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Featured Member Blog: Poor and Gluten Free

Name: Danielle LeBlanc

Blog name and URL: Poor and Gluten Free http://www.poorandglutenfree.blogspot.com

Where were you born? Winnipeg, Manitoba

Where are you living now? I alternate time between Vancouver, BC, and Madison, Wisconsin, while my husband works on his PhD in the US.

Why did you start your blog? A few years ago I discovered I had gluten intolerance, and had something called oral allergy syndrome, which includes allergies to foods like fresh fruits and veggies and nuts.  I was just about to start grad school, and didn’t have a lot of money.  Gluten free food is expensive, even if you make it yourself!  At the time, a lot of blogs I found focused on converting regular foods to be GF, which required expensive GF flours that I couldn’t really afford.  After a couple of years of experimenting and researching, I felt I was potentially in a position to offer something of value to others, especially for those with oral allergy syndrome.  There still aren’t a lot of resources for people with OAS and I hope to change that.

How did you decide on your blog name?  I was kind of poor, and had a lot of food allergies!

What do you blog about? A share a lot of allergy-free recipes, and I’m a bit of a locavore so most of my recipes stem from seasonal foods.  I also post research on food allergies and food safety, as well as tips for living frugally and sustainably.

What post are you most proud of and why?  I recently posted a recipe for gluten free, egg free Beet Ravioli.  The recipe was a personal triumph as it worked so well on its first try, and I felt like I had finally managed to figure out how to manipulate gluten free cooking.  I also felt like it took my photography abilities to a new level.  Of course, the next week I had a couple of recipes totally flop, so it was only a temporary high!

Which post do you wish received more love and why? My post on eating gluten free in PEI!  My husband and I spent our honeymoon in the Maritimes, and not only was it a stunningly beautiful place, but I was so impressed by how eco-friendly it was, and that so many enlightened restaurants had gluten free menus.  I hope that more people consider the Maritimes for a holiday!  It was beautiful.  I still need to finish the next part in the series, eating GF in Nova Scotia.

Which post’s success surprised you and why?  My gluten free sprouted lentil bread recipe.  I concocted it after searching fruitlessly for a gluten free Essene / Ezekiel bread.  I wanted to make a dirt-cheap GF bread that didn’t require 20 obscure ingredients.  I had only just started blogging and had like 5 followers, but the post has become the most popular one on my blog, followed closely only by my other sprouted lentil bread.  It still gets found numerous times a day by people searching for gluten free sprouted bread.

What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without?  It’s not really a gadget, but a pashmina is a handy thing to have.  When I’m traveling (or even going out for the evening!) I always take a pashmina.  It’s great if it’s hot and you need to protect your head and shoulders from the sun.  If it’s chilly, it helps keep you warm.  If you’re visiting conservative churches and mosques, you can throw your pashmina over your head and shoulders, and it even makes a simple picnic blanket.  I just tie it on my purse strap and I’m ready for anything.  My pashminas are world travelers.

What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without?  My metal strainer.  I use it for steaming veggies, making gluten free Spaetzle, washing veggies, straining yogurt and of course, noodles.

Favourite food, care to share a recipe?  Well, raw oysters are definitely one of my top favorite foods!   But one of my favorite recipes to make is my gluten free Zataar rolls.  It’s a go to recipe that is so fast and easy to make, I always have some in my freezer to snack on.  They remind me of the 4 months I spent traveling in the Middle East, when I threw caution to the wind, traveled on my own for the first time, and decided to allow life to take me where it may!

Recommended Reading:  FBC Featured Member: Well Preserved

Biscuit Ingredients:

  • ½ c warm water
  • 1 Tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1c tapioca starch
  • 1c cornstarch
  • ½ c either sorghum, brown or white rice flour, garbanzo bean flour, lentil flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • Rice flour for dusting
  • 3/4 c milk brought to room temp.
  • ¼ c oil (olive or coconut)
  • 1-2 Tbsp melted butter or dairy free alternative

Zataar Mixture

  •  4 Tbsp sumac (omit if you can’t find it)
  • 2 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 Tbsp oregano
  • 1Tbsp basil
  • ½ Tbsp parsley
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)

Directions:

1. Grease a baking sheet and/or line with parchment paper.

2. Mix the water, yeast and sugar together and set aside to rise.  The yeast should begin to rise and bubble (if it doesn’t, you might need new yeast or warmer water.  The water should be warm to touch but not too hot to touch).

3. In the meantime, mix the dry ingredients together.

4. Add the milk and oil and mix until blended (this will be pretty crumbly).  Add the yeast mixture and mix approximately 3 minutes or so, until well blended.  This will be a fairly gummy mixture.

5. Generously dust a flat surface with rice flour.  Turn the dough out on to it and dust with more rice flour.

6. Knead about 5 or 6 times to work a bit of extra flour in, so the dough is not so sticky.  Then dust again and, using a rolling pin, roll the dough out about ¼” thick.

7. Brush about 1 Tbsp of the melted butter liberally over the dough.  Sprinkle liberally with the spice mixture.

8. Very carefully, using a knife or spatula to help, lift the edge of the dough nearest to you up and over to roll the dough.  Roll all the way to the opposite edge so you have a large log.  Using a wet, sharp knife, slice into rounds about 1- 1 ½” thick.

9. Lay the rolls out on the baking sheet, cut side up.  Brush with more melted butter.

10. Allow the rolls to rise in a warm place, about 30 minutes.  There are a few ways to do this – place a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven and put the baking sheet on a rack over top.  Or, heat the oven to 250F, then turn it off and place the sheet inside.

11. After the rolls have puffed up somewhat, remove from the oven.  Heat oven to 375F, return the baking sheet, and bake for about 20 minutes, until slightly browned on top and a bit crusty on the sides.

These are wonderful eaten warm!!!

What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page? I was a professional belly dancer for several years, and paid for most of my post-secondary education dancing at weddings and in Greek restaurants.  Now, I run a small business as a dance costume designer.

What makes your blog unique? There’s so many fantastic food blogs out there! I just try to share my own experiences dealing with a ton of food allergies that so far not many people have heard of.  I hope it helps other people.

Facebook URL: Poor and Gluten Free

Twitter URL : Gluten Free Cheap

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One Response to Featured Member Blog: Poor and Gluten Free

  1. Rod December 1, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    First time I’ve seen Zataar in a recipe. Often wondered what it was comprised of. Great recipe.

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