Archive for February, 2010

Bake Some Love

February 15, 2010

Happy Day of Love!

Happy Valentines Day, blogosphere! I hope you are all snuggled up with your love muffin sugar pumpkin today and enjoying whatever you all have planned to express your love for one another.  Or, if you are single, I hope you have something strong to drink and a pile of Jane Austen movies on tap for your evening. I fall in between the two camps today, as my boyfriend is sick and our trip was canceled on account of snow. Oh well! I guess we’ll celebrate officially later this week, but I am really excited because I decided to attempt something that I haven’t tried yet since eating gluten free: Rolled Sugar Cookies!

I was leery of rolled cookies even before going gluten free, so attempting them with my little bags of flour seemed pretty scary. All that fussing around with the rolling pin seemed unnecessary when I could just make drop cookies with no hassle. There is, however, something very satisfying about eating shaped cookies, especially on a holiday! I made these cookies using Gluten Free Girl’s recipe, although I did make a few small changes in terms of how I handle the dough that worked really well for me! Also next time, I think I would leave out the amaranth flour. This was the first time I had tried it and the smell really bothered me. I will try replacing it with almond flour or coconut flour next time! I hope you give them a try, there’s no reason that gluten free kids can’t have holiday cookies too. 🙂 I also want to recommend that you use a Silpin, a silicon rolling pin, for any rolling of gluten free dough that you need to do. They’re great and gluten free dough tends to be extra sticky!

Rolled Sugar Cookies

Adapted from Gluten Free Girl

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch fresh nutmeg

1) Preheat oven to 350.

2) Cream together butter and sugar till fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until blended well.

3) Mix flours, salt, baking powder, xanthan gum in a bowl. Add to butter mixture one cup at a time through a sifter, mixing well between each addition.

4) Once all the flour is incorporated, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

5) Once chilled, take dough out of fridge for a few minutes to loosen up.  Divide dough into halves and between rolling each, store in the fridge wrapped in plastic. Put one half of the dough on rice flour sprinkled saran wrap or waxed paper on the counter, and roll out to about 1/8 inch thickness. This dough doesn’t really get too thin, so you should be ok as long as you don’t press too hard.

6) Once you’ve cut your cookies out, bake them on a parchment paper or Silpat lined baking sheet for 10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool completely before icing. Alternate rolling/cutting and storing each half of dough until it is all gone!

Bake up some love for your sweetie pie

Sugar Cookie Icing

Adapted from Craftzine’s post by Kate Goodman

2½ cups powdered sugar
4 Tbsp milk or half-and-half
2 Tbsp butter, softened
½ tsp vanilla extract
Food coloring, optional

Directions

In small mixer bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, butter, and extract. Beat at medium speed until smooth, adding additional milk, if necessary, to reach the desired spreading consistency. Color with food coloring, if desired.

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British Seafood Pot

February 14, 2010

I am afraid that I am becoming a bit of a shut in. I can’t help it; I honestly don’t know a lot of people my age who have to cook as much as I do. Most young folks seem to view it as a chore. Or more like “Cooking? Oh yes, I love cooking. I’m especially fond of Lean Cuisine.” Ahhhh. I make no secret of the fact that it is an important activity in my life, even were I not gluten free. I like taking ingredients and shaping them into something fine and different and fulfilling. I feel that food expresses feelings that sometimes I can’t express on my own, so it’s hard when people don’t quite understand what all the fuss is about over a handmade gluten free cake or a made-from-scratch stew. If they don’t get it, sometimes it’s like they don’t get me. Don’t ask where that came from. I’m feeling a bit contemplative tonight; perhaps all the Jane Austen I’ve been exposed to today. (By the way, if you like Jane Austen, try out “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. It is absolutely fantastic!)

Gotta have that bread for dipping!

Anyhow, I’m still on my Nigella Lawson kick and I thought that I would share a fantastic recipe for a Seafood Pot that is in her Nigella Express cookbook. I have mentioned how much I love Nigella for her simple ingredients, clear instructions, and charming writers voice. I should also mention that I am a complete Anglophile and pretty much love anything “typically” British. This was compounded by a visit to Northern Ireland a few years ago, where I got to visit the Republic for a weekend and stay in Donegal by the ocean. It was truly special and now I can hardly bear to eat seafood in the US. I especially love shellfish, so this was a perfect dinner to try out on a night where I am on my own.

