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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Make the Pork Chops

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Yesterday, I shared two recipes that caught my eye and that I am planning to fix this week for supper. You can check it out here if you missed it.

I was particularly excited about the pork chop recipe because 1. we love mushrooms and I start salivating when I see recipes that have things covered in mushrooms and 2. I was interested to try a meat dish that is cooked on the stove. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty addicted to meat being cooked on the grill. If it’s a steak, pork chop, or chicken that we’re going to eat as the main dish, I like it grilled. (I would really like to get a grill pan for indoors. Anyone have one and love it?)

Yesterday was truly a weird day. My girls have been in swimming lessons this week, which has been a total blast. They are outdoors, so the weather needs to cooperate for them to happen. Yesterday, it rained cats and dogs, so the lessons got moved inside at the athletic club where the instructor works. The club happens to be right next to my hubby’s office, so after a bit of trading lesson times, my hubby was going to be able to stop by and watch the girls swim. Fun! (I realize this has nothing to do with pork chops, but stick with me – I have a point)

The girls and I were heading to the lessons, stopped at one of the busiest intersections on our side of town when a large passenger bus decided to BACK UP into us. Wha? This is a loooong story that I will keep short – No one was hurt, minor damage to our vehicle, 45 minutes of waiting for the Sheriffs department that was never called like I was told they had been, 10 minutes of waiting once I officially called the sheriffs department, man who hit me got a ticket, everything took so long – missed swimming lessons. Even though we missed the lessons, we still went to the club to let the girls swim. After all the drama and adventures in swimming, it was after 6 when I finally got home and started cooking.

My point in sharing all that? By the time the food was ready and we could eat – we did and I didn’t get a picture to share with you! How many of you are just wishing I said, “I don’t have a picture of the food.”? 🙂

What I WILL say short and simple is – they are delicious! I’m now a fan of pan cooked pork chops. So yummy and you need to make the pork chops.

Breaking Out of A Rut

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I’m in a rut with food. I’ve somehow lost the excitement and creativity I usually have when it comes to meal planning and choosing recipes. We’ve been really busy, which makes spending a lot of time in the kitchen tricky, but I also haven’t been feeling that great. Like I shared in an earlier post, I’ve accidentally glutened myself a couple of times which triggered a few days of feeling crummy. But, this crummy feeling has been hanging around, so I need to do a good review of what I have been eating to see if I’ve snuck something with gluten into my diet without realizing it.

I sat down this morning and searched through the gluten free recipes on Gina’s Skinny Recipes and came up with a few that I think we’ll be trying this week. Here are a couple of links to two I am excited to try:

Pork Chops with Mushrooms and Shallots

Western Omelet Potato Skins

I’m trying to focus on well-rounded meals with a lot of fresh and healthy produce, in hopes that feeding my body really good food will help me feel better. I’m planning a lot of in season veggie side dishes and fruit to go with our meals. I also need to do a much better job planning out my lunches and snacks. I’ve been short on good choices for me to snack on and I am sure that is contributing to my less than stellar energy level and yucky feeling.

So – eat well this week! Take the time to plan some delicious, good for you meals and nourish your body! I’ll let you know how the pork chops and potato skins turn out!

Rhubarb Pie

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Rhubarb Pie

I couldn’t help it. I made another pie.

Our dear friends gave us some rhubarb over the weekend and all I could think about was rhubarb pie – the one that my Mom makes; the one that her Mom made; and probably the one that her Mom made. My brother and I, when we were little, always called rhubarb pie “Candy Pie” and I get it. Colorful, sweet and tart – just plain delicious. My Mom and I decided that the filling should work just fine substituting cornstarch for the flour to make a gluten free version. (By the way, when converting flour to cornstarch, the ratio is 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 2 tablespoons flour.) And, we were right! If you haven’t had a rhubarb pie, you’re really missing out. Our family recipe is more of a custard version – rhubarb with a creamy, sugary egg filling. The flaky, buttery crust with the sweet and tart filling – it just tastes like summer! If you want to mix it up a bit, toss in some strawberries for another popular version.

I love to photograph food and recipes as I make them. I’m no Pioneer Woman and her food photography, but I enjoy it and it makes the recipes come alive. The photos I am about to share come courtesy of my hubby because it does add a lot of time to actually getting the food made when I take the photos myself. So, I enlisted his help and thankfully, he’s usually happy to “play” with me in the kitchen. 🙂

So, without further ado, here are the recipes for the pie crust I shared last week and for rhubarb pie via pictures and then typed out for your enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

 

 
The pie crust ingredients: Brown Rice flour mix, Sweet Rice flour, sugar, xanthan gum, salt, an egg, butter, orange juice.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Combine the dry ingredients in the mixer, and mix until combined. Add butter until it resembles a course meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Add in the egg and orange juice and mix at a low speed until the dough comes together. It shouldn’t be sticky. Form the dough into a ball and place on wax paper. (This smells SO good!)

