What Life Dishes Out A Gluten Free and (almost) Vegetarian Cooking Blog

March 17, 2011

A Golden St. Patrick’s Day Tradition & A Sandwich – Vegetarian Reuben/Rachel

Edit: March 17, 2011  Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m updating and reprising this recipe post in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  It’s all part of our tradition every year.  The Grandparents happen to be visiting this year and while everyone but me is still sleeping right now,  it won’t belong before the kids wake up and head straight to the front porch, where they’ll check to see if the Leprechaun has left them any GOLD! 

 

We each leave one shoe out on the porch the night before St. Patrick’s Day, and magically the following  morning find our  shoes filled with gold. 

But this isn’t just any gold, since after all, Leprechauns are tricky little folk! 

The boys go to great lengths to keep a watchful eye on their gold pieces, sometimes hiding them in creative spots (like in the freezer or under a pillow) to try to trick the Leprechaun himself!  But inevitably by the end of the day, the gold pieces have all turned to stone.   Oh well!  It all makes for great fun and we still have our sandwiches to look forward to! :-)

I never knew.  I have always called the Corned Beef/Coleslaw sandwich a “Reuben”, from way back in my mammal-eating days.  To be honest with you, Corned Beef is one of the very few meats I actually do still miss from time to time.  Especially Corned Beef Hash, topped with a couple of “Sunny-Side-Up” Eggs with toast on the side for breakfast.  So yummy and so gross all at once!

In deciding what to name this version, I looked up “Reuben” and found that the name really only applies to the Corned Beef and Sauerkraut sandwich, and that it evolved into another form called the “Rachel”, which substitued Pastrami for the Corned Beef and the Coleslaw for the Kraut.  So, what are we supposed to call the Corned Beef/Coleslaw variant?  A Reubel?  A Rachen?   Doesn’t matter I guess, since we are going to ditch the Corned Beef and Pastrami altogether with my version anyway. 

So, you may call this whatever you like.  I’ll just call it delicious.

You’ll need:

2 slices Rye Bread (I used my own Gluten Free version)

1 slice Swiss Cheese

1/3 cup prepared Coleslaw (I told you I had plans for this!)

1 Tablespoon Thousand Island Dressing

1 Tablespoon softened Butter

What to do:

Spread outsides of both slices of bread with softened butter.

Place one slice, butter side down, on a skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Top with cheese,

then Coleslaw,

and drizzle on the Thousand Island Dressing.

Top with remaining bread slice, butter side up.

Cook over medium heat until bottom is golden brown and then carefully flip over to brown the other side.

Remove to plate and serve with chips and a pickle!   This is so yummy, you’ll never miss the Corned Beef.  Okay, maybe just a little bit. :-)

 

February 8, 2011

Love Soup

Filed under: Recipes,Soups,Vegan,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 2:15 pm

Yes, those are little carrot hearts!  Isn’t that sweet?  This is my husband’s veggie soup recipe which has always been a family favorite.  One Valentine’s Day, being the romantic that he is (cough, cough) he made it special for the occasion, turning the carrots into little love messengers!   Since that day, the recipe has been known as Love Soup! 

Love Soup Step By Step:

First, assemble your ingredients:

Note:  Those two suspicious looking jars in the back are NOT salsa.  Those are home grown tomatoes from last summer which have been blended, cooked and frozen in quart containers.  In leiu of frozen or fresh blended tomatoes, you can use canned tomatoes, but I’m warning you:  The flavor will not be near as good and I will not be held responsible for the results!

In addition to the items shown, you will also need:

1-2 Tbsp Oil – Olive or Canola

1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning Blend

Salt & Pepper

1-2 Jalepeno Peppers OR 1/2 Green Pepper

Red Pepper Flakes

First, put oil into a LARGE stock pot (this makes a ton of soup – about 8-9 quarts).  Now chop 1 large, or two medium, onions and add to the pot:

Next, chop 4 stalks celery.  Dont leave out the leaves!  (Oooh, I made a funny!)

Throw the celery into the pot with the oil and onions.

Chop 10-12 carrots. 

