Creative Cooking: Crepes

“Sorry we tried to kill you and your students. Do you want a job with us?”

Several weeks ago I had a terrible experience at a banquet I helped to host for the music students of our high school. Several conversations and in-person meetings with the chef and the functions manager of the facility to ensure that the students from our high school would have no worries regarding their food allergies didn’t yield the expected results . Despite having put together a completely allergy friendly menu ahead of time, on the day of the banquet, the chef cooked the food with all the ingredients he was supposed to leave out which caused no end of stress as we learned that fact literally minutes before several students put the food into their mouths! Fortunately, we did get to the students before their forks touched their lips, and new meals were made, but as you can imagine, I was not at all pleased.

Laughably, all my mother’s etiquette training must have worked, because at the end of the event, the onsite coordinator actually took the time to thank me for being the most polite angry person he’d ever had the pleasure of working with to deal with an issue. More incredibly, he also told me that he and the chef had taken a liberty in having a piece of the gluten, dairy, soy, nut free chocolate mousse cake I had brought for the students with allergies and that it was the best cake either of them had ever eaten. Most unbelievable, though, was the next day when the manager, who had called to see what she could do to keep our school’s business after the unfortunate event, asked me if I wanted to work for them, making cakes for their weddings!

As a writing facilitator, I always tell the folks who attend my writing groups that truth is stranger than fiction and that they only have to look at life for creative writing ideas. My experience above bears out the truth of what I’ve been telling them!

The fact is that while there’s more recognition around gluten and nut sensitivities, there’s still a long way to go for the world to think proactively about accommodating people with food allergies in general. Our allergy friendly menu fell off the radar for the chef and the manager because they simply don’t think about it regularly. Fortunately, now the manager has revamped all of their forms so that allergies are actually the first item on the form — and in bright red now! So, hopefully no other folks will have to deal with the issues we went through on that day.

As for the job offer, the chef was surprised that my cake was actually good! The site coordinator went on and on about how the chef couldn’t believe how much the texture and the taste was like a “real” cake. As he spoke, I kept thinking that my cake WAS a REAL cake. It wasn’t “fake”. It wasn’t made of air. All the ingredients were ingredients you can buy at the store, made from real, natural foods like tofu and garbanzo beans and oats and flaxseed.

I was thinking about all this the other day as I made crepes….

Like the cake I made, crepes are misunderstood to be something they are not. Most folks I’ve spoken to seem to believe crepes are complicated to make. Crepes are actually wonderfully easy to make and are very versatile. They are basically just flour, eggs, and milk — all of which people can be allergic to. This, however, isn’t a problem, because it’s so easy to substitute ingredients for crepes. And it’s worth doing, because you can make crepes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert in just a matter of minutes. And if you have guests, they’ll be highly impressed because they’ll think you did a lot of work when you didn’t!

What you need to know about crepes:

