Savory Ham and Cheese Muffins (gluten free)

Savory Ham and Cheese MuffinsThese savory ham and cheese muffins are the perfect grab and go breakfast. They’re loaded with protein, and besides, I’m not much of a sweet person. Don’t get me wrong- I love a good macaron or a tiny truffle from my local chocolate shop, but I have a hard time eating bunches of sweets. However, treats that are salty, less sweet? I don’t have much control..especially when it came to putting these out for a brunch we hosted recently..I didn’t stop at just one…

 

 

 

Savory Muffin IngredientsThe flavors in these savory ham and cheese muffins are reminiscent of an omelet- a little ham, a little cheese, a few herbs.. All served up in a beautifully textured muffin that pairs perfectly with coffee or mimosas! I don’t think you can eat just one. Nobody at our party could.

While this recipe has been designed for gluten-free bakers, if you like the flavors, simply use 2 1/2 cups of flour and follow the rest of the recipe. They’re worth a try regardless of your gluten status!

 

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:23]

Breakfast Bread Pudding – A New Year’s Tradition

le petite arbre de NoelHappy New Year!! Do you have traditions for welcoming the New Year? Apparently we do, and it’s called Breakfast Bread Pudding. I’ve never been big on family traditions- mostly out of necessity, choosing the adventurous route of new activities and experiences based on our schedule and location… Somehow though, one snuck up on us.

I didn’t even realize it until the other day, when we were making our New Year’s plans with the Kitchen Divas in Training. Suddenly my oldest, who is at the age where she lives in an adult body but is still very much a young girl, burst into tears.

“NO! She emphatically cried. We ALWAYS have Breakfast Bread Pudding and watch the Rose Parade. We HAVE to do that!” I was a little surprised at her outburst of emotion, but mostly I was touched by how important this simple routine is to her. So just like that we have a tradition. Never again will I suggest New Year’s activities that don’t include Breakfast Bread Pudding and the Rose Parade.

Gluten Free Breakfast Bread PuddingThankfully, this is incredibly easy to make- less than 15 minutes of prep. You just need enough room in your fridge to let it sit overnight- ready to pop into the oven when you’re ready. Like many of our Adventuresome Kitchen recipes- our Breakfast Bread Pudding is designed to be played with. Change up the fruit or the bread, use eggnog instead of heavy cream (very tasty), or add some pumpkin.. See what magic you can make in your kitchen.

We’ll post our Breakfast Bread Pudding recipe below, but you can see the original blog post here– there’s an interesting commentary about settling for crappy food because we think we have no choice…still an issue 4 years after the original post.

However you welcome the New Year in your home, we wish you much laughter and many culinary adventures in 2015- in the kitchen and beyond!

Cheers & Happy Adventuring

Have you ‘Liked’ our Facebook Page? Post a picture of your Breakfast Bread Pudding and any changes you made!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:22]

Gluten Free Fondue

Kansas City Blizzard 2013Before I get going, I must thank my friend Steve, author at Oui Chef, for inspiring me to hop on the fondue bandwagon last night. Kansas City has been buried under snow again. This is highly unusual- especially considering that the last two winters left us with less than 11 inches of snow combined! Steve is one of my favorite bloggers. He trained at Le Cordon Bleu, and is passionate about subjects such as local food and food sustainability. And most importantly, teaching his children to cook- as am I. While not everything on his blog is gluten-free, it’s a place I go for inspiration and encouragement to explore new flavors and techniques. If you don’t subscribe to his blog-you should!

Yesterday, Steve posted a great fondue recipe by Rachel Ray (it also happens to be gluten-free!). As I was sitting at home wondering what to cook as the snow started to fly- fondue seemed perfect. It brings up images of snowy chalets, cosy fires, and decadent eating.

gluten free fondueNow, I am probably the only fondue fan in the world who doesn’t actually own a fondue pot. They’re unitaskers, and I am firmly opposed to unitaskers. Until I can justify a rarely used piece of equipment taking up precious space in my cabinets, I won’t be buying a fondue pot. But don’t despair. If you find yourself in the same boat, a good stainless steel pot or my favorite- enameled cast iron, will do the trick nicely. I pulled out my small Le Creuset and went to town. If you opt to use a regular cooking pot, your fondue will thicken as it cools and get a bit stringy. If that bothers you- simply place the pot back on the stove for a few minutes to melt everything again.

My gluten free fondue recipe was adapted from The Bonne Femme Cookbook. Many cheesy fondue recipes call for the addition of a few tablespoons of flour. You can easily substitute sorghum flour, rice flour, or even cornstarch in these instances, and not compromise the flavor or texture of the end result.

herbes de provenceI also opted out of the traditional nutmeg seasoning in favor of the sunnier and warmer flavors invoked by herbes de provence. I happened to be lucky enough to receive some freshly dried herbes from my dad, and they’ve gone into everything I’ve made over the last few days. They are a great way to jazz up everything from broccoli to eggs to soups and salads.

Lastly, there are no hard and fast rules about what to serve with fondue. We enjoyed broccoli, mushrooms, gluten-free toasted garlic bread (directions will appear below), pears & bresaola. Basically- anything you enjoy with cheese is a candidate to dip in the fondue pot. As always- feel free to modify this recipe as your heart desires. Fondue is a fun finger food to enjoy with the people you love!

Gluten Free Fondue (a main dish for 4 or an appetizer for 8-10: adapted from The Bonne Femme Cookbook)

gluten free fondue with gluten free garlic toastIngredients

1 1/4 lbs shredded gruyere, emmental, or comte cheese (or a combo)

5 tbs sorghum flour (other gf flours would work too)

1 garlic clove, + 2 tbs minced garlic

1 1/2 cups dry white wine (we used a burgundy)

3 tbs herbes de provence

2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup milk

Directions

Toss the shredded cheese with the flour. Make sure that the flour is evenly distributed and coats and many of the cheese shreds as possible.

Rub the whole clove over the inside of the pot. Place the minced garlic and the wine in the pan. Bring to a simmer. Add the cheese one handful of a time and allow to absorb completely before adding the next handful. It is really important to not let the mixture actively boil. Your pot needs to be hot enough to melt the cheese, but not so hot that it boils. For my stove, this was just under the half-way mark on the stove.

When the cheese has been fully incorporated add the milk, herbes, salt & pepper, and continue to stir. The fondue is ready when it’s a thick, liquidy (ie non-stringy) mass. Bring to the table and enjoy with your dipping ingredients.

Dipping Ingredients

raw vegetables or fruit, gluten-free crackers, or gluten-free garlic bread. Gently roasted vegetables (enough that they’re partially cooked and softened, but not so much that they’re mushy- you want them to hold up in the sauce)

roasted broccoli & mushroomspears & pomegranates

To Make Gluten Free Garlic Toast

gluten free garlic toastTake 4 (or whatever number you like) pieces of gluten-free bread. Place them on a toaster oven tray or a cookie sheet if using the oven. Brush olive oil over the tops- make sure you get into the little nooks and crannies. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, or until you start smelling the bread toasting.

