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25 November 2009

gluten-free gravy

making gluten-free gravy

Of all the questions I have received about Thanksgiving this week, the number one topic — by far — has been gluten-free gravy.

People, it is easier than it seems.

Let us walk you through it.

First, make sure you have a good stock (chicken or turkey, if you eat meat), homemade if possible. If not, be sure to splurge on a good-quality stock. Make sure it's gluten-free.

Next, have some butter. Unsalted, please. You want to control how salty your gravy is. (And if you can't eat butter, we've had some real success with Earth Balance buttery sticks. I have fooled Danny a few times with these.)

You'll need some kosher salt.

And one or two gluten-free flours.

We like sorghum flour. And sweet rice flour. Lately, we make a combination of the two. That's to make a roux.

If you want to make a slurry, try cornstarch.

To make a roux, simply combine equal parts butter and gluten-free flour. I'll let you watch the video to see how. It won't be quite as stiff as a gluten roux, but it will be close. Cook the roux until it is the color of a brown paper bag. Set it aside.

Heat up the stock to near boiling. In small portions, about 1 tablespoon at a time, add the cooked roux into the stock.

(In the past, Danny had you build the roux and then add in the liquid, the way you do with traditional gravy. But this step of adding the roux in, bit by bit, works better with gluten-free gravy.)

Whisk. Vigorously. If you whisk and whisk while you add in the roux, you will not have lumpy gravy.

If you want to use a slurry, mix cornstarch and water until you have a gooey paste. Add this into the hot stock, a little at a time, until it thickens, whisking vigorously. Wait a few moments between each addition, so you don't end up with cement.

Wait to season the gravy with salt and pepper until the very end.

And that's it.

Really. That's it.

Well, here's a video, in case you are confused. (We've shown you this before, but it might be worth watching again.) And a recipe.

To quote Danny, "Gravy good." It's worth learning how to make it well.

Feel free to write with questions.

the Chef shows you how to make gluten-free mushroom gravy from Daniel Ahern on Vimeo.


1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
2 cups chicken stock (or juices from the roasted turkey)
salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter in a pan on low to medium-low heat. When it has completely melted, sprinkle in the rice flour in small handfuls. Stir and stir. When you have added all the flour and the mixture has become coherent, let it cook in the pan for two to three minutes, stirring all the while. When it has cooked, it will be solidified and have a tinge of brown. Take the roux off the heat and let it rest for a moment.

Heat the stock on high heat. Slowly, in small amounts, add in bits of roux, whisking the mixture vigorously until all the liquid has been absorbed in the roux. Continue to do this, in small dribs and drabs, until the stock and roux have expanded and liquified into gravy. This will take awhile, perhaps ten minutes or so. Be patient. When you have reached the consistency you desire for the gravy, add salt and pepper. Taste the gravy, and season according to your taste. Take it off the burner and serve it, immediately.

cranberry cocktail for Thanksgiving


You probably have cranberries in your home right now, don't you? Lots of them, if you are anything like us. Danny made the cranberry relish this morning, a casserole dish piled high with bright red puree, with bits of white apple stained pink from standing in the same pot as those berries. Tart and mouth-puckering, with a hit of sweetness at the end to save it from being sour, cranberry relish is one of the best parts of the meal.

Our relish this year, if you're still not sure what to do with yours:

2 apples, juiced (or 2 cups fresh apple juice)
1/2 cup sugar
24 ounces cranberries (the Ocean Spray ones come in 12-ounce packages)
2 slightly sweet apples, peeled and diced
1/2 vanilla bean, slit open
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small pinch clove
1 small nub of ginger
1/4 cup golden raisins

Combine all the ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, on medium-high heat until the cranberries have popped and everything has begun to gel. Spoon into a casserole dish. Let cool.

See how easy it is? You don't have the buy the stuff in the can after all.

So, if you have whole cranberries in the house, how about a cranberry citrus cocktail for the big day tomorrow?

Cranberry Cocktail

1 quart cranberry cocktail
2 cups apple cider
1 quart sparkling soda water
1/4 cup simple syrup (or agave nectar)
2-inch piece fresh ginger, grated
2 navel oranges, zested and juiced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch cinnamon
1 lime, cut into small wedges

Infusing the liquids.
Combine the cranberry cocktail, apple cider, sparkling water, and simple syrup (see note below). Pour 2 cups of the combination into a blender, along with the grated ginger, orange juice and zest, lemon juice and zest, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Blend on medium speed for 2 minutes. Strain the grated ginger out of the liquids.

Finishing the cocktail. Mix the gingered liquids with the other liquids. Pour them into a punch bowl. Serve with ice.

We will be serving this without alcohol tomorrow. However, if you wanted to make this with more punch, I'd try vodka.

To make simple syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil on medium heat. Keep a pastry brush with a bit of water next to the pot and wet down the sides of the saucepan if the sugar creeps up. When the sugar has completely dissolved, the syrup will be clear. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover the pan, and allow the syrup to simmer for 5 minutes. Set it aside to cool.

This will give you a little over a cup of simple syrup. You can use this to flavor coffee or teas easily, as well making candied nuts or desserts that call for liquid sweetener. We have also made agave nectar-simple syrup before, successfully.

pumpkin mash

little pumpkins

Pumpkins deserve more attention than the pies.

This year, we're making a pumpkin mash, inspired by Marcus Samuelsson's recipe. Locally grown pumpkins, roasted sweet potatoes, garlic and shallots, a hint of sweetness. What could be wrong?

We had this idea, inspired by a question on Twitter. What about a savory pumpkin custard? Sounds good to me. I might try making the pumpkin custard recipe on the back of the Libby's can. (Yep, we're still using this.) Instead of evaporated milk, I might try some evaporated goat's milk. Substitute all the sweet spices with garlic and sage, a bay leaf, some Parmesan cheese. It could be great.

(It could be awful, too. Without making it, how will I know? I don't think it will stink, however.)

If we had more sweet potatoes in the house, we'd be making our friend Jess's sweet potato crisp for the big meal. (I'm thankful I was able to read her piece before the day.)

