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

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 17, 2010

Gluten Free Classic Criss-Cross Peanut Butter Cookies

Filed under: cookies — Tags: , , , — admin @ 5:49 pm

 

Somebody pour me a big glass of milk! 

This recipe come from Easy Gluten Free Baking by Elizabeth Barbone.  This cookbook is pretty new to my shelf and is the only GF cookbook I own besides Annalise Roberts’ Gluten Free Baking Classics.   Both of these books have proven to be invaluable to me in satisfying the need for Gluten Free treats for Spawn #1, while still satisfying the tastebuds of every family member.

I had previous cookie success with Peanut Butter Blossoms when using the recipe posted by Kim of  Gluten Free Is Life which she had converted from recipe on the back of the Hershey Kiss Bag.  I’ll be making those cookies again in a couple weeks when it’s time to start the Holiday baking.  But today, when I asked my son which cookies from the book he wanted to try first, this was his choice.  It was a good call.

You’ll need:

3/4 cup White Rice Flour

1/4 cup Brown Rice Flour

1/4 cup Sweet Rice Flour

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/3 cup Butter, softened

1/2 cup Creamy Peanut Butter

3/4 cup packed Brown Sugar

1 large Egg

1 tsp Vanilla

1/2 cup granulated Sugar

What to do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet(s) with parchment paper.

In small bowl, whisk together Flours, Baking Soda, and Baking Powder.

In bowl of stand mixer, combine butter, peanut butter and brown sugar until creamy.

Add egg and vanilla and blend until thoroughly combined.

Add dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.

Wrap dough and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Roll dough into 1 inch balls, roll each ball in granulated sugar, then place on baking sheet. 

Press the tines of  a fork into each ball, pressing down gently.

Press again the opposite direction to form a criss-cross pattern.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes until light golden.

Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then remove to wire rack.

Enjoy with a large glass of milk!

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?  :-)

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