Clara Gluten Free

Travelling

First of all, Happy Halloween. Second of all- that was one weird slush storm two nights ago. Third of all, no recipe today. I'm sorry. Explanation/excuse: we lost all power as of 1 AM yesterday, and so spent the night camped out in a hotel that had power. Unlike the hotel we first went to, which was out. And I meant camped out- we brought rations. And a cooking surface and utensils
.

 The most inconvenient thing about celiac, is that you can't just decide to spend a night at a hotel and not bring food. Or go out dinner at any old restaurant and tell them you're gluten-free. Cross-contamination (where trace amounts of food from that last gluten-batch they cooked get into your GF food) is a real problem. Usually it requires a whole separate kitchen for restaurants to accommodate true cross-contamination-free GF cooking. Sometimes, super amazing cleaning procedures are ok, but that's really hard to judge. So we travel with our griddle, some knives, cutting boards, and often the crock-pot (check the bottom of the post for a list of stuff to bring) It seems really strange, and I hate doing dishes in a hotel room, but is totally worth not being sick. But, when we are travelling for fun (and not to escape a 35 degree house...) and set up the crock-pot and come back to the room to the smell of beef stew, or chili, its kinda nice. Like really nice.



Stuff to Bring

Food, non-perishables: Peanut butter, tortilla chips, crackers, nuts/trail mix; canned beans, canned tomatoes
Food, perishables: bread, meat/tofu, cheese, yogurt, hard fruits (apples), veggies
Cooking utensils: cutting boards, chef's knives, paring knife, griddle
Other stuff: plastic cutlery, paper plates, paper bowls, dish soap, sponge

Or something

After making the brisket yesterday, I was sick of meat. So it was either going to be tofu or beans today...so I made both. Actually, I made "veggie" burgers by with both. On a vegan whim, I put dairy-free cheese on a bunch of them. Inspired!...or something. They were good though!


Unlike the brisket, it turned out these worked best by cooking them in the oven for fairly long time, to dry them out. And by "turned out" I mean that I invented the recipe today, thought it would take 20 minute to cook...and it took an hour. The original recipe- that I seriously adapted- was from here, the Gluten-Free Vegan Family blog (which I now love has been added to my blog roll...of two blogs) but it didn't have tofu. Oh well. I guess I should have known that because of how much water has. As in, I know that I usually have to use weight of the toaster to press the water out. On a side note, if you're looking for a high-protein bean dip, make up these burgers and don't bake them. Inspired!...or something.

Thought I was done? jk, I'm not (don't worry, you'll never see that on the blog again), actually, I was and then I thought I would write one last update on the lactose-intolerance thing. Except for the one mean, when I forgot to take my lactaid and ate yogurt, I've been all better. Moral of that whole story is- if the celiac symptoms get better and then aren't getting better, you might have another allergy (ok, or intolerance) in play. Doesn't mean you don't have celiac. Just observe closely what foods you don't want to eat, what's in them, and what sort of reactions you get, and try cutting them out (or taking a lactaid! Huzzah for easy fixes!!). 


Black Bean Tofu Veggie Burgers- makes 12 burgers

1 small onion
1 package of tofu
3 14-oz cans of black beans
2 tbs potato starch
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seed oil
2 garlic cloves
salt + pepper
chili powder
ginger
cheese (or vegan cheese)

1- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Dice the onion in the food processor. Drain and rinse the tofu and process it in the food processor. Drain the beans and add to the mixture. Process everything until it is a homogeneous paste. 

2- Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in oil and the potato starch. Press the garlic in a garlic press and stir into the mixture Add spices to taste. I suggest around 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tbs chili powder, 1/2 tsp ginger.

3- Grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray and form patties out of the mixture. Spray the patties with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven down to 350 F and bake for at least 40 more. The longer they cook the harder they will be.

4- Remove from the oven, and preheat the broiler. Put a slice of cheese to cover the top of each burger (that you want to be a cheese burger). Broil for about 3 minutes. Remove and serve immediately. Leftovers can be reheated in the oven.




