Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gluten Free Flat bread


What is flat bread?   I don't know, I just can't think of another name for it and I don't want to take Silvana's "slab" bread term.  So, you get my Flat Bread..LOL  I have tried so many types of breads...slabs, focaccia, loaf, etc..and always found myself not completely satisfied.  Mostly because the bread is great when right out of the oven and then a few hours later it shrivels up, becomes gummy and some just don't taste right.


I want specks in my bread because it reminds me of the wheat that I used to eat.   This bread has a beautiful crust, soft center (airy and light) and cooks up wonderfully in oblong flat loaves.  It taste like french bread.  No "kneed" to worry about getting the loaf pans out because I use a pizza stone.  I have used this bread for sandwiches (I cut them in half), toast (cut them in half), soups (cut into wedges), fondue (just pull it apart) and it has performed wonderfully for each task.

I make the bread and it does not last more than a day in my house.  The kids love it too.  So, I hope you enjoy the recipe, give it a try, share it and try it (even if you are not GF, because it is that good)..ENJOY!
This is an close up picture so that you can see the crust and the airy insides.  I love the rustic way the bread looks.

Gluten Free Flat bread
Makes two flat loaves

1 cup of sweet sorghum
1/2 cup of millet
1/2 cup of white rice flour
1 cup of tapioca flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 tsp. xantham gum

2 T. sugar
1 1/2 cups of warm water
2 T. yeast

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 whole large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vinegar

butter, herbs, seasonings for toppings

1.  Mix the first 6 ingredients together.  I use a whisk to make sure that it is well blended.

2.  In a small bowl mix sugar, water and yeast.  Let sit until yeast is frothy on top.  If after 3-5 minutes your yeast has not done anything, you may need to try again or replace your yeast.

3.  Combine the olive oil, eggs and vinegar in another small bowl.  I do this to make sure that I don't accidentally crack any shells in the flour.

4.  Combine the two liquids into the dry.  You will notice that it takes a few minutes of stirring to become "gooey".  The xantham gum is working but takes a minute.  Using your hand mixer or large mixer, beat for 3 minutes.  The dough does climb.  I use a spatula to help keep it from reaching the top of the beaters.

5.  Start preheating your oven to 400.  Add your pizza stone.  I don't use traditional cookie sheets.  I like the stones because they create a wonderful crust on the bottom.

6.  I get two sheets of parchment paper ready by sprinkling white rice flour first.  The dough will be very, very soft and sticky.  It's okay.  Take a spoon and scoop the dough in two equal amounts on the parchment sheets.  Sprinkle each pile with white rice flour, enough so that you can gently push the dough into rectangles.  I usually try to make my shapes about 8 inches wide and 12 inches long. I try to make it about an inch thick or less. The more you spread our the thinner the bread will be.  This is okay, it's up to how thick you like your bread for sandwiches and toast.

7.  I let the bread rest for 30 minutes.  It will rise, but not double.  If you want to add olive oil, herbs or seasonings, this can be done now.  Just use a small amount of oil and brush gently over the top and sprinkle your toppings to the desired amount.

This is the flat bread right before I put it into the oven.

This recipe makes these two loaves of flat bread.
8.  Remove your pizza stone. I use a magazine to move the dough onto the stone.  I pull the edges of the parchment paper onto the magazine and it moves the dough beautifully onto the stone.  I don't have a big pizza paddle ( I will have to get one),  or put the dough and parchment paper on something before hand that you can slide easily onto the hot stone.

9.  Bake the bread for 15 minutes.  It will rise and get a crust on the bread.  When you remove the bread it will fall and create this lovely loaf.  I have cut the bread right out of the oven and it does not squish down but I would recommend letting it cool for a few minutes before serving.

I finally have a bread that holds up for a sandwich, with tons of toppings!  YUM

I store the extra bread in wax paper, wrapped in foil.

