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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Homemade Thin Mint Ice Cream!

Summertime is a the time of year when I most enjoy eating ice cream all by itself.  Generally, I prefer a tiny dollop on top of something like a warm fruit crisp.  One of my favorite flavors of ice cream is a mint chocolate chip and the other in pre-gluten-free days was a mint oreo flavor made by this wonderful ice cream shop in Boston.  This ice cream provides the best of both worlds!  A yummy cookie crumble, bits of chocolate, and mint all infused together in one delicious ice cream.  And, best of all you won't need all the cookies from your batch of GF thin mint cookies for this recipe, so you'll have extras to serve on the side.  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Thin Mint Ice Cream
A delicious fresh batch of homemade GF thin mint ice cream! 
Gluten Free Thin Mint Ice Cream
A rather crazy looking scoop of scrumptious ice cream with a GF thin mint cookie on the side! 

Homemade Thin Mint Ice Cream

Mix in a bowl:
3 cups 10% lactose-free cream (OR regular light cream OR 1 cup cream + 2 cups milk)
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
2 drops peppermint essential oil (I love the Doterra peppermint oil in this recipe - and much prefer it to an extract)

Mix ~10-15 minutes in your ice cream maker (according to the directions on your ice cream maker).  While mixing, you can crush your homemade GF thin mint cookies, enough so you have about 1 cup of crushed cookie crumbs.  I like to leave some larger pieces and some smaller pieces.  It's easy to crush the cookies by placing in a freezer ziploc and rolling or hit with a rolling pin.

After the 10-15 minutes of churning, add to ice cream maker:
1 cup crushed homemade gluten-free thin mints.

Continue mixing until ice cream has thickened, as directed by your ice cream maker.  Scoop ice cream into a freezer-safe container and let chill ~2 hours before serving.  Feel free to serve alongside a few extra cookies! Enjoy!!!!


Sunday, 16 July 2017

The Best Homemade Seafood Chowder!

The wonderful thing about making seafood chowder at home is that you can use whatever fresh, local (or not-so-local) seafood that is in season.  The recipe here is for a delicious vegetable-packed chowder filled with lobster, scallops and haddock.  You can easily add shrimp, salmon, or other types of fish in addition to or as a substitute for these.  You can even add in mussels, too.  The pictures here are of a chowder I made while visiting Nova Scotia. It was filled with fresh, local scallops, lobsters, and haddock fillets.
Best Gluten Free Seafood Chowder
Wonderfully delicious homemade seafood chowder, packed with lobster, haddock and scallops.  This version is packed with vegetables, too, and packed with flavor. 


The Best Homemade Seafood Chowder
Serves 6-8

Saute in a large pot over medium heat for 4-5 minutes:
1/3 cup butter
1/2 onion, diced
2-3 carrots, sliced
dash salt and pepper

Add, and saute, stirring regularly for 5-7 minutes:
1.5 lbs potatoes, diced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 - 3/4 cups diced fennel bulb
3-4 cloves garlic, minced OR 1/4 - 1/3 cup garlic scapes, sliced (if in season)

Add and cook an additional 1-2 minutes:
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2-3 tsp Old Bay Seasoning (adds spiciness, so use less if you prefer less bite)
3-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/4 - 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Vegetables in seafood chowder
I like to saute the vegetables for a longer period in the pan, then they can simmer for less time in order to really bring out the flavors and taste.  

Add, then simmer vegetables for ~7-8 minutes:
~3 cups water (just until top of veggies)
1 tsp GF chicken bouillon seasoning (optional)

Add:
1 cup 10% cream (lactose-free works great)

Mix in a small bowl:
1/4 cup 10% cream
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Once you've mixed the flour/cream together, you want to add it a little at a time to the bubbling soup.  Stirring and returning soup to a low boil to adjust thickness after you add each 1-2 Tbsp.  I prefer a less thick chowder, and so would recommend just a bit being added.
Chowder, thickened and ready for seafood
Here's the chowder after being thickened a bit.  I prefer a just barely thickened creamy soup to the thick chowders sometimes served.  In this picture the soup is ready for seafood to be added. 

Once you've achieved the desire chowder thickness and returned your soup to a boil over medium heat, add the following and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally:
8 large scallops, diced (or equivalent amount of small scallops)
3 haddock fillets, diced

Taste test the soup at this point to adjust with salt and pepper, as desired.  The Old Bay Seasoning has quite a bit of salt, so I usually just add a dash of pepper.

