Saturday, August 30, 2008

My Adopted Gluten-Free Blogger? Kate at Gluten-Free Gobsmacked!


Seamaiden at Book of Yum is hosting this round of Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger! I decided to participate and adopt Kate at Gluten-Free Gobsmacked. Kate's blog has to be one of my favorites - for a variety of reasons. (1) Kate's a teacher, (2) her recipes kick butt, and (3) she introduced me to the bento lunch.

So, I owe her a lot. For this round of Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger, I decided to make her Bleu Cheese & Dried Cherry Burgers on her Lavash Wrap. Wow. Did I make an awesome choice. The burgers were so juicy and flavorful. The dried cherries played off the tartness of the blue cheese. My husband and I devoured these. I ate one of the burgers on the lavash wrap - which reminded me of the flavorful breads I used to eat pre-gf. Then I saved the rest for lunch for the rest of the week! (which were bentos, mind you)

The burgers reminded me of a better (and edible) version of a hamburger my uncle made for my family ages ago (note: Susanne ask James about this). When we lived in Pennsylvania as kids, my Uncle John and his family from Nebraska came in for a visit. My uncle wanted to make us dinner as a thank you for our hospitality. He made burgers with chunks of Macintosh apples in them - which made the burgers hard as a rock and inedible. After that dinner, my mom declared that my Uncle John was no longer allowed to cook for our family. But, I digress.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sausage & Peppers

I'm going to start this post by saying, I don't eat sausage. I've never liked it. Well, except for kielbasa. I'm a huge fan of kielbasa - if a recipe calls for sausage, I put in kielbasa. But, I digress...

My husband is Italian - second generation. He worked at both a pizzeria and a salumaria. He's a really good (if not great) Italian cook - both Italian-American dishes and peasant-style (which will have when it gets colder). Tonight, he's having the guys over for their fantasy football draft. Mind you, I've been living fantasy baseball all summer. So, for the guys, we are whipping up some sausage and peppers, armadillo eggs (recipe coming soon), wings (recipe coming soon), and chips and dip.

Sausage & Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of sweet or hot Italian sausage (other kinds of thick link sausage would be fine)
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 white onions
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (my husband is partial to Del Monte)
  • olive oil
  • salt (kosher or sea)
  • freshly ground pepper
  • garlic powder
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Cut onions and peppers into two inch long strips;
  2. Take out a 12 in, deep bottom pan; put a teaspoon of olive oil in, and heat it up;
  3. Once it's hot, put the peppers and onions in the pan and add two tablespoons of olive oil to coat;
  4. Once the onions & peppers are coated, add salt, pepper, garlic powder, basil, & oregano to taste;
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often;
  6. Cover the pan & cook on medium high until softened;
  7. While peppers & onions are softening, in another pan, place the sausages in, put enough water to submerge them half way, cover, & cook on high for 10 minutes (flip sausages halfway through) (or you can just bbq them till done - like we did);
  8. In the pepper & onion pan, add the tomato sauce, fill the empty can with water & add to the pan - cook for another 15 minutes on high;(Skip this step if BBQ'ed)
  9. Once the sausages have been cooking for 15 minutes, drain the pan, put about a teaspoon of olive oil in and brown the sausages;
  10. Once the sausages are browned, add them to the pepper & onions. Cook 15 more minutes.
    And enjoy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Simple Joys of Life

My son loves Elmo. I mean he really loves Elmo. He met Elmo once at a party - he was star struck. When he rides in my car, he always puts on his foam Elmo visor. In the picture above, he was nice enough to read an Elmo book, but generally he holds a golf club while we putt (no pun intended) around Staten Island. He loves golf, too. (I mean he loves golf...another story)

Yesterday, we took him to Strasburg Railroad in Lancaster County, PA. He was able to ride a real steam locomotive in Amish Country. He loved it. He wore his little engineer's hat and watched the farms roll by. He was in heaven. He's a fan of trains and farm animals.

