Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gluten-free Pastry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(...believe me, there should be many more exclamation points after that title!)

Flakes aren't usually a good thing, now are they? Flakes on a first date? Not so attractive. Flaky personality-- definitely not appealing. But I have to tell you, today I fell in love with something flaky and my husband is OK with it. Why? Because he's in love, too!

Maybe I shouldn't talk about flakes on a food blog :P. But, my friends, flakes are a very good thing today!

...Because we're talking about the amazing buttery flakes of a homemade pastry. That's right, and it's not just any pastry, folks. Say hello to a completely gluten-free pastry! I never thought the words "gluten-free" would ever be used in the same sentence as "pastry"! But I recently had a sweet reader contact me, and she asked if I could help her find/come up with a gluten-free pastry recipe. (She was looking for a cream cheese danish, so that's what we made here...also made an apple filling.) I'd been craving pastries myself so I couldn't say no :)! This lovely recipe provided the inspiration.

Thank you again, Catherine, for this opportunity! You helped me face my biggest fear. The thought of making gluten-free pastries used to scare me. Not anymore!

My husband, Jose, said I'm not allowed to make these very often ;). (He freaked out when I mentioned the butter content.) And I nearly threw a dish towel at the guy after he took the first bite and grimaced.

He was totally foolin' me!

After shedding tears of joy, I nearly shed many tears of sadness when he tried to trick me into thinking they weren't tasty. But then he apologized and said he loved 'em. He even said they were better than bakery pastries!

What?! Maybe that's just love talking, but I was definitely happy to hear that. According to Jose, the buttery flavor made them over-the-top tasty. Amazing, that butter...huh?

They're realllllly good, give 'em a try! Perfect way to use up the 22 pounds of apples sittin' pretty in your fridge right now. I'm thinkin' apple turnovers! Oh wait, am I the only one who picked that many apples this fall ;)?!

So here we go with the recipe. It's a lengthy one. The process is definitely long too, but totally worth it! I made sure to mention every last detail, and also included a few pics, but if you have any questions please feel free to email me :)! Love to hear from you all! Makes me feel all warm and gooey inside, like I've just gobbled up a freshly baked pastry :D!

1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp sea salt

2 sticks of cold butter

1 tbsp sugar
4 tsp yeast
1/4 cup warm water

3 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla

8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon orange juice

1/4 cup reserved white rice flour for rolling
powdered sugar for dusting
and nuts for sprinkling, if you like 'em.

Start by combining all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl, to create a flour blend. Then, separate 1/2 cup of the flour blend. Put that 1/2 cup of flour in a medium sized bowl.

Next, combine the warm water and single tablespoon of sugar in a large cup or small bowl. Add the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes until it becomes foamy.

In a third large bowl, combine the 3 egg yolks, milk, sugar and vanilla. Add the flour (not the reserved half cup, that's for something else), then stir in the yeast mixture. Cover and refrigerate this for an hour.

Cut the 2 sticks of cold butter into small cubes. With your hands, combine with the reserved 1/2 cup of flour. The heat from your hands will slightly melt the butter--a thick buttery/flour mixture will form. Shape into a thick square, then refrigerate this for about 20 minutes.

At this point you'll have two things in the refrigerator. Once you've refrigerated the yeasty dough for the allotted hour, and the butter/flour mixture has chilled in the fridge for 20 minutes, you can take them both out and place them on a large work space/counter. Make sure you have some rice flour reserved in a small bowl and 2 large strips of parchment paper (about 18 inches long).

You'll first work with the yeasty mix. Place one sheet of parchment paper on the counter, then shape this dough into a ball. Sprinkle rice flour over the surface of the ball of dough you've just created. Sprinkle a bit of rice flour on the parchment, then place the dough on the parchment. Flatten it out a bit with your hands, then place the second piece of parchment over it and roll it out into a rectangular shape, with a rolling pin (doesn't have to be perfect). It should be about 1/2 an inch thick or so.

Next, place the rectangular butter/flour block in the center of the yeasty dough. Fold the top part of the yeasty dough over the body of the butter block. Repeat with the bottom part, then fold the left and right sides over the butter block. You want to basically enclose this butter block in the yeasty dough.

Place the parchment paper over the dough. Start by rolling up from the center. Then down toward you, from the center. Then left from the center and right from the center. This completes one round of rolling. Fold the dough over itself again (like you did when covering the butter block), sprinkle with a bit of rice flour, if necessary, and roll out the dough the same way.

Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. Then remove the dough and roll it out the same way again. Refrigerate for one moire hour. Then roll again.

After you've rolled out the dough a total of 3 times, with 2-1 hour chilling sessions in the fridge…take a break and leave the dough in the fridge over night! :)

You can work on the filling while the dough is chilling. This part is easy :)! You can combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl, mix well then refrigerate until you're ready to prepare the pastries.

But if you want to make an apple filling, this is what you'll need:
3 medium apples
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg (about 1/8 tsp)
1 1/2 tablespoons of flour
1/4 cup cloudy apple cider

Peel then cut 3 medium apples into thin slices. Combine in a sauce pan with all the ingredients (before you turn on the flame). Then cook on medium low covered for just a few minutes, until they just start to soften. Mix occasionally, then cook uncovered until they're a bit tender but not soggy. Discard/spoon out some of the excess juice and place in a container/refrigerate until you're ready to make the pastries.

To prepare the pastry…roll it out into a rectangle, about 1/2 an inch thick. With a knife, cut off the excess dough (so that it's a clean rectangle shape). Cut the rectangle down the middle, then create 6 square/rectangular pastry squares. This can get stick, so refrigerate the dough you aren't working with.

Next, cut a new piece of parchment or aluminum foil large enough to cover a big cookie sheet, spray with non-stick. Place parchment on cookie sheet. Arrange the pastry rectangle on the parchment so that one corner is facing you and it looks like an uneven diamond shape. If you need to smooth out the dough, you can wet your fingers with cold water and smooth it out with your fingertips. Put a generous dollop of filling down the middle of the dough rectangle/diamond. Gently lift one corner and bring it toward the middle, over the filling; repeat and do the same for the opposite corner. Two of the corners should now be covering the filling, with a small space dividing the corners as they pass. (If you're working with apples, I recommend arranging them one slice at a time down the middle, so that they're resting flat on the pastry, or on top of each other.)

Repeat with the remaining pastry rectangles.

When you're done, cover the pastries with a clean cloth or towel and let them rest for an hour in a dark area.

Preheat oven to 350 and bake for 25 minutes in the middle rack or until they're golden.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gluten Free Chicken Fried Steak

It's a good thing recipes don't have expiration dates! This is a gluten-free chicken fried steak recipe that has been sitting on my desktop for months. It's a recipe that first caught my eye on A Feast for the Eyes; her recipe was inspired by The Pioneer Woman's. Now I'm giving you my gluten-free version!

My husband is also a huuuge chicken fried steak fan. He is very much a southern boy (well, now he is). But when I first met him, he seemed more like a city slicker--like myself. I'm a California native who still pretends she's going to see the ocean whenever she drives over any hill, especially when I'm hallucinating and dying of heat stroke in the middle of summer ;). He, on the other hand, just bought a pair of boots to wear to work this summer, has Texas paraphernalia sprinkled all over our Boston apartment, and still says ma'am (even when he's far from his homeland).

But he wasn't always like this, you see. The night I met my husband, he had an outfit on completely sponsored by Banana Republic, or so it seemed. He was also drenched in too much cologne. And I, being the outspoken girl that I was (the one he fell in love with ;) felt the need to tell him that he had on too much cologne. Ha! I was wearing an oversized college sweatshirt and Vans flip flops. I'm still the same girl, with more pairs of Vans than I know what to do with...but I have to say that Boston has changed my husband ;).

If you haven't been a reader for very long, I should probably let you know that my husband and I are only living in Boston because he's finishing up grad school here. 9 more months then we're heading back to the Lone Star State, where he's originally from. But my husband hates Boston. No, I mean he LOATHES it. And here's the funny thing that I've been hinting at: He didn't officially become a southern boy until he was transplanted to Boston! HAHA!

Now he will let everyone know that he's from Texas, and he'll say it with a huge smile on his face--and probably his boots and Stetson hat on, too (yes, he also has one of those now!). Some people say they're from LA, some folks say they're from New York, but ask any Texan where they're from and this is what they'll say: TEXAS. Not Austin, not Houston or San Antonio, but TEXAS. They're all very proud of their state :).

This post is dedicated to my favorite southern boy. I'm glad this chicken fried steak recipe reminds you of back home. I'll be sure to cook it up when it's the dead of winter and we're BOTH wearing our gorgeous long johns and crying about another dreaded Boston snowstorm! :D

Bowl 1:
3/4 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca
1/4 cup potato
1 tsp sea salt
black pepper, to taste
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Bowl 2:
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

Makes enough for 1 lb of chicken fried steak (USE CUBED STEAKS!)