Just before serving, add:
cooked lobster meat from 2 large lobsters, diced (I remove and use the tail, claws, knuckles)

This flavorful seafood chowder is wonderful served alongside garlic bread.  A few breads we enjoy eating as garlic bread are: a tasty GF white bread, GF naan bread, and homemade GF sourdough bread.
In my opinion, the perfect accompaniment to a fresh seafood chowder and garlic bread dinner is a homemade apple crisp.  If you can find Cortland apples, you'll truly be in heaven.  Enjoy!
A homemade GF apple crisp made with local Cortland apples - yum! 

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Red Potato Salad with fresh herbs

This lovely potato salad is packed with fresh herbs, making it a flavorful addition to any summer meal.  I particularly love it when served alongside something like pan-fried haddock or cod or a nice baked or barbecued salmon.   The salad shown here was served at a book club luncheon and was a perfect accompaniment to rolled up ham and cheese sandwiches and a garden salad.  Enjoy!

Red potato salad with fresh herbs
Freshly prepared red potato salad with fresh herbs, ready to eat!

Red Potato Salad w/ Fresh Herbs

Rinse & dice ~2 lbs baby red potatoes into large bite-size pieces.  Place in a pot of cold water, enough to cover the potatoes by about 1".  Add a dash of salt.

Bring pot to a boil. Boil uncovered for ~10-12 minutes, until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork (just soft enough for the fork to go through, not mushy. You want them to keep their shape).   Drain and run under cold water to cool.

In a large bowl, mix together:
cooked red potatoes, from above
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 Tbsp fresh dill, minced
5-6 green onions, sliced
2 stalks celery, finely diced
1/2 - 1 tsp garlic powder OR 2-3 Tbsp chopped roasted garlic cloves
salt & pepper, to taste (I usually start with 1/4 tsp of each and add more as desired)

You can serve this immediately or chill and serve.   I find it's nice to make it a day in advance so the flavors really blend together.  Enjoy!

Friday, 23 June 2017

BBQ Salmon with roasted garlic, herbs and lemon

A wonderfully light and flaky salmon, made easily on the barbecue! The rich flavours from the garlic, herbs and lemon infuse the salmon spits packed with flavour.  I like to cut the pieces so they're narrow, meaning they cook evenly and quickly.  Try these with a side salad, rice or potatoes. Enjoy!

A gorgeous tray of salmon, fresh off the BBQ.  It is as tasty as it is aesthetically pleasing. 

BBQ Salmon topped with roasted garlic, herbs & lemon

I like to cook my salmon on the BBQ, but off direct heat.  On a small grill, you'd have one half on about medium and cook the salmon on the other half.  On a larger grill, I like to have the outer heat going and have the salmon cooking off the direct-heat in the middle of the BBQ.   To prepare the BBQ, I put all burners on high-heat, then turn off the ones where I want to put the salmon, and lower the others to medium/medium-low.  I like to aim for a temperature of about 400 F.

Line a BBQ-safe pan with foil.  On foil, place:
8 small slices of salmon (each ~1 1/2 - 2" wide)

Drizzle salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.

In a small bowl, mix together:
10 cloves of roasted garlic, chopped
2-3 Tbsp minced chives
2-3 Tbsp minced dill
3-4 Tbsp mayonnaise
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp paprika

Spread the garlic & herb mixture on the top of the salmon slices.   Top salmon with lemon, thinly sliced.
Just gorgeous - ready to pop onto the BBQ.

Bake salmon at ~400 F on the BBQ for 15 minutes for small slices and 20 minutes for larger pieces of salmon.  Check with a fork to make sure the thickest part is cooked thoroughly and nice and flaky.   Enjoy!!!



Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Three Large Delicious Bread Loaves

These large, delicious loaves of gluten-free bread are so easy to whip together!  They're perfect for sandwiches, grilled cheese, garlic bread slices, toast, french toast.  Just a nice, moist, chewy bread that tastes wonderful and is perfect for all.  I've had many amazed it's gluten-free because it tastes so nice.  Enjoy!
Fresh out of the oven - we couldn't wait long enough to sneak a slice (or two). This bread is wonderfully light and chewy.  

Three Large Delicious Bread Loaves

Butter 3 large loaf pans.  Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large mixer, mix the dry ingredients:
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
1 cup arrowroot starch
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
4 tsp xanthan gum
4 tsp rapid-rise yeast (quick yeast)
2 tsp salt

Add and beat 3-4 minutes, scraping occasionally, if needed:
2 1/2 cups lukewarm water
5 Tbsp honey (OR 2 Tbsp honey + 3 Tbsp maple syrup)
8 Tbsp oil (I love avocado oil)
6 eggs (chia seeds + water substitute will work well for those egg-intolerant)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Fill each loaf pan 1/2 full with batter.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm location until dough has reached the plastic wrap (~40 minutes).   Remove plastic wrap - don't worry if a little dough sticks to the top of the plastic wrap. It'll look fine once cooked.
Pans filled with dough.  These were covered with plastic wrap and left to rise 40 minutes before baking. 

Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes until nicely golden brown.  Remove from pans and cool on cooling racks.  You can slice and use immediately or slice and freeze.  I always slice my bread before freezing, and it's perfect to take out and use for lunches or meals.  Enjoy!
Large, fresh loaves of delicious bread. 

Friday, 19 May 2017

Key Lime Curd & Lemon Sugar Cookies

Key lime curd served alongside homemade gluten-free lemon sugar cookies or key lime cookies are a perfect summertime dessert when you want something light, but flavorful.  The homemade curd is wonderfully pleasant, filled with key lime zest and juice.  If you need to juice your own, you will need quite a lot of key limes. I think something around 20 or so for that much juice.   The cookies are lovely made into little sandwiches, or served with a dollop of curd on top of each cookie.  Or, you can serve alongside on a small plate, as shown in the picture here.  Enjoy!

Key lime curd served alongside homemade key lime cookies, but equally delicious with the easy, no-fuss lemon sugar cookie recipe below! 

Key Lime Curd & Lemon Sugar Cookies

Whisk together in a pan:
1/2 cup key lime juice
zest of 7-10 key limes
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
2/3 - 3/4 cup cold water

Heat over medium heat, stirring regularly.  Once mixture boils, let boil for 1 minute.   Then add and whisk in:
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 Tbsp butter

Allow the curd to boil for 1 minute only. Remove from heat.  Pour curd into a large bowl (or several smaller bowls) and cover with plastic wrap (have the plastic wrap tight to the top, like you do for pudding.   Let cool or serve warm with key lime coolers or the lemon sugar cookies, below.  Enjoy!!!

Lemon Sugar Cookies
Make one batch of Kristin's Favorite Sugar Cookies, adding 6 drops lemon essential oil (high quality - I love the Doterra lemon oil) and 1 tsp lemon zest.    I've retyped the recipe with modifications here for convenience.

Makes ~40 small cookies (it really depends on your cookie cutter or cookie scoop size)

Preheat oven to 375F.  Line baking sheets with silicon lining or parchment paper.

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl: (it's important to do this in GF cooking to avoid clumping)
1 1/2 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour mix
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Beat in a mixer until fluffy:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup butter

Add and mix in thoroughly:
1/2 egg (beat the egg in a bowl with a fork and dump in approx. half the egg - the recipe is forgiving)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
6 drops lemon essential oil
1 tsp lemon zest

Add dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.   If you want to roll and cut shapes, then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes to chill.   Otherwise, you can scoop and then flatten the cookies with a plastic-bag wrapped glass or your hand.

Roll out chilled dough between two pieces of plastic wrap to approx 1/4" thickness.  Cut into whatever shapes you like and place on prepared cookie sheets.  

If desired, you can sprinkle the cookies with decorative sugar crystals before cooking for a fancier look, or dust with powdered sugar after baking. 

Bake cookies ~6-9 minutes (depending on size) until just barely browned on edges of the cookies.  Remove pan from oven.  Let sit a few minutes before placing your cookies on a cooling rack.

Perfect served alongside fresh key lime curd, for a decadent treat.  You can dust your cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.   Enjoy!

Key lime curd, sandwiched between cookies. Yum! 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Homemade Butter Chicken

This easy gluten-free butter chicken recipe is wonderful!  Despite the name, there's very little butter in it, but it's nice and creamy and not too spicy, being a family-friendly Indian dish.  I've made several renditions of butter chicken over the years, but never been satisfied until now.  Make sure you start a day ahead, so you can marinate your chicken overnight, allowing the flavors to have ample time to sink into the meat.  None of the steps in this recipe are tricky, but it doesn't require quite a bit of simmering time, so make sure to read through the recipe ahead of time.   This was a perfect dish for my brother's birthday dinner, served alongside chicken saag, in which we used paneer in place of chicken (wonderful) and fresh, homemade GF naan bread.  Enjoy!

