Monday, December 29, 2008

I LOVE my Food Processor

How did I ever live without it?! My parents gave me a Hamilton Beach ChefPrep 500 for Christmas and I LOVE IT!!! I already have a long list of recipes waiting, but tonight I really wanted to use it for something simple. I had a long day at work and a bag of potatoes in the cupboard, those don't always happen at the same time :)
This may be common in all food processors, BUT I love the food slicing option on this particular model. I have a mandolin slicer, but I think it may be a bit dull. So tonight I tried out the slicer ( I know the first use I don't even liquidate anything!) and I made homemade chips.


It sliced them thicker than my mandolin, so at first I wasn't quite sure. BUT they turned out perfectly! The thickness was actually perfect and the chips didn't stick together when frying. Chips are a luxury and shouldn't be enjoyed often, so if you're going to indulge, make it good! Plus I know that my fryer is dedicated gluten free!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Year Party Favors

When I'm planning a party, I always fantasize about party favors to give. Most of the time my ideas are to big for my budget, but New Years Eve is an exception. Two years ago I saw an idea for giving a gift basket of all the items used in a New Years Day brunch. Black eyed peas, collards, ham, etc. While a great idea, that would be too big for my budget. So I made these little gift bags and filled them with black eyed peas. Parrish and I host a New Years party each year and I can't wait to hand these out this year.

They're so simple to make and cheap! My Co-op has a bulk foods section and you can buy black eyed peas by the pound. The little colored bags are super cheap this time of year because of Christmas clearances. My label is simple and does not include a recipe. Most of my friends are true Southerners and already have a family recipe for Hoppin' John, so I don't include one, but you could make a recipe card and attach it.


Curious about my New Years party? Well, you will have to wait for details! I was once again selected for the Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event and I will be hosting my idea on New Years Eve! I hope everyone is having a great weekend, and if you would like my template for the Black Eyed Peas party favor you can email me: marlowapril (at) yahoo.com

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas

I hope that everyone is having as Happy a Holiday as I am! My parent's just gave me a....FOOD PROCESSOR!!! So look forward to many new recipes and meals incorporating my new piece of machinery! Anyone got any good ones to share?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cranberry Pistachio White Chocolate Scones


Gluten Free Baking is hard. There is no doubt about it. And just when I get in a groove and produce a few finished products, I tank. These scones, while beautiful and delicious, were originally biscotti!

The biscotti would not bind! So I took the half cooked log of flaky dough and bound it with....melted white chocolate. I would post the recipe, but as I will not make these again, I can't suggest that any of you make them either.
Lesson learned - I can not make gluten free biscotti. The end result was tasty, but each "scone" weighed like HALF A POUND!!! They were basically huge DENSE mounds of flour, white chocolate, cranberries, and pistachios.

I will be posting a more successful recipe soon (and my new favorite dessert) - Pistachio Mousse.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Feet

Last night I went to my friend Brooke's house for a Christmas dinner. She is an amazing lady, with creativity bursting at the seams! Plus she's an amazing cook!!! She makes a chicken sauce that puts Bone Suckin' Sauce to shame.

For appetizers she made these incredible little penguins with black olives, cream cheese, and carrots. They were so cute, you almost didn't want to eat them....but I did! I would say that I'm not a black olive fan. I always turn them down as possible toppings, but these were DELICIOUS!!! Perfect for a holiday party!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Quick Stir Fry-ed Rice


I love it when last minute, thrown together recipes work out. In the case of 'Quick Stir fry/Fried Rice' it really worked out! To recreate this recipe, you'll need:

4 slices bacon (I used Applegate Farms Sunday Bacon sooooo good!)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup red pepper, minced
1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 cups sweet potato, cubed
Rice ( I used long grain brown rice)
One egg, scrambled

The above ingredients really only makes a portion for one, so if it's going to be shared, double it! Next time I make it I will definitely double it!

Start your rice as this takes a long time to cook. If you have day old rice, even better; skip this step!

You'll also want to start your sweet potatoes in a frying pan with a few tbsp. of oil. The potatoes will need to saute until soft on the inside and crisp on the outside. Once cooked, set aside. Add about 1-2 tbsp oil to a frying pan and saute your pepper, onion, and garlic. Saute until onion and pepper are soft and tender and just before you burn your garlic! Add back in your sweet potato and cook until flavors meld, around 2 minutes. Set aside. Cook your bacon until crisp and drain. Once cool, crumble.