Written by Sherron Watson

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coconut Almond Macaroons with a Cherry on Top


I love coconut!  I love it in any form: flake, milk, cream or whole.  I lived in the Philippines as a child and I remember fresh mango's and lots of coconuts.  I have been collecting coconut recipes for a long time. I can't help myself.  I love the coconut flavor in curries, cakes, drinks and cookies.  So it was only a matter of time before I tackled a recipe that included coconut in it.  I am sure this will not be my last one.

When I was diagnosed with Celiac disease I said goodbye to a lot of foods but mostly to cookies, cakes, bread and rolls.  I was never a huge fan of sweet treats but every once in a while it was nice to have something sweet and yummy.  When you have the option to chose, it  sometimes gets taken for granted.  I felt that way for a while until I realized that lots of people learn to cook, adapt and endure through the cravings.  What helped me?  Macaroons.  It was the one thing I could find at the store or in a bakery that was gluten-free.  I was grateful for this one treat and often when I eat them you will hear me "oohing" and "aahing" at the flavor and texture.  Texture is a big deal in my world...LOL


I have read lots of recipes and they pretty much all have the same ingredients.  With this said, there are lots of people to credit for the "macaroon" recipe.  I decided to put a slight spin on mine to make it unique and different from "most".  I hope you enjoy this yummy treat.  It makes a beautiful dessert tray for a party or neighbor gift.  ENJOY

Coconut Almond Macaroons

2 cups of coconut.  I buy mine from Whole Foods and it is unsweetened and unsulphered.
1 cup of almonds, finely ground. I use my mini food processor to grind the nuts.
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 large egg whites (save the yolks for making home made noodles)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla.  I use bourbon Vanilla from Trader's Joe
1/4 tsp almond extract.  I would not recommend any extract that is not "pure".
6 0z Bittersweet chips. I use the Ghirardelli 60% Bittersweet, so good!
1/2 cup heavy cream


1.  Combine the sugar, coconut, almonds and egg whites in large saucepan.  Stir over medium-low heat until the mixtures is sticky, about 8 minutes.  You will notice that it gets creamy then sticky then dry.  Don't let it get dry.

2.  Remove from heat and spread mixture on cookie sheet lined with parchment and let cool in the fridge, about 30 minutes.  While mixture is cooling, preheat oven to 300 degrees.  I used a cookie scoop to form my macaroons into rounded forms with flat bottoms.  You can use any form or shape that you want.  I like easy and the scoop is easy and they are all uniform in size.

3.  Take cookie sheet from fridge and start making your shapes.  I found that it is better if the scoop is packed tight.  They leave the scoop better and don't fall apart when you lift them to dip them into the chocolate.  My batch, with the scoop, made 30.  I was able to fit them all on one sheet.

4.  Bake the macaroons for 30 minutes. They should look toasted.  If after 30 minutes they are not, then increase your stove to 325 and set the timer for another 15 minutes.  Every stove is different.


5.  Once cooked, they need to cool completely. They should be firm on the outside and soft in the middle.  Make the chocolate dip by warming the cream on the stove top until just steaming, not boiling.  Finely chop the chips and add to cream.  Using a spoon, stir until all chips are melted.


6.  When the macaroons are cool, dip the bottoms into the chocolate and put onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  I added some chocolate to a baggie, cut a small hole and topped each macaroon with chocolate and a Maraschino Cherry.  Return to the refrigerate and let chocolate become cooled and solid.  You will have to peel the bottoms off of the parchment paper, it's pretty easy to do. ENJOY!

Written by Sherron Watson





Saturday, June 25, 2011

Curry Lentil Soup w/ Ham

My family loves soup. I love soup.  So together we eat a lot of soup.  I find it to be a great way of getting lots of veggies into my kiddos, a great way to use up bones and a meal that can be eaten over a few days.