Gluten Free Butter Chicken
A delicious meal of butter chicken and paneer saag (made with diced paneer in place of chicken) over rice 

Homemade Butter Chicken
based off a NYTimes recipe
Serves ~8, about 1 hr 15 minutes cooking time (most of it simmering time)

In a large tupperware, mix together the night before you want to make this dish to marinate chicken thighs: (aka, ~24 in advance)
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt (lactose-free works great)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp garam masala
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 Tbsp ground tumeric
3 lbs boneless chicken thighs

In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter, then cook 2-3 minutes:
1/4 cup butter
1-2 Tbsp oil
1 large onion

Add to onions and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until onions are just starting to brown:
2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
2 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 Tbsp cumin seeds

Add to the pan, and cook about 10 minutes, lowering heat to just below medium heat:
16 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 jalapeno, minced OR 1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp salt

Add to pan and cook 5 minutes:
Chicken, marinated plus marinade sauce

Add to pot and cook, simmering over medium-low heat for 30 minutes:
3/4 cup GF chicken stock (or 3/4 cup water + 1 tsp Asian mushroom seasoning)

After simmering, add and simmer an additional 15 minutes to thicken:
1 - 1 1/2 cups coconut cream (OR thick part of canned coconut milk if you can't find canned coconut cream)

Serve over fresh basmati rice.  If desired, you can sprinkle with fresh cilantro before serving.  Absolutely wonderful served alongside homemade gluten-free naan bread, too!  Enjoy!

GF Butter Chicken
A delicious meal of butter chicken and paneer saag (made with diced paneer in place of chicken) over rice with GF key lime cookies and key lime curd (recipe to be posted soon) on the side! 


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies!

Whoopie pies are a fun, delicious treat that come in all sizes and with a variety of fillings.  These ones are a dark, rich chocolate puffy cookie filled with marshmallow frosting.  The cookie itself is puffy and moist, a mix between a piece of cake and a cookie.  I recently posted a family favorite oatmeal whoopie pie recipe.  You can easily fill these cookies with an ice cream of your choice for a delicious ice cream sandwich, too!  For a proper chocolate whoopie pie (reminiscent of my days travelling to Bova's bakery in the North End of Boston), you can fill your chocolate whoopie pies with freshly whipped cream sweetened with just a touch of powdered sugar, then store them in the refrigerator for up to a day.  Yum!  Enjoy!
Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Homemade Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Whoopie Pies

Chocolate Whoopie Pies!
Makes 12 whoopie pies

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line two pans with silicon liners or parchment paper.

Mix in a bowl, and then set aside: (it's important to mix gluten-free flours first to avoid clumping when baking)
1 cup extra dark cocoa powder
1/2 cup Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

In a mixer, beat until fluffy:
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

Add and mix until well combined, scraping down the bowl a few times:
1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 eggs

Scoop 12 cookies onto each parchment paper/silicon lined pan.  They will spread a bit and puff up during baking.   Bake at 375 F for 7-9 minutes.  (less for softer, fluffier - more for harder with a slight crisp edge)
Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies
You can leave scooped for puffier whoopie pies, or flatten slightly before cooking (with your hand in a plastic bag) for flatter/wider cookies.

Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Gluten Free Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Chocolate Whoopie Pie Cookies, cooling before being filled.

Once cool, fill with delicious marshmallow fluff frosting *(measurements below for the right amount for these cookies) OR whipped heavy cream/whipping cream (1 cup heavy cream + 2-3 Tbsp powdered sugar).   Make sure to refrigerate if you use the whipping cream.   These are great right away, but I find even better if they're left refrigerated overnight to let the flavors mesh a little before serving.  Enjoy!

*Marshmallow Fluff Frosting - just enough for filling 12 whoopie pies!
Beat together until smooth, then use to fill whoopie pies:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract or bean paste
~1 cup marshmallow fluff

Friday, 21 April 2017

Homemade Naan Bread - quick and easy!

One of my favorite types of bread in the world is the quick, delicious flatbread served alongside Indian dishes.  I always loved it, but it took me many attempts to discover this rendition of my favorite flatbread.  It works perfectly as a pizza crust, too!  A definite new favorite around here.  We have so far enjoyed it with butter chicken, coconut curry, and chicken saag.  It's a perfect accompaniment to any meal where you want a quick garlic-bread type side, too.  Happy eating! Enjoy!

Gluten Free Naan Bread
Homemade gluten-free naan bread, ready to enjoy! 

Homemade Naan Bread - quick and easy!!!
Makes 6 ovals of naan

Preheat oven to 475 F (450 F convection).  Line 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a mixer, combine the following:
3 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix
2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp rapid-rise yeast
1/2 - 1 tsp dried cilantro (or 1/2 - 1 tsp dried ground coriander)
1 tsp salt
dash garlic powder

Add, and beat 2-3 minutes, until nice and smooth:
2 1/4 cups milk (lactose-free works well, room temperature is ideal)
2 eggs

While the bread is mixing, in a small bowl melt:
1/2 cup salted butter

Spread two ovals of naan bread batter on each of the three parchment paper using a spatula, making 6 large oval naan breads.   Brush the tops of each with melted butter (~1.5 Tbsp butter per naan works great).   You can let the breads rest for 15-20 minutes, if you want slightly puffier bread, but it's not necessary.

