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

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nutmeg Cookies (Gluten Free & Vegan)

A cold front came through yesterday, bringing with it welcome rain.  It rained all day and all night, a steady, gentle rain.  A little wind here and there would tuft the leaves of the trees, revealing a few yellow spots...the leaves are starting to turn.  It was a perfect, beautiful day.  I had to work all day yesterday, but if I had been at home I would have liked to sit staring out the window at the rain and the leaves.

Tonight I was thumbing through a cookbook I have not picked up in a long time...The New England Table by Lora Brady.  I took one look at her Nutmeg Cookies (pp. 81 - 83) and knew I had to adapt them and make them to welcome fall.  These cookies will make your kitchen smell fabulous and better yet, they taste just like autumn. 

Nutmeg Cookies

2 1/4 cups GF flour blend (I use this one)
1 tbsp. flax meal
1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup brown rice syrup or molasses
3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. nutmeg

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

Sift together the flour through the nutmeg, set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil through the brown sugar until it is smooth and thick and looks like caramel.  Add the flour mixture and stir until well-blended.

In a shallow bowl stir together the 1/3 cup sugar and the 1 tsp. nutmeg, making sure there are no nutmeg clumps.  Drop the cookie dough by heaping teaspoons into the sugar/nutmeg mixture, gently rolling to coat, then place on the prepared baking sheet 3 inches apart.

Bake about 12 minutes, until the cookies are crinkled and lightly browned around the edges.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.  Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Strawberry Shortcake (Gluten Free & Vegan)

The other day I picked up the newest version of the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving.  My other one is at least 10 years old and I seem to have somehow misplaced it.  Also, the newer book was on clearance and I am a total sucker for cookbooks.  I collect them.  I have so many I don't have space for them, but I can't help thumbing through racks of cookbooks in the stores.  At the store where I work I have to avert my eyes and not even glance down book aisle at all or I will surely find a cookbook at a good price to drool over.

Anyway, so there I was in Target, innocently walking down the aisle minding my own business when I noticed an endcap full of canning products.  My canner is old and rusty so I was lured over by a new canner which while underneath a clearance banner, was not on clearance.  Disappointed, I thought a new canner can wait.  However, canning lids and cookbooks were on clearance.  I picked up the Ball Blue Book and rifled through pages of old favorites (Blueberry Lime Jam, Maple Walnut Sauce, Apple Cider Jelly) and noticed new preserving recipes not included in my old book (how to make your own jerky and fruit leathers, how to make rubs and dehydrated foods).  There were also new recipes such as Savory Pocket Pie and Peach-Walnut Shortcake - recipes that looked easy to make for my girls.  I had to have this book! 

Now allow me to go a little tangential.  You could argue that I can find all sorts of recipes for free online, but I can hardly keep a thought in my head for 10 minutes without forgetting it and there's no chance I'd remember to look up Savory Pocket Pie.  And even if I do remember to search for and print recipes online, loose papers always get lost.  Books, on the other hand, are beautiful.  There is a certain satisfaction in feeling the pages turn in my hand, of dogearing pages that pique my interest, of underlining whatever my heart desires, of scribbling notes in the margins.  Good old dogeared books are like cherished friends, re-read and thought over and passed down like treasures.  They have weight, they have color, they have smell (old books smell really great!), they hold a little of the personality of their owners.  They are a sensory experience.  When I had time (before I had children), I used to love looking for old books at garage sales, antique stores and library book sales.  I feel so strongly about books that I don't think I would ever use an e-reader.

Now back to shortcake.  That recipe for Peach-Walnut Shortcake was the clincher for buying that cookbook.  It was old-fashioned (not the angel food cake shells the grocery stores sell), something I remembered my mom making, something I had not made for the girls before, and I thought I could convert it in a snap.  I bought the book.  I made the girls shortcake for dessert.  Looking at their faces, you'd think they'd just got a glimpse of heaven.  Either the shortcake was that good or I need to make dessert more often.

No whipped cream?  Spoon a little strawberry juice over the top, it's divine!

Strawberry Shortcake

2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
3 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon or 1/4 tsp. cardamom

2 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 cup dairy-free, soy-free milk alternative (I used coconut milk)

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

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon or cardamom.  Pour over the strawberries and toss well.  Set aside.

