Gluten Free Pan Fried Fish

Have you noticed all the chain restaurants releasing their fried fish sandwiches and fish & chips platters to boost sales on the meatless Fridays during Lent? Since I cannot eat them myself, I decided to try my hand at my own fried fish platter. I thought I would share this recipe for the GF Catholics or for anyone who just happens to love fish and chips. I am still on the starch-less Body Ecology diet, so please excuse the broccoli replacing the fries in the photo.

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I noticed most recipes online use rice flour, but I find that quinoa and coconut blend well together to make an excellent breading (more soft than crunchy). There is a fluffiness to quinoa flour that you don’t get with rice and the coconut adds a little natural sweetness. As a bonus, they both are nutritionally better for you than rice flour. The club soda adds to the fluffiness too, as it creates air bubbles in the batter to mimic beer-batter style fish.

Gluten Free Pan Fried Fish

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 2 Fillets

Serving Size: 1 Fillet

Gluten Free Pan Fried Fish

Ingredients

  • Oil for frying (Avocado works well)
  • 2 c quinoa flour, split
  • 1 c coconut flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 ea whole eggs
  • 1 can (12 oz) seltzer water or club soda
  • 2 fillets cod or other white fish

Instructions

  1. Warm oil in fry pan to medium heat.
  2. Reserve 1 cup of quinoa flour in a separate dish.
  3. Mix the other cup of quinoa flour, the coconut flour, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper together.
  4. Cut fish into smaller pieces, if desired.
  5. When oil is hot, mix eggs and seltzer water into the coconut flour blend (it will fizz up) to make a batter.
  6. Coat each piece of fish in the reserved quinoa flour, then dredge it in the batter. Immediately place in oil.
  7. Cook each piece for approximately 5 minutes on each side.
  8. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel lined dish.
http://thehamperedchef.com/2016/02/26/gluten-free-pan-fried-fish/

 

5 Reasons Why Your Gluten Free Recipe Failed

Ever try baking a gluten free cake, only to have it fall flat? Maybe even bread or cookies too? It isn’t your fault! Bread, cake and cookies are staples in our lives and you shouldn’t have to give them up when you go gluten free. Even though it is becoming increasingly easy to find pre-baked GF alternatives in grocery stores and at bakeries, it is still much more expensive than making your own. They also aren’t always made the best way with the best ingredients. However, when the GF foodie ventures into making their own baked goods, they often fail at first and give up. No one tells you that the rules of GF baking are different. Not even the online or cookbook recipes. Here the top 5 reasons why your recipe fell flat:

  1. You opened the oven to check on it before it was done baking. 
    • The most common mistake that no one tells you to avoid is opening the oven to check on it before it is fully cooked. I grew up opening the oven to check on goods and had to break my self of this terrible habit. GF products are naturally less stable. The missing gluten is what holds up the bread or cake during baking. Even the slightest temperature change when baking GF goods will cause the fragile structure to breakdown and your bread/cake/etc will collapse.
  2. You didn’t let it bake long enough.
    • GF baked goods generally take longer to bake through. If your cake or bread has a gummy center, chances are you took it out of the oven too soon. For example, my glutinous bread recipes took around 25 minutes to bake, but my gf bread of similar size takes 45-60 minutes to bake through. This is why several brands of store bought GF bread have dark burnt-tasting crusts. Cooking GF items low and slow always yields a better result.
  3. Your oven temperature is off or you baked it at the wrong temperature.
    • Again cooking at a low temperature for longer is better. You cannot get away with rushing GF items by cooking them at a higher temperature, like you can with glutinous ones. If you are cooking at the suggested temperature, but still have issues, your oven may need to be re-calibrated.  When I first went GF, it blew my mind that my cakes took 1 1/2 hours to bake. I found out my oven was FIFTY degrees lower than indicated. You can buy a simple oven thermometer like this at any grocery store. Hang it from the rack you plan to cook on and watch it through the oven window to see if the temperature matches what your oven tells you.
  4. You used old ingredients. Especially baking powder/soda.
    •  Because the GF flours lack the elasticity of gluten, you usually need stronger or more leavening  products to create those lovely air bubbles you see in bread and cake that makes them so light and fluffy. Old or expired leavening agents like baking powder and baking soda have lost some of their leavening power, so you won’t see the product rise as well.
  5. The altitude or weather was different when the recipe was created. 
    • I know this sounds bizarre, but it was one huge takeaway I got from culinary school. Altitude and weather affect your baking. Even more so for GF products. Ever try baking macarons on a rainy day? What about proofing bread on a cold one? It never turns out right. Heat, humidity, and distance from sea level are huge factors in baking. Some factors cannot be controlled, but often you simply need to adjust your recipe to the weather. Most often it is an issue with liquids. On a wet day, reduce liquids, but on a hot day add more.