Bake the naan at 475 F for ~12-15 minutes until nicely browned and bubbly.  (Lightly browned naan will result in the bread sinking and not retaining it's nice bubbles after removal from the oven, so make sure it's nice and dark golden brown).

Remove from oven, tear or slice to serve alongside your favorite Indian dishes, perhaps an easy chicken-vegetable curry. Enjoy!
Gluten Free Naan Bread
Delicious homemade GF naan bread, fresh from the oven and ready to serve alongside a vegetable filled coconut curry. Yum! 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes!

I grew up in Maryland, land of delicious crab and crab cakes.  My favorite crab cakes of all time are ones made with Old Bay Seasoning.  It already has salt in it, so make sure not to add extra to any recipe that you use it in, but Old Bay Seasoning is perfect in crab cakes.  This recipe I based off a Paula Deen crab cake recipe, but modified to have the right blend of spices and vegetables that I wanted in a crab cake.  These were a huge hit!  The best crab to use for crab cakes is the claws, and often it's sold in a refrigerated section in a 1 lb. can.  I included recommendations for side dishes to accompany your crab cakes below. Enjoy!
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Delicious Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes, packed with flavor! 

Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes!
Makes ~10 crab cakes, serving ~4-8

In a large bowl, mix together:
1 lb. fresh crab meat (1 lb canned fresh crabmeat claws are best)
1/2 cup crushed gluten-free crackers (Scharr brand or GF matzoh work well, you can also use GF breadcrumbs)
4-5 scallions, thinly sliced OR 1/4 cup sweet onion, finely diced
1/4 cup bell pepper, finely diced
2-3 Tbsp finely sliced chives
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 egg
1/2 tsp dried ground mustard OR 1 tsp regular mustard
1 tsp Worchestershire sauce
2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning 

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Sprinkle/dust (a fine mesh sieve is perfect for this) the parchment paper with Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix.  Shape crab mixture into small patties and place on flour-dusted parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.  Flatten the patties a bit (they should be around 3/4" thick) and sprinkle/dust the tops of the patties with additional GF Flour.  (You can start heating your oil, instructions below, while you prep your crab cakes). 
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Crab cake patties placed on parchment paper-lined pan dusted with GF flour. Look at all those lovely vegetables in the patties. Yum!  (Note: This was a double batch, so you'll end up with half this amount using 1 lb. crab meat)
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Crab cakes dusted with GF flour, ready to fry!  

Heat avocado oil* in a large frying pan over medium heat.  You want the oil to cover the bottom of your pan in a thin layer.  Fry your crab cakes in batches for ~4 minutes per side, adding extra oil as needed to keep the bottom of the pan covered.  Place on a paper towel-lined plate once cooked.  Serve with tartar sauce or a dipping sauce of your choice.  I've posted a couple of my favorite homemade sauces (tartar sauce & curry sauce), too!  Crab cakes are great with Greek salad, homemade french fries or skinny sweet potato fries, baked potato wedges & sweet potato fries, or corn on the cob.  Enjoy!
Homemade Gluten Free Crab Cakes
Crab cakes being fried. 

*I love using avocado oil for frying - particularly with gluten-free foods. I find it makes a wonderfully crisp edge to foods cooked in it.  If you don't have avocado oil, feel free to use any other oil appropriate for frying.  

Tartar Sauce Recipe and Curry Dip Recipe, great for crab cakes or fried fish

These are two easy sauces - perfect for serving alongside fried fish or crab cakes (which I'll be posting momentarily).  You can double or triple the recipes easily, but I tend to make these amounts for serving at dinner for the family.  Enjoy!

Tartar Sauce
Mix together in a small bowl:
1/4 - 1/3 cup mayonnaise
1-2 tsp mustard
1/4 cup minced dill pickle
1-2 Tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
dash tumeric (optional)
pepper & salt, to taste

Curry Dip
Mix together in a small bowl:
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 - 1 tsp curry powder
~3 Tbsp minced dill pickle

Monday, 3 April 2017

Chocolate & Toasted Marshmallow 4-layer Birthday Cake!

This birthday cake was what I like to call an "ultimate" success.  It was loved by all, leftovers fought over.  It was delicious with a fun mix of chocolate, dark and light, and marshmallow.  If you have two cake pans that are actually the same size, you can make yours into a proper cylindrical cake, but I had two different sized cake pans I was using.  The cake has four layers of rich chocolate cake, a layer of toasted marshmallow frosting, a layer of chocolate frosting, and a layer of toasted marshmallows.  The entire cake is topped with chocolate marshmallow frosting with a layer of chocolate ganache poured over the top followed by some sprinkles, just for fun. Happy Birthday and Happy Baking!  Enjoy! 
GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
A fantastic chocolate toasted marshmallow 4-layer birthday cake! 
GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
A very happy 6 year old. 
GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
A slice of the four layer cake. 

