I Can’t Bake: Carob Brownies? Cupcakes? Muffins?

For my sweetie’s birthday, I thought I would do us both a favor and avoid baking. You may have noticed, by now, the complete lack of sweet baked goods on my Low Amine Recipes blog. It’s because I can’t/won’t bake.

Part of my avoidance is my skill in putting on pounds simply by looking at desserts. The other, larger part of my non-baking is dictated by my ability to burn, char, and crisp most desserts into oblivion.

I started by buying an allergen-unfriendly flat cake at QFC which was (the bakery gal told me) iced and decorated by “trainees,” as you can see from the botched “32nd” and can’t see from the icing on the sides. It looks like an icing job that I would do. That should say it all.

Allergy-unfriendly flat cake for the masses, AKA backup plan #1. (photo)

Allergy-unfriendly flat cake for the masses, AKA backup plan #1.

And then decided that I would be bold and buy a box of gluten-free Betty Crocker brownie mix. I figured if I substituted the butter with butter substitute, and subbed the egg with applesauce, everything would turn out fine. It did! They are made of unhealthy boxed goodness and were tasty.

Note: No, I didn’t eat them all… just the ones that fell apart when I tried to take them out. I didn’t realize they were too warm to remove from the tins. Cut me some chocolately high-amine slack. I already told you, I don’t know how to bake.

Betty Crocker gluten-free brownies made with butter substitute and applesauce as an egg substitute. (photo)

Betty Crocker gluten-free brownies made with butter substitute and applesauce as an egg substitute. Made of high-amine crack, I tell you. AKA backup plan #2.

Halfway through baking crack, I mean, the Betty Crocker brownie things, I decided that I *CAN* bake, and that I should try my hand at a real recipe. So I used a recipe I found on the internet, made a few substitutions, and went to town: sugar for stevia, applesauce for eggs, doubled the carob chips, and made my own carob powder (see: threw a half cup of carob chips in a food processor until it was pretty powdery…).

Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownie Batter (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free) photo

Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownie Batter (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free). At this point, I still thought it would end up being brownies.

Little did I know that not only would this recipe not make brownies, but in attempting to bake, I would also break my oven. At the start of baking, I saw this soldering-like spark on the heating element.

I thought, “Wow, that’s strange. It must be burning something off that dripped on it last night.”

In 10 minutes, when I came back, it had kept going, burning and burning through the heating element. Another foot of heating element was destroyed. The burned parts were now not working, and the working parts were having to work twice as hard to keep the oven up to temperature.

Ummmmmmmmmmm…. Well……… The muffins, or cupcakes, or brownies or whatever they are were still cooking. What’s a girl to do?

A master of improvisation, I decided to let it keep going for the first muffin tin. For the second, I turned off the “bake” function and set it to broil to heat the oven back up, and checking the temperature by flipping it back to “bake.” It worked well enough. But my oven is dead.

D E A D. Dead. I think it decided that my baking days, only just begun, are over. It wasn’t having any of that nonsense. I found the whole thing so funny that I decided to post my experience with baking, my somewhat okay recipe (truth be told, you’d be better off getting your recipe from Lauren David Style – why the heck I didn’t start with a recipe from her site will forever confound me), and my photo of my now destroyed oven heating element.

On that note, for the first time in my life, I have renter’s insurance. And as of this morning, I’m really glad I have it. For a quote, talk to my awesome agent, Tracy Lake (in a previous professional life, I worked with her). She will take great care of you. Brownie points if you tell her this story (pun intended).

My oven heating filament actually soldered itself (and lost the ability to heat the part of itself that it broke) while I was cooking. (photo)

My oven heating element actually soldered itself (and lost the ability to heat the part of itself that it broke) while I was cooking. I have a suicidal oven, but at least my house didn’t burn down. I think this is why they tell you not to leave your oven unattended.

There is only 1/3 of the heating element that isn’t ruined. Final verdict? I can’t bake. My oven said so. It committed seppuku right before my very eyes.