With this knowledge under your belt, you will be baking GF goodies like a pro! Please comment below or email me if you have any further questions or would like advice on a certain situation. I would be happy to help!

Almond Butter Cookies

So, the Body Ecology Diet is still rough. As a pastry chef, it is hard to avoid sugar, wheat, dairy and vanilla extract! I was about a month in before the cravings started. It also doesn’t help that Girl Scout Cookie season is upon us. I couldn’t fine any recipes for sweets on the body ecology diet, so I adapted a recipe for flourless peanut butter cookies to suit. Unfortunately the attempt at peanutless/flourless/sugarless cookies didn’t work so well! It took a couple of attempts, but the end result is worth it. I really like the salty/sweet taste. You can adjust the salt and stevia to suit your palette. For those of you on the BED, you will need to make your own almond butter from sprouted almonds, use alcohol free vanilla, and use ground flax seed instead of almond flour in the early stages of the diet.

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Almond Butter Cookies

Yield: 12-15 cookies (depends on size)

1 cup Almond Butter

1 Whole Egg

1/4 cup Almond Flour

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/2 tsp sea salt

Stevia or monkfruit powder , to taste (I only did 1/2 a packet)

 

  • Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer or a fork.
  • Roll into 1-inch balls.
  • lightly press with a fork to flatten.
  • Bake at 350°F for 12-15 minutes.
  • Allow to cool (will crumble when warm), then eat!

 

 

 

 

Gluten Free Ancient Grain Bread

 

Multi Grain Bread

Unfortunately, there are few breads allowed in the beginning stage of the BED.  The only approved bread seller sells only locally in California and online ($10 per loaf + S&H!). Because of this, I have been going through bread withdrawal. Therefore, I decided to make my own. The following bread recipe is my adaptation of the Stage 1 Body Ecology bread. I am still working on making it more sandwich bread-like, but for now, it is a better option than what is offered on the body ecology website. If you have several days, you can opt to both soak and sprout the grains before using them. I didn’t think that far ahead, so they are simply soaked overnight in this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup millet
  • ½ cup amaranth
  • ½ cup buckwheat
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds or psyllium
  • 1 tbsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp organic apple cider vinegar

-Soak quinoa, millet, amaranth, buckwheat, and sunflower seeds in just enough water to cover them. Let sit at least 8 hours or overnight.

-Carefully drain off excess water.

– Blend them in a food processor, gradually adding in each of the other ingredients. Make sure to separate baking soda and vinegar, so you avoid the foam. Blend until you have a loose paste. Add more water if paste is too thick.

– Pour into a greased 9″ x 5″ loaf pan (8×4 will work too, but will be a tight fit). Top with seeds, if desired.

-Bake at 325°F for 60-90 minutes, until top springs back when pressed.

-Allow to cool 10 minutes, before removing from pan.

-Allow to cool entirely before slicing.