I actually used some shrimp in my version as well, which weren’t in Nigella’s version. I didn’t enjoy them as much as I thought I would, but I think it’s because they had been frozen for a while. If I had used some fresh shrimp, I am sure it would have been delicious! Alter yours as you see fit though, and I know that you will love whatever you make. Share it with someone you love.

Must love seafood

Seafood Pot
Adapted from Nigella Express

1 lb cherrystone or littleneck clams
1 lb cod fillet
1 lb cleaned squid
2 tablespoons butter
drop of vegetable oil
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 medium sherry
1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Salt
Pepper

1) Soak the clams in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes while you chop the fish.  Discard the open or cracked clams and drain the rest. Scrub thoroughly under running water with a brush to dislodge any sand or dirt.

2) Cut the fish and squid into 1/2 inch slices/

3) melt butter and oil in a large pot or pan with a lid, then over high heat add the fish and squid, stirring them around until they begin to turn opaque.

4) Add the clams and white wine, then cover. Shake the pot a bit so that they don’t stick. Cook for approximately 3 minutes.

5) Lift the lid, avoiding the steam, and pour in sherry and lemon juice. Cover again and cook for another 3 minutes. Salt and pepper just before serving and sprinkle chopped chives on the top.

6) Serve the seafood in the pot or in individual bowls if you have a large crowd. Serve with crusty bread on the side for dunking, you will have a lovely broth to go with the fish.

Mixed Berry Cobbler

February 13, 2010

I am obviously wishing for summer and skipping over pining for spring completely lately. I just did a delicious Ratatouille (summer veggies) and now I have baked a delicious cobbler with berries left over from last summer. AHH! The snow has taken its toll and I am ready to see some green leaves and flowers outside my door.

While I wait, I am cleaning out the freezer of last summers leftover produce. I always take the opportunity to freeze as much as I can to keep me going in times exactly like these, where I need a reminder that summer isn’t forever away. My personal favorites to freeze are blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, cherries, peaches, and beans. This can keep going pretty much until my farmers market has something other than potatoes and cabbage! I highly recommend this strategy.
Anyway, I had a last half gallon bag of mixed blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries that I needed to use and thought I would try a recipe from Nigella Lawson’s “Nigella Express” cookbook. I LOVE NIGELLA! She is so charming and well, so British. I can’t resist her. This cobbler was incredibly easy to convert to gluten free because it takes very little flour to make. I really hope you all try this, it was incredible and, after being made last night, is now gone. 🙂 Try it with vanilla ice cream or the Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream recipe included below.

Breakfast? Because of the fruit? Yeah.

Mixed Berry Cobbler
Adapted from “Nigella Express”

1 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup flour (I used this mix, but I think pretty much any all-purpose mix would work here)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sunflower kernels
1 tsp ground cinnamon
4 cups berries
1/4 cup raw sugar
3 tsp cornstarch

1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter and set to one side for the moment.

2) Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds, sunflower kernels, and cinnamon in a bowl.

3) Tip the blackberries into a wide shallow baking dish, sprinkle over the sugar and cornstarch and tumble to coat.

4) Stir the melted butter into the crisp topping and spoon on top of the blackberry to cover (not completely).

5) Bake for 25 minutes and serve with ice cream or whipped cream.

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

Heavy cream
Sugar
Vanilla bean/Vanilla paste

1) Whip cream in a cold mixer bowl with a cold mixer until soft peaks form.

2) Tip in sugar to taste as well as vanilla. Mix into cream and serve cold.

Health food right? Because of the antioxidants. Yeah. That's it.

Warming Foods

February 13, 2010

This was seriously the blizzard that would not end. I know there’s been lots of talk in the news (in fact, that’s all I could find on TV for the majority of the week…like we didn’t know) but you don’t understand. I got excited to walk to the car today. And then to Whole Foods. And then to Crate and Barrel. I would have kept going to Barnes and Noble if I wasn’t carrying calamari and cod in my shopping bag. Tomorrow perhaps….

Anyway, I wanted to share a fabulous recipe for Ratatouille that kept Keith and myself warm and happy during this nasty weather. I know that Ratatouille is actually a summer dish, but considering that I was able to find everything at Whole Foods, I thought I would take the opportunity to try something new while I had the time to cook! I do love that about bad weather 🙂

I used the recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “The River Cottage Cookbook”, which Keith’s mom Janet was so kind to pass on to me over Christmas. I was grateful too; there is nothing that I love more than British…anything. 🙂 I was excited to finally use this book and get a lovely warming dish on a blizzardy night!