If you are looking for a romantic evening, you can cut them into hearts.  Heres how:

Cut a “V” into one side of the carrot.  Using a vegetable peeler, scale down the sides into the shape of a heart, and into a slight point opposite your cut-in “V”.  Like this:

Now, slice the length of the carrot. 

Aren’t they precious?  

Almost too cute to put in the pot, but do it anyway.

Turn on the heat and cook until onions and celery are slightly tender. 

While they are cooking, you can chop your potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes.

Add them to the pot. 

If you are going to take a photo at this point, don’t get too close.

If you do, this is what will happen:

Then, you will have to clean your lens.

Add vegetable broth to the pot.

Drain and rinse 3 – 15 oz cans of beans.  You can use whatever variety you like. 

These are Light Red Kidney, Great White Northern, and Black Beans. 

They look very happy together, don’t they?

Add the beans to the pot.  Then, chop 1/2 head cabbage.

Throw it in!

Now, add the tomatoes and stir.  Place some of the soup mixture into your blender container. 

You’ll want it to be about 2/3 full.  Like this:

Take it for a spin!

Then, pour it in!

It looks gross, I know.  But you must trust me.

Add 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning:

We use a lot of this stuff, so I bought it in bulk. 

Here is the label:

I order most of my herbs and spices from Monterey Bay Spice Company and from Mountain Rose Herbs. 

Monterey Bay:  www.herbco.com

Mountain Rose: www.mountainroseherbs.com

Mountain Rose caters more to the organic product line, but both have great deals on bulk products.  You will pay WAY less for a 1/2 pound at either distributor than you do in the grocery store for a tiny little 2 oz bottle.  Just don’t order more than you can use in a six month period, because you don’t want your herbs to lose their health and taste benefits!

Now, for the other seasonings:

2 tsp Black pepper & 2 tsp Salt

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

How’s everybody doing in there?  Okay?  Good.

Now, for my favorite….Garlic!  You need 10 cloves.

Mince them up and add them to the pot. 

Incidentally, an easy way to peel the garlic is to place the cloves (or the whole head in this case) into the microwave on high for about 15 seconds.  When you cut the end of each clove, the skin should just slide right off.

Look!  It’s a CHILLY Pepper!  (hehehehehe)

These guys just came out of the freezer, and actually they are Jalapenos from our garden last year.  We just wash, dry and freeze them whole in ziploc freezer bags.

Remove the end and seed the peppers:

These guys are ready for a dip in the “hot tub”, I think.

Almost done. 

But I know what you’re thinking.

What about the corn?  Did she forget about the corn?

No.  I would never be so cruel.

The corn is special.  We wait to add it until after the soup is blended. 

You are going to have to take my word for it, because I didn’t take a photo, but ours went in now.

I swear.

Then we lightly sprinkled in some crushed red pepper flakes for a little zip.

If foam develops on the top of the pot during cooking, just skim it off. 

You’ll need to cook this soup over low/medium heat for 1 to 2 hours, stirring every so often.  

Then, remove the peppers and let it cool.  DON”T EAT IT!   

Okay…one little taste, just to check for seasoning.  Add salt and pepper if needed.  But don’t get carried away.  You really have to wait until the following day for the flavors to fully develop.

Heat and serve topped with parmesan cheese, with a nice crusty bread or crackers on the side.  This soup is so healthy and satisfying and completely guilt free, so no matter if you have more than a couple bowls!

Enjoy! And by the way, since you have SO much soup to share, invite the neighbors over to enjoy it along with you!

November 29, 2010

Magical Mushrooms & “Meaty” Vegetarian Chili

Filed under: Recipes,Soups,Vegan,Vegetarian,Veggies — Tags: , , , , , , , , — admin @ 7:27 pm

Mushrooms are magical.  No, not those kind of mushrooms.  I’m talking about the regular ones.

Minced and cooked, these gems can stand in for meat, bringing an earthy, almost meaty flavor and texture that is way more authentic tasting than any processed soy granules.  Healthier, too!

