Gluten-Free Cornbread You Can Be Proud Of
Pretty proud of myself this evening.
For starters, even after countless pots of bean soup over the course of my life, ladling myself a steaming bowl still hits the spot. Pinto beans have always been a favorite. Pinto beans from Rancho Gordo? Surely we’re talking food of the gods here. At least that’s what this southern-born gal thinks.
And though I’ve been avoiding bread, I hungered for cornbread to accompany my bean soup tonight. Not fake cornbread, something to merely pass for some vague notion of cornbread, but honest-to-goodness cornbread.
So, determined to see this whole gluten-free thing as an opportunity to discover and grow as a cook instead of a sentence of limitation, I researched. And studied.
Then this afternoon I went to the kitchen and dug through my extensive stash of grains and flours.
And made cornbread–satisfying CORNBREAD! Cornbread that made me feel proud.
A few notes:
Because I’ve discovered I can tolerate the fresh milk I have access to, I used fresh cultured buttermilk, so this isn’t technically dairy-free.
And there is definitely corn in this bread, so it isn’t grain-free, though the flour mixture I use is grain-free–making the final result at least less carb-y than usual.
This recipe is an adaptation of my regular cornbread recipe. To keep the ratio of wet and dry ingredients the same, I changed the flour measurement to grams. My original recipe calls for 1 cup whole wheat flour, which converts to 140 grams. You’ll get more consistent results if you’ll do likewise.
Also, I’m careful about the corn or cornmeal I use. For this I ground some organic dent corn I keep on hand. If you don’t own a grain mill, I’d suggest locating a quality organic/non GMO cornmeal.
3 oz. palm shortening (or butter if you’re not sensitive to dairy)
2/3 cup sugar (I used palm sugar; sucanat would be a good alternative; also I used less)
2 eggs (preferably eggs you’ve obtained from a local farmer!)
1 cup buttermilk (yogurt or kefir would work)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup cornmeal (preferably fresh-ground)
140 grams grain free flour mix (see below)
1 tsp. psyllium husk
1/2 tsp. celtic sea salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Melt shortening in a 9-inch iron skillet. When melted, pour into a mixing bowl.
Add eggs and whisk until well blended.
Add baking soda to buttermilk; fold into butter/egg mixture.
Stir in cornmeal, flour, psyllium husk and salt until blended.
Pour into the skillet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
For the grain-free flour mix:
40 grams almond flour
13 grams ground millet (I used a spice mill for this)
44 grams buckwheat flour
43 grams arrowroot
Fried Cauliflower Rice
Do you know what this means? It means fried rice with all the flavor and not a morsel of guilt.
I don’t actually make fried rice as a general rule. But this was inspirational . . . I had to try it.
Because I’m in the doghouse when it comes to many of the foods I’ve always enjoyed; food sensitivities, compromised health, high cholesterol–again (because I fell of the healthy-eating wagon). Yet I long for good food–food that will keep me motivated to continue choosing to nourish my body rather than giving into the cravings that no longer sit so well with me.
So by golly, I got my food processor out and made rice–out of cauliflower!
Fried Cauliflower “Rice”
4 cups or so of “riced” cauliflower (see below for how-to)
4 slices bacon (okay, to be honest, I used turkey bacon)
olive oil (or bacon grease; you’ll have to add a tablespoon or so at a time in stages)
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 carrot, diced
hot peppers, diced (to taste; I used a jalapeño and a habanero)
½ cup baby bok choy, thinly sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 cup diced, cooked chicken
¼ cup coarsely chopped cashews
2 or 3 tablespoons tamari sauce (or liquid aminos or soy sauce)
½ teaspoon tumeric
salt to taste
To Make the “Rice”
Cut cauliflower into fourths and remove the tough inner core. (Since I wanted to save some of the cauliflower for other purposes, I only used about ⅔ of the head–which made about four cups.) With a food processor (or a grater if you don’t have a food processor), put in about half of the cauliflower and pulse in one-second bursts until it is broken down to the point of looking like rice. Set aside and add remaining cauliflower and process. Add to first batch and set aside.
To Make the Dish
- In a 12-inch skillet, cook bacon on medium-high heat until crisp. Remove and place on paper towel to drain. Once the bacon cools, chop into pieces.
- Depending on the type of bacon you’re using, you can either reserve a tablespoon or so of the bacon grease in the skillet, or if you’re like me and using turkey bacon, just add a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet.
