Archive for October, 2008|Monthly archive page

Personal: Sexy New Stove

I got my new stove on Tuesday, and man it’s a sexy beast… I got it on scratch and dent and saved over 60%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  YAY!  I love scratches and dents!!  THEY ROCK!

Sexy, sexy stove!

Sexy, sexy stove!

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Method: Gluten Free Pan Frying

Fried Chicken Strips, Onion Rings and French Fries...

Fried Chicken Strips, Onion Rings and French Fries...

I promised it a while ago and have just now gotten around to doing some more pan frying (it’s not something you do every day… you know, it’s a Sunday thing).  I live in a funny place, that has a strangely fused food heritage.  See, where I am is kind of where the South meets the West… so we do things like pan frying, we love our macaroni and tomatoes and our fried okra, but we also love our enchiladas, our chili con carne, our beans and ham.  This is a great place to be if you like food! 🙂  Since I do, well, I’m glad I’m here.

So, to the business of pan frying.  The very, very, very first thing that you should know is that you should only pan fry in a heavy frying pan (preferably cast iron), you should **NEVER** use expeller pressed oils due to their low smoke points and your should **NEVER** fry anything that’s in a frozen state!  Always thaw first or you will seriously regret it.  Ice crystals turn into water pockets that will react with the oil to burn your flesh off… and believe me when I say it’s no fun.

The Hardware:
1 10″ cast iron fry pan
Enough oil to fill it about 1/2″ deep (or deep enough to submerge your food half way)
Thermometer that will read up to 400 degrees F
Splatter screen
Cookie sheet with a cooling rack that fits inside
Tongs that can resist high heat
2nd cookie sheet for warming
3 bowls of similar size

The Software:
2 eggs
1/4 c. milk (your choice, I used almond milk)
Gluten Free Fry Mix (described below)
Chicken strips, pieces, etc, thawed
Onion
French Fries (or use the french fry method from before but stop after the first frying and freeze them for later!)

The Method:

1.)  Be sure that your target foods are thaw!!!  Ice crystals are not your friends, nor are pockets of water.  Hot oil will cause water pockets to vaporize and you will get a very bad burn.  I’ve been frying for many years, please trust me when I say this.  I have battle scars to prove it.

I used a cooling rack suspended over the sink to thaw my chicken, this way all the excess water would come away from the chicken and not form pockets.

I used a cooling rack suspended over the sink to thaw my chicken, this way all the excess water would come away from the chicken and not form pockets.

2.)  Your Gluten Free Fry mix will consist of 1:1:1 of rice flour, tapioca starch and corn starch.  This means that if you have 1 cup of rice flour, you have one cup of everything else, see?  I also like to add spices to my mix to make it a little more interesting.  I always add paprika for color, salt, pepper and garlic to taste.  You might have to fiddle with it a bit to get the ratios the way you want them.  I always build my mix in a large ziptop bag for easy mixing and storage (I never use it all at one sitting).  Zip bag tightly and turn and knead until mixed well.

3.)  Sit out your three similar bowls.  Crack your two eggs into the middle bowl and beat until they well mixed (like you’d beat scrambled eggs), then beat in about 1/4 c. of milk.  Moo milk, almond milk, whatever kind of milk you like.  This makes it a little creamier and easier to use.  In the two bowls on the end, scoop out some of your fry mix.  One scoop for the first bowl and 2 scoops for the last bowl (believe me, you will need more in the last bowl than the first).

fry mix, egg dredge, fry mix.

Three bowls: fry mix, egg dredge, fry mix.

4.)  If you’re ultra paranoid about contamination, do the onions first.  Personally, I figure that any sort of germ that can tolerate 300 plus degree oil deserves a chance to make me sick. 😉  Oh yeah, and heat your oil on your range top to about 350 degrees or so.  This part kind of takes practice to get right.  Always start your oil out low and add heat, it’s much easier than subtracting.  Besides, if you get your oil above 400 F degrees, you’ll ruin it.  No one wants that.

