Monday, September 29, 2008

Trial and Error with the Soyabella

I admire all the bloggers who have success after success in the kitchen with gluten free cooking. For me, it's turning out to be much more of a learning curve. I can attest by this last picture of my favorite waffle iron.

I had mixed up a batch of GF waffles, straight from a purchased mix. And it solidly glued my favorite waffle iron together. I broke the handle trying to pry it open, and the rice flour simply won't come off of the griddle. Oh well. I've been reading that you shouldn't use a pan or waffle iron that's been used with gluten products because of gluten cross contamination. But I was sad to see my 15 year old waffle iron go. I still could have used it to make waffles for my husband.

Instead of buying a new waffle iron, I bought an Aroma fuzzy logic rice cooker. I use it regularly and I really love it. And it was only $40. My favorite function is the delayed cooking option. I can set it so the rice is hot and fresh just as I wake up in the morning. Really nice.

Something nice in my tea still alludes me. Now I don't "have to have" my morning cuppa in order to be sociable. But there's something civilized in my mind about a cup of black tea with milk that I can't shake. I like milk (but that's out of the question) and I even like soy milk (but that's also out of the question). I've finally settled for rice milk. But sometimes it leaves an oily slick on the top of the tea. Ick. I've been racking my brain about making rice milk myself, but have balked at all the processing it takes. And then I thought I'd found a machine to answer all my prayers.

I purchased a Soyabella on Friday. I was very excited about the product as the lady in the shop assured me that it made rice milk and nut milk with great ease. I certainly won't be making soy milk with it. I looked Soyabella up on the web and was impressed by all the praises for the machine. So I went back at my earliest convenience and bought it. Sunday I actually got to use it for the first time. But I would say the jury is still out on this one.

My first batch of "rice milk" came out unfavorably. Now, I'm pretty used to having a learning curve on something new - so when I poured out the end product that looked like curdled milk, I chalked up my disappointment to "learning curve". Now granted, there are no instructions in the booklet about rice milk. Only "rice porridge". Ah, now looking at the mess I realized that I had made a version of congee, and a not too appetizing one at that. I can say this with confidence as I had just had breakfast of a delicious homemade congee (made in the rice cooker overnight) with mustard greens and pickled turnips. I strained the "rice milk" through a gold mesh coffee filter and put the thicker rice bi-product aside. I flavored the "rice milk" with some agave syrup and vanilla and moved it to the fridge with the hopes that I would like it better when cold. Frankly it is stodgy and gelatinous and I could never imagine putting it in my tea.

I rinsed off the unit and put the soaked adzuki beans in the "soy milk" basket. It was then that I noticed the remarkable difference in the hole sizes of the "rice porridge" basket from the "soy milk" basket. Hmmm. Now I'll have to try the rice in the "milk" basket next. Again I fired up the Soyabella according to the instructions. This time, a gelatinous beany goo issued forth, a strange purple grey color and none too appealing. Ok. Why do lovely little red beans transform into purple grey? Another mystery. I flavored that with a little maple syrup, but it really didn't appeal much to me at all. Into the fridge to cool down and see if there was some magical transformation. Alas, none transpired. Well, I'd read a couple of experiments with adzuki bean milk that had also ended in disappointment, so I will add to the list.

However, in trying to decide if I should chuck it down the sink, I opted to use it in my pancakes this morning. And what I will say for adzuki bean milk is that it improved the texture of my usual pancakes.

Usually there is a graininess to rice flour pancakes. I miss the somewhat chewy tooth of a wheat flour pancake. This morning, they were nearly indistinguishable from my old pancake recipe. Not to mention, the other minor gripe I have with GF pancakes is that they never brown quite like regular ones.

Maybe I just had a good pancake karma fairy this morning, or I've learned a little on getting them to color up, but they really had a nice golden color when they flipped over. So while I may not drink adzuki bean milk in my tea or pour it over my Rice Chex, I might be using it in some baked goods to see if it continues to add some magic.

GF Adzuki Bean Milk Pancakes

1/2 cup Arrowhead Mills GF pancake and baking mix
1 tsp ener-g egg replacer
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp blue agave syrup
1/2 cup adzuki bean milk (enough to make it the correct consistency for pancakes, pourable but not that thin up to 3/4 cup)

Fry on a hot greased griddle, flipping only once.

Makes five 3-inch pancakes

Wonder if there are any strawberries in the garden?


Pampered Mom said...

What about coconut milk? Wilderness Family Naturals sells powdered coconut milk that you can rehydrate. It needs to be mixed up with warm water, but after that can be stored in the fridge. It's the only thing I've discovered I can use my quick-stir pitcher type thing with since we don't drink juice. Using the powder, it's thin enough and tastes far better than any canned coconut milk we've ever tried. There is a small amount of casein in it, but it seems like all but the most sensitive folks can handle it.

CoastalCAGardener said...

I hadn't heard of this product. I'll have to check it out. Thanks for the pointer. :-D