So, I didn’t realize as I decided to post today that it was Friday. It just worked out that way. However, what is on my mind most-definitely fits into this category as it is food-related. Most things in my life are. :)
A lot has taken place since I wrote last.
- I’ve graduated and have in my possession my diploma from The Master’s College for a Bachelors in Art with a major in Communications and an emphasis in print media
- I’ve gotten married to the most-wonderful man Adam Bowman (Can I get a “Hoorah!!!”?)
- I’ve moved into the lower-section of the A. D. Bowman and Son Lumber mill office as we work on the final stages of the little cabin I was telling you all about before. I will post pictures as soon as I can.
(Adam just commented on how little I’ve been blogging lately…. married life is busy, and somehow all you have ended up on the back burner — I apologize)
- I have also been hired by SmarThinking, an online tutoring company, where I will be working as a writing tutor for up to 30 hrs/week
- I have also been interviewed by WSKG for a position as an associate producer/script writer/actor. We’re just waiting to start the projects until a few grants come in. Whoohoo!
Life is busy, but my love for writing and cooking have not been dulled AT ALL. I’m so blessed to be starting this new job (possibly two) in my area of study, and I have just been introduced in a whole new way to a new way of cooking, one that has both scared me in one sense and excited me in others — gluten-free cooking.
As most of you might already know, Adam can’t have gluten. Gluten is a protein in flour. He is highly allergic to it, so he must avoid anything with bread, flour-thickeners, etc. That would seemingly leave his diet pretty limited. However, as this disease (people who have this gluten-intolerance extremely bad have what is called Celiac Disease) gets more and more common, there are more and more options available. For instance, there is rice pasta, bread, muffins, and even a new Betty Crocker gluten-free brownie mix!
So, my kitchen is currently filled with bins and bins of potato starch, tapioca flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, sweet white rice flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, etc. … and believe me, they all have different uses.
This new road of learning has given me quite the exhilaration as I am learning to substitute in my favorite recipes as well as beginning to try new recipes. This past week I tried two new recipes.
First of all, I pulled out my handy The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread cookbook from Adam’s Grandma Schneider and decided to tackle the recipe for gluten-free cheese-it’s. They were a homerun in my mind and a grand slam in the minds of Dad Bowman (who is also gluten-intolerant) and Adam (who has already asked me to bake more!)
Secondly, I tried and succeeded (although I’m a little less satisfied with these results) in making gluten-free bagels!! It was actually super fun! Did you know you actually boil bagels?? I did hear about it once, but making them was an experience I really enjoyed.
They taste really good too! I had one for breakfast this morning with a little cream cheese, and it was amazing! Now I want to buy some smoked salmon for some lox and bagels! Bring it on! :) Adam really liked them too, which, of course, is what matters to me since he’s the one who never gets to have any sort of bagel anymore.
There are two aspects that I really want to improve in this recipe. First of all, using yeast can be a tricky thing. I live in the lower part of the office which stays pretty cool during the day. I’ve even found myself wearing a sweatshirt inside when it’s boiling outside. Cold temperatures don’t help yeast rise. I’m going to try this recipe again when I’m in my own place and I’m going to place the rising dough on the stove while I preheat the oven. That might help them. We’ll see. If you have any counsel in that regard, let me know. :)
Secondly, I really want to figure out how to shape them better. For a wedding gift, we were given a hamburger shaper. I’m thinking I might use that to make them perfectly round. OR…hmm… and this is seeming more and more like a better idea the more I think about it, I might roll the dough into one big slab and cut them out like Christmas sugar cookies. I like that idea. I’ll let you know how they turn out next time. :)
So, here we are. It’s been a while, and I’ve been negligent. However, I’m back in the kitchen (my own!!!!) and can’t wait to spend my afternoons preparing dinners for the love of my life (and me too, of course). I hope to log some of those adventures both in everyday cooking as well as in my new wanderings down this road of gluten-free cooking here with you all on this blog.
So now for the recipes! =) Please remember that I did not make these up (unfortunately… I wish I could claim brilliance) but got them from the The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread cookbook by Bette Hagman.
Gluten-Free Cheese Nips
2 Tbsp. butter/margarine (softened)
1 large egg
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3/4 cup rice flour
1/4 cup potato STARCH flour (I emphasize this because it’s VERY different than potato flour)
1 tsp. xanthan gum
salt to sprinkle on top before baking
Preheat oven to 400.
In a mixer, blend butter until creamy. Add egg, salt, pepper, and beat until blended. Beat in cheese gradually until combined. Stir in flours and xanthan gum; beat until blended. Work dough into a ball. If it’s not sticking together, add cold water (1 Tbsp. at a time) until the ball can be formed. Don’t worry about overworking the dough.
Divide dough in half. Place 1 ball on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and roll out as thin as possible. Repeat with the other half of the ball. (Dividing it only helps you get the dough thinner on each cookie sheet).
Sprinkle with salt (or other seasonings) and cut with a pizza roller into 1-in squares. Bake 4-6 minutes until deep golden. It makes about 12 dozen cheese-its.
1 cup rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
2 Tbsp. dry milk powder
1 ¾ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. sugar
½ cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1 Tbsp. dry yeast
2 Tbsp. shortening
¼ cup hot water
2 egg whites
Extra rice flour (as needed)
When measuring flours, tap the measure to be sure to have a full, heavy cup. Place these and the rest of the dry ingredients in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer equipped with a dough hook.
Place the sugar in the warm water and stir in the yeast. Dissole the shortening in the hot water.
With the mixer on low, blend the dry ingredients. Pour in the shortening and hot water and blend to mix. Add the egg whites and blend again. Add the yeast mixture.
Check the dough to be sure it is the right consistency. It should be thick enough to be able to shape with greased hands. If too thin, add extra rice flour (1 Tbsp at a time). If it is too thick, add water (1 Tbsp at a time). Beat on high for 4 minutes.
At this point, the dough can be formed into bagels or placed in the fridge for use later or the next morning.
Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing it with a vegetable oil spray and sprinkling it with cornmeal. Form the bagels by dividing the dough into 8 pieces. Working with greased hands, roll into balls larger than golf balls but smaller than tennis balls. Flatten the balls to about ½ in thick. Create the hole by poking a finger through the center and enlarging. Place on cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise until they are puffy and about doubled in size (This is about 30 min for rapid-rise yeast and about 60 or more for regular yeast).
Ten minutes before they have finished rising, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
In a large pan, bring 3 in of water plus 1 tsp of sugar to a boil. Drop in the bagels 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute, flipping after 30 seconds. Drain and replace on the cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool slightly before eating.
Well, I’m off for now. Tomorrow is Saturday, and we actually get to sleep in past 6:15am!! Whoohoo!!! Simple pleasures.
Now what should I make for breakfast?……
Tune in next week for more Food-Filled Fridays!!!