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Good gluten-free bread machine results

(As usual, you can click through for a larger version of any photo.)

I was reminded again today, baking another loaf of bread, that I hadn’t yet gotten this posted. I’m still having problems with the osteomalacia, and have been running into some symptoms of the vitamin D deficiency (and hypocalcemia) again this winter in spite of supplementation, including the low energy and fatigue. So I haven’t been able to post as much lately as I’d like. There are a lot of step-by-step recipe photos waiting for writeups. *wry smile*

But, it took me a while to figure out a consistently good bread machine recipe and techniques for basic sandwich-type bread, and I thought I should share what’s been working well here.

I lost the first recipe I was getting consistently good results from, and haven’t been able to find it again online. But, I was glad to try this one: Finally, Really Good Sandwich Bread: Our Favorite Gluten Free Bread Recipe, from Gluten Free Cooking School.

That looks to be a good basic recipe (with no dairy, and the option of egg replacement), but of course I had to fiddle with it. 😉 Here’s the version I’ve been using:

  • 1.5 packages of fast-acting yeast, or roughly 1 tablespoon
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 0.5 c./about 125mL water a bit over body temperature. As long as it’s not hot enough to burn your skin, it’s OK.

Mix that up in a coffee mug, and set it aside for the yeast to proof while you get everything else ready.

In another bowl (I just use a handy British pint measuring cup), mix the dry ingredients together:

  • 2.5 cups/British pint/roughly 600mL flour blend (I’ve been using roughly a third each of chickpea flour/besan, brown rice or sorghum flour, and finely ground white rice flour)
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste, since this makes a fairly hefty loaf and I like salt 😉

In the bread machine loaf pan, combine:

  • 2-3 lightly beaten eggs, preferably at room temperature
  • 1 c./250mL kefir, buttermilk, or yogurt warmed to about body temperature (a good use for any that’s gone very sour!)
  • 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter

By this time, the yeast should be threatening to foam out of the cup, and we’re ready to go. 🙂

As with most baking, the behavior here will vary depending on your ingredients, the weather, and especially your particular bread machine. But, this is what works best with mine: a circa 2004-vintage Kenwood model, which helpfully came with a GF cycle I didn’t even know I needed then! If yours doesn’t have that, the cake setting is supposed to work pretty well. A GF dough doesn’t want more than one rising period, so the regular bread cycles don’t work as well.

I didn’t think to get photos before everything was mixed up in the pan, either when I took these photos or today.

But, add the proofed yeast into the pan with the other liquid ingredients. I have found that it works best to start the cycle before beginning to add the dry ingredients gradually and carefully, so it doesn’t throw flour all over the place. Especially with the xanthan gum in there, it tends to glump up and need more stirring to mix up properly if you just dump all the flour in there before turning the machine on.

It still takes more attention during the mixing and kneading stage than a wheat flour bread would, because the dough needs to be wetter and doesn’t move around the pan as freely. A rubber spatula is your friend, with a table knife to scrape the sticky dough off it back into the pan. 🙂 You’ll need to scrape the sides of the pan down, and make sure it all gets properly mixed. I usually fold the dough over with a spatula a few times later on during the mixing/kneading process, just to make sure it’s uniform.

The dough consistency should be kind of like a thick br0wnie batter starting out; it also takes a while for rice and bean flours to absorb liquid, so hold off on adjusting the consistency for at least five minutes after it’s thoroughly mixed up.

It’s hard to get decent photos inside a working bread machine, so this is what we end up with instead. 😉

Dough near the end of the kneading time. This loaf still turned out a little moist and dense, but that’s better than dry and sandy end results!

At the end of the kneading cycle. As you can see, it tends to get a big air bubble around the paddle, at the bottom of the pan. I’m knocking that out with the spatula, and about to smooth the top of the loaf.

As smooth as it’s going to get! It’s hard to get all the gooey dough scraped down off the sides, but that’s good enough.

Even starting out with warm liquid ingredients, the rising time on my machine is still not long enough. I usually have to switch the machine off and let it sit for an extra hour or so, then use the “bake only” cycle.

