Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Dinner - Gluten Free

I made an entirely GF Christmas Dinner yesterday. It was lovely.

Here are some of the highlights.

I got a spiral ham and made my grandmother's glaze.

It's roughly:
1 cup of brown sugar
1 TBSP of yellow mustard
1-2 TBSP of cider vinegar

Mix it up with enough vinegar to make a paste and slather it onto the ham with a brush. When the ham is done, take it out of the oven and reapply the glaze. Crank the oven up to 475 and put the ham back in for about 10 minutes.

I also made

Easy garlic smashed potatoes

5 lbs yukon gold potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1 head of garlic
1/2 cup 1/2 & 12
1 cup milk

partially peel the potatoes and chop them into 1 in cubes
Cover with water and boil for about 1/2 hour, or until you can easily stick a fork in and they fall right off.

peel the garlic and chop by hand or in food processor

sautee the garlic in the butter until it smells really strong. Add the cream and milk and pour back in the potatoes and mash.

Salt and pepper to taste.
Also included were
GF Corn bread
Rolls, made from a box of GF Pantry French Bread mix. I just did them in muffin tins instead of a bread pan. They were OK. I'm wondering if I should have let them rise longer. They were a little dense and almost biscuit-y

Who needs gluten? I mean really!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lissie's Famous Salsa Chicken

My good friend Lissie has been raving about this easy two minute prep time chicken for years. I finally had a chance to make it yesterday when my husband was out of town (Because Mr. Pickypants does not eat beans or corn)

Lissie's Famous Salsa Chicken

Layer the following ingredients into a slow cooker:

2 cans corn (drained)
2 cans black beans (drained)
Mix them together
Layer on top of that 6-8 chicken thighs
Layer on top of the chicken 1-2 jars of salsa (I used Trader Joe's Peach for this)

Cook for 4-5 hours on high or 8-9 on low

1/2 hour before serving, dump in one brick of cream cheese.

It couldn't be easier. And it's super cheap to make as well.


Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

I've been horribly remiss about posting recipes here for the last few weeks. So here's a new one that I'm particularly pleased with. Proportions are approximate.

1/3 can pureed pumpkin
2 tbsp molasses
3-4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2-3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pancake Mix

Whisk together the wet ingredients and spices. then Whisk in the pancake mix. You want a thin batter for these, so play with the wet and dry ingredients a bit. The eggs will hold the pancakes together, so lots of pancake mix is not necessary.

I cook them in a hot crepe pan and make large, think pancakes and serve them with hot Grade B maple syrup and plenty of unsalted butter.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Worlds Easiest Lemon Chicken

You will need:
Kosher Salt
Bone/skin IN chicken parts
Herbs de Provence (plain dried oregano works fine too)
One Lemon (zest and juice)

preheat convection oven to 400
Arrange chicken on a roasting tray.
Zest lemon over chicken
Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and herbs
Pour juice from lemon in to bottom of roasting pan

Convection roast for 30 to 35 minutes, or cook in regular oven for 45-50 minutes.

Serve hot. It's juicy, easy and so yummy. This is comfort food at it's easiest and it doesn't get much more allergy friendly than this!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Chicken Curry

Here's another dish that has three main ingredients.

I made a coconut curry.

I took 2 lbs of chicken tenders (we were having guests) and browned them lightly.

Then I mixed up:
1/3 can of coconut milk
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp curry paste

And dumped it over and let it simmer for a couple of hours with a lid on askew.

10 minutes before I served it, I whisked a teaspoon of cornstarch with some coconut milk and chicken broth (about a 1/2 cup liquid in total) and dumped it in to thicken it up.

I served it over coconut rice and it was yummy!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Light Scalloped Potatoes

These are very cheesy and yummy. Since 'real' scalloped potatoes use cream, these are quite a bit lighter than what you'd eat in a restaurant, but you won't miss the cream.

The original recipe used flour, but I converted it.

