I’m married to the most wonderful man in the world. His name is Peter and today is his birthday. This morning, after secretly putting three birthday cards in various places throughout the house, I made a cup of tea and planned his birthday dinner.
For his special day, I decided to make one of his favorite dishes, Shepherd’s Pie, the vegetarian version, thanks to Karina from gluten-free goddess’ blog. And Buttermilk Biscuits from my Monday night featured cookbook: Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts. This is a fabulous cookbook. I’ve mostly concentrated on her muffins – Blueberry Muffins, Lemon Coconut Muffins, Carrot Raisin Muffins. All exceptionally good. Her Brown Rice flour mixture is very versatile. This is one of my most often used gluten free cookbooks, especially when it comes to baking.
Who was in the kitchen with me tonight? As usual, my sister Faye Gluten-free For Me fame. She encouraged and supported me after my diagnosis, patiently answered every phone call I made to her from every Whole Foods I visited, looking for gluten-free options. And who else was with me? Karina of gluten-free goddess blog fame. Last night it was Shauna of gluten-free girl blog fame. Those three women single-handedly changed my life. They paved the way for me – the path to life after diagnosis of Celiac Disease. I will always be grateful to all three of them. For showing me and teaching me that life after CD is all about half-full, not half-empty. For giving me hope and helping me realize that I had an opportunity to invite my musical muse into my kitchen to help me learn to approach Celiac Disease from a most creative standpoint.
Tonight, the birthday boy was very pleased. He had multiple helpings. Just to make sure he wouldn’t get hungry later (yeah, right!). We had a good laugh for ourselves as we ate dinner and watched television, just like we imagined we’d do when we get older. We felt very normal.
Hey, all of you Celiacs, listen up. Do you wanna feel normal? Really normal? Make biscuits. Buttermilk Biscuits. You will be amazed at just how normal you feel. You will wonder aloud “Are these really gluten-free? Geez, they taste just like the biscuits I love and remember so well from the olden days”.
Here’s the thing I’m realizing more and more. Being gluten-free isn’t about being deprived. It’s about creativity and a certain joie-de-vivre. It’s about finding substitutes for all the things you ate prior to your diagnosis. It’s about feeling like you have a new lease on life.
So, go buy some new cookie or biscuit cutters (don’t use your old ones pre-Celiac days) and go biscuit crazy. Click your heels together and shout hooray and halleluyah, I’m having me some Buttermilk Biscuits. Spread the joy and share them with the people you love.
from Gluten-Free Baking Classics by Annalise G. Roberts
3/4 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix (I didn’t use extra finely ground, but would recommend doing so if you can find it)
1/4 cup Sweet Rice Flour
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon buttermilk powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 5 slices
1 large egg white
3 tablespoons water
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Position rack in center of oven. Spray small baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
Mix brown rice flour mix (see below), sweet rice flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, buttermilk powder, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. With mixer on low speed, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture is crumbly and resembles coarse meal. Put mixture into a small bowl and set aside.
Beat egg white in the same large bowl of electric mixer until very foamy. Add water and flour mixture all at once, and mix at medium-low speed for 1 minute. Use lightly floured hands to pat out dough into a large 3/4 inch thick round on lightly floured surface. Cut out biscuits with a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter. Press dough scraps together and repeat.
Place baking sheet on center rack of oven and turn oven temperature down to 400 degrees. Bake 15 – 18 minutes or until medium golden brown. Serve immediately.
Brown Rice Flour Mix
Brown rice flour (extra finely ground) 2 cups
Potato starch (not potato flour) 2/3 cup
Tapioca flour 1/3 cup
Sheepishly, reaching for his sixth heart-shaped biscuit, the birthday boy looked at me and said “These are good, honey.” Wink, wink, say no more. What he was really saying was “It’s my birthday and I can eat as many of these as I want.” Not a word from me. I just smiled and finished my biscuit.