Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gluten free biscuits x2!

Last night we had some friends over, and I wanted to make strawberry shortcake for dessert. I've made a GF shortcake before (as far as I'm concerned biscuit style shortcakes are the only proper shortcakes), and it was pretty good. But not really good, you know? So last night I wanted something different.

Now we have egg allergies in our house, and a lot of GF baking relies on eggs to provide the structure that gluten provides in traditional baking. Sometimes egg substitutes works, sometimes they don't. Hell, sometimes GF works, sometimes it doesn't. The combination of GF-EF = lots of trial and error.

So anyway, yesterday I read about a dozen GF shortbread recipes and finally combined what I'd read into my own thing. And it was good! It was so good that I told the kids I'd make them cheese biscuits for lunch today. Again, I created my own recipe, and again it was good! I think the yogurt might be part of the secret for these two...it helps leaven the dough and provides a bit of structure.

Biscuit recipe A (rolled biscuits)

1.5 cups of GF flour blend (I used a combination of brown rice (from Dakota Mills) flour, potato starch and tapioca starch)
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 T sugar
2 tsps Ener-g egg replacer powder
Mix all that stuff up (I used a food processor), then add:
4 T cold, unsalted butter
and blend until the butter is all worked in. Then add:
1/2 c milk (I used soy)
2 T vanilla yogurt (or plain if you don't want a sweet biscuit)

Blend into a dough, then pat out, cut into circles and bake at 350 for about 15 min :)

Biscuit recipe B (dropped biscuits)

1. 75 c GF flour blend (I used same as above)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp xanthan gum
Mix that all together. Then add:
4 T unsalted butter
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
Blend until the butter is mixed in and then add:
2/3 c milk
1/3 c water
2 T plain yogurt
Blend until it forms a wet sticky dough. Fold in some grated cheese of whatever kind you have/like. I used colby jack. Then drop onto a greased baking sheet (you can make the biscuits whatever size you want! I made mine about 2") and bake at 400 for about 15-17 min. They're fluffy! And delicious.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Zion asked to have Vietnamese food for dinner tonight, so we drove out to Spring Valley to our favorite local Vietnamese place (called "The Vietnam Restaurant". Not exactly confidence inspiring, but it was all we could find when we moved up here, and it turs out it's pretty good!). We've been going there for 5 years, and the waitress even remembers that we don't want peanuts on anything, even when we're sucky parents and forget to say so when we order.

Tonight we ordered pho, 4 spring rolls, noodle salad with chicken, noodle salad with lemongrass grilled beef, and crispy chicken with sticky rice. And then we devoured it all. The children were particularly ravening. Picture a couple of small formica tables pushed together. They're loaded with food, and the kids at the table have plates in front of them piled high, and are reaching across to the furthest parts of the table to shove their spoons into pho, dip sticky rice into sauce, and crunch more chicken skin. We're a bit worried about how much food we'll go through when they're teenagers. They ate like we'd been starving them, and not at all like they'd had huge bowls of full fat yogurt with maple syrup and hour prior.

Liel gobbled up her lemongrass grilled beef and immediately asked me for more "brown chicken". "That's beef, sweetie", I said. "Finish the chicken you have on your plate, and then you can have more of the brown chicken. Er, beef". No wonder the poor kid can't tell which type of animal she's eating. Her own mother can't keep it straight from one sentence to the next!

When we left I put one of Robert's playlists on the iPod, and then accidentally bumped it, causing it skip ahead about 6 songs. As I flipped back trying to get to the right spot Robert wailed, "What are you doing?? You're skipping great songs!...What playlist is this anyway?" Mighty impressed with his own clever, he was. For once hitting red lights on the 30 minute drive home didn't seem to bother him at all.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I bet this post isn't about anything you might've guessed. Just thought I'd get that out of the way up front, so you could stop reading now if you want. No? OK then.

When I was seven years old Billy Joel's "Innocent Man" album came out. My parents must've liked it a lot, because I remember listening to it quite a bit, and neither my brother nor I was quite dexterous enough to use the record player yet. After a while it stopped being in regular rotation however, and eventually the album rarely crossed my mind.

Then about 6 weeks ago my brother called to tell me he'd sold his house, and that one of the offers on it (but not the buyer) was the guy who had designed the album cover for "Innocent Man". This one:

I said something like, "I haven't heard that album in years!" and my brother said he'd been listening to it a lot lately. A couple weeks later we were all in Akumal, and one night Kenny put the album on. We were all- my parents, cousins, brother, future SIL, me, Robert, and the kids- making dinner. Cooking, setting the table, blending margaritas; everyone was involved in the communal effort of delicious food and drink. And within seconds of the music starting, we were all singing, too. It was totally goofy, totally fun, and totally delightsome. If you have the opportunity I strongly suggest a family sing along to "Innocent Man" on the beach in Mexico with plenty of good food and drink. It is so choice.