December 31, 2011

Clam Chowder



Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients:
  • 4 oz bacon, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 medium red potatoes, diced in 1/2 inch cubes (I don't peel mine but you can if you want)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped cellery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup rice flour
  • 1 to 2 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 1/2 tsp cellery seed
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seed
  • 4 cups milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese or neufchatel cheese (I used neuf)
  • 1 10 oz can of clams, drained, juice reserved
  • 1 6 oz can wild salmon, drained (optional)
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Directions:
Steam or boil diced potatoes until just al dente and set aside (this can be done several hours ahead of time and the cooked potatoes kept in the fridge till you are ready). Saute bacon in a 8-quart soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat until just crispy. Remove bacon and set aside, leaving rendered drippings in pan. Add rice flour and stir until flour dissolves in bacon drippings, about 1 minute. This will be the roux, the thickener for the soup. Transfer roux to a separage bowl and set aside (I just put it in with the reserved bacon).
Return pot to medium heat and add oil. Saute onion, carrot, cellery and bell pepper until they begin to soften. Add cellery seed, thyme, fennel, salt and garlic and continut to saute for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Add clam juice and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium low and add roux and bacon, stirring to prevent clumping. Add milk and potatoes and raise heat to medium. Stir often till soup just comes to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium low. Be careful not to let the soup boil or the milk will curdle. Ladle about a cup of liquid from the pot into a bowl and add the cream cheese. Mix the milk and cream cheese till well combined and return mixture to soup pot. Let the soup cook on medium low heat for about an hour, stirring often to keep milk from scorching. Add clams, corn, and salmon and cook for 10 minutes longer. Garnish with fresh parsley and serve with Bacon, Cheddar and Scallion Cornbread Biscuits. Enjoy!



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Bacon, Cheddar and Scallion Cornbread Biscuits

I love soup. I could eat soup 4 to 5 nights a week, even in sweltering summer heat. To satisfy my soup addiction, tonight I made clam chowder. Usually, clam chowder in our house comes with corn bread, but alot of other people have biscuits. I decided to combine the two and add a little bacon and cheddar cheese, for the trifecta of perfect soup sides. I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did!



Yield: 8 to 10- 3" biscuits

Ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup gluten-free flour mix
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup yogurt
1/3 cup cooked chopped bacon
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese plus 1/4 cup, divided, for tops of biscuits
2 scallions, finely chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, combine milk and yogurt. Whisk till well incorporated, set aside. Combine cornmeal, gluten-free flour mix, baking powder, sugar, salt, pepper and xanthan gum in a bowl. Cut butter into mixture with a pastry cutter until its the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Add bacon, cheddar cheese and scallions and toss gently, then add milk and yogurt and mix gently with a fork until it forms a slightly sticky ball. Scrape onto a rice-floured surface and pat out into a disc about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut with a rice-floured biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Form scraps into another disc and repeat cutting until all dough is used. (Note: one of the greatest things about gluten free short doughs is that you don't have to worry so much about "overworking" the dough because there are no glutens to develop) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden, sprinkling the tops of biscuits with reserved cheddar cheese half way through baking. Serve warm with your favorite soup, or try them with my clam chowder. Enjoy!



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December 26, 2011

Curry Cashew Blondies



I like to play with food. In my world, there are no culinary no-nos, only flavor combinations that I will not try again. I had never made blondies before and I wanted to try them out, but they seemed so, well, boring. I wanted to incorporate interesting flavor into the cookies and I thought curry and cashews work so well together in savory dishes, perhaps they would work in a sweet application. Success!! These are awesome all by themselves or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some caramel sauce. Note: vanilla ice cream sprinkled with curry powder and topped with caramel sauce and chopped cashews is fantastic too!


Yield: 9 large or 16 mini bars

Ingredients:
8 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for pan
1 cup packed brown sugar (or 1 cup white sugar and 3 Tbsp molasses, cause that's how brown sugar is made anyway)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups gluten-free flour mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped (about 3 ounces)
4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2+ Tbsp curry powder (depending on your tastes)
1/4 tsp salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, 1Tbsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and curry powder; set aside.