Get out your aprons, this is a messy job :).

First mix up all the ingredients in Bowl 1. Set aside, then mix up all the ingredients in bowl 2.
Dip the steaks in bowl 2, then coat them in the flour (in bowl 1). Do this one more time, to get a nice thick coating of flour on your cubed steaks. Double dipping is ok in this case :D.

If you've got a cast iron skillet, now's the time to use it. I discovered it's not just a weapon ;), it's also great for making chicken fried steak!

You'll want to fill it up with plenty of vegetable or canola oil--like a few cups (I say about 3-4 inches worth of oil). Let the oil get nice and hot, sprinkle a drop of water in there to make sure it's hot enough; if it sizzles, it's ready...then throw your steaks in, cook on one side then use tongs to turn them and cook on the other side. I cook them covered so that they cook on the inside. Cook until they're golden brown and crispy on the outside. Set on paper towels when they're cooked. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Strawberries and Cream Bread Pudding

She's taken this long to post and now she's back with ugly photos and even uglier lookin' food?!

I bet that's what you're thinkin', right? Well, this is one of those recipes you'll have to take my word for because, I won't lie, it doesn't photograph well. It's good. Guaranteed to make you lick the bowl, and your fingers... and whatever else the creamy topping happens to land on, because you'll want to savor every last bit of it.

Strawberry ice cream fans, this recipe's for you. It's like a bread pudding, except it's made with a spongy cake (recipe below), and it includes fresh strawberries, and the aforementioned messy creamy topping, of course. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top or eat it right outta the bowl, it's good either way. BUT eat it cold, like right after you've taken your morning jog on another scorching hot day, when you really need a sweet reward for all your hard work. Don't feel guilty, either, this is actually pretty lean...but I can't say it's low in calories ;).

Speaking of sweet rewards, I was recently rewarded for my hard work. 21 hours of intense work. Let's just say, they don't call it labor for nothin'. Here's my sweet reward, and the reason why I've been gone for so long :).

Cool Strawberries and Cream Bread Pudding

Tastes like strawberry ice cream and cake :)

Unlike most bread puddings, this is a summery dessert that's meant to be eaten cold.

See Cool Strawberries and Cream Bread Pudding on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Gluten-Free Spiced Date Biscotti with Maple Glaze

Despite the fact that their strange appearance reminds me of the creepy crawly creatures that nest in dark places, and crawl across our floors or walls at the most unexpected times, dates are pretty delicious. Fruity, sticky, chewy, and naturally sweet, dates are pretty much nature's healthy candy.

But, of course, not all of us are date fans.

Some of us prefer chocolate in our desserts, some of us choose cranberries or raisins over other dried fruits, while others just like to keep it simple and nutty. How do you like your biscotti?

I think we can all agree that biscotti is most tasty when its got a good crunch. If it crumbles upon meeting the hot chocolate or dark coffee in our mugs, forget about it! That biscotti is a no-go. I'm more of a tea drinker, but even I hate scraping up the get-away crumbs clinging to the bottom of an otherwise empty cup.

So, to avoid that dilemma, let's choose a biscotti recipe that won't fail us! The one in the recipe card below is reliable, promise. It's based on someone else's scrumptious version, minus the butter and plus a few other ingredients (like the creepy looking dates :).

This gluten-free biscotti recipe will definitely yield dip-worthy treats that won't crumble under pressure! If you don't believe me, give it a whirl!

**Oops! Almost forgot :). Amy over at I am Celiac was sweet enough to feature me on her blog earlier this week! Go check out her blog and say hello!

Spiced Date Biscotti with Maple Glaze


You can easily adapt this recipe; swap the dates ...

See Spiced Date Biscotti with Maple Glaze on Key Ingredient.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gluten-Free Triple Chocolate Fudgey Brownies

Nearly 5 years ago, a boy was bold enough to sincerely pour out his heart in a Facebook message to a girl he had never spoken to before.

It was such a pleasantly shocking message, she would have to re-read, print, and then save it (just to have tangible proof of its existence when pinching was no longer enough to convince her she wasn't dreaming).

It was also the sort of message that would make Jane Austen's characters jealous, particularly Elizabeth Bennett. The girl was convinced that the boy had somehow taken a lesson from Mr. Darcy. (After all, what kind of boy refers to himself as a potential "suitor" these days?)