When I set out to make Chili last weekend, I searched the web and found numerous Vegetarian Chili recipes, and a few called for mushrooms.  It was one of those “Aha Moments”.  I knew that instead of the bag of TVP in my cupboard that I’d had in mind, I’d be using the giant package of fresh mushrooms in my refrigerator. 

Another component of many of the vegetarian chilis were vegetables not traditionally used for chili, like zuchinni and corn.  But I wanted a chili that looked and tasted like real chili.   So, I did what I do best…I adapted.

This recipe is loosely based on an Emeril Lagasse recipe for Vegetarian Chili, which can be found here.

You’ll need:

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

1 large Onion

2 medium Bell Peppers – Red or Green

4-5 cloves Garlic

2 Serrano or Jalapeno Peppers

20 ounces fresh Mushrooms

2 Tbsp Chili Powder

2 tsp Cumin

1 1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Cayenne

1/4 tsp Pepper

3 large Tomatoes

2 – 15 oz cans beans – I used Red Kidney and Black

1 – 15 oz can Tomato Sauce

1 cup Water

What to do:

Prepare vegetables.  First, chop onion.

Chop Bell Peppers.

Mince Serrano Pepper (remove seeds if you don’t like it very spicy) and Garlic.  I used a food processor to get them very fine.

Chop Mushrooms into very small pieces (think burger meat size).  Again, I used my food processor to make this job easy. 

Chop Tomato.

(Oops!  No photo – sorry!)

Rinse and drain beans.

In a large stockpot, heat Canola Oil.  Add Onions, Peppers, Serrano and Garlic and cook until onions start to become translucent.

Add Mushrooms to pot. 

Cook for a few minutes, then add spices and stir for 30 seconds before adding tomato, beans, tomato sauce, and water.

Cook chili over medium heat, stirring often for about 20  30 minutes before serving.

Serve garnished with shredded cheese and sour cream (if desired), beside a hunk of Cornbread or Tortilla Chips. 

This was so Yummy!  The mushrooms really did a great job standing in for the burger meat.  I never would have known the difference, except maybe for the lack of grease!

While were on the subject of mushrooms, have you ever seen a Fairy Ring?  I had always been told that when you found a ring of mushrooms in the grass, you knew the fairies has been dancing there the night before.  

 See?  Mushrooms really are magical.

We were out playing tennis at a nearby park one day last summer and as happens frequently with unskilled players like us, the ball kept going over the fence (never mind that the fence reaches practically to the sky, we somehow managed to still hit it out of bounds over and over again).   During one ball retrieval trip, I spotted this ring of mushrooms and called everyone over to take a look.  My friend snapped this photo, which I just love.

To learn more about fairy rings and their true cause, check it out here.  I, however, am going to hang onto my belief that it really is a mark of the fairies’ recent visit.

November 14, 2010

Gluten Free Belgian Waffles

Filed under: breakfast,Recipes,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:31 pm

Just look at ’em.  Oh, they taste just as good as they look, too!

I only tried Gluten Free Waffles one other time.  They were a disaster.  I resorted to frozen Trader Joe’s waffles for my Gluten-Intolerant Spawn when I would make the rest of the family the regular wheat-based waffles from my tried-and-true recipe I’d been using for years.  With the discovery of this recipe though, those days are gone. 

I seriously could barely discern any difference between these and my regular waffles.  

In all fairness, these aren’t very nutritious.  The recipe, from Easy Gluten Free Baking, by Elizabeth Barbone (she was also responsible for the miraculous Gluten Free Sandwich Bread recipe that became our everyday bread and finally evolved into a few more variations, including my Mock Wheat and Mock Rye loaves) is made with White Rice Flours, rather than my usual Brown Rice Flour blend.  But the way I see it, the traditional waffles made with processed white flour were lacking in that department as well.   No matter…who eats waffles more than once a week anyway?

I altered the original recipe slightly with the addition of a bit of Xanthan Gum and Vanilla.  I also did amp up the nutrition in mine by adding chopped pecans and flaxseed to the batter after pouring it onto the waffle iron.  My kids won’t tolerate such nonsense though, so their waffles were made plain and served up with powdered sugar and maple syrup.  I’ll make them eat a salad for lunch.

