Have you tried any of these recipes?

Have you tried any of these recipes? If you have, please leave a comment to let me know how it worked for you and if you suggest any changes!

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Review of Gluten-Free Flour.... for PIE.

With more apples than I could pawn off on friends, and temperatures that made cold, crisp, fresh apple eating undesirable, I had no other recourse but to make a pie.  Pie would warm me up, and my friends never turn down pie!

Determined though, to see this gluten-free thing through, I wasn't going to cave and have wheat just for warmth and friendship, no - I was going to have it all!  Warmth, friendship, and a gluten-free pie!

Now, substituting gluten-free ingredients for wheat flour in a recipe, as you might know is complicated.  There is no ONE other flour that has the same consistency, absorbtion and taste.  And then you need xanthan gum or guar gum to make it all work.  Well, Bob's Red Mill supplies a wonderful array of gluten-free products, and I thought I'd give it a try.  I used Bob's Red Mill All purpose gluten-free baking flour.  It contains garbanzo bean flour (which I already use and love), potato starch, tapioca flour, white sorghum flour, and fava bean flour.  No gums at all though!  Oh horrors when I saw that and thought my pie-making might be a bust!  (With only 14 degrees floating around outside, going to the store was not an option.)

So, in experimenting with the gluten-free flour, no gum, a traditional and simple piecrust recipe and an egg (egg = gum, right?) I gave it my all.  I substituted margarine for half the butter in the recipe to hold it together a little better.  The dough was crumbly and imperfect,

and when I first put it in the oven, it smelled a bit like potatoes (thank you, potato flour), but the pie turned out to be delicious.  I believe I might have just overcome my fear of gluten-free baking!  Mini-muffins - here I come?

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups Bob's Red Mill All Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, in Tbsp pieces
  • 1/2 cup margarine, in Tbsp pieces
  • 1 egg, plus one yolk
  • cold water
for the filling:
  • six or seven apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and the salt.  Cut in the butter until the dough is crumbly.  Add up to 1/2 a cup of cold water, on tablespoon at a time.  Add the egg and mix together with your hands.  On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin (I don't think it matters which flour you use for this - I used garbanzo bean flour), roll out the dough into one long piece.  Cut it in half and line a 9 inch pie pan with one half of the dough.
  2. In another large bowl, toss the apple slices with lemon juice.  Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, nectar and flour and mix thoroughly.  Fill the pie pan with this apple mixture and top with the remaining pie crust.
  3. Brush the top of the pie with one egg yolk and put on a baking sheet and cook at 425 for 15 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 45 minutes.

Eat your Brussels Sprouts

"Boy, I need something warm and fragrant, and healthy, and filling to eat right now.  Something that I can cook quickly and season with whatever I have in my house."  I have just let you into my thoughts of late morning on my day of hibernation.  Imagine my delight when I remembered that I had Brussels sprouts in the house!  

A versatile vegetable, Brussels sprouts are said to help reduce cholesterol, protect against certain cancers, combat inflammation, and contain lots of fiber.  They grow like mini-cabbages on a stem and are in season in late Autumn/early Winter.

Steamy Brussels sprouts
Gluten-free mini-muffins
Perfect late-night snacks

Today I prepared mine simply:

  • As many Brussels Sprouts as you can eat
  • A sprig or two of Rosemary
  • Enough good quality olive oil to drizzle over the sprouts
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese
  1. Wash the Brussels sprouts and remove any yellowed or wilted leaves.
  2. Trim the ends, and cut an X into the bottom of each sprout to allow them to cook evenly.
  3. Steam for 10 minutes (I use a bamboo steamer).
  4. Remove a portion to a dish and drizzle with olive oil, grate the cheese atop them, snip some rosemary over them and serve warm.
Leftover Brussels sprouts make great snacks!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Lamb Burgers and Lentil Salad with Feta and Mint

One of my favorite restaurants, Marigold, in Colorado Springs serves an open faced lamb-burger and it is gorgeous, smells wonderful, and is unfortunately covered in gluten.  Since I've been hungry for one ever since I saw/smelled the one at Marigold, I decided to make them last night.  And for those of you who don't like cold salads, this one is warm.  And has no lettuce!

Anything with cheese
Goes well with wine and garlic
Makes an evening fine! 

(for the salad)
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp whole-grain mustard
  • 2 cups cooked lentils (you'll have to soak and cook these before starting the recipe)
  • 1 1/2 cups red grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted pistachios
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped mint
  • 3 Tbsp finely chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta
(for the burger)
  • 1 lb ground lamb
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 Tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 Tbsp chopped mint
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  1. With your hands, mix the lamb and all of the other burger ingredients together in a bowl.  Form into patties (3 or 4) and set aside.
  2. For the salad, heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add leeks, and cook 7 to 9 minutes, or until tender and translucent, stirring often.  Remove from heat, and stir in the sherry vinegar and mustard.
  3. Combine the lentils, leek mixture, grapes, pistachios, mint, and parsley in a large bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. In the same leeky (hah) pan, pan fry the burgers, flipping after about 5 minutes and covering to cook through.
  5. Serve the burger with the warm salad on the side and sprinkle both with crumbled feta cheese.
I served this meal with a side of tzatziki following a cup of avgolemono.

Salad Recipe from Vegetarian Times, November/December 2010.
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