 

 

 

 

 

 
Roll out the dough between two pieces of wax paper. (ok, this makes it SOOO easy to put it into your pie plate! Love!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
See? Just take off the top piece of wax paper and flip the rolled out dough onto your pie plate. Peel the other piece back and then style the edges however you like. (If your dough has gotten a bit warm, you might refrigerate it for a few minutes before doing this step because it can stick to the wax paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Don’t look too closely at my edges – I’m not very good at making them pretty or uniform. I poked the bottom a couple times and then pre-baked it for about 10 minutes like the fruit pie recipe states.

While this was baking, I made another batch of dough. I still haven’t decided if I should just double the recipe for the crust or if it should be made twice. Time-wise, I would LOVE to just double the recipe. Anyone out there know if it works out just as well to just double it? I sure with the cookbook had advice on that! I also stirred up the pie filling…

 

 

 

 

 

 
Very low maintenance as far as ingredients go: Rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch, eggs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Beat the eggs until they are pale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Add in the sugar and the cornstarch.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Beat until smooth and creamy.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Gently stir in the rhubarb.

 

 

 

 

 
Pour into pre-baked crust.

 

 

 

 

 

 
Top with second pie crust. Vent top crust with small slits and sprinkle with sugar (I forgot to do this – woops!)

 

 

 

 

 

 
Ta-da! Beauty, ain’t she? 😉

 

 

 

 

 
Don’t ask me how many pieces I ate after it was ready. I did enjoy this first piece with a nice hot cup of coffee. YUM!

So, those are the recipes via picture and now here are the written recipes. Please let me know if you give anything a try!

Traditional Pie Crust
*From Gluten Free Baking Classics 

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (not margarine) cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
2 teaspoons orange juice or lemon juice (I used orange)

  1. Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray and dust with rice flour (I used the sweet rice flour).
  2. Mix flours, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling course meal.
  3. Add egg and orange juice. mix on low speed until dough ball holds together; it should not be sticky. Form dough into a ball, using your hands, and place on a sheet of wax paper. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and flatten dough to 1 inch thickness. (You can freeze the dough like this for up to one month; wrap in plastic wrap and then use foil as an outer wrap)
  4. Roll out dough between the 2 sheets of wax paper. If dough seems tacky, refrigerate for 15 minutes before proceeding. Remove top sheet of wax paper and invert dough into pie pan. Remove remaining sheet of wax paper, and crimp edges for single-crust pie.

To partially bake a bottom pie crust (for fruit filled pies like Cherry or Blueberry)

Preheat oven to 375. Bake pastry for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and fill and bake per recipe.

Rhubarb Pie

2 recipes Traditional Pie Crust (1 partially pre-baked, one for top of pie)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbls cornstarch
3 cups Rhubarb, cleaned and chopped

  1. Beat eggs until pale
  2. Add in sugar and cornstarch and beat until smooth
  3. Fold in rhubarb
  4. Fill pre-baked crust with filling
  5. Top pie with second pie crust and sprinkle with sugar

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then lower oven to 375 and bake for another 30 minutes.

*Sorry about some layout issues with the photos and text. I am having so much trouble with formatting photos in my posts. Anyone use WordPress and have any tips?

Calling All Stories!

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Hey friends! Happy Friday!

It’s been awhile since I have asked for Your Stories. Do you have a story to share about your gluten free journey? Any tips, tricks, lessons learned along the way that you could share with the rest of us? I’d love to hear from you!

Check out the Your Stories section on the site and think about what you could share. Leave a comment on this post if you have a story to share – I’d love to hear from you!

 

Silly Mistakes

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I glutened myself.

I HATE it when that happens – especially when it’s because of a silly mistake.

If you’re gluten free, are you careful about your medications? I was taking a store brand of acetaminophen for awhile and was feeling absolutely rotten each time I would take it. One day it clicked – duh! Check to be sure it’s gluten free. Come to find out, it isn’t a brand that is listed as safe in my gluten free shopping guide. So, I got smart, purchased the brandname Tylenol and noticed a big difference. Problem solved.

However, TWICE I have mistakenly taken the store brand that is still around the house for my hubby. One time I took it in the middle of the night. Lights off, bad headache, I ate a banana and popped two “Tylenol”. It wasn’t until mid-morning the next day, when I was feeling horrible, that I glanced at the bottle in the cupboard, gave myself a big slap upside my head, and realized I had taken the store brand. Well, no wonder I felt rotten.

