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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries in Recipes: Miscellaneous (3)

Wednesday
Nov252009

Allergy-Friendly Arame Salsa (tomato free, vinegar free, fat free, gluten free, vegan, ACD option)

 


Let's say you buy a new car.  A red car. And suddenly, all you ever see around town are red cars.  There are red cars on every street, in every parking lot.  You realize your neighbor has a red car.  That annoying co-worker has a red car.  The new guy you're dating has a red car (yours is better, but that's okay). Every other car you pass on the highway?  You guessed it.  RED.  Yes, now that you have a red car, suddenly the world is full of them - did they sprout up over night?  Where did all these red cars come from?

Contrary to what it seems, all those red cars have always been there, you're just noticing them now.  Instead of being just another car on the road, the red car now plays an integral role in your life.  You have become aware of the red car.  And once you are aware of anything, once something is on your radar, it changes how you view the world around you.

What do red cars have to do with food?  Well, nothing really.  But The Red Car Phenomenon - the fact that when you are aware of something, you just notice it more - applies to everything.  I've especially noticed it in the realm of cookery.  Now that I am rather well-versed in the world of whole foods, I can look through many of the books I've gathered along the way and suddenly see more recipes.  Why?  Put simply, I just know more about food these days.   Instead of glazing over a recipe because I am not familiar with the ingredients, I am drawn in, tempted by new combinations of familiar foods that are now on my radar.   There's no more "What's agar agar?" or "Where can I find that?" or "How do you say quinoa?".    Instead, those perplexed questions are replaced with a confident curiosity.  Inspiration replaces desperation.  And suddenly, you start getting a whole lot more out of those cookbooks.   It's like going to an art museum after taking your first art history survey class - suddenly, those paintings speak to you in a whole different way.

Yes, the more you know about food and preparation techniques, the more fun cooking becomes.  You can sink into the sensual rhythm of cooking, relishing in the rich colors and textures, the aromas, the subtlety of flavor.  It becomes fun.   It becomes addictive.  It can start to creep into your mind at all hours of the day, consuming your thoughts as you envision the wide palette of ingredients and possibilities.  Cooking is like a drug, and cookbooks are full of temptation.

Because of this, I have started finding much more excitement in all those cookbooks I have sitting in my bookshelf.  I will look through cookbooks I've had for years and find "new" recipes I've never even noticed.  Sometimes, I'll find even find recipes for foods that I've been trying to create recipes for (like when I found the perfect recipe inspiration for my epic gluten free, soy free, vegan pumpkin pie) or find recipes nearly identical to things I've already created.  Recipes using millet and amaranth and celery root and seaweeds are leaping off the page, surprising me at their presence.  "Why wasn't I making this sooner?!" I ask myself sometimes.  "I've been living with these recipes for YEARS and wasn't making them?! What the hell?"   Just goes to show that there is knowledge everywhere, if you know where to look and have your eyes open to what you find.

Anyway, rewind to last night, the end to a totally shitty day that tested my patience and faith in the Universe.  I wanted to do was disappear.  So, I put on some vintage Bollywood music, brewed a hot cup of Dandy Blend, and cozied up on the couch with a stack of cookbooks looking for inspiration for my Christmas menu.  As I was paging through The Voluptuous Vegan, I stumbled across a recipe I had never noticed before: Arame Salsa.  I was stunned - I've had this book for years and years, and I'd never noticed it.  Why?  Probably because arame  didn't enter my sphere of knowledge until about a year ago.  Yes, this was a case of The Red Car Phenomenon.  Anyway, after reading over the recipe, my mind had totally left Christmas menu research task.  I was now fully consumed in brainstorming what to eat with this radically delicious sounding - and totally tomato-free - salsa.

If your aren't familiar with arame, here's a little primer.   Arame is a sea vegetable a.k.a. seaweed that is traditionally used in Japanese cuisine.  It is sold dried in packages at Asian markets and natural food stores, and looks like long, thin black brittle threads.  Arame is especially high in calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A, as well as being a good dietary source forc many other minerals.  Like all seaweeds, arame is a good source of fiber and has naturally anti-microbial properties, as well as potentially curative properties for  inflammatory conditions, worms and parasites, and maybe even tumors.  Since arame has a mild flavor, it is a good introductory seaweed for sea vegetable newbies, and it can be prepared in a variety of ways, wonderful steamed, sauteed, added to soup, eaten in salads, or added to lacto-fermented vegetable mixtures.

