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Saturday, 27 April 2019

Chocolate Chip Scones!

Feel free to make these whatever size you like - I used the only biscuit cutter I could find at the time.  These were pretty large, but so delicious, no one seemed to mind.  You can freeze leftovers and reheat for breakfasts or snacks. Yum!  Enjoy!
Homemade Gluten-Free Dark Chocolate Chip Scones

Chocolate Chip Scones
Makes ~14  3" scones

Preheat oven to 425 F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix *see below for measurements just for this recipe*
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Chop in with a pastry cutter:
1/2 cup butter, chilled

Whisk together in a small cup or bowl:
1/2 cup heavy cream/whipping cream
2 eggs

Stir JUST enough cream/eggs into the flour/butter mixture with a fork until the dough forms.  You should have extra of the cream/egg mixture to brush on the tops of the scones, but if not, then it's easy to mix together an extra egg and some cream to brush the tops of the scones before baking.

Add:
1 cup high-quality dark chocolate chips (These really make the flavor, so use ones you love!)

Knead just a few times with your hands to mix in chocolate help it all hold together.   Working quickly, press into a 1/2" - 3/4" thick slab on a piece of parchment paper.  You can cut it into circles with whatever size biscuit cutter you have on hand, but all I had was a 3" cutter, which does make fairly large scones, but no one complained. :)

Place your cut scones onto baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Freshly cut out circles, ready to be brushed before baking.

Brush the tops of the scones with the heavy cream/egg mixture.   Sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar.  
Scones brushed with cream/egg mixture and topped with coarse white sparkling sugar before baking.

Bake scones at 425 F for 17-20 minutes, until nicely browned.  Cool on a wire rack.  Enjoy!!!
Yum!  A flaky, warm scone!

*Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix for this recipe - makes 2 cups flour mix*
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
3/4 tsp xanthan gum

Monday, 22 April 2019

Mediterranean Meatballs, Rice, Veggies & Tzaziki Sauce

My entire family, young to old, have enjoyed this meal, even with the spicy rice.  Although, the little ones prefer to mix some of the meatballs and tzaziki sauce into the rice to cool it down a bit.  You can always ease up on the seasoning, if you don't want it quite as strong, but I'd recommend it like this.  It was a yummy, easy family dinner to whip together.  Leftovers were great, too! Enjoy!
Gluten Free Mediterranean Meatballs
Seasoned rice, sauteed vegetables, homemade Mediterranean-style meatballs, and homemade tzaziki sauce.  The best is that everything can be whipped together in about 30 minutes! 

Mediterranean Meatballs, Rice, Veggies & Tzaziki Sauce

Spicy Rice - this can have a bit of a kick to it, but combined with the tzaziki sauce, it's great!

In a medium-sized pot with tight-fitting lid, combine:
2 cups white basmati rice
3 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp turmeric

Bring to a boil, uncovered.  Stir once, cover and lower heat to low to medium-low.  Simmer for 15 minutes, until liquid has absorbed.  Remove from heat, leaving the lid on.  Let rest 10 minutes before stirring and serving.


Mediterranean meatballs - begin preparing once you've started your rice
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil.

Mix together in a large bowl:
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
pinch ground cloves
1 lb ground beef
4 mushrooms, minced 
1 medium onion, minced
1 egg
2 Tbsp cream
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (optional, but they absorb a lot of the liquid that otherwise floods the pan when these bake)

Form into meatballs, flatten slightly, if desired.
For medium-sized meatballs, bake ~18-20 minutes at 400 F.

Meatballs made without breadcrumbs - they still work and taste great, but have a lot more liquid on the pan when they're done. 
Meatballs made with the 1/2 cup gluten-free breadcrumbs/panko.  You can see they end up with a lot less juice on the pan.  Either method will work! 


Sauteed Vegetables - begin preparing once you have put meatballs into the oven

In a large frying pan, over medium-high heat, cook, stirring every couple of minutes until vegetables are tender, but not soft:  (you can use whatever variety of vegetables you like - but we enjoyed onion, pepper and zucchini with this meal)
2-3 Tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, sliced into sticks
1 yellow pepper, sliced into sticks (optional)
1 yellow zucchini squash, sliced into sticks (optional)
1 green zucchini, sliced into sticks (optional)

Add the following seasons to the vegetables as they're cooking, a dash or two each works great.  You can adjust, to taste:
salt
pepper
cinnamon
cumin
coriander


Quick Tzaziki Sauce (double if you like extra sauce!)
Mix together:
1 cup plain yogurt
juice of 1/2 lemon
pinch or two dried dill (I love the freeze-dried dill, but fresh is obviously ideal if you have it!)
dash of salt & pepper
a big dash of garlic powder

Mince and add, though if you don't have a cucumber, this still tastes nice without it:
1/4 - 1/2 cucumber, finely diced


Missing the tzaziki sauce, but everyone, kids included, loves this meal.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Brownie Crust

I had a request for a cheesecake on his birthday from my dad.  I wasn't in the mood for something with a fruit topping, so this yummy cheesecake with a chocolate brownie crust topped with homemade chocolate ganache came into creation.  It's a modification of my rustic cheesecake, but uses a modification of my favorite brownies as the crust.  Topped with some of my favorite ganache, and it's a win-win for everyone! Enjoy!
Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake
Brownie bottom, two layers of cheesecake, and a chilled ganache topping, ready to eat!
Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake
The cheesecake immediately after drizzling on the homemade ganache - serving it immediately like this would be delicious, too! 