1/2 onion chopped
1 tsp herbs de provence
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup milk
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch
2 lbs yukon gold potatoes chopped small
2 tbsp butter
1/2 - 1 cup cheese of your choice. I use Trader Joe's 4 Cheese Italian.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Arrange potatoes in a roasting pan

In a small saucepan over medium heat melt butter and drop in the onion
Add herbs de provence and salt and pepper
Simmer for about 5 minutes

In a large measuring cup pour the milk and whisk in the cornstarch until it dissolves. Cornstarch dissolves into cold or room temperature liquids much more easily than into warm ones.

Pour the milk over the onions and stir frequently until it thickens.

Pour the milk/onion mixture over the potatoes and stir to combine.

cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 minutes

Remove from oven and take off foil and add cheese

Return to oven and bake for 10 more minutes

Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Fabulous Asian Inspired Meal

I had friends over tonight and everything turned out just right.

I made:
green bean and bok choy salad with toasted almonds and a sesame dressing
ginger soy marinated flank steak
SubLime Chicken (see entry below)
Coconut rice

It was yummy. Recipes follow.

Green Bean and bok Choy Salad With Toasted Almonds and Sesame Dressing

1/2 lb greenbeans washed with the ends sliced off
1 lb bok choy diced and washed
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted

1 tbsp sesame oil
3 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (any kind)

Boil water in a large pan. Boil Bok choy for approximately 5 minutes and drain, set aside.
Boil green beans in boiling salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Drop slivered almonds into a dry frying pan and cook over medium heat until they start to brown. Remove them from heat and keep stirring them occasionally and they will continue toasting. This way you don't end up with such a dangerously hot pan when they're finished.

Whisk together dressing ingredients.
To assemble salad, mix beans and bok choy in a large bowl. Toss with dressing. Sprinkle green beans on top and serve hot or cold.

Coconut rice:
2 cups jasmine rice
1 14 ounce can light coconut milk
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

Mix rice, coconut milk and chicken broth ingredients into a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Keep an eye on it because it will boil over if you're not paying attention! Drop the heat down to low and cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.

While it is cooking toast the coconut in a dry pan until it starts to brown. Remove pan from heat and continue to stir coconut occasionally for the next 5-10 minutes. Set aside.

Right before serving, mix the toasted coconut into the rice.

Ginger Soy Marinated Flank Steak

1 2 lb flank steak

In a 1 gallon ziplock bag assemble the following ingredients

2 tbsp minced ginger
2 minced cloves of garlic
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp wheat free tamari soy sauce
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 tbsp hot sauce

Put flank steak in bag and zip it up. Mush it around in the sauce and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Grill on a hot grill for about 8 minutes flipping often. Let it rest about 5 minutes before cutting. Serve immediately.

Friday, August 3, 2007

SubLime Chicken

This is super easy and extremely tasty and oh SO simple. It's a quick marinade, meaning it's ready to cook after about 10 minutes. The lime juice cooks the chicken a bit so you really don't want to leave it on there more than about a half hour or so.

The combination of lime and spice really works in this.

Dump the following ingredients into a bowl or ziplock .

Zest and juice of 2 limes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tbsp Cholulla (or other hot sauce of your choice)

whisk them together until salt dissolves and dump in about a pound of chicken tenders. Grill after 10-30 minutes. It's spicy without burning your tongue.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Lime Basil Dressing

I had a beautiful bunch of basil and a hankering for potato salad today. I've made a lot of traditional potato salads lately with egg and yellow mustard, and I was in the mood for something lighter. This is what I came up with. And of course, it's gluten free!

1/2 cup fresh basil
2 cloves garlic
3 TBSP cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
sat and pepper to taste

Dump said ingredients in your food processor. Blend until smooth. Dump over bite sized, cooked yukon gold potatoes, or a salad of your choice.. And YUM.

This came out pretty good.

Very pleased.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Updated on 7/3/2007

After three attempts. The first, I threw out. The second I ate and marveled at their addictive nature in spite of the gritty undertones. But this one, I think is the keeper. The brown sugar really covers the textures of the flour. I always made my version of Toll House cookies with brown sugar because I thought it lent a more butter-scotchy flavor to the dough.

