Yesterday I felt kind of brave and decided to attempt something I usually leave to the aisles of the grocery store…making gluten-free tortillas. I was just in San Diego and spent some time in Old Town where I was able to watch some serious tortilla making pros. These women make the whole process look incredibly easy and the portion of my brain that has an issue with knowing my limits was like yeah I can do that.
So after researching several recipes and making sure I have all the correct ingredients, I set out to make flour tortillas. Here is the thing, a product is only as good as its recipe and recipe is only as good as the person who executes it..I am not completely sure where my experience took a turn..maybe it was my over confidence? I am not sure where things went wrong, however the thing is the tortillas actually tasted pretty good. The problem was they were more of a pita bread consistency AND (this is a BIG and) I am not sure if my skills with the rolling-pin are inadequate or working with gluten-free flour was the issue. The recipe I settled on was Alton Brown’s easy tortilla recipe from food network.com http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/flour-tortillas-recipe/index.html
my tortillas looked like some kind of misshapen mess, absolutely nothing like the goodies made on the streets of san Diego.
I wish I had a photo of my attempt but I was so disappointed with my results that I never bothered to even snap a quick shot of that hot mess.
there is a first time for everything and now I need to get back in the kitchen and figure out if the problem was the lack of gluten that gives flour its elasticity, my measurements are off due to the fact that I did not weigh the flour or if it was the recipe itself.
I am now using Pinterest as a source for inspiration and came across a new gluten free tortilla recipe that I am hoping to try..IF I can find the time..
One would think with the start of school realistically that time to experiment with new gluten free recipes would be non existent. HA! I am the kind of girl who responds better under pressure than not. Take for example, I was home all summer and until we got our new grill, I can count on one hand how many times I actually cooked at home (does heating things in the microwave count as cooking?) Saturday night in the midst of trying to figure out what exactly dinner was and if I possessed the right ingredients the kids decided they wished for me to make Aussie Cheese Fries like the ones found at the Outback Steak House and a light went off in my head..Bloomin Onion sounded good..it sounded really good. Problem is said onion is not Gluten Free. The kids were game for trying the onion, the husband was in too..so the question was how the heck does one make the darn thing?
Believe it or not, cutting and making the onion is a lot simpler than you might expect. Make sure you cut the top and not the root ..here are the instructions via foodnetwork.com http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes-and-cooking/how-to-slice-a-bloominrsquo-onion/pictures/index.html
The next step was finding the recipe to make the onion and converting it to Gluten Free. I am a huge fan of Cup 4 Cup flour, it has served me well in almost every recipe I have used it for so I decided it was the right blend to start with. Initially I tried the Food Network recipe but th batter was kind of blah and lacked the same spice that I am used to at the Outback so I increased the cayenne pepper, added some salt, extra black pepper, paprika and added garlic powder as well ..i like to kick things up a notch or 2. Although I did not soak the onion in buttermilk as I would chicken, I read in some comments on the recipe that people find this method helps the onion petal separate easier and stick less. The next thing was coating the onion and shaking out the excess flour before submerging the whole thing into very hot canola oil that I heated in my Le Cruset dutch oven…a little side rant ..I LOVE this pot, it cost a small fortune to buy but it has been the most versatile and user -friendly cookware I ever owned.
I did fry the onion twice because I needed to space out the petals and make sure the batter that was still raw between the petals actually cooked. The results were 2 not incredibly pretty looking onions but they tasted alright and went well with the sauce I made to dip them into..although the sauce was not as good as I expected the next time I try this I will try a spicy aioli I made a few years ago to go with homemade crab cakes…I served this with some chicken wings that I grilled and came up with a great hard lemonade recipe for the adults and fresh Squeezed lemonade for the kids
So..In the end, I am glad I gave this a whirl..this is definitely a recipe for parties or special occasions but I definitely try it again with a few modifications like soaking the onion first.
Finally gluten free is going mainstream..for really real! Finding decent gluten free food that is ready to make is often a challenge, historically the available options included small companies that are big on price and low in taste..that was until…I found myself in my local Walmart Super Store on Thursday.
I am admitting here that my relationship with Walmart is very love/hate. I hate going to Walmart. The store is big, bright, a pain to get to and they never have enough people working the cash registers so the wait time to check out really makes me think I am crazy for subjecting myself to this torture over and over because nothing changes ..ever. However there are times like Thursday when I find something new in the store I have not seen elsewhere and the end totally justifies the means. So as I grabbed paper towels, cleaning supplies, snacks for school and a few other staples I wandered over to the aisle with yogurt and the cookie doughs and what caught my eye was a small tub that said Gluten Free. I looked over and it was actually a container that said Pillsbury, I nearly wet my pants with excitement. The Pillsbury Doughboy is GLUTEN FREE!!! WOOHOO!!! So of course me being me, I bought every item available to give it a whirl without even looking at the price. However the love part of Walmart kicked in when I looked and the price was $3.99 for a tub of chocolate chip cookie dough..finally reasonably priced gluten free, it was enough to restore my faith in why I venture to Walmart every now and again.
Of course, once again me being me..I got home and instantly started doubting my purchase. After all, I have managed through much trial and error to come up with a method of making gluten free chocolate chip cookies that not only look good, but they also taste really good so if this dough is good, my ego was getting a swift kick. I decided yesterday to give the cookie dough a shot and baked a small batch. Just like regular pop n fresh dough all you do is take the container out of the fridge, preheat the oven to the recommended temperature (in this case 350 F) and spoon the dough onto a cookie sheet. I used a melon baller like I usually do to get a smaller cookie that is nice and rounded and the cookies are evenly sized.
Yeah I hate to admit this..but these were probably some of the best gluten free chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted. They even passed the fussy girl’s taste test so I will be buying these again in the future. So now that we have tried these I have a tub of their gluten free pizza crust and pie dough waiting for me to give them a whirl. I am going to make a calzone and some pop tarts in a bit..I will let you know how they turn out in a post very soon. In the meantime..get yourself some of these cookies..even if it means going to walmart..I kid