Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"New" recipes

I've been baking again. This time I'm not really creating, but altering some well-loved recipes so that I can eat them.

With the Thanksgiving and Christmas season come many memories of tastes I love. As the years go by, I'm sure that I'll have the chance to recreate many of the things I miss. For now I've tackled peppernuts and dill bread.

My cousin Patrick, who was also recently diagnosed with celiac, called me about a month ago wondering about how to go about making peppernuts. Which flours should be used, etc... Peppernuts were not something that I had thought about yet, but when there is more than just me involved, I have more of a reason to start playing. Sometimes it seems like a waste to bake, since it is just me that will eat it although it is something I love to do, it hasn't been a priority lately. Honestly, I'm thankful that Patrick has joined my "team" (and yes, I realize that is very selfish!)...I realize that it is probably a burden for him and for Abbe, but for me it means that there is someone I can call and talk to; someone I can brainstorm with and exchange thoughts and suggestions with; someone that misses the same things I do... It's actually very comforting for me.

When he first called I made some suggestions on where to start for flour mixes. He called his Grandma Schmidt and got the anise Recipe he grew up with, while I focused on the Buller family recipe. One of the people I've met up with on this journey and befriended is Julie from the website Mennonite Girls Can Cook. A fellow celiac, she shares her Mennonite recipes that have been altered to be gluten free. We've been teaming up to figure out a better version of zwiebach, but that has taken a backseat at this point. I figured that I should send an email off to Julie and see whether she had done anything with peppernuts before I tried reinventing the wheel. She hadn't, but was happy to help me as I tried to figure out what would work. She quickly came up with a recipe that would work, and sent it back to me. What followed was a wonderful experience! :) I tried making peppernuts with the flour mix that she suggested. As I mixed them up, I tasted between each addition to see how the dough changed. After the last addition I tasted again, and promptly threw the dough in the trash. While that sounds awful...the truth is that I've finally figured out what tastes so bad to me in gluten free baking and that makes me want to jump up and down and clap my hands. I've been baking for a year now, and I had never been able to determine what it was, but now I KNOW!!!! My mouth and stomach can not stand bean flours. I can not even describe what the taste does to me. I didn't want to completely abandon the idea though, so I tried to figure out what else I could use. What follows is my take on the original Buller recipe (with many thanks to Julie for her help! Her take on the recipe is on the MGCC website!). ***Disclaimer: I'm still fiddling with this recipe. When I baked them out, they became very flat, not the rounded ones I grew up with. The taste (which is most important!) is there though! :)

Gluten Free Peppernuts
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, creamed
1 egg
2 rounded tsp. sour cream or plain yogurt

1 cup sweet white sorghum flour
1/ cup teff flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1 rounded tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/8 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Today I'm preparing for our annual family Thanksgiving celebration. With such a large family, it isn't fair to expect one person to do all the cooking, so for as long as I can remember, each family has contributed to the feast. As the cousins have grown up we've also started being responsible for different aspects of the meal. Since I've always loved baking I started volunteering to bring the bread for the day when Grandma B was no longer able to. Even with my celiac diagnosis I've continued to make the breads. Today I made 2 loaves of white bread and one loaf of gluten free bread. Last year I brought only "regular" breads, figuring that I wouldn't miss it with so much other food on the table. I wish that had been the case. This year I'm bringing bread so that I don't feel like I'm missing out on something.

One of my favorite breads is Dill bread. When I was in college Carmen and Patrick's grandmother, Helen Schmidt, adopted me and invited me to all the family meals. This may sound strange to those of you who realize that I went to college less than 40 miles from where I grew up, but I've decided that a person can never have too many grandparents, too many cousins, too many family members.... At every meal I was invited to, Grandma Schmidt would have zwiebach and dill bread. I could never eat enough of the dill bread...slice after slice (and now I know just how bad that was for me!)... Grandma Schmidt is coming to our Buller Thanksgiving tomorrow. I can't wait to have her try my Gluten Free version of the bread she's made for so many meals! :)

Gluten Free Dill Bread (original recipe from the More-with-Less Cookbook)

1 pkg. yeast (in the Pamela's Bread Mix)
1/4 cup warm water

Combine in Mixing Bowl:
1 pkg Pamela's Bread Mix
2 t. dill seed
1/2 T. minced onion (if using dried minced onion, rehydrate before putting in)

In measuring cup combine:
1 cup cottage cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup oil
warm water to fill until 1 3/4 cup mark

Stir well to combine. Let rice in greased bowl to double in size. Punch down. Put into a bread pan. Let rise again. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from pans and brush with melted margarine.

**I also make this in the bread machine on the dough cycle if I need to be doing other things.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2 months flew by

Yes, yet again I have waited far too long to write a blog. It has been months between posts, and I’ve had many “friendly” reminders from several of you…

Highlights of the past 2 months: Oktoberfest celebrated with the Huber’s and their friends; a QUICK trip to Seattle to attend the wedding of my cousin Patrick to his beautiful bride, Abbe; Taste of Autumn (wine tasting event out in the boonies—beautiful art strewn on the Kansas prairie, with tasting stations of appetizers paired with wines—always a good time with the friends I go with!); two, yes TWO, trips to see the musical WICKED while it was in Wichita; a garage sale at my house; as well as a wonderful overnight visit from my dear sister, brother-in-law, and nephew.

There has been much more squeezed into days in between, but it consists of the activities that most would consider mundane.

My last weeks at school have been very eventful. I’ve had a new student that came, and then left within a week. He has found a new school home, one that is much better suited to his needs. I can’t really tell much information about this situation, and certainly not on this blog, but I should say that his needs consumed all of every single day of last week. There are times that people ask why I chose the profession I did, and then further question me as to why I stay. Last week was one of the times that I questioned myself about that. The answers I keep coming back to are that these students need me, that I make a difference in their lives, and that not many others will spend that time with them and believe in them. I AM needed, even if I feel unappreciated.

To top off my excellent week at school, I also made a large purchase. My car has slowly become less reliable (it’s served me so well!), and last week reached a point where a large sum of money would have to be paid to repair it. After many conversations with my father and others, I decided that I should probably start looking for a new car. On Saturday, Dad and I went to Wichita with the intentions of purchasing a new Suzuki. Our plans changed, and I ended up buying a used 09 Mitsubishi Galant. I was sad to say goodbye to my little Malibu (especially the sunroof!), but I have to admit I’m enjoying my new car.

I’ve been spending much of my time lately in the kitchen. Last night I started a batch of Gluten Free Buller peppernuts. The first batch tasted awful and went in the trash. The second batch is now in the fridge waiting to be rolled out and baked tonight. I’m hopeful that they will end up close to what I remember. I also baked a loaf of Gluten Free cinnamon raisin bread last night, which made the house smell wonderful. Tonight will consist of baking 4 loaves of “regular” bread (2 white, and 2 with raisins/cinnamon), as well as starting soup preparations for the big shindig this weekend. I need to also start thinking about pies, and getting those prepared.

In this time of preparation for Thanksgiving, and the Christmas season as well, I should say that I have much to be thankful for. Just a few days ago, the 1 year mark of when I had my thyroid surgery passed. It's hard to believe that it has been 1 year. It's been a year of major adjustments for me, but there has always been good that came from the changes in my life. I have SO much to be thankful for!

Hoping to update soon with a new Gluten Free Peppernut recipe to share, as well as a few pictures.

Love to all of you!