Living without gluten, casein, soy, eggs and peanuts. Living with ASD and ADHD. Life is good!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kalamata Olive Scones - A Trip Down Memory Lane

Years ago, before the girls were born and when I was still eating gluten, DH and I went to a mom and pop Italian restaurant on a whim. We had gone 30 minutes inland from the shore where we lived to a rural part of the state with lovely one-lane winding roads. (Boy I miss those curvy tree-lined roads, so much fun to drive!) We'd make the out-of-the-way trip to a special mom and pop brewing supply store so DH could get what he needed to brew his own beer. The Italian restaurant was on the way back, so we stopped there for dinner (once, and then as often as we could justify). It was small and romantic with dynamite food, but what I liked best were the warm scones they served with small bowls of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. In the bottom of the bowl of olive oil were sliced kalamata olives. The scones with the olive oil and olives were just to die for, they were so good. When I saw Gluten Free Goddess' recipe for Savory Scones with Olives and Rosemary, they reminded me of those scones at the Italian restaurant. I had to make them.

I made a few changes to the original recipe (which I encourage you to check out here), most notably omitting the eggs and the nut flour. I also really don't care for rosemary, so I used just a little ground rosemary. I also made them nice and dry on purpose - that's the way I like scones. I think these olive scones, warm right out the oven, are dynamite. They are really good. Thanks, Karina, for stirring up happy memories and for a great savory scone recipe I can work with and feel good about.

2 cups GF flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. ground dried rosemary
1/4 tsp. black pepper

6 tbsp. dairy-free, soy-free margarine (such as Earth Balance)

1/2 cup rice milk
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour through the pepper. Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine meal. Set aside.

Combine the rice milk and vinegar. Pour all at once into the dry mixture. Mix with a fork until the mixture sticks together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. The mixture should not be too wet or too dry. If it is too dry, add 1 tbsp. water at a time until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated. If it is too wet, add 1 tbsp. flour at a time until you can handle the dough without it sticking to your hands. Stir in the chopped olives.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured cutting board. Knead the dough a few times until smooth. Pat the dough into a circle 1/2 inch high. Cut the dough into 8 wedges. With a spatula, transfer each wedge to the prepared baking sheet, placing 2 inches apart.

Place the scones into the oven and bake 15 - 20 minutes, or until the bottoms and edges are lightly browned. Remove from the oven. Transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 8 scones. These are good spread with margarine or dipped into olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gluten Free & Vegan - Cream Gravy

Continuing my slide into assimilation, the other night this born and bred northeasterner made cream gravy. I've only ever had it once before when a friend made it for me last year (she's pretty determined to speed along my habituation!). I'd previously turned my nose up at the stuff but since she made it, I had to try it. It was okay - not bad, but still a little foreign.

The decision to cave and make cream gravy was not intentional but born of necessity - I didn't have any broth in the house to make regular gravy to serve over mashed potatoes, but I did have coconut milk. And I was really in the mood for gravy. So I used this recipe as a guide and added generous pinches of cayenne and chipotle powder because I was also craving something with a little bite. Actually if I had thought about it, I would have sauteed up a little bit of minced onion and jalapeno pepper to include in the gravy (maybe I'll do that next time).

I was very surprised at how much we all liked it. I made biscuits too (because why not go whole hog?) and I liked the cream gravy best over biscuits. I'm slightly horrified to confess this, but I'm a convert. Biscuits with cream gravy are yummy. It's not a food I'll eat very often but every once in awhile it really could hit the spot. And it's really not as bad for you as I always assumed it was. Even Anna liked it, though she did say with a thoughtful look "Well, Mommy, it doesn't taste like much by itself. But it makes other stuff taste good". Guess I'll turn up the heat a little more next time to see what she says about it then!

(Oh cream gravy, I hate to admit this - but you are pretty darn tasty!)