 

I conveniently had all the necessary ingredients in my fridge and pantry, and decided to try it out tonight.  So, I made a few small tweaks to the recipe, put it all together, and tasted it. Holy smokes, was it good!  Tomato free salsa victory!  The arame is cooked in apple juice/cider, giving it an addictively sweet flavor that is delightful, especially when mixed with onion, scallion, and garlic. I spooned it into a hallowed out, cooked Delicata squash; it was totally delicious.

Still hungry after my salsa-stuffed squash, I started eating more salsa with a spoon right out of the bowl.  Seriously - awesome.  I can't wait to eat the leftovers; it would be great served over cooked grains, scooped inside a sweet potato, eaten with chips/crackers/flatbreads, or scooped up with crispy endive leaves or celery sticks.   I think that arame could be substituted with hijiki, another sea vegetable, if desired.  This recipe will find its way through my kitchen more on a regular basis from now on, and I am totally making it for the next party I have.  And not only is this salsa delicious, it is fat free, tomato free, vinegar free, and citrus free, unlike most other salsas out there!  Totally brilliant.


Arame Salsa

adapted from The Voluptuous Vegan (original recipe posted here )

1 c dry arame seaweed (1 oz)
1/2 medium cucumber, diced (1 cup)

1 tsp vitamin C crystals dissolved in 2 T water
2 scallions, finely sliced (1/4 c)
1 c apple juice/cider  - see note below for ACD friendly/low sugar options

1/2 c minced red onion
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro or parsley or 2 T dry
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch salt
optional: 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
optional: 1/2 inch piece ginger, grated

 

Soak the arame in water for 20 minutes.
Drain, then place in a medium skillet or saucepan with the apple cider.
Simmer, uncovered, until the cider has completely evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Transfer the arame to a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes to cool.
Add other ingredients and mix thoroughly.  

LOW-SUGAR/ACD OPTION:
For a lower sugar option, use a blend of 50/50 or 25/75 cider and water.  Or a totally ACD friendly solution, boil 1 1/4 c water with 1 T of apple juice/cider or 1 tsp agave nectar/maple syrup/brown rice syrup for 10 minutes, then add the seaweed and cook for an additional 10 minutes as directed, or until all liquid is absorbed.  According to The Candida Yeast Guidebook, sugars  that have been cooked for 20 minutes in a large amount of water do not affect the yeast; many recipes in that book use small amounts of sweetener cooked for extended periods of time in all stages of the ACD.  If this still seems too risky for you, make as directed in recipe above, but use 1 c water instead of juice with a little pinch of stevia for a slightly sweet flavor.

 

 

 

Tuesday
May122009

Homemade Corn-Free, Aluminum-Free Baking Powder (gluten free)

This recipe makes a great substitute for regular baking powder.  Commercial baking powder is a mix of three ingredients: baking soda, cream of tartar, and a starch (generally cornstarch).   For those of us who need to avoid corn, this is a problem!  And the baking soda generally contains aluminum.  So what's wrong with that, you ask?

The increased presence of aluminum and heavy metals in our diet, products, and environment is staggering.  Metals accumulate in our bodies, and can lead to conditions of the central nervous system and internal organs. While aluminum is far less toxic than the heavy metals mercury, arsenic, lead or cadmium, it shows up more frequently.  It is present in things like aluminum cookware, food additives, fireworks, antacids, anti-perspirants, and our drinking water.  Studies have tied aluminum toxicity to dementia and Alzheimer's disease, and it could have a negative affect on the kidneys, digestive system, and central nervous system.  So, if you can, it is wise to avoid using aluminum containing products.
This is best made in smaller amounts and used often; I always keep a small batch on hand for baking!  While it works just as well as regular baking powder to make your baked goods rise, it will be single-acting, not double-acting like most commercial baking powders.  
What does that mean?  Here's a good explanation from about.com:

"Single-acting powders are activated by moisture, so you must bake recipes which include this product immediately after mixing. Double-acting powders react in two phases and can stand for a while before baking. With double-acting powder, some gas is released at room temperature when the powder is added to dough, but the majority of the gas is released after the temperature of the dough increases in the oven."

So, make sure you add your homemade baking powder right before popping in the oven to get the best lift, and don't over mix. I find that adding 1/4 tsp of vitamin C crystals dissolved in 1 T of boiling water to any recipe, and adding right at the end, also gives more lift too. If your dough/batter requires resting for a long period of time before baking, try adding the leavening agents AFTER letting the dough rest.  Either way, you'll still get some lift - it just won't be as much if it sits for a long time.  

HOMEMADE CORN-FREE, ALUMINUM-FREE BAKING POWDER (gluten free)

2 parts cream of tartar
1 parts arrowroot starch
  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Store in a dry, air-tight jar.