Coat an 8x8 baking pan with butter (you can also spray it with oil spray). Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix until well combined. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until combined. Add gluten-free flour mix, xanthan gum, sea salt and cashews and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated. Scrape into prepared baking pan and spread out.

Evenly dot the top of the blondie batter with cream cheese mixture and use a knife to swirl it through. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Allow the blondies to cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!

Note: If you dont' like the idea of curry in blondies, just leave it out and enjoy cashew cream cheese blondies instead!



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French Apple Pie Scones

Last summer at the Sandpoint Farmers Market I sold out of Apple Pie Scones every week. I had people who weren't even gluten-free come to my booth every Saturday to buy a scone (or 3). These are a variation on the ones I sold at the market. Since French Apple Pie has a streusel topping instead of a top crust, I decided to give the scones the same kind of topping instead of the usual powdered sugar glaze. I make a dozen or two at a time because they are not only a fabulous breakfast or brunch item, but a great healthy snack and they freeze great for easy reheating or long car trips!



Yield: 6 or 8 scones

Ingredients:
Scones
  • 1 3/4 cups gluten free flour mix
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 Tbsp cold butter or non-dairy substitute
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced in 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 egg or substitute
  • 1 1/2 tsp gluten-free vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup yogurt or 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
Struesel
1/2 cup rice flour
4 Tbsp butter
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Directions:
Make streusel - combine ingredients in a bowl and mix with your hands until all ingredients are well incorporated. It should have almost a clumping-sandy texture.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat egg with yogurt or milk and vanilla extract. Set aside Combine flour mix, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, xanthan gum, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in an large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the pieces are about the size of lentils. Add apples to mixture and toss gently with a fork until combined. Add egg mixture and mix with a fork until dough is formed. The dough  should be on the moist side but try not to over mix it. Scrape dough onto a floured surface (I use rice flour) and form into a disc about 8 inches across. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Transfer to an parchment-lined cookie sheet and sprinkle the top of each with a few tablespoons of streusel mixture. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until golden around the edges and firm in the middle. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter or apple butter. Enjoy


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Pumpkin Pie Cookies with Maple Brown Butter Cream Cheese Icing



These cakey little treats have all the flavors of pumpkin pie in a single-serve cookie. The brown butter cream cheese icing is good enough to eat all by itself. You can either make sandwich cookies, with the icing in between 2 cookies, or simply top them with the icing. Of course, you can always eat them plain, but if you are like me and feel guilty for eating frosting by the spoonful, these are a perfect vehicle for any frosting addiction.

Yield: about 3 to 4 dozen single cookies or 2 dozen sandwich cookies, depending on size

Ingredients
Cookies:
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin - note: this is equal to one 14 or 15 oz can, but I roast and puree my own
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk or cream (I used cream)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  •  2 3/4 cups gluten-free flour mix
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Filling:
2-3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 oz (1/2 package) cream cheese
4 Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp gluten free maple flavor

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Add eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk or cream, and vanilla and mix until well blended, about 2 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed . Add gluten-free flour mix, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and mix until combined.
You can either use a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip or use a 1 to 1.5 inch ice cream scoop to form cookies. Pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds or drop with ice cream scoop onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12-15 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
Filling/Frosting: Put cream cheese in bowl (you can either use a stand mixer or a hand mixer). Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Add butter to cream cheese, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan, and mix until well combined. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix until combined, then add maple syrup, vanilla and maple flavor and mix until fluffy and smooth. If the frosting is not thick enough, add more powdered sugar till you get your desired consistency. Just remember that as the butter cools, it will return to a solid state so you may want to wait a bit before adding more sugar.

For sandwich cookies, spread about 1 tablespoon of icing onto the bottom of one cookie and top it with another cookie, bottom side down. For iced cookies, just top each cookie with about a teaspoon of icing (or if you are me, about 1/4 cup). Enjoy!


