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

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pan Fried "Cheese" Crisps

(Fried "Cheese" - crispy, melty deliciousness of a treat!)

Today for your consideration I present pan fried "cheese" crisps.  I was sadly remembering crispy parmesan to a friend and she said well, you can do that with Daiya!  She made some right then and there, I was so excited!  Here's what to do:  heat a cast iron pan over medium heat.  Drop Daiya shredded cheese (your choice, but we like Cheddar) by tablespoons into the hot skillet.  Cook until bottoms are firm and lightly browned, flip and cook another minute more.  Remove to a plate and serve hot.  Enjoy plain or topped with a little bit of salsa.  Yum!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Easy Waffles (Gluten Free & Vegan)

 (The waffles are vegan but the bacon is not.  For vegan bacon, check out these very interesting recipes - 

The other day it occured to me that I have not made waffles in a really long time. Like years.  So long that the girls  had no memory of them - "what are waffles?", they asked.  I had to remedy that and fast.  I waited so long mistakenly thinking that good waffles cannot be made without eggs.  Silly me.  These gluten free and vegan waffles (based on this recipe here) are simply fabulous - light and fluffy and crispy around the edges.  DH and the kids raved about these waffles over dinner tonight.  Mommy scores again!

1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tbsp. melted coconut oil
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your waffle maker.  In a large bowl, sift together the flour through the cinnamon.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the apple juice through the vanilla.  Add the wet mixture all at once to the dry mixture and stir until combined - the batter will be a little lumpy, this is fine.  Let the batter rest for a couple of minutes.  Pour the batter onto the waffle maker according to package directions and cook until golden brown.  Repeat.  Serve hot with fresh fruit.  Makes 4 belgian waffles.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Gluten Free, Dairy Free - Turkey (or Chicken!) Pie with Biscuit Crust

Yesterday it was 82 degrees.  This morning it was 42 degrees.  Our garden is really confused, but I love another chance to enjoy a rainy, chilly day.  All the sun-loving natives down here hate the rain and call it depressing.  I love the rain and think it's peaceful and relaxing.  To each their own, I suppose.  Today is a perfect day to enjoy soup or a pot pie type of meal.  Here's a very good recipe for a turkey or chicken pie I've adapted to be gluten and dairy free (original recipe here).  It's best using leftover brined turkey or chicken, if possible.  The biscuit crust can also be biscuits that stand on their own.  And now without further ado, this most excellent recipe for a cold and rainy day.

First, prepare the filling.

Turkey (or Chicken) & Apple Filling

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 tsp. dried parsely
1/2 tsp. rubbed sage
1/4 tsp. salt if your poultry is brined, 1/2 tsp. salt if it is not
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped
leftover chopped turkey or chicken, about 4 cups
1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 cups turkey or chicken stock
3 tbsp. arrowroot flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch baking dish, set aside.  

In a heavy saucepan, cook the  onion and celery over medium-low heat until soft.  Season with parsley, sage, salt and pepper.  Add the chopped apple, turkey and cider or juice.  Cook until the apple is only just soft, about 7 minutes.  Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

In a medium pot, heat the turkey or chicken broth over medium-low heat until hot.  Whisk in the arrowroot starch, keep whisking until thickened.  Turn off the heat.  Season with salt and pepper if desired.  Pour over the filling in the baking dish.  The filling should be thick, not soupy.

Next, prepare the biscuit crust.

Biscuit Crust

2 cups GF flour blend (I used this one)
1 tsp. xanthan gum
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine (or bacon fat)
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 cup non-dairy milk

Whisk together the flour through the salt.  Cut in the margarine until the mixture resembles fine meal, then toss in the parsley.  Add 3/4 cup of the milk and mix well - if the mixture is too dry, add up to another 1/4 cup milk.  The dough should not be sticky - cut into the dough with the side of your mixing spoon to mix just until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated.  You should be able to handle the dough without it sticking to your hands - it should feel smooth and malleable.*

Place the dough onto a piece of floured wax paper a little bigger than the baking dish.  With floured hands, pat the dough evenly into a rectangle that will cover the filling in the baking dish.  Carefully run one hand underneath the wax paper and with the other pick up one edge; flip the dough onto the prepared filling in the baking dish.  Trim the sides of the dough as necessary so that nothing overhands the baking dish.  Press the biscuit dough to the edges of the baking dish with the tines of a fork.  Then with the tines of the fork, press holes into the crust to let steam escape while baking.

