Wonder Tortilla!

Here is a recipe from one of my readers (Wenchypoo) that I thought should be shared.  Give it a try and post your results.


I finally did it–turned your Wonder Bun idea into a Wonder Tortilla!
Here’s the recipe (done in a 1000W microwave with Corelle dinner plate)
Makes 1 taco or fajita-sized tortilla (still working on the big boy):

1T. chia meal
1T. flax meal
2 T. almond meal
2 t. tapioca starch
1 T. olive oil (do not use coconut oil or lard)
1 egg white (no yolk–the bottom of the tortilla becomes messy)
1T. water
1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cocoa powder (optional–for color only)
A total of 1 t. of spices/herbs of choice

    ~~Big “T” means tablespoon, and little “t” means teaspoon~~

    Combine flours and powders in a cereal bowl.  Stir to combine, then set aside.  In a separate small bowl, add egg white, olive oil, and water, and mix with mixer until egg white is bubbly, but not to the foam stage–we don’t want meringue here!

    Add egg white mixture to the flour mixture, and stir well to combine, making sure to get the unmixed batter off spoon and into bowl.

    ~~Greasing plate NOT necessary, since there’s oil in the recipe~~

    Pour batter into center of microwave-safe salad or dinner-sized plate, and tip the plate around until batter comes to within 1″ of rim (the batter will creep back to the center of the plate–don’t worry).  Microwave on high for 60 seconds, then remove plate to cooling rack to finish cooking.  After about a minute or two, gently remove the tortilla by using a butter knife to slowly peel up the edges all around the plate, then sliding the knife gently under the tortilla slowly toward the center.  When tortilla is completely free of plate, remove it and return it to the cooling rack bottom-side up to finish completely cooling.

    This tortilla is flexible enough to fold and roll, and also freezes well–if making a stack of them, let cool completely, then place in a zippy bag or other freezer-safe container with paper between the layers (parchment or wax) so they don’t freeze together.

    To defrost, remove from freezer and place on a plate, microwaving one at a time on high for 30 seconds.  These regain flexibility upon defrosting.

    Now you can have a personal taco, fajita, or enchilada that’s low-carb, gluten-free, and Paleo (add cheese for Primal).

from Wenchypoo.

V is for Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette, a sauce made with vinegar. And often with oil, but not always. Wait a minute, is vinegar gluten free?

Mostly, yes.

vinegar (4a)

orange-vinaigrette  peanut-butter-vinaigrette and crystal-vinaigrette photo by vsimon

Distilled white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and white rice vinegar are commonly available in the U.S. and gluten free.

Malt vinegar is made from barely, not distilled, and is not gluten free.

Tricia Thompson thoroughly reviews vinegar and gluten on her Living Gluten Free blog.

Vinegar Nutrition Science

Vinegar has two notable nutritional properties.

#1. Numerous scientific studies have shown that eating vinegar with high carbohydrate meals lowers blood sugar and insulin response after the meal.

So many gluten free products are loaded with highly refined starches. Switching to whole grains helps improve blood sugar. Maybe you have noticed that recipes posted here are likely to be whole grain. Simply adding vinegar to a meal also helps.

#2. You will feel full longer after a meal that contains vinegar. This can be important if you are trying to watch your weight and eat less.

Kinds of vinegar

Rice vinegar has the mildest flavor. You can buy it plain or seasoned. Sugar and salt are added to the seasoned variety. Plain white rice vinegar is the most useful, you can add sugar and salt as needed.

Golden hued apple cider vinegar tastes slight fruity.

Clear distilled white vinegar is a bit harsher in flavor, and is super inexpensive. The lack of color makes it versatile and other ingredients can mellow the flavor.

There are other vinegars worth trying too. Balsamic is dark, sweet and syrupy. Sherry vinegar is complex and potent, a little goes a long way. Both of these can be expensive, but worth it. Bottles of each are waiting in my fridge right now, to be splashed on garden veggies or to perk up a pan sauce.

Today we have three easy vinaigrettes to suit every taste. You can pass on the readymade stuff in the store. These take only minutes to make and cost just pennies. Adjust the recipes to your tastes. Feel free to substitute rice vinegar in any recipe where you want mild flavor. Or add more vinegar for a puckery zip.

Crystal Dressing

¼ cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar, Splenda or honey

¼ cup canola oil or walnut oil

In a small bowl, mix rice vinegar and sweetener. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the sugar (if using) can dissolve. Add the oil and stir briskly. This is really a treat with walnut oil if you can get it.

We originally used this with spinach salad that included berries, toasted whole almonds, and creamy goat cheese. We had a client who loved it so much he put it on everything, really everything. Maybe that is a bit much, but it does add a sodium free sweet-sour punch to salads, grains and veggies.

Orange Mustard Salad Dressing

Adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home by Deborah Madison

1/3 cup orange juice concentrate

3-4 tablespoons vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Mix it up. You can add oil if you like more calories.

There is always a supply of OJ concentrate in our freezer. It is easy to scoop out only what you need, put the lid back on it and tuck it back into the freezer.

Top mixed grain and veggie salads with this bright tangy dressing. For example, add Orange Mustard Salad dressing to a mix of quinoa, sweet yellow pepper, shredded carrot and thin sliced red onions.

Peanut Butter Dressing

¼ cup sugar, Splenda, or honey

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

3 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons peanut butter

Mix it up. I like to do this in a mini blender, it is a bit quicker and smoother. If you are doing it by hand, hot water helps the peanut butter mix in.

