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Gluten Free Beet Cake, revisited

February 23, 2013 - 2:52 pm

We went to our friend Greg’s house for dinner last night, and made my GF Red Velvet Cake recipe to take with us. Which means we finally got pictures.

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Did I mention the vanilla bean cream cheese icing?

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Nom.

French Onion Soup

November 24, 2012 - 4:24 pm

This year David was on call for Thanksgiving, so we’re delaying the bird roasting and trimmings until we have time to relax and enjoy cooking. We did want to have a nice meal, though, so we made a big batch of French onion soup. I looked at several recipes including Julia Child’s onion soup from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but in the end closed the books and did it my way. 

We generally stockpile bones from de-boning roasts and remains from lamb chops and other bony cuts in the freezer.  We keep two BIG freezer bags in the freezer, one for poultry bones and one for beef & lamb. When one of the bags is full, it’s time to make stock.

I’m not including explicit directions for making lamb stock.  This recipe from Marilou Suszko in Mother Earth Living seems most similar to my ingredients and prep after a cursory search on the internet, but because our stock is more or less always made from the leavings of other meal prep and bones that were left after meals, the ingredients vary from batch to batch.

In our stock there are always marrow bones, always a bit of raw meat. We’ve tried roasting the bones, and I personally don’t find that adds anything but time and fuss to the end result, so now we don’t bother. Sometimes we have organ meat, always carrots and onions and celery. Generally garlic, sometimes fragrant herbs, particularly rosemary and thyme. Usually pepper. I don’t generally add much, if any, salt, since the stock will be concentrated and it’s easy to make it overly salty.

Stock is a step in the process, not an end result, so I try not to add much in the way of seasonings besides the meat and the veggies. The rest of the flavor will be developed in the final recipe, and too much tampering with the stock can restrict its eventual use.

One thing I do differently from the cited recipe is simmer covered overnight on very low heat, then strain in the morning and reduce the resulting broth to about 1/4 the original volume.  This makes a very strong soup base that can be closer to a gel than a liquid.

Our stock is generally frozen straight out of the pot into two cup and one quart containers for later use. The French Onion Soup we made this year for Thanksgiving was made from three batches, and became three gallons of soup.

Recipe

Note: I’m giving the recipe for about a gallon of soup. We made three times this much, so I’m fudging and working from memory, but soups are forgiving. I recommend using this as a stepping off place for your own soup experiment.

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts of stock
  • 1 bottle of chardonnay white wine
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grated garlic
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp nutmeg, or grate one medium nut
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • salt to taste

Put the stock and wine in a big pot on medium heat, cover it, and start warming it. When it starts to simmer, turn heat down to keep it just barely bubbling.

Skin the paper off the onions and trim the ends, discarding the trimmings. Cut them in half from top to root, then finely slice each half so you end up with long, narrow strings of onion.

Melt butter and oil in a pan.  

Add the peppers, and cook til the butter browns, then add the onions.

Cook them over high heat until they start to soften.

Add remaining ingredients except the salt, then reduce the heat to low and cover.  Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes, until the onions are extremely soft and starting to brown.

Add the onions to the soup and allow it to keep simmering on low for several hours.  We left ours overnight.

To serve:

The soup will get ladled into individual servings, have a slice of toast floated on each, which is covered in Gruyere cheese and then melted under a broiler.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb Gruyere cheese, grated or sliced
  • One slice of toast for each serving

Equipment:

  • Single serving oven safe bowls or ramekins
  • Cookie sheet to transfer bowls into and out of the oven (and catch melted cheese)

Turn on broiler.

Ladle soup into bowls and place them on cookie sheet.

Float a piece of toast on each, and cover with cheese.

Place under broiler until cheese begins to brown

Serve immediately.

Gluten Free Choux Pastry for Doughnuts and Cream Puffs

December 3, 2011 - 12:58 pm

I published a teaser for this some months ago when we made the first batch of cream puffs.  It’s taken a few tries- oh, ok, quite a few tries- to get this down to a simple and repeatable experience anyone in the house can make.

The biggest issue was a procedure problem with the starter recipe, which had us use a food processor instead of a stand mixer for the final mixing.  This inevitably ended with batter going into the center hole of the food processor and making an icky mess that was devilish to clean up.  In frustration we tried working the whole thing in the stand mixer, and it worked fine!  One less appliance to clean, and an icky mess averted.

The base recipe here is for something called a choux pastry.  It’s one of the oldest recipes for a pastry dough, dating back to 1840.  This pastry is the basis for many sweet pastries, including cream puffs, profiteroles, beignets, crueller style doughnuts, eclairs, and churros.