Remove from the oven. Take a clove of garlic, cut off the end, and rub it vigorously over the toasted top. One clove is usually good for about 4 slices. Of course, if you like bread that is more garlicky- you can be more generous, or scrape the garlic on both sides of the bread. Discard the skins and enjoy!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Hush Puppies w/ Green Chile & Chimichurri Sauce

Happy Thanksgiving week! This fun Southeast meets Southwest munchie is the perfect addition to your Thanksgiving breakfast while you’re parade watching, or as an appetizer while you’re cooking for the main event. Of course, if the eaters in your house are like mine, there won’t be enough to serve for breakfast or an appetizer- most of our hush puppies were consumed right out of the fryer!

Like many recipes, these gluten-free pumpkin hush puppies are a cinch to make. So easy in fact, that the Kitchen Divas in Training did all the mixing! Traditional hush puppies are a combination of cornmeal and flour. Just a simple substitution of cornstarch for flour and not only are they safe to eat, they are just as delicious as anything containing gluten. The combination of cornflour and cornstarch creates a crispy golden outside, while not becoming too doughy or starchy on the inside. For those of you who may be wondering- cornflour is more finely ground than cornmeal. I like it here because it creates a softer texture on the inside. If you don’t have cornflour in your cupboard, don’t despair, you can either put some cornmeal in a food processor and break it down, or you can use cornmeal in the actual recipe. The texture will be more rustic, but that’s not going to impact the flavor one bit. 

We paired these puppies with a tangy chimichurri sauce, but they could easily be served with sour cream and salsa, or cilantro-yogurt. I think they’ll pair nicely with a breakfast mimosa too! Enjoy- and wherever you find your self, with whatever company you share, may the food you enjoy and the bread you break together remind you of the blessings you enjoy in this life!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Hush Puppies w/ Green Chile

Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients

3/4 cup cornflour

1/4 cup cornstarch

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 can of pureed pumpkin (15oz)

1 small can of diced green chile (4 oz)

3-4 oz crumbled bacon, prosciutto, or diced ham (about 1/2 cup)

4 oz shredded jack cheese (about 1 1/2 cups)

2 eggs

coconut oil for deep frying

Directions

Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Add shredded cheese and bacon and toss to coat (this helps to prevent clumping of the ingredients). In a separate bowl, combine egg, pumpkin, and green chile. Add to the dry mixture and stir gently to combine.

Heat oil to 340℉ and scoop about 6 spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. (I use a melon-baller) sett the timer for 2 minutes as soon as the last scoop has been added to the oil. At about 1 minute remaining, flip the balls in the oil so that they evenly brown. They will be a nice golden brown by the time 2 minutes are up. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel to cool.

Serve with chimichurri sauce, cilantro-yogurt, or sour cream and salsa. Here’s a quick recipe for chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri Sauce

6 garlic cloves

1/2 small onion

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/2 cup olive oil

scant 1/4 cup cider or red wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Combine garlic, onion, and cilantro in a food processor. When the garlic, onions, and cilantro are minced, add the olive oil and vinegar. Continue to puree for another minute. Pour into a small bowl and serve.

 

 

Buffalo Pot Pie with Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits

This week’s crock pot recipe is hearty and flavorful- Buffalo Pot Pie w/ Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits. Don’t let the length of the recipe intimidate you.

I went and got involved with another fun group of recipe swappers, this one hosted by the illustrious Christianna who blogs at Burwell General Store. She found an awesome old vintage cookbook, and for the past few months folks have been recreating and revamping one recipe a month. If you’ve stumbled across this in your blog wanderings, you’ll agree that the recipes have been fun and inventive!

(And special thanks to Toni from Boulder Locavore who was kind enough to help me get involved with this recipe group!)

This month’s recipe was Chicken Stew with Drop Biscuits.  Our challenge was to change 3 things about the recipe to make it our own and then post about it. I’ve had a sneak preview of some of my colleagues’ recipes, and they are mouthwatering and creative. I’m only sorry I can’t sample them right now! Once you’ve read my take on the recipe, pop on over to the Recipe Swap page at Burwell General Store, where you’ll see everything from crostata to curry. There are even a few additional gluten-free recipes! How cool is that?

I’ve been on a buffalo kick for the last month or so. There is a buffalo farm less than 20 miles from my house, and the owner sells her meat at many local grocers as well as the River Market. I had a great conversation with her a few weeks ago about stew meats,  cooking ‘low and slow’, and thought since the cold weather is refusing to give way to spring- at least for the time being- that a buffalo pie would be a nice twist on the chicken pie theme.  And, to save time and energy, I did it all in my crock pot! I have an older crock pot with a removable ceramic interior, which means it can go from crock to oven very nicely. I slow cooked the buffalo with some red wine and a few other ‘stewy’ ingredients, before adding my biscuits to the top and popping the whole thing in the oven!

If you don’t have a crock pot and a toaster oven in your kitchen, I highly recommend their addition. Both items are great in the summer when you don’t want to heat your kitchen any more than necessary. And, if you’re only cooking a little- it takes way less time and kilowats to run the smaller appliances. My toaster oven can even accommodate my small Le Creuset Gratin baker. Perfect for all sorts of side dishes! But I digress….

The crock pot gets a workout in this house because I’m very fond of throwing in a bunch of ingredients, walking away, and coming back to enjoy them several hours later. The key is to use the lowest setting and to allow cooking for a minimum of 6 hours. Anything beyond that just makes the meat even more tender. Normally, when I do a roast or a stew, I serve it with clear broth made from the cooking juices, but this time, I went out on a limb and added a little roux and cream. It was totally worth it, and I will absolutely consider doing it again. Hopefully not until next fall! The creaminess of the sauce worked nicely with the texture of the drop biscuits, and the green chiles added the tiniest bit of punch to the flavor. I could have used a little more myself, but wanting to make this accessible to a variety of people- including the Kitchen-Divas-In-Training… I went a little light on the chiles. Certainly add more if you like the heat- the dish is rich enough that it can stand up to a somewhat spicier biscuit! This is a recipe that can easily accommodate whatever changes and twists you’d like to add when you serve it up at your house. Remember always to have fun in your kitchen, and be sure to stop by the Burwell General Store Recipe Swap page for some outstanding recipes and a dose of inspiration! Who knows what might end up on your table?

