- Eggs, Beating Whites To A Foam
- Whenever I start a recipe that will need egg whites
beaten to a foam, I start by taking a steep-sided bowl
(glass or copper) and the beaters I will use to beat it
(an egg whisk, handheld beater, or traditional egg
beater) and put them all in my freezer. Then I make sure
I have the requisite number of eggs at room temperature.
If you do not have your eggs at room temperature, take
them out of the refrigerator and set them in a bowl of
lukewarm water, changing it periodically as you have time
and the water cools. Do not use hot water or you'll cook
- Eggs, Breaking
- Always break eggs into a separate cup which you can then
add to your mix, not straight into the mix of whatever
you are making, for two reasons: (1) it makes it a lot
easier to pick out bits of eggshell and (2) if you do
find the egg is rotten (this happens rarely, but does
happen) you won't have to throw away the whole batch of
(expensive!) ingredients you had in your mixer bowl.
- Freezing Liquids
- My favorite method for freezing liquids is to use a
freezer-quality ziplock bag (always label it! you'll
never regret it). I fill the bag 2/3rds up, mostly close
the bag then squeeze the last of the air out; close the
bag and lay it flat on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.
Stack all the rest flat on the same sheet and freeze. The
next day you can come back and remove them from the sheet
and stack them pretty neatly. Most foods should be kept
in the freezer no more than 6 months.
- Milk-Free Margarine
- We use Fleishman's Unsalted stick margarine. It's the most
widely-available margarine I know of that is both gluten-free and
milk-free, and it works very well in most recipes that call for butter.
- Mise En Place
- I wish I'd been taught this simple concept a long time ago instead of
just recently. What "mise en place" means is to get all your
ingredients ready before you start cooking. I would also add to this the
idea of first reading the entire recipe through, so you know what you're
getting into. My hours spent in the kitchen would have been a whole lot
more pleasant if I'd always done those two things first. No more,
"Oh! No! Who ate up all the marshmallows?" when you've already
melted the butter and promised the kids some Crispy Rice Bars. Having lots
of little bowls on hand helps a lot; you can measure each ingredient into
the bowls and have them ready to dump into the mixture as the recipe calls
for them. As well as ensuring that you have everything the recipe calls
for, and that it's in a form ready for use in your recipe, it helps you
keep track so that if you are interrupted, you won't think you've already
put something in the pot that didn't go in because there was some minor
emergency that called you away.
- Recommended Equipment
- The number one most important piece of kitchen equipment
you'll need for cooking on a gluten-free diet is a heavy
duty mixer. To handle the gooey bread doughs and the
stiff cookie doughs, a really strong-armed mixer is
absolutely necessary; buy the best you can afford
(Kitchenaid is my preferred brand). The second most
important item is a big deep freezer. Since you'll be
doing without the comforts of your grocery store's and
restaurants' fast foods, the critical survival strategy
is to cook in quantity when you do cook, and put your own
"fast foods" in your freezer.
- Storing Bread
- Gluten-free bread does not have the "keeping"
capacity of storebought breads, for many reasons. The
main reason is probably a lack of commercial,
industrial-strength preservatives that you'll find in
factory-produced bread (and it may be better for your
health that you don't have these in your bread). Another
reason is likely in the nature of the flours we use;
especially rice flour which tends to make for a more
crumbly food. Research has proven conclusively, however,
that the best place to store bread is in your freezer.
For this reason I suggest that you preslice your bread
(after allowing it to cool to room temperature all the
way to its core) and then store it in a ziplock bag in a
deep freeze, taking out slices only as you need them.