Thursday, August 21, 2014

Time To Move!

Obviously it has been awhile since I wrote a post here. Thing is I have another blog that I spend more time with and if you'd like to join me there I'd be honored.

Oh! You would like to know what the other blog is right? Mostly garden photos; flowers, vegetables, birds visiting the garden, pets sneaking into the garden and then the occasional gluten free recipe like this one: Gluten-Free Sour Cream Coffee Cake.

If you follow me over there, well that would be fantastic and if you don't that's alright too!

Thank you for reading and I hope to see you at One A Day In The Garden

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Pan Roasted Cauliflower and Garlic with Pork or without

Cauliflower has been all the rage for people wanting to limit carbs, it is the go to substitution but for me it's an important vegetable to eat often, regardless of the latest diet ideas. Raw, yup love it raw but cooked is iffy for me, it gets too soft and isn't as flavorful when cooked.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable which means it is a super healthy all natural food - simply stated eh!
 One of the best websites for information regarding those good for you veggies is WHFoods, according to them cauliflower helps with detox, is full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, provides cardiovascular support and aids the digestion system - all excellent reasons to eat cauliflower. There is mention of cauliflower being researched in regards to it aiding those with inflammation related health problems - it will be interesting to see what the results are.

Flavor yup, yup this way of making cauliflower gives it lots of flavor and while you'd think that the amount of garlic called for might seem like too much and you might worry that it tastes burnt, don't worry - just try it one time - even the non eaters will enjoy this, they've told me so!

Pan Roasted Cauliflower & Garlic with Pork
A nice option with this is you can make a full meal out of this by adding in pork or you can serve this as a side dish.

1 head cauiflower, washed, cut up into bigger bite size pieces, drain on a towel
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 pound pork loin, cubed
olive oil
salt and pepper
heavy skillet

Heat your skillet on low with 3 Tablespoons olive oil  while you prepare everything else, as your almost ready to start cooking you will turn the skillet up to medium high heat and let it get hot.
*Don't walk away and keep your children and pets out of the kitchen while you are cooking, it can over heat unattended and while cooking splattering of oil can occur.

Place the cauliflower in a bowl to aid in transferring it to the skillet. Salt and pepper the cauliflower, use about 1/2 teaspoon salt and a good couple of dashes of pepper - fresh ground is better.
Lightly salt and pepper the cubed pork and place in a bowl.

 Very quickly and carefully pour the cauliflower into the skillet, spreading it out evenly with a long handled spoon. If you think your pan is cooling off, turn the heat up because you want this to cook fast and hot, the cauliflower it to brown mostly and only cook slightly. Turn the cauliflower often so it is browned on all sides as evenly as possible without over cooking - just as the cauliflower is about to be done add in the garlic.
Stir the garlic in, yes it will smell burnt real quick like and that is alright - you are not burning it but browning
 it quickly.  Keep stirring so the garlic isn't burning but as soon as it is evenly browned remove the cauliflower/garlic to a serving bowl.

Put your skillet back on the burner over medium heat and let it warm up before you start cooking the pork.
 If the skillet is dry add a tablespoon of olive oil, add in the cubed pork. After a few minutes start turning the pork, if it's sticking to the skillet wait a moment for it to form a skin and then it should turn easily - make sure your skillet isn't dry, add another tablespoon of olive oil if needed.  Stir the pork so that all sides evenly brown the pork should take around 5 minutes to cook on medium heat.

Put the pork in the serving bowl with the garlic and cauliflower folding it together.
Serve as a meal by itself or for the person that likes carbs, serve over mashed potatoes - yes a white on white meal! If you need color sprinkle on some fresh parsley, which only makes me laugh because we don't care how plain looking this meal is because we enjoy it!

Wash and chop one head of cauliflower, dry on toweling -
You don't want any moisture left because you want to limit 
the splattering when you add it to the pan.

Chop up that garlic.

Cubed pork loin.

It might be bland colors on bland colors but it is a meal by itself.

