Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Personal: A Gluten Free Thanksgiving

Well, friends and neighbors, this is officially my one year anniversary.  Just a week or so before Thanksgiving last year, I was dxed with Celiac.  That was one rough Thanksgiving, I can tell you.  This year was much better. 🙂  My family went to great lengths to save packages for me so I could check the food for gluten and even wanted me to make the gravy “my way,” which was really nice… I didn’t have to worry about it at all. 🙂  It was funny, the rolls and other bread items were actually quarantined to a far part of the kitchen to keep them from the rest of the food.

At home, we didn’t do too shabby either, I must say.  Our Thanksgiving spread includes a nice fluffy turkey breast that was brined for 6 hours, mashed sweet potatoes with chipotle peppers, succotash, homemade GF stuffing with cranberries, cookies of many varieties, cranberry dipping sauce for the turkey, steamed cabbage… we have enough to eat for a week!  MOO!

This is essentially a progress report.  How am I after a year of being gluten free?  I’m great!  Well, I’m not perfect, and I still have to explain it to more distant family members, but I’m so much better and I’ve adapted rather well (if I do say so myself).  Crushing fatigue isn’t as frequent of a vistor and I’m still loosing weight… which is super cool (I recently was forced to buy new pants, since I couldn’t keep the old ones up).

I still have the things that go along with the Fibro, but they are far less irritating by themselves. 🙂  I’ve learned that when I’m stiff and/or sore, I just have to let it be and not try to force myself to do things that will end up making me hurt more.  I have a huge list of To Dos in my head that aren’t getting done… or are getting done at a pace that disappoints me… but I’m slowly learning to accept those as well.  It might have slowed me down, but I certainly am not going to let it win.

So, this is my one year anniversary…. happy anniversary… I need a turkey induced nap.

Recipe: Gluten-Free Thumbprint Cookies

Blueberry and Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Blueberry and Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

Well, this is the official kick-off of the Christmas baking season.  I know it’s like… November 18th… but I’m having to remake the wheel, so I thought it would be good to do some testing before the big day.  Today’s project is thumbprint cookies… my absolute favorite thing in the world (until something better comes along)…

Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tblsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tblsp. xanthan gum
1 cup almond meal
1/2 cup rice flour
3/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup coconut flour
Assorted Jelly and Jam, to taste

Directions:
1.  Cream butter, cream cheese and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add gum, flours and starches, mix well.  If you were inclined to dye these, now would be the time.

2.  Put your concoction into the fridge for about an hour.  DO NOT FREEZE!  It will make your life difficult and your cookies deformed.

I stuffed my dough into a zip top bag and then smashed it flat to decrease chill time.

I stuffed my dough into a zip top bag and smashed flat to decrease chill time.

3.  Pull off pieces of dough and form into 1 inch balls.  Work it like a meatball and space out on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Form a depression in the middle with your fingers or some sort of kitchen implement like a spoon.  I use my fingers, they’re easier to clean.

Cookie balls!Cookie balls!

Cookie depression...Cookie depression…

4.  Fill said depression with jelly or jam of your choice, just enough that you make a jam puddle.  These won’t rise, but they will spread a little, so try to keep it all inside the pool.

Fill them like thisFill them like this

All filled!All filled!

5.  Insert filled cookies into a 350 F oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the bottom just starts to brown.  Let rest on cookie sheet 5-10 minutes or until form is set, then move to a cooling rack to finish.

Cool cookies...Cool cookies…

That’s it, and they look like you spent all day working on them… 😉

Recipe: Kristi’s Gluten Free Deviled Eggs with Bac-os

Deviled Eggs, all in nice rows

Deviled Eggs, all in nice rows

Last, but not least, are my favorite mid-week snack: Deviled Eggs.  Yum.  The first thing you’re going to want to do is to get a new carton of eggs and leave them out on the counter for a day or two (yes, I said to leave them on the counter and that part is really important).  The reason we leave them out is so that the membrane that attaches the white to the shell breaks down.  According to Alton Brown on the Food Network, eggs age a week for every day they are left out of the fridge… and you want to make your deviled eggs (or any hard boiled eggs, for that matter) with aged eggs.

