Gluten-Free

Easy Mochi Waffles and Tempeh “Bacon” Recipe

I cannot take full credit for this glorious gluten-free-vegan brunch creation – many thanks go to Rae and Robbie for playing in the kitchen with me while I was paying Cincinnati a holiday visit.  Armed with nothing but a waffle maker, frying pan and one spatula, we set out to coax tempeh into something that slightly resembled bacon and form gluten-free waffles from mochi.  And the results were deliciously delicious!

And yes, I truly mean that grammatically incorrect tasty bit of hyperbole.  They were dusty delicious.  They were amazing. They were phe-nom-en-al.

And easy.

I’ve heard that in Japan they’re starting to use the term “moffle” to refer to mochi waffles.  I’ve never been a fan of Branjelina or romcoms, so I’ll take the extra sixteenth of a second to continue to type the two words out.

Mochi Waffles

What is Mochi? Mochi is glutinous sweet rice that is pounded into a paste and molded into a hard shape.  Many Japanese traditional desserts utilize mochi is a base ingredient, and when dyed with bright greens and pinks add a bit of festivity to the simple dessert.

I am not a particular fan of those forms of mochi, but LOVE the bricks you can buy and cook yourself.  When mochi bakes it fills with air creating a beautiful crusty exterior that houses chewy goodness. I love to toast it, slice it and fill it with almond butter.  Friends drop it into soup or grill it and douse it with tamari for a savory treat.

Nutritionally, plain mochi is made only with sweet rice and filtered water, making it easily digestible and naturally low in fat and calories. Despite being “glutinous”, mochi is GLUTEN-FREE, the term instead referring to it being “sticky”.

Keep in mind that mochi waffles are not light and fluffy like wheat waffles, so indulge in a little creativity with your toppings.  We went fairly simple with real maple syrup and brown rice syrup, plus some fresh black and blueberries.  Nut butters add some protein (if you’re not accompanying your waffles with tempeh bacon), and provide a creamy kick.

Ingredients / Directions

  • Choose your mochi.  Grainassance brand is sold at most health food stores in several flavors, most commonly plain and cinnamon raisin.  Either make great mochi waffles.
  • Cut mochi into 16 pieces.
  • Spray waffle maker with non-stick cooking spray, or grease with butter or oil.
  • For square waffles such as in the picture above, use 4 pieces of mochi evenly spaced.
  • Close griddle and bake for approximately 4-6 minutes, until mochi is puffed and steamy.
  • Serve immediately.

Tempeh Bacon

Rae is vegan and while I love tempeh I also love the crap out of meat, so it was an exciting challenge she gave me in making tempeh taste like bacon.  Especially as we were dining in “Porkopolis”, the nickname lovingly given to Cincinnati for the copious amount of pork bred and consumed there.

While I was unsure of succeeding in this task, especially in someone else’s kitchen, we were all pretty satisfied with the results.  I tried to encapsulate the sweet and smokey aspects of bacon.  And, once again, the recipe is shockingly easy.

Note: make sure both your tempeh and tamari are marked gluten-free if you follow such a diet.  Many tempeh’s are bulked up with grains to increase the flavor and nutritional content and therefore are not guaranteed to be free of gluten.  And while tamari is noted for being the gluten-free version of soy sauce, some versions do contain gluten.

Ingredients / Directions:

  • Pick up one brick of tempeh, cut into 8 strips and place in a medium bowl.
  • Pour 1/3 a cup of tamari and 1/4 cup maple syrup over tempeh, toss to marinate and let sit for about a half hour.
  • Set a medium frying pan on medium-high heat and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  • When hot, place tempeh in pan, reserving liquid to baste.
  • Cook thoroughly, turning tempeh in quarter turns until all sides are brown, basting with reserved liquid with ever turn.
  • Taste sauce and adjust syrup and tamari as needed.
  • Tempeh is ready when the liquid has caramelized and tempeh is dark.
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Gluten-free Whole Grain Waffle Recipe

Waffles are the new muffin.  You heard it here first, Dusty Baker style.

Last weekend I was bequeathed with a waffle iron, that I dutifully packed into my carry-on and brought back to NYC from Cincinnati (thanks, Rae!).  This morning I had guests to prepare breakfast for, and was frustrated with my lack of muffin options – I had no nuts, berries, raisins, fruit, nothing to put into a muffin!  I had thoroughly explored the gluten-free muffin world last year in Cincinnati, and now that trip inspired what will surely be one of many gluten-free waffle recipes to grace this site.  I popped out all the flours I had open in the fridge, consulted classic waffle recipes, and got to work.

The result: these waffles are deliciously whole-grain and sweet because of the use of amaranth and quinoa flours.  I used two different types of cinnamon to give them bite.  And 6 tablespoons of butter gave a perfectly creamy balance to the grains.