I Can’t Bake: Low Amine Carob Brownies? Cupcakes? Muffins?

1 2/3 C Bob’s Mills Gluten-free All-purpose flour

1/2 C unsweetened carob chips, processed till powdered in food processor

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 C sugar

1/2 C soft butter (butter substitute, in my case)

1/2 C organic unsweetened applesauce

1/2 C water

1 C unsweetened carob chips

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix first six ingredients together.
  • In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients together.
  • Mix wet ingredients with dry ingredients.
  • Grease muffin tins.
  • Fill muffin cavities till halfway full.
Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownies, hot out of the oven (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free) photo

Low-Amine Carob Muffin/Cupcake/Brownies, hot out of the oven (gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, chocolate-free) photo

  • Bake for 15 – 20 minutes, or until they come clean with a toothpick.
  • *Optional: Break oven.
  • *Optional: Try not to burn down the house.
  • When completely cooled, carefully remove from muffin tins using magical muffin-shaped wands (seriously, folks, how are they supposed to come out?). Or do what I do. Jam a knife in there and hope you don’t scrape off too much Teflon with the muffins / cupcakes / brownies… Or whatever they are.
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Curry Cumin Pot Roast (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, tomato-free, nightshade-free, low-carb, paleo)

Curry Cumin Pot Roast (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, tomato-free, nightshade-free, low-carb, paleo) photo

Curry Cumin Pot Roast (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, tomato-free, nightshade-free, low-carb, paleo)

Pot roast is one of the easy, stand-by comfort foods, and so simple when you have a crock pot. Cooking time with a crock pot is about 5 hours, so be prepared to wait for the low-amine pot roast goodness to be done. To change things up a little bit, I’ve made this low-amine pot roast very allergy-friendly and added Indian flavors to it, rather than the traditional savory low-amine pot roast seasonings.

1.5 lbs beef chuck roast

1 large sweet potato

2 medium onions, cut into eighths

7 ribs celery

2 carrots

7 brussels sprouts, halved

3 medium bay leaves

1 tsp sea salt

1 Tbsp cumin

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cinnamon

4 tsp curry powder (make sure no mustard powder in the curry mix)

2 Tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp cornstarch

3 C vegetable or beef broth

  • Turn on crock pot and set to cook on high for 4 1/2 hours, and keep warm after that.
  • Put low-amine chuck roast beef in the bottom of the crock pot.
  • Add all spices to the bottom of the crock pot, except cornstarch and broth.
  • Chop all your low-amine vegetables in large bite-sized pieces. Add to crock pot.
Chopped vegetables for the low-amine curry cumin pot roast (photo)

Chopped vegetables for the low-amine curry cumin pot roast.

  • Mix cornstarch in with broth and pour over into the crock pot.
  • Cover and cook for 4 1/2 hours.
Low-amine curry cumin pot roast, 3 hours down, 1.5 to go (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, tomato-free, nightshade-free, low-carb, paleo) photo

Low-amine curry cumin pot roast, 3 hours down, 1.5 to go.

  • Serve with rice, toast, or on it’s own.

AMINE BREAKDOWN:

Very Low Amine: sweet potato, onion, celery, carrot, brussels sprouts, bay leaf, sea salt, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, corn starch

Low Amine: beef chuck roast, curry powder, vegetable or beef broth

High Amine: cinnamon (high in histamines), garam masala (high in histamines)

Baked Low-Amine BBQ Chicken Breasts (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, tomato-free, nut-free, low-fat, low-carb)

Low-Amine Baked BBQ Chicken (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, tomato-free, low-fat, low-carb) served with baked sweet potato and stir-fried cabbage (photo)

Low-Amine Baked BBQ Chicken (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, tomato-free, low-fat, low-carb) served with baked sweet potato and stir-fried purple cabbage.