Mornings

I started lunch today at 6:30 this morning because I like mornings and I like cooking and most of all I like cooking in the morning. Don't worry, today was brisket, not sandwiches, so I was done by 12:30. It's a long cook-time, but that's because you have too cook the tough-as-nails cut of beef long, low, and slow to break down connective tissues, or else face down a plate of concrete. Which I really don't like to do.  I've made brisket a few times, but only Irish-style, that is, boiling the living daylights out of it.



The boiling offers the distinct advantage that once the brisket is done, you can boil potatoes and carrots and cabbage in the broth, which is really tasty. However, I think next time I get a cut of brisket I am going to roast it, not boil it. I know- branching out.  Weird.  But the boiling is a great project, and really cool to watch. The brisket shrinks in size. When I put it in the pot this morning, it was too big for the whole thing to touch the bottom. When I was done, there was between an inch and two inches of clearance on all sides. More than just projects, I love cooking projects. 


Boiled Dinner

1 approx 5 lb cut of brisket
1-2 tbs olive oil
2 bay leaves
salt
carrots
potatoes
1 cabbage

1- If your brisket is not brined, skip to step 2. If your brisket (corned beef) is brined, rinse it thoroughly, place in a large pot (at least 4 quarts), cover with water, and boil for 10 minutes. Pour out the water, and rinse the brisket. 

2- Heat oil in a large pot. Rinse the brisket and brown both sides in the pot. Cover with water. Add the bay leaves and around 2 tsp salt or more if you have a large quantity of water. Bring to a boil, partially covered.

3- The brisket will take between 4-5 hours to cook. Every 30-45 minutes, be sure to come back and flip over the meat, to ensure that it cooks evenly. Add more water as necessary (it should mostly cover the beef). You know the brisket it done when it is soft- you will be able to chip bits of meat away by gently pulling with a fork. Don't cook too long- be sure to pull it out before the meat looks like it is ready to disintegrate. Before you take the brisket out of the water, warm a serving plate.

4- Remove the brisket when it is as done as you would like, slice it against the grain of the meat, place on the warmed serving plate. If you are not cooking the veggies, cover with aluminum foil, and a dishcloth. If you can, store it in a slightly warmed oven. 

5- Cut up potatoes and carrots into 1" cubes and slices. Place in the broth and bring to a rolling boil. Add water if necessary to cover the veggies. Cook for 15 minutes. In the meantime, slice the cabbage through the core into halves and then into eighths. 
6- Test the potatoes and carrots for doneness. You know they are done when you insert a fork into the center of  each and they fall off the fork once you lift them out of the water. When the potatoes and carrots are done remove them from the broth and put the cabbage in the broth. Cook for 5-10 minutes. 

7-Add most of the veggies to the plate of brisket (serve any additional carrots, potatoes and on the side). Serve immediately


Broiled-cheese Sandwiches

Today, I made grilled cheese sandwiches, except I kinda think the word "grilled" is a bit not as honest as it could be. Really, it was broiled cheese sandwiches as I had no sandwich-suited grill handy. You just need to make do, I suppose. Well, mostly- every time I've grilled sandwiches, most of each sandwich ends up in the fire, where I have discovered, it is remarkably less edible. Anyway, either way I looked at it, today was another leftovers lunch, since throwing them out out is a waste of food, and money that could be put to use in the very-expensive gluten-free sweets aisle. Because everyone needs treats sometimes. With that in mind, today- and because I like them- we had steak-and-cheese-and-tomato grilled cheese sandwiches:



I bet you could use any meat in place of the steak, and when we don't have leftover meat, I always use tofu instead, so I know that works. It's a good method for stretching the protein from a meal when there isn't enough quantity to make another meal out of it alone. 

Another update on the lactose experiment- I really did say cheese, and  I really have been eating real dairy today...with a lactaid. Like going gluten free, when I just cut out gluten and observed how I felt, I am acting as though I am lactose intolerant, and seeing if it solves anything. So far so good. We'll see what happens. 


Grilled Cheese- makes 4 sandwiches

8 slices of bread
8 slices of cheese
1 tomato
leftover meat/tofu
butter

1- Find a broiler-safe pan that can fit all the sandwiches. Preheat the oven if necessary. Divide the bread up into four pairs (to become the sandwiches). Butter the sides of the bread that will become the outside of the sandwich. Slice the tomato very thin, into 12 slices, and slice the meat/tofu into edible-size pieces (under 1/4").

