Monday, April 18, 2011

Gluten Free Baked Goodies

Making Gluten Free baked goods is always a gamble for me.  Some of the recipes are really good, but most are just grainy in texture and not very tasty.  I was lucky to stumble upon two really great recipes this past week.  I like to eat pancakes every so often, but didn't want a recipe that had all the refined flours, butter and refined sugars that most have in them.  I have coconut flour in my pantry, but haven't had a recipe to use it with in awhile.  Mark's Daily Apple has been a website that I frequent for Paleo recipes and came upon these Coconut Flour Pancakes.  They are actually very fluffy, which is something that most gluten free pancakes lack.

Coconut Flour Pancakes
From Mark's Daily Apple

4 eggs
1/4 cup Coconut flour
1/4 tsp Vanilla extract
1 pinch Nutmeg
1 pinch Cinnamon
1 tbsp Agave nectar
1/4 cup unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

**I have added any of these fresh berries, pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds, flax seed, dried fruit... 

Mix these ingredients and let them sit for five minutes.

Oil or grease up your pan and heat over medium heat.

Pour about a 1/4 cup of batter for each crepe, allowing each side to brown before flipping it.

Topped with a poached egg
Pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) in these

Gluten Free Cranberry Pumpkin Pecan Scones
¾ cup Sorghum Flour 
½ cup Tapioca Flour 
¾ cup Potato Starch 
1 tsp Xanthan Gum 
1 tbspBaking Powder 
½ tsp Salt 
1 tsp Ground Cinnamon 
½ tsp Ground Ginger 
½ tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg 
¼ tsp Ground Cloves 
½ cup Packed Brown Sugar 
½ cup Cold Butter, Cut Into Small Pieces 
½ cup Pumpkin 
3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream Or Milk 
1 whole Egg 
1 cup chopped Pecans
1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup Confectioner's Sugar 
2 Tablespoons Heavy Cream Or Milk 
¼ teaspoons Cinnamon 
1 pinch Ground Cloves 
1 pinch Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (F). Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flours, starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, brown sugar) for 90 seconds with a whisk, making sure to get all of the flours and xanthan gum incorporated. 

Cut in butter until it is about the size of peas. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

Add in pecans and cranberries to the flour mixture. (makes it easier than doing it after the wet ingredients)

In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients (pumpkin, heavy cream and egg) then pour into the well and fold them into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon, taking care not to over beat.

Scoop the dough into a circular pie pan.  Mold dough to a level circle and then cut into pie shaped wedges.  Transfer each piece to parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, until lightly golden on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool slightly while you prepare the glaze. 

Combine all of the glaze ingredients (1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 2 Tablespoons heavy cream, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg and cloves) in a small bowl, adding cream or powdered sugar to get the consistency of glaze you want. 

Glaze the scones once they have cooled slightly.

Serve warm! :)

Meatless Monday

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 leek, diced
1/2 onion, minced
2 carrots, small diced
1 Gala Apple, diced (my addition)
1 8 oz package organic cremini mushrooms, stems removed and roughly chopped
1/2 tsp kosher salt
few turns of freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
3 small garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cooked quinoa (I used black as my addition, the recipe called for brown rice)
2 long, slender butternut squashes (I used acorn)
1 bunch organic spinach, stems removed and washed
2 oz smoked Gruyere Cheese, cubed 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the acorn squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds out of the bulb and discard.

Prepare a deep baking dish with about an inch of water. Place the squash flesh side down, so that it is submerged. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Meanwhile, prepare a large saucepan on medium heat with the oil. Add the leek, carrots, onion and apple. Saute for about 5 minutes. 

Add the mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook another 4-5 minutes. 

Then add the garlic and spinach. Saute for 1 minute. 

Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes so the spinach wilts slightly.

Place the cooked quinoa in a glass bowl. Add the vegetable mixture and mix well. Set aside.

Remove the squash from the oven. Leave the oven on. Drain and discard the water out of the baking dish.  Using some tongs because it is still hot, flip the squash over exposing the flesh.  Using an ice cream scoop, spoon the the quinoa mixture into the squash cavity. You can firm it down a little bit and add in a few cubes of Gruyere cheese to each squash half.  You will have extra quinoa mixture leftover.

Bake for 20 minutes. The top will become slightly crispy and brown. 

