I was recently told I have Ulcerative Colitis; a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. I won’t go into the details of that. But certain foods can trigger “flare ups” and it is usually brought on by stress, hormonal changes among other things. Upon looking up what foods are most common to cause a “flare up” I found EVERYTHING on the list. It appeared that not eating was the best way to remedy the situation. Unfortunately I can’t do that. So a removal diet is the next step to find out what triggers the flare. I have found that wheat is the biggest culprit. Which poses an even bigger problem.
I live for baked goods. By trade I am a baker. I have the general food schooling and then went on to further my education in baking and pastries. Formally my title would be Journeyman Pastry Chef. However, I prefer the more humble approach of a baker. I don’t get too wrapped up in fancy titles. Sometimes it makes people sound (and act) too big for their britches. Not to mention the apprentice, journeyman, master code seems to be getting forgotten and only recognized in the construction trades anymore. But that’s a whole nother rant.
My love for grains has always been. I grew up in the kitchen making breads, poticas and more with mom and grandma. For a few years in my very early 20’s I had a successful Patisserie. Where we made artisan breads, pastries, desserts and such. When our first child was born I became a mom and began my baking out of the house instead. Selling most of my goods at the local farmers market and the few phone requests I get.
I am about to embark on a whole new side of grains though. Gluten free. There are still many options. Working with such grains is very different than those containing the gluten protein; as they act much different. The exploration of grains that are gluten free, satisfying and taste good is going to be quite a learning adventure.
I have used many of such grains in the past but usually to accompany wheat or something of the sort. Now to use them on their own will be a challenge. The short term goal is three months gluten free and then reevaluate.
As a special treat I love a giant molasses cookie and a hot cup of coffee for breakfast. I adapted my usual recipe to use oat flour and fresh ginger. Oat flour, even organic,from the us has the possibility to contain gluten because it is often processed near wheat flour. Irish oats tend to be the safest when buying for gluten free. I’m lucky enough to have fresh oats that my dad grew and a little mill at home so I am able to grind my own. I also use fresh ginger because of it’s anti-inflammatory properties. (however, baking the ginger may very well kill those properties)
The result is a very soft and chewy molasses cookie that is most certainly a treat!
Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies
Gluten Free Oatmeal Cookies
Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate over night.
Scoop onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-10 minutes.
Not all oats are created equal. Be sure of your source because some oat can contain very small amounts of gluten when grown too close to wheat or other gluten containing grains.
Fall is the season of canning and preserving the hard work of summer just before settling in for a long winter. Wild grapes were a bonus this year. A nice change from the usual vegetables and fruits to “put up”.
These tiny tart grapes were climbing and evergreen and huge cottonwood trees just south of the farm. I’m pretty sure we weren’t the first to pick because there weren’t too many within easy reach. But, with a little climbing and getting stuck on a few branches we had picked a small bucket and home we went.
Then was the task of cleaning them. Ugh, what a purple mess! They were still pretty well stuck on the vine and there were a few spiders that made their way home as well. Spiders stop all production and empty the kitchen until someone (my husband) has taken care of the problem. After dying my fingers purple and a few evacuations a new method was used.
I prefer to not eat all the little critters that come with a wild harvest. (Dad calls it extra protein…I’m not that hungry) I soak them in vinegar and cold water for about an hour. Magical vinegar, I just love the stuff! With a few swishes of the water the dried berries and critters float to the top and can be easily removed.
Into the pot they went stems and all. No more purple fingers. A little water to keep them from scorching and some heat to release the juice. Smashing the grapes every so often (makes them wine, hahaha. Ok, cheesy I know). After about an hour or so it’s juice time. Straining and squishing through a food mill, we were ready for jelly (or wine 🙂 .
I use a pretty basic recipe for my jelly. No need to over complicate it. Just a little pectin, sugar and butter. Yes, butter. A granny secret is to add a bit of butter to the jelly to prevent the frothy foam the usually forms on top. Then there’s no skimming to do!
This recipe can be adapted for any fruit juice.
1boxSuregel Pectin1 3/4 oz
To make the grape juice: Place the wild grapes in a stock pot with about an inch of water to prevent scorching. (stems and all; just make sure they are clean of dirt, bugs and rotten grapes)
Heat slowly mashing them with a potato masher. Once heated just below a simmer, remove the grapes and strain them through a food mill, squishing the rest of the juice out.
To make the jelly: Place the juice and pectin in the stock pot and bring to a hard boil for 1 minute. Stir constantly
Add the sugar and butter. Stirring constantly bring back to a hard boil for 1 minute.
Pour into hot jelly jar. Pour canning wax on top or process in water bath