5.)  I like to start with the chicken, so I will.  While your oil is heating (and it will take a while, so don’t rush it), drop your singular chicken piece into the first bowl, cover well with flour and then dust as much off as will come.  Next, drop in the egg mixture and leave for about 30 seconds.  Last, move to the 3rd bowl and coat throughly with the flour mixture again.  Lay out on cooling rack for a few minutes to allow crust to set.  Oh yeah, and be sure to choose a wet hand and a dry hand.  The wet hand only goes into the wet bowl and the dry hand only goes into the dry bowl.  Otherwise, you get club hand and that’s not pretty.

Chicken strip emerging from bowl 1

Chicken strip emerging from bowl 1

Chicken emerging from bowl 2

Chicken emerging from bowl 2

Chicken lounging in bowl 3

Chicken lounging in bowl 3

All the chicken strips waiting patiently to be fried

All the chicken strips waiting patiently to be fried

6.)  Once your oil has reached something in the neighborhood of 350 degrees, gently insert your chicken.  DO NOT DROP THE CHICKEN IN OR YOU WILL GET BURNED!!!  The oil should start to sizzle immediately, if it doesn’t, it’s not hot enough and you’ve just ruined your chicken… it will be a nasty, greasy mess.  Cook your chicken for about 5 minutes and then flip and cook another 3 minutes.  Since we’re using gluten free flours, you will not be able to tell by the color if the chicken is done!!!  It will be pale in the pan and lightly golden as it sets.  Put it back on the rack so it can shed some grease and cool.  Set your oven to 200 degrees F and stick your extra cookie sheet in.

Side one of the chicken, ready to be flipped.

Side one of the chicken, ready to be flipped.

Flipped chicken ready to be pulled out.

Flipped chicken ready to be pulled out.

This is a splatter screen. This is your best friend if you're frying and you don't want to get a bad burn.

This is a splatter screen. This is your best friend if you don't want to get burned while you're frying!

7.)  Once your chicken has cooled, put it on the pan in your oven to keep it warm. 🙂

8.)  For the onion rings, slice your onions into 1/2″ slices and seperate the rings.  Do the onions the same way you did the chicken, going through all three bowls of stuff and resting on the rack.  Bring your oil back up to 350 or so, but don’t allow it to overheat, so work fast!

Onion rings resting and waiting to be fried.

Onion rings resting and waiting to be fried.

9.)  Gently place onions in oil with tongs, and don’t crowd the pan.  You won’t be able to get many in at once, but that’s why we have a warm oven.  Fry for one and a half minutes, then flip and cook for another one and a half minutes.  Pull them quickly and place back on the rack to cool.  Stick them in the oven with the chicken.

Onion rings in the fry pan... DON'T CROWD THE PAN!

Onion rings in the fry pan... DON'T CROWD THE PAN!!!

10.)  To fry your previously frozen french fries, allow them to thaw and then fry in the same oil for 3-4 minutes.  They shouldn’t be so thick that they need to be flipped.  Pull and drain, then stick in the oven with the rest of the party. 🙂  Serve and eat… don’t expect this stuff to keep, though.  The breading tends to pull water out of the air and gets really icky after a while.

11.)  To clean up (allow everything to cool), first drain your oil into a funnel with a coffee filter, to catch any of the nasty bits.  Oil is made to be reused several times.  Funnel into a clean container with a lid.  Rinse your pan and scour with course kosher salt and a sponge (don’t use soap or else you’ll ruin the season).