Beef Stew

With winter upon us, nothing satisfies me more than a hot bowl of beef stew. It goes back to my child hood, when my mom would make it and serve fresh baked bread along side it. Of course now, I can’t make it the same way she does. After some experimentation, I found a good basic recipe, and will now share my dietary restriction friendly adaptation with you! I use beef bone broth for this, as it is considered very healing for the digestive tract. You can use other broths, if you do not want to make your own. everything in parentheses are the original ingredients that I swapped out for BED friendly ingredients. Use whatever is right for you. Also, I apologize for no photo. Beef stew is not very photogenic.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbl coconut or olive oil
  • 1 pound stew beef
  • 1 medium onion, white or yellow, rough chopped
  • 1.5 quart beef bone broth
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed (or potatoes)
  • 1 cup green beans, cut to bite sized pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 each bay leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt (reduce or omit if using store bought broth)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbl coconut aminos (or 1 tsp Worstershire sauce + 1/2 tsp sugar)

Fast prep, slow cooking method:

-Put everything in a 4 quart or larger crockpot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

 

Slow prep, fast cooking method:

-In a 4 quart or larger stock pot, saute onion in oil until translucent, then remove.

-In same pot, sear beef, then drain off fat.

-Add all into stock pot, and simmer until vegetables are softened & meat is cooked through.

 

Middle ground (what I did):

-In a medium saute pan saute onion in oil until translucent, then remove.

-In same pot, sear beef, then drain off fat.

-Put everything in a 4 quart or larger crockpot and cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Food for Thought: 8 Tips for Saving Money on the Body Ecology Diet

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Save Money BED

In a previous post, I mentioned how expensive it can get to be on the Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.). Here are some helpful hints to minimize the impact on your wallet:

  1. Make a list an scope out your grocery stores. See what each store has available and at what price, before you buy. Also, few people realize that they can submit a request for their local chain store to carry an item. Have your friends ask too. The more people that ask for it, the more likely it is that they will start carrying it. Also, they will most likely price it lower than you will find it at “healthy living” stores!
  2. Try ethnic stores. They often have hard to find ingredients at a reasonable price. Once I figured out that the “sea vegetables” on the B.E.D. were really just different kinds of seaweed, I went to my local Asian market and stocked up for a fraction of the price. I also got various noodles and grains there too! For both everyday and hard to find spices, I go to the Mediterranean grocery who sells them dirt cheap! For the special blue corn tortillas, the Tortilliaria down the road is awesome! Check these places first, before wasting your money at more expensive grocery stores.
  3. Buy in bulk. Costco really surprised me. They have a LOT of B.E.D. safe and organic options at lower prices than you can find them in grocery stores. Here is some of what I left with: both chicken and ground beef, many different veggies, lemons and limes, blue corn tortilla chips, probiotics, flax meal, and a giant sack of quinoa. The only downside is figuring out where to put it all.
  4. Garden or join a community garden. Anything you grow your self will save money. Herbs are the easiest and can be done is small pots on a window sill, if you don’t have a green thumb or a yard. If you are not confident in your gardening skills or if you live in an apartment, try participating in a community garden. Often, the others there will help you and give you helpful tips, because they benefit from your successful crop too!
  5. Look into local co-ops or delivery services. I subscribe to a local delivery service, here in the Triangle. I pay $20 per week (I can skip weeks, if I want) for the small box. I fill my box by picking and choosing from a list of available products from local farms that they post each week. They deliver a few days later. I have personally found this to be cheaper and more convenient than going to the farmers market. I have also heard of local co-ops that offer boxes of a variety of veggies at a discounted price. I wish there was one here.
  6. Cook in bulk too. Pick one or two days a week to cook or prep a large batch of something. Portion it out and can, freeze, or refrigerate it. You will save time and money not cooking everyday. You will also have ready to go lunches, which will discourage you (and maybe others in the house!) from cheating by eating at a restaurant.
  7. Look for generics. The B.E.D. has a lot of branded supplements and other products. Read their labels and try to find a cheaper alternative.  For example, their SuperGreens powder is twice as expensive as the Go Greens powder I tried. Or try the even cheaper Amazing Grass.  I was able to find most of the others too. Alternatives to the branded sweeteners can be found in your local grocery stores. I prefer the “In the Raw” brand, as others have additives. And, as a bonus, they sometimes actually have coupons in the paper for those!
  8. DIY as much as possible. I am told, making your own coconut kefir and “cheese” can save you a lot. Unfortunately I cannot do it myself, because I have yet to find young coconuts in any of my local stores, and I also don’t own a meat cleaver (necessary for hacking the coconut open). However, I do make my own kimchee, as well as other fermented veggies. Basic kimchee is easy and requires few ingredients; cabbage, sea salt, fish sauce, and gochugaru pepper flakes. You can also customize the flavor to suit you. I prefer to add garlic and reduce the usual amount of spice, as it can irritate the digestive tract. A pint jar at my local grocery store is $7! At the Asian market it is $3. It cost me about $3 in ingredients to make my own and it yielded 3 quarts. I saved my self as much as $39!

