Category Archives: Currently in the Gluten Free Canteen

Pineapple Express: Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake


Once upon a time I hated pineapple upside-down cake.  It tasted and looked like  Jiffy Mix met a can of sweetened pineapple, went out on a really bad date and fell into a deep dish, head first.

I’d forget after a while and make it again like it was something new and different.   And I still didn’t like it.  Even when I moved  past Jiffy Mix to decent yellow cakes, fresh pineapple and caramelized sugar, it still lacked something. Mostly it reminded me of school lunch fare.  Beige.

Still, I was hopeful that I might try just one more time (hope springs eternal or my brain is wired like Dilbert).  And I’m glad not only that I did, but had the foresight to write it all out as I was making it up. Continue reading

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Baking Wrecks: A GF Cherry Pie Wreck on Pi Day

Lulu and Phoebe were willing to eat this – We weren’t!

I really do know how to make a pie.  I’ve made some fabulous pies over the years.  But once in a while a whole bunch of pies will come out of my kitchen less than edible.  It seems to happen in cycles.  And because I am stubborn, I keep going until the pie-wreck cycle is broken.

I’ve gone through pounds of butter and flour with mixed results.  Some would make better wall-paper paste than pie crust, but as long as I could stuff it into the pan – it would be baked.  Other doughs rolled out perfectly and went into the pan like a pie crust should only to come out of the oven like it was exchanged for dessert sand. Continue reading

Ask Essie: Flour Power

Janet asks what gluten free flours we use in the GFCanteen kitchen.

PhotobucketBack in the dark ages when we first began preparing gluten free food, there was but one choice for flour.  It was a gluten free flour blend that was meant to mimic AP flour.  It was pretty horrible.  Not only was it super gritty, but I am pretty sure it was a blend of bean flours that smelled awful.  Not what you want in your favorite chocolate cookie recipe.

But thankfully, things have evolved and we have some fine sources for gluten free flours. Some are available in the grocery store these days, and at least where I live, Whole Foods has an entire section of GF flours offering a variety of brands. Continue reading

Oat Tales: GF Oat Cookies with Coconut, Pecans and Raisins

Oatmeal is a lot like Uncle Fergus – you either love him or run for your life when he shows up at the door.

I grew up hating all things oatmeal. When I was forced to eat the stuff, it was like chewing the inside of the sofa stuffing (don’t ask how I know that). Perhaps it had something to do with the fact that the same Quaker Oats container sitting on the pantry shelf had celebrated more birthdays than I had.

I met my first commercially made oatmeal cookie when I bought school-lunch the day the new cafeteria opened.   I loved cookies, but this thing was dreadful. Soft, squishy and stale, it was the color of tired beige with tiny dark specks.  Oats and I were finished.

That is, until I grew up and found out that oats were actually tasty. My mother-in-law, the original granola queen, used oats as much as she used lemons or mayonnaise (which in her house is a food group). She taught me the rules of food-cooperatives and how to chase the good stuff – think organic mills before organic was a type of certified product. Continue reading

Gluten Free Ultra Minty Thins

Once upon a time, there was not one adorable little Girl Scout in a five-mile radius who had not sold us Thin Mint cookies.  Apparently we became such a familiar sight that when the munchkins saw us walking toward the store entrance where they sold the crack cookies, they started piling up the Thin Mints in anticipation.

Our entire freezer was stuffed with Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies.  Undoubtedly a 12 step program was probably in order.  But that was then. Continue reading

Gluten Free Ratio Rally – GF Potato Pancakes



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It’s been a long time coming actually.  Moving from the system of measuring everything by cups to weights has made a huge difference in the outcome of gluten free baking.  Heck, it makes a difference in any kind of baking.  And now we get to start thinking about food making in terms of ratios with thanks to Michael Ruhlman.

Ratios are like the blueprint of cooking.  Think of it as the bones of recipes.  If you become comfortable with ratios – any food preparation becomes your own customization.  No recipe needed.

Take pancakes, for example.  The typical ratio is 4:4:2:1.   That would be 4 parts flour to 4 parts liquid to 2 parts egg to one part fat.  As long as you know that particular ratio = pancakes you can make the quantity as big or small as you want.  You can customize it any way you like.

We enjoy our weekend pancakes, but we love potato pancakes even more.  We usually only eat them around Hanukkah and call them latkes.  But they’re good any time of year and sometimes on a cold weekend morning, a potato pancake seems perfect. Continue reading

Good News! It's a Very Lemon Tart, Gluten Free


Captain Awesome grew up in a family we affectionately refer to as the  Lemon Loving clan.  He and his parents love lemon tart more than chocolate.  Yes, indeed, gasp.  But true.  So recently, after we carted some pretty Meyer lemons home from the market, I thought I would make him a very lemon tart.

Three many tarts later I finally have it.  The first one was a candidate for  baking wreck of the week.  A little too much cornstarch and the lemon filling was smooshy bitter.  The second one was better, but the crust was rather like chewing crust-jerky.  And the filling was still bitter and slightly chewy.  Not what you want in a lemon tart.  Too much pith and brimstone.

The third time was the charm.  This one is so perfect I want to bronze it.  Half the tart is still in the refrigerator but I know it won’t last the day because Captain Awesome already had a piece for breakfast. Continue reading