Enjoy it all, whatever you eat.

Pumpkin/Sweet Potato Mash, adapted from The Soul of a New Cuisine

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 shallots, peeled and sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thin
3-inch-piece ginger, peeled and sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoons brown sugar
5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed and fine chopped
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
2-pound pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 2-inch cubes
2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
2 cups milk (cow's milk, soy milk, or rice milk)
pinch nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 chives, fine chopped

Preparing to mash. In a deep pot on medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, cinnamon sticks, brown sugar, thyme leaves, and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Throw in the sweet potatoes, pumpkin cubes, chicken stock, and milk of your choice. Bring them all to a simmer. Reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes and pumpkin yield to your fork, about 30 minutes.

Making the mash. Drain the pumpkin and sweet potatoes, saving 1 cup of the liquid. Throw away the ginger and cinnamon sticks. In a large bowl, mash the sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Pinch in the nutmeg and salt. Taste. Season more, if necessary. Splash in a bit of the cooking liquid and stir, for an even texture. Before serving, sprinkle with the chives.

Serves 6.

23 November 2009

gluten-free pie crust

pumpkin pie ready to bake

(We're thrilled that this recipe is being featured at's roundup of holiday recipes for 2009. For more of our featured posts, visit today.)

I love making pie.

There's no need to tell you more about this. I've written about pie so many times before on this site. Each year, I've created a pie crust that has come closer to my Platonic ideal of pie crust, the flaky butter wonder of a crust that holds pumpkin filling or summer blackberries or raspberries right off the vine. No one has complained. No one could tell these pies were gluten-free, really. But I wanted more.

In the past few months, while working on recipes for our cookbook, Danny and I felt like we cracked the code. These days, we feel — we're making real pie.

It feels good under my hands.

measuring by weight

If you're growing serious about gluten-free baking (or baking of any kind), you must buy a food scale and start baking by weight. Please do.

This pie you see before you? We put it together by ounces (or grams), not by carefully scooping and leveling off with a knife. It's so much more precise this way. When I give a recipe in cups, you might substitute brown rice flour for sorghum. Did you know that brown rice flour weighs more than sorghum? (158 grams to 127 grams.) Your pie crust will be denser than mine. You'll blame the recipe.

That's why the recipe you'll see below gives the measurement in ounces for each flour. If you're going to substitute flours, just use the same amount of ounces. That way, you can adapt this recipe, easily. Whatever combination of flours you use (or even a mix, which is fine!), just make sure you sift in a total of 16 ounces. You won't have exactly the same pie, but you'll have some mighty fine pie.

mixing the flours

One important step, something that slows me down and forces me to focus on the process, is to mix all the flours together before I add anything else. See all those different colors? Those flours have different textures. Do you want one bite of your pie to be a lump of teff, and another to taste like potato starch?

Mix them until they are one flour. (This is fun. I promise. There's a kind of magic to this, watching the individual flours disappear into the greater whole.)

adding in the lard by hand

Now, no one will ever solve the "what fats make the best pie crust" debate. All butter? All Crisco? All lard? All oil?

In this house, we have switched, after nearly a lifetime of all butter. It's half leaf lard, half butter. The flake, the taste. With this crust, and this combination, it is hard to go wrong.

Leaf lard, however, is vastly different than the lard you buy packaged in the grocery store. It's slowly rendered fat from around the kidneys on the pig. It's high in everything that is good in lard, particularly the taste.

If you can't find any near you, buy some fat from a pig farmer at your local farmers' market. If you want to learn how to render your own lard, check out this post from Ashley at Not Without Salt. Beautiful.

grating the butter

My dear friend Tita taught me a good trick for pie, something she learned because she didn't plan ahead. Making a pie one day, she realized that all her butter was in the freezer. So, she pulled out a stick and grated the frozen butter into the dough. Worked like a charm. The butter just kind of melted into the flour, in a good way.

We've done this with every pie since. Most of the time, I use a Microplaner, so the butter is super fine. But it clumps up a bit. Here, we used the regular grater. And it worked out just fine.

sandy dough

So much of making pie is by sensory experience. The lard and butter should be cold, the water should be cold, and the dough should feel good in your hands.

After I add the cold lard and butter into the dough, I work it all together with my fingers, sifting and feeling, rubbing and letting it fall back into the bowl, until it feels done. Until the flours and fats have mingled, and it all feels like a sandy beach after a light rain.

I love this part.

Now here, recently, I have changed my mind. For my entire life, I have made pie dough entirely by hand. But through a fluke happening, when a dough felt too dry, I turned on the Cuisinart food processor. I'm convinced.

Tonight, I read a comment on the NY Times Dining blog, about Julia Child's conversion to the Cuisinart: "Julia comments that both her editor, Judith Jones, and her colleague, Simca, each bought a food processor immediately after seeing one in action and quotes Judith as saying 'If only for the pie's worth the price to me.'

Me too.

And so, after sifting and slowly watching the dough turn sandy, I move it all into the food processor, where I whirl it up and drizzle in the liquids. The dough is always more complete this way.

dough ready to rest

The finished dough looks like this. Not too dry or flaky. Moist without being wet. If you put your finger in it, there will be an indentation, but your finger will not come out sticky. Just right.

crimped edges

I love crimping pie dough. It's one of my favorite forms of meditation.

Lu and I make pie together

These days, it is easier and easier for me to remember: none of this has to be perfect.

If the pie dough falls apart, just stitch the dough back together in the pie pan with your fingers. There's no gluten in it. You can't overwork it.

If the dough isn't entirely what you want, you can make another pie.

If all gets a little burnt, or the bottom crust falls apart, chances are that people will still eat it.

This is all about the process and sharing it together.

It's pie.

cranberry pie

Gluten-Free Pie Crust
plus a recipe for Cranberry Pie, from the wonderful Kate McDermott

Danny and I both feel privileged to know Kate McDermott. Wonderfully wise and kind, Kate also has the hands for making pie. Her Art of the Pie class offers her wealth of experience and gentle nudgings on how to make world-class pie. Everyone who takes it loves that afternoon and carries away the memory of making the best pie of their lives.