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. potato starch
1 1/2 cups plain coconut milk (I used Thai Kitchen Lite Coconut Milk)
salt and pepper to taste
cayenne and chipotle powder to taste, if desired

In a medium skillet or saucepan, heat the olive oil over low to medium-low heat. Add the potato starch and stir until dissolved. Cook and stir for about a minute until bubbly. Slowly whisk in the coconut milk. Cook and stir until it thickens to your liking, then turn off the heat. Add the salt and pepper (and cayenne and/or chipotle powder if desired) to your taste. Serve immediately. This is good over biscuits, mashed potatoes, vegetables, or anything else that strikes your fancy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Gluten Free & Vegan - Cocoa Snowflakes

Where is winter? It's felt like spring for half the month already. The daffodils are sprouting and wasps are flying underneath the overhangs. The closest I can come to snow here lately is to make Cocoa Snowflakes. I know that's a far cry from the real cold stuff but...they're chocolate, and what's not to like about that?

To make these egg-free I used prune butter, which makes chocolate baked goods rich and decadent. You can find that recipe here. If you have leftover prune butter that you don't know what to do with, turn it into Chocolate Avocado Pudding!

1 cup GF flour blend (I like this one)
1 tbsp. flax meal
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum, if desired
1/4 tsp. salt

5 tbsp. canola oil or melted coconut oil
6 tbsp. cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup prune butter
powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour through the salt, set aside. In a large bowl stir together the canola oil or coconut oil and the cocoa powder until smooth. Beat in the sugar and the vanilla extract. Stir in the prune butter until well combined. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture, stirring until well incorporated. You may need to add a touch of liquid if the mix is too dry. The dough should not be sticky and there is no need to refrigerate it before rolling.

Taking a heaping teaspoon at a time, roll the dough into balls about 1 inch big. Roll in powdered sugar to coat and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until puffed and lightly set. Let cool on the pan a minute before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dried Fruit and Nut Snack Mix

This is a sweet (but not overly sweet) version of Chex Mix (for a savory version, click here). It smells fabulous in the oven and if you don't watch it, it will be gone in no time flat. I used chopped almonds and dried cranberries this time, but any nut (or no nuts if you prefer) or dried fruit (cherries, blueberries, snipped apricots, chopped figs, etc.) would be good. If you wanted to get a little decadent, throw in some shredded coconut and Enjoy Life chocolate chunks (yum!).

4 cups gluten free Chex cereal
2 cups Ener-G Wylde pretzels

1 cup chopped nuts
1 cup dried fruit
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup honey, agave or brown rice syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside. In a large bowl toss together the cereal, pretzels nuts and dried fruit, set aside. In a small saucepan heat the coconut oil and honey over low heat until the coconut oil melts. Whisk well to combine. Pour the honey mixture over the cereal mixture and toss well to coat. Spread this mixture in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool. Place in a bowl, breaking up big clumps, and serve at room temperature. Store leftovers in an airtight container.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Walnut Sauce

When DH and I were first married he bought Essential Pasta and Pizza on sale at the book store for $5. It was a great investment - some of my favorite soup and pasta recipes come from this book. One of my very favorite dishes that DH used to make for special occasions was pasta with walnut sauce. It was rich and amazing with generous amounts of butter and cream. As our 15th anniversary nears, I had a sudden hankering for that old walnut sauce. Only this time there is no butter or cream and we had it over spaghetti squash. It was just as rich and amazing as I remember and it's still a special treat.

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 cloves garlic
1 cup walnuts
1 piece of bread
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp. Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish and pour in water to 1/2 inch depth. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake until a fork just pierces the skin with slight pressure, about 30 minutes. Let squash cool enough to handle and then scoop out the strands with a fork.

Place the garlic, walnuts and bread in a food processor and pulse until the mix resembles small grains. Add about 1/4 cup olive oil, or enough to make a grainy paste that falls apart loosely into clumps. Add a couple of teaspoons of parsley and salt and pepper to taste. If you want to make a creamy paste, add 1/4 - 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk. Serve spooned over the spaghetti squash.

*You can also toss the walnut sauce with regular rice pasta and garnish with parsley.