Buffalo Stew

Serves 8

Ingredients

2 lbs of buffalo stew meat, cubed

1/2 cup red wine

4 shallots, chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

2 cups potatoes, chopped (about 3 small)

1 cup carrots, chopped

1 tsp salt

2 tbs wheat-free tamari (soy sauce)

6 twists of fresh pepper

1 1/2 cups water

Roux:

2 tbs butter

3 tbs sorghum

1 cup milk, half n half, or heavy cream

Directions

Place all ingredients except the roux in a crock pot and simmer on low for 6-12 hours. A word- please use red wine you would drink. If it’s not fit to drink, it’s not fit to use in food you will eat… just sayin’…… See! I told you it was easy!

45 minutes before you are ready to eat, turn off the crock pot and remove the ceramic container. It will be hot, so be sure to use potholders and place it on a heat safe coaster. Turn your oven to 425, and begin preparing the green chile cheddar biscuits below. Just before putting the biscuits in the stew, make the roux. Melt the butter in a small saute pan. When the butter is foamy, add the sorghum and whisk briskly. When you start to smell the flour, but before it has darkened in color, slowly add the milk while continuing to whisk. Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, add to the stew and stir. Then add the drop biscuits and proceed as directed.

Gluten Free Green Chile Cheddar Drop Biscuits

Makes about 20 small biscuits

Ingredients         

1 cup millet flour

1 1/4 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

1 tbs baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 oz (one stick) butter

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/4 cup chopped green chiles

3 tbs honey

1/2 cup buttermilk

Glaze:

3 tbs butter

3 tbs honey

Directions

Place dry ingredients in a food processor and mix by pulsing about 6 times. Chop the butter into 8-10 segments and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse an additional 6-8 times, until the butter has been cut up to pea-sized bits. Add the cheddar cheese and pulse 2-3 more times.

In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, combine the honey, green chile, and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and pulse several more times until mixture comes together in a ball-like form. Scoop into the stew (or onto a parchment lined cookie sheet) with a large melon-baller. To make the glaze, melt the remaining butter and honey in a microwave safe dish- it should take about 30 seconds. Brush the glaze onto the biscuits and then place the whole crock into the oven. Immediately turn down the oven heat to 375, and cook for 20 minutes, or until tops of biscuits are golden brown. The biscuits expand during the cooking process and make a lovely thick crust over the stew. Don’t be shy about cutting into this and serving the biscuits on top of, or next to the stew. Enjoy!!

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits- Maple Glazed & Gluten Free

Sweet Potatoes are popular winter fare around here. The Kitchen Divas in Training request and prepare them often. The ladies will bake one in the toaster oven and then ‘decorate’ it with their favorite pie spices, or take wedges and coat them with olive oil and bake them with salt for sweet potato fries. But lately they’ve been requesting these fun sweet potato biscuits as an accompaniment to all the cold weather soups and stews we’ve been consuming lately.

Glazed with maple syrup and butter, these sweet potato biscuits offer a lovely contrast to a bowl of spicy chile. The leftovers go equally well with a cup of coffee the next morning. This biscuit also uses cornflour to add a complimentary flavor to the sweet potato. These are easily prepared in the food processor and can be ready to eat in about 30 minutes! My kind of quick cooking. You could easily add some cinnamon or chile powder to kick the flavor up another notch. Let your imagination guide you and have fun playing in the kitchen!

Maple Glazed Sweet Potato Biscuits

Makes about 20 small biscuits

Ingredients

1 cup corn flour 

1 1/4 cup tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)

1 tbs baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

4 oz butter (1 stick)

3/4 cup mashed sweet potato, cooled

1/2 cup buttermilk

3 tbs maple syrup (can substitute honey)

3tbs melted butter + 3 tbs maple syrup (can sub honey) for glaze

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit. Place dry ingredients in a food processor. Pulse 3 times. Divide butter into 8-10 pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Pulse 6-10 times; until the butter has been reduced to pea-sized bits. In a small bowl combine sweet potato, buttermilk and syrup. Once mixed together, add to the ingredients in the food processor. Pulse until mixture clumps together in a big ball. If it’s a dry day, you may need to add a tablespoon or two of additional buttermilk. Conversely, if it’s super humid, you may need to add an additional tablespoon or two of cornflour or tapioca…

Turn the dough into a large bowl and use your hands to mush it together- if the dough is too sticky, sprinkle with additional flour and work it into the dough with your hands. Dough should be soft and pliable, but not stick to everything. Remember, since this has no gluten you don’t have to worry about overworking the dough. That said, you don’t want the butter to get too warm, so try and keep your handling of the dough to  a minimum.

Using a large melon-baller, place scoops onto a parchment covered cookie sheet and lightly flatten with the back of a spoon. Your fingers also work well for this! Mix 3 tablespoons of melted butter and 3 tablespoons of maple syrup in a small ramekin, and then brush the mixture over the tops of the biscuits. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Enjoy warm or cold!

Galettes de Sarrasin

This is the last post surrounding our Gluten Free Adventure in Paris…sort-of. I have one more, but it deals with everything truffles, and that’s not exclusive to Paris.. Part of the delay in today’s post was weather related- the ladies have had back to back snow days, altering the schedule a bit. The other reason for the delay was that I was trying to duplicate the galettes I enjoyed at the aforementioned creperies- but more on that in a moment….

Paris is synonymous with many things: romance, lights, croissants, baguettes, lights, le Tour Eiffel, crepes- just to name a few…Now I’ve posted about crepes here on several occasions, and our trip would not have been complete without me whipping up a few batches of crepes in our apartment, or figuring out where we could get gluten free crepes somewhere around Paris…As it turns out, it was easier than I thought to find gluten-free crepes. In fact, our very first meal on our very first day was at a tiny creperie that I’d read about over on David Lebovitz‘s blog.

Breizh Cafe

Located in the heart of the Marais, Breizh Cafe is a traditional creperie from Bretagne– that’s Brittany to we Anglais, and Breizh in the Celtic rooted Breton dialect from that area. Traditional fare from this region of France includes galettes de sarrasin– buckwheat crepes. What I’d read about their preparation at this restaurant led me to believe that I could actually eat said galettes, and as soon as we dropped our suitcases in le petite appartement, we called and made a reservation. An easy twenty minute walk from our new digs, and I was enjoying a heavenly lunch while wrapping my head around a new language. I explained that I was allergic to gluten- something I suspect this server had heard before, because she very nicely assured me that their crepes were indeed gluten-free.