Once your rice is ready, grab a large frying pan and add in your rice, veggie mix, bacon. Heat through. Then add one scrambled egg and cook for around 5 minutes, or until your egg is done. Season well with salt and pepper.

So good! I was going to make a balsamic glaze sauce, because sweet potato and glaze go so well together, but I ended up adding a bit of white sauce...yeah you guessed it, ranch!! :)

The bacon makes it just like a pork fried rice, but without having to cook and shred pork! I literally just started this recipe by making rice because I had some in my pantry, and then cooking the sweet potato because I had a half of one that was getting ready to go bad. I will definitely make this again! Parrish insisted!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gluten Free Corncakes

Gluten Free Pantry has done it again! Last night I used Gluten Free Pantry Cornbread Mix to make corncakes and they were so good!

I hadn't tried this mix before, but it was super simple! You just mix the entire box with buttermilk, frozen corn, and a little oil with a pinch of sugar. (According to the recipe on the box) Then you just scoop out the batter onto a hot pan, and cook until crisp. So good! We drizzled the tops with taco sauce and ranch. Yum. On the side I had a scrambled egg with garlic, onion, and red pepper. Perfect! It's pretty much an omelet, but a bit simpler.

I can't wait until tomorrow! It's TGIF of course, plus Parrish and I are going on date! :) After three years together, it's nice to shake it up a little bit! Plus it's a surprise as to where we are going! I'll give you the details Saturday!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Thank You!


Last night I decided to celebrate...by baking Gluten Free Sugar Cookies! I just thought of Megan's 'You might be a food blogger if' posts. You might be a food blogger if you celebrate success by baking cookies and using new sprinkles you're really excited about!

What was I celebrating? Good question! I was celebrating THIS BLOG! Yesterday my blog hit 5,000 views! :) I was SO excited!! I knew I wanted to do something special, so I broke out the good stuff: Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix. MMMmmmmm I figured what better way to say Thank You to all of you for reading, than beautiful, edible, sparkly cookies?!

However, these are just any sprinkles. They are Sparkling Sugar by India Tree. I went into a grocery store yesterday called The Fresh Market. (I'm not going to link it, here's why:) They had NOTHING gluten free. (Other than the "duh's" like veggies) Their store was literally brimming with beautiful holiday goodies and NOT one was gluten free. Not one cookie, coffee cake, or fresh bread. Not even a premade muffin mix or pancake! So when I stumbled upon these beautiful sprinkles, I couldn't resist!

Cherrybrook Kitchen Gluten Free Sugar Cookie Mix is so good! If you haven't tried it, get some today! I have to add just a splash more liquid than it calls for, but other than that it's super simple! I also use real milk instead of rice milk. Because of my wonky stove, I bake the cookies at 325 for 10 minutes and check the bottom for browning. Once brown, I have to broil the tops for a bit. It's totally worth it!!

The White Christmas Tree is my Favorite!

But the Snowflakes are pretty too!Parrish Decorated this Gingerbread Man. He named him Leroy! So cute!

So Thank You so much to all of you! Just like these sugar cookies, having awesome readers like you makes me feel less alone in my gluten free life. I feel more like an adventurer, cooking not only for myself and my family, but for all of you too!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gluten Free Biscuits - Sweet


Warm biscuits fresh from the oven...yum. It has been a while since I've had a biscuit. Almost 7 months actually. Sadly, the very last gluten-y item I ate was a butter biscuit with grape jelly. They were a breakfast standard for me. Being a Southern girl, I am a lover of biscuits, both sweet and savory.

I had been craving sweet biscuits for about a week, but as I'm sure you've noticed I needed a little bit of time off after cooking all day on Thanksgiving. I had attempted making thyme crackers earlier this week, but I don't quite have the recipe down yet. Hopefully I will be able to share a recipe for those later this week. Sweet biscuits are easy to make and only require a few ingredients. You'll need:

2 cups all purpose gluten free flour (I used Gluten Free Pantry of course!)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup raw sugar
2 cups heavy cream (I used Organic Valley heavy whipping cream)

Mix together all the dry ingredients, then add the heavy cream one cup first. Mix together, knead a bit, then add the second cup. You will have to knead this dough quite a bit, but you'll want to be sure to get it mixed well. You'll want the dough to have even moisture throughout.

On a floured surface, use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thickness. I was able to get 12 3-inch rounds out of one dough ball. Bake the biscuits at 450 for about 15 minutes. In my wonky stove I baked the rounds for 10 minutes and then checked the bottoms. They were getting pretty brown, so I switched the oven to broil for a few minutes until the tops were brown and had cracked a bit.

