Gluten-free Dairy-free Egg-free Focaccia inspired by Amy’s Kitchen

March 6th, 2012 yum Posted in Amy's Kitchen, Bread, Breastfeeding for Allergic Baby Recipe, Brown Rice, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy Free, Sugar free, Sunflower seed, Vegan 16 Comments »


I have a little addiction. It is to the Amy’s Kitchen kid’s meal with the ziti pasta with the fake cheese and a little bit of broccoli and focaccia and the apple cobbler serving. I know, I know, I’m not a kid, but it is relatively low in calories and I just can’t get enough of it. They also just came out with a new kid’s meal with gluten-free rice mac and cheese, broccoli, and that same apple cobbler. However, those frozen kids meals are an expensive little vice for a graduate student mommy with a mortgage. I was thinking about it, and although I do love the pasta, the real draw for me is that little bread square tucked in between the pasta and the apple pie. I just love the faintly nutty, brown rice flavor of the stuff and the fluffiness of it when I rescue it from the microwave and let the rest of the meal cook.

I am thrilled by Toddler Yum’s new school, and it seems to be really good for her. She has friends, learns fun things and gets to try all sorts of new activities. She comes home literally singing, and little tidbits that she has learned leak out in between her toddler chatter. Last month she learned the days of the week in a cheery little song. Last night at the dinner table, she started belting out the months. She told me buenas noches with no prompting, out of the blue. It seems like a great environment and fit for my active little social bunny.

Unfortunately that great environment comes with a silicon valley price tag. We have her at half days, but it still gives our budget pause. Add on to that property taxes, graduate school fees, and utility bills and it ends up hurting a little bit. So, I have sworn off pricey convenience meals for a bit, and that includes those tasty Amy’s Kitchen meals. I decided that a tight budget was no reason to go without my focaccia! I peered at the back of the Amy’s kitchen box for ingredients, consulted with some favorite vegan cookbooks like Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook, and started baking up a storm. I made two versions of this recipe, and this one was my favorite. It was not quite as fluffy as the Amy’s version, but it still was strangely addictive. It also passed the DH test, who said that it was yummy and gobbled it down without any resistance. I loved it plain, with earth balance margarine, and used in sandwiches with a baba ghanoush, avocado and lettuce filling. By the way, the avocado came from the tree in our backyard. I just love free avocados! And the lettuce came straight out of our winter garden. California living has its perks!

I may be fooling around with this recipe some more, but I love the flavor. Honestly, I’m a rice girl at heart. I just love the nuttiness of brown rice flour tempered by a little white rice. And the sunflower meal is a very good alternative to the ever-popular almond flour. It gives great flavor, a little punch of protein, and does some good things to the texture too. I think I’ll be using it in more of my recipes in the future. Hope you enjoy!

Dairy-free Egg-free Focaccia Bread
Ingredients
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch flour
1/4 cup corn flour (can substitute millet flour, sorghum, or brown rice flour)
1/4 cup ground roasted unsalted sunflower seed meal (i made it in my spice grinder)
1/4 cup potato starch flour (can sub arrowroot or cornstarch)
1/4 cup cornstarch (can sub arrowroot or potato starch)
1 tsp. salt

3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp agave/maple syrup/honey
1 1/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp. yeast

for topping:
your favorite dairy-free milk or olive oil
Bouquet garni or onion flakes/ caramelized onions
coarse salt

Directions
Line a square cake pan with parchment paper and baste sides with palm oil shortening or other preferred oil. Preheat oven to 375F.

Mix together dry ingredients in your kitchenaid mixer. Note on the sunflower seed meal- I cleaned my spice grinder by running a batch of white rice through it before I made the sunflower seed meal. You could also try using the small section of your food processor for grinding the meal.

Put your tablespoon of liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup etc) in a small bowl. Add your warm water and your yeast. Combine gently and wait for it to foam. Add to your dry ingredients along with olive oil. Mix with the paddle for a few minutes, and then pour into your prepared pan. Baste top with a little olive oil or your favorite non-dairy plain milk. Sprinkle with bouquet garni herbs or onion topping.

Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve and enjoy!

Notes
Great for sandwiches when cut in half. Microwave individual servings for 10-15 seconds to refresh the next day.
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Gluten-free Dairy-free Wholegrain Indian Naan Flatbread Recipe

January 7th, 2012 yum Posted in Bread, Brown Rice, Dairy Free, Eggs, Indian, Indian Flatbread, JM friendly, coconut 15 Comments »

