Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Black and White Cookies . . . almost

My little sister spent last summer in New York City. She brought back a Black and White cookie for me. It was very good - a soft, cakey cookie with vanilla and dark chocolate fondant covering it. I decided that I ought to make a gluten free version.

Tonight, I tried it. While they weren't "Gag me with a spoon" awful, they were certainly nothing to write home about. They were just kind of - there. Certainly nothing worth breaking a diet for . . . in the end, no more than super-empty carbs. I won't post the recipe. But I'll try again someday and see if I can make them post-worthy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cowboy Monster Cookies


It's raining in my backyard today. The new shoots on the raspberry bushes are dripping, there are occasional flashes of lightning, and it's about 10 degrees cooler than it was yesterday. Obviously, today was the day to try a new cookie recipe.

My neighbor has a recipe called "Monster Cookies" that called for no flour, and I thought I would try them. They did, however call for 18 cups of oats . . . . and WHOA! that's a lot of expensive gluten free oats to put into cookies. So I decided to combine my "Cowboy Cookie" recipe with her "Monster Cookie" recipe . . . yummy deliciousness resulted. Peanut butter, oats, and chocolate chips make a lovely rainy day treat . . . or any day, really.

Cowboy Monster Cookies

1/2 c. butter
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 c. creamy peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1 1/2 c. featherlight mix
1/2 c. GF mix
2 c. GF rolled oats
1 c. chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla, then peanut butter. Add salt, baking soda, baking powder, xanthan gum, and flour mixes, and mix well. Mix in oats, then chocolate chips. (The chocolate chips don't mix into the cookie dough as well when there is peanut butter in the recipe . . . the oil from the peanut butter makes them want to slip out of the dough. Just mix them in as well as you can so that you don't end up with half of your cookies lacking chocolate chips.)



Roll in 1 inch balls, and place on a 13x18 cookie sheet. Press down slightly . . . don't use a fork, just smoosh 'em a bit with your fingers. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Chili


All right. I hated that last picture so much that I decided I had better replace it with a new post. These pictures strike me as marginally better, but I think that afternoon is just not the best time for picture taking in my kitchen. I guess I'll have to start making dinner earlier!

Tonight we are having Frito Banditos for dinner. At least, that's what my family calls them. Some of my relatives call it Frito Pie, I've heard it called Walking Tacos . . . well, I'm sure that there are dozens of things it has been called. What it means is: We're eating chili on top of Frito-type corn chips, topped with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and cheese. And, before you complain that cucumbers have no business on anything resembling tacos, let me inform you that I LOVE cucumbers on tacos, and you really ought to try it.

And now . . . the chili recipe!

Chili

1 - 1 1/2 lb. hamburger
1/2 diced onion (or use a TBS or two of dehydrated onions)
salt and pepper
3 cans tomato sauce
2 cans diced tomatoes (I love the petite diced tomatoes . . . not sure why)
1 4 oz. can diced green chilis
1 1/2 tsp. cumin*
2 cans pinto beans, drained and rinsed**
1 can refried beans (optional)
1 16 oz. bag frozen corn

Sautee burger, onion, and salt and pepper until browned. Drain grease. (I usually cook 5 or 6 lbs. of burger at a time, add enough tomato sauce to make it all red but not liquidy (about 1 sm. can per lb of burger), then freeze it in ziplock bags containing 1 or 1 1/2 lbs of burger apiece. That way I only have to defrost it and dump it in to my recipes, instead of spending the time to cook 1 lb. of burger at a time.) Place burger in a large pot. Add the rest of the ingredients. Heat through.

Great on it's own, as Frito Banditos, over home baked oven fries (or even store bought fries), or over hot dogs.

*Add more cumin if you like. I'm having a hard time judging the correct amount of spices tonight because of clogged sinuses . . . nothing smells or even tastes like anything!
**This recipe is also really good with home cooked black beans, too.




