Saturday Sourdough: Biscuits!

I’ve been experimenting with sourdough biscuits. Although I’ve made decent gluten-free biscuits for a few years, I wanted something big and tall for biscuit sandwiches — like Jimmy Dean sausage biscuits. I’ve finally landed on a good recipe.

Gluten-free Sourdough Starter Biscuits

  • 3 cups gluten-free flour blend
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery sticks, cold
  • 1 tablespoon psyllium powder
  • 1 cup oat milk, or other plant based milk
  • 2 cups sourdough starter
  • 1 egg and oat milk for brushing (omit egg if vegan)

Warm the oat milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. You don’t want this hot, just slightly above room temperature. Add the psyllium powder and whisk well. Allow to set while you combine the other ingredients.

Blend the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor until just blended. Add the cold butter in pieces, about 1/2 tablespoon per piece. Pulse the mixture until blended.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour blend, psyllium mixture, and sourdough starter. Mix until blended well, but don’t overmix it. You want some air in the dough.

Scoop the dough out in 1/2 cup increments. Gently shape into a ball with your hands, and then flatten into biscuit shape, about 1.5 inches high. Place on a cookie sheet on parchment paper. Once you’ve formed all the biscuits, cover them with a light cloth and set them somewhere warm to rise. (I usually leave them on the stove, on top of the oven, while it’s preheating.) They won’t rise very much, but this allows the dough to rest and open up a bit.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oven is at temperature, whisk one egg with 1/4 cup oat milk. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg mixture on the top of each biscuit. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes. Cool on a cooling rack. Makes nine large biscuits.

Sunday Scones

I continue to bake with gluten-free sourdough starter. I am now baking scones following this recipe. Today I added chopped fresh cranberries and grated orange peel. They came out a little softer, but still delicious.

I am doing well with pizza dough and naan flat bread. My loaves were not coming out well, so Bob has taken over baking the bread. He trained me, though, so once I get the hang of his yeast blooming sorcery I will start baking loaves again and share the recipe.

I have a crackpot theory that US biscuits are based on UK scones, but after the American Revolution we decided to rename English things to make them our own. Watching Great British Bake Off, I have learned that in the UK they have biscuits (cookies) and cookies (also cookies). I’m not sure what the difference is, since all our cookies are called cookies here. Their pudding is any kind of dessert dish, and our pudding is a specific kind of dessert dish. Cake is cake, though. And pie is pie. I suppose it could be a change in language in the UK after the colonial period, like the British starting to pronouncing their H at the beginning of herb in the 19th century. I’ll do some research. (I did, and found this article online.)

I have a cold today so I’m going to curl up in front of the fire and rest.

Garden Update: Positivity Edition

It has been a weird and wet summer, and my garden didn’t produce much. But let’s focus on the positive, shall we?

The indigo is doing well. I’ve got two different species, apparently. I’m using one for eco printing on fabric and the other for vat dyeing — yarn probably. It will be my first indigo dye vat. This was not the plan. It’s how I’m rolling with what is.

Sweet Woodruff

My sweet woodruff is doing well. If it survives the winter, I will be good for May Wine again next year. The soapwort is alive but struggling to get established. The hops are scrappy. I have no doubt they will be dominant up the back part of the garden next year, which is great because it’s clay and nothing grows back there.

Sweet Genovese Basil

The basil and Anaheim chilis have stolen the show this year. I’ve made pesto, ingredients below:

  • Fresh basil leaves, washed
  • Olive oil
  • Garlic cloves
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Roasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
  • Kosher salt

I don’t have a recipe. I made it “by guess and by gosh” like my Grandma. (By guess I made it and by gosh you’d better eat it!) I don’t really care if anyone else eats it, though. More for me!

Making my own pesto allows me to eliminate ALL THE THINGS I can’t have, and make substitutions: nutritional yeast for Parmesan, sunflower and pumpkin seeds for pine nuts. My recipe is basically to keep adding things to the food processor until it looks right and tastes good. Helpful, right?

I love Anaheim chilis. I started growing them when I lived in San Diego. Bob made enchilada pie yesterday with the first batch. We’re not sure if we will dry the rest, or use them in another recipe. We probably have enough to do both. I’ll let those remaining on the plants turn red so we can dry them.

I’m thinking about next year’s garden already. Here’s my plan:

  1. A good end of season weeding in the fall. (It’s a jungle out there.)
  2. Plant some greens in the mini greenhouse again this fall. They did well last year.
  3. Let the plants that are doing well reseed themselves wherever they want. (I don’t have any hybrids right now.)
  4. Try again next year with tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and peppers from the nursery.

The thing about getting plants from the local nursery is they are not only hardier than the seedlings I grow myself, they are also better suited to our planting zone. I usually buy my seeds from Seed Savers Exchange because they’re heirloom varieties, but I’m learning they don’t all grow well here.

How is your garden this year? Are you getting much of a harvest? Are you planning next year’s garden yet?

Tasty Tuesday: Gluten-Free Sourdough Naan Flatbread

This has become a favorite recipe using the gluten-free sourdough starter, so I thought I should record it for posterity.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup gluten-free sourdough starter
  • 2 cups gluten-free one to one flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free oat milk
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plant butter or ghee)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

For grilling:

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 3 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine
  • olive oil, plant butter, or ghee

Mix ingredients well. Separate into eight balls of dough. Set aside and cover in a warm place to rest and rise for 1-2 hours.

Preheat cast iron skillet or tortilla grill on high. Using hands covered in olive oil flatten each of the dough balls to about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle a little kosher salt, fresh cilantro, and garlic onto one side. Pan fry in oil or grill one at a time until golden brown on both sides. Serve warm. These can be reheated as needed.