This batter was also easier to put together than my traditional waffles.  That alone is reason enough to make these instead on an early sleepy weekend morning.

You’ll need:

1/2 cup White Rice Flour

1/4 cup Cornstarch

1/4 cup Sweet Rice Flour

1 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Sugar

2 large Eggs

1 1/2 cups Buttermilk (or Whole Milk with 1 1/2 tsp Lemon Juice stirred in)

2 Tbsp Butter, melted

1 tsp Vanilla

What to do:

Whisk together all dry ingredients in mixing bowl.

Add Buttermilk, Eggs, Vanilla and Melted Butter to bowl.

Whisk together until well blended. 

If batter appears too thin (it should be at least the consistency of heavy whipping cream), add up to 2 Tbsp rice flour to the mix.

Bake in waffle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions.  If you would like to add nuts or seeds to your waffles, sprinkle any additions over the batter before closing the lid on the waffle maker.

Serve with butter, powdered sugar and maple syrup!

November 13, 2010

Creamy Coleslaw: A Thanksgiving Staple

 

I’ve never been one to load up my plate with all the various side-dishes at Thanksgiving.  If I’m going to stuff myself silly (which is certainly a given on Turkey Day) then it’s going to be with only my favorites; Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Corn, Green Beans, and Cranberry Sauce.  But there is one more player who always makes it onto my plate and without whom I feel Thanksgiving Dinner would not be complete.  I may ignore the Veggie Casserole.  I may shun the Candied Yams.  I will likely say “No, thanks!” to the Salads.  But I always, always, always have room for a bit of Coleslaw on my plate. 

(Oh, drool!  Now I can’t wait for Thanksgiving!  Less than 2 weeks to go!!!)

Last year was the first year that I actually used my Mother’s China for Thanksgiving dinner.  My husband’s Grandmother had given me her Silverware a few weeks before and I knew she would enjoy my using it for the Holiday.  My own Mother’s Silverware had been poorly stored, and years of neglect had left it tarnished beyond repair.  But Grandma had kept hers pristine in a felt-lined silver case and it barely even needed polishing.  I’ve since learned that the best way to keep Silver nice is to use it often and although we won’t be dining with it daily (as Grandma did in her early married years), from now on it will be on the table for any occasion that warrants it!  Not surprisingly, the food actually tasted better served on real China instead of Chinet!  :-)

To make this Coleslaw, you’ll need:

1 small-medium head Cabbage

2 whole Carrots

2 Tbsp Onion, finely minced (optional)

1/2 cup Sour Cream

1/2 cup Mayonnaise

2 Tbsp Rice Vinegar (or White Distilled Vinegar)

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Salt

What to do:

Wash cabbage, cut in half root to tip, and cut each half in half again.

Cut the core, on a diagonal, from each quarter.

Cut each quarter in half again, then slice very thinly down the length of each piece.

This is my husband chopping.  Just look at him go!

Repeat with remaining eighths until all the cabbage is shredded.

Place cabbage in a large bowl, and set aside.

Wash, peel, and shred carrots.  I use a microplane grater for this job.

Now, here’s a recent trick we use:  We like a decent amount of carrot in our Slaw, but if you use too much, often the slaw gets an orange-y tint to it.  Here’s how to solve that problem:

(I really have to credit by husband with this brainy rinsing idea.)

After you rinse all the orange-ness down the drain, place strainer over a bowl and let the moisture drip out of the carrots.  Give them a squeeze or two with your hand to remove any remaining water, then place in the bowl with the cabbage.

Toss cabbage and carrots together, then set bowl aside.

In a smaller bowl, or large glass measuring cup, place 1/2 cup Sour Cream and 1/2 cup Mayonnaise (NOT Salad Dressing).

Add 2 Tbsp Vinegar (I used Rice Vinegar),

2 Tbsp Sugar,

1 tsp Pepper

and 1 tsp Salt.

Whisk together until mixture is smooth.

At this point, you can taste and add more salt, pepper, sugar or vinegar as needed. 

