Kohlrabi Catcher July 11, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking, pets.
Tags: cooking, Gigadog, kohlrabi, pictures, teradog, video
add a comment
I got this very weird vegetable from our CSA:
I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but it’s apparently kohlrabi. I’d heard of it but never eaten it. After asking on Facebook and searching the Internet, I now have a million ways to prepare it but opted for throwing it in some tikka masala sauce for a first go round.
Whenever I cook, Teradog and Gigadog hang around the kitchen. Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say they consume the entirety of the kitchen floor space. They know the command “out,” something I came up with after many near-death kitchen catastrophes. However, I still like to provide them with samples of my cooking as much as possible because they’re a quite appreciative audience. Through their sampling, I discovered that Teradog likes pretty much all vegetables except romaine lettuce. Since I was dicing the kohlrabi, I decided to see if he’d like some, as well. (Just so you know, throwing food and videotaping simultaneously isn’t all that easy.)
Gigadog also liked the kohlrabi, but if you try to play ‘catch’ with her, it bounces off her nose and she looks annoyed at having to wander over to its landing spot. I guess some food isn’t worth it.
Tags: baking, blueberries, cooking, muffins, recipe, rhubarb
add a comment
No one in our house likes rhubarb. It’s one of those things that all the German grandmas would bring to church potlucks, and my parents would say, “Isn’t this great!” Meanwhile, my face is about to implode from puckering.
My worst experience was in high school. I had a crush on someone, and when I went to visit him, his mom made rhubarb bars. I had to impress this boy’s mother, so I didn’t say how much I hated it. No, I suffered through the whole bar, eating every last bite. Later, he decided he didn’t want to date me, and I realized that if he couldn’t appreciate how much I’d suffered, he obviously wasn’t the one for me. No man is worth eating rhubarb for.
I was glad, therefore, when I met Mike, and in one of those deep, get-to-know you conversations, I found out he disliked rhubarb as well. He comes by it genetically: his dad hated it so much he would change oil over the rhubarb plants in their yard.
Therefore, when I opened our CSA box last week and saw three pounds of the stuff, I thought, “Oh, crud.” Actually, I thought something else, but I’m too polite to say it in a blog post. I tried to pawn it off on my parents, but no luck.
Anyway, I spent some time pondering and decided to at least try it. I won’t eat tons of it, but I concocted a recipe that uses a tolerable portion. And the rest of the muffin is so good that I don’t mind eating around it. I also discovered that the smaller the pieces that you chop it into, the less intense the flavor. (Now, if you really like rhubarb, cut it into big pieces and substitute a half cup of rhubarb for the blueberries.) I figured it must be okay since the younger son, who is the food critic of the house, really enjoyed them.
And since the Fourth of July is coming up, it seemed appropriate to give it a patriotic theme.
Rhubarb, white, and blueberry muffins
Makes 12 muffins
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (if you like to blend your own, I’d use 140 gms or 1 cup white rice flour, 46 gms or 1/3 cup potato starch and 26 gms or 1 tbsp + 2 tsp tapioca flour)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp xanthan gum (leave out if using a flour mix that includes this)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp butter (for dairy free, use coconut oil)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup buttermilk (for dairy free, use 1 cup full-fat coconut milk from the can (I like Thai Kitchen brand) + 2 tbsp lime juice)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup diced rhubarb
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place muffin papers in muffin tray or grease and flour muffin tray.
- In a medium bowl, combine thoroughly all dry ingredients except sugar and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream butter (or coconut oil) and sugar together. (If using coconut oil and it’s liquidy, I suggest sticking it in the fridge to let it solidify. Cool coconut oil works much better for this. If you’re still not having much luck, go to the next step, using cold eggs, but mix for much longer and it will cream.)
- Add eggs and mix for another 20-30 seconds.
- Add buttermilk (or coconut milk and lime juice), vanilla, and dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Add rhubarb and blueberries and stir until evenly distributed. (Note: I prefer using fresh blueberries because frozen tend to ‘streak’ the muffins. If all you have is frozen, though, pull them out right before you’re going to add them and toss to coat them with some potato starch.)
- Distribute batter into muffin tray.
- Bake for approximately 28 minutes.
- Let cool in pan for about 10 minutes and then move to cooling tray.
The symptomatology of a glutening June 2, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
Tags: celiacs, gluten, gluten free diet, health, symptoms
add a comment
I’m going to be traveling later this week, and I realized that I am slightly terrified after having a bad ‘glutening’ over a week ago. I went to Jimmy John’s and ordered a gluten-free unwich. Then, without thinking, I asked them to add extra lettuce. The extra lettuce came from a bin into which people wearing contaminated gloves had been sticking their hands.
