About House of Leaf and Gear

A modern gluten free cooking blog

It's an old story: boy engineer meets girl biologist, they fall in love, get married, both get diagnosed with celiac disease, and turn their kitchen into a food lab.

images of smore parfaits
toasted smores parfaits

Here are some of the recipes that we have developed over the years. Since we cannot eat wheat or gluten, these are all gluten free. Some of them are breads or pastries developed with gluten free flours, some are just recipes that happen to not have gluten. Basically, it's just stuff that we can safely eat. Some are very basic, some weirdly complicated. I will try to tag allergens other than wheat when they occur so no one has to waste time reading a recipe they cannot safely make for themselves.

When you go gluten free you lose not only convenience and money but also a large chunk of your culture. It's hard to go out with friends spontaneously when there are only two places in town you can safely eat and (normal) beer is right out. You can't make your traditional family recipes anymore. You can't partake of your great aunt's award-winning pie, previously the highlight of Thanksgiving dinner.

We are fortunate enough to have friends who are willing to cook gluten free meals when we come over. Maybe one of these days we'll pester them to guest blog (if only so we can get their recipes). Some recipes will be from my husband Steve but most will be from me, Luna.

close-up image of brioche rolls
brioche rolls

Before I was diagnosed one of my hobbies was baking. Mostly yeast breads. Traditional breads and modern, experimental techniques. While I should have been well prepared with the skills to tackle the challenge of gluten free baking, it took a couple of years before I could face bread baking with anything other than a sense of sadness and loss of the rich tradition of wheat-based baking.

I have gotten back in the kitchen now. Compared to baking with wheat, gluten free baking has a lot more possibilities--sometimes a bewildering array of choices--as well as challenges. No single flour can totally replace wheat even with the assistance of xanthan and/or guar gum. Everything has more ingredients whether you use a flour blend you buy or make yourself in advance or blend the flours together for each recipe. Some people need to or choose to avoid the gums or avoid eggs, dairy, or other allergens. We only avoid gluten so the recipes will reflect that.

image of a slice of cheesecake topped with strawberry jam
cheesecake with strawberry topping

If you have recently gone gluten free, it's unsettling and restrictive. It's stressful to eat out, it's stressful to explain to others and make them understand that it's a real need, and it's stressful to learn new ways to cook for yourself. Hopefully some of my recipes will help you find alternatives you like. If you are not gluten free at all, many of our recipes are only incidentally gluten free and it makes no difference. If you want to try cooking for a gluten free friend, you are awesome but please take the time to learn how to avoid cross contamination in a "normal" kitchen if you are new to allergy-friendly cooking.

Whatever brings you here, I hope you enjoy our sometimes whimsical takes on cooking.

image of a variety of apples