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Monday, November 30, 2009

Vegetable detox after the feasting...

After all the carbohydrates, and rich is one that I love. It’s simple, easy, and delicious, unexpectedly so. Inspired from Ina's French classic of a tian, this one uses what you leftovers are repurposed into some great second dishes.

Vegetable Tian
Good quality olive oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3-4 medium early potatoes (red or white skinned) unpeeled
2 small zucchini squash (or you can use 1 medium eggplant)
5-6 roma tomatoes
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh herbs (any will do, sage, thyme and basil are great)
2 ounces parmesan cheese, grated

Directions: Preheat the oven to 375F. Oil a a 9x13x2-inch baking dish with olive oil. Line the bottom with the onions and garlic. Slice all other ingredients (potatoes, zucchini or eggplant, and tomatoes into same-sized rounds, about 1/8-inch to ¼-inch thick.)
Layer them alternately in the dish on top of the onions, snuggly, and making 1 layer when finished in a concentric circle in the pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herbs. Drizzle with more olive oil. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the potatoes are tender. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the cheese on top, and bake for another 30 minutes until browned. Serve warm (the first time, see below for second time around.)

I devised these leftovers for this dish:
  • Quick scramble: Rough chop any leftovers of this and scramble right into the pan when making scrambled eggs.
  • Tuscan panini: layer leftover in between two thin slices of gluten free bread. Add a slice of cheese, like provolone, or Swiss, then grill in a panini press (this one is especially good!)
Using what you have.
  • You can really use any potato, so long as the sizes of the cut pieces are the same as the other items
  • You can add left over green beans to this
  • Brussel sprouts from the thanksgiving meal would be great added to this
  • Try turnips in this, or carrots
Don't be afraid to experiment!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gluten Free Pie Crust...

Get ready for gluten free pumpkin pie bliss!! This really is a no fail pie crust, truly. And it is crumbly and flaky and just what it needs to be to cuddle around creamy pumpkin, or sticky pecan, or even grace the bottom of a chocolate cream pie this Thursday.

Makes two pie crusts:
2 1/2 cups Tom Saywer Gluten free flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup of butter, cold and cut into small pieces *(or you can use 1/3 Crisco, and 1/3 butter if you so desire)
1 egg
6 to 8 Tablespoons cold water
2 tbs sugar

In a food processor:
Add flour and salt and sugar to a food processor, and pulse twice. Add butter in little pieces. Pulse quickly (1/2 second intervals) until all the butter is cut into the flour into pea sized bits. Add 1 egg and pulse to combine (important to add the egg in this order.) Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of the water at a time working it into the mixture and pulse until combined. Repeat till all is moistened and dough comes together and is smooth.

If using right away to make a pie: Roll dough from center to edges on waxed paper, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer to pie plate by flipping the waxed paper upside over onto pie plate. Peel off waxed paper. Crimp edges. (Do not prick pastry). Bake as directed in individual recipe for the pie crust.

If you make ahead, store it in plastic wrap in a ziploc bag.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing...

We all know that Thanksgiving is about friends and family, but let's face it, it is 90% about food! Here is a great recipe for making your own stuffing mix. Gluten free-ers are usually relegated to what I call the $21 stuffing (3 bags of gluten free bread from the grocery at about $7 each!).
This recipe is quick, affordable, and makes fantastic stuffing...just a little more of your time. But thanksgiving is about all that, time and preparation for the feast!
Elana's quick breads make a great base recipe for these, I modified them from her almond flour recipe. Here is my version. I made three batches.
Notes: I like adding the seasonings to the bread, for a more flavorful stuffing.
  • In loaf #1 I added ¼ cup each of  pistachio, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and chopped almonds.
  • The 2nd loaf I added 1 tsp toasted onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbs dried oregano.
  • The 3rd loaf had 2 tbs each of fresh sage and fresh rosemary and 1 tsp pepper.
Gluten Free Bread For Stuffing (Makes one loaf)
1 ½ cups Tom Sawyer gluten free flour (or your GF flour blend)
¾ cup cornstarch
¼ cup flax seed meal
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
4 eggs
1 teaspoon agave nectar (or honey)
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar (or other vinegar)
In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, flax meal, salt and baking soda. In small bowl, wisk eggs, agave and vinegar until frothy. Stir egg mixture into the dry ingredients.
Scoop batter into a well greased (oiled) 7.5" x 3.5" loaf pan. Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean. Cool, then cut into small cubes. Lay cubes on a cookie sheet and toast in a 300º oven until crisp and toasted.
Cool completely.
Then use this as your bread in your favorite stuffing recipe!
Always a GF multi-tasker, these make great croutons! Make extra for that. Also, fantastic for panzanella (Italian bread salad), so make extra for that, and find a good recipe you love for it!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gluten Free Coconut Cake

Special ocassions around our house call for special things. This is a special occasion cake. It is the lightest and fluffiest cake you will ever taste!