Serves 4 

Everything's better when it's mini

Last week was a potluck with my small group from church.  Thanks to Andy and Alex, our theme for the night was everything had to start with the letter "A"  Of course, I was in charge of the dessert, so Ala Mode Mini Apple Lattice Pies it was!  Such a tedious dessert to make, but the finished product was well worth it!  I started to make the pies the night before and realized that we were almost out of flour.  Thankfully I had some Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, so made a combo of: 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1/2 cup white flour, 2 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 cup cold butter sliced, 4-5 tbsp cold milk.  Mix the flours, sugar and salt together.  Cut in the butter with the flour, but make sure to not use your hands with this because you want to keep the butter really cold.  Once the butter is about pea sized, add in the milk about 1 tbsp at a time.  Gently form the dough into a ball first with a fork and then you can use your hands if needed.  Chill in the fridge until ready to use.

Ala Mode Mini Apple Lattice Pies

Crust listed above

For the apple filling:
5 large apples, diced very finely  (I do a mixture of McIntosh, Braeburns...etc)
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/3 cup toffee bits
juice of half a lemon

Make the dough and chill in fridge until ready to go.  Filling should be made when you are almost ready to use your dough.

Peel, core, and finely dice your apples to very small pieces, otherwise known as a brunoise
Toss them with the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, allspice, ginger, toffee bits, lemon juice, and lemon extract, if you’re using it. Store in the fridge until ready to use.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. 

When you are ready to roll out your dough, bring one ball out of the fridge and flour your work surface, your hands, and your rolling pin (if you don’t have a rolling pin, use a cold wine bottle – it’ll help your dough stay cold, anyway). 

Divide one of your balls in half and foll out gently, going in one direction, until the dough is about one or two centimeters thick. Using a glass or a cookie cutter, cut the dough out into appropriate sized circle for your muffin pan (I used the top of a water glass for this), and use your finger to stretch the dough out a bit as needed.

Press into a lightly greased muffin pan and work until half of your total dough is gone (you will need the other half for the lattice tops). 

Fill your pies with the apple filling. 

Make the lattice tops by cutting out the same sized circles as you did for the crust, then slice the circles thinly, and layer them in alternating layers for the lattice tops. Pinch the corners together so that the lattice top sticks to the crust, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. 

Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg and sprinkle with a little raw sugar, if you like. 

Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for another 10-12 minutes, until the crusts are golden and the filling is bubbling.

Allow to cool completely before removing from the pans. 

To make them ala mode, I topped each pie with a generous scoop of Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (this part I bought from the store ha ha)

Makes 18 Mini Pies

And I'm back with lots of Chocolate!

So much baking has gone on since I last posted, yet finding the time to sit down and blog has been difficult.  So here it goes, I have one more month before my half marathon.  It is a long distance for me and I am starting to get a little nervous for it.  Mostly just anxious and excited though.  I decided to do a longer run this last weekend and increase my mileage.  I was feeling really good about 8 miles in, so I decided to keep going.  By mile 10, I don't think that my legs wanted to move anymore and I kept on telling myself to go faster.  All in all, I finished the 10 miles in 1:35 which wasn't bad for me.  Feeling good about myself on the drive home and cruising with the window down, I got a burst of energy, so whipped out the bike and went for a ride...only to get 10 miles in and tried to stand up to climb a hill when my right calf became one mangled knot. WTF! Almost caused me to lose control and crash, but I managed to keep it under control and walk my bike back to the car.  A little stretching and looooots of water, I was feeling much better by the end of the day!  All in a days work and pretty proud of myself for pushing that 10 miles out...maybe next time I will skip the ride afterwards. :)   

So back to the baking...I had mentioned earlier that I had given up Chocolate for Lent, but made a weee little exception for some Devils Food Cupcakes for my boss.  It paid off when I asked for a day off next week and he responds with "Since you did make those fabulous cupcakes for me..."  All in a days work I guess :) and a delicious Devils Food Cupcake with Caramel Buttercream and Chocolate Toffee covered Pretzels.
You can find the cupcake here

The frosting was actually fun to make:

1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) salted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar

2-3 cups crumbled Chocolate Toffee covered Pretzels

Briefly stir together granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Continue cooking, without stirring, until mixture turns dark amber in color, about 6 to 7 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add in cream and vanilla (just start with a tablespoon or two), stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. 

Set aside until cool to the touch, about 25 minutes.

Beat the butter ]in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed until light in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add powdered sugar, and mix until completely incorporated.  

Turn off the mixer, and then add caramel. 

Beat frosting on low to combine, and then increase to medium-high and beat until airy and thoroughly mixed, about 2 minutes. 

Mix in crumbled pretzel bits.

Refrigerate if not using immediately (or to harden the frosting a bit).