  1. Ratios: Google crepes recipes, and you’ll discover that the only consistency lies in the three basic ingredients: eggs, milk, and flour. The ratio of the three to one another varies from recipe to recipe. For every one cup of flour, some will call for 1 cup of milk; others 2 cups. For that same cup of flour, some recipes will call for two eggs; another four. What you need to know is this: crepes are supposed to be thin, so your liquid ingredients combined – the milk and eggs – should be more than the flour, unlike in pancakes where the dry to liquid ingredients are usually one to one. How much milk versus eggs you add is really all about your preferences. More eggs makes slightly thicker, custardy crepes. More milk creates lacier, more delicate crepes. If you are making crepes for the first time, I’d suggest using one cup of flour, one cup of milk and two eggs as a basic recipe and then experiment from there to see which texture you prefer.
  2. The Flour: You are not limited to white flour for crepes. You can use wheat; you can use gluten free; you can even use nut flours. What’s important to know is that because you want your crepes to be light, if you are going to use a heavier flour like garbanzo bean or whole wheat or sorghum, you should opt to use less than you might with typical white flour – more like 1/2 cup. If you want to use the same one cup amount, opt for a lighter flours like rice or tapioca or arrowroot.
  3. The Milk: Once again, your options are unlimited. You can use other types of milk for crepes besides cow milk. Almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, quinoa milk, etc… they all work! And unlike the flour substitutions, these can all be substituted one to one for the regular milk.
  4. The Eggs: If you are watching your cholesterol, you can opt to use only egg whites. Just remember that you need two whites to replace one whole egg, or if you’re using liquid egg whites, that about 1/4 cup is equivalent to a large egg. If you are allergic to eggs, you can also simply leave the eggs out. You can simply increase the milk amount to replace the liquid you’re losing from the eggs — again about 1/4 cup of milk for each egg you omit. You can also mix one tablespoon of ground golden flaxseed with three tablespoons of water to replace one egg.
  5. The Fat: Crepes usually have one other important ingredient: a fat. Usually one tablespoon of butter or olive oil or melted coconut oil or almond butter or whatever you decide is enough, but it’s good to choose a fat because it helps the crepes to stick less to your pan, as well as adds some flavor.
  6. The Flavor: Crepes are usually made so that you can fill them with savory or sweet fillings so you don’t really need to add anything other than a pinch of salt, but as always, tailor the crepes to your taste. If you want something sweet, add a bit of honey or agave to the batter. If you want something savory, add some herbs. Want something distinctive? Substitute orange juice for part of the milk. Experiment and see what you like.
  7. The Batter: Okay, I promised you that making crepes was easy, and it is. Whatever you’ve decided to use for your crepes, you simply mix all the ingredients together. You can whisk them, blend them, shake them, food process them, and in a matter of minutes you have a nice batter. What’s key is that you want your batter to be very smooth. The smoother, the better. If you are making crepes with flour, you should let the batter rest because this relaxes the gluten in the batter. If you’re making gluten free crepes, then you have no such worries.
  8. The Cooking: People think making crepes is difficult and takes time, but I make enough crepes for a family of five in less than ten minutes. Crepes cook very quickly. You simply grease your pan, pour a scant amount to just cover the bottom, let the crepes begin to solidify (usually only about a minute), flip, let the crepes finish cooking on the other side (usually about thirty seconds), transfer to a plate, and you’re done with a stack in just mere minutes. You simply need to follow a couple of easy steps:
    1. Don’t use a large pan. A pan sized for an omelet is the perfect size. It allows you to easily flip the crepes without worrying about tearing them.
    2. Cook over medium heat. Too low and the crepes won’t cook quickly enough. Too high and the crepes will burn.
    3. Don’t use a large scoop. You only want enough batter to just cover the bottom of your pan. Usually a quarter cup works just fine.
    4. Invest in a wide spatula. A spatula which allows you to get completely under the crepe to flip it quickly is best.
    5. Make sure your crepes won’t stick to your pan. Use your favorite spray or oil in between each crepe if you don’t have a nonstick pan. You don’t need a lot – a quarter tsp will work – but you do need something to make sure the crepes don’t stick because otherwise they’ll tear or burn.
  9. The Filling: Crepes are great because you can fill them however you want. You can keep them simple and spread jam on the crepes and roll or fold them over. You can put fresh fruit on top. You can make a creamy vegetable filling (I like to make a white sauce with spinach and mushrooms which I roll the crepes around). You can fill the crepes with ice cream or a vanilla custard. You can spread cheeses like ricotta or marscarpone and fold the crepes. You can fill them with pureed pumpkin or squash. You can use a lemon curd. You can roll chicken salad inside crepes. The list is endless. Experiment and see what you like!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe Makeover: Waffles

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“But I was good all week; I went to school!”

My two daughters love school — my oldest because she’s academically inclined; my middle child because she’s socially inclined. My son, however, believes school was designed by adults who want to torture little boys. His current goal is to grow up to become President of the United States for the sole purpose of changing the laws which mandate that children need to attend school.