The dough itself isn’t sweet however, and can be used for many applications.  It can be wrapped around cheese to melt in the baking, used as buns for sandwiches of various sorts, and David has all sorts of ideas for savory applications.

Today I’m publishing the cream puff shells.  I’ll add the doughnuts in a day or so.

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Recipe for Choux Pastry, baked into shells

Equipment:

  • Large baking sheet
  • Slipat mat or parchment paper
  • Stand mixer

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sorghum flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Egg Mixture:

  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg white (or more, for 3/4 c.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Heated Wet Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons half n’ half

Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF, and line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
  • Set up Stand Mixer with paddle or dough hook.  Leave standing ready with lid removed in a place convenient to the stove.

Directions:

In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

Break eggs into a measuring cup, adding whites until 3/4C egg, then whisk them.  Add baking powder, and whisk some more.  The egg will develop weird lumps; it’s supposed to do that.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, water, half n’ half, sugar and salt over a medium-low flame until the butter has melted completely and the mixture has just come to a gentle boil.

Add the dry ingredients and stir, scraping bottom and sides, until the dough has collected into a single lump.

Immediately transfer dough to the stand mixer, and pulse for at least 20 seconds to cool.

Pour egg mixture slowly into the stand mixer while it’s running.  Continue blending until you have a thick, smooth sticky paste: a minute or so.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet; the recipe should make about 12.  Flatten and smooth the puffs into the shape you want.  Long and skinny for éclairs, or round for puffs.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then lower oven temperature to 375ºF and bake for 10 minutes more.  NOTE: opening the door to the oven will cause the puffs to collapse.  Resist the temptation.

Makes 12 large cream puffs.

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Gluten Free Pie Crust

November 18, 2011 - 12:31 pm

So it’s Thanksgiving next week.  For me and for a lot of people, Thanksgiving means two things: turkey and pie.  For the gluten free folks, pie is a problem.  But it doesn’t have to be; I have a fantastic pie crust recipe.  I haven’t changed a thing about this recipe since I found it the year I learned I needed to eat gluten free.  I’ve tried other recipes, but come back to this one.  It’s the best I’ve found.

The only thing I ever modify is to split the butter into half butter and half shortening for a flakier crust, since oils with different melting temps help make crust layers.  I’m sharing it the way I found it, though, with attribution.  I believe the original web site is long since defunct, but this recipe was a source of hope for me in a dark time.  I’m forever grateful.

This picture here is that recipe, with a butterscotch crumb apple pie in it, but it works for any sort of pie you like.  I’ve used it pre-baked and unbaked, for sweet and savory pies, and it’s never disappointed.  I have pre-made and frozen the dough, packed it in a suitcase, and rolled it out at my destination.

 

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Pie Crust

  • 1/3 cup brown or white rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/3 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
  • 1/3 cup (5 Tablespoon) butter
  • 1-½ Tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Have eggs and butter cold for best results. Combine flours, starches, salt, xanthan gum, and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut cold butter into slices and then work it into the flour mixture with hands or a pastry cutter until the dough feels slightly moist and begins to hold together.

Add the beaten egg and vinegar to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon or fork until it begins to stiffen. The dough will be quite soft at first but will firm up. As it firms up, form it into a ball and work it a little with your hands. Use a little tapioca flour if necessary to keep your hands from getting sticky.

Roll the dough out between two pieces of wax paper, turning and peeling off paper as necessary to smooth out wrinkles. Leave the paper on the pie dough to turn it. When it is ready for a pie pan, peel the top layer of paper off, hold the lightly greased pan over the dough, and slip your other hand under the bottom paper and dough. Lift it into the pan as you flip it all over.

Smooth the dough into the pan before removing the wax paper. Again peel it off; dont lift it off. Crimp edges as desired. Prick with a fork if a baked pie shell is desired and bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.

Double the ingredients for a two-crust pie. Dont attempt to fold the top pie crust. A two-crust pie will bake one hour or a bit longer.

This recipe comes from Lifeline, Summer 1996, pg. 5. It is Lily Mae Pattens recipe.