So the girl was smitten. It was love at first read. She decided that all the silly poems she'd written in college about love really amounted to nothing more than artery-clogging fluff, like cookies with preservatives instead of the homemade kind. What she found in this message was something much more delicious and satisfying, but it was only the beginning. This was just the appetizer; dessert would be even tastier.

This boy knew how to use the secret ingredients. He worked his magic. The message lured her in. They spoke for hours on end... upon first meeting at 2 am, in the cold hallway of a college dorm whose architect designed prison cells. Symbolic? Yes. She thought so. The boy was there to set her free...with chocolate, of course.

A few days later, this same boy walked up and down the candy aisle of a Whole Foods in a nameless city to find a chocolate bar for the girl. And this was not just any chocolate bar.

It was the chocolate bar that would initiate the start of something good. But doesn't all chocolate? You ask. (It gets even better...)

Shortly after the purchase, he would cleverly tell the girl, "I bought a chocolate bar for us to share the next time we see each other." Smooth. Just like velvety chocolate syrup melting in a warm glass of whole milk.

Ah, a next time... She said to herself. Yes, she was excited about that.

And nearly every time they met thereafter, he would offer her another chocolate bar and she would save the wrappers.

She still has them, to this day...

She still has the boy!

The girl baked him a batch of gluten-free triple chocolate brownies for breakfast on Valentine's Day 2010 because, years later, they share so much more than bars of chocolate. Let's just say that their diet might be gluten-free, but they aren't missing anything :).

How do we know?

She lets him lick the bowl. He washes the dishes and doesn't complain.

Triple Chocolate Fudgey Brownies


See Triple Chocolate Fudgey Brownies on Key Ingredient.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gluten-Free Cranberry Oatmeal Artisan Bread

Gluten-free artisan bread sounds like an oxymoron. GF bread is usually on the gross, flat-tasting and dry side. Just thinking about gf bread gone bad makes me thirsty.

Sometimes recipes come about by accident, or desperation. I wouldn't say this recipe necessarily resulted from an accident, but I did have a pretty big craving for artisan bread and I usually don't think clearly when big cravings hit. Thinking about which flours to use and how they'd combine to create an artisan-textured bread (is that a term? :) was quite the task.

I decided to stop thinking and jump right in.

So here it is. Tastes like artisan bread and even smells like it. I'm still surprised. I didn't expect it to work, but somehow it did!

I'm finally submitting something to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays! Check out Amy's blog for some might tasty and healthy gluten-free recipe submissions.

How is this only slightly indulgent, you ask? Well, I tried to keep the fiber levels up and the sugar levels reasonable; it's also very lean and butter-free. But then again, I did top my bread slice off with some butter and honey... ;)

Next post... gluten-free fudge brownies with 3 different types of chocolate (made 'em for the hubby's breakfast on Valentine's). Stay tuned for the recipe :)!

Gluten-Free Cranberry Oatmeal Artisan Bread

Smells and tastes heavenly. Great with butter and honey. Heat ...

See Gluten-Free Cranberry Oatmeal Artisan Bread on Key Ingredient.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies (Tutorial and Recipe)

I know I promised to post the artisan bread recipe, but I woke up extra early to make linzer cookies this morn' and, by golly, I've just been so excited about them that the mess (that resulted from the baking, mixing, etcing) really didn't take the joy away from the whole experience! See, I'm speaking in run-ons. I. am. excited!

So what's so exciting about waking up at the crack o' dawn to make a batch of gluten-free linzer cookies? The dream becoming a reality, people! What dream? I've been wanting to make linzer cookies forever. Even before going gluten-free. But I just thought they were too pretty for my butterfingers. I thought I'd mess them up and disappoint Martha or Ina, whose shadows haunt me like Marley's ghost when I FAIL. (Except theirs are wearing some kind of perfectly pressed buttoned up pastel shirt with a semi-popped collar.)

But even they might give me at least a teeny-tiny grin for today's attempt. The hours of waiting, stirring, blending (that would be for the filling), jam-smothering, powder-sugar-sprinkling, and baking all paid off! Sure, some are a little ugly (I grounded them from receiving close-up camera time), but they're good. Yep, the husband approves.

One thing I should note, the filling is homemade but not truly jam-like. I made it more gluey because I didn't want to deal with a wet mess. The end result? Sandwich cookies that stuck! Yeah! No water was added to the filling, just strawberries, sugar, a little packet of knox, and a tablespoon of corn starch. Read on for the tutorial, if you wish :).