If you can eat gluten, sign up for one of her classes, right now.

Kate and her husband, Jon Rowley (one of our favorite people, especially for Little Bean), came over to our home this summer to work on gluten-free pie crust. You see, Kate can't eat gluten. Or dairy. She teaches other people how to make pies, but she can't eat them anymore. We've been determined to come up with pie crust that would make Kate happy. We've been happy with it, then happier every time we make it.

I'm humbled to report that Kate, (and Jon) last night enjoyed this gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pie we made them. Tonight, Jon wrote about that top photograph, on Flickr: "
I had a piece. Excellent." That's high praise from Jon.

Instead of making you wait for our cookbook, we want to share this today. (However, you should understand that we'll never be done tweaking. It's yours to play with now.)

Gluten-Free Pie Crust
1 1/4 cup (5 ounces) almond flour (this is not the same as almond meal)
2/3 cup (2 ounces) gluten-free oat flour
2/3 cup (2 ounces) tapioca flour
1/2 cup (2 ounces) teff flour
1/2 cup (3 ounces) potato starch
1/4 cup (2 ounces) sweet rice flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon guar gum
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons butter, cold (or non-dairy butter sticks)
4 tablespoons leaf lard, cold (see note below)
1 large egg
6 to 8 tablespoons ice-cold water

Cranberry filling
4 cups fresh cranberries
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Mixing the dry ingredients
. In a large bowl, mix the almond flour, oat flour, tapioca flour, teff flour, and potato starch. I use a whisk here, and slow down as I mix them, repeatedly, until they have become one flour. Add the xanthan and guar gums and the salt. Mix well.

Adding the fats. Add small pieces of the ice-cold butter to the flour mixture, not much bigger than a pea. (Or, if you'd like to do as you see in the photos above, freeze your butter beforehand, then grate the frozen butter into the flours. Move quickly.) Afterward, add the leaf lard in small portions, of equal size.

Making the sandy dough. Use your hands to scoop up the flours and mix in the fats. Go slowly. Rub your hands together. Feel the fats work into the flours with your fingers. I like to lift and rub, scoop and let them all fall through my fingers. You'll know when you are done. You'll feel done. The flours will look sandy now.

Finishing the dough.
Combine the egg with 3 tablespoons of the water and whisk them together. Here's where you can go two ways. If you want to do everything by hand, then do so. Add the eggy water to the dough. Work the dough together with your hands, or a rubber spatula, or whatever feels right. When the dough feels coherent, stop.

Or, you can do what I have reluctantly realized makes gluten-free pie dough even better than making it by hand: finish it in the food processor. Move the sandy dough to the food processor and turn it on. As the dough is running around and around, drizzle in the eggy water. Stop to feel the dough. If it still feels dry and not quite there, then drizzle in a bit more water. If you go too far, and the dough begins to feel sticky or wet, sprinkle in a bit of potato starch to dry it out. Again, after you make pies for awhile, you'll know this by feel alone.

Making the crust. Wrap the pie dough in plastic wrap (or in a bowl) and let it rest in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. Take it out and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment paper. This means you won't work any extra flour into the dough. Roll it out as thin as you can. Thinner. Thinner. Come on, you can do it — thinner still. Carefully, lift the top piece of parchment paper and turn the dough upside down on the top of a pie plate. Rearrange until it is flat.

If the dough breaks, don't despair. Simply lift pieces of the dough off the counter and meld it with the rest of the dough. Remember, there's no gluten, so you can't overwork the dough. Play with it, like you're a kid again. Place the pie dough in the pie plate and crimp. When you have a pie dough fully built, you are ready to make pie.

Put the pie pan in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 325° and make the filling.

Making the cranberry filling. Put 3 cups of the cranberries in the food processor and pulse until they are coarsely chopped. Transfer them to a bowl. Add the remaining cup of cranberries. Pour in the sugar and cornstarch. Stir. Toss in the nutmeg and salt. Stir. Taste to make sure the filling matches your expectations of tartness and sweetness.

Bring the pie pan out from the refrigerator. Fill the pie pan with the cranberry filling. Put several pats of butter over the top.

Roll out the remaining pie dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Remove the top layer and lay the pie dough over the cranberries. Pinch the edges of the two doughs together, then crimp the pie dough.

Brush with an egg wash, if you want a golden crust. Make a few small slits in the top crust.

Bake until the crust is golden brown and the cranberries starting to bubble out of the slits on top, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the pie cool.

Please eat pie.

Makes 1 pie, with enough crust for bottom and top.

Some good sources for leaf lard:

-- your local butcher
-- a pig farmer at your farmers' market
-- Dietrichs Meats, a Pennsylvania Dutch butchers that sell products online

20 November 2009

gluten-free dinner rolls

rolls ready to rise

(We're thrilled that this recipe is being featured at's roundup of holiday recipes for 2009. For more of our featured posts, visit today.)

Baking gluten-free seems daunting at first, doesn't it?

I had grown used to scoop and dump. Soften the butter, rip open the bag of white flour, turn on the KitchenAid. I barely had to think. My body remembered the movements of baking for me. Cookies came out crunchy and chewy, the wish come true, nearly every time. Baking, I knew.

And then I had to give up gluten. As much as I embraced it, I didn't know how I would ever bake again. What the heck is xanthan gum? Can't I just use rice flour? How do I combine these flours? Wait, now there's coconut Flour, chia seed flour, and grapeseed flours? Which one do I use? I was confused. Everything felt new.

Now, I know what a blessing this is.

after an hour of rising

Have you ever noticed how your brain sort of sleeps when you do something you know really well? We may be good at it, but we're not really looking at it. "In other words, it becomes nearly impossible to look beyond what you know and think outside the box you’ve built around yourself."

Learn something new and you'll see the world new too.

I have never learned so much as I have these past four years. My mind has been alive with ideas, always kicking, sometimes singing, sometimes stumbling over themselves. Going gluten-free, and especially learning to bake gluten-free, has awakened me.