So, here goes:

1 c. featherlight mix*
1/2 c Sweet Rice Flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. brown sugar

12 oz. bag choc. chips

Preheat oven to 375. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. I find this prevents them from burning at the higher oven temp required by GF flours.

Have all ingredients at room temperature.
pre-measure flourmix, sweet rice sorghum flour and xantham gum, salt and baking soda into a small bowl and set aside.

Cream butter in eletric mixer on medium high about 30 seconds until it's mushy. Add brown sugar and beat until the color lightens and it is smooth.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating each until well incorporated and the batter is smooth.
Add vanilla
Slow mixer to low and Add dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts by hand.

Refrigerate cookie dough for at least 1 hour prior to baking. This will help the cookies keep their shape, and they will be more chewy.

Use cookie scoop or teaspoon to drop onto cookie sheets covered with parchment paper.

Bake 9-11 minutes or until done.

*Featherlight Flour Mix (From Bette Hagman's cookbook)
white rice flour 1 cup
tapioca flour 1 cup
corn starch 1 cup
potato flour (not starch) 1 tbsp

Monday, June 25, 2007

Maple Balsamic Marinade - By Popular Demand

This has been a real crowd pleaser since long before we dropped the gluten from the house. And it happens to be gluten free. So, here goes:

This will do about 2 1/2 lbs of chicken tenders.

Three finely chopped cloves of garlic
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
zest of 1 orange
salt and pepper
1 tbsp rough chopped fresh rosemary

Whisk together all ingredients and pour over chicken tenders in a gallon ziplock bag. Refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.

Grill it up, and discard marinade.

It is fabulous. And it makes a GREAT leftover.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Gluten Free Pumpkin Ginger Muffins

After I made the batter, I thought these would be a total dud. But was I wrong. The batter tasted soy-like and nasty. But once cooked, they were VERY similar to the 'regular' ones I made a couple of weeks ago. They are a very moist muffin, but they do rise and hold together quite well. If you want to use cupcake liners for these, use the silver-foil ones. They will stick to the paper ones.

You can't put too much fresh ginger in these. So, grate as much as you have the patience to do!

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup Gluten Free Baking Mix (I used Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Mix for this)
1/2 cup brown rice flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp xantham gum
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
3 TBSP grated peeled fresh ginger (fresh ginger is easier to grate if it is frozen first)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 15 standard muffin cups (2/3-cup capacity) with nonstick spray. Whisk both flours, sugar, baking powder, spices, xantham gum and salt in large bowl to blend. Whisk pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and ginger in medium bowl to blend. Add to dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated (do not overmix).

Spoon 1/4 cup batter into each cup. Sprinkle walnuts and some raw sugar over the tops if you like. Bake until muffins are golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Turn muffins out onto rack and cool. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Store muffins airtight at room temperature.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Gluten Free Homemade Bar-B-Que Sauce

1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (The bottle of Lea and Perrins I have is gluten-free, but check the label, they change the formula from time to time)
1 tablespoon wheat free soy sauce (such as Tamari)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Just mix it up and marinate. It's absolutely fabulous in the slow cooker over ribs.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Gluten Free Turkey Florentine

This is a nice recipe that I adapted to be gluten free and I cut out a LOT of the fat from the original recipe (it called for 1.5 cups of cream). The cutlets come out crisp and delicious, and the sauce is rich and creamy. This recipe serves 2 adults, but can be easily adapted to serve more.

Gluten Free Lower Fat Turkey Florentine
By Margaret Sanford

2 large turkey cutlets
1/2 pkg. frozen chopped thawed spinach
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup half and half
1tbsp butter 1 tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Nutmeg, salt & pepper
1/3 cup gluten free chicken broth with 1 tsp cornstarch whisked in
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup corn flour
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp oregano
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cayenne
1/2- c. grated Italian cheese (I use "quattro fromaggio" from Trader Joes)

Combine in large flat bowl flours, salt, pepper and spices (except nutmeg). Dredge cutlets in egg, dip in flour mixture. Really press it onto the turkey to thoroughly coat.