I had a horrible migrane the entire day on Monday. Yesterday afternoon, my head was starting to hurt again so I decided to take a dose of medicine, lay down and beat it before it got worse. When I woke up, I felt awful. Nauseous, run down, just plain yucky. This morning, I went to the cupboard to grab the bottle of Tylenol to stick it in my purse for a day away from home and realized AGAIN that I had taken the store brand! AH! How silly and no wonder I felt so sick last night.

So, that store brand is getting a Sharpie taken to the label and cap and hopefully I can keep myself from making the mistake again!

Have you felt sick, but you can’t trace it to anything you have eaten that would have had gluten or been cross contaminated? Check your medications!

Pie Crust and Blueberry Pie

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Just a warning – you are going to want to bake a pie. And soon. Ignore the 100 degree heat. Well, ok, don’t do that if you don’t have air conditioning. That would be torture, although the deliciousness of the pie might off set the misery. Just saying.

As I look over this recipe again to share it with you, I am noticing something that would have been helpful to realize when I made my pie the other day and really explains so much. There is a very important note to the side of this recipe: “Makes ONE 8 or 9-inch pie crust or ONE 10-inch tart crust”. OH! So THAT’S why I didn’t have enough dough to make pretty crimped edges or a pretty lattice top. DUH. So friends, when you make this pie crust, don’t be like me. Don’t try to use one recipe to make a 2 crust pie – it’s only for ONE! I am very excited to make another pie and to give it the full amount of crust it deserves – my mouth is watering!

What the cookbook doesn’t say is if this recipe handles just being doubled to make two crusts, or if it’s advised to mix up the recipe twice. Right now, I am leaning towards just mixing it up twice. It’s recommended to pre-bake the bottom crust for fruit-filled pies, so it’s easy enough to whip up the second batch of crust for the top while the bottom crust is baking. It seriously took me longer to pull out the ingredients than it did to actually make the dough. So, here’s the recipe and I’ll share some tips and tid-bits afterwards.

Traditional Pie Crust
*From Gluten Free Baking Classics 

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 tablespoons sweet rice flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (not margarine) cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
2 teaspoons orange juice or lemon juice (I used orange)

  1. Spray 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray and dust with rice flour (I used the sweet rice flour).
  2. Mix flours, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in large bowl of electric mixer. Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling course meal.
  3. Add egg and orange juice. mix on low speed until dough ball holds together; it should not be sticky. Form dough into a ball, using your hands, and place on a sheet of wax paper. Top with a second sheet of wax paper and flatten dough to 1 inch thickness. (You can freeze the dough like this for up to one month; wrap in plastic wrap and then use foil as an outer wrap)
  4. Roll out dough between the 2 sheets of wax paper. If dough seems tacky, refrigerate for 15 minutes before proceeding. Remove top sheet of wax paper and invert dough into pie pan. Remove remaining sheet of wax paper, and crimp edges for single-crust pie.

To pre-bake a bottom pie crust (for custard pies like Key Lime or Chocolate Cream Pie)
Preheat oven to 375. Gently prick pastry in 3 or 4 places with a fork. Bake pastry for about 25 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.

To partially bake a bottom pie crust (for fruit filled pies like Cherry or Blueberry)
Preheat oven to 375. Bake pastry for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and fill and bake per recipe.

Blueberry Pie

2 recipes of Traditional Pie Crust for a 2 crust pie
6 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (highly recommend fresh!)
3/4 cup – 1 cup sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon orange juice (if needed)
1 tablespoon butter

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Combine berries, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Gently toss berries and ingredients so that berries are covered.  If ingredients are not sticking to berries, you can add up to 1 tablespoon of orange juice to help coat the berries.
  3. Pour prepared berries into pre-baked bottom pie crust.
  4. Dollop with 1 tablespoon butter.
  5. Cover with second pie crust in preferred style – lattice, cut outs, crimped edges, etc
  6. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crust is nicely browned and fruit juices in center of pie are bubbling.
Store pie in refrigerator.
Easy as, well, Pie! 🙂 Everything really did come together very easily. I had only made scratch crust one other time, the Thanksgiving before I went gluten-free, and this crust was MUCH easier. I discovered I was out of wax paper or even parchment when I got to that step and I will be sure I have it next time. It really would have been easier.  A tip so that you don’t end up with a huge mess from your pie bubbling over in the oven…line a baking sheet that has edges with foil and set your pie plate on it while it’s baking. It will catch any bubbling over that might happen and save your oven from a horrible mess!
I hope you’ll give the pie crust a try and then let me know what you think! My personal favorite kind of pie is cherry, so I am really looking forward to making one soon!