Chocolate Toasted Marshmallow Birthday Cake!


Cake: (based off the recipe I posted of my friend Julie's Top-Secret Cupcake Recipe)
Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and then line two 8" (ish) cake pans with parchment paper.  Cut a circle for the bottom of the pan and long strips for the edges of the pan.

In a measuring cup, combine the following and set aside:
1 1/2 cup milk (lactose-free works great)
2 Tbsp white vinegar

In a large bowl, whisk together:
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder

In a mixer, beat until fluffy:
3/4 cup salted butter, softened

Add sugars, and beat until fluffy:
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar

Add one at a time, scraping down the sides of the mixer, as needed:
3 eggs (room temperature)
2 egg yolks (room temperature)

Add in:
3 tsp vanilla extract

Turn the mixer to low.  Alternately add the flour/cocoa blend and milk/vinegar mixture.

Divide batter between the two prepared cake pans.  Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes.  (I fine 30 minutes is usually good, but all ovens vary, so check with a toothpick and remove when the toothpick comes out clean.)

Let cakes rest a few minutes before moving to cooling rack.  Allow cakes to cool completely.  Slice each cake horizontally, so you end up with four even layers total.

Fill with the following layers of frostings/fillings:

Bottom layer of toasted marshmallow frosting:
Toast 12 large marshmallows under a broiler until they are light to medium browned. (Watch closely!)   Flip very carefully with fingers and repeat, broiling on the other side.  Remove and set on the counter.

In a mixer, beat together:
12 toasted large marshmallows
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 - 1 cup marshmallow fluff

Middle layer and outer layer of frosting:
In a mixer, beat together:
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups marshmallow fluff

Top layer of filling:
Toast 12 large marshmallows under a broiler until they are light to medium browned.  Flip and repeat on the other side.   Press the toasted marshmallows on evenly across the cake before adding the final layer of cake.

GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
Cake with bottom layer of toasted marshmallow frosting, middle layer of chocolate frosting, and top layer of freshly toasted marshmallows! Yum! 

After you've filled all layers, top the sides and top of the cake with the remaining chocolate marshmallow fluff frosting (from the middle layer).   Top with the ganache topping, below.

Ganache topping:
In a small frying pan, bring to a boil over medium heat:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter

Remove from heat and mix in:
4-5 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Let cool for a few minutes before pouring/spreading ganache over the top of the cake.  Serve immediately, or let cool and/or chill for a more hardened top layer before serving.  Enjoy!!!!!!!

GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
Toasted Marshmallow Chocolate Birthday Cake, ready to slice! 

GF Chocolate Birthday Cake with Toasted Marshmallow
Yes, it was as delicious as it looks. 

Monday, 27 March 2017

Gorgeous Savory Quiche (Tart)

A very thin quiche, made in a tart pan, can result in some gorgeous creations.  The vegetables really get a chance to shine here, especially curls of zucchini and bright red grape tomatoes.  Sauteed leeks, kale, spinach and garlic are highlighted in clusters throughout. And, the entire quiche has little flecks of fresh chives scattered throughout, adding a delicious flavor to every bite.  This quiche was enjoyed by all - ages 3 to 85 today.  I made a more traditional quiche with a bit of cheese in it as well as this one (the crust recipe makes 2 pie crusts, so it seemed appropriate), which tasted wonderful, but I find the bubbling cheese tends to hide some of the artfully arranged vegetables.  In this case, this lovely savory tart is the perfect blend of beauty and deliciousness. A perfect recipe for all the spring vegetables! Enjoy!
GF Gorgeous Savory Tart
A gluten-free savory vegetable tart (quiche), ready to eat! 

Gorgeous Savory Quiche

Line a 10" - 11" tart pan with 1/2 recipe of Kristin's buttermilk pie pastry crust.  You can roll it out as directed, or sprinkle and then press into pan with a piece of plastic wrap over your hand to avoid sticking.