Ham and Lentil Soup



I had to remove the picture. It grossed me out every time I looked at it, and I actually know how good the soup tasted! It was dinnertime when I pulled out the camera, and the evening light wasn't really good enough to get the picture I wanted. The soup, however, was definitely good enough . . . I was lucky to have enough available for picture taking!

I've never cooked with lentils before, but I've been wanting to for quite some time. They make a good food storage item because, like beans, they are a good source of protein. Not only that, they are naturally gluten free, which is always a bonus. This soup really doesn't require any strange ingredients to make it gluten free. I really enjoyed it, and it appears that the rest of the family did, too, because there are no leftovers!

Ham and Lentil Soup

1 meaty ham bone (mine is usually left over from a spiral cut ham hock or butt)
6 c. water
1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning
salt and pepper
1 pinch tarragon (optional)
1 c. lentils, rinsed and drained
1 c. carrots, cut into disks (peel 'em first)
1 c. peas (optional)
1 c. cauliflower florets (cut them pretty small)
1 c. corn

Cut most of the meat off the ham bone and dice it into small pieces. Place ham pieces and ham bone in a medium-large pot, then add water, salt and pepper, poultry seasoning, and tarragon (if desired). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and boil for about 15 minutes. Add vegetables and lentils, and return to a simmering boil. Simmer, covered, for about 25 minutes, or until lentils and veggies are soft. Add enough water, if necessary, to make the soup soup-like again. (Lentils absorb a lot of water. I think I added 1 or 1 1/2 c. of water.) Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Citrus Pound Cake



Strawberries have been available for about a dollar a pound for a few weeks now. They always smell so sweet and summery when I walk by them . . . so I buy some. And then, of course, I have to make angel food cake or pound cake to go with them! This particular recipe has been passed from one friend, through another friend, to me. The friend before me changed it a bit, and I changed it again, then I made it gluten free. It's really good . . . especially with strawberries!

Citrus Pound Cake

1 1/2 c. butter, at room temperature
zest from one lime and zest from half an orange*
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
juice of half an orange
juice of one lime
2 1/4 c. featherlight mix
3/4 c. GF mix
1 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt


Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 2 or 3 loaf pans with parchment paper. (I really like parchment paper. It allows me to remove things from the pans so easily. If you don't have any, however, a non-stick cooking spray should do the trick. Or you can lightly grease the pan with either butter or shortening, then dust it with featherlight mix.)

Cream butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and zest, then beat on high speed for 3 to 5 minutes, "until light and airy" my original recipe said. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. (Adding the eggs slowly like this allows them to mix evenly into the butter mixture, without leaving clumps of butter that are didn't mix in well.) Add the vanilla and citrus juices, and mix well. Then add the flours, xanthan gum, and salt all at once. Mix until well blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and shake lightly to even out the top. Bake until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. (I left mine in the pans for hours . . . until I went to bed that night.) Allow to cool completely before serving. Cover leftovers tightly. (I kept mine in a ziplock bag overnight.)

This cake is good on the first day, but it is REALLY good after it's been allowed to sit for a while. I'd suggest making it 8 - 24 hours before you want to serve it. If you forget to make it early, though, it's not the end of the world. It tastes good, just an hour out of the oven - it's mostly the texture that improves with time.


*I used a fine cheese grater to "zest" the lime and orange, because I don't own a zester. The thing to remember is that you want the colored part of the peel, but not the white part underneath it. Once you are done zesting them, the fruit peels will look like pale copies of their former selves. Then you can juice the fruits for later in the recipe!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Quiche



Quiche has a bad name. I've heard all sorts of things about it, like "Real men don't eat quiche," and "Real moms don't make quiche." Well, that's hooey. Quiche is very easy to make, and it's delicious. I usually make my quiche without a crust because it's faster, but I do have a gluten free pie crust that I love. When I want to be fancy, that's what I use. Most of the time, though, I throw some parchment paper in the pan, pour the quiche in, and bake it. It's easy.