2- Open each up, layer one slice of cheese, three slices of tomato (to cover the cheese), meat/tofu, and top with another slice of cheese. Cover with the outside piece of bread.

3- Broil about 3-4 minutes, remove from the oven, turn over each sandwich over, and broil again for 3-4 minutes. Removes, slice, and serve immediately.

Cranberries

In fourth grade, I think I spent two months learning about cranberries. I thought it was a little strange at the time, and even weirder when I moved schools the next year and spent couple weeks on the subject in fifth grade. Of course, I'm from Boston so perhaps that explains it (and explains the four class field trips to Plymouth plantation between grades 3 and 8). And then, when I went to make this soup for lunch today, I forgot that cranberries float. So much for that.

I didn't make this soup with the primary intention to be gluten-free, so I can't say a whole lot of creative problem solving went into inventive substitutions, but I can say that a whole lot of things are gluten free. Like everything that went in this soup. Actually, exactly everything in this soup. It's worth remembering, when the whole GF thing gets overwhelming, that it's only wheat/barley/rye/oats that have gluten. Most foods really are gluten-free, just the processed foods need to be questioned. I know- it is a lot of work, but there are truly GF foods out there. 

Also: update on the caesin free stuff- I've been looking into caesin versus lactose intolerance symptoms. Here is what I have turned up, but I'm not medical professional, just someone who like to Google stuff and so it's by no means official. Anyway, apparently sensitivity to caesin is a true allergy, and lactose intolerance is the result of an insufficient quantity of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose, a milk sugar), in your digestive system. Guess where the lactase is produced? In your small intestine, which is what is injured by the autoimmune response known as celiac disease. So people with celiac are often lactose intolerant as well. Lactose intolerance often has GI symptoms, while a caesin allergy manifests as a real allergy (hives, etc.). So I'm thinking I'll try Lactaid and see what happens. And then blog about it, of course. In the meantime- here is the GFCF recipe for the soup from today.


Cranberry-Sweet Potato Chicken Soup- makes 12 servings

6-8 cups of chicken broth + chicken pieces
3 bay leaves
1 medium onion
1 can of kidney beans
2 sweet potatoes
1 packages of cranberries, divided into thirds
4 stalks of celery
3 large carrots
1 bell pepper
1 jalapeno pepper
2 tbs grated fresh ginger
3 cloves of garlic
2 tsp dark blackstrap molasses

1- I make my own chicken broth from leftover roast chicken carcasses. Here's how: put the carcass in the pot  you want to make soup in. Cover with water. Add an onion (quartered is fine) and three bay leaves. Boil for 5 hours, stirring periodically and covering with more water when the bones start to poke through the top of the water. Strain the broth and return it to the top. Sort through all the stuff that you strained out- pull out the skin, bones and cartiledge. Return the meat to the pot. 

2- To make the soup- cube the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes (skin on), slice the celery, peel and slice the carrots, slice the bell pepper, crush the garlic and dice the jalepeno. Pour all this into the broth, add two thirds of the cranberries, and bring to a boil. In the meantime, grate the ginger and add it to the soup. Add half the molasses.

3- Boil for 45 minutes. Add the rest of the molasses and the rest of the cranberries. Boil for 15 more minutes. Pull off the heat and serve immediately. I added quinoa on the side. 





Getting Creative

The other day, I really wanted pasta with tomato sauce and sausage. Not sure why. And I also really wanted to use up the rainbow chard that was sitting in the crisper. I opened the fridge and found the chard a bit more wilted than I had expected, and of course, no sausage (we haven't found a GF brand that didn't make everyone a little sick). But I found lots of hot dogs, and some red bell peppers, and pasta and canned tomatoes in the pantry and just thought, let's see what happens. This is what ensued: 


I didn't think it was all too bad! With GF cooking/eating it's really easy to eat the same thing over and over and over and that's just not sustainable. Better to be trying to switch things up, and have something fail than have rice everyday. Can't say hot dog + pasta was a great paring (kinda plasticy), but the rainbow chard and bell peppers were good, because the chard is bitter and the bell peppers are sweet. Definitely a success there: last time I made rainbow chard, everyone glared at it (rightly so- it looked like it was glaring back), and this time they liked it. 