This also thickens slightly when it is stored in the fridge. Make it ahead and it will be the right temperature and consistency.

Kids (and adults) love this on greens with sliced apples and chopped peanuts.

Do you make your own dressings? Or pickles? Please share your favorite uses for vinegar.

R is for Rice

When you first learn about the gluten free diet, your are told no wheat, rye or barely.  But rice is nice. Maybe you thought, OK, that is simple, easy, and boring.

Au contraire. Rice is a staple all over the world. Think of standard dishes like Latin American arroz con pollo, Indian curries, Asian fried rice, Southern hopping john, Spanish paella, Italian risotto, Japanese sushi. These are some mighty tasty dishes.


field-of-rice photo by USA Rice

Rice forms

Did you think, “white on rice?” You know what I am picturing, plain white rice. But there is so much more to sample. Imagine, 7000 different kinds of rice  grown around the world! With every combination of color, shape, and size that you can think of. See rice and chicken salad with whole grain rice blend below.

Rice is available as a whole grain or refined, enriched or not. Refined rice has the bran and the germ removed. It is white and is less nutritious than whole grain rice. Unless it is enriched-with iron, niacin, thiamin and folic acid.

Dry rice is available raw, partially or fully cooked. Converted rice is steamed under pressure with the hull on, to force some of the nutrients into the grain. It is then refined to remove the hull. It cooks quicker than whole grain rice, but not quite as quickly as white does.

Instant rice is fully cooked rice that is dehydrated and packaged. It is usually blah and mushy, I am not a fan. Some kinds of fully cooked rice are now available, needing only 90 seconds to warm. These are usually seasoned and you must read the label for gluten containing ingredients.


7-kinds-of-rice photo by vsimon

from the top and clockwise- basmati, arborio, just a tiny bit of forbidden, black glutinous (it isn’t all black), black and mahogany blend, whole grain blend, long-grain brown and wild rice blend


Whole grain rice comes in many colors including brown, red, mahogany, and black. And even several scents. Jasmine really does smell like Jasmine flowers, and Wehani rice smells like popcorn when it is cooked. That is enough to get your taste buds going.


Long grain rice– think long and lanky. The grains stay separate and fluffy when cooked and are perfect for dishes like rice pilaf, or as a bed for saucy dishes. Basmati and Jasmine are common kinds of long grain rice.

Medium grain rice– shorter with a bit thicker grain, average in every way. Use it in average dishes. 🙂

Short grain rice– the short fat guys of the rice world. The grains are especially starchy and sticky. I think we should use short grain rice more often.

  • Arborio is a type of refined short grain rice and perfect for tender white risotto and rice pudding. The rice gives the creamy consistency even without adding cream.
  • Sushi rice is another short type and the grains stick together well.
  • Sweet or glutinous rice is a form of short grain rice. Although it is called glutinous because it is sticky, it does not have any gluten in it. I use sweet rice flour all the time to thicken sauces, even for clients that are not gluten free. It simply works better than wheat flour, does not clump after being frozen and thawed, and it is inexpensive. It imparts no flavor or color to the sauce.
  • I use sweet brown rice, dried fruit and spice to make breakfast risotto in my crock-pot overnight. This risotto is a bit toothsome with a sweet syrupy base. Think about inhaling deeply as you arise to the fragrance of warm cinnamon. I will post this recipe in the cool fall.


It is all small, but some kinds are smaller than others. Really small, only ¼ of an inch long. It is cute and it cooks quickly.


white rice photo by USA Rice

Cooking rice

Whole grain rice can take 30-45 minutes on the stovetop. But I cook it in the pressure cooker all the time. This usually takes only 10-15 minutes.

White rice takes about 15 minutes on the stovetop.

Dry instant rice can be ready in 5-10 minutes.

Many people swear by their rice cookers. And some more just swear at them. I have not tried a rice cooker, so cannot comment on them. I simply do not want another space taking tool in the kitchen.


I like whole grain, just as nature intended. All the pretty colors and fiber intact. Though any rice, even whole grain, is not really a high fiber food. Enriched rice is lower in fiber, but higher in iron, niacin, thiamin and folic acid. It is higher than the original whole grain rice the processors started with. Especially for folate.

One cup of cooked enriched white rice provides about 1/3 the daily requirement for folic acid. Maybe that is important to you. Or maybe you take a daily multivitamin and it does not really matter.

ricesalad (2)

rice-chicken-red-grape-salad-with-whole-grain-rice-blend  photo by vsimon

Whole Grain Rice, Chicken, and Red Grape Salad

This is adapted long ago from a “country” magazine,                                                 but I am sorry I do not know which one.

Serves 6                                              Metric measures

1 cup whole grain rice blend               170 gm

2 cups water                                       500 ml

1 pound cooked, diced chicken           1/2 kg

1 1/2 cup red grapes                          150 gm

1 cup peas, fresh or frozen                 150 gm

2 celery ribs, sliced                              same

4 green onions, sliced                         same

2 tablespoons vinegar                        30 ml

1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce   15 ml

2 tsp toasted sesame oil                    10 ml

1/2 cup slivered almonds                    60 gm

Put rice and broth in a pressure cooker. Lock and bring to pressure. Cook rice for 15 minutes. Allow to cool naturally. Or cook on the stovetop according to package directions.

Allow rice to cool. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Serve chilled, room temperature, or warmed.

*I have attempted to add metric measures for our friends in the rest of the world. Please let me know if some of it makes no sense.

What is your favorite rice, and your favorite rice dish?