I will admit we even served this with a starch bland colored dish, ahem 
wait you know what I'm going to say don't you?
Mashed potatoes. 

There ya go and I hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Gluten Free Pizza - Personal Sized

This post could be easy peasy pizza pie!

It is super easy is to make gluten free pizza and I the only tool I think that makes the pizza turn out better than better is a baking stone. I know I just told you a special tool is needed and not everyone has one but honestly I don't tell you to go out and buy anything special often. Will your pizza turn out without it, of course it will.

This pizza is pretty much based on the recipe from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking which almost makes this post a cookbook review. Everything we have made from this cookbook turns out excellent, this is a must have cookbook for the gluten free cook.

We always double this recipe, when doubling do not double the yeast or the salt - it just isn't necessary.

Pizza Dough 
makes 1 pizza (which is why we double the recipe)

3/4 cup warm water, about 115°F
1 Tablespoon honey (sugar if your out)
1 package active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (we always leave this out due to allergies)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups Gluten free flour mix** check near the top of the blog for the pages and you will find the flour recipe
parchment paper and a cooling rack (I think these are must haves for pizza baking)

Preheat oven to 425° (the book says 400° but I prefer 425°) with the baking stone in the oven.

Before you start on the dough clean a spot on your counter, lay out a piece of plastic wrap and sprinkle with gluten free flour - keep a small bowl of gluten free flour handy as you will need it when you form the dough.

Combine the warm water, yeast and honey in a large bowl , let stand till bubbly which should only take a minute or so - those bubbles means your yeast is active. If you have instant yeast you can skip this step and mix the yeast into the flour.

While the yeast is getting happy mix together your flour, basil, oregano, salt, xanthan gum and garlic powder if using.

Stir in the olive oil into the yeast water and then blend in the flour mix, stir until it is all blended - the dough will become kinda scraggy, if you touch the dough it will be only slightly sticky, if you pat it the dough gently with a floured hand it shouldn't really stick to you - if its too sticky you can add in about a Tablespoon of flour at a time.
 You can "knead" the dough on a floured surface to make it all smooth and pretty but honestly I don't. Once the dough is blended I pull off chunks about the size of a clementine because we make small personal pizzas - Oh use floured hands to do this. Round this little chunk of dough in your hand and then place on your floured plastic wrap, pat the dough into a small round - you can go tiny small to bigger small, its all dependent on what size you want your personal pizza to be.  We've made them a bit bigger but we've found we prefer them a bit smaller, the dough is thicker and bakes up nice and chewy like pizza should be - if you want a thinner, crispy pizza then by all means make it your way.

If you don't know by now I'm big on making foods your way - I view recipes as guidelines. For example this recipe is originally called Thin Crust Pizza Dough - we don't make it thin so I don't call it that - we also only put the basil and oregano in the crust once when we first made it and we haven't done so since, it seems unnecessary. So it's all up to you as to how your pizza turns out, just follow the basics but don't be afraid to fool around with the flavors.

Okay back to the baking.  After you've formed your pizza you have to get it into the oven - place one hand under the plastic wrap slightly lifting the dough, place your other hand over the dough and flip that dough upside down onto your hand, now flip the dough onto the parchment paper. If the dough tears it is nothing to worry about, just press it back together.   I usually fit 2 small pizzas onto the parchment paper at one time.
Now you are probably wondering how to get your pizza dough into the oven?

A wooden pizza paddle would be a great way to get your crust in the oven but I don't have one, do you? Why buy something if you don't have to, unless you want to!  Place your parchment and pizza dough onto the cooling rack, slide your oven rack out slightly and now pretend the cooling rack is a pizza paddle and slide that parchment paper onto the baking stone or onto the oven rack. It isn't hard, its just a quick slide - try it once and you will get the hang of it. The pizza crust parbakes for 10 minutes.

Since you will be parbaking the crust you have time to get your toppings ready. Get to it!