This past month has been intense. *Warning- I’m afraid the following is a bit of a “Mommy blog” entry, so feel free to skip to the end for this really super-yummy recipe.* I have to admit that for a few weeks, Mommy stress dominated my life. In order to get some much-needed time to work on my dissertation, we started Toddler Yum at a daycare. Almost instantly, she came down with a tummy bug that dragged on for about a month, through missed days at daycare, Christmas at the grandparents in Colorado, and even into the New Year. Toddler Yum also discovered that she absolutely hated her daycare, especially during the two and a half hour nap time at mid-day when she was not remotely tired. Separation anxiety loomed large and resulted in her following me around like a puppy dog, clinging to my hand or neck or any other body part she could reach, and her biggest dread was being “by myself” as she put it. “I be by myself? Mommy go bye-bye?” she anxiously asked whenever it seemed likely. She cried when I left her at daycare, she cried when I left her with her loving grandparents (who were a little heartbroken), she cried when she woke up, when I walked out of the room… It just wasn’t working. She asked about nap-time at the daycare over and over, saying that she wanted mommy to be there and that she hated nap-time because it was boring, and dark, and she had to be quiet. I could hardly blame her. I remember nap-time in kindergarten myself as a incredibly tedious and ill-timed affair. So, the first step was to stop taking her during nap-time. This helped, but it still didn’t feel right. The kids ate cookies every afternoon… one afternoon their “special snack” was oreos and cheetos on a plate together. The institutional hot meals all the kids got for lunch smelled like fake margarine and a bad cafeteria, and the kids seemed like little lost puppies. So, I promised Toddler Yum to start looking for a new place that would be better for her, and once the schools resumed after the New Year holiday, that is exactly what we did. We visited between one to two schools a day until we found a place where she could attend in the afternoon after nap and had plenty of fun toys, the teachers did circle time and gave fun lessons, there were “baby potties” in easy access to the classroom, and even “baby cars” to ride around in the outside playground. Toddler Yum will start on Monday. And in the meantime, we’ve been reading Toddler Yum’s favorite new book, “Llama Llama Misses Mama” all about Llama Llama’s trials and tribulations on his first day at a new school missing mama. We’ve been stressing the part where “Llama Mama comes back” and I think that is helping as well. For her last day at her old school, I tried something I’d read about in the The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution book by Elizabeth Pantley- I drew “my” face on Toddler Yum’s hand and told her that if she got lonely or missed her Mommy, all she had to do was look at her “mini mama” on her hand and remember that her mama loves her and will come back to get her. It really seemed to help.

So- with a bit of our life squared away, hopefully I’ll be able to get some serious work done on my dissertation and even find time to develop new recipes here. You may have seen my old recipe for A gluten-free wholegrain Indian Naan. It called for yogurt, greek yogurt specifically (European yogurt is too runny). But this wouldn’t work for anyone on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, and my little dairy-free Toddler Yum couldn’t have it either. I thought it would be interesting to play with the flour blend more, and to try using coconut cream instead of yogurt. To supplement the coconut milk, I used the new Pacific original hazelnut milk which they sent me to review. (Toddler Yum is a big fan of the stuff, and I don’t mind it even though I don’t generally care for hazelnuts.) To my delight, it worked perfectly and might even be better than the original! It went beautifully with some of my favorite toor dal (I use peanut oil, coconut oil, or mustard oil instead of ghee to make the Ghee Tarka variation). These naan can also be sliced in half and filled with whatever filling you like. This makes a small but filling recipe that is hardly more difficult than pancakes and a lot more interesting! *Note: because I have an annoying gas oven, it is hard to estimate how long it would take on an electric oven. Start with the given time and then, if it isn’t done enough, extend (non broiler) baking time in five minute increments.

Gluten-free Dairy Free Wholegrain Coconut Naan
Ingredients
1/2 Cup Brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
3 tbsp. amaranth flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons dried active yeast
1 can full-fat coconut milk WITHOUT thickeners like Chaokoh (chilled but NOT shaken)
1/2 cup hazelnut or other non-dairy milk
1 egg, whisked

Directions
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 500F.

Combine dry ingredient in a medium-large bowl from brown rice flour through baking powder, and whisk to combine.

Collect the coconut CREAM that has risen to the top of the chilled coconut milk can first in a liquid measuring cup. I use a large spoon but you may also have good luck with a small spatula. For the last bit I poured the milk through a fine strainer and collected the cream remained on top of the strainer. I had about 3/4 cup coconut cream in my can. Combine thin coconut milk with hazelnut milk or other non dairy milk to have a cup of liquid. Warm the thin liquid in a microwave until barely warm. If you heat it so that it is hot rather than warm, just let it sit until lukewarm. Whisk sugar into your warm dairy-free milk and then add your yeast. When it foams, pour into your bowl with the dry ingredients. Then add your coconut cream and whisked egg and fold together. You should have a fairly thick batter that is not runny but not firm enough to pick up with your hands.

Spoon out large rounds of dough onto your parchment paper about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch high. (Or smaller, to your preference. Larger may be difficult to manage.) Smooth out top with a large spoon. If you like you can dampen your hands with water and make the tops really silky and smooth.

Bake in the oven on 500F until golden brown. In my rather freakish gas oven, it took about 15 minutes but yours may take less time so watch carefully. Then I finished them off under the broiler for a little extra browning. Watch them like a hawk during this step! Golden brown is one thing and char-grilled is quite another.

Notes
These were amazingly soft and fluffy. The coconut flavor was nice and subtle without overpowering the recipe, and I was surprised by how nice the touch of amaranth was for making them taste whole-grain. Yummy with toor dal!!!
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