In a large bowl,  sift together the flour through the salt.   Cut in the margarine with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles small meal.  Stir in the milk until the mixture holds together.  You may need to add a little more milk, add one tablespoon at a time.  The dough should not be too dry, but not wet and sticky either.  If you touch it, it should not stick all over your hands.  

Turn the dough onto a floured work surface.  Knead a few times.  Pat the dough into a rectangle 1/2 inch thick, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to the work surface or your hands.  Cut the dough into circles using a biscuit cutter or cut the dough into 3 inch squares with a knife.   Place the shortcake onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake about 15 minutes or until the bottoms and edges are golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  To serve, split in half.  Spoon strawberries over the bottom half and place top half of the shortcake over the strawberries.  Spoon a few more strawberries over the top.  Drizzle some of the strawberry juice that has collected in the bowl of strawberries over the shortcake.  Top with whipped cream if desired, and serve.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Ina's Clam Alfredo Sauce (Gluten, Dairy and Soy Free))

I check my Reader in Blogger every day, hungering for new ideas and inspirations.  One of the blogs I follow is Ina's at Gluten Free Delightfully Delicious.  She makes every day, accessible, totally fabulous looking fresh food that I drool over on a regular basis.  I checked my Reader yesterday and what to my wondering eyes should appear was Ina's version of a Clam Alfredo Sauce.  You guys - I have not had Alfredo Sauce in years.  And I've had a can of clams sitting on my counter for a week.  And I just bought penne.  I love it when the stars align like that.  Ina uses an SCD whipping cream and dairy, which I cannot do being dairy-free.  But her recipe looked like it would adapt very well to being dairy free.

This clam Alfredo Sauce knocks my socks off.  I cannot stop tasting it.  It's really good, very creamy and a little rich but not evil.  It's good over pasta, but I'm trying to be mindful of my carb intake, so next time I make it I'll use grated zucchini  or spaghetti squash.  I love the way this tastes and I love the fact that it's also very economical (I am very mindful of our budget now that we have a car payment, ugh).  I love this sauce.  Here is my version.  The measurements are all approximate as I didn't measure anything (it's a school night, you know), but I think it's a forgiving sauce and holds up well to "a pinch of this and a little of that", which only makes me love it more.

 Ooo la la, so fancy looking, but shhhh!  Don't tell anyone, it's very easy!

1 - 2 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 of a medium onion, diced
2 cloves minced garlic
a good glug of dry white wine - at least 1/4 cup
a splash of lemon juice - a good couple of teaspoons
coconut cream skimmed from 1 can of full-fat coconut milk
a dash of dried parsley
a pinch of dried thyme
a shake of black pepper
one 6oz can of chopped clams, with juice reserved
Daiya mozzarella cheese, about 1/3 cup
one 8oz box dried pasta, such as penne

Boil water for the penne, and prepare according to package instructions.

While the penne is cooking, heat the olive oil in in a skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes, until it begins to soften.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Add the wine and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook a few minutes until the wine reduces by about half.  Add the lemon juice, cook for about a half a minute, then add the coconut cream.  Bring to a simmer, then stir in the parsley, thyme and pepper.  Add the reserved clam juice and heat to a simmer.  Add the clams and the Daiya and heat just until the Daiya is melted.  Turn off the heat and adjust the seasonings.  You probably won't need to add salt as the clam juice is already salty.  Serve hot over penne.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fresh Candied Jalapenos

The weather has turned evil again.  The triple-digit heat had broken, and we had enough rain over two weeks that I didn't have to water the lawn at all.  It is now hot and dry again with triple-digit heat and no rain in sight.  I am out watering the lawn tonight (grumble), trying not to freak out over the random lizards that are hiding in dark pockets everywhere and the bugs that are trying to seek asylum in our house.  About the only good thing about this dratted heat wave are the little red jalapenos growing in our garden - they make excellent "cowboy candy".   If my family were game enough, I'd make a cake and decorate it using candied jalapenos.  It'd be like decorating with sugared flowers, only better! 

These candied jalapenos pack a sweet heat punch that's hard to beat.  Can you believe it?  First okra and now candied jalapenos...I've gone practically native!

Candied Jalapenos

 about 1 pound jalapeno peppers
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp. lime zest

Wash and stem the jalapenos, then slice them into 1/4" rounds (wear gloves!).  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the water through the mustard seeds.  Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until syrupy, about 5 -10 minutes.  Add the jalapeno rounds and lime zest and simmer until just tender, 3 - 4 minutes.  Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.