A word here- crepes and galettes are NOT pancakes. Please do not ever call them pancakes. Galettes are made of buckwheat, and are served open faced. Crepes are typically made with white flour and served folded over. Sometimes galettes can be referred to as crepes. And, if you want to totally offend and alienate your server, by all means ask loudly in English for their best pancake and then on your own switch tables. (yes- we actually saw that happen)

Breizh is a tiny place- perhaps 10 small tables in all, and incredibly popular. One day we were in for a 2pm reservation, and the foyer was crowded with people- some who’d  been waiting for a table for over an hour. I can’t stress enough the importance of making a reservation wherever you choose to eat. Every time we ate here- we were here three times during our stay since it was fairly close to us- we tried something new on the menu. It was all delicious! Galettes are traditionally served with Cidre– a fermented apple cider. I’m now hooked on it- fortunately our favorite wine shop carries it. What’s great is that it comes in a stone pitcher and it’s traditionally drunk out of bowls instead of glasses. I’m now on the look out for some cidre bowls when I go to the antique/thrift stores around town. Dessert on our last day was a galette sarrasin with buckwheat ice cream and buckwheat honey- absolutely delicious.

That last day, I finally got up the courage to ask the owner if I could take some pictures to post when I went to write about our experience. I say this because I felt rather awkward just going places and surreptitiously snapping pics- so I only have restaurant pics from the two creperies. If you’re interested in reading about the rest of my gluten-free restaurant and shopping adventures in Paris, and receiving a little travel advice, I’ve put up a new page and you can read everything here. If you know a celiac heading to Paris soon, by all means, send them a link!

Aux Ducs de Bourgogne

Towards the end of our stay, we stumbled upon an equally lovely and tiny creperie, just around the corner from the Musée Rodin. Aux Ducs de Bourgogne is run by the charming Charles Azzi, a welcoming gentleman, fluent in multiple languages. He spent over 20 years in high end hospitality- several of those years working in food service- before coming to France and opening the creperie. He studied crepe making in Bretagne, and taught me a little of the history of galettes, as well as the difference between a crepe and a galette. A little trivia for you- Buckwheat first arrived in Europe during the Middle Ages, brought back by the soldiers of the Crusades.

For Charles, hospitality is of the utmost importance- and it shows. On our visits there we easily heard 6 different languages being spoken. His restaurant is very popular with state officials- it’s located right behind the Assemblée National, actors, and regular folks like us, who just happen upon it. We felt so welcomed on our first visit that we made sure we returned before we left. The galettes were phenomenal, and he was very willing to make dessert crepes using the buckwheat flour only. While their website doesn’t seem to be up at the moment, I did discover they have a facebook page- so look for them there if you like!

Whether you prefer the Right Bank or the Left Bank, know there are at least two creperies where you can enjoy fabulous, gluten-free food. I feel so fortunate to have met so many amazing people on this trip- people who reminded me of the importance of vocation, and who shared such kindness, generosity, and hospitality. We all came home changed from our experience, and we’re going to do what we can to get back as soon as possible. It is not Au revoir Paris, it’s A bientot.

Now, as for the other reason this post was a long time coming….when you experience galettes like these, you have to figure out how to duplicate the experience! After a few bad batches, false starts, and shots off the backboard, I finally got the taste right! While mine don’t look as pretty- I don’t have a large griddle. The taste takes me right back to these spots, and we’ll be enjoying many more galettes de sarrasin this winter. Fill these with whatever your heart desires- savory, sweet, seafood- you won’t be disappointed!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:33]

 

 

 


Black Bean Pasta w/ Chipotle Lime Chicken

Black Bean Pasta w/ Chipotle Lime Chicken, may seem like a mouthful,  but when you try these flavors, I think you’ll agree that this is a fun and flavorful meal. A few weeks ago, fellow bloggers Lazaro from Lazaro Cooks, and Denise from Quickies on the Dinner Table, announced a fun contest (The Quickie Challenge) centered on noodles. Since I already have some fun noodle dishes posted, and a ton of cellophane noodles left over from this fall’s Japchae experience, I originally thought I’d try to concoct a new cellophane noodle dish..

But then, one of my favorite grocers showed me this black bean noodle in the gluten-free section… at first I cringed and passed. I’m not a fan of beany tasting pasta- in fact, a big complaint I have with many gluten-free products and recipes is the over use of bean flours- which you need to get a higher protein and strength factor in your cooking. I’d rather eat my beans whole, thank you very much. But he stood there telling me how another lady says they’re her favorite, and he keeps them in stock just for her…. Well, I was intrigued, and my imagination started snapping…

I asked the kitchen-divas in training- “what ingredients do you think of when I say black-beans?” it was unanimous- tacos with chile, tomatoes, avocadoes, limes, cilantro- in other words, a flavor powerhouse.. So I plunged! Why not put a little black dress on the typically mundane pasta noodles, drag out the red chile and hit the dance floor? The result was surprising- and delicious. Surprising because the black bean noodles didn’t have the obnoxiously bean-y flavor I was expecting- and delicious, because let’s be honest- who doesn’t love tender chicken marinated in chipotle and lime, dancing with avocado, cilantro, onions and tomatoes? Topped with a tiny gluten free cornflour madeleine, this dish was both sassy and sweet! Taco pasta or a new incarnation of the little black dress? I’ll leave it to you to decide, but I will tell you, I’ve made this dish three times in the last 10 days, and there have been no leftovers! So put on your dancing shoes, get into in the kitchen and enjoy!

Gluten Free Black Bean Noodle Pasta with Chipotle Lime Chicken

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bag black bean noodles- I used “Explore Asian Black Bean Spaghetti” by Navan Foods

1- 1 ½ lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

1/3 cup lime juice (juice from 1 ½ big limes)

2 tbs olive oil

1 tsp chipotle powder (more if you like it really hot!)

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

1 garlic clove, minced

pinch of salt

3 twists of the pepper grinder

1 onion, diced

4 tomatoes, diced

3 green chiles, diced (more if you like it hot!)

¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado, diced

1 cup finely shredded jack cheese

Directions 

A few hours prior to your meal, place the chicken breasts in a plastic ziplock bag, and beat them flat with a rolling pin, or other heavy object. Check the bag for holes. There shouldn’t be any since the rolling pin has no edges, but it’s best to check. Provided the bag is hole-free, add the lime juice, olive oil, chipotle, cumin, garlic powder and clove, and the salt and pepper. Seal the bag and work the marinade into the chicken. When the spices have been evenly distributed, place the bag in a bowl (to catch any accidental leaks) and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours. When you are ready to cook, remove the bowl from the fridge.

Fill a stock pot with water, and set it on the stove to boil. If it reaches a boil before it’s time to add the noodles, turn down the heat and allow to simmer.

Lightly oil a large saucepan- I use my favorite cast iron fryer- and turn heat to medium. When the pan is sizzling hot, remove chicken breasts from the marinade and lightly pat dry. This will get a good sear on the meat and help give it a nice color. Sear for 3 minutes on the first side, flip and sear for an additional 4 minutes on the second side. When chicken is very firm, remove to a cutting board and cover with aluminum- chicken will cook a bit longer under the aluminum tent.

