Monday, November 11, 2013

Fine Scotch, Discerning Labs and a Gluten Free Kitchen - Only at HOTR

I was on call Saturday, so with just Barkley and I hanging out at the crash pad,  I had time to experiment in the kitchen. This weekend's menu.  Gluten Free Bread!

Gluten free is everywhere.  I am not gluten sensitive, but don't eat a lot of  highly processed carbs, outside of the Saturday Pancake O'rama.  I do love my grains, especially cornbread, but I have two friends that have Celiac Disease and want to learn more about preparing things they can enjoy when we get together.

But I was really glad to find out good Scotch Whiskey was gluten free as tonight was Scotch  Club Night, a monthly ritual of some squirrel pilot types I know.
Why is gluten on the menu this weekend?  A friend I know through the volunteer community recently had to go gluten free, due to health issues with gluten intake.  After just a week (under doctor's advice) she said she felt immensely better.  But it's hard to make the change, as she loves to bake and cook as much as we all do.   So, for the next two weeks, I'm her gluten free buddy and we'll try an assortment of recipes that we can share.

I can only imagine what Barkley will say -
Oh, it was awful, we went Gluten free and there was nothing to eat but pickled herring, gluten free gruel and Styrofoam packing peanuts with Tabasco. 

No, Barkley, I'm doing my homework and there's some really good stuff you can make gluten free. I tried one of the mixes for French Bread, one from Gluten Free Pantry.  It  required six other ingredients and didn't have quite the texture of a regular French baguette, being a bit more dry and crumbly.  But I would buy it again if I needed a quick base for French rolls, adding some herbs for flavor.   But I wanted something else to add to go with the pot of soup on Saturday.

I get my stone ground cornmeal from Graue Grist Mill, which is an easy weekend trip from the Range  (it's more expensive  but once you've tried stone ground versus the corn dust sold in the store you won't go back).

The first Gluten Free Cornbread recipe is infused with a bit of vanilla, and having as ingredient items things  the gluten free kitchen normally has.  Potato Starch, Cornstarch and xanthan gum.  Honestly, it was better than the "regular" cornbread I made last week with flour, with a moist texture, nice taste and an extremely tender crumb.

The second recipe is one you can make with things you likely have on hand, perfect for a last minute guest you just found out can't eat gluten.  It's s slightly drier, more chewy texture than the first recipe, still with a good flavor, one that would go best with a flavorful soup, stew or along with breakfast.  Perhaps a bowl of gluten free Sausage Lentil Soup
This" no special ingredient "cornbread recipe is also a snap to put together, with minimal measuring. This version was simply sweetened with a bit of honey (I love honey).  For a savory taste, add in some chopped onions caramelized in some butter, than stirred in the batter.
So you can save those packing peanuts for returning that trebuchet that didn't match your living room decor.


  1. I have some family that had to go gluten free. I should research it more could help my type 2 diabetes.

  2. Rob - Big Bro developed Type 2 after his lower leg was crushed in the motorcyle accident and he spent a year in the hospital. I often do low glycemic, low gluten recipes for him. Bob's Red Mill has been a good source of ingredients. If you look at the package they seem expensive, but it doesn't take much if you buy the individual ingredients. Don't buy the premade bread mixes, get the potato and rice and other starch/flour ingredints and make up your own. I've got a couple recipes for low cost baking mixes for baking/biscuits etc that I'd be happy to email you.

  3. You made something that didn't involve bacon as a main ingredient? When I was a kid there was a metal container by the stove that said grease and my mother poured bacon grease in it and she would use that to fix cornbread in an iron skillet. Then we quit doing that and the old people died healthier I guess but the corn bread wasn't the same.

  4. I found gluten free recipes on, of all places, Instructables! They just ended a gluten free contest and there are tons of gluten free recipes listed-FYI!

  5. As John Pinetta said..."you know what gluten is? It's FOOOD!!!" Can't imagine life without my gluten.....but I've always been a picky eater :)

    Sunnybrook Farm has a point, I do remember when we cooked with bacon did add flavor...and now I am being told by the Federal Government I cannot have my Transfats, and oreos are not the same any more :P Kinda tired of the diet police telling me what I can and can't have.

