Friday, November 27, 2009

Chocolate Orange Raw Pie

This is a vast improvement over the pie I posted a couple weeks ago and I took it to a party last night.   It's quick, it's yummy, it's about as good for you as a pie can get and it doesn't turn brown on top!  I'm sending it to Becky Holms' Douglas County News. 

Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of a pie pan or springform pan with removeable bottom.

The crust:
2 c. cashew pieces
2 c. raw carob
1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. raw extra virgin coconut oil
4 tbsp. raw honey
Mix in food processor until it forms a ball.  Press onto bottom of pan and place pan in refrigerator.  It will firm to a hard cookie crust.  If you don't want it quite so hard, use less coconut oil. 

2 small to medium avocadoes
1/3-1/2 c. raw honey
pinch salt
2 heaping tbsp. raw extra virgin coconut oil
1-2 tbsp. water if necessary to get the blender moving
Once that is mixed, add:
1 c. carob powder and 2 tbsp. cocoa powder if you are a normal person
          or 2/3 c. cocoa plus 1/3 c. carob if you are a chocoholic
          if you do the latter you will probably need more honey
Blend again until silky smooth.  You will probably need to start and stop the blender several times to keep it from overheating.  Place this chocolate layer on top of the chocolate crust.  Re-refrigerate.

Clean blender and blend until silky smooth:
2 large mangoes
3 tbsp. orange juice concentrate
1 tsp. ginger
1-2 tbsp. honey depending on sweetness of mango - can also use stevia
1/2 c. coconut oil
1-2 tsp lemon juice
pinch salt
lemon zest.

Spoon the orange layer on top of the chocolate layer.  Re-refrigerate. 

This will set in about an hour and it is seriously yummy.  It delighted people at a party today who eat lots of sugar and junk.  I'm opening their eyes gradually, one recipe at a time!

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza, gluten free! (or garlic bread)

I literally moaned when I took my first bite of this.  This is AWESOME!  Throw all your other pizza crust recipes away, even if I wrote them! :)

I avoid commercial yeast because it gives me indigestion.  Between the lack of yeast and the lack of gluten, creating something that tasted like real bread that actually ROSE has been interesting.  The last pizza dough I created tasted great, but got gummy after sitting for awhile, and became dog food after I put it in the refrigerator.  (The dog was not impressed!  Of course, he's a picky dog...) 

This dough stays fluffy for several days on the counter or in the refrigerator.  The secret is to soak (make more digestible) virtually all the flour in beer, reserving a tiny bit to mix with baking soda and xantham gum at the last minute.  Eggs and flax also help it rise and hold texture. 

I've included options for making a garlic bread using Montina flour blend, which I bought inexpensively in bulk, or a pizza or foccacia dough using rice and tapioca flours.  You could certainly use either types of flour.  The important difference is in how the dough is cooked.  The pizza dough needs very high heat to create a more solid, chewy bottom crust, or else it's just bread with stuff on top.

Mix   1 1/2 c. sorghum flour
          1 1/2 c. montina flour blend or
              1/2 c. each white and brown rice flours and tapioca starch
          1 c. beer
          1 c. water
Cover and let sit at least 12 hours at room temperature.  It will have more flavor if left 24 hours.  Stir it once or twice during this time period. 

Preheat oven to 400 for bread or 500 for pizza or foccacia.
Mix    1/4 c. montina blend or white rice flour
           1/2-1 tsp. salt
           1 1/2 tsp. each baking soda and xanthan gum
           1/2-1 tsp. garlic
           for bread: 1 tbsp. onion flakes or chives
           2 tbsp. ground flax seed
Combine beer batter and above dry ingredients with:
          2 eggs
          1/4 c. olive oil (for pizza or foccacia) or 1/4 c. melted butter (for bread)
          2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar

For pizza or foccacia:  pat into 2 greased round cake pans, making the outsides much higher than the center.  Rup on a little olive oil.  Bake at 500 degrees on lowest rack of oven 10 minutes until set.  Add toppings and return to oven under broiler until toppings are done. 