Salt the boiling pasta water- usually two teaspoons is sufficient. Add the black bean pasta as soon as the chicken has been tented. If the heat was turned down prior to boiling, return the heat setting to medium-high. Allow the noodles to cook until they have softened- about 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the diced onions to the pan that held the chicken. If the onions stick initially, you can ladle a few tablespoons of the marinade into the pan to deglaze. When the onions are translucent, add half of the chopped tomatoes, and the green chiles.  Allow the flavors to gently marry while the noodles are cooking.

When the pasta is cooked, drain, and add to the saucepan containing the tomatoes, onions and chiles. Give a quick stir to coat with the sauce and remove from the heat. Slice the chicken breasts diagonally. For presentation, place a nice mound of noodles in the center of each plate. Top with 4-5 slices of chicken, a sprinkle of the remaining fresh tomatoes, a sprinkle of avocado, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, and a tiny bit of jack cheese. If you like, squeeze a little wedge of lime over the noodles, and top with a gluten free cornflour madeleine (recipe below). There you have it- all the flavors of a good taco in a fresh format!

Gluten Free Cornflour Madeleines

Makes 18-20

Ingredients 

½ cup tapioca starch

½ cup sweet rice flour

½ cup cornflour (not cornmeal- this is a fine, flour consistency)

½ tsp xanthan gum

6 oz salted butter

3 large eggs + 1 egg yolk

¾ cup sugar

1 ½ tsp vanilla

Directions

Allow butter and eggs to come up to room temperature. Preheat oven to 450. Butter and flour a madeleine pan. Sift dry ingredients.

On a flat surface, using a pastry scraper or a spatula, mash and work the butter until it’s soft and creamy, and easily pliable. Place softened butter in a small bowl.

In a separate bowl, or in your stand mixer, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla on high speed until the mixture is thick and very pale yellow- about 2 minutes.

Place the dry ingredients in the sifter a second time, and sift one third of the mixture over the eggs. Fold in and sift another third. Fold again, and sift the last third over the egg mixture. Fold in, and then scoop a large dollop of the batter onto the butter. Fold into the butter, then scrape the butter mixture into the egg mixture. Fold gently, and when the batter is nicely mixed, allow it to rest a minimum of thirty minutes.

When you are ready to bake, fill the madeleine molds about 3/4ths full, and cook until the cookies are golden brown on top, 8-10 minutes. Remove from the pans and allow to cool.

 

 

Gluten Free Crepes w/ Chicken & Spinach

These gluten free crepes w/chicken and spinach make a hearty, easy meal that can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes- especially if you have a few extra helping hands. They’re a great meal if you’re going gluten free or if you’re convinced that all gluten free food tastes terrible- it doesn’t, but sometimes eating is believing!

I’ve posted previously about gluten free crepes and since then we’ve also made a little ‘how-to’ video which you can view on YouTube.

If you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to mess around with innovative seasonings, don’t worry! The upside of using high quality ingredients is that they can stand on their own and still be incredibly tasty. We used 2 leftover chicken breasts that one of the Kitchen Divas in Training chopped up, while I worked on the spinach and shallot mixture, and Mr. Kitchen Diva threw together the crepe batter in the blender.

Now, if you have the time and are considering a few unique ingredients, try a bunch of fresh nutmeg in the filling with a dash of red pepper flakes. Or throw a bunch of chives into your crepe batter. Leftovers with cheese make great fillings, as do fresh greens, chopped meats, jams, onions, mushrooms….well you get the picture- there’s not much I wouldn’t put in a crepe. I adapted the crepe recipe from the master herself- Julia Child- and made it all in the food processor. So simple and oh so delicious.  Enjoy!!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:32]

 

 

 

Gluten-Free Quinoa Chocolate Chip Muffins

There’s this moment of almost sick anticipation just before I pull a new recipe out of the oven. I’ve had more successes than failures in the kitchen, and yet, it’s the failures that make me timidly peek into the oven to see if I’ve created gluten-free nirvana or the next oven explosion…And then…. once I’ve pulled it out of the oven, tasted and gasped with near ecstasy, I start laughing, doing the happy dance, and generally acting like a giddy kid, overwhelmed and happily surprised by my success. This is usually followed by more tastes, sighs and self-congratulation. And this is part of what I love about cooking- what keeps me going back to the kitchen- the giddy pride of a tiny success that I can then share with others by giving away whatever it is I’ve concocted that day..The failures don’t really get me down, I’ve learned to shrug them off with a wry smile and sometimes a laugh- but they always peek over my shoulder just before I open the oven.

My latest success had me doing the happy dance in public. I’d tried a new recipe, and pulled them out of the oven as I was leaving for a lunch meeting with a friend- someone who was on hand to personally experience an oven explosion. So, I gingerly carried the steaming muffins to the car on a potholder and decided to share the outcome with my friend. I confess I did the happy dance in public, and perhaps embarrassed her by drawing a few stares with my surprised “Oh My God- these are AWESOME!!!” exclamation. But I have to say- I’m really proud of how these muffins turned out- delicious and nutritious- can’t beat that.

There is a little tricksy element to this recipe though- the recipe calls for 2 eggs- they really need to be medium sized eggs. The total egg/honey liquid should amount to 3/4 cup. No more than 1/3 of that should be eggs. If you have large eggs (eggs that equal 1/4 cup of liquid per egg)- like I used the second time I baked these, it’s a little much. Not enough sweet, and a little too much binder. How do you get around this? Break one egg at a time into a 2-cup liquid measure and check. If your first egg equals 1/4 cup, give it a whisk and add honey to the 3/4 cup line. If it’s less than 1/4 cup- then add your second egg, whisk and fill to the 3/4 cup line with honey…. This is a simple recipe- and don’t let this flexible part intimidate you into not trying. I’ve had the muffins both ways and the texture and flavor is still good in both- but if you’re expecting a mild sweetness in addition to the chocolate chips, you’ll want to make sure you have enough honey in your egg/honey mixture….just sayin’…..

Lastly-  the quinoa in this recipe is cooked- it’s not the flour. Many of you- myself included don’t care for the funky taste that quinoa flour often imparts to baked goods. Have no fear, this is pure quinoa nuttiness at it’s best. And- if you want to be really nutritious substitute dried cherries, apricots or raisins for the chocolate chips, and perhaps add a few poppy or sunflower seeds…it’s up to you- whatever you come up with is sure to be satisfying and delicious!!