Still, I laughed this morning when he asked if I would make waffles for special breakfast, and his reason for why I should was because he had been good by going to school all week. What he thought he might have been able to do otherwise, I do not know….

To be honest, though, I hadn’t been inclined to make waffles because we had always used a lovely recipe from my mother-in-law which now I can’t use due to my new wheat sensitivity and dairy allergy. So, I had been making a lot of French toast and pancakes and frittatas instead for our special Saturday breakfasts. However, I bit the bullet this morning and decided to attempt a recipe makeover and see what happened.

What happened was that the waffles came out delightfully delicious and perfect with no inkling that they weren’t the same waffles from my mother-in-law’s recipe, so I’m going to share the makeover this morning in case anyone else has a son wanting waffles to eat.

Original Waffle Recipe:

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1 cup wheat germ, 2 tbsp sugar, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, 2 cup milk, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 2 eggs.

The Makeover:

1. Flour: I had loved this recipe because it called for 100% whole wheat flour which is more nutritionally dense than white flour. To make it gluten free, though, required making some choices. I could use a more nutritionally dense flour like garbanzo bean and gluten free oat flours which are usually my flours of choice, but waffles really require a lighter, finer flour if you want them to come out light and airy, so I chose instead to use a brown and sweet rice flour blend from Authentic Foods instead.

2. Wheat germ: Because wheat germ has added nutritional benefits I didn’t really want to simply replace this part of the recipe with more flour. So, instead, I opted to replace it with golden ground flax seed which is a great addition for those omega-3’s and has a similar texture and consistency to wheat germ.

3. Sugar: Since I rarely use refined white sugar, I decided to use 1 tbsp of Agave in place of the sugar.

4. Baking powder and salt: Since baking powder has sodium in it, I reduced the amount of salt to 1/4 tsp and added 1 tsp of cinnamon for some flavoring.

5. Milk: Because of my dairy allergy, I decided to experiment with both soy milk and flax milk, since we usually make a double batch so the kids can toast up waffles during the week before school. The soy milk has the advantage of adding protein to the waffles. The flax milk would provide another alternative since I’m always watching how much soy I use in case my body decides to add yet a fourth allergy or sensitivity onto my plate. Both versions came out perfectly, so I would imagine that folks could experiment with almond or coconut milk, too. Rice milk is always an option, as well, but remember that it’s much thinner than all the other milks so sometimes it needs the addition of a tbsp of flour or arrowroot to thicken it.

Because I was concerned about getting the right thickness for the waffle batter and about how well the gluten free version would rise, I also decided to borrow a technique I use for pancakes and make a “buttermilk”. So, I added 2 tbsp of lemon juice to the 2 cups of “milk” and let it sit for a couple of minutes after stirring. This added acid to the batter which created a “just right” batter texture and perfectly risen waffles.

6. Vegetable Oil: So, nowadays you can google oils and find all sorts of reports saying that even the ones which were touted as good like safflower are bad. It’s difficult to know what to believe anymore. The truth is moderation in all things is always the key. Since the one thing which hasn’t changed — ever — is that people continue to tout the benefits of olive oil, I decided I’d use a blend for the waffles. Using olive oil alone would considerably alter the taste of the waffles s I used a blend of olive, canola and grapeseed which I purchase at BJs and keep in the house.

7. Eggs: Since no one has an egg allergy (currently!), and neither my husband nor I have cholesterol issues, I opted to just keep the eggs as is, and this recipe is marvelous because you just whisk the eggs in with the batter without having to separate the yolks from the whites and whip the whites, which takes so much more time to do. If someone does have to watch cholesterol and opts for using four egg whites instead of the two eggs, I would encourage you to then whip the egg whites and fold them into the rest of the mixed up batter.

8. Additions: Since I was creating a new waffle recipe, I decided it would be nice to try to jazz them up a little bit, so after whisking the batter, I gently folded in one cup of frozen mini wild blueberries. Not only did this make the cooked waffles pretty but it added a very nice taste to them.