There are so many flours to play with, most of which render the kitchen counters a floury white mess afterward. If there's no chance of being neat with potato starch — it emits a white poof as soon as you open the package — then there's no chance of being perfect. Might as well play.

ready to bake

Now, four years later, I'm still at beginner's mind. The first year was exuberant but the recipes didn't always work. After I met Danny, I learned so much about how food works that I grew more capable. I expect more out of the baked goods now. Life keeps introducing new flours — these rolls rely on almond flour, not almond meal, the one I normally use — and new techniques. I still don't know what I'm doing.

That makes the first taste of these dinner rolls — the 6th batch we created, the ones that have a light pull-apart inside, a soft crunch, a taste of something familiar and entirely new — all the sweeter.

gluten-free dinner rolls

Gluten-Free Dinner Rolls, a work in progress, inspired by this recipe

We love these rolls. More importantly, Little Bean loves these rolls. She's talking up a storm these days, babbling and exploring the world with sounds and syllables. Her favorite word at the moment, however? "Bread!" In the mornings, she reaches her hand toward the kitchen counter and stretches toward the latest batch of these rolls. Little kids are the most honest critics. If a food isn't good, they just spit it out on the table. The fact that she loves them so? We think you will too.

One of the keys to these rolls is this particular combination of flours. We have worked and changed them and tried other groupings. You're not going to go wrong with other flours, but this one is the best combination for us. You'll see that I have put the ounces behind each measurement, in case you want to substitute other flours. Part of the key to the success of these rolls is the almond flour. Elana, from Elana's Pantry, has inspired me to start playing with it more. High in protein and fluffy in texture, almond flour makes gluten-free baking far more fun. Elana just put up a useful guide to why she uses almond flour, which you should read too.

I know that many of you might ask about substitutions. I don't know. I tried some, and I found that flaxseed and water worked as a good egg replacement in one batch. I've seen soy milk powder and goat's milk powder at our local grocery store. The original recipe calls for instant potato flakes, but I just like quinoa flakes better. There are options. Feel free to leave questions here and maybe other readers can answer them. You won't make the same rolls with different ingredients. However, once you make these rolls, they're yours.
If you can eat each of these ingredients, please do try this recipe exactly as written. Then, feel free to play!

2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup water, heated to about 110°
3/4 cup (3 ounces) almond flour
1/2 cup (3 ounces) millet flour
1/3 cup (2.25 ounces) potato starch
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) tapioca flour
1/3 cup (2.25 ounces) sweet rice flour
1/3 cup (2 ounces) cornstarch
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon guar gum
1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
handful of sesame seeds

Activating the yeast. Combine the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Turn on the hot water in your faucet and run it over the inside of your wrist. When the water feels the same temperature as your skin, you're ready. Pour the cup of water into the bowl with the yeast and sugar and stir gently. Set aside the bowl in a warm place and allow it to bubble to double its size, about 15 minutes.

Making the dough. Pour the almond flour, millet flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, sweet rice flour, and cornstarch into the bowl of a stand mixer. (You can also mix this by hand, if you don't have a stand mixer.) Mix on low speed to combine the flours. Add the salt, sugar, xanthan gum, guar gum, dry milk powder, and quinoa flakes. Mix everything together until the dry ingredients are combined well and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add 6 tablespoons of the softened butter, the egg, and the yeasty water. Mix until everything has combined well, about 3 minutes on medium speed.

The dough will be soft, softer than a traditional roll dough would be. Do not add flour to compensate. The dough at this stage should have the consistency of cookie dough.

Waiting for the dough to rise. Put the dough in a warm place in the kitchen, covered, and allow it to rise to twice its size, about 1 hour. If you have a cold kitchen where you know dough rarely rises, set the bowl on a wire rack, and the rack over a large bowl of hot water. Replenish the hot water every 30 minutes or so. Or, you can heat the oven to 200°, put in the rolls-to-be, put a pan of ice cubes on the rack below the rolls, close the door, and turn off the oven. They will rise well that way too.

Shaping the rolls and rising again. Grease a large cake pan or casserole dish, lightly, on the bottom. Grab a hunk of the dough, about the size of the palm of your hand (like a golf ball on steroids), and roll it into a ball. If the dough is sticky, use a little sweet rice flour to grab it. As best you can, roll the ball of dough and shape it until each piece is smooth and whole. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Set the baking pan in a warm spot and allow the rolls to rise again (see the photographs above to see this process).

Baking the rolls. Preheat the oven to 375°. Melt the butter. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter, then scatter the sesame seeds over the top. (An egg wash would make the top of the rolls shiny, but I prefer the taste of butter here. Up to you.) Slide the pan into the oven and bake until the rolls are firm and browned on top, about 20 minutes. (You can also take their temperature — about 180° internally.) Take the rolls out of the oven and let them cool, about 10 minutes. Remove and put them onto a wire rack. As soon as you won't burn your mouth, eat a roll.


Makes about 12 rolls.

19 November 2009

wild rice salad (gluten-free and vegan)


There's a funny way of looking at food when you first find out you can't eat a certain one.

I started dividing food into two categories: can and can't. I can eat roasted potatoes, Alaskan salmon, fresh quince, raspberry jam, teff porridge, and duck confit. I can't eat bread or pasta or pizza or pie made with wheat, rye, or barley, triticale, or spelt. But I can eat bread or pasta or pizza or pie I make myself, with a multitude of flours I didn't even knew existed before I started living this way.

Four and a half years after giving up gluten, the can't list feels much shorter than the can list does. A little deprivation sometimes makes you see how full your life already is.

These days of grey, even a bit of green tarragon on a cutting board can revive the eyes.


These chanterelles gleamed in the dim light of the kitchen window today, where I stood and watched Danny cook our lunch. We figured that this dish we conceived over the course of car trips and coffee cups and consultations with The Flavor Bible would come out well, based on our instincts. Still, we couldn't put up a recipe without making it. Lunch was an empty slot, waiting to be filled.

