Recipes Under Construction!

Like the title says, these recipes are under construction! I am in the processing of making modifications or waiting to trial new foods before they can make the "final cut"!

Corn Meal Pancakes   3/15/10
2c fine ground cornmeal (Bob's red mill makes a great one!)
2 1/2c boiling water
1/4c canola oil
1 1/2c mashed bananas + 1 tsp baking powder (or 1/2tsp baking soda+1/4tsp cream of tartar)
3-4 tsp baking powder (again, substitute 1/2tsp baking soda+1/4tsp cream of tartar for every 1 tsp baking powder)
1/4c sugar or honey
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Boil the water. Have corn meal in separate bowl--- pour boiling water over cornmeal, one cup at a time, stirring as you go. This will create a paste. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend well. The batter will be thick. Prepare as "regular" pancakes.

This recipe makes a TON of batter. You might want to halve the recipe or cook up the pancakes and freeze some of them for future breakfasts.

This is considered "under construction," as I am not too keen on the texture yet. It is like a cross between a firm omelet and a "normal" pancake. My B loved the pancakes, however, (I even cut them into fun shapes after they were cooked) and they were very easy for her to eat (still no teeth!!!) as finger food, torn into little pieces. I personally think the corn meal adds way too much of a "kick" (ok initial taste, wacky aftertaste, though B didn't seem to mind!) and will be trying a new modification of this in the AM. I might see if I can figure out how to make a pear syrup as well. . . more to add after tomorrow.

So the corn meal was not kind to Baby Girl, completely passing through her system in tact and resulting in a very painful looking diaper rash-- I am guessing this is due to the food's gritty texture, even though I used the fine ground cornmeal.

Because of this, our AM pancakes were made with Masa (ahh, our old friend!) corn flour. I don't think this will create the same problems as the corn meal as we have used Masa in every baked good we have made thus far. As for the recipe results themselves. . . . the flavor was much milder and sweeter, the texture was a little more cakey and definitely less gritty, the color was about the same and the cook time was about the same. B still loved these just as well as the corn meal ones; hopefully the Masa recipe will love B a little better than the corn meal one did!

So I feel comfortable with the recipe as is with the Masa in place of cornmeal and I did also drop the baking powder down from 5 total tsp to 4 total tsp (I am including what was added to the banana as the egg substitute).

I think the final modification to this recipe will be as follows: I will try substituting a pear puree in place of the bananas, substituting honey for the sugar (same measurement), and see what happens. I am also going to see if I can create a pear syrup (maybe with vanilla?) to put on top of the pancakes for the total breakfast experience, maybe adding a sprinkle of powdered sugar to boot! More to come before this one is finalized and moved to the other recipe page. . .

So today I decided to play around with coconut flour. We have not begun a trial of coconut anything yet (still trying to regain our original "safe" foods post-reaction), but it is something I would like to try soon and I have been staring longingly at the coconut flour in my pantry for some time now. . .  So I did a little research and apparently, you can use coconut flour to replace all of the "regular" flour in a recipe IF you increase the number of eggs fairly significantly. One site I read said to add one egg for every one ounce of coconut flour. Yikes! That's a lot of eggs, and since we avoid them for now, I am starting to play around with the egg substitutes. Today I tried milled flaxseed as the egg sub (1tbsp flaxseed + 3 tbsp water, let sit for two minutes after whisking together. . . this makes one egg). Here is the scoop--- tasted, in my opinion, kind of nasty. The flaxseed was a pretty strong taste and did not complement the coconut well. My husband however, thought that it wasn't that bad. Perhaps if it would have been frosted (it was a cake recipe). . . . The good news is that it did set up fairly well although I think it needed to bake on a lower tempt for a longer period of time than the recipe called for. . . . So next I will try the same recipe but with a fruit puree, either pears or bananas, as the egg substitute, as well as throwing in a little extra baking powder to the mix. If it goes at least moderately well, I will post my findings here. As a side note, I found it interesting that some sites even claimed coconut was almost hypoallergenic. I thought that even if this wasn't exactly true, the reasons they gave allowed me to think that this was at least a much lower risk food and it was worth a shot.