It was awful.
The first thing I noticed was during a run the next morning. A couple friends and I were doing an 8-miler (and that’s a good thing to have friends for because it’s a LONG run without them). My hand was really starting to hurt, and I asked them if their hands ever swell up while running. Both of them said, “Yep,” and I didn’t think much more about it…until the next morning, when I couldn’t get up. In fact, I spent three days unable to get out of bed because of crushing fatigue and horrible brain fog. I desperately wanted to get up, but even when I managed it, I would do something inconsequential, become exhausted, and not be able to focus on anything anyway. And pain all over my body. Not achiness, like the flu, but pain and swelling. GI symptoms started two days later. And then a week after that, with still swollen hands, I developed a rash (probably dermatitis herpetiformes (DH)…I still have purple marks) all over my right wrist with a couple spots on my hand. At first I thought it was poison ivy, but I hadn’t been anyplace where I would get it, and the rash was too diffuse.
I had this fantasy that maybe, once I’d been off gluten for a while, the reactions wouldn’t be so severe. I was wrong and they’re actually worse. (While I had skin problems most of my life until getting rid of the gluten, the DH is something entirely new.) I am terrified something like this will happen on a trip and I’ll be laid up the entire time.
On the up side, it really does make me appreciate how much better I feel the 99% of the time I have managed to avoid gluten. I like not feeling sick and exhausted and brain dead all the time.
Wordless Wednesday: Pictures in food April 23, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking, photography.
Tags: cooking, food, pictures, wordless wednesday
add a comment
Traveling off the wheaten path April 20, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
Tags: celiacs, food, gluten, gluten free diet, travel
add a comment
One thing I discovered pretty quickly is that I am incredibly sensitive to even small amounts of wheat/gluten. I am finding that this makes traveling with celiac disease a lot more challenging than I ever anticipated. It is also frustrating as one of my favorite parts of traveling used to be finding all the cool places to eat.
Unfortunately, travel seems to have become a fairly regular thing for me now, so I’m having to get used to it.
I’m learning some things that help. First, I have to either be sure there are places I can eat that are reliably gluten-free, or I have to get a hotel room with a kitchen. (I’ve become a fan of places that end in “Suites.”) I’ve also discovered that Whole Foods and Trader Joes are my favorite pairs of words when I travel (although probably Whole Foods, moreso). Planning ahead is pretty vital.
The gist of it is that a trip that involves me driving usually involves me packing a bunch of food to bring along, maybe even a cooler. If I’m flying, which was the case earlier this month, I have to have a hotel room with a kitchen and a rental car to go pick up food. I also then have to find this balance between having the right food and not overdoing it so that I don’t leave food to feed an army in the fridge when I leave.
So what do I eat?
I usually do sausage (assuming I can find a safe brand) and scrambled eggs with peppers for breakfast. Lunch involves salad with chicken (I can usually find precooked breasts or sandwich meat, although I will cook it myself in a pinch) or hardboiled eggs. For sides, I like baby carrots, and I can even make a very simplistic potato salad fairly easily. I’m finding there are a lot of packet sizes of things like coconut oil or other stuff that comes in handy as condiments. If I need something that I can’t get in packets, I just try to buy the smallest available size.
I usually find a place for dinner, but if not, there are options in the frozen foods like fish sticks or corn dogs (with more salad and carrots, of course). I’m always relieved when there’s a PF Changs nearby. We don’t have one in Fargo, so not only do I get my Chinese fix, I can do it without any gluten. And cookies…there are gluten free cookies out there.
Though it’s not the best, I also have a stash of M&Ms or something similar with me…because it’s a good idea in case schedules or something get off. (While I don’t usually get sick any more, I can’t say I feel the best if I overdo it on snack foods.)
Believe it or not, I pack a few ziploc bags, a lunch box, and a blue ice pack into my suitcase. I stuff the lunch box full of food before I leave the hotel room. I imagine I look pretty sporting hauling it around with me (it’s a soft-sided, purple and pink box), but it at least removes the temptation to eat anything that could be dangerous. And it’s better than spending half the trip sick in the hotel room…or coming back very sick.
The biggest inconvenience is the time it takes. Going to conferences can be rather tiring, and some days are very long. If I can get there a day ahead of time, I can do a bunch of shopping and prepare food, which makes it easier. I also go through and rewash all the dishes by hand before I use them, just in case someone didn’t do a thorough job and there are crumbs or other things on there. (I imagine this is a good idea, either way.)
