Corn Free and sometimes Dairy Free cooking

Monday, December 03, 2007


Dairy Free

Today was my day to experiment with homemade ketchup. I made some home canned when I was first diagnosed with this corn allergy. I realized in short order that I really missed ketchup and that having it available would open up lots more variety in my home cooked meals. That batch of ketchup was really tasty, but man it sure was a lot of work! Since I am now manufacturing most of what I and my family eat these days, I save that sort of energy and time for things that really make a big difference. I approached this "ketchup" project figuring I could find a way to make a good, ketchup, similar to the standard big name brands most folks buy at the grocery store without too much work, time or, trouble. I have been working on it for a while now (months to be honest) and think I have perfected the stuff. The final recipe was refined/perfected today!

With all of that said, I have to say that the homemade, from fresh tomatoes, stuff was marvelous, much tastier than than storebought brands. I might make some again someday but, I will set it aside for things where you really savor the ketchup, not for adding to sloppy joe's, meat loaf, bbq sauce, etc.
Home canned ketchups begin with fresh tomatoes which are them peeled and seeded (easily done with a food strainer,, then they are simmered with vinegar, and seasonings for a long time, long enough that the extra moisture is evaporated making it thick. I have searched around for recipes and I found most of the recipes to be much sweeter than the standard bottled, brand name, ketchups. Most home canned ketchups are much more complex combinations of flavors, requiring a good number of spices. Many of us that have been working at this corn free lifestyle for awhile and, likely have such things in the cupboard but I expect many reading this do not have them on hand (yet). The recipe I wound up using begins with tomato paste, vinegar, and simple spices. Once they are mixed they are simmered together (covered) for 15-20 minutes to make sure the flavors are all melded nicely. This can be made while cooking a meal if there is a spare back burner, it only needs a very low simmer and an occassional stir.
I have a teenage son with a very discriminating palate. When I first began cooking corn free, I used quite a bit of cider vinegar and he has come to hate the flavor. He can generally pick it out no matter how well I have tried to cover it up. Even still, I persisted in making three versions of this ketchup, one with cider vinegar, one with Passover vinegar and one with safe white wine vinegar. I made my son taste test them without knowing which was which. I did so to be sure that it would taste good to more folks than just me. Making it worthwhile to pass it on to you. I also wanted to know which one my husband and I preferred so, I have held several blind taste testing, and I have been very surprised at the results. I will test it one more time tonight and post if there are new results. Tonight I will serve "safe" hot dogs for supper and have one more blind test.
I am delighted to report that so far, the cider vinegar version is in the lead! Even my son chose the cider vinegar version, hands down! I truly thought that the Passover vinegar version would be the big winner. I am pleased to say it was not a favorite, though it is rated as really pretty good. I have nothing against Passover vinegar except for the fact that I have to stock up once a year when it's a vailable and others may have trouble finding it at all. I did buy it by the case last year and I have used it for many things, including some pickles (Clones of Vlassic Kosher Dills, I'll post that recipe later.) So, the final version posted below, is cider vinegar. keep in mind that any of the three vinegars, cider, passover or, white wine vinegar can be used and will make a passable ketchup so, use what is available to you. My recipe includes less salt and less sugar than many others, I built it by taste and felt it was really not needed. If you prefer more of either try adding 1/4 cup of syrup for more sweetness and 1/2 t of salt for a saltier version. Do taste as you go to get it the way you and your family like it!
The white wine vinegar version might be really nice as a base for a bbq sauce :)
2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
3/4 cup heavy syrup (50% water, 50% sugar mixture)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
Wisk carefully - it will splash!-until well blended
Bring to a boil and then allow to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, stir frequently.
Cool and pour into container(s)
Store in refrigerator.
Recipe makes about 3 - 1/4 cups of ketchup.
(Recipe formatted with the Cook'n Recipe Software from DVO Enterprises.)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sour Dough Lesson 1

You will need, a container. A large bowl, a plastic pitcher, or a crock.

The crock from your crock pot is a great choice (if you will not be using it for a while, they are often for sale very cheaply in 2nd hand stores). The even temperature maintained makes a crock a great place to feed and develop your sour dough starter. If you do not have a crock available, fear not! Over the years, I have used a plastic 12 cup tupperware bowl, a large glass mixing bowl, a bean pot, etc. The vessel/bowl you use must not be made of any kind of metal the heavier the better. You will need a lid/cover of some sort, the lid needs to have a place for air exchange. If it's a pitcher put the lid on with the pouring part open as though you are going to pour. If it's a bowl cover with plastic but allow for air exchange (I use a disposable shower cap type thing). Using tupperware? Just leave a small portion of the lid unsealed. The crockpot will get enough air through the lid, it does not make an airtight seal. The container needs to be large enough to hold the approximately 3 cups of starter and allow space for it to bubble up. One person, living in Florida mentioned to me, a concern about bugs. If this is a concern for you and the bugs are creepy crawlies, place this vessel (described above) on a glass plate or in a pie plate and then pour a small amount of water in the dish creating a moat.

You will also need water, it is best if the water is not full of chlorine (standard tap water). So, filtered water, good quality spring water, or tap water that has sat out overnight allowing the chlorine to dissipate are all good choices. If you have difficulty growing a proper starter or getting your breads to rise, the first thing you should look at is the water being used.

baking yeast - dry active yeast. I know it all contains some corn but, we will be diluting this while developing the sour dough starter, so it will be nearly non-existent by the time it is used for bread making.