The goal is to not have the dressing taste too sweet or too tart. 

If it tastes too vinegar-y, add sugar and vice-versa. 

Pour the dressing onto the cabbage mixture, and be sure to get every last drop!

If you are so inclined, add the minced onion now to the cabbage/dressing mixture.   Some folks don’t go for onion, and it’s okay to leave it out if that’s how you roll.

Mix everything together, until all the cabbage is well coated. 

Cover bowl, and refrigerate at least several hours.  You’ll want to give this another taste just before serving and then season with salt and pepper as needed.

Since Thanksgiving is still a couple weeks away, this batch won’t be making it onto our Holiday table.  But I do have big plans for this Slaw….so stay tuned! :-)

November 12, 2010

(Almost) Too Good To Be True: Gluten Free “Mock Rye” Bread

Filed under: Breads,Recipes,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 1:03 pm

Wheat, Rye and Barley are to the Gluten Intolerant what Kryptonite is to Superman.  (Don’t you just love analogies?).  If I didn’t know better, I’d think this bread was on the Naughty List.  But, just because it tastes like Rye Bread, doesn’t mean it is Rye Bread. 

This is really my Mock Wheat Bread masquerading as Rye.  A double-masquerade, if you will.

Fortunately, this is easy to make, because it will be gone in no time.  My kids have managed to devour half a loaf in under 24 hours.  Even the non-gluten-intolerant Spawn finds this bread irresistable.  I would recommend doubling the recipe below if you know what’s good for you.  I am baking another loaf as we speak.

Unlike most of my posts, I won’t be step-by-stepping this one with photos.  If you would prefer that kind of guidance (or just enjoy looking at photos of mixers and flour or other raw food goods), hop on over to my Mock Wheat Bread post, and  just remember to add the Caraway seeds in with the dry ingredients.  Otherwise, the recipe is identical.

You’ll need:

2 1/2 Cups Brown Rice Flour Mix*

1/3 Cup Cornstarch

1/3 Cup Teff Flour

2/3 Cup Dry Milk Powder

2 Tbsp Caraway Seeds

1 Tbsp Xanthan Gum

1 tsp Salt

1 Pkg Active Dry Yeast

1 3/4 Cups Warm Water (110 degrees)

2 Tbsp Canola Oil

2 Large Eggs

*(Brown Rice Flour Mix – 2 parts Brown Rice Flour, 1/3 part Tapioca Starch, 2/3 part Potato Starch)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with Canola Oil and line bottom with Parchment Paper.

Place all dry ingredients (including yeast) in mixing bowl of stand mixer.

Blend until well combined.

Add add water, eggs and oil to dry ingredients.

Mix on low speed just until combined.

Scrape down sides of bowl.

Beat on high speed for 5 minutes.

Pour into prepared pan.

Smooth top with a wettened spatula.

Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Let rise for 55 minutes or until the dough just reaches top of pan.

Remove plastic wrap and bake for 55 minutes or until quick read thermometer reads 208 degrees.

Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then loosen sides with knife and remove to wire rack.

Cool completely before slicing.

Store in airtight container or plastic bag for 2-3 days on counter, or refrigerate for longer storage.  Although I have a suspicion, you won’t need to even think about longer storage! :-)

November 1, 2010

Snickers Bar Trifle – The Perfect Halloween Birthday “Cake”

My husband loves Snickers Bars.  You probably won’t believe me when I tell you that his breakfast each morning is usually a half a Snickers and a Banana.  Really.

So, for this birthday (which falls on Halloween – and for those who know him well, this explains a lot!),  I decided to incorporate his favorite candy into the dessert which would bear the 40-something candles he’ll be blowing out.

Just because this is sort of  Halloween themed with the candy ‘n all, doesn’t mean that you can’t make this for any Birthday or other special occasion.  Trifles are incredibly easy to do – yet they look spectacularly fancy – and can be varied to include your favorite candies, fruits, or other flavors. 

