Sunday, June 26, 2011

Banana bread! And beer!

We had waaaay too many bananas -- I had spent the day before at the park with some kids for a work assignment, and I way overestimated how much fruit they would want for snack. So I busted out Peter and Kelli Bronski's "Artisanal Gluten Free Cooking" for their Banana Nut Muffins and turned it into banana bread. I used potato starch for corn starch (I was out) and left out the potato flour (I wasn't out, but I couldn't find it). It still turned out so awesome, you guys. Fifty minutes at 350 degrees, and it was done. It has a great flavor, and we demolished the whole loaf in a day while bottling Nate's latest beer.

I'm on a Bronski kick anyway right now -- I just got their new cupcake book in the mail, and am tackling a couple recipes today. Will post about that later! (Dudes, I'm such a Bronski fan girl. Their recipes are some of the best I've tried.)

It's just so beautiful.

In other gluten-free news, HOLY CRAP, my homebrewing husband made his black IPA gluten free! Sort of. Apparently, there is this new clarifying product in homebrew land called Clarity-Ferm that allegedly breaks down proteins in the homebrew, including gluten. You dump it in with the yeast at the tail end of the first brewing day, and it works its magic during fermentation. Science!!!!!

Nate has been brewing for a year and a half. I gave him his beer kit for Christmas 2009, a couple months before I got diagnosed with Celiac. I was able to try his very first beer in March, and after my April diagnosis, it was all off limits. We tried our hand at sorghum beers, and while they compared favorably to store-bought gluten-free brews.... they were still sorghum beers, which generally suck. We also tried cider, which is promising, but needs work.

Still, I wanted to try the other stuff he makes, and this potentially makes it possible. Nate had secretly dumped in a vial of Clarity-Ferm while brewing and surprised me with it during bottling day. We tested two samples with a gluten detection kit -- one for 20 ppm, one for 5 ppm. Both passed. I was so happy, I cried.


Clarity-Ferm is sort of controversial, I guess -- It's new on the market and isn't marketed for Celiacs because further testing is needed, and so on. And note that this is a product for homebrewing and works during fermentation, so you can't just sprinkle it in a bottle of Miller Lite or on a panini and make them magically gluten-free. But I can say this: I'm super ridiculously sensitive to gluten, and after drinking about 4 ounces of black IPA yesterday, I have no glutenation symptoms at all.

Nate blogged about the process. Check out his post for some incredibly unflattering pictures of me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A flexible recipe for tortillas, wraps and crepes

These wraps are my current food obsession. I’ve made them at least three times a week for the last month, and I’m not even close to sick of them yet.

This started out as a tortilla recipe from my mother-in-law. The tortillas were different than any I had ever had -- they come from a batter instead of a dough and look more like crepes. Still, they’re delicious, and they forever ruined store-bought corn tortillas for me.

One day, I ran out of corn starch and replaced it with potato starch, resulting in a totally different bread. We started playing around with the flours -- the original recipe called for ⅓ cup medium grind corn flour and ⅓ cup masa harina, but whatever we have on hand works.

Usually, I bake by weight, but I don’t stress with these -- they always turn out awesome, regardless of imprecision. With the potato starch, the wraps are spongier and crepe-like, while the corn starch makes them more like tortillas. Play around with the corn flours, or replace them with different flours altogether. Every combination we've tried has resulted in a different bread, and all are good. Potato starch is heavier than corn starch and makes a thicker batter -- if you want a thinner batter, use less of the starch.

Depending on which flour blend you use, they lend themselves well to taco fillings (we use guacamole, spiced lentils, cheese, salsa and lettuce) or veggies with hummus and brown rice.

Gluten-free wraps

3/4 cup corn or potato starch (NOT potato flour)
2/3 cup corn flour (any combination of masa harina, medium grind corn flour, or blue corn flour)
Pinch of salt
1 cup almond milk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter substitute, melted
Olive oil

Heat a small dollop of oil in a small skillet. Whisk together dry ingredients, then add milk, eggs and melted butter and whisk until the batter is thin and runny.

Pour 1/3 cup of batter into the skillet and swirl around until it coats the pan. Cook for 60 seconds on each side. Serve hot.