If you don’t have all of these ingredients, substitute with what you have.  Cow’s or soy milk can be substituted for the almond milk, as can a soy/vegetable alternative to butter and egg replacer for the eggs easily makes them a gluten-free vegan waffle recipe that holds its own comparatively.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup amaranth flour (provides sweetness and a soft texture)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flour (provides a bit of protein and aids digestibility)
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour (provides body and heft)
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch / flour (binds the flours together)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (provides fiber for digestibility)
  • 1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour (it’s sweet and I’d never used it before!)
  • 3 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (I used half Chinese and half Indonesian cinnamon)
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter (or soy butter)
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or cow’s, soy or rice milk, just try to use unsweetened)

Directions:

  • Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl
  • Melt the butter and set aside to cool
  • Heat your waffle iron
  • Beat the eggs in a small bowl and slowly add the milk
  • Add the melted butter, stiring to combine
  • Pour liquid ingredients into dry and stir with a fork or spatula to combine
  • Use 1/4-1/2 cup batter per waffle, cook until toasted

Makes 8 waffles.

Punch Yo Mama Kentucky Apple Pie – Take One

“Bourbon Bacon Molasses Apple Pie”.

Until today, nothing would come up in a search engine with those five beautiful words strung together.

Now, this is not a healthy pie.  Nor a medicinal pie, except in that it may have magical qualities when trying to lure lovers or tame unruly children.  It blends those delirious tongue-teasers of savory and sweet, the unsuspected crunch of candied bacon embedded in folds of apples both sweet and tart.  A blend of spicy and soothing cinnamon and a dash of fresh nutmeg fuse them together and they sleep contented in a flaky, free-0f-the-demon-gluten crust.  This pie is work, but so worth it.

In making this recipe I combined techniques I’d learned from other kitchen explorations – par-baking apples, candying bacon, blending healthy flours for a gluten-free crust – and am very pleased with the first incarnation.  But this recipe still has further to go; it’s delicious on day one but the bacon sags into an unappetizing texture if you keep eating it on successive days (but if it’s more than you and a roommate trying to wipe it out of existence and you can eat it in one go, bake on).  The bourbon gives a delightfully oak-y slight to the senses, but hasn’t packed a wallop yet.

If you’re looking for a comforting, complex apple pie recipe with a twist, check this recipe out.  It’s fuller-bodied than your traditional American pie, and the flavors round themselves out very well.

This recipe requires three steps: 1. Candying bacon. 2. Preparing your apples. 3. Preparing and filling crust.  Refer to my BAKING BASICS posts for recipes on both filling and a variety of pie crusts.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons GOOD Kentucky bourbon (I used Blantons, one of my favorites)
  • 3 tablespoons organic blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar plus more as desired
  • six strips very thin bacon (from a butcher)
  • About 18 apples, prepared (CLICK HERE for page on apple pie filling)
  • Unbaked pie crust, enough for bottom and top.

Directions: Bourbon Blackstrap Bacon

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay a baking rack over a cookie sheet with high rims and spray the rack with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Heat small saucepan over medium/low heat.  Once hot, pour in 2 tablespoons bourbon and heat until it just gets bubbly.
  • Add 2 tablespoons molasses and stir with spatula until the mixture starts to bubble and expand.
  • Add 1/2 cup light brown sugar, mixing in, and bring to heat until the mixture expands again.
  • Turn off heat and let cool slightly.
  • Prepare to get sticky: using your hands, rub each piece of bacon in the bourbon mixture until coated.  By the 3rd or 4th piece the sugar mixture will be cooling and drying out a bit – don’t worry! Just drudge it as much as you can to coat the bacon.
  • Coat entirely with extra brown sugar until completely covered.
  • Lay on sprayed rack and bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, or until bacon is crispy.  Set aside and cool completely.

Directions: Apple Filling. On EACH tray sprinkle:

  • For this recipe, I used 2 kinds of cinnamon, 1 very spicy and one mild and sweet. I love cinnamon, so I used 2 tsps. of each.  Vary this to your tastes.
  • Sprinkle on each trap 1/4 tsp of ground cloves and 1 tablespoon sugar, preferably something light like palm sugar over regular white sugar.
  • Toss the apples thoroughly.
  • Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the apples are slightly softened.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.

Directions:  Let’s Fill This Thing

  • Use a deep-dish 9″ pie plate (my favorite pie dish is my Emile Henry 9″. It’s wonderfully deep and the ceramic bakes to perfection) and fill it with your bottom crust.
  • Layer the apples in and pack them tightly – the apple should be piled into a very hefty dome.
  • In a small dish, combine remaining tablespoon bourbon and molasses, and drizzle completely over the top of the apples.
  • Place second crust on top, and pinch to close.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes, covering the edges halfway through baking so they don’t burn.

This pie is best eaten the same day it’s made, but should be cooled completely before cutting if using a gluten-free crust (they crumble very easily).