This basic recipe requires you to have made the low-amine BBQ sauce in advance. I usually make mine in big batches and freeze them in one-cup servings in Ziplock bags for later use. Chicken breasts are versatile and work very well with the low-amine BBQ sauce. It’s a great easy meal that requires very little work (sauce-making aside).

2 large, skinless chicken breasts

1/2 C low-amine BBQ sauce, divided (1/4C , 1/4C)

2 Tbsp safflower oil

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lay chicken breasts down in Pyrex pan.
  • Slather chicken breasts with 1/4 C low-amine BBQ sauce.
  • Drizzle oil over the top.
Low-Amine Chicken with BBQ sauce and oil (photo)

Low-Amine Chicken with BBQ sauce and oil

  • Bake for 30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
  • Optional side dishes: small/medium sweet potatoes can be tossed in the oven straight on the rack to cook with the chicken and should be done about the same time. Purple cabbage was stir-fried simply with safflower oil, salt, garlic, and pepper.
  • Broil for about 5 minutes to brown the top of the chicken and sauce.
Baked and broiled low-amine BBQ chicken, ready for slicing (photo)

Baked and broiled low-amine BBQ chicken, ready for slicing!

Low-Amine BBQ Sauce (photo)

Low-Amine BBQ Sauce

  • Remove from oven, cut chicken into slices and serve with BBQ sauce drizzled over the top.

AMINE BREAKDOWN:

Low Amine: skinless chicken breasts, low-amine BBQ sauce, safflower oil

Quick Get-Well Soup (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, nightshade-free)

Low-Amine Get-Well Soup (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, tomato-free, nightshade-free, paleo, low-fat, low-carb) photo

Low-Amine Get-Well Soup (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, tomato-free, nightshade-free, paleo, low-fat, low-carb)

I’m sick. Lord I hate being sick. So I’ve made myself a quick and dirty get-well soup out of the low-amine vegetables in the house. Fast, easy, and one bowl in, I am already starting to feel better. Healthy soups are good medicine!

2 onions, sliced into “C rings”

2 carrots, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

1/2 bundle asparagus, ends trimmed, chopped

1/2 bundle cilantro (about 1 C), chopped

1/4 daikon radish, chopped (about 1 C)

1 small head napa cabbage, chopped fairly thin

12 medium to large cloves garlic

1/4 C ginger

1/2C soy sauce substitute

4 C beef broth

2 C vegetable broth

3 Tbsp safflower oil

  • Heat oil in stock pot on medium. Add cut onions, green onions, and carrot. Cook until onions are starting to go translucent.
  • Add chopped cilantro, asparagus, daikon, napa cabbage, and soy sauce substitute. Stir and cover with lid. Cook for about 5 minutes.
  • In a small food processor, puree garlic and ginger. Add water as necessary to keep it moving.
  • Add puree, beef broth, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover.
  • Cook low-amine soup for 15 minutes, or until cabbage has reached desired doneness.
  • Serve hot.

AMINE BREAKDOWN:

Very Low Amine: onions, carrot, green onion, asparagus, cilantro, daikon radish, napa cabbage, garlic, ginger
Low Amine: soy sauce substitutebeef brothvegetable broth, safflower oil

Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad) (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, paleo, low-fat, low-carb, healthy)

Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad) (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, paleo, low-fat, low-carb) photo

Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad) (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, fish-free, shellfish-free, paleo, low-fat, low-carb, healthy)

Larb Gai is delicious, and is an easy recipe, too. It’s naturally low-fat and low-carb, and full of all kinds of vitamins, but with none of the nasty amines that get you down. I like to make it and pack it (dressing separate) for lunches. Undressed, the Larb Gai will keep for a few days while you eat away at it. This Larb Gai recipe also excludes fish sauce, avoiding fish and shellfish allergies, as well as amines. Enjoy!
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
2 Tbsp safflower oil
1 small red onion
1/2 small or medium head green cabbage
1 package mint (leaves only)
1/2 cucumber
1 bunch radishes
1 bunch cilantro
2 Tbsp rice
1 lime
1/2 tsp salt
Larb Gai Dressing:
2 limes
1 Tbsp pomegranate juice or blueberry juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 – 2 Tbsp Serrano peppers, minced
  • In a dry pan, toast rice. When lightly browned, use a food processor to grind it as small as possible. The toasted rice powder (khao koor) will help thicken up the meat juices.
Grinding up the toasted rice in a food processor (photo)