 

Wednesday
Apr222009

Homemade Mung Bean Flour (gluten free, vegan, high protein)


 

I normally don't use a lot of bean flours in my baking.  Although I love garbanzo beans and fava beans in their whole form, I think that their flours too easily dominate the flavor of a baked good, especially if you are trying to achieve a delicate or sweet flavor.  I decided I wanted to try bean flours made from other beans to see how the intensity of flavor would vary.  I really wanted to get my hands on some mung bean flour.  Mung beans are one of my favorite beans, and having read about mung bean flour online, but unable to find it in any stores around Minneapolis, I decided I would make it myself.  I've ground my own grains, nuts, and seeds for flours before, but never tried making homemade bean flours.  Hooray!  I love a new kitchen adventure.   

If you eat beans, but haven't yet ventured into the wonderful world of mung beans, you must!  Mung beans are used in many ways in SE Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisine.  They are soaked, ground and used for flatbreads.  They are sprouted and served raw.  They are processed into noodles.  They are peeled and split, and used to make dal, where they take on a smooth, velvety buttery texture that is true comfort food.   They are cooked whole with coconut milk to make a sweet soup.  They are mashed and used as fillings in sweet buns and desserts.  They are cooked plain and added to various rice dishes.  Quick cooking, full of protein, and easily digested, mung beans are considered to be an extremely healing and nourishing bean.  Because they are small, they are easier to digest than larger beans, and are recommended for cleansing the body of toxins.  In ayurvedic medicine, they are considered tridoshic, meaning people of every constitution can find nourishment in the mung bean.  And in Chinese medicine, mung beans are considered a cooling food, and are recommended for detoxification, clearing heat, reducing swelling and edema, and promoting urinary tract function.  

Dry mung beans can be purchased in a variety of ways.  Whole, they are bright green.  Or, you can purchase them split, where they take on the name moong dal.   You can get moong dal either with the skins still on and or peeled - once peeled, they are light yellow.  I love peeled moong dal, it is probably my favorite.  I generally buy mung beans at the Asian markets, where they are cheapest.

I had about a cup each of whole mung beans and peeled moong dal in my pantry, so I decided to go with what I had on hand, and use a mix.  Having read online that heat-treating the bean before grinding helps to make the flour more digestible (and lends a tasty roasted, nutty flavor!) I decided to roast the beans before grinding.   Then I cooled them, ground them, and ended up with a lovely flour!

I figure that a 1/4 c serving of mung bean flour packs a powerful 13 g of protein and 9 g of fiber - amazing! - with about 30 g of carbs, 180 calories, 3 g of sugar, and zero fat.  Additionally, it is high in iron, folate, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and potassium.  Although it is higher in calories and carbs than grain flours, mung beans are considered a low glycemic food, and are perfect for people concerned about blood sugar spikes.  Using mung bean flour in combination with other flours is a great way to add extra protein, fiber, and healthy, slow-digesting carbs.

I immediately used my new flour to make an on-the-fly bread with quinoa flour, brown rice flour, grated carrots, and warm spices.  I was really pleased with how it performed.  The flavor is much more mild than garbanzo or garfava flour, with nutty quality from the roasting.  The flavor combined well with the other flours, and it added a great body and texture to the bread. Stay tuned for that recipe, and in the meantime, try making the flour!  

I'm hoping to try making flours from other beans as well - cannellini is next on my list, and I'm hoping to use that in something cookie or cakelike.  I'd love to hear your experience with making your own bean flours!  I think next time I will try soaking the beans first, then drying them, roasting them, and grinding them.  I know it would add much more time to the process, but soaking beans is an important part of proper preparation, something that I skipped over this time around.  More to come!

HOMEMADE MUNG BEAN FLOUR (gluten free, vegan, high protein)

yield: approx 2 1/4 c flour

Ingredients:

2 c mung beans (either whole or peeled and split, or a mix)
Equipment:
coffee grinder or high-power blender
ROASTING THE BEANS >>>
  1. Preheat oven to 400* F.  
  2. Spread beans evenly on baking sheet.  Place in oven and roast for 20 minutes until golden, stirring every 5 minutes to prevent burning.
  3. Remove from oven and cool completely.

GRINDING THE BEANS >>>
  1. In a coffee grinder or high power blender, grind beans in batches.  I used a coffee grinder, and ground 1/2 c beans at a time.  
  2. Grind for approx 30 seconds, shaking beans in grinder to evenly mix.  
  3. Once your beans are ground to a fine powder, transfer to a large bowl, and grind the next batch.
  4. Once all your beans have been ground, let the flour cool (grinding warms it up!) and then transfer to an airtight container.  Store in a cool place.