This soup came about because my kids love ham.  I mean really love it.  That is all they will eat on their sandwiches.  I buy Boar's Head because it's gluten-free and taste fantastic.  It has a tendency to run about $10.00 a pound, some weeks we go through 2 pounds. Do you see where I am going with this post..OUCH to my pocket book.  So, I had an idea or is it an ideal idea ( I love words too and I really wanted to use those two words together) LOL.  

The idea was that I needed to buy a spiral ham.  I figured that I would get more lunch meat out of it, it would taste good and I would have a bone to make a delicious soup with.  We picked a ham that was 10 pounds and we payed $30.00 for it.  

I trimmed the ham of the sliced meat, left a few pieces on the bone for soup and gathered together some chunks for a later meal.  I ended up with 6 zip locks bags for lunch meat, one bone and enough scraps for omelettes.  I was very happy with how my "ideal idea" worked out.

Here is where the recipe comes to fruition.  You know by now that I love to use leftovers and to use what I have on hand.  When the call to create comes you just have to run with it.  I had lentils, an acorn squash and the ham bone.  I made a loaf of fresh bread and we had a fantastic meal.  



Curry Lentil Soup w/ Ham

1 Ham bone, our ham was 10 pounds
1 cup of ham meat
8-10 cups of water...My bone was big and I needed this much water to cover most of it. 
3 large carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
1 Large acorn squash, steamed or cooked until tender
1/2 cup of lentils
garlic, minced
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1-2 tsp of curry.  We like curry and I used 1 T. but I suggest that you start with less and build up to the flavor you are happy with.  Curry does add a bit of warmth to the soup.

1.  I used a large stock pot and added the ham bone, carrots, onion and celery to the pot with 8-10 cups of water.  I tried to cover the bone as much as I could.  I let this cook for about 20 minutes or until the carrots were al dente.  I added the lentils.  Let cook another 20 minutes or until soft.  

2.  I strained the broth off of the veggies. Pulled the bone out of the veggies.  I put the broth in the fridge for 15 minutes to let the fat rise to the top.  Add the salt, pepper, garlic and curry powder. While the broth was settling I made sure the ham chunks were pulled out of the veggies and that there were not any bones or cartilage in the veggie mix.  I cooked my acorn squash until soft. Take the acorn meat and add it to the veggie mix.  

3.  I don't own a fancy blender, but mine works great to puree some soup.  Grab the broth, remove the fat on the top and add 5-6 cups of broth back to the veggies.  You will have left over broth that can be saved for later, frozen or added to this soup, it just makes it thinner.  In your blender, add the soup and blend until blended to the consistency that you like.  We like to see a few pieces of carrots in ours.

4.  I returned the soup to the pot, diced up the ham bits and let it simmer for an hour.  At this time, taste the soup to see if you need to add more salt.  

Serve with buttered bread.  ENJOY!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Kale Chips

Kale, ready to be washed and baked.
Kale is something that my family and I eat a lot of.  I can't remember how we were introduced to this leafy green, other than to say, that it packs a lot of good things into each bite.  We first used it in our morning smoothies.  We learned that you should not eat spinach too many days in a row, that you need to switch it up.  We tried lettuce...sorry, but YUCK.  We tried mustard greens...UM...HOT HOT HOT.  Our last attempt at the "green smoothie" was Kale.  It worked out great!  We loved the flavor and it actually is not as soft as spinach so we could see teeny, tiny little specks with each slurp of the straw.


I love the edges of these lacy leaves.  This is what you want to see when making your selection.

Once we discovered it, I wanted to see what else we could use it for or with.  I have steamed it like spinach.  It steams up very pretty...very dark.  I also noticed that it is not as apt to over steam as spinach. It still had some substance to fork and chew.  We all liked that.  I will tell you I made the best sauce to go with the Kale.

Recipe:

1 cup of orange juice
1/2 c. yogurt
1/4 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. brown sugar

Boil the orange juice down to 1 T. of syrup.  This takes about 15 minutes and once it starts to boil down it goes fast.  I almost lost the tablespoon by boiling it all away.  Add syrup to the remaining ingredients and serve with steamed kale.

I got distracted...back to the kale chips.  I shop a lot at Whole Foods, because I like the organic fruit and veggie selection and also because they sell a lot of what I use to cook gluten-free.  They have kale chips,  although, I was not willing to spend the money they were asking.  I came home and googled the recipe anf found out how simple and easy it is to make kale chips.

Recipe:

1 bunch of Kale, washed and dried
1 T. olive oil
salt to taste

I don't like the "rib" in the kale.   I always cut this out.  You can leave the leaves whole, cut into strips or small pieces.  We like ours big. Wash and pat dry.  Toss olive oil, kale and salt in a bowl.  Preheat oven to 350, lay leaves on a cookie sheet or across a shelf in the oven.  I like to lay them directly on the shelf.

You can see from this image that the oil is not heavy on the leaves.  If this happens they tend to not cook as well.

Kale will turn brown when it is baked.  The more it bakes the crispier it gets and the darker it gets too.  I would recommend cooking for 15 minutes and then testing a piece.  All ovens cook different and the actual time may vary.

I find that some pieces don't get all the way crispy but we still eat them.  My kids love this treat.



Kale Chips are hard to photograph by making them look appetizing...LOL.  Just know they do taste great!


Same picture as above, just got a little bit artsy...after all I am a cook AND a photographer and sometimes they collide.

ENJOY!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Corn Cups with Cheese and Beans

The corn cups served with cole slaw.
The other night I was browsing through my recipes and found one for Pupusas with Curtido.  I think I clipped this recipe because it was made with masa harina.  I am always looking for "flour" type recipes that actually do not include wheat flour.  Corn has been something that I can tolerate and so this recipe caught my eye.

I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand and set out to make the Salvadoran dish.  The family really enjoyed the meal.  The recipe can be found at Vegetarian Times under their recipe section.  So how does this relate to my recipe idea...well, I had some left over masa harina in the fridge, it was lunch time and a light bulb went off...I hit the light switch..LOL

I did get an idea.  You may have remembered an earlier post where I had talked about buying a mini muffin pan at Goodwill that was from Pampered Chef (this was such a good deal), well I thought how cute little mini masa harina cups would be filled with something yummy.


I was nervous, I did not even know if the masa harina would bake, let alone hold up into any shape once it cooked in the pan.  I baked them for 15 minutes and they popped right out of the pan in these cute little cups.

I used a baggie for the beans and the sour cream.
I grabbed a can of refried beans and cheese.  Filled each cup and baked again for 5 minutes.  The "oh-so-cute" little cups were delicious.  AND, that is how I came up with this fun appetizer, lunch or dinner recipe.

Dough: (best if dough is made in advance and put in the fridge for a few hours)

2 cups masa harina
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1.5 cups of warm water

Mix all ingredients together.  Let dough rest for 30 minutes or put in the fridge for a few hours.  Take your non stick mini muffin pan and add a small amount to each spot.  I used my finger to work the dough around the edges and up the sides.  If the dough is not refrigerated it may stick to your fingers.  You can use flour or GF flour to help with this, if you are in a hurry.

I baked the cups at 400 for 15 minutes, added my filling and rebaked for 5 minutes.  The cups will continue to get crispier as they sit.  I would not recommend over baking these or they may get too hard.

Filling:

I added refried beans and cheese.  Instead of grating the cheese, I sliced it and cut the cubes into sizes that would fit into the bottom of each cup.  This prevented me from having shredded cheese everywhere.  I then added the refried beans.  Baked for 5 more minutes.

Served with:

sour cream
hot sauce

I place sour cream into a baggie and added a small dollop to each one.  I used a spoon to drip the hot sauce as an added bonus and for some color.