If anyone has some more money saving tips or any questions about what I have mentioned, please comment blow!

New Year, New Site, New Diet!

Hi Everyone!  Happy New Year! I have officially changed my site to this new one with my own domain name! Yay! It took me a while to decide on the name. I hope you like it!

With the New Year I also decided to begin a new gut healing diet. Over the years, my diet has become more and more limited, as I become increasingly intolerant to more and more foods. I won’t bore you with my months of research prior to this. The gist of a gut healing diet is that by eating foods that are gentle on the digestive tract, you allow it time to rebuild and heal itself. Once it is healed, hopefully, you can begin to eat small amounts of the foods that you are currently intolerant or sensitive to. Big warning – even if the diet is successful, you should NEVER go back to eating a bunch of junk food. If you do, your gut will start malfunctioning again and you will be right back to where you started. My goal in this is only to not have to worry so much and be so particular when I go out to dinner with friends or for work.  Seriously, I am going across country to a week-long conference in a few months and I’m terrified I might get “glutened” and have to miss some of it.

Anyway, I have dieted for about 3 weeks now. I began the New Year on the GAPS diet. The GAPS diet didn’t last long (1 week) for me, because you have to suddenly cut out so many addictive things: Sugar, caffeine, alcohol, pain killers. Also the “intro” GAPS diet is nothing but soup, ALL DAY. By the end of the first week, I seriously considered having my boss take me to the hospital because I almost passed out at work. Obviously, it isn’t something you should do if you have to leave home, especially if you are active. Also, I got wicked heartburn and you aren’t supposed to take antacids. And yes, to those who have had GAPS success stories, I understand a lot of those terrible feelings are from candida die-off toxins. However, I needed a diet more suited to me.

After much more research,  I came upon the Body Ecology Diet.  It is a sort of blend of several different diets I have heard of before. It follows the same general structure as the GAPS diet (so I really didn’t do so badly starting on that one), but adds in elements of the acid-alkaline diet and the blood type diet too. Basically each person can have their own custom diet, based on their wishes (has a vegetarian/vegan option) and their blood type. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to find recipes to use. I will be posting some of mine along the way to help anyone who wants to try it out.

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Some Pros:

  • You can eat as much (in quantity) of the approved foods as you want, with the stipulation that 80% of whatever you eat is veggies, while the other 20% is meat, starch, or eventually other non-approved foods.
  • It is a healthy whole foods diet.
  • I am losing a little weight! Not guaranteed, though.
  • You don’t have to buy all the expensive Body Ecology branded merchandise or meal plans to be on the diet. Much of it can also be DIY. I only purchased the book ($2 for kindle edition) to understand the diet. You can get most of the info online, but it can be difficult to navigate.
  • You get to learn creative new ways to prepare foods.
  • You can use stevia and monkfruit sweetener to help with sugar cravings.
  • Coconut aminos are okay too, so you have a good soy sauce replacement.