Method: Deep Dish Pizza

Delicious Deep Dish Pizza

Delicious Deep Dish Pizza

What food do you miss most as a Celiac?  Mine is pizza… but not just any pizza: I miss beautiful, delicious, butter-soaked deep dish pizza… with simple toppings, a sweet tomato sauce and soft and crunchy crust.  So, I made one… cuz I’m cool like that. 😉

Ingredients:
1 1/2 c. rice flour
1/2 c. acorn flour (found in Asian markets)*
1/2 c. tapioca starch
1/2 c. corn starch
1 tblsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tblsp. salt
1 stick butter, divided into 3 tblps and 5 tblsp and melted
1 1/2 c. lukewarm water
2 tblsp. granulated sugar
2 tblsp. active dry yeast
1 egg
3 egg whites
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
spices to taste (ie. black pepper, dried basil, dried garlic, dried rosemary)
pizza sauce (canned or homemade)
assorted pizza toppings

Directions:
1.  Combine flours, starches, gum and salt in the bowl of your mixer.  I’m too lazy to own a sifter, so instead, I mix them up on low to aerate and combine everything.

Flours in mixer

Flours in mixer

2.  While you’re mixing flour, proof your yeast.  Combine the lukewarm water and the sugar and stir.  Add yeast and stir again.  I like to use a big mug for this, but use whatever you’ve got.  Your yeast is proofed (that is, it’s awake and active) when it starts to foam and sorta looks like a smelly beer. 🙂

This is properly proofed yeast

This is properly proofed yeast

3.  While your yeast is proofing, crack your eggs into a bowl.  Remember, one whole egg and 3 whites.  To seperate the yolk from the white, crack the egg in the middle and gently pull the two halves apart above your bowl.  Pass the yolk between the two pieces of shell a few times, until most of the white is out.  I’ve never successfully gotten it all, so don’t sweat it if a little bit of white is left.  You can freeze the yolks for use later, or toss them.  I never use as many yolks as whites, so I opt to feed them to my garbage disposal.  Also, don’t freak if a little extra yolk falls in the bowl, you’re not making angel food cake, it’s not that critical (but that’s no excuse to be sloppy). 🙂

Delicious raw eggs... yum

Delicious raw eggs... yum

4.  Add your 3 tblsp of melted butter and your vinegar to the flour and combine.  Add eggs and combine.  Add your spice selection and combine.  Add yeast slurry.  Mix well, and for longer than seems right.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 minutes should be about right.

Mixed up dough

Mixed up dough

5.  In the meantime, prep your pizza pan.  If yours is 1000 years old like mine, you should spray it liberally with nonstick cooking spray.  If it’s nonstick and still in good shape, don’t spray it unless you want your pizza to stick (it’s sort of counter-intuitive that way).  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepped pizza pan, pizza dough and a silicone spatula

Prepped pizza pan, pizza dough and a silicone spatula

6.  When you’re done mixing up the dough, which is a weird word for something that’s more like sticky mud, use a spatula or gloved hands to work it onto the pizza pan and into a circular shape.  I use my hands, but that’s just me.  It’s not going to be perfect, so we just need to accept that. 🙂  Allow the dough to rise for about 30 minutes uncovered.  Brush the dough with part of the 5 tblsp of butter, leaving enough to brush the crust around the outside again.

Shaped dough on pan prior to rise

Shaped dough on pan prior to rise

Dough after rise and brushed with butter

Dough after rise and brushed with butter

7.  Parbake your pizza crust for about 25 minutes for a chewy pizza, longer for more crunch.   I would think another 10 minutes or so wouldn’t hurt it any.

Parbaked pizza crust

Parbaked pizza crust

8.  Top your pizza, starting with your tomato sauce (you won’t need as much as you think, so go easy on it), then toppings and cheese.  I like to alternate between toppings and cheese for a layered effect.  Brush the crust that’s around the edge with the remainder of the butter and put back into the oven for about 10 minutes or until your cheese is bubbly (if you’re using cheese).  Allow to cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

My topped pizza, with pepperoni, pineapple and sharp cheddar cheese.

My topped pizza, with pepperoni, pineapple and sharp cheddar cheese.

Pizza Accomplished!!!

Pizza Accomplished!!!

