Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Gluten-free Lemon Bread.

My grandmother has been responsible over the years, as are most grandma's, for always bringing certain baked goods to family functions.  I can remember Mimi bringing her lemon bread to every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter celebration ever since I can remember family gatherings!  It is especially popular with my immediate family and my brother G usually steals/eats most of the loaf.  Ever since my Mom + Dad and I have needed to be gluten-free, we've missed lemon bread.  My brother begs for me to make it and I had never attempted a gluten-free version until now.

Normally I would try to make a recipe more healthy, but some recipes are just favorites and just cannot changed too drastically.  This is not an everyday quick bread, so making it an extremely quick bread was not high on my priority list.  Also because I use real grass-fed butter, there is certainly some vital nutrition to this yummy quick bread!

Gluten-free Lemon Bread
     adapted from the kitchen of my Grandmother
     yields one loaf

    6 Tbsp grass-fed butter (I always use Kerrygold)
    1 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
    2 REAL eggs
    1 1/2 cups gluten free flour (1/2 cup brown rice flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, 1/4 cup arrowroot, 1/4 cup sorghum)*
    1 tsp baking powder
    pinch salt
    1/2 cup raw whole milk
    1 whole lemon, zested

    1/2 cup walnuts, ground or chopped
    1 lemon, juice of - optional
     1/3 cup sugar - optional

To make your lemon bread:
  1.  In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugar.
  2.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3.  In a separate bowl, mix together gluten free flours, baking powder, and salt.
  4.  Slowly incorporate the dry into the wet, beating on low speed. Add milk and lemon zest.
  5.  Sprinkle top with walnuts.
  6.  Pour into greased or MISTOed normal sized loaf pan.
  7.  Bake at 325 for over an hour, or until the bread has browned and a toothpick comes out clean.
  8.  Optional step: In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice and sugar. When the bread comes out of the oven and is still hot, pour the mixture over the top and allow it to soak through. This is so delicious, but I sometimes I leave it off because the bread has adequate amounts of sugar already.

*Feel free to use whatever combination of gluten free flours are your favorite.  Depending on what I am baking I mix together flours that I think will achieve the texture and flavor I want.  This combination was perfect!  In general, my family and I really tend to like sorghum, arrowroot, brown rice, teff, almond, and coconut flours the best.  These flours also offer some great nutrition, which is often missing in gluten free baking.  I will never go back to the white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca mixture that lots of gluten free bakers use because it is so nutritionally devoid (not to mention high in starch, sugar and calories, and low in protein and fiber).  We also do not like bean flours, and I generally never cook with them.

In general, this lemon bread has always been a little bit crumbly, even in the original wheat version, so don't worry if there are crumblies here and there.  It is quite tasty though and my whole family agrees.  This recipe has been passed down for generations!

I'm sorry about the pictures - but this was the last piece left!  I should have taken a picture right away before everyone ate it!

Update -- I will be making a grain-free version of lemon bread in the future!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Homemade Mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is something that I have really been missing since learning about my soy allergy. I grew up on Hellmans mayonnaise, which contains soybean oil, so that has meant no Hellman's for me, and basically no mayonnaise period! That is, until I learned to make mayonnaise myself! You can purchase soy-free mayonnaise in the store, but they are made with rancid vegetable oils like canola, sunflower or safflower oil, which make me sick and I diligently avoid since they are not healthy.

Until I adapted this recipe last summer, I had been scouring the internet for a suitable mayonnaise recipe for months. After whipping up about three different batches mayonnaise, I finally found a healthy, tasty mayonnaise that is very easy to make.

I am also happy to report that this recipe tastes just like regular mayonnaise, but better! The texture of this mayonnaise is spot on, and it is a bit more creamy and less jello-like than Hellmans. It is really important not to use not refined vegetable oils that have been made by machines, are hexane treated and also made colorless by bleaching processes. That's not natural! Natural oils are actually nourishing to your body. That's why my choice is olive, coconut, sesame, or macadamia nut oil for this recipe.

Homemade Mayonnaise.
    adapted from Epicurious

    2 large egg yolks from pastured chickens
    1 1/2 teaspoons  white wine vinegar, or other vinegar of choice
    1 teaspoon  freshly squeezed lemon juice 
    1/4 teaspoon  Dijon mustard (Gulden's Spicy Brown) or ground mustard 
    1/2 teaspoon  unrefined sea salt, plus more to taste 
    3/4 cup  organic oil of choice, mixture of oils like olive, coconut and sesame work well

To make your mayo:
  1.  Combine the egg yolks, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in your trusty food processor. Whisk until blended and bright yellow, about 30 seconds.
  2.  Using 1/4 teaspoon measure (yes it is small, but that's important) and with the food processor running, add 1/4 teaspoons oil to yolk mixture, one full 1/4 teaspoon at a time for about 8 minutes until the mayonnaise is thick and all 3/4 cup of oil is used. 
  3.  Place into a clean glass jar and store in the fridge. I found mine lasted for over 2 weeks! Toss if mayo ever smells odd, or separates.
  4.  Optional: fold in some whey at the end, then let sit out on the counter for 6 hours, to make a lacto-fermented mayonnaise.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I know this recipe is a keeper! Use your soy free, gluten free mayonnaise in all your favorite recipes as you would a store-bought brand. My family is CRAZY for this parmesan chicken recipe. Since it calls for mayonnaise, I've never actually eaten the dish. Now I can! I also apologize for the pictures. I was shooting at night and it was really low lighting!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!
In the coming weeks I will be sharing lots of new recipes, old recipes, and new versions of old non-gluten free favorites. In the meantime, please enjoy all the time with family and friends, being together, eating good nourishing food, and remembering that Jesus Christ is the REAL reason that we celebrate this Christmas day. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Gluten-free Whole-Grain Banana Bread.

Update - 12/21/2009
This bread IS so moist!  We just finished off the first loaf this morning and are into the second one. The one great thing about this bread is that even after sitting outside of the fridge for a couple of days it has not even slightly dried out!

It was my first full day home yesterday and I definitely took advantage of all the rest.  Being the foodie that I am, I later found myself running to the grocery store with my Mom to get some chocolate chips for making fresh from scratch almond joy ice cream.  I also made homemade pizza and banana bread (there was conveniently very overripe bananas waiting for me when I arrived home from the airport).  I might have waited a few days on the banana bread, but I ended up adding 4 full eggs into my beginning ice cream mixture, instead of just egg yolks, and so I had to use the "oops" for something.

I have been very unhappy with all the gluten free banana bread recipes that I have tried.  They are either too dry, too grainy, have too little banana content, or just taste blah and are nothing like the banana bread that I remember.  In the past, I've tried making over my mother's traditional recipe, as well as other gluten free versions online.  While some were tolerable, they weren't great.  Banana bread is easily one one my favorite quick breads, and I really want to find a good gluten free version, one that I can serve to others and be proud of.  This time I finally might be on to something!  This bread passed the "wheat-eater" test with flying colors, my brother G really liked it!  My family and I almost ate the whole half loaf for breakfast!

The bread did really well except for the fact that it is a little moist on the bottom.  This can be alleviated by probably just changing the amount of liquid and also adding bit more baking soda.  I will probably do a combination of both and next time I make another batch of this yummy bread I will update the recipe here.

Gluten-free Whole-Grain Banana Bread.
    yields two loaves

    1 1/2 cup  sorghum flour
    1 cup  unblanched almond flour
    1/2 cup  teff flour
    1/2 cup + 2 T  arrowroot starch
    1/2 cup  tapioca flour
    1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
    1 1/2 tsp  baking soda
    2 tsp  cinnamon
    2 dashes  nutmeg
    1/2 tsp  xantham gum
    1 cup  organic full-fat coconut milk
    1/4 cup  honey
    3/4 cup  organic maple syrup
    6 drops  clear stevia
    4 cups  mashed bananas
    4  REAL grassfed eggs

To make your banana bread:
  1.  In a large bowl, whisk together: flour, baking soda, salt and spices.
  2.  In separate smaller bowl, add bananas and mash.
  3.  In third small bowl, add eggs, maple syrup, agave and stevia.
  4.  Combine liquid ingredients and slowly add to the dry ingredients, folding together with a spatula.
  5.  Lightly MISTO spray two loaf pans, and divide batter evenly between them.
  6.  Place into a preheated 350 degree oven, and bake for about an hour or until the bread begins to brown, pulls apart from the sides and a stick inserted through the middle comes out clean.
  7.  Let cool in the pans on top of a wire rack. Then gently go around the edges with a dull knife and shake the bread out. Place them on wire racks to fully cool before eating or giving away or freezing.

This bread was so moist and delicious.  I hope you enjoy this banana bread with your family.  The bananas and sweet maple syrup make it especially scrumptious.  If you are averse to the taste of coconut, do not worry, the taste does not shine through in this bread.  The maple syrup taste is not assertive either.  It has just the right amount of sweetness.  Next time I make this bread, I might actually add more cinnamon!

For those of you that are wondering what banana bread recipe I used before I was gluten-free, click here.   I still use this recipe occasionally when I cook for others who do not have any special dietary needs.