Late this summer, when my garden Raspberries were abundant, I made a Gluten Free Rasberry Chocolate Trifle for a Labor Day picnic we attended.   The base was GF Brownies, soaked in Raspberry Sauce, layered with Chocolate Pudding and Whipped Cream, then topped with fresh garden Raspberries.   It disappearred in a flash and nobody, but nobody, ever realized it was gluten-free.

The first Trifle I ever tasted years ago was one consisting of chocolate cake soaked in Kahlua, layered with pudding, whipped cream and crunchy heath bar pieces.  I thought I must have died and gone to Heaven.

Instead of cake, this trifle starts with my favorite Gluten Free Brownies.  I like the texture that the Brownie chunks provide, contrary to the mushier mouth feel that you get with the crumbled chocolate cake which is typically used.

What you’ll need:

Prepared Brownies (I used about 3/4 of an 8 x 8 inch pan)

Instant Chocolate Pudding  (2 boxes or enough to make 4 cups)

4 cups Milk

1 Pint Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Tbsp Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

3 Snickers Bars

Caramel Sauce

What to do:

Cut Brownies into about 1 inch cubes, and set aside.

Prepare your Pudding.  

I used Trader Joe’s Instant Chocolate Pudding. 

Isn’t that a cool retro box?  Plus, it’s Gluten Free!  And super easy to make.

You need 4 cups of cold Milk.

Pour Milk into a large bowl.

Add the pudding mix.

Stir with a wire whisk.

At first, it won’t look very appetizing, but it will get better.  Just keep stirring and scraping the sides of the bowl with your whisk for two minutes.

Then set aside to thicken.

After five minutes, whisk briskly to smooth out the pudding.

If you aren’t assembling your Trifle right away, cover the bowl and place in refrigerator.

Now, place the unwrapped Snickers bars onto a cutting board.

Chop into small pieces.

Make your Whipped Cream.

Pour Cream into a medium bowl.

Add Sugar…

…and Vanilla.

Beat, using an electric mixer on high speed.  This is one of the rare jobs that I shun my big KitchenAid Stand Mixer for in favor of my small hand mixer. 

Beat until soft peaks form.  You don’t want to overmix, or you’ll end up with Butter instead of Whipped Cream, and believe me – that can happen really fast! 

Soft, fluffy, even pillowy would be words to describe the texture you are going for.  Perfection!

Now that you have everything prepared: Brownies, Pudding, Snickers and Whipped Cream – it’s time to assemble.

But wait! 

I forgot the Caramel Sauce! 

Depending on the sauce you are using, you might need to warm it up a bit, so it’s a pourable consistency.  But you aren’t going to want it more than slightly warm when you assemble the dessert.

Off we go!

Start by crumbling the Brownie pieces into the bottom of a Trifle Bowl.

Drizzle with a few (or more!) spoonfuls of the Caramel Sauce.

Then, top with about half of the Pudding.

Spread the pudding evenly right out to the edges. 

See the layering effect we’re going for here?

Now, top with half the Whipped Cream.

Then, half the Snickers.

Wash, rinse, and repeat.

Okay….hold the washing and rinsing part (we’ll save that for the dishes when we are all done), just do the repeat part. 

Again, Brownies and Caramel Sauce,

Pudding and Whipped Cream.

Then, the remaining Snickers to finish it off!

This really is so easy and everything can be made ahead and assembled just a few hours before you are serving the dessert.  You will want to let it chill for a couple hours before serving, though.

Now you know what to do with all that leftover Halloween Candy, right?  :-)

October 12, 2010

Homemade Chunky Cinnamon Applesauce

Filed under: Desserts,Fruit,Recipes,Vegan,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , — admin @ 11:44 am

Warning: After tasting this, you will never buy the jarred stuff again!

Thank goodness, it’s easy enough to make your own!  Since it’s Apple Season, it’s inexpensive to make as well!

You might even be able to get some damaged apples for a song this time of year and since you’ll be peeling them, who cares about any bruises or blemishes on the skin? 

I used pretty apples this time, though.

It is fairly important to use a variety of apples for this recipe.  Since you are cooking them, and you want this to be chunky, some of the apples will turn to mush and some will retain their texture and shape.  Make sure to have at least 1 or 2 Granny Smith or any other apple variety you might use in a pie.