Ingredients:
1 dozen week-old eggs, any size
1/3 cup artificial bacon bits
1/4-1/2 cup mayo
Salt and Pepper to taste
Paprika to garnish

Directions:

1.  Find a large enough pot that all your eggs will fit in a single layer.  Fill the vessel until the water is at least an inch above the eggs (use hot water, it’ll make the boil happen quicker).  Salt your water and wait for the bubbles.

2.  When you’ve achieved a boil, set your timer for 10 minutes and remove eggs as soon as time is up.  I usually pour the eggs and water through a colinder to make working with the hot eggs easier.  When the hot water has all drained away, sit your colinder into a larger bowl or your sink and fill with COLD water above the level of the eggs.  Let stand at least 10 minutes.  Drain water and if eggs are still warm to the touch, repeat.  What we’re doing here is trying to shrink the egg mass just enough that it pulls back a little from the shell (making it easier to de-shell).

3.  Once your eggs are cool, crack and peel them gently.  Rinse with water to remove all egg shell and deposit into a waiting bowl.  Once all are peeled, cut each egg in half the long way and drop the egg yolk into a medium sized bowl.  Put your two egg halves into a container (I have one specifically made for devil eggs) in a single layer.  Repeat until all eggs have been emptied.

4.  With a fork, mash your egg yolk.  Add just enough mayo to make the yolk into a paste, about 1/4-1/2 cup, depending on your eggs and yolks.  Add bacon bits (artificial are important, real bacon tends to get floppy and gross when it sits in the yolk paste a while), salt and pepper to taste.

5.  With the fatter part of the egg facing you, use a spoon to wipe the yolk mixture into the egg.  Get enough paste on the spoon that you have sort of a little ball and stick it into the empty yolk hole and drag toward you.  Fancy people sometimes pipe the egg yolk mixture into the egg… mine never last long enough to worry about being fancy (besides, piping bags are a pain in the butt to clean).  When all yolk holes are filled, you can add a little yolk mixture to any eggs that look a little puny or stuff it into your mouth.  It’s pretty good either way. 😉  Sprinkle your eggs with paprika, don’t smother them…

6.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or until the eggs are firm.  Believe me, the wait will be worth it.

Recipe: Skillet Beans and Gluten Free Sausage

Mmm.... beans and sausage, it's what's for dinner...

Mmm.... beans and sausage, it's what's for dinner.

Recipe number two:  White beans and sausage.  This is one of my favorites and something we have with a fair regularity.  It keeps well, it’s cheap to make and well… it’s delicious.

Ingredients:
2 cups dried white beans
1 package Lil’ Smokies or other GF sausage
1 bunch cilantro
Salt and Pepper to taste
Dehydrated onions to taste
Water

Directions:

1.  The night before you’re ready to make beans, soak your white beans in at least 4 cups of hot water.  You’ll be draining off most of the water tomorrow, so measurement doesn’t have to be exact, so long as there’s plenty for the beans to absorb.

2.  When you’re ready to cook your beans, first take out your sausage and brown it in a 12″ skillet (if required).  Then dump in beans, and just enough water to cover the whole lot.  Add salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle on your dehydrated onions.  Cook over low or med-low for 4-6 hours, stirring regularly and adding water as they dry out.  Ideally, you want just a little water in the bottom of the pan when you’re done.

3.  When your beans are beginning to be crumbly, but aren’t done yet, chop and add the cilantro and stir it in well.  Cook another half hour to hour, or until beans are soft, but not mush.  Serve with cornbread or a side of fruit salad.