Grinding up the toasted rice in a food processor

  • In a large pan, cook meat over medium heat with oil, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add lime, 1/2 tsp salt, and toasted rice powder. Mix well.
  • When done cooking, set aside.
Larb Gai turkey cooking in a frying pan (photo)

Larb Gai turkey cooking in a frying pan

  • Using a mandoline, slice onion, cabbage, radishes, and cucumber thinly and add to a large bowl.
Larb Gai vegetables, chopped and sliced (photo)

Larb Gai vegetables, chopped and sliced

  • Chop cilantro and add.
  • Add mint leaves. Toss Larb Gai salad until well mixed.
Larb Gai salad ingredient (photo)

Larb Gai salad ingredients

  • When meat is cooled, add to Larb Gai salad and toss together.
  • In a small jar or bowl, mix together all Larb Gai Dressing ingredients. Mix until sugar and salt are dissolved.
  • Depending on how many people you are feeding, use all the Larb Gai Dressing and toss well, or pull aside the portion you want to serve, mix in an appropriate amount of dressing, and toss well. Larb Gai will not keep as well once it has been dressed, so keep the dressing separate if you plan on saving it for later.
  • Serve, garnished with mint leaves and a dash of cayenne or red chili flakes over the top for color (optional).
Easy, Delicious Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad) (photo)

Easy, Delicious Larb Gai (Thai Chicken Salad)

AMINE BREAKDOWN:

Very Low Amine: cilantro, toasted ground rice, salt, onion, cabbage, mint, cucumber, garlic

Low Amine: ground turkey / ground chicken, safflower oil, blueberry juice (high in histamines, low in tyramines)/ pomegranate juice, sugar

Very High Amine: Serrano peppers, lime, cayenne / red chili flakes

Featured on Cybele Pascal.

Horseradish Lime Avocado Dressing (gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free)

Quinoa salad served with horseradish lime avocado dressing. (photo)

Quinoa salad served with horseradish lime avocado dressing.

This is not exactly made with a particular attention to amines in foods. Avocado is a high amine food (especially as it ripens, so choose fairly unripe avocados), and horseradish is said to be high amine. However, with horseradish, I’m not sure horseradish itself is high in amines, or whether it is usually found creamed, in jars, processed, and having sat on a shelf for weeks, months, or years. To be safer, I am starting with fresh horseradish root. However, this recipe is a “eat at your own risk” recipe, to be sure. Amines abound!

Horseradish, lime, avocado dressing (medium-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free) photo

Horseradish, lime, avocado dressing (medium-amine, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, paleo)

Juice of 1 limes

1/2 avocado

2 Tbsp fresh grated horseradish, packed

2 Tbsp safflower oil

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cayenne (or fresh chopped chilies)

1/2 C cilantro, chopped

1/4 C cashews, soaked

1/2 C rice milk (or water instead, for Paleo diet)

  • Soak cashew in water for 2 hours, then drain.
  • In a food processor, puree cashews first, then add all other ingredients except rice milk. Puree until very smooth.
  • Add rice milk and continue blending, until mixture is extremely smooth and creamy.

AMINE BREAKDOWN:

Very Low Amine: black pepper, salt, cilantro, rice milk

Low Amine: safflower oil, cashews

High Amine: horseradish

Very High Amine: cayenne (or chilies), avocado, lime

Low Amine Chicken Strips (low-amine, gluten-free, soy-free)

Low-amine chicken strips (gluten-free, soy-free, low-amine) photo

Low-amine chicken strips (gluten-free, soy-free, low-amine) served with a simple salad, baked french fries, and a no-tomato ketchup.

