Gluten Free Recipe: Fried Rice

This is not exactly a case where it’s hard to make the recipe gluten-free, but I do have a good Fried Rice recipe and I thought that I would share it for this week’s What’s For Dinner? Wednesday.

The thing that’s really excellent about Fried Rice is that you can start with the basics and add about anything that you have the time and patience to cut into small pieces. Likewise, you can make excellent fried rice with a bare minimum of ingredients.

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Here are the basics:

2 cups old cooked rice, refrigerated
2 eggs
pinch salt
3 Tbs peanut or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
thumb sized piece of ginger, diced
1 medium sized green or red bell pepper, seeded and cut into short strips
1/4 pound mushrooms chopped or quartered
1/2 cup salted roasted peanuts
2 Tbs gluten free soy sauce or tamari

Here are excellent optional extras to add if you have them around and want to add them:

2 green onions chopped
1/2 pound cooked chicken, ham, shrimp, or pork, diced
head of broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup purple cabbage, chopped
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
dash or two of Chinese hot chili oil
splash rice vinegar
few slices of cucumber for garnish
few tomato wedges for garnish

Take the rice and rub it between your hands to break it up. Set aside. Heat up your wok on medium.

When wok is hot, add 1 Tbsp of oil. Let oil get hot and then add eggs. Scramble them the way you like them. Remove eggs from wok.

Turn up the heat on the wok to medium-high. Add another Tbsp of oil. Let oil get hot and add onion, garlic, and ginger. Stir fry until soft. Add all the veggies, any meat or shrimp, and peanuts. Stir fry about another two minutes. Remove and set aside.

Add remaining oil to wok and let heat up. Add rice and stir fry until heated – about 2 minutes. Stir in the veggie mix and add soy sauce. Mix it up gently and taste it to make sure you have a good flavor. Add more ginger or soy sauce if desired. Add sprinkle of rice vinegar and/or Chinese hot pepper oil. Finally, add toasted sesame oil (if you have it.) The reason you add the sesame oil at the end is that it loses its flavor when cooked.

Gluten Free Fried Rice, Coming Up!

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Recipe: Gluten Free Zuchini Pasta

Saying this zucchini pasta is “gluten-free” is cheating a little bit. Sometimes Sienna and I get a little exasperated by packaging or stores where they will say something ridiculous like “100% GLUTEN FREE mandarin oranges!!!!” as if there are any sort of oranges in the world that contain gluten. On packages of processed foods where gluten-content might be uncertain, a gluten-free label is a great thing. Also, in cases where it’s an item like a pancake or some bread where it would normally be made with wheat, we think it’s a wonderful idea.

One of the things that becomes bothersome living gluten-free is that there are a lot of products out there which are replacements for wheat products that don’t really taste very good or don’t stack up very well. In such cases it’s almost better to just get a “real” thing and use that to substitute. So for example, despite the fact that there are pretty good gluten-free cookies out there, a person who can’t get their hands on a good cookie might just want to switch to eating macaroons (which are supposed to be gluten-free.) Or a person who can’t get good gluten-free pasta might want to serve their marinara sauce on polenta instead. I don’t know if I’m making any sense here, but hopefully I am.

Anyhow, here’s a way to substitute for pasta with something “real,” and that is julienned zucchini. To make this you’ll need a mandoline with a julienne blade (or a sharp knife and A LOT of patience.) You’ll want to use two smallish or one medium zucchini per serving. Wash the zucchini and then put them through the mandoline lengthwise, so you are getting the longest “noodles” you can get. As you cut them, put the finished julienned zucchini in a colander with a little salt. For each medium zucchini you julienne, add 1/2 tsp of salt to the colander. That sounds like a lot of salt, but the purpose is to draw the moisture out of the zucchini and then rinse the salt off and towel dry the zucchini when its ready to go. It is possible to use too much salt, however, and you might find that you have to make adjustments to suit how salty you like your pasta.

Gluten-Free Zucchini Pasta

Once you’ve got your zucchinis julienned and they’re sitting in your colander, give them a stir and let them drain for a half hour. While they drain you should start your pasta sauce. Also, a few times during the half hour, stir them up and gently press on them to help them drain.

