Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gingerbread Lemonade

Lately I've been on a lemonade obsession.  I don't particularly care for the stuff, but Spouse 1.0 drinks it like it's going out of style.

And, given The Curse of David*, lemonade may well be doing just that.

So, to mitigate The Curse of David, save money, and reduce our carbon footprint, I've been making lemonade. Lots & lots & lots of it.

I used to think that making homemade lemonade required juicing zillions of lemons.  Then I discovered bottled lemon juice.  Maybe not quite so exciting as fresh squeezed, but there's still a lot of money and bottles saved when you buy just one quart of lemon juice to make 8 quarts of lemonade.  Plus you get to control the sugar content.

Of course, it's completely impossible for me to make the same thing over & over again. There's just something in how my brain is wired that connects the brain cell that stores the information, "Spouse 1.0 loves lemonade" with the brain cell that stores "Spouse 1.0 loves ginger", which in turn connects to the brain cell that stores "Spouse 1.0 loves gingerbread lattes".

So, we get Gingerbread Lemonade:

- 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, or 1 ginger ice cube
- 1/8 tsp powdered ginger
- 5/8 tsp Apple Pie spice
- 35 drops liquid vanilla stevia
- 1/2 ounce agave syrup
- 1 ounce molasses
- 4 ounces fresh or bottled organic lemon juice
Filtered water

  1. Using a sturdy kitchen scale**, place all ingredients into a 1 quart bottle or jar.
  2. Add a small amount of warm or room temperature filtered water.  Tightly cap the jar and shake until all ingredients are well-combined.
  3. Continue filling jar with room-temperature water.  Taste and adjust seasonings and sweetness, then place in the refrigerator to chill.
    Don't over-spice it.  As the lemonade chills, the spices will continue to infuse.

* The Curse of David: A law of the Universe by which anything that Spouse 1.0 likes will be discontinued almost as soon as he discovers that he likes it.  The law further decrees that the more he likes it, the sooner it will be discontinued.  Most blatant example: VW Cabrio. 

** I strongly recommend using a kitchen scale, especially when you are dealing with sticky-ickies such as molasses, honey, or agave. Using a measuring cup wastes water and unnecessarily increases your work load.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Gluten Free and Casein Free

The Moosewood Cookbook's Hungarian Mushroom Soup showed up at one this year's Lenten Soup Suppers. Now, I'm not a fan of cream soups, but one taste of this stuff and I knew: Spouse 1.0 would love this soup -- if I added meat.  I had to get the recipe and adapt it for him.

One thing that makes this soup so wonderful is that it's not as heavy as most cream soups. It's just creamy enough to gently hold the earthy flavor of mushrooms, the subtle flavor of dill, and the mild zip of paprika together.

When adapting, you have to make decisions. Your decisions make the difference between good flavor and better. They are the difference between horrible texture, OK texture, and decent texture. In baking your decisions are the difference between dry, moist, and gummy -- and the difference between rising and falling.

Fortunately, soup isn't baking. The decisions are easier.

First decision: Butter. Our casein restrictions permit organic butter, so yay! That was easy. Second best choice would have been goat butter, followed by Earth Balance. Soup is actually pretty forgiving, so you could use the equivalent amount of any oil, but flavor would be compromised.

Next decision: Milk. This is a savory, slightly tangy soup, so goat milk is perfect. It has protein and fat to help the soup hold together.  A good second choice would have been unsweetened, unflavored soy milk. Any of the other unsweetened and unflavored milk alternatives might work, but I think texture would be compromised. A sweetened or flavored milk would probably be pretty awful.

Third decision: Flour. Don't you love how one simple little 5-letter word for the glutivores opens up a world of complications and questions?  Any common gluten-free all-purpose blend will probably work.  I used the Trader Joe brand, which does not include xanthan gum. It worked perfectly.  I wouldn't use a blend with xanthan gum.  The texture might come out too slimy or thick. You could also use a single flour, such as brown rice, but texture and flavor would be compromised. 

Final decision: Sour cream.  The soup is delicious without it.  I wouldn't bother.  Alternatives: vegan sour cream substitute or your choice of plain yogurt substitute. 

So, here it is: My adaptation of Hungarian Mushroom Soup:

GFCF Hungarian Mushroom Soup

24 ounces mushrooms, sliced
4 cups chopped onions
4 Tbsp fresh chopped dill, or 4 tsp dry (Divided use)
4 cups chicken stock, divided use. (Use homemade or a GF brand.)
2 Tbsp GF tamari soy sauce
2 Tbsp Hungarian paprika or smoked paprika (I used smoked.)
4 Tbsp butter or butter substitute
6 Tbsp gluten-free flour blend
2 cups goat milk (or unsweetened, unflavored soy milk or other milk substitute)
2 tsp salt
4 tsp lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/3 that amount, dried)
Optional: 1 cup vegan sour cream substitute and/or extra dill

  1. Saute onions in a small amount of stock, salt lightly
  2. When partly done, add mushrooms, half the dill, about 1 cup more stock, tamari, and paprika. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes while you prepare the cream base.
  3. Melt butter in a 6 quart soup pot.
  4. Whisk in flour blend and cook on medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and the flour is a nice golden color.
  5. Reduce heat to low, and slowly whisk in the milk until completely incorporated. Cook about 10 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture is thick.
  6. Whisk in the mushroom mixture and the remaining stock.  Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, stirring periodically.
  7. Just before serving, add salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  8. Garnish each bowl with a little vegan sour cream substitute and/or extra dill.
Variation: To make this a protein-packed meal, add about 12 ounces of chopped poached chicken in step 6.

Serves 8.

Sorry: For now, no picture. 

The above adaptation is based on this recipe: