Tuesday, November 29, 2011

a few kitchen related tips

here a few tips to my non gluten eating friends (or others who might be trying to have a more g.free kitchen).

in regard to flours
being that gluten free flours are a bit more perishable than your standard wheat flour, take a little more care with it. 

- if you stock up (like when you find a sale) store it in the fridge or freezer.  like any perishable, cold will slow everything down and help it to keep longer.  some flours should always live in the fridge (like Teff) but most are ok on the shelf as long as you are moving through it at a realistic pace. 

- most flours are happier in an air tight container & will stay fresher if stored in something with a tight lid.  that being said, wash out your container and let it dry completely in between bags of g.free flour.  you don't want the old little bits that are clinging around the rim to taint your brand new bag of (not cheap) gluten free flour.

- experiment with other grains!  only wheat, barley and rye naturally contain gluten, yet there are so many other flours and grains out there to play with.  just watch your source (you don't want something that's been cross contaminated).  i've found substituting 1/4c. Teff in place of 1/4c. other flours gives a lovely "whole grain" flavor.  & i've got a package of coconut flour sitting in my pantry i'm excited to try.

if things are looking a little flat
when things start coming out of the oven looking a bit deflated, it can be a real downer.  but don't start doubting your kitchen abilities just yet.  double check your other ingredients. 

-baking soda and baking powder may seem invincible, but will actually lose their lifting power over time.  it's recommended to replace both every 6 months or so. 
    baking soda is cheap and as it gets old it can be used for lots things like air/carpet freshener, tons of cleaning purposes, and other random things like this 75 uses for baking soda site.  even found one gal who claimed to make a anti cellulite scrub (not going to back that one up, just throwing it out there for any who are looking for something to do of an evening.)    
    baking powder can cost a bit more, and i've found it best just to buy it in more appropriate amounts out of the bulk bin.  i can get Rumford baking powder (my fav due to it being aluminum free, gluten free, double acting) at Red Clover (56th & hwy 2, behind the racket club).

a random non gluten fix
- for a couple months now i've been trying to figure out what to do about my brown sugar getting crusty.  i was taught just to toss a piece of bread in the container with it to soften it back up.  but with g.free bread being the price that it is, i use every last piece, including the wimpy heel of the loaf.  solution: a marshmallow will keep your brown sugar soft!  and marshmallows are gluten free (unless you are buying some crazy messed with kind of marshmallow that i've not seen before), and i always seem to have some around for g.free rice kriskpy bars.  so that is an easy fix!

so there you go.  i'm still trying to figure out all this gluten free business, and i'm happy to share what i learn as i go.  hope these little tidbits are helpful in your cooking adventures!   

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