Thursday, March 7, 2013

Gluten and Corn Free "Cornbread" Update

 As I suspected, almond flour is the way to go when replacing corn in cornbread. This time I was out of teff flour, so I gave the "cornbread" recipe another try with almond in place of teff flour, and it was wonderful.

 To create a more "corny" cornbread simply replace the teff flour in the original recipe with almond flour, cut the oil to 1/2 cup, and cut back on the salt a bit. The texture of the batter was a bit runny, but it baked up beautifully in a muffin tin. I haven't tried it in a larger, single skillet or pan.

savory almond muffin with red bean and kale soup
beans + greens + "cornbread" = comfort food (and dinner)

 I would remove the original recipe, but I want to leave it as an option for those allergic to nuts. Plus, I never know when I will run out of almond flour. It's nice to have options.

If I can get my computer to cooperate, I will have a video of a knitting technique to post soon. I haven't been too busy eating to do anything else, it just seems that way.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Gluten-Free, Corn-Free "Cornbread"

I didn't intend to come up with a recipe to post here. I'm really not a food blogger. Extenuating circumstances, in the form of some impulsively purchased produce, intervened.

There were collard greens starting to wilt in my kitchen. Greens mean beans, and beans mean cornbread. Yes, I am aware that beans and cornbread are not compulsory companions to greens. At least, I am vaguely aware in a hand waving, maybe where you come from, kind of way. Last night, I wanted sauteed greens, pinto beans swimming in thick juice, and some cornbread with which to sop it up.

 Unfortunately, corn and I aren't getting along these days. That popcorn I had about a week and a half ago is more than a distant memory, it has caused a breakout that might last forever. (You thought food allergies and intolerances were glamorous?)

I knew there was a cornbread recipe at Gluten Free Goddess, and the goddess never lets me down, so I decided to start there and work my way to cornlessness. My first choice for replacing the cornmeal was almond flour, but I used that up in a failed kiwi muffin experiment. (They were really quite terrible. And deep, dark, swampy green. I don't want to talk about it. ) So, I turned to my new favorite grain, teff. I added a bit of sorghum to mimic the sweetness of corn, and quinoa flakes to assist the texture once I removed the starches. (I'm trying to eliminate them from most of my baking. I'm not sure what I'll do about pudding.) I also subbed in a bit of my favorite hot pepper paste as I didn't have chiles, and I prefer a bit of a kick to my cornbread.

The other major substitution, or rather deletion, is the sugar. I don't know if this is a southern thing, or maybe just a my family thing, but we don't do sweet cornbread. This, of course, makes creating a refined sugar free recipe a bit easier, as I always omit the sugar anyway. I will admit to drizzling a piece with a bit of honey on the second day. Which brings me to the fact that this quick bread freezes quite well. In fact, the photo at the top of the page is of a previously frozen wedge of bread.

The result was better than any gluten-free cornbread I've turned out. It is a finer crumb, as the grains are finely milled. A more coarsely ground flour or meal could be substituted, but it might require a bit of fine tuning. Overall this works as a perfect stand in, though was never intended to replicate cornbread. In other words, it doesn't taste like corn.

UPDATE - There is an adaptation to this recipe here that makes it much tastier, but no longer nut-free. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Mango Mini Muffins - In Which I Play an Unconvincing Food Blogger

gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free mango (mini) muffins

I'm not much of a recipe writer (or food photographer), probably because I'm not much of a recipe follower. As with knitting patterns, I'm compelled to tinker, to substitute, to not have to run to the store for that thing I just don't have. But, tonight I made some muffins, and they were good. Good enough to entice an elderly cat to climb up onto a rather high table to have a wee taste. And, good enough to encourage a recluse to peek out from behind the curtains.

As I eat fewer and fewer things, my life has become increasingly about procuring the next meal, worrying about what will be available should I be stranded somewhere, and how to approach social eating. My life has become less about blogging (ahem) and about being social in general.

I have escaped from my weirdness by enclosing myself in a protective layer of comfortable aloneness. I can't be accidentally "glutened" if I don't allow gluten in my house, or myself out. I can't mistakenly ingest some allergy inducing dairy, or migraine inducing sugar if I am vigilant enough, if I am safe enough. Except that sometimes I slip, sometimes I don't read a label carefully enough, or learn that vitamin E should make me suspicious, or that corn makes me ill. The dangerous world seeps in.

I know it's an excuse, but it really doesn't feel like one. I don't feel like I have an option; I know, intellectually, that I do. But, this is the story of fear, the one that must come before the story of courage. This is the part where I admit that I have allowed semi-legitimate fears to validate absurd ones, thus creating an overwhelming ecosystem of anxieties.

