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Gluten Free Dairy Free Mac and “Cheese”

July 13, 2014

On my list of Things I Must Figure Out for this whole Dairy Free living thing is mac and cheese.  I LOVE mac and cheese.  I have probably six different variations on the blog.  But obviously a dairy free version is a challenge.  After a great deal of disappointment in the offerings from The Uncheese Cookbook, I wanted to try making a cheese sauce with Daiya, which is the vegan cheese substitute that has saved my life (or at least my sanity).  Since I was making it for dinner, I made it gluten free for hubby as well.  Now Daiya has a pretty decent cheddar cheese flavor, but it’s not exactly nuanced, so I had to get a little more creative.  One of the things that IS useful from The Uncheese Cookbook is some of the different things it suggests to get the various savory tastes of cheese.  Among them is sweet miso, which adds a lovely umami depth to dishes.  At the end of the day, it seems like I put in everything but the kitchen sink.  I was really happy with the end result.  Hubby, who can still eat real cheese…well, not so much.  So…your mileage may vary.  Makes 4 servings if you’re eating it as a meal unto itself, 6-8 if you’re making it as a side.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces brown rice pasta
  • 7.1 ounces Daiya cheddar cheese wedge, shredded
  • 1 cup pureed squash (this is about 4 jars of baby food)
  • 2.5 cups almond milk
  • 2.5 Tbs corn starch
  • 3/4 Tbs sweet miso
  • 2 Tbs earth Balance spread
  • 1 tbs minced dried onion
  • 2 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/3 cup gluten free panko breadcrumbs

Directions:

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil.

2. Prepare pasta according to package directions (less about 4 minutes of cook time).

3. Melt Earth Balance spread in a large pot, over medium heat.

4. Add minced onion and garlic and saute for approximately 1 minute.

5. Slowly whisk in 2 cups of the almond milk.

6. To the remaining cup of almond milk, add the cornstarch and stir until no longer lumpy.

7. Whisk this mixture into the sauce pot.

8. Stir until well combined.

9. Add the mustard, paprika, miso, and seasoned salt.

10. Cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken and bubble.

11. Add the shredded Daiya, one handful at a time, and stir until melted and combined.

12. Once all Daiya has been added, turn heat to simmer and add the squash puree.

13. Stir until well combined. This might be enough, but I prefer to hit it with my immersion blender, just to make sure the sauce is well emulsified.

14. Remove from heat.

15. Add the drained pasta and stir until well combined.

16. Pour into a 2.5 quart baking dish.

17. Top with gluten free breadcrumbs (I use a mix of pulverized corn and rice Chex).

18. Spritz with buttery spray.

19. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

 

 

 

Dairy Free Corn Chowder

May 7, 2014

One of my favorite easy soups is my spicy corn chowder.  It’s creamy and sweet, with just a little bite.  But, of course, it gets the creamy from dairy–cream cheese in particular.  So it was definitely back to the drawing board for how to duplicate or adapt this to be dairy free and still retain the characteristics that I like.  One of the adaptations is to actually use corn stock rather than chicken stock.  This is super simple to make at this time of year when fresh corn on the cob is really cheap at the grocery.  After you eat your corn, just save the cobs in the freezer until you have about 8 or so.  Then toss them in the crock pot and cover with water.  Cook on low for about 8 hours.  You only need a cup or so for this recipe, so freeze the rest.  Be sure to label!  It looks just like chicken stock.  For thickening, I opted to go for a little bit of masa flour (this is the finely ground corn meal used for tortillas).  The next thing I needed to do was sub out the evaporated milk.  My go to creamy choices in non dairy milks are unsweetened almond and coconut milks.  Or, in this particular case, a blend of both by Almond Breeze.  The end result wasn’t exactly like my original spicy corn chowder, but it was a darn tasty alternative.  Better the second day.  Serves 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can creamed corn (no sugar added if you can find it)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn (no sugar added), drained (or 1.5 cups frozen corn kernels)
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes and peppers, undrained
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 cup chicken or corn stock
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp masa flour + 1/4 cup stock or water
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • Fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • pinch cayenne (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onion and saute until just softened, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the corn kernels and saute until it gets just a little bit of color (about 3 minutes).
  4. Add tomatoes and peppers, stock, and creamed corn.  Stir.
  5. Add garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and pepper. Stir well.
  6. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Mix the masa with about a quarter cup of water or stock and stir until smooth.  Add to the pot and simmer for about five minutes or until thickened.
  8. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of almond or coconut milk, slowly.