I couldn't stop taking photographs of the chanterelles, bright as honey on a summer's day, filled with frills and curlicues, fascinating to the lens. Everything is beautiful, if you really look at it. The shallots, fine-diced in a pile, sat translucent on the wooden cutting board. The dried sour cherries, puckered up as though waiting for a kiss, had been shoved to the back of the counter, so Little Bean couldn't grab one more. The smell of cashews toasting in a pan kept me from moving to the computer, even though I had work to do. I picked up the toddler and showed it all to her. We watched her father cooking, head lowered, eyes focused on the work.

Those moments were the best part of the day.

Everything on that counter, all that bright and beautiful food, is something a vegan can eat.

It's too easy to put our traditions and expectations first, before our guests. What do you mean she can't eat gluten? How am I supposed to feed her? I want, instead, to focus on the can.

What can I feed you? I'd love to share this meal with you. Gluten-free? That's never a problem here. Vegan? You bet. Look at these chanterelles gleaming. Have you eaten them with sour cherries? Oh, you're in for a treat.

Welcome to the table.

I'm happy to be part of the week-long gluten-free progressive dinner party, shared by some of us gluten-free bloggers. Here's what we cooked up this week:

Ali and Jean served DRINKS on Monday, Nov. 16 at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen -Sugar-Free Cranberry Orange Punch and Gluten Free Organics- Hot Ginger Lemon Cider

Karen, Jean and Seamaiden served APPETIZERS on Tuesday, Nov. 17 at Cook4Seasons -Goat Cheese with Cumin and Mint, Gluten Free OrganicsLemon Chili Olives and Spiced Honey Almond Nibbles and Book of Yum- Allergen Free Casein Free Pumpkin Kabocha Soup

Ali and Shirley served the MAIN COURSE on Wednesday, Nov. 18 at The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen - Orange Pepper Salmon with Cranberry Sauce and gfe-glutenfreeeasily - Special Turkey Breast.

Diane, Stephanie, and Ali and Shauna are serving the SIDE DISH/SALAD on Thursday, Nov. 19 at The W.H.O.L.E. Gang, A Year of Slow Cooking, and The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen.

Karen, Jean and Ali be serving DESSERT on Friday, Nov. 20 at Cook4Seasons, The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen and Gluten Free Organics

wild rice salad with chanterelles and sour cherries

Wild Rice Salad with Chanterelles, Sour Cherries, and Cashew Sour Cream

This is so full of flavor that you won't ever think of it as "vegan" or "special food" or "healthy." It's just good food, warm and filling on a cold November day. The wild rice clings to the chanterelles, which bounce back against the fork, and the sour cherries add a sweet bite. If you're the kind of family that likes a wild rice stuffing for Thanksgiving? This could be yours.

The cashew sour cream became an instant favorite here, after the first bite the other day. Someone mentioned cashew sour cream on Twitter, which reminded me that I had been meaning to make it since Heidi used it in a recipe, four years ago. Years ago, I might have thought that cashew sour cream sounded "weird" and stayed away from it.

Lately, however, I have been thinking a lot about how all food is food to me. What does that mean? I don't like categories. If it's food, and I can eat it, I want to try it. Most of the time, I like it.

If you make this, you're going to want to try it again too.

Wild Rice Salad

2 cups wild rice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chanterelles
4 tablespoons fine-diced shallots
1/2 dried sour cherries
4 teaspoons fine-diced tarragon
1 cup toasted cashews

Cooking the wild rice. Put the wild rice into a large saucepan and cover with 6 cups hot water. Add the salt and stir. Set the pan over high heat and bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat until the water stays at a medium-hard boil. Cook the rice, watching to make sure the water does not evaporate, until the rice is tender to the teeth, about 20 minutes. (You can also reduce the heat to low and simmer slowly, about 45 to 50 minutes.) Drain and set aside.

Sauteing the salad. Set a large sauté pan over high heat. Let the pan grow really hot. Add the oil. When it swirls in the pan, toss in the chanterelles and cook, stirring, for a few moments. Add the shallots and cook them both, stirring. Toss in the tarragon and cook until it releases its fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add the cherries and toasted cashews. Cook for a moment, stirring. Add the wild rice and cook until it is heated.

Serve the salad warm.

We didn't need vinaigrette with this. However, if you find you want a bit more bite, we suggest a lemon vinaigrette with this salad.

Cashew Sour Cream

1 1/2 cups raw cashews
1/2 t salt
2 ounces fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
about 3/4 cup water

Cover the cashews with water and let them soak overnight.

In the morning, drain the water from the softened cashews. Put them into a food processor, along with the salt and lemon juice. (We liked this lemony. If you want to mask the taste more, use less lemon juice.) Twirl it all up, pouring in the fresh water until the "cream" has reached your desired consistency. Refrigerate it for a few hours to let it thicken even more.

Also, this cashew sour cream is great on tacos, enchiladas, and spread on warm bread.

17 November 2009

gluten-free turkey for Thanksgiving

roast turkey breast II

I love a good roasted turkey, the skin crisp, the flesh juicy. Thanksgiving dinner doesn't start for me until I have stolen a piece of skin from the bird just out of the oven.

For that reason, a dry turkey that flecks off the bone and makes me reach for the gravy boat is just plain depressing.

(I'm not the only one who looks forward all year to that glorious turkey moment. Did you see Kim Severson's piece about Thanksgiving turkey in last week's New York Times? Of course, you also have to read the flip side, Julia Moskin's piece about how much more she enjoys the sides than the bird. Where do you stand?)

Thankfully, since Danny came into my life, the only reason I have to reach for more gravy is that it's delicious. Even if it is gluten-free.

Did you know that some frozen turkeys can have gluten in them? The turkeys with pre-injected basting might. Seriously? You don't want those anyway.

We put in our order for a free-range turkey, raised locally, never frozen ja few days ago. I can't wait for that first taste.