Some cons:

  • It is a fairly long process, with a minimum of 3 months on basic diet, before trying to add in more difficult to digest foods.
  • They recommend never eating sugary baked goods, non-cultured dairy, or drinking alcohol ever again (yeah, right! I will definitely cut it way down, but not completely out).
  • At least in the beginning, you have to cook and shop all the time! You have to cook or prepare every meal. I seriously go to the store every other day. I simply don’t have the fridge/freezer storage to hold it all. My pantry is practically bare though. There are very few pre-pack and dry goods on this diet. I also recommend making big meals, portioning them out and refrigerating/freezing some for later. I have spent the last several weekends cooking to stock up for the work week.
  • It is crazy expensive. My grocery budget has nearly doubled, though my smaller dine-out budget got halved too. Everything should be organic or local. Bonus for both. Many products can only be found at Whole Foods (most notably coconut kefir/probiotics). However, I have found quite a few staples at Costco: organic beef, chicken, quinoa, etc.
  • All of my medications (even OTCs) to control my various issues are banned on this diet, as they feed the problem. The diet promises to eventually clear up those problems in time, but I apparently have to suffer in between. While this is more of an inconvenience for me, I worry more about those on the banned medications that ward off dangerous problems like heart attack and stroke.
  • It would be pretty much impossible to do this diet if you are allergic to coconut/treenuts. Staples include, coconut kefir, coconut oil, coconut yogurt,  and coconut aminos.

Sorry, I know this is basically a novel, but I felt it needed to be said. I will keep you posted on my progress and recipes!

Pickled Willy’s Gourmet Pickled Seafood #PickledWillys

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Pickled Willy’s is a family/veteran owned and operated specialty seafood processing plant in Kodiak, Alaska. They sell a variety of seafood related items in various forms. Their smoked fish seems popular and they have won awards for it. Their flagship products, pickled seafood, are what is unique about the company. They use an old family recipe with secret seasonings they won’t divulge! Their commitment to quality is commendable. All of their products are 100% sustainable and fished from Alaskan waters. The products are hand packed, low in fat, high in Omega-3’s, all natural, and have no preservatives. Their ingredients are simply as follows: Halibut/Lining Cod/Sockeye Salmon/King Crab, Organic Vinegar, Cane Sugar, Water, Pickling Spice, Onion, Salt (Fish). Bonus:Their products are also gluten free! They are also committed to providing their long-distance customers with the freshest product. They shipped it UPS expedited and it was extremely well packed with bubble wrap, ice packs, and lots of “this end up” stickers (which UPS ignored).

Also, if you car ever in Kodiak, you can visit their shop and sample the various products they sell. Pickled Willy’s products make great souvenirs and gifts. If you happen to do some fishing while you are in Kodiak, Pickled Willy’s will even process and ship your catch back home to you! You choose the preservation method. So cool!

Now, your first question is probably “Does it taste good?”

I assume this is your first question, because it is usually the first question anyone asks before they try something new. Some people might be wary because the combination of pickles and fish is a bit unusual, aside from some tuna salad recipes that contain pickle relish. Also the only pickled fish most people have heard of is the Northern European delicacy pickled herring, which has an unfortunately bad reputation. I want to debunk this unfortunate reputation, because Pickled Willy’s seafood is quite tasty! It is a mild pickling solution, so you don’t notice the vinegar bite you get in many pickle products. The sugar is also not overpowering, which is nice. The pickling spices also compliment the fish, so they don’t cover up the natural flavor of the fish. Best of all the fish tastes fresh. If there is one taste I cannot stand, it is the pungent taste of fish that has been frozen or sitting around for a couple of days. Pickled Willy’s obviously uses fresh caught fish that they pack right away to preserve the natural subtle taste only found in a fresh catch. So overall, the pickled seafood has a mild, subtle taste that can only compliment your meal, not overpower the other ingredients. And don’t forget the health benefits!