Gluten and Dairy Free Waffles

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend

1 cup golden ground flax seed

1 tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

2 cups “milk” (soy and flax work well)

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup plant-based oil blend

1 tbsp Agave

2 eggs

1 cup frozen mini wild blueberries

Cooking Instructions:

1. Preheat waffle maker.

2. Whisk together the flour, ground flax seed, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

3. Whisk the lemon juice into the milk and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

4. Add the oil, agave and eggs to the milk, and whisk well.

5. Gently fold in the blueberries.

6. Put one cup of the batter into the waffle maker and cook according to the waffle maker’s design. (We have two; and for one, the light goes on when it’s done, but the other the light goes off. It always makes for an interesting morning!)

7. When the waffles are done, if you aren’t going to eat them immediately, put them onto a wire cooling rack so they can cool, and then put them into the fridge in a container. To reheat, simply toast them in the toaster on low.

Note: One recipe made 20 waffles for us with a waffle maker that makes four at a time.

 

 

Recipe Makeover: Banana Sheet Cake

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“I need it to taste good.”

For the beginning cook, the most nerve-wracking part of experimenting with a recipe is that niggling thought which you can’t banish, no matter how hard you try:  “What if it doesn’t taste good?”

When I received an email a few days ago with a request for help in making over a family favorite recipe, the plea was “I need it to taste good.” As I finished reading the email, I thought about the number of times I’ve made something that “didn’t taste good”.

Once.

Really. I know it’s hard to believe, but in all my years experimenting, only once has something come out so badly that I couldn’t eat it. All the other times, the texture and/or taste may not have been exactly as I wanted, but it’s always been edible and/or fixable to be edible.

I share this, because worrying about how something will taste can be paralyzing. The only thing we can do is to simply forge ahead and see what happens. Might it be less than perfect? Sure, but will it be such a disaster that you can’t serve it? Most likely not.

The request received was about a banana sheet cake which the family has always enjoyed. Unfortunately new food allergies have hindered the mom’s ability to make the cake anymore, and she was wondering whether it was possible to recreated it.

The answer, of course, is “yes”, but the caveat is that the cake will obviously be different once you make the adjustments. I took a stab at making over the recipe over the weekend, and the result was something that my family liked very much. Below I’ll explain what I did and other possible ways for recreating the recipe.

The recipe for the original banana sheet cake is:

2 1/2 cups sugar, 1 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 2 tsp vanilla, 4 eggs, 5 cups flour, 2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp salt, 1 1/3 cup buttermilk, and 2 to 3 mashed bananas — all of which combines to make an 11 x 15 sheet cake.

Makeover:

1. The Flour: This mom needed the recipe to be gluten free. Here’s the tip: Banana cake can be dense, so if you’re going to use a gluten free flour blend, you should opt for something that is lighter like a brown rice flour blend as opposed to a heavier flour like a garbanzo bean flour blend. For this makeover, I used Authentic Foods Gluten Free Multi-Flour blend because it’s a lighter flour and already has the xanthan gum mixed in.  If you use a blend that doesn’t have the xanthan gum, be sure to add it in: 1/2 tsp per cup of flour.

If you don’t need your cake to be gluten free but you’d like to make it a bit healthier, opting for a white whole wheat flour will make for a more fibrous but still light cake. Otherwise, you can use a whole wheat flour which works well but will give the cake a slightly denser texture and a nuttier taste.

2. The Sugar: This mom didn’t care about replacing the sugar, but since I try to avoid as much refined sugar as I can, I’m letting you know that you can replace the sugar in a one to one ratio with coconut sugar or use half as much of the called for sugar by replacing it with Agave or Stevia.

If you use the dry options (coconut sugar or Stevia), you don’t need to adjust any of your other ingredients. If you use Agave, though, you should either increase your flour by 1/2 cup or decrease your liquids by 1/2 cup.

