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Y’all, I’m so excited about this! As you know, I’ve been eating gluten-free for almost two years now (after years of serious digestive problems caused by wheat). That means I’ve switched to a diet that is full of meat, veggies, fruits, nuts/seeds, along with the easier starches for me to eat — rice, potatoes, etc. Slowly over the last two years I’ve worked on coming up with and trying out gluten-free recipes for traditionally glutinous things like cookies/pies/desserts, tortillas, muffins, etc, but I still eat those things rather sparingly and I only make them homemade (I don’t buy a lot of pre-made gluten-free snacks from the grocery store). I’ve gotten used to eating our previous night’s dinner leftovers for my lunches, so I don’t make many sandwiches and therefore I’ve gotten away without needing bread. Most of the gluten-free bread options at the grocery store are bland and expensive (although I do like this Rice Almond bread).

For a long time I’ve been meaning to try baking my own gluten-free bread, but just hadn’t gotten around to it. Then, a couple weeks ago when visiting my sister in Nashville, I tried some of the gluten-free bread she had made (my niece also has a gluten allergy). After realizing how nice it is to have a piece of crusty bread to eat with soup or a nice buttery piece of toast, I decided my own experiments in gluten-free bread-making were long overdue. Blair had forgotten what recipe she had used, but after a quick search on Pinterest, several delicious-looking loaves popped up: this, this, this, and this. After reading through those recipes, I realized that they were all the same! That’s when I knew that this promised to be a really good loaf of bread.

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I followed the same basic concept as all those recipes, except I cut the recipe in half. The original recipe is for four small loaves (and Drew and I don’t need that much bread in a week!). Two loaves work much better for us (I usually bake one immediately and save one in the fridge to bake a few days later — they are small, round loaves).

This really is a delicious loaf of bread. It is nice and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, with a great texture! It is dense but also fluffy. I really don’t think most people would even be able to tell that it is gluten-free. But I really love how simple and easy it is to make and that the list of GF flours is short and simple!

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Gluten-Free Artisan Bread (Crusty Boule)
makes two 1 pound loaves. Adapted from original recipe, here

Ingredients:
-1 cup Brown Rice Flour
-3/4 cup Sorghum Flour
-1 1/2 cups Tapioca Flour (also called tapioca starch)
-1 tablespoon yeast
-1/2 tablespoon sea salt
-1 tablespoon Xanthan Gum
-2 large eggs, whisked together
-1 1/3 cups lukewarm water
-2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil
-1 tablespoon honey

Directions:
1. Mix together flours, yeast, salt, and xanthan gum in large bowl.
2. In separate bowl, whisk together eggs.
3. In another separate bowl (or large glass measuring cup) combine water, oil, and honey.
4. Dump eggs into dry ingredients and mix while adding in 1/3 of wet ingredients.
5. Continue to stir while adding the second 1/3 of wet ingredients, and repeat with final 1/3 of wet ingredients.
6. Stir until dough is nice and smooth (will be a pretty wet dough).
7. Divide dough into two equal sized balls and place into plastic Tupperware containers (with lids). If baking one loaf immediately after rising, you can leave that half in the mixing bowl.
8. Cover Tupperware containers with lids, but do not snap shut. If leaving one dough ball in mixing bowl, cover that bowl loosely with plastic wrap.
9. Let dough rest on counter for 2 hours to rise.
10. Place the lids on dough you aren’t baking immediately and place in fridge (can store up to seven days).

11. If baking dough immediately, place dutch oven in the oven (make sure it has a metal knob, not a plastic one) and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Let dutch oven heat up in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
12. While oven is heating, transfer dough to a slice of parchment paper (gently dump it out of the bowl, being careful not to handle it too much or knead it, you want to keep all the bubbles in the dough that you can.)  If dough looks a bit scraggly, use wet hands to lightly smooth out the surface.
13. Use a serrated knife to cut slashes in the top of the dough, if you wish.
14. Once oven/dutch oven are heated, remove the dutch oven from the oven, and carefully lower the dough (on the parchment) into the dutch oven. Replace the lid on the pot and place back in oven.
15. Bake at 500 degrees inside lidded dutch oven for 20 minutes.
16. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, turn down the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.
17. Once bread is done baking, remove it from pot using a spatula and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t cut into bread until cooled or the center may seem gummy.