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    December 25, 2011

    Rosemary Pine Nut Cookies



    If you like to take a walk on the culinary wild side, these cookies are a festive way to do it. They combine an interesting combination of usually savory flavors into an exquisite little treat. A great conversation starter, they would be a great addition to any cocktail party, or cookie jar.

    Yield: About 3 dozen 2 1/2 inch cookies

    Ingredients
    • 8 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped, plus more whole ones for top of cookies
    • 3 1/2 teaspoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • granulated sugar, for sprinkling
    Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
    Finely chop rosemary. Cream butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment on high speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add egg, cream and olive oil. Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking soda, xanthan gum, ginger, rosemary and pine nuts and salt and mix until well combined, about 2 minutes.
    Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls, and space 2 inches apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with fingers, and top each with a whole pine nut. Sprinkle with granulated sugar.
    Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are golden, about 13 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes on sheets on wire racks. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers up to 7 days. Enjoy!

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    December 15, 2011

    Spritz Cookies



    Yield: about 4 dozen cookies

    Ingredients:
    1 cup butter, softened
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 egg
    1 tsp vanilla
    2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix
    1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    1/2 tsp sea salt

    colored sugar/sprinkles

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar on low speed until combined. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low until all ingredients are well incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl when necessary. Fill cookie press with 1/4 to 1/2 of the dough at a time, depending on how much your cookie pess holds. Form cookies onto an ungreased cookie sheet, decorate with colored sugar or sprinkles if desired and bake for 6 to 9 minutes or until set and just golden around the edges. Cool on a wire rack and store at room temperature in an airtight container between sheets of wax paper. Note: If you don't have any colored sugar or sprinkles its really easy to make the colored sugar; just take some granulated sugar and add liquid food coloring drops (don't use the gel kind, it will never dry). Mix until you have the shade that you want. Let it dry overnight and store in an airtight container.



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    Linzer Cookies


    These little raspberry filled sandwiches are the cookie version of the fameous Austrian holiday treat, the Linzertorte. The cookie has a hint of cinnamon and lemon, and with your favorite raspberry preserves sandwiched between two of the crispy layers, this cookie is the perfect thing to serve at your next holiday party, or to give to the gluten-free family members or coworkers in your life.

    Yield: About 2 dozen sandwich cookies, depending on size

    Ingredients:
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    2/3 cup granulated sugar
    2 egg yolks
    1/2 tsp gluten-free vanilla
    1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
    2 cups gluten-free flour mix
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp xanthan gum
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/4 tsp salt
    1 cup almond meal, or blanched hazelnuts finely ground


    1/2 cup raspberry preserves or jam, for filling
    1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting


    Directions:
    In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 or 3 minutes. Beat in egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest. With mixer on low speed, add gluten-free flour mix, almond meal, baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon and salt, and beat until combined.


    Divide dough in half and roll out each half on a rice flour-dusted sheet of parchment paper to about 1/8 of an inch. You will need 2 cookie cutters of different sizes (I used 3" and 1" biscuit cutters) . Using the larger of the cookie cutters, cut an even number of shapes. Using the smaller cutter, cut the center out of half of the large shapes. Remove trimmings and centers. Note: You can either bake the centers for bite-sized cookies or roll them into the rest of the dough with the trimmings. Repeat rolling and cutting with remaining dough. Place cut shapes in the freezer until firm.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove cookie shapes from the freezer and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until just golden around the edges. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely. Dust tops with powdered sugar. Spread about 1 1/2 tsp preserves or jam on the bottom of one of the whole cookie shapes and top with one with the cutout and serve immediately. Note: If you want to make these ahead of time, you can store the unfilled cookies in an airtight container for up to a week and fill them right before serving. If you fill them more than an hour before serving, the cookies will get a little soft. Enjoy!


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    December 11, 2011

    Florentine Turkey Burgers


    Our family generally enjoys the flavor of ground turkey over beef. The problem is that turkey is so lean that it can dry out very easily, especially when its made into hamburgers. I was trying to figure out a way add moisture without adding a ton of fat. I had sun dried tomatoes and spinach in my fridge and I thought a Florentine-style turkey burger stuffed with mozzarella cheese would be nice. I was right, and not only was the burgers were moist, loaded with flavor, they were pretty and festive, with little flecks of red tomato and green spinach inside each burger. Served with sweet potato oven fries and my Gluten-Free Multigrain Hamburger Buns, the meal was a huge success!