So that's how you should flatten out the dough before sticking it in the freezer, and how you should sprinkle it with white rice flour before rolling it out. (I like to use aluminum foil when rolling the dough/cutting the cookies, so I can just put the cookies right on the baking sheet without having to move them.) The red stuff is the strawberry filling, before it chilled, it's thick.

Roll out the dough nice and flat, it's a bit thick in the picture. Roll it out to slightly more than 1/4 of an inch. The dough should be easy to work with, making the cookie-cutting experience a fairly painless one :).

Be sure to use "nesting cookie cutters", as pictured on the far left. And... the next picture? What the cookies should look like when you've baked, jammed, and sprinkled them.

Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies (with strawberry filling)

…can also be used as a sugar cookie recipe, minus ...

See Gluten-Free Linzer Cookies (with strawberry filli

ng) on Key Ingredient.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake (cupcakes)

Sometimes the simplest things will hit the spot. Don't get me wrong, the world would surely be a sad place without rich desserts or salty snacks... but sometimes (just sometimes ;) all I want is a bite of a simple and classic sweet treat. Angel food cake will usually hit the spot during these times, but who wants to wait an hour before enjoying a slice? That's why cupcakes were invented... (well, probably not, but it makes sense!)

I can't even remember the last time I had a piece of angel food cake before going gluten-free. It seems there are plenty of cookie options out there, even cake mixes, but I've yet to find one for gluten-free angel food cake (if you've found one that you love, let me know! :).

Sure, angel food cake usually doesn't come with frosting, but that's the beauty of making things at home... you can make them however you want! So feel free to experiment with these little angel food cake cupcakes. Frost them or enjoy them commando; cupcakes with out the frosting = commando cupcakes :D.

I like to use this frosting recipe, it reminds me of cream cheese frosting, minus the cream cheese ;).

Chocolate fans will like this frosting recipe.

Stay tuned... I whipped up some gluten-free artisan bread over the weekend and it's might tasty! I'll share the recipe next time.

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cupcakes

You can eat more than one of these at a ...

See Gluten-Free Angel Food Cupcakes on Key Ingredient.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Soft and Chunky Gluten-Free Pretzels

It's been so long
, I tell myself... so then I wait a little longer to post...

oh, sooo behind on my blog reading--not such a good blogging buddy after all
... another reason why I hesitate to post.

But heck, life is too short and eventually I'm gonna run outta time and excuses! So I might as well post today. Want to know what one of my favorite quotes is? Don't put off for tomorrow what can be done today, ironic (well, it goes something like that... :).

I hope you all have been well. I'm mostly crafting these days, but when a craving kicks in... like a craving for pretzels, I find myself covered in flour, in the kitchen once again, like old times. Ah, feels so good.

So here's a recipe for soft pretzels. Soft because that's how I like 'em. The crunchy salty ones make me thirsty! I'm a carb lover because I enjoy sinking my teeth into the doughy yumminess of baked goods -- so, of course, I'm going to make a soft pretzel.

And it's not just soft, it's also gluten-free. And I know what you're thinking... it looks gluten-free :/. It does have that awkward wanna-be pretzel look, you're right... but trust me, the minute you sink your teeth into these gluten free pretzels, right after you've brushed them with butter and sprinkled them with you favorite kind of salt (and there are so many different kinds of salt), you'll find that nothing is missing (except for the gluten, but that's a good thing here :).

The flavor is there, even the aroma... oooh yeah, you know what I mean -- the tasty aroma that hits your nose when warm pretzels are near. And the texture? Like I said, these are soft, soft and chunky. These gluten-free pretzels are the most scrumptious right outta the oven, but you can also enjoy them the next day warm by popping them in your little toaster oven or the micro, just for about 15 seconds (be sure to store in an air-tight container). Yum. Enjoy!

P.S. Ever wonder why the pretzel-pros dip they're pretzel dough into a solution of either lye and water or baking soda and water? Because it helps give the pretzels they're pretty brown color! I didn't know that... but these pretzels aren't meant to be dipped. Instead, gently brush them with the baking soda/water solution (as mentioned in the recipe card below). Happy baking! :)

Stay tuned for next time, when I'll post my gluten-free angel food cupcakes recipe!

Soft and Chunky Gluten Free Pretzels

This recipe came about after studying… this recipe:

http://allrecipes ...

See Soft and Chunky Gluten Free Pretzels on Key Ingredient.