Tamale Pie Riff: Low Fodmap and Gluten Free

Darling Sister:

Last night’s dinner was headed for disaster. We were supposed to have tacos, but SOMEONE had eaten the tortillas. Enter Tamale Pie to save us! This gluten-free cornbread baked up tender and fluffy over a bed of ground beef seasoned taco-style. Topped with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, and cilantro, dinner was filling, low fodmap, and delicious. Win!

I used a cast iron skillet for this entire dish, but you could make this in a pie pan or 8×8 cake pan just as easily.

We ended up with an enormously puffy delicious cornbread that took over our dish  here, I half the recipe, but if you’re big on cornbread (or want to just make a great GF cornbread) double the recipe.

Here’s rundown:

Preheat the oven to 400.

Barely brown 2 pounds of hamburger seasoned with your favorite seasoning mix. I prefer 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon paprika, a little cayenne, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, salt and pepper, and a tablespoon of vinegar at the finish. Remember that the meat will continue to brown in the oven. Drain most of the fat, and stir in some corn kernels (frozen or canned works fine!).

For the cornbread:

Melt 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter and 1 tablespoon of bacon grease (if you have it, if not just use 4T butter) and set it aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, stir together 3/4c gluten free all-purpose flour (I like King Arthur brand here) with 1/2c corn flour and 1/4c cornmeal.

Add 1/4c sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the dry ingredients, stir it’s a fork to combine.

Use your fork to whisk 1 egg and 3/4c almond milk together, then stir in the melted butter. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring just to combine. The batter will be lumpy. Spread the batter over the ground beef, smoothing the top.

Bake 20-25 minutes, until the cornbread is golden on top and a toothpick comes out clean. Serve with shredded lettuce, tomato, and cilantro.

Bon appetit,

Sister

 

 

Gluten Free (but GOOD) Low Fodmap Bread

Gluten Free (but GOOD) Low Fodmap Bread

Darling Sister,

My poor husband has been put on an exclusion diet for twenty weeks that includes no gluten and restricts certain kinds of sugars. I quickly realized I cannot go that long without something bread-ish in my life. After trying the selections at Whole Foods, and being generally underwhelmed by those stiff, mealy offerings, I stumbled across a recipe from Saveur that saved us. While the ingredients require a trip to a natural foods store or other well-stocked grocer, the tougher to find ingredients (looking at you, xanthan gum!) will last me through many loaves. This recipe requires exact measurements, so I used my kitchen scale and pre-weighed the dry ingredients for six loaves at the ready in my pantry. On Saturdays, I add the eggs, oil, and carbonated water to the dry mix and I’m halfway to bread before I have even finished my coffee. The resulting loaf is a little sweet, tender, and best sliced thin and toasted – fortunately it is sturdy enough that even a 1/4 in slice can hold up to a sandwich just fine!

Today’s fresh loaf! I left the top unspilt for a nice, high crown.

I followed the recipe posted at this site, with just a couple of modifications. First, I do not have seltzer water in my house. I do, however, have a case of tonic in the bar. I have been using tonic in lieu of seltzer for six weeks now with no noticeable problems. Second, I find that this dough takes longer to develop a nice rise than the recipe indicates. I turn on the oven while I’m mixing the dough, and turn it off when I’m putting the oiled dough in the pan. This serves as a nice, warm incubator for the loaf, and I give it a good 2-hour rise there. Third, it’s hard to get a nice loaf-y shape out of this sticky batter. I find that scraping the dough into a rough ball with my spatula and spritzing the ball on all sides with a little canola oil means that I can shape the dough into a cylinder the size of my loaf pan using my hands – a much more uniform result than just scraping, dropping, and hoping (as the recipe would have you do).

Looking forward to when we can have onions again, but not missing bread,

Sister

I spent all the time measuring and fiddling with dry ingredients up front, so I feel like a total boss dropping this bad boy into the mixer on Saturday mornings.

 

Fresh from the mixer, the dough has a very disconcerting clay-like texture. Take heart!

 

After a couple of hours, the dough will peek over the top of your loaf pan – which means it’s time to warm the oven and get baking!

Two Ingredient Workout: Soba Noodles!

Two Ingredient Workout: Soba Noodles!

Darling Sister:

Since you’ve been in the family way I know you’ve been trying to find creative ways to work out. Boy, do I have a great one for you here! An arm-toning opportunity to simultaneously feed your belly and, dare I say, your soul. And/or get some aggression out, whichever.

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I was delighted to discover that soba noodles require just two ingredients – buckwheat flour and all purpose flour. Add a little lukewarm water and you’re off – muscling a very resistant blob of dough around for some minutes. I had planned to make these by hand, as done in Saveur magazine – roll the kneaded dough into a flower shape, then massage it into a cone, then roll it into a disc before finally flattening it and slicing the noodles by hand. It looked very instagram, and I was all for it right up to the point where I was required to shape the dough – my “flower” form was ridiculous, and I broke out the pasta machine. Which worked FANTASTICALLY. Dinner tonight? Soba! Lunch tomorrow? ALSO SOBA! I’m quite excited.

Noodly yours,

XOXO

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Handmade Soba Noodles

Adapted from this recipe in Saveur Magazine.

Note: The recipe I adapted required “light buckwheat flour,” which is buckwheat flour milled with less than the whole grain. My local market only had whole-meal buckwheat flour, so I subbed in all purpose flour to good effect.