You’ll need:

9-10 Apples

Sugar (to taste – I use about 1/4 – 1/3 cup)

Cinnamon (to taste – I use about 2 Tablespoons)

2 – 3 Tbsp Lemon Juice

1/3 cup Water

What to do:

Wash apples.

Peel, core and slice apples. 

Do you have one of these gadgets? 

If not, I would highly recommend getting one.  They aren’t expensive – I bought mine for less than $8 at Meijer in a half-off sale a few years ago – and they do the job in a jiffy and entice helpers to come into your kitchen to share the work with you!

Here is my Sous Chef at work.

The  slicer cuts the peel into one long – and fun – continuous strand, perfect for slurping.

So, once your coring-peeling-slicing is done by the super-gadget, your apples will look like this.

 

The leftovers will look like this.

This is going to make some chickens I know very, very happy!

Now, cut the apples into pieces.  Just quarter each apple.

And viola!  They’re not too big.  They’re not too small.   They’re just right!

Place all apples into a large saucepan, and add lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon and water.

Toss together, then cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

Cook until apples reach the texture you desire.

You can serve this warm – it’s AWESOME over Vanilla Ice Cream – or let cool before eating. 

How about using this to top your favorite Pancakes or Waffles for breakfast?  Mmmmmm.

This will keep in the refrigerator for several days – IF it lasts that long!

October 10, 2010

Hot Potato, Hot Potato! Spicy Breaded Oven Fries

Filed under: Potatoes,Recipes,Sides,Vegan,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:57 pm

(Oh great – now that song by The Wiggles is going to be stuck in my head all day!)

Do you like French Fries? 

I’m going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that you answered “Yes” to that question.

These are a much healthier and much tastier alternative to regular French Fries.  We first tried this recipe, which was loosely adapted from a recipe I’d seen in some cookbook I’d checked out of the Library, a few summers ago during one of our camping adventures in the yard.  Although I cooked these inside the house in a regular oven (one of the great benefits of camping at home), we served them beside veggie burgers and ate them around the fire pit.  They were a big hit!

Back then, I made them with regular bread crumbs, but since we discovered Spawn #1 is gluten-intolerant, I now use gluten-free Bread Crumbs, which I easily make myself.  Here’s how to do it:

You’ll need some slices of Gluten Free Bread.  The leftover ends work well, but any slices will do. 

Cut into cubes (or just tear if you don’t want to get your cutting board and knife dirty).

Place into bowl of your Food Processor.  If you don’t have a Processor, you could use a coffee grinder, working in small batches.

Process until they are the texture you desire – coarse or fine.

Place crumbs in a baking pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  You don’t want them to brown much, you just want to get the moisture out.

 

 Let cool until ready to use.

I usually like to make a batch with whatever GF Bread is leftover on the weekend when I make a fresh loaf for my son.  Recently, we rarely have any bread leftover from the week to make crumbs because my new everyday bread is so tasty that it’s often all gone even before I can bake up another batch! 

Just store your crumbs in a freezer bag inside the freezer, and remove only what you need for your recipes.  They will keep practically forever.   I use my frozen crumbs frequently for Zucchini Au Gratin during summer’s bountiful Zuchinni harvest.

Now that we have our crumbs, we can make our Spicy Breaded Oven Fries!

Here’s what you’ll need:

4 large Potatoes

4-5 Tbsp Bread Crumbs

1 Tbsp Canola Oil

1/4 tsp Cayenne (or less if you can’t handle spicy)

1/2 tsp Ground Cumin

1 tsp Garlic Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Black Pepper

1 tsp Paprika

1 tsp Thyme

What to do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with Parchment and set aside.

Measure out your spices into a bowl.

Combine spices with Bread Crumbs, then set aside.

Scrub Potatoes and cut in half.  Then cut each half into wedges, leaving some skin on each wedge.

Place Potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with the oil, tossing to coat.

Sprinkle half of crumb mixture over potatoes.

Toss well with a spoon.

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top.