Cheesecake with a Chocolate Brownie Crust

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Line a large 8 or 9" spring-form pan with parchment paper.

In a microwave-safe dish, melt at 50% power in 30 - 60 second increments, until melted:
3.5 oz high quality 60-70% dark chocolate
7 Tbsp butter

Add to chocolate/butter mixture:
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp white sugar

Mix in until smooth:
2 eggs

Finally, add and mix in thoroughly:
1 Tbsp brown rice flour OR Kristin's Gluten-Free Flour Mix

Pour in the brownie batter and bake 6-7 minutes.  Remove from oven.
Brownie batter, which bakes just a bit.  

Prepare cheesecake batter.  Beat in a mixture until smooth:
16 oz cream cheese
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract OR vanilla bean paste
1 Tbsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 eggs

The batter should look light and fluffy.  Carefully pour/spread over the brownie base.
Cheesecake batter, light and fluffy looking, then spread over the brownie base.

Bake cheesecake at 350 F for about 35 minutes.  While baking, prepare the sour cream topping.  There will be some light brown spots on the top of your cheesecake, but this is OK.
It really is rather unattractive at this point, but don't worry! You'll add your sour cream layer and it will look great! 

While the cheesecake is baking, beat together:
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Immediately after baking your cheesecake for the 35 minutes, pour this sour cream mixture evenly over your cheesecake.  Return to the oven and bake at 350 F for an additional 7 minutes.  At this point, your cheesecake should be a little jiggly in the center, but mostly firm.  You don't want to cook any longer.

Do NOT remove the cake from the oven at this point.  Turn off the oven and open the door to the oven and let the hot cheesecake cool 15 - 20 minutes.   Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool at room temperature.  Once it's cooled, you can place it in the refrigerator.  You want it to chill in the refrigerator at least 2 hours before serving.  Yes, you can make this the day before!
Make sure you let it cool slowly, in an opened oven until removing it from the oven completely.  This will avoid any cracks in your cheesecake as it cools.  

Once your cheesecake is COMPLETELY cooled, you can remove it from the pan and remove the parchment paper.  The bottom will be nice and firm, so you can transfer it to your serving platter.
Gluten Free Cheesecake
Don't like this rustic-looking edge?  No problem!  If you line your pan neatly with a thin strip of paper, rather than having folds in it, you will end up with a neatly edged cheesecake.  (I don't have patience for that sort of thing if I'm planning to drizzle chocolate over the top).

To serve, you can make the chocolate ganache to drizzle over your cooled cheesecake.  You can let this drizzle chill in the refrigerator or serve immediately.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Ganache
In a small saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping/heavy cream

Remove from heat and mix in until smooth:
4 oz dark or semi-sweet chocolate

Drizzle by spoon or place in a freezer ziploc and cut the corner off in order to pipe over cheesecake.   You can also do a lighter drizzle and serve the warm ganache piped onto the side of your plate for a fancy presentation! Enjoy!
Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake
You may drizzle the ganache however you like, but with children helping, we get a decadent amount drizzled on top. Yum!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Beautiful naturally dyed hard-boiled eggs!

Eggs dyed with tumeric, blueberries (boiled in water) and grape juice!  The kids had so much fun.  There are many other varieties of natural dyes you can make and use (beets, cabbage), but here are my three favorites that are nice and easy to whip together without much effort. 
Freshly dyed Easter eggs! 

Mix together the following blends for yellow, blue and purple eggs.   Soak your hard-boiled eggs in the dye for as long or short as desired.  The longer they're left in the bowls, the darker shades you can end up with.

For yellow egg dye mix together:
1 cup boiling water
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 - 3 tsp tumeric powder

For a blue egg dye:
In a small pot or in the microwave, boil together 1 cup blueberries with water to cover the blueberries.  Simmer together until the blueberries have all opened and the water has turned a nice, bright blue color.  You can leave the blueberries in the water or remove so you have ~1 cup boiling blueberry water.
Mix together:
1 cup blueberry boiling water (with or without blueberries is fine) + plus enough boiling water to have 1 cup total
1/4 cup white vinegar

For a purple egg dye mix together:
1/3 cup dark purple grape juice, heated in the microwave (you can use all grape juice, but make sure you bring it to a boil before mixing with vinegar)
2/3 cup boiling water
1/4 cup white vinegar

Let your dyes cool a bit, so they're not too hot.  Then, hard-boiled eggs can be safely dyed to the desired color.  They turn out a pretty bright yellow, pale blue and pale purple.  The longer they're left in the coloring bowls, the darker shades you can end up with. 

I love dying the eggs in colors that I feel are more natural, especially since we always eat our hard-boiled eggs! 
Just one more picture - because they're just so pretty.