Coconut Cake
  • 3 cups coconut (not sweetened variety)
  • ¾ cup softened butter
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 ¼ cups Tom Sawyer Gluten Free Flour (or your GF flour blend)
  • 2 tsp GF baking powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 8 ounce softened cream cheese
  • 8 ounce softened butter
  • 1 bag of powdered sugar
Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans, or use one 9x13 pan. Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time until incorporated. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk. Stir in 1 cup of the coconut. Spoon the batter into the pan(s). Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Ovens vary, so this time could vary for you). The top will be browned. When fully cooled, ice with icing and cover in the other 2 cups of coconut.

To make the icing, cream butter and cream cheese. Add powdered sugar and whip on high for 2 minutes until fluffy.
Notes: I use fresh coconut left over and dried from making my coconut milk, but store-bought (unsweetened) works fine. Ice when fully cooled, or your icing may melt! Cake tastes most divine at room temperature, so if you are serving, set it out for about 20-30 minnutes prior to serving.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Gluten free cinnamon donut holes…

This is breakfast…while fried foods in our house are not what I call food with intent– other than the cinnamon…these are a once in a while treat I cannot help. Gluten free donuts with Frappe. I created this recipe for donut holes and they turn out wonderfully. One of my few recipes that uses other GF flour blends other than Tom Sawyer, but for these, it really is the best texture. The Frappe is a traditional coffee drink in Greece, I drank it all over Greece when I traveled there. The donuts I have devised in a cake-style, and also in the more traditional ‘raised’ donut style. Make which you prefer, I am including both recipes.

‘Raised’-like light and fluffy donut holes (shown in picture above)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup Tom Sawyer Gluten Free flour (or you own GF flour blend)
  • ¾ cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Beat egg and add sugar and oil and buttermilk, then mix together and add dry ingredients.
Put batter in fridge to let rest over night! (if you cannot do this, let rest at least 20-minutes). Fry in a high sided pot (to minimize oil splatter) with 1½ inches of oil at 375F: Drop by teaspoons or with a scooper as donut holes, about 6 at a time to maintain the temperature. While still warm roll them in cinnamon sugar.

Cake-like donut holes (shown in below picture)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3/8 cup buttermilk
  • 1 ¾ cup Tom Saywer gluten free flour (or your GF flour blend)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Beat egg and add sugar and oil and buttermilk, then mix together and add dry ingredients.

Fry in a high sided pot (to minimize oil splatter) with 1½ inches of oil at 375F: Drop by teaspoons or with a scooper as donut holes, about 6 at a time to maintain the temperature. While still warm roll them in cinnamon sugar.

Greek Frappe

  • 1 tbs instant coffee
  • 1 tbs hot water (tap)
  • ½ cup cold water with 3 ice cubes
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 1 to 2 tbs sugar
In a blender, pour hot water and add coffee granules. Add sugar. Then add cold water, ice cubes and milk. Blend until very frothy, 1 minute or so. Serve in a tall glass with a straw.
A few notes:
This makes 1 drink. Double or more for more drinks.
Instant coffee can be bitter, so up the sugar if you like it sweeter.
I use Nescafe brand instant, because it's most like the European style instant coffee used for this, but you can use any instant you prefer.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gluten free granola...