Recipe: Simple Fruit Salad

Fruit Salad with Pomegranite Seeds, Strawberries and Starfruit

Fruit Salad with Pomegranite Seeds, Strawberries and Starfruit

I know I’ve been slacking lately in the postings, so I’m going to make it up to you by posting several tonight.  Here we have a simple fruit salad, and in case you don’t know, I’m going to tell you how to make it.  We’ve all got to start somewhere. 🙂

Ingredients:
1 pomegranite, washed and de-seeded
1 starfruit, washed and cut into 1/4 inch pieces
1 lb. strawberries, washed and coursely chopped
1/4-1/3 cup white sugar

Directions:

1.  Toss your cut strawberries into a bowl with a lid that is twice the size of the whole of your fruit.  Sprinkle the sugar over the fruit (I would start by scooping out 1/3 cup worth and sprinkling a third at a time), close the lid and give it a shake, up and down and back and forth.  Let strawberries sit a few minutes.  Check to see if syrup is forming, if not, use more sugar and repeat shaking process.

2.  When syrup starts to form (you’ll know because it’ll be thicker than just the juice and sweet), deposit the rest of the fruit into the bowl.  Give it a good shake and let stand 15 minutes before serving.  Serve chilled or at room temp.  It never lasts long here, so I don’t worry about refrigeration, but you can move it to a smaller bowl if you want once the syrup has formed (though the big bowl helps to re-coat with the syrup after it has sat a while).

Recipe: Gluten Free Fruitcake

Delicious Fruit Cakeage

Delicious Train Fruit Cakeage

As you all know by now, I’m incredibly antsy and sad for my missing pre-Celiac foods.  Today, for your pleasure, I have perfected fruitcake… or at least come darn close. 😉  If you’re not cool enough to own a train set cake pan, feel free to use a loaf pan or whatever you’ve got.  Just stick a toothpick into the cake every 10 minutes after 45 and when it comes out clean, the cake is done. 🙂

Ingredients:
1 1/2 ounces sorghum flour
1 ounce almond meal
1 1/2 ounces potato starch
6 1/4 ounces raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
3 jumbo eggs
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup molasses
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Mexican chili powder
8 ounces nuts, bits
2 cups dried fruit
2 cinnamon sticks, 5 inches and broken in two
1/4 cup dried lemon peel
1/4 cup dried orange peel
apple juice (to cover)

Directions:

1. The night before you want to bake, chop your dried fruit coursely and put into a dish. Add lemon and orange peel. Put enough apple juice in said dish to cover everything. Break your cinnamon stick in two and toss it in to the juice/fruit mix. Cover and let stand up to 24 hours.

2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, put all the dry ingredients and the sugar (except the spices). Turn mixer on low to fluff the flours. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully integrated. Add applesauce and molasses. Mix. Add your spices and extracts. Mix. This would be where you should taste it for spice adjustment.

3. Preheat your oven to 300°F.  Using a tablespoon or other smallish scoop, fish out 12 ounces of rehydrated fruit (some juice is ok, too), stirring as you add it. Add nuts and stir. If you’ve added so much stuff you don’t think it will all mix, you’ve got it right! 🙂 Make sure you stir this part by hand or you’ll break your fruits and nuts up and your fruitcake will be sorta — well, sorta pathetic.  You’ll probably have some leftover fruit… that’s no problem, just make another cake later. 😉

4. Allow batter to stand 10-15 minutes to fully hydrate. Spoon into square molds that are approximately 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 1 and bake for 45 minutes. Allow a little room for rising. It should fill 9-10 square cakelet** molds (it’s about 5 cups).

5. Turn cakelets** out onto a cooling rack to cool. When cooled completely, wrap in cellophane and allow to mellow for at least 24 hours in a cool, dry and dark place. 🙂 Enjoy! :).

** I stand corrected.  Julie says these are called mini loaf pans and she’s right.  I just thought that cakelets were more descriptive (and I couldn’t think of the proper name. 😉 )  You could also just buy a train cake mold like the one I bought from Amazon.com.