found on line all had a jar of either blue cheese or ranch dressing and canned chicken.  Since I am allergic to mayo and wanted something bit more tasty I decided to play with the recipe and came up with the one below.

Hot Buffalo Chicken Dip

3/4 cup Red Hot Sauce
1 brick of cream cheese
8 oz of sour cream
5 oz blue cheese
shredded chicken (use the breast and thigh meat from a rotisserie chicken)
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients into a 1.5 quart crock pot on high until all the cream cheese has melted.  Stir occasionally during this process.

Once melted turn to low and simmer until ready to serve.

Serve with celery sticks, carrots, french bread and tortilla chips.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

First Harvest

Today I harvested the first vegetable from our growing garden.  Two small tender zucchinis.  I wasn't too sure what I was going to do with just the 2 zucchinis so I was thinking of things to make.   I decided to try an experiment.  I was the lucky recipient of some fresh pears from a co worker.   I decided to saute the pears and zucchini with garlic, onions, lemon juice and basil and mix in some basmati rice and serve it as a side dish with talapia.    It turned out to be a successful experiment.   Though next time I will add in a nice organic bleu cheese to add another level of flavor.   Maybe even some Spanish almonds.   P really liked it as well.  So this is going into the recipe books.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Garden Week 5

Holy Basil Batman!  

Well it is week 5 and the garden is rocking on.  So far there are 4 tomatoes starting on the plants and the cucumbers and zucchini are starting to blossom.   It is really exciting to see the garden come to life.  It makes you really appreciate the food.  

Tonight's menu is going to include the basil.    I will probably be coming up with more and more basil recipes.   I mean how much pesto can a girl eat!

Dinner Recipe

2 boneless chicken breast (pounded  out)
Several sprigs of  basil
Fresh mozzarella (sliced)
Sun dried tomatoes (preferably the ones in oil)

Preheat the oven to 375F.   Pound out the chicken thin enough to roll.   Lay the chicken flat and place the basil, mozzarella & tomatoes in the center.   Roll the chicken and secured with kitchen twine or toothpicks.   Bake with olive oil and salt and pepper for taste.   Depending on your oven and the size of the chicken breasts it can take anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes to cooked through.    Serve with a lovely salad.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Garden ... 3 week update.

Three weeks ago I planted my garden (see the first blog for a photo).  With all the rain we have been having the garden is growing and growing.   I have been very excited to see the beginning stages of flowering on the tomato plants and the rapid vine effect of the cucumbers and eggplant.  Last week I planted a zucchini plant and I can already see a difference.   

Also the basil and flat leaf parsley are growing like weeds.    Luckily we bought some lovely chicken from Clancy's yesterday, so there will be some cooking today with the herbs.   I am thinking chicken stuffed with goat's cheese and basil.  YUMMO!

From looking at the strawberry plant, I can see 2 flowers.  Yes I am excited to get 2 strawberries.   Although they won't be big in size or plentiful, I think they will be the best strawberries ever.

Who would have thought gardening could be so exciting!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Brunch

This morning I cooked up a storm.   I woke up bright and early and made the raspberry buns from the Magnolia Cookbook.   Can we say to die for.   Lots of butter and cream cheese but so delicate in taste.  We then ran to the Kingfield Farmers Market.   Last week I was looking for a zucchini plant although they were out on of the farmers said they would bring me one.   We also needed strawberries for the berry salad to go along with the brunch.

By the time we go home it was time to put the egg bake into the oven and recreated something I had a little over a year ago in NYC.

On an adventure in Tribeca to go over to TeaNY, a friend and I were starving.   We stopped into this little cafe (can't remember the name) next  door.   We ordered a bruschetta for starter.  Mine was ricotta cheese and cinnamon.  OMG it was amazing.   I have been trying to recreate it but seem to lack the balance I remember until today.

Here is the recipe in case you are interested:
1 container ricotta cheese ( I used part skim)
1 tablespoon cinnamon ( you can use more)
1/2 tsp of vanilla (believe me it works)
Mix together in a bowl, chill for about an hour and serve on toasted bread.
I served mine on cranberry walnut bread and added slices of peaches on top.   It went over very well.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Farmer's Market Dinner

Sunday we finally made it over to the Kingfield Farmers Market.   What a treat!  And I felt really inspired by all the great local produce.   It is a small market but the variety is amazing.   I decided to treat P and myself to a dinner with only things from the market.   We bought 1/2 a chicken (after I torched the poor guy about what feed he used.   I had just watched Food Inc and he guessed that right away.).  Next stall we bought some garlic scapes.   If you have never used them I highly recommend trying them.  I find they roast, saute and grill very well.   Next we got some great potato flax seed bread.   Then finally beets, salad in a bag with added spinach (all farm grown). 

Dinner ended up being roasted chicken with garlic scape and beets with salad and bread.  Simple yet the best thing I have eaten in a while.   I love getting stuff from the farmers market.  It reminds me that sometimes the simplest of foods can be the best!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

My Garden

I am now a homeowner (along with my fiance). I remember growing up my mom always had a garden. I didn't really like a lot of the things she planted but hey soda and candy plants were not available in the garden store. But now I am (dare I say) a grown up. I love to cook and bake and try foods I have never had before. So today I planted my first garden. I can't wait until the tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, broccoli, garlic and shallots start to grow. This is something I have been wanting to do for a long time and now it is right out my back door.

So I wonder what wonderful things I will be making this summer. Stay tuned.