Of course, there are plenty of you reading who don't like turkey for Thanksgiving. If not, what are you cooking? Another meat? Or something vegetarian? I'm sure we'd all like to share. This NY Times article about going meat-free for Thanksgiving fascinated me.

roast turkey breast

Brine for Turkey

It seems that many of us avoid turkey during the rest of the year because it's so darned dry. Well, I've learned that turkey has a bad reputation for no reason. All it takes to make the best turkey you have ever eaten is a little brining.

We'll be making this brine on Wednesday evening and submerging our 12-pound turkey in it overnight. If you are making a bigger turkey, make more brine.

2 gallons water
1 head garlic, peels and all
2 tablespoons black peppercorns, toasted and crushed
2 tablespoons white peppercorns, toasted and crushed
2 lemons, juice and hull
10 sprigs rosemary
20 sprigs thyme
10 sprigs sage
2 cups kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2 bay leaves

Combine all the ingredients and stir well.

You have brine.

Our Spice Rub for Turkey

Last week, Danny and I had the privilege of spending three days in northern California, at Kingsford U. (You can read all about it here, and we hope you do.) We had the privilege of learning from Chris Lilly, pitmaster and champion of barbeque competitions, whose book,
Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book, is now our barbequing bible.

His class on putting together spice rubs changed the way I will be making them from now on. Each meal needs its own special blend. Chris taught us to think in terms of balancing sugar and salt in different ways, depending on the protein we are cooking, of how much heat we need, of transitional spices to fill in the spaces, and signature flavors that announce themselves strongly. (We'll be writing a full post about this soon, over on the other blog.)

In that class, I smelled and tasted and thought and played, until I came up with a spice rub I loved. Chris liked it a lot. Danny thought it was better than his. And we like it so well that this will be the spice rub for our Thanksgiving turkey. We think you might like it too.

1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons turbinado (or demerara) sugar
1 tablespoon garlic powder (or granulated garlic)
1 teaspoon fennel pollen (or ground fennel seeds)
pinch cayenne
1 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon paprika

Combine everything together. Blend well.

To make the final turkey, brine it overnight.

The next day, pat it dry, as dry as you can.

Preheat the oven to 450°.

Coat the turkey in some sort of fat (Danny suggests canola oil. Butter or duck fat would be great too.)

Spread the spice rub, liberally.

Put the turkey in a roasting pan. Put it in the oven.

Roast at the high heat for 20 minutes.

Turn the heat down to 375° and roast the bird until it is golden and juicy, about 1 1/2 hours.

You need to take its internal temperature. Most official guides say take it to 180°. We're seeing a lot of chefs cooking poultry to 175° these days. You should do more reading and see what feels right to you. But please, don't overcook the bird.

Take the turkey out of the oven and let it rest, for about 15 minutes, before carving. This would be the time to make the gravy.

Cut into that juicy golden turkey and enjoy.

Update: The wonderful Karen Robertson made this suggestion about what to do after brining the turkey.

The folks over at Cooks Illustrated (Nov/Dec 2000)suggest letting the bird air dry for a day and here is why...when the bird sits overnight uncovered in the refrigerator (after brining) "the residual moisture left in the skin from brining evaporates during the overnight rest in the refrigerator.The skin crisps in the oven rather than steaming from the excess moisture."
If you have time it might be worth a try. We follow this method each year with fantastic results."

We're going to try this too.

16 November 2009

gluten-free Thanksgiving 2009

autumn arrangement

A few days ago, we returned from California, put down our bags, and relaxed for a moment. Then, the thought struck me, as soon as I saw the date. Good god, it's almost Thanksgiving.

Can someone explain to me how this happened?

(Yeah, I know — that whole space-time continuum thing. I do know how a calendar works. But seriously, wasn't it just summer?)

I love Thanksgiving. What other holiday centers on food and gratitude? It's the gathering, the faces warming after coming in from cold air, the table laden with casseroles and squashes, the stupid inside jokes, the silence after the first bite. There is nothing like it.

However, for many people, Thanksgiving seems to be a time of dread. Planning ahead to make that much food, warm and ready in the same moment, requires spreadsheets and long shopping lists. This year, some of us can't afford a big feast. Our families drive us crazy, or worse. All that forced conversation and rehashing of old stories make some cringe. The turkey is too dry again.

Those of us who have to live gluten-free sometimes dread this holiday too, especially those of you newest to it. This is the starchiest holiday in the United States, it seems. What are we supposed to do? Go without stuffing? Green bean casserole? Pumpkin pie?

Luckily, it's far easier than you may think.

We've done a number of posts in the past that those of you who are looking for gluten-free goodness for Thanksgiving might find useful:

Gluten-free gravy

Gluten-free herb stuffing

Cranberry chutney

Gluten-free pumpkin pie

And here is some advice on how to survive this and still feel grateful, gluten-free:

How to have a gluten-free Thanksgiving

How to cook for someone gluten-free

Some lessons we learned after last Thanksgiving

That's plenty, right?

However, this year we have decided to dedicate ourselves to a joyful celebration for everyone. And so, starting tomorrow, we'll be doing a new recipe for Thanksgiving every weekday until next Thursday. What will we be sharing?

How to brine and roast a turkey, with a sure-fire spice rub recipe

Dinner rolls, the crust brushed with butter, the inside soft and bappy

Wild rice salad with chanterelle mushrooms, lemon vinaigrette, and cashew sour cream (vegan)

Cranberry pie (with a new pie crust recipe, better than before)

Gravy! How to make it, how to flavor it, and what flours to use for the roux

Pumpkin-sweet potato mash

Sparkling cranberry drink (non-alcoholic)

After all, that is what we'll be eating on Thanksgiving, here on the island, with my parents, brother and sister-in-law, Elliott, and Little Bean. All that, plus the apple-squash fritters, mashed potatoes, and brussel sprouts roasted with brown butter.

By next Wednesday, if you want to make these recipes, you should be having a feast on Thursday. We'd love to hear what you'll be making this year too.

Today, however, I'd love to hear what you are thankful for, right now, in this moment. Gratitude feels good. I'm certainly grateful for all of you reading.

08 November 2009

gluten-free gingerbread

gluten-free gingerbread

(We're thrilled that this recipe is being featured at's roundup of holiday recipes for 2009. For more of our featured posts, visit today.)