- Bring the skillet back up to a medium-high setting and add the eggs, scrambling them with a spatula until they’re set. Transfer to a cutting board or small bowl, and roughly chop the scrambled eggs into pieces.
- Wipe any remnants out of skillet with a paper towel and add another tablespoon of olive oil. Again on medium-high, add ginger and garlic; saute’ until fragrant–about half a minute (make sure not to burn, as that can happen quite easily!).
- Add one tablespoon of olive oil, and then the carrot, hot pepper, and the bok choy stems; saute’ until just tender, about 2 minutes.
- Add green onions, bok choy leaves, and cauliflower “rice” and mix thoroughly. Lower heat to medium, cover skillet, and cook until the cauliflower rice is tender (this took about 8 minutes for me, but I started sampling it at about 6 minutes and kept cooking until it was soft).
- Remove lid and add bacon, scrambled eggs, chicken, cashews, tamari sauce, turmeric, and salt. Taste and add more sauce if needed.
Yields 4 generous servings
A couple days ago I noticed an old piece of pvc pipe laying around. It was about 8-inches in diameter, and when I saw it my thinking wheels started spinning.
I’ve needed a feeder of some sort to hold kitchen scraps for the girls forever. I figured I could cut the pipe into two nice long halves, plug the ends, and make some sort of short stand for it.
So, on this gorgeous fall afternoon while Brian and I were driving home from picking up a truckload of chicken feed, I mentioned my idea to him.
I think he became a little concerned about me cutting that pipe in half, so he generously offered to lend a hand. The project went so quickly, and was so easy!
We (well, he) cut the pipe and lightly sanded the rough cut edges. From there, we found some scrap wood that happened to be just the perfect height for our purposes. Placing the half section of pipe against the wood, we traced the curved edge onto the wood and cut that out with a jig saw; we planned to use the cut out section as the end cap and the other side as the support piece. We repeated that step three more times.
I should have taken pictures of this part, but it went so quickly I didn’t think to.
Anyway, for each of the legs and end caps (two each for each half piece of pipe), we drilled five holes along each end of both pipe sections along with three holes just inside each end of the pipe where the legs would be attached.
Then we affixed the wooden end caps with screws, spreading them evenly along the edge.
Next came screwing in the leg supports.
Finally, we applied silicone caulk along the wooden end caps to make the troughs reasonably leak-proof.
Once the caulk was set, there was one thing left to do . . . see if these new troughs met the girls’ satisfaction.Read More
Strangely Out Of Place
And I say, Perished is my strength and my expectation from the LORD. The memory of my suffering and homelessness is bitterness and poison. My soul has them continually in remembrance and is bowed down within me. But this I recall and therefore have I hope and expectation: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, says my inner self; therefore will I hope and wait expectantly for Him. Lamentations 3:18-24 (CEB, NIV, AMP)
I remember the day I realized the unthinkable: that we were losing Joe. I remember sitting in my Land Cruiser, parked beside a local lake, writing this. I’d left the house because I felt so lonely there in that place–the house where Joe was raised.
Sadly, this season of loss slowly unfolds the way I suspected it would.
A mom never wants to let go. She never wants to see her son’s life crumble piece by piece, understanding all the while where the pieces will likely fall.
Joe is, at least for now, homeless–resorting the last few nights to sleeping in the shadows underneath a busy Nashville bridge, scrounging for food the best he can.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this; yet a broken mind is determined to have its say.
In a way, I suppose I might sound a bit overly dramatic. Or that I lack a “positive” attitude.
All I know is . . . I’m thankful-because God knows; He’s right here with me, even in this place.
When You asked, would I give everything, I didn’t know…
I didn’t know that everything would cost me so
When You beckoned me to draw near, I didn’t see…
I didn’t see that drawing near to You might be the death of me
But I am not this strong! My heart cries
as it groans for help and questions why
You couldn’t be this cruel, comes a doubting whimper
As the darkness seeks one who’s known bitter
When I asked to become more, I didn’t imagine this…
I didn’t imagine this, nor the enemy’s mocking hiss
When I sought enduring faith, I didn’t believe…
I didn’t believe my heart could feel so much grief
But I am God enough! You answer;
My abiding Presence is your glorious Banner;
I will find what’s been lost—This is True!