    Ingredients:
    20 ounces ground turkey
    1 Tbsp olive oil
    4 cups fresh spinach, chopped.
    2-10 cloves garlic, minced
    1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped fine
    salt and pepper to taste (lemon pepper is really great in this)
    2 Tbsp minced fresh basil
    8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese (you can use the brick or pre-shredded kind too)
    6 slices provolone or fontina cheese (optional)
    6 Gluten-Free Multigrain Hamburger Buns





    Directions:
    Slice 6 thin slices of mozzarella and set aside. If you are using the rectangular brick, shred about half of it and set it aside. Saute spinach, sun dried tomatoes and garlic in olive oil until spinach is just beginning to wilt. Note: We usually eat a whole bulb of garlic in every meal (we are stinky folks) but if you are not that into garlic, just use less. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Put ground turkey into a large mixing bowl. Add minced basil and cooled spinach mixture. Mix with your hands until the ingredients are distributed, but try not to overwork the meat so it doesn't get tough. Divide into 6 portions and then divide each portion in half. Two of these will form one burger but you have to stuff them with mozzarella first. Flatten one portion of meat into about a 4 to 5 inch patty. Place a slice of mozzarella or a bit of the shredded mozzarella on top. Cover with another half-patty and make sure you seal the edges all the way around so the cheese doesn't leak out while its cooking. Repeat with remaining ground turkey mixture and cheese. After they are cooked, top with one slice of provolone if you desire. You can grill them, pan fry them, broil them, its entirely up to you. Just make sure the turkey is cooked through so you don't get salmonella. Serve on a Gluten-Free Multigrain Bun and whatever fixins you like! We had caramelized onions and mushrooms, fresh basil leaves, tomato and avocado. Enjoy!


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    Multigrain Hamburger Buns


    Since I met my husband, we have tried many different varieties of both store bought and home made hamburger buns, but these are by far the most flavorful and texturally pleasing. The multigrain mix I use in this recipe makes the buns super moist, but they don't fall apart. They'll keep for about 4 days at room temperature, but they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. The only tricky thing about the recipe is the equipment. I have found that if you have the right tools, you can make anything gluten-free. I used a round cookie-pop pan that I got at Michaels for about $5 (with a coupon), but you can also use English muffin rings.

     Yield: 6 - 4" buns

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup Gluten-Free Multigrain Flour Mix
    1 cup tapioca starch
    1 1/2 tsp potato flour (not potato starch)
    1 tsp xanthan gum
    1/2 tsp sea salt
    1 1/2 Tbsp honey or sugar, divided
    1 1/2 cups warm water
    1 Tbsp active dry yeast
    1 tsp apple cider vinegar
    1 egg
    2 Tbsp olive oil

    Sesame Seeds, Gluten-free Oats, Poppy Seeds, Dried Onions for top of bun
    1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water for egg wash
    Oil spray for pans/rings




    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray English muffin rings or pan with oil spray and set aside. Combine 1/2 Tbsp sugar, water and yeast and let sit till bubbly. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine multigrain flour mix, tapioca starch, potato flour, xanthan gum, sea salt and 1 Tbsp sugar. With the mixer on low speed add egg, vinegar and olive oil and mix until combined. Add yeast and water mixer and continue mixing on low speed until it comes together. Increase speed to medium-high and mix for about 2 minutes more. The dough will be very soft. Using a spring-action icecream scoop, fill prepared pans/rings with about 1/3 cup dough. Spray top of each bun and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Press the dough down until it fills the ring or the mould in the pan. Let rise in a warm area (I use the stovetop as the oven is preheating) until doubled in size. Brush with egg wash and top with sesame seeds, onions, sea salt or bits of gluten-free oats. Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden on top. Remove from molds/rings and cool on a wire rack. Serve with your favorite burger and toppings. Enjoy!


