Start now. Go gluten-free for a festive splurge
Don't put off what could be a serious warning from the doctor.
Don't compromise. If you really want a gluten-free pizza, then make a plan.
A pizza is basically a lovely grilled cheesy topping with tasty odds and ends. The pastry underneath is the problem with a gluten intolerance. If you are serious about getting help with the wheat-free / gluten-free lifestyle but still can't leave the slice of pizza alone then just eat the topping. You can even transfer it to a rice cake. Rice cake? Yes, from now on you keep a supply of them with you. Now it is time to work out a strategy and cut out all the direct sources of gluten that face you at every meal. Rice cakes or crackers are easy to find and buy, so keep them as an immediate substitute for bread or pastry. You can use the recipe I give to make pizza to suit your blood type, as well as being gluten-free. Here is an example of a Turkish pizza.
Chuck out all the bread, cakes, biscuits and rolls you see lying around.
Do not procrastinate or try to gradually clear out the old food. Pack it all into a bag and give it away - to any feeding scheme. Trying to hoard it is as bad as an alcoholic keeping a few shots of "medicinal" brandy in the house. It is great if the rest of the family takes up the gluten-free challenge. Then you have support and a great and appreciative audience to cook for. Anybody can whip up a gluten-free storm. Try out these and other gluten-free ideas at Info Barrel and get to "know the dough". It is empowering to have a basic gluten-free flour mixture that works for you. From this, you can make just about anything by adding eggs, oil or butter. But first, the rice cake basics so you can get up and go gluten-free!
Rice cakes are boring. But not the toppings. Go gourmet with rice cakes!
Rice cakes are there for you, just like aspirin is for a headache. Only take it if you really need to! They are no substitute for home baking. Get into the habit of making a good supply of gluten-free muffins and quiches for school and office lunches instead, but there is nothing wrong with the rice cake routine. Keep the rice cakes on standby because you are not (never ever) going to use regular bread again. Rice cakes need to be piled up with delicious fresh toppings and eaten at once. Never make a jam or Marmite, lettuce and cheese “sandwich” and leave it to get soggy in a plastic lunch box. Eat the crackers fresh out of the packet. Take the fillings separately. Think guacamole, cottage cheese, sweet chilli sauce, mashed banana and chutney or slices of cucumber with cheese and pickles. Otherwise be like me and have these toppings wrapped in lettuce leaves instead!
Rice crackers can also drive you crackers so make nachos
Nachos are made from corn. Sure, they are gluten-free so there is no need to exclude them on your diet, but look corn products that are free from GMO contamination. But if you do not tolerate corn products and are under Doctor’s orders to cut the corn rather make nachos out of rice crackers. They are light and crispy and very "moreish". A lovely substitute for what used to be a plate of sausage rolls or stodgy sandwiches or corn that boats up your belly.
Adding a layer of mashed-up cooked beans with a little barbecue sauce or gluten-free tomato salsa makes a satisfying and nutritious snack. If you are on a cheese ration (some blood types have to) then top the beans with chopped onions and herbs and add a little grated cheese before grilling them lightly. Lazy people know by now that a few seconds in the microwave is all you need to melt the cheese. Serve them on a bed of shredded lettuce with guacamole, cucumber wedges and a tomato salsa.
Gluten-free pasta – so easy!
Most supermarkets have a good supply of rice noodles and pasta shapes. Some are combinations of rice and millet. It is nice to add fresh chopped-up vegetables to the pasta and cook it in the same pot. The drained liquid can be thickened with rice flour to make a white sauce. Add some cream or milk, mustard, white pepper and parmesan cheese. Top the dish with tomato sauce for a hearty Italian style meal. Have it with a fresh salad - and no bread.
The flat rice noodles are good for Asian dishes. The noodles can be soaked in water and added to stir-fried vegetables. Use a combination of sesame oil and soya sauce to add authentic flavours. Poppadums are also available made of rice, for blood types who do not eat lentils. You can fry dried rice noodles in hot oil for crispy snacks or as a base for vegetables, like the example below. I first soaked the noodles in water to make them flexible. But they did not get crispy enough and took a long time to dry out. The traditional way is to gently break up a packet thin rice noodles and fry them as a "bird's nest" base for the stir fry. This is delicious!
Basic gluten-free tortilla (flat bread) mix for all blood types
Do not even try to bake a big fluffy loaf of gluten-free bread to replace the bread habit. It takes a lot of time and skill to do this without wheat flour. It is not a good idea for beginners to buy a gluten-free baking mixture either. You need to check up on the ingredients it contains. Most of them will not suit your blood type and many of the gums used cause severe indigestion, so check up on the lists. Some of the mixtures are very expensive and the results are heavy and disappointing.
Rather begin with flatbread. Think pizza, tortilla, chapatis and flapjacks.
The basic flour mixture can be made in bulk and kept in the fridge or freezer until required. It is easier to batch it in large quantities at one time and pack it into smaller containers. Each batch makes 15 small balls that can be made into flat pan or oven breads, tortillas, crisps and crackers or even dumplings. This means “bread” to go with Indian, Mexican or Italian food. No animal products are needed, but eggs can be added. You can mix in lentil sprouts and chopped onions into the flour before adding the oil. Try adding pumpkin seeds or grated cheese into the dough. Soon you will be speaking the language of a gluten-free gourmet!
A recipe for gluten-free tortilla. Yield: 16 x small tortillas (13cm diameter.)