In a large bowl, combine:

  • 9 ounces whole-grain buckwheat flour;
  • 3.5 ounces all purpose flour;
  • 6 ounces lukewarm water.

With your hands, work the flour into the water, spreading and kneading the dough around the bottom of the bowl until there are no dry bits left and the dough is one mostly incorporated mass.

Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead it until it’s smooth. Form into a disc and slice it into sixths (quarters shown here, but they were a lot to handle at once).

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Resting the remaining pieces under a damp towel, run your dough through a pasta machine on a wider setting several times, until the dough is pliable and holds together well. Slice by hand or using the spaghetti attachment. Toss in cornstarch or tapioca flour to separate the strands. Shake excess starch off the noodles by tossing the noodles gently in a sieve. Turn out onto a tray. Repeat for remaining dough.

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Cook immediately or store tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.

Oatmeal Orange Breakfast Smoothie

Oatmeal Orange Breakfast Smoothie

Darling Sister:

I needed a break from my usual kale-and-almond breakfast smoothies, and came up with this little delight this morning. Combining oatmeal to keep you satisfied, with refreshing orange and lime juice, and banana and a bit of coconut cream for sweetness and creaminess, I think you’ll really like this one!

Start your Sunday off right!

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Oatmeal Orange Breakfast Smoothie

Makes 2

In a blender, combine:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 tablespoons cream of coconut
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Blend well (until oats are nearly all pulverized – about 4 minutes in our blender) and serve immediately!

Fresh Fruit Ice Pops

Fresh Fruit Ice Pops

Darling Sister,

I had a lot of fun making these ice pops with you! The fruit from the farmers market was affordable and tasty, and I enjoyed trying all the samples.

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Kale, ginger, watermelon, cucumber, carrots, cantaloupe, apple, blackberries, strawberries, mint and coconut water.

Your juicer worked perfectly at separating out the pulp. My juicer is a hassle to clean out, because you have to take it all apart when it gets full.

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The mint was juiced, stems and all.

The first flavor was melon, cucumber, mint. The tiny cantaloupe from the market was really flavorful, but when paired with cucumber it needed something more. Mint was the missing ingredient.

Next we sealed the plastic into long skinny pouches and filled with a silicone funnel. Remember that we had to leave two inches at the top empty to be able to insert back into the sealing machine to finish.

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Don’t tilt it like I did and spill juice all inside the sealing machine!

The other flavors we tested out were:

carrot, apple, ginger (spicy)
kale, strawberry, ginger (spicy)
strawberry, cucumber, honey
watermelon, ginger (spicy)
blackberry, cantaloupe

A little bit of ginger goes a long way, and can quickly overpower the other flavors. Mix carefully before really going for it. “One” coconut water works great to fill in some flavor, and I find that brand has the most coconut flavor out of all of them.

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The final product!

Freeze and enjoy whenever! I read that frozen juices can last up to 3 months in the freezer before losing their nutrients. I am no scientist, but these taste great no matter what.

Chinatown Lunch

Chinatown Lunch

My Darling Sister,

I thought I would share my lunchtime walk with you today. We started out towards a geocache located in Chinatown. We walked two blocks to Kearny and agreed we were both starving – I spotted the House of Nanking. I hadn’t been there since college (1999) and it has changed since then.

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I ordered the wonton soup, expecting the tradition clear broth. This was the BEST I have ever had! Coconut milk as the base, with slices of lemon and fresh basil leaves and stems. They had fresh pork wontons in there, and crispy rice with a splash of hot oil. No more crazy lines to get in, and cramped seats – it is more open and there was no wait. Food came out right away!

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So tasty!

Next we headed up Washington to our geocache. It was located in an alley that has a fortune cookie factory you can view for free! So of course we did.

Interesting sign.

Interesting sign.

Fortune Cookie Factory

Fortune cookie making! We payed a dollar to take photos - as the sign requested.

Fortune cookie making! We payed a dollar to take photos – as the sign requested.

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My favorite colors.

My favorite colors.

Next geocache was located near the Cable Car Museum.

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First off this museum is SO LOUD! Obviously it is still a working station driving the cables for all the cable cars to run across the city. It is also free!

Cable car waiting for its run.

Cable car waiting for its run.

Hipster cable car man.

Hipster cable car man.

You can barely make out the Mason sign in my picture, but each wheel is labeled for which cable car it runs.

There are what run the cables for the whole cable car line.

There are what run the cables for the whole cable car line.

Giant spool of cable. It is super heavy. Even a 4 inch piece of cable is heavy to hold.

Giant spool of cable. It is super heavy. Even a 4 inch piece of cable is heavy to hold.

You can purchase old street signs for $175.00. Not bad.

You can purchase old street signs for $175.00. Not bad.

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We saw this building on our walk back and decided to check it out. On our walks we have discovered hidden temples before – although this isn’t quite hidden.

The entrance.

The entrance.

FullSizeRenderI didn’t take any pictures inside, but it is altars and beautiful lanterns hanging from the ceiling. There is incense burning and old ladies sitting around folding prayer papers. Pretty cool.

Mosaic on the outside steps.

Mosaic on the outside steps.

Some cool fruits and my favorite colors.

Some cool fruits and my favorite colors.

Kumquats? Anyhoo hope you enjoyed my lunchtime walk. We got 6,800 steps in!

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