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Posts Tagged ‘Meatfree Monday’

Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

When most of you land on our website, your have come to expect yet another gluten free dish, ideally in a baked version. Don’t worry, we are still developing gluten free recipes and plan on doing so for some time to come. However, in our own home, we also prepare many raw food dishes as well. We especially enjoy the many nutritional benefits they offer.

I was first introduced to raw foods about 25+ years ago,  through friends and acquaintances and through their convincing arguments, enthusiastically  purchased a champion juicer. I loved making vegetable and fruit juices, as well as the occasional nut butters. Some of the resulting vegetable pulp was used in making delicious vegetable burgers, blended with spices, seeds and some rice, or spelt. But my all time favorite comfort foods have always been salads.  Now, I am not talking about the currently popular “tossed meals”, overflowing with the addition of too much meat and cheese, and, of course, the inevitable croutons.  I am talking about salads that are primarily made with a variety of greens, sprouts, carrots, avocados and some fruit. In those days, I was completely unaware of being gluten intolerant and, no doubt, consumed too many gluten containing breads, crackers, etc. No one ever talked about gluten intolerance, or celiac disease. In fact, everyone talked about adding whole grains to one’s diet. Some health books espoused this untruth and many followed these teachings, myself included. At the time, book selections involving nutrition and health, were far more limited than they are today. But Ann Wigmore’s books were readily found in most health food and book stores.  I read most of them and found her to be  a fascinating lady. In her autobiography “Why Suffer? How I Overcame Illness and Pain Naturally,” Ann Wigmore (1909-1994) recalls observing her grandmother using herbs and natural remedies, growing up  as a child in Lithuania. As an adult, she began testing various whole foods and dietary approaches, which she credits with solving her medical problems and changing her life.

Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Together with  Viktoras Kulvinskas, Ann Wigmore co-founded the Hippocrates Health Institute back in 1968 . She was an early pioneer in the use of wheat grass juice and living foods for detoxifying and healing the body, mind and spirit. In case you are not familiar with her work, you may want to check out two  living food lifestyle and health facilities that continue to spread her teachings.  One is located here in New Mexico, the other program is located in Puerto Rico.  Today, Brian Clement owns the Hippocrates Health Institute, which he moved from Boston to West Palm Beach, Florida.

If you are familiar with her teachings, you already know that she recommends a raw living food lifestyle to heal from disease. [ Please note, that we are not advocating a particular program to heal from disease. If you find yourself ill, do your homework, and, if necessary, consult with an accredited health professional of your choice.] It should also be mentioned, that we are not living a 100% raw lifestyle, but generally abide by a whole foods lifestyle ,with the exception of the occasional recipe development project. All we know is that if you have celiac disease, are gluten intolerant, or just sensitive to gluten, please, do yourself a favor, and eliminate it strictly, completely and permanently. Even the occasional small ingestion of gluten can leave a residual and damaging effect that can last for months. You don’t have to necessarily exhibit symptoms either, although most do.

Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Now to my favorite raw soup recipe. Aren’t we all looking for a little more energy around now? This tasty and very simple to prepare soup offers a lot of that.  When I was first diagnosed with celiac disease, juices and smoothies offered an easy to digest and prepare alternative.  Always having had an interest in nutrition, I read countless books on raw food cuisine. The original “energy soup” recipe recommended by Ann Wigmore, calls for the addition of rejuvelac, a fermented beverage made from sprouted wheat berries. Some say, that there is no, or little gluten in the finished product, but I personally would want proof, and no has been able to offer me that. As a result this recipe does not include any form of grains, gluten free, or otherwise – the emphasis is strictly on organic greens, sprouts, cucumber, lemon, garlic, herbs and one fruit. It is best to use a high powered blender to achieve that desired creamy consistency in the end product. A Vitamix, or Blendtec would be perfect, but we are currently using a Ninja blender, which does the job adequately. . . for now.

Ingredients for 2 large servings:

  • One head of organic romaine lettuce
  • Large handful of organic baby spinach
  • 1 organic cucumber, peeled, cut into smaller chunks
  • 1 organic avocado
  • Leaves from several sprigs of Thyme
  • small handful of fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 organic lemon, peeled and quartered
  • 1 organic apple (any variety), quartered and seeds removed
  • 1 cup of your favorite sprouts (sunflower, alfalfa, radish, etc.)
  • 3/4 cup organic cherry tomatoes
  • a few small pieces of dried dulse, (optional)
  • 1-1/2 cups of purified water

Cut the avocado in half, remove the seed, scoop out the flesh, and add it to your blender. Top with the remaining ingredients (tomatoes, cucumber, romaine, spinach,  apple pieces, lemon, sprouts, garlic, thyme, dulse and the purified water). Pulse several times, incorporating the ingredients and then blend for a couple of minutes at the highest setting until everything is well blended and creamy.

Energy Soup, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Pour into your favorite soup bowls, garnish with some fresh herbs and enjoy right away. It is a wonderfully tasty and delicious alternative to regular soup, and of a slightly heavier consistency than green smoothies. If you enjoy this soup, or green smoothies, also plan on growing some of the vegetables in your own garden this Spring and Summer.

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TWD: Gluten free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Italian breads seem to be a recurrent theme with the TWD group over the last couple of months. First pizza, now focaccia. Not that we are complaining. Going back to our gluten eating days, we did enjoy focaccia on occasion, in fact, while living in Montana, a local health conscious baker, built his own wood fired oven, in order to do justice making some of the old style, rustic European breads. A lot of his breads were sourdough based, and focaccia was no exception. Usually only available on a weekend, unless you placed a special order, these specialty breads would disappear as soon as they emerged from the oven.  Since not everyone in our household shares our personal love for Italian food, focaccia is generally not at the top of the list, when baking bread. We do love a challenge, and never having tried focaccia gluten free before, we felt we couldn’t pass up this opportunity.