**I spread the frosting on instead of piping it on since it was very sweet.  I had a lot of extra frosting too, so it can be modified very easily.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lovin the Louisiana Gumbo

I can't believe that it was over a year ago that I moved down to Louisiana.  I cherish the memories and all the people that I met down there.  Some of the highlights definitely had to be all the delicious food that they have!  One of my fellow Special Olympics friends..."My Spring Watermelon" to be exact, was generous enough to make me a Louisiana cookbook before I left!  I was going through my hoards and I mean hoooooards of recipes and came across her Gumbo recipe.  Since I had the day off today from work, I pledged to myself that I would slave over the stove to make this today.  Definitely worth the interval arm workout that went down while making the roux...note to self next time I make this, don't do an excruciating workout right before.  It makes for a painful time when stirring constantly, so the roux doesn't burn.  Anyway, if you haven't had authentic Gumbo from Louisiana...YOU NEED TO!  

So get down to LA and try some fabulous food, but for now, you can try this recipe! Thanks Tiff!

Tiffany's Louisiana Gumbo

1 lb andouille sausage, coined
2 large chicken breasts, diced
1 tbsp Tony Chachere
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup flour
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup bell peppers, chopped
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 bay leaves
9 cups chicken broth, low sodium & free range
1/2 cup green onions
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Cooked white rice (I used brown, since that's all I had)

In a large pot, add 1 tbsp oil over medium heat.  Add sausage and cook until brown.  
Remove and set aside.

Season chicken with Tony's and add to pan.  Cook for 5 mins.  Remove and set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup oil and 1 cup flour in the same pan.
Over medium heat, stir constantly for 20-25 mins until roux resembles peanut butter in color.

Add onions, celery and bell pepper.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 mins.
Add sausage, cayenne, and bay leaves.  Mix to combine.  

Add Chicken stock in lowly and still until well combined. 
Bring mixture to a boil and lower to medium heat.  Cook uncover for 1 hour.

Add chicken to pot and cook for 1 1/2 hours (be sure to skim off the fat)
     **the rice I used took an hour to make, so I started the rice about 30 mins after adding the chicken in.
Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.  Add green onion and parsley.

Serve warm over rice. 

Cupcake Love!

So I needed to do some more cupcakes...I think that I was having withdrawals!  Also, I haven't posted in here for a long time and yet, so much cooking and baking has been done!!  

My father's birthday was a couple weeks ago and instead of buying him some frivolous gift for his BBQ or a new shirt as I usually do...I decided that it was going to be a weekend of cooking and baking for him!  Saturday (his official birthday) commenced with a "I must admit" delicious Mexican Breakfast Casserole...followed by Sunday's family get together where everyone devoured Beef Enchiladas and Chicken with Homemade Tomatillo Salsa Enchiladas.  And if you know me well, no family get together is complete without a cupcake for dessert.  This dessert wasn't just any dessert though.  I made the hard choice to give up Chocolate for Lent, so that eliminated half the cupcakes that I wanted to make.  One of my dad's signature treats that he loves to make are Key Lime Pies.  So I decided to make my Key Lime Pie cupcakes.  My brother's girlfriend is Gluten Free, so I decided that I would make one of my all time favorite cupcakes, the Graham Cracker cupcake, into a Gluten Free cupcake.  This took a little practice as the GF All Purpose flour needs a dash of Xantham Gum to hold it together.  The cupcakes would be crumbly and disgusting without it...the xantham gum, therefore, acts as the binding agent.  Normal all purpose flour has Gluten to hold it together...  My first round of cupcakes, I didn't add enough, so I added a dash to the bowl before the next batch went into the oven.  All in all, the cupcake concoction was a GF Graham Cracker Cupcake with Key Lime Pie filling and a Coconut Vanilla Whipped topping.  I had some blackberries on hand, so I topped each with a blackberry too. 

I think that the weekend of delicious treats was a good present to say the least! :)

Mexican Breakfast Casserole
Thanks to Emeril Lagasse

1 jar roasted red peppers 
1 1/2 pounds Mexican chorizo, or other hot sausage, removed from casings and crumbled
    -I opted for 3/4 lb. Green Chili Chicken Sausage and 3/4 lb. Spicy Chipotle Chicken Sausage from the meat counter at Sunflower Market
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
4 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons chili powder
5 corn tortillas, quartered   (Ezekiel Sprouted Corn Tortillas are great and only 4 ingredients in them...completely GF)
10 large eggs
3 cups half-and-half   (I opted for Coconut Milk...changed the texture, but I don't drink milk)
1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions, green tops only
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup grated pepper jack
3/4 cup grated medium cheddar 

Spray 9x13 glass dish with cooking spray.  Spread the roasted peppers in a flat layer across the bottom of the dish. 