This is a treat that is full of intentional things. But, not just a treat, a daily staple and can be used for many things! This is fantastic out of hand as a snack, can be a cold cereal, or mixed into nuts with dark chocolate chips as a trail mix. It can be heated with milk for a luscious bowl of warm cereal, or used as a topping for a fruit crisp or crumble. The ingredients are full of healthful and wellness essentials.
  • Oatmeal is a cholesterol reducer, and its fiber is a system cleanser
  • Molasses is a super-nutrient rich powerhouse which I consider a pantry secret, that is way too often over looked. Blackstrap molasses is a source of calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron; one tablespoon provides up to 20% of the daily value of each of those nutrients. I use molasses in my coffee, and any other way I can find to add it to my diet
  • Walnut or almond oil is high in Omega-3s
  • Cinnamon is good for the body as it is a natural anti-inflammatory
  • Egg whites add protein
  • Flax adds fiber and those Omegas again
  • Dried fruits add fiber (be careful of high sugar in store bought varieties)
  • Nuts are full of those good-for-us fats

Gluten Free Granola
This is a double batch, it can be halved. It makes a lot. A serving is ½ cup of the finished granola.
2 tbs molasses
4 tbs walnut, almond, or hazelnut oil
2 tbs of oil for oiling each pan (2 pans) (this can be any oil)
3/4 cup brown sugar, not packed
1 tbs cinnamon
5 egg whites
1 tsp scant kosher salt
1 cup of flax meal
6 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 cup dried fruits
1 cup almonds or nuts
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar (1/4 cup for each pan)
Preheat oven to 350-degrees.  Prepare the pans: line baking sheets with foil, shiny side up. Spread 1 tbs oil on foil, covering all of the foil well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix molasses, nut oil, brown sugar, egg whites, cinnamon, flax meal and salt. Blend well. Then fold in the oats. Spread oat mixture flat and evenly on baking sheet (divide mixture between the two sheets) and bake for 10 minutes. At 10 minutes remove pans from oven, leave oven on. Turn the granola gently using a spatula, and sprinkle the nuts and fruit between the two pans. Drizzle with the agave or honey – DO NOT STIR AFTER THE DRIZZLE. Return pans to oven and bake another 10 minutes until done. It should begin to brown and smell toasty. Watch that it doesn’t burn. Let cool on sheets and then break apart into granola. I store mine on the kitchen counter in glass jars.

Monday, November 9, 2009

For the holidays...a fast gluten free appetizer

Often when coming to a gathering I’m asked to bring “something you can eat”.The token gluten free appetizer on any party buffet of which I attend, is always, of course, brought by me. No longer does it have to be the usual, ordinary platter of mixed veg. Please don’t get me wrong, while I love veg, (mmm, with a bit of mustard dip or fresh kosher salt)- I am always looking for something great that is not tagged as 'gluten free' but fits into the buffet as another item that all persons can enjoy.  I prefer to bring something all can eat and enjoy, that is naturally gluten free.
The other evening, I came up with this one to take to a get together I was asked to bring an appetizer to. These are so fast to create, and are easy common ingredients, but the flavors, the way they blend together and compliment each other…really is something special. Salty, briny olives, sweet tomatoes, rich tangy cheddar, and the slight astringency of the basil, are a perfect pairing. Make a lot, they go very fast!

Cherry or grape tomato
Fresh basil leaves
Cubed cheese, any variety (just not soft cheese)
Olives, any pitted kind, I like Manzanilla
Layer into toothpicks, and serve!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cinnamon French press coffee...

In our home, one thing we really enjoy is coffee made in the traditional style for a culture or region of the world. Vietnamese coffee, Italian stove-top espresso, French press, Greek frappe…I will post all of these fun coffee’s in time.
Today I will share cinnamon French press. While the French press is a traditional way to brew this coffee, the cinnamon is all my inspiration. French press coffee is made with hot water poured over the coffee grounds, it steeps, then you press the plunger down to hold back the grounds and pour your coffee. It produces a rich and wonderful coffee that has a much more robust and distinctive flavor from drip, its almost…creamy in texture.
Well, we love it, so here is a recipe on cinnamon French press. It is a warm and toasty morning coffee I think you will enjoy.
Find yourself a French press at the store or at the second hand store, where I see them often. Make sure it is glass, and not plastic.
Grind you favorite beans into a course grind (although I use regular old out-of-the-bag grinds too when I feel like it).

  • Boiling water
  • 1/3 cup coffee grounds
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp gluten free vanilla
To a 3-cup French press add 1/3 cup grounds to the bottom of the press. (Less for coffee that is less strong. Scale up for larger presses). To the grounds add the cinnamon and vanilla. Pour the hot water over the grounds to the max fill level of your press. Place the plunger on and steep for 5 minutes. Plunge, pour, and enjoy!

We also love it ‘con panna’. This means with whipped sweet cream on top. It's really a divine way to enjoy it, sweet, creamy, frothy…wonderful!
To experience this without the French press, next time you are at your favorite coffee joint, order your regular coffee ‘con panna’ or with whip!