Liquid from the julienned zucchini

You can let them sit longer if you like. After the half hour, give them a quick rinse and then dry them gently with a towel to remove most of the salt.

Did I mention that most people agree that zucchini pasta is really only good with red sauces? At this point, hopefully your red sauce should pretty much be ready to go. Next you’ll want to fry the zucchini up in a pan. You’re only going to want to fry the zucchini up enough to heat it through and make it bend a little more like pasta. You definitely do not want to cook it to the point where it becomes transparent. If it gets that far then you’ve overcooked it.

Frying the zucchini pasta

We used a non-stick pan over medium-high heat. If you’re using a regular pan, you want the heat higher. One the pan is hot, throw the julienned zucchini in there and toss it until it is barely tender. You probably won’t want to cook it more than five minutes.

Once the zucchini pasta is done, put it on some plates and add your pasta sauce of choice. Here we used some delicious tomato sauce (made by our friend Mike – Hi Mike and Sonia!) with lots of garlic. We added mushrooms, ground beef, and some of our homemade pesto to the tomato sauce to give it an extra kick. We topped the sauce with cheese and BAM! It’s time to eat.

We love zucchini pasta and not just because it’s gluten free.

Zucchini Pasta for a Gluten Free Diet

Besides being naturally gluten-free, the zucchini pasta is crunchy, which is really nice. You’d never really think of pasta being crunchy but in this case it’s quite delicious. It’s also a good way to eat zucchini for people who don’t really like zucchini. In addition to being great for a gluten free diet, zucchini is also a healthy low-carb alternative to wheat pasta. You’re getting your vegetables and your gluten-free pasta!

Gluten-Free Millet Oatmeal Bread

I just got introduced to millet recently and really love it. We eat it in a bunch of different ways. Millet can be cooked up and served with a red pasta sauce like polenta. You can also serve millet like a hot cereal. You can substitute millet for rice when eating a curry. Millet is full of protein. Strangely enough, it can also be popped like popcorn. If I had to say what millet tastes like, it’s nutty and is something like short-grain white rice but with a very mellow corn-like taste.

This recipe also has gluten-free oats in it. Actually, we took some gluten free oats and ground them up into flour. I’ve been cooking with oat flour for a while. It imparts extra heartiness and a nice sweetness to whatever you add it to. I really love adding oat flour to a pancake mix, and as regular readers here should know, I love gluten-free pancakes.

This gluten free millet oatmeal bread recipe came from Gluten Free Mommy. It is made with molasses, which informs its flavor. Sienna made a bunch of changes to the recipe, so we’re going to list it as she made it, below.

Gluten Free Millet Oatmeal Bread (made with Bread Machine)

1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup gluten free oat flour (or quinoa flour)
3/4 cup millet flour
3/4 cup + 2 Tbps tapioca flour
1/3 cup arrowroot starch (or corn starch)
1/4 cup flax seed meal
1 Tbsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp whole millet
2 Tbsp whole flax seeds
2 eggs + egg replacer to replace 1 more egg
1 packet active dry yeast
1 Tbsp molasses
3 Tbsp date sugar
4 Tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup plus 1 cup heated water

We made it with our bread maker. For a bread maker follow the manufacturer’s instructions. (Shameless plug: We have a list of excellent bread machines for gluten-free bread making.) If you’re going to make this bread by hand, see the original instructions. Either way you go, make sure that the dough has the consistency of very stiff cake batter. To get it there, we had to add some water when the bread maker was done with its initial mixing cycle.

Gluten Free Oatmeal Millet Bread

We both love this bread! It has enough flavor that you don’t feel like you’re eating wonder bread, but not so much flavor that it would get in the way if you want to make a sandwich out of it. It tastes especially wonderful with some butter, or you can add some honey too. The added raw millet gives the texture some character.

We want to know: Do you have a favorite bread recipe? Do you have a favorite way to serve millet? What do you add to your breads to give them character?

This has been another Gluten Free Portland Oregon feature.

Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger: Sorghum Cauliflower Curry

This post is part of a gluten-free blog event that Sea over at the Book of Yum put together. For this month’s Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger event, I’ve adopted Catherine at A Gluten Free Guide. We decided to cook her Sorghum Cauliflower Curry. Catherine was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2004, and has been doing her best to get back to “normal” life since. She started A Gluten Free Guide to share her experiences and be a resource for people who are diagnosed with celiac disease. I’m especially enamored of a recent post of hers titled, A Gluten Free Diet – Sometimes it Sucks.