The contributing baker to the original recipe is Craig Kominiak, and he calls for two rising periods, followed by a resting period of 24-36 hours in the refrigerator. Generally, from our own humble experience, gluten free baking is not always amenable to these extra long resting periods. As a result, our own gluten free adaptation differs greatly from the original. When developing any recipe, we always cut the recipe in half, just in case it flops. This was no different.  The changes we made included the preparation of a simple sponge prepared a day ahead, consisting of sorghum flour, brown rice flour and water. The remaining flour blend included brown rice, tapioca, sweet rice and potato starch, along with psyllium seed soaked in coconut milk, one egg and the addition of 1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar.  Fresh thyme and rosemary, along with a couple of tablespoons of fresh Parmesan cheese were worked into the dough before rising. The dough was allowed to rise for 1-1/2 hours, during which time it nearly tripled in size. Quite a feat for any gluten free dough.

TWD: Gluten Free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Spreading a dusting of rice flour onto a baking board, we divided the dough in half, and pressed it into rough oval shapes, about 1/2 inch thick. Using a fork we pierced holes throughout the dough, allowing it to bake evenly. We brushed the top with olive oil, sprinkled it with fresh thyme, rosemary and halved cherry tomatoes, along with salt and pepper.

TWD: Gluten Free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

The focaccia baked for about 15 minutes in a pre-heated 450°F oven. The best thing about making this recipe is how the entire house fills with the delicious aroma of fresh herbs and baking bread.

Never having made gluten free focaccia, we consider this recipe to be a great success, in both texture and flavor. We were also quite impressed how easy the dough was to work with, along with the fact that the final result mirrored the description in the Baking with Julia book, as well as our memories of regular focaccia (however faint – it is quite a while back now).

TWD: Gluten Free Focaccia, copyright 2013, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

In the future, we will definitely give the “refrigerated resting time for the dough” a try, as well as experiment with a non-savory version.

Please check out all the wonderful contributions by the other TWD bakers at this link, as well as the beautiful contribution by this week’s host Sharmini of Wandering Through.

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Today is Tuesday and yes, we are ready for another challenge; our own  TWD gluten free challenge. This week’s hosts are Jodi of Home Made and Wholesome, and Katrina of Baking and Boys. Check out their websites for the original recipe, which can also be found on page 315 of Baking with Julia, by Dorie Greenspan.  Just for the fun of it, we looked up a video on YouTube from the PBS Baking with Julia series. It features Julia with Alice Medrich, making the Hazelnut Biscotti and you can watch it here.

First of all, we should mention that aside from the obvious (gluten free flour – our brown rice/tapioca flour blend), we did make two other changes to Julia’s recipe. Hazelnuts were difficult to locate in our area, but we did find roasted unsalted pistachios, which made a delicious alternative.

The advantage of using pistachios, apart from their great flavor, is the ease of removing the shells as well as any remaining skins, allowing us to completely skip the initial step of boiling the nuts in hot water with baking soda.

As a rule, we never use white sugar,  ever, or brown, raw, or whatever. We also never use any artificial substitutes, so readily found today. In general, we are very fond of coconut sugar as an alternative, and since some of us will actually be eating this dessert :-o , that was a definite must. In case you are not familiar with it, coconut sugar has a very low glycemic index, and is generally well tolerated  by most. Please be aware, that this will darken any recipe considerably. No ‘anemic looking’ batters here. With our own addition of one quarter cup of dark chocolate chips (suggested by Julia in her book), it didn’t really matter.

The quantities suggested in the original recipe  remained the same. We did need to add  two extra tablespoons of flour. Gluten free baking does require slight alterations in either liquids, or the flour used, but since we live at high altitude this could have played a role as well.

As mentioned in the recipe, this dough is very sticky, stiff and little challenging to work with.  The gluten free bakers amongst us can certainly relate to this.  Since many GF creations tend to spread outward, instead of rising upward, we lined a 9×7 baking pan with parchment paper, creating a raised edge in the center with the paper, to separate the two loaves, just in case. An additional 3 tablespoons of sweet rice flour were necessary for flouring our hands, in order to shape the loaves.

Defying our initial expectations, the loaves rose beautifully.

After baking for exactly 35 minutes, we let the loaves cool for about 20 minutes, before slicing them, and baking them again for an additional 12 minutes. After the second baking cycle we let them cool completely.

We actually baked this recipe last night, and lacked optimal lighting for photographing, which put us in somewhat of a quandary.  The house filled with the delicious aroma of the baking biscottis, yet, we had to wait another day to actually taste them. Well, not quite, we did sample a tiny end piece in all of its crunchy deliciousness ;-) .

Aside from our own unique gluten free challenges, we found this recipe to be extremely easy to make for even the most novice baker. This recipe would lend itself for easy gift giving. When it comes to this recipe, allow your own creativity free reign for any fun and tasty substitutions you can think of. Perhaps some dried fruit, goji berries anyone? Chocolate drizzles for decorating after baking, the sky is the limit.

What are your favorite biscottis? Have you baked this type of cookie before? Whether you are eating gluten free or not, we would love to hear from you.

So far, we are really enjoying participating in the TWD challenges and are looking forward to the next one.

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