I’m getting more practiced at this and finding that it’s not as difficult now that I’m getting better at it. I don’t even get too many comments about my lunch box any more.
An engineer’s desk (not mine) February 27, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in engineering, food/cooking, research, work.
Tags: caffeine, coffee, desk
add a comment
3 Karrot Gluten-Free Muffins February 23, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
Tags: carrots, celiacs, cooking, fodmaps, food, gluten free diet, muffins
(Note: I’ve made a couple changes since I originally posted this. It produces much fluffier muffins, and fluffy muffins are good in my book.)
I could tell you what I’ve been up to lately, but it’s pretty much the same thing I’ve been up to for the past year and a half: I’m either working on a paper or a proposal…although now and again I’m trying to help my student out. But really, it’s kind of getting silly to say this as it hardly changes.
I have, however, been spending a lot of time perfecting my carrot cake recipe. One day, a few weeks ago, I had this horrid craving for carrot cake. The problem I have is that a lot of gluten-free food in general tastes pretty awful: I haven’t had one I like yet. Second, even if I did like them, most mixes I come across are not FODMAPs friendly…meaning they have some ingredient or other that will make me sick. (If you’re not sure what this is, you can read about it here.) Finally, I try, as much as possible, to eat paleo. Unfortunately, FODMAPS friendly paleo foods are rather tough to come by. Most use nuts or coconut flour (or taste even worse than the run-of-the-mill gluten-free foods), so those are out.
I decided I had to come up with something myself. I added the condition that my friends who eat ‘normal’ diets must enjoy eating it, too. I am pretty sure this one succeeded. I also tried, very hard, to make it mostly carrots. I don’t think I succeeded, but I did manage to at least balance the carrot to flour ratio…it’s much better than the standard 3:1 flour to carrot ratio in most recipes. (Most carrot cake, in my opinion, is just spice cake pretending to be healthier than it is.) I am aware that most people don’t consider sugar or brown sugar to be paleo, but those, along with molasses, are the only FODMAPs-friendly sweeteners I can handle.
I’ve finally perfected my recipe, so I’ll share it below. I’m very excited because it’s one of the very few baked goods I’ve made lately that I can actually eat myself. I will warn you that it’s really a pain to make, but it’s totally worth it. However, I’m quite serious when I say not to deviate from the instructions. As much as I love kitchen short-cuts, you don’t want to just throw everything in the food processor and call it good.
And one last note: while you may want to try substitutions, be very careful about maintaining the moisture balance in these muffins. I learned the hard way (and repeatedly) that one little change can leave you with hockey pucks or mushy gunk in short order. Therefore, this recipe won’t work if you decide to throw honey in for the brown sugar. You CAN get away with 1/4 c. of a dry sweetener instead, like palm sugar or raw cane sugar, if you want to try something else.
If you do make changes, please let me know so that I can pass them on to anyone else who is interested.
3 Karrot Muffins
Makes about 12 muffins.
- 11-12 oz. fresh raw peeled carrots
- 2/3 c. dehydrated carrot (make sure it’s not processed on the same equipment as wheat…I buy them online)
- 3 eggs
- 1/3 c. potato starch
- 1/3 c. tapioca flour
- 1/3 c. sweet rice flour
- 1/4 c. white rice flour
- 1/4-1/3 c. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/3 c. coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
Optional cream cheese ‘filling’
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 2 tsp. coconut oil
- 2 tsp. sweetener (sugar, maple syrup, whatever)
I’m going to start with the cream cheese filling: you don’t have to do it. If you’d like to do it, there’s an easy way and a harder way. The easy way is just to cut your 4 oz of cream cheese into 12 chunks of the same size. It tends to dry and crack a bit though, so the harder way is to blend the cream cheese and coconut oil (and sweetener, if you want some) in a small bowl using a mixer. This will have a nicer texture and look nicer, but it doesn’t really taste much different. Put it in the fridge for later.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Mix the eggs and dried carrots in a separate bowl. Set aside. Leave this sitting for a while. In essence, you’re using your eggs to rehydrate the dried ones.
While waiting for the carrots to rehydrate, add the following dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl: potato starch, tapioca flour, sweet rice flour, white rice flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt. Combine thoroughly.
Place the raw carrots in a food processor or blender (if it’s a really good blender) and run until the carrots are finely chopped. (By finely chopped, I mean ‘not quite a puree but as close as the machine can get.’) Next add the dried carrots and egg mixture. The eggs should whip up and give the mixture a lighter orange color, and it should look like a puree. (Note: don’t shortcut and throw it all in the food processor at once unless your machine is VERY good. I tried that and ended up with a serving of baked carrots in the middle of a couple of muffins.)