* Note: Acorn flour has so far been the best option for this dough, however, if you cannot find it and don’t want to make your own, any high protein, moderate to high fat flour should do just fine.  I’ve used garbanzo with a lot of success, but the flavor is not as good.  Also, acorn flour may be found as Acorn Starch due to a common mistranslation. *

9.  Other uses for this recipe include sandwich bread (dump in a loaf pan, allow to rise for 90 minutes, bake for 45 at 400 F) or rolls (fill cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way, allow to rise 90 minutes and bake for something like 25-35 minutes at 400 F).  You’ll know that the bread is done by thumping it.  If it rings hollow, you’re probably there.  This makes an incredible loaf of crusty bread.  Very nice for sandwiches and for rolls to go with soup.

Personal: Ooohh… Celiac Disease Awareness Month Contest

Clicky

Check it out!  A recipe flingin’ contest!  Thanks go out to GFR blog for the heads up!  Let us know if you enter so we can wait with bated breath to see the winners!  I may enter my pizza if my recipe doesn’t become property of the contest.  (Pizza tutorial to follow)

Also, so you know, it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month… so be sure to feel your boobies!!! 😉

Personal: Gluten Free Kitchen Reclaimation!!!

The kitchen chaos is over!  We’re back in the proverbial gluten free business.  Here are some pics! 😀  Now, I just got the table set back up, so there’s tons of clutter.  Don’t hold it against me, it’s been a rough week.

On an even better note, we somehow bought a new range over the weekend, too.  We had been looking for a decent range in the $400-600 price range and kept coming up short.  That is, until I went to Sears to check out the scratch and dents… here’s my new range, coming Tuesday. Clicky

I paid $619 for it. Sick, I know. So, so sick. I’m hoping to get at least 20 years out of it as opposed to the three we got out of the old tiny range, which has actually been disfunctional since it came to live in this house two and a half years ago.

See, I was making quesadillas and I left the broiler on in between quesadillas… but we’re talking about an amount of time that can be expressed in minutes, if not seconds… and the whole thing shot out smoke and twisted about five degrees. I managed to get the door to shut, but when I pulled it away from the wall during this project, I discovered that it had scorched the cabinet and the side of the range. We had to get a different range because that whole thing just scared me (plus, how well could it be holding the heat in, really?)

Personal: Kitchen Tile Chaos, Day 3

Hideeho.  I’m beat and dirty and tired of tiling the kitchen.  I’ve finally got into sort of a swing, but the rain has slowed down my drying time, so I’ve got at least one more day if not two on the project.  However, it looks super awesome and far better than I could have imagined that commercial grade tile could look in a residential cottage kitchen.  It’s so cute I wanna cry.  Here are the photos (it’s not been cleaned yet, so there’s glue residue here and there, it’s not discoloration).

Personal: Kitchen Chaos!!! (da dum dum dum)

It’s been an eventful week at Ye Olde Gluten Free Blogge.  I discovered, much to my shock and horror, that the washing machine was leaking out of its back and bottom and apparently had been for some time.  Thankfully, it’s still under warranty, but it still was really upsetting.  My kitchen floor, already gasping for air, was completely ruined.  As luck would have it, we were getting ready to replace it anyway… this just moved the time table up a little. 🙂

My old floor was one of those laminate floating floors, and it was horrible!!  The water from the washer ended up collecting under it and got under the plasticy stuff that you put between the laminate and the subfloor.  The floor was soaked!!  I spent the day alternatively dousing it with bleach and running a fan across it to dry it all out.  It is mostly dry now and I imagine it will be all dry by tomorrow AM.  About a quarter of my kitchen is currently under quarrantine until it dries.

Here are some pictures, however, of the new floor as it goes in.  This is today’s work, we removed the old floor, hauled the appliances around, dried out the wet part of the floor (and bleached and treated it for mold), and I layed as many of the “whole” tiles as I could fit in the space I had.

Isn’t remodeling your house while you live in it fun?

Photos: