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

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!

September 5, 2010

Pretty In Pink: Mixed Green Salad with Fresh Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing, Feta and Pecans

Filed under: Fruit,Salads & Dressings,Sides,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , — admin @ 12:59 pm

Every year, it seems our garden has a superstar.  You know, that one “stand out” performer that is most prolific. 

Last year, our cucumbers did really well.  I was able to make Refrigerator Pickles many, many times last summer.  This year, I was out of cucumbers before I could even get to a fourth batch.  I seriously thought about buying pickling cukes at the market just to get one last batch in, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it!

Some years, it’s been the tomatoes that have been most abundant, providing me with plenty of fruits for Bruschetta, Super Savory Summer Salsa, and Marinated Tomatoes with Basil.  There was also usually tomato harvest leftover to giveaway and go into our freezer.  This year though, our tomatoes got a late start and haven’t been nearly as abundant.  We are canning some of the tomatoes this year – since we’re out of freezer space – and only hope we are able to preserve enough of a supply to make it through the winter for inclusion in our Love Soup.

So, pickles and tomatoes are singing backup this summer.  This year, the star of the show is the Raspberry.

My Raspberry bushes produced a bit several weeks ago and I enjoyed them for a few days atop my Granola, and even froze a small bag or two.  Then they were gone.  But they are having a second wind and are back with a vengance so I am out in the garden every single day picking a pint of the sweet red berries.  Raspberries happen to be my favorite fruit, but I can only eat so many of them!   So, it’s time to get creative so I can include them in more meals than just my breakfast!

Today, I made this dressing, and drizzled it atop a perfect salad for lunch.  I’m thinking about having the same meal for dinner.  It’s that good.

For the dressing, you’ll need:

1/2 cup fresh Raspberries, rinsed and drained

2 Tbsp Honey

1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard

3 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

1/3 cup Canola Oil

Freshly Ground Sea Salt & Black Pepper

Cold Water, if needed

Poppy Seeds (Optional – I didn’t use this time but they would be a great addition)

What to do:

Place Honey, Dijon, Vinegar, and a couple grinder turns each of salt and pepper into a Blender or the bowl of a Food Processor. 

Now, add Canola Oil.

Pulse a few times, then add Raspberries.

Blend until smooth and creamy,

and pour into serving jar.

If you wish to add Poppy Seeds, do so after pouring the dressing into your jar and just shake the jar to combine.  Likewise, if the dressing is too thick, add water a tablespoon at a time, then shake until it reaches the desired consistency. 

Now, let’s build the beautiful salad that will wear this dressing! 

You’ll need:

Mixed Salad Greens (I used Romaine Lettuce tossed with Assorted Baby Greens)

Pecans or Walnuts (I wanted to use Walnuts, but found I was plum out so I used Pecans instead)

Fresh Rasberries, rinsed and drained

Red Onion, thinly sliced

Feta Cheese

What to do:

First, we need to toast the nuts. 

Place nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat. 

Cook stirring and tossing occasionally, just until the nuts start to release their fragrance.  Now, remove from heat and cool. 

While the nuts are cooling, find a pretty plate. 

This one happens to be a hand-painted plate from my mother-in-law’s Aunt who passed away several years ago.  It seemed well-suited to this salad, so I took it off of it’s dusty shelf.  Don’t worry, I did wash the dust off!

Start with your greens, then add Onion, Nuts, Raspberries and Feta Cheese. 

Top with a couple grinds of fresh black pepper and drizzle with the dressing.

Dig in! 

Wouldn’t this be a pretty salad for a baby shower luncheon – especially if it’s a girl – or at a wedding shower?  It’s both delicate and flavorful, and topped with a sliced, grilled chicken breast it would make a good main dish.  You could even marinate the chicken in the dressing for added flavor.

I just love the combination of sweet/sour dressing, salty feta and crunchy nuts in this salad.  I’m sure I’ll be making this often, at least until my raspberry crop runs out.  After that, I suppose I can still use my frozen berries for the dressing, and just leave the fresh fruit off the salad as we go into the winter months. 

I can’t believe I’m even talking about the winter months.  Is it really September?  I refuse to believe it.

July 21, 2010

So Berry Delicious! Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins

I made these again tonight and asked my son, after he ate one of these muffins warm from the oven, what I should name this post.  He came up with the “So Berry Delicious” thing.  I guess that is endorsement enough!  These muffins rival any gluten-filled blueberry muffins out there.  It took all my willpower not to fire up a pot of coffee to go with one of these babies tonight!  Though no easy task, I’m forcing myself to at least wait until breakfast tomorrow!

As I post this photo, I have to admit that I’m reconsidering the “waiting until breakfast tomorrow” thing.

Whilst I struggle with my self-control, let me tell you how to make this. 

Before I do though, this recipe is not my own.  This is from “Gluten Free Baking Classics” by Annalise Roberts, which is (as I’ve said before) the only Gluten Free cookbook I’ve ever purchased.  Her recipes are amazing!  Although I haven’t made more than a few recipes from this book, they’ve never failed me.  Each one proves to be more than I could hope for and each one rivals any traditional gluten-filled recipe of it’s kind. 

You’ll need:

2 Cups Brown Rice Flour Mix*

2/3 Cup Sugar

1 Tbsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Baking Soda

3/4 tsp Xanthan Gum

1/4 tsp Salt

1/4 – 1/2 tsp Nutmeg

1 1/2 Cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and dried

1/2 Cup Milk

1/2 Cup Canola Oil

2 large Eggs

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Struesel Topping – Recipe Follows

*Brown Rice Flour Mix: 2 parts Brown Rice Flour, 2/3 part Potato Starch, 1/3 part Tapioca Starch

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a (stained, but well-loved and much used) muffin pan using cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together Flour Mix, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Xanthan Gum, Salt and Nutmeg.