UPDATE: August 2012- My sister has been doing some research into depression-era food and she has found that potatoes, hot-dogs, and tomato sauce- a.k.a "poor man's meal" was actually quite common. Looks like I made a pasta version. Guess "creative" is only relative to what I knew at the time! 


Rainbow Chard and Bell Pepper Stir Fry

2 bell peppers
approx 12 rainbow chard leaves

1- Rinse the veggies. Slice the peppers into sticks and the chard into smaller pieces (like linguine cut in half)

2- Heat olive oil in a large skillet and toss in. It's ok if it does quite fit- the veggies will significantly reduce in size as they wilt. Stir fry for a bout 10 minutes, stirring periodically, and more toward the end, until everything is slightly brown. Serve warm

Pasta and "Sausage"- serves 6

1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 28-oz can of tomatoes
1 package of 4 hot dogs (or sausages...)
1 medium-sized package of pasta

1- saute onion, garlic and hot dogs/sausage until everything is brown. Add tomatoes and reduce until thick.

2- Prepare the pasta (be sure to stir very frequently- GF pasta clumps tight). Strain the pasta. In a large serving bowl, combine the pasta and the sauce, serve immediately. 

Winterfood

Chili and cornbread always seems like food for winter because it is hot and soft. Except I usually eat in summer because it is easy to make. So, to compromise, I'm blogging it in fall because I made it the other day. Brilliant, no?



I made the cornbread first and while it was baking, made the chili. Often chili is a crock-pot sort of meal around here, but I lacked the forethought to set up the crock pot in advance, so I made it on the stove for an hour. Really beat what would have a happened had I made it in the crock-pot for an hour (yay cold and slimy!). Both are GFCF so that was good. But, it turned out, the margarine we ate with the cornbread was not, so that was less good.We got new margarine later in day, and I ate leftover cornbread with new margarine, feeling very clever for figuring it all out. I like solving mysteries.


Cornbread- makes 1 9"x13" pan 

2 cups masa harina
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp xanthum gum
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbs dark brown sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1-1 1/2 cps milk (dairy-free works too)
1/3 frozen corn

1- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Combine eggs and oil and pour into the dry ingredients. Stir to combine.

2- Pour in the coconut milk, depending on altitude and humility, you may need to adjust how much goes in (high altitudes or dry weather will require more). You know there is enough milk when the batter is thick and viscous but still fluid, similar to pancake batter.

3- Stir in the frozen corn, pour the batter into the pan, bake for 25 minutes. You could use two 9"x9" pans, but be sure to watch how quickly they are cooking, because the time will be different. Test for doneness by inserting a toothpick or knife into the center. If it comes out with batter on it, keep the cornbread in the oven until it passes the test. Remove and serve warm.

Vegetarian Chili- makes 4-6 servings

3 14-oz cans of beans (black bean, kidney and cannelloni are what I use) 
2 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
1 medium onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 package of tofu
jalapenos or chili powder to taste

1- Drain and rinse tofu. Dry it out by lining a plate with a few paper towels, placing the tofu on top, and covering with paper towels, another plate and something to press down on the tofu without squishing it. I use the toaster (no joke). Drain and rinse the beans, putting them all together in a bowl.

2- Open the can of tomatoes. Chop the onion and dice the garlic, place in a medium bowl. Cube the tofu and add to the bowl. Heat canola oil in a skillet on high, once it is hot, toss in the onion/tofu/garlic. Add the jalapenos or chili powder, if using (by putting the chili powder in now you can 'bloom the spices', meaning make them more flavorful by sauteing in oil) Saute until everything is brown. Add the beans and the tomatoes. Turn down the heat, and allow to reduce for about 15 minutes. Take off the heat, and serve immediately (with cornbread). 

Alternatively, you could skip the sauteing and set this up in the crock-pot in the morning. Give it at least 6 hours in order to make sure the onions cook through completely. 





