Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Baking the brownies...my first attempt

OK, it’s baking time and I have been looking forward to this all day. Gluten free and refined sugar free brownies…here we go!

There are 2 batters going on here. Batch #1 is with the brown rice that I ground, and batch #2 is with Bob’s Red Mill which is a store-bought, finely ground, brown rice flour. I just can’t wait to try these bad boys out.

Batch #1 is mixed and in the oven. When I tasted the batter I could definitely see, taste and feel the rice. It definitely isn't ground fine enough and this makes me a bit nervous.

After tasting the batter of batch #2, it is clear that this one will be better than batch #1. It has a more chocolaty flavor and there is no trace of grit from the rice flour. I am quite happy about that because I really didn’t like grinding my own rice. It took way too much time and was really noisy.

We are half way through the baking process now and I am beginning to smell the chocolaty goodness floating from the oven. Hopefully they taste as good as they smell!

Well, they look like brownies…but how do they taste? Drum roll please….

Batch #1 with the homemade rice flour is, well, gross. The flavor of the brown rice is very prominent and it really overpowers the chocolate flavor. The grains of rice in the flour are obvious and create a crunchy texture...yuck!

Batch #2 is curious…in a good way. The texture is much better than batch #1 because there is no grittiness at all and it is very moist. The flavor is interesting and I'm not sure how to put it in words...but I'll try. Though not sweet at all, brown rice flavors the brownie in a warm and mellow way as it gently works its way through the chocolate. As far as texture goes, the brownie is moist and dense, almost too dense. Actually, I'd call them gummy, but I think this is a good base to start from. More research is required. A couple of things for sure, then next time I will add more salt and perhaps coffee to enhance the chocolate.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is it possible to make a gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free browine that tastes good?

There's only one way to find out!

As my life progresses and I learn about gluten allergies, dairy allergies and the ill-effects of my beloved refined sugar, I am now ready to delve into the world of baking with these things in mind…and out of product. Curiosity has gotten the better of me...can a brownie be made without sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour and BUTTER and still be good? Is it possible? Hmm, I'm not too sure about this one, but determination is one of the things that drives me in life and I am determined to give this recipe my best shot. Being a baker by trade and having created many baked items in my life, I think this direction may become a new passion for me. 

My mission is to start off by making brownies with brown rice syrup instead of sugar and brown rice flour instead of all-purpose flour. Eventually, once I get that recipe down, I would like to replace the eggs with tofu and replace the butter with vegetable oil. Can I do it? I will definitely keep you posted! I am going to start by making my own brown rice flour. As I research this online, I understand that brown rice flour can be found in almost any market, and it can be fairly simple to make at home. Well, since I have a 15 pound bag of brown rice in the pantry…that’s right, I will attempt to make my own. 

  • So far the process is slow and loud. (Making popcorn at the same time doesn’t do much to help the noise level in the kitchen.) 
  •  I feel the need to shut the Cuisinart off every few minutes to let it rest because the machine gets pretty warm.  
  • OK, after 45 minutes of grinding I think I have the texture that I am looking for but note: Next time I am out, I will look into purchasing the rice already ground.  
It is important to grind the rice into a fine flour, otherwise you can feel the texture of the rice grains in the final product. (Oops, I just found a grain of rice in my water glass!)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

This is not your ordinary pasta salad!

For some reason Asian foods really inspire me in the kitchen. I can’t get enough of the flavors that are so simple and soooo craveable. You can really kick up your summer picnic with this dish! 


Sesame Pasta Sala



1lb macaroni
1/3 c hot pasta water
½ c + 2T tahini (sesame paste)
¼ T soy sauce             
1T minced, fresh ginger
¾ t garlic powder
2T rice vinegar
1 ½ t sesame oil
1 ½-2 T honey
1-2 t red pepper flakes
4 scallions-whites thinly sliced & greens sliced into ½ inch pieces
2 T chopped cilantro
Sesame seeds
Snap peas
Shredded carrots
Chopped cucumber
Fresh baby spinach
Anything else you can think of!!

  1. Cook the macaroni to al dente. Don’t forget to reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water!
  2. Toss scallion whites with the hot pasta.
  3. Combine the tahini, hot pasta water, soy sauce, ginger, garlic powder, vinegar, sesame oil, honey and pepper flakes. 
  4. While pasta is still warm, toss some of the dressing over it. The macaroni will absorb the sauce making it extra tasty.
  5. When the pasta is cool, add the dressing to taste.
  6. Toss in the veggies.
  7. Top your pasta salad with a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, the scallion greens and the cilantro.

Alternatives, ideas and suggestions

  • I like to use garlic powder in this recipe because it is easier to tolerate than raw, minced garlic.
  • Using hot water helps thin out the tahini when making the sauce, and the starch from the pasta adds body to it.
  • If you accidentally get rid of the pasta water, you can use hot tap water.
  • Adding the scallion whites to the drained, hot pasta will help enhance the flavor of the scallions.
  • If you’d like to make this salad a main course, add a protein like fried tofu or sliced rare steak.
  • The veggie possibilities you could add to this salad are endless! Bok choy, fresh green beans, tomatoes, red onion, broccoli…
Who ever said "Don't play with your food?!!?" Go on now, get creative and play with your pasta!!!