Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving!!

I apologize that this post comes after the actual Thanksgiving.  It was so busy planning and cooking my first vegan and gluten free holiday meal that I couldn't squeeze in time to blog about it.  Well, I suppose better late than never applies here!

In addition to the standard Thanksgiving dishes I usually make, (I cooked for meat eaters as well), I also came up with some vegan and gluten free options for us.  My goal was to make a really tasty gravy and stuffing that didn't contain gluten or animal products.  From the reviews I received from family members, I think I succeeded!

Vegan/Gluten Free Stuffing:
gluten free/vegan bread 
2 flax eggs
3 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
1 cup brown rice
2 tbs Earth Balance
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 tsp dill
1/2 tbs Mrs. Dash original seasoning (add more or less as you prefer)
white wine
1/2 cup water

Take your sliced loaf of bread and toast it in the oven on a cookie sheet until the edges are crusty.  Cube the bread with your hands and put into a bowl. Pour the water over the bread with your hands to moisten the pieces.  In a saute pan heat up 1/4 white wine and saute the onion and celery.  Once the vegetables start to soften add the Earth Balance.  Once the butter melts add the bread.  Add the salt, pepper, dill and Mrs. Dash.  Keep mixing the bread, onion and celery while adding white wine to the pan to keep the mixture from burning.  The idea is to use enough wine to avoid burning and not too much to soak the bread.  You want a semi-moist/browned finish product.

Once the bread is done, transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Add the brown rice, stir well.  Finally, add the 2 flax eggs and mix once again.  Transfer your stuffing to a serving dish and enjoy! 

I also used this stuffing to make stuffed butternut squash.  For this dish I used the same stuffing but mixed in the flesh of the squash and then baked covered in foil...YUM!







Gluten Free/Vegan Gravy

2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup GF flour (I used garbanzo bean flour)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp dried mustard powder
1 tsp dried parsley 
 1 tbs Earth Balance
2 tbs nutritional yeast

In a sauce pot melt the Earth Balance and add the veggie broth.  Bring to a low boil and add all the spices and stir.  Slowly whisk in the flour and continue stirring until no lumps are visible.  Add more veggie broth if you like a thinner gravy.

This gravy was so tasty over mashed potatoes,  stuffing and stuffed squash.  I didn't miss the actual turkey on bit! 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gltuen Free/Vegan Flax Bread (in the bread machine!)

Gluten free bread making is not for the faint of heart.  There are so many flour combinations out there and learning how to use each one correctly seems more scientific than artistic at times.  Not only was I attempting a corn free, gluten free bread, but I also wanted it to be vegan. My youngest has Celiac and recently we took corn out of her diet to see how her health improves.  I have RA and have been gluten free for a while,  but I am now trying to take all grains out of my diet to improve my joint pain. It's amazing what you can do when you are motivated by health!

Here is the breakdown of this recipe:

Ingredients:
DRY
1 1/2 c garbanzo bean flour
1 c potato starch
1/2 c brown rice flour
1/4 c flax meal
2 tsp guar gum
1 1/4 tsp sea salt
1 yeast packet

WET
1 1/4 c warm water
2 tbs oil
1 tbs agave
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 flax egg (1 tsp ground flax mixed with 3 tsp water)
(or your egg replacement of choice)

In your bread machine pan:
put in the yeast, warm water, oil, agave, vinegar and flax egg

In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients together with a whisk.  Pour the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients.  Set the machine for 1.5lb loaf with a medium crust.  I have a gluten free bread cycle on my machine so that is what I used.  If you don't have one, use the setting for a rapid white.

Watch your dough as it is mixing, it should be thinner than regular bread dough but not watery like a batter...add a tsp more flour if it looks to wet, or a tsp of liquid if it looks to dry. 

Let the bread cool completely before cutting.

Here is what I have noticed so far:
  • the bread has a nice taste, goes well with nut butter and jelly! It has a different taste than traditional GF bread because of the garbanzo bean flour (FYI)
  • is on the dense side and has a firm crust
  • isn't crumbly but needs to be cut with care and not too thinly sliced
  • Store in a sealed bag in the refrigerator or freezer 
My goal in my next loaf is to be grain free so I will sample more non-grain flours.  I would also like to eliminate oil as well, so if you have any tips for me about that I would be happy to hear them!

I know how difficult producing a good gluten free bread recipe is, and I have tried many myself!  If you try this one let me know how you like it.  If you don't like it I'd LOVE to hear suggestions on how to improve it.