Little did I know that french fries and chicken strips were my roommate’s fetish food. Tonight, I fed her inner Oprah. It turned out fabulously, and we didn’t even have to feel bad about eating it, as both the fries and chicken strips were baked, gluten-free, soy-free, and low-amine. Even the no-tomato ketchup was good for us! These chicken strips have a nice crunch to them if you make the breadcrumbs just a little bit bigger, rather than totally pulverized.

3 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 pieces white gluten-free bread

1/4 C minced parsley

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp Cajun seasoning mix

2 eggs

  • Put slices of bread on a cookie sheet and leave in the oven.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pound chicken breasts flat till about 1/3″ thick (for lack of a proper kitchen tool, I used a big empty bottle of apple juice).
Pounding chicken strips flat with my fancy meat smasher photo

Pounding chicken strips flat with my fancy meat smasher.

  • Cut chicken into strips about 1″ wide.
  • Check on bread. Once a very “toasty” texture, remove from oven and throw into a food processor. Process till almost smooth – some small chunks add a nice crisp texture.
  • Mince parsley.
  • Mix Cajun seasoning, parsley, salt, and breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Toss together well.
  • Beat eggs in a medium bowl.
  • Lightly grease cookie sheet with butter or safflower oil.
  • Dredge pieces of chicken in egg and coat with breadcrumbs mix, arranging them on the cookie sheet.
Chicken strips, dredged and breadcrumbed photo

Chicken strips, dredged and breadcrumbed.

  • Bake for about 20 minutes, depending on thickness of strips.
Chicken strips, hot from the oven photo

Chicken strips, hot from the oven.

AMINE BREAKDOWN:

Very Low Amine: bread, parsley, salt

Low Amine: chicken, Cajun seasoning

Moderate amine: egg

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Soy Sauce Substitute (Soy-Free, Gluten-Free, and Low-Amine)

Soy sauce is sorely missed in my home. I’m low amine, so shouldn’t use it, and my roommate is soy-free. Between the two of us, we miss Asian cooking something wicked. With a lot of recipe combining and a lot of substitutions, I was able to come up with this gluten-free, soy-free, low-amine, dairy-free, nut-free, low-fat, nightshade-free, tomato-free soy sauce substitute.

It will keep in the fridge for about a week in a tightly closed Tupperware or jar. This low amine soy sauce substitute can also be frozen in ice cube trays for later use, though I found that freezing tended to dull the flavors a bit – more garlic, ginger, and white pepper should be added if you’re planning on freezing the soy sauce. Also, the soy sauce substitute was stubborn and would not freeze completely though, so it is best left in the cube tray, or freezing in small jars or tupperwares that can be thawed all at once.

Update: Tried using this with my baby bok choy recipe and no one at the table could tell it was a soy sauce substitute, including myself.

Soy sauce substitute

Soy sauce substitute (gluten-free, soy-free, and low-amine)

1 1/2 C blueberry juice, reduced over high heat to 1 C

3 C organic beef broth or chicken broth

2 T molasses

2 tsp ascorbic acid

2 tsp grated ginger

1/2 tsp liquid smoke

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 T salt

4 large garlic cloves, pressed

2 T vodka

  • Reduce blueberry juice.
  • Combine all ingredients except vodka in a medium saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer until reduced to a 1 1/2 to 1 cup of soy sauce substitute is left (about 25 minutes).
  • Add vodka.
  • Strain.
  • Keeps for up to a week in the fridge.
  • Shake before using.
Can also be used as a Worcestershire substitute.
AMINE BREAKDOWN:
Very Low Amine: ascorbic acid, ginger, liquid smoke, white pepper, salt, garlic
Low Amine: organic beef broth or chicken broth, molasses, vodka
High Amine: blueberry juice (high in histamines, low in tyramines)