Toppings of course are up to you and here are some suggestions.
Mozzarella slices and grated - we buy the small fresh balls and slice those and we buy an Italian blend of grated cheeses
Feta cheese, we love feta on our pizza
Fresh or dried basil but fresh is the best
Cooked sausage
Tomato Sauce
Fresh tomato slices
Black olives (we love Trader Joe black olives)
Onions, garlic - if I were using these I would saute in olive oil till tender before I started on the pizza, letting them cool on the stovetop while I prepared the pizzas. I don't use these at all due to allergies.

When your pizza dough is done parbaking you pull it out of the oven using the cooling rack, place the cooling rack right up to the oven rack and then grab the edge of the parchment paper and pull the whole thing onto the cooling rack.  Place this on your counter and then top your pizza how you like - individual pizzas means you get it your way.
Place your pizzas back into the oven, again using that cooling rack like a wooden pizza paddle - bake for 15 minutes.

We top ours this way, sauce then the cheese slices, the toppings then the feta and grated cheese on top of everything - the grated cheese holds everything in place just right!

This was a tad larger, it was our first one, since then we've gone smaller.
See the plastic wrap, it helps with lifting and no sticking to the counter.

Here the crust is on the parchment paper on the cooling rack,
use that cooling rack like a wooden pizza paddle to get it
into the oven. Easy Peasy!

Feta and mozzarella slices.

This is fresh tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes, nothing
added, no salt, no sugar, just tomatoes. 

Fresh basil, mmmmmm.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cranberry Pear Pie and a Gluten-Free Pie Crust Worth Making

At this time of year so many of us are making and eating pie. Is that a bad thing? Maybe, maybe not. I know you know I am concerned about consuming too much sugar and to be honest I have cut way back on my daily consumption of sugar. BUT I don't eat pie every day or any other baked goods, while baking is one of my favorite things to do I don't want to eat it all the time.
Pie during the holidays, well sure why not. If I bake 3 pies and divide that between a family I can't over eat, heck if I get 2 pieces of pie I'm happy!

This post is about 2 different things, pie crust and the filling. When I first went gluten free I wasn't so sure about pie, I tried making pie a few times and just couldn't get the hang of it so I quit for awhile. After some prompting from my daughter I decided to try again (even those of us that think we can bake have problems at times) and I'm happy I did.

The pie crust I made is a slight variation of a couple of different recipes, the first one is from No Gluten, No Problem - the first time I made their version I followed the recipe and while it was fine I wasn't totally happy with it. I looked at the recipe from King Arthur Flour, they are quite similar recipes and the major difference is it calls for xanthan gum. The No Gluten, No Problem recipe using a flour blend with xanthan gum in it but it is a small amount and I didn't feel it was enough to make the pie crust without it so I used their recipe and added in a bit xanthan gum.

There is this thing I do when I make pie crust you might be interested in: I never cut in the butter, never. Years ago when I wasn't gluten free a cookbook I used for my holiday baking called for grating the butter into the flour, that book is the most used looking cookbook I own. The angst of going gluten free, much loved cookbooks are put aside although I do refer back to this one often - for those of you interested in taking a look at it: Festive Baking by Sarah Kelly Iaia.

As to the filling, when I make a cranberry pie I like to precook the filling - this gives me a chance to taste the filling and adjust the sugar and thickener if needed. There are lots of cranberry pies out there that aren't precooked but this is my preference, I think it makes a better pie. If you prefer you can always just mix the filling ingredients and bake it without the precook.

Before you start baking you need a good gluten free flour. Sounds simple enough but after looking around the internet and various cookbooks it's easy to see there are a lot of choices out there and lots of people saying their way is the only way (a major turn off for me).  Use what you like. Don't have one you like?
I've got a couple of suggestions, buy Pamela's Ultimate Baking and Pancake Mix or make your own blend.
Nope I didn't come up with the blend, I honestly like the recipe in Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking and I use the recipe for flour in there.  I will include the recipe for the flour below.

Okay onto the pie.

