Impulse Purchase: Apple Flour

apple flour 2

Image from the Anti-Grain website

Every few months, I commit a couple of hours to researching where I might find current best prices for the gluten-free ingredients I regularly use in my kitchen and my business. During today’s research session, I came across a product that I have never seen: apple flour. It contains only dried, ground apples and apple peel. It contains no preservatives, nor any other processed ingredients. Intrigued by the thought of adding powdered apple to baked goods, I ordered an 8 oz bag from Amazon. The flour is a little pricey, but then those of us who cook and bake gluten-free are used to paying quite a bit for the ingredients we use. Continue reading

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Gluten-Free Pear Almond Tart (With Pumpkin Pie Spice)

pear tart 11Before everyone becomes burned out on everything pumpkin pie spice flavored and scented near the end of this year’s pumpkin pie spice season, I have to post one more pumpkin pie spice recipe! This recipe is very delicious, and makes an elegant dessert: perfect for holiday gatherings! Full disclosure: I took this recipe from Epicurious.com, modified it a bit, as well as deglutenized it. It’s turned out perfectly every time I’ve made it. My friends and family LOVE this dessert! Continue reading

Gluten-Free Peach Pie With Whiskey Smoked Brown Sugar

Smoked brown sugar is a mystery to me. That old adage is a saying for a reason: where one finds smoke, smoked peach pie 2one usually does find fire. Fire emits heat, and sugar melts when its heated. How, then, does one get smokey flavor into brown sugar without melting the sugar? Until a few months ago, I’d never even heard of smoked brown sugar. I discovered it last Christmas, while perusing the Net for interesting ideas for meat rubs. The menfolk in my family are difficult people for whom to buy presents. They are pretty content where they are and with what they have; they have few, and simple, desires. One can only give so many running shirts and socks for birthday and Christmas presents. I was bereft of ideas for Christmas presents. Since all the men I love happen to love grilling and smoking meat, I decided to make meat rubs for them as Christmas presents. I searched for rubs for beef, chicken, and pork that require interesting ingredients. One recipe I found called for smoked brown sugar. I was intrigued by the thought of smoked brown sugar, so I ordered some. It’s pricey stuff (about $16 for 8 oz). Just my luck, I LOVE using smoked brown sugar in all kinds of dishes. The smokey flavor adds a pleasant, interesting depth to all foods in which the sugar is used. I thought I was in trouble; I knew I’d be buying this expensive ingredient often. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Floral Pastry Recipes: Orange Lavender Shortbread, Cherry Rose Empanadas, and Strawberry Peach Hisbiscus Pie

I recently ate lunch at an authentic Afghani restaurant. This

Cherry Rose Empanadas and Orange Lavender Shortbread

Cherry Rose Empanadas and Orange Lavender Shortbread

particular day I actually ordered dessert, which I rarely do; however, I could not resist the one gluten-free dessert on the menu, which was rose ice cream topped with frozen rice noodles and a sprinkling of finely chopped pistachios. The rose flavor in the ice cream was perfectly balanced. It was barely there, yet very present: noticeable but not over-powering. While enjoying this simple, yet elegant, dessert, I remembered why I love to use floral flavors in my baking from time to time. Floral notes in a food take that food beyond the tangible use of the senses to the realm of the transcendent. Dishes with a hint of such floral flavors as lavender or rose actually feel luxurious. Who doesn’t like to feel spoiled and pampered by eating something that tastes exquisite as well as delicious? Continue reading

Deglutenized, Delicious, and Definitely Healthy Slow Cooker Meals

The Healthy Slow Cooker 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness, Second Edition (Robert Rose Inc, 2014)

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Courtesy of The Healthy Slow Cooker, Second Edition by Judith Finlayson © 2014 http://www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with publisher permission.

Judith Finlayson
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0479-6
352 pages, 135 recipes

Recently I read about the possibility of cartilage regeneration in a column by Mark Sisson, on his website Mark’s Daily Apple. In this particular article, Sisson recommends drinking home-made bone broth as a possible aid to the regeneration of cartilage. This information was still fresh in my mind when I first explored the pages of the second edition of The Healthy Slow Cooker: 135 Gluten-Free Recipes for Health and Wellness (Judith Finlayson, 2014), I happened upon a recipe for slow cooker hearty beef stock; in a box entitled Natural Wonders (115), opposite the hearty beef stock recipe (114), author Judith Finlayson has written detailed information about the health properties of home-made beef broth. She mentions the nutrients and the healing properties of gelatin, the beneficial ingredient in well-made bone broth. The recipe for beef stock sounds delicious; its presence in a cookbook is, though, unsurprising. The nutritional information about bone broth that appears on the opposing page is, however, an unexpected find in a book devoted to slow cooker recipes. Many such nuggets of nutritional information appear throughout this book, all under the headings of either Natural Wonders or Mindful Morsels. One Natural Wonder’s note even explains the dangers of hidden gluten to people with Celiac and details ways to identify and avoid these hidden dangers. This type of information is an exciting addition to a cookbook; with it, one can easily relate the nutritional value of the ingredients she uses to the healthy meal she serves her family when she prepares slow cooker recipes from this cookbook. Continue reading

Simple Gluten-free Summer Salads

X.Caprese Salad with Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar
So, on I went. I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers—as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
You’d think; a burr had been a treasure-trove.

XI.
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land’s portion. “See
“Or shut your eyes,” said nature peevishly,
“It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
“’Tis the Last judgment’s fire must cure this place,
“Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free.”

XII.
If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
Were jealous else. What made those holes and rents
In the dock’s harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to baulk
All hope of greenness?’tis a brute must walk
Pashing their life out, with a brute’s intents.
(Robert Browning, “Childe Roland To The Dark Tower Came”)

South Texas is a capricious region. She seduces us with her sunny, mild winters and colorfully floral, sometimes delightfully cooling springs, so that we think we live in paradise and wonder who would ever choose to live elsewhere? Oh, but then: suddenly summer. Overnight, without warning, late spring turns to something akin to Hell. Death steals the blooms from the wild flowers that just the day before had abundantly crowded any patch of grass visible in every field and pasture, alongside every path and trail, and parallel to every back-road and highway. The air heats up to triple digits, so that even morning runs are Hellish as the insensitive sunshine aggressively pours itself out on the land, assaulting anyone caught without shade or shelter, making it seem much as desolate and hopeless as the wasteland described by the hapless speaker in Browning’s unsettling poem. When sunset arrives and the outside temperature falls from 102 at 7:00 pm to 95 at 8:00 pm, the condition finally seems cool enough to get in a decent run for the evening. Though still hot, with the humidity rising at this point, the slight twilight breeze that often accompanies the setting of the sun creates an environment more conducive to running or biking. Continue reading