11. If baking dough from refrigerator, transfer refrigerated dough to a slice of parchment paper (gently dump it out of the bowl, being careful not to handle it too much or knead it, you want to keep all the bubbles in the dough that you can.) If dough looks a bit scraggly, use wet hands to lightly smooth out the surface.
12. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest on counter for about 90 minutes (if your kitchen is very warm you may only need about 75 minutes).
13. Place dutch oven in the oven (make sure it has a metal knob, not a plastic one) and preheat oven to 500 degrees. Let dutch oven heat up in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
14. Once dough is done resting and oven is heated, use a serrated knife to cut slashes in the top of the dough, if you wish.
15. Remove dutch oven from the oven and carefully lower the dough (on the parchment) into the dutch oven. Replace the lid on the pot and place back in oven.
16. Bake at 500 degrees inside lidded dutch oven for 20 minutes.
17. After 20 minutes, remove the lid, turn down the heat to 450 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes.
18. Once bread is done baking, remove it from pot using a spatula and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. Don’t cut into bread until cooled or the center may seem gummy.

Note: If you don’t have a Dutch oven, you can also bake this bread on a baking stone or cast iron skillet. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with the stone/skillet inside. Once heated, place the dough (on the parchment paper) on the stone/skillet. Place a metal pan of hot water on the rack under the baking stone. Bake for 30 minutes.

If you have a larger family and want to make more than two small loaves in a week, double this recipe (or follow these measurements, that link also includes more detailed photo instructions of each step). Here is also the same recipe adapted into naan. I also hear this freezes wonderfully, but I haven’t tried that yet!

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Not that I need to give serving suggestions for bread, but seriously this bread is so versatile and delicious! My favorite is to slice a couple slices, spread with butter and place under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes until crispy. Another version of that is to do the same but add shredded Parmesan cheese on top. Excellent served alongside a nice Italian dish or a creamy soup (like this one). Also great for sandwiches/paninis or toasted with jam!

Enjoy!

This bowl of soup might not look like one of the most delicious things you’ve ever eaten, but just take one bite and you’ll be convinced.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

Serves 6. Recipe altered from this one.

Ingredients:
-1 Tablespoon butter
-1 medium yellow onion, chopped
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1/3 cup masa harina (GF corn flour) to thicken
-5 cups chicken broth
-1 teaspoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon cumin
-1 teaspoon paprika
-salt and pepper to taste
-1-2 chicken breasts, chopped into small chunks
-1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies
-1 small tomato, diced
-1 can black beans, drained
-1 can pinto beans, drained
-1 cup corn (can be frozen)
-2/3 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup sour cream

For serving:
-shredded cheese
-avocado, diced
-sour cream
-tortilla chips

Directions:
1. Chop veggies (onion, garlic, tomato) and set aside. Cut up chicken breasts.
2. In dutch oven (over medium/high heat) melt butter. Add onion and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic and saute for about 30 more seconds.
3. Add in masa harina and stir.
4. Add in chicken broth and dissolve masa harina.
5. Add in spices (chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper).
6. Add in chicken and bring mixture to a boil. (chicken should cook pretty quickly since it is in small pieces)
7. Add black beans, pinto beans, corn, tomatoes & green chilies and stir.
8. Add heavy cream and sour cream and stir.
9. Done when all ingredients are heated through and chicken is cooked.
10. Serve warm with shredded cheese, sour cream, avocado and tortilla chips.

Note: If you like more spice, you can also slice and add in jalapenos when you saute onion and garlic. If you need to make this dairy-free, just leave out heavy cream and sour cream. People can always add sour cream/cheese to their individual bowls if they choose.