Add blueberries and gently mix until incorporated.

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine milk and oil.  At first it will look like a science experiment…kind of like the lava lamps from the 60’s.

But mix it together until it doesn’t look like that anymore.

Remove 1 Tbsp of the liquid. 

Pour into large mixing bowl then add Eggs and Vanilla.  Beat until combined.

Add liquids to blueberry/flour mixture and stir until just blended.

Fill the muffins pans 2/3 full.  I like to use a spring-release scoop. 

(Note how well that I’ve grown accustomed to using my left hand for tasks like this since I’ve been taking photos for this blog.   I’m ambidextrous now.)

The recipe says to sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or Streusel Topping.  In other words, Streusel Topping is optional.

Let me be clear: In my world, Streusel Topping is NEVER optional!

Here’s how to make the Streusel Topping:

Combine 1/2 Cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*, 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar, 1/2 tsp Cinnamon, and 1/4 tsp Xanthan Gum in a small bowl. 

Add 3 Tbsp melted Butter and mix until combined.

Spoon over muffin batter.

Bake for 18-25 minutes (It was about 22 minutes when I pulled mine out). 

Cool for about 5 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack.  I used a soup spoon to gently lift each muffin from the pan onto the rack.  There was minimal breakage this way.  Watch out for the hot blueberries though…they are not pleasant to have come into contact with your bare flesh!

Let cool a bit before serving.

Oh, boy.  There I go again with the photo of oozing blueberry goodness. 

Time for bed.

July 6, 2010

It’s Peachy Keen! Gluten Free Peach Cobbler, that is.

Filed under: Desserts,Fruit,Recipes,Vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , — admin @ 1:51 pm

(Edit: I’ve chosen this Peach Cobbler photo as my entry into Simply…Gluten Free’s GF Food Photo Contest.  I’m anxious to see all the tasty-looking photos of Gluten Free recipes when Carol posts the round-up on September 30th!  Wish me luck!!!) 

During a recent trip to my local fruit market, I found peaches on sale.  The sign actually said “We’re Practically Giving These Away”  and they were!  Only 49 cents a pound!  Well, I’m usually really more of a nectarine gal (just somthing about the fuzz, I guess), but I just had to fill up a bag to bring home.  These gems sat on my counter in a bowl for a few days and each day while I worked nearby, I’d catch a waft of their aroma.  I knew they were ripe and ready.  But what to make?  I thought about peach muffins, but finally decided on a cobbler.  Now, I’ve never made a cobbler before that I can recall – gluten free or otherwise – but I have done crisps and of course they are very similar.  So, I glanced at a few recipes to get some ideas and set to work on that night’s dessert:

First, wash 10-12 ripe peaches.

Butter an 8″ x 8″ baking dish (or a deep round pie plate) and set aside.

Peel and slice peaches.  To do this easily, I simply cut each fruit in half, twisted to pull the halves apart, and popped the pit out with my thumb.  Then I halved each half again, and carefully peeled the skin off each quarter before finishing slicing.  I lost very little peach this way, as opposed to using a knife to try to peel them.  Of course, it really helped that the peaches were plenty ripe!  Once they are sliced, place into a bowl adding 1/2 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp brown rice flour mix*.

 

Mix gently to combine.

Then pour into your buttered pan.

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup brown rice flour mix, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp Xanthan gum, 1/4 tsp baking soda and 1/4 tsp salt.

Cut 4 Tbsp. cold butter into small pieces, like this:

First using a pastry cutter, then your fingers, cut butter into flour mixture.

You’ll want it to resemble coarse cornmeal, like this:

In a glass measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice) with 1/2 tsp vanilla.  Pour into flour mixture and mix gently to just combine.  It will look lumpy, but do NOT overmix.

Scoop dough mixture onto top of peaches, leaving some areas naked.   Drizzle 2 Tbsp melted butter over exposed areas and then sprinkle the whole top with 2 Tbsp brown sugar.

Let sit for 20-30 minutes while you preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place into oven and bake  40-45 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the peaches bubbly.

Remove from oven and cool until just warm.

To serve, scoop a generous portion into a bowl and top with vanilla ice cream.  SO YUM!

To demonstrate how good this actually is, I had this for breakfast again this morning, after having it for dessert last night!   I just popped my bowl into the microwave for about 20 seconds to warm the cobbler, before scooping the ice cream on top (Breyer’s French Vanilla is the best!).  When the smooth vanilla ice cream starts to gently melt over the sweet peaches and crumbly topping, I just cannot wait for that first spoonful!

Ingredient List:

10-12 Ripe Peaches, peeled and sliced

1/2 Cup Sugar

1 Cup plus 1 Tbsp Brown Rice Flour Mix*

1 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/4 tsp Salt

2 tsp Sugar

4 Tbsp Butter, cut into pieces

1/2 Cup Buttermilk (or milk with 1 tsp lemon juice stirred in)

1/2 tsp Vanilla

2 Tbsp Butter, melted

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

*All Purpose Brown Rice Flour Mix:

(from www.foodphilosopher.com)

2 Parts Brown Rice Flour

2/3 Part Potato Starch

1/3 Part Tapioca Starch

Combine well with a wire whisk and store in a sealed container.

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