Before you take the next step, get your muffin pan ready. I generally like to use foil muffin papers for these as they seem to soak through paper liners. I also suspect the foil liners do a better job of baking the muffins evenly.
Add the coconut oil, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to the food processor and run again. Add contents of the food processor to the bowl of dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. I usually just use a large spoon to do this as the mixture seems awfully thick for a mixer. Divide batter evenly between muffin liners.
If you’re using the cream cheese (mixture), add about 2 tsp. to each muffin. Make sure to press it down into the batter a bit. I don’t recommend making divots in the muffins as it seems to create big air bubbles.
Bake for 25 min. Let cool for a couple hours at room temp before serving (even though they smell incredible). Because of the raw carrots, these put off a lot of moisture and need to be cooled properly.
Recipe Double Header: Maple-whipped sweet potatoes and gluten-free sweet potato pancakes January 1, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
Tags: breakfast, celiacs, cooking, food, gluten free diet, paleo, pancakes, recipe, sweet potatoes
add a comment
The other day, Mike and I were eating at one of our favorite local restaurants (i.e., one of maybe five that is celiac-friendly and hasn’t tried to kill me yet), I tried a new dish: maple-whipped sweet potatoes. We both fell in love with it, and so I’ve made it a couple times at home. It’s super easy. Also…it might be paleo, depending on your feelings on maple syrup.
The best part of making these is that I usually make large enough quantities that there are leftovers. Some people I know think, “Yay! Leftovers!” I personally think, “Yay! Pancakes!” Some people think that’s too much work. However, given I cringe every time I watch my kids dump a half gallon of maple syrup on pancakes, these are sweet enough (in my opinion) to avoid syrup altogether…unless you’re younger son who still thinks they need syrup. A pat of butter is nice, though. So far, everyone in the house seems to like them.
Maple-whipped sweet potatoes
2 lbs. of sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
3 tbsp. coconut oil
1/4 cup. maple syrup OR 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp water, 2 tsp maple extract
Toss the sweet potatoes in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and coconut oil. There’s two ways you can do this, depending on the time you have. You can throw them in the crockpot (low for 5 hrs, high for 3 hrs) or bake in a covered dish at 350°F for one hour. I prefer the crockpot method as they always seem more moist, but if you’re in a hurry, you’ve got options. Once they’re done cooking, let cool for 5-10 minutes, then put them in a large mixing bowl with the maple syrup. Use a hand mixer and blend until smooth and creamy. (Whether you’re doing this with the brown sugar mixture or maple syrup, you may need to add water, a tablespoon at a time, to get it creamy.)
Sweet potato pancakes
1 lb. maple whipped sweet potatoes
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 tbsp. coconut oil
Mix all ingredients together and cook on a non-stick pan or griddle on medium-low to medium heat until browned. Flip, and brown on the other sides. I’d suggest making smaller pancakes – about 3 inch diameter. You have to watch these carefully. Because of the high sugar content, they go from brown to blackened very quickly if the heat is too high. Also, there’s no good way to see if they’re done on one side except for checking. The high moisture content insulates the top side when the bottom side is being cooked.
Post Christmas food frenzy: buckwheat crepes December 28, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
Tags: celiacs, cooking, food, gluten free diet, recipe
Our family has had a tradition of having a ‘nice’ breakfast or brunch on Sunday mornings. For a while, this consisted of getting together with extended family and calling it “waffle Sunday” because we almost always had waffles. (After my celiac diagnosis, the waffle maker was handed off to another home where it is hopefully happy.) Later, I spent the summer with a friend in Berkeley, and the topic of crepes came up.
I adore crepes.
My friend said his grandfather made the best crepes ever, and so he spent a morning teaching me how to make them. It was far simpler than I thought. You combine 1 cup of wheat flour, 1 egg, and enough milk to have a very sloshy liquid. It’s probably the same consistency as warm custard before it’s set, or maybe egg nog. Then you add about 1/2 tsp. of some sort of oil to a small frying pan, and once it’s hot, add enough batter that you can spread a thin layer over the bottom of the pan. Cook until the edges start to get crispy, then flip. I moved from white flour to whole wheat flour (and my tummy hurts just saying that) because I liked the nuttier taste.
