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.
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.
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.
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!
Cinna Knits suggested I make tomato cobbler with my plethora of tomatoes from the garden. Tomato Cobbler?! What’s that?! I had to try it. I’ve never made a savory cobbler before.
I basically followed this recipe. However, I tweaked it a lot. So here are my instructions for a vegan and gluten free version.
Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet. Peel and thinly slice 1 and 1/2 yellow onions. (Because that’s all the onions I had.) Add about 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until transparent, or go ahead and carmelize them, which is what I did.
While the onions are carmelizing, peel and mince two large cloves of garlic. Rinse and de-stem about 3 cups of cherry tomatoes. I used Igleheart Yellow Cherry from my garden. I also had a couple of larger Cherokee Purple that needed eaten, so I cored and cut them into quarters. Four cups of tomatoes? At this time I also pulled two bunches of basil leaves off the stem and cut them into large pieces.
Once the onions are carmelized, add the minced garlic and sauté together for a minute or two. Add 3-4 tablespoons (what I refer to as “a splash”) of balsamic vinegar and stir until the liquid has mostly evaporated. Add 2 tablespoons of flour. (I used a gluten free blend from Nuts.com, similar to Bob’s Red Mill.) Stir until the flour forms a paste. Or, if you are like me, you won’t have enough liquid for that. I didn’t want to add more balsamic so I added a little water.
Add the tomatoes and basil leaves, 1 teaspoon of salt, and remove from heat. Stir well. Set aside. At this point I covered it to get a little more liquid so it was easier to combine.
I had already de-petaled a few calendula flowers, de-leaved a few fresh thyme sprigs, and cut fresh sage leaves into slivers for my biscuit dough. I love cooking from my garden!
To make the biscuits blend together 1 1/2 cups gluten-free flour, 3/4 cups corn grits, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (instead of cheese), 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt. Work in 4 tablespoons of Earth Balance vegan butter and the calendula, thyme, and sage. Once that was crumbly, Add about 1 cup oat milk with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, instead of buttermilk. I had to mess with the dry ingredients to get the dough consistency right. If you make biscuits a lot, you get it. (Or you can follow the recipe linked above.)
Once the dough was ready, and I had given the tomato mixture another turn, I scooped up the biscuit dough and dropped it onto the cobbler, still in the cast iron skillet. I ended up with six biscuit blobs.
Bake in a 375 degree Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes, or until the topping is golden and the tomato mixture is bubbly. We’re having this tonight with burgers.
I have to say, it’s pretty tasty. It will be great with a bison patty.
Sorry if this is vague. This is how I cook, like my Grandma. “By guess, and by gosh… By guess I made it, and by gosh you’d better eat it!”
In other news, I have been sick twice in two weeks! This time it’s an upper respiratory infection. I was down and out for 48 hours. I’m feeling better today, but I’m trying to take it easy as I’m still fatigued. I do hope to get to some knitting this weekend. Sewing may be too strenuous.
I haven’t been knitting much lately due to work. But last night I did bake some cookies for Holidayville, our neighborhood’s Christmas shopping event. Shortbread is my favorite cookie, and rosemary is my favorite fresh herb, and I’m pretty sure I’ve had herb infused shortbread before. It sounded delicious, anyway.
First I cut and chopped fresh rosemary from my plant and made a compound butter with some Irish butter. I specifically chose non-US butter because I recently heard on The Splendid Table that European butter has a higher fat content by law. I thought, that’s gotta be a good thing for cookies, right?
After the butter had been infused for about 48 hours in the frig, I followed this recipe using my rosemary butter. However, I used Trader Joe’s gluten free flour mix, and I have learned that flour mixes are the kiss of death for gluten free cookies. But I didn’t have time to go to the natural food store and get all the right flours, and I did have xantham gum to add.
These cookies came out okay, but they were crumbly until fully cool, so I had to be careful transferring them to the cooling racks. The Irish butter makes them so rich you only really want one. If I were to make them again, I would use plain old unsalted American butter and go shopping for the individual flours like I should have done in the first place.
After Holidayville today, I plan to come home, plant myself on the sofa, watch goofy Christmas movies and knit until I pass out. I think tonight I’ll watch Christmas with the Kranks, one of my goofiest favorites. Bob will probably let me have my way, even though he doesn’t enjoy the dumb Christmas movies like I do.
Maybe next Saturday we’ll invite the kids over for Rare Exports, our most favoritest Christmas movie ever. We also enjoyed Krampus, and I think that should be queued this holiday season as well, even though it isn’t as well done as Rare Exports.
Do you have a favorite holiday movie? Is it silly and fun? Or serious and sacred? Or a horror, like ours?