I chose to use Agave and decreased the oil which decreased the overall fat for the recipe.

3. The Vegetable Oil: I always suggest replacing vegetable oils with an oil like olive oil or safflower or grapeseed or a blend like Smart Balance because the fats are considered good fats. I also like to reduce the fat if at all possible. For this recipe I used a Mediterranean blend of olive, grapeseed, and canola oils, and I reduced the oil from 1 1/2 cups down to 1/2 cup since I was increasing the liquids with the use of Agave.

4. The Eggs: This mom didn’t have any egg allergies, so I kept the eggs, but to decrease the fat and cholesterol, I opted to use liquid egg whites instead of whole eggs.

If you have an egg allergy, though, I’d recommend using ground flaxseed meal mixed with water. You use 1 tbsp of flaxseed meal mixed with 3 tbsp of water for every egg you replace. Let the mixture sit for at least five minutes so it can thicken.

Because this cake calls for buttermilk, omitting the eggs and replacing it with the flaxseed mixture will actually work quite well since the acid in the buttermilk will help with the leavening you lose from the eggs.

5. The Buttermilk:  This mom needed to avoid dairy so I chose to make a nondairy buttermilk. I used flax milk but you can use any type you prefer like soy or rice or almond or coconut milk.

To make your own buttermilk, simply mix your “milk” with one tablespoon of an acid per cup of milk. For the acid I prefer to use either lemon juice or white or apple cider vinegar. Mix the lemon juice or vinegar with the milk and let it sit for about five minutes to thicken before using it in your recipe.

6. The Sodium:  Since I always try to reduce salt use, I cut the salt in half and decided to add some other spices instead like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; and because I added the spices, I decreased the vanilla to 1 teaspoon, but you can even omit it altogether if you like.

7. The Bananas: Since the recipe called for bananas by amount, I decided to change it to a measurement. If you simply say 2 to 3 bananas, the question becomes, “What size banana?” and the size is important because your entire recipe can be messed up if they meant two to three small bananas versus the larger sized ones you normally find at the store.

Working off my knowledge of most banana recipes, I figured about two cups of ripe mashed bananas would be good for the recipe. This worked out to 5 5 inch in length bananas.

8. The Additions:  Banana cake is not actually a favorite for two of my three children, so I decided that if I was going to make this, I would need to liven it up a bit. To do so, I chose to add some allergy friendly chocolate chips, but I didn’t want to have actual chips affecting the texture of the banana cake. So, I put the chocolate chunks into my food processor and processed them into pieces smaller than mini chips but not quite ground up, which I mixed into the flour mixture. The result was quite tasty.

9. The Topping: The original recipe simply said to frost with a cream cheese frosting, but my children aren’t fond of cream cheese frosting. Instead, I used a chocolate frosting recipe from Elana’s Pantry (www.elanaspantry.com) to top the cake instead. Since I had put the chocolate pieces into the cake, I figured chocolate frosting would top the cake well.

10. The Final Recipe:  Banana Sheet Cake

Ingredients:

5 cups Authentic Food Multi-Flour Gluten Free Blend (whisked well)

2 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

10 oz Enjoy Life chocolate chunks, processed smaller in food processor

2 cups ripe, mashed bananas (about 5 five inch bananas)

1 1/3 cup flax milk mixed with 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 cup Mediterranean Oil Blend (olive, grapeseed and canola)

1 cup liquid egg whites

1 1/4 cup Agave

1 tsp gluten free vanilla

Baking Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 11 x 15 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Mix the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg well. Combine the processed chocolate pieces with the flour mixture.

3. Mix the mashed bananas, flax milk, oil, egg whites, Agave, and vanilla together.

4. Mix the dry ingredients slowly into the wet ingredients until they’re combined. Give the batter a quick stirring for about 30 seconds to make sure everything is well mixed.

5. Carefully spread the batter into the pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes. The cake will be puffed and golden when it’s done and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

NOTE: Because of the Agave, the cake may brown more quickly than you’d like. About halfway through the cooking time, you can always place a piece of foil or parchment paper lightly across the top to prevent darkening of the cake.