In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, stirring to break up the meat, until browned. 
Add the onions and bell peppers, and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes. 
Add the garlic and chili powder, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat. 

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and coconut milk with the hot sauce, salt and black pepper. 

In another bowl, combine the green onions, cilantro, jack, and cheddar, and mix well.

Spoon 1/3 of the sausage mixture over the roasted peppers in the dish, top with 1/3 of the tortilla quarters, and 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Repeat layering, ending with a cheese layer.

Pour the egg mixture over the ingredients. 
Let rest, covered, in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight. 

Next day...
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake until bubbly and golden brown, and a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving. 

Delicious layers

Casserole, fresh fruit and of course, COFFEE!

The enchilada recipes, I followed almost I will share the link to them!  They are delicious!

Thanks to:
Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice for the Spicy Shredded Flank Steak recipe
    -Slow cooked the flank stead in the crockpot over night instead


Gluten Free Graham Cracker Cupcakes
adapted from Vanilla Garlic blog to be made GF

1/2 cup of butter, room temperature
1 cup of sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 cup of milk 
    **I use Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1 cup of flour  
    **GF All Purpose Flour - Bob's Red Mill
1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs 
    **Smoreables is the only GF brand I found at Vitamin Cottage
1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of salt
3/4 tsp xantham gum
    **enough to make the batter thicker and not so runny

Beat the butter for about 30 seconds until well creamed. 
Add the sugar and mix for 3 minutes using a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure to beat for 30 seconds for each egg.

Place graham crackers in a food processor or in a plastic bag and beat until they are small crumbs or powder.

Sift together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda and powder, and salt. 

Add about 1/4 of the mixture to the butter mixture, then add some of the milk. 
Continue to add the ingrdients in adry-wet-dry method, ending with the dry. 
Continue to mix until just combined.  

Scoop into cupcake papers and bake for 12-14 minutes in a 350 F oven or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Key Lime Pie Filling

8 oz mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
5 oz key lime juice 
    **Nellie and Joe's Key Lime Juice is the best! :)
9 oz sweetened condensed milk

Place all ingredients in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Mix on low for 30 seconds. 
Increase speed to medium and blend for 2 minutes.

Place in a separate bowl and place in fridge for 2 hours.

Once cupcakes are cool, cut a hole or use corer to remove a small hole in the middle of the cupcake and spoon in generous portion of filling into each cupcake.

Coconut Vanilla Whipped Cream

3 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract (not the imitation crap)
handful of unsweetened coconut flakes, crumbled

Mix cream and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Splash in the vanilla and coconut.  Mix to combine.

Chill in fridge until ready to pipe onto cupcakes.

Filled and ready to be frosted

Crumbled one of the cupcake on top of the rest

Happy Birthday Dad
***  Drool worthy  ***



Friday, March 11, 2011

Chocolate Free Trail Mix Energy Bars!

Since I'm giving up chocolate for lent this year, I needed to make some energy bars that didn't have chocolate in them.  These turned out to be delicious! I looove dates and nuts, so it was the perfect combination!  I think that next time, I will try different fruit and nut mixtures.

Trail Mix Bars
inspired by Healthful Pursuits

1/3 cup chickpea flour
1/4 cup plant based protein powder  (I used Vega!)
1/3 cup quinoa flakes
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Himalayan rock salt  (so pretty and pink!)
1 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted, and cut into small pieces 

Binding goodness: 
1/2 braeburn apple, diced (since I had that kind on hand, any kind will do)
1/2 cup prunes
1/4 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper across both sides for easy lifting.  

Meanwhile, place apple and prunes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a simmer.  Allow to cook for 5 minutes. Drain and puree with maple syrup in a food processor or blender until smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together chickpea flour, protein powder, quinoa flakes, flaxseed, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. 

Stir in the walnuts and dried fruit. Make sure the nuts and dried fruit are completely coated with the flour mixture.

Add the fruit puree mixture to the fruit and nut mixture and mix well. 

Spread into the 8×8 prepared pan, pressing with your fingers to even it out.

Bake for 30-35 minutes at 325F or until golden.

Remove from the pan and allow to cool completely before slicing into individual servings.

**If you don't have a plant based protein powder, you can always just add more quinoa flakes in its place**

I put each square in its own plastic bag and froze them.  I take them out the night before and let them defrost in the fridge overnight.  They are a great snack or meal substitute!!  I ate one for breakfast this morning on the run!

Date and Apples waiting to be cooked
Dried fruit mixed with the flour mixture

Pureed Apple, Dates and Agave Nectar
Final mixing...
Patted flat and ready to bake
Making into squares...not quite cool enough yet though