 

Did You Know? Your Public Library

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Hi Everyone! I hope you’ve had a great week! The weather has been beautiful here in SW Michigan – hope you’ve had time to enjoy some beautiful weather!

Didn’t you love Beth’s post? I chuckled when she sent me her post because I had baked the blueberry muffin recipe she shared the day before AND I had picked blueberries with my girls that morning! She’s right – it IS blueberry season here in Michigan! YUM!

Friends – I made my first gluten free pie. Scratch crust that is flaky and buttery and held up perfectly to the delicious, fresh blueberry filling. I was doing cartwheels (not literally – scary thought) at finding another recipe for an old favorite that translated to gluten free with success. Sad news though – I didn’t get a picture! It wasn’t the prettiest of pies, which I guess blocked my usual “grab the camera!” response I have to most things I cook/bake. So, no picture to tempt your taste buds, but I will post the recipe for the crust soon.

For today though, I want to remind you of a great resource you really should take advantage of. Your public library! I was very happy to discover that our public library carries a great selection of gluten free cookbooks. I am so thankful to be able to look the cookbooks over before shelling out the money to buy them. Anyone else love cookbooks like I do? I pretty much read them like a novel – cover to cover. My hubby thinks it’s funny that I do this. I’ve been guilty more than once of reading him a list of ingredients and instructions, my mouth drooling, only to have him look at me with a blank stare. I guess you could say I create the recipe in my head while I am reading it and can taste and smell them as they unfold. I think that’s a testament of a good recipe and ok, a little bit of a love for food. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 
I checked out five cookbooks and looking through them has been really enlightening. Can I just say, no wonder people find gluten free baking confusing and overwhelming! I am not putting down any of these cookbooks – I haven’t made any of the recipes, so I can’t tell you they aren’t good. But, what I can say is that each of the cookbooks has it’s own flour mix(es), recommendations on pans, and some aren’t just gluten free, but add in the areas of dairy and sugar substitutes. Now, I realize that I am a fan and total supporter of a cookbook that is based on specific flour mixes, so I suppose if you are introduced to one of these cookbooks first, you might feel the way that I do about Gluten Free Baking Classics. But, I would love to have a collection of gluten free cookbooks I could use and expand my recipe collection from, and because of the differences in how the recipes are written and the flours used, it’s going to be difficult. I just can’t invest in all the different flours that are used and I am not even sure I want to.

My favorite of the five I brought home is Gluten-Free Made Simple by Dahlstrom and Burnley. The recipes look delicious, easy and kid-friendly. However, I am frustrated that they refer to a specific pre-mixed all purpose flour mix in almost all of their recipes. The mix, which might be great, is a blend of flours and already has the xanthan gum included. I went to the company website to try to get a breakdown of their mix, and they just list the ingredients, nothing specific. SO, unless I start using the mix they refer to, I can’t make these recipes. GRRRR. I really hope they are getting paid to refer to this flour mix, because I wonder how many doors are shutting on their recipes because people don’t use that mix. I know I am not buying it now. They do mention in the introduction they refer to specific brands of flours because they want the recipes to turn out for you and using what they used will ensure that. They also think it’s cost-saving to have the recipes use this mix. I’m not so sure.

I’ve learned a lot from Shauna at Gluten Free Girl and The Chef and her belief and passion for creating gluten free recipes based on weight of flours, not volume. This is another post in and of itself, one that I have already started writing, but the quick summary is that if you create recipes based on the weight of each flour used, any flour can be substituted in or out, as long as you replace each flour at the same weight. Did you know that a cup of rice flour is a different weight than a cup of tapioca? It is! So, let’s say you are baking something and you realize you are out of one of the flours listed in a recipe that is by weight. No problem! Just substitute the same weight of a different flour that you do have and the recipe should still work. Baking by weight is the standard in most of the professional world of baking – wheat flour or not – and it just makes so much sense.

I have already been very interested in baking this way and after coming across what would be a fantastic cookbook, but finding it basically useless to me, I am even more sold. I wish that the cookbook, or at least the company that makes the flour mix, would provide a breakdown of their mix by weight. If we each knew that, we could duplicate what they have made from what we have in our pantries. I haven’t totally dismissed making a best guess at replacing their measurement of flours to my mix and separate xanthan gum, but it could be an expensive test if the recipes don’t work out. I’ll keep you posted if I do try it out.

Ok, this post has gone a few different directions! My intent was to remind you of the free and helpful resource of your public library. Many times you can search the library’s catalog online and see what they have before even making a trip. Check it out this next week and see what you find! Even if you don’t have success adding recipes to your collection (like me), you can at least learn more about the wide variety of gluten free recipes and styles of cooking and baking that exist. You might even find your new favorite cookbook!