I took this to a Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt and Potluck Breakfast this last weekend, and received LOTS of compliments. One mom told me: "I'm so impressed. I couldn't make this." Well, I'm sure she could. Quiche is very forgiving. You can add a little less or more of any of the ingredients and still come out with a great quiche. You can add spinach or shredded carrots or leave out the onions or use ham or even chicken instead of bacon, and you'll still come out with a great quiche. Try it!

Quiche - Gluten Free, Easy, and Delicious!

1/2 c. diced bell peppers
1/4 c. diced onions
1/4 - 1/2 lb. bacon
6 eggs
1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. cottage cheese
1/2 c. shredded cheese (I use a 4 cheese blend from Costco)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sautee peppers. (Don't they look yummy? And if we had Wonka-vision, they would smell yummy, too.)


Cut bacon into 1/4 inch pieces (I do this with my kitchen shears), then cook it until it's crispy. (No picture . . . but it also smells yummy!) Allow bacon to cool on paper towels, to absorb most of the bacon grease.

In a medium bowl, beat eggs with a whisk. Add sour cream and mix well - enough to eliminate any big lumps of sour cream. Stir in cottage cheese, shredded cheese, some salt and pepper, and the cooked bacon and peppers.

Line 2 pie plates with parchment paper. Pour the egg mixture into the two pans, trying to split the solid bits (like peppers and bacon) evenly between the 2 pans. (When I double the recipe, I split the egg mixture between a pie plate and a 9x13 pan.)

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut, and enjoy!








Thursday, April 8, 2010

Puffy Oven Pancake



This morning's Special Request was Puffy Oven Pancake. This is one of my family's favorite special breakfasts. I especially like the higher protein content provided by the eggs and nuts, which means that I feel full for longer than half an hour. This recipe really works best with Featherlight mix. I've tried it with other flour mixes and just haven't liked it as well. I almost always make a double batch, because my family of 6 easily polishes off two 9x13 pans.


Puffy Oven Pancake

1 c. featherlight mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. milk
4 eggs beaten
2 Tbs. margarine or butter
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 (16 oz) can sliced peaches, diced
1/4 c. chopped pecans


Heat over to 425 degrees.

Mix together featherlight mix, xanthan gum, sugar, and salt. Combine milk and eggs, and slowly whisk into dry ingredients. (I usually add enough milk/egg mix to form a thick batter, beat it well, then add more milk/egg. This gives me a smooth batter without any lumps.) Place margarine in a 9x13 pan. Melt in hot oven until margarine is sizzling (about 3 minutes). Remove pan from oven. Tilt to spread margarine over the entire bottom of the pan. Immediately pour batter into the hot pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon, then top with diced peaches and pecans.

Return pan to oven. Bake for 16-20 minutes, until golden brown. Pancake puffs up a lot while cooking, but almost always falls once it's out of the oven. Serve with syrup or cream.


This is the pan just before removal from the oven.


This is the same pan, after being removed from the oven. You can see that the edges of the pancake are 1/2 - 1 inch shorter after removal from the oven. It's shorter, but no less yummy!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"Cinnamon Roll" Bread


This weekend I was making Sunday Morning Breakfast Cake, one of my mother-in-law's recipes (modified to be gluten free, of course). The topping is a combination of butter, brown sugar, and nuts, and as I was spreading it on the cake, I started to think about cinnamon rolls again. The pull-aparts, while yummy, do require a bit of prep work . . . too much to do on a daily basis. I decided to see if I could create a spreadable "cinnamon roll" topping that could be enjoyed anytime. It doesn't taste exactly like cinnamon rolls (my husband says it's not quite gooey enough), but it is very good. In fact, one of my 5 year olds just came up to me, saw the photo, and said: "Mom, will you make some of that for me again this morning?" Of course I will!