With nowhere left to cower, my instinctual urge to seek shelter thwarted, I am left to be squeezed into near nonexistence, or to change. I hope I can do it, because being invisible isn't nearly as fun as we've been led to believe.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Knitting Corn, An Embarrassingly Involved Pursuit

There isn't really much to explain... it's knit corn on the cob. It took me more time than I care to think about to come up with a "corn" stitch pattern I was happy with. I'm sharing the pattern in case you too feel the overwhelming urge to take up such an immensely important task.

Ty (the) Cob



Main Color (MC) - Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted (100% Peruvian Highland Wool, 110 yds/50g ball) in Semolina, 15g

Contrasting Color (CC) - Knit Picks Wool of the Andes Worsted (100% Peruvian Highland Wool, 110 yds/50g ball) in Cloud, You will only need a miniscule amount of this color; a couple of yards should be sufficient.


The finished fabric needs to be dense enough to hold stuffing. Finding a yarn and needle combination that produces a good, sturdy fabric is more important, in this project, than measured gauge.


1 set US 7 (4.50 mm) double point needles


yarn or tapestry needle
stuffing (fiber fill, yarn scraps, unwanted roving, cat hair, plastic bags...)
washing machine, boiling water, or some other means of fulling the finished item if desired

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Gifts to Give

I love giving gifts. I love it far more than I do receiving gifts, and I am never not searching for the perfect gift, the perfect idea. Unfortunately, my memory is not what I like to think it is, and I don't keep good notes, so I often come up with multiple ideas for the same recipient. I would love to be one of those people who gives gift for no reason, just because the item reminded them of the person, or because they were thinking of them. But, I don't think such gifts would be well received by the people in my life, and it would just make for awkward exchange.

Since spontaneous gift-giving is not my thing, I plan and plot all year for the Christmas season. The middle of August is when my brain kicks into overdrive. This year, I have decided to make everything myself. I don't know that the items will be well received, but they will be made, and given, with love. While I plan gifts all year, I often have to settle for something less than ideal, and sometimes miss the mark. At the very least, I hope everyone will realize that I have been thinking about them.

This does put me on a bit of a tight deadline. All but one gift will be knit, so my needles have been in overdrive, and Ravelry has become my most visited website, with the possible exception of Netflix. So far, I am a bit over halfway through a Girasole blanket, have finished one Phenomenon mitten in a thoroughly impractical yarn, have started a hat to go with the Phenomenon mittens in the same problematic yarn, and have finished part of an Elf Shoe (slipper).

When my KnitPicks order arrives (to be followed shortly by a WEBS order), I will likely cast on a couple more projects, because I get bored, and my hands get sore when I use the same needles for too long. All of the projects I'm currently working on are on size 10.5 needles, in fact, I pulled the needles from the hat to work the slipper. I have to take too many breaks to rest my hands. I'm hoping having different sized needles in my hands will allow me to work longer. I'll keep my sore little stubs that pass for fingers crossed that it works.

On top of all of the gift items, I am working on a pattern or two, though I think they may be on hold until the new year, especially since Mika (the cat) pulled my pattern notes onto the floor (though that was likely the work of one of the striped kitties) and peed on it (I witnessed this part, so I know it was him). You can see from the picture above that the cats have been immensely helpful and are happy to share their greatest gift, the gift of cat hair. In fact, as I type, Jasper is sleeping inside the cocoon made by a still-on-the-needles Girasole, so that only a bit of gently rising and falling orange fluff is visible in the opening.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Not A Closer

I haven't had much to post about lately, because I've been working on a couple of ideas. I've started several posts, but I'm having a difficult time finishing things. It's a bit like the phenomenon knitters call "start-itis". I have so many things I want to do, that I just can't focus on one of them and see it through to the end before diving into something new. So, I am working on several projects all at once, which makes for poor blogging, I'm afraid, but, it keeps me interested.

I have a recipe and a tutorial I hope to get up soon, but I need to test them again, and it's been too hot to cook, and the tutorial is for something I use regularly, but don't need to remake yet. So, those are on hold. I've also been playing with nail polish a lot recently, and am trying to figure out how to turn that into a little business. The legal jargon is bogging me down. And, I've been experimenting with henna on surfaces that aren't me.

A tiny sample of my henna experimentation.
This photo was taken just after I removed the paste, they have oxidized nicely.

I haven't forgotten about this blog, I just haven't had anything interesting to contribute. Hopefully, I will get over my start-itis soon.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Happy (Belated) Birthday Jasper

Yesterday, we celebrated Jasper's 2nd Birthday. I can't believe he's been with me for nearly 2 years. In some ways it feels like we've been together for an eternity, but also like he has grown from a squirmy little kitten, with a short little tail, into a beautiful and energetic cat, with a ton of personality, in no time.

I intended to post this yesterday, but my internet connection went kaput. I couldn't even get Safari to work on my iPhone! So, this is a slightly late tribute to my little orange boy.


Happy birthday, Jasper Gaius