Your next question “How on earth do you eat it?”

There are many things you can do with pickled fish. The simplest is to serve it as an appetizer on a cracker, piece of toast, or slice of cucumber. Adding a dollop of sour cream is often recommended (but I can’t say if it is good, because I cannot eat it!). Pickled Will’s packs all of their fish in bite-sized chunks, so they are convenient for appetizers. The seafood is also tasty as a main dish in sandwiches, wraps, and on salads. You can even mix it with other ingredients to make a dip! The Pickled Willy’s website also has a recipe page to give you some ideas. If you want to eat it plain, then some popular pickled fish accompaniments are cold mayonnaise based salads, such as potato or macaroni salad, beets, boiled potatoes, and hard boiled eggs.

Seriously, how great (and unique!) an appetizer would it be to serve the salmon on a slice of cucumber with a dab of sour cream and a sprig of dill on top! This would be a great idea with the holidays just around the corner!! Here is my test batch:

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For more information or to purchase visit pickledwillys.com

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All my opinions are my own. One may or may not have the same results as myself when using this product.

“Keep Calm My Apron Is On” Cooking Apron Review #KeepCalmMyApronIsOn”CookingApron

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This is a wonderful apron. I love the pockets in the front. You don’t see them on many aprons, and when you do they are usually more decorative than functional. My favorite part, though, is how adjustable it is. I usually have to knot the neck strap of my aprons in order for the apron to sit properly. This apron has a buckle on the neck strap, so you can easily tighten it to the preferred length. The length of the apron is also great. It is nice and long, covering a large area. Perfect for those of us that spill things a lot. The “Keep Calm My Apron Is On” saying is cute too. It fits me well. The fabric is nice too. Not scratchy or uncomfortable. It is breathable and sturdy too. It washes well. Overall, I think this is a great apron that is both fun and functional.

To purchase: Amazon

Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. I was not monetarily compensated for my review and all my opinions are my own. One may or may not have the same results as myself when using this product.

Korean Briased Tofu with Green Onion

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Before I found out about my gluten intolerance, my husband and I used to go to our favorite little Korean restaurant once a week. I love that in addition to your main dish, you also get a variety of little side dishes called banchan. Unfortunately, it is hard to find gluten-free Korean food in a restaurant. Almost every dish involves soy sauce, fried elements, or gojuchang (a Korean chili paste that contains wheat!). So, as always, I have begun to try to replicate these dishes at home. I think that tofu is an under appreciated food here in the US, because it has been labeled as an option for vegans and vegetarians. Omnivores seem to avoid it here. However Asian countries have long since included in in their diets, in addition to meat. I greatly respect that, as it is a healthy and versatile source of protein. This particular dish is normally served as a banchan, but it is so good I could eat it by itself or maybe on top of some greens as a salad!

Ingredients

1 block tofu (14 oz)

2-3 stalks green onion – cut into 2 inch long peices

3/4 cup gluten free or tamari soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp gluten free gojuchang or other chili paste (I used a chili garlic paste I found at the Asian Market)

1/2 tsp minced garlic (omit if using chili garlic sauce)

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sesame seeds (for garnish)

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a saute pan.
  2. Mix soy sauce, brown sugar, chili paste, garlic, and sesame oil in a separate bowl.
  3. Drain and cut tofu into desired size. I chose larger rectangles, but smaller bite-size pieces work too. Pat dry with a paper towel (this is very important, since any excess water will cause the hot oil to spit while cooking).
  4. Pan fry tofu on both sides until lightly browned.
  5. Add in green onion and saute to wilt it slightly.
  6. Add in sauce mixture and cook for a few minutes until it is slightly reduced.
  7. Top with sesame seeds, serve, and enjoy!