Sienna and I are huge fans of curries, and so the Sorghum Cauliflower Curry stood out as a great recipe for us to try. Also, the photo on Catherine’s site makes it look really amazing. We weren’t actually able to find anywhere in town to buy sorghum, so we ended up settling on millet as a substitute.

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We chopped up a ton of cauliflower. Put together the curry mix. Cooked the millet. Cooked the veggies.

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Mixed everything up.

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Chopped cilantro up for the garnish and BAM!

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I guess I should note here that we also added some golden raisins to the mix. With curries we like to add some raisins, dried cranberries, or a chutney. There’s something magical about adding some sweet bites to a curry. Alternatively, a person can also add some yogurt on the side.

The one problem that came up when we made the recipe was that our cauliflower was done cooking way before we were ready to mix everything up. That kind of made us have to choose between over-cooking it, or cooling it down and then heating it up again. If we had it all to do over again, we would try to time everything to be ready when the cauliflower was ready to go.

Being huge curry fans, it was a natural that we would really like this recipe. Having a grain mixed in makes the dish especially hearty. We also like getting our veggies in such a delicious way. As another bonus, it kept really well so I was able to have the leftovers for lunches during the week.

We’ll definitely try more recipes from A Gluten Free Guide in the future. I would definitely recommend both her site and Book of Yum to anybody on a gluten free diet. Thanks to Sea at the Book of Yum for putting this blog event together!

Gluten-Free Cooking: Fried Chicken or Fish Recipe

One of our friends recently commented that we should start including more basic information that would be helpful for people who are just starting to learn how to get around the kitchen without gluten. In this article, I’ll talk about a simple substitution that we have found works wonderfully when you want to fry up some chicken or a piece of fish. I hope it isn’t confusing presenting two different dishes with instructions together. Really, making one is basically the same as the other. The only difference really is the marinades and cooking times.

Simple Gluten-Free Fried Chicken or Fish

Don’t miss the vegan alternative at the end. Good for two chicken breasts or two tilapia fillets. Feeds about four.

Breading for Either Fish or Chicken
3 Tbsp Garbanzo and Fava Bean Flour
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper (or to taste)
pinch salt

Chicken Marinade
1 Tbsp Dry Cooking Sherry or wine
1/2 tsp Canola Oil

Fish Marinade
1/2 tsp Canola Oil
Juice of 1/2 Lime or Lemon (save other half for squeezing over fish at table.)

Marinading is really key, so get the meat in the marinade first thing. If you’re making chicken, you’ll want to butterfly the breasts before marinating. While the meat marinates, mix up the breading and cut up some veggies. Pour the marinade over the meat in a container. Flip once or twice while marinating. Leave at least 15 minutes. A couple minutes before you’re ready to cook the meat, put a frying pan on the burner to pre-heat it. Cook on medium heat, or a little less if the chicken pieces are thick.

Once the pan is hot, add about a tablespoon of canola oil and let that heat up. Spread about half of your breading on a plate and dip the chicken or fish into it, coating evenly. Add more breading to the plate as needed to coat everything. Fry in the pan 3-5 minutes for the fish, or 5-9 minutes for the chicken. Flip the meat every two or three minutes during cooking.

Alternative #1: Cut fish or chicken into sandwich patty sized pieces (about 3-4 oz each.) Then bread, fry, and serve as a sandwich with your favorite gluten-free bread, a slice of tomato, a piece of lettuce, and plenty of mayonnaise. Yeah! There is nothing in the world like a fried fish sandwich.

Alternative #2: Make “tenders” by cutting the breasts or fish up into bite-sized pieces before breading them. To bread them, put the breading and the cut up chicken or fish into a lidded container, and shake well. Provide gluten-free dipping sauces at the table.

Vegan Alternative: Cut tofu into 3/8 inch slices. For added texture with tofu, you can freeze it overnight and put back in the fridge to thaw in the morning. Then wrap tofu in a towel and gently press to squeeze out moisture. Marinate at least 30 minutes in 3 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, and 2 cloves pressed garlic. Add 1/4 tsp ground ginger if desired. Then bread and fry. Serve with sauteed mushrooms!

