Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Non-crumbly Tasty Gluten Free Tortillas (Seriously!)

Well, actually these come out a bit more like fajita wraps, but even my gluten eating friends and family love these. I've been wanting to post the recipe for a while, but keep feeling stumped, wondering how to describe the flour mix and such. But then I tried some store-bought gluten free tortillas yesterday and they were slimy and horrible. So here goes...

First, you need a good flour mix. I make up an all around, very versatile mix that I keep in a big jar in the refrigerator. The ingredients in it sometimes vary, but the main idea is that you need to keep a proportion of half starch to other kinds of flours. Maybe even a little extra starch. When you run your hands through the mix, you should be able to feel that "starchy" feeling like you get when you touch cornstarch. I've never tried it, since I can't use potato, but I suspect the all-purpose gluten free flours like Bob's Red Mill likely are similar and would work. This is my current mix:

3 C. garfava flour (or garbanzo bean flour)
2 1/2 C . arrowroot (or tapioca, potato or cornstarch)
2 1/2 C. tapioca flour
1 C. sorghum flour
1 C. millet flour (or quinoa flour, or whatever I have on hand if I want to experiment)

This mix was based on one from Carol Fenster's Special Diet Solutions:

3 C. garbanzo/fava bean flour
2 C. potato starch
2 C. cornstarch
1 C. tapioca flour
1 C. sorghum flour

I notice hers has a higher proportion of starches. This starch thing is definitely important.

Pliable, Bendable, Non-Crumbly and Tasty Gluten Free Tortillas

2 C. flour mix
a good-sized pinch, roughly 1/2 teas. xanthan gum
1/2 C. water
2 Tbls. olive oil

Mix it all together until you get a workable, non-sticky dough. You might have to play around with the water and flour amounts.

Turn this out onto a flour-sprinkled board. This is a rare gluten free dough that for some reason improves with kneading. Knead until it's smooth and pliable.

Divide into 6 balls.

Roll out into tortilla shapes.

I have a cast iron griddle, which works well. Oil and heat whatever kind of non-stick griddle or pan you have. When it's nice and warm plop a tortilla on top. It's often best to do this with a spatula. Sometimes they stick a little to the board and you have to scrape it off a bit with the spatula. Heat for a minute or a few, until it looks like it's starting to be cooked and firm. Flip over and finish it up. Often they will form bubbles. This is good and makes them that much lighter and tastier.

Amaze your gluten-free friends with your tasty and bendable wraps.

The one time I made these when they didn't work was when I was trying to show a newly diagnosed celiac friend that life didn't have to be bad. Food could be non-crumbly and good! And then these came out crumbly and wouldn't hold together. I still don't know what I did wrong. But even if, for some odd reason, yours don't work at first, don't give up. These are worth it. I always think it's going to be a huge amount of effort and don't make them that often. But the truth is, once you figure them out, it goes pretty quickly. I always wind up wondering why I don't do them more often. Especially after I just paid $5 for some really horrid slimy disks that I'm going to feed to the garbage can.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Haven't Been Sucked up by Gluten Wielding Aliens

My, what a strange time it's been. If anyone is still checking in on this, you've probably figured that I decided to give up on this blog before it ever really started. Or that I went insane, ate half a cake and did myself in from intestinal distress. Or something like that.

Actually, I've been unwell. I don't want to go into the whole sordid story here, but I did mention it on my other vehicle of spew, my art-related space. It turned out that the generic medication that I'd been taking wasn't any good. This particular pharmaceutical replaces a vital hormone that my body no longer makes on its own. Of all things, it was my gluten intolerance that led to me figuring it out. My pharmacy was going to switch me to another generic. The new pharma company wouldn't vouch for it being gluten free. Feeling ripped off, I had to go on the name brand at a much higher price. As soon as I took the first dose, I went from having so little stamina I could barely stand without breaking into an exhausted sweat and feeling faint to feeling almost close to normal. Even my chronic pain got more controllable. I'm ecstatic and relieved to get some of my life back, even as I'm raging inside for how much I've lost due to a bad drug that was supposed to be "equivalent" to the name brand. I'm finding out I'm not alone. Scary.