Gluten Free Quinoa Chocolate Chip Muffins  

makes 12

Ingredients

1 cup cooked quinoa (1/2 cup uncooked quinoa + ½ cup water)

2/3 cup sorghum or millet (I used millet)

2/3 cup tapioca starch

2/3 cup sweet rice flour

¼ cup flaxseed meal

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg (10 grates on a grater)

1 cup buttermilk

½ cup honey

1 egg- or 2 (enough to = ¼ cup) (honey & Eggs should not exceed ¾ cup)

½ cup choc chips or dried fruit…

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 and place oven rack at the second lowest setting. If you’re not using leftover quinoa, place 1/2 cup of dry quinoa and 1/2 cup of water in a pan and cook until seeds have popped- about  15 minutes on medium. To cool, place cooked quinoa in a stainless steel bowl and place in the freezer another 10-15 minutes. * Note: Red quinoa needs more water than white quinoa, and will yield more than 1 cup of cooked quinoa. If you use red quinoa, either make your ratio 1/3 cup dry quinoa to 2/3 cup water, or just use a heaping cupful of the cooked quinoa- you will likely have leftover cooked quinoa.

In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients. Add the cooled quinoa to this mixture and incorporate thoroughly.

In a 2 cup measuring cup, place 1 egg- if egg is less than 1/4 cup add a second. Whisk thoroughly. Add honey to the 3/4 cup line and whisk until honey is fully incorporated. Add 1 cup buttermilk (buttermilk to the 1 3/4 cup line) mix, and then add to the dry ingredients.

Gently incorporate all ingredients, and add chocolate chips. Buttermilk will start to react with the baking powder and baking soda, and the batter will get puffy and sticky. Drop by large spoonfuls into muffin cups (make your own using squares of parchment paper if you don’t have enough cups).

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn oven down to 350, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick comes out clean.

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread and Pan Seared Chipotle Corned Beef

Today is Bloomsday, a seemingly inconsequential day in the life of James Joyce’s Everyman- Leopold Bloom. Modeled on Homer’s Odyssey, the life of Bloom is juxtaposed against the heroic encounters of Ulysses on his return home from war. For those of us with a bit O’Irish heritage, it’s another excuse to enjoy corned-beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread, and of course, Guinness. That is if you’re not gluten-free. It’s Irish coffee for this mama, and gluten-free soda bread.

I feel as if I’ve been on my own epic journey, working to create a soda bread that is gluten-free and delicious. And after 11 (yes, count ‘em 11!) incarnations, I’ve finally hit upon the proper combination of flour, leavening and heat that allows for a crusty outside, a soft but not gummy inside, and a taste that rivals the real deal. Yes- this has been a journey. I’ve tried buckwheat, sorghum, eggs, no-eggs, more buttermilk, less buttermilk, used up bags of flours and at times, sighed deeply in frustration. Most went straight to the trash. The rest, my supportive and adventurous family tried, and kept giving me feedback until I got it just right.

Irish soda bread developed because the wheat used in Ireland was soft, less gluteny, and didn’t rise well when yeast was added. The leavening used is baking soda, which when combined with an acid liquid like buttermilk, creates air bubbles. It’s not supposed to be a tall bread, rather a little dense. Traditional Irish soda bread has four ingredients: flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt. The gluten-free version has a little more than that. I tried to stick to the original 4 ingredients, but found that the loaf turned out like a hockey puck. The gluten-free version needed a little more acid than the buttermilk alone afforded, and a little additional structure/binder from an egg. Eggs are also considered an acid, so it helped with the leavening as well. Still, it’s a simple recipe, and will no doubt be used on non-Irish days around here. In fact, I think if you sliced it thin, brushed a little olive oil on it, and toasted it in the oven or on the grill, you’d have a great bruschetta.

As for the corned-beef recipe. This was one of those ‘happy accidents’ that happened last St. Patrick’s Day. Some friends came over for Irish dinner, and I didn’t realize until they had already arrived that the corned beef was supposed to simmer on the stove for the better part of a day. Oops… what arose was what Bob Ross would surely have called a ‘happy accident’- it was truly delicious, and far more interesting than your average corned-beef. While the directions call for pan searing, this could easily be accomplished on the grill, and enjoyed this summer. So as the Irish say: Sláinte!

Gluten Free Irish Soda Bread

makes one 9 inch round loaf

Ingredients

2 cups tapioca starch

1 cup millet flour

1 tbs baking powder

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

2 tbs honey

2 tbs cider vinegar

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions

Preheat oven to 450. Lightly grease a pie pan and place on the center of the stove (this preheats the pan a little) Place all dry ingredients except baking soda in a food processor. Place the egg, honey and vinegar in a bowl and mix until frothy. I used my stand mixer for this, but you could use a hand mixer, or even a wire whisk.

Add buttermilk and briefly incorporate. Turn on the food processor and allow dry ingredients to mix. In the liquid bowl, sprinkle the baking soda over the buttermilk liquid and mix until frothy. Turn off the food processor and immediately add the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix until just incorporated.

With a spatula, turn the batter onto the pie plate. The batter will be sticky. Smooth the surface of the batter, but don’t squish it down- the batter should be a little rounded. With a sharp knife, make a deep cross in the batter- dividing the batter into 4 triangles. Then with the knife cut a deep slice in each of the triangles. This helps facilitate rising, and will allow you to pull chunks of the bread apart once it’s finished.

Place the pie plate in the 450 degree oven for 5 minutes. Then turn down the heat to 350 and set the timer for 30 minutes. The top should be nicely browned and crusty. Turn the warm bread upside down onto a towel and allow to cool. Flip right side up once it’s cooled and enjoy with butter or jam.

Pan Seared Chipotle Corned Beef  

 

Take a 2 lb corned-beef brisket and slice in half horizontally (cutting the thickness by 1/2) Sprinkle chipotle seasoning on each side of the brisket pieces. Depending on the size of your cooking pan, you may need to cut the brisket halves into smaller sections.

Using medium-high heat, sear the brisket on the first side until the meat pulls away from the pan- about 5 minutes. Flip and sear again, turning down the heat after 5 minutes and putting the lid on. Allow to cook for an additional 6-8 minutes, or until you’ve reached the desired doneness. Serve with horseradish mayonnaise or mustard.

 

 

Carne Adovada, Gluten-Free Tortillas and Gluten-Free Cornbread

It’s been unseasonably cold here in the midwest. Cold and rainy. In fact, I’ve worn my rainboots so much I feel like I’m in Seattle or London. Alas, there are no flannel wearing, coffee consuming grunge-types to greet me, nor are there clipped accents, cockney cabbies, or the smell of fish and chips wafting out of every corner pub. Not that I could consume said fish and chips…. I’d have to make my own…. So, what’s a girl to do when the sun should be shining on the glorious garden flowers, and instead they’re bending from the pounding of the rain? Turn on a little desert heat. Oh yes- a red chile, southwestern, New Mexico cuisine extravaganza. The heat from the sun has been replaced by the belly warming desert heat of red chile. In the form of carne adovada of course. A shoulder of pork smothered in red chile sauce and slow cooked at low heat until the whole house is warm and toasty with the smell of it. It’s sure to bring a little sunshine to wherever you are and a smile to your face.