"Real Food"

For the first time on this blog, here is a non-baking recipe (which is called "real food" 'round my house). In an attempt to makes something for lunch that was caesin free, and since we don't yet have any of the caesin-free accessories (like margarine), I made a stir-fry. It's a lovely dish, really, because it is quick and easy. I also like to think of it as a new dish, but considering how it was made almost entirely with leftovers, that's a little dubious. Either way, it was yummy.



This dish was my "inspired" idea to corral the growing herd of leftovers in the fridge that didn't have enough quantity to make another meal on their own, and weren't bad/old enough to be thrown out in good conscience, meaning that it's a very adaptable recipe. Here I combined cooked veggies, steak, rice, some raw carrots, frozen corn and a package of tofu and ended up with Lunch Stir Fry. "Leftovers Stir Fry" would just be its nickname. 


Lunch Stir Fry- 4-6 servings

2 cups cooked, hard veggies (broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, etc)
4 large carrots
1 cup cooked rice
1 cups corn
1 package tofu (I like super-firm because it keeps it's shape)
approx 1/2 cup leftover mean (I used steak)
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, diced

1- Drain and rinse tofu. Dry it out by lining a plate with a few paper towels, placing the tofu on top, and covering with paper towels, another plate and something to press down on the tofu without squishing it. I use the toaster (no joke). 

2- Prepare the carrots, onion and garlic by , peeling the carrots and and slicing to 1/4" thick, chopping the onion and dicing the garlic. Combine into one bowl.

3- Round up the leftover veggies and combine into one bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the rice and the corn. Slice the meat fairly thin, and put in a neat pile or into another bowl. Pull the tofu out of it's apparatus and slice into 1/2" cubes. Add to the carrots/onion/garlic bowl.

4- Heat some canola oil in a large skillet. You will know its done when the oil collects together, and when you sprinkle a little water on it, it hisses and spits. At this point, pour in the tofu/carrots/onion/garlic. 

5- Saute until everything is a medium brown.The longer you let the mixture sit, the quicker it will cook. Be sure to stir periodically though. Add your meat, saute a few minutes, and add the veggies. Cook everything until it is almost done. Add the rice and corn and cook until brown. Pull off the heat and serve immediately.

One got away...

Actually, remember what I said about caesin-free? Well, one post I meant to do got away from me. So here are caesin-full quesadillas. Yes, I do like tongue twisters. Anyway, these were made from flour tortillas made by my brother (yes, he is of the flour tortilla camp). But I made the filling.


I made the quesadilla filling and broiled them up. The quesadillas, not the fillings. There was only one filling. That was my great contribution. And considering the filling required a can of beans, a box of cherry tomatoes and a block of cheese, you can see how difficult that was. Ok, I do to more than that. I stole the cooking of the tortillas from my brother. I'm one kind sister. 


Flour Tortilla Recipe- about 14 8"-tortillas

1 cup rice flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca flour
1/3 cup fava bean flour
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons shortening  (24 grams)
3/4-1 cup warm water


1- The process for making these is the same as my corn tortilla recipe, so I'll summarize here

2- Mix dry ingredients, cut in shortening until well mixed, pour in the water. Cover the dough a damp paper towel, prep the tortilla press, a tortilla warmer if you have one, and preheat your pan until very hot.

3- Press a tortilla, and bake it- about 1-2 minutes per side. Repeat until you have used up all the dough. Serve warm, or use for another recipe (like quesadillas...)

Black Bean and Cheese Quesadillas- about 14 quesadillas

14+ tortillas
1 15-oz can of black beans
8 oz shredded cheddar cheese/dairy-free cheese
1 package cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1- Drain and rinse the beans. Mix in the tomatoes. Find a non-stick cookie sheet, or line a normal one with parchment paper. Preheat the oven on broil.

2- Take one tortilla, and place it on the baking pan. Fill with one hand-full filling and a hand full of cheese, about 1/4 cup each. Fold the tortilla in half. Sprinkle with more cheese.

3- Repeat until you are out of ingredients, or have made enough quesadillas. Broil the quesadillas for a few minutes- anywhere between 1-7 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is and how browned you want your quesadillas. Be sure to turn the quesadillas half-way through if it appears that some are cooking faster than others (ovens have hot spots and cold spots and so cook food a different temperatures depending on its location)

4- Remove from the oven, allow to cool a few minutes before serving. 