6. Cool the cake completely in the pan on a wire cooling rack. When cooled frost with your favorite frosting.

 

 

 

 

 

“Whole” hearted: Substituting for White Flour

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No one volunteers to have a chest x-ray, an EKG, a stress test AND an echocardiogram, all at the same time!

I certainly hadn’t.  As a young woman in her thirties (at the time), chest pains were the last thing I expected to be experiencing.  Yet, I was – intermittent pain over a period of a few months.  They weren’t regular or consistent enough for me to give much heed to them at first.  After a while, however, I realized that, though they were few and far between, the pains occurred whenever I became stressed or angry.  Still, however, I rationalized the pains away.

Then came that fateful day when I became angry during a spat with my oldest teen-aged daughter.  (Can anyone relate?)  Not only was my blood boiling figuratively, but it was literally wildly pumping through my veins and into my heart chamber, so much so that the pains in my chest became unbearable, and hence the x-ray, EKG, stress test, and echocardiogram.

I’m happy to report that, no, I didn’t have a heart attack, but I did learn that I have a minor congenital heart defect which over time can cause some issues.  The prognosis was that I would be fine, but the advice I was given was to slow down, stress less, and think more about my heart.

So, I did what I usually do in these situations:  First I prayed.  Then I read.  As I read, I learned that I was already doing what I needed in the way of food – mostly eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and fish with everything else in moderation.   What I was surprised to discover was all the new research about gluten and the many people who have issues with wheat and other such products.

What flour and gluten does

Folks don’t normally give flour and gluten much thought, but in reality flour and gluten are an important, dynamic part of our baking and cooking.  In baked goods, flour – and essentially the gluten in flour – is what actually provides the “framework” for the cake, cookie, or bread.  It absorbs the moisture and provides the protein strands necessary to give our baked goods a proper structure and a proper consistency.  So, when you replace gluten flours with gluten free ones, your baked good loses its ability to properly regulate its moisture content and its rising capacity, which is why many gluten free breads are denser and heavier than wheat breads.

You can substitute whole grains for white

For most people, flour and gluten is not actually an issue.  What is at stake is eating the right type of flour, which essentially means ditching the white, all-purpose flour and switching to a100% whole grain flour which has the fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals lacking in its white, all purpose counterpart.  Many people are hesitant to make the switch, though, because they think their food won’t taste as good.

The trick to remember is this:  For baked goods, always lightly spoon your flour into your dry measuring cup and level it off without packing the flour down.  If you do this, you can substitute your whole grain flour in a one to one ratio without fearing for the density of your favorite dessert.  For your cooking, simply use less of the whole grain flour for that roux you’re making or those potato pancakes you’re forming.  A rule of thumb is to measure out one cup of whole wheat flour and then take out one tablespoon. This will be closer to what you’d use with white flour. Because the whole grain flour is slightly denser, you can use less to get the same consistency.  And for those of you who still are reluctant to attempt a change, you can compromise with the white whole wheat flours which have begun to flood the market.  It’s a white wheat instead of the red wheat and is closer in consistency to the white , all purpose flour, while still retaining many of the same benefits of the red, hard wheat.

If you need to omit gluten altogether

For folks who do need to refrain from eating gluten, though, you can still have your just desserts, as well.  It used to be that you needed to buy an umpteen number of different flours and starches, as well as xanthan gum, to make up your own flour mix in a specific ratio.  Today, however, we are blessed with an abundance of companies just dying to take our money in exchange for saving us time and reducing our stress.  You can get some of these gluten free flour blends at the grocery store… Hannafords, Shaws, Market Basket, Stop and Shop, Price Chopper, Wegmans…. At the grocery stores, Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur, and Pillsbury blends are the ones you’re more likely to find. You can also go online. Some brands you’ll find online are Authentic Foods, Cup4Cup, Better Batter, Jules, Namastes…. For folks looking for a one to one substitute, there aren’t too many options when it comes to baking. For other types of cooking, you can substitute any high protein/high fiber flour because the flour is usually just for coating or thickening. For baking, sorghum flour can be used in a one to one ration in some baked goods but sorghum flour absorbs more liquid so be sure to increase your liquids by 1/4 cup or so. Some folks like to use spelt flour, but spelt is only a substitute for folks who can’t eat wheat. For folks who have gluten issues, spelt has gluten. If you do use spelt, it tends to usually need just a bit less liquid than regular wheat.