When Drew and I were vacationing in the Pacific Northwest earlier this Summer, Drew had a piece of Marionberry Pie. It wasn’t gluten-free, but I had to try a bite and it was delicious. Once we got back home, I had to make a gluten free pie! We don’t have marionberries (a certain type of blackberry) in Louisiana, but we do have other blackberries and raspberries, so a homemade gluten-free blackberry/raspberry pie it was!

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This was actually the first fruit pie I’d ever made. Growing up, my family never really made/ate fruit pies, so I never had the desire to make one myself. Boy, has that changed. Homemade blackberry pie is now one of my favorite things ever and the perfect summer treat (served with some fresh homemade vanilla ice cream!). I’ve made three pies in the last month (even though it is 100 degrees in New Orleans and about that hot in our house). Not even kidding, about the pies or the heat.

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For the crust, I used my Gluten-Free Shortcrust Recipe that I shared a couple months ago. It works wonderfully as a pie crust!

Gluten-free Blackberry/Raspberry Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust: (make two batches of this if you want both a top and bottom crust)
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 6 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
- 1 small egg
- 2 Tbsp water

For the filling:
- 3 tablespoons butter
- about 24 oz fresh berries (I used a mixture of blackberries and raspberries)
- about 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp orange juice
- 1 Tbsp corn starch
***Note on the filling: I really just threw these ingredients together and didn’t do a lot of measuring, so feel free to add them in, taste, and add more of whatever else you think it needs. You can also make this with more berries, just up the measurements of the other ingredients a bit.

For serving:
- homemade vanilla ice cream (optional, but delicious!)

Directions for the Crust:

1. In food processor, mix dry ingredients (brown rice flour, white rice flour, cornstarch, sugar, xanthan gum, salt).
2. Add cubed butter and pulse until crumbly.
3. Add egg, mix until combined, then add water and mix until combined.
4. Remove dough from food processor, roll into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap.
5. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
6. When ready to bake, roll out chilled dough between two sheets of wax paper. (You might need to dust the crust with a little brown rice flour while rolling if it is too sticky).
7. Transfer dough to bottom of pie pan.

Directions for the filling:

8. Melt butter in saucepan over medium/high heat.
9. Add berries and stir until they start to soften.
10. Add sugar, vanilla, lemon zest/juice, cinnamon, orange juice, and corn starch.
11. Stir until all dissolved and bubbly. (I also slightly mash up the berries a bit).
12. Taste and alter ingredients if necessary. You might need to add more sugar, depending on the sweetness of your berries (raspberries are usually sweeter and a little less tart than blackberries).

To Bake:

13. Pour fruit filling into prepared pie crust in pie pan.
14. Add second crust (if desired) over the top of filling.
15. Pinch crust edges together and slice a hole or two in the top. You can also spread a little melted butter over the top and sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
16. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Enjoy!

P.S. A side note that I’m adding here so that I don’t forget: When I published this post, my cousin Neva saw it and told me that my great-grandmother, Verba Pearl (my Papaw’s mom — “Grandma Wallace” as they called her), used to make the best Blackberry cobblers and Neva was happy to know that I was continuing that tradition. In Neva’s words, “We would finish eating lunch, and gobbling her cobbler, and LOVING it. So, she would stand up that minute and go to start making another for supper. She kept her flour poured out of the bag into one of her cabinet drawers. She would reach in and just grab out handfuls. She didn’t measure. Her crusts were perfect. I am sure she used lard. She usually made her blackberries into cobblers, with just the top crust. She was a good down-home cook. She cooked (and canned) despite the Southern Illinois summer temperatures.” I mentioned it to my dad and he said that he remembered her out in the middle of the woods in her dress wading through the weeds to pick wild blackberries. I never got to meet my great-grandmother, but I’m so happy to know that little tid-bit about her and to be continuing her tradition! :)

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Drew and I were grocery shopping in Whole Foods one afternoon when I saw a little stack of recipe cards sitting next to the display of onions and shallots. I picked one up, it sounded tasty, so we bought the ingredients and made it for dinner that evening. It was immediately a hit. One of my favorite recipes ever I think. I’ve seriously made this four times in the last month or so. I even more than doubled the recipe to feed to a group of 10 family members in town for my art show last week. They all seemed to love it.