My family loved them and I will make them again!  ENJOY

Monday, June 20, 2011

Easy Jerky Recipe




We don't eat much meat, maybe once or twice a month.  So, for Father's Day I wanted to surprise Cory with something really yummy and special.  He loves jerky and I have always wanted to try to make this.  It is so expensive to buy, I was hoping I could make it cheaper, and I did.  The recipe has a lot of different ingredients, but you can really put anything you want into the base recipe to create the flavor you want.



Basic Recipe:

I used a 2lb piece of London Broil with this recipe.

1 cup of soy sauce..I used GF Tamari and it works great
1/2 can of coke or beer...I used a Heineken Beer
1/4 cup of brown sugar...any sugar will do
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/4 cup of water or beef broth...I used water because that is what I had

Addt'l ingredients to tailor our taste buds: (You can add anything you want)

2 tsp.  Sriacha Chili Sauce...we like a little bit of spice, you could also use hot pepper sauce
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. pepper...we like a lot of pepper 
1 tsp. of ginger....I used the ginger in a tube...we like the flavor of ginger





The key to your meat "tasting" like anything will be based on how long you let it marinate and how you cut your meat.  I let this marinate for 24 hours, all of the meat was fully submerged in the sauce.  You want to cut across the grain.  If you have a strip and it doubles in size when you stretch it, then you have cut correctly.  This is what makes the jerky easier to chew, bite and marinate.








I bought a London Broil that was about 1 inch thick.  I tried to cut all of my strips into 1/4 by 1/4 squares.  I first cut a strip off of the steak, then cut this strip into three rows.  The London Broil cost me $7.00.  It worked out great.  I would suggest trying to buy the best meat that you can afford.  








The final step, after marinating, is to dehydrate your jerky.  I put a toothpick on the end of each strip and hung it in my oven.  The temperature was 200 degrees.  I tested the meat after 2 hours, and it was so good but not has dry as we wanted it, so I cooked it for another hour and it was perfect.  It will continue to dry a bit when it is removed from the oven as it cools.  






Seriously, this was so good.  Cory loved it and so did the rest of the family.  I will make this again because it was so much cheaper than buying it in a store, it tasted better and I knew exactly what I put into the marinade.

ENJOY!



Friday, June 17, 2011

Chicken Chili Recipe



This is a quick dinner, easy lunch or just some warm, hearty chili for a cold day.
Chicken Chili Recipe

2 chicken breast
3 celery stalks. diced
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil, for sauteing and cooking chicken
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of your favorite chili
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup of ketchup
1/4 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, or more if you want a sweet or smoky flavor

shredded cheese, sour cream, diced avocado, etc..for toppings


1.  In a saute pan, add oil and saute onion, celery and garlic for 3 minutes, or until tender.  Remove from pan and add more oil and diced chicken.  Cook until meat is not pink in the center, about 5-8 minutes.  I cubed my chicken into 1 inch pieces.  Combine chicken and vegetables.

2.  With the first ingredients combined, add the remaining ingredients.  You can adjust the ketchup and BBQ sauce based on how "saucy" you want your chili.  If you have the time, let the chili simmer for at least 30 minutes or longer.  I find that the longer it sits the more the beans and chicken have a chance to absorb the seasonings.




Sunday, June 12, 2011

Welcome!

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.  Today is my first day up and running....Please stay tune as I update recipes, pictures and ideas.  I love comments and will try to respond in a timely manner.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask away.

 I am not a professional chef, just a Mom that likes to feed her family good food and with healthy and delicious meals.  That is not to say, that we don't eat the occasional  treat, yummy or sugary food.  We do try to eat organic, local and things made from scratch.

I am always learning and reading in hopes that I can make good decisions, recommend the best products and share helpful ideals. I admire all the awesome cooks and friends that have inspired me to put into writing the things that I love: cooking, recipes, thrifty shopping and photography/writing.

Again, thank you for stopping by and I hope that you will find something useful along your visits to my blog that you can share with friends too.

ENJOY!

The Thrifty Gourmet

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