The praises of a farmshare…

I call myself a bit of a farmshare evangelist. I spread the word and praises of my community supported agriculture (CSA) to everyone I know. If you don’t know, CSAs are farmers that grow crops for members of their communities who pay them to have them grown from a local resource. My farmer is Kelly, and I pay at the beginning of a season, then every Thursday to our front door is delivered a bounty of vegetables, picked the day before by my local farmer. A true locavore’s dream!
Every Thursday for us is what I call “Veggie Christmas”. You know that anxious anticipation on Christmas morning of “Ooh, what’s in the bag, or box?!” I have that every Thursday. “What was harvested for us this week?”
I do not buy any veggies at my weekly grocery trip and commit to eating what comes from the farmshare. This way the farmshare keeps us eating wide variety of vegetables. I encourage everyone to find one in their area and join, and to at least try it for a few months.
But if you don’t belong to a farmshare, here is a tip for you when trying to eat healthy from the store. More color equals more nutrients. So, when shopping each week, try to achieve the colors of the rainbow in your basket. Here are some examples:
  • Red– Red bell peppers, tomatoes
  • Orange– Butternut squash, carrots, oranges
  • Yellow– Corn, yellow bell peppers, squash
  • Green– Dark greens like collard, kale, spinach, lettuces, apples, cucumbers
  • Blue– plums, blackberries, blueberries
  • Purple– grapes, eggplant
This is a great one for the kids to help you shop with, having them pick what fits the color. Then, use them! Incorporate on each night's into dinner, but don’t forget your lunches (think red bell strips, zucchini strips, and carrots in a lunch).

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gluten Free Thanksgiving Cheddar Biscuits

If you are starting to plan your thanksgiving menu like I am, these are a must add to your list. I developed these a few years ago when an 7-year old celiac in my life wanted “cheddar biscuits for thanksgiving”. These are for him!
This is a delicious biscuit to sop up gravy, or enjoy with butter and cranberry sauce. The next day, we eat biscuits and gravy for breakfast. These are another item, split and toasted that perform well in the toaster. These biscuits have become our tradition at Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Cheddar Biscuits
2 cups Tom Sawyer Gluten Free flour (or your GF flour blend)
1 tablespoon GF baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp toasted onion powder (I use Penzey’s. Regular onion powder works just fine)
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, sharp, divided
½ cup half and half
½ cup milk
plus more water to moisten if needed

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a 8x8 square baking pan with parchment or wax paper on the bottom of the pan (not the sides), and set aside.
2. In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment mix together GF flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, and onion powder.
3. Place the butter in the mixer, and turn on low (#1 or 2) and cut the butter in until it is in small pea sized pieces.
4. Add ½ cup of the cheese, mix until just blended.
5. Pour in liquid slowly. Scraping the bowl twice. Blend into dough until it comes together.
6. Add more liquid if needed for it to come together. Be sure to scrape to the very bottom, as a lot of dry mix gets lost there. It will resemble a scone dough.
7. Turn out right into the prepared pan and gently press into the pan.
8. Place in fridge for 5 minutes to re-chill.
9. Sprinkle ¼ cup of remaining cheese on top, and score into 16 square biscuits.
10. Bake until golden brown, 20 to 22 minutes.
11. As soon as it comes out of the oven, rescore with a knife on the cut marks.
12. Cool in the pan.
 Variation: (Shown in the photo) Use shredded parmesan (not powdered) in lieu of cheddar. Add ¼ cup fresh diced herb, like basil, rosemary, thyme or oregano.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not just recycle...

A trip 2-years ago to the local landfill gave me a needed awakening to the amount of waste I create. It awakened in me an overwhelming sense of accountability; to not only recycle more, but to create ways to actually reduce the waste I make, recyclable waste included.

I came home and instantly saw a solution to something we did every day. We drank water. I usually drank tap, because living in the USA, I feel blessed to have clean water from my sink. But my husband toted bottled water, and drank about 3 per day– give or take– on the go and at home.
So, I went and purchased a couple six packs of Perrier, with the intent to reuse their glass bottles for drinking water use. The cap is metal, and screws closed, and is reusable. Glass bottles can be sanitized in your dishwasher and have no fear of plastic chemicals.
We also purchased a case of the FUZE drink bottles. These are 20-ounce, and nearly double the size of the Perrier bottles. 2-years ago the FUZE bottles were glass, today they are plastic and about 18-ounces. However, you can still find some large glass drinks with reusable lids out there. The minor investment up front is such an amazing savings in the end.
Finally, we purchased some stainless steel bottles as well, to account for softball games, around the pool, and places where glass is not feasible.
In the end, I wanted to know how much less waste we were creating, so I decided to figure it out (roughly).