It’s not easy to make gluten free crepes. But another thing I adore is buckwheat because of it’s nuttier taste. The search was on, and I came across a wonderful site explaining the history of crepes and galletes. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for as I wanted a buckwheat crepe that would be suitable for things like fruit fillings, and apparently galletes are not. I was thrilled when I came across this recipe for a way to improve the nutritional value of buckwheat and make a sort of pancake out of it. Still…too thick.
I decided instead to try my old recipe using the principles of soaking the buckwheat groats first. I took 2 1/2 cups of groats and soaked them in water for several hours. (You’ll want to check the recipe link to see why I do this.) I then rinsed the groats and blended them with a mixture of water and heavy cream (2:1 ratio, respectively). Once I had a thick enough batter, I added about 3 eggs. Then I continued to add water and cream until I had the same egg-nog consistency thickness I got with my wheat-based crepes. Everything else went the same as before, using between 1 tsp. to 1/2 tbsp. of coconut oil to cook the crepe. They will work for either savory or sweet fillings, if you like a nutty flavor. They are very filling, either way.
Gluten-free buckwheat crepes
1 cup buckwheat raw buckwheat groats
1 to 1 1/2 cups water and heavy cream mixed 2:1 (or milk of your choice)
Pour buckwheat into a bowl and add dechlorinated water to about 1 inch above buckwheat. Let soak for several hours. Strain and rinse with warm water to get rid of slimy texture. Add groats, egg, and water/cream mixture to blender and blend to smooth. Continue to add water/cream until batter is ‘soupy’.
Add coconut oil to non-stick frying pan over medium to medium high heat (somewhere between 1 tsp. and 1/2 tbsp per crepe). Add about 1/3 cup batter, pouring into oil, and tilting pan to coat the bottom. (You will have to figure out how much works for you depending on how large your pan is and how thick you like your crepes.) Cook until brown spots form on underside of crepe. Flip crepe and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
Favorite toppings at our house are sliced bananas, berries, sometimes whipped cream. We’ve also used straight syrup (did your insulin level just go out the roof), philly cream cheese honey and nut spread, or a blend of cream cheese (4 oz), orange marmalade (1 tbsp), and maple syrup (1 tbsp). If you want to go the savory route, ham and cheese are always good choices.
Post Christmas food frenzy: knoephla soup December 27, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in food/cooking.
Tags: celiacs, cooking, German-Russian food, gluten free diet, knoephla soup, recipe
add a comment
If you grow up in western North Dakota (which is about any place west of Valley City), then you probably love knoephla soup. It’s my favorite comfort food, and I’ve gotten into serious arguments about the best place to get it. I really liked the stuff I got at Sunset Inn in New Salem, but Trapper’s Kettle in Belfield and the Freeway 147 truck stop outside of Mandan aren’t bad, either.
I’ll be honest, though. The best knoephla soup I’ve ever had was at Nichole’s in downtown Fargo.
So what it is? It’s a creamy dumpling soup made by the German-Russians who settled North Dakota (and surrounding areas). The dumplings are typically made by mixing wheat flour (and now you see the problem) with water or milk or any number of things to make buttons of dough which you throw in the soup to cook. Some people put potatoes in, some don’t. The recipe that follows is fairly preliminary, and I have to admit that I cheated: I didn’t make my own knoephla and instead used gluten-free gnocchi. (Any sane person who eats gnocchi has got to admit that it tastes remarkably like knoephla.) At some point, I’m going to give that a try, but I admit that on this occasion, I was feeling pretty lazy. If I ever do make my own knoephla, I’ll let you know about it…unless it goes badly.
Gluten free knoephla soup
(Or, if you prefer, I suppose you could call it gnocchi soup, too)
1 qt. poultry stock (I prefer homemade bone broth because it really improves the taste)
1/2-3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp cooking bacon grease or olive oil
2 tsp. salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 12 oz. bags of Conte’s gluten-free gnocchi OR 1 bag along with 2 potatoes, peeled and diced
The first step should be to pull the gnocchi out of the freezer. You don’t want it frozen solid, so just set it out at room temp until you get to it. You can set it out before chopping the veggies. Next, put carrots, onion, and oil or grease into a small frying pan on medium heat. While the carrots are cooking, put diced potato (if you’re using potatoes) into a large cooking pot (4 qt?) with the broth and salt. Bring broth to a boil whether or not using the potatoes. While waiting for the broth to boil, you can take the gnocchi and cut each one in half. Once the broth begins to boil and the onions in the carrot/onion mixture are translucent, add to the broth and boil for about 15 minutes. Finally, add the gnocchi and boil for an additional 8 minutes. Turn off the burner but don’t remove the pot. Add the cream and stir for a minute or two.
Makes six servings and takes about 45 minutes.