Carne Adovada                  

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

1 pork shoulder or pork butt- approximately 2-3lbs

1/2-1 cup of red chile powder (for authentic New Mexican flavor, get dried Hatch red chiles and crush them in your food processor. Be Advised- if you do this, wait 2 minutes for the powder to settle before transferring from processor to container. Or, wear a mask. Inhaling red chile powder is an experience you won’t forget.. Ever.)

2 cups of warm chicken stock

1tbs cornstarch (optional)

1 small can of tomato paste (optional)

A note: You can let this slow cook all night and serve for breakfast, or cook all day and serve for dinner. I get a side of pork every year from a local farmer, so 16-18 hours before I want to serve my meal I set my frozen pork on the counter in a bowl and let it thaw. This means I either leave it out all night and the carne cooks all day, or I leave the meat out all day and the carne cooks all night. It’s pretty easy, but it is a meal you have to plan for.

6-8 hours prior to the meal you want to serve the carne, turn the oven to 200. Cut the carne into 2-3 inch chunks and place in an oven safe container. Place the chile powder in a bowl and slowly add chicken stock. If you want a thick, hot chile sauce, use less stock and omit the tomato paste. If you want a milder sauce, but still want it thick, use the full 2 cups of stock and add the cornstarch and tomato paste. Add the cornstarch first. Do this by placing the cornstarch in a small cup or bowl and adding a ladlefull of the stock/chile mixture while whisking vigorously. Then add the cornstarch mixture back to the larger bowl of red sauce. The thickness and heat level is really up to you. My girls are starting to enjoy spicier food, so this has a bit of kick, but it won’t make your nose-hairs stand on end, or give you the hiccups. (Super spicy food always gives me the hiccups)

Pour the sauce (in whatever form you like it) over the carne, cover with a lid or aluminum foil and place in the oven. Walk away and come back 6-8 hours later. Garnish with fresh cilantro (from your garden if you grow it), and serve with gluten-free flour tortillas and gluten-free cornbread. Here’s a delicious gluten-free cornbread I developed especially to go with the carne. It’s a cakey recipe. Moist and not too crumbly. If you’re feeling wild and crazy add shredded cheese and green chiles to the recipe below. Put a little spanish guitar on the stereo, serve a sweet white wine or a Bard’s Tale Beer, and Olé! It’s a party!

Light & Fluffy Cornbread      

makes 16 squares

Ingredients

1 cup + 2 tbs corn flour (corn flour is a finer grind than cornmeal, but cornmeal is also ok)

1/2 cup millet flour

6 tbs tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)

2 tsp xanthan gum

2 heaping tsp baking powder

1/2 heaping tsp baking soda

1 cup milk

1/3 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk (I used yogurt)

2 eggs

2 tbs agave nectar

3 tbs bacon fat or other oil ( e.g.canola, grapeseed, or melted butter)

Directions

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease a 9×9 square pan. (no need to do this if you have clay, or nonstick bakeware)

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients leaving out the bacon fat.

Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just incorporated. Add the bacon fat and mix thoroughly.

Pour contents into baking dish and put into the oven. Cook on the lower 1/3 of the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy with honey, butter, jam, or your favorite condiment.


Gluten Free Tortillas

Gluten-Free Tortillas: Heaven on a plate

Of the foods I have missed most on this ‘no wheat flour’ journey, a good stretchy tortilla has been close to the top. And a good gluten free tortilla has been hard- no, impossible- to find in the stores.

I grew up on a steady diet of tortillas. Breakfast burritos, bean burritos, quesadillas, the pot-luck favorite- tortillas with cream cheese and green chile, rolled up and sliced thin. You name it- if it was served up with a tortilla, I have probably consumed it. That is, before I knew they were making me sick. I try not to dwell on what I don’t have, because there really is so much delicious stuff I can eat, but periodically I catch myself pining away for a tortilla.

There used to be this great burrito stand just off the University of Washington campus in Seattle,  where I went to college. If you’re from there, you may remember it just off the corner of 45th and “The Ave.” It was just a walk-up window and for five dollars you could get a burrito so big that half of it was the next meal. They had the hugest, stretchiest tortillas I’d ever seen. You could see someone making them in the back practically throwing the dough like pizza crust.

After college, I even worked as an office manager in a tortilla factory. That was fascinating until I noticed they were sharing warehouse space with a chop shop and the welding tools were sparking molten stuff into the lye basin for the corn tortillas. But that’s another story. Needless to say, I didn’t last much longer there.

Then of course, there were the New Mexico years. I spent a lot of time in New Mexico as a child, and grew up on that unique blend of Spanish, Mexican and Native American cuisine that you can find only in New Mexico. I also lived there for three years, consuming massive amounts of green chile, and looking longingly at the flour tortillas. By this time I knew they were a no-no, and made do with corn tortillas. “They’re writing songs of love, but not for me” goes the old Gershwin song. My swan song for a tortilla.

The problem with gluten-free tortillas is that they break. It is impossible to roll them. Even the little corn ones will break. I have tried a few nameless brands of tortillas and they either A) taste funny, B) break, or C) both. This morning was no exception, which leads me to the reason for today’s post.

We make “Special Breakfast” most weekends and occasionally, even on school days. And, now that the girls are getting bigger, they even cook parts of it. But, even “Special Breakfast” loses its luster when it’s some variation of pancakes. Don’t get me wrong- I love pancakes, and I have a great pancake mix (see the “What’s In My Pantry Page). Of course we’re very creative with what goes in the mix, but sometimes you just want….a breakfast burrito, or carne adovada smothered in red sauce, in….a tortilla. And these store bought ones don’t cut it. Not even close.

On a whim yesterday at the store, I grabbed a package of gluten-free tortillas with a slightly different ingredient list, thinking I’d give it one more shot. I got up early today, sliced an onion, threw in a couple of left over buffalo bratwurst and some green chile, tossed the gluten-free, organic tater-tots in the oven, and started scrambling eggs. I even went so far as to wrap the tortillas in aluminum and warm them in the oven. Excitedly, I pulled them out, spread them on a plate and started piling breakfast goodness in the center. I started to roll……crack. Maybe it was because I wasn’t gentle enough and didn’t pull the tortilla tightly enough around the filling. Maybe just maybe it was an accident….

It wasn’t. I wrapped them as best I could and gave them to the girls instructing them to hold on tightly. My youngest promptly spit it out and opened up the tortilla to get to the good stuff. Not a good sign. My oldest was holding hers in her hands and it split apart spilling eggs and melted cheese all over the kitchen floor and triggering a bout of tears and wailing. Determined, I clutched mine in two hands and bit in. Blech. That’s all I could think. It was dry, funny tasting, and not at all what I wanted out of my tortilla. Sighing, I placed it down on the plate and commenced helping my daughter sweep egg off the floor. My hopes of reliving breakfast burrito nirvana were dashed.

