Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Quinoa Salad

It’s barbeque time and this is a good, colorful salad to serve or bring along as a side dish. I make quinoa in my rice maker.

 Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

4 cups cooked Quinoa

One 15 ounce can black beans

1 cup canned or frozen corn

1 medium to large red onion, chopped

1-2 large tomatoes, chopped

¾ - 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro (to taste)

4 tbs Olive oil

2 tbs Rice vinegar

2 tsp ground cumin

Cook quinoa according to directions. Drain and rinse beans and add along with corn. Mix in all other ingredients. This is a very flexible recipe. You can add a chopped bell pepper or if you want it a little spicier, add some chopped jalapeƱos. If you are going to store it for a few days, I suggest leaving the tomatoes out until right before you are going to serve it. 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

I was browsing through a Gourmet Magazine the other day and I came across an article about gluten-free baking. There were two recipes, one for a lemon cake (stay tuned, I am trying that next) and another for chocolate chip cookies. Gourmet’s quote about the cookies was “…we dare anyone to detect that these weren’t made with traditional wheat flour.” Okay now I’m interested.

The recipe calls for a flour mix using extra finely ground brown rice flour. Any kind of rice flour gives food a kind of sandy feel, and the extra grinding takes care of that. I was only able to find it online at Authentic Foods ( where it sells for around $12 for 3 pounds.  

I tried the recipe and was pleasantly surprised. My husband even liked the cookie dough, which is his favorite part. The recipe used all vegetable shortening which I found a little odd so I tried the recipe twice and used half shortening and half butter the second time. I also increased the brown sugar and decreased the white sugar. I did an informal poll with the guys who are working on our house, and the women who work at InStyle Hair Design.  NONE of these people are celiac. I consider that to be a good test as the complaint about gluten-free food is that it doesn’t taste like “real” food. No one knew they were gluten-free cookies until I told them. The overwhelming favorite has been the altered recipe. The comment I heard over and over was “they taste just like Tollhouse cookies”.

So give it a try and let me know what you think.

Brown Rice Flour Mix

2-cups extra finely ground brown rice flour

2/3-cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)

1/3-cup tapioca flour

Put all ingredients into a sealable container and shake until all the flours are combined.

 Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Makes about 6 dozen cookies)

½ cup vegetable shortening

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1-teaspoon xanthan gum

¾ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

2 large eggs

1-tablespoon vanilla

12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

(optional: 1 cup finely chopped walnuts)

  • Put oven in middle position and preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Lightly grease two baking sheets.
  • Whisk together flour mix, baking soda, salt, and xanthan gum in a small bowl.
  • Beat together shortening, butter, and sugars in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
  • Add vanilla
  • Reduce speed to low and add in the flour mixture until just incorporated
  • Stir in the chips (and walnuts if using)
  • Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart
  • Bake, one sheet at a time, until golden, around 9-15 minutes (I did it for 10 minutes)
  • Take the cookies out of the oven, let them stay on the sheet for one minute and then transfer them to cooling racks. Continue making cookies using cooled baking sheet.

·     Cookies keep in a sealed container about 1 week.