For bread:  pat into a 9x13 pan, brush olive oil on and sprinkle with chopped onions if you desire, or brush butter or egg wash on.  Bake at 400 degrees until a tester comes out clean, about 35 minutes. 

By the way, the dog loves both of these versions. 

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Gluten Free Black Bottom Pie for the Holidays

Following is a recipe that tastes really bad for you. My version is still quite sweet, but is far healthier than the recipe it was named after, and also is uncooked, leaving the enzymes naturally present in the food available to help you digest it! This is excellent party fare.

Two ingredients, avocado and coconut oil, are unusual and fairly expensive, but are indispensable. The avocado flavor disappears into the dessert, but its creamy texture transforms the bottom layer. California Haas avocados work best. Coconut oil, which solidifies in cool temperatures, replaces cornstarch and adds subtle flavor. Coconut oil also contains antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Unlike other oils, it actually boosts metabolism.

You may make this pie less expensive in both dollars and calories by omitting the middle layer, but I like all three layers together. If you choose to make a triple layer pie, place 1 1/2 c. hazelnuts or pecans in 3 c. filtered water and leave to soak for 6-8 hours before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe.

Bottom layer: Blend 2 small to medium avocados, 1/3-1/2 c. raw honey (1/2 c. is more realistic), a pinch of salt, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 heabping tbsp. raw virgin coconut oil and 1-2 tbsp. water if necessary to get the blender moving. Blend until silky smooth and spoon into prepared pie crust (see notes below). Rinse the blender.

Middle layer: Drain water from nuts. Blend with 1/3 c. raw honey, 2 heaping tbsp. coconut oil, 2 tsp vanilla and 1-3 tbsp. water if necessary. Spoon on top of chocolate layer.

Top layer (double the ingredients in this layer if you omit the middle): Blend 3 ripe bananas, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, 1-2 tsp. vanilla (to taste) and 3 heaping tbsp. coconut oil. Pour onto nut layer. Sprinkle with cinnamon, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate pie to firm.

Use your favorite precooked pie shell, or just scatter pecan chunks and ground pecans thinly on the bottom. I usually just dust the pan with ground pecans; this recipe fits perfectly that way. You may need a deep dish pie pan if you use a crust. This would also look great in parfait glasses, although I'd place the banana layer in the middle to keep it from browning.

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Gluten Free Pizza Crusts - one potato based, one beer batter

Both of these are much less expensive than purchasing a gluten free pizza crust mix.  They are sturdy enough to hold toppings without crumbling apart when you pick them up, although the potato crust pizza should be cut in small squares rather than in triangles.  I prefer the taste and texture of the beer batter dough.  However, since I don't drink, I had to actually buy beer just to experiment with the pizza dough, which seems unfrugal!  "Decent" beer is now a dollar a bottle! Jeepers! (Though I imagine Busch and Rolling Rock would do!)  Fortunately, my first trial was excellent and didn't require multiple trials, unlike my ongoing attempts to make a fine-textured sourdough bread.  
Potato Crust Pizza - using leftover mashed potatoes
Mix 1 1/2 c. brown rice flour, 1/4 c. tapioca starch, 3 tsp baking powder, 1/4-1/2 tsp salt, 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder.  Add 1 1/2 c. thick leftover mashed potatoes, 2 large eggs, 3 tbsp olive oil. 
Mix in, divide batter in two and pat into bottoms of two greased 9x13 baking pans.  Periodically moisten your hands with water.  This will be a very thin crust pizza to use with bold flavors so the taste of potato doesn't interfere with the toppings.  Bake on bottom rack at 450 degrees until golden and fairly firm.  Remove from oven, brush on some olive oil, pour sauce over, sprinkle on extra basil or Italian seasonings and add toppings.  Return to oven until toppings are browning and cheese has melted.  You may wish to broil it the last two minutes. 

