gluten-free flour blend: cookies

I want to talk to you for a minute about flour blends…

I’ve seen a lot of things circling the net as of late with regards to people being somewhat discouraged from following recipes by authors who tend to use a lot of different kinds of gluten-free flours as opposed to just one, pre-made, store-bought blend.

I get it, it’s time consuming, a little more expensive, & you end up with a cupboard full of ingredients (which I personally see as a treasure chest).

I want to explain to you why I generally avoid pre-made flour-blends where possible.

Since going gluten-free, I’ve found a brand called Dove’s farm that just happens to be kind of fantastic. I wrongly made the assumption though that just because this brand has a nice flour blend, that making a good blend was simple & therefore everyone would have access to blend that was just as good.

Oh how wrong I was.

On a recent trip to the US. I purchased a flour-blend in order to make a pie crust for a pumpkin pie. Innocently thinking that it was going to be just like the one I used at home, I worked away as usual & then served my masterpiece to all my dinner guests.

Not so good. Everyone devoured the filling as I knew they would, but the crust (which is generally my favorite part of any pie) was left scrapped clean & discarded on the plates of all. A little embarrassed I desperately made my excuses & swore that I was actually a really good chef.

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blueberry, oat & buckwheat loaf

gluten-free blueberry, oat & buckwheat loaf. Diary free, egg free & vegan

 Let me start off by saying HAPPY 2013 everyone!!!!!

Yeah yeah yeah I know, we vanished over the holiday season & kind of forgot to give a heads up to anyone who follows along. It wasn’t intentional I assure you, it’s just, we kind of got swept up in it all. I’m sorry, it wont happen again.

What I mean to say is, it’s not uncommon for us to take a couple weeks off here & there, but we wont vanish without a heads up next time. Deal?

Good, lets move on.

gluten-free blueberry, oat & buckwheat loaf. Diary free, egg free & vegan

Right, being as we’ve entered into a new year, I’ve decided it’s about time to tackle some of the recipe ideas that I keep scribbling down at random intervals.

For example….. blueberry french toast. I have been wanting to make some of that since I spent a month in Boulder, Colorado last November. It’s not that I had any whilst I was out there, but as soon as I left & got back to Athens, it was all I could think about at 03:00am when I was wide awake with jet-lag.

Can’t make blueberry french toast without a decent blueberry bread though, so, I present to you my oat, buckwheat & blueberry loaf.

We may not actually make it as far as the blueberry french toast…. Mel & I have gotten through half of this gluten-free bread already & every time I look at it, it appears as if it’s shrinking. Did I mention that it’s also egg free, dairy free & vegan friendly?

Still, my craving for the delicious egg fried bread is what brought me to this beautiful, beautiful state of baking, & that, is never a bad thing.

Before I pass on the recipe, I just want to say that it’s been snowing on our island! That may not sound like a big deal to you, but it’s like being in the Twilight Zone.

I digress as always…. Happy 2013 xxx

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the simple pita

We’re going back to the basics again. Not a rusk, but the pita bread.

Listen, if I had faith that you could find everything you ever craved in gluten-free all the time, I’d just tell you where to go buy them. These things differ though. State to State, grocery store to grocery store, & country to country. Even day to day!

I can’t promise you that you’ll find one out there that doesn’t taste like rubber, or worse.

So, here we are starting with the fundamental building blocks once more.

To tell you the truth, I’m not even craving pita bread…. oh no I didn’t!

……………I’m craving pita chips! Where on earth am I going to find those though? Maybe if I searched every organic store in Athens, but even then that might be a long shot. If I had endless bounds of money, I’d send someone out on a scavenger hunt to buy me every obscure gluten-free product they could find. Just so I could have it.

Just so I was never laying on the couch, watching a movie, thinking “I’d really like a crunchy snack that isn’t raw carrots.”

So again, I’m going to teach you how to make gluten-free pita bread so that in turn, you can make the gluten-free pita chip. In any flavor you want. You don’t even have to turn it into a chip! You can turn it into a sandwich, or a wrap, or shawarma. Or just eat it plain because you’re standing in the kitchen too hungry to think about what actually to make & you just need to sooth the beast for a minute or two so you can collect your thoughts.

You’ll thank me one day.

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traditional paximadia / rusks

I’m not sure what you write about a rusk. On its own it’s not the most interesting of food items. It’s hard, dry, it will cut the roof of your mouth if not softened with oil or water first. Not really all that great, right?

Wrong.

Granted by itself it’s nothing to fuss over, but we haven’t even begun to discuss the possibilities when it’s not!

I like to drench mine in olive oil & drizzle honey over it in the mornings. Or a little garlic oil, salt, pepper & tomato as a snack. Mel soaks his in water to soften it & then covers it with maple syrup & almond butter. It also goes well crumbled up in salads or with a little cheese. We have one dish called ‘dakos’ where it’s covered in finely shopped tomatoes, herbs, salt pepper & then loaded with katiki cheese. Divine.

The reason we’re sharing this basic recipe is because we have something in mind that we really want to share. I can’t remember the last time I saw a gluten-free rusk around though so we needed to create a recipe for that before Mel could create an even better recipe for you.

Don’t underestimate the rusk though. It may be simple & uninteresting at first glance, but it’s a solid staple in our household & indeed many other households in Greece.

Also, don’t confuse it for a biscotti. That’s not what it is. The two are nothing alike.

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grilled haloumi bruschetta with sweet tomato jam & mint

Let me start by saying that I’m glad to be back after a long time. I miss cooking for the site and I hope you all missed me…

On that note I’d like to say how amazing Lauren has been in keeping the blog up and running by herself and …our blog has become gluten free focused???

My oh my, I thought the day would never come especially since I am a known bread-junky.

However since no one should be eating gluten anyway, I am happy to play along.

So, for this post I start easy since I am a bit rusty in the kitchen. I include this condiment that’s going to transform the flavor of many dishes you might usually prepare. This sweet tomato jam goes well with almost anything you can think of. Most sandwiches, especially grilled cheese. Almost everything that comes off of a bbq, particularly vegetables like portobello mushrooms and pork chops. I found that it pairs nicely with most bean/rice combo salads, noticeably chickpeas.

– Mel

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