Toss again, until all the potatoes are fairly evenly coated with the mixture.

Individually lay each wedge on the parchment lined pan, trying to keep them from touching too much.

Once all the potatoes are in the pan, sprinkle any remaining crumb mixture left in the bowl over the top.

Slide trays into oven on middle rack.

Bake for 40-50 minutes (depending on size of wedges) at 425 degrees, until crisp and golden.

Enjoy piping hot with Ketchup on the side for dipping!  Yummy, Yummy! :-)

October 9, 2010

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (Gluten Free, Of Course!)

Filed under: Desserts,Muffins & Quick Breads,Recipes,Vegetarian — Tags: , , — admin @ 6:41 am

Well, another very busy workweek is behind me, and I’m feeling the guilt of not having blogged since last weekend’s Layered Fiesta Dip.  It’s not that I haven’t cooked this week, but I haven’t made many new things and certainly haven’t had any free time to talk about it!  

Early this week though, before the mad rush of work took over my time, I did make these muffins.

 

Since it’s officially Autumn now, and there is no longer any way I can remain deluded about it, my taste-buds are beginning to crave one of those familiar Fall favorties – pumpkin!  Spawn #2 is crazy about my Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bread, but it’s not a gluten-free recipe and I was determined to give him the taste he was looking for in a treat that Spawn #1 could enjoy as well. 

I thought about converting my tried-and-true recipe into a gluten-free version, but I really didn’t have the time to experiment.  After all, if the conversion flopped, I would be faced with my Spawns’ dissapointment and no extra time to make up for it.  I was determined not to let my babies down! 

So, I brought out The Cookbook.

There has yet to be a recipe from this book that hasn’t worked for me.  We love Annalise’s  Blueberry Muffins and her Chocolate Fudge Cake, the latter of which I haven’t posted for you yet but really, really need to do so soon!  Even when I change up the recipes a bit, I have success, like with my Rosemary and Sea Salt French Baguette

So, I decided to give her Pumpkin Muffins a try.  I did alter the spices in the recipe, since it calls for not just Cinnamon and Nutmeg (which are also used to flavor my traditional Pumpkin Bread) but also Ginger, Cloves and Molasses.  I was a little fearful of a very Gingerbread-y tasting Pumpkin Muffin and – I don’t know about you but I’m just not ready for Christmas flavors yet! 

So here’s what I used in my version of these muffins, which turned out beautifully by the way!  Of course, if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be posting them here.  That is my continued promise to you – I’ll never post a lousy recipe! :-)

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups Brown Rice Flour Mix (*see below)

1 cup Sugar

1 tsp Baking Soda

3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

3/4 tsp Salt

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Cinnamon (I increased this from the 1/2 tsp the recipe called for since I was omitting other spices)

1/2 tsp Nutmeg

2 Large Eggs

1/4 cup Water

1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp Canola Oil

2 Tbsp Molasses

1 cup Pumpkin Puree (I just used the canned Libby stuff)

1 cup Chocolate Chips

*(Brown Rice Flour Mix – 2 parts Brown Rice Flour, 1/3 part Tapioca Starch, 2/3 part Potato Starch)

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.

Man, is my pan ever stained and old!  Well it still works, so I’m okay with it if you are. 

Next, place all dry ingredients (except chocolate chips) together in a large bowl.

Whisk until combined.

In bowl of electric mixer, combine all wet ingredients.

Mix until well combined, then add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Don’t overmix.

Now, mix in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin.  I love my spring release scoopers for this task!

Once filled, place in 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.

The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in one of the center ones comes out clean.

Remove from pan immediately to a wire rack.  I use a soup spoon to gently lift the muffins out.

Let cool before serving. 

These muffins were very tasty, and even better the next day with my morning coffee once the chocolate chips firmed up.   The Molasses did give these a slight Gingerbread flavor that I don’t get with my traditional Pumpin Bread and I’m really glad that I left out the Ginger and Cloves because that probably would have been over-the-top.  Nonetheless, nearer to the Holidays, I’ll try this recipe as written when I can better appreciate those flavors! :-)

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