Fried Tilapia

Gluten-Free Bread Recipe Review – Basic Millet Bread

Not too long ago I was on Amazon’s site and one of the reviewers there was saying that all the bread recipes from Bette Hagman’s book, The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread were bad and tasted funny. We already reviewed a recipe from her book here , so we know THAT’S not true, but I figured that as we make more from the book we would share our experiences. Like we said before, there’s something in this book for everyone, especially if you are gluten intolerant or celiac.

So on to the bread. The original recipe for the bread I’m reviewing today has only millet flour, corn starch, and tapioca flour, which means it’s pretty low on the number of flours you need. (Apparently, though, when buying Millet flour you need to check to make sure it is not contaminated.) This is her “Basic Millet Bread” recipe on page 82. We also now have a millet bread recipe posted on Gluten Free Portland dot Org.

So as I said, on to the bread. This is another great recipe. It ended up being a lot like a whole-wheat sort of bread. We added some teff flour to this recipe. Basically we replaced half of the tapioca flour with teff flour. Sienna followed the directions from the book but made the following changes: She used an egg instead of egg replacer (because we didn’t have any.) She used canola oil instead of butter and, following the directions for this in the book, decreased the amount of water to offset the change. She didn’t add gelatin. She used vinegar instead of dough enhancer. She added two tablespoons each of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. Then she put it all in the bread maker (following the bread maker manufacturer’s instructions of course) and BAM!

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Sorry about the dark photos. I need to invest in some better lighting for our Gluten Free Recipe Laboratory.

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Sienna loves this bread! I like it too, but not as much, I’m afraid. It is fluffy and toasts up really well. Like the last one we reviewed, this is the kind of bread that is great for making sandwiches. It also toasts like a champ and tastes great with jam or with eggs and bacon.

Did I mention that we used a bread machine to make this bread?

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Gluten-Free Pancakes

Ah pancakes. When we first moved to Portland, I fell in love with pancakes. I had never really liked pancakes much, except for the silver dollar kind you could get at fancy restaurants. For about two months I was looking for work, and every couple of mornings I would get up and make pancakes for breakfast. For me, it became the thing to do when you don’t know what else to do: make pancakes.

Imagine my excitement after being sentenced to a world without wheat pancakes to find that Trader Joe’s had some gluten free ones.

Trader Joe's Homestyle Gluten Free Pancakes

While Trader Joe’s earns some points with my gluten-free self for making such a product available, they lose some points with my environmentally conscious self for packaging these pancakes in four individual plastic wrappers and a cardboard box. The box is sealed on the ends with round, clear plastic stickers, which kind of pushes it even further. I mean, when I’m opening a box of pancakes, the last thing I want to do is feel like I’m breaking the seal on a royal decree or something. The other thing they lose points for is 430 mg of salt per serving! That’s the kind of amounts I’m used to seeing in canned soups.

They do taste like pancakes, which is a good thing, and cook up well. They are light and fluffy like a good pancake should be, but they do suffer a bit from the dreaded gluten-free spongy texture.

Pancakes and Bacon with orange butter

On the plus side, however, these pancakes do what they are supposed to do: deliver butter, jam, and/or maple syrup in a no-nonsense fashion. Here’s a bonus recipe for those of you who made it this far.

ORANGE BUTTER

1/2 cup butter or trans fat free margarine
1 Tbsp orange juice concentrate
Grated zest of one lemon
Grated zest of one orange
1/2 tsp Triple Sec or your favorite orange brandy (optional)

Put all ingredients in a dish and mash them up until mixed. You may need to soften the butter first. If you need to use the orange butter soon, put in the freezer to re-solidify. Otherwise return to the refrigerator. This stuff is not sweet, so you and your celiac friends will probably want some maple syrup to go with.

Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Recipes: Sweet Potato Pie and Turkey

Here at Gluten-Free Portland dot Org our slogan is: “Take back the holidays!” What with wheat bread in the stuffing, wheat flour in the gravy, wheat in the pie crust and wheat everywhere else wheat goes in your typical holiday meal, we all need some help, especially if you have celiac disease. Here are some suggestions for good gluten free holiday recipes.