Fun Fact: I hate yellow mustard, but I am absolutely obsessed with cooking with Dijon mustard. I just love the tangy flavor it gives things. I love it roasted on potatoes, meats, and it is my secret (or not-so-secret?) ingredient in my white cheddar mac-and-cheese too!

Classic Braised Chicken with Potatoes and Celery

adapted from original recipe here, to be gluten and dairy free. Serves 4. 

Ingredients:

-4 bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs
-1/4 cup brown rice flour
-1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-2 Tbsp butter (or olive oil)
-4-6 celery stalks (about half a bunch), chopped into 2-3 inch pieces
-4 medium red potatoes (about 1 pound), cubed
-1/2 cup white wine
-1 3/4 cups chicken broth
-1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Directions:

1. Melt butter (or olive oil) in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
2. Meanwhile, combine brown rice flour, salt, and pepper in a wide bowl or plate.
3. Coat chicken pieces with flour mixture and add to melted butter in pan.
4. Cook chicken for 5 minutes on each side, until outside is crispy and golden brown.
5. Transfer chicken to a bowl.
6. Lower heat to medium and add chopped celery and potatoes to pan. Cook, stirring frequently until celery softens, about 5 minutes.
7. Stir in wine and cook, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-10 minutes.
8. Pour in broth and stir in Dijon mustard.
9. Return chicken to the pan, bring to a boil and then lower heat, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through (165 degrees) and very tender, 20-25 minutes.
10. Once chicken is done, transfer chicken and vegetables with a slotted spoon to a larger serving bowl or platter.
11. Continue to cook the liquid over medium to medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, or until sauce is slightly thickened and reduced to about 1 1/2 cups.
12. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables and serve.

Enjoy!

One treat my sisters and I loved when we were little were what we referred to as “pie crust cookies.” Whenever my mom was making pies with a homemade oil pastry crust, we would use the leftover dough to spread with cinnamon and sugar and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes to bake into little cookies. We loved them so much we would often whip up a batch of oil pastry dough just to make into cookies, no pie crusts needed.

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This is a tradition that I’ve continued into my own home. I don’t make pies often, but in the winter I love a good homemade chicken pot pie. I would top the pie with my homemade oil pastry crust dough and bake the leftover bits into pie crust cookies, just like old times. After going gluten-free, I tried substituting different gf flour mixes into my regular pie crust recipe, but each turned out too crumbly or hard to roll out. Lately, I’ve really been craving some fresh strawberries with some homemade shortcrust cookies, so I experimented with different recipes and tweaks until I came up with one I liked. I haven’t tried baking this recipe into an actual pie crust, but I’m sure it would work great for that too.

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Gluten-free Strawberry Shortcrust

Ingredients:

For the shortcrust:
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup white rice flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp turbinado sugar
- 1/8 tsp xanthan gum
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
- 6 Tbsp cold butter, cubed
- 1 small egg
- 2 Tbsp water

For the topping:
- turbinado sugar
- cinnamon

For serving:
- Fresh strawberries, sliced
- honey

Directions:

1. In food processor, mix dry ingredients (brown rice flour, white rice flour, cornstarch, sugar, xanthan gum, salt).
2. Add cubed butter and pulse until crumbly.
3. Add egg, mix until combined, then add water and mix until combined.
4. Remove dough from food processor, roll into a ball, and wrap in plastic wrap.
5. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
6. When ready to bake, roll out chilled dough between two sheets of wax paper.
7. Transfer dough to baking sheet, spread with cinnamon & sugar mixture, and cut into squares.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
9. Serve whole or crumbled with sliced strawberries that have been tossed with honey.

Enjoy!

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