    Gluten-Free Whole Grains: Multigrain Flour Mix


    Yield: 4 Cups Mix

    Ingredients:
    1/2 cup rice flour
    1/2 cup almond meal
    1/2 cup teff flour
    1/2 cup millet flour
    1/2 cup rice bran
    1/2 cup flax meal
    1/2 cup gluten-free oat flour
    1/2 cup sorghum flour


    Directions:
    Combine all ingredients in a gallon-sized zip top bag or other container large enough to hold at least 6 cups and mix thoroughly. This mix can be substituted for rice flour in any recipe or flour mix that calls for rice flour.

    December 10, 2011

    Russian Tea Cakes


    If I had to choose one cookie that epitomises Christmas, for me the Russian Tea Cake would be it, no competition. We have had them for both Thanksgiving and Christmas every single year as far back as I can remember. The sweet and delicate little cookie balls are loaded with nutty flavor and the double coating of powdered sugar just screams wintertime treats.

    Yield: about 2 dozen 1" cookies

    Ingredients:
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
    1 tsp gluten-free vanilla
    1 tsp gluten-free almond extract
    2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour mix
    1/4 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    3/4 cup finely chopped nuts of your choice (I use pecans)


    1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar for rolling


    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter with confectioners' sugar on low speed until combined. Add vanilla and almond extracts and mix on low speed until combined, scraping sides of bowl if necessary. Stop mixer and add flour, xanthan gum, salt and nuts. Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes or until a ball forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set but not brown. While the cookies are still warm, very carefully roll them in confectioners' sugar (because they are not quite set all the way when they are fresh from the oven they may crumble if care is not taken when rolling). Cool and roll in sugar a second time. Store at room temperature in an airtight container between sheets of waxed paper. Enjoy!





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    December 7, 2011

    What is Your Favorite Holiday Treat?

    Most of my childhood memories have food attached to them and when the Holidays roll around, I am bombarded by flashbacks of hoards of people and mountains of food. My dad came from a family of 6 children and all his sisters, brothers and their families lived within 50 miles of each other in Idaho and Montana so we had epic holiday celebrations several times throughout the year. In the summer time there were cook outs and barbecues, dubbed "Kayser Barbarian Meat Fests" (two of my uncles were hunting outfitters, and the rest of us hunted so meat was always the most plentiful of the food groups). Wintertime holidays in Idaho/Montana are all about hoping the power doesn't go out, cranking up the wood stove dimming the lights, sipping cocoa or egg nog, listening to low holiday tunes, but above all sharing in all of the delicious treats that all of the aunts and uncles and grandparents brought to share.

    There are a few dishes that will forever represent classic holiday celebrations for me. My Aunt Sue made English Toffee, Aunt Cathy made this amazing apple pie with cheddar cheese baked into the crust, and my Mom made Russian Tea Cakes and Spritz cookies. My Great Grandmother, the first of her Russian/German family to be born in America, always made prune Kucha, a sweet sour cream custard-filled sweet dough, the recipe for which has been passed down at least 4 generations. Then there were the huckleberry pies, the avocado cream pies (Mom's were the best) and homemade bear smokies.

    Needless to say, none of these delicacies were gluten-free. As a matter of fact, I am reasonably certain that none of us even knew that such a thing as gluten-free existed. So, because I want to pass on the warm memories and heritage of my childhood Holiday celebrations to my daughters, I have adapted the family recipes handed down to me to be not only gluten-free, but just as delicious as I remember them.

    Is there a food that epitomizes the Holiday season to you? Is there something that you have been deprived of since you went gluten-free? I would love to know your favorite holiday treats and experiment to come up with recipes to share with all the gluten-free foodies out there.

