Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pizza and Wings, Anyone?

Well, we finally took a break from wedding-related planning to sit back and watch a Yankees/Red Sox game. Itching to try out some of the cool new toys I received at my bridal shower last weekend like this awesome deep fryer, I decided to make cheese pizza and hot wings.

Now, I know there's a saying out there that there's no such thing as bad pizza or bad sex, but before going gluten free we had the advantage of living very close to an amazing pizza place that we took advantage of at least once per week. The first time I made gluten-free pizza at home, it was such a huge letdown. As a complete beginner, I tried Orgran's Pizza and Pastry Multimix with extremely disappointing results. To be fair, the second time I tried their mix I added yeast (an optional step) but it just wasn't like the pizzeria-style pizza that we've come to know and love. I'll be the first to admit slight perfectionistic tendencies, and I've been determined to make high-quality pizza.

After I got a little more comfortable in the kitchen (and amassed a larger stockpile of specialty flours) I grew bolder and started to experiment with dough recipes from scratch. The last recipe I had tried was featured on, and while it was quite good... there was still something missing.

Well, this evening I found myself in a slightly less-than-fully-stocked kitchen, craving pizza and limited to a rather creative selection of flours. Running low on finely ground white rice flour and almost completely out of tapioca flour, I experimented with some of the more unusual flours populating my cupboard and refrigerator. I came up with a very interesting dough that included amaranth and potato flour, and while I have yet to perfect the perfectly round "pizza pie" shape when I make dough, the crust was thin with just the right amount of crispiness and cheese. It was amazing - this recipe is definitely a keeper!

While I was baking pizza crust, Vince was preparing chicken wings for the deep fryer. We made a hot sauce mostly based with Frank's Red Hot sauce, and since we (well, mostly I) like a little kick in our wings added freshly chopped jalapeño pepper. We fried the wings and tossed them in our sauce, and they came out looking and tasting exactly like you'd find in a restaurant! I think this recipe is definitely a keeper!

That said - this summer during track season, we're looking forward to checking out Nunzio's pizza in Saratoga. Because even though this pizza was unbelievably good there's still something nice about going to a restaurant and being served good pizza. :-)

By the way, a sweet end to the evening? The Yankees beat the Red Sox. Go Pinstripes!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Review: Mrs. Leeper's Corn Pasta

The last time we were at the Green Grocer stocking up on gluten-free pastas and other goodies, a package of corn-based pasta caught our eye: Mrs. Leeper’s Corn Spaghetti. It’s a pasta made from 100% organic corn flour. Curious, we picked up a package to try for dinner.

Now, we’re usually devotees of Tinkyada’s brown rice pasta, but once in a while it’s interesting to try something new. At the very least, it’s content for the blog, right? :-) Anyway, the first thing that struck me about the pasta was the color. Plain corn pasta – uncooked or cooked – reminds me of Kraft Mac and Cheese.

I followed the directions on the package and cooked the pasta for 9 minutes. Sampling a piece of cooked pasta, Vince and I both agreed that it was a little al dente, almost rubbery, but tasted very good. I added Ragu meaty pasta sauce and served the dish with green peas, and while it tasted good – there was no discernible taste, similar to wheat pasta – overall it was a little too rubbery for our tastes. However, when we microwave the leftovers the consistency might improve.

Overall, the verdict is: it was an interesting experience, and we’ll definitely use the leftovers, but we might be hesitant to buy it again.

Update: Well, it looks like we spoke too soon. Vince heated up the leftover pasta for lunch and was very impressed. He said the consistency and taste were comparable to regular wheat pasta, and he really couldn't tell much of a difference - that's pretty impressive. So the verdict is - we'll buy Mrs. Leeper's again, but might cook it for a little longer than the recommended time on the package!

That said, it wasn't as filling as wheat pasta - I think the next time I make it I should use it in something with meat and/or cheese to add protein. I could see their corn elbows working nicely for homemade macaroni and cheese, or perhaps we'll try their cheeseburger mac hamburger mix!

Friday, April 4, 2008

First Post

Welcome to my new blog - and to my gluten-free online kitchen!

Our kitchen is (mostly) gluten-free these days. My fiancé, Vince, does not eat chocolate so I still have the occasional stash of brownie mix that I won't feel guilty eating. :) I've started making a lot of dishes from scratch - of course, since I've replaced good old standard, all-purpose flour with rice, tapioca, potato, sorghum, amaranth, almond meal and others, almost every venture into the kitchen is a learning experience!

I've definitely had some interesting results - the first time I tried making hamburger buns, I tried modifying a "regular" recipe and ended up with biscuits. They were pretty good (I got a biscuit recipe out of them) but nothing that I'd consider a hamburger bun. Still, my goal is to make everything just as good - if not better - than before we started eating gluten free.

Stay tuned for more updates!