"Cinnamon Roll" Bread

1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 1/3 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
cream cheese frosting, optional

Combine butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Mix well. (I just used my hands to mix it together, but you could use a mixer.) Spread on slices of bread*. Place topped bread on a cookie sheet, then broil until bubbly. (When using the broiler, don't walk away from the oven. You only need to broil it for 1 - 3 minutes, and you will be happiest if you stay and watch your food the whole time. I'm always immensely irritated with myself when I burn something that would have been delicious if only I'd watched it!)

You can top the bread with cream cheese frosting, if you want, or eat it straight out of the oven. Either way, it's yummy! Keep extra spread in the refrigerator. Microwave cold spread for 10 - 15 seconds to make it spreadable again.

*I always keep my gluten free bread in the fridge or freezer. Then, before using it, I reheat it in the microwave until it's soft and warm. This takes about 10 seconds. Once the bread is reheated, it's as pliable as newly made bread.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes



Pancakes and waffles are one of the first foods I recommend to new gluten free cooks. The batter is easy to make, and they freeze and reheat well. They're great for peanut butter sandwiches, too. Besides which, it's easy to vary the recipe. This particular variation is one that my neighbor shared with me. The ones she brought me were full of wheat, but I was easily able to modify my own pancake recipe to re-create the delicious flavor.

Pumpkin Pancakes

1 1/2 c. Featherlight mix
1/2 c. GF mix
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
½ tsp. salt
1 Tbs. baking powder
¼ c. sugar
¼ c. brown sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon
3 dashes mace
3 eggs
1 ¾ c. milk
½ c. oil
1 c. pumpkin
¼ - ½ c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, milk, oil, and pumpkin. Add to dry ingredients and mix well (there should be few, if any, lumps). Stir in chocolate chips. Cook on a hot griddle until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes. Flip and cook on the other side. Leftover pancakes may be refrigerated (or frozen) and reheated in the microwave.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Cinnamon Pull Aparts



First of all . . . you will note the return of pictures! I will not re-tell the camera story now, because I do not have the time to calm myself back down. I will simply say: "Panasonic has NO customer service skills. But I fixed the camera despite them." Sheesh.

So. Spring Break, for me, means time to make fun gluten free breakfast things. I'm going to try to post a fun breakfast recipe every day this week. Considering my track record, though, I make NO guarantees!

About a month ago, I bought a small loaf of cinnamon pull-aparts from a local bakery. I've tried making them gluten free in the past, but the bread batter is so sticky that it was more hassle than it was worth. Well, as I stared at this little loaf of bread, I started thinking about the prepurchased frozen bread dough balls that are sold in grocery stores, and wondered: "Why can't I do that?" Coming up with no good arguments against, I decided to try it. And . . . it worked! One of my 5 year olds helped me make the pull aparts, and there was very little mess to clean up. Definitely a repeater!

Cinnamon Pull Aparts

1/2 a recipe of Gluten Free Bread batter, balled and frozen *
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
1 c. white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Melt butter in another small bowl. Line one large bread pan or several small bread pans with parchment paper. (This keeps the cinnamon sugar from burning onto the pan.) Roll each ball of frozen dough in butter, then in cinnamon sugar. Place into the pan(s). Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Allow pull-aparts to rise while the oven heats. Bake pull-aparts at 350 for about 40 minutes. Top with cream cheese frosting.


*Each recipe of my White Sandwich Bread makes 2 loaves of bread. To make pull-aparts, make a batch of bread, but just bake one loaf. Scoop the remaining bread batter onto a parchment-paper-lined cookie sheet using a small cookie scooper or 2 spoons. Stick the cookie sheet in the freezer. You can keep the frozen balls of dough in the freezer for quite a while, though if you want to put off using them for a long time, you might want to transfer them to a re-sealable bag so they don’t freezer burn.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Cream Cheese Frosting

This is my favorite frosting recipe. I use it for cinnamon rolls, carrot cake, graham cracker cookies . . . just about everything that calls for frosting, actually.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 8 oz. block of cream cheese
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream together butter and cream cheese. When well blended, mix in powdered sugar. Add vanilla. Keep leftover frosting in the refrigerator.