These are so good! They are pretty dense, but still light. They would serve well with savory dishes, but are best eaten with a simple butter and jam.

I had mine with Aunt Suzanne's homemade preserves. My sister will die when she hears that I still have some of my preserves!! I've been rationing my jars.

Like most gluten free baked goods, these are best served hot!

My Kind of Cookie Jar

I received a package from LARABAR!!!! I LOVE these bars! Since becoming gluten free, they have definitely become a necessity. I keep my bars in a candy jar on the counter so they easily reached and remembered. Eating on the go is super hard when you have Celiac, so having a bar in your purse is always a plus.
I thought my favorite flavor was Peanut Butter Cookie, but my package contained many flavors, a few I'd never tried. My new favorite is definitely Pistachio. If you like Pistachio nuts you will LOVE this bar. I also really love Cinnamon Roll and Ginger Snap. Ginger Snap is so yummy, but very spicy! Their webpage shows a Pecan Pie flavor, so I hope to try that one too. There wasn't one in my box, but hopefully my co-op will carry it. The package also included a super cute t-shirt; I'll take a pic when I wear it this week. Thank you LARABAR!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Product Review - Chocolate Soymilk + Peppermint = AMAZING!!


Vitasoy Peppermint Chocolate Soy Beverage - 4 Stars!!

I will be the first person to tell you...well actually, my friend Alex would be the first person to tell you, I am not a Chocolate and Mint person. I always turn it down and I rarely like it.

Not anymore! This soymilk is awesome! It's the perfect balance of chocolate and sweet mint. Plus it's gluten free! (of course)

You can drink it warm as a hot chocolate or cold for a refreshing snack. I recommend mixing it in your coffee for a special treat.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: My First Gluten Free Thanksgiving

My first Gluten Free Thanksgiving. I was so daunted by this idea when I submitted my proposal to Food buzz. I had never cooked a Thanksgiving meal...especially a gluten free Thanksgiving meal. I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in this past Spring, so this was going to be my first real holiday gluten free. I was so excited when my proposal was selected! I was so looking forward to the challenge of creating this meal! PLUS, I invited everyone who has been so supportive to me in the past few months since my diagnosis. I was excited to prepare a meal for my friends and family to say Thanks.

The Gluten Free Menu:

Turkey with gravy
Savory Stuffing
Asparagus Popover
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Fritters
Pumpkin Cake with Fresh Cream Cheese Icing


The night before I planned out the entire day. I read each recipe 3 times and thought about my timing. After planning out the next day, I started to brine my turkey. Brining is great for a turkey, it makes it moist and tender. Plus, you don't have to baste and the turkey will cook in less time. To make the brine you'll need:

1 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 gallon gluten free vegetable stock
1 tbsp. black peppercorns
1/2 tbsp. allspice berries
1/2 tbsp. candied ginger
1 gallon iced water

Combine all the brine ingredients in a large pot except for the ice water and bring to a boil. Stir and cook for 10 minutes at medium heat. Then remove the pot from heat and let it cool until it reaches room temperature. Then refrigerate until completely chilled.


The allspice berries and peppercorns will not dissolve. ( I kept boiling my brine and waiting for them to dissolve!!) Combine the brine with the ice water in either a clean 5 gallon bucket, large container, or brining bag. I found a brining bag at my local Harris Teeter that was perfect!

Add your thawed turkey and securly fasten. Refrigerate your turkey in the brining bag or the bucket. If there isn't room in the fridge, then place the turkey in a cool place. If you don't have room in your fridge, I would add a little bit of extra ice.

I sat my brining bag inside of my roasting pan to keep it compact in my fridge.Max likes the brining turkey.


I brined my turkey overnight and into the Thanksgiving Day. 9 hours total. After the turkey is finished brining, remove it from the bag and pat dry. Place in your roasting pan on a rack so that the bottom of the turkey isn't resting on the bottom of the pan. I just inserted a cookie drying rack into the bottom of my roasting pan. Rub your bird with a light coating of olive oil, being sure to get underneath the wings. Next you'll need your aromatics:

2 red apples, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
3 cinnamon sticks
1 cup water
4 sprigs rosemary
5 sprigs thyme
6 leaves sage

You stuff these aromatics into the cavity of your turkey. It gives the meat an amazing flavor, plus your kitchen will smell insanely good! Chop your apple and onion into chunks. Toss in to a bowl with the cup of water and cinnamon sticks. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. This steeps the mixture and add to the flavor. Stuff the steaped mixture and the fresh herbs into the cavity.