    December 3, 2011

    A Winter Weekend Brunch


    Whole Grain Oat Biscuits with Faux Smoked Salmon, Spinach and Cream Cheese Fritatta and Everything Yummy Smoothie


    I asked my husband what he wanted for breakfast this morning and he said "That egg thing in the pan with stuff in it?" I was pretty sure he was referring to a frittata. So I went to the computer and looked us some recipes. I found one with smoked salmon and cream cheese but all I had in the pantry was canned salmon so I decided to wing it with what I had in my fridge and pantry. The result was a wonderful mid-morning meal that my family lingered over. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 


    Oat Biscuits

    Yield: 8 -  3" biscuits

    Ingredients:
    1 cup gluten-free oat flour
    1 cup gluten-gluten free flour mix of your choice
    1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp gluten free oats (either old fashioned or quick work well)
    1 Tbsp baking powder
    1 Tbsp sugar
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 tsp xanthan gum
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    1/4 cup plain yogurt
    1/4 cup milk (you can use water but the flavor will be much richer with milk)

    1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp milk for egg wash (optional)

    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine oat flour, gf flour mix, baking powder, sugar, salt and xanthan gum in a bowl. Cut butter into mixture with a pastry cutter until its the consistency of coarse cornmeal. Add 1/2 cup oats and mix, then add milk and yogurt and mix gently with a fork until it forms a slightly sticky ball. Scrape onto a rice-floured surface and pat out into a disc about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. Cut with a rice-floured biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Form scraps into another disc and repeat cutting until all dough is used. (Note: one of the greatest things about gluten free short doughs is that you don't have to worry so much about "overworking" the dough because there are no glutens to develop) Brush tops of biscuits with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining 2 Tbsp whole oats. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Serve with butter, honey, or jam and lots of love!



    Frittata:

    Yield: 4-6 servings

    Ingredients:
    6 eggs
    1/4 cup whole milk
    2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 green onions, thinly sliced
    1 7oz can salmon, drained of liquid
    1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
    2 oz cold cream cheese, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
    1 roasted red pepper, julienne sliced
    2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp olive oil
    sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
    seasonings of your choice (I used 1/2 tsp each of dried thyme and dill but you can use whatever sounds good to you)

    Directions:
    Set oven to broil. Whisk eggs and milk together and set aside. Use a fork to break the salmon up a bit and pour the liquid smoke evenly over it. You can do this inside the can and save a dish, or you can transfer it to a small bowl for this step. Just make sure not to break the salmon up too much so it doesn't disintegrate. Saute spinach and garlic in 1 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat for about 1 to 2 minutes, until spinach is wilted and garlic is fragrant. Transfer spinach mixture to small bowl and set aside. Heat a 8 or 10 inch oven-safe saute pan over medium high heat. (I would recommend nonstick but stainless steel works fine too). Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil. Add egg mixture then sprinkle the cream cheese over and give it a quick stir with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle salmon, spinach and garlic mixture, roasted red peppers, green onions, salt and pepper and seasonings over egg mixture and continue to stir, as as if you were making scrambled eggs, for about 1 minute longer. You should see chunks of scramble and runny egg. Remove the pan from the stove and smooth out the surface with a rubber spatula. Place the pan in the oven and broil for 2 to 4 minutes, or until puffy and light golden. Remove from oven and let sit for a couple of minutes. Now is the time you can get really creative with the presentation. I served mine right from the pan, but you can turn it out onto a pretty plate and garnish with a sprig of fresh dill or parsley and sliced green onions. Cut into wedges and serve with sour cream or hot sauce and lots of love!




    Everything Yummy Smoothie

    Yield: 4 servings

    Ingredients:
    1 whole tangerine, seeds, peel and all, cut into eighths or 1/2 cup orange juice
    1 banana
    1 cup frozen blueberries, blackberries or raspberries (I used a frozen blend of all three)
    6 large frozen strawberries
    1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
    1 cup juice
    1 tsp vanilla

    Directions:
    Put all the ingredients into the pitcher of your blender and whiz it up! I use my BlendTec Total Blender on the "Whole Juice" setting, but you can use whatever blender you have. If not using a VitaMix or BlendTec, though, I would recommend using orange juice rather than a whole tangerine as it might not get blended as well and you might end up with chuncks or peel or seeds. Serve with love!

    More to come with love!

    November 30, 2011

    Gluten Free Soft Pretzels


    These are soft and chewy and delicious. They are well worth the effort, especially if you double or tripple the recipe and save some for later.  My daughters loved them so much they gobbled them up, and even were inspired to try them with dijon mustard.

