Announcements

Carol's latest book, Gluten-Free Cooking for Two, is now available. Designed for small households, each perfectly-proportioned recipe serves two people. You will eliminate unwanted leftovers and reduce waste when you cook right-size meals with the 125 recipes in this book. Enjoy!! Celebrate with me!!! Gluten-Free Cooking for Two has won two awards: named one of ten "Best Gluten-Free Cooking Books in 2017" by Healthline.com and won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Living Now Book Awards in the "Natural, Nutrition, Organic, Vegetarian" category.
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Where in the World is Carol?

Carol's in the kitchen, cooking up recipes for her next cookbook and www.CarolFenster.com

Watch for Carol on "Creative Living with Sheryl Borden," a PBS-TV show airing on your local PBS station during 2017-2018.

Join Carol at the National Western Complex, Expo Hall level 2 in Denver on April 21,10:30 am during the GFAF Expo Conference. See you there!

Holidays Gifts for Gluten-Free Giving

Some people periodically clean out their clothes closet, eliminating the clothes they never wear or that don’t fit anymore. I, on the other hand, periodically clean out my kitchen drawers and (sadly) part with gadgets and utensils that have outlived their usefulness or never quite lived up to their potential.

Along the way I’ve accumulated some favorites that I can’t live without. With the holiday season here, many of these items would make perfect little gifts (for yourself or others).  (Of course, you could always ask Santa to spring for my favorite big-ticket items such as a heavy-duty KitchenAid stand mixer…or a Zojirushi bread machine…or a super-powerful KitchenAid food processor––––they’re all terrific time savers in the gluten-free kitchen.)

But what I have in mind this holiday season are small kitchen items that make your job easier and fit nicely into a Christmas stocking.

Gluten-Free Cookies

Ice cream scoops make uniform cookie sizes; they don’t stick when baked on parchment paper.

Ice Cream Scoop: Spring-action, metal ice cream scoops aren’t just for ice cream. They come in a multitude of sizes, so you may want to have several on hand ranging from 1 1/2 inches to 2 1/4 inches in diameter for gluten-free baking.

Use them to “scoop” uniform-shaped balls of cookie dough. Or, drop mounds of muffin batter into muffin tins. Or use ice cream scoops to make uniform-sized balls for cream puffs that bake at the same speed because they are the same size.

Ice cream scoops are particularly good for gluten-free dough, which tends to be sticky. Plus, your hands stay clean because they don’t have to touch the dough. Dip the scoop in very hot water between “scoops” so the batter dislodges easily.

Parchment Paper: Once labeled an “unnecessary luxury” in my kitchen, I now think it is indispensable––especially in the gluten-free kitchen where baked goods have a tendency to stick. This silicone-lined paper prevents baked goods from sticking, thus eliminating the need to oil or grease the baking sheet––which means fewer calories. Each sheet can be used more than once (depending on what you use it for) so it really isn’t that expensive.  Or, try a Silpat liner?a silicone mat that can be used over and over, washing it between each use.

Microplane: Luckily for us, this handy utensil found its way from the woodworker’s bench––where it’s known as a rasp––to the kitchen. It does a fantastic job of grating cheese or fresh ginger. But I especially like it for grating lemons or limes because it captures only the fragrant peel, leaving behind the white, bitter part of the skin.

Microplanes come in many different shapes, but I prefer the kind with a large, rounded handle so I can get a firm grasp. If it gets too clogged with grated food, just use an old toothbrush to dislodge the stubborn food before putting it in the dishwasher. (I keep an old toothbrush in my dishwasher for such tasks.)

Measuring Cups: It’s important to have a standardized set of measuring cups; one set for dry ingredients such as flour or sugar and another set for liquid ingredients such as milk or water. Choose yours from a reputable, well-known manufacturer for standardization.

How do you know the difference between liquid and dry measuring cups? Dry measuring cups usually have flat tops, no spouts, and nest together. Liquid measuring cups are usually see-through, have pouring spouts, and don’t nest together. Don’t use liquid measure cups for dry ingredients. You can get up to 20% more flour this way, which might not make a huge difference in some recipes, but can spell disaster in others.

Many of our gluten-free recipes call for amounts not included in the typical measuring cup set. So, look for cups that measure 2 cups, 1 1/2 cups, 3/4 cup, and 2/3 cup. They’ll save you loads of time.

Plastic, Flexible Ruler: Use it to measure dimensions or height of dough (for example, when the recipe says to roll out pie dough to a 10-inch circle or cookie dough to a height of 1/4-inch).

The food that is likely to accumulate on it can easily be washed off with a damp cloth. Keep it in your kitchen utensil drawer (not an office drawer) where it’s stays clean and is readily available.

Spread the Cheer

All of these items can be found either at kitchen stores or specialty catalogs online. If you already have these items, then you know how handy they can be. Why not share these secrets with your gluten-free friends!