Computers can be friends or demons. My desktop computer decided to be the latter this week.
Readers sent recipes for seafood stews, Biloxi shrimp and sweet potato pies that I promptly saved into a file that I cannot access as I write this. Not to worry, though, the computer is being repaired and the file will be restored, so they tell me.
Having listened to my grandmother say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" throughout childhood, I had a separate file of other responses.
Rosella Marshall of Bradenton gets help with her plea for moister gluten-free bread. Fellow readers have sent some hints and a few recipes for her.
While trying to access that contrary file, I found recipes sent to me by the late R.L. "Bob" Whitmyer of Ocean Springs, Miss. In those recipes was a sweet potato pie recipe from the 1983 Jackson County Cookoff. Reader and contributor Lynette Faul asked for a sweet potato pie recipe, so I will share this one today and the currently inaccessible recipes next week.
"A friend sent me your email address, because she knows I have been cooking gluten-free for my husband for 10 years now. She read the article about someone having a problem with gluten-free bread," said Bonnie Kelley. "While I don't know exactly what recipe she was using I do know a few tips I learned the hard way.
"First, you cannot make a regular-size loaf with gluten-free ingredients. A larger loaf will not get done in the middle. I use a smaller loaf pan, make muffins or smaller, individual loaves from the leftover dough. Luckily, I found the smaller pans by accident," Kelley said. "The batter can be divided into two equally sized smaller loaves.
"Secondly, ingredients need to be at room temperature when making gluten-free bread. I didn't believe it would make a difference myself until I tried. Don't take eggs or milk directly from the refrigerator to add to the recipe. Placing eggs in a bowl of warm water takes the chill off if you are in a hurry and microwave milk for a few seconds to get the chill off if you don't have time to let it reach room temperature. Hope these tips help," Kelley said.
Mary Jane Hixson also knows what Marshall is going through.
"I, too, have an allergy to gluten. I have struggled with gummy tasting bread," said Hixson. "I found a wonderful product in Pamela's Products. I get the gluten-free bread mix and flour blend. This can be found in health food stores; however, it is very expensive. I order mine from www.amazon.com. Give it a try. I am sure you will like it."
Aileen M. Bennett of Gulfport, Miss., penned the cookbook, "From Cajun and Southern Gluten-Free Delights" in 1999 when folks were just beginning to try gluten-free cooking. Here is a strawberry bread from her cookbook.
3/4 cup tapioca flour
1-1/4 cups brown rice flour
1 cup cornstrarch
1- 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup powdered strawberry gelatin
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pureed strawberries
1 stick melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease 2 miniature loaf pans (3- 1/2 inches by 7 inches)
Sift dry ingredients into large bowl. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside.
Puree strawberries. Add to dry ingredients. Add rest of ingredients; mix well with spoon. Pour equal amounts of mixture into bread pans.
Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 35 to 40 minutes. Test for doneness with toothpick. Makes 2 miniature loaves.
-- "From Cajun and Southern Gluten-Free Delights" by Aileen M. Bennett
A couple of years ago, Kelley shared a recipe for her own gluten-free biscuit mix. Perhaps this will give Marshall another option for breads.
GLUTEN-FREE BISCUIT MIX
2- 1/2 cups rice flour (white, brown, sweet or combination)
1-2/3 cups potato starch flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2- 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup dry buttermilk powder
3 tablespoons egg replacer (egg substitute)
1 cup less 1 tablespoon gluten-free shortening
Whisk together all dry ingredients. Cut in shortening until no lumps appear. Store in refrigerator.
-- Submitted by Bonnie Kelley
Pauline Knight sent in this gluten-free corn bread recipe.
1 cup of corn flour, NOT corn meal
1/2 cup of rice flour
1/2 cup of sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk or more
Place about a walnut-size spoonful of shortening in the corner of the bowl, add an egg and stir into some of the dry ingredients. Then add milk starting with a 1/2 cup and increasing the amount if necessary until the batter will pour but not be too runny.
Pour into a well-greased 8-inch pan and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.
-- Submitted by Pauline Knight
Jackson County recipe
The 1983 Jackson County Fair Cookoff actually became a cookbook, according to Whitmyer's files. Cookbook committee members were Mrs. Jack Fletcher, chairman; Mildred Boutwell, Mrs. W.S. Robertson, Mrs. Ruby Johnson and Dorothy Prassenos.
Here is the sweet potato pie recipe in that book. Lucille Chambers of Moss Point was the pie maker.
SWEET POTATO PIE
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
1 cup sugar, more or less depending on taste
3 eggs well-beaten
3/4 cup melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon sifted flour
1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked
Mix all ingredients together and pour into pie shell. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
-- Lucille Chambers
Andrea Yeager, a freelance writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send contributions or requests to Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567.