Serve with a slice of dense bread, like sourdough for a light lunch, or add a spinach salad for a full meal. Serves 4.

Review of Daiya Cheese Substitute

April 23, 2014

So in the whole wake of the no cheese drama, there was much flailing and wailing and gnashing of teeth.  I grabbed The Uncheese Cookbook and kept trying stuff.  There was a recipe in there for a faux buffalo mozzarella that the author swore would melt.  It totally didn’t and the pizza I tried to make with it was possibly the most demoralizing food experience of my life and triggered a total food depression.  Various other dairy free friends had been recommending Daiya as THE CHEESE SUBSTITUTE.  They don’t carry it at my local grocery and I was expecting to have to wait until I drove through the state capitol next month to pick some up at the Whole Foods there.  But as luck would have it, I found some in a town an hour away.  I picked up the cheddar shreds, the mozzarella shreds, the cheddar wedge (actually their version of block cheese), and the jalapeno garlic havarti wedge.

That night, I came home and tried tacos.  They tasted like tacos and the cheddar shreds melted like cheese.  I had a cheeseburger after that and the Daiya melted all over my fingers just like a real cheeseburger.  Tonight I tried the mozzarella shreds with mini pizzas.  OMG, y’all, I cannot tell you how happy I am.  IT MELTS.  IT TASTES LIKE CHEESE.  I give it, two thumbs up!  I no longer feel like my food life is over.

 

Dairy Free Lemon (Not) Yogurt Cake with Freezer Fruit Compote

April 21, 2014

One of my favorite desserts that I’ve featured on the blog here before was my gluten free Lemon Yogurt Cake with Freezer Fruit Compote.  It’s like a pound cake but lighter, with a lovely bright lemon flavor that just hits the spot for spring.  Since I had 3/4ths of a package of silken tofu left from another recipe fail, I had to figure out SOMETHING to do with it.  As a vegan friend said she often uses it in baking, I decided to take the leap and try converting this recipe to be dairy free as well as gluten free.  The end result was moist, delicious, and–most importantly–indistinguishable from the original version.

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs finely grated lemon zest
  • 3/4 cup silken tofu, blitzed in food processor or blender until smooth and creamy
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • special equipment
  • 8 1/2 4 1/4-inch loaf pan
  • For the compote
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 3 cups frozen strawberries
  • 2 tbs Earth Balance Spread
  • 2 tbs coconut oil (you can do all of this OR Earth Balance, I was just working with what I had)
  • 2 tbs sugar

  Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Coat pan with vegetable oil spray. Dust with flour; tap out excess.

2. Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

3. Using your fingers, rub sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add tofu, applesauce, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, 50–55 minutes.

5. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

6. To make the compote:

7. Melt the Earth Balance and coconut oil over medium heat.

8. Dice the strawberries  a little and add to the pan.

9. Add the blueberries.

10. Juice the lemons over the pan (careful not to lose any seeds)

11. Add the sugar.

12. Stir well and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until cooked down and kind of syrupy.  This may take quite a while.

13. Let cool a bit and spoon over each slice of cake.  The compote will keep in the fridge for several days.

Is There Life After Cheese?

April 15, 2014

Okay, so that hiatus went on a whole lot longer than I’d originally planned.

Short version:   Life has been–crazy.  2013 was a very full, very stressful year and I really needed that time off from blogging.  I’m still crazy busy, and I don’t know if I’ll be coming back even now, but I have felt this compulsion to post, so here I am.

We’ve got the gluten free thing down in our household.  Now, I’m getting a new challenge, as I’ve recently found out that I’m casein intolerant.  That’s the protein in dairy, for those of you who aren’t in the know.  This is entirely unrelated to lactose intolerance, which is simply those people who lack the enzyme to process lactose and end up with gastro-intestinal discomfort.  There are all kinds of products for the lactose intolerant that are loaded with casein.  In terms of dealing with a casein allergy and the public’s general knowledge–we’re now about where gluten was 15 years ago.  Which is to say that outside of our own kitchens, we’re up s*it creek without a paddle.

I’m working my way through the stages of grief and right now I’m smack dab in the middle of Blisteringly Furious.  I suspect I’m going to be there a while.

Having been through this with hubby for gluten, I know that the most important things I can do are to educate myself, locate the best resources, and to find replacements for a handful of my favorite foods.  The problem being that every single one of my favorite foods uses cheese and there is no acceptable substitute for cheese (I live in the small town south, if you’ll remember).  The “veggie” cheeses at the grocery store have casein.  They’re geared to the lactose intolerant.  There is a product called Daiya, but it is not available within a 3 hour drive of me, and my grocery store won’t order it.  It’s on my list of stuff to pick up on my trip down to New Orleans next month.