So more with the coconut flour. After more research, it turns out coconut allergies are out there at least in a moderate amount, so make sure to do a full trial with this one! Also, I played around with Xanthan gum (which is supposed to help baked goods with no gluten present-- it holds things together) and had mediocre results. So after a few modifications, here are the recipes and variations for coconut flour cupcakes/muffins:

Coconut Flour Muffins
1/2 c sifted coconut flour (if you don't have a sifter, at least stir it up well with a whisk)
6 Tbsp canola oil
x6 egg substitute
          For fun, I used several different ones: 1egg= 1/4c pear puree + 1 tsp baking powder
          1 egg= 1Tbsp arrowroot + 3TBSP warm water; 1egg= 1 sm mashed banana + 1tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2tsp vanilla (optional)
1 tsp Xanthan Gum (optional)
1 tsp baking powder OR 1/2tsp cream of tartar+1/4tsp baking soda

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix coconut flour, baking powder and xanthan gum in a separate bowl with a whisk. In another bowl, mix oil, egg substitutes, sugar, salt, vanilla with electric mixer. Slowly add flour mixture to oil mixture while blending; blend well until no lumps remain. Spoon batter into muffin cups (this makes about 12 muffins) about 3/4 full. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees; muffins will be down when browning on top. After fully baked, turn off the oven and leave the muffins in the oven for an additional 5-10 minutes, checking on them regularly. Remove from oven and allow to cool in baking pan. Remove from pan after 10 minutes to cool on wire rack. If desired, frost once cool with Happy Birthday Girl frosting.

A few notes. . . . the muffins set up well and bind together well. However, they are moist to the point of feeling like a cross between a hard pudding and a moist cake or muffin. The outside however is very muffin-like and would hold up well to frosting. If they do not set up the first time and you are using an oil based egg substitute, reduce the amount of egg substitutes to 4 rather than 6 and increase the baking powder by as much as 2-3 tsp. I will continue to work with this recipe and once it is more refined, will move it to the other recipe page. Have fun baking tropically!

An Array of Arrowroot Attempts!
In the midst of coconut trials (in the kitchen, not with the baby), I decided it is time to revisit arrowroot and finally tame the liquidy, bubbly beast it seems to become when used exclusively as a flour replacer in recipes. I will master you, Arrowroot! Hopefully, tonight's baking bonanza will yield some positive or at least informative results!

It's been awhile!
So today, as it seems we are starting to fail yet another food, I decided to try a recipe modification for Gnocchi (a potato pasta, small and dumpling-like in texture, typically served with marinara). Baby girl refused potato completely every time we have tried it-- even if we find a way to get it in her mouth she spits it out IMMEDIATELY so we have no clue if she is ok with it (no FPIES rxn) or not, since I don't think any of it has ever gone down. So no potato flour for now and no potatoes, but what about cornmeal? I took 1 cup of fine ground cornmeal and 1/2 quart of water, added the cornmeal to the boiling water and stirred continuously for about 15-20 minutes until the mixture was very thick and formed a soft ball. I then took it off of the burner and scooped out little balls of dough with the measuring spoon and formed them into gnocchi shapes (the "dough" was very pliable). I then rolled them in a pan containing 2 tbsp canola oil and a pinch of salt. Next, I placed the gnocchi in a pie pan and baked in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. 

The result? Well, in my opinion, the taste was a little strong and the texture was ok, but could be better. The dumplings themselves were soft but firm, identical to typical gnocchi in this sense. The cornmeal didn't completely dissolve as well as I would have liked however, and there was a little bit of grittiness remaining-- not a great texture in this area. B sampled the gnocchi and initially liked it before I baked them, but after I baked them, she wasn't as crazy about them. Not sure why-- I noticed no difference, but she is quite the gourmand. :) 

So the plan is--- try again, same procedure but with Masa instead of cornmeal. It should give a smoother texture and a milder taste. Also, use a whisk instead of wooden spoon for stirring the mixture and instead of boiling the water first, add the corn meal/ corn flour to the water and THEN boil. I am also wondering if this would work with ground quinoa as well. More updates to follow, but I think this one will end up being a keeper. Still battling with the coconut flour. . . .

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