    Still if anyone cam make "gluten Free" tasty it will be Brigid. :D

  6. You might want to try guar gum, instead of Xanthan - at least for me, its a bit easier to digest, and I've had some very good stuff made with it.

    Also, be sure to tell your friend to keep an eye on her B12 levels - its one of those things which can creep up on folks when they lose the ability to eat gluten.

  7. Bob's Red Mill puts out good corn meal, and pretty much any other grain you might want.

  8. Scary bit there for a while with the Graue Mill as they had to shut down the grinding operation due to a structural problem with the stone supports, but they are back in operation. And the cornmeal is as good as ever.

  9. That is a significant lifestyle change and one that will drive them nuts when/if they go out to eat...

  10. "Didn't match your living room decor?"


    Trebuchets don't match decor. Decor must match Trebuchet!

    We've made a few different gluten-free recipes, and many of them are quite good. Yes, the texture is different sometimes, but when it's that or nothing, you learn to get used to it. Our GF pancakes I can't tell the difference. Though admittedly, that may have something to do with the real maple syrup.

    Normal type bread is what I've had problems making. The store-bought stuff is a) expensive, b) has the texture of sawdust and c) tastes like cardboard. (Or is it texture of cardboard and tastes like sawdust?) Most of what I've made so far has a bit of an egg-bread taste to it. Not bad, just different.

  11. Sorry, Barkley, but you have to be careful about the pickled herring as well. I stopped to pick up a jar and found that it had a warning on it for gluten. Seems that the vinegar was made from wheat and could contain gluten.

  12. Suunbrook Farm - My grandma made her oatmeal cookies with bacon fat.
    The fat people eat now is mostly highly processed, and artificially enhanced, especially what's in junk and fast food. I eat little junk food, fries, chips, snack cakes and the like, and eat bacon fat or lard every week along with my beef, game and eggs. My cholesterol is in the low 120's. Yes, that's genetic to some point but I think not eating little premade or packaged food does help.

    irontonflint - that's good to know. That's such a fun place to visit!

    immagikman - I'm going for a good gluten free brownie with salted caramel swirl this weekend if I can pull it off.

    B - thanks for the tip, I'll look for it. And I will let her know about the vitamin levels.

    zdogk9 - I love Bob's Red Mill Products! They're showing up more and more in the stores now which is great. Since I cook for a small household they're reasonable in price, though if I cooked for a large family I would try and make up my own mixes.

    Chip - I think this last weekend was the last they are open for the winter and I was on call and away. I did pick up an extra 5 pound bag the weekend prior. Great stuff.

    Old NFO - yes, in looking on line, outside of salads, there's not a lot and cross contamination is an issue. We hit Chick fil a today as lunch time was very brief. They do their waffle fries separate and they are gluten free as are the salads (except the crunchy topping thingys), coleslaw, fruit cup(which is really good, I had one) and the plain nuggets.

    PPPP - there are a couple engineers I know (college professors) husband and wife who run the neatest little B and B in Indiana (Old MG INN). She makes gluten free bread for the craft fairs and farmers markets and such and it tastes like REAL bread. Sheh said it took a lot of practice. I'm hoping she'll maybe pass on the secret recipe. If you wouldn't mind sharing your pancake recipe I'd love to try it.

    Matthew W - Oh No! Big Bro and Dad love that stuff and when I'm not around (I'm not a fan) will get a huge jar and sit out on the porch and eat the whole thing.

  13. OK Readers, seriously, NOT one scotch drinker out there that noticed the Cadenhead? (no, not my purchase, I'm more of a Sandy McLand budget)

  14. Cadenhead?
    $899 00 a bottle
    Now that is some serious.***!
    I understand it from the oldest distillery of scotch and located in Edinburgh

    Okay, now the real question:
    How does an $899 scotch taste?

  15. Keith Wilson - slightly better than the $898 dollar stuff :-)

    And no one asked me to bring over my Sandy McLand for them to taste.

    Honestly, I was on call, so mine tasted like tea.

  16. I am finding the more I cook gluten free, the more I enjoy that version over the traditional wheat flour one.

    I still not super fond of the store bought versions of many gluten free items, but homemade is fine by me.

    Corn bread looks yummy.


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