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Saute the following over medium heat until leeks are softening, ~5 minutes:
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 leek, bottom half only - sliced & rinsed
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
dash dried parsley

Add and cook until greens are wilted, but not soggy:
1/2 - 1 cup diced baby spinach
1/2 - 1 cup diced kale (mild tasting kale is preferred)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt & pepper, to taste

Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Prepare the following:
1/2 - 1 small zucchini, thinly sliced the long way (for curls within the quiche)
~7 grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup chives, sliced into 1/2" pieces
~1/2 cup sliced turkey, diced or ripped into bite-sized pieces (ham works, too)

In a bowl, whisk together:
~6-7 eggs (you may find you need more/less depending on how large your tart pan is)
1/4 cup milk (lactose-free works well)
chives, from above
salt & pepper

On your crust, spread the following in this order:
1. turkey, spread fairly evenly throughout
2. zucchini slices, use 3-4 to make several curls throughout the crust
3. sauteed leek mixture, spread in small spoonfuls throughout (this can help support the zucchini curls, if needed.
4. tomato slices, facing upright, place in groups of 2 or 3 on top of turkey or vegetables to stabilize them.
5. Carefully pour egg mixture throughout the quiche/tart.  If you feel like you might not have enough egg mixture, add in a few more eggs and then pour remaining egg mixture on top - this way you definitely have chives blended into your eggs throughout.

Bake at 425 F for 15 minutes.  Lower the oven temperature to 350 F and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until eggs are nicely set and crust is a nice golden brown.  Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

Wonderful served warm with fresh fruit on the side.  Enjoy!!!
GF Gorgeous Savory Tart
It sliced perfectly, retaining the beauty of the vegetables when being served. Yum! 

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Gluten Free Recipes Perfect for St Patrick's Day Fun!

There's something fun about turning food "green" on St. Patrick's Day.  The kids love it. The adults get a good chuckle.  Everyone loves things like homemade fruit & spinach green smoothies and naturally green foods (cucumbers, celery, green peppers, etc.), but there's something fun about turning a meal "green" that makes little kids so happy.   Here's a list of some of the recipes we've enjoyed turning "green" for St. Patrick's Day.  And, some that are just naturally green in color.  Happy cooking!
Green crepes - a surprise from a tricky leprechaun. 
Crepes filled with spinach, ham & cheese. Yum! 

St. Patrick's Day Recipes:

Sweets:
Zucchini Muffins
Crepes (these are great with savory fillings, too!)
Pancakes
Waffles
Blueberry Muffins
Frosted Sugar Cookies
Chocolate & Vanilla Parfaits
Lemon Muffins
Key Lime Cookies
Marshmallow Creme Popcorn Balls

Savories:
Zucchini Fritters
Buckwheat Waffles
Bagels
Chicken Saag
Shallot, Kale & Bacon Quiche
Leek & Zucchini Quiche
Spinach & Basil Pesto
Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Navajo Tacos

Monday, 13 March 2017

Delicious Gluten Free Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

These gluten free whoopie pies are so fun and delicious!  Easy to whip together, and loved by young and old around here.  They even seem like the sort of dessert a leprechaun could play a trick on and turn the filling green for St. Patrick's Day!   You can make these with puffy cookies, or flatten for a more "Little Debbie's" oatmeal pie sort of taste.  I love that these last well, too, so you can easily make them up to a couple days in advance of serving them and they'll still be delicious!  Enjoy!
gluten free Oatmeal Whoopie Pies
Gluten Free Oatmeal Whoopie Pies, ready to be enjoyed by all! 

Delicious Oatmeal Whoopie Pies
Makes ~30 sandwiched cookies, with a 1 Tbsp size scoop

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicon liner.

In a large bowl, whisk together (it's important to mix dry ingredients separately before mixing with wet ingredients in gluten-free cooking to avoid clumping):
1 cup oats (make sure they're gluten-free if Celiac or senstive)
1 1/4 cup Kristin's Gluten Free Flour Mix
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Cream in a mixer:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar

Add and mix in thoroughly:
2 XL eggs (or 3 smaller ones - I found the recipe does better with just a bit more egg than 2 large eggs provide)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste OR vanilla extract

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Scoop 1 Tbsp scoops of batter onto parchment paper.  You can flatten these slightly before baking if you want flatter cookies.
gluten free Oatmeal Whoopie Pies  gluten free Oatmeal Whoopie Pies
Leave rounded or flatten slightly depending on how large/small/puffy/flat you want your whoopie pies! (Or make a variety, like I tend to do!) 

Bake cookies at 350 F for 8-10 minutes, more/less depending on how soft you want them.
gluten free Oatmeal Whoopie Pies

Cool on a cooling rack.  Sandwich cookies together with my favorite marshmallow frosting to make whoopie pie sandwiches!

You can serve on the day you make them, or store in a Tupperware in the refrigerator for a day or two before serving. (I've stored them on the counter for a couple days, and that worked, too! Wonderfully versatile!)  I've also made the cookies in advanced, frozen them (without filling) and then filled on the day I needed to serve them, too.  Worked perfectly! Enjoy!
gluten free Oatmeal Whoopie Pies
Yummy filled GF oatmeal whoopie pies, ready to eat! 