Ingredients with suggestions to suit your blood type
- 250 ml cup rice flour (All types)
- 100 ml potato flour(AB) or 50 ml sago flour (O, B, A)
- 100 ml ground up walnuts and sesame or pumpkin seeds
- 5 ml baking powder
- 1 ml salt
Mix up the dry ingredients. You can also make this in bulk and keep it for future use.
- When ready, add 500 ml boiling water to 250 ml of the dry mix.
- Work it into a ball with a fork.
- Wet your hands and quickly pat it into a ball.
- Keep wetting your hands, dividing it first in half and then repeat to make 16 balls.
- Place each ball between two sheets of thin plastic and press into a thin round disc. They can be stored between sheets of plastic in the freezer.
When ready to bake, turn oven to 180 deg C. Spray the baking sheet with a non-stick spray. Remove tortillas from plastic and place them on the baking sheet. Spray with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. If still frozen they will take a few minutes longer. Remove when they begin to just turn golden in a few places. For soft tortillas pile them up and wrap in a cloth to keep warm and soft. They are prefect after 10 minutes. For crunchy tortillas known as tostadas leave them in the oven, switched off for about 20 minutes.
- 1 It can be used to make a soft tortilla or Indian chappatis substitute when warm and soft.
- 2 Tostadas and nachos are crispy. Yet these are low in fat. You can sprinkle with salt or spice before baking them.
- 3 For low, low-fat baked poppadums, roll the discs out a bit thinner. Mix chilli, cumin or spices into the dough.
- 4 For pizzas you top each "pizza base" tortilla with a tomato salsa and a bit of cheese before baking them.
- 5 For dumplings or gnocchi take a ball and roll it into 4 smaller balls. They can be frozen like this. Toss the fresh or frozen balls into a soup, slushy curry or vegetable stew that needs to simmer for 10 – 20 more minutes. You can mix in other herbs and spices.
- 6 For a creamy dumpling dessert add a little sugar to the mixture. They can be steamed, boiled or microwaved. Serve them in thin custard or some coconut cream to which you add cardamom, ginger or cinnamon. This is a traditional chaser for a hot spicy curry. Ideally your dough mix should contain ground almonds for this.There are more ideas for gluten-free bakes to use as every day replacements for bread and cookies. Rice flour is a good base for any kind of baking. It depends on who is baking!
Other products that are made from rice – go for rice wraps!
Buy some rice paper discs. They are also called spring roll wrappers and you can find then at Chinese or Asian food shops. The raw spring roll is a popular starter and it is excellent for a low or not fat diet. For instance,when doing the two days of fat avoidance prior to a liver and gall flush. The wraps are easy to prepare and keep in advance but they are sticky. It is best to keep them on dry lettuce leaves for this reason.
- Soak a disc of rice paper in a flat dish with some water until it is soft but not yet slimy.
- Pull it up and shake off the excess water and transfer it to a dinner plate.
- Place the filling in the middle of the disc so that the items will be against the single sheet.
- Arrange them attractively, for example flowers and leaves first. Then add lettuce leaves, basil and some of the filling mixture. Lastly place avocado in the centre.
- Bend over the two long sides and roll it over so the decoration n is on top.
- Cut in half before serving and arrange on a plate with other salads and pickled ginger.
Typical fillings can include: grated apple and carrot, finely diced ginger and spring onion, olive oil, salt, fresh herbs and lime juice for instance. You can make up your own concoctions depending on what is available and what you need to have when on a particular diet or as a vegan or vegetarian.
Also use the rice paper to make fried or baked spring rolls
Soak the rice paper in a flat bowl of water until it is soft. Transfer to a dinner plate and load up the filling in the middle, but his time at the top edge of the round sheet. Now when you close over the two flaps you can roll it and make more layers of rice paper around the filling. To fry them, heat 1 cm of oil in a pan. Coat the spring rolls in rice flour and fry them on both sides in hot oil until they are crispy. Serve on lettuce leaves with your favourite sweet chilli sauce. Try a variation for dessert, using apple. You can try baking other items with rice wraps instead of regular pastry. Have a go at samosas and
Grill the rice paper for low-fat crisps, poppadums or "pizza bases"
This is for adults to supervise as it is quite dangerous to do. Spray the dry rice paper on both sides. Make sure the grill is very hot and that you have a cloth handy. Place the rice paper disc on a baking sheet as close to the red-hot element as you can. Within seconds it begins to puff up. Remove it quickly. You may need to turn the disc around to complete the process. You can also fry the rice paper, but it curls up and some areas remain hard. It is better to fry broken pieces. Enjoy them salted or as something to serve with sauces and dips or with Indonesian food, such as Nasi Goreng.
Take up the creativity challenge with rice paper!
I made fried mint crisps, as you can see in the picture below. I soaked the paper, slipt it in two and filled the "crepes"with fresh chopped mint and brown sugar before folding them in half. Then I coated it in quinoa flour and fried it in a little sizzle of oil on both sides. The sesame roll was terrific, but only the next day when it had time to get crispy. I used brown sugar to coat the sesame seed wrap. When frying soaked rice paper the result can be soggy, so make the most of it. Try baking them in a hot oven on a greased baking sheet. One needs to experiment and keep at it. After all, whatever yo make will be gluten-free and sort of edible with a nice sauce. I hope you enjoy these ideas and remember to also eat rice in other ways - every day! There are also a lot more ideas from other gluten-free gurus at Info Barrel to explore - enjoy!
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