 

 

Pie Crust
•1/3 cup brown or white rice flour
•1 teaspoon xanthan gum
•1/3 cup tapioca flour
•1 Tablespoon sugar
•1/3 cup potato starch
•1/3 cup (5 Tablespoon) butter
•1-½ Tablespoon corn starch
•1 egg, beaten
•1/3 teaspoon salt
•½ to 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Have eggs and butter cold for best results. Combine flours, starches, salt, xanthan gum, and sugar into a mixing bowl. Cut cold butter into slices and then work it into the flour mixture with hands or a pastry cutter until the dough feels slightly moist and begins to hold together.
Add the beaten egg and vinegar to the flour mixture and stir with a spoon or fork until it begins to stiffen. The dough will be quite soft at first but will firm up. Is it firms up, form it into a ball and work it a little with your hands. Use a little tapioca flour if necessary to keep your hands from getting sticky.
Roll the dough out between two pieces of wax paper, turning and peeling off paper as necessary to smooth out wrinkles. Leave the paper on the pie dough to turn it. When it is ready for a pie pan, peel the top layer of paper off, hold the lightly greased pan over the dough, and slip your other hand under the bottom paper and dough. Lift it into the pan as you flip it all over.
Smooth the dough into the pan before removing the wax paper. Again peel it off; dont lift it off. Crimp edges as desired. Prick with a fork if a baked pie shell is desired and bake at 350 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.
Double the ingredients for a two-crust pie. Dont attempt to fold the top pie crust. A two-crust pie will bake one hour or a bit longer.
This recipe comes from Lifeline, Summer 1996, pg. 5. It is Lily Mae Pattens recipe.

Strawberry Shortcake

July 11, 2011 - 5:57 am

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We harvested our first strawberries this past week, and wanted to make strawberry shortcake.  I’d never gone looking for a shortcake recipe before.  This came out with a texture between those cheesy cakes we used to get in the grocery store next to the strawberries and angel food cake, but so much better than either one!

Strawberry Shortcake

dry ingredients:

  • 1 C corn starch
  • 1/4 t xanthum gum
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

wet ingredients:

  • 1 C butter (one stick) slightly softened
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 T vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 and grease muffin tins.  I used tins that were shaped like small bundt cakes.

Combine dry ingredients, mix well, and set aside.  (not the sugar.)

Beat butter until fluffy.  I used a stand mixer, but a hand mixer would also work.

Add vanilla and sugar, and beat til fluffy again, starting with the mixer on low so you don’t make a mess.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy between each.  At the end the mixture may separate a little; this is ok.

Add the dry ingredients and … Yep!  You guessed it!  Beat til fluffy!!

Divide the batter between the cups.  It will be thick, but that won’t matter; they will cook into a nice shape even through they don’t start with a smooth surface.

Bake for about 15 minutes.  Less will give a softer, wetter texture, more will give a firmer, dryer consistency and a darker color.

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I also made a cinnamon whipped topping while the cakes were cooking:

  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C 2% milk
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 2 T powdered sugar

Beat cream until it starts to thicken.

Add milk, a little at a time, beating between additions, diluting the cream as mich as you can without making soup.  Depending on the cream and the milk and the day, you may not be able to use it all.

Add cinnamon and powdered sugar, and beat some more.

I plated it up, sprinkled with some shaved chocolate, and it was delicious!  Wonderful accompaniment to a game of Carcassonne!

 

Gluten free Buckwheat Pancakes

June 27, 2011 - 10:15 am

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Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancakes

(feeds about 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 C buckwheat
  • 1/2 C masa harina (fine ground corn flour)
  • 1/4 C sorghum flour
  • 2 T sucanat (brown sugar will work)
  • 2 T buttermilk powder (optional)
  • 1/4 t xanthan gum
  • 1.5 T baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C milk (goats milk works fine, and water can be subbed for the dairy free.)
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 large or 2 small apples, or a cup of blueberries

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients.

Beat eggs, then add milk & oil.

Combine dry & wet until fairly smooth, then leave it sit for at least 15, probably 20 minutes. The waiting is important, I promise, or they won’t be fluffy.

If you’re adding apples, peel them and slice it into very thin slices– as thin as you can.  If you’re adding blueberries wash them and set them close to where you’re cooking.

Stir up the batter after its rested.  If it seems thick, add water, a little at a time, until it is thick but will pour.

Heat a skillet and brown butter in it. Add a little cooking spray, maybe, to make sure the pan is coated with oil.

Drop some batter in the pan and smooth it out a little– it will be too thick to spread on its own.

If you wish, you can lay apple slices into the batter to mostly cover it, or scatter some blueberries over the top.

Cook pancake on medium heat until bubbles form and then break on the surface.

Flip the pancake and cook until done.

Serve and enjoy!

Note: If you have leftover batter, it will keep nicely in the fridge.

Cream Puffs

May 4, 2011 - 2:30 pm

I have just made gluten-free cream puff shells for the first time ever. This is a choux pastry, which is something I’ve never tried to make previously; apparently this is how eclairs and profiteroles are made as well.