Friday, 3 March 2017

Delicious GF Cream-filled Cupcakes w/ Ganache topping

These gluten-free cream-filled cupcakes are delicious.  You can make your own homemade cupcakes or use any recipe or GF box mix you enjoy and make them your own with the easy filling and chocolate glaze topping.  They are reminiscent of the little Hostess cupcakes with a cream filling and chocolate topping. These yummy cupcakes are ready for some St. Patrick's Day fun! Enjoy!
Festive green cupcakes made St. Patrick's Day! 

Delicious Cream-filled, Ganache-topped cupcakes!
The following will fill and top ~15-18 cupcakes

You can use the filling and topping on either GF vanilla cupcakes or GF chocolate cupcakes, or use the cupcake recipe/mix of your choice.  Make cupcakes and allow to cool completely.  The following amounts will fill and top about 15- 18 cupcakes.  You can easily double the recipe to make more!

Beat together the following to use as cream filling.  Refrigerate until ready to use:
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp heavy cream
1/2 cup marshmallow creme

Make cupcakes ready for cream filling by doing the following: cut small cones out of the tops of each cupcake.  Slice off the extra cake so you just have the top of the cupcake left.  Fill the cupcake with cream filling and replace the top slice.  Repeat with all cupcakes.
Green cupcakes for St. Patrick's day - with insides cut out and filled with the cream filling.
So delicious in chocolate cupcakes - reminiscent of the Hostess cupcake filling.
After filling cupcakes with cream filling, the tops can be placed back on top, making them ready for the chocolate glaze frosting to be added. 

Prepare the ganache topping as follows:
Bring to a boil in a small frying pan:
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

Remove from heat.  Then add and mix until smooth:
5 oz high quality semi-sweet chocolate

While ganache is still warm, spoon and spread on top of each cupcake.  Sprinkle tops of cupcakes with decorations, if desired.  They will harden into the ganache as it cools.
Cupcakes ready to eat! 

Best served at room temperature, but store in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Enjoy!!! 

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Salmon topped with Feta & Red Onion

This recipe is a perfect accompaniment to delicious homemade Greek salad.  Salmon topped with herbs, feta and red onion is a healthy, delicious dinner that is easy to put together for a quick mid-week meal.  To top it off, it looks lovely when being served.  Use even slices of salmon for the best, most even cooking.  Enjoy!

GF Salmon topped with Feta & Red Onion
Freshly baked salmon topped with herbs, feta & red onion, then drizzled in olive oil before baking.

Salmon topped with Feta & Red Onion

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line cookie sheet with foil.

On foil-lined pan, place 3-4 salmon pieces skin side down.

Sprinkle the tops of each salmon slice with:
salt
pepper
garlic powder
oregano
basil

Drizzle the top with olive oil.

Top with:
thinly sliced red onion
crumbled feta

Drizzle tops again with a little extra olive oil.
GF Salmon topped with Feta & Red Onion
Salmon prior to cooking.  If desired, you can use even more herbs sprinkled on top - as in the salmon shown below. 

Bake salmon pieces at 425 F for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.  I find thinner pieces cook in ~20 minutes and thicker pieces take more like 25 minutes.  Check the thickest point with a fork to make sure it flakes nicely and is cooked through. Salmon turns from a darker pink to a lighter pink when cooked.

Delicious served with a homemade Greek Salad on the side.

Enjoy!!!
GF Salmon topped with Feta & Red Onion
Salmon fresh out of the oven, with a bit thicker layer of herbs.  Both methods are delicious. Enjoy! 


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Delicious Greek Salad with Homemade Dressing

A delicious, and incredibly easy to whip together Greek salad with homemade dressing.  We've made it many times, and I've even had others whip it together with my notes, and it turned out just perfectly.   You can adjust the vegetables around to have more/less of the ones that are your favorite.  The great thing about this Greek salad is the there are no large olives floating around, rather a few are chopped finely and incorporated into the dressing. Yum! It's a perfect accompaniment to salmon (to be posted soon.) Enjoy!

GF Greek Salad with Homemade Dressing
Our new favorite Greek salad, ready to serve! 

Delicious Greek Salad

In a large bowl, mix:
1/2 - 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced & diced
5-10 cherry tomatoes (or 2 romas) diced into bite-size pieces
large handful romaine lettuce, sliced
large handful spinach, sliced

Mix together the following dressing in a small bowl:
3 Tbsp olive oil 
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 - 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
dash salt & pepper
5-6 Calamata olives, diced
3 Tbsp crumbled feta cheese

Toss dressing with vegetables. Serve!  It's my favorite fresh, but still tastes great the next day, too, when all the flavors have melded together a bit more.  Enjoy!