I was afraid this would collapse if I let it go much longer. You can see how the top is starting to crack, with bubbles visible. That’s a better indication that it’s risen enough than the common “doubled in the pan” standard, in my experience.

And, finally, a finished loaf of bread! This one did turn out a bit denser than I’d wanted, from slightly too-moist dough, but it was still delicious.

Carefully pulling the very hot paddle out of the bottom of the very hot bread with a chopstick! It tends to stick.

This basic dough has also worked well for pizza crust, BTW. You can make the dough a bit stiffer, but this still won’t roll out well. Best just to plonk it onto a well-oiled pan with a good sprinkling of corn meal, and spread it out with your hands. Smoothing it down with slightly wet hands works better for a xanthan gum dough than flouring it for ease of handling, IME.


This post has enough to do with the long-term effects of celiac and gluten sensitivity that I am reblogging it here.

Urocyon's Meanderings

Content note: Discussion of dental fear, with descriptions of bad experiences with dental treatment.

One of my personal worst fears seems to have come true: it looks like I probably have an abscessed molar, and can’t keep putting off having some dental work done. Last night, I went ahead and e-mailed a nearby dental anesthetic clinic to try to set an appointment (yes, luckily there is one!), and have been spending the morning so far avoiding my e-mail and having anxiety attacks thinking about it.

I have never had an abscess before, myself, but seem to have pretty much all the symptoms, including a migraine-level headache and earache and other nerve weirdness on that side of my face. I’ve always been afraid of them, though, because my mom had a serious problem with them, and got very sick a lot and ended up losing a lot of teeth from…

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The Day The LOLcats Died – YouTube

All the Companies Supporting SOPA, the Awful Internet Censorship Law—and How to Contact Them


The Day The LOLcats Died – YouTube.

Country Pie

A slice of cheesy meat-and-rice pie on a plate

I have no idea why this dish is called “country pie”, but that’s what my mom always called it. And, from a quick search, she wasn’t alone. Since most of the versions I’m running across call for instant rice, I’d guess it’s one of those ubiquitous ’70s casserole recipes.

We got a lot of one-dish meat and rice dishes when I was growing up, since it’s fairly quick and easy–and filling on a tight budget. This is a slight twist, involving a rice mixture cooked in a meat crust.

It’s also a great way of using up leftover rice. The one time I tried jasmine rice in this, it turned into an unpleasant-textured solid lump, so I wouldn’t suggest that. Leftover basmati tends to disintegrate when used like this (including brown basmati). Plain long grain rice or medium/long grain brown rice works pretty well. For this batch, I cooked some converted and wild rice we had lurking in the cupboard; sort of like with a red jambalaya, cooking with a tomato sauce like this is what converted rice is good for. 🙂 It keeps a good texture, and there’s enough seasoning that the rather bland taste doesn’t matter.

For a vegetarian version, I have used various veggie loaf mixtures for the crust; my favorite is a lentil loaf similar to this gluten-free one.  As long as you pre-bake the crust until it starts to brown and let it cool to set up a bit before you add the rice filling, it works really well. You can also make up a double batch of the loaf mixture and refrigerate or freeze half of it for later use, to save time.

Country Pie

Meat crust mixture:

  • 1.5 lb. (700g) ground meat — for this, I used the 400g of lean beef we had, bulked out with half a coffee mug of TVP reconstituted with 3/4 of the same cup full of veggie broth with a slug of GF soy sauce thrown in for extra flavor>
  • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped fine
  • 1/4 – 1/2 a sweet pepper, also chopped fine
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp. mixed herbs / Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. paprika (optional, but nice flavor)
  • 1/3 c. (75-100 mL) rolled oats — if you can’t tolerate oats, use about 1/2 c. (125 mL) GF breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • A little water if the mixture is dry when you try to mix the oats in

Basically, you’re making a fairly plain meatloaf mixture.

Chopped veggies, largely because they struck me as pretty. 🙂

The reconstituted TVP, mixed up in the baking dish.