This is the wee one at the New Jersey State Fair aka the Sussex County Farm and Horse Show. He wanted a sheep badly that day. If we stayed their any longer, we would have had a farm. Not that I'm complaining, though. Because I grew up in Jersey, I do know how to milk a cow and birth a sow (among other things)....but, I digress.


As school is starting next week, I know my son will remind me of the simple joys of life. When NCLB regulations, explaining to teens that getting pregnant isn't "cool", and being gluten-free gets me down, all I have to do is think of him and I'm happy again. Or I can just think of his dad (my better half - and yes, he is wearing my son's shirt on his head)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Why Twitter is evil aka why I made Alton Brown's Cookies


Twitter really isn't evil, per se, but it does give me bad ideas.....If you haven't been on Twitter, you need to start. It is a social networking tool that you just keep answering the question "What are you doing?" Karina, the Gluten-Free Goddess got me hooked and now I'm addicted! I Twitter from my laptop, my desktop, and my phone.

Well, two nights ago, Lisa, Mrs.GlutenFree, was talking about Alton Brown's "The Chewy Gluten-Free Cookie" on Twitter. I was pretty much in bed for the night, but she made me want to get out of bed and bake. Well, sleep was a tad bit more important than the cookies. So, yesterday morning, I made the dough before going to the gastro (who, by the way, said he wanted to whip me for not getting a blood test - odd). When I got home, while my husband was making an awesome dinner of caprese salad, grilled chicken, and spinach, I started cooking the cookies.

Lets just say, the cookies were AWESOME. I chose the cookies for dinner over this:

The only substitution I made was arrowroot starch for corn starch...because I had it on hand.


Alton Brown's Chewy Gluten Free from The Food Network

Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 11 ounces brown rice flour, approximately 2 cups
  • 1 1/4 ounces cornstarch, approximately 1/4 cup (I used arrowroot here)
  • 1/2-ounce tapioca flour, approximately 2 tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 10 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (I used WF's Vegan Chocolate Chips here - my husband would rather I used Enjoy Life's Chips - he likes them better)
Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottom medium saucepan over low heat. Once melted, pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. In a medium bowl, sift together the rice flour, cornstarch, tapioca flour, xantham gum, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Add both of the sugars to the bowl with the butter and using the paddle attachment, cream together on medium speed for 1 minute.
  5. Add the whole egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
  6. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined.
  7. Add the chocolate chips and stir to combine.
  8. Chill the dough in the refrigerator until firm, approximately 1 hour.
  9. Shape the dough into 2-ounce balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet.
  10. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating the pans after 7 minutes for even baking.
  11. Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on the pans for 2 minutes.
  12. Move the cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.
  13. Store cooked cookies in an airtight container.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sour Cream Enchiladas ala the Goddess...


This weekend I saw a recipe for a dish called Mexican Lasanga on the Pioneer Woman's website. The recipe called for me. I rustled up all the ingredents - except for enchilada sauce. Which I then found out is hard to find gluten free. Then the wee one got sick. Today, since he was running around, I thought I'd try to make my own enchilada sauce. In my quest, I ended up on Karina's site. I love her. I really do. When I'm in a bind, I look to her site and my questions are answered! As I looked at her enchilada sauce recipe, I was drawn to her Sour Cream Enchiladas. So, I made those (with a few subsitutions) and some guacamole:

Enchilada Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, hand torn
  • 1 can of Ro-tel
  • 1 1/2 cup sour cream
  • juice from a large fresh lime
  • Cracked Pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 cups Quickie Enchilada Sauce* see below
  • 10-12 white corn tortillas
  • Light olive oil, as needed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  1. Lightly oil a 13x9" baking dish.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a mixing bowl, toss together the cooked chicken, Ro-tel, sour cream, and lime juice;
  4. Season with cracked pepper and cumin. Set aside.
  5. Make your Quickie Enchilada Sauce (recipe below)
  6. Spread about a spoonful (about 4 oz.) of the enchilada sauce in the bottom of the oiled baking dish.
  7. Heat each tortilla in a scant amount of hot light olive oil before you stuff it, till softened.
  8. Set the warm tortilla into the prepared baking dish and coat the tortilla.
  9. Spoon some of the chicken mixture into the center of the tortilla and roll it up into place, seam side down.
  10. Repeat for the remaining tortillas.
  11. Pour the enchilada sauce all over the tortillas
  12. Top with shredded cheese and the rest of the sour cream mixure.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted, the sauce is bubbling, and the enchiladas are hot.