That is, until I remembered I am an adventurous cook! Tortillas are just flour and water and lard. That couldn’t be too hard to reproduce effectively should it? The challenge, of course would be the proper flour combination, and making sure there is adequate binder to replace the gluten. Well, Shazam! folks! I did it. And tonight, taste-tested and agreed upon by both girls and one really great husband, we enjoyed a second round of burritos, properly. The tortillas were stretchy, slightly chewy and tasted just like a tortilla should. I’m so excited I think I’ll be eating breakfast burritos for a week. Keep in mind, as these have no preservatives, they are best eaten the day you make them. If you have to store them, do so in a gallon freezer bag to keep them from drying out.

May all your Tortilla fantasies come true!

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:38]

Gluten-Free Tortillas

makes 6-8 tortillas

Ingredients                    

3/4 cup sweet rice flour

3/4 cup tapioca starch

1/2 cup sorghum flour

2 tsp honey

2 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

3/4-1 cup warm water

cornstarch for flouring board and rolling pin

Directions

Thoroughly mix dry ingredients. Add honey to warm water, and stir until dissolved. Make  a hole in the center of the dry mix. Pour in the water and stir in the dry ingredients from the outside edge. When mixture becomes too thick to stir, continue mixing using your hands.

Sprinkle cornstarch on a large piece of parchment paper as well as the rolling pin. Separate dough into 6-8 even balls (6 for an 8-10” tortilla, 8 for a smaller tortilla). Flatten one ball with your hand and roll out to about an 1/8th inch thickness, thinner if possible. Add more corn starch to the parchment or rolling pin if  your dough begins to stick. Turn onto a lightly greased hot pan- I use my cast iron skillet. Cook for 30-45 seconds, flip and cook another 30 seconds. Remove from burner, and stack on a plate, covering with a towel.


Shameless Blueberry Muffins

Some days, being adventuresome is just tough. There have been days, I’m embarrassed to admit, when I’ve been the parent that’s brought chips and salsa to the school potluck. Sometimes it’s the mess, or I’m tired, or my day’s been over scheduled, or it’s too late, or the kids have been playing outside all day and suddenly it’s close to bedtime and no one’s eaten a thing for hours…. You know the kind of day I’m talking about. We all have them, and we’ve all taken short-cuts on occasion, but most of us don’t like to admit it. Well, I’m admitting it now- I shamelessly use gluten-free baking mixes. Mostly on weekends, and in warm weather, when I fantasize about lying in a hammock luxuriating in a good book. Or, like today, when I was in a hurry, out of sugar, and had promised something fresh for the dance school’s bake sale. No need to reinvent the wheel every time you need something delicious.

My favorite baking mixes are created by Pamela’s. Their gluten-free brownie mix is the best around, and a household staple. The crumb is so good that people can’t tell it’s gluten-free. The bread mix is great too. I usually add ground flax-seed to mine to make it a little more nutritious. And, the Pancake and Baking Mix is my favorite. The girls make pancakes nearly every Saturday morning and always add ingredients like nuts, blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips, ricotta cheese, or whatever else they can imagine tasting good in a pancake-although I did draw the line at jelly beans. It’s also a great go-to general baking mix for quick things like banana bread or, like today, blueberry muffins. There are suggested recipes on the bag, but I tend to find those to be too sugary for my taste. For those of you that have allergies beyond gluten intolerance, this mix does contain buttermilk and almond flour. That said, buy a bag and try the recipes out- or dip a toe in the adventuresome stream and create your own. Here’s my easy version of blueberry muffins. Enjoy!!

Shameless Blueberry Muffins                        
Makes 24 muffins
Ingredients
5 cups Pamela’s Pancake and Baking Mix
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup water
4 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup agave nectar (add more if you like sweeter muffins, but use no more than 1 cup)
2 cups blueberries (or whatever fun ingredient you like)
zest from 2 lemons
24 muffin papers placed in muffin tins

Directions
Preheat oven to 375
For stand mixers: Place all ingredients in bowl, and using paddle attachment, beat until just mixed- about 15 seconds. There should still be a little flour and the blueberries will not have colored the batter all the way through. (this is a thick batter)

For Hand Mixers: Place flour and fruit in a bowl, toss until fruit is well mixed. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, vanilla, and agave nectar until smooth. Add water and blend. Pour into bowl containing dry ingredients and mix by hand until everything is just moistened and there are still lumps. Batter will be thick.

Do not worry about flour not being thoroughly wet, as it will get wet in the baking process. Drop batter by spoonfuls into muffin papers, filling nearly to the top. It’s okay to let the batter be lumpy.

Place muffin tins in the oven, set the timer for 23 minutes, and turn the oven down to 350. If all of your muffins don’t fit on one shelf, switch the tins halfway through baking. This will ensure even browning.

For a fun treat, garnish with a dollop of lemon curd.

Gluten Free Crepes

I love crepes. As a child when it was my turn to pick a special restaurant for a birthday, The Magic Pan always won. Hands down. Ten years ago on my first trip to Paris, after getting diagnosed with celiac, but before coming to terms with what that really meant for my body, I stood on a dark, damp street corner behind Notre Dame Cathedral and greedily ate nutella and banana crepes from a crepe stand. The frosty night air was momentarily chased away by the hot, sweet melting in my mouth, and it warmed my hands and insides as I spent the evening walking through the City of Lights. There will be no crepe stand experience for me when I return this time to Paris……sigh……

I have seriously considered packing my gluten free flours and charming some streetside vendor with my poor command of french and my endearing smile. I will happily teach one of them to make a gluten free crepe so that I can return the following night and relive one of my favorite memories of France.

France aside, if you’re a gluten free crepe lover in or near Kansas City, Chez Elle is about to make all your crepe dreams come true. They now make a gluten free crepe batter that is quite delicious and stands up to both savory and sweet fillings. My husband and I spent the culminating hours of our first weekend alone in almost two years enjoying their gluten free crepes.  Be forewarned, visiting Chez Elle on a Sunday morning is not for the faint of heart. The lines are long and the food wait is longer. But, the quality of the food and the smiles of the staff make it worth the wait. I’ll be returning, but perhaps at a less crowded time.  We’ll be having crepes for dinner tonight, because right now, I just can’t get enough of them.

This gluten free crepe recipe has been adapted for Gluten-Free use from Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” (pg 191). This cookbook is a fantastic, entertaining resource and I will be posting additional Gluten Free adaptations of her recipes. If you don’t own this book, run, do not walk, to your nearest independent bookstore and buy it. You’ll be glad you did.

[amd-zlrecipe-recipe:35]