Start Cooking!

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Bake the turkey at 500 degrees for 30 minutes. Cooking at a high temperature at the beginning, gives your turkey a crisp golden skin and makes it picture perfect! Then pull your bird out and lower the oven temperature to 350. Insert your meat themometer into the largest part of the turkey breast (without touching the bone) and cover the turkey breast with aluminom foil. This way the breast meat will not overcook and dry out. Continue to cook for 2 1/2 hours or until your turkey has reached 161 degrees. Pull from the oven and loosely cover with aluminum foil.

Second, the pumpkin cake!

The ingredients
*You only need 4 eggs (not 2 cartons!) I was using up the last of an older pack!

This cake is super easy to make. Use the recipe card for step by step directions. It's a great dessert to make for a big meal, because you servce it cooled. That way you don't have to worry about it being fresh from the oven. I made this cake before I even put the turkey in the oven. That way it had all day to cool before I made the fresh icing.

Incorporate the dry ingredients before mixing into the wet.

The batter is super smooth, but you'll need to use the spatula to spread it evenly in the pan.

To make the icing you'll need:

8 ounce package Organic cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup Organic butter, softened
2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
1 tsp. Fair Trade Vanilla Extract

Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth in a mixer on medium speed. Mix in the sugar slowly until combined. Add the vanilla extract last. I like to whip my frosting at a high speed for a few seconds right before I ice my cake.
I printed out leaves and cut out stencils to decorate my cake. I sprinkled cinnamon on top to shade in the stencil.




Up next on the list, the stuffing!


I was lucky enough to find a really good gluten free bread. My local Great Harvest Bread Company has started making gluten free breads. They're making a plain, herb, and cinnamon. I thought the Herb gluten free bread would go great in a stuffing. I bought the bread a week and a half before Thanksgiving and left it in the fridge to dry out. Luckily, gluten free bread is already pretty dry, so it doesn't take long to stale. I did alot of the prep work for the stuffing Thanksgiving morning. I cubed the bread and measured it out in advance.

I also chopped my onion and cubed my brie in advance. Cubing the brie was pretty tough. It's such a sticky cheese, that my knife kept getting caught. It's a little time consuming, but worth it! Use the recipe card above for the step by step process of making this stuffing.

The stuffing mix ready for the pan

Up next the Asparagus Popover!

The popover is SUPER easy to make. I used the Gluten Free Pantry Beth's Gluten Free All Purpose Flour. Use the recipe card for the step by step for this recipe.

I also made some mashed potatoes for the meal. Nothing special there, just Organic yukon gold potatoes, fresh local butter, and local whole milk. Whipped until creamy. Yum!

I made the Cranberry Fritters last. They're best served warm and frying is the quickest cooking method.

First you have to cut the cranberry sauce in to half inch rounds. Freeze the rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet for at least 4 hours.

Before you start the battering process, heat the oil to 375 degrees. Then dredge the frozen round in the flour, then the batter, and then fry.

Cook in the oil for about 3 minutes or until golden brown. I didn't get the hand of the fritter until the 3rd one, so give yourself a few more rounds than you have guests so you can have a few mess ups. I also bought a pre-made Cranberry Relish from my co-op just in case the fritters didn't turn out. But they actually really worked! However, since they are deep fried, it is nice to offer an alternative for guests who are watching their calories!

I dusted them with powdered sugar once they had cooled.

The guests began to arrive around 6:30. I knew I wanted to give myself some wiggle room, so I set out a few appetizers. (But not too many because they needed to be hungry for supper!) I love serving Thanksgiving Supper. It's not the best for metabolism, but that way when you're sleepy after eating, you go to bed!

Olives stuffed with garlic & hummus with red peppers

It literally was an ENTIRE DAY of cooking! But it was surely worth it. I was so proud when I presented my very first gluten free turkey!

Hard work!

The table is set

My full plate



Cheers!

Everyone really enjoyed the meal! I don't think anyone would have even known the dishes were gluten free if I hadn't told them. The stuffing was my favorite...and the cake!


I am so thankful for all my friends and family. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life. And of course, I couldn't have done any of this without....


My tiny wonky stove

Happy Thanksgiving!

Want to see more? Visit www.foodbuzz.com and click on the 24,24,24 tab to see what other bloggers did to celebrate Thanksgiving!

Thanks so much to Foodbuzz for this opportunity!