Monday, April 5, 2010

Gluten Free Recipes and Stuff

So many friends have asked for my recipes, and ask me how I actually cook with 20+ foods to avoid, so even though this blog has been primarily about my writing life, I am going to have a few posts about my cooking life.

It kind of makes sense, since it does affect what I write . . . I don't usually every portry my characters eating much . . . just realized that a few days ago.

So, for starters, there is the flour mix. Gluten-free, Corn-free, rice-free, and mostly soy-free cooking doesn't happen with a single package of flour picked up at the grocery store. There are flour mixes available, but usually they have one of the above flours in them, or tapioca or potato flour. My daughters and I have some minor issues with tapioca flour on an occassional basis so I don't cook with it. Potato flour is an acquired taste, and we haven't acquired it yet.

In the past I've used a combination of Bob's Red Mill flours, and flour I've picked up at the health food store in bulk packages. These are a few of my favorite flours and flour type additives:
"Sweet" white sorghum flour
Garbanzo Bean and Fava Bean flour (mixed together in a Bob's Red Mill package)
Arrowroot Meal
Amarath flour
Almond Meal
Flaxseed Meal
And I've tried Teff flour . . . but think it's best in tiny amounts.
Quinoa - like it cooked like rice, but not in it's flour form.

The flours I actually use on a regular basis:
Sorghum Flour
Garbanzo Bean and Fava Bean flour
Arrowroot meal

Why: Because these three flour mixed together in equal amounts seem to make a good cooking base for most recipes. Recently, I discovered that I could use a lot less Arrowroot and get a better flavor for cookies, pancakes and bread - so I am experimenting with percentages right now.
Amarath flour is awesome, but my oldest daughter has an allergy/intolerance to it that we discovered after a year of cooking with it.

The reason I use the whole "allergy/intolerance" is that often people think that "intolerance" means picky eater, or that certain symptoms go with either an allergy or an intolerance: like rashes are only with allergies, and IBS/digestive troubles only come with intolerances.

Our experience: We get both rashes, and digestive troubles (stomach through bowels) with most of our "trouble" foods and we have "intolerances".

We've also had sores in our mouths (feels like I have weeping wounds in there), headaches, and fatique (yes, this is a measurable symptom). I once slept over 24 hours after eating freshly caught trout . . . my parents thought they were going to have to have the rangers give me a helicopter ride out of Bowron Lake Provincial Park in B.C., but I woke up tired, crabby, and determined to canoe and hike the rest of the trip. I highly recommend canoeing and hiking now, but I avoid most fish.

Anyway, all grouching aside, allergy free cooking can be an adventure in experimentation, just one ingredient at a time. If you or someone you love needs to cook differently, try to see the bright side of it. Keep looking for the flour mix, or the ingredients list that works best for your needs and for your taste buds.

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