In a pan heat butter and olive oil on medium high heat. Brown 'breaded' cutlets in butter/olive oil mixture about 4-5 minutes on each side until crispy and light brown. Set aside to drain on paper towels. Saute garlic and shallot in same pan until shallot is slightly brown around the edges, then add spinach. Heat through. Add the cream and chicken broth/cornstarch mixture and about 10 scrapes of fresh nutmeg with microplane to spinach mixture; season with salt and pepper. Cook until sauce thickens slightly. ( about 5 minutes)

Place cutlets in 9 x 13 inch baking dish in a single layer. Spoon spinach mixture over top. Sprinkle with grated cheese. Place under preheated broiler for 5 minutes until cheese browns slightly on top and the sauce bubbles.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Woman Makes Muffins and Decides to Tinker with Recipe

Yesterday Kaylee and I went to the Oxford Spa for lunch and I ordered a pumpkin ginger muffin for her.

It was fabulous. The texture was perfect and soft, and it wasn't too sweet like most muffins and scones are around here. Most wonderful of all, each bite had the soft bite of fresh ginger. I asked if they give out recipes, and they did say that it wasn't their own recipe. But then the guy quickly avoided the subject and let it drop.

So, I did many google searches and came up with this recipe on I made it this morning and I think I'm going to make a few more changes. I did not put the nuts in the muffin and I dropped the pumpkin seeds entirely. I sprinkled a few walnuts over the tops of half of them. The muffins came out lovely, but I want that almost crunch of the ginger, like the one I had yesterday. So, I think I'll use frozen fresh ginger. It grates a lot better than room temperature ginger, and I think I'll be able to get the shred size I want, and I'd use at least 1/4 cup instead of just a couple of teaspoons. The muffins (when eaten way too hot) were slightly custard-like in texture. I may cut down on the pumpkin to get a better crumb.

I'll experiment next week and post here.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mmmmm.. Ribs

I made ribs again yesterday in the slow cooker. They were "Saint Louis Style." Next time, I'll definitely spring for the babyback ones, as the "Saint Louis Style" were very fatty. When I made the baby back ribs, most of the fat had melted into the sauce and the ribs were relatively lean.

The sauce was simple to make, a couple cans of plain tomato sauce, brown sugar, garlic, chili powder, cayenne, paprika, salt and pepper. Dump over ribs, turn on slow cooker in the morning and you'll have dinner in the evening. I served it with buttered rice and broccoli.

I made another cake today. (Somebody stop me, please?). This one was a chocolate sponge. My sister has a little ceremony for her masters program today and I felt it was an occasion that required cake. It looks beautiful and tall, so we'll see how it tastes later. It has no butter, just 1/3 cup of Canola oil, so it's relatively light and low in fat.

I'll let you know how it goes later...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Scratch Baking

I have been obsessed with cake baking lately. I long ago mastered the chocolate cake. The batter, is simple and the texture is usually soft and moist regardless of whether I followed the exact directions to the letter.

This is not the case with yellow cakes.

Last March, for my mother's birthday I tried to make a simple yellow 1 2 3 4 cake from the Joy of Cooking. It looked beautiful, but the texture was all wrong. It was dry and had the texture of cornbread. I used regular flour instead of cake flour and did not reduce it accordingly. I'm sure I did other stuff wrong, but that was the main offense.

Then I got some cake flour and made it again for my sister's birthday and was much more particular about the instructions. It was better, it rose, but ultimately it was dryer than I'd like.

I had no idea how difficult it was to make a scratch cake correctly. I've been doing it all my life, but only recently I decided I needed to do it right.