Ratatouille
From The River Cottage Cookbook

Serves 4 as a starter

Olive Oil
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 oz. eggplant, cubed
8 oz. zucchini, sliced 1/2 inch thick
8 oz. sweet cherry or Sungold tomatoes, left whole
8 oz onions, in fairly thick slices
a few basil leaves, torn
salt and freshly ground pepper

1) Put large saute pan or dutch oven over medium heat and cover the bottom with olive oil.  Add chopped garlic and eggplant and saute until eggplant is soft and tender. Add zucchini, tomatoes, and onions and cook till all vegetables are cooked through.  Season and add torn basil leaves.

Oh wait! You thought there was more! Nope. That’s it. It’s insanely easy, delicious and filling, not to mention extremely healthy. Keith and I ate this as a side dish to a roasted chicken and some rice, it was AMAZING. You could easily eat it on it’s own though, with some crusty bread to soak up the juices. Enjoy, my friends, and stay warm out there!

Snowpocalypse 2010….DC Edition

February 11, 2010

Well I guess it’s not news to anyone out there that DC has been having an unusually large amount of snow. This is shocking to me, as we normally get maybe one storm per year. I actually kinda like this, I’ve been out of work since last Thursday and I won’t be going back until next Tuesday! Woo! Normally this would mean lots of baking, cleaning, and movies; however, i am snowed in at Keith’s house this time around so it means….lots of cooking, reading, and movies. Not a huge difference. 😉

Today we went for a walk in the snow. It sounded romantic when we were warm inside; a little less so once we were outside in 28 mph winds with snow getting in every exposed crack in my clothing!

Snowpocalypse 2010

We tried to walk in the snow...

However, the wonderful thing about today was coming back from our chilly walk to a beautiful pot of chicken noodle soup! We had everything we needed and especially welcome was the Better than Bouillon soup base that Keith happened to have in the fridge. I make your basic chicken noodle soup all the time with (since i have yet to find one in a can that is gluten free), but the Better than Bouillon really punches it up a notch flavor wise. I highly recommend it 🙂

A really basic recipe for my Chicken Noodle soup is as follows:

2 stalks celery
3 carrots
8 cups chicken stock made with Better Than Bouillon
1/2 white onion
1 clove garlic
thyme
bay leaf
salt
pepper
Gluten free pasta (I used Cornito pasta because I like how it holds up in soup, but you can use whatever. Tinkyada works well too!)
Chopped roasted chicken (Rotisserie is especially good!)

There is no science to this soup. melt some butter, toss in the chopped veggies and cook till soft. Toss in herbs, broth, and salt and pepper and cook for a few hours. about 2 minutes before you’re ready to eat, put in the pasta and chicken and put on lowest heat. Ta da! Instant warming amazingness. The best thing about it is that you can change it up however you want and it takes about 15 minutes to put together. The result is a huge return on investment, as it were.

Anyway, I hope you are all staying warm and toasty! Make some homemade soup and a grilled cheese tonight and you will be a happy camper!

Triple Oak Bakery

February 4, 2010

Ok, I am a BAD blogger. Sorry guys. Life happens! I was visiting Keith’s family in Florida for Christmas, then came back and started selling Mary Kay in full swing! Side note: Mary Kay is awesome. Check out my website at http://www.marykay.com/rpantaleo if you are interested in ordering anything at all! 🙂

Hopefully this tidbit will redeem me in your foodie hearts, my lovely readers! My mom told me today that her friend Brooke runs a DEDICATED gluten free bakery in Sperryville, Virginia. It is called Triple Oak Bakery, and they specialize in “…gourmet desserts like Profiteroles (cream puffs), Mocha Dream Cake and our Signature Chocolate Torte as well as the best Carrot Cake around.”

Um, yes please. They don’t have regular store hours, but you can contact them by phone at (540) 987-9122 with questions or to schedule an order/appointment at (540) 675-3601. You can also email them if you would like at TripleOakBakery@gmail.com. Brooke Parkhurst is the owner (and a friend of my moms) and I can’t wait to go try her goodies!!

And side note: I have about 4 months worth of recipes that I will work on posting this weekend while I am snowed in. Don’t worry 🙂 Homemade New England Clam Chowda, Ratatouille, and Gluten Free Challah are coming!

Triple Oak Bakery