All the crust ingredients in the baking dish

Ready to mix!

Mix it all together, spread it evenly in the dish, and let it sit 20 minutes or so for the oats to rehydrate while you mix up the rice filling.

Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.

Meat mixture spread into a crust in the baking dish

Rice filling

  • 3 c. (750 mL) cooked rice — I cooked a cup (250 mL) of dry for this, with a beef stock cube and some onion (very optional, but nice extra flavor)
  • The other half of the onion, sautéed — That was in the rice here
  • About 1.5- 2 c. (350 – 500 mL) herbed tomato sauce — Spaghetti sauce from a jar is pretty good, but I mixed up my own quick version in a bowl
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • Extra mixed herbs/Italian seasoning if required
  • Extra salt, if your rice wasn’t salted
  • About 1.5 – 2 c. (350 – 500 mL) grated cheese — I used a mix of medium Cheddar and Red Leicester

The bowl of tomato sauce and grated cheese on a plate

Mix the sauce into the rice, with the extra seasonings as required. Then stir in the cheese, and try to get it distributed fairly evenly.


Bake the meat crust for about 10 minutes, to make sure it gets thoroughly cooked in the middle.

Prebaked meat crust

Fill it with the rice mixture.

Rice filling is now in the meat crust

Cover the dish and let it bake for 25 minutes (35 if your rice was cold starting out). Then, remove the lid, spread an additional 1.5 c. (350mL) of grated cheese on the top, and bake it uncovered for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese starts browning. When it’s done, let it sit and cool for 10-15 minutes, and enjoy with a salad!

Finished casserole

“Indian” Rice Pudding with maple, ginger, and sour cream

An individual bowl of rice pudding, sprinkled with allspice and cinnamon

With the bone-chillingly damp cold weather setting in, I’ve had an urge lately for both “Indian Pudding” and stovetop rice pudding. Since I don’t really need lots of sweet, starchy pudding, I got the idea of combining the two.

Before I moved to the UK, I’d never made anything but the baked custard type of rice pudding, usually as a way of using up leftover rice. That’s still what I think of as rice pudding, but the simmered kind is both satisfying and easy to make.

What I did last night was to use flavors I associate with “Indian Pudding” in the rice, and it worked well. Maple syrup is the main sweetener, which also gives lots of extra flavor for the amount of sweetness. Maple syrup and some honey* used to be the only sweeteners available back home, and figured in a lot of dishes. (Along with at least one rather amusing story, in which a mythological character fills up the trees with water so that people won’t just lazily lie around under the trees and let syrup drip into their mouths. *g*) Usually when people think of maple syrup, they think of Canada or maybe Vermont, but sugar maples (among other colder-climate things) grow well all down the Appalachian chain, and back in Virginia, I preferred to buy locally-made syrup and sugar when I could find it. Here, I can find good Canadian syrup more cheaply than back in the US, so that’s what I’m using.

Fake maple-flavored syrup is an abomination, and I don’t say that about many foods! I don’t even consider that to qualify as food. Please don’t pour it into your pudding.

The other main flavor note: ginger. This is also a long-time classic seasoning, with wild ginger (Asarum canadense) growing all over the place back home. (It’s a lot quicker and easier to buy the Asian kind than to go and grub it up, though! Not that many people do anymore.) I was going to use some crystallized ginger in this, but couldn’t find the bag I thought we had, so ended up finely mincing some fresh stuff and supplementing it with dried powder when it wasn’t gingery enough. Cinnamon is a particularly yummy introduced spice, but there is also wild similar-to-allspice back home.

I’d imagine that the “Indian Pudding” started out as a cluster of sweetened and spiced  kanuchi-type dishes, sort of like strawberry shortcake with its original corn base and hickory nut “cream”. People were definitely sweetening mush with maple syrup. I’ve yet to try anything like this made with a rich nut milk, but it sounds delicious!