Beer Batter Pizza Dough - a very realistic flavored and textured dough!
Mix 2 c. brown rice flour, 1/2 c. tapioca starch, 1/2 tsp each salt and garlic, 3 tbsp olive oil, 2/3 c. beer, 1 c. water.  (You could also try 1 c. beer, 2/3 c. water if you want to increase the yeasty flavor.)
Pour into greased round cake pans (2 or three depending on how thick you want it), push some of the dough to the edges so the center is a little concave to combat the natural doming that occurs while rising.  Place in a warm place for 3 1/2 hours or so.  It will look sort of fluffy, but won't double in bulk.  Place in a 450 degree oven until it browns at the edges and is firm in the middle.  Then rub a little olive oil on, add toppings and place back in the oven until toppings are brown and the cheese is melted.  I like to turn the oven up to 500 degrees for the last few minutes so the very bottom of the crust is both quite solidified and crispy. 

I think this dough has very good possibilities to become a gyro wrapper as well, but I've had enough dough for awhile and won't experiment more for a week or so.  This has been a delightful foray into comfort food, but now I'm feeling fat... 

At, the author recommends water kefir as an agent to help gluten free doughs rise.  One of these days I'm going to try that, too, but that is definitely an item that has to be purchased over the internet.  There aren't any stores around here that carry that sort of thing! 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

the celiac disease/ heart disease connection and local food

I read this morning that people with celiac disease are 47% less likely to die of cancer, but 48% more likely to die of heart disease.  Cardiomyopathy (a defect in the heart muscle itself that may go along with tachycardia or arrythmia, weak valves and edema) appears to be relatively common among celiacs.  2-3 times as many celiacs get heart transplants than the general population and insufficient blood flow and spitting up blood, which I was doing a lot of before my attack, also appear to be relatively common. 

My thoughts:  maybe celiacs have less cancer because the disease almost FORCES them to avoid processed foods.  Gluten is not only in bread, but also is in many products that contain carcinogenic ingredients like msg and nitrates. 

However, gluten free cookies and crackers, which are commonly available, are just as likely to contain trans fats, which are horrible for the heart, as regular cookies and crackers.  Celiacs have a great deal more trouble digesting and holding onto nutrients because of intestinal damage.  Although the intestines will gradually heal in those who follow their gluten free diet religiously, years of malnutrition may take quite a toll on the heart muscle.  Virtually all celiacs are deficient in B complex vitamins, especially folic acid, and some are deficient in selenium. 

The good news:  I read elsewhere that selenium supplementation is very helpful to cardiomyopathy patients.  Since I eat 90% local food, I looked up where I live now and where I lived previously on a map of selenium in the soil.  And guess what?  I have lived in selenium deficient areas 43 of the 44 years I've been on this earth!  So I've got some on order from, along with a good raw multivitamin. 

Selenium deficiency is the only negative I've found to eating local foods.  Otherwise, I am happy to eat local, even when summer produce is no longer available.  Since I do not eat winter produce in the summer and summer produce in the winter (with the exception of bananas, which are a cheap source of both potassium and tryptothan), I don't feel deprived.  By October, I haven't eaten a potato in five months, and suddenly, although I eat a lot of raw food, baked and boiled potatoes seem like an indulgence to me.    Apples are awful in the summer.  But I eat three a day, raw, most of the winter.  They are a handy lunch food, along with carrots and celery.  I don't tire of them until they start losing their crispness and juiciness, about February or so. 

I am grateful to learn that there may be a natural treatment for me so I don't have to go under the knife.  I've had two fairly comfortable nights in a row.  I have been taking my natural diuretic and I have avoided gluten like the plague, even in tiny amounts like in soy sauce.  Mom came to help me with the shop and took me out for gluten free pizza at Pedotti's.  I wasn't hungry until it got to the table and it smelled so good, I became ravenous and devoured my half with gusto.  Apparently the owner's son has celiac disease and so they offer quite a few gluten free selections.  Mom, who can eat regular pizza, agreed that Pedotti's pizza was delicious.  So if you're ever in Sutherlin, stop in!  They are just a few blocks off I-5, next to the visitors' center.