It would be good to have at least 10 pounds of good whole wheat flour on hand. Hard whole wheat is best for this. For some, white wheat may be better, than red wheat especially if you are not accustomed to eating a lot of whole grains. The flavor is lighter and the grain is a bit softer. I used King Arthur White Wheat for my experiments.

Note: Mentally prepare yourself to throw out food, you will be throwing out a good bit of this "starter" as you develop it. It is hard for me to throw out "good food", I have had to get rid of too much stuff because of allergies to be very comfortable with tossing out much of anything. Also, I'm cheap. If I got over it you can too :).

The Starter:

2 c safe whole grain flour (preferably hard wheat, I used King Arthur white wheat flour)
2 c. warm water (105* - use a thermometer)
1 T. or, 1 packet yeast

Before bed, combine ingredients. stir well but don't get too worried about lumps, the fermentation process will break them down. Cover container and place container in a place with a constant temperature, preferably 85*, I use a corner of the kitchen, it's never 85* there. 85* is optimal. In the old days I used an empty drawer in our water bed base.

Next morning it should look different, there may be bubbles, it may be separate with most of the flour floating on top of a watery substance. Stir and leave it alone for the day. (go to step 2)

That night, remove 1 cup of this batter. Toss the rest in the trash, down the drain, whatever. Place the reserved cup full into the bowl. Add 2 cups flour and 2 cups of water, warm is nice, if warming it is too much trouble, room temp will do. NEVER ADD HOT WATER! Stir, cover, allow to rest overnight. (If you forget to tend the starter one night it's okay, just pick up at step 2 the following evening.) Go to step one)

Repeat these 2 steps for about 5 days. If you are worried and want it diluted more, keep going for a few more days. The longer it sits, two nights without "feeding" at a time, the more sour it will become. more than 24 hours without food and in less than optimal conditions may not serve it well. When it's where you want it, put it in a jar in the fridge. Make sure the jar has lots of empty space left in case it bubbles up. Also make sure the lid on the jar can breathe, the jar can break if the seal is air tight. Tupperware works good as it will burp itself :). I save mine in a special sour dough container I got at a thrift store. It's a small, generic crock with a lid that had a rubber gasket on it. I was able to easily remove the gasket, allowing it air space, so it can breath.

This is lesson 1. Easy Cheesy! If there are questions, let ‘em rip! I'll be here to answer. I will be providing a couple of simple recipes in a few days for you to try this stuff to make sure it's diluted enough for you before you go to the trouble of making bread with it. Please feel free to post here or at the Delphi list site, using the subject header, Sour Dough.

Good luck!

A Hearty and Healthy Breakfast

Banana Pancakes

Makes about 9 small pancakes This recipe is easily doubled.

Can be dairy free

You will need:

1 small bowl

1 medium bowl

1 large bowl

Large frying pan or griddle (cast iron or heavy bottom pan is best)

Oil for your pan, I like grapeseed oil or, light olive oil

Wet ingredients:

2 eggs (lightly beaten in a small bowl)

3 small Bananas, or two medium to large bananas I find the perfect amount fits into a dry measuring cup, with a lightly rounded top)

2 Tablespoons butter, Organic Valley salted (substitute dairy free margarine or cooking oil)

1 Tablespoons lemon juice, fresh or KFP

1 Tablespoon sugar, pure cane or beet sugar

Dry ingredients:

1 cup Oat Flour, easily ground from, Quaker rolled oats (place in blender or food processor and grind to flour)

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg (I think fresh ground is best)


Chopped pecans

In medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, add the remaining wet ingredients and the beaten eggs.

In the large bowl, Mix the dry ingredients. Hint: use a whisk and stir to incorporate all the dry ingredients; this will mix them very well, with very little work and no powder spilling and becoming airborne.

Pour the wet, into the dry and mix, just until moistened.

Now, allow the batter to sit, while you get your frying pan or griddle out and get it heated up. The heavier the pan, the better the heat for making pancakes. Choose a cast iron skillet, or a heavy bottom pan. Using a heavy pan the heat of the pan itself will not change as much when you pour the batter, and it will recover more quickly if it’s got a nice heavy bottom. It will also even out the heat from your burner making a nice even heat at every point on your pancake.

Now that the pan is hot, go back and check your batter. At this point your batter will have thickened some, it may have thickened up too much to easily pour from the ladle, you can add a couple tablespoons of milk (cow, soy, rice) or water or juice to thin it just a bit but be careful to not add too much.

Pour small pancakes. The average (not large) ladle will make about 3 small cakes. Allow them to sit on the griddle for about 4-5 minutes. You should see some bubbles on the top (in the batter, at the edge) and it will begin to look a little dry in places. Lift up one edge of a cake, just bit to check your progress. If the cake is browning nicely, flip them over, once! Allow it to finish cooking, this should only take a minute or so longer. Do not flip over again, the flipping will only cause you to, lose more moisture from your wonderful creation, and will steam thru the nice surface/crust you have created on that first side.

I think these and all pancakes are best served immediately and not stacked J just arrange them nicely on the plate.

Serve with maple syrup or "Molly’s Syrup" (recipe to follow soon!)