Quickie Enchilada Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled, diced fine
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder- mild or hot
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-oz. can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon of agave syrup
  • 1 splash of balsamic
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and gently sauté the onion and spices for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and cilantro, stir and bring to a simmer.
  3. Cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes.

Guacamole

  • 2 ripe California avocados (1 lb total), quartered, pitted, and peeled
  • 1/2 cup dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup minced white onion
  • 1 can of Ro-tel
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
  1. Mash together all ingredients in a bowl with a fork until smooth

Product Review: Authentic Foods's Pancake & Baking Mix


This Sunday, my kick-ass hubby wanted to make pancakes. As he fished through our pantry, he happened upon the free sample of Authentic Foods's Pancake & Baking Mix which we got when we ordered their Superfine Brown Rice Flour.

It was sooooo good. This is the first recipe with garfava flour that we LOVE. We couldn't tell the difference in taste between this and the gluteny kind. My family polished it off. They were light and fluffy. The only difference between these and the gluteny kind is that the color is more golden.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Contest!

Our good friends at Whole Foods is having an amazing contest for us foodies! They are hosting their first annual food blogger budget recipe challenge. Here are the rules. If you are interested in partcipating, click here. If you have any questions, email Whole Foods at wfmbudgetrecipes@wholefoods.com.

Oh, an to sweeten the deal Whole Foods is giving away $25.00 Gift Cards to the first 100 entrants!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Gluten-Free on Emeril Green!



Yesterday, I was flipping the channels and found Emeril Green on. For those who don't know, Emeril Green is a show in which Emeril (and Whole Foods) help the average consumer with their "food issue" by teaching them how to shop and cook healthy foods on Planet Green. I've watched it a few times - on one episode Emeril helped a guy who ate the same food - EVERYDAY. Yesterday's episode was about helping a grandfather who's two year old granddaughter couldn't have gluten, egg, dairy, soy, and nuts.

Emeril had help from a dietitian who walked with them around the store to explain how to read labels and different options for those with food intolerances and allergies. She discussed the different flours and why you can't sub one for one. They even tasted tested different chocolate chips (the Enjoy Life brand won).

They made:

At the end, the grandkids came and ate what they made. This was the first time the granddaughter had pasta!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Baaaaaaaaah!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is it three strikes and you're out?

This weekend, I was bummed. I ran out of Authentic Foods' Superfine Brown Rice Flour. My family and I trekked to 80 miles (both ways) to go to Whole Foods. It rained when I went to the Farmers Market. THEN I SCREWED UP THREE DISHES - on Saturday!!!!!!!

I have wanted to make Quinoa since I've heard about it. I finally got some on Friday at Whole Foods. Using Stephanie, the Crockpot Lady's Crockpot Quinoa Casserole as inspiration, I set out to whip up something yummy! Well, I cooked the Quinoa wayyyyy too long.....it ended up tasting odd and looking like this:

Then, since I had a plethora of cherries, I thought I'd try to make the Gluten Free Mommy's Cherry Caflouti. Yeah. My brain wasn't functioning, again, and I put in a few too many extra-large eggs. When it came out of the oven, it looked marvelous. My husband (god bless him) took a bite, spit it out, and then tossed the whole thing out. He then promptly went out and bought us ice cream.

I thought, I had a screwed up dessert under my belt. Let me tackle a Chocolate Pavlova. Thanks to my friends at Whole Foods, I became addicted to Pavlova. If you haven't tried it yet, you have to. It is pretty much the national dessert of both Australia & New Zealand! I looked at a variety of recipes and came up with my own. The FIRST thing I had to do was to beat egg whites. Again, my brain was somewhere else, I put the whole egg into the KA and couldn't understand why it wouldn't foam.



I went to bed. *sigh*