A vegan friend recommended to me The Uncheese Cookbookwhich I picked up.  After ordering a bunch of the ingredients I didn’t already have, I’ve been slowly going through and testing recipes in good faith, trying to maintain a positive attitude.  I tried the Nacho Cheeze sauce on nachos, which were awful.  I did discover that it works decently well for an Easy Mac.  Last night I tried the faux mozzarella on pizza (which I’ve been craving for weeks, like WHOA), which was one of the most demoralizing food experiences I’ve ever had.  It didn’t melt (casein is what makes cheese gloriously gooey and melty and wonderful) as the book said.  Which ended up being a good thing, as I could still peel it off and at least eat my soggy tomato bread (which is what pizza is without cheese).  I spent the rest of the night on the verge of tears.  This would be after the weekend when we had a family dinner and I was asked to make a lemon icebox pie (I make kick ass awesome lemon icebox pie).  I tried a vegan version that turned out like lemon snot, so I went ahead and made the real thing for everybody else and got to watch them nom and rave while I got nothing.  And we circle back around to Blisteringly Furious and Depressed on the verge of tears.

I’ve been looking around trying to find some good resources for dairy free food blogs.  I’m really annoyed at all the ones out there with the sanctimonious lectures about how dairy is so bad for you and blah blah.  I, frankly, don’t give a damn how bad it is for you.  The lecture doesn’t help me know how to live without cheese.  It was my one food that, if asked what I could never live without, I always said.  This is so sucktastic I don’t even know where to start.  All the other dairy stuff–milk, desserts, that kind of thing are adaptable.  I already found other stuff for those during the elimination diet that led to this discovery in the first place.  But cheese?

I’ve got another good friend also going dairy free due to other medical reasons, and we’ve been commiserating and shaking our fists at the Universe.  And I know we’re not alone.  I guess that’s why I posted today.   So I can’t promise I’ll be back here regularly with normal food bloggy stuff, but I will be here to post about my experience with going dairy free, sharing the resources I find and what works and what doesn’t.  If you have stuff to share with others, please feel free to email me at potsandplots (at) gmail (dot) com, catch me on twitter @kaitnolan or on Facebook.

At some point, I’ll go through my archives here and tag the recipes that are already naturally dairy free (as I did for gluten free).  Given how much I love dairy, I doubt there will be a whole lot.

Hiatus

March 7, 2013

I am on official hiatus for a while.  I’m still cooking, but right now, there’s SO MUCH going on in my life, I just don’t have it in me to do a lot of recipe development or posting.  I’ll be back, and will no doubt make some posts from time to time.  If you’d like to keep up without actually having to check back here on any kind of basis, sign up over there for posts by email or RSS and whatever comes out will pop up in your inbox or your feed reader.  Take care!

Gluten Free Friday: Barbeque Chicken Stromboli

February 22, 2013

Okay this isn’t really a classic stromboli.  Real stromboli has all these lovely layered Italian meats and veggies.  But I had some leftover rotisserie chicken and a hankering for barbeque AND pizza and…well, this is what I wound up doing with it.  The end result was quite tasty.

Ingredients:

Special equipment:

  • parchment paper (You will thank me for this later)
  • pizza stone or pan

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If you’re using a pizza stone, pop it in during the preheat.
  2. Tear off a piece of parchment paper that’s approximately the same size as  your stone or pan.
  3. Oil your hands.
  4. Plop the dough down on your parchment paper and press into a thin rectangle (you’re looking at about an eighth of an inch thick at the most).
  5. Brush a layer of barbeque sauce down the center.
  6. Sprinkle the chicken down the center.
  7. Add a little more barbeque sauce.
  8. Sprinkle the cheese over the top of the chicken.
  9. Now, here’s where you’re going to thank me for that parchment paper.  Carefully lift one side and fold it over the middle.  You should be able to peel the parchment paper back (not off, as it’s going to bake on it–you’re just folding).
  10. Repeat on the other side and press seam closed.
  11. Carefully transfer the stromboli to your pizza stone (I recommend using a pizza peel so you don’t drop it) or place the pan in the oven.
  12. Bake for 10 minutes.
  13. Slice into chunks all the way down.
  14. Serve with more barbeque sauce for dipping.

Printable version.

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