A note on suitable rice: Pretty much like the recent “risotto”, any kind of shorter-grain rice should work fine here, including the inexpensive Mexican medium-grain rice readily available in the US (which, not surprisingly, looks suspiciously like Spanish paella rice). Japanese/Korean rice also works well. Here in the UK, they sell bags of “pudding rice” labelled as such (which is also good for “risotto” or sushi), but I used some Arborio we had on hand.

For the lactose intolerant: Simmering the milk may or may not help break down the lactose, but it does seem to help make it more digestible for both Mr. Sweden (who can handle smaller quantities than I can!) and me. I still try not to eat more than about a cup of something like this at a time.  YMMV; if you can’t tolerate much lactose, you may want to try using homemade or commercial nut milk or coconut milk (yum!) instead. Soy milk just tastes wrong to me in cooked desserts, in a bitter and unpleasantly beany way.

“Indian” Rice Pudding with maple, ginger, and sour cream

  • 4 c. (1L) milk, preferably whole milk — I started out with 3 c., but needed to add more
  • 1/2 c. (100mL) maple syrup — I tried using half that, but it needed more for flavor
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 tbsp. finely minced ginger plus a little dried — you could just use about 1/2 – 1 tsp. dried, but the little texture contrast with a ginger burst is interesting
  • 3/4 c. (180mL) rice
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 c. (100mL) sour cream
  • Extra sweetener, to taste — I put in another tbsp. of granulated Splenda

Combine the milk, maple syrup, seasonings, and rice in a heavy pan. (The sour cream and extra sweetener if needed doesn’t go in until the end.) Carefully bring it to just below a boil so the milk doesn’t curdle, and gently simmer it over the coolest burner you have, stirring every few minutes.

A heat-diffusing tile might be handy; I wished I’d gone ahead and bought one, dealing with our newish stove which has higher gas flow than the previous one, even on the simmering burner! With an electric stove, you might want to use a double boiler.

It will need more attention and more frequent stirring after 10-15 minutes, when the rice starch really starts thickening the milk. Simmer it until the rice is cooked through to your taste, which took me a little longer than the usual rice-cooking time with the lower heat and stirring.

If it starts looking too thick, add more milk. It will thicken and set up more as it cools, and I prefer more creamy pudding base instead of just a big glob of sweet rice.

A pot of almost-cooked rice pudding that's too thick

Time to add more milk! This will set up into a solid mass when it cools, as is.

When it’s done, take it off the heat and stir in the sour cream for extra richness, and taste it for sweetness. It will also taste less sweet after it cools down. Sprinkle the top with more cinnamon and allspice, and enjoy it either warm or cool! I also drizzled a little more maple syrup on top of mine.

Next time I might also add some chopped-up dried apricots when I take it off the heat. We didn’t have any last night. If you don’t mind the texture contrast, I bet some chopped pecans or walnuts would also work really well on top.

* The official story is that honey came with introduced European honeybees, but I know there are also hiving “black bees” which produce (less) honey and don’t look much like European honeybees. (With all the bee species out there, I haven’t figured out which they might be.) They are enough more aggressive that I only know of one beekeeping acquaintance who hunts down the wild honey from them because the flavor is so good, but he doesn’t even try to keep hives of them! There are also a number of old stories involving honey trees, so overall I would take the “no honey” thing with several grains of salt.

Hillbilly Cassoulet

A bowl of bean stew

The fuzziness is from steam

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference store brand does have a couple of kinds of gluten-free sausages (Sicilian and Toulouse), so I picked some up again on a twofer deal. I didn’t feel like just frying them up to have with some potatoes or something, so decided to make a variation on cassoulet with the Toulouse sausages in the slow cooker.

With the British winter weather setting in, I was also craving a big pot of pinto beans. I can’t help it, though Mr. Sweden probably wishes I could. 🙂 So, I decided to combine the two. It worked better than I expected.