Tasty Tuesday: Gluten-Free Sourdough and Lentil Soup

Now that I have more time on my hands, I decided to try baking our own bread. There are two reasons for this: 1. Gluten-free bread is $8 a loaf at the store, and 2. Most gluten-free bread is not great.

Bob and I have tried gluten-free bread recipes with varied results. I thought a sourdough starter might be what is needed to give the dough a lift. I ordered the starter from Cultures for Health, and followed their instructions and recipe. I substituted white rice flour for brown, because we ran out of brown. The loaf is fluffy, soft, moist, and delicious!

We had lentil soup with sourdough for dinner yesterday. The soup was delicious as well, so I’m going to post the recipe here for future reference. I was surprised how delicious it was with such simple ingredients. How many times can I say delicious in one post?

Crockpot Lentil Soup

  • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups green lentils
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, sliced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh oregano (1 teaspoon dried)

Add all ingredients to the crockpot. Tie fresh herbs into a bouquet garni and add. Cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours. About 4 servings.

Eggplant Felix Dress with a side of Kale Chips

I sewed another Felix Dress, this time in eggplant linen. It’s fully lined in the same fabric. I love a floaty linen dress in the summer. It looks great with my Ocean Moon shawl as well as my jean jacket. Pattern is Felix Dress by Grainline Studio.

I also sewed another Melba Dress, this time in charcoal jersey. I don’t think you need a photo of another plain Melba Dress. I do love wearing them, though.

I harvested all the greens from the greenhouse. It’s getting hot, and they are starting to bolt.

I tried out kale chips in the air fryer. I tossed one leaf in olive oil, pink Himalayan salt, and nutritional yeast. I left it in at 200 degrees F for 15 minutes. They came out great, except for the stems. Tear all the leafy parts off the stem first.

Tasty Tuesday: Air Fries

plate of air fried potato wedges

Bob and my kids got me an air fryer for my birthday. These are my first fries. I did them as we normally do when making oven fries: with a little olive oil and seasoning. They came out great! I can’t wait to see what else I can make.

Tasty Tuesday: Vegetable Posole

Now that I’m semi-retired, I’m helping out more with the cooking. Yesterday I made vegetable posole with gluten-free flour tortillas.

I based my posole recipe on one from Rancho Gordo Vegetarian Kitchen. During the holidays, I stuffed my own stocking with a bag of their dried hominy. I loved hominy as a kid, so I decided to see if I still like it. And I do! But I wasn’t sure how to prepare it.

I felt the recipe was a little thin, so I added mushrooms and sliced Anaheim chilis, and also made a roux. The result was a deliciously chunky vegetable soup with chewy hominy. I think I would like the addition of scallops or shrimp. Bob and I both felt the stew needed more mushrooms.

The recipe I followed is not online, but here is a link to several of their hominy recipes.

You can see my gluten-free tortillas didn’t come out great. They tasted good, though, and were crispy enough to tear apart and add to the stew like a tortilla soup. I gifted Bob a tortilla press/grill, but I was the one to give this appliance the first go. We’ll have to adjust the recipe and try again. Here is a link to the recipe I followed.

I have three cups of cooked hominy leftover. I’m thinking about making grits for breakfast!

Have you tried any new recipes lately?

Burns Night Gluten Free Oat Cakes

My oat cakes came out delicious. I had one with butter and marionberry jam for breakfast.

I based my recipe on this one, but made some modifications.

  • 1 cup coarsely ground gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup gluten free oat flour
  • 1/4 cup vegan butter at room temperature (I used Flora, my new favorite. You could also use regular butter. I used salted, but you can use unsalted and increase the salt to 1/2 teaspoon.)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

I dumped everything except the hot water into my mixing bowl and stirred on low. Then I slowly added the hot water about 1 tablespoon at a time to bind the dough. Once it held together and pulled away from the sides of the bowl, I stopped. If you accidentally add too much hot water and your dough is too wet, just add more oat flour until the consistency is right. The dough should be firm and not sticky.

Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thickness on parchment paper and cut using a round 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Once the oven is preheated, bake the oatcakes on a cookie sheet with parchment paper for 25-30 minutes, until browning at the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack until cool. (My dough didn’t actually need the parchment paper for rolling or baking, so you could try it without.)

Yesterday, I pick up rutabagas and russets for Bob to make neeps and tatties. My switchel is brewing in the frig, and it tastes pretty good! I’ll post again later to share pics of the feast.

Merry Christmas Pudding

This year I made my first Christmas pudding. It wasn’t a total disaster, but it wasn’t a triumph, either. I followed this recipe with some modifications.

I substituted sunflower seeds for walnuts, and apple cider for brandy. Dried fruit mix included dates, figs, currants, raisins, apricots, and sour cherries.

I steamed it in a glass bowl inside a canning pot. It set up okay, but was soggy. I made some crème anglaise with oat milk, which split and was very runny indeed. Tasted okay, though.

In other dodgy baking news, I purchased some divinity for myself as I love it during the holidays but don’t want the trouble of making it. It’s hard to find divinity without tree nuts (pecans, usually, or sometimes walnuts). I found some peppermint divinity on Etsy, and it’s delicious but super sweet, so I decided to roll it to make my own logs with crushed candy canes, bittersweet chocolate chips, and sunflower seeds.

Next year I’ll purchase some plain divinity and roll it in sunflower seeds. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.

Christmas dinner is tacos and Mexican Hot Chocolate Pie, which Bob made so it will be delicious.

Merry Christmas! Wishing you and your loved ones a safe and gentle holiday season.