    Ingredients:
    1 cup rice flour
    1 cup tapioca flour
    2 Tbsp almond meal
    1 ¾ tsp xanthan gum
    1 tsp sea salt
    1 Tbsp sugar

    1 Tbsp yeast
    1 tsp sugar
    ½  cup warm water
    2 Tbsp olive oil or melted butter
    2 eggs

    10 cups water
    1/3 cup baking soda
    1 tsp sugar
    2 tsp salt

    1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water
    Coarse sea salt or pretzel salt
    2 Tbsp cornmeal


    Directions:
    Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Liberally sprinkle one half sheet pan with rice flour and sprinkle another cookie sheet with cornmeal. In a small bowl combine warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside till bubbly. Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer combine flours, almond meal, xanthan gum, salt, and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix on low for about a minute to combine. Add oil or butter and eggs and mix until well combined, about 1 minute. Add water/yeast mixture and mix on low until incorporated. Turn mixer up to high and mix for 3 minutes, stopping once to scrape down sides and paddle. While the dough is mixing, thoroughly coat the inside of a gallon sized zip top bag with oil take and cut about ¾ inch off of one corner. Scrape pretzel dough into bag and pipe 6 logs length of the cookie sheet.

    Place cookie sheet in the freezer for 20 minutes. This helps the dough to set up a bit so it is easier to form into a pretzel shape. When dough logs are chilled, remove them from the freezer and on a rice floured surface, shape the long logs into pretzel shapes. I used egg wash to stick the ends to the pretzel.

    Place pretzels back on the cookie sheet and return to the freezer for 15 minutes. While the pretzels are taking their second turn in the freezer, heat 10 cups of water, 1 tsp sugar, 2 tsp salt and baking soda to a simmer in a large pan or pot on the stove top. Be sure not to add the soda to the water when it is boiling or you will have a huge mess. Remove the pretzels from the freezer and place them in the simmering water 3 or 4 at a time. Let them simmer for about 30 seconds then flip them and simmer for another 30 seconds.

    Place on the cornmeal dusted cookie sheet. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with salt.


    Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. For extra chewy pretzels, place a pan of boiling water on the bottom rack of the oven while they bake.


    Let them cool and serve with gluten-free mustard of your choice. We used Trader Joes Dijon mustard. Enjoy!

    More to come, with love!

    November 26, 2011

    White Chocolate Almond Raspberry Scones


    I make a lot of scones. They are so easy to throw together and the flavor combination options are endless. Scones are great treat to help introduce your kids to playing in the kitchen.

    Scones

    1 3/4 cups gluten free flour mix (I use Bette Hageman's)
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 1/2 tsp.cream of tartar
    3/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp. xanthan gum
    4 Tbsp cold butter or non-dairy substitute
    1/3 cup frozen raspberries
    1/3 cup sliced almonds
    1/3 cup white chocolate chips or pieces
    1 egg or substitute
    1 1/2 tsp gluten-free almond extract
    2/3 cup yogurt or 1/2 cup milk

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, beat egg with yogurt or milk and almond extract. Set aside Combine flour mix, sugar, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum in an large bowl. Cut butter into small pieces and cut into flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the pieces are about the size of lentils. Add frozen raspberries, sliced almonds and white chocolate pieces to flour mixture and toss gently with a fork until combined. Add egg mixture and mix with a fork until dough is formed. The dough will be on the moist side but try not to over mix it. Scrape dough onto a floured surface (I use rice flour) and form into a disc about 8 inches across. Cut into 6 or 8 wedges. Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 14 to 18 minutes or until golden around the edges and firm in the middle. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with butter.


    Bette Hageman's Gluten Free Flour Mix

    2 parts rice flour (sometimes I substitute sorghum, teff, millet or a combination of flours for the rice flour)
    2/3 part potato starch (not potato flour)
    1/3 part tapioca starch

    Mix all ingredients well and sore in an air-tight container. I make this mix in a 3 gallon ice cream tub.


    More to come, with love!