Part II

As promised, here is what I did with the other half of my pie pastry. After defrosting it in the microwave for 20 seconds, I made a free form apple tart. Which I was kinda proud of. Ok, really proud of. That being said, I may or may not have had to slice the tart in half in order to slide it out of the oven when the door jammed. And that being said, it may or may not be the usual experience of a cook to have to do that. But, considering my kitchen experiences, I am going to have to err on the side of the oven jamming mostly shut being a usual experience. Ok, more on the tart-


I used left over pastry from two days previous when I  made that quiche and more of the apples, plus spices and sugar and tapioca flour and butter. Super yummy. But, I've started to wonder about caesin for me- the tart was tasty, but I didn't feel great. Always gotta be taking stock of this! After a bit of googling, it seems like gluten-free, caesin-free is pretty common. Caesin is a main protien in milk/dairy products, and apparently it has a similar structure to gluten. So, I'm planning on going caesin-less for a while. We'll see what happens. For the time being, the recipe for the tart filling is below. I think I'm going to try it again...except with non-dairy butter!! (yes, that is margarine, but I like the mysterious ring of "non-dairy butter"). 


Apple Tart Filling

1 ball of pie pastry dough, enough for one 9" pie shell
4 medium apples, sliced thin. Keep the skins on for more flavor (that's where the flavor molecules are located)
1 tbs cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs tapioca flour
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2-3 pats (non-dairy!) butter

1- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

2- Mix up the spices, salt, flour and sugar. Whisk together. Place the sliced apples in a large mixing bowl and toss in the sugar. Mix well- be sure to coat the apples with as much of the sugar mixture as possible.

3- Cover a work surface in tapioca flour. Working fairly quickly to keep the dough cold, coat the pastry in flour, roll out to a 12" diameter. Pour the apple mixture onto the center of the circle.

4- Fold the edges of the pastry over the pile apples. Make as neat a package as you can, pressing the dough together where it gaps.  Carefully repair holes by pressing together or patching with more dough. The goal is to keep the apples and the syrup in the tart as it cooks.

5- Carefully transfer onto your baking sheet. Put the butter pats on the top of the pile of apples. Bake for 30 min, or until the apples are soft (when you poke them with a knife, it should come out fairly easily). If it needs more time, leave the tart in- probably 5-15 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven. Let stand for about 15 minutes, to let the juices set up. Serve warm. 

The Pastry Saga

A few days ago, I concluded the saga of making edible pastry, which has been fraught with melting crusts and concrete. All this was pre-blog, meaning I took no pictures. Which is probably for the better, because a substantial majority were further across the line of nightmarish than I would have liked. That being said: here is the success story!


Actually, here is the success-story, plus a quiche filling, plus quiche filling that got through a hole in the bottom of the pastry and stuck to the sides of the pastry. (am I the only one who that happens to?). I snagged a technique from a Cook's Illustrated recipe (unfortunately you need an account, and I can't share mine. I would. Promise). To handle the gluten-free aspect, I piled on the binders (eggs and xanthum gum). And then I realized I made an extra crust. Turns out the dough keeps really well in the fridge for a couple of days. Which, of course is lucky for everyone whom I made a free-form apple tart with the next day (I promise to blog that next!!).


Pie Pastry- yields 2, 9" crusts

1 cup + 1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup + 1 cup tapioca flour
2 sticks butter, very cold, sliced into 1/2" cubes
2 tsp xanthum gum
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1 tbs sugar
2 eggs

1- Preheat the oven to 450 F. Combine 1 cup sorghum flour, 1/2 cup tapioca flour, xanthum gum, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to mix and add the butter and eggs.

2- Pulse the mixture until it looks like a very soft dough. Add the rest of flour, and alternating pulsing and stirring, mix up the dough and the flour until it is not so cohesive. Continue to process until the dough just begins to knead together again. There will probably be a few large clumps and a courser mixture of it in the bottom of the bowl.

3- Pour this mixture into a mixing bowl and press together by hand. Devide into two sections (refrigerate one for a few days if necessary. Soften in the microwave for 15-20 second before using).

4- Heavily flour a work surface with tapioca flour. Roll a dough ball in the flour and roll out. It's best to work from the middle of the dough to the outside. Try to keep the dough of even thickness. If it gets to sticky, dust on more flour over the sticky sections and chill for a while until it is stiffer.

5-When you have about a 12" diameter circle of dough, carefully fold the dough (flour between surfaces of dough) and transfer to your pie pan. Cover in aluminum foil, poke holes in the foil through the dough. Lift up the foil and turn it slightly, to prevent it baking into the dough. If you have pie weights (or dried beans to use as pie weights) pour these into the shell and bake for 7 minutes. Remove the weights and brown the crust, about 10 more minutes. Use as a pre-baked crust, however you would like. 

Quiche Filling- yeilds one deep-dish quiche

Approx 1/4 cup veggies, or left over meat
6 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 cup finely grated cheddar cheese

1- Preheat the oven to 425 F. Brown the veggies or the meat in a skillet as desired. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and milk until foamy. 

2- Line a pre-baked crust with 1/2 of the cheese. Put in your meat/veggies and pour in the eggs. Put most of the rest of the cheese on top. 

3- Bake for 30-40 minutes. You know it is done when the top is brown, no longer liquidy and when you pull it out of the oven, it does not jiggle. Put the last of the cheese on the top of the quiche and melt it in the oven for 1-2 minutes. Pull out, and cool for about 10-15 minutes (so the filling can set up better). Serve warm.  

Apples, con't.

Due to the ongoing of Project Use Up The Apple-Picking Apples, here is another apple recipe- this time, apple-cheddar bread- that comes with it's own story to boot. Here goes: I always cook bread to 200 degrees F,  but for reasons still unbeknownst to myself, I decided this bread was done earlier. I pulled one of the loaves out of the pan, discovered that it was still gooey in a bread-that-is-waaay-underdone way. So I put the half-loaf that had come out of the pan back in the pan, back in the oven and cooked it to full temperature. Chilling. I know. In the meantime, the other loaf stayed in the oven, and baked up drama-free:


In the end, the (cooked) bread was very rich and tasty and also used three apples and lots 'a cheese, which second to apples we usually have in, um, overabundance. 


Apple-Cheddar Bread- 2 loaves

2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups sorghum flour
1 cup tapioca flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp xanthum gum
2 1/2 tsp salt (reduce if the cheese is salty)
3 eggs
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsp cream
3 large sour apples, sliced thin
1 1/2 cup 1/2" cheddar cubes
Extra cheese for the top of the bread

1- Preheat the oven to 400 F, grease and flour two loaf pans

2- Mix up the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then the wet ingredients, then combine the two. The dough should be fairly moist and not crumbly. 

3- Stir in the apples and cheddar. It will be kind of hard, because with the additions, there will be lots of heavy dough. Use your hands if necessary.

4- Put the dough in the loaf pans, place in the oven and cook for about 40 minutes until the internal temperature is 180 F (use a instant read thermometer). Put the extra cheese on top, and finish off cooking to 200 F, about 15 minutes. If its taking a really long time, and the cheese is getting darker than you would like, decrease the temperature and cook longer, depending on your oven.

5- Pull the bread out, and let it cool on a cooling rack (to let the air get underneath the pan) for about 10 minutes, or until it starts to pull away from the pan. remove the bread and serve warm. 

Two camps

There's a great debate raging in my house over types of tortillas (we have important problems). Here's the lay of the land: there are the corn tortilla people, and the flour tortilla people. I am of the corn tortilla faction, so I make corn tortillas, like so:

I like them for a couple of reasons, because there are fewer ingredients, they taste like squished cornbread (which is amazing- go try it!) and a general sense of corn tortilla pride (but never mind that). It's a fast recipe, and a really fast cook time, so usually I just make them and feel like The Roadrunner (in a good way). I adapted my recipe from this one, (ok, so it's almost exactly the same) so definitely take a look. 