I’m not sure I’ve ever baked something so beautiful. And I haven’t filled them with the chocolate pastry cream yet.

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here, let’s zoom in:

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Now don’t you want to come to knit night at my house tonight?

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

March 31, 2011 - 2:17 pm

Question to Zachary: “What should I make for brunch?”

Answer: “Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread!”

Question to David: “What would you like for dessert?”

Answer: “Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread!”

Question to Heather: “What would you like me to bake for the retreat at La Push?”

Answer: “Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread!”

It seems like there’s only one answer to any question I ask these days about baking.  This is the new universal favorite baked good in the house. Pumpkin pie’s spicy sweetness mixes with chocolate into a rich warm flavor.   The moist crumble of a perfect banana bread combines with a little bit of texture given by the chips and oat bran.  Delicious!

The best part for me is it’s also full of nutrition, with lots of pumpkin and oat bran, and very little sugar other than what the chips impart.  Sometimes I just sprinkle a few on the top without mixing them into the batter, and they are not missed.  It’s dairy free and gluten free.

I got the foundation for the recipe from gfreecuisine.com, but it’s morphed substantially from their base recipe.  And so without further ado, I give you:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Equipment:

  • 3 loaf pans, 8 x 4 inches.  I recommend glass, because it will be easier to clean the melted chips.
  • Stand mixer recommended.

Wet Ingredients:

  • 1 C sugar
  • 2 C pureed pumpkin, or canned pumpkin.  (Don’t get the pie mix! 🙂
  • 1 C vegetable oil
  • 1/3 or more C water, added at the end to make a good batter.
  • 4 large eggs, beaten well.

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C oat bran or Scottish Oats for a bit more texture.
  • 1 C masa or corn flour (not corn meal)
  • 1 C tapioca flour or starch
  • 1 C sorghum flour
  • 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 T pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 2 t nutmeg
  • 1 T xanthan gum
  • 1 & 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 & 1/2 t salt

Extras:

  • 1 & 1/2 C chocolate chips; I prefer the miniature ones, and remember to look for dairy free, if needed.
  • 1/2 C nuts and or dried fruit, if you like them.  I do not.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350

Grease and flour the three loaf pans, using tapioca or corn flour.

In a stand mixer or large bowl, combine the wet ingredients and beat until smooth and somewhat frothy.  Adding air at this stage makes the bread fluffier.

In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk to thoroughly mix.  If you don’t mix well enough, the bread will have an uneven consistency.

Add the flour gradually while the stand mixer is going on its lowest speed, or in small batches if you are mixing by hand.  Stir until just combined, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.  The mixture should look like a heavy cake batter.  If it gets so thick that the bottom of the bowl is visible, add water as needed to smooth it out.  How much is needed varies with how wet the pumpkin is; use your judgement.  I have added as much as a cup and a half, and as little as 1/3 C.

Fold in most of the chocolate chips, nuts, or fruit, if adding.  Retain some to sprinkle on top of the loaves.

Divide the batter between the three pans, and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.  The center of the bread should stay firm when you shake the pan, not jiggle like jello.  You can also test for doneness by inserting a knife.  It may come back with melted chocolate chip, but shouldn’t have batter on it.

Turn out the loaves immediately, preferably on a wire rack.  Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.  This bread freezes well; I always freeze one or two of the loaves.

 

Candy Brandy Pears

March 26, 2011 - 9:02 am

This is right after the fruit went into the butter, before the oj was added.

This is one of my favorite desserts. The one I always want after a good meal. Just the right amount of sweetness, and warm, satisfying flavors.

Candy Brandy Pears

Ingredients:

  • 3 – 4 pears sliced in half and cored
  • 3 – 4 T butter
  • 1 C orange juice
  • Spices; I use apple pie spice and a little ginger, cloves, cinnamon, and whatever else smells right
  • Optionally, brandy or other alcohol, to taste

Instructions:

Put the butter in a skillet large enough to place all of the pears face down in.

Brown butter.

Add pears, and sprinkle spices over them.

When the pears start to stick, add orange juice, 1/4 C at a time. Pour it over the pears to wash the spices into the butter.

As the liquid cooks off, keep adding the oj, and baste pears in the developing sauce regularly as they cook.

If the oj is gone and the pears are still not soft enough to eat with a spoon, start adding water in 1/4C amounts and continue basting until they soften.

Remove pears to plate, cut side up.

Add alcohol to complete the caramelization of the oj & spices into a sauce.  If you prefer not to add alcohol, a little water will also help lift any sticky bits.

Pour over pears, and serve immediately. Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream go well with this dessert.

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