At 3 bottles a day x 365 days = 1,095 bottles we stopped going into the landfill or the recycle bin! At a yearly cost savings of about $364 in purchased water. Now, we still have a cold bottle of water at our fingers in the fridge, but at zero environmental cost.

I am ever on a quest for more ways to create zero or less waste as we go about our daily lives. Join in.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The versatile Arepa...

If you have not yet discovered arepas, they are truly a wonderful freedom food for the gluten intolerant that is gluten free. The arepa is a flat, unleavened patty made of corn flour that originated in the South Americas.
Arepas are wonderful because you stuff them like a pita of sorts. They are crispy on the outside and warm and soft on the inside. And they are quick enough to make these up on a weeknight dinner. At our home they are used for this recipe (stuffed with shrimp and other good things), or as hamburger buns, (it is the most like a real hamburger expereince you will get without the bun!) or for pulled pork BBQ.
The next day, when split and put into a toaster, then slathered with a bit of fig jam, well…you might just think you were eating an English muffin.

You need one special ingredient, but it is easy to find at Mexican grocers, ethic food markets, and well stocked grocers.

Makes about 4 bun-sized arepas (about 4-inches)

  • 2 cups P.A.N. pre-cooked corn meal (also known as corn flour). NOTE: polenta, grits, regular corn meal, or masa harina will not work for this recipe 
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 to 3 cups warm water
  • 3 tbs oil
In a large Pyrex measure, use warm tap water, and add salt to dissolve. Add oil to the water. Place the corn flour in a large mixing bowl, and begin to add the water mixture slowly while stirring with a fork. Add as much water to the mixture as it will take (it could be 2 cups, or all 3 cups). The mixture will stick together, but not be sticky. It should be a little shiny. You should be able to form patties that stay together, but do not stick to your hands.

On a dry griddle or skillet set to medium, cook on griddle about 10 minutes per side. They should be browned, and sound hollow when tapped when they are done.

Split with a knife and stuff with whatever you like. In this picture we stuffed it with shrimp sautéed with lime juice, a cucumber-radish slaw, and a chipotle sauce.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Gluten free blueberry waffles, another breakfast freedom recipe...

Weekends at our home very often include these. These waffles are crisp on the outside and light and airy and moist on the inside. The blueberries give these intent by adding antioxidants, as well as the flax meal, by adding fiber and Omega-3s. I also replaced traditional butter with oilve oil, a healthier fat choice. Leftovers (or the other half of your double-batch) go straight to the freezer and become another breakfast freedom! They go right into your toaster for your own homemade GF toaster waffles.

1.5 cups Tom Sawyer Gluten Free Flour (or your GF flour blend)
3 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup of milk (soy, almond or buttermilk all work well)
2 large eggs
3 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs GF vanilla
1 cup dried or fresh blueberries

In a large mixing bowl whisk eggs, milk, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour, baking powder, and flax. Stir to combine. Fold in blueberries. My waffles maker is non-stick and takes a ½ cup scoop of batter. Yours will vary, so test it out.

Tips to what makes a crisp waffle is:
  • Take it out of the maker and put it on a rack.
  • Laying them on top of a plate or each other right away makes the heat from the hot waffle ‘steam’ and turns the crisp outside soft.

Make my 100% natural syrup to go with it.
In our home we believe in things only good ingredients. Reading the back of a syrup bottle can be disconcerting. However reading the price tag of a bottle of 100% pure maple syrup blows the budget. Here is what I do to make my own maple syrup out of simple ingredients. This is cost effective because the maple syrup lasts for many, many batches, making it a very cost effective way to make maple syrup.

1 cup brown sugar
½ cup water
2 tbs 100% pure maple syrup

Simmer on stove over med-high heat until the syrup begins to reduce down by one-fourth (about 5 minutes). Remove from heat and add 2 tbs 100% pure maple syrup. That’s it!
While warm, syrup will be thin, like true maple syrup. In the fridge overnight (make the night before) it thickens up to thick syrup. Serve it how your family likes it.