Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Gluten-Free Tarrytown Dinner

My folks were in New York visiting me this past week, all the way from Redondo Beach, CA. It's amazing how all the most important, planned out moments were centered around food. There was the lunch at Saltie to show them where I've been spending my mornings baking, the dinner I hosted at my apartment to introduce them to some of my closest friends, the trip to Brooklyn Bridge Park where we ate Grimaldi's pizza amidst stunning views of Downtown Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty... But the most meaningful part of the entire week, was the trip we took up to Tarrytown to introduce them to Steve's parents. Parents meeting parents is quite the occasion, especially when they reside on opposite coasts.

Regina (Steve's mom) was preparing a beautiful vegetarian Thai dinner for us, extra spicy (and extra thoughtful!) to accommodate my hippie parent's taste buds. I decided to bake bread and dessert, two tasks that would normally pose a minimal challenge, but this time they'd be gluten-free... Regina has Celiac Disease, which means she's beyond gluten intolerant. Gluten is a protein composite found in ALL forms of wheat (including durum, semolina, spelt, kamut, einkorn and faro) and related grain species (rye and barley). It's notoriously difficult to bake gluten free because it's what gives elasticity to dough, allowing it to rise in the oven and hold its shape.

So it's going to be trial and error until I get it right. I went with a "Multi-Grain Artisan-Style Bread" this time.. Sounds good right? Well take away the gluten, and this is what the new recipe calls for:

1/3 cup cold water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten (reserve 1 Tbsp for egg-wash)
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp baking soda
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp caraway seeds
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup glutinous rice flour (aka 'sweet' rice flour)
1 1/2 cups white rice flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp sesame seeds (for topping after egg-wash)

The caraway seeds and flaxseed meal gave it a nice flavor but it wasn't the chewy artisan-style bread I was expecting. It was more of a breakfast or soda bread... I already have my next gluten-free bread recipe attempt picked out. Stay tuned.

Here's Regina's delicious thai dishes! Brown rice with veggies, spiced up with green curry paste-- and my fav, coconut curry with veggies and tofu. Love me some baby corn.

Gluten free dessert is far less intimidating than bread because it doesn't have to rise. I made a flaky tart dough with my standard 3:2:1 ratio and simply swapped out the flour with Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose and added some Xanthan Gum. The dough was almost gritty and had zero elasticity, but nothing a little extra TLC can't fix. For the filling I tossed some green figs with lemon, brown sugar, thyme, and a touch of rice flour (to help thicken).

Before baking, I folded them up in little stars (just like Saltie's yummy squash pockets!), applied a light egg wash, and sprinkled them with Herbes de Provence.

And of course I never pass up the opportunity to fold up some galettes. :-)

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