Coincidentally, these are great for a diet AND are gluten free.

We discovered these recipes on the TV show, The Biggest Loser. Should I say here that I am in no way affiliated with The Biggest Loser or NBC? I am not. Let’s also make it clear that these are Rocco’s recipes, not my own. We had links up to these recipes but NBC has since taken them down – sorry. Good thing we still have the Sweet Potato Pie recipe here.

Because they made the instructions confusing and also put the “unhealthy” versions on top of the “healthy” versions, I’m going to put my own revised Sweet Potato Pie recipe and directions here. Besides the cutting of the sweet potatoes, this would be a great recipe for kids. It only takes about five minutes of prep time. If you don’t have mace, you can substitute nutmeg in a pinch. And since we are not competing with the Blue Team to lose pounds fast, we used evaporated cane sugar instead of sugar substitute. So without further ado, here is the recipe, which says it feeds 4 to 6:

Fortunately for us, they suspect nothing.

Fortunately for us, they suspect nothing.

SWEET POTATO PIE A LA BIGGEST LOSER

1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 6 small)
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tsp sugar substitute (or what-have-you)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

1. Either use a non-stick cookie pan or lightly grease a regular one.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Clean potatoes and let dry thoroughly. Dice them up into approximately 3/4 inch pieces.

4. In a small container, mix up the spices and sugar.

5. Put the diced up sweet potato in a large tupperware with a lid. Add the olive oil to the potatoes, and then with the lid on, shake the container to coat the potatoes with oil.

6. Open the container and add the spice mixture. Then close again and shake until all the sweet potatoes are coated.

7. Transfer to sheet and bake until potatoes are crisp outside and soft inside. Approximately 30 minutes. Turn once about 15 minutes in.

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While they do not have a nice flaky crust, a person can close their eyes and imagine. Did we mention that these are awesome with apple sauce? They are!

Gluten-Free Bread Recipe Review

Our next post isn’t Portland-specific either, but we’ve been snowed (and now iced) in for a week. So today we’re going to look at a bread recipe from Bette Hagman’s The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread. This book is completely full of bread recipes and is a great addition to your library if you’re on a gluten-free diet. On the plus side, there’s something in this book for everyone. On the minus side, every single recipe calls for gelatin, which the author explains helps with the texture and also brings the protein content up to more like that of bread made with wheat. Not that there’s anything SPECIAL about bread made with wheat, except maybe that it’s less expensive to make, easier to cook, and tastes delicious. Not that we’re bitter or anything.

So on to the bread. Did I mention that you need a lot of different kinds of flour for these breads? The one I’m reviewing today, the Sesame Bean Bread, only uses three kinds of flour. They are garfava bean flour, tapioca flour, and cornstarch. By “garfava”, we think they mean garbanzo and fava bean flours mixed together. I love garbonzos, especially in a curry, but am not a fan of fava beans, which an Egyptian-Mediterranean restaurant in San Francisco would put on your falafel sandwich for an extra $0.50. I tried that one time and wanted my fifty cents back I tell you.

We used a bread maker to make this bread. I really don’t really know how a gluten-free person can live without a bread machine. We researched the topic and came up with a list of the best bread machines for gluten free cooking.

So as I said, on to the bread. This recipe is awesome. Sienna followed the directions from the book but made the following changes: She used an egg instead of egg replacer. She used canola oil instead of butter and, following the directions for this in the book, decreased the amount of water to offset the change. She used date sugar instead of brown sugar. She didn’t add gelatin. She used vinegar instead of dough enhancer. Then she put it all in the bread maker (following the bread maker manufacturer’s instructions of course) and BAM!

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The bread has molasses in it and I think that informs the flavor. Sienna thinks it tastes a little cornstarchy or something, but she really likes it too.

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Sometimes you want a flavorful bread to smear some humus on and eat it. Other times you want a bread to get out of the way and provide an unobtrusive addition to a sandwich. I am happy to report that this is the kind of bread you can use for a hamburger or a chicken sandwich and it will not get in the way with its ostentatious stylings. It is, in fact, awesome for hamburgers. Also, unlike some other gluten-free breads we could name, it actually gets crisp when toasted, and is great with jam or honey.

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Happy eating!