Bake in hot oven about 40 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly.  Remove from the oven and let cool about 10 minutes before serving.

*To just make the biscuits by themselves, turn the dough onto a floured piece of wax paper.  With floured hands, pat the dough into a square 1/2 inch high.  Cut into nine squares with a floured butter knife.  Slide a thin metal spatula under each square and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake 10 - 12 minutes or until the bisuits are golden brown.  Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes, and then serve hot.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New England Style Clam Chowder (Gluten Free & Dairy Free)

My grandfather passed away two weeks ago.  It happened quickly and none of the family was quite prepared for it, even though his health had been deteriorating steadily for some time.  He was buried this past weekend.  For several reasons, I chose to remain at home and instead, go back "home" this summer, when the girls are out of school.  That way, I can turn going home into a vacation for them - we can visit family and friends and galavant around the northeast for a whole month.  They will love it.  I will be able to spend much more time with my mom than I otherwise would have by just going home for a funeral, and that is very important to me.  I will take the girls home where I grew up, we will spend time with my mom, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We will look at old family pictures and talk about family history.  We will take a Sunday drive and visit Grandpa's old haunts, where he grew up, where he fished with his father.  We will go to the ocean and stick our toes in the sand, and go clamming, and smell the salty air and listen to the waves lap the beach.  I will go and sit by Grandpa's grave and say goodbye, and tell him how grateful I am, and cry.  I know he would understand all of this, all the reasons I chose to wait to say goodbye.  I know, because nothing was more important to him than his family.  And as I try to do my best for my family, I have him in mind - selfless and loving.  I really believe there really is no better way to live.

I grew up with Grandpa.  It was not always easy, being a teenager with opinions and living with equally opinionated grandparents.  But we always had a home.  And that home always smelled good.  Grandpa liked food and he liked to eat.  He was always cooking something.  He taught me a lot and he shared stories while doing it.  He showed me the "right way" to fry an egg (heat bacon fat till very hot, crack egg into skillet, fry until set on the bottom, then tip the pan and very quickly spoon the hot fat over the egg yolk until a thin skin forms over the yolk - this has to be very fast or the fat will not be hot enough!).  He waxed eloquent over his mother's pancakes.  He talked about not having enough to eat growing up during the Depression.  He ate everything I made - even if it was terrible, he always said it was great.  

One of Grandpa's specialties was clam chowder.  Often it would take a couple of days to make, and it was different every time.  Sometimes the broth was clear and sometimes it was cream based.  It always had a lot of butter and it never contained tomatoes.  He often thew oysters into it too, consternating the rest of the family and turning it more into a fisherman's smorgasboard than a true clam chowder.  But that's what made his cooking interesting -  he used what was available.  Most of the time, everyone but Grandpa felt his chowder was a heart-attack-in-a-bowl with all that cream and butter and bacon, but boy his soup tasted good.  Every time I think of clam chowder, I think of Grandpa.  So tonight I made a pot of it in his memory.  Although I enjoy a clear chowder, I am partial to cream based.  I have not had clam chowder since going dairy-free four years ago, and tonight I really enjoyed real New England clam chowder (goodness knows the only way I'll get it is to make it myself!).  Here's my version - definitely not a heart-attack-in-a-bowl.  But it looks like Grandpa's chowder and it reminds me of him, and that's the best part.

New England Style Clam Chowder

3 slices bacon
1 small onion, diced
3 tbsp. dry white wine
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
coconut cream from 1 can coconut milk
1 bottle clam juice
2 cans chopped clams with juice
2 small russet potatoes, diced
1 tbsp. arrowroot starch

Cook the bacon in a skillet until crisp.  Drain bacon on a paper towel, then chop and set aside.

Pour the bacon fat into a medium pot, add the diced onion and cook over medium-low heat until beginning to soften.  Add the white wine, bay leaf, black pepper and thyme.  Cook until the wine reduces by half.  Add the coconut cream (skimmed from 1 can of full-fat coconut milk), stir until melted.  Add the bottle of clam juice and the juice from the 2 cans of chopped clams, reserving the clams.  Bring to a simmer.  Add the potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Remove 1 cup of the broth to a small bowl, then whisk in the arrowroot until smooth.  Add this to the soup pot and simmer until the soup has thickened slightly.  Turn off the heat and add the chopped clams.  Ladle the soup into bowls.   Add a tablespoon of chopped bacon to each bowl and serve hot.