Then You patiently assure me, I’m making all things new.
That’s when I notice You, strangely out of place…
far from those places I thought I’d find grace
There in my growing anger—and the sting of disappointment too…
There You are—saying, for as long as you need, Child, I’ll sit right here with You
Carrie Bullock Fisher
. . . and behold, I am with you all the days (on every occasion), until the end of this present age. Amen (so let it be). Matthew 28:20b (AMP, CEB)
(must post picture!)
I’ve got this neighbor…and she just loves this salsa! And her tomato harvest runneth over. So, for you dear neighborly friend, I present my favorite canned salsa recipe.
Salsa (adjust heat–pepper usage–to preference)
6 cups chopped, cored and peeled tomatoes (a “Victorio” makes this quick work)
5 cups seeded bell peppers (green and yellow make for pretty contrast)
5 cups chopped onions
2 1/2 cups chopped and seed hot peppers (a mixture of jalapeno, cayenne, serrano or hot banana according to taste)
1 1/4 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
16 oz. tomato paste
16 oz. tomato sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/3 cup sugar
Mix together, bring to a boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars (I prefer the 12 oz. jars for salsa) and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Note: for chopping all of the vegetables (besides the tomatoes and garlic), I use “vegetable chop and measure” that the kids got me for Christmas a few years ago from Williams Sonoma. It makes quick work of big quantities of vegetables. A garlic press is a must have as well. Cooks Illustrated recommends a good one, if you check their website.Read More
German Chocolate Caramel Brownies
Yup, you caught me.
I cut ‘em while they were still piping hot.
Of course they’re a gooey mess.
Of course I couldn’t wait; they’re irresistible.
How irresistible you ask?
Enough that four pans of these gooey, decadent bars were once baked in the Fisher kitchen and then allegedly FedEx’d to a birthday boy in Ohio.
Except for unwrapping an entire package of caramels, this version of brownies goes together quickly.
If you have kids, they make excellent caramel unwrappers–happy to work for a song . . . er caramel, and the promise of a gooey slice of the best brownies ever.
German Chocolate Caramel Brownies
1 box German Chocolate Cake mix
⅓ cup evaporated milk
2 cups walnuts, chopped
¾ cup butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine ingredients and mix well (batter will be thick). Spoon half of the batter into a greased 9-x13-inch pan.
Set aside remaining batter.
Bake for 8 minutes.
Prepare the Filling:
1 package caramel candies (14 oz.)
½ cup evaporated milk
1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts
While batter is baking, melt caramels with ½ cup evaporated milk; stir well.
At the end of 8 minutes, remove brownie base from oven. Immediately spread 1-cup walnuts, and then the chocolate chips on top. Pour warm caramel sauce on top.
Now this is where it gets a tad tedious. Top with spoonfuls of the remaining batter. Don’t worry about being too perfect, as the batter will spread as it bakes; just distribute the spoonfuls evenly–as best you can.
Return to oven and finish baking at 350 degrees for another 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool thoroughly before slicing–at least if you’d like your brownies to look a little neater on the plate than mine do!
Nice flavor and texture, here’s a delicious alternative to wheat-based waffles, modified slightly from the recipe I found here:
¾ cup buckwheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
pinch of salt
3 egg whites
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp. sugar (I used about ½ tsp. stevia)
1 cup buttermilk (I used and prefer the taste of kefir; could also use ½ cup milk mixed with ½ cup sour cream/yogurt)
¼ cup butter, melted
- Preheat waffle iron to medium.
- In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Place the egg whites in a medium-sized bowl and beat with a hand mixer. Slowly sprinkle in sugar while whipping the egg whites. Beat until you have soft peaks.
- In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the egg yolk, melted butter, and buttermilk (or milk/yogurt mixture).
- Pour the liquid mixture into the flower mixture and stir just until combined (some lumps may still be noticeable). Fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter until incorporated. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites until they are combined (be gentle to keep from deflating the egg whites too much).
- Pour or spoon the batter onto the iron until it comes almost to the edge. Cook until the waffle iron signals it’s done, or until steam stops rising out of the waffle maker. Remove the waffle, gently, with a fork.
- If you prefer a fluffier waffle, remove when lightly browned; if you prefer a crispier waffle, allow to cook a bit longer.
- Serve with butter and warmed maple syrup and/or fresh fruit.
Makes 4 waffles.