Gluten-Free Gingerbread
, adapted from November 2009 issue of Gourmet

Rain is hitting the windows on the door behind me so hard it sounds like little pellet guns full of pebbles are being fired at me. For days the wind has blown and blown, taking all the lovely yellow leaves with it. A few weeks ago, the heater was dusty in a corner of the room. Now, it's on nearly every evening.

Time for gingerbread.

We've been cooking out of the November issue of Gourmet all week, instead of a cookbook. Tonight, I intended to tell you all about that experience, and why I love the magazine so much. But I find myself, at the end of the evening, still bereft of words. We're leaving for a little trip in the morning, and I don't want to rush this. So tonight, I'll simply share this instead.

One of the dessert recipes in the November issue was a pumpkin gingerbread trifle. I don't know about you, but trifles feel like summer to me. That and they have so many cups of custard (or in this case, pumpkin mousse) that eating the trifle would have kept me chained to the couch, in full nap form. So I passed it by when first deciding what to cook this week. Then, the rain started.

Gingerbread, with its densely layered spices and dark molasses promise, seemed just the thing. Since I know that Gourmet recipes work, I felt comfortable converting it to a gluten-free version. I sifted and sniffed the spices, waited for the butter to soften on the counter, dug out the molasses, and started mixing. An hour later, we were holding gingerbread in our hands.

I swear, Danny ate half the pan before bed last night. I mean, I helped too, but he really loved this stuff. "This is good, honey." I just smiled. I love making him happy with baked goods.

This morning, in dim light, I tried to take a photograph of the gingerbread. Puffed high, light, but still spongy-soft like crackers soaked in milk, this gingerbread is the best I've ever made. But on a saucer, on a countertop, it looked like a square of dark on white. The dark skies outside didn't help. Ready to give up, I brought it into our bedroom, on a table I like to shoot on sometimes. Before I could figure out the aperture, Little Bean grabbed a piece and started eating. I chased her around the room, laughing. Then stopped to look down and took this shot.

Good enough for Little Bean? We think it will be good enough for you too.

1/2 cup quinoa flour
3/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup oat flour (please make sure this is made from certified gluten-free oats)
3/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup molasses
3/4 cup buttermilk (shake it up)
1/2 cup hot water

Preparing to bake. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 13 by 9-inch pan. Lay down tin foil, with some overlapping on both sides of the pan. Butter the foil.

Combining the dry ingredients. Sift the quinoa flour, teff flour, oat flour, sweet rice flour, and tapioca flour into a large bowl. Add the xanthan and guar gums, the baking soda and powder, and the spices. Whisk together. Set aside.

Creaming the butter and sugars. Put the butter and sugars into the bowl of a stand mixer and run at medium speed until they are fluffy together, about 5 minutes. Plop in the eggs, one at a time, and run the mixer until the eggs are incorporated. Add the molasses and buttermilk. At this point, the dough will look speckled and perhaps even curdled. Don't worry. This is what is supposed to happen.

Finishing the batter. Add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients about 1/2 cup at a time, slowing down to make sure it is incorporated before you add more. When you have finished with the flours, add the very hot water and mix for 1 minute more. It should all look lovely and toothsome now.

Baking the gingerbread. Spread the batter into the pan and even out the top with a rubber spatula. (Don't worry if you have strange crevices and places that stick up like Alfalfa hair. That's part of the charm.) Slide it in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool the gingerbread to just-warm in the pan. Remove the gingerbread on the foil, then slide it onto a cutting board. Cut into the desired-size slices.

Feeds about 10. (well, maybe less, depending on how grateful everyone is for gingerbread)

03 November 2009

The New Portuguese Table

green olive dip and chorizo tortilla

(We're thrilled that this recipe is being featured at's roundup of holiday recipes for 2009. For more of our featured posts, visit today.)

I imagine Portugal is warm most of the year. That's probably not true, and I'm worse in meteorology than I am in geography, so don't trust me. That's only how I imagine it.

I imagine slowly sloping wooden boats docked alongside rocks in tiny towns with sun-washed houses perched on blue water. There are European-looking cathedrals, with worn walls and faded stones. Green fields are dotted with trees that lean toward the ocean. Enormous piazzas stand empty, surrounded by architecture vaguely Spanish, sort of Italian. Craggy cliffs loom, daunting, over sparkling oceans.

Actually, I'm not telling the truth. Before this week, when we cooked out of David Leite's incredible cookbook, The New Portuguese Table, I never imagined much about Portugal. How often did your fourth-grade teacher bring up Portuguese history? No one ever talked about Portuguese writers in my college classes. And in popular culture? My only references have been Portuguese water dogs, those shaggy dogs with hair over their eyes. And that cheesy late 80s movie, Mystic Pizza, where Julia Roberts had bushy eyebrows and a tangled mop of a mane of hair (hm. kind of like a Portuguese water dog, really). She and her screen sisters were supposed to be Portuguese American, so they talked in brazenly bad accents.

I'm not proud of this.

Thank goodness for David Leite. His cookbook, The New Portuguese Table, has taught me more about Portuguese culture than any news story ever has.

The New Portuguese Table illustrates lavishly just how well the Portuguese must eat. Grilled beef kebabs with Madeira, bay leaf, and garlic. Duck risotto with ham and sausage. Salt cod in potato jackets (and oh, the ooze of milk mayonnaise tumbling from the top of that potato). Sweet lemon and black olive wafers. Everything, and I mean everything, in this book will leave you hungry for days, until you leave the imagining behind and step into the kitchen.

The photographs left me breathless (and a little jealous, if you want to know the truth. Oh that I could ever capture food like Nuno Correia has here). The char on the lemon slice on the front cover made me hungry. The food looks that enticing.

(And it's the photographs Correia took of the Portuguese countryside, the ones that are splashed throughout the book along with pictures of food, that inspired my writing at the top. Later note: I just discovered that David Leite took all the country photos in the book. David!)