Corn Tortillas - 12, 8" tortillas

2 cups masa harina
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon salt
approx 1 cp warm water

1- Combine the masa, butter and salt a food processor until thoroughly combined. Slowly pour in water, stopping to stir up the mixture periodically, until the dough starts to clump together pretty tightly, but not into one ball (the dough should be fairly moist, neither wet nor crumbly). Cover the dough in a wet paper towel

2- Preheat an ungreased, nonstick pan on the highest setting your stove top will go- the higher the better. Pull out your trusty tortilla press (they look like this) and cut two pieces of parchment paper to cover the cast iron plates. I like to grease mine, but lightly flouring them works too. If you have a tortilla warmer, line it in a couple of paper towels, with a damp one on top (all the damp towels work to keep your tortillas from drying out before you eat them). 

3- Once your pan is good and hot, flatten your first tortilla and drop it on. The amount of dough needed will depend on the diameter of your press. For my 8" press, I use a ball a tiny bit smaller than a golf ball. Keep the tortillas very thin, because of the high heat, they will burn on the outside and not finish on the inside if they are too thick. 

4- Watch your tortilla closely, it should take about 1-2 minutes a side before you need to flip it (you'll know because the edges of the tortilla will visibly start to cook). A good pancake flip should do, but carefully use a spatula cut out for high heats if you risk dropping the tortillas on the floor.

5- While you are watching the tortilla, press the second one. When the first one is done, put it directly into the tortilla warmer, give the pan a second to return to full heat and drop on your second tortilla. Repeat the process until you are out of dough. Depending on the size of your tortillas, you very well could end up with more or less. Serve warm with butter, or other toppings, or use them for other recipes.

Starting with a recipe :)

As a kick-off first post (well, aside from "Coming Soon") I thought I would post a recipe for apple almond-crumble muffins. They are sort of like mini-coffee cakes. Except in this case it was coffee cakes minus coffee, because they were snacked on all morning, after the coffee pot had run out and before a kind soul made another.


The overabundance of apples would be the result of me getting really excited about going apple picking twice.  Which we did, and it means that in addition, a whole refrigerator drawer is full of apples. So, more apple recipes to come. :)


Apple Almond-Crumble Recipe

1.5 cups Almond meal
1.5 cups tapioca flour
1 tsp xanthum gum
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 cup light brown sugar (adjust to taste)
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger

2 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
3 large apples- best to use a tart baking variety. 
(I used a Macoun, a Gingergold and a Rhode Island Greening)

Crumble
1-2 slices stale bread
3/4 cup almonds
1/3 cup almond meal, butter
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
ginger and cinnamon to taste
1 stick of butter

Instructions- 18 muffins

1- Line muffin tins with paper liners and spray lightly with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375 F. Wash and slice the apples nice and thin.

2- Mix up the dry ingredients for the batter in a large bowl. Combine the butter and eggs together and stir into the dry ingredients.Stir in all the apples. The batter will look a lot like a pile of apples glued together. That's ok.

3- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins, filling just to the brims and not over. You might need to press down on the dough to make sure it touches the bottom of the muffin tin. Put in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. In the meantime, work on the crumble.

4- For the crumble, pulse the bread in the food processor until pulverized. Add the almonds. Pulse until the almonds are in small chunks, no bigger than the size of chocolate chips at the largest. Feel free to add more almonds (or more bread, if you have it) if you want more crumble, just be sure to increase the other ingredients accordingly.

5- Take the crumble out of the food process, place in a bowl and add the almond meal, both sugars and spices. Pour in the melted butter and stir it in. The crumble is right if when you grab a handful and squeeze it together, the shape holds until you drop it back in the bowl. If the crumble is too wet, add more almond meal and sugars, if its too dry, carefully add more butter. 

6- By now, the muffins should be lightly brown on top and slightly gooey on the inside. If not, leave them in for until they have (probably 5-10 minutes). Take them out of the oven, preheat the temperature up to 425 F. Cover the top of each muffin with crumble (I had a hard time doing it neatly) and put back in the oven. 

7- Once the crumble had mostly caramelized (10 minutes) , check for doneness (insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, minus apple chunks, it's done). If the muffins are good, leave them in for a minute or two to finish caramelizing the crumble. If you've got a long ways to go, turn the oven back down to 350 and watch diligently. When they are all done, take them out. Carefully pull them out of the muffin tin and place on a cooling rack. Let cool a few minutes and serve warm.