Pie Dough:
makes enough for 2 9-inch pies and this recipe can be doubled easily for lots of holiday baking

2 1/4 cups gluten free flour *see recipe below or use the one you like
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons cold butter aka 1 stick cold butter
1 egg
1/3 cup cold water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, salt, xanthan gum and sugar. Using a cheese grater, grate a very cold stick of butter into the flour, mixing with a fork every so often so the butter doesn't clump together. When you are grating the butter it is best to coat the stick with the flour every so often, this helps keep it from sticking together too much and from sticking to you.

Lightly mix all the grated butter into the flour, breaking any lumps that have formed.

Mix together the egg, water and apple cider vinegar. Make a well in the butter/flour blend, pour in the
wet ingredients and blend with a fork till there isn't any dry flour left, sometimes I have to add in an extra tablespoon or 2 of water. A ball of dough will form as you mix and this is exactly what you want.
Divide the dough in 2 gently forming into a ball, wrap in plastic and flatten into a disk. Place in the refrigerator for at least a half hour, it can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days or wrapped well in the freezer for a month.

To make the rolling out easier, I use 2 pieces of plastic wrap laid out side by side and sprinkled with flour, place the disk on this and sprinkle the dough lightly with flour and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough, rotating the whole thing frequently to help keep the shape round and even. You will need to check that there is enough flour under the dough to prevent sticking, frequently - also take the top piece of plastic wrap off and sprinkle the dough with flour as needed. It sticks easily! 

I wouldn't be doing the decorative edges before I put in the filling
if I were adding a top crust, this would be for a single crust pie.

When the dough is the appropriate size remove the top piece of the plastic wrap, I place my hand under the bottom plastic wrap and flip the dough over onto the pie plate. Gently remove the plastic wrap then gently press the dough into the pan, evening it out as you - if any tears form it is easy to repair - just press it together. For this pie you are needing a double crust, when you fill it just repeat the rolling process and flip it over the top, line it up and trim the edges, making your decorative edges with your fingers or a fork. Cut holes into the top crust. 

This pie filling has fresh  or frozen cranberries, dried cranberries, pears and an apple to amp up the flavor - when I bake with pears I always add and apple and when I bake with apples I always add a pear for depth of flavor. A bit of orange zest on the top crust along with some turbinado sugar makes the flavors pop and really pretties it up!

Cranberry Pear Pie
the filling can be made ahead of time and let sit till you are ready to use
1 package fresh or frozen cranberries, picked over
 * most packages are 12 oz and that is what I used
2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup juice - apple juice, apple cider, orange juice or even water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar
orange zest
turbinado sugar

Preheat oven to 425°

Blend the cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of the juice setting aside.
Mix the fresh and dried cranberries, the remaining 2 tablespoons of the juice and sugar in a medium sized pan, heat over medium low heat stirring occasionally until the berries look cooked through, add in the pears/apple, cooking till slightly softened, taste the mixture - it may be a tad tart and that is alright, unless you like it super sweet don't add in any extra sugar - if you just can't handle it tart add in a tablespoon of sugar at a time but I wouldn't go over the 1 cup mark.  Stir in the cornstarch slurry and heat, stirring till thickened.  If it doesn't thicken up enough for you you can make a slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 1 tablespoon of water, stirring in till it's thickened - be careful you don't want it too thick though.
 Remove from the heat and let cool until you are ready to finish the pie.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust, top with the second crust, sealing the edges and cutting in the air holes. I don't precut the air holes till after I get it situated on the pie - I've done it beforehand and it looked totally off kilter, a funny moment really!

Sprinkle the top crust with about a tablespoon of trubinado sugar and about a teaspoon of orange zest, it is quite pretty and adds just a little something extra to the pie!

Bake at 425° for 15 minutes  reduce oven to 375° and bake for 40 - 50 minutes or until the pie is lightly browned all over and looks delicious!!!

As you can see this photo was taken before all the zest and sugar
were on the pie.

Sadly there is no photo of the finished pie :-(

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and this pie might find it onto your upcoming holiday tables.

Best baking to you from What The Food Gluten-Free.