However, I know why the photographs turned out so beautifully, besides the photographer's skill. David Leite's meals invite us all to the table. Plates of black-eyed peas with onions and red pepper, casserole dishes filled with braised partridge and roasted root vegetables, grilled chicken with crisp bits of skin, the warm orange of pumpkin soup in a soothing blue bowl — this is family food. These are dishes meant to be shared with a big group of people, elbows on the table, hands waving in the air while stories are told, spoons plunging in, and the only silence the sigh of happiness at the taste of that kale and sausage soup.

If you look through this book, and you aren't hungry by the end of your perusal, I suggest you have your pulse checked.

That green olive dip on top? The one with anchovies, milk, cilantro, and green olives? I had to restrain myself from eating the entire bowl over the course of the evening I made it. We were having friends over the next day for a Halloween celebration, and I wanted them to taste it. I had to shove it in the back of the refrigerator to make myself forget it. (I couldn't, though.)

And the chorizo tortilla up there? Danny stood next to me as I tried to snap that shot, late at night, in bad light, and he grew more irritated by the moment that I wasn't done so we could just eat, already.

Little Bean ate three slices for breakfast the next day.

cheese-stuffed pork loin

David Leite writes recipes impeccably, with meticulous care, without seeming uptight. Some writers craft recipes painfully, like a math problem to be solved, and there are plenty of quadratic equations involved. David is clear in his instructions because he wants you to make these dishes successfully. But there's personality in there too. "If the potatoes aren't tender, toss again, bump up the oven to 450°, and finish roasting them." You feel like David's standing next to you in the kitchen, not watching over your shoulder to make sure you do it correctly, but leaning back against the counter with a glass of wine in his hand, encouraging you to trust your instincts.

(Maybe I'm partial to this because that's how we have tried to write the recipes in our cookbook too.)

And so we both felt comfortable playing. When David's recipe for cheese-stuffed pork tenderloin called for the tenderloin to be slathered with red-pepper paste, and we didn't have any in the house, we threw in some spices we thought might echo the taste. And when the recipe called for a firm cheese, and we had just run out, we used our new favorite semi-soft cheese, Kurtwood's Dinah cheese. Okay, so David was right. The hard cheese would have oozed, and this buttery wonder we love melted everywhere. Still, with some roasted parsnips and onions, plus boulangere potatoes just out of the oven? This was our favorite Sunday supper in weeks.

As David writes, "Pork is the undisputed king of meat in Portugal." He discusses different types of Portuguese bacon, dried beans, various cheeses, cured meats, garlic, olives, and salt cod, among other vital ingredients in an essay called "The Portuguese Pantry." I appreciated that he lay out the ingredients that mamas know how to pull out of the pantry and make into a familiar spread for the family. More than that, I was surprised to find that the essential ingredients of Portugal, a country I don't know well at all, are pretty much the ingredients in our pantry. A few new purchases will give us new tastes. But we could cook out of this book without a trip to the city for bags full of ingredients we might not use again.

On top of all this, we found our new favorite Christmas cookie by adapting one from The New Portuguese Table. Need I say more?

We are putting the finishing touches on final edits for our cookbook this week. (I'm glad you can't see the frazzled mess I am at the moment, as I type this.) Going through this arduous, incredible process has given Danny and me both an enormous respect for anyone who writes a cookbook. And The New Portuguese Table is one of the best I have read in years.

Maybe someday we will see Portugal with our own eyes. But until we reach those shores, I'll take duck breast in black olive sauce, spicy pumpkin seeds, and eggs simmered in tomato sauce any day.

We think you'd love The New Portuguese Table too. Clarkson Potter sent us a copy of this one, and they have kindly offered to send two copies to readers here. Tell us stories about Portuguese food, if you have them. Or sitting at the table with your family. We'll take comments until Saturday, November 7th.

spicy molasses cookies

Spicy Molasses Cookies (biscoitos de mel), adapted from
The New Portuguese Table
I knew immediately that I would like these cookies when I saw that David threw in ground fennel. Danny teases me about how much I love fennel, but the curious combination of sweet and savory, slight licorice smell drives me wild in every form. In a molasses cookie? You bet. (In fact, I have bumped up the fennel here, because I couldn't taste it enough in the first version, which called for a pinch.)

We made three different batches of these until we found the version we like best. (oh darn.) The dance of spices with the shuffle of molasses was perfect right away. But our first cookies spread a bit, a little too soft for my liking. I wanted a thick cookie, crisp on the edges and soft in the center. That's why we settled on a bit of cornstarch. I'm normally not a big fan, but it seemed to tighten the dough the way I wanted.

(If you are allergic to corn, you might try arrowroot powder here.)

Crisp against the teeth on the edges, these slowly become a soft molasses love in the middle. The next day, they lose the crisp and become softer. As our friend Matt wrote to us the day after trying them, "Those cookies were hands down bloody amazing cookies. Seriously some of the best cookies I have eaten, and let me tell you - I have eaten a fair few in my time."

We're clearly making these for Christmas this year.

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup sweet rice flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup dark molasses

Combining the dry ingredients. Whisk together the sorghum flour, tapioca flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add the xanthan and guar gum, the spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk them together. Set aside.

Creaming the butter and sugar. Using a stand mixer (if possible), combine the softened butter and sugars. Mix them together well until they have nuzzled together to become one. Do not beat them for longer than 1 minute or so, because over-creaming the butter and sugar can cause gluten-free cookies to spread. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then drizzle in the molasses. When everything is incorporated, stop the mixer.

Finishing the dough. Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing on low between additions. Resist putting your finger in the dough to take a bite until you have added all the flour mixture.

Waiting, patiently. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour before baking. Overnight is best.

Preparing to bake. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Baking the cookies. Roll dough about the size of a tablespoon (if you were measuring fast, then adding more to make sure the cookies are big enough) between your palms and place about 2inches from each other on the baking sheet. Bake until the edges have browned and the centers are firm but still yield a bit to the touch, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and allow to them to cool for at least 15 minutes before eating.

Now, dive in.

Makes about 24 cookies.