The Beans

  • 2/3 of a pound (500g) bag of pinto beans — you can use more or less
  • Water to cover the beans — filtered, in this case, since we have liquid chalk coming out of the faucet
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda, if your water is hard — too much will make them taste soapy

Sort and soak the beans overnight, in plenty of water. Unless the weather’s really hot, they’re usually OK to soak for anywhere between 8 and 16 hours. You can also quick-soak them by bringing them to a boil, then covering them and letting them sit for about an hour in the hot water. Long soaking to start the sprouting process (preferably invisibly) makes them a lot easier to digest, though–a good thing with the musical fruit! An excellent article I ran across: Reducing Phytic Acid in Grains and Legumes.

Drain and rinse the beans. Cover them with fresh water, and bring to a rolling boil. You can continue to cook them on the stove, or move them into a slow cooker.

The Slow Cooker

My slow cooker

With its baleful glowing eye... And, erm, toothpick for a steam vent to make it stop spitting all over the place.

Technically, you could start the beans off on high, straight in the crock, but it will take forever to get up to a boil. (If you’re wanting to cook them on low, definitely boil them for ten minutes in a pot first, to break down the phytohemaglutinin.) If you aren’t going to be leaving it alone to cook all day, you’ll probably want to preheat it before the beans go in. I turned the heating sleeve on high, and let it sit while I was making my coffee today. The crock sat full of hot tap water, a couple of changes, until it was well-heated and unlikely to crack when I set it down in a hot liner! The crock will take ages to heat up on its own, and I was impatient.

Put the beans in the crock. Add more water, if necessary, to make sure they’re well covered. Add the salt and baking soda, if you need it. (Yeah, it will reduce levels of some vitamins, but I figure it’s more important to get the beans cooked properly!) The beans will probably be done in a couple of hours on high, if things were preheated; put on low in the morning, they’ll be ready when you get home at the end of the day. If you’re going to add other stuff, like for this recipe, you don’t want to let them cook to the point that they start falling apart.

Plain cooked pinto beans in the slow cooker

Looking good, if plain!

The additions

Ingredients to put in the beans: sausages, bacon, onion, celery, carrot, garlic

  • 1 lb. (400-500g) sausages — Toulouse, in this case
  • Some bacon (I used the second half of a 200g pack of already-chopped dry cured)
  • A chopped onion
  • Two chopped stalks of celery
  • A couple of chopped carrots — we had leftover cooked ones, so I cut those up and added them later
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced

Brown the sausages in a pan. You don’t have to make sure they’re cooked through (good thing, since those were half-frozen still), just browned on all sides. Let them sit and cool while you fry the bacon in the same pan–with the fairly chunkily chopped onion, celery, and carrot, until the non-carrot veggies are translucent. I also used a little olive oil, since that bacon didn’t have enough fat. Add the sliced garlic, and cook a few more minutes, until it’s also starting to go translucent.

A cast-iron skillet with the bacon and vegetables cooking

Mmm, browning.

Once the sausages are cool enough to touch, cut them into bite-sized pieces. These, I quartered.

Stir the bacon and veggie mixture and seasonings into the simmering beans.


  • Bay leaf
  • Coarsely ground pepper
  • A little crushed red pepper
  • Sprig of fresh rosemary, or some dried
  • Dried thyme and rosemary (add later)
  • A splash of red wine (add later)
  • Salt, to taste, if needed
Added bacon and vegetables, the celery leaves chopped up, and a sprig of fresh rosemary

With the bacon and veggies, chopped leaves from the celery, a bay leaf, and a sprig of rosemary

Add the sausage pieces.

Added the sausage

Let it simmer for about an hour after adding these. About 20 minutes before it’s done, add the dried herbs (thyme, marjoram, rosemary if you’re using dried), and the wine. I also threw in the cooked carrots at this point.

The finished stew, in the slow cooker

Not very photogenic, brownish stews...

Serve with bread, and enjoy! With this, we had the corny gluten-free angel bread.

Hello world!

Welcome to my new blog!

There are a number of Southern cooking sites and gluten-free cooking sites, but not many that combine the two–and not many at all with a focus on Appalachian and Native food. So, I hope this blog will be useful, and help someone else figure out how to fix some of the foods they like in a healthy way.

For more about me and this blog, please see the About page.

With any luck, there will be more content coming soon. 😉