Easy Gluten-Free Pie Crust

This is my favorite gluten-free crust so far out of those I’ve been playing with / creating.  Here’s why, health-wise:

  • Brown rice flour offers some body to the crust
  • Quinoa flour pumps up the protein value and also is a healthy source of magnesium and vitamins B12 and E
  • Amaranth gives a bit of sweetness and the soft texture blends well
  • Flax seed offers the fiber we all need, and a bit of nuttiness
  • Real butter – now and then you need some fat, and organic butter is always better than margarine (horror!)

It’s also easy in that you don’t NEED to refrigerate the dough, like you do with many standard recipes. I recommend dusting a piece of parchment paper set on your rolling board with rice flour, and doing the same with your rolling pin.  Roll halfway, then flip the dough and roll to size.  Use the parchment paper to flip the dough into your pie plate.

Ingredients: This makes enough for a bottom and top crust

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsps xantham gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons date or palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 sticks unsalted organic butter, cubed small

All dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment.  Cut butter in small cubes and toss into flours.  Start mixing the dough on low, until the butter starts to cut into the flours.  Kick the speed up a step or two, and watch the bowl to see how the butter cuts in.  If not pulling together, add ice-water one tablespoon at a time – you should only need one to get the dough into a ball.  As soon as it pulls, stop!  Divide the dough in two and roll out.

With this crust, I prefer to par-bake the filling so that the crust itself doesn’t spend as much time in the oven.

Fall Apple Pie

Molasses Apple Pie

October conjures up images of pumpkins, falling leaves and little children running around in costumes.   It’s also the time for the inevitable transition from salads to soups, the pulling of comforters from storage, and for grabbing the hiking boots and tromping through orchards.  And when one can’t get away from the urban jungle to feel the sensation of grabbing a perfectly ripe apple off a tree, you can thank the rising trend of artesinal apples for the variety that can be found at local farmer’s markets and specialty food stores.

I have no magical combination that I use in my apple pies.  Over the years I’ve explored the most local kinds for wherever I happen to be, and generally follow a combination of a 3-apple blend of sweet, tart and complex.  Granny Smith and Golden Delicious are staples, depending on how delicious the particular bunch is.  I also am a huge fan of Macoun, Northern Spy, Braeburn and Mutsu.  I’m even a bigger fan of dozens of varieties I can’t recall, because they just tasted so good when I took that first bite.

The best pies start with a little voodoo: enjoy the magic that is touching, smelling, tasting, and conjuring up ideas of how a combination will taste when baked into a crumbly crust.

I par-bake the apples together while making the crust.  This helps the spices infuse more thoroughly and then you don’t have to bake the crust so long, so it can be flakier and softer than ever.

This crust recipe utilizes a unique blend of gluten-free flours – sweet rice, amaranth, quinoa and flaxseed.  I tried these together for both health and flavor reasons, and was more pleased with this result than any other combination I’ve recently tried.  The rice provides structure, the quinoa both protein and optimum digestibility, the amaranth sweetness and a slightly different texture, and the flax provide a nutty flavor and fiber.

I swirl a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses over the par-baked apples to provide even more depth and complexity – an experiment of old that sent me over the full moon!

Ingredients – Crust :

  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 3/4 cup quinoa flour
  • 1/4 cup amaranth flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseeds
  • 1/3 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsps xantham gum
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons date or palm sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 sticks unsalted organic butter, cubed small

Ingredients – Apples:

  • A blend of 3 apples, 4-5 each depending on size, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 tablespoons palm sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg (preferably freshly ground)
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 farenheit
  2. Spread apples on 2 baking sheets, and sprinkle evenly with palm sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Bake apples for about 10 minutes in preheated oven, until just soft.  Remove to cool slightly.
  4. While apples are cooking, prepare the crust.  In a standing mixer with the paddle attachment place all crust ingredients, and use a fork or whisk to blend.
  5. Toss in butter.  Start mixing on low, then medium/low, until the crust just pulls together.  If too dry add ice-cold water, a tablespoon at a time and waiting until incorporated to continue adding.  Try not to overmix – make sure the butter is incorporated but don’t go beyond that.
  6. Roll or press half of the crust into a deep-dish pie plate.  Fill with all the apples, layering high.
  7. Drizzle entire tablespoon of blackstrap molasses on top.
  8. Roll out top crust, cover the apples, seal the edges and slice a few vents in the top.  If desired, use a pastry brush to brush with water or melted butter, and sprinkle with palm sugar.
  9. Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes, being sure to cover the edges of the pie halfway through so they don’t brown.
  10. Cool before serving.

Notes: Gluten-free crusts can be hard to roll.  I suggest rolling on a floured piece of parchment or wax paper, flipping the dough after a few rolls, and then using the paper to flip into the plate. Luckily they’re sturdier than traditional crusts, so you can easily refrigerate and roll again.

The crust will crumble initially when cutting.  Refrigerating the pie, slicing and reheating works out best.  No matter how you slice it, it’s a delicious recipe.  The crust is both nutty and sweet, and the flavor of the apples both complex and comfortable.

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