My fourth foray into the 1 2 3 4 cake was almost perfect. I used castor sugar, AKA super fine sugar and it improved the texture immensely. The cake was soft and moist. I think I should have cooked it an extra couple minutes. The cake doubled in volume in the oven, but shrank down about 25% while cooling. It was almost too moist, but I think an extra minute or 2 in the oven would have fixed that.

But. It. Was. Delicious.

Over the weekend I made a couple of recipes from "Great Cakes" by Carole Matthews. I think I've got this thing down, at least with the simpler butter cake recipes.

Basically what I've learned is this: "room temperature" butter is much colder than I previously thought. It should only sit out for a half hour before you start creaming. When the recipe says "gradually add the sugar" they MEAN it. It takes a good 8 minutes of sprinkling it in 1 TBSP at a time to properly aerate the butter.

Also, when adding the flour and the liquid alternately, do it really fast. Shut off the mixer between additions if you can't get it in fast enough. Once it's mostly blended shut off the mixer completely and fold it together. Even on low 'fold' speed, it will bring up the gluten in the flour and make the cake dry if you mix it too much.

I love baking cakes. If we could eat cake every day, I would make one every day.

I'm totally serious. I love to make cake.

And I love to eat it.

Very hungry at the moment... Didn't cook tonight. Waiting for take out.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Crock Pot Style

A few thing converged within the last few weeks and I decided I needed a crock pot. Or "slow cooker" as they're called these days. My friend L, who also has two small children and not a lot of time to prep her meals, likes hers. My babysitter, LB who is also really into cooking swears by hers and I was randomly watching the Food Network on a rainy day and I happened to discover Robin Miller.

For those of you who have not heard of her, she has a show on the Food Network called "Quick Fix Meals." Unlike her absurdly famous counterpart, Rachel Ray, Robin Miller does 15 minute meals. But she does a lot of prep ahead of time. So, she throws a few things in the crock pot in the morning and throws together a simple salad in the evening and voila! Dinner. She is self consciously skinny like so many 'celebrity chefs', this woman does not look like she has eaten a gram of fat since the Reagan Administration... But I digress. I like her cooking style because it fits my lifestyle. I have a bit of "free" (ie, non kid time) in the mornings when K takes her nap, and then I usually don't get a break until Rich gets home. I am fond of Rachel Ray, but most of the time her meals do not work for me. This is due to:

  • her penchant for cooking with things that my husband would not touch with a ten foot pole (mushrooms, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers... the list goes ON and ON.)
  • the ungodly mess that must be created to actually cook one of those dinners in 30 minutes. I try to clean while I cook. And if I start after he gets home, I'm too hungry and tired.
  • the diverse and fresh ingredients she uses are seldom things I have on hand.
But Robin Miller makes sauces out of stuff that are generally in my pantry. So, I thought I'd give the whole slow cooker thing a try. I bought this one from Amazon for $30 and so far, it has been a great investment. The first night, I made ribs, and They. Were. Fabulous. The fell off the bone and had a lovely flavor. They were a success. A rib dinner like that a restaurant would have cost us $30 per person, and the baby back ribs I got at McKinnons only cost about $10, and the ingredients for the bar-b-que sauce were stuff I had around, brown sugar, tomato sauce, chili powder, etc.

I made pork roast in the slow cooker last Friday. I invented a sauce with orange juice, maple syrup and rosemary. I had to use the high setting because I didn't start the meal until after two, and I think it made the meat a little tougher. The sauce was a little on the sweet side, but over all it was pretty good.

For tonight, I made a variation of something I saw Robin Miller do. She made a slow cooker chicken with orange marmalade that she thinned with chicken broth, orange juice and added a dollop of hoisen sauce, and maple syrup. I substituted apricot preserves and orange zest, because that's what I had handy. We'll see how it comes out. I put a bunch of rainbow chard on top, which I'm regretting at the moment, because it smells a little skunky. She made another chicken dish with chard in the crock pot and it looked really fine.

So, we'll see what comes out of the pot. Perhaps we'll dump it in the garbage and eat a lovely bowl of cereal, or perhaps we'll pick out the chard and snarf it up.