In light of becoming active and meeting other gluten free bloggers, I decided to become a participant in the Gluten Free Ratio Rally, hosted this month by Silvana Nardone of Silvana's kitchen. Last month was pancakes, hosted by the awesome dynamic duo behind Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. This blog was just a glint in my eye at the time, a sparkle, a dream, but now is my chance. I really want to take part this month and the months to follow.
|Designed by the very talented Anile Prakash|
This is going to be so cool.
When I came home from studying abroad in Sweden in January, a box of foodie delights awaited me. They were my belated Christmas gifts from my mom. And though I hadn’t expected any gifts (because, for those of you who’ve gone abroad, it’s freaking expensive), let alone wrapped, they were received with squeals of delight and a sing-song of thank you’s echoing throughout the house.
It was what any health nut foodie could have asked for. There were movies (“Ramen Girl”, “Chocolat”, “Julie and Julia”, “Like water for chocolate”)… and there were cookbooks. I was given Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking and Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio.
Julia and I haven’t really had the time to get to the crème brulee or the cervelle de canute. But Michael? Michael and I have become good friends in the kitchen.
Ratio has really opened my eyes to this inevitable fact of life: not all flours are created equal. Meaning, not all flours weigh the same. One cannot simply substitute one cup of all-purpose wheat flour for a cup of gluten free flour. I mean, you could, but the turnout you were expecting may be significantly different than what comes out. Each flour type has specific properties. One may create a moist crumb (like quinoa or coconut) while another is preferable for a drier crust (like amaranth). One may keep the ingredients together (like glutinous rice flour) while another is meant for leavening (like starches). It’s all about balancing the ingredients and harmonizing the textures and tastes.
This awesome little book, although not necessarily considered for the gluten impaired, has sparked a revolution in the gluten free blogging community. (Hence, the Gluten Free Ratio Rally.) With measuring by weight, I can expect my recipes to come out a certain way and still have that creative freedom to not make the same thing twice. I can use different flours, different liquids, different sweeteners, different fats. As long as I stick to the ratio of the recipe I want to make, the results are as limitless as my imagination.
I missed last month’s festivities, but not this month. This month, I am paying it forward. I am giving back to those whose blogs were so inspirational.
They still inspire me.
They still inspire me.
I decided to make muffins from the quick bread ratio in Ruhlman’s book, a healthier version of your average carrot cake. The ratio calls for 2 parts flour, 2 part liquid, 1 part egg, and 1 part fat. But it was the fat part I was having difficulty with.
While experimenting with my new scale for the last two months, I made four batches of quick bread. The first three tasted okay… except for the greasy crumb that came with it. I tried three different fats: butter, grape seed oil, and olive oil. All were measured in accordance to the ratio, and all produced a similar oily crumb. Last night I was thinking of ways to lesson the fat ratio or substitute it without sacrificing the taste of the recipe… and then it hit me.
Not only was it a healthier alternative, I was adding some major greenage and healthy fat to the batter. It was a win-win all around. The taste of the avocado is subtle, but works well with the carrot and the cinnamon undertone. The best of all? It was light and moist with a delicate crumb, perfect for a light snack with a cup of tea. Not too sweet, but sooo delish.
My kind of muffin.
I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Avocado and Carrot Quick Bread / Muffins3 oz Millet flour1 oz Amaranth flour1 oz Quinoa flour1 oz Glutinous rice flour2 oz Arrowroot starch1/2 tsp Sea salt2 tsp Baking powder2 tsp Cinnamon8 oz Milk2 Large eggs4 oz Avocado meat (one medium avocado)2.5 oz (roughly 1 c.)/ three medium-sized Carrots, skinned and finely grated2.25 oz (roughly 1/2 c.) Walnuts, finely chopped2 oz (roughly 1/3 c.) Raisins1.5 oz Maple syrupPreheat oven to 350ºF (176ºC).Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl.Using a blender, combine the milk, eggs, avocado, and maple syrup until it has a smooth consistency. (I used the blender specifically for the avocado… but you can mash it up by hand and simply add it to the wet ingredients also)Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl, and mix the wet and dry ingredients using a whisk or hand-held blender until thoroughly combined.Add the grated carrot, walnuts, and raisins to the batter and mix until they are evenly distributed.Pour the batter into muffin tins (greased or with baking cups) or a greased loaf pan. The muffins take about 35 minutes to bake (the loaf takes between 45 minutes to an hour), but check to make sure they are done with a toothpick or knife.
Makes 12 muffins or one loaf.