How to use the gluten free mixes

The benefits of the flour blends are that everything is mixed in the proper ratio for you already, and you can easily substitute them into your favorite recipes.  Read the information on the packaging carefully because some are one to one replacements and others are not. Always remember to whisk the flour in a bowl after measuring, though, before you add the other ingredients.  This helps to lessen the density of the flour by breaking it up and incorporating some air into the flour.

If you want to make your own gluten free mix

Every day, however, there are new flour mixes coming on the market, so folks should experiment and see what you prefer.  If you decide you do want to make your own mix, however, there are sites such as http://www.allergicliving.com/gfblend where you can find some great “recipes” for flour blends. As a general rule to make a gluten free flour blend requires mixing a couple of types of gluten free flours with a couple of types of starches to get the same consistency of wheat flours. Some combinations I make are below.

All Purpose Recipe (Makes 4 1/2 cups):

1 1/4 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour

1 1/4 cup millet flour or gluten free oat flour

1 cup sweet rice flour or potato flour

1 cup tapioca starch or potato starch

2 tsp xanthan gum

Pie Crust Recipe (Makes 3 cups):

1 cup brown rice flour or sorghum flour

3/4 cup garbanzo bean or fava bean or chickpea flour

3/4 cup potato starch or cornstarch or arrowroot starch

1/2 cup 1/2 cup tapioca starch

High Fiber and Protein Recipe (Makes 3 cups):

1 cup brown rice or sorghum flour

1/2 cup gluten free oat flour

1/2 cup millet flour

2/3 cup tapioca or arrowroot starch

1/3 cup potato starch or cornstarch

 

 

Paula’s Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients:

2 cups “milk” (use what you prefer; I like to use flax milk or oat or soy milk)

2 tbsp lemon juice

3 tbsp melted Earth Balance “butter” (or whatever type you prefer)

2 tsp oil (use a plant-based oil you prefer; I like safflower or avocado oil)

2 cups your favorite whole grain Gluten Free Flour Blend*

1 cup ground flaxseed

2 tsp gluten free baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup pureed cooked pumpkin

2 tbsp Agave

1 egg or 1/4 cup egg whites or 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp water

Cooking Instructions:

1.  Preheat your griddle or pancake pan on the stove,  preparing either as necessary.

2.  Mix the lemon juice into the soy milk and let it sit for at least five minutes.

3.  Mix the melted “butter” with the oil, and set aside.

4. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, allspice, cloves, and salt.  Set aside.

5.  Mix the pumpkin with the Agave and egg or egg whites or flaxseed mixture.  Add the milk and lemon mixture, along with the cooled “butter” mixture.

6.  Quickly mix the dry ingredients into the wet, blending just until the dry ingredients are moist.  Let the batter sit for a few minutes.  (I like a thick batter for pancakes, but if it is too thick for you, add some more milk, one tbsp at a time until it’s the consistency you’d rather it was.)

7.  When your griddle or pan is ready, drop 1/4 cup-fulls of batter onto the griddle and cook until the edges are getting a bit dry and little bubbles pop in the center of the pancake batter.  Flip and let the pancakes finish cooking for a minute or two on the second side.

* If you don’t need to be gluten free, you can always make these with 100% whole wheat flour instead.  They’re good either way!  If you use whole wheat flour, though, omit the flaxseed unless you like really, really thick pancakes.